In 2006 the citizens of Vicenza, Italy, discovered that for three years US authorities, the Italian government, and city officials had been negotiating secretly to approve the construction of a new military base on the only large undeveloped area in the northern part of the city and the largest aquifer in northern Italy. Beginning in the adjacent neighborhoods, a mobilization arose against the construction of the military installation. In a few months hundreds of thousands of residents were demonstrating in the city, and various forms of direct action against the base became a daily occurrence. Thus was born an extraordinary experiment in democratic political participation.

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