Right VS. Left: Neofascism in Italy

By: Nicole Beswitherick

One thing that really stuck out to me in the readings for this week was the Guardian article, by Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, Kate Connolly in Berlin, and Angela Giuffrida in Rome; as well as the Hyperallergenic one by Charlie Jarvis. Perhaps this is because my major is journalism, but reading more recent examples of a fascist-leaning movement than older ones brings a more meaningful understanding as it is happening in real time.

In the Guardian reading, it really struck me how more women are moving towards a nationalist populism that was once so dominated by patriarchal ideology. Perhaps it is suggested that they are moving away from feminism as the article says. However, Le Pen rejects the term “feminism” because they associate it with an instrument of leftwing nonsense, replacing it with what the definition is, “women’s rights”. The Italian rightwing populist parties are targeting women as well with controversial messages that immigration brings misogynistic cultures that threaten freedom in Europe. These immigrants are mostly from countries with high Muslim populations. It all seems like a very manipulative scheme which we have seen in the west too, particularly in the United States.

Jarvis talks in his article about a massacre at Piazza Fontana in Milan, Italy. He also touches on how far-left groups (yes, left. Not right) like the Brigate Rosse waged war against the state through kidnapping and targeted assassination. However, the neofascist cells also sowed terror with massacres such as the one at Piazza Fontana. I liked how one journalist worded it, “the bombs that changed Italy.” Jarvis makes a connection with these relationships in regard to a museum. He explains that remembrance enables reconciliation between victims and perpetrators and also between the far left and extreme right.

Of course other articles this week also touched on Italy and its fascist past and present. But these two went really well together in explaining not only what has happened previously between the left and rightwing parties and supporters in Italy, but also what has been going on recently as a “look forward” type of ideal.

One Reply to “Right VS. Left: Neofascism in Italy”

  1. Hello Nicole,

    I think that your post really draws out some of the most intriguing parts of each reading. Like you, I was struck by the role of language in the appeal of far-right movements to women. For me, it prompted further questions about why the term “women’s rights” appealed to them over “feminism”. The quote from Hoechst, which centres on the centuries-old nature of the fight for women’s rights, seems to call back to First Wave feminism, which formalized the rights of only a select few (particularly white, middle-class, citizen) women. The subtle evocation of First Wave feminism here also supports the exclusion of immigrant/migrant women and the demonization of immigrant/migrant men by presenting them as ‘antithetical’ to women’s rights, as they were not widely considered in First Wave feminist thought and action. Meanwhile, feminism has much more intersectional connotations, having become an ideology centred on challenging the patriarchy, colonialism, ableism, etc in the middle of the 20th century. Overall, I think that the ways in which Far-Right women leaders define “women’s rights” is limited to what they see as the ‘respectable’ (read as hegemonic) fight for women’s rights. Therefore, to me, their attraction to this specific brand of “women’s rights” no longer seems that contradictory.

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