Saturday, 13 September 2008

Fascists Are Pulling Off Their Mask

(Photo: Struggle Against Fascism by Arnþór Snær).

On September 8th, Italy remembers a tragic event. In 1943, after announcing the signature of the armistice with the Americans, the Prime Minister General Pietro Badoglio escaped from Rome to Brindisi with king Vittorio Emanuele III and the whole royal family, leaving the Italian Army without instructions.

During the subsequent days, many soldiers were killed or imprisoned by the Nazis. The others had to hide their uniforms, trying to escape. It was the beginning of Civil War and Resistence, that then led to Liberation in April 1945.

On September 7th 2008, the Mayor of Rome and member of Alleanza Nazionale Gianni Alemanno, asked in an interview whether Fascism was an absolute evil, explained: "I don't think so and I never did: Fascism was a more complex phenomenon. Many people accepted it in good faith and I don't feel like labelling them with that definition. The absolute evil were the racial laws wanted by fascism, which determined its political and cultural end." (1) (

On September 8th, while attending the commemoration of the defense of Rome against the Nazis, the Minister for Defense and member of Alleanza Nazionale Ignazio La Russa said: "I wouldn't do justice to my conscience if I didn't remember other soldiers in uniform, as those of Nembo battalion of the Italian Social Republic, who subjectively, from their point of view, fought believing in the defense of the country, opposing themselves to the landing of the Anglo-Americans during the subsequent months. Hence they are worth of respect, though in the difference of attitudes, by all who look objectively at Italian history." (2) (

Attending the same event, the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano celebrated "the double mark of Resistence: the mark of insurrection, of redemption, of hope in freedom and justice that led many young people to fight in partisan bands; and the sense of duty, faithfulness and dignity that inspired the participation of the military, - including the 600,000 soldiers who were deported in German camps, - and their refusal to take part in the Salò Republic." (3) (

Why should the Mayor of Rome and the Minister for Defense irresponsibly propose to rehabilitate fascism?

Commenting over the case, Mr Gian Enrico Rusconi explains: "the key of today's political culture is in the word 'populism', which has to be intended not in general terms, but in its proper meaning. Democratic populism has four ingredients: voting people tending to express themselves with a fairly plebiscitary style and with a relationship of false immediacy with their leader; the mastery of a personal leadership, supported by 'charismatic' qualities; a simplified party-system where the exchange of political élites immediately supports the leader; the decisive and irreplaceable role of consenting media. The strong personification and spectaculararization of politics are by-products of this situation." (4) (

Populism. Should we deduce, then, that those politicians who attacked Mr Beppe Grillo - accusing him of populism - are actually more populist than the comic artist whose voice they would like to silence? (Will Pinocchio Listen to Mr Grillo? and Our Future: Resistence and Liberation).

Today, September 13th, while speaking to his party's young militants, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and leader of Alleanza Nazionale, Gianfranco Fini, said: "At Salò there had been good faith: to acknowledge it is in many cases a duty. But it is as much a duty to say that it is not possible to equalize those who were on one side and those who were on the other one. It is historical honesty and duty of the Right, wanting to balance accounts with the past, to say that those who fought on the right side are not equivalent to those who, even in good faith, fought on the wrong side. The Right has to confirm it in any circumstances: not to dismiss the case, but to build a memory that enables our nation to go on." (5) (

Unfortunately, this precise statement comes late and is not enough. We like to remember that the XII final disposition of Italian Constitution says that: "The reorganization under any forms of the dissolved fascist party is forbidden." (6).

In Italy, actually, both mayors and ministers take their oath on the Costitution born from the antifascist struggle. The President of the Chamber of Deputies and the President of the Republic should then ask the Mayor of Rome and the Minister for Defense to hand in their resignation.

As Piero Gobetti explained, in fact, democracy requires intransigence. If Italian people do not remonstrate loudly, the return of Fascism will be granted.

During the last hours, some writings praising the Italian Social Republic were made over the slabs of marble celebrating Luigi Pierantoni and Raffeale Zicconi, martyrs of March 1944 Ardeatine massacre in Rome ( Besides, the main responsible of this massacre in which 335 civilians were killed, the Nazi S.S. captain Erich Priebke, yesterday attended - via videoconference - a beauty contest in Frosinone, as honourable president of the jury (

Indeed, as the organizer of the event explained: "Inviting Mr Priebke is a gesture of pacification. I admire the Jewish people. But by this time 60 years have passed and Mr Priebke is now more than 95. Why should we not allow him to come here?" (7) (

Fascists are pulling off their mask. Every free voice left in this country has now the duty to stand up and peacefully oppose this shame before it is too late.

Every Italian citizen who aims to defend the memory of Italian democracy is invited to join ANPI, the National Association of Italian Partisans.

Check right now the list of ANPI's Committees and get in touch with the nearest one. The first step to re-establish Italian democracy is indeed casting our mind back to its birth.

"Partì verso le somme colline, la terra ancestrale che l'avrebbe aiutato nel suo moto possibile, nel vortice del vento nero, sentendo com'è grande un uomo quando è nella sua normale dimensione umana. E nel momento in cui partì si sentì investito - nor death itself would have been divestiture - in nome dell'autentico popolo d'Italia, ad opporsi ad ogni modo al fascismo, a giudicare e ad eseguire, a decidere militarmente e civilmente. Era inebriante tanta somma di potere, ma infinitamente più inebriante la coscienza dell'uso legittimo che ne avrebbe fatto."

"He left towards the highest hills, the ancestral land which would helped him in his possible motion, in a black wind wortex, feeling how great a man is when he is in his normal human dimension. And in the very moment he left, he felt himself invested - nor death itself would have been divestiture - in the name of the authentic Italian people, to oppose himself to fascism by all means, to judge and execute, to decide as a soldier as well as a civilian. Such a sum of power was inebriating, but much more inebriating was the conscience of the legitimate use he would have made of it."

(Beppe Fenoglio, Il partigiano Johnny, 1968).


1. "Non lo penso e non l'ho mai pensato: il fascismo fu un fenomeno più complesso. Molte persone vi aderirono in buona fede e non mi sento di etichettarle con quella definizione. Il male assoluto sono le leggi razziali volute dal fascismo e che ne determinarono la fine politica e culturale." (

2. "Farei un torto alla mia coscienza - ha invece detto il ministro La Russa - se non ricordassi che altri militari in divisa, come quelli della Nembo dell'esercito della Rsi, soggettivamente, dal loro punto di vista, combatterono credendo nella difesa della patria, opponendosi nei mesi successivi allo sbarco degli anglo-americani e meritando quindi il rispetto, pur nella differenza di posizioni, di tutti coloro che guardano con obiettività alla storia d'Italia." (

3. "Per questo ho parlato di un duplice segno della Resistenza: quello della ribellione, della volontà di riscatto, della speranza di libertà e di giustizia che condussero tanti giovani a combattere nelle formazioni partigiane e quello del senso del dovere, della fedeltà e della dignità che animarono la partecipazione dei militari, compresa quella dei seicentomila deportati nei campi tedeschi, rifiutando l'adesione alla Repubblica di Salò" (

4. "In realtà la vera chiave della cultura politica di oggi è nel termine di «populismo» che va inteso non in modo generico, ma appropriato. Il populismo democratico ha quattro ingredienti: un popolo-elettore che tende a esprimersi in uno stile tendenzialmente plebiscitario con un rapporto di finta immediatezza con il leader; la dominanza di una leadership personale, gratificata di qualità «carismatiche»; un sistema partitico semplificato con un ricambio di élite politiche che è di supporto immediato al leader; il ruolo decisivo e insostituibile dei media allineati. Sottoprodotti di questa situazione sono la iperpersonalizzazione della politica e la sua spettacolarizzazione." (

5. "A Salò c'è stata buona fede, riconoscerla è in molti casi doveroso ma è altrettanto doveroso dire che non si può equiparare chi stava da una parte e dall'altra. Onestà storica e compito di una destra che vuole fare i conti con il passato è dire che non è equivalente chi combatteva per una parte giusta e chi, fatta salva la buona fede, combatteva dalla parte sbagliata. La destra deve ribadirlo in ogni circostanza non per archiviarlo ma per costruire una memoria che consenta al nostro popolo di andare avanti." (

6. "È vietata la riorganizzazione, sotto qualsiasi forma, del disciolto partito fascista." (Italian Constitution, Final Dispositions, n.XII).

7. "Invitare Priebke — dice Marini — è un gesto di pacificazione. Io ammiro il popolo ebraico. Ma ormai sono passati 60 anni e Priebke ne ha più di 95. Che senso ha non permettergli di venire qui?" (