We, the students of the Mamiani secondary school, have today decided to launch a protest. It is an appeal to the State, to citizens and above all to our fellow students who have been seeking a change in Italian politics for many decades.

The change we have been asking for is very different to what the current government is proposing. We believe that the closure of our ports is symbolic of a superficial policy, one that is unable to analyse reality and comprehend the challenges of the future, one that points the finger at an enemy that does not exist rather than facing up to the real causes of social difficulties in Italy and Europe.

As young citizens, we feel abandoned by a ‘left’ that has allowed public education to be sold off, cutting budgets to schools that are now crumbling, and creating an unbridgeable gap between town centres and the suburbs. It is a ‘left’ that has enthusiastically begun the process of making jobs less secure, denying us any prospects. It has also allowed the politics of hate and fear against the wrong targets to spread.

In our view, a change in politics does not mean racism but solidarity. It is a change that will not become reality by placing the police in schools, but by creating an alternative for the young. It will not come by granting greater powers to police forces, but by investing in education and health, and it cannot be generated by emptying occupied places without concerning ourselves with the situation of those that live there. Similarly, real change cannot be created through the creation of a welfarism that does not look to eliminate poverty, but maintain it in a state of limbo by forming a class of the poor ready to give up their jobs. Instead, we need to change the system by altering our course.

No one among us claims to be able to solve the serious social and economic problems in our country. We do however have the privilege of being from a fortunate background where our critical awareness is continually stimulated through the instruments and opportunities that our schooling affords us. For this reason, we feel moved by the responsibility to take a stand. We will therefore attempt to provide a social model that places the greatest emphasis on collective wellbeing and represents our values. Our occupation will not merely be an unproductive protest, but a period that will enrich every student’s education through courses, lessons and meetings with a range of guests.

It is therefore our intention that this occupation will open a political and social debate. For this reason, we believe that our actions must not be an end in themselves, but mark the start of reclaiming a social and civil conscience on the part of the young and the fight to build an alternative to racism and the cheap demagogy of those that think they can buy our votes while continuing to impoverish our future.

For these reasons, alongside many other schools in Rome, we will be writing a manifesto that summarises our ideas and that will bring students together under the same principles.

We are aware that we will be accused of being layabouts, or troublemakers with no purpose. However, we are determined and we will prove it. Finally, it is important for us to clarify that we have nothing against the school’s headteacher or staff and that we intend for our actions to develop into a nonviolent protest in the interests of all. We therefore ask all students to show respect towards our school.

Today the Mamiani school is occupied because we are ready to rebuild the dream of which we are orphans.

Translation from italian by Malcolm Gilmour