Molding Post-Neoliberal Cities: Decay, Neo-fascism and Resistance in the New Old Europe

Authors: Alessandro Tiberio*, UC Berkeley
Topics: Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Migration
Keywords: Precarity, Borders, Migration, Europe, Eurasia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The border-town of Trieste, at the edge of Slovenia and the Balkans, is today the city with the oldest population in rapidly ageing Italy, where emigration of unemployed youth has boomed since the outset of the economic crisis, and so have arrivals of asylum seekers, now housed in otherwise unoccupied buildings and land by local NGOs. Culminating with the election of a far-right city council last year, nativist and explicitly neo-fascist politics have arguably re-emerged from the liminal spaces left behind by demographic decline and economic stagnation. Yet what are the chances for anti-fascist resistance, currently emerging from those same abandoned, liminal and ‘left behind’ spaces?
In this paper, I examine everyday life in a playground amidst the ruins of the old port squatted by Pashtun (Afghan and Pakistani) migrants, in a plot of abandoned land on the plateau in part ‘re-claimed’ by far-right Italians going ‘back to the land’, and then three mixed spaces that anti-fascist Italians and Pashtun migrants have been producing collectively (a squatted building, a re-opened playground and a re-occupied urban garden). It has arguably been the different politics of occupation and attachment to the land in the ‘forgotten’ spaces of decaying Trieste (as much as in other parts of the European and English-speaking world ‘in crisis’) that have allowed new communities from both the far right and the radical left to challenge and upset the neoliberal hegemony, by closing off or renegotiating closed borders and opening a space of possibilities for yet undefined post-neoliberal politics.

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