Roberto Saviano talks about Danilo Dolci

May 18, 2012News

In Fabio Fazio’s TV programme “Quello che (non) ho“, Roberto Saviano quoted Piero Calamandrei and Danilo Dolci, regarding to the backwards strike of 1956: an important contribution to Danilo Dolci’s initiatives.

We propose a brief press review with some link to deepen the topic and to watch the tv programme.

La Repubblica, on Tuesday 15th May

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And there are some entrepreneurs that trust in criminal assets considering the absence of a government.  Saviano reminded that in 1956 Piero Calamandrei pronounced a plea in defense of Danilo Dolci “people don’t trust in laws, because they aren’t considered their own laws. They feel the State like an enemy. Poor people think that laws are rich people’s game”.

Il Messaggero, on Tuesday 15th May

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Piero Calamandrei – said Saviano – in 1956 defended Danilo Dolci when he organized a strike in Sicily. « He protested by going to work- explained Saviano – in a place with the highest unemployment rates. Dolci and the unemployed began to work on a local road that was badly in need of repair. They were arrested on invented charges and spent months in jail.  Calamandrei succeeded in releasing them, saying that the labor right is also a constitutional duty.

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Whole Video:

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How can you stop and pinpoint mafia assets?

And how can the citizen trusting in a government that sends tax notices?

Saviano used Calamandrei’s words during the process in defense of Danilo Dolci.

In 1956 Dolci was arrested for the popular mobilization against the government. “Trial against the art.4”  is the provocative title of the text in which Dolci tells the story and the testimony of a process formally addressed to him and to many workers from the area of Partinico that were accused of public property occupation and public officer resistance. The “backwards strike” became the symbol of this historic moment started with the 2nd February 1956 initiative. Came together almost a thousand people, farmers, fishermen, workers, breeders, intellectuals and unemployed lead by Danilo towards old Trazzera, a  little country road, abandoned to the negligence of the local administrations. Over there, everyone without distinction started to work to rearrange the area.

Judges, what does freedom mean? And democracy? It means people’s confidence in their laws: that people don’t trust in laws, because they aren’t considered their own laws, from his conscience. It is necessary that the code of laws are inside and not outside: the law that people respect, because they have chosen it.

Do you remember the immortal words of Socrates in Athens? He speaks about laws like human being, like conscientious people. “our laws talk to us”. If the laws had as Socrates’ laws, they could talk to our consciences. 

In the perfect democracies, in England, in Switzerland, in Scandinavia, people respect laws because they participate in political life: there isn’t a double interpretation, for rich and for poor people!  

This is the curse that bears down on Italy: people don’t trust in law. They feel the State like an enemy. Who rules could change, but the power remains: the aristocracy, the big capitalist, the bureaucracy. Until now the State doesn’t represent people. 

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Fazio reminds Gianni Rodari and says his words: “if we have words for the activity of buying and selling, we need words for thinking and for loving” but “we haven’t words for talking”. Saviano starts his speech with the word ‘interloquire’ (to talk to) “I said that the ‘ndrangheta tried to talk to all the parties, also to the Lega party. The interior ministry Roberto Maroni got angry, but now we know that treasurer’s office of the Lega party talk to..”  [ ….. ]

Saviano finishes his speech with Piero Calamandrei’s words and his defense of Danilo Dolci: “What does freedom mean? Freedom is the people’s confidence in laws. But Italian people don’t trust in laws because they feel the State like an enemy.”.

Danilo Dolci

Processo all’articolo 4

Back in 2 February 1956, as a form of protest, Danilo Dolci decided to repair a street called “Trazzera vecchia”, near Partinico, that was completely ruined. It was a reversed strike, later called by the press “Dolci’s non-violent revolution”. Dolci wanted people to be active in order to change the status quo; according to him, “The Republic recognizes the right of all citizens to work and promotes conditions to fulfill this right” (art. 4 of Italian Constitution).

Postfazione di Pasquale Beneduce

Amongst the more meaningful activities that he promoted, there is the “upside-down strike” that brought a group of unemployed farm workers to occupy an abandoned road near Partinico in order to activate it once again. Dolci said “ work isn’t only a right, ma it’s a duty”. They were accused of public property occupation and public officer resistance. Public opinion like intellectuals and politicians supported Danilo and the unemployed against police and Tambroni’s government. During the backwards strike in old Trazzera, there were two different methods to evaluate legality in Italy: the Constitution, like a series of rules for citizens and the authoritarianism. This initiative, narrated and documented in “Trial to the Article 4”, published in 1956, is an important document to know the difficult situation in Italy. It’s an instant book written in the spoken language, that denounces through a real life story.

Danilo Dolci (Sesana, 1924-Trappeto, 1997), after his experience in Nomadelfia, a neologism that expressed “fraternity is law”, settled in Trappeto near Trapani, starting his famous social activities. The most important works are: Inchiesta a Palermo (1957), Spreco (1960), La struttura maieutica e l’evolverci (1996). Racconti siciliani (2008), Banditi a Partinico (2009) e Processo all’articolo 4 (2011).