Italy: Behind the Ski Mask

Guerriglia e guerra rivoluzionaria in Italia [Guerrilla Warfare and Revolutionary War in Italy]

by Sabino S. Acquaviva
Rizzoli (Milan), 179 pp., 5,500 Lire

II seme religioso della rivolta [The Religious Seed of Revolt]

by Sabino S. Acquaviva
Rusconi (Milan), 151 pp., 3,000 Lire

Marx oltre Marx: Quaderno di lavoro sui Grundrisse [Marx Beyond Marx: A Workbook on the Grundrisse]

by Antonio Negri
Feltrinelli (Milan), 197 pp., 5,500 Lire

La fabbrica della strategia: 33 lezioni su Lenin [The Factory of Strategy: 33 Lectures on Lenin]

by Antonio Negri
Cleup (University of Padua Press), 223 pp., 5,500 Lire

II dominio e il sabotaggio: Sul methodo marxista della trasformazione sociale [Domination and Sabotage: On the Marxist Method of Social Transformation]

by Antonio Negri
Feltrinelli (Milan), 72 pp., 1,300 Lire

Antonio Negri
Antonio Negri; drawing by David Levine

In Rome, on the morning of May 3, while tourists sipped cappuccino in nearby Piazza Navona, a well-dressed young woman entered the regional head-quarters of the Christian Democratic Party, distracted an armed guard with a question, and, suddenly joined by a dozen other Red Brigadists, held the office at gunpoint. They carried out the raid with speed and precision: files ransacked, time bombs planted, the walls riddled with bullets. Outside, other terrorists standing guard strafed an arriving police car with machine-gun bursts, killing one agent instantly and wounding two others, one of them mortally.

For over fifteen minutes, as bombs exploded inside the office, scores of policemen surrounded the building and raked it with gunfire. But somehow the Brigadists disappeared, some in stolen cars, others apparently by slipping into the gathering crowd. The communiqué they released a few days later only expressed what any Italian will tell you: “The assault on one of the most important and well-guarded structures in the city has shown once again that no place and no person, no matter how well protected, are immune to the sophistication of guerrilla warfare.”

But the myth of invincibility that surrounds the Red Brigades may be crumbling. One of their weaknesses is a passion for keeping archives on their membership and activities, perhaps with an eye to future history books but in any case to the great advantage of the carabinieri who continue to close in on them. Within a month of the spectacular terrorist raid and after dozens of arrests in northern Italy, the police broke into a middle-class Rome apartment that had been turned into an arsenal and arrested Red Brigadists Valerio Morucci, thirty years old, and Adriana Faranda, twenty-nine years old, both of whom had been sought for the murder of Aldo Moro as well as for the recent raid. In the apartment were found (accounts vary) four detonators, two bullet-proof vests, five pistols, hundreds of bullets, and two machine guns, one of them the Czech-made Skorpion that ballistics experts have since identified as the weapon that killed the two policemen in the raid, as well as two Italian magistrates—and Aldo Moro. Among incriminating documents found in the hide-out were original drafts of terrorist manifestoes and lists of the names, addresses, and daily habits of various political figures. Morucci and Faranda face charges of murder and insurrection that could lead to life imprisonment.

However, the most controversial arrest in the recent antiterrorism campaign has been that of Antonio (Toni) Negri, forty-six-year-old political science professor at the University of Padua, visiting lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and self-proclaimed Marxist revolutionary. On April 7, to the surprise of everyone, he was jailed and charged with directing the Red Brigades, master-minding the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, and plotting the overthrow of the government. With the seizure of Negri and a dozen of his colleagues at Padua, the…

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