Fascism’s beginning in Italy

The Great War has ended finally. After the death of around 20 million people and even a greater number wounded, a peace treaty has been signed. Italy fought alongside the Triple Entente and came out as one of the victorious nations.

But the country was devastated- inflation, heavy unemployment due to the reconstruction of industries, a high cost of living and an unprecedented wave of protests. Internal divisions led to social turmoil— workers were demanding an improvement in their work conditions, decrease in work hours and good pay. To attain the results, they occupied the factories. Nationalists and landowners were angry too as they didn’t receive the land promised to them during the war. There was a great dissatisfaction for this ‘mutilated victory’.

Yet, the government with Giovanni Giolitti as a head didn’t attempt to bring any order inside the nation. He took a liberal approach and was convinced that these strikes will halt without any kind of intervention.

                          Occupation by the Red Guards in 1920

Benito Mussolini took the action eventually by setting up Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in 1919. Initially, this was a political movement of a para-military character emerged as a reaction to the protests of the working class and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Mussolini himself was a former leading exponent of the Socialist Party but was expelled when he favored the intervention of Italy in the war. Tensions escalated and the fascists started attacking the protesters on street. The bourgeois, property-owners, middle-class managers and leaders supported the fascists as Mussolini, for them, was a ‘right man’ who can bring peace and order back.

Nonetheless, they were anti-democratic and anti-socialist. Organized in squads known as Blackshirts their violence flared, methods became harsher and intimidation grew as the power expanded. The National Fascist Party was created and a mass demonstration took place in 1922 with Marcia su Roma. The king, Vittorio Emanuele III, didn’t call the troops to repress this coup. Instead, he appointed Mussolini as Prime Minister, giving him the political powers.

                                                      Squadristi & Fascists

After ascending to power, it was a time to legitimize his rule. Thus, he changed the electoral laws (Acerbo law): a political party which would obtain over 25% of the votes will automatically have 65% of the seats. And like this, the National Fascist Party won the election of 1924. He validated the Blackshirts by making them a military organ known by the name of Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, an all-volunteer militia of theKingdom of Italy. Then he formed the Opera Nazionale Balilla, an institution aimed at young people in order to gain consensus and convert the youth into a political weapon. Media was under the control of the regime. The education system was structured in accordance with the fascist ideologies. The focus was to evoke physical courage and patriotism. At this time, there was no space left for anti-conformism or rebel.

                Giacomo Matteotti, a member of the Socialist Party

One noted case is of Giacomo Matteottia socialist politician who openly spoke against the brutality and election irregularities in the Parliament. Later, Matteotti disappeared and his corpse was found buried outside the city. Fed up with all this, the opposition withdrew from the chamber; an event that is recalled today as ‘Aventine Secession’.

I’ve said my piece. Now you prepare my funeral speech — Giacomo Matteotti

Mussolini took the political, moral and historical responsibility of everything that happened in recent months hinting the murder of Matteotti. This was the beginning of a terrible time during which there won’t be any constitutional restrictions against his power. Nominating himself ‘Il Duce’, he set on a journey to make Italy a great European power. But future have something horrifying for the entire world that goes beyond any imagination.

Italy, o gentlemen, wants peace, wants tranquility, wants a laborious calm; we will give it to her with love, if possible, or by force if it is necessary.

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Italy’s fight on migration

‘We don’t need to have new slaves’, said the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy likening African immigrants to slaves.

The anti-migrant party known as the League is dominating the political realm of Italy since March of 2018 in coalition with the populist Five Star Movement, with its leader Matteo Salvini claiming the post of interior minister. He immediately started to work to curb the country’s migration policies and just a few weeks back received a success by getting his decree approved by the cabinet. His enthusiasm for anti-migration provoked a tiny outburst from Luxemburg foreign minister last month which he shared gleefully with his 3 million followers on Facebook.

 

In Luxembourg, sir, we have dozens of thousands of Italians! They came as migrants, they worked in Luxembourg so you in Italy would have money for your children.

 

Salvini using the aggressive tones for immigrants isn’t doing great work in maintaining peace in the country where there has always been a trivialization regarding racism and fascism. He is accused of inciting a climate of hatred towards migrants and there is an explosive of racist attacks in recent months including an assault on Italian athlete Daisy Osakue. She is born to Nigerian parents and was training for the European Championships when a motorist threw an egg at her in the northern city of Turin on July 30. The assault resulted in the discus-thrower nearly losing her eye and she was hospitalized with a corneal injury.

 

“I do not want to use the race or sexism card, but in my opinion, they were looking for a black person,” she said.

 

Another instance is the killing of a Moroccan man. He was chased by a car of Italians who suspected him of being a thief. The man ran for his life, injured himself, and was eventually beaten to death. There was an attack on a one-year-old Romani infant who was shot with a pellet damaging her lungs and risking her to stay paralyzed for the rest of her life.

 

But Salvini argues that there has been no increase in racist acts in Italy. With the government taking this tolerant stand, there aren’t any great initiatives to stop these hate crimes or to even recognize them in the least. Moreover, there isn’t any organization in Italy that keep proper records of the crimes that can have the religious or ethnic hatred as a motivation. Instead of making efforts for integration, there exists the war of words whipped with hatred and frustration which makes everyone the enemy of everyone else.

 

“The risk is that he is legitimizing the worst impulses of this country. Up until a few years back, people were ashamed of saying certain things about migrants, of speaking openly about earning the right to shoot a burglar. With Salvini there’s total freedom. From a cultural perspective, he has opened the gates to very negative impulses that maybe were always around but weren’t visible.”

– Salvini’s biographer Matteo Pucciarelli

 

Maybe the violence and killing of the migrants aren’t true after all as he said that racism is the mere invention of the left.

Roberto Saviano: Fighting against mafia with the weaponry of writing

 

You can’t dry water with water, you can’t extinguish a fire with fire and you can’t fight evil with evil.

In the land of Camorra, the theory of modern rights is turned on its head- Roberto Saviano

 

His first book was published in 2006 and this book had a precise mission: exposing the system and power of one of the oldest and largest criminal organization in Italy- Camorra.

I wrote it with a literary intention: narrate a life with a style that brings together the rigor of reality and the suggestion of literature, the charm of a novel; the concreteness of data and the momentum of a poetry.
I was seized by some kind of demon, the same that always takes possession of a writer and of which the writer can’t escape if not follow him.

Camorra works differently with around 111 individual clans operating independently. Loose gangs with members numbering to 6,700. There is ruthless violence, drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, racketeering, and prostitution. Saviano was raised in this war zone, encountering several violent scenes as fights broke out on the street.

‘ I saw my first corpse in secondary school. Since then I’ve seen dozens. It didn’t shock me.’

The murder of a local priest finally pricked his conscience as he saw how his death was scandalized afterward and met with indifference by people. The priest Don Peppino Diana was trying to take a fight against the evil. He pinned a notice on local churches, ‘Because I love my people, I must stay quiet no longer.’ Days later, he was shot dead in the face in his own church.

Don Peppino killed for his anti-mafia commitment

 

Domenico Noviello, a businessman who testified against a clan member received the same fate. After his testimony, he was put under subsequent protection and received it for 7 years until he refused in 2008. He was murdered a week later.

Seeing these atrocities, Roberto made writing a sort of revenge- turning his words into weapons and forcing the wrongdoers to react. Courage to speak against Mafia brought him the fame that every young writer dreams to have but at a cost of liberty that very few dare to lose.

‘With Gomorra, Saviano brought us to America’ said Antonio Iovine, the boss of a Casalesi clan that is believed to be one of the powerful group within Camorra.

And after Gomorra, life never returned the same path. There were threatening letters and silent phone calls. Constant fear of being followed and a life of confinement.

I exist inside four walls, and the only alternative is making public appearances. I’m either at the Nobel academy having a debate on freedom of the press, or I’m inside a windowless room at a police barracks. Light and dark. There is no shade, no in between.

 

In the end, these death threats aren’t proved to be enough to stop someone who has attained an armament of writing and a profound sense of justice and morality. If freedom is a price to pay to make a soul stirs, he did it. He continues to write bringing the reality of some obscure places present on this same blue-green planet.

And I still want to write, write, write because it’s my passion and my resistance. And in order to write, I need to plunge my hands into reality, to cover myself in it, to smell its odor and its sweat, and to not live quarantined in a hyperbolic chamber inside military barracks — today here, tomorrow two hundred kilometers away, moved like a package without knowing what happened and what can happen. A perennial state of bewilderment and insecurity keeps me from thinking, reflecting, concentrating on what I have to do. Sometimes I surprise myself thinking these words: I want my life back. I silently repeat them, one by one, to myself.