I would like to share with you some thinking, but to do so I first have to give you some pieces of information:
Italy has been fairly touched by the so called OCCUPY movement (I say so comparing the italian experience with Belgium, where I took part to the indignant, Spain, as everybody knows from news, and California, where I have been part of the movement too: I will post something about it, promise!!!). In a few cases people took the street, or better the squares, but the movement did not have the echo it had in other countries and neither the social movements (which are pretty strong in Italy) paid them any attention.
For example in Rome, while I was there with the March to Athens (by the way the March is now in Greece, they will be in Athens on May 5th, I reach them at the end of April) people from roman social movement were not interested at all (or not so much) to us and they were if not suspicious at least uninterested to the group of italians who had occupied a square.
I perfectly understand their reasons for not being enthusiastic …it is not what I want to talk about now.
The point which is interesting for me is that since last Autumn in Italy there is a relatively wide movement related to the occupation of theatres and cinemas: two in Rome (Teatro Valle e Cinema Palazzo), one in Catania (Coppola), one in Napoli (La Balena) and finally, which the psicological reason why I am writing about it now, one in Palermo-my hometown, where I am not right now- (Teatro Garibaldi).
The two facts might be completely unrelated: italian movements didn’t take the streets, actors and other “workers of culture” occupied some theatres has it has been done before pretty often. No connection at all! and yes, there is no connection, between this two facts…not explicit for sure!
bbut the interesting point is that if you have the chance to move from one context to the other (as I have done) you see some similiraties (both in terms of contents and approaches) that it becomes natural to ask yourself: why people here decided to take the theatres instead of taking the squares? and why they don’t feel related to the ones who did take the streets?
This last thing is not an hypothesis: while I was in Teatro Valle, during a european Forum on Commons, there were some people from the indignados and occupt frankfurt invited but the connection didn’t seem to be very close. I even asked about it…but the answer was a bit vague.
Anyway I think this might be a point to think about: I see strong connection between taking a square and taking a theatre (step back to the ancient greek world and you will see the connection patently) and considering that keeping a street taken is definitely more difficult than keeping a theatre taken…it might be the next step!!!
What’s the most important thing the two occupation have in common: assemblies and participation!
Hope to hear your reaction and your experience (I don’t know so much about cultural places occupations around europe, I just know about an occupied theatre in Athens)