Insight And Adaptability – The Key To The Regrowth Of Neofascist Movements:

Wesley M.

Neofascism, unlike the old fascist movement, were able to gain the insight that by taking the long view and showing a willingness to be adaptable they were able to influence events either behind the scenes or directly, in some cases directly co-opting the political system that was currently operating from within various European countries to bolster their own agenda.

The way in which neofascism was able to influence events in Italy is rather unique as they were able to both take the long view but influence events both from behind the scenes as well as directly through their wide network of supporters. These supporters being placed in key positions within the Italian government, military, civil service, allowed for a network with the level of power that as Grant Amyot describes in his article, was akin to the description of a deep state level of influence, which in turn made up for the neofascist lack of public political control.[1] Italian neofascists were able to orchestrate various conspiracies (the SIFAR Affair 1968-1969 protests, the Borghese Coup, Weathervane), which allowed for the weakening of the political left as well as the prevention of a left party coming to power.[2] This in turn allowed for Italy’s neofascists to eventually use more fascistic techniques in the open by the mid-1990s.[3]

The French neofascists were also able to use the 1968 protest by political leftists in the resulting fear this created it with the public to promote themselves as keepers of peace and gain legitimacy by for time gain legitimacy by standing under the shield of Gaullism, and later on gain further success by adapting policies and incorporating new fascist theorists as they sought to gain further legitimacy in order to and what they perceived as the political left’s hold on culture.[4] contemporarily, Marie Le Pen has been able to appeal to disaffected women using anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment while softening her party’s image by adopting a less traditional view of the woman’s role as well as trying to appeal to LGBTQ voters.[5]

Contrasting these is the British National Front and their concept of the Third Wave. They sought to adapt their image by emulating authoritarian Middle Eastern dictators such as Moammar Gadhafi, with Roberto Fiore’s introducing Evolian thinking, failing to gain support for the radical proposed changes to their neofascist group.[6]

Relevant to this commentary on insight and adaptability regarding neofascism is the discussion around reliability of accounts. Ruth Glynn’s discussion of how former female left-wing Italian terrorists seek to revitalize their image by providing insight on their activities while distancing themselves in a confessional model to insulate themselves, reminding the audience that these accounts are not neutral.[7] Charlie Jarvis’s article on the power of memory describes how representation in the form of a museum regarding Milan’s fascist past actually allows for the creation of inaccuracies via historical revision by pointing out how the Milanese governments involvement in the violence is not mentioned.[8]


[1] Grant Amyot, “The Shadow of Fascism over the Italian Republic,” Human Affairs 21, no. 1 (2011): 36-37.

[2] Amyot, “The Shadow of Fascism over the Italian Republic,”: 36-42.

[3] Amyot, “The Shadow of Fascism over the Italian Republic,”: 42.

[4] Andrea Mammon, “The Transnational Reaction to 1968: Neo-Fascist Fronts and Political Cultures in France and Italy.” Contemporary European History, vol. 17, no. 2 (May 2008): 220-222, 225-235.

[5] Angelique Chrisafis, “From Le Pen to Alice Weidel: How the European far-right set its sight on women” The Guardian January 29, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/29/from-le-pen-to-alice-weidel-how-the-european-far-right-set-its-sights-on-women.

[6] Benjamin Bland, “Global Fascism?: The British National Front and the Transnational Politics of the ‘Third Way’ in the 1980s,” Radical History Review 2020, no. 138 (2020): 108–130.

[7] Ruth Glynn, “Writing the terrorist self: the unspeakable alterity of Italy’s female perpetrators” Feminist Review (Jul 2009): 1-18.

[8] Charlie Jarvis, “Milan Museum Commemorates Fascist Past at Expense of the Present” Hyperallergic (August 2, 2021), https://hyperallergic.com/667010/milan-museum-commemorates-fascist-past-at-the-expense-of-the-present/.

Bibliography:

Amyot, Grant. The shadow of fascism over the Italian Republic. Humaff 21, 35–43 (2011). https://doi-org.proxy.library.carleton.ca/10.2478/s13374-011-0005-9.

Bland, Benjamin. Global Fascism?: The British National Front and the Transnational Politics of the “Third Way” in the 1980s. Radical History Review 1 October 2020; 2020 (138): 108–130. doi: https://doi-org.proxy.library.carleton.ca/10.1215/01636545-8359443.

Chrisafis, Angelique, Kate Connolly, and Angela Giuffrida. “From Le Pen to Alice Weidel: How the European Far-Right Set Its Sights on Women.” The Guardian, January 29, 2019, sec. Life and style. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/29/from-le-pen-to-alice-weidel-how-the-european-far-right-set-its-sights-on-women.

Glynn, Ruth. “<writing the Terrorist Self: The Unspeakable Alterity of Italy’s Female Perpetrators.” Feminist Review, no. 92 (2009): 1–18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40664029.

Jarvis, Charlie. “Milan Museum Commemorates Fascist Past at the Expense of the Present.” Hyperallergic, August 2, 2021. http://hyperallergic.com/667010/milan-museum-commemorates-fascist-past-at-the-expense-of-the-present/.

Mammone, Andrea. “The Transnational Reaction to 1968: Neo-Fascist Fronts and Political Cultures in France and Italy.” Contemporary European History 17, no. 2 (2008): 213–36. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20081402.

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