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Commentary. Il manifesto co-founder Valentino Parlato, who died last week, wrote about what a newspaper should be in his 2012 book about ‘the communist newspaper.’

Life here is difficult

The problem the newspaper faces (as all newspapers do) is always its content. We are in a democratic and economic crisis.

Even political parties are being dissolved. It is difficult to stand up for a party in this situation. What then? Therefore, the poster must assume the role of a party. Not as an organization to vote for in the elections, but to rebuild a political and cultural line intended to promote the class struggle, the class struggle of the workers first and foremost, but also of all the people who are pushed to the margins in the current situation. I am thinking of young people and women.

Il manifesto, which continues to be labeled as the “communist newspaper” must engage in the struggle. This is not an easy feat these days, but that has to be the reason of our existence.
I did not join il manifesto to be a journalist!

How can il manifesto become an active player in the class struggle in our country? I think, first and foremost, of analyzing the situation as we were taught by Marx and Gramsci. A disease cannot be healed without a serious diagnosis.

Of course, we are in a difficult situation that can only be overcome with some sort of cultural and social revolution. In short, the capitalism that is humiliating us is not eternal, but there must be a force to fight it.

We discuss the newspaper’s course of action, the “what to do?” A newspaper does not simply record the news, but it has a point of view and precise objectives. It is characterized by them; they are how it stands out from others. When il manifesto campaigned, it also boosted sales: I think of Fanfani, I think of the opposition to the war in Iraq, I think of the big demonstration in Milan in 1994, when our newspaper was instrumental in the fall of Berlusconi and achieved total sales of 50,000 copies.

When I say newspaper-party, I am simply saying that a newspaper is a political entity. I wouldn’t at all advocate for participating in elections or any such thing: A newspaper is a newspaper.

And I do self-criticize. This characterization has declined in recent times, in part because of the shortcomings of those of us who work in this industry, but it’s not all our fault. The situation is really difficult; the current center-left is quite disastrous. We need to build a real alternative, and, to this end, culture is important — I would say decisive.

Together we can resist, and we can also win. And I say this mostly to the young: We can win this. At my age, it is hard to think of winning.

The repeated crises of il manifesto reminded me of the Antaeus myth.

The combative Libyan giant always won because every time he fell to the ground (Earth was his mother) he regained his strength and was able to beat his opponent. In all the repeated crises of il manifesto, the earth (Mother Earth) was the readers, the people of il manifesto who have always reinvigorated us. But the myth also says that Hercules held Antaeus off the ground and strangled him.

In order to survive and win, we must not lose touch with the earth, with our comrades.

And if Hercules lifts us from earth to strangle us, we must uplift the earth, with all the criticism and blame we deserve.

But the earth must know that life here is difficult.

Excerpt from La rivoluzione non russa, quarant’anni di storia del manifesto (“The non Russian revolution, il manifesto’s forty years of history”) Manni 2012, €14