Letter to Cofferati


Thereís much talk of legality these days in Bologna.
Itís a theme about which the city is trying to clarify the ideas.
So what is legality, if itís not a set of rules to be respected that are set up so that we can stay together? And if we say that we must fight illegality how is it possible that we are not in agreement?
But the problems arrive when we ask where to begin.

Are we sure that all the situations that are illegal should be placed on the same level and that they merit the same treatment?
Itís possible to be a delinquent because youíre in poverty or because you are colluding with the mafia, the motives behind the crime cannot be put aside.
Itís not possible to start off, in the hope of winning the battle for legality, with a crusade against window cleaners and against hand to mouth occupations that may avoid paying income tax.

Advice for Cofferati?

If this test of strength of legality:
were to be preceded by the application of justice even to those who withdraw themselves from justice with laws that are ad hoc and ex-Cirielli, were to be preceded by an equal fury in respect to those who sit in Parliament and yet have been convicted of crimes were to be preceded by a total and final condemnation of the privatisation of water, Were to be preceded by the immediate removal of Fazio and the reform of this robbersí finance law

OK, in that case I would understand, but not as it is.

You could reply that you are the Lord Mayor and that you cannot be doing everything. Thatís true.
But this is of no interest to Italian citizens, you represent the opposition more than Fassino, DíAlema, Prodi and the Barnum Circus that whirls around the Unione.

Today Italy has a bad smell at the top, thatís where the legality needs applying before the window cleaners.

Bologna's Mayor, Sergio Cofferati, answered to the post, I thank him and put here his thoughts.

ďDear Grillo, I have read your letter. I would like to reassure you about my intentions. I am a Lord Mayor and I carry out the duties assigned to me by the laws and by the Constitution (exactly as you yourself forecast that I would be able to respond). Thus I oppose the illegality that has been created in my territory and Iím doing this in the interests of the citizens (women and men) who elected me.
For this reason it is necessary, for me as Lord Mayor, to manage to attack the racket of the window cleaners who even take advantage of those under-age, just as it is necessary to overthrow the practice of using clandestine immigrants in abusive work or the criminal actions promoted in Bologna by people without the right to stay, in the same way that the really Italian criminals should be attacked.
Furthermore, it is not just to accept passively that those squatting in houses remove the right to a house of those poor families who are waiting to have those homes assigned to them. The other examples that you give relate to very important national discussion points for which I do not have direct responsibility. But as a citizen I have never missed an opportunity to fight in defence of the Constitution and its underlying principles (from justice, to schools, to information, to rights). And as regards the Governor, I have been expressing my opinion for some years now, from the time I was still Secretary of the CGIL I stopped participating at the annual assembly of the Bank of Italy (to be coherent with my judgement). But perhaps you didnít notice, and Iím sorry for that.Ē
Sergio Cofferati.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:43 PM in | Comments (6)
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Dear Mr Grillo,
thanks for your initiative and the opportunity you offer us wih this blog. I agree with Mr Cofferati. Clandestines, like pronstitutes, are under criminal control. we cannot refuse to target to the mafia because of the type of activity their slaves do. It is like talking about more or less tolerable mafia activities.
An open-minded national policy regarding immigrants can and should in my view know better ways to develop itself than slipping towards an implicit support of certain mafia's activities.

Posted by: paola casini | November 8, 2005 09:28 PM

I often remember Don Abbondio:

"un vaso di coccio in mezzo a vasi di ferro"
May be Cofferati is a Don Abbondio as many of us today...

We have to deal with a world we are part of without being makers of..

The situation that we have in Italy and in France for example is directly following the politic of "I do not know and I do not want to Know..."
On one side we know Italy cannot cope with the number of legal and illigal immigrants we have to face, on the other side we know we cannot send them home, because we are aware of their situation...

And the politicians cannot say no because they will loose the votes of the people who understand we cannot send them back, and cannot say yes because they will loose the votes of the people who understand Italy cannot cope with the number.
And between saying no or yes they say nothing.

Well it takes some gut to say no, and in that I think Cofferati is brave.
The real problem is far away and won't find a fast solution.
The real solution would be giving the third world's people the means to survive and not only some food once in a while.
The third world is a bomb that will explode soon and will have bigger consequences that what we can imagine.


Posted by: Patrizia Broghammer | November 7, 2005 09:35 AM

Interesting ideas... I am quite an outsider here, so I will just take it in and not really say much back, at this time...

Good page and all, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Alex Dorph | November 7, 2005 05:54 AM

Personally, I don't completely agree with what Beppe has written, although I respect his opinions.
I consider Cofferati a capable politician, compared to what we see every day, and he's doing his best to clean up his city from small time criminals. One has to start somewhere, after all.
I don't know if poverty is enough of an excuse to justify crime or a criminal activity, for that matter. Perhaps the roots of this problem lie elsewhere, and I'm certainly not the best person to discuss this.

On the dispute over the use of the English language, I must say that, being bi-lingual myself, I can read both English and Italian. I don't expect Beppe's knowledge of English to be top notch, but it's good enough to make himself understood. So, I wouldn't be too picky on this. No one expects him to write like William Shakespeare, I suppose...:)


Posted by: Rosie Trenta | November 6, 2005 09:03 PM


I don't think you got it right this time. Cofferati might have higher ambitions than being maire of Bologna, but that's what's he's got now, and legality is legality from wichever end you take it. If you have other legality matters for Bologna let's remind Cofferati to put/keep them on the list, or get them higher up on the list.

I think the fact that you're writing in Italian says a lot on your English. The translation seems ok to me.

Posted by: Nick Charker | November 6, 2005 12:23 PM

Sorry to say, but for the very first time I do not agree - and this is not bad at the end - with what has been posted.Anyway,:sono assolutamente infondate e ancor piu incomprensibili le critiche mosse in questi giorni a Cofferati.Legalita' vuol dire anche situazione e contesto di non reato,penale e civile.Cioe'=criminalita'.Bene.Ora,quello che noi avvertiamo da cittadini,sulla nostra pelle,cio' che davvero ti fa inc...are,e' una cosa chiamata Microcriminalita',quegli atti dal furto alla piccola estorsione,a tutto quello che ti fa sentire insicuro e a rischio nel tuo stesso macroambiente(citta').Vogliamo continuare a giustificare la deriva criminale degli immigrati e renderli degli impuniti-impunibili?Perche'NON-DIRE-NO a lavavetro e baraccopoli?Smetterla con il falso buonismo che ci rovina,l'azione di Cofferati e'legittima ed un esempio da portare avanti come opera di bonifica ambientale (ed umana).La lotta all'inquinamento degli alti livelli del poterenon passa per questo,non confondiamoli per favore come e' stato fatto.

Posted by: Andrea P | November 6, 2005 04:31 AM

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