Reportage. Mayor Giuseppe Sala: ‘When it’s time to step up, Milan must try to step up.’

Mayor of Milan responds to il manifesto’s April 25 appeal

To quote Pierangelo Bertoli, we could say that the conference on the 1944 strikes that took place on Thursday morning in the Sala Alessi at Palazzo Marino (the headquarters of the Milan City Council) was with “one foot in the past and a straight, open gaze into the future.” It was a mix of historical reconstruction and highly topical issues, on the eve of an April 25 that promises to be “extraordinary” in so many ways.

Doing the honors was Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who, after recalling the importance of those strikes for the fight against Nazi-Fascism, immediately rose up to the moment and endorsed, with great conviction, il manifesto‘s call for the upcoming April 25 demonstration: “This year, April 25 is more important than ever, not so much because we need to recall the past, but because we need to look ahead,” he said. “I particularly appreciate il manifesto‘s appeal, which was done just right. So I can only say to everyone who would like to participate that the success of this event, us being united, is important today. If we were to risk burying the meaning of April 25 because the issue of the day is the controversy with the Jewish brigade, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Moving beyond the controversies that come up every year, the participation of the city will determine, as always, the success or failure of the event. Milan, with its anti-fascist pride, has always stepped up. And it always will, the mayor says: “When it’s time to step up, Milan must try to step up. This is the time to step up, and Milan will step up.”

The same position was taken by ANPI national president Gianfranco Pagliarulo, among the speakers at the conference: “There is a risk of sliding towards authoritarianism,” Pagliarulo stressed, “which is why I believe it is necessary to have a great April 25, and I believe it will be.”

On il manifesto’s call, he was simple and direct: “A very important initiative, which we have signed up to.”

No one is hiding the divisions that objectively do exist, particularly on the war in Ukraine and even more so on the situation in the Middle East.

The organizational machine of Milan’s provincial ANPI branch (which heads the anti-fascist committee that prepares the national demonstration every year) is up and working.

Primo Minelli, newly elected provincial president of ANPI after the (controversial) resignation of Roberto Cenati, is optimistic. Present in the audience at the conference, he was willing to talk to journalists and explain his position: “We are working on a great April 25: massive, peaceful and united,” he said. “We are having a series of meetings with all the committees, with all the communities, and the first round of feedback is positive. With next week’s meeting, we will come full circle.”

It is undeniable that there are reasons to take to the streets on April 25, and they are many.

Even more so this year, as Maurizio Landini also stressed: “I believe that it must be a day, not of celebration, but of mobilization and struggle, as never before, to affirm the fundamental values of the Constitution,” emphasized the CGIL secretary. “Meanwhile, let it not rain and let there be sunshine, which is already something that helps,” he added with a smile when asked what kind of April 25 he would like. But then he went straight into the priorities that the upcoming demonstration should have: “To affirm a right to work that doesn’t exist at the moment. There is precariousness that is putting into question the future of young people and of women, who are paying the heaviest price.”

There’s no shortage of reasons to take to the streets.

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