© Massimo Nolletti
All Rights Reserved

To visit the second half of Dei Volsci street in Rome means to enter one of the city’s streets where the rules are turned upside-down. One building after the other, different lifestyles live together, each one of them at the extremes of society. The headquarter of Rome’s R.A.S.H. (Red and Anarchist Skin Heads) is at number 26. Part of the wall is covered by colourful, neat graffiti, with San Lorenzo’s (San Lorenzo is the name of the neighbourhood where the R.A.S.H. building is located) Skinhead's main symbols. Clearly they do not want to pass unnoticed : tight jeans or camouflaged trousers, boots, braces, polos, impossible to not recognise them. Only few know that R.A.S.H. aren’t racist or nazist, instead they condemn any form of fascism and discrimination.To generalise believing skinheads to be nazis is just a common mistake. They gather at “26", which is the place they took possession of, after years of abandonment. They meet once a week to talk about expenses and how to find money to keep going, they organize debates and demonstrations to remember people who died fighting fascism and to remember those who unfairly died under the police assaults. The wariness that often brings many to consider them as only a group of extremists can be cancelled by observing the passion they put in to fighting for what they believe. “Violence is necessary if you want to survive on the street” they said. “When the police become violent and unfair, there’s the need to react”. To be a skinhead means to not accept compromises, even if you’ll be discriminated against. To become a Rome R.A.S.H.’s member means to have disagreed with the fighting methods of other activist groups, so it’s natural to be a rebel. It was the same for every one of them: one day they realized that all they were doing wasn’t enough and tired of fighting without any results, they looked around searching for a stronger point of reference. They met the skin culture, decided they liked it and from that moment on any fascists would have a hard time. It doesn’t matter what people think: to be labeled as an extremist is just a compliment for them. By going around this neighbourhood they eventually recognized one another, they united as a group: that’s how the “26” was born. What they have in common is not just a political ideal. Among them are communists, socialists and anarchists and everyone kept their ideals. Political discussions often end with a drink and high volume music, all of them drawn together by being skinheads. The soundtrack of every night together is the “Oi!” music, which is also a distinctive sign of a way of being; Oi! Music was born by the fusion of street punk and skin culture and it is what they listen to most. The lyrics tell of the fight of the oppression and the street life, with the quick and scratching rhythm of late 70’s sounds. The Rome’s R.A.S.H. life style sounds like an old “Oi!” record.
 
 
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