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September 25 2022 Italy Chooses a Future Under the Shadows of Fascist Terror and Tyranny

    On this election day, one hundred years after Mussolini’s March on Rome, Italy chooses a future under the shadows of fascist terror and tyranny and the legacies of a history for which there has never been a national reckoning.

    If democracy in Italy falls today, no one in Europe is safe. Regressive political parties which weaponize national identities of race and faith and capitalize on fear of otherness are now everywhere, but the one about to capture the government of Italy originates in the ur-source of modern fascism as led by Benito Mussolini, and nothing suggests it has disavowed its history.

     As in the Nazi revivalist state of Orban’s Hungary, launchpad for the reconquest of Europe, in Italy we may soon face an unreconstructed fascist state. Together with Vox in Spain and Le Pen’s Nationalists in France, a grim image of our future emerges as they share resources to leverage ideologies and policies in Europe.

    Yet every force creates its own counterforce, and in Italy as throughout Europe histories of Resistance balance those of fascism. Here we must look for alliances and models to answer fear with hope and division with solidarity.

    As I wrote in my post of August 30 2022, Centenary of the Barricades of Parma and the Antifascist Resistance of Guido Picelli and L’Ardito del Popolo;

 One hundred years ago this August, the antifascist resistance of Guido Picelli and L’Ardito del Popolo fought a glorious battle for the soul of humankind and the fate of the world against the tide of fascism and Mussolini’s blackshirts in Parma, prelude to the March on Rome which opened the door to the Holocaust and World War Two, so very like our own January 6 Insurrection which threatens us still with the return of fascism as the Fourth Reich.

    Now as then, and in every generation of humankind, we are defined by how we face those who would enslave us and the darkness within ourselves which threatens to consume us, the flaws of our humanity and the brokenness of the world; in solidarity as a band of brothers and a United Humankind, or subjugated through hierarchies and divisions of elite belonging and exclusionary otherness, as a free society of equals or with fascisms of blood, faith, and soil. As the Oath of the Resistance given to me by Jean Genet in Beirut goes; “We swear our loyalty to each other, to resist and yield not, and abandon not our fellows.”

   For Antifa and the Resistance the Arditi are an important historical ancestor, but also for all who love Liberty, where ever men hunger to be free.

    Here also is a cautionary tale, of the necessity of Solidarity and the dangers of ideological fracture, for the Arditi failed to defeat fascism at its birth for the same reasons Rosa Luxemburg and the Social Democrats of Germany were unable to counter the ascendence of Hitler.

    To this pathology of disconnectedness and the terror of our nothingness, to division and despair in the face of overwhelming force, I make reply with Buffy the Vampire Slayer quoting the instructions to priests in the Book of Common Prayer in episode eleven of season seven, Showtime, after luring an enemy into an arena to defeat as a demonstration to her recruits; “I don’t know what’s coming next. But I do know it’s gonna be just like this – hard, painful. But in the end, it’s gonna be us. If we all do our parts, believe it, we’ll be the one’s left standing. Here endeth the lesson.”

     As written by Lorenzo Tondo in The Guardian, in an article entitled Why Italy is on verge of electing its first far-right leader since second world war, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy draw on a vein of fascism in a country that – unlike Germany – has never had to confront its past; “A hundred years after the rise of Italian fascism was heralded by Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome, the country is on the verge of electing a party with its roots in neo-fascism.

     With just over a week to go until polling day, the smiling face of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy, is emblazoned on thousands of posters from the heel in the south to the Alps in the north.

    When polls close on the evening of 25 September, Meloni is expected to emerge triumphant, making her Italy’s first far-right leader since the second world war.

     Meloni has always distanced herself from fascism and recently declared that the Italian right had “handed fascism over to history”. Her current political success owes much to her decision, unlike that of Matteo Salvini and his Northern League, to keep her party out of the outgoing prime minister, Mario Draghi’s, cross-party government. The move cemented her as an opposition voice and has given her the leading position in a rightwing electoral coalition, that includes the League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, now polling in excess of 45%.

     But she has been reluctant in campaigning to shed the political slogan Dio, Patria, Famiglia (God, Homeland, Family), widely used in the fascist era, and her party retains apparent fascist visual references. It shares its party logo, an Italian tricolour in the form of a flame, with the now defunct Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party formed in 1946 by supporters of Mussolini’s regime and former high-ranking members of his fascist party. Some supporters of her party have performed the fascist salute during public commemorations.

     How can it be that Italy, which lived through Mussolini’s bloody regime and passed discriminatory laws against its Jewish citizens, is close to electing as prime minister the leader of a party with these associations, who in a recently surfaced video from 1996 said of the fascist leader: “Mussolini was a good politician. There have been no other politicians like him in the last 50 years”?

     Paolo Berizzi, of La Repubblica, has been asking such question for years. The journalist, who has written extensively about the extreme right in Italy, has received numerous threats from neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and now lives under police protection. “Italy is a country that never came to terms with its fascist past,” he said. “Fascists didn’t die in 1945; they’ve always been around.”

     To find some answers, one must go back to the immediate aftermath of the second world war, when the first issue for Italy to address was national unity. The toppling of Mussolini in 1943 was followed by bloody civil war between a Nazi-backed puppet state and the partisans of the Italian resistance, so when peace came to Europe, fears of aggravating civil tensions overrode the purging of fascists from Italian institutions and prosecuting them for war crimes. While the Nuremberg trials against prominent members of the Nazi party began in Germany in November 1946, Italy, in part concerned about growing numbers of communists, on the brink of the cold war, had from June of that year run an amnesty programme, releasing thousands of fascists from prison.

     Many took jobs in the postwar administrations: Ettore Messana, a fascist official whose name appears in a UN list for war crimes, was appointed inspector general for public safety in Sicily; Gen Giuseppe Pichè, who carried out counter-espionage for Mussolini, was nominated director general of the Civil Protection Agency.

     “After the war there were a lot of Italians who thought that, despite the conflict, Mussolini hadn’t done so badly after all,” said Salvatore Lupo, a professor of contemporary history at Palermo University.

     Giorgio Almirante, a culture minister in the Nazis’ short-lived puppet state, founded the MSI with former members of the Italian Fascist party in this climate of tolerance. By 1948, three neo-fascists sat in the Italian parliament. It is from this heritage that the Brothers of Italy would later emerge.

     The neo-fascist MSI, meanwhile, remained sidelined from mainstream politics until the early 1990s, when a nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption resulted in the disappearance of many traditional political parties and gave it an opportunity. Its members formed the National Alliance party in 1995, maintaining the tricolour flame as their symbol, and, presenting themselves as neoliberal conservatives, found in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia their first ally in national government.

     It was Berlusconi who, during a political rally in 2019, boasted about having been the first to engage with neo-fascists. “The parties that governed Italy from the beginning of the First Republic had never allowed the fascists to enter the government”, he said. “We let them in for the first time. We legitimised them.”

     Berizzi said: “It was in those years that the criminal revisionism of fascism, as I call it, began, fuelled by talkshows and many newspapers. Fake news began to circulate around fascism, which still today is presented as a regime that ‘did many great things’.”

     Many Italians today are convinced that Mussolini introduced public housing in Italy, when in reality it had begun in 1903, nearly 20 years before his rule. The enduring cliche is that Mussolini made the trains run on time, but during the fascist period trains were chronically late. Unable to resolve the problem, the regime instead forbade people from discussing it, because to do so would be “dishonourable to the homeland”.

     More than 70 years after Mussolini’s death, thousands of Italians started to join self-described fascist groups in a surge of support antifascists blame on the portrayal of the refugee crisis, and Italy’s economic and political instability. In this context, in 2012 Brothers of Italy was founded, largely from the ranks of MSI and National Alliance. Two years later, Meloni, previously an activist in the MSI’s Youth Front, rose to become its leader.

     “Meloni became the leader of her party in a period in which fascism in Italy was almost normalised and getting popular among young people,” Berizzi said. “Statuettes of Mussolini and calendars of the Duce are on sale in kiosks and shops. The fascist salute […] has become an almost folkloric gesture.”

     Antonio Scurati, the author of M, an international bestseller about Mussolini’s rise to power, said: “While in Germany there was a long process of overcoming the past, which had as a prerequisite that of making all German people reflect on the co-responsibility of the crimes of nazism, in Italy this process has never taken place. Whenever we speak about the war and racial laws in Italy, we always identify ourselves with the role of victim and anti-fascists, and this has prevented us from admitting to ourselves that we were fascists.”

     Meloni has “unambiguously” condemned “the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws”, emphasising that her party has nothing to do with fascism and is a conservative champion of patriotism. She told Corriere della Sera after local elections there were no “nostalgic fascists, racists or antisemites in the Brothers of Italy DNA” and she had always got rid of “ambiguous people”.

     “Let’s believe that Meloni is not a fascist. Let’s believe that technically her party is not neo-fascist,” Berizzi said. “You still can’t deny that in her ranks there are numerous fascists […] If Meloni wins the election, fascism may not be back, but our democracy will be at risk.”

     Just as the far right is moving forward, some Italians have compared the current situation to a satire movie released in 2018, which imagines Mussolini returning to Italy and being acclaimed by people.

     “If Mussolini were to return, Italians would re-elect him,” Scurati said. “In fact, Italians, Europeans, North Americans and Brazilians have already elected several ‘neo’ Mussolinis.”

     As I wrote in my post of July 22 2022, Now Is the Time of Monsters; Hope and Despair: Italy on the Cusp of Change;  The government of Italy has collapsed, an act of sabotage by fascist revivalists who have abandoned the political coalition which has thus far prevented it from tumbling off the edge of a precipice into the abyss, an existential threat to the survival of her peoples and the basic services of any state which include healthcare.

    But if the abyss holds terrors of a precariat held hostage by death and the material needs of survival, the abyss is also where hope lies, for here the balance of power may be changed in revolutionary struggle.

    In this liminal time of the reimagination and transformation of our possibilities of becoming human, of seizures of power and the performance of the Four Primary Duties of a Citizen, Question Authority, Expose Authority, Mock Authority, and Challenge Authority, let us look to our glorious past in the Resistance which was victorious in the Liberation of Italy on April 25 and the hanging of Mussolini on April 28 1945.

     As Slavoj Zizek’s favorite saying goes, a French mistranslation or paraphrase of Antonio Gramsci’s line in his Prison Notebooks “La crisi consiste appunto nel fatto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo non può nascere: in questo interregno si verificano i fenomeni morbosi piú svariati”, literally “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born, in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”, as “Le vieux monde se meurt, le nouveau monde tarde à apparaître et dans ce clair-obscur surgissent les monstres”, which introduces the idea of monstrosity, referential to the historical development of the idea in Michel de Montaigne, Michel Foucault, and Georges Canguilhem’s work The Normal and the Pathological, a dialectical process of mimesis which results in the form of the principle as; “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.”

     Meanings shift, adapt, and change as they transgress boundaries, inhabit public and private spaces, and unfold over vast gulfs of time, and so must we.

    As I wrote in my post of January 29 2021, A Useful Past: Centennial of the Founding of the Italian Communist Party; We celebrate today the founding of the Italian Communist Party one hundred years ago by Amadeo Bordiga and the brilliant visionary of social change Antonio Gramsci, not only as an achievement in the history of revolutionary struggle but also as a watershed event in the emergence of Antifascism.

     As we begin the great work of reimagination and transformation of human being, meaning, and value in the rebirth of our civilization and the Restoration of America, let us shape our emerging identities through the limitless possibilities of becoming human, and with the wisdom of a useful past.

     Both revolutionary and conserving forces have adaptive value as strategies of survival, and as informing and motivating sources. We must be agile and optimize change as a growth opportunity through innovation, and we must transform ourselves over time without losing our identity and history as anchorages and as measuring standards with which to interpret the present, for civilization is a prochronism like the shell of a sea creature, a history expressed in our form of how we have solved problems of adaptation and survival.

     In the words of George Santayana writing in The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

     As I have often written, there can be but one reply to fascism; Never Again. And Never Again requires a living history wherein we can escape the limits of the flag of our skin and inhabit the lives of others, and to envision future consequences from past origins.

      Here I have assembled articles as a short course on the history of modern Italy, from the perspective of its history in terms of communism and the antifascism which in part emerged from its context. My hope in this is that we may learn from the successes and failures of the past, and escape their repetition.

     Nietzsche invented a standard of action against which to measure our choices, the test of Eternal Return; if you had to spend eternity repeating the events of your life, what would you do? Camus reimagined this as metaphor and allegory in his pivotal essay The Myth of Sisyphus, the central text of Existentialism in which the heroism of total freedom arises from refusal to submit to authority and its force and control, and from the human creation of being, meaning, and value in a hostile, meaningless, and alienating universe. This is the context in which I place communism as an ideology of liberation and antifascism as a special form of resistance which in part emerged from it.

    The historical failures of communism, and of revolutions which become the totalitarian regimes they replace, originate in the social use of force and violence to seize power when successor states fail to abolish power asymmetry and abandon force, and because the conditions of a successful revolution contain the seeds of its own destruction as forces of subversion and corruption; identitarian narratives of victimization, the authoritarianism which emerges from cults of charismatic leaders, heroic myths of resistance and revolution which can become a culture of militarism and macho violence.

    The failures of revolutionary forces which resulted in Stalin are much like the failures of conservative forces which resulted in Hitler, and they ended as indistinguishable from one another because they took the same paths to get there. Nabokov best described the processes of the failure of Idealism in his luminous reimagination of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Lolita, wherein he struggles with the question of why the communists murdered his blameless father, an aristocrat guilty of no personal crimes, in order to achieve the Revolution; in so doing he describes a general condition.

     What the world fears and finds abhorrent in communism has nothing to do with communism itself, and everything to do with power, force, and violence. Let us seize ownership of ourselves from those who would enslave us, resist authority and the tyranny of other people’s ideas of virtue and normality, engage elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege and hierarchies of exclusionary otherness in revolutionary struggle, and pursue to their destruction fascisms of blood, faith, and soil; but let us also abandon our addiction to power and the social use of force.

     Let us forbid nothing, and send no armies or police to enforce virtue.

     Let us liberate humankind and ourselves from all inequalities and dictatorships, those of the proletariat as well as monarchies and feudal aristocracies, sectarian theocracies, clan oligarchies and corporate plutocratic capitalism, fascist tyrannies, and asymmetries of class, race, and sex. 

     Let us run amok and be ungovernable, transgress boundaries, forge new truths, and discover the limitless possibilities of becoming human.   

     As I wrote in my post of April 25 2020, Anniversaries of the Italian Victory Over Fascism and the Carnation Revolution of Portugal; Three decades of Antifascism in Italy, culminating in the twenty months of Resistance to the German Occupation, not only shaped the Allied victory and the Liberation of Europe, but was also a struggle to transform the cultural basis from which fascism arose; authoritarianism, patriarchy, nepotism and graft, and the networks of patron-client relationships which have persisted as the formal basis of society since the Roman Empire. As Stephanie Prezioso writes in Jacobin “the Resistance was not only a war of national liberation, but also a civil war and a class war — a social war that implicated the population itself.”

     But what is most relevant to us today is the way in which this multifaceted war was waged and won; for it was anarchic and destructured, self-organizing and embodying forms of mutualism, nonhierarchical and democratic in the best sense of free societies of equals. As the people of Hong Kong say of their art of revolution, “Be like water”. Again as described by Stephanie Prezioso; “Autonomy, anti-bureaucratic demands, voluntarism, “free initiative from below,” and the role of the individual – not of the “mass” – were the inner secrets to this libertarian and revolutionary liberalism, attached to social revolution”.

     As written by David Broder in Jacobin, in an article entitled The Lost Partisans; “Today Italy celebrates Liberation Day. But the true spirit of the antifascist resistance has long been obscured.

     Italy’s April 25 bank holiday marks the anniversary of the country’s liberation from fascism. This day in 1945, antifascist partisan units freed the northern industrial centers of Milan and Turin from the grip of Hitler and Mussolini’s remaining loyalists, after Allied forces had swept through the country. Just three days later, in a humiliating epitaph to the twenty-year regime, partisans captured and executed il Duce and his entourage, hanging them upside down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto.

     Marking the partisans’ victory over both German occupation and Italian fascism, April 25 is a patriotic holiday that honors the deeds of an armed minority. The festival was first celebrated in 1946, as the parties of the National Liberation Committee (CLN) from Christian Democrats to Socialists and Communists sought to identify themselves with “universal” values of freedom, democracy, and national unity.

     Tellingly, Liberation Day would be celebrated on the day that the CLN for upper Italy declared its power, not the date of the Allies’ final liberation of Italian territory.

     However, while the CLN parties’ claim to represent “a whole people in arms” delimited a broad national community excluding only the last fascist loyalists — held to be German stooges, and not true patriots — April 25 has never really lived up to its pretentions of national unity.

     This is not only because the remaining battalions of the far right have their own war commemorations at Mussolini’s Predappio hometown, but also because the armed resistance has always been principally identified in popular culture with Italy’s once-mass Communist Party (PCI).

     Although still today presidents and prime ministers commemorate April 25 as a founding moment of Italian democracy, the street rallies marking this holiday above all represent the politics that did not shape the postwar republic.

     Whereas 60 percent of partisans fought in PCI-organized units, the Communist Party shared the CLN’s political leadership with Christian Democrats, liberals, socialists, and others; and as the intense antifascist mobilization turned into the foundation of a parliamentary democracy, old elites soon reasserted their control over the state.

     Indeed, if the CLN parties governed Italy in coalition after liberation — together drafting a constitution and founding a republic — by May 1947 Cold War pressures forced the PCI out of office. As justice minister in 1946, the Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti had issued a sweeping amnesty applying even to fascists, in order to pacify social tensions; yet as the Left was sidelined, partisans themselves became the target of political trials pursued by ex-fascist judges and policemen.

     The gap between the partisan fighters and the postwar establishment was further symbolized on April 25, 1947, with the dissolution of the second-most resistance force, the republican-socialist Action Party.

     The anticommunist counteroffensive following liberation peaked in July 1948, with an assassination attempt against Togliatti. The far-right assailant’s attack not only sparked an unruly general strike but was also a trigger for many ex-partisans who had held onto their weapons, who mounted widespread armed occupations of workplaces and police stations in subsequent days.

     Frightened PCI leaders feared provoking a civil war like in Greece, where British-backed royalists bloodily crushed the Communist partisans after 1945. With the party thus reining in its more adventurist members, and Italy becoming a founder member of NATO in 1949, the hope of resistance turning into revolution quickly dissipated.

     Having been the main resistance party, the PCI was thus condemned to an ambivalent relationship with the state born of April 25, and whose constitution it helped to write. The country’s second party — securing between 22 and 34 percent of the vote in every election until its 1991 collapse — the PCI was barred from power-sharing by Italy’s strategic position in the Western bloc, even despite leader Enrico Berlinguer’s 1970s efforts to reach a “historic compromise” with Christian Democracy.

     Indeed, if April 25 is still today marked by rallies appealing to the constitution’s promise of a “democracy founded on labor,” for four decades the state was more than anything based on structural Christian Democratic dominance, the anticommunist linchpin of all Italian governments until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

     Although the Christian Democrats had been the PCI’s partners in the CLN and then in government in 1943–47, they had made a much lesser military contribution to the resistance, and on anniversaries like April 25 tended to emphasize the US Army’s role in liberating Italy far more than did the Communists.

     Without doubt, the partisan war was greatly less important to Christian Democratic identity: a big-tent party of many factions, but also strong anticommunist tendencies, its further right-wing shore tended to portray the resistance as a bloody endeavor essentially unnecessary to the Allies’ success in freeing the country.

     As such, whereas the Christian Democrats’ internal cohesion and claim to political authority in Cold War Italy was heavily premised on their binary opposition to the PCI, the Communists’ central means of asserting their democratic legitimacy was the commemoration of their non-sectarian, patriotic record in the war against Nazism.

     This stemmed from resistance strategy itself: the Communist-led working class played the leading role in mobilizing for the patriotic struggle, but, as Togliatti explained in an April 1945 circular, PCI partisans establishing CLN authority in each location should not “impose changes in a socialistic or communist sense,” even if acting alone. The PCI had committed to a common antifascist cause, not sought to enforce its own control.

     The party had thus used mass mobilization to secure itself a place in institutional life, but without antagonizing other democratic forces. Indeed, the PCI press of 1943–45 (and later party mythology) cast even the most evidently class-war aspects of the resistance — mass strikes, land occupations, draft resistance — in “patriotic” terms, a mass working-class contribution to a progressive national movement more than an assertion of workers’ anticapitalist class interests.

     It was this conjugation of patriotism, democracy, and a sense of workers’ centrality to national reconstruction that informed the constitutional promise of a “democratic republic founded on labor.” In this same productivist spirit, in the 1945–47 coalition the PCI backed wage freezes and implemented an effective strike ban, the better to rebuild Italian industry.

     That said, while the PCI portrayed its gradualist, institution-centric “Italian road to socialism” as an extension of Antonio Gramsci’s thinking, it in fact tended to invert Gramsci’s idea of hegemony, as leading socialist Lelio Basso emphasized in a 1965 piece for Critica Marxista.

     “Notwithstanding the working-class movement’s organizational preponderance in the resistance, it was our opponents who managed to hegemonize it politically,” he explained. “National or antifascist unity had a sense in terms of the pure goal of winning the war,” but “only with a tighter working-class unity over immediate postwar goals could the workers’ movement have really hegemonized the liberation struggle, imposing its own spirit, stamp and will, its own ideology and objectives upon it.”

     Founded on Labor

     Indeed, by the time of Basso’s article the PCI strategy of a gradually expanding “progressive democracy” had begun to ring hollow, the party’s commitment to republican legality clashing with its Cold War reduction to an oppositional role.

     Christian Democracy reigned supreme, and the far right was also seemingly on the rise, with Prime Minister Fernando Tambroni’s 1960 effort to form government resting on fascist MSI support, as well as the provocative attempt to stage an MSI congress in antifascist Genoa that same year. If violent protests blocked these efforts to rehabilitate the far right, the “democratic republic founded on labor” was not living up to the promise of the resistance.

     The weakening of the PCI dream of progressive democracy also coincided with changes in the shape of the working class, with the high industrial growth rates of Italy’s 1950s-1960s “economic miracle” drawing masses of workers from the underdeveloped south to the factories of the north.

     These workers, on the fringes of the traditional labor movement and suffering a semi-racialized discrimination, were central to the attentions of the 1960s New Left arising off the back of the PCI’s impasse.

     Young and coming from a south little-marked by the resistance, these workers had a profound cultural split from the largely older, more skilled northern workers for whom the antifascist strikes of March 1943 represented a key moment of collective memory and class pride.

     Tellingly, the operaista and autonomist literature (broadly conceived) of this period, breaking with the Communist Party’s rhetorical preoccupations, was notable for its lack of interest in resistance history, tending to see April 25 as a kind of PCI jamboree attached to patriotic-institutional politics, distant from the interests of the workers they sought to influence.

     To the extent that the resistance did enter into the extra-parliamentary left’s consciousness, this was above all thanks to armed-struggle groups and their efforts to replicate the most spectacular military actions of 1943–45, also inspired by a wider veneration of guerrilla struggles in Vietnam and elsewhere.

     Not only the Red Brigades’ invocation of the “continuing resistance” but also Giangiacomo Feltrinelli’s creation of Gruppi d’Azione Partigiana (GAP) consciously imitating the similarly named wartime PCI terrorist cells reflected the desire to recapture the militancy of that period.

     What rarely went considered in any of this was the political critique of the PCI strategy that had already in the 1940s been advanced by the most radical wing of the Italian resistance. Indeed, even the 1970s extra-parliamentary left tended to invoke the most militant forms of struggle from the war period (mass strikes, sabotage, terrorism) as abstract evidence of the potential for social change, rather than recover the history of those movements who had sought (and failed) to challenge the politics of national unity as such.

     This was the reason why even a 1970s Guevarist paramilitary group like the GAP could copy the name of 1940s partisan units that were in fact entirely PCI-controlled and subordinate to its patriotic alliance strategy.

     It seems that these groups were little aware that in 1943–45 there had also been revolutionary antifascist forces outside of the CLN, involved in armed struggle yet excluded from institutional resistance memory. Certainly, in a broad sense we could say that the symbolism of even PCI-led partisans (with their Bella Ciao, Bandiera Rossa, Fischia il Vento, red neckerchiefs . . .) and resistants’ individual motives for joining the struggle often reflected hope in some sort of socialist change, even if defined in vague terms.

     But there were also thousands-strong 1940s movements who organized with this explicit political perspective, rejecting national unity in favor of class warfare — from Stella Rossa in Turin to Rome’s Bandiera Rossa and Naples’s “red” CGL union.

     These were no minoritarian sects: in fact, Bandiera Rossa was the largest resistance force in Wehrmacht-occupied Rome. Arising from clandestine groups that had formed in the fascist period while PCI leaders were still in exile, and combining militant antifascism with an almost millenarian faith in imminent revolution, this autodidact-led movement built something of a mass base in the capital’s borgate slums in winter 1943–44, waging nine months of urban warfare at the cost of some 186 fatalities.

     Believing that Red Army successes on the Eastern Front reflected the world-historic advance of socialism (“turning war into revolution like Lenin in 1917”) this curiously ultra-Stalinist movement ultimately entered into bitter clashes with the official PCI, which sought to infiltrate and destroy its organization.

     Indeed, the movement’s radicalism threatened not only the PCI’s internal discipline, but also the orderly transition to democracy itself: as one military police report warned the Allied forces approaching the Italian capital in May 1944, Bandiera Rossa had “the secret aim, together with the other far-Left parties, of seizing control of the city, overthrowing the monarchy and government, and implementing a full communist program while the other parties are preoccupied with chasing out the Germans.”

     The subversive threat these communists posed saw their militias (deemed by British intelligence to have been “mainly drawn from the criminal classes”) immediately banned upon the Allies’ liberation of the capital.

     The suppression of Bandiera Rossa’s incendiary press and the forcible disarming of its partisans was no isolated case: the state’s assertion of a monopoly of violence and criminalization of its opponents was, in a sense, the founding act of republican legality, with the Allies combining with the CLN parties simultaneously to liberate territory and to impose a quick return to social peace.

     The state born of the resistance was, therefore, also a state born of the neutering of the resistance; the channeling of antagonistic class warfare into working-class representation in the state via the Communist and Socialist parties. Such was the democratic republic “founded on labor.”

     Postmodern April 25

     Today the PCI, self-declared “party of the resistance,” is dead, much like its Socialist and Christian Democratic counterparts. The collapse of the USSR exploded the Italian system’s Cold War binary in 1991, with the removal of the Communist threat finally detonating the rotten corruption networks that had so long flourished in its Christian-Democratic rival. If April 25 still lives on as a day of memorialization, it does so absent of the parties who actually took part in the struggle.

     With ever-reduced ranks of surviving veterans, and the Left in a dire state of collapse, the resistance’s role in Italian public life seems to be on the wane. Indeed, the end of the once mass PCI has clearly handed the initiative to the long-time opponents of the antifascist cause.

     Not only have revisionist historians increasingly sought to establish an equivalence of the crimes perpetrated by each side in the “civil war,” but the last Berlusconi government even toyed with getting rid of the Liberation Day bank holiday.

     Simultaneous to this, resistance memory is also undermined from within, as former PCI-ers adapt the old slogans to their now neoliberal politics, as in president Giorgio Napolitano’s April 25 intervention in 2013. Speaking at a former SS prison, the ex-Communist called on the incoming government to show “the same courage, resolve, and unity that were vital to winning the resistance battle” in dealing with the country’s economic crisis.

     The coalition he was orchestrating was a lash-up of the centrist Democrats with Silvio Berlusconi and Goldman Sachs technocrat Mario Monti; national unity had now became the banner of austerian collective belt-tightening.

     No wonder, then, that April 25 seems increasingly distant from the concerns of today’s unemployed and precarious youth — the “national day” instead living on mainly in the memory of the various fragments of the former PCI.

     Yet with that party’s hegemonic project dead, it seems unlikely that talk of “defending constitutional values” or invoking “national unity” or the “republican ethics” of seventy years ago can play any role in the regeneration of the Left.

     If anything, it is dissecting and questioning this legacy that can return the memory of the partisans to its proper place, turning April 25 from a day of national unity into a day of anti-institutional antagonism.”

     As written by STEFANIE PREZIOSO in Jacobin, in an article entitled The Anti-Fascist Revolution: Remembering the Action Party, one of Italy’s biggest anti-fascist partisan movements.; “Over the last two decades, the Italian Resistance has been a subject of sharp public debate, with both political and historical efforts “radically to repudiate the role and significance” of anti-fascism in Italy’s contemporary history. As Pier Giorgio Zunino wrote in 1997, “for the Italian history of the second half of the twentieth century, anti-fascism is the villain.”

     Indeed, most often simply identified with its Comintern (Communist International) variant, the anti-fascism of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s is branded “anti-democratic” because of its “blind[ness]” to the other “enemies of democracy,” as the Italian revisionist Renzo de Felice put it. Attacks on the twenty-month-long Resistance are essentially concentrated on its minoritarian character (thus seeing the anti-fascist parties as a mere second edition of the National Fascist Party itself) and the “cruelty” of the “violence” committed during the civil war and the months following Liberation.

     Italy is a country where the “negative memory” of this experience fuses with the political uses made of that memory. In this context, what is especially challenged “decade after decade” is the central, epoch-defining character of this period for the history of the dominated.

     This is because, between September 8, 1943 — the date that the Badoglio’s post-fascist government signed an armistice with the Allies, triggering a German occupation of northern-central Italy — and April 25, 1945 — the date of the final liberation of Italy’s great northern cities — the Resistance was not only a war of national liberation, but also a civil war and a class war — a social war that implicated the population itself.

     Of course, not all “the people” were in the “maquis,” as the title of Communist leader Luigi Longo’s Un popolo alla macchia might suggest. But a large part of the Italian population thought that the end of fascism should mean a challenge not just to the regime itself, but also to the Italian state as it had formed after the Risorgimento [national unification struggle of the mid-nineteenth century], and indeed, to bourgeois society as a whole. In this sense, anti-fascism really represented a positive struggle, with a political and social charge that projected itself into the future.

     In this context of a radical challenge to the existing order, the Action Party (Partito d’Azione or Pd’A), throughout its brief existence, played a very specific role. Created in 1942 and dissolved in 1947, over the twenty months of civil war the Pd’A was an advocate for the radical transformation of Italian society.

     This advocacy also translated into practice; in the war of Resistance that raged, especially in Northern Italy, from September 1943 onward, the Action Party made a relatively unparalleled contribution, offering the greatest number of combatants to the armed struggle. Giovanni de Luna captured this reality with his reference to the “party of the shot.” The Pd’A made a major contribution to the insurrections of April 1945, in particular in Turin.

     The living embodiment of a revolutionary “wind from the North,” azionismo also laid down a lasting system of values founded on anti-fascism. It considered anti-fascism not only in conjunctural terms — as a fight against the regime Mussolini had established from 1922 onward — but as a perpetual duty.

     This was summarized in April 1934 by Carlo Rosselli, founder of the secular, non-communist Justice and Liberty (Giustizia e Libertà or GL) movement. A figure whose memory was forever part of the Pd’A after his 1937 murder by fascists, Rosselli spoke of anti-fascism as “a struggle for eternity.”

     “We Are at War”

     Azionismo was rooted in the anti-fascism of the liberal revolutionary Piero Gobetti, who died in 1926 under the blows of the fascist squadristi; as well as its early 1930s political actualization by GL, the movement of the revolutionary socialist Carlo Rosselli and, among others, Emilio Lussu, a member of the Sardinian Partito d’Azione. Based in Paris in the 1930s, Rosselli and Lussu were both escapees from the island of Lipari, where they had been confined by the Fascist regime.

     For Piero Gobetti, fascism was “the autobiography of the nation.” On November 23, 1922, in a famous article entitled “Eulogy to the guillotine,” he wrote:

     Fascism… has been the autobiography of the nation. A nation that believes in class collaboration; a nation that renounces political struggle, on account of its own sloth…. Fascism in Italy is a catastrophe, and it is an indication of a decisive infantileness, for it marks the triumph of facility, of confidence granted, of optimism, of enthusiasms.

     This interpretation emphasized the elements of continuity between liberal Italy and fascist Italy and the idea of a missed Risorgimento – meaning an unaccomplished process of political unification and economic modernization. From this perspective, fascism was the result of this missing liberal/bourgeois revolution, and the expression of a backward and “uncultured” country whose only political experience was one of systems of government that combined clientelism, paternalism, transformism and authoritarianism.

     Fascism was thus the expression of “an old ill, rooted in the distant past of Italian history.” This interpretation combined with the idea that it was necessary to fight not only fascism itself, but all that had made it possible. This emphasized the role of the Italian ruling class in the affirmation and stabilization of the regime.

     During the 1930s, this line of interpretation would develop, in the context of an anti-fascist struggle waged in secrecy and exile. This fight now confronted a clearly established regime and a regimented country, in years that the revisionist historian Renzo de Felice described in terms of “consensus.”

     The revolutionary socialist Carlo Rosselli developed his own analysis of fascism based on Gobetti’s reflections, among others, discussing the development of what he from the early 1930s called “the anti-fascist revolution,” and refining its repertoires of action.

     In January 1932, the first issue of the Quaderni di Giustizia e Libertà asserted the need to pass from “the phase of a negative and indistinct anti-fascism” to that of the affirmation of a “constructive anti-fascism that understands and transcends the fascist experience and the experiences of post-[World War I] Europe.”

     Founded on the combined Mazzinian imperatives of “thought and action,” in a March 1931 circular addressed “To the Workers,” GL presented itself as a “revolutionary movement” aimed at overthrowing fascism by insurrectionary means. Carlo Rosselli and the members of GL conceived their political engagement as a radical rupture from fascism, but so, too, from pre-fascist Italy.

     In this sense, they constantly repeated that there could be no question of fighting to return to “l’Italietta di Facta” [referring to pre-Mussolini liberal prime minister Luigi Facta]. What united the militants of GL was “the revolt against the men, the mentality, and the methods of the pre-fascist political world” (“Per l’unificazione politica del proletariato,” GL, May 14, 1937).

     It also targeted the Italian Socialists, who had reduced themselves to impotence. We might particularly note the rather severe analysis Emilio Lusso gave of the Socialists’ collapse faced with the rise of fascism in his February 1934 article “Orientamenti”:

     The masses were brilliantly guided toward catastrophe… It took just a few mercenary brigands, gathered in such little time, to destroy the results of forty years of proletarian organization. It took not a flurry of machine-gun fire but only the rumble of a milk truck to disband what ought to have been the revolutionary army.

     The renewal of socialism and the anti-fascist struggle were thus envisaged as two interdependent and inextricably linked phases. GL advocated the defeat of pre-fascist political configurations, presenting itself in terms of “unity of action” among socialists, republicans, and liberals, and seeking to revive the struggle on Italian territory, if necessary using illegal and violent means.

     From 1930 onward, GL cells formed mainly in the towns of Northern Italy and in intellectual circles. This was the only non-Communist movement to construct a real network, and the Pd’A [formally constituted in 1942] would base itself on this, as it built its forces around such figures as Riccardo Bauer, Ernesto Rossi, Francesco Fancello, Nello Traquandi, Umberto Ceva, Vincenzo Calace, Dino Roberti, Giuliano Viezzoli, Ferruccio Parri, and many others. While this social and militant base was principally among intellectuals, this small circle would become a hardened troop, ready to take up arms.

     GL, the Pd’A, and the Revolution

     Indeed, fascism placed the young (liberal and/or socialist) intellectuals, as the basis of GL, and the Pd’A in a paradoxical situation. The regime established by Mussolini seemed to position the “rearguard” fight for the defense of democratic freedoms as the order of the day. There is no doubt that the anti-fascist engagement of liberals like Ernesto Rossi or Riccardo Bauer was built precisely around this primary revolt, more moral than political.

     Yet it was at precisely this moment that the fight for freedom emancipated itself from the historical and theoretical frameworks in which it had emerged. It broke away from the revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as it adopted more complex notions that resolutely anchored it in the era beginning in October of 1917.

     Piero Gobetti was again at the heart of this way of conceiving anti-fascism, which combined liberalism with exhortations to revolution. Over the course of his short life, he consistently emphasized that his liberalism was rooted in the concrete experience of the struggles of the downtrodden, with the Turin factory councils of 1919-20 and the soviets in Russia in his view marking their most complete expression.

     Gobetti thus saw the workers’ movement as “freedom on the way to establishing itself” and the October Revolution as “an affirmation of liberalism” because it broke “a centuries-long slavery” in creating an “agrarian democracy,” a state in which “the people have faith.”

     Autonomy, anti-bureaucratic demands, voluntarism, “free initiative from below,” and the role of the individual – not of the “mass” – were the inner secrets to this libertarian and revolutionary liberalism, attached to social revolution and fully anchored in the twentieth century. GL drew on this same thread in the 1930s. Thus, the question posed was “reconciling the political and social potential of the Russian Revolution with the scientific, humanistic, liberal legacy of the West.”

     If fascism reflected Italians’ moral, political, and cultural immaturity – in short, a “lack of character” – then building a new political order must inevitably proceed via a revolutionary struggle. This was a struggle in which active minorities would play an exemplary role, and which would “then spread among wide layers of the population.”

     One of the challenges this posed was how to envisage a revolutionary process in a country that had never seen any large-scale revolutionary phenomenon, the “popular and revolutionary Risorgimento” having been swept aside by the monarchy, the clergy, agrarian feudalism, and finance.

     From this perspective, the anti-fascist revolution could be a “social and moral” second Risorgimento, which would result in the emancipation of the workers. Over the 1930s – for GL’s Carlo Rosselli in particular – the revolution became more clearly proletarian, and anti-fascism became synonymous with anti-capitalism.

     This was not an abstract anti-capitalism, but a “concrete and historical” one founded on the observation and the conviction that liberal democracy had exhausted its historical role. The post-World War I crisis of democracy and the crisis of capitalism thus became potent factors in the interpretation of the struggle that must now be fought.

     The Pd’A structured itself around themes linked to the origins of fascism and the anti-fascist revolution, questions which Carlo Rosselli in particular had posed within GL. While the onset of World War II broke up the networks constituted in exile (especially in France) it would also constitute the terrain in which these new political orientations could be tested in practice.

     As Leonardi Paggi put it, we can here see “the war’s absolutely leading role not only as a factor for the destruction of the old order, but also as the site of the reconstruction of a new one.”

     Indeed, “the fascist war” (from 1940–43) would play a fundamental role in driving the rise of a properly anti-fascist social and political consciousness, taking on ever wider proportions. The strike wave of March 1943 and the outpourings of joy on July 25 of that same year, as Italians greeted the news of Mussolini’s downfall, each bore witness to this.

     Moreover, during the civil war of 1943 to 1945, the anti-fascism that had built up over twenty years of fascism and that etched itself on the body of a devastated, “marytred” country, now transformed into a real movement driven by men and women and by their hopes and expectations. The immediate trigger for the formation of the Action Party was, of course, the war. Yet it was also driven by the heartfelt need for an unremitting struggle, by and through the war, against everything in the process of modern Italy’s construction that had led to disaster.

     From its creation in June 1942, the Pd’A presented itself as the rallying point for the diverse elements of non-Communist anti-fascism of both socialist and liberal orientations. The Pd’A was, first of all, composed of members of the liberal-socialist movement founded among young intellectual circles in central Italy in 1937 by Guido Calogero and Aldo Capitini, whose 1940 program called for the formation of a “common front for freedom.”

     In July 1943, this current was joined by the militants of GL, which became a socialist unity movement under the direction of Emilio Lussu after the 1937 assassination of Carlo Rosselli. On March 3, 1943, GL, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party signed a pact for unity in action, advocating “a national insurrection to smash fascism’s policy of war.”

     As Giovanni de Luna emphasizes in his book (which is sadly yet to be translated), the different souls of the Action Party were nonetheless united by the conception of politics its militants constructed – a politics considered inextricably linked to morality – and by the constant search for means of action to respond to Italy’s concrete needs, particularly those of its peasant, worker and intellectual layers, in order to radically change the social and political order.

     Hence the party’s “republican prejudice” and its calls for change in Italy’s state structure and its economy. Among the seven points of the Pd’A’s June 1942 political program, we might mention: decentralization of power to the local level; the nationalization of monopolies; land reform; trade-union freedom; and the separation of church and state. The Italian historian Claudio Pavone thus recalled how the “Action Party spoke in its program of its intent to establish a socialism for new times” and how this party had expressed a “utopia, as the aspiration for the utmost.”

     The question of the means of struggle was at the center of the debates at the Pd’A’s national congress on September 5-7, 1943 – a congress held before the armistice [between the post-coup Badoglio government and the Anglo-Americans] was declared, and with German troops having spread across Italian territory from July to September. The idea of a war of national liberation here translated into the understanding that it would now be necessary to wage a large-scale war. The GL brigades would now constitute the Pd’A’s armed wing, under Ferruccio Parri’s command.

     These brigades were conceived as sites for the consolidation and/or emergence of a social and political consciousness, even if recruitment for the Pd’A brigades was a lot more selective than that which took place in the Communist-led Garibaldi brigades. Dante Livio Bianco wrote:

     [T]rue political work in partisan formations consisted not so much of giving ‘lectures’ or of forcing partisans to read the political press, as of touching (and that was how it was – even only touching) on the key points, uncovering them and bringing them out of the generic, the confused, the indistinct, and instead proposing these points – even in their most basic form – to the individual consciousness, thereby drawing out new motives for action.

     But the debate also concerned the definition of the struggle itself: was this a struggle for national liberation and/or a “democratic” revolution? For the militants of the Pd’A, the one necessarily went hand-in-hand with the other, but the contents of this democratic revolution were differently defined even within the party – more radically so among former GL militants, and in more liberal terms among others.

     Yet all agreed on an intransigent opposition to Badoglio’s post-fascist regime under the “Kingdom of the South” [ruling Allied-occupied regions after September 1943], and on a relentless search for unity in action among the parties of the Left. Throughout the Resistance war, the azionisti thought that Italy’s concrete situation could result in processes “of a revolutionary character.”

     “You are either for revolution or for reforms,” Pd’A secretary for Northern Italy Leo Viliani wrote, “and we are for revolution.” The “revolution” even became a “permanent revolution,” “whose goals can never be determined once and for all, but rather are continually redefined.”

     However, the Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti’s return to Italy in late 1944 and the international realignment of the Allied forces – who were now clearly focused on the future of Western Europe’s reconstruction – marked the end of the “revolutionary” hopes of azionismo and the anti-fascist revolution. Palmiro Togliatti’s speech at Salerno would mark their swansong.

     In this Southern town, the Communist leader asserted the need for the unity of anti-fascists of whatever political or religious orientation, and proposed that the institutional question (monarchy or republic?) be put off until after the war. Azionismo’s revolutionary and Jacobin anti-fascism had truly resonated with the aspirations of the popular, peasant, and working-class layers of Northern Italy, but this would now be defeated by the new situation of Allied “diplomatic” anti-fascism, to which Togliatti’s Communist Party added decisive impetus, shortly before the Allies reached Rome in June 1944.

     There now began to emerge the image of a “betrayed” or at least “unfinished” Resistance, meaning “the incompletion of an ideal that was never fully realized, but nonetheless continued to feed hopes and to awaken stresses and energies for renewal.” As Marco Revelli wrote, “…the true mortal sin of anti-fascism consisted in its struggle against the roots, against the tradition of Italy, in its destructive charge dissolving the fundamental aggregations of fatherland and family.”

     And azionismo’s “mortal sin” was not only that it kept this memory alive, but that it was able to transmit this experience over time, as well as the questions it posed to the Italy of the past, their own present, and the future. This was especially the case of Piero Calamandrei (a father of the 1948 Italian Constitution), Giorgio Agosti, Leo Valiani, Aldo Garosci, and Alessandro Galante Garrone.

    Of course, the Pd’A’s was a short experience, doubtless linked to its variety of political souls and its inability to provide a common substance to the anti-fascist revolution that it considered so necessary. But azionismo remains a thorn in the side of those who hope to see the subversive potential of the Resistance experience die away as the years pass.

    And indeed, with the commemorations every April 25, what is put on the agenda anew is the fact that this past can again become a force in the present. Without doubt, this is the sense in which azionismo and its “anti-fascist revolution” remain a rallying point for the oppositional Italian left today. The slogan “Now and always, Resistance!” was chanted once more on April 25, 2017, renewing the subversive potential of militant azionismo and the living force of its “permanent revolution.”


25 settembre 2022 L’Italia sceglie un futuro all’ombra del terrore fascista e della tirannia

    In questo giorno elettorale, cento anni dopo la marcia di Mussolini su Roma, l’Italia sceglie un futuro all’ombra del terrore fascista e della tirannia e dei lasciti di una storia per la quale non c’è mai stata una resa dei conti nazionale.

    Se la democrazia in Italia cade oggi, nessuno in Europa è al sicuro. I partiti politici regressivi che armano le identità nazionali di razza e fede e sfruttano la paura dell’alterità sono ormai ovunque, ma quello che sta per conquistare il governo italiano ha origine nell’ur-fonte del fascismo moderno guidato da Benito Mussolini, e nulla lo suggerisce ha rinnegato la sua storia.

     Come nello stato revivalista nazista dell’Ungheria di Orban, trampolino di lancio per la riconquista dell’Europa, in Italia potremmo presto affrontare uno stato fascista non ricostruito. Insieme a Vox in Spagna e ai nazionalisti di Le Pen in Francia, emerge un’immagine cupa del nostro futuro mentre condividono risorse per sfruttare ideologie e politiche in Europa.

    Eppure ogni forza crea la propria controforza, e in Italia come in tutta Europa le storie della Resistenza bilanciano quelle del fascismo. Qui bisogna cercare alleanze e modelli per rispondere alla paura con speranza e divisione con solidarietà.

22 luglio 2022 Speranza e disperazione: l’Italia al culmine del cambiamento

     Il governo italiano è crollato, un atto di sabotaggio dei revivalisti fascisti che hanno abbandonato la coalizione politica che finora le ha impedito di precipitare dall’orlo di un precipizio nell’abisso, una minaccia esistenziale alla sopravvivenza dei suoi popoli e alla base servizi di qualsiasi stato che includono l’assistenza sanitaria.

    Ma se l’abisso custodisce il terrore di un precariato tenuto in ostaggio dalla morte e dai bisogni materiali di sopravvivenza, l’abisso è anche il luogo in cui si trova la speranza, perché qui gli equilibri di potere possono essere modificati nella lotta rivoluzionaria.

    In questo tempo liminale di reimmaginazione e trasformazione delle nostre possibilità di diventare umani, di prese di potere e di adempimento dei Quattro Doveri Primari di Cittadino, Autorità di Domanda, Autorità di Esporre, Autorità di simulazione e Autorità di Sfida, guardiamo al nostro glorioso passato nella Resistenza che vinse la Liberazione d’Italia il 25 aprile e l’impiccagione di Mussolini il 28 aprile 1945.

     Come dice il proverbio preferito di Slavoj Zizek, una traduzione errata o una parafrasi francese del verso di Antonio Gramsci nei suoi Quaderni del carcere “La crisi consiste nel appunto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo fatto non può nascere: in questo interregno si incontrare i fenomeni morbosi più svariati”, letteralmente “La crisi consiste proprio nel fatto che il vecchio sta morendo e il nuovo non può nascere, in questo interregno compare una grande varietà di sintomi morbosi”, come “Le vieux monde se meurt, le nouveau monde tarde à apparaître et dans ce clair-obscur surgissent les monstres”, che introduce l’idea di mostruosità, referenziale allo sviluppo storico dell’opera di Michel de Montaigne, Michel Foucault e Georges Canguilhem Il normale e il patologico, un processo dialettico di mimesi che si traduce nella forma del principio come; “Il vecchio mondo sta morendo e il nuovo mondo lotta per nascere; ora è il tempo dei mostri”.

     I significati cambiano, si adattano e cambiano mentre trasgrediscono i confini, abitano spazi pubblici e privati e si dispiegano su vasti abissi temporali, e così dobbiamo.

Rome, Open City film by Roberto Rossellini

Here Endeth the Lesson: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season seven, episode eleven


30 agosto 2022 Centenario delle Barricate di Parma e della Resistenza Antifascista di Guido Picelli e L’Ardito del Popolo

     Cento anni fa, in agosto, la resistenza antifascista di Guido Picelli e L’Ardito del Popolo ha combattuto una gloriosa battaglia per l’anima dell’umanità e il destino del mondo contro l’ondata del fascismo e delle camicie nere di Mussolini a Parma, preludio della marcia su Roma che ha aperto le porte all’Olocausto e alla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, così molto simile alla nostra insurrezione del 6 gennaio che ci minaccia ancora con il ritorno del fascismo come Quarto Reich.

    Ora come allora, e in ogni generazione dell’umanità, siamo definiti da come affrontiamo coloro che ci renderebbero schiavi e l’oscurità dentro di noi che minaccia di consumarci, i difetti della nostra umanità e la fragilità del mondo; solidale come una banda di fratelli e un’Umanità Unita, o soggiogata attraverso gerarchie e divisioni di appartenenza elitaria e alterità escludente, come società libera di uguali o con fascismi di sangue, fede e suolo. Come recita il Giuramento della Resistenza fattomi da Jean Genet a Beirut; “Ci giuriamo reciprocamente lealtà, di resistere e di non cedere, e di non abbandonare i nostri simili”.

   Per Antifa e per la Resistenza gli Arditi sono un importante antenato storico, ma anche per tutti coloro che amano la Libertà, dove sempre gli uomini hanno fame di essere liberi.

    Ecco anche un ammonimento, della necessità della Solidarietà e dei pericoli della frattura ideologica, poiché gli Arditi non riuscirono a sconfiggere il fascismo alla sua nascita per le stesse ragioni per cui Rosa Luxemburg ei socialdemocratici tedeschi non furono in grado di contrastare l’ascesa di Hitler.

    A questa patologia della discontinuità e al terrore del nostro nulla, alla divisione e alla disperazione di fronte alla forza schiacciante, rispondo con Buffy l’ammazzavampiri citando le istruzioni ai sacerdoti nel Book of Common Prayer nell’episodio undici della settima stagione, Showtime , dopo aver attirato un nemico in un’arena da sconfiggere come dimostrazione alle sue reclute; “Non so cosa accadrà dopo. Ma so che sarà proprio così: difficile, doloroso. Ma alla fine, saremo noi. Se tutti faremo le nostre parti, credeteci, saremo quelli rimasti in piedi. Qui finisce la lezione”.

References in my text

The Normal and the Pathological, by Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason,

by Michel Foucault

Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection

by Michel de Montaigne, John Florio (Translation), Stephen Greenblatt (Editor), Peter G. Platt (Editor)

               Antonio Gramsci, a reading list

Prison Notebooks: Volume I, by Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg (Translator) Columbia University Press

Prison Notebooks, Volume 2: 1930-1932, by Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg (Editor)  Columbia University Press

Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and Its Narratives, by Kate Crehan

The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism, by Peter D. Thomas

Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, by Maurice A. Finocchiaro

Gramsci’s Politics of Language: Engaging the Bakhtin Circle and the Frankfurt School, by Peter Ives

Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment, by David M. Kreps



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