The “LEFT”?

BY: Francesco Sacca

Hello again everybody! I have not been responding for some time and I apologize for that. So, without further delay, welcome back.

This week, a 180 degree turn occured in the material and some views that I had not originally been aware of, were revealed. For so long I have considered myself to be leaning left as I have searched for a basis of equality and had a desire to “set fire” (as one of my classmates had once stated during a class debate) to the inefficient ideologies of modern democracy. Although, have I possibly not looked hard enough to notice fallacies within leftist thought? Or perhaps, even more concerningly, have I knowingly ignored the signs?

Before this week, understanding who exactly was responsible for the spread of ideals like xenophobia was quite clear (lying with those in the far right). However, articles like; Flank attacks: Populism and left-right radicalism in Western Europe, and; A plague on both your populisms, have both left me skeptical of this once clear understanding. Further research into this topic has only confirmed these worrying beliefs that there are some who belong to the Left Wing that align themselves with xenophobic ideals (whether they acknowledge it or are ignorant of it). This understanding is also supported by other, peer reviewed Carleton University articles, including one titled; Left-Wing Xenophobia in Europe, which has stated that: “Europeans who identify as extremely left-wing on the political spectrum hold anti-immigrant attitudes”.

Is there becoming a blurred line that separate the two sides? Will there be a eventual solution to these competing forces?

Please feel free to message me on your own personal research on the topic as I am keen to learn more (whether you agree with this outlook or have criticisms about it).

No entry:

The Exploitation of Italian Borders:

Created by: Francesco Sacca

An article form the New York Times tells the story of a Pakistani man who suffered countless difficulties and abuse when trying to find a way from the problems of his homeland. He survived a journey of no less than 18 months across Croatia and Slovenia only to be turned back by Italian guards patrolling the border. The article then goes into detail about the treatment he received by Croatian police, stating that he was beat with “batons wrapped with barbed wire as he lay handcuffed”.

This story, however horrific, is not an isolated incident within the Northern border of Italy. In the year of 2020 alone, it is said that over one thousand people that received this ‘informal return’ upon their arrival at the Italian border.  

This image was taken by Marko Djurica and it is described as a line of migrants waiting in line for food in the northwestern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

While the government of Italy has produced explanations for these “returns” as actions to prevent the spread COVID-19 in Italy, the state in which people are found in when rescued by independent NGOs, qualify as conditions that should not warrant a refusal by Italian border control. This statement is reinforced by more recent events that are discussed in the Ottawa Citizen, which discuss the arrival of NGO vessels in Italy carrying people who were rescued at sea. The article states that Italy “has been instructing them [NGOs] to ports, where authorities allow only vulnerable people to disembark. Italian authorities insist the boats must then return to international waters with those not deemed vulnerable.”. To force these “non vulnerable” people (who have experienced such treacherous conditions in the middle of the Mediterranean sea) to re-enter International waters, should not be an option. It should not be up to the Italian border control (whom all act through the directorate of the Italian government) to decide whether or not all rescued people deserve asylum. This statement is also touched on in the article, as “ships are refusing to leave, saying that under international law all people rescued at sea are vulnerable and entitled to a safe port.”.

Image taken from the Ottawa citizen, taken by Camille Martin Juan.

“The far-right-led government of Premier Giorgia Meloni is insisting that countries whose flag the ships fly take on the migrants, and that the burden shouldn’t fall on Italy alone.”. Should NGOs than be forced to take those who are not qualified as (what the Italian government believe to be) “vulnerable” out of Italy to other countries that are more accepting? The refusal for action and responsibility for lives that are at risk should not be classified as a “burden” as Italian politicians like Meloni have classified them to be.

While the argument of this article has shown how forcefully guarded the borders of Italy have been over recent years, the impact of COVID-19 within Italy has not been minimal. Recent statistics have shown that Italy has had over 23 million cases of COVID-19, that is close to half the entire population of Italy, not to mention the almost 180,000 deaths that have occurred within the country. While there are other nations around the world that have had worse results over the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of this impact on Italy should be an important factor when considering the actions of the Italian government. With that said, these articles have shown that the government of Italy has chosen to utilize these results to further press the resistance/refusal of letting migrants into Italy (even those that are suffering from poor physical or mental conditions). In 2020, according to the Ministry of Health in Italy, during the period of August, less than 5% of those infected with the virus were new immigrants in Italy. In fact, most of the new found cases came from “Italians who had traveled abroad, and many others were foreigners who already lived in Italy and were returning to the country”.

In summary, while there are a various array of explanations given by the Italian government for the refusal of immigrants, the reality is quite cruel. The state in which many of these people are in as they are being turned away is fragile and they should not be treated so reluctantly in the face of such desperation.

The Transition of Hate, Anger, and Fear

BY: Francesco Sacca

Welcome back to the Sacca article everyone! It has been some time due to the student break that I received but I am back and ready to discuss more interesting topics with you all!

In this week’s material, we explored some themes that were new and some themes that have returned from previous weeks. From Anna Cento Bull and Christopher Molnar, elements of a returning nature present themselves. While they are both discussing two different regions within Europe (Bull with Italy and Molnar with Germany), similar topics that surround fear and unity through the exclusion of ‘others’ are made aware. While these topics have been discussed at length over my past few postings (and not to mention by other students on this website) there are some rather interesting topics that are brought up. For example, from Bull I now understand the origin of the term “Forza Italia” which, as an Italian, has been said both around me and by me many times. In Bull’s article, she states; “Forza Italia’s appeal to ‘the people’ thus simultaneously involved a redefinition of those who belonged and those who did not.”. Knowing now that the use of this term mentions a sense of belonging through ethnic exclusivity, I do not believe that I will be shouting the term during soccer games any longer.

In the article created by Kalb Don and in the article titled “‘Actually Existing’ Right-Wing Populism in Rural Europe”, we are introduced to some of the declining experiences of different European countries. How the desire to create a more free market based economy, was able to lead to a decline in things such as unemployment; “A massive reduction in formal employment throughout the region from some 70 percent to 50 percent”. This statement by Don shows just how impactful these changes were to European populations (simply for comparative purposes, during the Great Depression, the United States suffered a 25% decline in employment).

Sources used:

Anna Cento Bull, “The role of memory in populist discourse: the case of the Italian Second Republic” Patterns of Prejudice, 50:3 (2016): 213-231

Christopher Molnar, “Greetings from the Apocalypse”: Race, Migration, and Fear after German Reunification” Central European History, (2021), 1-25.

Don Kalb, “Post-Socialist Contradictions. The Social Question in Central and Eastern Europe And the Making of the Illiberal Right” The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: a Global View edited by Jan Breman et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019).

Natalia Mamonova, Jaume Franquesa, and Sally Brooks, “‘Actually Existing’ Right-Wing Populism in Rural Europe: Insights from Eastern Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ukraine,” The Journal of Peasant Studies 47, no. 7 (2020): 1497–1525

Fascism: Rebranded

Hello again everybody! Sorry for the delayed response (I know the fans of my articles are avidly waiting so excuse my tardiness).

This week on populism in Europe, we are focused on the rebranded version of fascism that came out of the events of WWII. As a result of the strong feelings of keeping to the left side politics ie: socialism (in order to not repeat the fascism of the Nazis), there was an equal reaction which enforced people in countries all over Europe to suggest a lean to the far right. This change was enforced by the creation of parties like the N.F. (National Front) party in Britain, the MSI in Italy, and the N.D. (the Nouvelle Droite) party in France (who, as stated by Benjamin Bland, often followed the political reforms of Italy). A major theme for this week as well was the transnational aspect of this rebranding of fascism in not only Europe but in African countries as well. Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya from 1969 to 2011 was often praised by the NF for his way of leading the country, stating that his political style was; “a progressive and forward-thinking nation’ that was naturally ‘of great interest to National Revolutionaries throughout Europe.”. Gaddafi himself has also stated against the importance of parliament in political systems; “The mere existence of a parliament means the absence of the people”.

If there are any that wish to discuss this topic further, feel free to message me through Hate 2.0.

British National Party (BNP)
National Front Party (NF)

Above are two images of the BNP and the National Front party (can anyone see any relation in the two flags?).

Back to the “Roots” in Italy

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”.

The Actor:

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.

The Balancing Act

BY FRANCESCO SACCA

Welcome back to the Francesco report! (and no, this will not be the last that I will be saying that, it will catch on)

For this week, we have been served up some rather interesting articles regarding the “new left” and “new right” ideologies that arose into place not long after the end of WWII. From what I can derive from the readings, there seems to have been a great attempt by people all over the European world (France, Germany, Italy etc) to try and replace the fascism of the Nazi’s with their own subdued versions. One example that is represented in two of these sources is that of the ND (or Nouvelle Droite) which was basically the “new right”. The new and improved way to support white power and segregate those who were seen as lesser. While this new theology may have been better then the Nazi regime and their ideals, this was not an improvement upon matters. This was simply a way to make fascist ideals more acceptable in the modern world. Although, with this “new right” there also comes the balance of the “new left”, which can be seen by writer Frank Biess, in an article titled: Revolutionary Angst. In this article, the reader learns of a West German student movement that was able to gain real ground in the year 1967, when they claimed their first martyr, a man by the name of Benno Ohnesorg, who was killed during a “cleaning up” at the West Berlin Opera by police officers. The death of this man was taken to heart by many students who believed that this action by the officers; “had ripped the mask off the face of West German state and society.”. The author goes on to say that the Federal Republic had now become a “democracy of anger”. With these samples, a balancing act of opposing ideologies is made quite clear and is still being debated today.

A photo depicting the Benno Ohnesorg (laying down) and Friederike Dollinger (cradling his head). Frank Biess states that this image “became an iconic image of the student movement.”.

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Sources (just in case any of you want to follow up on any of this info)

Frank Biess, “Revolutionary Angst” German Angst: Fear and Democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020), 195-241.

Robert Deam Tobin, “The Evolian Imagination: Gender, Race, and Class from Fascism to the New Right” Journal of Holocaust Research vol. 35, Issue2 (Confronting Hatred; Neo-Nazim, Antisemitism, and Holocaust Studies): 75-90.

Roger Griffin, “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the ‘Interregnum.’” Modern & Contemporary France, vol. 8, no. 1 (Feb. 2000): pp. 35–53.

Tamir Bar-On, “Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite.” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 3 (July 2011): 199–223.

Germany Post WWII: Reactions and Avenues of Rehabilitation

Created by: Francesco Sacca

Hello everyone!

It is an absolute pleasure to welcome you to another week of interesting material surrounding the “lessons and legacies of fascism”. In this week I will be mentioning four scholars and their sources (which will be posted at the bottom of this article) so with no more delay let us discuss the material.

This weeks material and sources were specifically challagening, not in their length but in their substance and effect. these authors particularly focus on the reactions of the GDR (or East Germany) and FRG ( or West Germany) and their sources review the different responses by Germany to the development and the eventual failure of the Nazi fascist government in 1945. Each source aids the reader in laying the foundations for the aftermath and how the GDR and FRG operated very differently in their responses to such things as judicial process, governmental adaptation, and legislation. However, out of all of these sources, one struck me as being particularly (while also gruesome in its details) fascinating, this was Mary Fulbrook and her articles titled, “Discomfort Zones” and “Voices of the Victims”, in the text Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice. In these articles, Fulbrook describes results of certain cases of German SS officers and their commanders. These accounts were not only shocking due to the the recounting of the atrocities committed during World War 2 but also in how the GDR and FRG had tried the SS soldiers that had been located years after the war in court differently. Her accounts of Holocaust survivors was also very revealing as the validity of their claims were often challenged and the borders of who could claim the position of a “survivor” were also (originally) quite thin.

In essence, these materials were truly an eye opener when it came to understanding the fallout of Nazism in Germany (and elsewhere) and the solutions that were made to ensure that the fascist class were not to return.

Image of a mandatory 1945 Fragebogen.

Sources:

Mary Fulbrook, “Discomfort Zones” and “Voices of the Victims” in Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford University Press, 2018), pp: 314-336, 361-377.

W. Sollors, “Everybody Gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later’: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text.” German Life & Letters. Vol 71, Issue 2 (2018): 139-153.

Joachim Häberlen, “(Not) Narrating the History of the Federal Republic: Reflections on the Place of the New Left in West German History and Historiography” Central European History Vol. 52, Issue 1 (March 2019): 107-124.

Robert Moeller, “How to Judge Stanley Kramer’s Judgement at Nuremberg” German History Vol. 31, Issue 4 (December 2013): 497-522.

Gender In the Fatherland

By: Francesco Sacca

Hello again my avid readers!

In this week, we are going to be diving into some material that focuses on fascism and some of the historical roots/ideals that it has had in history.

WARNING:

Some of the material within this text may be troubling to some readers, as much of this post pertains to Nazi Germany between the 1940s-50s.

When it comes to the question of gender within fascism, there is a blurred line with what is considered against the ideals of fascism and what is solely ignored. Even today, scholars and historians struggle with defining these borders, especially during the rule of Nazi Germany. An example of this lack of agreement comes from a memorial within the Tiergarten district of Berlin. Specifically, this memorial reveals the difficulties and punishments of homosexual men under the Nazi regime, although, some have argued that it lacks bringing attention to lesbians and transvestites living in the period. While it is true that homosexual relationships between men received more attention from Nazi secret police (Gestapo) due to its illegality, it is important to realize the difficulties that women encountered as their sexual preferences did not fall in line to the social norm (It takes no small amount of courage to make these choices in modern times, one could only imagine the difficulty in attempting to do so in such a unprogressive time and place in human history).

With this is consideration, one must also note the strict parameters that men were subjugated to when it came to day to day life. “hardened masculinity” was one of the pinnacle principles of society within the Nazi regime and those that deviated were either prosecuted or (contradictorily) were so “manly” during their life that they had been permitted certain “feminine” activities.  

Here is a photo of a decorated SS soldier Walter Hauck doing a task that was greatly discriminated against.

Fear of Influence and Replacement- Francesco Sacca

Hello again everyone, and welcome to my second blog entry on some of the reasoning behind fascism (an example will also be provided similar to last weeks posting).

“jews will not replace us!” starting off strong I have taken this sample from Paul Hanebrink, in his work titled, A Spectre Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism. This sample was taken by one fascist marcher in Virginia during the Warsaw rally and this quote, however small and simple displays the fear of diversity and how the introduction of new cultures may impact their own is extremely threatening to fascist ways of life. My opinion on these passionate events within the United States is not solely based on job availability as many speakers such as Donald Trump (whom I discussed last week) have claimed the reasons to be. This is a war on integration, “and Jewish liberals who wanted to force their morality on ‘real’ Americans.”. What are “real” Americans? What defines a true American in this definition? There are almost 250 years of development within the United States and through these years there have been a combination of many peoples and cultures. How can there be a specific outlook on what it means to be an American? I believe that in most cases, fascism is simply a defensive mechanism. When there is fear that one’s culture is at risk from outside influence, people may target issues such as job availability to use as a rational excuse for their state of panic but in reality, the primary objective is to see outside culture and influences repelled from what may be perceived as their “territory” and their view of what it means to be “American”. This may be a rather odd example but here is a link to a video of Sacha Baron Cohen creating a fake proposal for a new mosque to be built within Kingman, Arizona. The reaction to this plan is an obvious suppression of outside influences and a direct message is being made that there is a preference for one race and one specific set of values for that perceived race. Pre WW2 Italy can also be connected to these ideologies, from Fascist Modernities by Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a quote is taken stating; “In Italy, such sentiments also found support as part of a larger effort to contain the influence of ‘enemy’ ideologies and cultures.”. Fascism has been developing for decades and while roots can be found from within Europe, its ideals have spread throughout and this fear is ever potent.

The right, left, vertical, and horizontal by Francesco Sacca.

Hello everyone!

An odd title for this article I know but it does get the point across on the topics that I wish to discuss. In this post I will mainly be focusing on 2 sections of the material that we were assigned for this week, the podcast from NUPI (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs) and the writing created by Federico Finchelstein, titled From Fascism to Populism in History.

Firstly, in the podcast with Rogers Brubaker, there is one point in particular that should be discussed and that is his classification of the three sections and uses of populism. In the first section, Brubaker discusses the ordinary (and or working class) and how they are pitted against the elite (in which there is a suggestion to reorganize the political system), the second section is the sovereign portion, prioritizing “a politics of re-democratization”. The third classification that Brubaker gives is “ethnically bounded”, though in my opinion, this third section can include the elements of both section 1 and section 2, therefore this portion should be clarified more clearly as a separate entity.  Both the sovereign and the ordinary, despite their differences, can potentially be united under a unified body of ethnicity and or nationality (I will make this more clear and provide an example in class).

Secondly, this idea of a shared ethnicity and nationality through the social/political classes is not represented just once in this week’s material. In the text supplied from Federico, the theme continues when discussing the focuses and priorities of the far right, “populists on the right connect this populist intolerance of alternative political views with a conception of the people formed on the basis of ethnicity and country of origin. In short, right-wing populists are xenophobic.”. Through what is said here, it may be implied that fascist politicians attempt to inspire fear in those that are “ethnically bonded” through the use of the “imposing” outside world (an example is provided via this link where Donald Trump discusses Mexico and its connection with job availability in the United States. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2015/07/donald-trump-in-phoenix-mexicans-are-taking-our-jobs-and-killing-us.html).

I will be ready to discuss more in person but let this be a prelude to what I will bring up in person.