The roots of my commitment for the community

My name is Giulia and I was born in 1987 in Modena, a city in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. All the members of my family decided to spend part of their lives working hard for their community: two of my grandparents joined the Resistance against fascism. The brother of my grandfather was caught by the fascists during a fight, tortured and killed. He was only 16. My grandparents were poor workers and, after the end of the war, they lived out the changes of the 1950s and 1960s: they decided to fight with the Trade Union for their rights, they joined strikes and protests. Italy was changing, the economy flourished, but they stood up for a better life for everybody, as our Constitution says. My parents lived another important period of transformation: the 1970s. In these years, the Italian governments adopted some of the most important laws of modern history: the Workers’ Statute, the law that built the national and public health system, etc. My family was part of these goals.

I have breathed this tradition and these values since I was born: my parents were involved in a party, so it was easy for me to learn the importance of policy and participation. When I was 14, Italy was living a restless moment: Silvio Berlusconi became the Prime Minister with several proposal of changing, for example about public school. He decided to cut the public fund for the school system while his Government approved more for private schools. I attended my first year of High School and the effects of these decisions were terrible: for the first time our school was poorer than ever. Students decided to stand up against: strikes were organized and students took part in public demonstration with their own teachers. We were worried about our future because we soon understood that politics can really change our lives. For me it was a period of discover:y I swiftly grew up and I decided to do something. I became a member of a Party (Left-wing Democrats). At the beginning it was quite difficult to understand how a political party lives and works because political relationships were something new to me, but I felt that I was in the right place. I joined the Left-wing Youth, a political organization for young members of the Party, and I begin my activity in my school: we printed a small newspaper in which we wrote about wrong decisions of the Government and about our aspirations for the future. We organized several protest against Government’s laws, especially about justice and workers’ rights. We were young, but we were diligent, careful and really impassioned. I admit I was also idealistic, because policy was a lot for me: it meant culture and activity, but friendship too. In a couple of year, the leader of the organization asked me to coordinate the activity in all schools of Modena: it was exciting, but it was also a small sacrifice. The life of a teenager is quite complicated and it’s easy to understand that her political life is a mess! The general absence of comprehension was a real limit: lots of adults and teens didn’t really understand the meaning of our activity and it was difficult to me to explain them. The primary enemy of participation is resignation: Italian people very often think that policy is something bad, dirty and useless and there is no chance to change the situation. My passion was only a drop in the sea of mistrust.

When I was almost 18, I quit the activity among the school world and I began a new experience in my city. It was a turning point because for the first time I faced the meaning of governing. Modena is a rich 180,000 inhabitants city, but there were lots of problem: Modena is situated in a polluted area and a huge part of the population consists in elderly people. Issues like the protection of the environment, policies for young people, welfare policy, etc. switched a meaningful debate among the citizens. My feelings about policy became more and more mature: I deeply understood that policy was a complicated matter and a political party must consider all the request from society and bring them to a synthesis. It was difficult for me to conciliate my own values and the need of the majority, but it was great to follow the continue effort to questioning my certainties about everything. One of the best aspect of policy is living in a persisting doubt about what’s right and wrong and about the quality of your vision.

2007 was an important year of change: for the first time in Italian history, two political party decides to unify their structures in order to give another party birth. My party deliberated his own extinction and this was the birth act of the Democratic Party (PD). There was a great popular movement for the choice of the first Democratic leader: 3 millions of Italian people spontaneously voted in these election. I remember it as one of the most beautiful pages of my political path. I had been elected in the first Democratic assembly. A few months after, I had been elected as local secretary of the Party in my neighborhood: I was only 19, I was excited, but also a little bit scared. My neighborhood is characterized by several problem about environment (it’s the location of an incinerator) and racial hatred because of the high presence of foreign citizens. It’s a complicated territory but I caught the challenge: I did my best to create participation and to restore a confident relation between citizens and politics. I organized public meeting and debates, trying to involve a crescent number of people. I admit that my activity collected also some moments of disappointment, but I was faithful and the passion of the other members of my group was an important thrust.

In 2009 I was candidate as member of the City Council at local elections. It was my first real political competition and I remember that it was really tiring: as a young woman, it was very difficult for me to affirm my ideas and to be taken seriously. With no famous supporter and no famous curriculum, it’s difficult to win an election. I moved from house to house trying to spread my ideas and my program; I met lots of angry people, angry with politicians and I first of all tried to listen because policy has a real need of understand what people ask for. The coalition of parties that I supported won the election and I have been elected as a member of the Council. I was the youngest member in the history of Modena. Now I’m still working for my city: my favorite issues are social policy, protection of the environment, workers’ right, multiculturalism, civil rights and rights of prisoners in the local jail. My activity is completely voluntary and I am proud and honored to work for the community that I love.

From tyranny deliver us

Not only are we both from the same country, we are from the same area. I need to say here, for the benefit of other Edgeryders reading this, that your stance is very distinctly Emilian. We have built an identity out of our tendencies to (well-mannered) socialism, our struggle against the Nazi occupation, our defense of human dignity.

The Party (there was no other) had an almost sacred allure for the longest time, and indeed it won many successes, both during and for a couple of decades after the war, maybe more. By the time I joined (because I did), however, there was no trace of the past greatness. I have volunteered, attended meetings, tried to do something useful. For several years. But in the end, I don’t have to show a lot for my efforts. I started to get results when I disengaged from politics and joined civil society action: you, Giulia, might be interested in my story with a loose group called Spaghetti Open Data.

So: how did you manage to avoid this sense of frustration, of endless meetings, of people speaking to pamper their egoes, repeating commonplaces that they did not think through while your life ticks away? You are obviously happy and proud of your political work. What is you secret?

Volontarisme !!!

Salut Giulia

je ai vraiment aimé votre histoire et barovo i pour la réalisation de tout cela à l’âge de 25 ans, mais aussi a ta famille et tes grands parents qui sont les premiers qui a mobilisé pour ce monde anti-fachiste et que tu es devenu par la suite la récolte du leur travil . et pour l’environnement est-ce que vous avez ou vous allez réalisé quelque chose ???. parce que je suis interesser par l’environnement et le developpement durable des territoires.

Bonne chance et Merci

Strong statement

Wow Giulia, this is a very strong statement you are making throughout your story and the final line:

My activity is completely voluntary and I am proud and honored to work for the community that I love.

I never heard this from anyone I know working in politics. Now I see why some people just have to work there, they’re meant for it at some level., and your passion speaks to this The interesting thing for me is that it’s difficult to even think about you as a politician, rather a community worker, a public servant. Do these two meet somewhere in your mind? To what extent do you think of you and people similar to you as being politicians?

I don;t understand, you were elected as member of the City Council, but now you’re a volunteer or you mean it’s voluntary work in that it;s something you choose to do? Will you run again for public office?

And finally, you definitely have to read this:  It’s the version I hear all the time about the inside of politics, does it ring true for you as well?

Thanks so much!


+ 1

Noemi, my point exactly!