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7 mars 2012 3 07 /03 /mars /2012 14:23

Outside Pressure

In March to Athens on 6 March 2012 at 19:18

March to AthensDay 119-XLV, from the river valley to Irsina, 15 km.

Day 120-XLVI, from Irsina to Gravina in Puglia, 20 km.

View of Irsina

Gravina in Puglia, March 6

Dear people,

It was good to be out in the countryside for a day, with no noise around us, just goats and wide open space.

Yesterday we marched on Irsina. It’s a peculiar place, a dying village with two very distinct faces. When you arrive on top of the hill you have the old centre to your right. You will hardly encounter a living soul there. On your left there’s the new centre, where you will find what’s left of village life.

It starts to rain when we’re about to take the square, but local sympathisers help us find shelter in the form of the local sports centre. Later on they come by and bring us wine. One of them is a former councillor for the communist party. He is young, not older than me, but he recalls with the typical nostalgia of a communist that Irsina used to be the red beating heart of Basilicata.

Comrades Lucia, Chequita and the dog.

Those times are fading. The proletariate of Irsina was mainly made up of farmers. But with the industrialisation of agriculture, they left. The town used to have more than ten thousand citizens. Now there are little over three thousand, mainly old folks.

The others have emigrated, almost all of them to Sassuolo near Modena. There are now more people from Irsina living in Sassuolo than in Irsina itself. This is typical for many villages. Once a small nucleus has settled in the north, the rest follows.

Our sympathiser went up to live in Sassuolo as well. As a former councillor he gives us a little insight in Italian politics.

In general there are no real divisions. Almost everyone has surrendered to neoliberalism. Left and right have no problem to sell out public utilities to private enterprises. But when it comes to the past, people are ready to take to the barricades. In Sassuolo for example, a street had to be named after an obscure preacher, or a partisan, or an otherwise controversial figure. It led to heavy discussions, accusations and open warfare in townhall.

Arriving in Gravina

Today we descend further. We arrive in the green foothills, harbinger of the fertile plains of Apulia. The town is called Gravina, and you immediately feel that things are starting to change. We are emerging from the wilderness. We are once again on the treshold of civilization.

In the square we have an encounter with police. They are very polite, but they make the mistake of asking for ID. We refuse as usual. And when they say that we need a permit to camp, some of us start to laugh. The authorities try to convince us for a while, but when the entire group has arrived they give up. What amazes me most is the complete lack of communication between the police forces of the towns and villages in the region. Here in Gravina, they had no idea who we were, what we’re doing, where we’re from etc. You would think that someone would inform the next village about us, but no. The authorities might present themselves as a monolith, but behind the façade, their organisation is worse than our own.

On the square in Gravina

There’s discontent in the group, you can feel it. In the country side we reached a consensus that was a logical result of the decision taken in Potenza. As far as we are concerned, the Agora Athens begins on May 5, the last possible date of our arrival. After months and months of discussions, we finally produced a date. But a day later, our people in Athens, together with a few occasionals from Madrid and Barcelona, said they weren’t happy with it. They want us to be there on April 28.

The outside pressure starts to become pretty annoying. Some of the people who want us to be in Athens on April 28 have marched with us. They know how people reason here. If you are not walking, and you want to impose a date of arrival on those who are, then you will have but one response. The middle finger.

Our people in Athens wanted a date. Now they have one. I’m really sorry that they didn’t accept it, or showed a bit more of tact in negotiating an alternative.

As for me personally, I have my hopes set on the great demonstration of May 12, and not so much on Agora Athens. I’ve seen Agora Brussels and Agora Rome, and it wasn’t like people from other countries came to participate in large numbers, or that we produced something memorable. We were a couple of dozen, we all knew each other, and we organised our assemblies mainly for ourselves.

In my view, the march is much more important than the agora. The march reaches many people every day, in places that wouldn’t normally be touched by revolutionary fever. The view of us, pushing our shopping carts through the streets and camping on the squares in the cold is much more eloquent than all the words you can dedicate to a better world in a thematical assembly.

Sunset in Gravina


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6 mars 2012 2 06 /03 /mars /2012 16:40

Memories of a Desperado

In March to Athens on 4 March 2012 at 23:07

March to Athens

Day 117-XLIII, from Tolve down the river valley, 20 km.

Day 118-XLIV, rest in the country side.


In the countryside, March 4

Dear people,

There is not a single inhabited centre for thirty kilometres in this region, so for the first time we decided to camp out in the open.

In Tolve our assembly attracted lots of people, but all of them were very shy. They only came to see, not to participate. On the other hand they were most generous. They brought us food, and they didn’t stop until we left. I myself couldn’t sit down on a bench to relax, without people coming to me with sweets, coffee and home-made sausages.

It was so much that we had to refuse at a certain point. Our shopping carts are bulking with pasta, bread, lentils, beans, fruit and pastries.

Yesterday we started to follow the river. That’s all we have to do from here on. Follow the stream, down to the sea. We take the old national road. There are no cars, only a tractor every now and then. We pass by little patches of forest and miles of green sloping hills, where the young winter grain is about to burst up towards the light.

Wild wild West

The river valley of Tolve

Some of the fields are blue. But those are not crops, on closer inspection. They are solar panels. It could be a view of the future. As a small scale biological farmer you would sow your fields with all that you need. Beans and corn and patatoes and hemp. Then you have a vegetable garden and an orchard, a vineyard and an olive grove. And finally, one field well exposed to the south you could use to cultivate energy.

At the crossing with the road that leads to Tricarico we halt. Above us there are half a dozen homes from the fascist era. They are all abandoned but one. The home of a sheperd.

Sowing energy

The abandoned farming community

This used to be such a farming community. But then the times changed, the shepherd tells us. After centuries of feudal servitude the peasants had finally inherited their land, and then they left it. They went to live in the villages and the cities, like their overlords had done, and they used machines instead of manual labour to work their estates.

The shepherd's herd in our camp

Around the fire

For once we have a real day off. No popular assemblies, no encounters with the locals, no electricity and no internet. I make use of this favourable circumstance to catch up on some reading. Something appropriate. The autobiography of one of the most famous briganti that ever roamed these lands. Come divenni brigante, or ‘How I became a desperado’, by Carmine Donatelli Crocco.

Comrade José Miguel out of socks

It’s a great narrative. Crocco takes you by the hand and leads you through the valley of his childhood, where his parents worked as peasants on the land of a local nobleman. He shows you around the little hut where they lived, eight people in a single space, the roof and the walls blackened by the ashes of the fire. Theirs was a life of misery, but Crocco recalls it with nostalgia and with immeasurable love for his parents, who worked like mules to grant their family a bit of happiness.

Then came the day that his mother was irrevocably offended by a local signorino. She had thrown herself at his throat in the defence of her children, and she had been heavily wounded by the aggressor.

Crocco wouldn’t forget the scene, and he wouldn’t forgive.

Later on, the same little nobleman barely escaped an assassination attempt. Crocco’s father was arrested by the royal guards, together with many others, even though he had a valid alibi. He served months of prison, until the real offender turned himself in. During that time, Crocco’s mother lost her mind, and Carmine and his brothers and sisters were scattered to work as underpaid peasants for various little nobles.

His mind had been poisoned, Crocco would write almost fifty years later in prison. He admits that he committed cruelties of all types, he has brought mourning into thousands of families. He doesn’t ask for forgiveness, he simply mentions the reasons of his anger.

When he reached eighteen years he was conscripted into the army of Naples. He had no choice. Only if you had enough money you could pay to avoid military service. If not you had to pay with your obedience, your time and possibly your life.

He got drilled as a soldier, and the experience definitely came in useful.

 One day he received a letter from his sister. Her honour had been blemished by a local townsman. Upon reading about it, Crocco immediately deserted. But before he fled the army he committed his first homicide by killing a fellow soldier who had offended him.

Back in town, he killed the townsman who had tried to ‘merchandise’ his sister’s honour, he took to the hills and he formed a gang of desperados.

La 'brigantessa' Michelina de Cesare

Crocco wasn’t planning to live his life as a fuggitive. When the south was annexed by the north, he adhered to the new regime, hoping to be able to start all over. Later on, when he conquered Aliano – the village where Carlo Levi would spend most of his exile - he admits that he would gladly and peacefully live in this town as the local lord.

His hopes were vain. Crocco, together with most of the southern people were deceived by the new king. Deceived, and once again offended. The Piemontese never failed to show their utmost contempt towards the locals of the south.

Changing sides is an old Italian tradition. Crocco did so as well, more than once. Not out of cowardice, but out of deception. After the Piemontese had shown that they weren’t any better than the old regime, Crocco headed the reactionary resistance, collecting all discontent peasants and nobles under the banner of the old kingdom of Naples.

In many places the villages opened their gates, and Crocco was hailed as a liberator. If they didn’t surrender, they were conquered, plundered and destroyed. For a brief while Carmine Dontalli Crocco ruled over these lands like Hannibal and Spartacus had done before many centuries before.

The king of Italy sent an army to destroy the menace of the desperados. But the army was defeated. Crocco was more than a simple brigante. He was a valourous condottiero. And different from many of his ferocious generals, he was capable of acknowledging the valour of his opponent, and of being merciful.

 During the height of his power, his name was on everybody’s lips. But some of the people who had adhered to the new kingdom spoke about him with contempt. The mayor of one of the villages near Crocco’s headquarters boasted that he could easily beat the desperados with the help of the local guard.

Crocco heard about it. He wrote a short letter to the mayor. ‘Dear mayor. I urge you to send me the flag, the portrait of the king, the portrait of Garibaldi and the village treasury. They are to be brought to me by the commander of the guard. If you don’t comply, I will come and get it myself. You have eight hours.’

Six hours later, the commander of the guard delivered all the requested goods and implored Crocco to spare the village.

In the long run it couldn’t last. The state kept sending down troops to the rebelious region, and many of the people who had supported the cause of the ancien regime switched sides again, depending on the how the wind was blowing.

Crocco was forced to keep fighting for his own survival and that of his two thousand men and women, without any political friends. He kept on plundering villages, he kept on committing cruelties, but slowly the balance slid to the other side.

During the last three years of his career as a desperado, he was limited to isolated attacks on coaches, travelers and farms. Many of his men got caught or gave themselves up, or got killed.

In the end, Crocco was betrayed by one of his generals. The Piemontese had offered this Judas life and liberty if he would lead them to his leader. He didn’t succeed, but the days of the desperados were at their end.

With twelve of his faithful men, Crocco continued to flee from justice, heading north to the Papal States, where he turned himself in to the pope.

The pope had him imprisoned, he didn’t extradite him to the Italian state, because that would mean he also had to extradite the small fortune that Crocco had on him when he reached Rome.

Six years he spent in a papal prison. Then Rome was turned over to Italy, and Crocco sent to trial.

He was sentenced to death, a sentence that was later changed into forced labour for life. In between, near the turn of the century, Carmine Crocco, the most legendary of desperados, found time to write his memories.

Those memories were handed to me in the form of a book by comrade Max. I had told him to look out for stories about the briganti in the towns we passed. Like I said, I had tried to speak to the elderly of Vaglio, but they didn’t tell me a thing. While reading Crocco’s autobiography I found out what might be the real reason why they didn’t want to remember the briganti

“We attack Vaglio, a village at six miles from Potenza which resists with admireable valour. The menace of destruction in case they don’t surrender only strengthens the tenacity with which the inhabitants defend their village. Our messengers are received with bullets and fire. Various of our men die in the process. Divided into four columns, we attack from four different sides. We occupy the village while the heavily fortified monastery continues to resist. Our troops, enraged by the unexpected defense, slaughter anyone they come across, men and women, and they set fire to the monastery. The village is plundered. Anyone steals whatever he can. We leave the monastery burning. The 16th day of November [1861].”

(from the autobiography of Carmine Crocco, pp. 117-18, translation yours truly)

They heyday of the desperados came to an end a few years later, after equally ferocious persecutions by the state. But it wasn’t the end of the phenomenon of brigantaggio.

Sporadic acts of guerilla continued all over the south throughout the 20th century. As late as the 1970s, the authorities in Calabria admitted that they couldn’t guarantee the safety of citizens in the wild mountains of the inland.

 Up until this very day, so the story goes, if you venture far off into the forests of Calabria, you might encounter the last of the desperados, living in their caves, preying on remote farms and unsuspecting wanderers…




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3 mars 2012 6 03 /03 /mars /2012 22:14

Over the Top

In March to Athens on 2 March 2012 at 21:33

March to Athens

Day 115-XLI, from Potenza to Vaglio Basilicata, 12 km.
Day 116-XLII, from Vaglio to Tolve, 19 km.


Arrival on the top at Vaglio

Tolve, March 2

Dear people,

Yesterday at last we reached the mountain pass in Vaglio Basilicata. We enter the little village under the watchful eye of the elderly. They are all sitting in a row on the central square. Most of them were probably born here, they have known each other for all of their lives. And it’s possible that they never went far away from the village. They know the outside world from the radio first, the television later. They never got around to using internet. Then they see us arriving with our shopping carts, and their conversation begins to sparkle. We definitely made their day.

The elderly in the square are exclusively men. The women are at home cooking, or in church praying. When you venture into the little alley ways, you might encounter some of them. Little old ladies curved over their canes, dressed black as crows, spying at you suspiciously from under their veils.

Centuries of social distinction between the sexes can still be felt in these regions. In public, man commands. At home, woman is in charge. And typically, women are much more reserved than men. A couple of days ago, I met an old man on a country road and I asked him about the direction. We had a little conversation after that. From the garden of their house close by, his wife had noticed everything. And so she yelled to her husband, in dialect: “Walk on! Come here!”

“Wait, woman!” the old man answered. I wouldn’t be surprised if he dealt her a blow later on. Because woman may command at home, but she may never question her husband’s authority in public.

I Napoletani


Leaving the square in Potenza


In the square I spoke to some of the old men, because I’m trying to find out if the stories about the briganti are still part of the popular tradition.
The men didn’t want to talk. “It’s all in the past.” And so I wonder if they really don’t know anything, or if they don’t want to share their knowledge with an outsider.

Making a snowman


All around Melty the indignant snowman


In the 1860s, when Piemonte annexed the south of Italy, they imposed their taxes on the poor peasants of the zone.

If you had the fortune of possessing a goat, it was possible that one day the tax collector of the new kingdom of Italy would knock on your door and take away your goat. The only valuable possession left after that would be your gun. You would take it, you would seek refuge in the hills and you would start a war against the state.

The period of the briganti coincides more or less with that of the Old West in America. But while the West has turned into a myth that has become part of the collective memory of the western world as a whole, the story of the briganti has been forcefully forgotten.

The history of Italy as a nation begins with a civil war. The north sent an army to the south to quel the guerilla. After years of resistance the briganti were exterminated, often their women and children as well. The state won and erected monuments to its own glory. In the official version of what happened, the briganti were painted as ruthless outlaws. Any other version was banned.

So maybe it’s true. Maybe the old men in the village square don’t know anything at all.

Acampada Vaglio

Come daylight we prepare to start our descent. There’s excitement making its way through the group, because of the news coming in. While we are here, camped on a lonely mountain top between the last heaps of snow, a popular revolt is spreading all over Italy. It began in the Val di Susa, where the locals have been resisting against the construction of a high speed railway for years. They are well organised, and they have become a reference for all the various popular movements.

The last few days roads, motorways and railway stations have been blocked from Sicily up to the Alps. There has been a battle at the barricades on the A32 near Turin. Various villages in the valleys have been effectively taken over by the ‘No-Tav’ partisans.

We read about in the newspaper. We want to play our part. “Let’s do an action. Let’s block the closest motorway we can find…” Many people are ready to go straight away, but the assembly urges them to be patient. Our comrades in Val di Susa have called for a general strike and a complete block of Italy next week. We will be at Altamura, we have time, and we might heed the call…

Spring emerging on the mountain pass


Valley of the Castagno, in direction Puglia

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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 20:32

Internal Dynamics

In March to Athens on 29 February 2012 at 21:01

March to Athens
Day 114-XL, Potenza

Popular assembly in Potenza

Potenza, February 29


Dear people,


Our group is growing stronger. We have been joined by another Neapolitan, we have almost reached the mountain top, and we are seriously starting to focus on Greece.

Things got a lot more relaxed ever since comrade Marianne left. In the end there was complete incommunicability between her and many of the French.

The French, like I said, are the soul of the march. Two of them have been on the road all the way from Nice, and others have been with the march for most of the time.

Aside from them there are two persons who are true pillars of the march. Comrade Max, and comrade José Miguel.

Max is Sicilian. He is an indefatigable organiser of popular assemblies. He is also a translator with an admireable ammount of patience. He is our main link with the Italian population.

José Miguel is from Barcelona. He speaks perfect Italian and he is a charming communicator. Wherever we arrive, he goes to the bar, and he starts to chat with the locals. It’s the most effective way of doing diffusion. He is also the last to leave the square whenever we move on. He wants to make absolutely sure that we leave the place cleaner than how we found it.

Max is a biologist, José Miguel is an archeologist. Both of them left university to come along with the march.

There are many more people who make a fundamental contribution to the march in different ways. But me, I’m not one of them.

I don’t cook, I don’t do a lot of diffusion, I clean my own things but little more, I don’t push a cart with common stuff, I don’t translate. I walk, I observe, and I write. That’s all. So if the march becomes a success, it won’t be because of me.


Today, however, I increased my level of participation a bit. We held an internal assembly about the route to Bari, and about the great controversy… The date of arrival in Athens.

For once, I volunteered to moderate the assembly.

I can’t remember the last time we held an internal assembly that didn’t turn into a farce. So I prepared some things in advance. First of all I talked to the Old Man. He can be reasoned with, and I’m actually starting to appreciate him. The other day, when everyone - me included – loaded his or her stuff onto the van of the protezione civile, the Old Man refused. He pushed all of his stuff up the mountain for fifteen kilometres. I made a deep bow when he arrived.

We talked about the proposed route to Bari, he made a few corrections, and I presented it in the assembly.

We reached a consensus in eight minutes. I don’t know if it’s a record, but it was definitely better than the five hours it took to reach a consensus about the route to Potenza.


It was the first time I moderated an assembly. Normally, the moderator has to guide the proces of collective reasoning, without making use of his role to highlight his own opinions or try to impose them. This sounds very horizontal, but if the moderation is too weak, it leads to chaos.

So I did away with it. I started off with an appeal to the assembly to bear in mind our common objective: arrive in Athens as a group, to the greatest possible satisfaction of ourselves, of the people who are expecting us, and of all the people who are following our march or have contributed to it in any way.

I forced the assembly to focus and to be constructive. Maybe I was a bit too strict, but in the end my moderation was appreciated by almost everyone, and within two hours we finally reached a first consensus about an approximate date of arrival.

We aim to be in Athens somewhere between April 26 and May 5. In a future assembly we will try to narrow it down further.

One of the people from Potenza offered us a bottle of rum to celebrate the consensus. But we shouldn’t get carried away. There’s a new controversy looming. The port of arrival.

There are two options. Igoumenitsa in the north of Greece, at over 500 kilometres from Athens, and Patras at just over 200. Many people seem to be in favour of Patras. They fear that Igoumenitsa is not a reasonable option, given our current pace.

Others say that Patras is too close to Athens. After marching through Italy for almost four months, we can’t really take ourselves seriously if we only take a short stroll up to our final destination.

So, our troubles are to be continued. Finding a consensus will be hard, maybe impossible. But for now, we have a reason to rejoice. The popular assembly this evening was a success. Despite the strong wind, people resisted. And yet again, after Salerno and Vietri, the locals decided to start their own assembly.

The appointment is for March 8, at five clock, in the faculty of Letters and Philosophy.


The same popular assembly in Potenza



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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 19:23

Popular Bureaucracy

In March to Athens on 28 February 2012 at 22:49

March to Athens
Day 113-XXXIX, from Picerno to Potenza, 19 km.

Acampada Potenza

Potenza, February 28

Dear people,

Over a week after we left Eboli we have finally reached a place that looks more or less like a town.

Potenza, capital of Nowhere, situated right in the middle of it.

The walk over here was long, but rewarding. We keep climbing out of Picerno until we reach a kind of highland that leads us straight to this little mountain town.

It’s not inviting, nor beautiful, nor nothing. Going up the hill you reach the old centre, which seems suspiciously new. Later on, someone tells me why.

Salute to the sun this morning in the social centre in Picerno

The vanguard has planted the first tents on the central square in front of the government palace. Soon after that, police arrive, in civilian outfit. It’s the hour of siesta, there is no-one out here but us.

They don’t want us to camp here. But neither do they want to make trouble. They ask for some ID, but when we refuse, they don’t insist. Soon the chief and the town councillors arrive. They try to convince us to move to a less visible square nearby. Officially because it’s better protected against the cold wind, but the real reason is that they don’t want us in front of the seat of government.

They are respectful enough, so we treat them likewise. But there’s is no way of moving us. I say that we chose this square, first because it’s symbolic, and second because our movement has a well-developed esthetical taste. We want to put our tents on the most beautiful squares.

They say we can leave one, or maybe two symbolical tents here during the night, but we can’t sleep there and we definitely can’t light a fire.

I say that we appreciate their proposals, but that we can’t decide by ourselves. We decide as a group. We have to wait for everyone to arrive before taking a decision. I like the irony of it. The state has its own bureaucracy, its own lengthy procedures that can drive you crazy as a citizen, and that finally make you give up, especially here in Italy. We use the same tactics if necessary.

“I’m very sorry, signor sindaco. You will have to wait. We have to respect procedures, I’m sure you understand. We will speak about your proposal in assembly. Only the assembly can decide. It can take some time.” And all the while they are there, with four police cars and a dozen officers, the commander, the mayor, waiting for a handful of vagabonds to arrive with their shopping carts full of stuff.

Then the siesta ends, the people come out. We start to talk them, they begin to bring us food and tea, and everything. And then it’s too late. Once the inhabitants of Potenza have embraced us, there is no way the authorities can force us to move. Not only do they give up, they offer their full collaboration. We can even light our fire without problems. We can sleep inside if we want, and tomorrow we can hold our popular assembly in the town hall.

We stay in the square, and while we’re there, pizza and pasta is brought to us from all sides. I speak to one of the locals. He explains to me the peculiarity of Potenza.

During the earthquake of 1980 the old centre was heavily damaged. The people who lived here, and whose ancestors had lived there for generations, got offered a small sum of money and an apartment in the new outskirts to move. Their homes got bought and beautifully rebuilt to house the rich and to create a fashionable shopping district.

This way Potenza became a ‘laboratory of gentrification’. Its example has been followed all over the peninsula. What remains is a sterile little centre speckled with brand names, an Apple store and luxury bars. Real life has migrated to the suburbs.

Even so, the people open their heart when they see our encampment. Not only because they know we’re marching for a good cause, but also because we’re doing so in winter time. Along some of the streets there are still heaps of snow melting away. The people admire us. And when they see us sitting around the fire at night, singing songs, we awaken some kind of nostalgic, primordial feeling in them. Something that is buried deep inside all of us human beings. The memory of the tribe.



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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 19:19

Sowing a Seed

In March to Athens on 27 February 2012 at 22:27

March to Athens

Day 112-XXXVIII, from Vietri to Picerno, 16 km.


Candle light assembly in Vietri

Picerno, February 27

Dear people,

It could have a been a classic revolutionary painting. We were standing on the porch of the old town hall, inciting the citizens of Vietri to rise up. It was raining and windy, but there was a crowd under their umbrellas listening to us. Many people came straight from church. We had waited until the sunday service was over.

Slowly we convince people to gather in a circle. There was no light under the entrance of the empty building. So we lit candles. It was a marvellous sight, a perfect atmosphere, and it became a memorable assembly.

Like custom, we introduced the sign language of our assembly, we introduced ourselves and answered questions. After that we invited people to speak about the local situation.

The main problem, here like anywhere in the south is that there is no work. To address this problem the government in Rome stimulates enterprises to move to the south by subsiding them. But generally, they take the subsidies, and whenever they end, they close their factories and go back north. It doesn’t create lasting employment.

Another more global problem is the advancing individualism, even here in a small village. People talk less and less about the common good. Every one has his or her own troubles and tries to solve them alone. One woman thanked us for being here, for holding this assembly, because it made people realise that everyone’s troubles are connected. She thanked us for encouraging the community spirit.

In the end we achieved the best we could hope for. The locals decided to organise another assembly themselves. In a month’s time, right after church.

The breakfast table

Goodbye to Vietri

Today is fifteen kilometres, but given the steep climb, it’s pretty far. The comrades of the protezione civile lend us a hand by transporting much of our luggage to the next village.

Up until a week ago there was a meter of snow here. Now we see the last remainders melting away on the side of the road. There’s still an icy wind howling around the tops.

We arrive in Picerno. From here it’s only two more legs up to the mountain pass. After that, we will descend into the plain, it will be spring, and all the seeds that our movement has sown will start to germinate.

Hello to Picerno

Comrade José Miguel occupying the bar


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26 février 2012 7 26 /02 /février /2012 22:24



Contact: Arcael

Membres du groupe: 61



Next step of dignity!

Nice (Start!, 5th November) Genova 200 km Milano 150 km Parma 130 km Bologne 110 km Florence 100 km Siena 70 km Rome 240 km (+/- January 20) GlobalAgora/Rome (1 week) Naples/Bari 500 km Boat to Igoumenitsa Patras/Atenas. 650 km (+/- April 1) GlobalAgora/Athens (1 week)
Distribución de marcha


Le pas suivant pour la dignité!

Après avoir participé à l'Agora et à la manifestation globale du 15 octobre 2011 à Bruxelles, nous avons décidé que la Marche ne pouvait plus s'arrêter. De notre volonté de continuer à marcher afin de diffuser notre message de connecter avec les autres assemblées du monde est née la Marche Internationale à Athènes, un projet ouvert à tous ceux qui veulent y participer et nous soutenir. 

Nous nous retrouverons à Nice le 5 novembre 2011 après le G20 (30 oct - 4 nov) pour nous organiser et partir quelques jours plus tard. Nous passerons par différentes villles et villages d'Italie. Nous traverserons l'Adriatique depuis Bari pour atteindre la Grèce et finalement arriver à Athènes. Nous participerons aux Agoras Globales qui seront organisées à Rome comme à Athènes à l'arrivée des marches.

La marche se composera de petits groupes de marcheurs et cyclistes (aprox. de 12 à 25) qui avanceront par des routes parallèles pour atteindre un maximum de citoyens. L'idée consistant à se rassembler dans les grandes villes et repartir ensemble pour se séparer de nouveau. Chaque fois que le goupe dépassera les 25 personnes, la marche se scindera en deux groupes indépendants. Dans chaque village les marches convoqueront des assemblées et échangeront leurs expériences, problématiques et idées.

Les valeurs qui unissent les marches sont l'horizontalité, la participation active, la non violence et le l'inclusivité. Nous nous sommes fixés comme objectif de continuer le travail assembléaire et la prise de décisions par consensus par l'application de la démocratie directe. Nous travaillerons également pour veiller à la soutenabilité de la marche et transmettre un messaje de respect à l'environnement.

Hacemos esta Marcha para animar a la gente a tomar el espacio publico y reunirse, a hablar de polìtica y decidir por su propia vida. Hacemos esta Marcha para proponer y aprender, para inspirar y enriquecernos, para hablar y escuchar, dar y recibir. Queremos llegar a Roma y a Atenas para llevar un mensaje de esperanza y unidad. Sobre todo queremos participar en las Ágoras Globales para coordinarnos a nivel internacional, para preparar proyectos comunes, para confrontar juntos los problemas y crear una sociedad justa para todos.

Nous faisons cette marche pour inciter les gens à occuper l'espace public et à s'y réunir pour parler de politique et décider de leur propre vie. Nous entreprenons cette marche pour proposer et apprendre, pour inspirer et nous enrichir, pour parler et écouter, donner et recevoir. Nous voulons atteindre Rome et Athènes pour porter un message d'espoir et d'unité. Mais avant tout nous voulons participer aux agoras globales pour nous coordonner à l'échelle internationale, afin de préparer des projets communs, confronter ensemble les problèmes et créer une société juste pour tous.

Nous marchons pour faire arriver notre message aux quatre coins du monde :
"Une meilleure démocratie est possible. Commencons le changement!"

Nous marchons pour la dignité. Ensemble nous atteindrons l'utopie.

Contact: marchtoathens@gmail.com
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Brève description: Coordination of the walk to Athens

Intérêts: athens, atena, march, marcha, walk, brussels, agora, indignada, greece, rome, italy, luxembourg

Site Web: http://www.marchtoathens.tk/


Next step for dignity!

After our participation in AgoraBrussels and 15th of October global manifestation in Brussels, we decided that our march couldn’t be stopped.
Our desire is to continue spreading our message and connecting with other assemblies of the world, the International March to Athens is
born as an open project to all who wants to support and participate in it.

We will meet in Nice the 5th of November 2011 after the G20 Summit (30th October – 4th November) to organize ourselves and go few days afterwards. We will pass by different villages and cities of Italy, cross the Adriatic Sea from Bari to reach Greece, then we will walk to Athens as final destiny. In both of Rome and Athens, we will participate in the *GlobalAgoras* witch will be organized at the arrival of the marches.

The march will be formed by small groups of walkers and cyclists (12 to 25 people), witch will advance by parallel roads to reach out more
people on the way. The idea is to join in the big cities then to walk parts of the distance together. Every time that the number of the group reaches about 25 people, the main group will be divided in two independent groups. And in every village the march will call for assemblies and will exchange experiences, problems and ideas.

The values that unite the different marches are the horizontal relationship, the active participation, the non-violence, and the integration of the members. We propose to continue the work of assembly and the decision making through the building of consensus, practising the direct democracy. We will also work to reach the sustainability of the march and to convey a message of respect to the environment.

We make this march to animate people to take the public space and meet each other, to talk about politic and decide for their own lives. We make this march to propose and learn, to inspire and be enriched, to speak and listen, to give and receive. We want to reach Rome and Athens to bring a message of hope and unity. Most of all, we want to participate in the GlobalAgoras in order to contribute to the international coordination, to prepare projects in common, to confront together our problems and create a just society for everybody.

We walk for dignity. Together we can reach the Utopia.

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To enter our mailing list send a message to: marchtoathens@gmail.com

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March to Athens


Il prossimo passo per la dignità!

Dopo aver partecipato all'Agorà e all'evento complessivo 15 ottobre 2011 a Bruxelles, abbiamo deciso che la marcia non poteva fermarsi dopo l'arrivo a Bruxelles.Dal nostro desiderio di continuare a camminare al fine di diffondere il nostro messaggio, connettersi con le altre assemblee nel mondo, nasce la Marcia Internazionale ad Atene. Un progetto aperto a tutti coloro che vogliono partecipare e sostenerci.

Ci incontreremo a Nizza 5 nov 2011, dopo il G20 (30 ottobre-4 novembre) per organizzarci e partire qualche giorno più tardi. Passeremo per diverse città e paesi d’Italia. Attraverseremo l'Adriatico da Bari per raggiungere la Grecia e, infine, arriveremo ad Atene. Parteciperemoalle Agorà Globali nella che si terranno a Roma come ad Atene all’arrivo delle marce.

Piccoli gruppi di escursionisti e ciclisti (da 12 a 25 marciatori) avanzeranno per percorsi paralleli per coprire più territorio. L'idea consiste nel raccogliersi nelle grandi città, ripartire insieme e separasi di nuovo in seguito. Ogni volta che un gruppo supererà le 25 persone, si separerà in due gruppi indipendenti. In ogni paese le marce convocheranno delle assemblee et scambieranno esperienze, problematiche ed idee.

I valori che uniscono le marce sono l’orizzontalità, la partecipazione attiva,la nonviolenza e il sincretismo., attivo, non violenza e sincretisme. Ci proponiamo di continuare il lavoro assembleare e il processo decisionale per consenso. Lavoreremo anche per garantire la sostenibilità di camminare e passare un messaggio di rispetto per l'ambiente.

Facciamo questa marcia per animare le persone a occupare lo spazio pubblico e a riunirsi per parlare di politica e decidere della propria vita. Facciamo questa marcia per proporre et imparare, per ispirare e arricchirci,per parlare ed ascoltare,dare e ricevere. Noi vogliamo raggiungere Roma e Atene per apportare un messaggio di speranza e di unità. Ma soprattutto, vogliamo partecipare alle agorà globali per coordinarci su scala internazionale,al fine di preparare dei progetti comuni confrontare insieme i problemi e creare una società migliore per tutti.

Marciamo per fare arrivare il nostro messaggio ai quattro angoli del mondo :

“Una democrazia migliore è possibile. Cominciamo dal cambiamento!”


Το επόμενο βήμα για την αξιοπρέπεια!

Μετά τη συμμετοχή μας στη Διεθνή Αγορά και τη διαδήλωση της 15ης Οκτωβρίου στις Βρυξέλλες, αποφασίσαμε ο η Πορεία δεν μπορεί να σταματήσει. Από τη θέλησή μας νασυνεχίσουμε να περπατάμε για να διαδόσουμε το μήνυμά μας και για να συνδεθούμε με τις άλλες συνελεύσεις του κόσμου, γεννήθηκε η Διεθνής Πορεία στην Αθήνα, ένα σχέδιο ανοιχτό προς όλους όσοι θέλουν να συμμετάσχουν και να στηρίξουν.

Θα συναντηθούμε στη Νίκαια (Νιce) στις 5 Νοεμβρίου μετά το G20 (30 Οκτ με 4 Νοεμβ) για να οργνωθούμε και να ξεκινήσουμε μετά από λίγες μέρες. Θα περάσουμε από διάφορα χωριά και πόλεις της Ιταλίας, θα διασχίσουμε την Αδριατική θάλασσα από το Μπάρι για να φτάσουμε στην Ελλάδα και θα περπατήσουμε ως την Αθήνα, τον τελικό μας προορισμό. Τόσο στη Ρώμη, όσο στην Αθήνα θα λάβουμε μέρος στη Διεθνή Αγορά που θα οργανωθεί στην άφιξη της πορείας.

Η πορεία θα αποτελείται από μικρές ομάδες οδοιπόρων ή ποδηλατών (από 12 ως 25 περίπου) που θα προχωρούν από παράλληλους διαδρομές. Στις μεγάλες πόλεις οι ομάδες αυτές θα ενώνονται και μπορεί να διασχίζουν μέρος της απόστασης μαζί. Κάθε φορά που ο αριθμός των οδοιπόρων θα ξεπερνά τους 25 η πορεία θα χωρίζεται σε δυο ανεξάρτητες ομάδες. Σε κάθε χωριό οι πορείες θα καλούν συνελεύσεις και θα ανταλλάσουν εμπειρίες, προβληματικές και ιδέες.

Οι αξίες που ενώνουν τις διάφορες πορείες είναι η οριζόντια οργάνωση, η ενεργή συμμετοχή, η μη-βία και η συμπερίληψη. 'Εχουμε την πρόθεση να συνεχίσουμε τις συνελεύσεις και τη λήψη των αποφάσεων μέ συναίνεση, ασκώντας έτσι την Άμεση Δημοκρατία. Επίσης θα εργαστούμε για να επιτύχουμε την βιοσιμότητα της πορείας και για τη μετάδοση του μηνύματος σεβασμού προς στο περιβάλλον.

Κάνουμε αυτή την πορεία για να ενθαρρύνουμε τον κόσμο να βγει στους δημόσιους χώρους και να συγκεντρωθεί, να μιλήσει για πολιτική και να αποφασίσει για την ίδια τη ζωή του. Κάνουμε αυτήν την πορεία για να προτείνουμε και να μάθουμε, για να εμπνεύσουμε και να εμπλουτιστούμε, για να μιλήσουμε και να ακούσουμε, να δόσουμε και να πάρουμε. Θέλουμε να φτάσουμε στη Ρώμη και στην Αθήνα για να μεταφέρουμε ένα μήνυμα ελπίδας και ενότητας. Πάνω από όλα θέλουμε να συμμετάσχουμε στη Διεθνή Αγορά για να συντονιστούμε σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο, για να ετοιμάσουμε κοινά σχέδια, να αντιμετωπίσουμε μαζί τα προβλήματα και να δημιουργήσουμε μία κοινωνία δίκαιη για όλους.

Περπατάμε για ένα κόσμο με αξιοπρέπεια. Ολοι μαζι μπορούμε να φτασούμε στην ουτοπία.


Siguiente paso por la dignidad!

Después de participar en el Ágora y la manifestación global del 15 de octubre 2011 en Bruselas, hemos decidido que la Marcha ya no puede parar. Desde nuestra voluntad de continuar caminando para difundir nuestro mensaje y conectar con las otras asambleas del mundo ha nacido la Marcha Internacional a Atenas, un proyecto abierto a todos los que quieran participar y apoyar.

Nos encontraremos en Niza el 5 de noviembre 2011 después del G20 (30 oct - 4 nov) para organizarnos y salir unos días después. Pasaremos por diferentes pueblos y ciudades de Italia. Cruzaremos el mar Adriático desde Bari para llegar a Grecia y como destino final caminaremos hasta Atenas. Tanto en Roma como en Atenas participaremos en las Agoras globales que se organizarán a la llegada de las marchas. 

La marcha estará formada por pequeños grupos de caminantes y ciclistas (aprox. de 12 a 25) que avanzarán por rutas paralelas para llegar a mas personas.. La idea es unirse en las grandes ciudades y después recorrer parte de la distancia juntos. Cada vez que el numero de personas supere unas 25 , el grupo se dividirá en otros dos independientes. En cada pueblo las marchas convocarán asambleas e intercambiarán experiencias, problemáticas e ideas.

Los valores que unen las diferentes marchas son la horizontalidad, la participacion activa, la no-violencia y la inclusividad. Se propone continuar el trabajo asambleario y la toma de decisiones a través de los consensos practicando la democracia directa. También se trabajará para llegar a la sustentabilidad de la marcha y transmitir un mensaje de respeto al medio ambiente.

Hacemos esta Marcha para animar a la gente a tomar el espacio publico y reunirse, a hablar de polìtica y decidir por su propia vida. Hacemos esta Marcha para proponer y aprender, para inspirar y enriquecernos, para hablar y escuchar, dar y recibir. Queremos llegar a Roma y a Atenas para llevar un mensaje de esperanza y unidad. Sobre todo queremos participar en las Ágoras Globales para coordinarnos a nivel internacional, para preparar proyectos comunes, para confrontar juntos los problemas y crear una sociedad justa para todos.

Marchamos para hacer llegar el nuestro mensaje a los cuatro rincones del mundo :
"Una democracia mejore es posible. Empecememos el cambio!"

Caminamos por la dignidad. Juntos podemos llegar a la Utopia.

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26 février 2012 7 26 /02 /février /2012 22:20

“Mi Casa es tu Casa”

In March to Athens on 26 February 2012 at 17:05

March to Athens

Day 110-XXXVI, from Romagnano to Vietri di Potenza, 12 km.

Day 111-XXXVII, Vietri.


Vietri di Potenza

Vietri di Potenza, February 26


Dear people,


We have received some precious reinforcements lately, from Naples, from France, from Belgium and from Barcelona. Our numbers our growing again, from about fifteen up to twenty. Also the weather is changing in our favour. The dark clouds have disappeared, the sun comes out every now and then. We can see the snow melting on the tops.

Leaving Romagnano





These days we have been following a quiet road high up the right bank slope of the river valley. Today we descended down to the water. There was no other way to reach our next stop.

While we march, the voice of our arrival is carried up the valleys by the wind. We are famous even before we set foot in the little villages on the route. The natives are expecting us.

This is the wilderness. It’s true that people have been crossing this region in modern times, they take the train or the motorway from Naples to Bari, but they don’t stop here. They have no reason to.


I don’t have a shopping cart. I walk with full gear. When I finish the final ascent up to Vietri di Potenza, I’m alone. In the first bar, I ask for a glass of water, and to my surprise I see a manifest on the window which announces the arrival of us, los marchantes.


Immediately the locals gather around me. Then the protezione civile arrive, they have been organising our arrival. Then there’s the local police, and the first of the shopping carts entering town. Within minutes of my arrival in the village, we have turned into a procession, and all the curious accompany us up to the tiny village square.


Before I started this march I knew we would be well received by the local population in the south. But almost every day they leave me flabbergasted.

All the village is in the square and on the street. The elderly are sitting on their bench, commenting. The boys and the girls of the protezione civile take us around the village on a tourist trip. They are proud of their history, their religion, their hospitality.

We have to see the monastery, they say. A real thorn from Jesus’ crown is guarded there. And we have to see the cave of Caesar. They say the great man stopped there to drink from a fountain once, on his way to Greece. But most of all, we have to tell the world. Come to Vietri! People will treat you well.


Just like the other towns here, Vietri was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake. It took more than twenty years to rebuild. Not because it was such an enormous effort, but because a lot of the funds for the earthquake disappeared. Many people lived in containers for years, and a handful of people got very very rich. Welcome to the south.


The mayor of Vietri in our camp.

The chimes are sounding in the morning, it’s sunday. When I get out of my tent, I encounter the mayor. “Good morning, Oscar,” he says. “Did you sleep well?”

I slept great.

He has brought pastries for all. He invites people to take a coffee. We have a good chat about sustainability, small scale farming, etc. And I’m convinced that the future starts here in places like this, on a human scale.

In the end, it’s too much, really. Yesterday and today, the protezione civile has cooked for us. This afternoon after lunch we were digesting in the square. All the bars were closed because of the siesta.

“Coffee!” one of us says, “my kingdom for a cup of coffee!”

A window opens, an old lady leans out. “Do you want sugar with that?”

“Yes please!”

Five minutes later her daughter comes down with a can full of coffee…






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26 février 2012 7 26 /02 /février /2012 22:09
February 24, 3:24 PM

First Assembly for the Athens Agora (27-02-12) | March to Athens | Scoop.it


From the Athen’s March we want to call for the first Agora Athens assembly for start to speak about the thematics, actions and coordination for this figth week. The assembly wil ben on Monday, 27th February at 20:00 GTM+1


The assembly will be online by the Mumble program (for download mumble: http://mumble.sourceforge.net/) in the Server: tomalaplaza.net in the Room Internacional > March/Agora Athens.


This is a guide for how is working Mumble: http://takethesquare.net/2011/10/04/mumble-setup-walkthrough/





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25 février 2012 6 25 /02 /février /2012 22:56

Ghost Town

In March to Athens on 25 February 2012 at 22:56

March to Athens

Day 109-XXXV, from Buccino to Romagnano al Monte, 7 km.


Romagnano al Monte, February 24


Dear people,


In Buccino we had our ups and downs, as usual. The ups were the hospitality of the locals and the assembly we held with a hundred school kids at eight o’ clock in the morning.

The downs were the wine and the social problems.

Yesterday evening a local wine producer brought us ten liters of home made wine. After that, it was party time. Until very early in the morning a small group of people gathered around the fire, making noise and drinking. One of us at a certain point was fed up with it. He took the five liter bottle and threw what was left of the red wine into the fire.

When I heard about it the next morning I got angry like I never had before on the march. I wanted the perpretator brought to justice. I wanted to see him hang. Because there is no excuse – with the possible exception of a small ritual offering to the gods – to throw wine into the fire, especially when it’s local wine offered by the producer.

On the other hand it’s not right that a few people drink the common stack of wine and keep people awake. But that’s personal responibility. You can’t blame the wine, ever.


senza titolo

We move on, slowly, to the next village on the road. Romagnano al Monte. When I get there, I’m told that there are three Romagnanos. There’s the old village, there’s the new village, and there’s the provisional village in between.

The old village was heavily damaged by the earthquake of 1980. People were evacuated and housed in prefab containers, the old town was abbandoned and rebuilt three kilometres up the road. The containers are still there. For decades the locals have been living in them. Now they are rented as holiday homes.

The prefab homes, from the central square of new Romagnano

The new village is nothing special. Large parallel roads, modern houses and lots of space for cars. But when I hear about a ghost town three kilometres away, I get excited. I drop my bags and I walk.

During the March on Brussels we encountered lots of phantom villages in the south of France. But none of those were completely abbandoned.

This one is.

They say that there are certain things you have experience in life, at least once. And as for me, walking through a real ghost town is one of them.

I arrive just before dusk. The quiet provincial road winds around the slope, and suddenly I see it, the remainders of the village, the stone bones of an extinguished society. I’m completely happy when I start the descent.

The moloch

At the entrance to the village there is an anonymous appartment complex like you find them anywhere in Italian outskirts. It must have been brand new when the earthquake struck, symbol of modernity that didn’t survive into adulthood. Now it’s empty, like all the other homes down in the village. A concrete moloch standing guard on the roadside.

The path into the village is almost completely overgrown by bushes. All the houses around are open, all of them are damaged, many roofs have collapsed, many walls as well. Inside the houses it’s a mess. They are full of debris. No-one ever bothered to clean them out.

Romagnano vecchio. Photos from morning after.


I descend to the beginning of the corso, the central road of the village. Adding to the surreal craziness of this place, there is a new town hall here, recently built, ready to be used, but closed and empty.

I walk on through the main street. I take a look inside the old houses. In some of them you can still see pieces of brown/orange 1970s wall paper. But that was just a fashion. What really strikes is the way of life through the centuries, right up until yesterday.

The houses are extremely small. They generally consist of a tiny room with a sink and a wood oven and sometimes a bathroom angle. This is where people lived. Families of up to ten people. Upstairs there was a single sleeping place for all.

Some of the houses have three rooms. It must have been the homes of the rich. Then there’s the school, in the middle of the corso. Three little classrooms and an office. Next to it, there’s the heart of the local economy. Il frantoio. The old olive press with its two giant stone wheels is still standing amidst the rubble.

At the end of the corso there’s the village square with the church and the mayor’s house. The church is only accessible through a hole in the wall. Inside it looks as if it were yesterday that the earthquake struck. Decorations came crumbling down. The stairs to the pulpit are no more. The roof is on the floor. All of it makes for an atmosphere that is out of this world.

When I leave the church, the sun has gone down. But there’s still enough light to venture through the alleys near the side of the ravine. Not all of them are accessible. Sometimes you have to climb over mountains of old stones, sometimes you have to find your way passed thirty year old trees. A number of houses have been split in the middle by the quake, and parts of them have tumbled down into the canyon.

It’s growing dark now. Carefully I walk back to the main road. I sit down on the doorstep of one of the houses, and I feel great. I’m in a ghost town, and I can’t see a thing. Only when I look up, between the silhouets of the ruins I can see the stars. The first moon is about to set. Everything and everyone who cannot stand the light of day come out at this hour. I keep quiet, I sit down, and I listen to the sounds…

Old Romagnano

New Romagnano



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          Depuis le 26 Mai 2011,

        Nous nous réunissons

                 tous les soirs

      devant la maison carrée


       A partir du 16 Juillet 2014

            et pendant l'été


       chaque mercredi à 18h

                et samedi à 13h

    sur le terrain de Caveirac


et venez partager ce lieu avec nous !

  Th-o indign-(1)