Wu Ming: A band of militant storytellers
The Celluloid Liberation Front speak to the Italian literary collective Wu Ming, whose work draws readers in to exchange, sharing and confrontation.
‘We’re not on Facebook because we find it disgusting.’
Wu Ming’s top 10 utopias
From William Gibson to Robert Macfarlane, the novel-writing Italian collective pick books that construct utopian worlds and explore our impulse to build them.
At last Altai is out in English. Here’s the page Verso dedicated to the book.
And here’s a piece by our old pal Stewart Home who interviewed us in Bologna a few weeks ago.
And here’s comrade and fellow writer Ron Jacobs writing about Q and Altai.
WM1 and WM2 will be in the UK from 29 May to June 1 to promote the book. We’ll post the details ASAP.
In the meantime, we’ve got a new book out in Italy… (more…)
[A week ago a prestigious British magazine asked us for a long piece on Grillismo. We wrote it and submitted it, but there was some misunderstanding, and they edited it too heavily for our own taste. We clarified the matter with them, but at that point we were way beyond the deadline and the issue went to print without our contribution. Too bad, but no grudge held. The piece was too long - almost 5,000 words - to submit it to any other mag or newspaper, let them do all the editing all over again and have it published in a reasonable lapse of time. Over here the situation is very bad, and people abroad are completely disinformed about it. Every day we read nonsense and bullshit on Grillo by people who completely ignore the reactionary, authoritarian nature of his movement. A harsh reality is biting our arses and we need to send a message in a bottle right now. In the end, having no other possibility, we decided to publish the piece on this ugly, obsolete, long neglected blog, which is in bad need of complete reconstruction and a new start, but even in its present form is better than nothing. Of course it isn't as authoritative as that London magazine, and potential circulation is ludicrous in comparison, but what else can we do? Please feel free to copy our analysis and republish it wherever you want. Thanks.]
«Marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. How can you institute marriage between two persons of the same sex? Why not marriage between three persons then? Why not marriage between you and your animal? Some people have a strong relationship with their animal, would you allow them to marry it?»
(Francesco Perra, 5SM candidate at the recent national election, 8 June 2012 )
Wu Ming 4 – desde Giap
(traducido por Gorka Larrabeiti y publicado en Rebelión)
Está claro que esta noche no hay gloria. Y mañana ningún horizonte. Era antifrástico también el título de la película de Stanley Kubrick, uno de los más hermosos contra la obtusidad antihumana del militarismo. El argumento es conocido: durante la Primera Guerra mundial, en el frente occidental, un general francés inepto lanza un ataque imposible contra una fortificación alemana. Las tropas francesas no consiguen ni siquiera salir de las trincheras; las ametralladoras los aniquilan y se repliegan. El ataque es una catástrofe colosal. Para no pasar por incapaz, el general echa la culpa a la cobardía de sus soldados y pide que se fusile a cien, elegidos al azar. El Alto Mando le concede tres. Tre chivos expiatorios que pagaran por todos, aunque la culpa no sea de nadie, o mejor, lo es de quien mandaba desde lo alto. Y de quien quiso esa guerra. (more…)
People often ask us where they can find informative pieces in English on what’s going on in Italy streetswise, grassrootswise, riotwise, revolutionwise and so on. Sometimes they ask us to translate stuff ourselves, which we aren’t able to do even for our own material (that’s why this blog, in sharp contrast to Giap, is so frustratingly still, with updates as slow as frozen shit).
Well, there are at least two blogs entirely, quixotically devoted to providing counter-information in English on what you folks are interested in: Struggles in Italy and Italy Calling. Check them out, those activists also cure profiles on several social media etc.
In a near future, not many years after a Crisis that has reduced Italy to a pre-industrial or even pre-modern condition, a middle-aged woman wanders in the half-flooded countryside between Ferrara and the river Po delta (North-Eastern Italy). She has no name, and refers to herself by antonomasias such as the Historian, the Writer, the Seer… She is seeking the places of her childhood and, perhaps even more important, she’s pursuing echoes of her native dialect. She is visited by different versions of the same dream. She meets a man called Matteo, they talk and then they experience an epiphany, an illumination: the word «Arzèstula» (ferrarese for Great Tit) evokes the very little bird it designates. Then the woman returns to the place she belongs, that is, a former motorway café at Cantagallo, south-west of Bologna, which is now home of a free community of outcasts affected by neurological disorders. At night, all together, they perform rituals that allow them to see the future. Not the future that’s behind the corner, but a future beyond that, an extremely distant future. (more…)
[The original version of this essay was published on Giap on 26 September 2011, which means several days before Steve Jobs died. The French version was published on Article XI on the eve of Jobs' death. The piece had already received a lot of attention, backlinks and comments when the news arrived. However, it obviously sky-rocketed to the status of "crucial" text as soon as the media landscape was filled with iGrief, and it kept attracting people when anonymous cultural activists "displaced" the discussion on iGrief by creating the "Steve Workers" persona. The present English translation was done collectively on a Wiki page on Mauro Vanetti's website. Many thanks to Mauro, SandorKrasna and all the guys who gave a hand. This version retains some additional mini-explanations Wu Ming 1 wrote for the French readers. We also inserted a few additional links that weren't in the original text but came up during the discussion.]
Last week a Pennsylvanian daily newspaper, The Morning Call, published a long and detailed inquiry – entitled Inside Amazon’s Warehouse – on the appalling work conditions at Amazon warehouses in the Lehigh Valley. The article, resulting from months of interviews and direct checks, is being spread around the world and has gotten coverage from the New York Times and other mainstream media. The picture is grim:
- extreme job insecurity, a mood of perpetual blackmailing and lack of rights;
- inhuman work routine, with a pace that can be doubled overnight (from 250 to 500 units per day, with no advance notice), at an internal temperature beyond 40 Celsius that at least in one case reached 45 °C (114 °F);
- disciplinary actions against workers who slow down the pace, or simply faint (a report of the 2nd of June mention the fainting of 15 workers due to heat);
- “exemplary” immediate sacking, with the guilty escorted outside before the eyes of co-workers.
And there is more. Read the whole piece, it is worth it. The key sentence was said by a former Amazon warehouseman: “They’re kiling people mentally and physically“.
Steve Workers. Image by We Are Müesli
Think different: billionaires are not on your side.
Stay foolish: fight capitalism.
Stay hungry: eat the rich.
- Steve Workers, 2011
Steve Workers will be giving keynote speeches in the streets as the global crisis worsens.
Steve Workers is ready to occupy everything. iClasswar.
Steve Workers is a bad apple and wants to overthrow the system.
Steve Workers is alive (and kicking with heavy boots).
Steve Workers will be striking and marching in support of #OccupyWallStreet and #OccupytheUS
Steve Workers and his comrade Bill Opengates will fight until the bosses are defeated.
Steve Workers says: Planet Earth is like one big Foxconn plant. Don’t kill yourself, organize! Beat the crap out of your boss!
When he was eight, after only a bite, Steve Workers threw an apple at his mothers’s boss, even if he was hungry.
Here’s a blog entirely devoted to Steve Workers. Use the “Submit!” link to give your contribution to the myth.
For those who speak or at least can read French, «Fétichisme de la marchandise digitale et exploitation cachée: Les cas Amazon et Apple» is the translation (*) of an essay Wu Ming 1 wrote and published – with great resonance – on our Italian blog Giap a few days ago. It is also being translated into English and Spanish. We’ll make those versions available as soon as they’re ready. If you like a good work in progress, the English translation is being made by a group of people using this Wiki.
N.B. If you take a look at the Italian article, you’ll see that it also relies upon a few embedded videos. They’re respectively about:
1. Workers’ suicides at Foxconn plants in China;
2. The really depressing inauguration of the biggest Apple store in Italy;
3. An example of how people live and work in an African e-waste dump (this one is in Ghana);
4. Andrea Casaleggio’s Gaia-inspired totalitarian vision of the future
[Casaleggio is the ideologist and marketing guru of the neo-poujadiste, neither-left-nor-right, digital-fetishist movement headed by former comedian Beppe Grillo].
BTW, be patient, we’re going to relaunch this neglected blog as soon as possible!
* French translation by Serge Quadruppani.
by @jumpinshark, useful summing-up of a discussion that’s going on among Italian media activists. As a first step toward solving this embarrassing problem, a group of people has decided to start a blog half-ironically called – after a weird documentary Jean-Luc Godard made in 1969 – “Struggles in Italy” (not yet on line, they’re working on the first posts), to provide info & stories in several languages on the radical struggles taking place in Italy (against cuts, “Austerity”, racism, exploitation, privatisation of the commons, destruction of the environment and so on). We really hope these comrades will do a work for which the movement(s) will thank them, and wish them the best of luck.
Since last April, we have published 37 articles on Giap, our blog in Italian. Most of them are lengthy stuff. They often generated several hundreds of comments, and debates that went on for weeks. A discussion on Italy, financial capital, the ever-agonizing Burlesquoni government and the current economic crisis is still in full swing after more than a month.
We wrote pieces – or gave talks which were recorded and put on the blog for download – on the recent uprisings all over Europe and the Mediterranean, with particular focus on the Spanish “Indignados”.
We talked about riots, workers’ struggles in Italy and the amazing “No TAV” movement in Piedmont, North-Western Italy (which we regard as one of the most advanced experiences of self-organisation and grassroots resistance to capitalism).
We commented upon the 10th anniversary of the G8 summit in Genoa, the murder of Carlo Giuliani etc. (more…)
First time we used Storify.
N.B. Click on “Read more” to go on with the flow. It may sound like useless advice, but you’d be surprised to hear how many people fail to see those two little blue words :-)
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