History

Why Pummarolə?
Culture, History, Politics

Why Pummarolə?

Some explanation of our name by Samantha Pinto, on behalf of Pummarolə July 31, 2020 Image description: Painting by Renato Guttuso, Sicilian painter. Five red, furrowed tomatoes appear on a brown and white background, perhaps a wooden table. Pummarola is the Neapolitan word for tomato. What food staple is more emblematic of the Italian Diaspora than the tomato? It is the basis of gravy (otherwise known as “pasta sauce”) whose acidic-garlicky scent wafts through the streets of South Philly every Sunday afternoon. The tomato, despite being native to Central America, has become the basis of our peasant dishes, our street foods, and our comfort foods. Like the Italian diaspora, it’s a fruit that has been contested, mischaracterized, and sometimes maligned; yet, it has also become ...
The Fascist Roots of Columbus Day
History, Politics

The Fascist Roots of Columbus Day

A statue of explorer Christopher Columbus after its beheading by an unknown vandal. (Photo by Sarah Betancourt) This article was originally published by CommonWealth Magazine on June 25, 2020. The modern-day holiday has an inglorious history. by Patrick Breen AS STATUES OF Christopher Columbus are toppled (or beheaded), from St. Paul to Richmond to Boston, Americans are beginning to question the motive for raising certain historical actors to mythical status. Though almost every American will recognize Columbus’s name, the origins of the calendar-recognized October holiday remain insidiously unfamiliar to most people. While most arguments in favor of ending the tributes to Columbus focus on the history of the carnage he directed at indigenous people on the Caribbean islands...
The Autumn and Fall of Italian Workerism
History, Politics

The Autumn and Fall of Italian Workerism

by David Broder Originally published in Catalyst Vol. 3 No. 4 Winter 2020 Across the West, the last four decades have been marked by the large-scale collapse of the labor movement. Not only have trade unions withered but so have, with few exceptions, the social-democratic and communist parties and their roots in working-class life. Neoliberalism has not only created new market structures, reduced welfare provision, and privatized industries, it has also pulverized the social basis of many old working-class institutions. Yet as crisis-struck neoliberalism continues to spark all manner of social revolt, many activists insist that the fall of the mass parties is not such a disaster. Their demise is either celebrated — a liberation from bureaucratic control, opening up space for mo...
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