A century after the uprising, Italy’s fascist past under scrutiny WGN Radio 720

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s failure to come to terms with its fascist past becomes more apparent as Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the march on Rome that brought totalitarian dictator Benito Mussolini to power never happened. The first post-war government led by a neo-fascist party is formed.

Symbolism looks nasty. Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party ‘Brothers of Italy’ controversially retains the flame emblem used by the fascists. Her party’s co-founder, Ignazio La Lussa, whose middle name is Benito, whose home office is brimming with fascist memorabilia, is the elected president of the Senate of Congress.

Meloni tried to keep the Brothers of Italy away from their neo-fascist roots. She made her clearest statement yet in an address to the Italian House of Commons this week ahead of a vote of confidence confirming her government.

“I have never felt sympathy for, or familiarity with, any non-democratic regime, including fascism. The 1938 race law is the lowest point in Italian history and will forever bring shame to our people.” because I have always thought that it would be possible,” denounced Mussolini’s laws that persecuted the Jewish community in Italy.

But the question remains whether the understated voice she’s recently adopted will hold up, and how her party’s nostalgic wing, which represents the core 4% of her support, will tolerate it.

The National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), which preserves the memory of wartime resistance to fascism, has already pointed to signs that the far-right is gaining momentum in areas ruled by its compatriots in Italy. For example, the governor of Central Marche has cut off funding for maintaining brass-plated stumbling stones outside pre-war homes inscribed with the names and dates of Holocaust victims, said ANPI president Gianfranco Paliallo. Stated. Social added that his media attacks on his organization have never been more vicious.

“This is a disturbing signal,” Pagliarulo said. “It is clear that the victory of the nationalist right will lead to a resurgence of provocative neo-fascist attitudes … We are not worried because we will fight with political weapons and, if necessary, with legal weapons.”

On Friday, ANPI will hold a demonstration in the northern town of Predappio, where Mussolini is buried, to mark the city’s liberation from fascism on October 28, 1944. in Rome.

It also conveniently prevents fascist nostalgia from commemorating the march on Rome that day. Their event is scheduled for Sunday, the final day of Mussolini’s historic March on Rome, one of his three commemorations held annually by the neo-fascists in the Predappio. Others commemorate Mussolini’s birth on 29 July 1883 (in a house not far from the crypt with a cemetery) and 28 April 1944 (the day he was killed by partisans in Milan). doing.

“The march to Rome is a myth that is negative for us as the founding myth of Fascist Italy and the origin of the disaster that led Italy to many wars, the most devastating of all, World War II,” says Pagliarulo. “We must fight the positive myths of the March on Rome and keep this day as the beginning of the darkest period in modern Italian history.”

Italy never went through a process similar to the denazification of Germany, and the neo-fascist political party, the Italian Social Movement, was part of Italy’s first post-war government in 1946. Travel to Milan’s imposing train station, to its grand courthouses and to Rome’s EUR district. The popular notion persists that his twenty years of fascism in Italy brought about progress, exemplified by the era’s timely train service, building booms, and drainage of malaria-infested swamps.

Especially in Italy’s productive northern regions, spying on Mussolini’s portraits hanging behind bars and restaurants, or coming across fascist memorabilia and souvenirs in ordinary shops is not a common practice. The Partisan Association regards such displays as an apology to fascism and is punishable by law, but rarely prosecuted.

“Historians correctly tell us that fascism ended in Italy in 1945. But not fascists,” said historian Francesco Filippi, who wrote a book analyzing popular misconceptions about fascism. “The millions of people who participated in that government and remained part of the country’s political life, and even the parties that directly referred to fascism, have participated in the country’s political life since 1946 and are still today. very unceasingly until

Filippi said moderate voters, who boosted Meloni’s share of the vote from 4% in 2018 to 26% in September’s parliamentary elections, “recognised the Italian brothers as the historic successors of the Italian social movement.” It shows a fundamental expansion of the party’s base beyond ‘people’. Therefore, it is a kind of fascist thought. ”

According to him, many of the new voters want Meloni to build a conservative right-wing government, “an anti-fascist regular right wing tied to democratic values.”

A standard-bearer for Italy’s wartime partisan movement said it would withhold judgment on the Meloni government until concrete action was taken.

“We want a right-wing conservative government, like France and Britain,” said Milo Gori, president of ANPI in Emilia-Romagna, where Predappio is located. “Let’s see what happens.”


Paolo Santalucia contributed from Rome. A century after the uprising, Italy’s fascist past under scrutiny WGN Radio 720

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