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Emanuele Macaluso died on 19 January 2021 at the age of 96 in Rome
martedì 19 gennaio 2021

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Emanuele Macaluso died on 19 January 2021 at the age of 96 in Rome, in the hospital where he was receiving treatment for heart problems and for complications after a fall. Born in Caltanissetta on 21 March 1924, he was a journalist and a politician with a sharp mind. He joined the Italian Communist Party (PCI) during Fascism, and quickly rose through the party ranks to become one of the top political leaders. His career in politics started in 1951 as a member of the Sicilian legislative assembly. He also became a union leader in the CGIL. As a member of the reformist wing of the party (also called migliorista, after Palmiro Togliatti's nickname  - who was its main promoter), in 1960 Macaluso joined the highest political committee of the party. Between 1963 and 1992 he was elected seven times to the Italian parliament. He was the editor of L'Unità, PCI owned newspaper from 1982 to 1986, and of the Il Riformista in2011-2012. After the PCI dissolution, he joined the new party PDS. In what follows, a portrait of Macaluso made by Vito Lo Monaco, Director ofthe Centro Pio La Torre.

Emanuele Macaluso wasone of the most prominent figures among the progressive political leaders engaged in the strive for deep changes in Sicily, in Italy and beyond. His whole life was dedicated to the pursuit of democracy and peace, of socialist ideals, and of a system of autonomous administrationfor Sicily.

Like many others in his generation, such as Pio La Torre, Macaluso took politics as a duty, not as a means towards personal gains. His ideals led him to protect the weak, such as the workers in the Sicilian extractive industries of sulfur and salt, the land labourers, the sharecroppers, the blue collar workers who - in the years after WWII - suffered slave-like working conditions and were oppressed by the owners and the rentiers with the help of the Mafia.

Both Macaluso and La Torre were inspired by ideals of democracy and peace, of socialism, and moved by their deep commitment to the founding principles of the Republic of Italy, as enshrined in the 1947 Constitution, as well in the quest for abetter government for Sicily.

This led them to join the ranks of the Italian communist movement, which represented for them a vehicle to achieve freedom in the field of labour and political relations, to effectively restore equal rights and promote solidarity, as well as to fight against the invisible but all too present networks where dirty politics met Mafia's criminal interests.

Macaluso himself recalled the basic principles that underpinned his and La Torre's political engagement in 2019 in his last two speeches in Sicily in occasion of the remembrance of La Torre's political assassination (30April 1982) at the Sicilian legislative, and of the mass killing of unionist at Portella delle Ginestre (1 May 1947), in the mountains behind Palermo.

Macaluso and La Torre have both campaigned to give Sicily a new - more independent - form of government, which they both saw as an essential step to achieve a more genuine economic development, opposed to the one pursued by the elites that owned Sicily as a monopoly, and that utterly disregarded any notionof justice and social equity.

Their politicalwork was built around the strategy aimed at fostering the unity of the Sicilian working classes, and to create alliances with local business owners that were also crushed by the monopolists.

Similarattempts to reconfigure the political spectrum to break the yoke of thetraditional elites led to the political experiences of the so called Milazzismo (after Silvio Milazzo, governor of Sicily and political figure in the 1950s) and later on in the so called Government of the Broad Alliances with Piersanti Mattarella (killed by the Mafia in 1980).Transversal alliance-building strategy was considered instrumental to promote a socially-responsible use of the resources in the hands of capitalists  and to achieve equality and social justice. 

Althoughthe paths followed by Macaluso and La Torre have striking similarities,especially since they replaced each other in their political careers, they never lost the ability to think independently.

Macaluso'sand La Torre's work as well their personal experiences offer important lessons and inspiration for young generations interested in the political and cultural development of Sicily and of Italy. They both fought for peace and against the militarisation of Sicily during the Cold War - including the deployment of nuclear warheads in Comiso; they defended workers' rights and the right to work against the excessive market power of monopolists and of multinational companies; they fought against the environmental degradation resulting from an indiscriminate and excessive use of resources; they fought the scourge of poverty and of inequality.

Macaluso and La Torre were two miglioristi,two Sicilian and Italian communists, and two shining examples of free-thinking and of steady commitment to the fight for the common good.This is the same fight which the Centro Pio La Torre adheres to.

Vito Lo Monaco


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