Does Europe Do It Better? (Articles)

By Temple, Johnny | The Nation, January 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Does Europe Do It Better? (Articles)


Temple, Johnny, The Nation


In more than fifteen years of rock-and-roll touring, my worst night of sleep followed a June 10, 1989, show at Centro Sociale Leoncavallo, an anticapitalist squat in Milan. On that impossibly long tour, ending just months before the Berlin wall fell, my band Soul Side played at social centers lodged in squatted buildings in Italy, Holland, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany. Several of these places were hygienically challenged, with mangy dogs scurrying about, leaking sewage pipes and nowhere to bathe. None, however, rivaled the squat in Milan where we were taken after our concert at Leoncavallo to "sleep" in a bat-infested room, on mattresses that had seemingly been marinated in bodily fluids.

Since the mid-1970s, groups of anarchists, communists, punks and artists across Europe have availed themselves of liberal housing policies to seize and inhabit abandoned buildings--former factories, churches, schools, etc.--and turn them into nonprofit, anticapitalist social centers. These "autonomous zones" have succeeded to varying degrees in existing outside of government regulation. They are essentially illegal, and plenty are mercilessly crushed by the police (like the vast majority of American attempts at squatting). But many European squats have been tolerated, and have somehow managed to keep their fortified doors open. Milan's Leoncavallo (www.leoncavallo.org) is Italy's oldest and most well-known social center, established in 1975 in a crumbling building by a band of squatters with a manifesto. After several evictions, one of which spurred national solidarity demonstrations in 1994, today's Leoncavallo resides in an assortment of buildings behind huge walls that can be quickly barricaded in the event of another police raid. Social centers like Leoncavallo host a wide range of cultural and political activities: theaters, bookstores, art galleries, guaranteed shelter for homeless immigrants, meeting spaces for antiglobalization ("no global") organizing, Internet cafes, soup kitchens, yoga classes and live music of varied genres.

In recent years European squatters have clashed with increasingly aggressive police forces. As a result, many social centers have disappeared, while a few have been given official recognition and support from local governments. But even under the reign of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi--who is hostile to anything and anyone falling under the "no global" umbrella--Italy has nearly 150 active social centers, most of them stationed in squatted buildings.

A few months ago my current band, Girls Against Boys, discovered that Leoncavallo is still considered a menace to Italian society. Following concerts in Prague and Zagreb, our tour was turning back west and we were all looking forward to entering Italy, home of the world's best roadside food services. Disappearing European borders and the advent of a single currency, the Euro, have made life easier for touring musicians, but bands in vans will always have hard times at borders. As we crossed out of Slovenia on October 31, Italian border guards examined our tour itinerary, which listed concerts that night in the Centro Sociale Rivolta outside Venice and two days later at Leoncavallo. "Do you know that these places are against the government?" we were asked. We responded with placid, innocent smiles, but our van was emptied and searched meticulously with electronic devices, X-rays and dogs. After two hours--broken up by twenty-five-minute cigarette breaks for the arrogant gatekeepers--they finally conceded defeat and let us re-pack our van and get on our way. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does Europe Do It Better? (Articles)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.