Rossana Rossanda left us this weekend. It wasn’t a loss we expected, although in some ways one could see it coming, given her grave physical condition and advanced age.
Her death is, and will remain, an open wound. After the last dramatic economic, generational and political crisis that il manifesto went through at the end of 2012, in recent years she had returned to writing and being present in various ways at her newspaper.
From now, more than ever before, we will miss her style that always strove to go deeper, never satisfied, her restlessness and critical distance, and at the same time always devoted to a close relationship with the youngest of us. We will miss her admonishment not to forget the fundamental reasons of our existence, which came to be due to the deep crisis of the alternative models of construction of socialism, but also due to the precipice that the winning capitalist model is fast approaching.
For those of us who have worked with her for 50 years and who consider her the mold from which we formed; her serene and sharp words have cut through, and still cut through, our lives every day—clashing with the news coming from all corners of the world and from Italy itself, which confirm that we’re going through a widespread and general crisis, both material and of meaning, so deep that it borders on tragedy.
As far as we can see, what lies ahead is a murky future that recalls even darker times than those Rossana herself had gone through, always fighting on the side of the downtrodden, always sensitive to the birth of new and decisive movements.
There was an unforgettable light in Rossana’s eyes, one that hits close to home and that remains with us as an essential lesson: the light of those who don’t wait for others’ support or attention, but investigate the present moment without pretense, and always with an attitude of dissatisfaction.
It was as if she had before her eyes the long arc of history and its gentle but inexorable movement: she was a communist, she worked for a greater society, but she did not discard the limits of the past.
Are we up to the much-needed standard of such rigor and such stubbornness?
Rossana was unique. Now, everyone is rightly recalling her importance, not only for the history of il manifesto, but for politics and contemporary culture as well. But she did not conform to the dominant intellectual models: she was on the sidelines, seeing before everyone else the development of social processes in progress and foreseeing their outcomes.
She radiated both toughness and love, an immeasurable love, stronger than our scarce material possibilities. She was independent and free, both in her individuality and in the collective dimension.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.