The Commemoration of the Portella della Ginestra massacre is a celebration held every year on the  workers’ day to commemorate the victims of the massacre of May 1, 1947 in Portella della Ginestra.

The Fascist regime had moved the Labor Day to April 21, the anniversary of the birth of Rome, but in 1947, people went to celebrate Labor Day on its original date, May 1, at Portella della Ginestra, a town in the municipality of Piana degli Albanesi, not far from Palermo. There were about two thousand workers and farmers gathered to demonstrate against landlordism and to celebrate the recent victory of the left front in the regional elections in Sicily.

The bandit Salvatore Giuliano and his accomplices fired on the workers gathered to celebrate Labor Day. A helpless crowd of peasants, men, women, children and the elderly, was targeted by the blows of Giuliano’s band.

The facts of Portella refers to the crisis of the feudal system, very powerful and strong in Sicily until the end of the nineteenth century, but also to the development of movements to protect workers and the peasant world and to a mythical conception of banditry (Giuliano enjoyed in fact, despite everything, of popular consensus). The real reasons and responsibilities of the attack remained hidden, as well as the connections between the bandit and the centrist and right-wing political forces of the moment.

The massacre is therefore a metaphor for a great social change, representing a change of direction, an inversion in order, the breaking of an immobile and stagnant secular equilibrium, which however gave rise, politically, to a long period of government of the reactionary forces.

Even today, every 1 May, people from all over Sicily go to the place where the massacre took place to remember the 11 victims and the numerous wounded, and to collectively celebrate the rights of the workers, of the peasants oppressed by the bosses.

On the site of the tragedy stands a Memorial (Përmendorja, in the local dialect), the work of the artist Ettore de Conciliis, consisting of numerous inscriptions engraved on large local stones.

Manali P., (a cura di), Portella della Ginestra 50 anni dopo (1947-1997), S.Sciascia editore, Caltanissetta-Roma, 1999
Li Causi G., Petrotta F., (a cura di), Portella della Ginestra. La ricerca della verità, Ediesse, Roma, 2007
Petrotta F., La strage e i depistaggi. Il castello d'ombre su Portella della Ginestra, Ediesse, Roma, 2010
Santino U., La democrazia bloccata. La strage di Portella della Ginestra e l'emarginazione delle sinistre, Rubettino, Soveria Mannelli, 1997
Tranfaglia N., Come nasce la Repubblica. La mafia, il Vaticano e il neofascismo nei documenti americani e italiani. 1943-1947, Bompiani, MIlano, 2004
Renda F., Portella della Ginestra e la guerra fredda. I cento anni della CGIL siciliana. Conversazioni con Antonio Riolo, Ediesse, Roma, 2008
Casarrubea G., Portella della Ginestra. Microstoria di una strage di stato, Franco Angeli editore, Milano, 1997
Testimonianza audio del sindacalista Francesco Renda:
REI - Libro delle celebrazioni - Portella della Ginestra