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Milan, March 18 - April 27, 1967

- Mondo Beat submits at the Court of Milan a complaint against the Police Headquarters -
- Dante Palla locates the field where the Tent City of Mondo Beat will rise -
- What the press writes about Mondo Beat.

After the "Rally to Contest the Establishment" and those individual contestations against school and police, which had a large press coverage, every day hundreds of visitors have arrived to The Cave. They are priests who dissent from the policies of the Vatican and assert their right to marriage, are lesbians and gays committed to affirm their civil rights, animalists engaged against vivisection, scholars of macrobiotics, conscientious objectors to compulsory military service, ecologists... They are the first intellectuals, free from political parties, who make their voices heard in Italy, for the first time since the end of World War II. All of them have appreciated the line of Mondo Beat and each of them spontaneously joins the Movement. In the spirit of freedom, which always is fermenting there, The Cave becomes the incubator of the themes of renewal of Italian society.

On March 18, Tecnografica Milanese has delivered to The Cave 7,000 copies of the fourth issue of the magazine Mondo Beat (pages and comments of it are published in the previous chapter).
Hundreds of copies of the magazine are sold at Lyceum Parini, where the first contestation of the Italian school was staged. Hundreds of copies are sold in other high schools in Milan, across the Onda Verde channels. Thousands of copies are distributed in the streets of Milan, where the cops of the Urban Brigade did not ask us to show the hawker license, although we were not disguised as nuns. After three days of selling, only 500 copies have remained, which are blocked for distributing selectively in time.

On March 24, Melchiorre Gerbino goes to the trial of Pierluigi Perronace Prince, who was arrested because he did not meet a compulsory expulsion order.

Because of this grotesque situation,Pierluigi Perronace left Italy and travelled towards India
Pierluigi Perronace, a painter who lives on the outskirts of Milan, sentenced to stay away from the city center for three years.

On March 31, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino leave the apartment in Via Rucellai, where they have lived during 18 months. Gunilla leaves for Sicily, to visit our son Nino, who lives with my parents. Since that day, I sleep in The Cave.
Note: After the dissolution of the Movimento Mondo Beat and the definite departure of Melchiorre Gerbino from Milan, the header of the tenement, where he and Gunilla Unger had lived, was changed from "Via Bernardo Rucellai - poet" into "Via Martin Luther - theologian"
I have to say that I don't appreciate at all Martin Luther, who has reformed the Constantinian Christianism, which is a theocratic fraud. Due to Martin Luther, the fraud manifests in absurd situations (Prince Charles, who will be the head of the English Church) when are not frightening and grotesque (think to Reverend Jim Jones!).
So, let me clarify my position with the words of Bertrand Russell: "I say quite deliberately that the Christian Religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world".
In fact, I have not protested against the Vatican, but I have contested the Vatican, to the extent that I have converted to Islam.

On April 3, assisted by attorneys Alessandro Garlatti and Carlo Invernizzi, and accompanied by 200 youths of the Base of Mondo Beat, Melchiorre Gerbino has submitted, at the Court of Milan, a complaint against the Police Headquarters.
A copy of that complaint is sent to the Minister of Justice and a copy to the Minister of the Interior.

(Il Giorno - April 4, 1967)
Carlo Invernizzi and Alessandro Garlatti 
were pupils of the famous lawyer Francesco Carnelutti

From left, lawyer Carlo Invernizzi, Melchiorre Gerbino, lawyer Alessandro Garlatti, as they descend the stairs of the Court of Milan, after they have submitted a complaint against the Police Headquarters.

(Corriere d'Informazione - April 3/4, 1967)      (Corriere d'Informazione - April 3/4, 1967)        (Corriere della Sera - April 4, 1967)
In the picture,Zafferano with raised hands   In the picture,Cristo di Monza   In the picture,from right to left,Eros Alesi Pasticca,Zafferano,Melchiorre Paolo Gerbino,Giorgio Cavalli Ombra and Giorgio 

Article on the left - Strange procession. Two hundred longhairs at the Courthouse. (In the picture, Zafferano with raised hands).
Article on the center - Two hundred longhairs in Court to enforce their civil rights. (In the picture, Cristo di Monza).
Article on the right - Longhairs at the Palace of Justice to demand "rights" for the beat generation. (In the picture, from right to left, Eros Alesi Pasticca, Zafferano, Melchiorre Paolo Gerbino, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra and Giorgio Contini).

(AGI - Il Giorno - April 4, 1967)
The Cave was located 200
meters away from the Court of Milan

From right to left, Eros Alesi, Zafferano, Melchiorre Gerbino, Giorgio Cavalli. After the submission of the complaint against the Police Headquarters, they return to The Cave, which was located 200 meters away from the Court.

On April 5, the Secretary of the Republican Youth of Lombardy has arrived to The Cave and told that the Minister of Justice, who is also a member of the Republican Party, has received the copy of the complaint and is willing to receive Melchiorre Gerbino.
I thank the Secretary and I assure him I'm going to meet with the Minister as soon as possible.
But I don't care to be photographed with the Minister in Rome, instead, I want to take this occasion to seek a compromise with the Police Headquarters in Milan. Therefore, I tell people that I am going to Rome to meet with the Minister of Justice, for asking the head of some officials of the Police Headquarters of Milan. So, police informers, who never fail in the premises of Mondo Beat, run towards the Police Headquarters. It doesn't take long that Gaetano, the owner of the bar in front of The Cave, calls me because there is someone on the phone...
"Antonio Saccardo speaking. I am a commissioner of the Police Headquarters in Milan. Mr Gerbino, I would be pleased to meet with you."
"Mr Saccardo, the pleasure is mine."
"May I come with a driver, to pick you up?"
"Yes, sir."
Antonio Saccardo is a Neapolitan gentleman, grey hair, strong build. He is a little lame. As we walk through the premises of the Police Headquarters, that he has invited me to visit, with one hand he is leaning on a stick and with one arm upon my arm.
He says he has appreciated the intelligent policy that I have made to educate the youths of Mondo Beat to be respectful of the policemen, even when they are arrested. Meanwhile, with the walk we have arrived to the dining room, where some plainclothes cops are eating. Those guys stand up and make a military salute...Antonio Saccardo tells me about his life, when as a young lawyer he had assumed antifascist attitudes, that had caused a lot of problems to him, to get rid of which, he had to join the police as volunteer. But when the time of the Resistance had come, he had enlisted and had been assigned to a clandestine radio station, which was never found by the Germans, since it transmitted in the heart of Milan, only a few meters away from the German radio station... Antonio Saccardo takes with me a good-natured attitude, as from father to son, which doesn't embarrass me, since it is sincere.
In the end, we have easily found an agreement, since the Police Headquarters will not impose anymore mandatory expulsion orders to the youths of Mondo Beat.
To formalize the new course, Antonio Saccardo and Melchiorre Gerbino have agreed on a public rally of Mondo Beat, authorized by the Police Headquarters.

(AGI - Il Giorno - April 9, 1967)
 In this photograph, the Rally proceeding in Via Mercanti. On the background, the Cathedral of Milan
A picture of the authorized rally, when officers of the Police Headquarters escorted Mondo Beat, instead of attacking it.

(Il Giorno - L'Unità - Corriere della Sera - April 9, 1967)
The authorized rally was a great step for assertion of civil rights in Italy
"Long hair is not unconstitutional" was one of the slogans we had on our placards.

(AGI - Il Giorno - April, 9, 1967)
The Rally while proceeding along Corso Vittorio Emanuele

The Rally while proceeding along Corso Vittorio Emanuele. To the right of Melchiorre Gerbino, is Eros Alesi Pasticca with the signboard 'Is the law equal for all?' (LA LEGGE É UGUALE PER TUTTI?).

(AGI - Il Giorno - April, 9, 1967)
The Rally started in Porta Vittoria and 
ended at Castello Sforzesco     Eros Alesi is in 
- Left picture. Teatro alla Scala is on the background, on the left.
- Right picture. The rally as it proceeds through Piazza Fontana. Eros Alesi is in t-shirt.

(AGI - Il Giorno - 9 aprile 1967)
Those were the days of the Vietnam War   The affirmation of civil rights was the cornerstone 
of the Movimento Mondo Beat  

- Left picture. The poster reads "Italy is our Vietnam- The cops are like the Americans" (IL NOSTRO VIETMAM É L'ITALIA - GLI AMERICANI = I POLIZIOTTI).
- Right picture. Melchiorre Gerbino and Andrea Valcarenghi (wearing glasses), pictured under the placard "We want to affirm civil rights" (CHIEDIAMO I DIRITTI CIVILI).

Affirmation of civil rights was the cornerstone of the Movimento Mondo Beat.
In one of his articles, Marco Maria Sigiani has quoted Mario Savio, who said that it is much easier to be aware of the oppression of others than to perceive our own oppression, that the struggle for the affirmation of the rights of others, does not cause the sense of awareness that comes from the rebellion to our own immediate environment.
In that same article, Marco Maria Sigiani added of his own that our politicized youths protest because of the Vietnam War, but they don't move of an inch if a girl is forced by professorial hysteria to remove the mascara in the bathroom, nor they protest if the magazine of the school is reduced to a colander by censorship, under their noses.
Nor, adds Melchiorre Gerbino, our politicized youths protest if a guy, who lives on the outskirts of Milan, is forced by a police injunction to stay away from the city center for three years, because he is a beat.
This the reason why, being director in charge of the magazine Mondo Beat and leader in public events of the Movement, the conduct of Melchiorre Gerbino was drastic. In the magazine, no aping of Allen Ginsberg; in the square, no rallies for North Vietnam. This drastic attitude would have caused the dislike of many towards Melchiorre Gerbino but, in the end, The Contestation of Mondo Beat has spread through the mass, since the affirmation of civil rights was the real latent need of the mass.

From the day after the authorized rally, something profound has changed in the Movimento Mondo Beat.
When the news spread that the city of Milan was safe for the beats, many of them came to Milan, along with many travellers from different countries. The Movement swelled like a river in flood, and we were no longer able to accommodate all people in The Cave. Many stayed with their backpacks on the sidewalk, others in the bar, while hundreds of onlookers clogged permanently Via Vicenza, the street where The Cave was located, and there the traffic was often paralyzed.
Since we were no longer in danger with the police, many characters have arrived to The Cave, to give speeches. They were people who didn't participate in the events of The Contestation, nor understood its motivations. They were the kind of pseudo-intellectuals who followed American or Buddhist fashions. These people never stopped talking, unless it was promised that some of the stupidities they wrote would be published in the magazine Mondo Beat.
Compounding the crisis, lawyer Contini, Giorgio's father, has come from Sardinia to The Cave. He had seen pictures of his son in the press and has come to bring him home. Giorgio Contini was the trustee of the cellar of The Cave, which was the heart of the Movement, and there was no one who could replace him well, as Giorgio's intelligence and dedication were unique. His absence was felt at the very moment when more than ever his presence would have been necessary, because all sort of police informers and spies were infiltrating The Cave.
In those days of confusion, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino often asked themselves what to do. Finally, they have decided to create a camping on the outskirts of Milan. To find land on lease, they gave urgent task to Dante Palla, the king of vagabonds, who knew all dogs that barked in the outskirts of Milan.
Meanwhile, in those same days Melchiorre Gerbino was engaged in meetings with youth secretaries of various political parties, who courted Mondo Beat. Those were meetings of courtesy, which invariably ended with Gerbino that was sorry not to be able to cooperate. Melchiorre Gerbino had also met with Achille Mauri, the director of Messaggerie Italiane, the largest distribution company of magazines and books in Italy. Achille Mauri has proposed a circulation of 150,000 copies of Mondo Beat, printing and distribution costs borne by Messaggerie Italiane, revenue entirely to Mondo Beat, if we conceded four pages for advertising in the magazine. Melchiorre Gerbino refused the offer, in order to preserve image and independence of the magazine.

Finally, on April 20, the good news came from Dante Palla. He has found a suitable area for camping. From a corner of Piazza Duomo, you get to that area by traveling to the last stop of the tram 24, then walking 10 minutes.
In fact, the place was ideal, large enough to accommodate 200 tents. On one side, the field was bounded by the walls of a factory; on the opposite side by a row of trees and the brook Vettabbia; toward the road it was bordered by the square of a petrol station; in the opposite direction there were fields as far as the eye. The price agreed by Dante Palla, for four months rent, to be paid in advance, was £ 140,000. We have decided to take it immediately.

On April 23, Enrico Boetti Briciola (Crumb), Dante Palla, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino went to the home of an old peasant, who was waiting for them along with two sons. Gerbino has put at once £ 140,000 in cash on the table and said that they were boy scouts who wanted to camp out as soon as possible. The farmer replied that there were no problems. So, the contract was signed, valid from May 1 to August 31.
Thus was founded the Tent City of Mondo Beat, which was baptized Nuova Barbonia (New Tramps City) by Corriere della Sera, with our own liking.

During the months of April, May, June, 1967, many articles on Mondo Beat were published by the Italian press, given the great popularity of the Movement. Also the press of other countries published articles on Mondo Beat (The New York Times and Berkeley Barb among newspapers and magazines of the US).
To follow, a selection of articles from the Italian press

A historical note:
It was the weekly Grand Hotel, with this article dated May 6, 1967, which quoted, for the first time, the term "contestation" (contestazione) as it was formulated at Mondo Beat, ie in the meaning of "nonviolent anti-establishment activity".
Before then, it had been quoted, by publications in the world at large, the term "protest", when referring to the Free Speech Movement, and the term "provocation", referring to the Provo Movement, but not yet the term "contestation" (contestazione) of Mondo Beat.
(Grand Hotel - May, 6, 1967)
This article of Grand Hotel has appeared on May 6, 1967(1)   This article of Grand Hotel has appeared on May 6, 1967(2)
Grand Hotel was the first publication in the world to quote the 'contestation' (contestazione) of Mondo Beat.

(Oggi - May 1967)
She was sorry to return home to Rome,because she would have liked to stay in Milan, among beats
Eros Alesi Pasticca with his mother, Angela Polidoro, who came to The Cave in search of him, who had fled from home. She was an original person. She declared in the interview that she was sorry to return home to Rome, because she would have liked to stay in Milan, among the beats.

(Il Giorno - April 1967)                                                 (Rocca - Pro Civitate Christiana - April 1967)
Mario Zoppelli was a secret agent,who died very mysteriously       Mondo Beat exerted a strong call on Christian youth

Article on the left - The typical article of a mediocre journalist, Mario Zoppelli. In order to minimize on the importance of Mondo Beat, he wrote about Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger as they were there almost accidentally.
Article on the right - An article by Clara Bertini, a journalist of the magazine Rocca-Pro Civitate Christiana . Mondo Beat has exerted a strong call on Christian youths, which can be perceived by reading this article. This has created great concern for the Catholic Church, because of the sexual freedom of the beats and their anarchist actions aimed to the sexual liberation of the mass.

(L’Espresso - Camilla Cederna - May 1967)                                                (L’Espresso - Telesio Malaspina - May 1967)
What Camilla Cederna has written about Mondo Beat was superficial,as the establishment,to 
which she belonged, has required       Fernanda Pivano,a CIA agent,tried by all means to 
defuse the revolution that the Movimento Mondo Beat was unleashing
Article on the left - Mondo Beat exerted such influence on fashion, music, entertainment, that Camilla Cederna, a well known journalist, could not avoid writing about Mondo beat. But what she wrote was superficial, as it was required by the establishment, to which she belonged.
Article on the right. Telesio Malaspina has understood little of the youth revolt in Italy, as he was confused by the pounding propaganda on the American beat generation, orchestrated by the CIA agent Fernanda Pivano.

(Epoca - May 1967)                                                (Vita - May 1967)
Epoca quoted 
Melchiorre Gerbino:'Nowadays,if you work,in one way or another you provide balls to the cannons'       Beats are wandering towards a goal that they do not know and are never 
able to indicate
Article on the left - The weekly Epoca tried to give a comprehensive description of the philosophy of life of the beats. Epoca quoted me. To the recurrent question on why beats don't want to bend to wage labour, I have answered: "Nowadays, if you work, in one way or another you provide balls to the cannons".
Article on the right - The weekly Vita tried to describe the beats as confused youths: "... They are wandering towards a goal that they do not know and are never able to indicate".

(Lo Specchio - May 1967)
Lo Specchio has defined The Cave as 'the lair of the 
beatniks'        The Fascists were worried because many youths were leaving 
their sections and were coming to Mondo Beat.The same concern had the Communists,but they were more able to hide their 
The dirty world of the young protesters in Milan

Lo Specchio was a neofascist weekly that has defined The Cave as "the lair of the beatniks" and the Movement as "the dirty world of the young protesters in Milan". Indeed, the Fascists were worried because many youths were leaving their sections and were coming to Mondo Beat. The same concern had the Communists, but they were more able to hide their preoccupations.

(Various newspapers and magazines - April / May 1967)
The first beat was Saint 
Just a thousandth part of what would have been written on Mondo Beat.


Il Giornalismo was the official organ of the Association of Journalists of Lombardy. Here, an excerpt of the speech given by the President of the Order, Carlo De Martino, at the annual meeting. At one point, he talked about the situation in the "Special List" (Elenco Speciale) where Melchiorre Gerbino was registered as director in charge and owner of the magazine Mondo Beat.

(Il Giornalismo - March 1967)
Carlo De Martino didn't know what else to say or to do.Indeed,the situations created by The 
Contestation were unprecedented
The imaginative report that Carlo De Martino, the President of the Order of Journalists of Lombardy, has made about the magazine Mondo Beat. Carlo De Martino didn't know what else to say or to do. Indeed, situations created by The Contestation were unprecedented.


In conclusion.
The fact that hundreds and thousands of boys and girls, from all social classes and from every corner of Italy, joined the Movement of the Contestation, each one freely contributing to it with originality, has created a phenomenon that was unprecedented in history, and not only in Italian history.
The fact that the Movimento Mondo Beat was cosmopolitan, for the many youths of many nations who were taking part in it since the times of the flood of Florence, has done that the models that were formulated and field tested at Mondo Beat, the models of The Contestation, would have interfered and innervated in the development of the Global Village.
For the popularity of the Movement, big names in journalism were called to write about it but, except Giorgio Bocca, no other Italian journalist was fully aware of the tremendous changes that The Contestation was producing.

History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 11