The 25th April marks an important recurrence for the Italian people. On this date, in 1945, the National Liberation Committee of Upper Italy announced via radio their seizure of power of the country, while at the same time inciting partisans to rise and free the areas still under Nazi-Fascist control. The following year, this date was chosen as a national holiday to remember the total liberation of the Italian territories, as it symbolised the peak of the military phase of the Resistance and the shift towards an institutionalised, antifascist government.
Ever since then, the 25th marks the anniversary of the Liberation, and it
is typically celebrated in all cities – especially those commended for the military valour during the war of resistance – with marches and parades remembering the partisans and the martyrdom of everyone who died fighting against Nazi-Fascism. Of the many associations, organisations and political parties always present for these events, a traditional ally is also the Democratic Party, currently holding the majority in Parliament and Prime Minister Gentiloni’s affiliated party.
But this year, the Democratic Party’s local branch of Milan will be taking a slightly different approach than usual. Leaving behind their customarily yellow outfits, they will be donning blue and hitting the streets with the slogan “We, European patriots”.
This initiative, done in collaboration with PES – the Party of European Socialists – and S&D, has the aim of perpetuating the values of the Resistance through the defence of the European Union and fighting against the rising nationalisms.
It is part of a bigger project to create a European identity, as already wished for during last month’s March for Europe, and to rekindle unity and a communal spirit of citizenship. Pietro Bussolati, secretary for Milan’s local branch of the Democratic Party, has presented this initiative – entitled #TUTTOBLUE (all blue) – to the European Parliament explaining that “we want to be at that march with the consciousness that caring for the values of the Resistance also means laying the foundations for the European dream”.
By showing pride and belonging to Europe, we show adherence to the values of peace, of solidarity, and of freedom.
Those same values that were held high by the partisans during the Resistance, are now the EU’s heritage. The European Union is the gift of all Italian and European partisans to the future generations, it is also thanks to their large contribution that the EU was born. And it is on the 25th – when we commemorate the people who gave their lives to free Europe from Nazi-Fascism – that we should should especially hit the streets unafraid to wave those blue flags. We should be proud of them, of that the EU has achieved, of what the sacrifice of those lives has meant for the survivors and for all the future generations.
That is not to say that we should be blindly appreciative of everything the EU achieved so far. In fact, we need to be the harshest critics of the Union ourselves, we need to push for its improvement and for a redevelopment of the EU’s aims and procedures. But sometimes, especially with nationalisms on the rise again, a reminder of all the positive aspects of the Union is necessary as well. And that is what the organisers are hoping this initiative will be: a way to show people that Europe is not the root of all evils, and that what is has managed to accomplish so far is quite extraordinary. It should be a way to demonstrate that those values held dead by the martyr of the Resistance are not dead and buried yet.
What is especially important in this moment in history, has pointed out PES member Erik Burckhardt, is to remember how nationalisms have affected Europe in the 20th century and not to fall into the same trap again. Explaining the initiative, he has stated that “today the day has come also for young people, who have not been the direct protagonists of the construction of the EU but only the beneficiaries of it, to fight for the those acquired values of the EU.
We, European patriots, want to make days of remembrance like the 25th April ones of encounter between the experience of the older generations and the energy of the younger ones. An intersection between memory and new projects, which will have the welcome consequence of relaunching the European Union”.
The numbers are expected to be between 800 and a thousand only in Milan, excluding any other splinter of the initiative which might take place in smaller cities. Looking at the big picture, not a huge amount to people.
However, most of the battle will not be fought on the streets on the 25th, but is an on-going project which has much more resonance and outreach on social media. So, even though you might not be physically present to support this initiative, you can always contribute to it by following their Twitter account, @TUTTOBLUE, or by using the hashtag #TUTTOBLUE to increase their visibility through social media.
Facebook event: HERE
External contribution by Eleonora Di Franco