Forza Nuova: The shadow of fascism returns to Italy | International

The demonstration was called at five o’clock in the afternoon in Piazza del Popolo, in the heart of Rome. He had to be static and protest against the imposition by the government to have a vaccination certificate to be able to work from October 15. There were over 10,000 people. A mix of far-right party activists, outspoken fascists and anti-vaccines. But another plan was in the works, conceived via Telegram and inspired by the assault on the US Congress last January. Half of the participants separated from the walk and went to other goals. The main organizer, the far-right Forza Nuova party, first wanted to seize the Chigi Palace, the seat of the Italian government. They managed to reach one side and the riots began. But it was too complicated. They then opted for the construction of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), the main Italian trade union, and destroyed it. An unusual attack that put all of Italy on guard.

The violent guerrilla warfare that formed in central Rome for seven hours on Saturday and ended with 12 arrests (including leaders of fascist parties, former terrorists and representatives of the anti-vaccine world) marked a turning point in the state’s relations with these groups. A turbulent social and political cocktail during the pandemic that has found some cover in right-wing parties like the League or the Brothers of Italy, mired in electoral ambiguity over the vaccination campaign and restrictions.

Protesters against the vaccination passport enter the headquarters of the CGIl trade union, in Rome, on Saturday October 9. REMO CASILLI (Reuters)

For the first time, however, the executive is considering banning training of this type. A way that scelba law (by Mario Scelba, then Minister of the Interior) has been planning since 1952, as recalled by the deputy of the Democratic Party (PD) and constitutionalist, Stefano Ceccanti. “This can be done by court order or by decree. An option for immediate emergencies. But until now, this path has never been used and always has been through the penalty,” he explains. On Monday afternoon, in what could be interpreted as a first step in this direction, the Rome public prosecutor’s office ordered the police to block the Forza Nuova site.

The law refers to provision 12 of the Constitution, which prohibits the reconstruction of the fascist party. It can apply when a formation pursues anti-democratic aims typical of the fascist party “using or threatening violence as a political method, or leading external demonstrations of a fascist nature”. Two parties of this type—Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia nazionale—have already been banned by a judge. The route of the decree, which is analyzed by the government, has never been used. “At that time, it would be complicated and could generate the opposite effect”, explain sources of the Executive, who studied this Monday the disadvantages that a measure of this type could have.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has not publicly commented on the possible ban. But he went on Monday to the general secretary of the attacked union, Maurizio Landini. In it he condemned the violence against what he saw as “the fundamental guardians of democracy”. The PD, however, called for this path to be taken and for a consensus to be sought in Parliament. But he encountered a refusal from the right: the Italian League and the Brothers and Forza Italia.

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A neo-fascist party born in 1997

The hard core of Saturday’s revolt is Forza Nuova, a neo-fascist political party founded in 1997 by Roberto Fiore and Massimo Morsello, historic far-right activists and members of terrorist organizations like the Revolutionary Armed Core (NAR). Fiore, in fact, lived on the run from justice for over a decade. Today, the formation has only a few thousand activists and is led by him and Giuliano Castellino (sentenced to four years in prison in 2019 for assaulting a police officer). Both are also from Fiamma Tricolore, a split from the Italian Social Movement (MSI), the party that brought together all the remnants of fascism in Italy and which Giorgio Almirante chaired for years. Then Gianfranco Fini founded the National Alliance, a party that decided to enter the institutions and renounce this ideological reference through what became known as Svolta di Fiuggi. And from the embers of this party, Brothers of Italy was born, now led by Giorgia Meloni and partner of Vox in Italy.

Police try to disperse violent protesters outside the seat of the Italian government.
Police try to disperse violent protesters outside the seat of the Italian government.MASSIMO PERCOSSI (EFE)

The law, in the case of Forza Nuova, is clear and must be enforced. This is the opinion of historian Emilio Gentile, the highest authority on the study of fascism. “They define themselves as fascists and the violent method used on Saturday is that of Mussolini’s squads: attacking workers’ headquarters and destroying them. If they say so, they have the right to be treated as they are. If not, eliminate this law,” he says.

The granddaughter of Mussolini, Rome’s most elected mayor

The neo-fascist parties, like Forza Nuova or CasaPound (they call themselves fascists of the third millennium and were represented in several Italian town halls), are today completely residual. But they’ve found in denial and anti-vaccine circles the social muscle they’ve been missing lately.

Saturday’s landscape in Piazza del Popolo, made up of football ultras, nightclub thugs, traders angry at restrictions and outspoken fascists, shows a social portrait of discontent in which they try to catch some matches by incorporating personalities more or less close to this world. . Rachele Mussolini, the dictator’s granddaughter and member of the Brethren of Italy, was the most voted candidate in the elections a week ago in Rome. Like many of his party colleagues, he does not condemn fascism and does not celebrate April 25, Italy’s national holiday and liberation day. Nostalgia, as Meloni defines it to avoid talking about fascists, is still electorally profitable in Italy.

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