Created by: Francesco Sacca
What do we know about Fascism? Are the only markers to which people can identify these forms of ideals dressed in the colours of red, black, and white and in a time that has long since passed? Or, is fascism much more prevalent in modern society then we care to know or freely admit?
To truly understand the impact of modern fascism, we must challenge our assumptions and not allow ourselves to compare it to so literally to the totalitarian school which we so easily do. We must look at the foundation, the root of fascism and how modern governments and people of the global north have conducted themselves in ways that are in accordance with the practices of fascism. In this opinion piece, a focus will be placed upon the future prime minister of Italy and leader of the far right party Fratelli d’Italia, (brothers of Italy) Giorgia Meloni.
From countless articles, Meloni has been portrayed as an almost reincarnated version of Benito Mussolini, the first fascist to ever lead a country. From the Washington post, in an article titled; The mainstreaming of the West’s far right is complete created by Ishaan Tharoor, Meloni is said to “Be her country’s most ultra-nationalist premier since fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.”. Another writer, by the name of Rachel Sanderson, in connection to Mussolini, has also stated that Meloni is; “brining a party with its roots in neo-fascism into power for the first time since World War II”.
As a politician, she has also succeeded in creating a veil around her campaign openly claiming that she is not a fascist, yet still representing the ideals of fascist parties that came before. Meloni creates this vagueness around her ambitions by following trends on media and approving the more accepted ideals; “She condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been vocal in support of NATO and military aid for Kyiv”. This is an intelligent political move on her part because this adds to her portrayal to the public. If she were to admit herself to being a fascist publically, approval ratings would be sure to drop as committing to such a title would inspire fear and go against her campaign.
Meloni can find ways of expressing her true fascist goals when she delivers her passionate speeches that mirror those of Mussolini’s “The homeland’s borders must be defended, with violence if necessary”. As said before, Meloni is an intelligent politician, this statement appeals directly to Italians who are against the influx of immigrants and their role in taking jobs that were ‘meant for Italians’, her threats to use violence only enforce the militaristic ideals of fascism. Meloni’s goals are also used to inspire a great amount of fear in her audience. She accomplishes this by stating that Italians are on the verge of losing their “identify” with increasing diversification in Italian population; “In her hands identity becomes a propaganda tool for dividing the world into Us and Them, where ‘they’ are LGBTQ+ communities, migrants or those who don’t see themselves represented in established structures or the labels imposed by others.”.
What may be forgotten in history as well are the roots to which the party that Meloni is apart of; “Meloni’s Brothers of Italy can trace its origins to the Italian Social Movement, a small neo-fascist party founded out of the ashes of World War II by Giorgio Almirante, a former chief of staff to Mussolini.”. Meloni is a symbol of ambiguity, she preaches and portrays hope for Italians in times of difficulty all the while hiding the goals and history for what she represents.
What Will Be the Result?
With all of this information to digest on Meloni and her ideals, there comes the question of “where could the next domino fall” ? Whether this was done on purpose or not Rachel Sanderson seems to have made a connection to the “domino effect” theory that originated in the United States during the Vietnam War, focusing on the issue of Russia and the spread of communism around the world. Is Meloni a mere change of reform that will have little impact on Italian history as a whole, or is she yet another stepping stone to the control of far right enthusiasts in Europe. If the latter, will this mean a return of the “roots” of the old power hungry and hateful regimes that we are so familiar with? Who can say for certain.