‘Designed to destroy us’: Italian ravers plan more nationwide protests against new ‘anti-rave’ law

Italian Ravers Protest
Author : Max Spruill
March 02, 2023

‘Designed to destroy us’: Italian ravers plan more nationwide protests against new ‘anti-rave’ law

Free-party crews from across Italy and France are planning more collective action against Italy’s newly enshrined “anti-rave” law.

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Enacted on December 30th, the new decree allows the surveillance of groups suspected of occupying empty buildings to hold illegal events. The maximum penalty is six years in prison.

In response, at least a thousand members of the #smashrepression movement gathered in Naples last month at Officina 99 and Scugnizzo Liberato, two self-managed cultural centres located in former abandoned buildings. Among other things, people shared testimonies of being evicted, fined, intimidated and stopped and searched by police.

After two days of discussions, the movement settled on another campaign of popular dissent. Street protests are expected at the end of March in Naples, Rome, Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Brescia and Grosseto. Parks, squares and streets will become temporary zones of creativity, occupied with art, cinema and theatre. Protests are also planned on April 25th—Italy’s anti-fascism holiday Il Giorno Della Liberazione.

The Naples assembly followed a series of sound system-led street protests across Italy and France in December. The “anti-rave” decree was initially triggered by a Halloween rave in Modena, when 14 people were put under investigation. Authorities also seized €150,000 of audio equipment, though €80,000’s worth was later retrieved by lawyers.

A representative of the #smashrepression movement said “we’re moving against the fascist government and its repression of our freedoms.” He said the assembly featured discussions of the dynamics on the legislation, as well as strategies for staging parties in the face of a “law designed to destroy us.”

RA has seen a report summarising the #smashrepression assembly. The goal is to expand and strengthen the movement by communicating in a “universal language” with the “outside world where people have little knowledge of the free-party movement”—and yet share the same frustrations and have the same demands for positive social change.

New ways of ensuring the movement’s existence were also outlined, along with strategies for combatting media stereotypes “demonising” rave culture and other marginalised groups that define the “intersectional struggle.”

Stefano B is a DJ, producer, radio host and founder of the collectives Jungle Massive and Red Moon. He attended the assembly in Naples and said it was a gathering of “like-minded people who have no intention of being marginalised or worse still, repressed.”

Stefano B gave a talk at the event, saying various groups are impacted by “current government repressions.” These include African migrants without housing rights, unemployed people without income support and ravers currently repressed by the new “anti-rave” law.

He added that it’s important to find new ways of combatting the media narrative, “which increasingly feeds the public opinion with sentiments of hatred towards groups that fight for anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-classism and anti-capitalism.”

As well as the “anti-rave” law, the #smashrepression movement recently turned its attention to the situation unfolding around P38-La Gang, the radical-left Italian trap band who could face at least eight years in prison for instigation to commit a crime.

We’re supporting their cause because it’s completely fucked up,” the #smashrepression representative told RA. “They cannot go to jail for expressing themselves through music.”

Originally reported by RA.