U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

Member Articles

  (For their Occasional
, click here)

Is anti-war activism on the wane? What can revive it?
May 2012

Reports from Palestine
Oct-Nov 2010

Earth Day in Israel: Apartheid Showing through the Greenwash
April 23, 2010

Occupied Washington, DC
March 30, 2010

AIPAC: Telling a Whopper
March 27, 2010

Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
Feb 13, 2010

Assedio di Gaza: Rompere l'indifferenza
Dec 2009

My Memories of Fort Hood
Nov 9, 2009

Italy's Fallen Soldiers
Sept 23, 2009

Yes We Camp
July 10, 2009

Absurdity is the Norm in the Gaza Strip
June 10, 2009

Il pacchetto di sicurezza viola i diritti umani
March 2009

U.S. Military Base in Vicenza, Italy Gets Final Approval
February 2009

“Unofficial” Referendum in Vicenza, Italy:
95% Opposed to New U.S. Military Base

Oct 2008

Mat and Yvonne Say: No Dal Molin
Sept 2008

U.S. Military Interests Reign Supreme in Italy
July 2008

Italian Court Blocks Construction of U.S. Military Base
June 2008

Movimenti contro le basi militari negli USA
May 2008

As Italy's elections go from bad to worse, Vicenza remains the silver lining
April 2008

What Do You Know About the U.S. Base Camp Darby?
Feb 2008

Tired of Promises, Vicenza, Italy Demands Action Against New U.S. Military Base
Dec 9, 2007

Not Your Ordinary 4th of July in Vicenza, Italy
Or How To Get Kicked Off a U.S. Military Base

July 4, 2007

Italian Women Opposing New U.S. Military Base Lobby Capitol Hill
May 11, 2007

No Peace or Justice: America's plans to Expand a US Military Base in Vicenza, Italy
March 2007

Anti War March in DC
Jan 27, 2007

March for Palestine
Nov 18, 2006

Travel Advisory
Oct 17, 2006

Letters from Camp Casey
Aug-Sept 2006

Don't Iraq Iran
May 18, 2006

Italian National Assembly of the Anti-War Movement
Feb 11-12, 2006

International Peace Conference in London
Dec 10, 2005

Concert in memoriam in Rome: Marla Ruzicka and the victims of war
July 9, 2005

Note: Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of USC4P&J

We want to hear
from you!

If you'd like to write an article on an issue or initiative dear to your heart, send it in for publication to:

Mat and Yvonne Say: No Dal Molin!

See below a guest article from Mat Callahan, who performed along with Yvonne Moore at No Dal Molin Festival in Vicenza.

Yvonne and I traveled to Vicenza Italy to participate in the second annual No Dal Molin festival. Dal Molin is the name of a civilian airport approximately 1.5 kilometers from Vicenza's historic city center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is this airport that the US government wants to turn into a military installation to house several thousand members of the 173 Airborne Combat Brigade Team. Plans for the base were developed behind closed doors by the US and Italian governments sometime in late 2003 only coming to light in 2006. When residents of Vicenza began to question these plans they were met by evasion and threats first from the Berlusconi government and then by Prodi's short-lived one. But the questions persisted until an alarmed populace began to mount a determined resistance. This quickly developed into a mass movement involving people from every walk of life. Not only were they never consulted about a construction that would have a serious impact on their lives, the idea of yet another American military base (there are already three others in the area) raised profound questions about everything from Italian sovereignty to environmental degradation to the folly of war itself. In a climate of widespread opposition to America's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the generally bellicose rhetoric of the Bush regime the issue of Dal Molin became a rallying point for a wide range of people for whom enough is enough.

The festival itself was an enthusiastic expression of solidarity involving many local residents, young and old, in building and maintaining a large site that resembled a town. Two stages, a large kitchen and dining area, a radio station, information booths, book stalls and more were set up in a field donated by a local farmer much to the chagrin of those in authority who'd blocked usage of other public sites. Among the performers were world renowned dramatist, Dario Fo, widely influential journalists Marco Travaglio and Oliviera Beha and numerous musical and theatrical groups. In addition, a series of debates were held that engaged hundreds of people in lively discussion. Yvonne and I were warmly received by an appreciative audience. Clearly, the fact that I'm a US citizen was part of this. While most Vicenzans know that the American people and the American government are not the same it helps to have an actual American state this openly. Furthermore, it is of no small significance that people far and wide are making this struggle their own. It is no longer a local matter only concerning residents of Vicenza or, for that matter, Italy. What it has already achieved has repercussions far beyond one particular locale or country.

First of all, construction of the base has been effectively delayed for more than a year. Though the authorities constantly spread disinformation designed to convince people that the base will be built regardless of their protests this is by no means a foregone conclusion. The spirit of resistance has taken root and is spreading with unpredictable consequences for the US and Italian governments. There is mounting opposition in other parts of Italy including movements such as No TAV against hi speed trains, in Chiaiano near Naples against a hazardous rubbish incinerator, a committee against a new Italian base at Mattarello in Trento all gathering under a pact of mutual aid and lending support to the No Dal Molin campaign.

Second, and most important, this sustained, well organized expression of the popular will has provided an inspiring example of what happens when people unite. As one young activist told me, "What we see here in this movement is equality. All of us together for a common purpose." That this is a far cry from and far better than the phony "democracy" referred to ad nauseam in tedious speeches by politicians is obvious to anyone who has experienced it. The lesson is clear: only by mobilizing the citizenry can there be a citizenry. Only by making public demands in the public sphere can there be a public informed and empowered to act in the public interest.

That this lesson is not lost on the powers that be was made painfully obvious when the police attacked a peaceful demonstration which took place in front of Dal Molin on September 6, the day before we arrived. If the intended result was to intimidate the people of Vicenza then its failure was made immediately apparent by an hilarious "Oscars" ceremony held on September 10 in front of the world renowned Teatro Olimpico in the center of Vicenza. This satire included the screening of a short film (the winner of the "Oscar") showing the police assault. The rally was a spirited act of defiance as well as a means to build for a larger demonstration planned for Saturday, Sept. 13.

While we could not stay due to commitments in Switzerland, we received reports that approximately 8,000 people turned out in the pouring rain to march from the Teatro Olimpico to Dal Molin. In a short email, Stephanie Westbrook of US Citizens for Peace and Justice in Rome told us: "We left from Teatro Olimpico and marched out toward the site of the new base. Before leaving the center they put up a colorful cardboard tower made by the No Dal Molin children to see if riot police would charge in and tear it down...Started raining half way through. We put up another tower at the site of the new base. 200 police in riot gear inside the fence, but this time they stayed 30 meters away. The No Dal Molin Fanfara Band led us in music, plus music and speakers from truck. Much talk about police violence the previous Saturday, and the upcoming referendum (Oct. 5). Calls for resignation of police chief. Most demonstrators arrived at festival. Main tent packed. We were all soaked but in good spirits."

The referendum Stephanie refers to is to enable the citizens of Vicenza to decide the future of Dal Molin. Not surprisingly, Berlusconi has stated that this will have no bearing on the actions of the central government. Apparently, his definition of democracy is passive acceptance of whatever he and his cronies say or do. But for the people of Vicenza any mandate he might feasibly claim to have since being reelected Prime Minister does not include making Italy a colony of the United States. Nor can it overrule the inhabitants of a region who want to determine what happens where they live. Ironically, the Lega Nord that blusters so much about "independence" for the industrious northern Italians from their supposedly lackadaisical southern counterparts, has said nothing about Dal Molin. Apparently, independence for them means complying with the wishes of a foreign occupier, namely the US. But such confusion and corruption are common in politics these days, not only in Italy but throughout the world. What the movement in Vicenza offers is a genuine alternative; a challenge to all the parties and politicians without exception. While there is a diversity of views amongst those opposed to the base certain themes, continually articulated, form a growing consensus: an end to war and militarism, protecting and nourishing the environment-particularly air, water and food, and the vigorous defense of human rights. Guided by such principles this struggle gives all of us the opportunity to actively participate in changing the world. We want to express our gratitude for and solidarity with those making their stand in Vicenza. No Dal Molin!

Mat Callahan


Mailing List

Stay informed
Join the USC4P&J mailing list to stay informed on events and initiatives.

Ongoing/Future Events

Our Eyes Wide Open Film Series is suspended; for further information click here.

Upshot of our Nov. 9th group discussion on current politics:

It wasn't the Russians that got us Trump. Or Comey. Or even the massive GOP election fraud. It was the DNC.*
*Dem National Committee

To learn how to stop the DNC from delivering us another Trump, read Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis.

Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force. Tell Trump to STOP THIS CARNAGE, not fuel it! Click here.

Also participate in the CodePink email and/or phone initiative:

Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video by the Italian Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.

Iraq Deaths Estimator
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can curb ISIS by itself!"

Copyright © 2008 Mat Callahan  All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy