Day 102-XXVIII, Salerno.
Day 103-XXIX, from Salerno to Battipaglia, 20 km.
Battipaglia, February 18
I was wrong. The other day was special after all. Both in a positive and a negative sense.
I’ll start with the positive news, it won’t take long.
The popular assembly we held in Salerno was a great success. I’ve never seen anything like it here in Italy. Even though it was slow as always, especially because of the translations, the locals stayed, participated, and their numbers kept growing. In the end, they surrounded us on all sides. But the best part of it was that they decided to reconvene next sunday in a week, to continue their exchange of ideas about a better world. So, we founded the Popular Assembly of Salerno, and that is definitely something to be proud of.
By contrast, the day after was disastrous. Yet again we should have departed, and we didn’t. Instead we held a mega internal assembly from ten o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock at night. With interruption for lunch.
You will know by now that I don’t have the patience for these kind of things, so I only witnessed part of it, and had the rest told to me by those who resisted.
The morning part was dedicated to creating an ‘ideal’ daily timetable, which we will not respect, not even once.
The afternoon part should have been about the infamous date of arrival. But we don’t even get to talk about that anymore. In the end, the themes of ‘demotivation’ and ‘violence’ surfaced, and we discussed for two hours about which of these themes we would address first.
I proposed that we divide ourselves into two groups, then we would fight each other, and whoever would win would get to talk about their preferred theme first.
In the end we didn’t talk about anything. We rode the waves of absurdity. And contrary to what I thought before, we are at risk of complete disintegration.
We are now only about fifteen persons. And we will lose more. The faction that wants to push on, make a schedule, give the march a political meaning and prepare the Agora Athens, has given up and gone ahead.
The easy goers remain, and comrade Max as well. As for me, I don’t know. I would hate to leave as well, but if the march doesn’t make sense anymore, then I must consider looking for other sources of revolution.
Still, apart from it all, I enjoy myself. I walk over the boulevard, I chat with some of the elderly people who witnessed our arrest the other day.
In one of the villages that we passed, the mayor was in prison for corruption. Here in Salerno people really seem to like their first citizen. The town looks clean, there are no mountains of trash in the streets, there are pedestrian zones, no visible traces of camorra, and the old centre is being carefully restored. The mayor is left wing and paternalist. He got re-elected more than once, lately with eighty percent of the votes. It results in Salerno not being a typical city from the south of Italy. It looks pretty nice, and it feels pretty boring.
Up until here I have been sharing my tent with comrade Getafe. He transported it in his shopping cart. But now that he left I walk with full gear. It makes a difference. Twenty kilometres are a lot if you carry your home, your bed, your wardrobe and your office on your shoulders. I arrive first, and I wait.
Will the march make it up to here? I wonder. Has it broken down completely? I start writing the current article, and when I’m almost done, listen…
It’s the tambourines. It’s the revolutionary songs, and then it’s the local drum band joining in. They were celebrating carnival, and now they accompany the remaining marchers who reach Battipaglia after nightfall.
When I join them everyone is dancing. We organise a popular assembly ad hoc, and people gather all around us. We did make it up to here, and that’s reason enough to be joyful.
Tomorrow is another day.