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Melania Messina - All rights reserved
 
Sicilian Peasant movement

After the second world war Sicily was still socially organized in a feudal system, during this time a strong peasant movement was struggling for a real implementation of a new agrarian reform, which was going to redistribute the uncultivated lands of few landlords. Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly farmers and trade unionists, were going to occupy lands to sow them, they meant to solicit the implementation of the law. They clashed with a fierce reaction by the "mafia" and often also by the police forces, both acting to protect the interests of the local ruling classes.
Indeed mafia could be relied upon to use violence against all those seeking social reform and change, often acting in connivance with those who represented formal law to preserve social stability, thus validating their private control of community public life. The result was a silent and progressive killing of trade unionists, socialists and communists or simple farmers claiming their rights. Most of these murders have been unpunished and it was officially denied their political motivation. On 1947 the massacre of "Portella delle Ginestre" marked one of the peaks of the violence against peasants movement.
The photos include portraits of witnesses and struggles protagonists, places of memory.
The subjects of the photos have been interviewed to give their testimony of that period.