Trans. anonymous, revised by Greg Johnson
“I hate this book. I hate it with all my heart. It gave me glory, that paltry thing called fame, but it is also the source of all my miseries. For this book, I have known many months in prison, . . . police persecution as petty as cruel. For this book, I experienced the betrayal of friends, enemies, bad faith, selfishness and the wickedness of men. From this book has originated the stupid legend that made me out to be cynical and cruel, a sort of Machiavelli disguised as Cardinal de Retz that they like to see in me.” Though written by Curzio Malaparte in the introduction to his famous essay The Technique of the Coup, Giorgio Freda, the author of The Disintegration of the System, could have made these lines his own. Because, in writing this small booklet of about sixty very dense pages that undermined the basis of the bourgeois system, the young publisher has suffered years of judicial and media persecution.
Edizioni di Ar
On October 26, 1963, Senator Umberto Terracini, an influential member of the Jewish community and the Italian Communist Party, reported publicly to the Ministers of Interior and Justice the dissemination in Padua of “a vile pamphlet bearing the title Gruppo di Ar (Ar Group), which, taking up the most vile racist theories of Italian Nazism, openly portrays the authors as publishers advocating anti-democratic ideology,” and asks “whether and which measures have been proposed and taken to cauterize the wound and stop the infection before it gets wider dissemination and enters the sphere of action.”
Originally publicly stigmatized, the group was founded by a young Platonist and Evolian lawyer named Giorgio Freda. The name chosen by the group, Ar, was highly symbolic, as it is in many Indo-European languages, being the semantic root connoting the idea of nobility and aristocracy.
In 1964, Freda had to face trial for a pamphlet denouncing Zionist policy in Palestine. This was just the first of many. The same year, Edizioni di Ar, which he had just founded, published their first book, An Essay on the Inequality of the Races by Arthur de Gobineau. Next were the minor writings of Julius Evola and the works of Corneliu Codreanu. Each title had a circulation of 2,000 copies.
There were two constants in Freda’s militant commitment: the fight against international Zionism, including Israel, which he believed was only the tip of the struggle and against the bourgeois liberal system, expressed by American imperialism in Europe since 1945. About anti-Zionism, Freda was the first editor in Italy who supported Palestinian fighters, even as the Right, embodied by the MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano), extolled Israel as a “bulwark of the West against the Arabs enslaved by Moscow.” It was he who organized in Padua in March 1969 — in conjunction with the Maoist group, Potere Operairo (Workers’ Power) — the first major meeting in Italy to support the Palestinian resistance in the presence of representatives of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. The Zionist lobby never forgave him. Moreover, not content with simple verbal support, like so many distinguished intellectuals, he would secretly provide bomb timers to a supposed representative of Fatah.
The Disintegration of the System
But Giorgio Freda is above all a man of the text. And what a text! The Disintegration of the System was written in 1969 as student protests were in full force. Italy was then undergoing a “creeping May” — as opposed to the sudden explosion and fallout in France. Convinced of the urgent need for radically subverting the bourgeois world, Freda believed that everything must be tried and, when so many young people were seeking to give a truly revolutionary content to the student revolt, that it should be recovered from the proponents of orthodox Marxist or social democratic reformism. It was for these young people that The Disintegration of the System was intended, and far from being Freda’s personal program, it synthesized the common demands of the entire national-revolutionary milieu, from Giovane Europe (Young Europe) to Lotta di Popolo (People’s Struggle).
The tone of the text is decidedly offensive. A disciple of Evola, Freda is the first to not just comment learnedly on his writings, but to move from theory to practice, so much so that one can see in The Disintegration of the System the political practice of the theory outlined in Riding the Tiger, one of the last of Evola’s writings. With this book, the Baron gave the intellectual framework affirming Freda’s belief that there can be no compromise with the bourgeois system. “There is a solution,” writes Evola, “which must be firmly ruled out: to build on what survives of the bourgeois world, and to defend it as a basis to fight against the currents of dissolution and the most violent subversion, after possibly trying to facilitate or strengthen the remains with some higher values that are more traditional.” And the Baron added: “It might be good to help bring down the already faltering and what belongs to the world of yesterday, instead of seeking to support and to artificially prolong life. This possible tactic, such as to prevent the final crisis, is the work of the opposing forces which would then undertake the initiative. The risk of this is obvious: we do not know who has the last word.”
In The Disintegration, Freda was not tender with the idols and values of bourgeois society. Order for the sake of order, sacrosanct private property, capitalism, moral conformism, and visceral blind pro-Zionism and philo-Americanism, but also God, priests, judges, bankers — nothing and no one escaped his criticism. To the dominant market model, he offered a real alternative, reaffirming the traditional doctrine of the state, fully opposed to pseudo-bourgeois values, and developed a coherent state project, the most spectacular aspect including the organization of a Communist economy — a Spartan and elitist communism which owes more to Plato than to Karl Marx.
A man of action, Freda was sickened by pseudo-intellectual Evolo-Guénonians locked away in their ivory towers. He had harsh words for some Evolians: “sterile apologists of the discourse on the state,” “worshipers of abstractions,” “champions of conceptual gestures” that, in his eyes, were riders of paper tigers. “For us,” he writes, “to be true to our vision of the world – and therefore of the state – means to comply with it, leaving nothing undone to achieve it historically.” In this perspective, he clearly shows the intention to reach out to sectors involved in the objective negation of the bourgeois world, including the ultra-extra-parliamentary left to which he proposes a strategy that was loyal to a united struggle against the System. It was then that he contacted various Maoist groups, such as Potere Operaio and the Communist Party of Italy-Marxist Leninist.
“For a political soldier, purity justifies any hardness, indifference all guile, while the stamp of the impersonal on the fight dissolves all moral concerns.” These strong words ends the manifesto.
Victim of Democracy
On December 12, 1969, a bomb exploded in the National Bank of Agriculture, Piazza Fontana in Milan, killing 16 people and injuring 87. The Italian section of the Situationist International of the ultra-left issued a manifesto entitled “The Reichstag Burns,” denouncing the regime as the real organizer of the massacre. The Situationists would continue to repeat that the Piazza Fontana bomb was “neither anarchist nor fascist.”
Giorgio Freda, meanwhile, continued his intellectual struggle against the System. In 1970, in a preface to a text by Evola, he welcomed the possibility of urban warfare in Italy. In April 1971, Edizioni di Ar published officially for the first time in the peninsula since 1945, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That same month, Freda was arrested and accused of “having distributed books, printed and written information containing propaganda or incitement to violent subversion.” The repressive machine was under way. For the first time since the end of the fascist regime, a magistrate intended to apply Article 270 (the law against subversive association) of the Code Rocco (named after Mussolini’s attorney general). Soon after, Edizioni di Ar published The Enemy of Man, a collection of Palestinian fighting poetry, provoking the fury of the Zionists.
In July 1971, the judge modified the charges and accused Freda of making “propaganda for the violent subversion of the political, economic and social development of the state” through The Disintegration of the System, “where he alludes to the need of subversion, by violent means, of the bourgeois democratic state and its replacement by a state defined and characterized as a people’s state.”
Undaunted by repression, Edizioni di Ar published in November 1971 the Italian translation of The International Jew by Henry Ford.
On December 5, 1971, Freda was arrested again. He is no longer prosecuted for crimes of opinion, but bluntly accused of having organized the massacre of Piazza Fontana. Since they failed to catch the “anarcho-fascists” they decided to pinch the “Nazi-Maoist.” The charges against Freda was based on two pieces of evidence: that he bought timers like those found in the bank as well as the travel bags in which the bombs were placed. But Freda had indeed bought timers but had given them to a captain of the Algerian secret services who requested them for the Palestinians. The weekly Candido, investigating the manufacturer of the bomb timers, collected evidence that the number of these timers sold in Italy was not 57, as claimed by the judge – Freda had bought 50 – but hundreds, and that the models purchased by the publisher differed from those used in the attack. In addition, the merchant from Bologna who had sold four travel bags similar to those used in the attack did not recognize Freda as the buyer, but two police officers . . . Of course, the judge wouldn’t take into account exculpatory evidence. Freda began his lonely tour of Italian prisons in 1972 — Padua, Milan, and Trieste. Then Rome, Bari, Brindisi, Catanzaro.
Called a “Maoist” traitor or “agent of Communist China” by the Right, especially by the neo-fascist MSI, or a “racist fanatic” and “delusional anti-Semite” by the legalistic left and Zionist circles, and fearfully rejected by some ultra-leftists with whom he had actively collaborated, Giorgio Freda was then tricked by the press into taking the supposedly infamous label of “Nazi-Maoist.” Thanks to the hype, this only turned out to be positive as the stock of 1500 copies of The Disintegration of the System was quickly exhausted. A few years later, Freda admitted that the text was given more consideration by extremists on the left than those on the right.
The long Piazza Fontana trial was opened on January 1975, before the Assize Court in Catanzaro. Accused were the anarchist Pietro Valpreda with eleven accomplices and the neo-fascist Giorgio Freda with twelve co-defendants. Reaching the end of his preventive detention, Freda was released and placed under house arrest in August 1976. But his convictions remained intact. Thus in 1977, when he was facing a life sentence, he did not waver: in an interview he gave to his friend Claudio Mutti he talked about armed struggle as the best form of opposition to the System in Italy!
Convinced that the dice were loaded and that his conviction wasn’t in doubt, Freda went on the run in October 1978. He was captured in the summer of 1979 in Costa Rica, from which he was not extradited, but forcibly returned by the Italian political police.
The judicial farce continued. In December 1984, the fourth trial for the massacre of Piazza Fontana was opened in Bari. After sixteen years of investigation, Freda was ultimately acquitted of the bombing but incarcerated for crimes of opinion, “subversive association” according to the Italian legal language, which earned him a sentence of fifteen years in prison.
On his release, the media was still talking about Freda because he launched the Fronte Nazionale (National Front), for which he was again arrested and charged in July 1993. Surely, good blood will out!
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