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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/13/09

Yes We Camp

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Message Stephanie Westbrook

But the Yes We Camp protests have managed to garner media attention. As Obama passed through L'Aquila on his way to tour the damage in the historic center, activists were on hand with banners to greet his motorcade. And on July 9, as the First Ladies toured the same area, the women of L'Aquila organized the march of the "Last Ladies" and occupied an empty apartment building demanding that is be used for the people still living in tents.

There are some concerns that, as the G8 comes to a close, there will be no "withdrawal" from L'Aquila. In fact, throughout Italy, unpopular decisions handed down from the central government are increasingly enforced by the military, including the construction of incinerators at Acerra and mega-landfills at Chiaiano near Naples. Berlusconi has also threatened to use the military to enforce the construction of new the U.S. base in Vicenza and, more recently, for the construction of new nuclear power plants.

However, in each of these cases, the local people have succeeded in creating a movement to defend their territory and vindicate their right to dissent. And in this day and age of "representative systems" that are in effect killing democracy, what we see with the local citizens committees and assemblies are instead examples of true democracy.

Yes we camp. And we won't go away!

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Stephanie Westbrook is a U.S. citizen who has been living in Rome, Italy since 1991. She is active in the peace and social justice movements in Italy.
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