Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Berlusconi's Return to Power

There is much to concern all right thinking people about the return of Berlusconi to the head of Italian government. Chief amongst these concerns is his relationship with the fascist Northern Alliance. In fact, Berlusconi has hardly hidden his true beliefs, recently declaring:

"We are the new Falange."

A not so subtle reference to the Falange party in Spain that played an important part in Franco's rise to power. Fascism certainly appears to have been embraced by the man who controls a hefty chunk of the Italian media. And it appears the sudden shift to fascism in Italy is not an isolated occurrence, as the recent mayoral election in Rome has shown.

Gianni Alemanno won the mayoral election with 54% of the vote and his supporters made clear their own views on the rise of fascism:

On Monday night, the area around Rome's city hall rang to chants of "Duce! Duce!", the term adopted by Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, equivalent to the German "Führer". Supporters of the new mayor gave the fascist Roman straight-arm salutes.

Although this trend is disturbing, it has one benefit. Berlusconi has always been a man of the right. Beloved by conservatives across the globe. Many of these conservative voices have been attempting to paint the fascist movement in the 1930s as some kind of left-wing ideal. That the facts point to the opposite conclusion hardly matters. With Berlusconi now echoing the rhetoric of the fascists, this should flush out some of the bullshit that has come from elements of the right in recent years. Will those who decry fascism as a left-wing ideology now come out and criticise him?? I think not. Which leads to another interesting problem for the right.

For many years, opposition to the actions of Israel has been equated to anti-Semitism. Many on the right have sought the moral high ground in response to their complicity in the rise of fascism. This complicity has helped to paint them as friends of the Jewish people and Israel's critics as their enemies. This is, of course, patently absurd and will surely now be exposed in Italy. During the mayoral campaign in Rome, Jewish citizens protested against Alemmano within the old Jewish ghetto due to his dubious record. Given that this is the case and that the right, as they claim, are now friends of Jewish people across the globe, will we see the right come out and condemn Alemmano and Berlusconi?? I find it hard to believe. The right will, as always, discard their principles on the basis of political expediency. I for one will not be expecting any condemnations of the rise of fascism or anti-Semitism in Italy from anyone on the right.