Bersani the Politician

Bersani had a particular interest in   the poorest, he stayed with them, listened to them and made note of their needs which he took to political sphere  to promote laws  that would allow an improvement in their living conditions, for example the laws for rural property and for international cooperation with poor countries. That’s why he devoted himself  to politics with bold and intelligent initiatives, for 45 years. He was a skilled mediator, respectful of the opinion of others but very determined and courageous when needed. His high and clear idealism  always earned  the respect of his politician opponents.


Bersani had a “Renaissance” personality,  interested in various problems which he  faced  in a particularly  efficient way; in fact he dealt with them in different ways by mixing  political, economic, and social solutions! His own trait went against the trend of the time in which he  lived, that promoted  high specialisation; and this capacity in itself had   the major impact on society. To deal with the variety of problems, whilst he was engaged in other duties, Bersani involved and chose  his collaborators who would  carried out the promoted initiatives.  In this way, he encouraged and brought together a lot of people who  amplified his mission in various different contexts.

Sometimes Bersani was the chairman of the organizations he started, but although remaining  fully involved until his last days , he gave autonomy and responsibility to his collaborators. And this is ‘the key lesson’ to be offered to new generations: if you really want to engage in society with a social transformation project, it is necessary to motivate, empower and support valued collaborators who feel part of the whole project by doing their business autonomously.

Another consideration comes from the timely reconstruction of his own youth training documented in the first chapter of the book: a social transformation project such as Bersani’s struggle to fight poverty  cannot be improvised :the goals are concrete as the tools needed to reach them.

Bersani lies within a tradition of thought and action, that of the Catholic movement which had traditionally faced the problem of poverty and had promoted action and organizations to fight it.

Bersani, active within the Catholic movement, came into contact with the inspirational figures of the movement, with priests and activists and some of whom becoming his companions in the mission.

It is therefore from within existing institutions and movements,  within a network of relationships. that we can act , change, innovate and propose new methods.

A project of social transformation carried out  in isolation has no chance of becoming concrete

A further consideration is that Bersani insisted on humility; the word comes from “humus “ with the meaning of being with one’s feet on the ground, observing, capturing and understanding before acting; this promoted highlighted the link between thought and action that the Senator had always practiced.  His numerous writings are a sign of his attention to the analysis of the phenomena; Bersani  always insisted with his collaborators on the need to carry out research, to stay in close contact with the universities, to attend congresses and to promote training courses.

It is only in this way that sensibility to changes in the context is maintained, in order to avoid actions take that are not in line with the context of our ever-changing times