Calabria

More than a month after my trip to Italy, I keep thinking about one of the books I read there--Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, by Robert Putnam. A classic text of governance and civics, Putnam's study focuses on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy suddenly transferred the main responsibility for such activities as urban affairs, regional planning, public works, and economic development from a discredited and unpopular national government to a newly created set of elected regional governments. Alert to the potential for a novel study of fundamental issues in ci

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A Riot in Calabria

Images of African immigrants rioting in the streets of a small southern Italian city, throwing rocks, blocking roads, and breaking store and car windows, briefly exposed a shocking reality: the existence of Italy’s growing migrant-labor population, mostly Africans, an estimated 20,000 of them working under inhuman conditions, living in abandoned buildings or improvised structures without heat or working toilets, sleeping four (even five) to a mattress while laboring off the books for about $30 a day. Early January’s revolt was sparked by an incident in which a couple of local residents from a

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