rivista anarchica
anno 41 n. 364
estate 2011

remembering Franco Pasello

The price of consistency
by Paolo Finzi

With this title appeared in "A" 66 (June / July 1978) this meeting with Franco Pasello, then a young anarchist, fresh over a year and a half in prison for refusing military service. Brings him to remember, almost a year after his death. And we give space to many memories of Franco.

Franco Pasello
(photo Ivana Kerecki, thanks to Fabrizio


September 8, 1976: the doorbell rings. The mother rises from the table, goes to open the door: "Frank, there are two of your friends" - his son says. As soon as he sees them, Franco understand - "Mom, they are not friends. I must follow them. " Monza, Peschiera del Garda, Gaeta, Latina, Rome, Sondrio, Desio after 19 months and five days in jail (14 in a military prison, the rest of the civil prison) Franco came home on April 14 last year. The military discharge preceeds him beforecoming home while still in "civil" jail. Now Pasello Franco, 26, a native of Lendinara (Rovigo), baker's boy from the age of 13 years, is here in the newsroom. We wrote during the last period of his imprisonment, he asked the magazine and books, contact was soon established: we speak of its history, the story of a young man who "always" the soldier that he has decided not and that this will never do his will and he knew wanted to make.

In fact - says Franco - is just that: as a child I always said I would not have military service. There were ideological reasons, conscious or otherwise in this my will, only an instinct based on the belief that it was (as it is) a top-down, absurd and unjust. By the age of 13 years work and before entering prison mates had never attended any politicized groups: my revolt is born on an individual basis.

In '71, Franco received the postcard for "three days", that occur with medical care at the military district. But he does not go there for four years and nothing happens. In '75 the first visit of the police at his home: take Franco and force him to Como to make "three days", then let him return to his home. In April comes the notification of his trial at the District Court of Como. Franco did not go there, do not appoint any lawyer, the office does not do much to avoid the one year sentence for his refusal to show up on time the first time at the "three days". Before the trial, meanwhile, get the postcard: a soldier has to start in June, calls him home. But Franco, once again, not responding on 8th September - as described earlier - the police picks him up from home and get it locked up in the civil prison of Monza. The day after hosting the U.S. military prison in Peschiera del Garda.

Just incarcerated at Monza - says Franco - I immediately started a hunger strike: For me this was the only way to protest my detention, unfair, and I felt that instinctively refused. At that time I still did not have any relationship with political movements and support me in the conviction of the rightness of my behavior was just my instinctive rebellion against military service. Do you think that, given my family situation, I could ask for and perhaps even gain the exemption, but I never wanted to do. I felt like a compromise that I could never accept.

Once in Peschiera, Franco came into contact with the prisoners 'political', one of which close to anarchism. His comrades propose a political commitment, but Franco still does not feel.
Within a month is moved to Gaeta, hundreds of miles from his home.

It was then that he began to seek contact with others, felt isolated and started to write to the fellow I had known. The others began to write.

On November 5 is celebrated at the Military Tribunal of Naples on his trial for refusing military service. Once again Franco waiver of his legal defense deal: give him a public defender that the day of the trial does not show up immediately replaced by another. So, on two feet. Result: Franco was sentenced to 14 months. The appeal, in the military code, practically does not exist. He shall return to Gaeta, the military penitentiary. He remained there until November, the military term for his conviction..

During his detention in Gaeta has been closed twice in a punishment cell isolation: instead of the window, there is only a grate on the ceiling, open, so that whatever you invariably end up inside the helmets above the cell. Like other fellow, as he has locked up he started the hunger strike: what else do you need to do in those conditions?

Franco hunger strike has gained good experience.

In July of that year, with Renato Zorzini, Beppe Frusca, Rinaldo Gabrielli, and Toni Cazzanelli we made a first hunger strike lasting 23 days, in November, along with other prisoners (Lorenzo Santi, Roberto Francesconi, Roberto Scannagatta and Angelo Motta), we made another of equal duration. We asked that the period spent in prison was considered a valid marker to the end of military service (a request, this, that obviously does not concern us directly, but it was made in favor of other military prisoners), talks with friends (lasting 20 minutes) could be prolonged as those with family members (one or two hours), which was enshrined the right to use the uncensored phone and to receive all the press generally (as in civilian prisons, etc.).

Franco also recalls the visit by Pannella in the penitentiary of Gaeta on the occasion of their second hunger strike. The Parliamentary radical forewarned the direction of the prison of his next visit and this allowed him notice that they should order and cleaning everywhere: Jehovah's Witnesses (over 200 only in Gaeta) were invited to "get well", his shirt, and outsource all their satisfaction with the situation where they were. In the rooms, before the visit of Pannella, lit the debate: on one hand who wanted to hide all the flaws and injustices, in obedience to the indications of the direction, the other those who did seek to expose the truth. What that Franco and the other two companions who were with him have the hunger strike, they did during the interview with Pannella, served to practically nothing.

At day 18 of hunger strike - remember Franco - have transferred to the Celio military hospital in Rome: they said that we were in mortal danger. The pressure, in fact, there was much decreased. Expired while the terms of my imprisonment military given of 14 months by the military court of Naples had passed. But there was the year by the Court of Como for no-show, at the "three days". By Celio have been taken directly to prison in Latina where I was "in transit" for a month, then another six days "in transit" in Regina Coeli prison, so the civil prison of Sondrio, where I had been intended. Perhaps because of my participation - unique among the dozens of detainees in Sondrio - the national strike promoted by the detainees prisoners of Padua for 27 to 28 February, early March I was transferred to the prison in Desio, rose to prominence in the media because the "discovery" that the authority retains all the money versatile meals of prisoners, forcing them to buy the "spending" all you need (apart from the bread and some eggs from time to time). On 14 April, finally, I went under the semi-freedom, under the supervision of a social worker.

Franco has drawn from the whole story confirms the validity of his behavior and his choice: his criticism of the civil service proposed by the authorities as an alternative to military service seems an unacceptable compromise.

Often - says Franco - I was told that I chose to go to jail, not a free choice it is, but the logical and direct consequence of my refusal of the army. It is in this context that the alternative civilian service for me has never been placed.

I ask him about reports that managed to create during his detention, how many have understood his choice? And how many of them have essentially laughed at?

In fact the vast majority of prisoners for common crimes (except for the Jehovah's Witnesses, always obedient to authority and often hostile to us "political", we "politicians" were very few) can not understand the objection to our choice of total but someone has understood and usually with many fail to establish an effective dialogue.

Now that is out, Franco continues to deal with the problem of the objection and the total is in contact with others who care for them, and especially with those comrades who are in jail paying for his own choice of coherence: Lorenzo Santi, Giovanni Pierantoni, and Matteo Danza in the military prison in Fort Boccea in Rome, Roberto Francesconi in that of Gaeta (It is possible you know, of course, already at the exit of this issue of "A" some of these fellows have been transferred elsewhere).

All anarchists, as they are - says Franco - almost everyone who makes the choice of the objection made and the total, even without declaring these, or perhaps without even knowing it.

Just as happened to him, that only in prison was "discovered" after an anarchist involved before the authority that the soldier would have acted just as many anarchists.

Paolo Finzi
“A” 66, June/July 1978

Still, persevering, sweet

Dear Paolo,
I learned with great sorrow the news of the death of Franco Pasello. Although I have not got to know him well, he was a constant companion in my life in the anarchist movement. I think the few times I went to Milan, that he had always met while selling the anarchist press in his way so firm, persevering, sweet. And then in the anti-militarist demonstrations against the repression ...
Another valuable partner is gone, and how many have left in recent years.
Together with fellow group we are close to all the Milanese anarchist movement in this sad time. Please forward this letter to you comrades in Milan.
a hug

Paola e Gruppo Anarchico Germinal

his NO to census

Some time ago I pulled out pictures of my family and I forget what to do selection. One part is then left on a chair and being pretty lazy I left there, perhaps waiting for utopia is okay by itself.
Looking at them now and after having heard, last Saturday, the death of Franco, I stopped to look at the photo at the top of the pile. It is a group photo of many years ago (the date shown is 15/08/1984) taken before the writing of "A" (we were whitewashing the rooms) and where we are and I presentianche Franco as well as Paul and his mother Matilda, Aurora, MisatoToda from Japan, Madeleine and her son Willy from Livorno, Mauro (another total objector) from Asola, little Alice from Forlì.
I met Franco in 1980 and one of the things that have always struck me about him was his ideological journey led, so to speak, back.
That is where he started is for others the arrival point. His distaste for the army and the whole ritual that was behind the operation of that was dictated entirely by a natural feeling of rebellion which only later, thanks to the lectures and attendance ideas of anti-militarist and anti-authoritarian consciousness has become.
For a time we set up a small group (formed by Franco, by me and said Pasquale Lillino, recently emigrated from the north of Molfetta) by spreading the libertarian and anarchist press. Every Saturday afternoon we met at the fair Sinigaglia, a sort of flea market in the district Ticino to Milan, and Franco came straight from work: he had made the bread all night and part of the morning because the stores were closed on Sunday and then had to make bread twice.
We brought with us that newspapers 'historic' motion as "A", "The International", "A" and a few copies of "Volonta'", but also newspapers such as the anti-militarist "without a country" or "Anarchy" mimeographed newspaper anarchists of Ticino. Next to the magazines we brought a number of books ranging from the titles of those editions Senzapatria editions of La Fiaccola, others from various sources (Family Berneri Archive Editions, Editions RL, etc..
I think that Franco was a generous man, was always on time with payments spread, and the things that always left something, when he could, subscription to various publications. He had a sense of ethics quite deep, although consistent with some edginess or excessive, as in his lonely struggle against the last census of which I report what I then wrote in a letter:

I say no to the census. I'm not a hypocrite, and for me it has been suggested to compile all in a rather general and does not return the true all in white. I do not like profiling, but I find even more absurd that you want to force me to self-catalog. I can advise the office of the municipal census to see the police headquarters in Milan who is in possession of a large filing against me as an anarchist and anti-militarist. I reject your census and statistics as an individual violates my freedom, my interests, my private, all already very challenged in my everyday life, where every where cameras installed outside the banks follow constantly and everywhere my movements and my person.
I do not accept the census as living in a police state where every day the risk of being stopped (and it happens!) without any justification by zealous law enforcement. I do not want to be a policeman of myself (to each his work!). I do not accept the census by a government of a country to demonstrate and challenge the existing, so it is killed and massacred by the police (and not only see Genoa). I do not accept the census by a State and Government (including the old) warmongers, that fuel war and misery in Italy and all over the world, a government that once again has made waste paper of its own constitution (Italy rejects bla bla bia and the war). And in the same way five years ago I said No, I refuse the obligation of military service and replacement, today I say No and still reject the obligation that I want to do the census. I do not accept the census by a State which always defends the privileges of the powerful at the expense of the most marginalized and faible (I think particularly of the Roma and foreigners).
I do not accept the census by a government where as chairman of the board (ie to rule-command) there is the richest and largest city thief, where as president of the republic we find one of the most powerful bankers in retirement with his disgusting rhetoric that in these patriotic times of war can only make people vomit in a good way (for sure myself!). In this state, in this nation as the rest of the world I feel a stranger. Do not ask me to collaborate.
Each plays its part.
Franco Pasello (Sesto S. Giovanni)

If I had to think of the existence of a sort of existence after death, I think, in his case, it's over in a kind of 'paradise' of Roma (people from whom he was greatly fascinated) a 'haven' where you can finally feel and be finally free.
Ciao Franco!

Patrizio Biagi
(Pontremoli – Ms)

A good person

Today I went to Monza Avenue, the FAI organized a meeting on libertarian education, we find ourselves with many comrades and friends and how many times you're out, it is well organized we are friends with small children and others like Paolo and me our big daughter, Alba. And a chance to see us kiss to be together, I look around, I'm fine with peers / classmates, I enjoy their company, I am alive, Franco did not!
Franco did not think I can go up without the tears in her eyes, even if it was not much for meetings etc.. there would be. He, too, to greet everyone and then he would put one hand to hear a little bit. Many comrades have died in these years I still have burning for Serantini, Pinelli and many others, Franco is as if it were different, I can not accept it. Franco was one of the family, he was always there, always to sell the press and I turn around and seek amongst others with his sly and easygoing smile, with his bike and the same passion for cats. In preparation we have removed a box that says Pasello, we used the anarchist press that came from abroad, and he even if he did not speak any languages other than Italian, he took her home. It gave him a look.
Dear Franco waited for Paolo to tell me write now, before tonight, otherwise you have more time. As you can see the time I found it, I wanted to tell you that I still remember when we were preparing the shipment of the magazine, we were many and all lent a hand and joked, I love you, you were like a brother to me, you have a important place in my heart, thank you for always been so, even if we were not always agree, and I knew you were there thanks for your generosity and goodness, here I said the right thing, always remember you like a good person. Ciao

Aurora Failla

his moral rigor

I met Franco Pasello a meeting and we have always found anti-militarist. There was almost always when I was in Milan for the thing about anarchy. I stayed with her ideal tension, emanating from every cell of his body, his moral rectitude, which emanated from its naturally arise, which looks like a nice disheveled.
For several years I have had occasion to meet him, but for me it was a character in Milan anarchist aesthetic, one that makes you identify a status.

Andrea Papi

Whole life to bear witness

Saturday morning, October 9, 2010: radio alarm clock to warn us that even today in Afghanistan have fired on Italian soldiers in the so-called "peace mission". A crude bomb killed four of the Alpine Brigade Julia. Four young men who did their dirty work. Maybe they were also convinced that their militaristic propaganda efforts were aimed at improving the living conditions of the Afghan people, reduced to abject poverty by the interests of rich states that are fought forever on its soil. I've never liked the military and of course fight the logic warmongering, especially when justifying the war by dressing as a false humanitarian. I also think that kids who enter the army could and should make different choices and that the military or police are not jobs you can do for a living, in the absence of viable alternatives. But I know from experience that the job is not always possible to choose and, indeed, death is a bargain even more annoying when you die on the job. Clearly, the military is an advantage compared to others in death as they become heroes with the state funeral, the authorities, support for families ...
Thinking about these things, I get the news in the morning suddenly gone a companion and a friend, Pasello Franco, a Venetian by birth and Milan (Sesto San Giovanni) by adoption. I was very close to Franco because he was giving me the first anarchist journals of my life, twenty years ago on a Wednesday at Cadorna station (where he was from the 70s to today's militant sales every week). In recent years, our relationship became even deeper and I do not know how many times we spent days and nights together. He was an anarchist who described himself as "individualistic", with a deep sense of responsibility to conjugate a sensibility that could relate to all components (even special) anarchism. He was always there. On every occasion in which his contribution could be useful and without having to ask.
Franco had worked as a baker for nearly forty years (he retired last year to an irreconcilable rift with his former employer of a life) and was in his early fifties on the skin but showed signs of a life lived without never backing down. An anti-militarist and anti-authoritarian visceral in 1976/77 had endured 19 months in prison (14 months in military prison and 5 Civil) for the objection at that time was called the total or total refusal to serve the state. On that occasion he was approached anarchy of action that would become in effect his real family. Franco loved the action and did not accept compromises, often solving them with long hunger strikes.
On the prison he once told the magazine A:

"Given my family situation, I could ask for and perhaps even gain the exemption, but I never wanted to do. I felt like a compromise that I could never accept. [...] I have often heard that I chose to go to jail, not a free choice it is, but the logical and direct consequence of my refusal of the army. It is in this context that the alternative civilian service for me has never been placed ... " (1)

This phrase represents very well the indomitable spirit of Franco that he never flaunted but which, however, was always present in his eyes.
Franco Pasello was self-taught and had a vast activist library who has decided to donate to the Journal A. In his tiny apartment in Sesto, there was not a real library but the books and magazines were everywhere: there was hardly room to move because wherever there was a special edition of the texts of Bakunin, Malatesta or or the complete collection without a country (anti-militarist and anti-authoritarian magazine founded in 1978 and lasted almost twenty years with whom she also collaborated Franco). It is understood that the books were for him to use the tools to understand the world through magazines and distributed at every opportunity (see photo) came to talk to different people.
At home, many holding photographs of his past (he was an amateur photographer) and once I showed the picture of a horrible place and asked (as he often did) to guess the circumstances of the image: it was a military prison where he spent in his youth. I recalled the worst immigration detention centers in Africa. Perhaps the habit of life's difficulties, Franco was very close to the suffering of others. Compassion led him to shoulder the burdens of others in a way that was easy for him in his radicalism.
Franco was at home in many fields Roma Italian and was familiar with the history and customs of these people by engaging in first person to give support to their cause for a life dignified. (2) had often lent a hand to illegal immigrants who could be heard at home with its simplicity and effectiveness. A few years ago, he had married only to secure a residence permit to an immigrant woman in dire straits.
The dead are not all equal. Franco loved all people: especially those battered by life and knew that the war can never bring freedom. For this he spent a lifetime in the first person to witness his disobedience to the authority of the weapons. I am sure that Franco Pasello, if he had time, would have compassion for the boys with the black pen died so horribly far away from their families, but this would not change one iota dedicated his life to fight against their choice of violence.
Dear comrade Franco, Saturday morning it happened to you what ever happens to Roma as you described it perfectly in an article:

"that even when the Roma are in place for thirty years and they still live in a Camping house ready because they know that at any time may have to leave urgently, may be forced to leave ". (3)

it is clear that it was your time to leave with a broken-down trailer. While we remain here while preserving a piece of your humanity to inspire us to continue the struggle against authority and violence of the powerful. We will miss you.

Marco Gastoni


  1. From A rivista Anarchica http://xoomer.virgilio.it/anarchivio/archivio%20testi/066/66_08.htm
  2. I found this little article written by Franco “Dalla parte dei Rom”: http://www.angelfire.com/ma/art21/parterom.html
  3. http://www.angelfire.com/ma/art21/parterom.html


At our meeting on Thursday

If I add one thing, Franco lately, not only relied on the events of his life (he had just said that he hoped to get to 60 years), but also sat with us at the beginning of our meeting on Thursday when he drove through to take Umanita' Nova, listen for a while, then stood up, waved and left again with his bicycle.
The Thursday before he died had not passed, then we phoned him and incredibly told us that he had forgotten! Every Thursday he took care to ensure that UN had arrived.

Massimo Varengo

“A baker as Sante Caserio”

I met Franco between 1977 and '78, in Casatenovo, perhaps the first public initiative that we had organized as an anarchist group called Agitazione (the A is circled): the theme was "Peace and anti-militarism."
Franco was a total objector, was just released from military prison for refusing to wear the uniform and accept to become a "possible" murderess (legalized) in uniform. It was not many words, maybe even a little 'timid, I was very impressed with his humility, his dignity, his humanity, aware that only a "master" of his life.
As the years passed we became friends. Together with other fellow anarchists we were present at various meetings, from Venice to the 1984 anti-military conference in Forli, Ancona inauguration of the square Errico Malatesta, the military prison of La Spezia in the process to Mauro Zanoni, another companion anti-military, etc.. On 1 May, then, had become an annual event in Viale Monza in Milan. And after dinner social at the event. How many times we were invited to his house to eat its delicious pizzas, sometimes jokingly said, "you are a baker like Caserio" over the years not much has changed.
It has always been very helpful to others, a bit 'closed and introverted, but always ready to help those in need. A tireless popularizer of the anarchist press (and for him were also an opportunity to talk to people), Umanita' Nova, "A" magazine and many of the books I have (about 300 titles) I bought them in these long years of Franco.
He loved the freedom, the last of the dispossessed, he has lived for others, even though it was believed individualistic. He was always in search of companionship, the warmth of friends, loved the show so many pictures that did to his friends Gypsies. His home was always open to everyone, including his heart.
Franco will be missed, you left a huge void difficult to fill. You'll be, like our mutual friend and companion memorable Pierluigi Magni, alive in the memories of good times spent together. Hello Franco! A great memory from

Tiziano Viganò
(Casatenovo – Lc)

Fabio Magni
(Usmate – Mi)

and from all comrades of Brianza

Our Milan column

Ciao Franco,
I wrote you in late May, thinking that this year with the usual train would come up the furrow of the ancient glacier to enjoy the view of the mountains of Valtellina.
Even a couple of days away from the hustle and urbanized plain would not hurt a libertarian Po and subversive like you, born in Polesine below the level of the sea and died on the edge of the metropolis.
After a call from Sergio did not want to believe in this cruel and unexpected reality, knowing not be a joke in bad taste.
Now there are only the memories of our lives, through the paths traveled together over the thirty years that we have slipped behind.
The train Milano-Sondrio - remember - had started to frequent it assiduously in the early eighties, when you came to Sondrio loaded backpack copies of "Senzapatria - without a country" hot off the press and then distribute it to the fair in Milan Sinigallia. With pride we felt it our full Milan column and certainly anti-militarist and anti-authoritarian magazine publications could continue thanks to your persistent militancy Speaker, I would say, almost stoic.
Remember when that night back in 1983 I stopped at the station for questioning? Of course, your criminal record for refusing military service and your filing had already annoyed the local cops poorly digested that a magazine like "Senzapatria - without a country" was prepared and printed in Sondrio. In fact, after only five minutes from your investigation officers of a driving game in the fourth by the police stop you on the stairs of my house. Their slight delay, however, prevented them sequestered in the silence of the street and your cries of protest attracted my attention then the resulting melee that followed. All the police station and then you and I entertained released and charged with insulting a public official. And as you do this for my firm passed the night at police headquarters and the two subsequent days in jail. Just you and with your twenty months of military and civilian prisons, including Sondrio, you should live quietly the story. In fact after a trial and absolution for lack of evidence the cops realized that there was no need to force your hand in the future. A small victory and affirmation of freedom for the following years, where our attendance is not met with more obstacles.
And how many steps between the Tipolito of Carrara and my little house in Valtellina your modest and cheerful apartment in Sesto San Giovanni in the late eighties, when you have already attended the camps and were fascinated by these nations without states and armies that ever marched War against anyone.
How can we forget the beginning of the third millennium Annaberta for the hospitality, the mother of Mark Camenish, the fixed stop to the prison of Biella. How many pizzas from you and how many self-produced beers and live discussions, snatching precious hours of sleep and then resume at dawn journey to the Piedmont.
Our history in the end is a mixture of prison, libertarian publishing, subversion, life of pleasure, solidarity, kinship, friendship and the inevitable contradictions that you regularly live in this shitty authoritarian world that surrounds us.
Dear Frank, I think of you with affection for all that joined us in recent decades because the idea of a better world has ever given up and not wanting to resign myself to the squalor daily I think is the best way to remember.

Piero Tognoli

translation Enrico Massetti