I am writing these lines prompted by everything that comrades have been writing in il manifesto in recent days about the upcoming European elections. Most of all, I am following up on the words of Michele Santoro, as I found his voice to be the most persuasive on the absolutely essential priority issues of peace, an immediate stop to armed conflict and violence against unarmed civilians and stopping the sending of arms to countries at war.
On December 20, in Riace, we attempted something similar, putting out a call for the unity of the left, envisioning an authentic left that would be united and open to meeting with all movements, activists and grassroots organizations which have always stood for peace, welcome and solidarity among peoples.
The issue that I feel is most urgent is undoubtedly that of the humanitarian emergencies, the dramatic current events that we are witnessing with the wars in Palestine, Ukraine, Rojava and other parts of the world. While the Ukrainian resistance has been supported and fast lanes have been set up for the reception of refugees from that war, nothing has been done for the Palestinian issue, the drama that people is experiencing, the genocide that is taking place before the eyes of the world.
Similarly, nothing is being done for the Kurdish people of Rojava who have played a key role in defeating ISIS, only to be abandoned and suffer the violent fascist repression of the Turkish government. I cannot forget to mention that the reception of political refugees in Riace benefited in its initial phase from the support of a great friend of the Kurdish people, the late Dino Frisullo.
Today we are faced with the spread of the right-wing, bringing an inhumane vision of society everywhere, setting up segregation measures, prison camps, detention and deportation centers, sometimes contracting them out to foreign states like the Meloni government did with Albania, which, recalling the words of Franco Basaglia, make everything look like “an enormous dissection room where life looks and smells like death.”
In the face of all this, what is needed is to reaffirm a non-personalistic vision of political engagement, one with the enthusiasm to broaden its horizons and take in the contributions coming from the local territories, all with the awareness of participating in a larger project. At the same time, I am calling out to all those who care about the fate of those who are suffering oppression and indignity, to the forces of the radical and moderate left, to the many people, younger and older, secular and Catholic, who are engaged in social volunteering and open to a multicultural society, to those who think this world is unjust and will not give up, engaging in resistance against the oppression of mafias and economic powers-that-be. Together we have hope for another possible world.
This hope is renewed by the encouraging signals I am seeing in the words of De Magistris, Acerbo, Santoro, Fratoianni, Bonelli, and all the comrades who have resonated deeply with the Riace experience.
First of all, what is needed is to defeat indifference. Before anything else, this means finding the courage to stand up for your own difference. I believe the judicial troubles that have been visited upon myself and the Riace community are intrinsically connected to our vision. For me, my encounter with Luigi Ferrajoli, a renowned jurist, was an essential aid to understand what happened in Riace. After he delved deep into the subject and read the court proceedings, he concluded that the presence pulling the strings was ultimately neoliberalism and the powerful interests that mobilized to try to destroy a political message they deemed to be dangerous, which was based on the redemption of the oppressed and linked to the rebirth of the inland areas, the small villages, abandoned as a result of the advance of the consumeristic society, shaped by the free market and the profit motive. Similarly, Luigi Manconi had an essential role in bringing back reception in Riace through the fundraiser set up in the aftermath of the initial court sentence, when all seemed to be lost – and which, instead, ended up giving new life to the “global village.”
Today it is more necessary than ever to start again from this connection with the places and people who are suffering the denial of their basic human rights, with social equality as our guiding star: without equality there can be neither legality nor humanity.
Neoliberalism has the perennial cankerworm of injustice and barbarism embedded in its very structure. This is the realm of the right. Let us find ways together to build many pockets of resistance. My ambition is to be able to play the role of a hinge between the different impulses fueling the left, a bridge between the lefts scattered into a thousand rivulets. There is a whole left-wing people in Italy, which is willing to put in the effort and get back to writing a new collective history, based on rights, widespread welfare and humanity. Together, we must give the people the instruments it needs so it can be represented. This is the appeal that I am moved to make to everyone on the left in the run-up to the European elections: let us unite.