The most cultured, affectionate and tireless narrator of the events and interweaving of Milan’s social centres is Marco Philopat, who in countless articles, books, interviews and performances has narrated the ups and downs of the city’s underground history, countercultures, movements, both large and small.
In re/search Milano. Mappa di una città a pezzi (Map of a city in pieces), Philopat summarized in a few pages and many maps the concentration of occupied spaces, anarchist spaces, social spaces from the seventies to 2015, the year in which 32 were surveyed.
Since that year the situation has not remained stable, of course, new energies have moved and been organized and new seasons of eviction have followed one another, until today’s threat of eviction in Macao that moves and touches public opinion so much.
On the two extreme positions, on opposite sides of the spectrum, there are: the usual well-thinking fascistonians who see any initiative from below, with or without occupation, with suspicion and contempt (those whom Elio called the matusa in super-young) and on the other side the more victimistic fringes of the occupiers who, more than anything else – more than conflict, more than sociality, more than counterculture – want only one thing: to be RECOGNISED, without ifs and buts, the importance of their social role. These two parties, as always, do not express the most interesting part of the clash, they are perched on their positions and do not have much to say to each other and to us.
In between there is an enormous amount of people interested to varying degrees in the existence of social centres, self-managed cultural centres, all forms of spaces which are not cultural enterprises but which produce culture, opposition, criticism, and also, of course, entertainment. There are those of cultural innovation, which consider these spaces – legal or illegal – as forms of diversity beneficial to a thousand of new urban processes, not least those of gentrification and valorisation of networks and the third sector. There are politicians who hope to identify new basins of consensus. There are those of the people of the night, who want to go dancing with less commercial djs and until the morning without so much jerking off. There are the alternative urban planners and sociologists, who give courses on city rights and collective planning. Finally, there are the typical intellectuals who are passionate about critical debates, wonderful fairs of independent publishing, but also of wine and sustainable agriculture, and of everything that could be a prelude to the birth of a new energetic left. Here you will find a still very partial – but constantly expanding – map of the current situation of these spaces, those the most active, open and interesting.
Translated by Sila Turku Askin