Rossana Rossanda, communist, feminist and editor of Il Manifesto until 2012, gives an interview on the history of the circle of the publication in the second of the two-part series of interviews by George Souvlis. Rossanda reflects on the historical trajectory of the PCI in Italy, the relevance of Gramsci’s theoretical scrutiny of the worker’s movement post WW1, and the events which led to the split of Il Manifesto’s main circle. This interview was originally published in LeftEast.
First of all, let me apologize for my delay in answering, due to my health state and to a number of difficulties related to Italian politics. Your questions would require me to answer with full essays to each of them. In the course of recent years, I have tried to answer such questions in my books and articles. There is a methodological issue we should agree upon to reach an understanding; otherwise many of my answers would seem to not address in depth the questions you are posing. The core matter for me is Marx’s thought, which was only partly incorporated by European communist parties, including the PCI. I will now send you my latest reflections, which are about to be published, in order to continue our dialogue.
A meeting was held at the Chamber of Deputies on 31 March 2015 to mark the hundredth birthday of comrade Pietro Ingrao. Rossana Rossanda sent this message, which talks about Ingrao’s role in the history of the Italian Communist Party and the splits within it in 1956, 1968 and 1991. An (Italian-language) video of the event is available at radioradicale.it
I can only thank you for having invited me to attend the event marking Pietro Ingrao’s hundredth birthday. Through his victories and defeats, Ingrao has remained the point of reference for my own parabola as a communist. I am considered an ‘Ingraian’, even though he always refused to be characterised as the leader of some sort of tendency. This was not because of some a self-sacrificing sense of discipline, but rather, I believe, born of an ambition of no small significance that took shape at the end of the 1930s: namely, his decision to devote himself to working in an internationalist, militant community, the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI).
Luciana Castellina reflects on the 100th birthday of Pietro Ingrao, a long-standing figure of the Italian communist movement, whom the title of 'veteran', with its associations to enduring activity and commitment is certainly appropriate.
I still have clear memories of the first time I celebrated Pietro Ingrao’s birthday: it was in 1965, half a century ago, on his fiftieth (which seemed ancient to me, at the time). Not long out of the PCI’s boisterous Youth Federation, Sandro Curzi and I gave Ingrao his first pair of loafers, with a note asking him to be a bit less prudent: ‘walk with the times, walk along with us’.