Strike in reverse: 59 years later

Feb 2, 2015News

sciopero-rovesciaOn the 2th February 1956 Danilo Dolci was arrested while guiding a group of laborers working in an abandoned road nearby Partinico. At that time, Dolci explained to the police commissioner who intervened to stop the strike in reverse – as it would have been referred to – that under the Article 4 of Italian Constitution labor wasn’t just a right, but a duty. Dolci was charged with occupation of public land and obstruction of a public official, and he and his friends weren’t given provisional release.

Public opinion mobilized against Tambroni government, deputies and senators intervened with parliamentary questions, and the most influential voices of the nation lined up with Dolci, who was defended in court by Piero Calamandrei, author of a memorable argument: behind the bars there weren’t only protesters, but the constitution itself.

The event is described in all its trial phases – from proceedings to hearing – in the book Trial to the Artcile 4, along with other documents, which are fundamental to get the gist of it (Danilo and his friends were released at the end of march, and the book was published by Einaudi in the summer of the same year). 59 years later, we want to remind this essential fight in the republican history through the words in the preamble of the text in order to affirm the constitution as a living rule and not just as mere statement of principle: these words, written by Dolci himself, remained without signature so as not to fuel further arguments which would have eclipsed the collective commitment behind the whole action and the book itself (republished by Sellerio in 2011).


   The one who sets about gathering documentation may feel like having regret for being gossipy, either ruthless. Telling about the common good, could seem more nourishing, more pure. But, If this rejection to say, to see, means let others being killed, especially the weakest ones, therefore, being anyone aware of the joint responsibility in common harm, it would be true love laying public problems on the table.

   This trial was already largely discussed: not because the more you talk about it, the more documents are published (from background to investigation, political aspects, court proceedings), but because the more you talk about it, the more you know. The events of Partinico, as in any country, do not represent an isolated case: a specific documentation of a single event facilitates the knowledge of other events, which are closely linked to each other.

   Talking of the first and the last pages: no event can be understood without its context.

   This is not a completed book: everyone in his/her own consciousness will make it completed. Indeed, these pages are meant to be rigorous data on a single event, one among the others: they are meant to be an invite to both private and public reflection.

   We want to express our gratitude to Franco Alasia, Aldo Costa, Goffredo Fofi, Gianni Marchello and Giuseppe Savagnone for their cooperation.

August 1956