Monday 26 September 2022

Old Prejudices In New Packages.

Charisma. Style. Fascism? The rest of Europe is looking on aghast at Italy’s electoral behaviour. Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party traces its ideological lineage all the way back to Mussolini’s fascists. Indeed, she has been known to proclaim the original fascists’ slogan: “God, Country, Family”; at her party’s rallies. Officially, the Brothers have repudiated Italy’s fascist past. Unofficially … who knows?

ITALY HAS BEEN VOTING, and, as you read these words, may already have elected its first female prime minister. According to the pollsters, Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is the most likely winner of this snap election. Founded in 2012, Brothers of Italy is currently the most popular of the right-wing parties vying for power.

The rest of Europe, well aware of the Brothers’ antecedents, is looking on aghast at Italy’s electoral behaviour. Meloni’s party traces its ideological lineage all the way back to Mussolini’s fascists. Indeed, she has been known to proclaim the original fascists’ slogan: “God, Country, Family”; at her party’s rallies. Officially, the Brothers of Italy have repudiated Italy’s fascist past. Unofficially … who knows?

The rise of parties like Brothers of Italy in countries with a long tradition of left-wing electoral strength is one of the most puzzling aspects of twenty-first century electoral politics. The surge to the right in Italian politics follows an equally dramatic electoral swing in Sweden, where, earlier this month, the Social Democratic government fell victim to a voter surge towards the far-right Sweden Democrats.

Like the Brothers, the Sweden Democrats’ ideological roots are also problematic. They, too, extend all the way back to the 1930s and 40s when Sweden boasted a large number of Nazi sympathisers – especially among the country’s military, cultural and commercial elites. Stieg Larsson, author of the extraordinarily popular series of novels built around the characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, spent much of his professional life researching the persistence, and growing strength, of fascist ideas and organisations in Swedish society.

How is it then that in Italy, where whole cities have stood as electoral redoubts of communist and socialist strength; and in Sweden, where the Social Democratic Party enjoyed fifty years of back-to-back electoral victories; political scientists are now recording startling reversals of ideological loyalties. The former communist stronghold of Sesto San Giovanni, in Milan, is poised to fall to the Brothers of Italy. The Swedish Trade Union Federation stands evenly divided between the Social Democrats and the Swedish Democrats.

It gets worse. According to Lily Lynch writing in the New Left Review: “[I]f only men [had] voted in 2022, then right-wing and nationalist parties would have gotten nearly 60% [of the popular vote] and the Sweden Democrats would be the largest party.”

That gender gap is equally evident in New Zealand polling, with support for the right-wing National and Act parties disproportionately concentrated among males, and female voters skewing dramatically towards Labour/Green/Māori Party. Clearly, cultural drivers are at work here in New Zealand that bear close comparison with those influencing the outcomes of elections in Europe. What is not replicated here, however, is the formation and growth of parties rooted in the fascist right.

Not that there isn’t an ongoing effort on the part of the academic left to elevate the threat of white supremacist and Nazi-inspired political groups operating in New Zealand. In spite of the fact that the largest, and allegedly most fearsome, of these groups, Action Zealandia, would be lucky to muster 20 active members (most of whom live in fear of public exposure and job loss) considerable energy continues to be devoted to building New Zealand’s tiny far-right community into a terrifying bogeyman.

Similar concerns are voiced about the clutch of tiny right-wing parties that have either already stood, or intend to stand, in New Zealand general elections. Even when taken together, it is rare for these parties’ electoral support to crest the 5 percent MMP threshold.

Also absent from the far-right scene in New Zealand are the sort of individuals who end up fronting parties like the Brothers of Italy and the Sweden Democrats. New Zealand has no one on the right of its politics to match Giorgia Meloni. Impeccably turned out, passionate in her delivery, Meloni doesn’t just have charisma – she has style.

The only political figure in New Zealand politics who has come anywhere close to Meloni in terms of charisma and style is, of course, Winston Peters. Indeed, for the past 30 years, Peters has offered what amounts to a master-class in the prosecution of populist electoral politics. Long before Meloni and the Sweden Democrats leader, Jimmie Akesson, began making headlines, Peters’ astute mixture of right- and left-wing ideological themes has, on no fewer than four occasions, lifted him up to the coveted position of king – and queen – maker.

The issue of race lies at the heart of all right-wing populist movements, and in this respect Peters’ party, NZ First, is no exception. As a “successful” Māori himself, the NZ First leader, has turned to his political advantage the desire of many Māori to be accepted as full and equal citizens of New Zealand. This “we are all one people” theme was a twofer, simultaneously attracting the support of Pakeha voters alarmed at the radical demands of so-called Māori “separatists”. Peters also exploited the deep-seated historical hostility towards Chinese and Indian immigration which has long been a feature of New Zealand’s racial politics.

Such has been Peters’ ability to play upon the sensitivities of the electorate that he has been able – like Meloni and Akesson – to attract significant financial support from the business community. In Italy and Sweden, it is the negative consequences of immigration that have loosened the donors’ purses. That said, however, it would be foolish not to factor-in the many opportunities for extracting political concessions that proportional representation provides. If the votes of your party are crucial to the construction of a working parliamentary majority, then your leverage is considerable.

While Peters, now 77, remains a runner in the populist stakes, it is unlikely that any other serious contenders for the prize money will emerge. The key to the success of the Brothers of Italy and the Sweden Democrats has been the abject failure, in both countries, of the formerly dominant Left. The vacuum thus created has seen the rise and fall of many far-right experiments aimed at rounding-up voters who feel betrayed and abandoned by their erstwhile leftist protectors. In Meloni and Akesson the formula would appear to have been perfected. In Peters, however, the populist soufflé appears to be running out of puff.

This essay was originally posted on the website on Monday, 26 September 2022.


John Drinnan said...

Always good value - and I appreciate Chris offers commentary from a Left perspective, Today's piece suggests it extraordinary that the Right was resurgent in Italy , while mentioning the ongoing resilience of the communists and socialists. Could the two perhaps be related? And might the opposition of the overbearing EU - to demand member states do as they are told - be a factor/ Like many commentators, he seems to be demanding a demoicrcythatis defined very strict bioundaries, Surelybnthe answer is that a United States
of Europe is unfeasible?

David George said...

The 'Fascist' tag is not appropriate in this case. I'm not sure if you are being intentionally misleading or simply regurgitating media assumptions. Perhaps any derision should would be better directed at the appalling statements from EU leader Von der Leyen. "We will see the result of the vote in Italy. If things go in a difficult direction, we have tools, as in the case of Poland and Hungary." A direct threat to the Italian people - get into line or else. The unelected EU elite telling the people how to vote - what do you call that?

Giorgia Meloni's really a standard right-wing populist - socially conservative (values religion and opposes gender ideology for example) and is skeptical of political and economic globalism. She was raised working class in Rome by a single mother; her father abandoned the family. The only thing that would set her apart from a standard US Republican is a more critical attitude towards capitalism.

Make up your own minds, here's her talk (in English) in Rome at a conservative conference.

Giorgia Meloni. God, Homeland, Family, 15 minutes:

Gary Peters said...

“God, Country, Family”

What a strange slogan to fear? While I'm not a religious man, genuine adherents of any particular "God" based religion seem fairly innocuous and usually positive additions to any society. I view extremists as masking their violent nature with religion and therefore not genuine.

Love of your country and a desire to advance your country and it's culture doesn't strike me as frightening.

The strength of the family is nothing to be afraid of, unless you favour the State as being the primary structure in our lives.

The definition of fascism "fascism: [noun] a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition." seems to me to be at odds with what this group is promoting although maybe, like ardern, what she promises is vastly different than what she plans to deliver. Time will tell.

greywarbler said...

Simplistic comments in the first three - do not excite new brain output from me. Seem more defensive, fixing on side-issues and questioning the comparisons than looking at the situation.

DS said...

>>>What a strange slogan to fear?<<<

A sentence that can only be uttered by someone with zero understanding of nineteenth and twentieth century European history.

"God, country, family" is literally the right-wing answer to "liberty, fraternity, equality." It's the ethos of reaction, of authoritarianism, and of those who want to undo the democratic order in favour of, well, Franco's Spain or Vichy France.

Chris Morris said...

If Italy's voters put the Giorgia Meloni's party in the lead, the opponents of them need to have a really long hard look at themselves and their policies. The technocrats and elites have failed and been exceedingly tone deaf. I don't call the Brothers of Italy fascist or even far-right. Those words have become so debased they have lost their meaning. No-one can accurately define them. The political slogan she is tarred with is very similar to Communist ones, just with a God mentioned. The policies her party espouses are appealing to the disenfranchised working class because they are the ones bearing the brunt of the current policies. Not that different to where Trump got his support from. Why is that?
As David pointed out upthread, popularist is more appropriate term for her party. The name implies they don't have a preset political agenda - just have policies the majority of voters support. And whether we like it or not, isn't that what democracy is all about?
As many of the European countries have leave the EU political parties, seeing that Brexit wasn't the disaster we were assured it would be, I wonder if Von der Leyen will be the last leader of the EU in its present form? If so, it would be karma. She is the bad mixture of both malicious and incompetent. Even the Germans don't like her.

Paul Dunmore said...

It has long seemed to me that the rise of these movements around the Western world is best understood as a standard class-based conflict (Africa, Latin America, etc are different). Where Marxism has been left behind is that the classes are no longer working and capitalist, but are now working and managerial. Financial inventions such as the mutual fund mean that ownership of vast amounts of capital now rests with ordinary Joes through their Kiwisaver funds - they may have ownership, but they lack managerial control.
And the elites of the managerial class have interests which are directly opposed to those of the working classes. They are the "Davos Men", the ones who look down on the Deplorables, the globalists and the supporters of the technocratic European Union. In most countries, the traditional leaders of the working class (specifically, the union bosses and the democratic socialist parties) have joined or been co-opted by this managerial elite.
This applies as much in the public as in the private sector: Three Waters is a classic play to move the management of important public assets beyond meaningful accountability to the public.
If the traditional major parties of both centre-left and centre-right have been captured by the managerial class, how is the working class to fight back? The only politicians who oppose the hegemony of the managerial class in a way that makes sense to the working class are those like Winston Peters, Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and Giorgia Meloni. (Those who promote nonsense about extreme climate change or identity politics are themselves embedded in the elites and have no hope of appealing to the internal proletariat of our civilisation.)
So I do not see a broad Fascist movement coming out of all this. What may happen is something much more like a working-class revolution, but without the guiding philosophy that Marx had provided to the 20th-century revolutions.

Anonymous said...

Europe for Europeans.

Chris Morris said...

According to the Spiked article about the new Prime Minister (which is a lot less breathless than MSM - no surprise there as it wouldn't be hard), her intellectual lodestars are Roger Scruton and JRR Tolkein. Hardly fascist idols, are they.
The author points out that the EU is getting more authoritarian because of opposition to it. Maybe they are the true fascists?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"What a strange slogan to fear?"

Hilarious. So were:

"Arbeit macht frei"
"Meine Ehre Heisst Treue"
“Blut und Boden!”

Move along move along, nothing to see here. I've always thought that many of the right wing commenters here would happily embrace fascism if it came dressed in the right flag.

Brendan McNeill said...

God, Country, Family, a truely terrifying trinity striking fear into the hearts of all good globalists everywhere.

That the new Italian Prime Minister would be unelectable in New Zealand indicates the depth of our own cultural and political malaise.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Fascists are coming to the fore in Europe, and Christo-fascists in the USA, simply because the left is now bankrupt and bereft of ideas. It has fully accepted neoliberal economics, and come to terms with the extreme inequalities which we now seem to regard as a normal part of life.
There is no vision for an equitable future for everyone, regardless of class. Social mobility in the US is practically non-existent, and I think it's definitely on the wane in NZ. And we do accept this inequality partly because we have a tradition of egalitarianism and social mobility through cheap/free education.
It's partly these inequalities that promote the extremes of left and right, Fascism in particular.
And of course there is always the race thing. But I think that it would be less likely for people to care about the race of the person that serves them their coffee or picks their vegetables if they weren't in dead end jobs with little chance of promotion or job satisfaction.
There will always be well off racists of course – Trump being a prime example – but racism often springs from a sense that people, particularly white people are losing out. "You will not replace us!" – Another one of those slogans not to fear?

David George said...

Here's a short (1 minute 44) clip, Giorgia on fire! "I am a woman, I am a mother, I am an Italian"

Max Ritchie said...

You’ve just defined the current Labour Party. Fits it to a T. Ms Meloni will have a difficult task - Italy’s debt is eye-watering and the von der Leyen threat is not empty - but it is encouraging. And she is no fascist.

David George said...

GS: "right wing commenters here would happily embrace fascism"

I don't think so but I do think there is some, let's call it "confusion", about definitions.

As a lifelong liberal, left leaning for most of it, I wonder where it is heading. Has liberalism itself, the liberal hegemony, reached it's denouement? If so: Now What?

It almost feels like heresy to even ask but is the theory that a people, a culture, a nation that makes a god above God of individual liberty fundamentally flawed and set to drag the whole thing to destruction? How then to reconcile the apparently conflicting demands of liberty, responsibility and community?

"Is it possible for a society whose traditions have grown so faint to revive them? Is it possible for individuals who have grown up in a liberal society obsessed with personal freedoms to become strong conservative men and women and do what a conservative calling demands of them?"

The above from "Conservatism - a rediscovery" by philosopher Yoram Hazony. Well worth reading for those who want to try and understand National Conservatism - the philosophy underlying Giorgia Meleoni's party. Happy to lend it once I've finished reading.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Gosh, fascinating, and a little scary how many people here seem to approve of a woman who is fascist, and an ideology that is collectivist. Depending on how big a sample they are, perhaps very scary.

".... the Brothers of Italy continues to use the flame logo associated with fascists – meaning fascism burns on – and the party includes Mussolini sympathizers who are sometimes caught giving the stiff-arm salute, while some local officials have Mussolini memorabilia in their offices."

Of course she softened their image – given how unpopular actual fascist policies would be, and the destruction caused in Italy in the past.

Yes, Italy is a bit of a mess but if her penchant for a flat tax is put into action things will probably get worse.And she is an admirer of Orban who has transformed Hungary into a "not quite democracy."

I look forward to the comments excusing her conduct when she starts closing down left-wing newspapers and imprisoning opposition members.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"?

I wonder how it will arrive in NZ.

Gary Peters said...

There are few commenters that seem to need to label others or attach epithets.

I usually find they are bereft of genuine argument so need to attempt to belittle without real detail to their points.

Maybe some of those people need to reread the above definition. I find the following is more applicable to our current government than anything Trump offered.

"stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition>

Suppression doesn't always mean overt actions when media suppression or distortion does the same job.

A slogan such as "Arbeit macht Frei" above the gate of a death camp is hardly to be viewed as a rallying cry.

Jack Scrivano said...

Over the past 50 years, I have spent quite a bit of time in Italy, getting to know quite a few Italians, rich and poor, from north and south. And one of my impressions of the Italian people is that they don’t take kindly to being told what to do by others. Even the laws made by their own lawmakers tend to be treated as ‘just a suggestion’. From what I have observed, the appeal of Italy for the Italians is more than understandable.

David George said...

If you doubt the depravity of late stage liberalism have a read of this. A chap convicted of the sexual abuse of seven children insists he is now a woman and has been entered into the record (and resulting statistics) as such. The Sussex police are on to it: “Hi, Sussex Police do not tolerate any hateful comments towards their gender identity regardless of crimes committed. This is irrelevant to the crime that has been committed and investigated.”
So that's an actual (do not tolerate) threat from the police to anyone that dares to point out the truth.

Remember, as a kid, reading The Emperors New Clothes and thinking "how could people be so foolish, I'll never be like that". Welcome to 2022. Perhaps a new folktale is being written as we look on like the fools we vowed never to be. "Once upon a time in the west........

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerilla Surgeon @ 7:12

Fair enough, GS, but only on condition that you apologise to the "National Conservatives" if she doesn't!

Doug Longmire said...

I have no detailed knowledge of exactly how "fascist" Meleoni's actual plans for governing Italy are. They might be all-out Nazi, or might not.
We will have to wait and see.
However I am baffled as to why any rational person could be interpret the words "God, country, family" as being a somehow ominous, threatening phrase.
Except, of course - the Marxist Left (aka New Zealand heading in that direction) might find the words upsetting.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well Gary, you completely missed my point. And then accusie me of not having any arguments. I think you should perhaps go back and read what I said and perhaps think about it for a little while. All the statements above were on the surface, nothing to be afraid of. After all 'work makes you free' – well it works for me. If only it wasn't associated with the Nazis.
But of course when you dig down a little deeper you should definitely be afraid of them. The actual nature of the people posting the slogan is what makes it dangerous, not the place where it was posted.
She is an admirer of Victor Orban, who seems to have taken Hungary to a place where it is no longer regarded as a proper democracy. Now Italy it seems, through Internet acquaintances is far more chaotic than Hungary, but let's just see what she does. Given today's climate she will probably start slow. But if she receives approval from inside and outside her own country I suspect she may well speed up. The kicker will be if and when or rather when and IF there is a new election. Will she accept the results if they go against her? Will she cry stolen election? If she does, will her supporters do something about it? If my memory serves, she's already said that they will be a permanent government – exactly what she means by that possibly just rhetoric, possibly something more sinister.
Chris, unlike many people on this site I'm perfectly capable of admitting if I'm wrong. Although apologies might be a bit strong. She might not do it, and of course if she does people here may well condemn it – I would expect them all to do so if they were consistent with their ideas about freedom of speech, but who can tell. The right are experts at twisting their logic to suit their beliefs. It wasn't so long ago that people were saying – I think still are – fascism was left-wing. Because you know – reasons. All of a sudden now it's right wing and good? Let's see.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" In a review for the Tel Aviv Review of Books, Yair Wallach argues that Hazony's 2020 book, A Jewish State: Herzl and the Promise of Nationalism, is characterised by "intellectual dishonesty", in part for presenting a selective account of Theodor Herzl's understanding of Zionism and nationalism."

He also seems to be a supporter of Orban. Who knows, perhaps you are as well? He is remarkably illiberal to be supported by someone who claims to be a classical liberal – which usually means conservative of course.

Perhaps you should look at this – an interview of a conservative by another conservative who disagrees with them. Probably better for you than any of the other sources I might suggest from more left-wing sources.

Loz said...

It was the 1980's Lange government that rammed Neoliberalism down the throat of New Zealanders. At the time, the ideology of "the New Right" was reviled by Labour's activists as a betrayal of everything Labour had stood for. 35 years later, every western country seems captured by political duopolies in lockstep with neoliberal economics, neoconservative foreign policy with variation purely based on wokeness. Neither party is a threat to the establishment, or the trickle-down fairy tale established all those years ago.

It's taken decades for that bankrupt ideology to fall apart on a global level but for some reason, "the left" is expected to support an unrepresentative economic system that has brought nothing but devastation to working people.

Italy's election saw the complete collapse of the Five Star Movement, a party created as a radical, anti-establishment left-wing party. Its creation was to oppose the pro-European, neoliberal, Democratic Party. The Five Star Movement's very reason for existing disappeared when it propped up the Democratic Party in government in 2019. That itself probably sealed its fate. Moreover, with the collapsing Italian economy, in part due to the energy sanctions EU leadership imposed on member states over Ukraine, the neoliberal, neoconservative "left" has no answer or hope to for the millions experiencing financial stress and uncertainty over cascading business closures.

The last election was the lowest turnout of Italian voters in history and the 5SM was the loser as a result.

At a time that neoliberalism is under broad attack globally, how have we ended up with “the left” being the actual advocates for that failed system? The electoral kicking given to the Five Star Movement, just like the kicking given to NZs Fourth Labour government, could easily be interpreted as voters punishing a “left” that promises hope and delivers a failing status quo. Why should working people support a neoliberal left that long ago decided it didn’t like or want to represent the "deplorable" working class?

Neoliberalism wrapped in Political Correctness isn't an answer to our broken democracies and failing economies but it seems to be what now defines the parties of the western left. Is anyone suprised voters want something else?

David George said...

Well yes, more conservative now than liberal, GS.
That book (Conservatism) is an examination of the obvious pitfalls of a liberalism shorn of it's roots and the presentation of an alternative. Very good so far.

The Barron said...

To quote her predecessor as leader of the Brothers of Italy "we are all heir of IL Duce", a bit of a hint towards fascism.

The Barron said...

First performed in 1603 and 1605 respectively Shakespeare's Othello and Merchant of Venice called bullshit on you more eloquently than I could bother

Gary Peters said...

Sorry guys, I do not see this as a tilt towards fascism.

As I said, I see what the current labour government is doing within New Zealand is a lot more "fascist" than a movement and political party based on God, Country and Family. After all, do we not have at least 3 political parties/movements in New Zealand with at least one of those tenets in each of them. If they combined would they be labeled "Fascist"?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

If you doubt the depravity of late stage conservatism A.k.a. Christo-facism have a read of this.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Chris Morris

Great comment up until the last sentence - which was gratuitous and unacceptable.

If I could have edited it out I would have done so and then posted the comment. Alas, Blogger doesn't give me that option.

So, please, try again - without the insults.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The political slogan she is tarred with is very similar to Communist ones, just with a God mentioned. "
That slogan was posted all over Fascist Italy – along with "Mussolini is always right." :-)

Chris Morris said...

The three defining concepts of fascism according to Payne, who seems to be the go to source for academics, is:
1. "Fascist negations" – anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism.
2. "Fascist goals" – the creation of a nationalist dictatorship to regulate economic structure and to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture, and the expansion of the nation into an empire.
3. "Fascist style" – a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic authoritarian leadership.
Now for people like GS who toss around the term to apply to anyone they don't like, can you give examples of what Giorgia Meloni has done since 2009 when she was first elected that met these criteria? If you can't, stop using the term or synonyms. Note that anti-liberalism (the old meaning of liberal) and anti-conservatism are two of the Fascist concepts. Conservatism is defined as “a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy, and authority, as established in respective cultures, as well as property rights." Does that make Brothers anti-fascist?
The party's name is the first line of the country's national anthem. Be the same if a party in Australia called themselves Advance Australia. The party may have had Mussolini supporters after the war but they are long gone. In contrast, the US Democrats were ardent supporters of slavery. That became open racism until well after World War 2. One of the last Dixiecrat senators was a mentor for Joe Biden, a very uncomfortable truth for the progressives.

David George said...

I'm not particularly bothered about Italy and think they should be free to forge their own path and culture without the EU's cultural imperialists interfering. We've got bigger problems with actual, rather than imaginary, tyranny right here.

Jacinda Ardern has taken her anti free speech obsession to a whole new level with that appalling speech at the UN. Apparently even discussion regarding the AGW theory is subversive, to be supressed. Think about that; this is a theory we're talking (for now) about. She has fully lost it, dangerous and deluded.

Brendan O'Neill: "Tyranny has had a makeover. It’s no longer a boot stamping on a human face forever. It isn’t a gruff, gurning cop dragging you into a cell for thinking or expressing a ‘dangerous’ idea. It isn’t a priest strapping you to a breaking wheel. No, authoritarianism is well-dressed now. It’s polite. It has a broad smile and speaks in a soft voice. It is delivered not via a soldier’s boot to the cranium but with a caring liberal head-tilt. And its name is Jacinda Ardern."

Conclusion: "Freedom of speech is in peril. And it isn’t only threatened by obvious strongmen – like the corrupt rulers of Nigeria or the theocratic tyrants of Iran – but also by a smiling PC woman who is feverishly fawned over by virtue-signallers the world over. Ms Ardern’s UN speech exposed the iron fist of authoritarianism that lurks within the velvet glove of wokeness. From her brutal lockdown, which forbade even New Zealand’s own citizens from returning to their home country, to her longstanding war on ‘extremist’ speech, this is a woman who poses as liberal but can’t even spell the word. If you want a picture of the future, don’t imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever – imagine Jacinda Ardern putting her arm around your shoulder and telling you with a toothy smile that you’re going to have to sacrifice your liberty to save the world from chaos."

Gary Peters said...

I do note that those most vehement in their accusations that Meloni leads a fascist party have failed to comment on whether our current government meets the criteria in part or whole!

As Chris Trotter said, a well reasoned comment from you Chris Morris.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Good grief Chris, there are quite a number of people I don't like you I don't call fascist– Because they're not.

Anyway, here's a few examples of her fascist style:

1. She is a fan of GK Chesterton who was let's say fascist curious. He once said.
"‘Fascism is worth looking at ‘whereas parliamentarianism is not worth looking at.’ He was a friend of Mussolini, and refused to condemn his invasion of Abyssinia. He was also an anti-Semite.
She also excoriate's George Soros – a dog whistle for anti-Semitism in most right wing circles.

2. "God Homeland and Family" was as I said, all over the place in Fascist Italy. It was a fascist slogan. And the flame she uses as a symbol has fascist origins.

3. She has said: "I l think Mussolini was a good politician who did everything he did for Italy.” And you can find the recording of her saying it all over the Internet if you bother to look.

4. In her youth she belong to an organisation that used violence quite extensively.
Also: "She puts utmost importance on consistency and remaining faithful to her political roots, worrying often about how the 15-year-old Meloni would judge her decisions now."

5. She believes nefarious forces are undermining society.

6. She is extremely xenophobic.

7. She is an admirer of other crypto fascist authoritarians such as Orban in Hungary Le Pen in France.

As to her negations, she is certainly anti-Communist, antiliberal, but we don't know exactly what her economic policies are going to be for various reasons.
Actually, I might take issue with the idea that fascists are anti-conservative. They are certainly keen on tradition hierarchy and authority – and their respective cultures, so they have a lot in common. After all, the conservatives supported Hitler thinking they could control him.

And if all the Mussolini supporters have gone from her party, how come many of them still have pictures of them up on their office walls?

Her goals? Difficult to tell and I think it's a little unfair to demand this of me given that she will be in a coalition, and given that she has desperately tried to soften her image in the last few years – not unlike many extreme right leaders today. Because let's face it, actual fascist dictatorship is not particularly popular anywhere, and it's pretty naïve to expect anyone with those leanings to come out and actually say it if they expect to be in government – although to be fair it occasionally does happen.

But I'm pretty sure corporatism will be fairly high up on her agenda. I think also that she will probably be taking basic human rights away from gay people, and quite possibly from women as well.

The general weakness of the Italian economy and military (although it does seem to have recovered quicker than most from Covid) would certainly prevent any aspirations towards Empire but who knows, irredentism may well be on the table and you don't have any more evidence about this sort of thing than I do, apart from what she's said, and we all know how reliable far right promises are.

Finally, why do conservatives always bring up the idea that the Democrats were in favour of slavery without mentioning Nixon's Southern strategy? Just askin'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well that last answer was getting a bit long, but I would like to say – it seems to be a constant refrain amongst the right that people like me "accuse everyone they don't like of being fascist" – just because they don't like them. Of course it's complete nonsense but I do get so, so tired when I read it yet again.

So here is a list of people I don't like who aren't/weren't fascist.

Roger Douglas
Jim Bolger
Jenny Shipley
Rob Muldoon
George W Bush
"Shrub" Bush
Boris Johnson
Margaret Thatcher
Teresa May
Tony Blair
John Key
Mike Moore
Jeffrey Palmer
Keith Holyoake
Bill English
Bill Birch
Richard Prebble

I could go on for hours here, and I must say that I have met very few of those people, and it's the public persona that I dislike. Individually they might be perfectly nice. Many conservatives are quite affable – until you cross them.
Of course now you got that list you'll never say it again will you? Hahahahahahahahahahaha – I can't believe I actually said that.

John Hurley said...

Chris fascist should be used as an adjective with a noun

The reality now is Jo Coxes + Trudeau, Biden, Ardern, Key combined with high birthrate highly religious people in the tropical belt/Asia "seeking a better life".

Reality is the picture of rooves in the Salvation Army's Report. NZ has gone from Hobbiton to Density-Dog Kennell while Key enjoys Hawaii and Ardern is "having a wonderful time: somewhere in the Mediterranean"

Chris Morris said...

I can see GS that you have a very selective view of history. Any you set up a straw man to attack me. Notice there were two separate sentences about the Democrats.
The Democrats were the power in the Confederate States in the Civil war. Now what was that war fought over? After the 13th Amendment, the Democrats had to change, but the opposed the passing of it. They were the force behind Jim Crow laws, were they not? Which party did the Dixiecrats belong to?

Unknown said...

You are on the same page as Giles Fraser.
Read the comments

Chris Morris said...

Interesting breakdown here on who voted for which party in Italian election
FdI got votes from all groups, except students/ 18-34 year olds.

Chris Morris said...

Meloni saying "I l think Mussolini was a good politician who did everything he did for Italy."
That was said in French in 1996 for a different political party. Yet again GS you didn't read what I wrote - another of your strawmen. People change their views, GS. Who were the conscientious objectors during WW1 who became Ministers pushing conscription during WW2? Or those firebrand activists who became conservative Ministers.
I could do a similar check of your other statements, but watching grass grow is a better use of my time.
I can't be bothered doing forensic analysis checking whether you have ever called any of those politicians fascists or something similar. I would be very surprised if you haven't as it seems to be your pejorative of choice for people to the right of you.

Gary Peters said...

I think GS needs to get out more.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I do note that those most vehement in their accusations that Meloni leads a fascist party have failed to comment on whether our current government meets the criteria in part or whole!"

For Christ's sake, when you people give up on this hyperbole? It's all over MSN – although to be fair the people there are usually crazy as buggery. If this country was remotely fascist do you think that saying what you are saying today you would still be free? Don't be bloody stupid, you'd be in jail.

John Hurley said...

Of course Big George may have made a mistake but another driver also told us he earnt a lot at H&H Invercargill in the 1970's

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I think GS needs to get out more."
What a cogent response. Very deep – it will obviously take some thinking on my part to come up with some sort of riposte. Honestly, think over what you've contributed to the debate – essentially nothing.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Chris. I don't think I'll bother responding to you again, you seem to be somewhat confused and determined to hurl insults – fine. If Chris doesn't bother censoring them I'll just ignore you completely. But – before I go:

Meloni has been trying to soften her hard edges in order to gain votes. Whether that truly represents a change in her attitude I doubt – I don't KNOW and neither do you - I suspect. The proof of the pudding applies here I think.

Personally I don't give a shit if you check my statements or not.You are simply lazily calling me a liar. In which case I'm sure you won't mind if I call you disingenuous.
I have never called any of those people are fascist, because I only do that when I believe they have made fascist statements. You people say this a lot, and you also say the same about racism. "Oh you call everybody who disagrees with your racist" – it's your get out jail free card for being fascist or racist I suspect. One of the three or four knee-jerk reactions conservatives can't seem to help making when someone confronts them about their attitude. That's also lazy.

Those Dixiecrats you mention certainly were part of the problem in the south, but they became Republicans under Nixon remember? Either you were ignorant of Nixon's Southern strategy that I was referring to or you deliberately choose to ignore it. Disingenuousness or ignorance?

Whatever – you have no particularly valid arguments, just a lot of the usual contempt that conservatives feel for people they think are beneath them. If that's what you are saying now Christ knows what Chris had to censor in the past. And I won't worry about what you say in the future.

Gary Peters said...

Well let's all wait and see if Meloni starts arresting those whose disagree with her. Should she not, let me know how your words tasted.

After all, we know that cancel culture is just so much nicer for those we disagree with.

John Hurley said...

This seems to be a matter of sacred values Chris. Stopping migrants would be fascism no matter how locals are affected.