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December 22, 2023

Lucciole #2 - Simone Ficicchia

A newsletter by Voice Over


In this issue, we want to tell you a story of active participation. 

You've likely heard of Ultima Generazione, a group of activists who, through acts of civil disobedience, aim to draw public attention to the climate crisis and exert pressure for a change in the political agenda.

Much has been said about their actions, not always in a positive light. They're often portrayed as those who deface walls, artwork, disrupt traffic, and cause inconvenience to those 'who need to go to work,' or worse, labeled as 'eco-terrorists.'

Our goal is to shift the focus of the narrative, offering alternative perspectives because we believe it's important to form one's own opinion by seeking information beyond mainstream media, where many voices go unheard.

That's why we've chosen Simone Ficicchia as the highlight of our second issue, to share his story and the motivations that, like many others, led him to join this environmentalist movement. Additionally, we aim to highlight the concrete demands of Ultima Generazione and how individuals involved in this movement are dedicating their time, bodies, and even risking their freedom for the greater good of all of us.

The Voice of this issue

The voice of this issue belongs to Simone Ficicchia, a musician and activist of the Ultima Generazione organization, a campaign of civil disobedience born in 2021 to demand a permanent and preventive fund of 20 billion euros from the Italian government to repair the damages caused by climate disasters. 

Simone Ficicchia was one of the protagonists of the third event of the "Decolonizing Narrative" campaign, a series of seminars and events on freedom of expression, human rights, and public interest journalism organized by Voice Over. The event "Slapp! A slap to freedom of expression against journalists and civil society" took place last October 10th at the University of Milan.

Alongside Simone Ficicchia were Sielke Kelner, a researcher and advocacy officer at the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, Federico Anghelé, director of The Good Lobby Italia, Lorenzo Bagnoli, co-director of Irpi Media, Lorenzo Frigerio, a journalist and coordinator of Liberainformazione, Veronica Dini, a lawyer at the Dini-Saltalamacchia law firm, and Kiran Chaudhuri, a lawyer at the European Legal Support Center - ELSC, an independent organization that provides free legal advice and assistance to associations, NGOs, groups, and individuals fighting for the rights of Palestinians in continental Europe and the United Kingdom.

Simone Ficicchia's Voice

"Civil disobedience has become a life choice because the ongoing climate crisis is an existential issue that concerns each and every one of us".

Few realize it. Yet there is a better youth already writing History. In the squares, on the highways, inside museums; in front of monuments like the Colosseum or the Trevi Fountain or in front of Institutional headquarters like the Senate. They're writing it with non-violent actions, through hunger strikes, roadblocks, unauthorized sit-ins, or washable paints thrown on paintings and monuments. Their request is quite simple: establish a permanent and preventive fund of 20 billion euros to repay damages from calamities and extreme climate events, funded by the extra profits of fossil fuel industries, the complete cut of public subsidies to fossil fuels, the salaries of energy-intensive industry managers owned by the state, and the reduction of military spending.

Simone Ficicchia, 21 years old, a musician and former student, is also part of this movement known as "Ultima Generazione". For two years, he paused both the Conservatory and the University to dedicate all his time to Ultima Generazione's civil disobedience actions. "I realized that the climate crisis is not just a political challenge like many others, such as the right to education or anti-fascism, but it's an existential issue. If we can't overcome this challenge, all other struggles risk being nullified", he asserts firmly, without rhetoric, always using "we" because he knows well that the success of civil disobedience lies in the construction of a community of aware citizens. "I'm not concerned about the consequences I might endure. What matters is that there are other people continuing this fight", Ficicchia reaffirms.

In 2022, the Pavia Police Department requested a special surveillance regime for "social dangerousness", rejected in January 2023 by the Milan court. Ficicchia isn't the only one receiving complaints or requests for restrictions on personal freedom. Other activists who have taken part in civil disobedience actions are on trial for private violence, vandalism, association aimed at committing crimes of interrupting public service, defacement, and against the free circulation of streets. All these complaints are part of a context of great criminalization against citizens denouncing the climate crisis, as highlighted by an appeal signed by over a hundred lawyers.

"With their protest actions, the activists currently under investigation intend to highlight that the environmental disaster is already underway, and there is no more time left. Either we act immediately, or the situation will become irreversible. They are driven, in other words, by a strong will to force public authorities to do whatever is still possible and essential to save humanity's life on this planet".

In April 2023, Giorgia Meloni's government approved another bill that foresees harsher penalties for defacing artworks or monuments. The propagandist-style bill wasn't approved in the Senate. However, on October 27, 2023, a new bill was presented on the initiative of the Lega deputy Gianangelo BOF, foreseeing the re-criminalization of roadblocks with one's body.

While civil society movements denounce institutional inaction in the face of the environmental disaster and the climate crisis, politics, institutions, and mainstream media continue to protect the interests of lobbies and fossil fuel multinationals. "There's a political system inadequate to handle the climate crisis because it's closely tied to certain economic powers", says Ficicchia. "Younger generations are realizing that these politicians cannot break free from fossil fuel lobbies, just as they can't from the arms industry or concrete lobbies".

And while the squares are filling up again - for climate or for Palestine - politics criminalizes that part of citizens, mostly young, who fight every day for justice, continuing to maintain a status quo for certain power blocs responsible for the ongoing climate crisis. An unbridgeable gap has formed between institutions and squares, hardly repairable. But perhaps, as Ficicchia suggests, it's necessary to start from scratch, moving beyond representative democracy to create public assemblies and local communities that care for and choose how to manage their territories. "New methods are needed, different from those experimented with in the last thirty years. Building an alternative requires a long-term struggle. It's not easy, but through civil disobedience, we can unite and contribute to this path of change". In short, History is already being written, hoping that someone will still be able to read it tomorrow.

Explore Further with Us

To learn more about Ultima Generazione, read the interview Adil Mauro conducted with Michele Giuli, co-founder of Ultima Generazione;

Here, you'll find the voices of Maria Letizia Ruello, a researcher and spokesperson for Ultima Generazione, and Michela Spina, a veterinary medicine student and spokesperson for Fridays for Future, interviewed by Michela Grasso, Spaghetti Politics;

For an authoritative perspective on the climate crisis, here's an interview Sara Manisera conducted with Marcello Petitta, an atmospheric physicist, climatologist, and researcher at the University of Tor Vergata:;

For a look at the role of businesses, read Sara Manisera's in-depth analysis, "Washable Paint Offends More Than the Climate Crisis and Environmental Disasters Caused by Companies in Italy";

And on the role of the media in shaping public opinion, we suggest Marco Biondi's analysis, "In Italy, Climate Change Is Still Considered an Opinion, and Most Media Are Responsible for It".

Other Useful Resources

Civil disobedience is a form of political struggle whose definition was coined in the 19th century by Henry David Thoreau, an American writer and philosopher imprisoned for refusing to pay taxes related to the war against Mexico. In the book "Civil Disobedience", he argues that individuals have a moral duty to oppose unjust laws. Thoreau was also a staunch supporter of abolishing slavery. He condemned the extermination of Native Americans and the United States' war against Mexico. 

Among the struggles that made history, the Salt March of Mahatma Gandhi, the British suffragette movement, Rosa Parks' boycott against racial segregation, and Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid should be remembered. If you want to learn more, we recommend this article by Jascha Galaski, the book "Rebelling Is Right. Theory and Practice of Civil Disobedience: an Anthology" (ed. Gli Asini), and "Teaching to Transgress" by Bell Hooks (ed. Meltemi).

See you next time!

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