A Letter of Solidarity from Vicenza, Italy!

TO BERKELEY POST OFFICE DEFENSE
(formerly Direct Defense Action Team to Save the Berkeley Post Office in coalition with Strike-Debt Bay Area)
on the occasion of the talk by
RALPH NADER
on the steps of the Berkeley Main Post Office, July 29, 2014
July 28 2014
We citizens of the town of Vicenza, Italy, are aware of the struggle of the citizens
of Berkeley, California, and of other towns in the USA to retain the US Postal
Service as a service for the public, to prevent its privatization, to defend the jobs
and the rights of its postal workers as part of the public sector, and in particular to
stop the sale of its precious historical buildings to private investors who will make
large profits off them by providing expensive private commodities instead of
public service.

We appreciate the need for Direct Action to defend these public buildings and the
universal rights they represent. Essential as is legal challenge in courts, only
Direct Action can make all citizens aware of what is at stake here. In particular
we appreciate the Musical Mobilization as a remarkably inventive and joyous
form of struggle worthy to be adopted also in our own initiatives.
We citizens of Vicenza live in a town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
mainly for the masterpieces of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.
Palladio remarkably shaped the relations between the town and the hilly
countryside where he built famous villas, such as “La Rotonda”. However, since
the end of WW2, several US military bases have been located in Vicenza,
hosting thousands of US personnel. A decade ago another US military base
began being planned and executed in place of the former airport Dal Molin, an
area not far from the city center, rich in natural springs where water from the Alps
resurfaces. The decision to develop that area for US military purposes has been
imposed against overwhelming opposition of the citizens of Vicenza in the name
of alleged secret post-WW2 agreements between Italy and the US, and despite
huge demonstrations, to which citizens from Berkeley and San Francisco,
including representatives of Code Pink, brought their solidarity. In Vicenza then
as in Berkeley now, governing members of the Democratic Party refused to
represent the view of citizens and obeyed instead the diktat of the military and
financial establishment.
Privatisation measures like those you are fighting against in Berkeley have been
imposed on us by technocrats of European institutions in the past decades,
presented as inescapable financial necessities beyond public debate. Since the
financial crisis beginning in 2008 further draconian privatizations and spending
cuts have been implemented. In addition, the obligation to balance the State
budget has been foolishly included in the Italian Constitution; the delicate balance
of powers between executive and legislative powers it established is being
tampered with in order to give investors guarantees that a strengthened central
government will implement whatever measures the “financial markets” impose on
us. At a time when increasing numbers of European citizens turn their back on
the noble ideals of the European Union, the main Italian parties, themselves
directly controlled or indirectly influenced by media moguls, are now joining
forces to implement unpalatable measures as the only way out to “save the
country”. The same notion of public service begins to be dismantled and replaced
by the rule of private management following a process vigorously implemented
decades ago in the USA. Only the commitment to universal medical care is here
not openly questioned, although it is questionable whether even it will survive
present financial trends.
Local governments, starved of money by spending cuts, are no longer able to
implement rational city planning and must bow to the requests of private real
estate investors. The citizens this committee represents are fighting the
pathological consequences of the financial crisis from the grassroots. Ugly
buildings are growing near the city center and sprawling industrial and residential
building are disfiguring the surrounding villages. Disregard of regulations
protecting river banks is causing frequent disastrous floods in our region. The
altered equilibrium between nature and urban sprawl is making our region among
the most polluted in Europe.
These considerations show a startling convergence between the goals stated in
your Rationale for Direct Defense and our goals. Therefore our solidarity with
your action is also a plea for cooperation in a common struggle in the years to
come.
Gianlugi Bellin,
a nome di Comitato di Quartiere Borgo Berga

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s