Articles by: Silvana Mangione

  • Events: Reports

    The Walker by A. Giovannitti - US Tour

    One hundred years after he pronounced his superb self-defense, Arturo Giovannitti is a perfect example of what we call “cultura di ritorno,” untranslatable in English except as a sort of cross-fertilization of cultures. The objective is to make reciprocally known on both sides of the Atlantic the best of the artistic and intellectual production by Italians working in Italy or in the USA, and their interaction.

    The most recent path of rediscovery of this Molisano poet/trade-unionist in America begins in 2011, when the John D.Calandra Italian American Institute accepts the invitation of the Italian Democratic Party to celebrate the 150th anniversay of the Unification of Italy with a symposium dedicated to a leader of the workers movemente in the early ’900s, that is Arturo Giovannitti, unjustly accused of a crime he did not commit and acquitted after his passionate appeal to the court.

    Soon after, the Cosmo Iannone Editore publishes in Italy a splendid monography, edietd by Norberto Lombardi, titled: “The Bard of Liberty – Arturo Giovannitti (1884-1959).”
    In March 2012, during a plenary assembly meeting of the General Council of Italians Abroad – CGIE, Stefano Sabelli describes to me the play he has authored and directed: “The Auto-da-Fè of the Walker,” based on Giovannitti’s speech and one of his poems. He proposes to bring it on an American tour to ve concluded on November 23, the very day in which this ethical testimonial of the dignity of men and their work was pronounced. The date is the same. The place will be Lawrence in Massachusetts, the town where almost 30,000 women and men laborers in the textile industry – 7,000 of them Italians – started in 1912 the so called “bread and Roses Strike,” meaning that survical is not enough in a person’s life. The pursuit of happiness must be attainable as well.

    The project was enticing and caught me immediately. Therefore, our path of knowledge continues because of all those who made it possible to bring to the United States this play/testimonial of the greatness of mankind and its desire to live a life full of values and equality. This excellent result is still not enough.

    Research on Arturo Giovannitti must go on in the future, through the work of universities and scholars, through an in-depth study of the acts of that trial, eventually found a short time ago and delivered to the Bread and Roses Committee Centennial Committee. 

    Even this is not enough. Not only Giovannitti, many other Italians have been leaders of fights in the world of labor. They too need to be recognized and celebrated, as well as giants like Giuseppe Di Vittorio from Cerignola.

    There is much to be done. Let’s start by listenting to Arturo Giovannitti and his eternal message.   


    Full program attached

  • Facts & Stories

    The Agorà of the Youth

    Since time began, a common meeting space has been conducive to reunions and discussions among people. Originally it was a gathering around the fire with music and talk, tales and learning, the calming of fears, and the birth of myths that would grow into wisdom. The young listened to the old who told stories that would be expanded, enriched, reinvented over time, eventually becoming traditions and knowledge that would never be forgotten.

    Later, the meeting space would become an area between buildings, an agorà—a square—where people would go and discuss matters of the polis—of the city. The young would go to the square to listen, to ask questions, to learn, to grow, and to prepare for future leadership roles. Today, we have a virtual square, full of possibilities, as fast as the user can make it, and as captivating as the participants, the chat, the blog, the dialogue, the reading and the telling can be. A common language, however, is necessary; and it would be even more desirable if it were a beautiful one, a language culture.
    One such language is Italian, the common language of millions of young people throughout the world who have not yet come together in their own square. They will this year, which marks the First Convention of Young Italians in the World. For the first time, there will be a physical square, in Rome, where hundreds of Italo-Italians, Italo-Foreigners, Foreign-Italians, and all sorts of hyphenated Italians from every nation will convene to walk into a glittering, enticing global forum. These young people already share two things—their ancestry and its language—and they will create many common venues. They have already built many virtual squares in preparation for the meeting. They have incredibly similar interests and passions. They have already met in every country under the auspices and through funding from CGIE—Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero—the General Council of Italians Residing Abroad, an international representative body created by the Italian Parliament and whose president is Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
    Since 1995, CGIE realized that the future of the world’s Italian communities and the very future of the Italian language itself rested in the hands of the young. A revolution was called for — a revolution of open minds and open means of communication which centers on the Internet and the Italian language. CGIE has consistently been at their side, ready to solve problems but careful not to overstep. The nationwide “agoràs” have become universal, and even though it is a virtual space it is no less engaging and compelling. It is global and local at the same time: glocal, as human matters must become as we go forth into the future. Our objective is to create connections among different generations and experiences, to dissolve the barriers between the new “mobility” and the descendents of “traditional” Italian emigration—they both embody the same desire for a vibrant future, and there can only be a future for us and our language if they come together.

    Silvana Mangione is Vice Secretary General of CGIE (General Council for Italian Abroad) for Anglophone Countries