From Tute Blanche to the Book Bloc

by | 7 Feb 2011

bookblocWhat thread links the political experience of Tute Bianche with the Book Blocs we have seen last autumn on the streets of Rome and London? What is the link between the alter-globalisation movement of Seattle and Genoa and the student and youth movements that are now setting Europe on fire?

These two movements belong to two very different historical and political moments: that one exploded in the peak time of the expansion of globalization, while the current one gives voice to a generational rebellion against the crisis and the policies of austerity launched by most European government. Also, while Tute Bianche practiced civil disobedience and used shields and helmets as part of a long-term identity and political project, the current student movements focus on multiplying conflict: from the creation of Book Blocs to interrupting traffic on roads and stations, from the occupation of universities and monuments to assaulting the palaces of power.

However, there are some elements of continuity as well: the relationship between conflict and consensus, strong in the Tute Bianche experience, is now re-emerging in the line of action of the student movement; the critique of globalization of Genoa and Seattle returns today in the defense of the welfare state against the infinite violence of banks. The utopian vigor of the ‘another world is possible’ is now lost, but the awareness that another world is necessary remains as strong within the systemic crisis of global capitalism.

Where: Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN, United Kingdom.

When: 6pm, Wednesday 23rd February 2011


Francesco Raparelli was born in Marino (Rome) on 17th January 1978. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Florence. His research spans from philosophy of language to theory of sovereignty, from subjectivity in modern political thought to the transformation of productive processes. He has always been involved in Italian radical movements, from Disobbedienti and Tute Bianche to the Onda movement in 2008, to the current wave of riots, which started from La Sapienza University in autumn 2010. He is part of the social centre Esc in Rome, of the editorial board of UniRiot, of Global and he is the director of the free press DINAMO. In October 2009, his book on the recent history of Italian student movements, La Lunghezza dell’Onda, was published by Ponte alle Grazie.

Marina Montanelli was born in Formia (Latina) on 25 May 1985. She graduated in philosophy of language at La Sapienza University in Rome and she is now studying philosophy and critical theory. She has been active in the Onda movement and she is now actively involved in the current student uprising. She is part of the editorial board of UniRiot.


This event was organized by Daisy Jones (Courtauld Institute Student Union) and Federico Campagna (Through Europe), in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute, London.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Join 4,512 other subscribers

We respect your privacy.


Fair access = access according to ability to pay
on a sliding scale down to zero.



Publish your article with us and get read by the largest community of critical legal scholars, with over 4000 subscribers.