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Subject: Cultural Studies »

Joe Caputo about Left Italian group FILEF

Joe Caputo.

Joe Caputo provides a history of the Left Italian group FILEF in the 1970s and 1980s



Date Added:

17 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

10 MB






What I think is one of the problems of migration as well, is that whenever people migrate they take with them, everything. You know, they take with them, they – which is natural, you know, they take their customs, their tradition, their political views of the world etcetera. And in part – and if the new – the new society does not accept some of those things, they can put that group at loggerheads if you like and contrast for – with the local – so in a way, we were still living the politics of Italy.


Some of it, I think, not bad, because it kept us in touch with the world, but to many, because of the – because then the local society was not accepting – was not an inclusive society as such, it meant that then, thinking about Italy became like an escape so that it became if you like, that’s when it becomes negative. Because then instead of then, thinking of ways that one could integrate within the local society and even do benefit the local society – you then think primarily of what’s happening in the country you left behind.


We had, you know, the FILEF – you know, the Federation of Italian Workers and their Families. That was started in the early ‘80s - the early ‘70s rather, I think it was ’72 or ’73 that started. And a lot of what FILAF done in the early years was very positive, then I believed that later on, because of – because of the lack of acceptance from the Australian community that became I think that moved towards a negativism. You know, where the more Italians were not being if you like, integrated within the Australian system, the more they became – they looked at Italy for the solutions, if you know what I’m trying to say.


Whereas if we had a much more inclusive society, I think that a lot of – you know, I think that the Italian experience would have been blended in the Australian experience much more readily and then you would have had the greater benefit for the Italians in that particular case and also for the Australian society in general. But you see, when you have that then, if you like, that almost separatist way of operating then if you like, elements even within the -that group or those communities, the more they are excluded from the Australian society, the more they tend to – say, “Look there’s – you know, we’re not welcome here, so we might as well concentrate what’s happening there.” Whether it’s Italy in our case or whether it be another country in more recent times.


So that’s why it’s important to really open up the structures, the local structures, institutions so that then people can see how we can gain, the general community, but then the new group that comes in can contribute towards bringing in their experience and also then sort of not living, if you like, still in their country whilst they’re here.


End transcript