Who are the Pettirossi?

I Pettirossi is a young political and cultural association born in the spring of 2016.

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The ultimate aim of the association is to promote socialist values and to provide political education among the new generations. The very reason we felt the need to give birth to a political organization outside the already existing political parties was to improve the connections with young people and give a common home to people with different sensibilities – although all believing in left, antifascist, egalitarian, humanitarian and environmental struggles.

We believe that young people are key actors in fighting global injustice, growing inequalities, climate disaster and fading fundamental political and civil rights. In order to do so, they need to study, organize and fight back.

The neoliberal ideology has succeeded in convincing a large part of the population that they have no power the change the status quo and that social injustice is natural. We intend to contest this system and this ideology. To do so, we have built a cultural-political organization in order to address the decline of European socialism by proposing alternative models of representation, new ideological configurations and to renew old values in modern times. Moreover, global issues need to be faced at global and international level: this is why we are actively involved in promoting networks among the international left and we feel like a new European political configuration is needed for those who stand for justice, anti-austerity, green economy and socialist values. Only if we act collectively the main issues facing our generation, such as mass unemployment, the consequences of climate change, or the present lack of decent jobs, as well as the growing outbursts of hatred and racism etc., can be effectively tackled, but this cannot be done without education and training in mobilisation, advocacy, mechanisms of representation and an institutional behaviour to change things. We need to bring young people out of apathy and frustration.

In Italy the Left is at its historic lowest: the Democratic Party, born from the merge of the ex communist party and the Christian democrats, has chosen to attack labour’s rights, to try to reform the constitution to give more power to the chief of the government, to cut public healthcare funding, to attack teachers’ rights, etc. In the last years The Democratic Party has therefore faced many splits, the biggest of which has given birth to a new political subject: ArtUNO. Other parties at the left, already existing, are still very poor in consensus, around the 2-3%, bitterly divided, changing names and symbols and constantly quarrelling with each other. This is why Pettirossi chose to be political but a non party-linked organization: we gathered young boys and girls from various parties and associations, as well as young intellectuals, in order to ask for a united Left, taking a radical stand against neoliberal policies of the center-right and the Democratic party, against racism and xenophobia and the extreme-right and the populist façade of the Movement Five Stars, under which they defend the same corporate interests. We strongly encourage the political engagement of young people but we also believe that a long term cultural revolution is needed and only the youth can make it happen.

We collect forces from all over Italy, from small towns, to big cities such as Milan and Rome. We have built a network of people working to innovate policies and change the practices of politics. We have organised a first Training Week in September 2016 discussing globalization and the crisis of democracy, a couple of national assemblies to discuss our actions within the political left, aiming to build a new leadership – closer than the existing one to the needs of the working class, the students and the poors – in the left. We have rallied in Bologna with thousands of people asking to re-open an occupied space to develop solidarity projects and to rethink urban spaces. We have had a number of seminars on the topic of democratic representation focusing especially on youth mobilisation, we have developed a strong link with students’ unions, we have worked on many proposals to implement a political programme during three national public meetings where young people actively built them with senior experts.

It is only a starting point.