Salerno in the 90’s: Rosario Peduto

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by Matteo Gallo

“If we want to speak ill of the last thirty years of municipal government, we must also take responsibility for not doing a good service to the truth of its history or its possible future. The first years of Vincenzo De Luca’s union were undoubtedly positive because they embraced the will of all citizens to create – for themselves and for their own urban reality – a new social dimension. This desire has translated into commitment enthusiasm. For a long time, however, this “contagious” feeling no longer exists and Salerno risks dying in the absence of a “common plan” for its future. “Rosario Peduto puts his feet, head and especially his heart in in the nineties to remove the memory of a community humus and use it as a reading frame for the present Married to Antonella and father of little Andrea, always passionate about philosophy and politics, militant of thought to and all before the party, a regular actor in the field of the social right, the forty-seven-year-old from Salerno looks at his reflection beyond the storm of obstacles. “The lack of collective enthusiasm , of that illusion of commitment on the part of the citizens – the concept goes further – is the real great failure of the political deluquia and the main obstacle for the rebirth of Salerno. to the younger generations and made a difference because he invested everything, he projects nt to the outside the image of a city in a state of grace and great civic health. Think for example of nightlife, which in that decade lived its initial season but also the most exciting. In Salerno, between Via Roma and the streets of the historic center, thousands of people poured in every weekend. Unfortunately, unlike in other urban realities, those who were responsible for governing the political, economic, cultural and social processes of the city, and therefore also for dealing with nightlife, could not. accompany it with nothing else: the containers stayed. without content, and everything ended up “deflating”.

Rosario, what mistakes did you make?

“The main mistake that actually eliminated that vitality in the space of a decade was the impossibility of assigning it a‘ height ’. It was necessary to fill a “fact” – which might seem exclusively commercial and recreational – with a cultural significance linked to the deep identity of the city. If, on the other hand, nightlife becomes a single problem of “public order”, with ordinances, limits and controls, it means that we have lost the commitment to turn it into an engine to transmit a new image of the city. and its history ”.

In Salerno, since then, not only has the world of the night changed, but also that of the “day”. Retail, family-friendly and indigenous trade, the historical backbone of the city’s economy, which was in excellent health in the early 1990s, was (almost) wiped out.

“Politics has not given strength to Salerno. First of all, it should not have favored mass distribution and its multiplication over the urban fabric. But then I also think that the total abandonment of all “productive” dimensions – think of what the current industrial area is like today – in favor of a “tourist Salerno” that has never settled in important figures, has undoubtedly undermined , the whole fabric economy. of the city, striking hard on a historic commercial circuit, lived for decades in the shadow of the strong industrial characterization of Salerno that was ».

How much has all this influenced city life and neighborhoods?

“The ‘death’ of historic trade is unfortunately accompanied by the desertification of our neighborhoods. Every time a bar or a cream shop closes its doors in one of our neighborhoods, obviously the sociality of those neighborhoods is also very affected ”.

Sociality is also severely tested by the advancement of new technologies.

“Certainly, human relations today are characterized by a marked virtuality that for us, the young people of the nineties, was completely unknown. We lived in a welfare society but we were also, and still are, the youth of ideal affiliations attached to strong cultural, historical and political roots that put at the center the encounter with the other, being together as a natural dimension of existence. . The internet and social media company has made it all a bit liquid, to quote Bauman. The causes can also be traced back to a basic laziness of the younger generations, tickled not only by technology but by the lesser understanding of ideals that have been lost over time or, in any case, have become too “temperate”.

What is your relationship, as a non-native digital, with new technologies?

“I feel the full weight of this change, as well as the lightness of the positive notes, which exist naturally. The need for technology is for each of us, in the aspects of private, family and professional life. Unfortunately, this need for technology also produces difficult to manage social and psychological control mechanisms. This control and self-control is often configured as an itch of society with respect to what should be real needs: personal and community. I remember with pleasure the years of childhood and adolescence lived on the street, with more freedom and above all tranquility. The current generation does not live this tranquility of ours, not even as a dimension. It’s something to conquer. “

‘Social networks’ have changed the way we do politics: the ‘online’ presence is growing, the presence of society among people is declining.

“Commitment for and among people, in politics, is what really counts and needs to be reclaimed. The youth movements of the political parties were seen exactly as a real possibility of this commitment, from right to left. Too often today, people prefer to “do politics” on social media, perhaps even with some aggression and vomiting everything. Politics is done in the territory.

Is it possible to reverse this trend?

“We must not point the finger at young people, harden them and accuse them of error: new forms of communication and political relations belong to the reality of their lives. At the same time, however, it is necessary to “accompany them” to rediscover the forms of common commitment, not only possible but necessary, so that they understand the importance of being together, with others, side by side, in solving problems.

You lived your adolescence in the nineties: what influenced your youth education the most?

“The social commitment in the parish was more formative for me than the political militancy. The parish, the years of “Franciscan militancy” and, in general, my Catholic formation, have given me a central value, even today, in my personal idea of ​​commitment and social life: the spirit of service. We do everything – and always – to serve and never to be served.

What role did the institute play?

“I attended the Giovanni da Procida Scientific Institute. They were fundamental years for the precious friendships, the didactic knowledge acquired and also because, apart from the school education, they gave me the opportunity to live a real sociality that, therefore, is the one that introduces you to the true commitment. politician. In those years I participated in the institutional elections, from right-wing positions. I especially remember that with Lorenzo Forte, a student and my friend of left-wing ideas, the debate was constant and heated, as was the collaboration. We did the first public political activity together: a collection of signatures, house by house, because in the neighborhood of Calenda, where I lived with my family, a landslide had canceled half the way and the City Council was stopping without doing anything ”.

Your favorite places in those years.

The ‘Scacciapensieri’ pizzeria, at the end of via Manganario, with strictly wooden tables and benches, all “embedded” by the dedications of the different patrons. The pizzeria “Stadio”, in via Cacciatori dell ‘Irno, with its legendary owner-pizzeria: a tall gentleman with a thick white mustache and the inevitable chef’s hat. I loved going there, usually on Saturday nights, with some of my classmates. They were real places of the soul.

As a young man passionate about politics with strong ideals, how did you experience the legal proceedings of “Mani Pulite” in 1992?

“On the one hand I realized the existence of a system with obvious degenerations, on the other hand I had no particular sympathy for those who tossed coins on the lookout of the fork and the wave of the executioner. I lived that period with an inner conflict.

How did you resolve this conflict?

“Starting to get involved in the public dimension, in the conviction – which I was already cultivating, albeit at the age of seventeen – that the commitment of a young person must necessarily be a barrier, with his own ideal enthusiasm, both to the bad practice as in anti-politics ”.

How is it possible to regain the spirit and enthusiasm of the past, of the nineties, to build the Salerno of the future?

“Here’s the question we should all be asking ourselves: how to regain collective enthusiasm around a new idea about the city’s destiny. I think this can be done, first of all, by building a “new idea” of the city, which is totally lacking in the stumbling block of the collective debate on the sterile question “De Luca yes – De Luca no”. But to do that we need to think together and increase the spaces for discussion; otherwise this city dies in the absence of an option on its future vocation ”.

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