Libya and Italy’s alliance: cemented through economic investment and trading women for political allegiance

23.02.2011 § Leave a comment

So, Libya was a distant outpost of Italian Colonial expansion. As in many colonial relationships, the dynamic has morphed into a  some different contemporary capitalist version.

in 2010, a guardian article was published “Gaddafi flies Italian women to Libya for ‘cultural’ tours – and romance”. It reads:

Building on his friendship with Silvio Berlusconi, Libya’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has begun flying groups of Italian women to Libya for “cultural” tours of the country, with the aim of marrying them off to local men – starting with his nephew.

Because of the recent uprisings and massacres in Libya, the economic ties between the two countries have revealed themselves as extremely strong:

Italian bonds are blowing out. If sustained, this is bigger deal than the stock market swoon across Europe: CAC down 1.45%, FTSE down 1.1%, Dax off .4%. A lot of Libyan shares apparently in Italy and Libyan interests own over 7% of Unicredit, the biggest bank in Italy. Ouch.

(from naked capitalism)

This not an oddity, but a perfect articulation of the way nation-states function. We cannot really understand the way that states act in this capitalist world without considering states as inherently patriarchal, protecting, reproducing, and being produced by the hierarchical gender distinction (See, e.g., Pateman, Rajan), in the same movement by which they protect, reproduce, and are reproduced by the distinction between the working class and the capitalist class… Just as Maria Mies shows that colonization and racialization hinged on the way that colonizing men dealt with, treated, subordinated colonized women, as a major means by which the relationship was constructed between colonizer men and colonized men, so we can see that relationships between nation states today are formed by the way in which women are treated and exchanged by the elite men of each country…


Italian feminists: putting the mother/whore binary on blast since ’77

21.02.2011 § Leave a comment

On the italian women’s recent insurgence contra berlusconi:

“The recent scandals involving the PM reveal a squalid picture of corruption, in which the woman’s role is defined by the worst possible stereotypes and expressions of an archaic and vulgar sexism. On the other hand though, some of the recent mobilisation address their appeals only to “good” women: mothers, wives, working women. “

by Italian feminist group Le Malifiche, via ludmila

hollerin back at ya:

The revolts of the 1970s and in particular the ones that took place in Italy in 1977 aired all sorts of dirty laundry that no political or biological family knew how to clean anymore: colonialism, whose racist heritage was doing rather well, after all, sexism, which only looked healthier after 1968, the “free” spaces of extra-parliamentary cells which had become micro-fascist breeding grounds, the “emancipation” through work that was a postmodern version of Daddy and Grandpa’s slavery, and so on.

What triumphed was the sentiment of having been fooled and having received, in a rural and underdeveloped Europe, an outdated kit for the American way of life of the 1950s, while in the U.S. people were spitting on consumerism and the family and fighting to bring the Vietnam War home. These movements were unique, insofar as they did not fit into the sociological categories usually employed to mystify uprisings. In Italy a “diffused irrationalism” was spoken of, because young people refused to work and rejected the emerging global petit-bourgeoisie, believing in neither what society said of them nor the future they were offered.

The fact that these years of unheard-of collective creative fertility, both in terms of life forms and intellectual production, passed into the history books as “the years of lead” tells us a lot about what we are supposed to forget.

The feminist movement triggered this transformation, which dissolved all the old groups that had channeled energies since ’68. “No more mothers, wives and daughters: let’s destroy the families!” was the cry heard in the street. People were no longer demanding rights from the state but making an affirmation of foreignness in regard to the state of the world, an affirmation which made itself heard: nobody wanted to be included to be discriminated on a new basis. These movements were manifestations of the human strike.”

—- Claire Fontaine, “Ready-Made Artist and Human Strike: A few Clarifications”

and if that wasn’t enough, get Claire Fontaine’s “Human Strike Within the Field of the Libidinal Economy” HERE

Italy: Women Protest Prime Minister Berlusconi

14.02.2011 § Leave a comment

Hundreds of thousands of Italians mobilised by women campaigners gathered in piazzas across the country on Sunday in the biggest challenge to date against Silvio Berlusconi’s scandal-hit government.


From Sicily to northern Trieste – which prides itself on its conservative aloofness – crowds turned out to demand a better society for women and to denounce what they see as their 74-year-old prime minister’s demeaning of half of Italy in his control of centre-right politics and through his media empire.

Calling the grassroots movement, “If not now, when?” and spreading their message over the internet, organisers claimed 1m people attended rallies in more than 200 towns across Italy and about a dozen cities abroad.

Surprising themselves at the scale of the turnout, many said they were inspired by the protests in Cairo and Tunis.

Mariastella Gelmini, education minister, dismissed the rallies – led by trade unionists, prominent cultural figures, a handful of individual politicians and even some nuns – as “a few radical chic”

Protests were also planned across the world from Boston to Athens, showing the widespread anger against Berlusconi.


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