Rivista Anarchica Online


Tell me what you produce
and I'll tell you who you are
by Laura Gargiulo

Behind the mobilization of Sardinian shepherds, a history of dismantling the island's economy.


In people are stereotyped Sardinia, the Italian guests if remember the crowded beaches in August by selling cheese in corduroy trousers, the institutional policy considers them second-class manufacturers, including with regard to their "colleagues " in the north. But Pino Masi, in late 1970, had stopped their image in the hymn of Lotta Continua, capturing the essence of persons exploited but rebels. They were and are the Sardinian shepherds.

Occupation at the port of Olbia,
after having previously blocked the airport.
Blocking port, together with that of Porto Torres,
sought to focus attention on the import
of foreign meat "slices" and then sold as Sardinian.

Economy of dependency

Telling the mobilization of the Movement "Sardinian shepherds" not responding or the desire to make the history nor give an opinion on a fight that, at the time of writing this article is still in place and with uncertain results, rather than responding to the same end that we had brought in the November issue to look to know zustissia Sardinian shepherd's eyes: understanding the crisis as a key productive sector in Sardinia is not the result of bad or politics or international economy, but a solid project and long-standing aims to impoverish, to make an official and then dismantle the most important sector of the economy and culture of Sardinia.

You have to look as always to the past to understand how the State has ability and patience when the game is the conversion of a society from its key productive sectors. It begins, in fact, in the late fifties the process that slowly transformed the farmers from farmers to agricultural workers, from farmers to laborers. The instrument is of public funding that encourages farmers to abandon their cultures are not considered productive of need established overseas, but also brings the ancient characters of the production cycle to assume the role of a simple appearance. And so in the eighties over 15,000 hectares of vineyards were harvested by the farmers themselves to enjoy the incentives in Europe, thus eradicating a large part of the tradition of wine production in the Sardinian and becoming permanently dependent on the State.
A similar fate befell the shepherds, with a variant in addition, since for them the state had in mind a different project, able to follow the process of separation between production and territory took place with farmers, adding to the emptying of the cultural system on which the area of pasture was leaning. Sixties, Medici Report, an expression of socio-economic context of the reading public Sardinian supported the argument that the Sardinian hinterland of the crime, duly advertised in the role of the bandit, was formed by raising, holding a conception of community justice and foreign, even antagonistic, to the logic of the state.
Eradicate banditry, therefore, became the banner under which the central government and the ruling Sardinian class narrowed in the name of a new company in heavy industry saw its flagship. Jobs, they said, but also questioned the economic structures on which the fringes who resented the action of the State threw its historical roots, cultural and productive. The pastor, leading to the production system from the farm, went to milk processing to its transformation into dairy products, was wearing the jacket or the immigrant worker, who was forced to abandon the culture of "circular" work which saw the production chain as a whole with the needs and resources of the territory. It was an irreversible step that approached the pastor with the capitalist conception of the work that breaks the chain and turns you around the wrists.
Years passed and industry, already out of the market at the time of their settlement, they began to close as "white elephants", as it was called Ottana, were transformed into ghost towns with record unemployment rates.
And so, after the proclamation of the press and government on the future employment linked to an industrial facility, the Sardinian society looked in the mirror, seeing in them signs of a subsidized economy: begging people, " caretakers, cleaners of military bases , housing for military, political and tourists on holiday". The process put in place, then, was based on a simple and radical principle: Do not delete an important part of the island economy, but enslave it, make it dependent on state handouts and keep it in a perpetual state of crisis in which their status survival depends on the policies from above. Transforming the economy of a country that was born and developed from this second long historical processes, then it means transforming a society's conception of work, the relationship with the land and, of course, with the state.

Occupation and blockade of the airport of Alghero.

Behind the trade union issues, the political discourse

Modern Times, you say, you have to adapt to new production systems, to the new vast hungry markets in Europe, transforming the retrograde development in the past: the process of disintegration taking place thus became, under the brush of the rhetoric of the time, a necessary transition from the old and obsolete in favor of the new and progress. Likewise today, criticizing the backwardness of the agro-pastoral sector (condition reported by the pastors themselves, but whose voice is unheard for a long time), underlining the lack of competitiveness and motivating the current condition with the answer that fits a bit 'for all problems: the crisis, the one with a capital C that, messianic, has hit the capitalist countries.
Yet exports of cheese grow, especially abroad, the milk is imported while the island's tight with dairy products in stores and to Sardinians lambs prefer the Spanish ones. What happens? It happens that the State invests, but in areas where customers may obtain their earnings and supports financially, but big economic powers, and then politicians, provides grants and facilities, but only to those who maintain an economy that creates dependency employees, not self-employed producers. When the shepherds, therefore, denounce the incentive for Fiat, as a symbol of protest in places elite tourism on the Costa Smeralda, wealth to foreign investors and crumbs for the territory, when they block the ports from which comes the meat overseas, where everything is done, the shepherds are not calling another charity, they are exposing a system of robbery in the region of Sardinia is only the valvassor.
Just read the points of the platform drawn up and distributed to every event by Sardinian shepherds to understand that what is proposed is a new way to design this area, assisted by a production with a milk price above production costs, storage facilities, lower transportation costs, water use at no cost in irrigated land, construction of municipal abattoirs against the monopoly of a few traders, use of renewable energy "but not to build greenhouses but to power all the agro and pastoral. "
Along with this, there is the demand for implementation of the rule "de minimis " financial instrument for disbursing to the companies, the node on which has focused the public and political debate moving again, the question on a of welfare economics. It is no coincidence, in fact, that much of the media is going to focus on this aspect because it means resetting the struggle of the shepherds as a labor dispute that revolves around the classic game of tug-on funding and undo what most scares : the social and political dimension that this application may take it that the shepherds they like it or not, who are more or less conscious, what is highlighted is the logic with which the state operates in Sardinia, bringing to consciousness that red thread that links the establishment of the petrochemical dismantling of pastoralism.
A fear, that, well shown by the party sardista the center-right coalition, the Psd'az, in the words of one of its historic leader, Paolo Maninchedda that, after the occupation of a room in the region by the MPS, said as "when a trade union movement to renounce their union objectives and even prevents the activity of the one body that is able to satisfy at least in part, then declares a political strategy .. anti-institutional, a destabilizing strategy, a strategy essentially antagonistic and revolutionary ". The spectra of antagonism and violence mentioned in the article title to institutional Maninchedda need, by itself, identify the shepherds from the general consensus of public opinion and, in fact, not in any way correspond to the intentions of the movement, but inadvertently reveal the truth: to denounce the system which has the shepherds made slaves of production at their disposal and that has an economy rooted alien to the interests of the territory mean to discuss the proposed divestiture of the State in Sardinia.

The shepherds block trucks carrying meat and livestock
from abroad check the origin of paperwork.

Behind the screen

At the end of this article is right to point out something that, for sure, hence the coming months to feed into discussions and reviews will be reason to spread to the wind. As the reader noted, there have focused either on the negotiations currently underway, nor on predictions and judgments on the results that this movement will come. The reason is simple: we do not care.
What interests us, however, is to look behind the screen of institutional discourse in order to find the roots of a historical process and read back the claims, the political bodies. Finally, note that in times when the battles are often harnessed in institutional channels or in union rhetoric, an area recently unionized as that of the shepherds was able to block ports and airports, roads and tourist centers of robbery, bringing entire communities in roads and discovering the nerves of the political system in months of protests that instead of chasing deadlines set by the state, were able to impose their own.

Laura Gargiulo

  1. A parliamentary commission of inquiry into the phenomena of crime, in one passage stated: "When we read about crime Sardinian [especially] in banditry, it refers to the pastoral culture that expresses it. It is assumed that the criminal phenomena corresponds to the value system of pastoral groups in the hinterland, particularly those barbaricini. "
  2. In the history of anarchism in Sardinia, Maria Teresa Pistis, Editziones de su Arkiviu bibrioteka "Serra T.", Guasila, 2009, p. 98. The phrase is a quote from an article by C. Cavalleri A nation unproductive: from shepherds and farmers to caretakers of colonialism appeared in the May to August of 1986 Sardennia contras as'Istadu.
  3. From the de minimis to the destabilization and antagonism. From milk to institutional violence. Who occupies the parliaments concerned the freedom of all, available at link