No Tav is the term used to recognize a popular Italian grassroots movement, born in the early 90s. It includes a large number of people struggling against High-Speed-Railway projects in Italy, and recently inspired activists, associations and popular assemblies in foreign countries as well.
The most important No Tav struggle is located in Susa Valley, near Turin, where people have been resisting for two decades against the Turin - Lyon high speed rail projects. During this ongoing long-term struggle, the original purpose to prevent environmental devastation and rash and senseless squander of public money, turn into a broad process of political self-determination against system corruption and mafia governement business.
In the last years, the movement becomes an important benchmark for everyone rejecting the neoliberalist crisis, the demolition of social welfare, the austerity measures imposed by governments, and the dismantling of social rights, as we are clearly witnessing in Southern Europe.Through their popular assemblies, No Tav inhabitants of Susa Valley enforce from time to time their own organisational levels in autonomy and make collective decisions step-by-step. The indomitable NoTav opposition creates a strong network of solidarity all over the country, in front of the increasing militarisation of Susa Valley in the last years.
In 2011, the No Tav people occupies the site for the construction of the geognostic preliminary tunnel, and declares for three weeks the "Free Republic of Maddalena" in there (near the village of Chiomonte). The Italian State brutally reacts, sending on June 27 thousands of riot police and troops to evict the picket, using tear-gas against Susa Valley people, and permanently establishing hundreds of police and military forces in the valley. Six days after, a huge demonstration (some 80.000 people) tries to reclaim the militarized area (3rd July 2011); resulting in hours and hours of clashes between people and riot police, that threw more than four thousands poisonous CS tear gases in a single day.
So, should it be addressed as High-Speed-Rail project or High-Speed-Military project? This question still remains unanswered. Of course, the realisation of the TAV is on hold, and people kept on struggling against the Italian State militarisation of an entire valley through popular demonstrations and sabotages. In spite of Italian governmnent obstinacy, its French counterpart is starting to scrap the Turin-Lyon High Speed Rail Project plans in front of other economical priorities; yet, in Italy, corporations and parties' businesses concerning the great work still oppose popular needs. To say it with a slogan echoed through many solidarity demonstrations in these years: "1 centimeter of TAV works equals the financing of a primary school".
The legitimacy of the No Tav movement is increasing in front of the deep crisis of the Italian representative political system. Now, in front of the mass strenght of the movement, the bipartisan non-elected PD ("Democratic" Party)- PdL (right-wing) government tries to put a strain on the movement, carrying out absurd detenctions and concealing the goals of the struggle through mainstream media smear campaings.
Yet, the Susa Valley people, as movement have been chanting for many years, has no fear, and its antagonist attitude is growing up against any kind of abuse.