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The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF), has been dedicated to providing information through literature, events, video, and multimedia platforms. 99% of what we do is through volunteer work, but now we need your help so that we can continue on our path.

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Friends of the VMF Celebrate 5th Anniversary and Fundraiser

Vito Marcantonio Forum 5th AnniversaryWhat: The Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF), whose public events have included nearly 30 lectures and panels accompanied by skits, dramatizations, presentations, and readings for diverse audiences ranging from 20 to more than 100 In addition, the VMF supports a website and has uploaded over thirty videos on youtube. The VMF has encouraged significant efforts to produce research and writings on these topics, and it has served as a clearing house for information on Vito Marcantonio and his world.
 
The Program: The celebration will present poetry, dramatizations, and interactive talks about Marc and his world, performed by Gil Fagiani, Gerald Meyer, LuLu LoLo Pascale, and Roberto Ragone.
Additionally, Bernard Johnson will perform a dramatization of Paul Robeson. Many may recall that Johnson’s last performance in October, 2014 for the VMF received a standing ovation.
When: Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 12 noon to 4PM.
 
Where: Gaetana’s Cucina Italiana, 143 Christopher Street in the West Village (northwest corner of Christopher Street and Greenwich Streets), between Hudson and Washington Streets.

For tickets and/or make contributions:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2569152

Cost: Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The entry fee entitles you to appetizers and one nonalcoholic drink. The VMF also needs and believes in angels.  At moderate prices in an atmospheric setting, Gaetana’s offers a full menu of typical Southern Italian dishes and beverages of all types. Benefactor tickets for $100 and donations are welcomed and needed.
For tickets, please send a check made out to Gerald Meyer and write on the memo line “Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum.” Checks should be mail to either Gerald Meyer 381-2nd Street Bklyn 11215 or Roberto Ragone 231 W148th St. #1R NYC 10039.
 
About VMF: The Vito Marcantonio Forum honors the memory of Vito Marcantonio, one of the most progressive Congressmen in American history. A protégé of LaGuardia and Leonard Covello, Marcantonio has been called the Thaddeus Stevens of the 20th century. In the House Marc led the fight against the poll tax and to make lynching a federal crime. He defended the rights of immigrants, and championed Puerto Rico’s independence. In the postwar era, he fought against McCarthyism at home and the Cold War foreign policy. He represented East Harlem from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s, and although he ran on multiple party lines, Marcantonio was a leader of the American Labor Party. Because of his unshakable stand for progressive causes and defense of working people, ruling circles and the commercial press heaped on him buckets of slander. His district was gerrymandered and laws changing election procedures were passed with the intent of defeating him. Yet, he won time after time. The attacks, especially red baiting, intensified during the McCarthy period. In 1950, the Democratic, Republican, and Liberal parties coalesced to defeat the last American Labor Party Congressman. Despite endless opposition, Marcantonio never backed down. He was planning another run for Congress, when on August 9, 1954 at the age of 51, he was stricken by a massive heart attack near City Hall. And although he died with a rosary in his pocket, Cardinal Spellman refused him a Catholic burial; Vito Marcantonio is buried near his mentor, La Guardia at historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
 
Donations are not tax deductible.
The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years, educator Leonard Covello; and the critical role of the Left that rallied around Marcantonio.  

 

Italian News Mention of the VMF East Harlem Walking Event

Renato Cantore wrote a great piece on last year’s walking tour that you can see here:

Presto a East Harlem la “Vito Marcantonio Street”

Vito Marcantonio Forum Walking Tour 2015

Gerald Meyer speaking to members of the walking tour. Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito is on the left of the picture.

 

Leonard Covello Panel discussion at the Left Forum 2016

VITO MARCANTONIO FORUM Left Forum panel event 2016We are excited to be back at the Left Forum. 2016 looks like an action-packed lineup practically guarantees this year’s Forum will not disappoint. If you are interested in attending, you must purchase a ticket from the Left Forum. You can try calling them (good luck) at the Left Forum Office at (212) 817-2002.

This year’s Forum event is being held at

 John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

The panel discussion and presentation will be informative and entertaining — BELIEVE THAT!!!

Here is the program:

VMF Left Forum panel event 2016 program

ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE book presentation

VMF AUTHOR SERIES presents

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni 

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 5:00-6:45 PM

Prof. Gerald Meyer will chair a discussion of ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni. Italian/English bilingual readings of Arturo Giovanitti’s poetry by VMF members: Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, & Roberto  Ragone.

Where: NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, corner of Mulberry & Prince Sts., one block south of Houston St.

Books available for purchase.
Free admission, light  refreshments served

marcella bencivenni

Author Marcella Bencivenni

VMF AUTHOR SERIES
This event is co-hosted with Italian American Writers Association (IAWA)

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio.

The Italian American Writers Association will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2016. Since 1991, IAWA has given voice to writers through its literary series every second Saturday of the months. Readings begin with an Open Mic: IAWA-East is held even months at Sidewalk Café and IAWA-West continues at Cornelia Street Café on odd months.

Website: iawa.net
BLOG: italian american writers café http://newsite.iitaly.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/italianamericanwritersassociation

Video of Nelson A. Denis book presentation of War Against All Puerto Ricans

Vito Marcantonio Forum founding member, David M. Giglio, has produced another masterpiece. It’s important that people see it, so please share it on social media, email blasts, and whatever platform you prefer.

Nelson A. Denis’ War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony,  has excellent reviews and it is highly recommended that you purchase the book here.

It’s difficult to describe how moving Denis is… perhaps this picture of the crowd on hand at the event will give you an idea of how enthralling each performance was:

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTURE by Marcella Bencivenni

Join the Vito Marcantonio Forum Wednesday May 18th, 2016 from 5pm-6:45pm at the Mulberry St Public Library at 10 Jersey St (bet Mulberry and Lafayette Sts), New York, NY 10012 | FREE EVENT | Light refreshments served

Marcella Bencivenni’s Book Presentation

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREItalian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940

287 pages

23 halftones

May, 2011

ISBN: 9780814791035

Maligned by modern media and often stereotyped, Italian Americans possess a vibrant, if largely forgotten, radical past. In Italian Immigrant Radical Culture, Marcella Bencivenni delves into the history of the sovversivi, a transnational generation of social rebels, and offers a fascinating portrait of their political struggle as well as their milieu, beliefs, and artistic creativity in the United States.

marcella bencivenni

Marcella Bencivenni

As early as 1882, the sovversivi founded a socialist club in Brooklyn. Radical organizations then multiplied and spread across the country, from large urban cities to smaller industrial mining areas. By 1900, thirty official Italian sections of the Socialist Party along the East Coast and countless independent anarchist and revolutionary circles sprang up throughout the nation. Forming their own alternative press, institutions, and working class organizations, these groups created a vigorous movement and counterculture that constituted a significant part of the American Left until World War II.

Italian Immigrant Radical Culture compellingly documents the wide spectrum of this oppositional culture and examines the many cultural and artistic forms it took, from newspapers to literature and poetry to theater and visual art. As the first cultural history of Italian American activism, it provides a richer understanding of the Italian immigrant experience while also deepening historical perceptions of radical politics and culture.

REVIEWS

  • Italian Immigrant Radical Culture not only makes an important contribution to the history of the Italian-American left but, more broadly, reminds us of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century.”

    —Fraser Ottanelli, Professor of History, University of South Florida

  • “A welcome introduction to the poorly understood immigrant sovversivi, whose ideological commitments to revolution and emancipation as often found expression in poetry, theater, and the arts as on the picket line and in the radical press.”

    —Donna Gabaccia, University of Minnesota

  • “Utilizing a broad spectrum of materials from Italian archives and American repositories, Bencivenni penetrates deeply into a hitherto unexplored dimension of the lost world of Italian immigrant radicalism—its culture. With acute insight and intellectual sophistication, she provides a superb analysis of radical working-class poetry, drama, and art, together with vivid biographical portraits of principal contributors, both men and women, and their struggles against capitalist exploitation and fascist domination. Her book is a must for any scholar or general reader drawn to these fascinating subjects.”

    —Nunzio Pernicone, author of Italian Anarchism, 1864-1892

  • “Anyone interested in the topic will benefit from Bencivenni’s deep understanding of her subject, her exhaustive research, and her clear organization and writing.”

    —R.J. Goldstein, Choice

  • “Bencivenni has written an impressive book that nicely complements existing studies on Italian immigrants. It deserves a wide audience.”

    —Mike Rosenow, H-Net Reviews

  • “Marcella Bencivenni contributes to the growing literature of the sovversivi (subversives) but with a new twist… Bencivenni’s superb analysis of the importance of the cultural and literal dimension of radical politics and her biographical portraits of its stars ensure that the works of these men and women will have a lasting legacy in American radical history.”

    —Diane C. Vecchio, Furman University

  • “Bencivenni’s superb analysis of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics and her biographical portraits of its stars ensure that the works of these men and women will have a lasting legacy in American radical history.”

    —Diane C. Vecchio, The Journal of American History

  • “A great book that will benefit well-established scholars, newly minted Ph.D.’s, and graduate students thinking about distinct avenues of research.”

    —Caroline Merithew, Italian American Review

  • “Sheds illuminating light on a part of that history that is often overlooked, and in doing so revitalizes a radical tradition.”

    —Stefan Bosworth, Science & Society

Nelson A. Denis Book Presentation at the Mulberry St Library

April 6th, 2016
Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library

War Against all Puerto Ricans: Revolution & Terror in America’s Colony
– Nelson A. Denis, Nation Books, NY 2015

Nelson A. Denis book presentation poster 2016 Vito Marcantonio ForumGil Fagiani brought the night’s event to order. Over 40 attendees heard a brief summary of the Many events the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) has organized through the year and the VMF members who contributed their time and talents to these events. He officially opened the night’s event by reciting the Litany of San Vito, a poem he wrote and dedicated to the late, great congressman from East Harlem, New York City, who the VMF models their nonprofit after.

Nelson A. Denis began by giving some background of U.S. involvement in Puerto Rico; for example, by introducing U.S. dollars and eliminating the Puerto Rican peso (the Spanish peso)—in this exchange—the latter currency lost 40% of its value, thereby causing widespread poverty, loss of many businesses, collapse of banks and numerous financial institutions. Four corporations ended up owning almost half of all the sugar fields of the entire island.

Gil Fagiani, Nelson Denis, Roberto Ragone

Gil Fagiani, Nelson Denis, Roberto Ragone

“Vito Marcantonio was the most able, courageous, and principled defenders and friend of the Puerto Rican people. Much more principled than most Puerto Rican politicians of the times,” said Mr. Denis.

Denis’ presentation was energetic and impassioned. The audience felt his beliefs and outrage as he described the violent repression unleashed on the opponents of American intervention.

After the book presentation, Roberto Ragone, co-chairman of the VMF, ably dramatized two Vito Marcantonio speeches. At the end of the performance he received an enthusiastic applause and praise from Mr. Denis and the audience. Denis’ talk and Ragone’s performance blended together seamlessly to give flesh and form to Denis’ words.

Nelson A. Denis with Vito Marcantonio Forum Treasurer, Adam Milat-Meyer

Nelson A. Denis with Vito Marcantonio Forum Treasurer, Adam Milat-Meyer

The efforts by Gil Fagiani in organizing this event must not go unnoticed. His labors of putting on this event manifested themselves in the excellent presentations of Mr. Ragone, the impassioned and sometimes humorous words of Mr. Denis, and the support and intelligent curiosity displayed by the audience which filled the room at the Mulberry Street Public Library.

The group thanks David Giglio for filming the event, which soon will be released on this site (please check back frequently). The Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library for providing the event space deserves much thanks as well. Last but not least, Nelson A. Denis for his inspirational and fascinating presentation and Q&A discussion.

Click on the following link to purchase the book:
War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson A. Denis.  

Luis Romero
Cofounder/blogger of the VMF

WAR ON ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY

VMF’s AUTHORS SERIES PRESENTS:

NELSON DENIS and HIS BEST SELLING

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 5-6:45 PM  

Vito Marcantonio Forum presents a book presentation on war against all puerto ricans by nelson a denis

WHAT:
VMF Authors Series panel discussion followed by Q&A

WHO:
Nelson Denis
discusses WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

Gil Fagiani, VMF co-founder, will moderate discussion. Roberto Ragone, will deliver dramatic readings of Marcantonio’s speeches about Puerto Rico

WHERE:
NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, between Mulberry & Lafayette Sts., one block south of Houston St.

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS BY NELSON A DENISADMISSION:
Free Admission, light refreshments will be served

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio. 

LuLu LoLo Pascale MAS Podcast Interview

LuLu LoLo Pascale, one of our founding members, mentions Vito Marcantonio in a breakthrough, in-depth podcast interview. She also talks about her many endeavors and longtime dedication to projects like #RememberTheTriangle and much, more.

It couldn’t have been said better in the notes for the show:

LuLu LoLo PascaleNew York City has over a hundred monuments honoring specific men who’ve changed the course of history and made significant contributions to our communities. But guess how many women are up on pedestals in this city? Here’s a sad hint: you can count them on your fingers. One hand, even. Performance artist, playwright, and overall activist LuLu LoLo is on a mission to change that. In this Women’s History Month podcast episode, Lulu tells us about her latest venture, “Where are the Women? A Call for Monuments of Women in NYC,” and reminisces about growing up in East Harlem, a neighborhood where strong women (including the city’s first Puerto Rican librarian) graced every block.