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‘Why don’t Italians Occupy?’ Hypotheses on a Failed Mobilisation

Lorenzo Zamponi

Italy was the birthplace of the first mobilisation targeting the crisis-related austerity measures: in 2008, students protesting against the governmental cuts chanted ‘We won’t pay for the crisis’. After that, Italy appeared unable to play a significant role in European anti-austerity mobilisation.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2012

Italy was the birthplace of the first mobilisation targeting the crisis-related austerity measures: in 2008, students protesting against the governmental cuts chanted ‘We won’t pay for the crisis’. After that, Italy appeared unable to play a significant role in European anti-austerity mobilisation. The waves of protest of the last three years seem much less influential, in the global context, than the British, Spanish, Greek or Chilean events, let alone the Arab Spring. Furthermore, all the attempts to start some occupy-style mobilisation, during the Fall of 2011, failed. Having participated as an activist/researcher in hundreds of demonstrations, assemblies and meeting, in this paper I propose some hypotheses for future research aimed at understanding and explaining this failure: the political context, with the peculiar role of Berlusconi in attracting on himself all the criticism regarding the crisis, saving from the popular blame the EU and the 1% and paving the way for Mario Monti’s quasi-unanimous approval; 15 October, with the loss of credibility for the movement after the riots and the internal breaks, with consequences on any other attempt of mobilisation; the complex interaction between political groups and general movement, once a resource for mobilisation, and now a potential obstacle, given the difficulty of fitting the sophisticated ‘Italian theory’ in the post-political and down-to-earth frame of crisis-related indignation. This exploratory paper aims to take part in the reflexive elaboration of the Italian movements and to break the academic habit of studying only successful protests.

Zamponi, L. (2012) “Why don’t Italians occupy?” Hypotheses on a failed mobilisation. Social Movement Studies 11(3-4), pp.416-426

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14742837.2012.708833

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 15 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2023. The deadline for applications is April 13, 2023.

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