On terrorism and the state

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On terrorism and the state


In early 1979, Gianfranco Sanguinetti was hard at work on Rimedio A Tutto: Discorsi sulle Prossime Opportunita’ di Rovinare Il Capitalismo in Italia (“Remedy for Everything: Discourses on the Next Chances to Ruin Capitalism in Italy”), which was intended to be a follow-up to his Rapporto verdico sulle ultima opportunita di salvare il capitalismo in Italia (“Truthful Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy”). Published in August 1975 under the pseudonym of Censor, the Rapporto verdico had been a tremendous success. Not only had it received very positive reviews in the Italian press and had sold a lot of copies, but it had also caused a major scandal. No one had suspected that Censor (allegedly a conservative member of Italy’s ruling class) did not exist and that, Sanguinetti, an anti-capitalist revolutionary and a former member of the Situationist International, had written the book, which were facts that he revealed five months after it had been published. Sanguinetti had certainly been stung by the rebukes made of him in mid-1978 by his friend and collaborator, the ex-situationist Guy Debord, who had unsuccessfully encouraged him to go public with the truth about Aldo Moro while the Italian Prime Minister was still alive (allegedly kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades, Moro was in fact abducted and killed by Italy’s intelligence agencies). Perhaps Sanguinetti was also motivated by the fact that, in February 1979, Debord had published his Preface to the Fourth Italian Edition of “The Society of the Spectacle,” which in part discussed the Moro affair. In any event, Sanguinetti decided to publish the tenth chapter of Rimedio A Tutto as a book in and of itself. Originally titled Terrorismo di stato e stato di terrorismo (“State Terrorism and the State of Terrorism”), this text was published in April 1979 under the title Del terrorismo e dello stato: La teoria e la practica del terrorismo per la prima volta divulgate (“On Terrorism and the State: The Theory and Practice of Terrorism Divulged for the First Time”). The first part of this new title was intended as an echo of Del principe e delle lettere (“On the Prince and Letters”), a revolutionary pamphlet written by Vittorio Alfieri in 1795. The second part seems to be a dig at Debord, whose Preface had claimed to be the first text to speak truthfully about Italian terrorism: “Of these sad facts many Italians have been aware, and many more straight away took them into account. But they have never been published anywhere, because the latter have been deprived of the means of doing it and the former of the wish to do so.” This claim ignored the existence of Censor’s Rapporto verdico, which had been published more than three years previously. Perhaps because it had been rushed into print, Del terrorismo e dello stato presented itself in a manner that was slightly confusing. The table of contents for Rimedio A Tutto, as well as Sanguinetti’s various introductions to it (a “Notice from the Author,” a “Dedication to the Bad Workers of Italy and All the Other Countries,” and a “Preface”), accompanied it. But the rest of the book was never published and, as Sanguinetti relates in his preface to the French edition of his book, Del terrorismo “was not reprinted in Italy because of several difficulties created for me by a stupid and crude judicial-police persecution.” If On Terrorism and the State is relevant today, almost 35 years after it was first published, this is because of its author’s commitment to the importance of historical knowledge and to seeing the continuity “behind” or “between” apparently unrelated or unprecedented events. The perpetrators of the attacks that took place on September 11 have been successful in their attempts to capitalize on those attacks because they have managed to convince people that, on that day, “everything changed.” It is only a detailed knowledge of history that allows us to see that, no, “everything” didn’t “change” on that day. In point of fact, “everything” remained very much the same: the rich and powerful remained in control, and they continued to want to make sure that they never lose their wealth, their power or their ability to control others. In fact, it is precisely change that they fear; they are especially fearful that, one day, “everything” might actually change. Of course, change is inevitable; it is impossible to forestall change forever. This is precisely why the rich and powerful are so dangerous. They grow more desperate every day. A few notes about the text and the book’s design. Since I cannot read Italian, I have used Jean-François Martos’ Du Terrorisme et de l’Etat: La théorie et la pratique du terrorisme divulgées pour la première fois as the basis for this translation into English. I have dropped the always controversial and now increasingly irrelevant subtitle. The original Italian edition included words and phrases from a number of other languages (mostly Latin, French and English). Martos was careful to preserve this multi-lingual richness as he translated the work as a whole from Italian into French, and I, translating from French into English, have tried to be careful, too. When Sanguinetti quoted from an Italian translation of something in English, I sought out and used the original wording. When he quoted from something in Latin, I consulted and relied upon the already-established rendering of it into English. All of the footnotes are by me, except where noted. Both Els van Daele’s ‘Postface to the Dutch translation’ of Terrorismo” and Sanguinetti’s letter to Mustapha Khayati have never appeared in print or in an English translation before. Finally, this edition of On Terrorism is the first one to include an index of the important names, events and places mentioned in the text.

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SKU: 39440 Category: Tag:
Subtitle: Truthful Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy
Author: Censor (= Sanguinetti,Gianfranco) & Bill Brown (foreword)
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9780615963020
Pages: 132
Language: English
Publisher: Colossal Books
Publisher's city: Brooklyn NY
Publication date:
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