OP-ED Fascism: Past Present and Future

By: Cyrus Hutnyk

As of September of 2022, the Nationalist Brothers of Italy party in Italy are looking bound to make the move into power as a prominently far-right group looking to lead the nation, a party with its history attached to infamous fascist Mussolini and his fascist rule nearing one hundred years ago. The leader of the Nationalist Brothers of Italy party Giorgia Meloni has a reputation as being against the European Union, migrants, and Italy’s ties to the west among other things, and she and her party are spreading these concerns and beliefs nationally. Despite winning with over a quarter of all votes for Meloni’s party this year, in the past the Nationalist Brothers of Italy has failed to amass anywhere near this much attention, indicative of Italian’s growing attention for far-right or otherwise nationalist ideology or movement. Furthermore it is known that individuals associated with Meloni are supporters or otherwise admirers of Putin which draws troubling parallels and creates anxiety over the future of the relationship between nations.

Benito Mussolini was a politician and journalist who eventually founded and was leader of the National Fascist Party, to then become Prime Minister of Italy up until his removal in 1943 during World War II. Initially Mussolini was a socialist and a member of the Italian Socialist Party, but was removed for his opinions and avocation for military and violent intervention during the events of World War I. This train of thought and ideology eventually led to his now well known fascist rule opposing egalitarianism and class conflict and supporting an extreme nationalism. While the movement that he led was based in radicalism and conservatism, what shone through was taking violent action. Arguments and debate surrounding opposition to fascism began to become silent through constant imprisonment, exile, and removal of people via deadly force. Divides in ideas concerning the implications of fascism arose in the period between World War I and World War II when it became clear the ideology was the difference between being involved in war or not.

Beyond what is or has happened in Italy or other nations across the water, the West can be found to have its own form of right leaning ideologies and politics through its own leaders. Trump has cemented himself in history through his term as president of the United States. His campaign was created and run based on a powerful sense of nationalism crafted through techniques of promising a restoration of the nation to a mystical former glory that it supposedly once held in its shockingly short history. To remedy the problems present and brought up by earlier leadership as well as promise of being above or tearing down supposed enemies of the nation are the tools that can be identified in any other instance of fascist or far-right rule beyond Mussolini or potentially Meloni.

With the impacts and lessons that can be learned from Trump’s time in office, western powers as well as European ones are fearful of a far-right rise, evident in the fervent support of Ukraine in it’s budding territory war with Russia. Liberal powers taking this action also creates the contrast and connection between opposing ideologies and right leaning ideology, not being in support of a foreign war becomes being against the potential of far-right rise, and so on and so forth to republicans becoming more and more far-right or even extremist.

Fascism and far-right ideology is not something that will ever completely disappear, people will always have a diversity of thoughts and ideas, and that should be welcomed and fostered. That being said its about understanding the limits to controversial thought and understanding where the line is that moves into ideas harming people, which is exactly what fascism promises to do historically.

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