On June 5th 1975 Margherita Cagol a founding leader of the Red Brigades, one of the communist organizations which emerged from the new wave of proletarian struggles that erupted in Italy and throughout Western Europe at the end of the 60s was killed in combat with paramilitary police in Acqui Terme.
In the words of the Metropolitan Political Collective, precursor organization of the BR:
“We see in proletarian autonomy the unifying content of the struggles of the students, workers and technicians which prepared the way for the qualitative leap of 1968-69.
Autonomy is not a fantasy or an empty formula for those who, in the face of the system’s counter-offensive, nostalgically cling to past struggles. Autonomy is the movement for proletarian liberation from the comprehensive hegemony of the bourgeoisie and it coincides with the revolutionary process. In this sense autonomy is certainly not a new thing, a last-minute invention, but a political category of revolutionary Marxism, in whose light the consistency and direction of a mass movement can be evaluated.
Autonomy from: bourgeois political institutions (the state, parties, unions, judicial institutions, etc.), economic institutions (the entire capitalist productive-distributive apparatus), cultural institutions (the dominant ideology in all its manifestations), normative institutions (habits, bourgeois ‘morals’).
Autonomy for: the destruction of the whole system of exploitation and the construction of an alternative social organization.”
Women with guns at their side women who rob who kidnap who attack prisons who shoot representatives of the law and of the state woman who have followed their road to the end going from the role of support and consoler of their male colleagues to that of protagonists. The man and the woman he relates in a low voice barely marked by the emotion which has taken hold of him since the tragedy they got into the 128 and the 127 parked on the grass they left in a hurry perhaps because they thought they had killed the whole patrol. This latter detail was decisive it was a ring with three mounted stones which had been given by the mother to all three sisters. There followed another shoot-out in the course of which the woman was hit at this point according to the false version provided by headquarters the carabiniere ran out of ammunition and the other man took advantage of this to escape.
In the yard of the farmhouse at the point where she had been struck down this morning there were found six red roses. Immediately afterwards he saw the bandits’ two cars which were trying to get past the carabinieri’s car which was blocking their way but they got out onto the road ending up in a ditch.Yes it’s her the two sisters told the magistrate its been 5 years since we last saw her standing arm in arm they looked at the dead woman weeping in silence the body of the woman was stretched out naked on the marble bench. From the man’s sub-machine gun came the series of shots that hit the woman and also hit the man who even though with a bullet in his body managed to reach the first line of trees and disappear into the woods.
Naturally nobody knows who left the bunch of red roses nobody has seen anything and none of the local farm people have seen strangers. However their line of escape is blocked in front of them is the carabinieri’s 128 across the middle of the road the bandits have no time to go into reverse. A patch of blood in the centre of the chest another on the left arm the fingers of the right hand blackened and contracted as if frozen in the act of gripping the earth the left hand wearing a gold ring with three small stones. And I started shooting again and downed the girl who was screaming wildly the man also started shouting I’m wounded and he ran off into the fields and disappeared.
Then for the whole of the day the searching of the woods continued an operation in which 300 carabinieri 80 policemen 20 finance guards 6 helicopters and a number of dog-handler units are still involved. The carabiniere fires a second shot which one assumes hit the man who was on the back seat of the 127 a bloodstain was found afterwards. The black hair in the subdued light of the morgue not red as it had appeared at a distance yesterday in the sunlight between the trees on her lip a small scar. It was found the bullets still in the magazine one of the girls ended up killed while the soldier tries to reload his weapon the accomplices manage to escape on the young woman’s chest there are three holes the demonstration.
–Let A Thousand Hands Reach Out To Pick Up The Gun:
From La Violenza Illustrata (Einaudi, 1976) Nanni Balestrini