Back to black in Italy

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A mural by artist Harry Greb depicts far-right Fratelli d’Italia party leader Giorgia Meloni as the witch offering Snow White Italy a poisoned apple, while her politicians hide under her skirt. [Gregorio Borgia/AP]

A century ago, at the end of October 1922, the black shirts of Benito Mussolini marched towards Rome, which they seized. At the end of September 2022, the takeover of Italy by the neo-fascists or post-fascists of Giorgia Meloni, who dominate the far right and the right a la Silvio Berlusconi, was achieved by voting.

The disgust of the rejected masses with politics and the resulting electoral abstention, the loss of ideology by the vague centre-left, the expectations born of the verbosity of the polls and above all the intensely cultivated fears about Brussels – which is supposed to be against national identity – and on refugees and migrants – who are said to be aiming at the erosion of Christianity and an insidious Islamization of Europe – enabled the Brothers in Italy to increase their power sixfold in just four years: 4.3% in 2018, more than 26% today, a percentage that brings them to the top.

Meloni has come a long way over the past 15 years. The self-description of today’s vote hunt is reminiscent of the famous Greek conservative slogan “Country, religion, family”.

“I am Giorgia”, she proclaims, betting on her first name, like many “greats” in history, and details her political identity. “I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian.” She says “I am a woman”, but she means a “normal” woman, with children – not an “irresponsible” anarchist or an LGBTQI activist. And “I am Italian”, but a “normal” Italian, that is to say a Christian. Of course, she also means Catholic, not Orthodox or Protestant, and of course not Muslim, Jewish, agnostic or simply indifferent. Meloni knows that the last “ideology” to die out in his country is Catholicism.

In 1992, at the age of 15, Meloni became a member of the Youth Front, the youth wing of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) political party, led by Giorgio Almirante, a supporter of the dictator Mussolini. His fanaticism facilitated his rapid rise through the party ranks. In her thirties, she was the youngest vice-president of the former neo-fascist National Alliance (AN), and now, aged 45, she is preparing to become Prime Minister of Italy, adding the strongest link strong in the chain of far-right European successes. .

All types of far-right parties in Europe, including Greek parties, are celebrating. The rest should be troubled and worried. Even now.

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