By Melyssa Clark
The spread of neofascism in the 1960s and the 1970s between Italy and France can been seen to mirror the spread of the populist movement in that there is a spillover effect between countries who share in a similar set of political or cultural crisis.
Within Italy during the 1960s, fascism within the political system was never completely eliminated as the MSI party was allowed to continue and civil servants, who were employed under the fascist regime, were kept in the government. Moreover, the start of the strategic use of tension with the student revolt, allowed for the “deep state” to bolster support for authoritarian leadership as a solution to civil violence, which was framed to be done by the far left.
Similarly political, societal, and civilian crises existed in France during the same time, which created an environment similar to Italy in creating an appeal to fascist ideology. In turn, after the popularity of de Gaulle waned, the far-right started to create the New Order, whose goal was to create the French version of the Italian MSI party.
When looking at the current state of populism within Europe, it parallels the spread mentioned above as similar crises within different member state of the EU have similar rhetorical outcomes. For example, the migration crisis has not only led to a xenophobic response from various populist parties but also a call to female voters in the need to support these policies as migrants are framed as threatening women’s rights.