Italy is a country that has lost its memory. And it is good that at least he does not lose his connection with history. It is therefore always interesting when some good publications turn the spotlight on some relevant figures from our political past.
Surely this is the main merit of the interview book collected by Roberto Vicaretti on Pietro Ingrao (The certainty of doubt, Imprimatur 2015), one of the most important personalities of the Italian Communist Party, director of L’Unita, as well as president of the Chamber since 1976 to ’79, who passed away last year.
Vicaretti entrusts the memory to some of the protagonists who knew him best and closely: Filippo Vendemmiati , Nichi Vendola ,Fausto Bertinotti , Luciana Castellina , Emanuele Macaluso , Achille Occhetto , Lidia Menapace , Gianfranco Pasquino , Fabio Mussi , to finish with Tommaso Di Francesco and Don Ciotti .
As can be seen immediately from the names it is an authoritative and multifaceted picture, a kaleidoscope in which the vision of the world, and the authentically ideal instances of the Italian left of the twentieth century, emerge through the profile of an anomalous face of the most utopian part of the PCI. . In the troubled events of the Second World War, Ingrao never stopped representing communism as a dream, a revolutionary and alternative interpretation to the present, even at the cost of entering even in contrast with the prevailing line within the party, aimed at practical objectives. and very different ideologies. Harvestedtells Vicaretti, for example, the singular attitude of attention of Ingrao towards the social changes that crossed the Catholic world in the early 1960s, during the pontificate of John XXIII, and the hard, albeit friendly, attitude he held towards the dissident group of the Manifesto.
Ingrao, after all, was like this: a communist but also a dreamer; pacifist, loyal to the party, but animated by an uncompromising sense of the future historical destiny, which in other of his comrades was too often squeezed into the iron cogs of ambition, produced by the political machine of Botteghe Oscure. If Vendola recognizes in Ingrao the positive tendency to be a ” daydreamer ”, particularly interesting is the visual angle of the Miglioristi, testified by the words of Macaluso in the book. From his point of view he had very few character similarities with Giorgio Napolitano , attributable to the meticulousness that made both meticulous and precise in understanding the problems, but otherwise the difference was enormous from every point of view.
Macaluso remembers him as an unforgettable predecessor to the direction of L’Unita and courageous in his pugnacious opposition in 1964 to Longo’s secretariat.
Ingrao represented, in fact, the left wing of the party much opposed by Amendola , but also by Berlinguer , Pajetta and Alicata, as well as obviously from the best right. Nonetheless, Ingrao also had some disagreements on the left, and not only with the already mentioned group of the Manifesto. Macaluso explains that Ingrao, more than a ‘cloud catcher’, as he is said to have defined him, was a very ‘abstract’ politician, always little anchored to the reality of things. It is not possible to dwell here on all the interesting passages of the interventions contained in this valuable work by Vicaretti, although the story that Occhetto dedicates to the personality of Ingrao, certainly formed by the resistance, by anti-fascism, but also marked by Bolognina, cannot be overlooked. in which he strongly opposed and not without personal lacerations to the death of the party.
The two characteristic traits that the former secretary of the PDS sees emerge in Ingrao’s line are the refusal of any type of homologation and a strong anti-capitalist conviction. This latter sensitivity, also very present in Christian Democrats of the caliber of Amintore Fanfani, consolidates the historiographical idea of ​​an Ingrao closer to utopian socialism than to Marxist culture, exactly the opposite of the Catholic Franco Rodano who always remains faithful to historical materialism. even in the form of progressive democracy.
In summary, the formula used with Vicaretti by Pasquino appears convincing, who defines Ingrao as an “innovating communist”, a personality at the same time charismatic, uncomfortable and never tamed by the logic of the apparatus.
In a general sense, the suggestive idea that emerges from reading this book is connected to the positive role played by the mass parties in the Italian history of the twentieth century, notably PCI and DC. In the rigidity of their internal organizations and in the harshness of politics lived as a hierarchical and community experience, the possibility remained open that, in each of the different opposing ideological organizations, dreamer and idealist personalities such as Ingrao or Giorgio La Pira .
Ultimately, therefore, beyond the different and sometimes alternative ways of seeing the world, a non-individualistic political model won everywhere, in which, as Don Ciotti highlighted in the final pages of the book, every liberation struggle, both transcendent and immanent, ended up by revealing an irrepressible ‘spiritual’ inspiration, without which politics would have been crushed, in a secular or Christian sense, in a pragmatic of power, not very credible and a harbinger of corruption and pettiness, similar to the one we found ourselves living after Mani Pulite.
Among the utopian figures, therefore, that of Ingrao is specified as a spectacular heresy of the left within the left, an originality that is dreamlike faithfulness to conscience, and a bet on permanent doubt and the progressive value of diversity.

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