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The galaxy of fascist organizations in Italy

Tuesday 23 January 2024, by Checchino Antonini

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To the right of Matteo Salvini’s League and Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s party), the political landscape is populated by small, openly fascist organizations that are highly aggressive towards migrants, LGBTI minorities, social centre activists and left-wing activists.

Their actions are used to fight for hegemony in the political arena. Their history is made up of splits and reshuffles that are also determined by the pull of the two main parties, with a turnstile mechanism that allows troubling characters to circulate in the two spheres of intervention of the far right: institutional and “social”. The latter refers to the occupation of the political scene using typical squadrism methods. The relationship with the underworld, including organized crime and the narco-mafias, and with the transnational sectors of finance and business is historic and consolidated. In addition, a fascist spirit has long permeated football fans and much of the ultra movement.

Casa Pound and Forza Nuova’s strategy of hegemonic conquest

The two main groups, which maintain close links with their European counterparts, are Casa Pound Italia (CPI) and Forza Nuova (FN). With a few thousand members and supporters throughout Italy and a good entrepreneurial capacity, CPI seems to be the livelier organisation: it owns a brand of clothing for young people (Pivert), runs restaurants, a publishing house and other activities, and, with its occupation of certain “unconventional social centres” (akin to squats), imitates the social aggregation methods of the extreme left.

Less robust, Forza Nuova was founded thirty years ago by the followers of Terza Posizione, an armed group that was all the rage in the 1970s and from which FN is said to have recovered its resources. It also owns various companies that revolve around Meeting Point, a London holding company that manages, among other things, hundreds of flats for young foreign students.

Forza Nuova is more fundamentalist than the CPI and has also been riding the wave of No Vax protests. In October 2021, it stormed the national headquarters of the CGIL trade union. The trial at first instance in December 2023 handed down seven sentences of more than eight years’ imprisonment to each of its leaders, including Roberto Fiore, a former MEP in 2004.

Immobilism of the centre-left and the unions

On the question of anti-fascism, it is surprising that the CGIL, which, along with the PD (Democratic Party), is content to call for the outlawing of neo-fascist organizations, has not moved. This is an almost impossible solution in practice (in fact, the few groups that have been disbanded over the years were immediately reconstituted under other names) and which only works for the needs of the centre-left’s electoral campaigns.

Unable to offer a real alternative to each other, the two Italian political camps engage in exhausting squabbles, especially in the media, over sometimes very concrete issues (immigration, minimum wage, LGBT rights, anti-fascism), but always over marginal and symbolic aspects of these issues. The repression of migrants and social movements, to take just one example, has been exacerbated for decades by the relentless work of governments of all stripes.

The breeding ground for extreme right-wing groups is made up of both the affluent classes of the upper classes and sectors of an increasingly precarious, pulverized and disorientated proletariat in the suburbs. The latter have been attracted for decades by recipes of security, nationalism and xenophobia. The historic defeat of the workers‘ movement can also be measured from here, by the lack of understanding of working-class neighbourhoods and the desertification of the rallying points of the radical left.

In this context, banning neo-fascist acronyms by law will certainly not be enough to rebuild practices and the social fabric of solidarity. Anti-fascism cannot be limited to the preservation of historical memory and a presence on the ground. It must equip itself with the social and political tools to rebuild class consciousness and overturn the balance of power. The alternative to fascism is not post-democracy, but a society that puts an end to the exploitation of human beings and the environment.

23 January 2024

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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