For years you have been active in Italy and in Europe within the civil society sector, advancing important battles such as those of common goods, migrants’ rights, etc. You were also a candidate to the 2014 European Parliament elections. Was this choice to move into politics motivated by the fact that you felt the civil society sector was no longer the right place within which to push for a real change?
Not at all. I strongly believe in organised civil society and social movements, because I believe in the strength of people, when they are able to stay together, to be united, to stand up and fight. In the past, our traditional role was to make social pressure, to push politics and institutions to implement our demands. Nowadays, we are living in a post-democratic system where politics and institutions don’t listen to us anymore, they simply obey the financial capitalistic powers which are above them. The democratic pyramid, where power goes from below to the top, is reversed. And I think we have to invade politics and institutions by ourselves. This doesn’t mean we have to become politicians: we have to be both – social and political activists, both within and inside institutions. It is something not so easy to accomplish, but nevertheless I believe we have to think about it, to discuss this topic, and when possible to experiment something new.
Social movements which demand increased democracy and equality in Europe are present in a great variety of forms, which are often not visible to the general audience. Based on your extensive experience, how can these actions, ideas and movements ensure their greater visibility?
I agree: in this period in Europe there is a big amount of resistances, good practices, alternatives – which express themselves in many different ways, from culture to agriculture, everywhere. There is a sort of spread and participated shaping of a social transformation project. Thank to all these experiences nowadays we are able not only to criticise the system – we can say which is the different world we want. It is very important, it can be our strength to defeat the reactionary project which is present in Europe too. Our problem is that we are dispersed and fragmentated. Each of us walk its own path. We know that a lot of other people is walking beside us, but nobody seems be able to put ourselves together. If we don’t unite themselves, we will lose.
What’s the most pressing issue to fix in Europe today?
We have to understand we are living inside a reactionary revolution – aimed to destroy all the social and democratic achievements produced in our history. This is not a normal time. And we cannot go on as we could do in a normal time. We need a alliance to resist. A European alliance to resist this horrible and cruel neoliberistic attack. And there will not be an effective European alliance if we are not able to overcome the distance between North and South, between East and West. We live different situation in the different parts of Europe, but if we think that what’s happening in Greece is far away from us, nobody can be save. We will survive together, or Europe will become a nightmare for everybody. We need first of all solidarity.