by Marco Pannella

"Notes and comments with reference to articles by Ferrara, Galante Garrone, Trombadori and others"."/>

"The Toni Negri case"<br>by Marco Pannella<br><br>"Notes and comments with reference to articles by Ferrara, Galante Garrone, Trombadori and others".

ABSTRACT: Toni Negri, leader of "Autonomia Operaia" and charged with several terrorist offences, is elected at the Chamber of Deputies from the Radical Party's list on 26 June 1983, and released as a consequence. In reply to several critical comments expressed in a number of articles, Marco Pannella explains his judgement on the political culture expressed by terrorism and generally by Marxist, extreme Left movements, and the reason for Toni Negri's candidacy. "Personally speaking, I don't think I ever allowed...with a single word or a single text by Toni Negri...."I presume Toni Negri violated them (the codes) and was the architect and the organizer of violations in other cases as well"; however, the State, according to Pannella, cannot do summary justice, and keep a person in prison for five years without trying her, fraudulently accusing her of uncommitted offences and violating all the principles of the law and the guaranties that protect the defendant. The objective of Toni Negri's candidacy is the modification of the "special" legislation which authorizes, among others, a preventive custody of over ten years, and the reform of the institution of "parliamentary immunity". "We wanted to prove that we are against parliamentary immunity, because we believe the defendant's right and duty to be tried and judged guilty or innocent should prevail".
It is important to remark that Marco Pannella expressed such opinions before the Chamber voted the authorization to arrest and prosecute Toni Negri, with the decisive contribution of the Radical parliamentarians. The "scandal" for this Radical vote, coherent with the positions the Radical Party has always taken, is denounced precisely by those who had previously been strongly polemic as regards Toni Negri's candidacy.
Following this Radical initiative, the trial against Toni Negri and against the other defendants of the trial of "7 April" is finally held, while Parliament passes a series of reforms in matter of law which include the reduction of the terms of preventive custody.
(Booklet divulged by the Radical Party, 15 July 1983)


I have already had the occasion to remark that the terrorist Curcio and the judge Calogero share a common culture, the executioner's culture. This is an opinion, not a judgement.

The conception of an executioner's justice belongs or has belonged to historical traditions and forces which have dominated for decades and centuries. The Catholic Church, a few other Christian churches or sects, most revolutionary forces, part of the Jacobin forces, a great part of real Communism. I may be wrong, but I assume the responsibility of judging.

Curcio has no doubt violated the law. As to Calogero, I don't know. He has been given barbaric laws, and perhaps he has done nothing more than apply them to their full extent, in their perverted logic. I doubt such laws are constitutional, in fact I am quite sure they are not. But I cannot ignore the fact that they have not been declared unconstitutional, although I hope they will be abolished. Like none other, I have struggled in Parliament with my Radical comrades to prevent these laws against violence and terrorism from being voted and for them to be abrogated, because they are nothing but the repetition of fascist laws, ideologically and technically. My hope is that there will be lawyers and judges who will operate to enable the Constitutional Court to pronounce a decision, and if possible to pronounce a democratic decision and not a partyist, biased decision.

I publicly and repeatedly express this intellectual and political belief of mine. But is is in no way a "moral reproof". If Calogero's culture - or Curcio's - were, as I believe it is, an executioner's culture instead of the culture of a man of justice, I would consider it immoral is they behaved other than as executioners. On the other hand I condemn Curcio coherently with the sentences of the law, not for his beliefs, which are opposed to mine, but because he has committed crimes and offences that violate penal laws, that is, the rules of civil coexistence.

But this means to be a political, not a moral condemnation, as well as the expression of confidence as regards the effective administration of justice and its conclusions in the ascertainment of the factual truth and the application of the relative sanctions. I condemn him not because his culture is morally condemnable, because no culture is. For a civilization, a culture or a person, there can be no perversity but simply difference. If we look at the history of the political and juridical civilization of the democratic state, if we look at the bases of "Western" democracy, there can only be perverse behaviours, not perverse people. My judgement as regards Calogero is a judgement of political hostility, not a condemnation or a request for a "moral" condemnation, at least until I fully convince myself that he is patently and fraudulently violating the law.

Those who have different opinions and preach other things can do so legitimately, but in the name of the "ethical" State, not of the democratic State or in the name of the reason of State, in the sense of civil State, of the "Polis". Or they may do so as clerics or executioners on behalf of their own "ecclesiastic" or sectarian church" truth, be it "atheist" or "confessional", which is conceived as the supreme truth to be asserted with the violence of a moral excommunication if not with the force of the sword of their own "justice". But Curcio and Calogero are not "professors". They both write, but their personality and their function cannot be summarized as writing and "professing". But this is true for Negri...Therefore, he is an "evil teacher".

In history, every new "teacher", in order to be acknowledged as such, cannot but appear as a "bad teacher", at least for most people, and for those whose moral preaching he overcomes, corrects and confutes; and the more scandalously so the more he is greatly and radically "teacher", that is, "new teacher".

Does this mean that anyone - a writer or a professor or simply a person who has prestige in certain milieus - who sparks reprobation, scandal, indignation or excommunications should be considered a genius and a great teacher for this very reason? Clearly not. Even a fool, in certain environmental conditions, for reasons that have little to do with his own qualities, can be mistakenly considered or feared for a moment as a "great teacher", or a sort of evil, destructive demon. I will only say that there can be no new, "good master" without the "scandal" and the "perversity".

When it is not possible to use the force of the law against such hypothetical teacher (as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Capitini or Guido Calogero), we use the "moral condemnation", the excommunication, the exclusion of the "good ones" on the part of the evil Pharisees.

Personally speaking, I believe I never enabled, with a single word or text by Toni Negri, either to accept or to be agnostic regarding his thought as he expressed it during the years in which he was a "bad teacher". And I would consider it "immoral" if he had not acted coherently with his ideas, his morality, that is, also violently. My problem, if ever, is to understand if his coherence has lead him to violate the law. I presume he has, also because given that the codes are still the fascist codes, I personally and my Radical comrades have been continually accused of violating them and we have been forced to denounce ourselves countless times out of a Socratic, constitutional and nonviolent duty. I presume that Negri has violated them too, and has planned and organized the violation of such codes on a number of other occasions. But we did not need to wait for April 1986 to struggle against the "theoretic" choices and the praxis of the students' "movement", be it in Italy or in France. And we did not fight against it in the private sphere or in universities, but during the assemblies, in the streets, as nonviolents, that is, with rigour and force, compromising ourselves personally and politically. I presume it, and I can say I can presume it without any problems, as I have been doing for 15 years.

From a personal and political point of view, I can be satisfied with presuming it. But the judge cannot. The judge needs to ascertain when, how, where, why and with whom. He must do so quickly, with certainty. If he doesn't, if he can't or won't do so, if the facts or the legitimate exertion of the right to defence, if the rules of the trial procedures do not enable him to translate his subjective belief of guiltiness into grounded charges, then he can do nothing but acquit the defendant.

As far as I am concerned, in absolute conscience, nothing, I repeat, nothing, not even from an intellectual and logical point of view, enables me to believe that Toni Negri is guilty of armed insurrection, or that he is the hierarchic leader of a militarily organized movement called "Autonomia", or that he is the organizer or the accomplice of the assassinations for which Fioroni and others (to keep to to some of the remaining charges amid the countless ones that emerge as the law is forced to gradually relinquish others) have been convicted.

I find it not only deplorable but also aberrant that Toni Negri has been depicted by the world press first as a member of the Red Brigades in the Moro assassination, then as the effective leader of the Red Brigades, then as the leader not of the Red Brigades, but of a single terrorist organization with different names which are all a cover of the movement "Autonomia", and so on, and this owing to the negligent or intentional responsibility of Judge Calogero.

I find it not only deplorable but also aberrant that a citizen who is surely innocent of the offences and of the infamous facts for which he has been arrested, is morally lynched in his identity and image, is neither indemnified not released for an hour in a period of four years of imprisonment, but is shut into special prisons, where his most elementary rights are denied. He is transported all over Italy, reached in such conditions by new charges as the old ones expire, passed from one judge to another, the object of several trials for the same facts, never confronted with his accusers (who include people convicted for murder and who are free thanks to these accusations), while the same judge who ordered the arrest never feels the need, over a period of four years, to see him again if not for a new interrogation, while the defendant needs millions and millions just to acquire the photocopies of the trials which give rise to new charges, while he is held responsible - and is forced to give alibis and documented evidence - for events that took place ten, twelve years previously, accused of being the organizer, the "mastermind", the "bad teacher" of murders committed while he was in special prison since years, of having organized evasions while he never even tried his own or that of his companions, while he continues to ask to be tried immediately, for the assassination of Moro, for the command of the Red Brigades, etc...Instead, the law procrastinates until 1981, so that it can use the "repentants" to find other "evidence" which calls for more "charges"...

Allow me, in these conditions, to appeal once again to the Constitution, to our juridical civilization, which imposes the prsumption of innocence until the contrary is proven.

Do you think that I could really imagine that Judge Calogero was not certain, was not in possession of evidence, regarding Negri's "telephone calls" to the Moro family before taking part in his assassination, when I read that the arrest of 7 April was due to this? Do you really think that it didn't take me time to stop giving credit to a judicial action which was so ferociously self-assured? And yet, I am one the thousands of citizens and politicians, who have had to put up with justice in one way or the other.

Let me specify that not just Toni Negri, but thousands of defendants, of citizens who are serving a sentence in advance which might never be inflicted, because they might not be judged guilty with regular sentences, have to suffer this aberrant reality. There is no doubt that the Toni Negri affair is comprehensive of most other affairs. I am not saying that there is no affair more cruel or infamous. I am saying that I know of none so cruel, that the judges have not informed the press of it, and the press has not informed the public, including me. This is why, a year ago, I visited Toni and others.

The Negri affair is monstrous. No one denies it. On the contrary, everyone (an array of people, representatives of philosphy, of the intellect, of moral, of the law, of politics) proclaim that the State is surely guilty of a disturbed state of affairs. Immediately after there are the "buts". In brief, they all say that the State's guilt does not acquit Negri of his own faults. Clearly, there are many followers of Lapalisse, there is no other explanation faced to the geometric progression of self-evidence which they submerge us with.

Old, hardened Stalinists; adult social climbers who have finally conquered a space of their own in the newspapers or in Parliament after decades of respectful service; prestigious patriarchs who wearily read only what the press wants them to read and believe, who are void of any interest or curiosity; a leading class which has been unanimous, for forty years, in holding the Republic to those fascist codes which the fascist regime provided Italy with for less than a decade; the paleo-fascists on permanent service...they are all there, and since they control information, at the most they can tolerate a couple of dissident collaborators.

The State's faults do not acquit Negri, this is evident. However, what I don't understand is why these faults should condemn Negri irrevocably, as they have. If those people are convinced of it, it is because quite unfairly they have never spent a couple of days in prison to understand what it means...for their family, for people. They have never experienced what it means to spend four years in prison without a trial, with the perspective of serving ten more years thanks to new charges.

Moreover, we believe that Negri's faults (which remain to be proven) do not acquit the State. Because we have a sense of the State as well as a sense of justice. And if the State is in a mess, if the Republic becomes an authoritarian regime like USSR and Chile, Turkey or Iran, and ends up in the lists of Amnesty International, in the international and European courts of justice (have you noticed that, censors and colleagues of censors?), if the State continues to destroy the legality officially and ostentatiously (as well as having its own secret services involved in the infamies of the Red Brigades, of the members of Autonomia, of the fascists, of drug and arms merchants), this can only be the prelude to a massacre of human lives, and not only of those thirty million who are killed by hunger and misery "elsewhere".

We deal with such problems, not like those people who deal with preventive custody and torture speaking about it "in principle" when it comes to defending custody itself and denying that there have been cases of torture. We don't worry about these things, we deal with them at our own risk, in conscience and in facts.

Above all, we were concerned about the State, about justice, about nonviolence, about order, about the force of the juridical civilization and of tolerance, which are to be safeguarded. Toni might have been on the verge of being judged guilty for the assassination of Moro, of Giorgiana Masi, of the terrorist attacks of Milan, Brescia, Bologna, the Italicus, instead of being absolutely and unquestionably innocent, given that he is innocent for Calogero himself. But until he had been sentenced, we could have gone to him, as we did last year when he released for expiry of terms with a direct provision of the "nation", of the "sovereign people" which he represents today.

Now there is a scandal. Now they discuss about parliamentary immunity, the same who took advantage of it and defended it against our constant and solitary battle, as for the Investigatory Commission, Christian Democrats, Social democrats, communists and Socialists, member of the MSI.

We are accused of contradicting ourselves. Where is the contradiction? We wanted to draw the nation's attention (and the world's attention) on the situation in which the infamous laws imposed by the national unity and by the parties advocating a line of inflexibility (the same who barter, every day, the freedom of any murderer in exchange for delation, be it false or true) have plunged the Italian justice into. We wanted to repeat that the certainty and the promptness of the penalty, not inquisitions, can be a deterrent and can win against crime, can be a guaranty of justice for the innocent. We wanted to strike (interrupting their course in the most serious and emblematic story of anticipated, ferocious, persecutory expiation of a penalty which has never been inflicted - anticonstitutional, barbaric laws, suicidal for democracy and for the political civilization. We wanted to restore the principle of defence, to achieve the ascertainment of facts and the truth. We wanted to prove that the Leviathan is not all-powerful, and that if violence enhances it, nonviolence - only - can defeat it and replace it with a democratic, civil State. We wanted to spark a discussion on parliamentary immunity, to impose our draft bill, the only one that reforms it instead of perpetuating it by changing it, as the party power did with the Investigatory Commission just as we were about to have it abrogated with a referendum.

We wanted to prove - once more - that we are against parliamentary immunity because we believe that the defendant's right-duty to be tried and judged innocent or guilty should prevail, even in cases of patent persecution, and there are no doubts that this is the case of Toni Negri.

Given that for the moment, we have removed the defendant awaiting judgement from their hands (and from prisons worthy of the Inquisition and of fascism), I will let the hypocrites say that they have "struggled" for the guaranties before fighting "against the ideas" of the "bad teachers" with anathemas and moral excommunications.

But they can continue to rejoice: the world shan't change for one Negri who is elected, despite dishonest elections, in a Parliament degraded by their party power as justice is massacred in this story. There are millions of other people like Negri, every month, whom they can continue to deny all rights. We cannot elect all of them, and this is a victory for such people, good and indefatigable teachers.