Saturday, October 31 «fully loaded and with pizza: it’s a good idea to throw a party before a trip»
Despite parties and gatherings being forbidden, the eve of the trip went smoothly, loading the vehicles until the nightfall, while the oven was heating up. The many leftover pizza balls ended up being useful to make a bunch of mega-calzones that we took with us for the return trip the day after. Pleasantly surprised by those who, at the last second, decided to come along, without knowing the adventure we were heading into.We counted heads and we’re very well above the ten we expected to be!
Obviously the departure the next day, like in the best moments of vacations in August, was full of stress and back and forth from the houses to the vehicles. We had not accounted for the time necessary for the maneuvers to get «in caravan». But nevertheless we achieved the same result, by force of honking the horns and signal lights, we were together.
Some turning around was necessary, we shouldn’t underestimate the relation between the level of the fuel tank and knowing the way, since very few people wanted to use technology in this caravan.
Sunday November 1: «Terni 1»
At our arrival at the meeting spot…the shit was waiting for us in plainclothes…and then in uniform!
The various discussions about precautions for this caravan about what to do in case of control turned out to be useful, even if in the end they get the best of it… well, moment to play the playlist of the ridiculous sounds of the diggosino (political police) «crazy frog». In any case, by the end of the afternoon some have let themselves be heard from inside in spite of knowing they were being watched.
In Terni in those days we knew that Juan had his first visit with a comrade. We found out, first though the newspapers and then confirmed by the prisoners that inside there were 67 prisoners and 4 guards that tested positive to covid. They expressed to us that they’ve lived “an inferno, it’s like a war” and that the support from outside is necessary, that there are comrades that come to say hi to them. An enigmatic phrase by him: “they were expecting you today”, has made us think and reflect about the unclear or evident balance between announcing our presence through media or have a “surprise” effect.
To wrap up this day, distancing ourselves from the different cops that were on our tail, we headed to the thermal baths of Viterbo. For obvious reasons of tranquility and well-being that, as it’s well known, without them, the struggle becomes tiresome.
Monday November 2: «administrative closure of the Viterbo Thermal Baths and Terni 2»
Our relaxation stop was cut short, since that same morning since various patrol cars from the Digos and municipal police surrounded us, some to record us with cameras, others to shut down the thermal baths due to a county ordinance. Well, the caravan does not wish, after much consideration, to claim the shutting down of the thermal baths… but instead, that of prisons!
The will to return to Terni in a kamikaze action made us have to do a bit of “Scalextric” with varios Digos, trying to keep them away in various moments, to try once again to get near under the walls. Well, with a police road block, shovel in hand at the entrance of the road that leads to the jail, we decided to retreat with style. But this set off the chain of events that lead to the second stop, but not for all of us. So then “Terni 2” is not for the second stop, but for the second “hello”.
At this point, someone hypothesizes that the caravan of solidarity should be called by another name, and we’ll let those who read this let their imagination fly…
In those mandatory stops, everyone’s documents were solicited and obtained through various forms of extortion. A couple of notifications were given to us.We haven’t fallen for the trap of the threats and provocations that would get us all sent to the station, in spite of a cop that tried to lay his hands. Interestingly, as well, as a digos updated a cop (the have higher rank) about what this caravan was, that there was talk about it on the web, that the caravan claimed to be going to the jails from Terni to Sicily, and that therefore we were the carriers of some kind of riot.
Well yes, precisely.
After a turn in that Terni jail, we thought that the high tension due to Covid inside the prison, the presence of two combative comrades, jailed there, and the will to open a file and study the caravan, had become an impediment for us to move as we would have liked. But we thought that we had to try to continue, also because the morale was good in spite of these “shits stuck to our asses”.
We entered Rome by night, even in spite of our first mechanical problems…
Tuesday November 3: “Wedding- Tour around Rome and Rebibbia
Then the idea was born, to look for a disgusting church in which to enact that ugly desire. Well, it seemed appropriate to go to the place where the priests of holy justice gather, even dressed up as Santa Claus: THE MARRIAGE (supreme court in the Spanish State). Aditionally, they also have as neighbors the ugly judges of vigilance in Rome, the only ones who decide (clubbing and killing) over the prisoners of the 41 bis regime.
The GPS of this happy committee of party-goers sets off, and we find ourselves going round and round that horrible building adorned with a lawn that’s trimmed down to a milometer and transplanted palm trees, fatality in front of the main entrance. So then determined to continue the celebrations, the vehicle is put on display in a concert of car honks and found instruments as a juggling act in stoplights to attract the attention of the unfortunate commuters and of the PoS (pieces of shit) withing that theater of horror. The bowling pins in uniform decided to stop the celebrations in front of the palace and it’s a shame for them but the spirits don’t die down, on the contrary the voices rise to scream “anarchists in action against marriage, for all, FREEDOM for all!” or once again “Judges, executioners, we defy your boredom!”.
What a coincidence, that same day the comrades of Operation Ritrovo and Bialystok had to do with that trial, which on top of giving incomprehensible sentences, allowed various judges (from re-examination or court of appeals) to reformulate accusations instead of rejecting or confirming them. Here we express our utmost solidarity to those who have to deal with this horrendous institution, that prides itself in having the last say in determining a future in a cage or in freedom. Strength and nerves of steel!
During that stop by the police, right there in front of us, the negotiations gave us a good idea of the bewilderment of these shits: they were looking for a promoter, they wanted to find a name for this “demonstration”, they were even looking to find out if an “F” on the licence plate meant France or Florence. We gather that the updates on the notifications made the day before are not so immediate on their information servers.
Definitely, after a bit of mechanic and a free-shop set up in the street, the photograph of the newlyweds with the vehicles in front of that church make us continue this day with a sweet smile. Those invited to the wedding decide to continue the after-party in front of rebibbia (jail) after having a proper wedding banquet in a small park not far from there.
Wednesday November 4: «¡Reception in Latina 1… y 2!»
The caravan decides to take the road once again and set off toward Latina, it stops in a closed highway restaurant in the outskirts of the city to ward off the uninvited guests that did not stay away from our vehicles. Surprise: it wasn’t just one car following us, but five! The situation got a bit complicated…the habitual shit hours, but this time with a big scene…registries disguised as inspections, to justify the verbal absences at hand. And like they say “if you have ears to listen, listen!” BUT WE ARE IN THE CAMPER!
Negative to all. Above all, their neurons: ABSENT.
«Appetizer in Eurospin (supermarket), new sponsor of the caravan».
For a good continuation of the caravan, after the hours of mandatory stops, the groceries and the compulsory appetizers allow us to regroup in between the different vehicles detained here and there. Because some other people had also been detained. And once again the news arrive from outside that some voices have managed to break the silence and the cold of the walls of the Latina prison, twice!!
We exchanged some words with the people that worked at that Eurospin: for them, jail is shit, and they advise us that to go down there we should split up, because we’re too visible. Well, advice duly noted! A recycling of supplies at closing time, middle finger to the cops and hop! Back to the road!
In spite of the little messages with toilet paper with various dedicatories thrown from the window in the various turns of rotundas, the cops show a true and characteristic adulation to being behind us. After getting distracted we lost track of them, and with tranquility and weariness…that we parked in Circeo.
Thursday 5 and Friday 6 of November: «In Circeo we catch our breath, and…Latina 3!»
The day begins in complete calm in between the sea-foam, the barking our canine friends, yoga sessions, fly swarms and infinite chatter to deepen our relationships, friendships and lots of laughter. We can’t leave out the immersion in the water and leveling up the caravan with new headlights, adjusting the seats and cleaning up. The eve ends with a great bonfire and drinking by the seashore. The only inconvenience that kinda stinks, we got scolded by those blue pants with red striped so that we kept our canine friends in line. But it’s already known: the caravan thinks up 1 and does a 100!
And so the next day, after the nice gesture of the local breadmaker that brought and offered bread to the wagen-platz for the trip,we launched full speed ahead with the urge to say hello once again to our comrade before venturing in a new direction and a new region. All of us (more or less) once again beneath the infamous walls to let ourselves be felt, the rapidly in a neat to U-turn go go go towards the fried pizzas, the Vesubio (volcanic mountain) and the Neapolitan sisters, obviously without omitting a few pit stops.
The score of the caravan for the lovers of street math and statistics:
– 6 days
– 30 calzones
– 6 greetings
– 7 mandatory stops (by the police and the carabinieri)
– 0 traffic tickets (…for now!)
– 585 km (the Lacio part)
– 3 regions crossed
– 1 wedding
– 1 police report
– 2 police notificacions
– 782 lost lighters
– 6 registered vehicles
– 514 found lighters
– 2,512 soy cappuccinos
– so many screams inside and outside of those infamous walls.
Friday, November 6: arrival in Naples… road rage confirmed!
Even though had prepared ourselves very well for our arrival in Naples, with a safe place outside of the city in which to park (which is no small feat!), find our bearings and arrive all together, also to regroup with those who insisted on the greetings in Latina, it turned out like in the best of bad lucks: WE’RE LOST! And not just once! That’s great and all but, getting lost after a couple of adventures in the tentacular Neapolitan traffic, at 22h01, time of the curfew, getting lost just beneath Poggioreale (jail), that’s how the greeting starts with screams and honking in spite of being right in the middle of the street.So then it’s an entrance just how we like it: defying the curfew we arrived at the place we located to go to sleep without missing out on the lecture by the guards that reminds us that covid roams and that at night we should stay in our homes. Finally we’re here, trip after trip, at «home», or rather an occupied field where, thanks to a mega hospitality, we’ll stay here a couple of days.
Saturday, November 7: Naples, here we are! Breakfast! Assembly! Chat! Naples 1!
The premise of learning to move from the periphery to the center while being so many, meeting up again and regrouping seemed like a big challenge. Who goes in public transport, who goes in car and who goes in bicycle! Much respect to the three extreme cyclists, that managed to get offered a pizza while they were changing a tire in the middle of the road!
Even though the anti-jail conference was not carried out, a talk took place in a space, that wanted to sustain a high tension/attention on the situation in jails, and encouraging them to go from there to in front of the jails following a route across the territory, to join our caravanesque impulses to go in a vagabond drift together. Thanks from the bottom of our hear for the food: pasta, lentils prepared by the locals and our banquets for the distribution of serigraphs, liquor, fundraising, the first of the caravan, that for our objective of raising money for the anti-repression fund they’ve given us smiles.
In the afternoon at the last minute a sizeable group of comrades says hello to the prisoners of Poggioreale where they tell us that there are a couple that have tested “positive” for covid (more or less 30 in a single pavilion) some pavilions have not yet gotten tested and the prisoners that are ill don’t receive the adequate treatment and the remain in the common cells together along with those who are still negative to the virus without any precaution.
After chanting some slogans, singing some songs and pyrotechnic display, we get lost, distancing ourselves from the recordings of the Digosm, in between the narrow and frequented streets of the Neapolitan center that doest seem too interested in the Dpcm.
Sunday, November 8: Pozzuoli: women’s prison
At noon the caravan moves to the women’s prison of Pozzuoli, where we’re observed by the inevitable digos with a vest and a bag we tried to communicate with the prisoners, initially without receiving responses. (We’ve known for some time, after a protest, the director had extortioned two prisoners from responding to the greetings) But after a bit of music and chanting some slogans, the prisoners ask us to relocate to we’re more visible and once again an emotional greeting full of wonder ensues with lots of excitement, with the help of Lady Gaga.
We return to the Wagen-platz, the campfire, music and chatter.
Monday, November 9: pimp my van and various encounters
A day of re-styling our vehicles so that they’re as discreet as possible in time of color coded rainbow zones, mandatory curfews and semi-lockdown zones we decided to give ourselves a more sober look by wheatpasting posters and a renown graffiti artist (whose name we won’t reveal, even though the art piece is signed…) he leaves us a dedicatory inscription on the vehicle.
Wanting to meet up once again with the people that we had found or met in the first two days and the urge to seize a town square (and a pizza) in the following days, the schedule for the day ahead quickly fills up.
Tuesday, November 10: On foot…
A day of unwinding with a tour through the center and so between the Neapolitan crowd it reaffirms our choice of setting up an event in the plaza to let people know us, to talk about jails and the two weeks of solidarity with anarchist prisoners.
Also because feeling the important presence of so many people in the center, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to be there as well, and between one fried pizza and another, we chose the adequate town square to make ourselves seen!
Did you know that in Naples the public restrooms are scarce but if you try to pee in the alleys the bidet is free and it comes flying at you directly from the balcony of the first floor? We didn’t know!
Wednesday, November 11: we’re going to the town square: San Domenico is surrounded…
We took our art, our knowledge and what we are, to the one of the most frequented Neapolitan town squares, in between the inevitable banquet, distro, and serigraphs we took some time to make those who surround us understand who we are with an exposition created by our comrades from the north and with a thick jam session with the usual musicians from the area.The enforcers watched us from afar, but after romantic songs and revolutionary songs, they go away before the closing act of this micro TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone). Handing out zines to everyone, the various curious/brave people approach us and it’s a great mix of conversations, debates and confrontations over a musical backdrop.
It’s not a myth that «pieces of the world are found in Naples», and with great surprise foreign comrades we hadn’t seen in years stumbled upon us or some person that having read the sign that says “Bialystok”asks us why does it say that, because they were born in that city!
By choice, the liquour and other spirits were not for sale, in spite of that we received a little bit of money for our benefit box, on the other hand, we felt our pockets were empty, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a thing other than money which makes us rich. In the meantime, all our banquets are offered for free!
At night we returned to the wagenplatz, after saying goodbye with a smile on our faces for having occupied that space, time and even sharing a stroll to bring some people home with us!
Thursday November 12: Secondigliano – Peastum just one way
We prepared the vehicles to continue the trip and we said goodbye with a bit of sadness to some comrades who take off for the return trip (but they promised us that they’ll come back). In the afternoon we tried a last greeting to the Secondigliano jail but the logistic of the place doesn’t let us speak directly with the prisoners, but with the guards instead, so after going around the neighborhood a couple of times we decided to abandon the project. We’re a bit frustrated, but we realize that we need to better understand the ins and outs of different aspects of these prisons. Well, in a caravan after going one way, there’s always the return!
It took us an epoch to get out of Naples, from the north periphery of the city, to the tangential we preferred to take through the center of the city! What a wild delirium! We’re heading south, this time choosing a destination in the coast that has a certain historical importance.
Friday, November 13: ah the sea, the perfume of the sea
We got carried away by the aroma of salinity and the sand between our toes, the most daring took a toning bath, and the day went by quickly in between chatter and laughter.
Well, even despite the various daily chores: find water, places to recycle food or food at dirt-cheap prices, and these vehicles that have survived and that we always have to fix here and there!
Upcoming dates: We cross regions, always southbound.