Fish, cats and a new strategy of protesting

The world is on fire, strikes and riots are taking place in several countries: from Chile to Iraq, from French yellow vests to Catalonia’s separatists. Causes are different but common points exist. One for all, the casus belli of the protest is often a small thing and even once accomplished, the protest do not stop. Another shared characteristic among these protests, is the young age of those who partake in them, as it is clear, for instance, in the “Friday for Future” movement.
In Hong Kong, the Fugitive Offenders Law Amendment Bill triggered the protest but, even when the bill had been pulled back, people did not stop to demonstrating to ask for freedom and autonomy from the Chinese government.
In Chile, riots started because of an increase in the subway tickets price and now they keep fighting against water and highway privatization, while a strong and violent reaction arrives from the government, accused of torture and sexual abuses by protesters.

In Iraq, several manifestations against corruption and unemployment lead to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injured people, while in Iran the casus belli has been the rise of gasoline price, followed by the internet ban issued by the government.
In Lebanon, new taxes on WhatsApp, tobacco and gasoline brought 1.3 million people on the street, and now that the prime minister has quitted, the government is in shambles.
From Colombia to Egypt, from Papua to Italy, other protests are taking place: are we facing a new process of globalization for protests? Is every protest rooted in the spread economic crisis, in the failure of capitalism? Is the myth of liberalism collapsing, shaping a new future made of fear, environmental disasters and misery? The liberal machine got broken, PIL is no longer reliable, economic welfare and wellbeing have started being described as different concepts and young people around the world are looking for different answers. Unemployment and ban on social media push them to band together to change things.
But how do Media talk about these demonstrations and riots?
Riots’ historical role is to disclose injustices perpetrated by governments and even though sometimes they turn into violent fights, they traditionally suffer much more violence than they cause, while being suppressed.
Nonetheless, media and politician tend to describe protests as a bunch of violent citizens whose aim is just to set a car ablaze and break shop windows. Many newspapers do not mention the causes at the basis of a demonstration and ignore the pacific nature of those involved, highlighting only the socially unacceptable behaviours of a few.
Plus, causes are usually much more brute than the riot itself. Due to this spread moral judgement shared by mass media and politics, it is important to think about a new way of demonstrating, to avoid exploitations and misunderstandings.
The answer arrived from Italy. A new kind of protest was born in Bologna. In November, a group of young students organized a protest against Salvini while the Italian politician was in the city for his propaganda campaign.
Since then, other similar protests were organized, under the same name, everywhere the Italian leader of Lega party was having his meeting. The name of the gathering is “Sardine”, as the fish, because of different reasons: the idea of being close one to the other against the extreme right-wing ideas, to crowd the squares so much that attendees end up resembling a school of tightly packed fish and, last but not least, the goal to answer to Salvini’s display, a Babel of noises, arrogance and fake news, by being as silent as fish.
A “fishmob” involving people of any age, social class or political party. It’s not about being left or right-wing anymore, it is about being against racism, intolerance and fascist propaganda.
A new way of demonstrating peacefully, but still conveying a strong message through a new kind of activism. The 14 December the fishmob took place in several cities: Paris, London, Dublin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Ivrea, etc. In Rome, more than 400 thousand people participated. After that, the representatives of each group from different Italian cities gathered to discuss “what’s next”; from the meeting, a new word arose as a key element: participation is the new politics. Sardine won’t be a political party (at least not now) but they have a program and the first point is to re-start from suburbs, provinces and small cities, to involve those who feel detached and excluded by nowadays official political agenda.

“I took part in a lot of demonstrations throughout my life and this was the best one” says Elena, a young girl who participated at the demonstration in Turin, on 10 December “all the points of their manifesto, such as inclusion, respect for the place where we were, etc… they were all respected. No flags, no political icons. I met people of different political ideas, ages, gender, social class; it was the