Letter Bombs Attributed to Anarchists?
Letter Bombs Attributed to Anarchists Raises Questions
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Four letter bombs have been sent to various European Union dignitaries throughout the Europe in the last week, all of them, according to government officials, originating from the Italian city of Bologna. A group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Front ("F.A.I.") has claimed responsibility in a letter printed by an Italian newspaper. Although no known Italian anarchist groups have ever heard of this association, the acronym matches exactly that of another above-ground, revolutionary organization in Bologna: the Italian Anarchist Federation (F.A.I.) The F.A.I. has denounced these attacks, and consider the Informal Anarchist Front "imaginary," invented to justify the repression of anarchists in Bologna and throughout Italy.
This suspicion harkens back to similar incidents in the recent past, such as 1997 in Milan when a series of letterbombs were used as a justification to raid squats, social centers, and make sweeping arrests. Anti-globalization activists may also recall the letter bomb scare in the days leading up to the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. In fact, the use of such a tactic by fascist forces in Italy has been historically documented. During the 1970's, when electoral support for communists was at an all time high, Fascists engaged in a deadly bombing campagin they described as part of a "strategy of tension." By blaming the bombings on the communists, the Fascists hoped to incite a breakdown of public order to justify the imposition of military rule. The most horrific bombing took place in Bologna in 1980, in which a bomb was detonated at a rail station killing 85 people and injuring over in the bombing and high ranking officials in the organization were made to stand trial ten years later. Their convictions were overturned.
One twist in the latest incidences is that the bomb addressed to European Commissioner Romano Prodi in Bologna was wrapped in a book by Gabrielle D'Annunzio, a supporter of Fascism in the 1930's. Prodi remarked that the choice of the author was probably meant to be ironic. Whether ironic or not, these incidents have created considerable tension among Italian anarchists in general, and members of the Italian Anarchist Federation in particular. As one reader on Infoshop commented, "Imagine if the 'casual repubican party' started claiming responsibility for bombings, how much heat would the Republicans get?"
The possibility remains, however, that such bombings have been carried out by self-proclaimed "anarchists" that are disconnected from groups such as the FAI, who struggle to promote autonomy, social and economic justice in Italy. It seems questionable whether anarchists working in communities of struggle would knowingly place their comrades in danger for such imperceptible gains. The letter bombs in question have been poorly made, causing no injuries even when detonating in the hands of their recipients. > The history of Fascism in Italy has demonstrated that the "strategy of tension" is served equally well by the brash actions of "useful idiots," whether their ideology is purported to come from the extreme Left or the extreme Right.
The Commission for the Correspondence with the Italian Anarchist Federation has issued a communique in which they suggest that, far from promoting revolutionary consciousness, "letterbombs are more useful for provocation and the criminalization of dissent." The arsenal of the F.A.I., on the other hand, includes the weapons of social organizing, local autonomy, trade unions, opposition to state terrorism and the creation of a new and free society.
There are reports that raids of squats have
already begun taking place in Bologna, though no arrests
have yet been made.