The fight against the new democracy

Kathleen McKinnon

In the neo-fascist movements of the era after the immediate post-war times, the elements changed from fear of the west and its direct influence on culture and values. These issues remained but the new democratic nature of the newly established governments and democracy as a whole became the new issue at large. It is true that the world was not cleansed of the far right the day after WWII had ended and nor did the movement disappear in the future but some of the elements that were involved changed. In London (Bland, 109) the National Front observed democracy in Libya to learn from its dictatorship, and in Italy (Mammone, 215) the democracy that was supposed to be established was seen as failing. Students become a battleground between right and left ideologies not just theoretically but also violently even leading to arrests.

In Italy especially there were violent cases of terror and coups to take over the government (Amyot, 30), this shift in trying to gain power through means of terrorism is an extension of fear tactics that were used just a few years earlier against the new western influence seen in the post-war era but now more overt and much more dangerous and against the local government rather than against the new western influence. The point should be made, however, the new democracy in Italy is from western ideals so terrorism is still against western values but it has grown into a more violent and political realm of violence and even coup attempts which are normally associated with far less developed countries which made this a more interesting, if not unexpected case.

Grant Amyot, “The Shadow of Fascism over the Italian Republic,” Human Affairs 21, no. 1 (2011): 35–43

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): 108–30

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): 213–236.

One Reply to “The fight against the new democracy”

  1. Hey Kathleen,

    Great arguments! I would offer a slight alternative that Italy didn’t in fact embrace western style democracy as the their main party the CDP was a top-down party rather than a bottom-up like most western democratic parties are run.
    Interesting point about the violence.
    Slight history on Italy: violence had been part of their political culture for hundreds of years (The Italian states fought each other and the Papacy often enough that one of the major hazards of being a Cardinal was risk of assassination if another state’s.Cardinal saw him as a threat to their city’s fortune. Wars between the city-states were commonplace.). I grant you that this was before unification but even afterwards there was so much corruption within the local governments that the Sicilian mafia was established to bring some justice for impoverished Sicilians. Mussolini was just the latest violent leader before 1944. So violence in Italy was quite common and though deplored has often been used by the powerful to accomplish their goals.
    The neo-fascist’s were an effective enough force to avoid their hand in events being firmly seen for nearly a decade which feat in itself is rather impressive.


    Wesley M.

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