A due memory of Paolo Giussani
May 26, 1951- January 13, 2020
I met Paolo Giussani in 1994 on the occasion of the presentation of an old Italian left-communist Danilo Montaldi’s book in Milan. Arturo Peregalli, whom I attended during the preparation of the book, introduced him to me. Paolo appeared dawn of the hall and immediately disappeared. After the conference, Arturo and I founded him at the exit and drank together a coffee in a nearby bar. Since then we have become friends and immediately I was fascinated by his way of seeing things. His proposal was simple: analyze economic phenomena (and not only) through the scientific method. That’s all. The aim was to have as clear as possible the ideas on what is happening in the dynamics of capitalism without always resorting to the poor revolutionary phraseology of the ideologues of Marx; that is, the Marxists, so I entered the discussion circle that Paul had organized with few people. This attempt was not new. Already in the 70s Paolo Giussani was the animator of the magazine Lavoro teorico (Theoretical Work) whose title shows the ambitious goal for those years to stop the frenetic leftists agitation, reflect and deepen the dynamics of capitalism an indispensable operation for those has the ambition to overthrow it. Five issues of the magazine Lavoro Teorico were published between December 1976 and November 1978 and Giussani’s critical article “Keynes’s theory” was published in issue 4; in which Paul Mattick’s point of view expressed in his famous book Marx and Keynes is evident. (mistranslated said Paul). Still young while studying at high school Paolo was one of the leading figures on the occasion of the first student turmoils. Later he enrolled the Faculty of Philosophy at the State University of Milan, a faculty that was “tight” to him, as he confessed to me several times, since he loved scientific studies, and like all the young people of that time he approached the Student Movement but without having no active role since immediately felt the need to deepen his studies while remaining on the same side of the barricade. He confessed to me years ago that he joined the Gramsci Group but without any political ambition. Once he graduated, he moved to Paris for his PhD at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales “(EHESS) directed by Charles Bettlheim and it is here that he finds fertile ground for his economic studies and for the advanced research that involves many young Marxists from all over the world. Paolo knows many young researchers but was important that he immediately entered an environment made up of scholars who rely on empirical research as a working method. After his studies he was immediately noticed by the circle of American Marxists because he regularly attended their summer conventions in New York. After meeting Anwar Shaikh, Paolo taught courses on Marx and Sraffa at the New School for Social Research (NSSR) in New York in 1982 in which many young Marxists attended and later remained in contact with him fascinated by his theses on Marx’s theory of value and crises.