(Caltagirone 1871 - Roma 1959)
He was a religious man, politician and founder of the Italian Popular Party.
He was one of the most enlightened scholars of the Southern Question: according to his analyses, it was sure enough necessary to experiment forms of cooperative organisation in the South in order to strengthen and support small and medium rural properties, as a cure to the underdevelopment and marginalisation of the South compared to the new national economic and commercial dynamics.
He created in fact the first “Cassa Rurale” in Sicily and a Catholic federal Bank. In 1946, by participating in the magazine “Italia cooperativa” don Sturzo stated: ”although cooperation, in the strict sense of the word, applies to those undertaken that are based on the equal sharing of interests and benefits among members, the spirit of cooperation embraces every branch of activity because it appeals to human brotherhood and mutual collaboration ”. And, comparing the mutual enterprise with its capitalistic twin, it highlights that “while cooperative doesn’t want to replace the private initiative, it wants to fight that intrusive and centralising capitalism that tends to create, to its advantage, monopolies of exploitation.
In 1947, in a letter addressed to the “Sicilian friends”, active in the promotion and diffusion of the cooperative movement, he wrote:
”cooperation, in all its forms, must be at the basis of every social reform; and we have to prefer it because it tends, for its specific character, to overcome as much the egotism of the reactionary capitalism and exploiter as that of the political and class struggle-base unionism (..) As one of the oldest cooperative members of the Christian tendency, I allow myself to give you three recommendations: a) that the promoted cooperation should be based on the cooperative technique, without indulging in speculation that are against cooperation and its social function; b) that it should be animated by a rigid morality without compliances to anyone and without deflecting from the course of action prescribed by Christian morality; c) that it should be kept out of electoral politics, even when political opponents use and abuse their cooperatives in this regard, for that separation of tasks and responsibility among social organisers of political party, that releases both one and the others from responsibilities that are not their own“.
He began, in addition, in the early years of ‘900, to propose the establishment of a party of Catholics- in opposition to the ban on participation in national politics: in 1919 the Popular Party was thus created and Sturzo became its secretary until 1923.
He was forced to leave Italy because of fascism, he lived in London and went back only in 1940; he didn’t participate in the active politics of the post-war Christian Democracy but remained proactive and attentive to the Southern Question; he supported the “Cassa per il Mezzogiorno” and the local autonomies of the territories.
Among the several writings by Sturzo:
• Opera omnia, Bologna, Zanichelli, edizione in formato digitale
• Battaglie per la libertà : 1952-1959
• Lettere non spedite, a cura e con introduzione di Gabriele De Rosa, Bologna, Il Mulino
• Scritti inediti, a cura di Francesco Piva, Franco Rizzi, Francesco Malgeri, prefazioni di Gabriele De Rosa, Roma, Istituto Luigi Sturzo; Palermo, Editrice Mediterranea, 2001
• Luigi Sturzo, Emanuela Sturzo, Carteggio (1891-1948), a cura e con introduzione di Vittorio De Marco, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2005
• Luigi Sturzo, Alcide De Gasperi, Carteggio (1920-1953), a cura e con introduzione di Francesco Malgeri, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2006
Opere scelte di Luigi Sturzo, a cura di Gabriele De Rosa, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1992 includes:
1: Il popolarismo, a cura di Gabriele De Rosa
2: Stato, Parlamento e partiti, a cura di Mario D'Addio
3: Chiesa e Stato, a cura di Eugenio Guccione
4: La sociologia fra persona e storia, a cura di Achille Ardigò e Luigi Frudà
5: Riforme e indirizzi politici, a cura di Nicola Antonetti
6: La comunità internazionale e il diritto di guerra. Con una scelta degli articoli sul secondo conflitto mondiale, a cura di Gabriele De Rosa
There are several biographies dedicated to him:
• Gabriele De Rosa, Luigi Sturzo, UTET, Torino, 1977
• Gabriele De Rosa, Sturzo mi disse, Morcelliana, Brescia, 1982
• Francesco Malgeri, Luigi Sturzo, Edizioni Paoline, Cinisello Balsamo (Milano), 1993
• Giuseppe Palladino, Don Sturzo oggi, La Nuova Cultura Editrice, Napoli, 1995.
• Francesco Piva, Francesco Malgeri, Vita di Luigi Sturzo, prefazione di Gabriele De Rosa, Istituto Luigi Sturzo, Roma, ; Editrice Mediterranea, Palermo, 2001
• Gabriella Fanello Marcucci, Luigi Sturzo. Vita e battaglie per la libertà del fondatore del Partito popolare italiano, Mondadori, Milano, 2004
• Gabriella Fanello Marcucci, Sorvegliato speciale. Sturzo a Londra nel mirino dell'OVRA, Rubbettino, 2006
• Eugenio Guccione, Luigi Sturzo, Flaccovio, Palermo, 2010
• Eugenio Guccione, Luigi Sturzo - Il prete scomodo fondatore del Partito Popolare Italiano (1919), Di Girolamo, Trapani, 2018.
• Eugenio Guccione, Pensiero e azione in Luigi Sturzo prete e statista, Edizioni Il Pozzo di Giacobbe, Trapani, 2019
On the issue n. 10-11 of the federal magazine “La cooperazione trentina” (1947) we can read a series of quotes dedicated to cooperation by don Luigi Sturzo:
“Cooperation, in all its forms, must be at the basis of every social reform; and we have to prefer it because it tends, for its specific character, to overcome as much the egotism of the reactionary capitalism and exploiter as that of the political and class struggle-base unionism. Cooperation creates a modern type of private society for social purposes in favour of the community of members, who from the economic bond rise to the forms of moral solidarity both in their own classes and among the members of different classes, linking employee and employer to a common purpose in the context of business. The social function of cooperation has a key role in the structure of society in order to mitigate the social differences that cause class conflicts and political demagogues; and to overcome the economic individualism that doesn’t match at all the complex modern economy. That if the individualism of more than a century ago served to break by us the ancient feudal corporative constraint that paralysed the use of economic forces directed to big industry and freedom of commerce, it left the work and resources of small property at the mercy of production egoisms. It was then that the Rochdale pioneers began the cooperation that in a century had to become an important and productive economic fact.
As one of the oldest cooperative members of the Christian tendency, I allow myself to give you three recommendations:
•That the cooperation promoted by us should be based on the cooperative technique, without indulging in speculation that are against cooperation and its social functions;
• that it should be animated by a rigid morality, without compliances to anyone and without deflecting from the course of action prescribed by Christian morality;
• that it should be kept out of electoral politics, even when political opponents use and abuse their cooperatives in this regard; for that separation of tasks and responsibility among social organisations and political party, that releases both one and the others from responsibilities that are not their own“.
In the Preface of the volume “Problemi attuali della cooperazione” written by Giuseppe Belotti (1947) don Luigi Sturzo writes:
“Our idea of cooperation is free and apolitical. Those who want to make cooperation a means of political gain for themselves or for their part, they are advised to stay away. Cooperation is based on the amicable nature of agreement among members; not divided between minorities and majorities of colour, but united in the spirit of mutual aid and mutual interest. The friends of ”Christian” cooperation use this adjective not to transform the cooperative in a confessional association, but to establish an ethical basis and a resemblance of common convictions that unites the cooperative members in a superior ideal. Neither state interference nor political infiltration; cooperation must be free and responsible. Let the real cooperative members be jealous of this ideal”.
• G. De Rosa, Sturzo Luigi, in F. Traniello - G. Campanini (a cura di), Dizionario storico del movimento cattolico in Italia, 1860-1980, Marietti, Casale Monferrato, 1981
• G. Cassiani, G. Malgeri, V. De Marco, Bibliografia degli scritti di e su Luigi Sturzo, Gangemi, Roma, 2016.