Is Giorgia Meloni a fascist?

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The subject has been present since its triumph in the Italian legislative elections and the answer to the question is clearly no. A review of her campaign assumptions and promises shows that she is not. No name is created ad hoc for her, such as “post-fascist” or “neo-fascist”, and neither will the government she will lead.

The problem was kind of self-created, given that early in her political career, even when she was Silvio Berlusconi’s youth minister, she made statements, including tweets , who showed understanding, even admiration for Il Duce, a despicable behavior in which other Italian politicians, from different positions, have fallen over the years.

Moreover, a center-left (Italia Viva) former prime minister like Matteo Renzi denied such media accusations against her, here from CNN, saying, “She’s my political rival, but she’s not a danger to democracy. To say that she is a fascist is completely false.

She is not Trump, Bolsonaro or the Hungarian Orban. Ni Kast, Boric’s rival in Chile, so named to win the second round of the presidential election. Of course, they can be called in other ways, for example “Pinochet supporter” in the case of Kast, but they are not fascists or Nazis.

Fascism is a political doctrine, born in Italy with Mussolini and one of its best-known (and murderous) variants was Hitler’s Nazism. It is taught throughout academia, along with other ideologies, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, or communism.

So much damage has been done that it has a very bad reputation, and therefore it is used to disqualify opponents with a very negative implication, because attributing this doctrine to someone who is not a Fascist can produce the effect misleading to say that the doctrine “wasn’t as bad” as claimed, when in fact it was and still is.

As a political doctrine, fascism in almost all its variants was collectivist and statist, which was expressed in Benito Mussolini’s famous maxim “Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state”, which did not surprise anyone in Italy, since he had started his political career in the Socialist Party.

Part of the ideology was the notion of one party, and the persecution and repression of its opponents. There was a strong racial component to their postulates, although not all of them were racist or anti-Semitic, at least not in the sense that the Nazis were in Germany and their occupied territories.

The desire for expansion and conquest was also present, while expressing anti-liberal, anti-democratic and anti-Christian postulates.

As political doctrine, certain ideas have reached the present day, and nothing shows this better than the validity of Nazi authors who never repented, such as the German jurist and political scientist Carl Schmitt, who argued that politics was not not between adversaries but between enemies and whose supporters – whether they know it or not – include important ideologues who, from the ultra-left, have tried to impose the new identity constitution on Chileans, failing in their attempt.

It is not helpful and it is certainly harmful to label many of those we dislike as fascists or populists. Brothers of Italy, his party, is right-wing, part of what is called in Europe the “social right” for its postulates, and among the most moving subjects were illegal immigration and certain traditional values, such as the importance of Italy and family.

His coalition was made up of minor groups, and La Lega of Matteo Salvini, former vice-president and interior minister (2018-2019), and Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi, three-time former prime minister (1994-95; 2001 -06; and 2008-2011), rivals defeated above all by the passion and charismatic style of Meloni and the importance given to traditional moral principles, to patriotism by his pride in Italianness, to which must be added the defense of Christianity, in particular to the Catholic tradition.

Thus, she managed to impose herself within the coalition, especially against Salvini, who suffered a heavy defeat and a low vote. As for Berlusconi, the triumph marks his return, but now he does not aspire, at least publicly, to lead the winning coalition, among other reasons, because of his age.

In the 44.1% of votes obtained by this coalition, there are many votes that were once communists or Christian Democrats, the two major parties of post-war Italy, both of which have disappeared as such or have split into other alternatives.

It is a conservative coalition in the Italian and European context, but in what it has proposed and in the way it will exercise power, there may be radical right elements, but they are not far right , nor of populism or fascism.

If there was the slightest doubt, there are the remarks she made upon her election, in the sense of ratifying all her support for Ukraine as well as with regard to immigration, where she repeated that “the countries have the right to favor immigration compatible with their culture. For example, in Venezuela, there are millions of them, they are Christians. If we need migrants, let’s bring them there.

In truth, neither Italian law, nor Europe, nor international treaties today allow you to make this distinction, let alone discriminate, but it is a powerful statement of intent.

It will be a coalition government where there are convergences, but also divergences on a variety of subjects including the European Union, the Russian invasion of Ukraine (here he differs from his partners in particular on the sanctions against Russia), energy, moral values, global warming.

When it comes to the EU, Meloni spoke similarly to what Mrs Thatcher has had for years, in her criticism of what she defined as an undemocratic bureaucracy that is elected by no one in Brussels and the resulting loss of national sovereignty, with one important difference, however, since the UK has contributed far more than it has received from Europe, while Italy needs help to balance its budget , which is in permanent deficit.

As Meloni moved towards victory, she gradually abandoned the idea of ​​an “Italexit” to leave the EU, in favor of a speech that has proven successful for former communist countries like Poland. or Hungary, that is to defend their national interests more aggressively. within the Union and then, only afterwards, to seek common solutions with other countries.

Meloni added that his role model was Portugal, which won concessions for an economic recovery plan, asking that “if the socialist government of Portugal did it, why can’t Italy do it?” Therefore, the EU is an example of the limits to its power that such an alliance means, not only for it, but for any leader who wants radical change.

Her promotion of conservative values ​​has led her to propose specific measures to support higher birth rates, since Italy is on the list of countries with declining birth rates, with figures that would be even higher. regressive if there were no illegal immigration.

Another differentiating issue with Europe was the idea of ​​creating so-called “hot spots” to curb illegal immigration, simply by blocking ships with migrants in the African ports from which they depart.

A final point of contention is the respect of international commitments already made on climate change, where Meloni argued that behind her reluctance to use the word “warming” there is a different vision, since for her there is no catastrophic vision of this change, but only a simple evolution and not the end of the world.

For Meloni, Italy is an economic success story, rejecting the idea that it is a sick country, arguing that its problems today are the consequence of erroneous European policies and that, on the contrary, Italy was a post-war success story with an export model based on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Will his be another short-lived government, another failed coalition? We do not know.
What we do know is that neither she nor her future government are fascists today, and that they are limited by Europe and by the characteristics of the coalition. Everything points to a right-wing conservative government, even radical in its rhetoric, but there is no evidence of this alleged fascism either in her or in her proposals.


This article is part of an agreement between El American and the Inter-American Institute for Democracy.

Ricardo Israel is a recognized writer, bogado, political analyst and Chilean academic. Fue presidential candidate of su país in 2013. Currently he is part of the director of the Inter-American Institute for Democracy // Ricardo Israel is a renowned Chilean writer, lawyer, political analyst and scholar. He was a presidential candidate for his country in 2013. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Inter-American Institute for Democracy.

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