Collective memory and prosecution

While reassessing the revolutionary days of the 1970s in Italy, some of the prominent activists of the era observed in 1983:

“The public destruction of the collective memory of the movement is conducted by manipulating the individual memories of the witnesses. Even when they tell the truth, they abolish the real motivations and contexts of what they describe, establishing hypothetical links, effects without causes, interpreted according to theorems constructed by the prosecution.”

Do You Remember Revolution? by Lucio Castellano, Arrigo Cavallina, Giustino Cortiana, Mario Dalmaviva, Luciano Ferrari Bravo, Chicco Funaro, Antonio Negri, Paolo Pozzi, Franco Tommei, Emilio Vesce, and Paolo Virno. Republished in English in Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt (ed.) Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics .University of Minnesota Press (October 1996)

Isn’t this true that we are taught to think about every popular movement in terms of “theorems constructed by the prosecution”? Movements are reduced to leaders… to particular events that suit the present hegemonies… leaders are reduced to objects – of hatred or reverence… Education (in classroom or outside, everywhere) is essentially prosecution!


One thought on “Collective memory and prosecution

  1. You speak the truth here in this post. Movements are indeed reduced to leaders, and the leaders themselves are then reduced to objects of reverence of hatred. The pictures are always painted to suit the mood of the present hegemony. Education, almost always, is a mechanism to create a mass conducive to a certain line of thought; mass education as we imagine it, has never been an instrument of true enlightenment.

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