Valentino Parlato passed away last night, hit by a sudden illness. Our friend and closest comrade was a founder of the Manifesto Group and this newspaper along with Aldo Natoli, Lucio Magri, Luigi Pintor, Luciana Castellina, Eliseo Milani and yours truly.
He was director of the newspaper for several years. Mostly, he was a vigilant friend of the publication’s destiny, a savior in emergency situations, and of course, a long-time collaborator.
Valentino was born in Libya and, for him, joining Italian journalism was the same thing as joining the Italian Communist Party, until he was expelled, together with the entire Manifesto group, because we disagreed with the prevailing line during the ‘60s and ‘70s. He started working at Rinascita along with Luciano Barca and Eugenio Peggio, in what was perhaps the most interesting period of Communist economic and trade union policy, and the culmination of the controversy over the “white elephants,” but during the same years, he kept a close link with Federico Caffè and Claudio Napoleoni.
However, his culture cannot be limited to economics; he subsisted on 18th century readings and always considered himself a student of Giorgio Colli and Carlo Dionisotti. He brought his multifaceted culture to il manifesto’s newsroom and gained the favor of employees, who have always benefitted from his generosity.
At il manifesto, he chased the great issues of Italian industry (his investigation on the housing issue is famous). But what characterized him in those years — when taking a key position in the country’s politics was often accompanied by painful ruptures — was his great openness to others’ ideas, a never-ending generosity, a real way of being and thinking he presented throughout his career in journalism.
Since he served for many years in Puglia with Alfredo Reichlin, he was forever linked to the issue of the South.
But Valentino was mostly a kind of divine protector of the newspaper. He was called to save it in any emergency situation. He was always ready for long waits in ministerial offices in order to get stingy subsidies for the newspaper.
We had in him a leader and a wise mediator who guided us in all events that could occur to an undertaking as adventurous and unprecedented as ours.
Those who knew him will miss his presence and capabilities, sometimes even getting impatient of his benevolent tolerance for those who do not think like him and like us.
Very few of the members of the initial group are still part of the newspaper, after the wide sowing in the few sectors of the Left that survived the crisis of recent years.
In this respect, the loss of Valentino Parlato will be very hard. Not to mention the loss of his friendship and affection for those who, like us, are still trying to fill the void.
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