Rome, March 19th: right to the city demo

From now on the city decides. At least 20.000 people took the streets in Rome against the Commissioner Government of the city, determined to take back the the decision-making power on social centres, welfare, commons, workers’ rights. This is the statement of Roma Comune.

Since the very beginning of the campaign in which we stated “Rome is not for sale” , our goal was to shift from the minimum common factor to the maximum multiplier effect. On March 19th this became true. More than 20.000 people took the streets behind the banner “Rome is not for sale” from Piazza Vittorio to the Town Hall. A massive and plural demo, where many social conflicts that live the city came together, defending it from what speculators and the city’s and country’s governments crave.

Starting from the attack that has been furthered against social centers, through the law that recently introduces calls for assignment of public space at market value, and through the austerity and privatization plan recently signed by the commissioner Tronca, (but presented by the previous Marino administration), solidarity in the city came together. A demonstration that was the result of the political maturity of the movements, able to build an answer at the level of the offensive that the strong powers deliver, when facing a radical attack. A demonstration that cannot be considered the sum of the organized realities or struggles, that gathered a widespread will for conflict and participation in a city that has been described as desert and at peace. The invasion of the Town Hall’s square sets a point of no turning back: Rome doesn’t want a city governed by the police. Rome wants to take back its capacity to decide on the present and on the future of the city.

On February 18th 2015, tens of thousands of people invaded Rome against Salvini’s right wing that wanted to present itself to the city. Some thought that to repeat such a great day couldn’t be possible. Too much media blackout. For this reason the 19th of March shall remain impressed in the collective memory of the city. Thanks to the vast work of social communication at a local level, and in the virtual space, the city answered the call, starting a new season of conflict. From today on we can truly state: “Rome decides, the city decides”.

Something that goes beyond the simple will to block the processes of privatization and attack to who has been impoverished by the crisis, that wants to change the route, thinking that to resist is no longer enough. Something that prefigures the opening of a process of self-government in Rome. On the 9th we shall build assemblies in every territory, to open spaces of self-government and grassroots decision.

A route that was autonomous from anyone standing for elections, that will challenge whoever shall govern the city after the next electoral turn. Well aware that the moment of emergency that we are living shall not be shut down in order to return to normality, on the contrary it gives exact guidelines, and tight margins, to who shall come. It is instead necessary to break the rigid constraints of the budget laws and the city plan laws recently put through, and the burden of the debt for Rome’s future development. At a distance from primary elections, a pantomime of discussion and participation, small talk inside the groups of power to the right as to the left, the city has instead spoken and wants to decide its own future.

The assembly in the Town Hall’s square, invaded by many against the government of the few, of the mafia, and of the cronies, and it has represented great complexity and richness, through workers of the municipal companies, right to housing movements, people living in public housing, social centres, kindergarten teachers, neighbourhood committees, and experiences of self-government.

(19th of March 2016)