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Milan, November 19 - December 31, 1966

- "Rally of Handcuffs" (Manifestazione delle Manette)
- Death of Gennaro De Miranda
- The Mondo Beat-Onda Verde-Sacco e Vanzetti Provos merger
- "Rally of Flowers" (Manifestazione dei Fiori)
- The mimeograph printing of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine
- "European Conference of the Anarchist Youth".

On November 20, the day after Vittorio Di Russo was arrested, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decided to organize a public event for his release. For the purpose, they contacted the youths of Mondo Beat and the Milanese radicals and anarchists.
Between November 21 and 26, the three groups coordinated and on the morning of Sunday 27 they staged a rally in Piazza San Babila, in the heart of Milan. It was the first time that such an event happened in Italy. Called "Rally of Handcuffs", it had great media coverage. The Milanese daily "Il Giorno" broke the news on the front page.

The Rally of Handcuffs had a huge media coverage

 The Rally of Handcuffs was the first event staged by extra-parliamentary groups in Italy   The Rally of Handcuffs was staged for the release of Vittorio Di Russo   Gian Oberto 'Pinky' Gallieri and Giuseppe 'Pino' Pinelli were the most representative characters among the Milanese anarchists   After the time of Mondo Beat, Umberto Tiboni founded the first company that distributed alternative publications in Italy

The echo of the Rally of Handcuffs attracted youth from Turin and Genoa, who came to Milan to meet the youths of Mondo Beat. As a result, the Movement spread widely in the north-west of Italy, which was the most industrialized area of the country.

On December 1, in the Milanese section of the radicals, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino were introduced to Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi, two founders of "Onda Verde" (the Italian equivalent of the American "Green Wave"). On that occasion, the four considered how to coordinate Onda Verde with Mondo Beat. To fully discuss this, the four met again on December 4, in the house of Gianfranco Sanguinetti. On that occasion, Melchiorre Gerbino explained how the youths of Mondo Beat, who were from all social classes and all parts of Italy, were characterized by the refusal to live in the family, to attend school, to submit to wage labor. He explained how the goals that the youths of Mondo Beat intended to achieve were achieved from the very moment they refused to live integrated, since from that moment they would have lived in the anarchist dimension realized by themselves. He said the youth of Mondo Beat were about 200, putting into account those who were engaged in Florence because of the flood and those who were in jail for failure to comply with mandatory expulsion orders... Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi were youths in the last year of high school. Together with their peers, Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani, they had founded Onda Verde, a group of about twenty students, engaged in nonviolent provocations, staged with the aim of awakening the mass of the students from school torpor to the great themes of pacifism and ecology. They were children of the most enlightened Milanese bourgeoisie and were committed to the affirmation of civil rights in Italy. Certainly, Gerbino could not offer them to be absorbed by Mondo Beat, so he proposed a merger of the two groups, which could be formalized in the next issue of the magazine Mondo Beat. They found the agreement without unnecessary skirmishes and decided for a meeting in mid-December at Andrea Valcarenghi's house to ratify the merger. All four said they were convinced that the merger would benefit both groups, Mondo Beat, because prestigious articles by Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani would have enriched the magazine, so that it could sink its roots deeper into the schools and would benefited Onda Verde, which could be integrated into a historical movement that occupied the squares and filled the prisons.

On December 12, we learned the terrible news of the death of Gennaro De Miranda

Gennaro De Miranda was among those who mimeographed the first issue of the magazine Mondo Beat
Gennaro De Miranda killed by a hit-and-run driver

On December 13, while I am in the morgue in Cinisello Balsamo to identify the body of Gennaro De Miranda, I am introduced to Ezio Chiodini, a young journalist of the daily Il Giorno, who is interested in following the events of the Mondo Beat Movement. So we created a contact between us.

On December 15 a meeting is held at the home of Andrea Valcarenghi, to ratify the merger between Mondo Beat, Onda Verde, Sacco e Vanzetti Provos.
To represent Onda Verde, there are Antonio Pilati, Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Marco Maria Sigiani and Andrea Valcarenghi, who give their articles to Melchiorre Gerbino, to be published in the next issue of the magazine Mondo Beat.
For Mondo Beat, there are Gunilla Unger, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino.
For Sacco e Vanzetti Provos, who also joined the merger, there is Giuseppe Pinelli, who suggests to organize a public rally to celebrate and strengthen the merger.
In fact, this merger would have been of historical importance, because from the moment it was realized there would be only one libertarian movement in Milan, which would have become the beacon of the revolt of young Italians, then of all Europeans, since the activity of the Provo Movement in the Netherlands was almost exhausted.

Saturday afternoon, 17 December, as suggested by Giuseppe Pinelli and led by him, a rally took place in the center of Milan. Attendees gathered in Piazza Cordusio and then moved to Piazza Duomo and finally into the courtyard of the police headquarters, where they spontaneously surrendered.
This event, which officially was held for the release of Vittorio Di Russo, was very spectacular and had enormous media coverage. It is remembered as "Rally of Flowers" (Manifestazione dei Fiori) since the flowers were offered to the police.

(AGI - Il Giorno)
All Sacco e Vanzetti Provos were Milanese students      The Rally of Flowers was planned and led by Giuseppe Pinelli

Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals

Rally of Flowers. The political left was courting the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it   The progressive daily Il Giorno described the pacifist movement with some kind of sympathy

Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian journalist who immediately understood that the youth uprising created epochal changes

All the press has written a lot about the phenomenon of youth revolt, but the only Italian intellectual who immediately and fully understood the meaning of it was Giorgio Bocca. He understood whose epochal changes the youth revolt was producing. Giorgio Bocca was a very famous journalist. Here is the translation of two excerpts from his article "The Provo provocation", namely opening and closing of it.
"The common Italian smiles because of the young boys with long hair and their girlfriends. However, he listens to their lessons, accepts their ideas in whole or in part, begins to understand their motivations and perspectives..."
"It is not given that the Provo revolution will be fully successful, on the contrary, it is very possible that will undergo regressions, but it has already changed our way of thinking, for sure it is much more important than many things we insisted to believe important and were only dead."

The Palumbo Group

The members of the Palumbo Group were only 6, but were very imaginative, able to attract attention on their actions

Rally of Flowers. Fifty people arrested for an uproar of    Carlo de Paoli was very active at the beginning of the history of the Movement, also Gianni Scarpelli, then both were trapped in the literary salon of Fernanda Pivano, a CIA agent

Rally of Flowers. Cops against Provos    The members of the Palumbo Group were only 6, but were very imaginative, able to attract attention on their actions

Gianni Scarpelli's personal story is particularly sad. Among those half dozen youths of the Movement, who were trapped in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon, he was chosen to end up in a hashish affair that was invented to discredit the Beats. In 1967, when this happened, marijuana and hashish had not yet been introduced massively in Italy. He, and half a dozen others, were initiated into smoking hashish in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon in the purpose of making them inactive, in fact all of them had been among the most active youths of the Movement. Gianni Scarpelli had been the most active among the active and for this reason he was particularly hated by those who hated the Movement and was chosen to pay the highest price.
He was arrested and sentenced to prison, where he remained for 8 months, and this with a deafening media coverage: the first case in Italy of someone arrested for hashish. In her turn, also Fernanda Pivano had a broad media coverage, as she obtained that Gianni Scarpelli could paint in his cell (Scarpelli was not a painter, but the police headquarters and Corriere della Sera insisted on painting him as a painter, so that Fernanda Pivano could have publicity having obtained permission to let him paint in his cell).
In the end, Gianni Scarpelli, who was a seller of used items, died a few years later, but this is not surprising as not a few among the active youths of the Movement have died young.


Returning to the chronological reconstruction of the history of Mondo Beat, on the evening of December 23, 1966, Umberto Tiboni, Stefano Mondo and Melchiorre Gerbino went to the office where Umberto Tiboni worked, to clandestinely print the second issue of the magazine Mondo Beat. In that office there was an electric mimeograph that delivered dry sheets at high speed. To do the job, they had the time from the evening of the 23rd until the dawn of the 27th, that is to say the closing period of the office for the Christmas holidays.
They had to do an exhausting job, since it had been decided to print 5,000 copies of this issue.
They worked all night of the 23rd and all day 24, just stopping every now and then, the time to drink coffee and eat a sandwich. On the evening of the 24th, Melchiorre Gerbino convinced Umberto Tiboni to load the mimeograph into his car and take it to the apartment where Gerbino lived, to work in a more comfortable situation and get help from Gunilla Unger. They did so and finished printing on the night of 26.
Meanwhile, on the same days 24, 25, 26, the European Conference of Anarchist Youth had taken place in the premises of the anarchist section Sacco e Vanzetti. It was organized by Giuseppe Pinelli and Gian Oberto Gallieri, the two being known by the anarchists as, respectively, Pino and Pinky.
The four of us who printed the second issue of the magazine Mondo Beat did not have time to participate.
Many youths came from Spain to Milan to attend that conference.

The European Conference of Anarchist Youth was attended by people from different countries, after the Italians the most numerous were Spanish     In those days,Francisco Franco was the target of many anti-Fascist gatherings

In the end, the Anarchists staged a manifestation in front of the Spanish Consulate, showing a garrota, to remind the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

On the night of the 29, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino collated and stapled the 5,200 copies of the second issue of the magazine Mondo Beat. On the same night, Vittorio Di Russo rang their doorbell, asking if he could hide in their apartment. He had arrived from the city of Latina, where he had been brought under military escort after released from prison. If the police find him again in Milan, he will be sentenced to three months in prison. Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger welcomed Vittorio Di Russo with brotherly affection.


December 1966 marked the success of the Mondo Beat Movement. By the end of that month, the Movement had been joined by hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls from all over Italy and from all social classes. They had fled from their families and had come to Milan. In addition to Italians, young people from other countries had also joined, especially French youths. The appeal of Mondo Beat was irresistible, because young people had the intuition that the Movement was producing an epochal change, so they wanted to participate. Young people couldn't go wrong. They understood that the revolution promoted by the Mondo Beat Movement was above all a sexual revolution, so they understood that it was a real revolution.

Among the articles that are reproduced below, there is the incredible story of a young Sardinian thief who, arrested by the police and questioned about the jewels he had stolen from various hotels, confessed to having donated them to the Beats.
In the articles that are reproduced below, the faces of the youths are sad, because the photos were taken in police stations, where they were conducted before being returned to the parents or sent to prison.

(Various newspapers - December 1966)
The unbelievable story of a young Sardinian thief who donated to the beats the jewels that he was stealing in hotels

At the end of December 1966, just 45 days after its foundation, the Mondo Beat Movement had already changed the history of Italy.

History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 5