|Pigneto mural. The flag says "STOP Sfratti"|
The Italian word for evictions is "sfratti."
|Ar bottom: "Together we block evictions."|
The odd thing about evictions is one seldom sees them happening. No heap of furniture outside, no
tearful tenants being dragged from their doorways. That's because today, most evictions take place on Rome's periphery, where the city's working class and poor reside, rather than in the tourist-heavy Centro.
That wasn't always the case. In the 1920s and 1930s, thousands of ordinary Romans were evicted from their center-city homes and apartments to make way for the broad avenues and vehicles favored by the Fascist regime. They were moved to borgate (villages, hamlets), including Acilia, built from scratch in 1923, about 15 km outside the city. Later, those evicted--both from legal and illegal housing (borgetti) were moved to Magliana (built at the end of the 1960s), and to public housing built at Laurentino 38, Tor Bella Monaca, and Corviale.
|Typical post-war public housing. Centocelle area.|
Beginning in about 1980 (coinciding with Reagan's election in the United States), city governments showed little interest in public housing, even as housing absorbed a larger and larger percentage of household income, and evictions continued apace.
|Squatters in EUR, c. 1940|
|Idroscalo, once again threatened with demolition.|
|Vicolo Savini, after evictions of Rom (Roma) in 2011|
|Communist Party poster opposing|
evictions. Posted by a Quadraro committee,
but this one was in Torpignattara.
|Graffiti in San Basilio, commemorating the 30th anniversary|
of the 1974 deadly clash with police over evictions
(reading "San Basilio: Same Dignity, Same Anger, 1974-2014")
After 1970, the main form of resistance was squatting--that is, the illegal occupation of empty apartments and buildings, including public housing projects--along with demands for lower rents. At one protest in San Basilio in September 1974, a young left-wing activist was killed in a clash with police.
Today, some of San Basilio's "projects" are decorated with handsome multi-story murals, including a group of 6 by Hitnes. Even so, if the posters and graffiti in San Basilio and similar neighborhoods are any indication, evictions continue, and with them, new efforts at resistance.
|"Rent is Robbery. Occupy" Pigneto.|