01 March 2009

Red, Black, Green, (Black)

De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch), Rembrandt, 1642, Oil on canvas, 363 × 437 cm, 142.9 × 172.0 in, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Italian Government (or what is remaining of it), following the coherent strategy to increase the perception of fear and danger to justify its authoritarian policies, is recently concerned with self-organized patrolling by citizens, making a law-proposal (still under discussion) containing two simple conditions to regulate this matter. This kind of watchmen corps should (for the moment) not be armed, and should be composed preferably of former professional guards.

Looking back in history, the Romans were the first who institutionalized security corpses and turned them into a professional organization, creating the Guardie Pretoriane and the Vigiles, and up until now in the Rechtsstaat, control and security are hold by power-structures superior to single individuals or self-organized actions. The interaction between citizens and police can be in some situations a desirable target, but in this case we face a completely reactionary and dangerous turn.

More or less unofficially sponsored by the right-wing, xenophobe party of Lega Nord, this security measure seems not only propaganda, but something more destructive; let’s have a look again through the pages of italian history: first came the Camicie Rosse (Redshirts), volunteers held by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who in 1860 unified the peninsula; then things started to go tougher, and the color of shirts became fascist black, Camicie Nere being a violent paramilitary organization fundamental for the Fascist Regime to gain and maintain a strong control over the italian territory and italian people. Now the tint faded into green, symbol of the so-called Padania territory concerned with secessionist trends. But in Italy today the risk of a new darkening of clothes is very high. Have a look at this (in italian).

References: "Land of Plenty", Wim Wenders, 2004

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