The commons: a brief life journey
Community Development Journal
A commoner's Bildungsroman, this article narrates the intellectual development of a radically rooted intellectual, through reflections on dominant explanatory frameworks, evoking through that journey, the real-life personal and conceptual implications of the pursuit of understanding the world, and the desire to change it. In 1969, the year of factory and students' explosions in Italy, I was nine years old. I became teenager in the 1970s, a decade of intense mass movements of struggles and
... struggles and social creativity that involved youth, workers, women producing house occupations, social centres, free radios, experiences of self-organization in high schools, universities, factories, collectives, and selforganized abortion clinics. I could not understand it all but struggle made sense, and even more so the feeling of freedom, dignity, and autonomy that many of these struggles communicated to me, as a young and naïve boy striving for more than the bread and butter rationale I was accustomed to in my family: I also needed roses, music and a sense of adventure towards new horizons. After 1979 and the heavy-handed repression following the antiterrorist laws that crushed large sections of social movements, and after the seed of heroin was implanted into youth circles killing many and taking out of action many more, the party was finished. For me, it was as if in the moment you manage to get onto the dance floor and begin to understand how to dance, the music stops, and the lights are turned off. The party was over, and it was transferred to other scenes: in front of the TV, with the explosion of private channels in the hands of Berlusconi, into disco clubs, into the beginning of precarious lives in time of economic austerity and financial boom . . . and into reading and discussion groups.