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Eros Alesi, the truest poet of the Sixties
Eros Alesi, the truest poet of the Sixties

Oh, dear! Oh, mistress death! Oh, serene death! Oh, invoked death! Oh, frightening death! Oh, incomprehensible death!
Oh, strange death! Oh, long live death! Oh, death death! Death, which puts an endpoint to this vibrant lightning


Introduction to "Mondo Beat No. 3"

This fifth issue of the Magazine marked the detachment of Onda Verde, whose guys didn't submit any article for publication. It was a pain, since they did not realize how necessary it was to adopt a new strategy to move forward with the Movement, until the Movement had reached the goal to which it was destined, that is, mass contestation. They were too busy at school and didn't participate in the events which were occurring, and those were the days when new events opened new scenarios. But Onda Verde's guys remained looking at the already empty scenario of the Provocation. As a result of their detachment, the magazine Mondo Beat would have lost quality, while Onda Verde would have disappeared from the scene, as it had no consistency, in fact, it had created an image of itself thanks to the articles that Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani had published in the Magazine.
But in return, the anarchists appreciated Mondo Beat's new strategy of creating a tent city to promote a wider sexual revolution. So, the bond between the youths of Mondo Beat and the Sacco e Vanzetti Provos became stronger and so the fraternal bond between Melchiorre Gerbino and Giuseppe Pinelli.

Focusing now on this fifth issue of the Magazine, April 30, 1967, that is, the day this issue was published, marks a historical date, due to the attack against the Corriere della Sera on the front page of it.
It is no exaggeration to say this, as this attack was the first tremor of an earthquake that would have devastated the establishment media, due to the inability of the old Italian intelligentsia to face the new one. To explain it, let's take some steps back in history.
At the end of the Second World War, the mafiosi who had taken refuge in the United States were welcomed back in Sicily, where otherwise the mafia had been eradicated by fascism, and this because of the acquiescence of Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) who wanted to slow down progress in Sicily.
Subsequently, the Church, first in Sicily, then throughout southern Italy, would have selected politicians, judges and police commissioners, to put them to its service, with the ultimate aim of curbing progress throughout Southern Italy. Furthermore, a substantial part of these officials selected by the Church in the south of Italy would have been transferred to the north of Italy, in order to slow progress there too.
Why such opposition to progress by the Vatican?
Because the Vatican will one day die of progress and the Vatican is aware of it, so the Vatican tries to reject that day as far as possible. If you understand it, you have understood the Vatican's supreme policy, everywhere and at any time.
Why didn't the Vatican choose people in northern Italy, to put them at its service, and instead had to move them from southern to northern Italy? Because in northern Italy it was almost impossible to find a young lawyer who would join the police as a commissioner, while in southern Italy, due to the chronic precarious economic situation, hundreds young lawyers would have been happy to take such a job. Moreover, and this is of great importance, a young lawyer from northern Italy, who would have served in the police as a commissioner, would not easily engage in a dirty job at the Vatican's request, while a good part of those police commissioners, transferred from southern Italy, yes, they would have done. And this because Northern Italy was inhabited by people who were more developed than those of Southern Italy and not only economically, but also as awareness, being the two conditions corresponding to each other.
Finally, those officials transferred from southern to northern Italy would not have needed to be continually ordered by the Vatican to slow progress, they would have done it somehow automatically. It takes time for people, at least one generation, to free themselves from a repressed education and the consequent behaviors.
I say all this without racist complacency, as I am Sicilian.
Now, to tell about what concerns Mondo Beat, it as to be said that many of those journalists who formed the editorial staff of Corriere della Sera, Corriere d'Informazione, La Notte, the 3 main newspapers who had the task of attacking Mondo Beat, were individuals from underdeveloped areas of southern Italy who had moved to north. Of course, they were able to write in flowery Italian, but their intellectual dimension was that of the provincials of southern Italy, their existential dimension was that of sexually unsatisfied individuals. They couldn't be serene in confronting the sexual revolution promoted by Mondo Beat. And in fact their behavior would have been that of sexually frustrated individuals. Under the pretext of promoting morality, they would have engaged in a furious campaign against Mondo Beat, day by day, without perceiving that they had ended up in the pathetic and the grotesque, while many of their readers would have understood this.
There were also journalists from northern Italy in the editorial staff of those newspapers, but almost all of them were daddy's boys, who had gotten the job without merit. Usually, they tried to catch butterflies, and they would have continued to do so in the middle of a devastating earthquake.

Below, a collage of headlines and photos of articles published by the Corriere della Sera, that let understand the reason why Mondo Beat would have attacked this newspaper head-on

Corriere della Sera wanted to convince the public of the negativity of the Mondo Beat Movement
Articles that the Corriere della Sera had published in order to give a negative image of Mondo Beat

There was misinformation in all these titles and in the corresponding articles. The way the Corriere della Sera tried to give a negative image of the Mondo Beat Movement and its characters was mischievous and indecent. And the Corriere della Sera had this negative attitude from the appearance of the Movement, and thereafter constantly.
Before reaching an agreement with the Police headquarters, Mondo Beat did not have the capacity to counter the attacks of the Corriere della Sera, as all its energies were devoted to the survival of the Movement. But now that had no longer to face the police and could raise the bar, Mondo Beat would give some lessons to the Corriere della Sera in the Contestation-style.

Mondo Beat N. 3 (Issue 5) - April 30, 1967 - print run 8,000 copies

As I have already said, I will not comment on the writings of the external contributors to the magazine Mondo Beat, since neither I have attentively read their writings at the time of publication, nor, so far, I have had the patience to do it.

The cover of the fifth issue of the magazine Mondo Beat marked the beginning of the clash at loggerheads between Mondo Beat and Corriere della Sera   A reflection on the clash between two generations   Those were the days of the bloody Vietnam War   In that time there was not Internet    No idea. No comment   The one whose mother killed the dog-wolf because lost hair in the apartment

The description of the subway station Cordusio,in whose underpasses beats used to meet before the opening of The Cave    He lived together with a boy who had fled from home, whose family name was Vento. Rene adopted this surname for himself   Rene Vento described the feelings of a boy fled from home, who arrived for the first time to The Cave   A third poem by an 'external collaborator of the magazine Mondo Beat'. No comment   External contributor had their writing published on condition that they didn't attend The Cave   The document was accompanied by detailed allegations of abuses committed by police officers against young people of the Movimento Mondo Beat, who had not committed any crime


page 01 - Here is the cover of this issue with the translation of the text into English

This cover marks the beginning of the clash at loggerheads between Mondo Beat and Corriere della Sera
"Corriere della Sera and Beats" by Melchiorre Gerbino.

A frontal attack against the Corriere della Sera. Here the link to the original page.

page 02 - "It is said that today's youths will be tomorrow's conservative academics" (Si dice: i giovani di oggi sono gli accademici conservatori di domani) by Paolo Viganò. A reflection on the clash between generations.

page 03 - "War, war, always war" (La guerra, la guerra e sempre la guerra) by Renzo Freschi. Those were the days of the bloody Vietnam War.

page 04 - The writings by three external contributors to the magazine Mondo Beat.

page 05 - Here, another external contributor to the magazine Mondo Beat.

page 06 - And here, yet, another external contributor to the magazine Mondo Beat (the one whose mother killed the wolf dog).

To put it with a Christian expression, Melchiorre Gerbino has carried the cross of external contributors with the patience of a saint. If not for other merits, he should be admired at least for this.

page 07 - "Cordusio", by Ombra (Giorgio Cavalli). The description of the days when the Beats used to meet in the underpasses of Cordusio subway station. That was the time preceding the opening of The Cave.
Many years after the Mondo Beat time, I met Giorgio Cavalli in Milan. On that occasion, he said something very rewarding for me, given my responsibilities within the Movement. We were talking to people who did not know much about the story of Mondo Beat, so, to make them understand, at one point I said: "Mondo Beat wanted to be an anarchist movement". And Ombra said "There has never been anything more anarchist than Mondo Beat".
As I have already mentioned, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra was one of the Beats of the first hour and one of the most famous in the Movement. Here we can see him in a meeting of the editorial staff of Mondo Beat magazine. Giorgio Cavalli Ombra is the first sitting on the right

pages 08/09- "FUORI", by Renè Vento.
Renè was a gay rights activist of the first hour. He was in his thirties and lived together with a young boy who had fled from his home, whose surname was Vento, and this surname Renè adopted for himself. In this article, to which Melchiorre Gerbino gave the title "FUORI" (OUT), Renè Vento described the feelings of a boy who had fled from his home and arrived for the first time at The Cave.

The machinations of CIA agent Fernanda Pivano
The devious CIA agent Fernanda Pivano

A group of homosexuals founded a magazine called "F.U.O.R.I." in 1971, that is, 4 years after gay activist Renè Vento published the article "FUORI" in the fifth issue of Mondo Beat magazine.
The letters of the name of this magazine "F.U.O.R.I." would have indicated respectively
F = Front
U = Unitary
O = Homosexual
R = Revolutionary
I = Italian.
To put it in English, it would be "Unitary Revolutionary Homosexual Italian Front".
To explain why such a cumbersome denomination, those gays declared: "The magazine was conceived during informal meetings in the Milanese house of Fernanda Pivano and Ettore Sottsass, attended by homosexuals from Turin, Milan and Rome".
So the devious Fernanda Pivano had resorted to such an imbroglio (FUORI - F.U.O.R.I.) to confuse and disperse the heritage of Mondo Beat.

Jack Kerouacsaid of Fernanda Pivano 'a Jewish communist spy'
The numerous machination of the CIA agent Fernanda Pivano

After the dissolution of the Mondo Beat Movement and Melchiorre Gerbino's departure from Milan, Fernanda Pivano, to confuse and disperse Mondo Beat's heritage, created groups called "Mondo Bit" among the very young middle school students. Note that the pronunciation of "bit" and "beat" is the same in Italian.
Furthermore, 20 years after the time of Mondo Beat, Fernanda Pivano published a book "C'era una volta un Beat" (Once upon a time a Beat) where she resorted to a photomontage to degrade the story of Mondo Beat and take advantage.
In the photomontage above reproduced, moreover so poorly done that also a fool can understand that it is a photomontage, the images of Vittorio Di Russo and Melchiorre Paolo Gerbino were inserted among those of people they never met.
The caption reads:
" A moment of the meeting at the home of Giorgio Bertani in Verona, November 1, 1966.
PSIUP comrades explain the Party's program to Vittorio Di Russo, who sits next to Paolo Gerbino, who was at the time an employee of Alitalia airline and later would become the leader of the tent city New Barbonia".
This caption proves that Fernanda Pivano was a CIA agent, since the CIA itself, some years after the publication of her book, disclosed that the PSIUP, the political party to which she referred, was a fake communist party, created by the CIA itself in the purpose to break the alliance of two socialist parties (PSI, PSDI) which were in government in Italy.
Thus, with this photomontage and relative caption, Fernanda Pivano intended to achieve two objectives: to downgrade the history of Mondo Beat by showing how its two most charismatic characters were communists (when they were anarchists instead) and encourage the Italian provincials who have read her book (and unfortunately they were numerous) to vote for the PSIUP party, so to deliver their votes to the CIA.
At the time of Mondo Beat, invited by the state television, Jack Kerouac came to Italy to give an interview and he couldn't escape the condemnation of having Fernanda Pivano hanging around him. To a reporter who asked him what he thought of Fernanda Pivano, Jack Kerouac said verbatim "A Jewish communist spy". Fernanda Pivano herself affirms this in her already mentioned book "C'era una volta un Beat".
Now, I don't know if she was Jewish or Turkish, communist or fascist, but she was certainly a spy.

page 10 - On this page, poems by Tella (Tella Ferrari). She was a 16-year-old Milanese Jewish girl. Here we can see Tella Ferrari and Cristo di Monza sitting outside The Cave.

page 11 - Sandro Mayer on Beats and artistic expression.

page 12 - Copy of the complaint lodged in Milan Court on 3 April 1967. The document, prepared by the lawyers Alessandro Garlatti and Carlo Invernizzi, was accompanied by detailed allegations of police abuses against young people from the Mondo Beat Movement who had committed no crime.

Melchiorre Gerbino structured this fifth issue of the Magazine with photographic cliches graciously offered by the daily L'Unità, the front page cliche included. As these cliches had already been printed, and L'Unità no longer needed them, they were stacked in bulk in a box.

Articles on Mondo Beat by the Italian press

Much has been written about Mondo Beat, in Italy and abroad (in the United States, by the New York Times and the Berkeley Barb). Here a selection of articles that the Italian press has published on Mondo Beat before the opening of Barbonia City campsite

The main newspapers and magazines could not avoid writing about Mondo Beat, because so many boys and girls from all walks of life and from all over Italy joined the Movement. But they wrote about Mondo Beat with some obvious embarrassment, as they were media of the Establishment, while Mondo Beat was an anarchist movement. Furthermore, almost all Italian journalists of the time did not understand the nature of the Mondo Beat Movement, because the alternative Italian culture of the time was a provincial culture which imported fashion from the United States and India. Thus, these journalists would have expected to find relations between Mondo Beat and the Beat Generation, the Hare Krishna, the Dalai Lama. They did not understand that Mondo Beat was dedicated to creating the conditions for the mass of young Italians to enjoy a completely satisfying sex life. These journalists could not understand that Mondo Beat had programmed this sexual revolution in young people because, once they had experienced the dimension of a completely satisfying sex life, no one could have deprived them of their right to happiness and, therefore, of their civil rights. They would have faced anything until death, but they would not have given up. Do you think the journalists who wrote articles about the Mondo Beat Movement understood this? As you will see, they wrote large pages of superficiality, when not of nonsense. But after the opening of the Barbonia City campsite, when no one could have avoided to understand that a sexual revolution was going on, then the media of the Establishment would have to face an unprecedented situation, a dramatic one, seen from the angulation of the Vatican (I know well that I use the term "unprecedented" often, but I don't abuse of it, since much of what happened with Mondo Beat was unprecedented). So now, here, the superficiality of the Italian press on the Mondo Beat Movement, before the opening of the Barbonia City campsite

Just a little part of what was written about Mondo Beat
A miscellany of articles on the Beats

Among all these superficial articles, there is however an interesting news about the censorship that the school magazine "La Zanzara", of Liceo Parini, has undergone.
As already described, six of us of Mondo Beat contestated the Italian school at Liceo Parini (Parini High School) on March 10, 1967. On that occasion the principal, such professor Mattalia, went mad and made indecent gestures against us, while shouting from a window on the facade of the institute. Now Mattalia, still traumatized by that fact, has censored 2 pages of the school magazine, where the students had recorded their dialogues with the youths of Mondo Beat. The students protested and left 2 blank pages with the polemical announcement "Prohibited to talk about the Beats".
In fact, what would have happened in Italy, with the increase of the Contestation, would be unprecedented as regards school. The teachers, who were largely authoritarian, would have been subjected to spectacular acts of contestation by the pupils. The contestations were never violent, but they were so sensational that all teachers, all over Italy, would have lived in a state of tension and anxiety. And this would have been the true factor of de-fascism of the Italian culture, and not the propagation of books on the Resistance, that covered, as a facade, a cultural reality that was still very fascist.


Mondo Beat exerted a strong call on Christian youth
Clara Bertini, Rocca-Pro Civitate Christiana magazine

Here an article by Clara Bertini, a journalist of Rocca-Pro Civitate Christiana magazine. She was a Catholic lay missionary. A young woman, moreover attractive, perhaps she had had some prevention against the Beats and in fact she was surprised as she was received in The Cave with courtesy, without irony or psychological opposition after she confessed to be a Catholic lay missionary engaged in evangelization. For this reason, she felt at ease in The Cave.
In her long article, in which she assessed what she thought were the pros and cons about the Beats, she honestly wrote, "Now that I know the Beats, it will be harder for me to give an answer as to what I think about them".
Indeed, the call of Mondo Beat was strongly perceived by young Christians, and young Catholics who participated in the Movement were numerous.

Fifteen years after the time of Mondo Beat, while I was in the Ivory Coast, I met Marisa Coppa, an Italian journalist, who told me about Angelo Bianco, an Italian missionary who had supported, at the University of Abidjan, a brilliant thesis on the Koulango civilization.
Marisa Coppa described Angelo Bianco as an original figure, as he was not only an intellectual, but he also involved in digging wells in the field of his mission in search of fresh water, calling his father from Liguria for help. When on vacation, he traveled in the Ivory Coast in the company of an Irish nun, who was so beautiful that the men turned to look at her. Marisa Coppa suggested that I visit him, during my journey in the Ivory Coast.
Angelo Bianco's mission was in Bondoukou, a city interned in the territory of the Ivory Coast, at the border with Ghana. I went there during my trip. When I met Angelo Bianco and introduced myself, he exclaimed, "Gerbino! Before becoming a missionary, I was a boy from Mondo Beat".
I spent two weeks in his mission. I watched him while he was doing his job. He had remained friendly and indomitable, as a real guy from Mondo Beat.
A few years later, in Trieste, I met Marisa Coppa again, who told me that Angelo Bianco had died of yellow fever. She gave me a photo of him, which I published here.


The Beats were portrayed as youths who did not know what they wanted
Giampaolo Martelli, Vita magazine.

"Vita", a second-rate magazine, wrote the most stupid article about the youths of the Movement. They were portrayed as young people who did not know what they wanted and did not know which way to go. They were unstable young people who moved from one place to another, without orientation, trying to find an impossible balance. And they did this, following the teachings of Jack Kerouac.
Now, let's be clear on one point and without boasting, since ignorance is not a medal to put on the chest, but when Giuseppe Pinelli, Umberto Tiboni, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino mimeographed the first issue of Mondo Beat magazine in the anarchist section Sacco e Vanzetti in Milan, they knew about Jack Kerouac as much as Jack Kerouac knew about them: nothing.


Montorsi quoted Melchiorre Gerbino:'Nowadays, if you work, you supply balls to cannons, one way or another'
Roberto Ronza Montorsi, the weekly Epoca

The weekly "Epoca" tried to give a comprehensive description of the philosophy of life of the Beats. The journalist Roberto Ronza Montorsi, who signed the article, quoted Melchiorre Gerbino. To the recurring question of why the Beats did not want to bow to wage labor, Gerbino replied, "Nowadays, if you work, you supply balls to cannons, one way or another".
Such a claim now, in 2020, may seem exaggerated, but back then we lived through the bloody days of the Vietnam War.


Much folklore about the Beats
Camilla Cederna, the weekly L'Espresso

Camilla Cederna, a well-known journalist, has made many descriptions of Beats folklore, how they eat, where they sleep, what problems they have with their relatives and with the police, but she has not seen further than that.
In giving the title to this article, Camilla Cederna made a pun, given that in Italian "cappello" (2 "p") means "hat", while "capello" (1 "p") means "hair". There is an Italian song, known to all Italians, where it says "sul cappello che noi portiamo " (on the hat we wear). To joke about the Beats, she wrote it with only 1 "p", so it became "on the hair we wear".


Descriptions of youths who fled their homes, but no conclusions
Telesio Malaspina, the weekly L'Espresso

The journalist Telesio Malaspina described various cases of young people who had fled their homes, but he did not go further, he did not realize that this would have created unprecedented situations in society, from nutrition to music, from sexuality to participation in politics.
In fact, their magazines asked journalists to write about the Beats, but almost all of the journalists, due to provincial culture and due to the deafening publicity about the Beat Generation, in whose trap they fell, misunderstood the meaning of what was going on in Italy. Telesio Malaspina was in the number of them.


 The Fascists were worried because many youths left their sections and came to Mondo Beat
Franco Vaudo, the weekly Lo Specchio

"Lo Specchio" was a far-right fascist weekly.
The fascists were worried because many youths left their sections and came to Mondo Beat.
The communists had the same concern, but they were more able to hide their preoccupations.


To end, a historical note.
Due to a paradox, the weekly Grand Hotel would be the first publication to cite the term "contestazione" as formulated by Mondo Beat.
What paradox?
Since Mondo Beat never asked for money to give an interview and granted it to all the media, and Grand Hotel asked for it, Melchiorre Gerbino granted the interview on condition that the text, that Grand Hotel would have published, would be agreed with Mondo Beat. This because Grand Hotel was a magazine who published the most sentimental love stories (...then she met a young doctor...) and Melchiorre Gerbino feared that it would describe the Beats in romantic scenes in the moonlight.
Thus, since the opposing paradoxes touch each other, the Grand Hotel of the sighs of love would have been the first publication to announce one of the most radical events, the Contestation.

This article of Grand Hotel appeared on May 6, 1967 (1)    This article of Grand Hotel appeared on May 6, 1967 (2)
Grand Hotel magazine was the first publication in the world to cite the term "contestazione" as formulated by Mondo Beat.

Here is the question that Dina Vallino, the Grand Hotel journalist who interviewed Gerbino, asked him: "What is the purpose of your protest? " (Cosa vi proponete di ottenere con la vostra protesta?).
Here is Melchiorre Gerbino's answer: "More than a protest, our is the contestation of a system of life. Humanity runs the risk of a nuclear disaster, many people prefer not to think about it, the Beats want to remind everyone. They want to offer, with their way of life, a testimony of nonviolence, convinced that only the spread of this attitude can save humanity".
This was the first time that the term "contestazione", used in this new meaning, appeared in a publication.
Wherever the terms "contestazione", "contestation", "contestación", would have appeared in publications, the date would have been later than May 6, 1967.

History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 12