Can anything save Italy from a return to fascism? – CNN
Silvio Berlusconi is back !
Italy’s election creeps ever closer, it looks increasingly unlikely that any resulting government will be able to slow down the rise of hard-right, anti-EU forces in Italian politics.
This might be why the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said last week that Brussels must prepare for a “non-operative” government to run Italy after the elections — which he described as being the “worst scenario.”
And while he is right that Italy’s election could cause instability that would have a damaging effect on the rest of the eurozone, Juncker is, unfortunately, missing the bigger picture and ignoring the widespread anger directed toward elites in Belgium.
Italy is currently experiencing its most alarming election campaign in decades. Recent days have reminded us how hatred, xenophobia and right-wing extremism are on the rise.
Almost every day, we see stories of ethnic abuse, gatherings of far-right groups and journalists being targeted by fascist groups such as CasaPound or Forza Nuova. And hard-left activists are being physically attacked by their opponents.
This is naturally generating a response from the more antagonistic movements on the left.
Didn’t fascism end in 1945? The truth is that in Europe — and not just in Italy — fascist ideologies never fully disappeared. They have also been able to survive because of post-war public amnesia.
Since the 1980s, the fascists have adapted to a changing world. They are now able to exploit Europe’s immigration crisis and use it as a flag to rally around. And some of their rhetoric has been legitimized by mainstream politicians, worried about being outflanked on the issue of immigration.
Enter the saviour??
Xenophobia and anti-Europeanism have been growing nearly everywhere on the continent. Protests against Muslims, refugees and gays are taking place regularly in multiple European countries, while new laws in Poland have made it illegal to accuse the country of complicity in the Holocaust.
Strange ideas about freedom of speech have combined with social media and spread the appeal of angry identity politics. Italy as a result — along with other European countries — is becoming a polarized nation: us vs them; fascists versus anti-fascists; anti-refugees versus pro-immigrants; euroskeptics versus europhiles. Italy’s postwar efforts to rewrite its fascist history have created the perfect conditions for its return in 2018.
And the situation today is even worse than in the early 1990s. Decades of “moderate” center-right politics led to Silvio Berlusconi.