Italian anti-Mussolini fighter interviewed

This video is an Italian interview with Luigi Fiori.

From British weekly Socialist Worker:

The ‘Devil’ who helped drive Nazis out of Italy

Italian partisan Luigi Fiori spoke to Tom Behan about his role in resisting fascism in Italy

For somebody who was born just after the First World War, Luigi Fiori is an amazingly busy person.

When I phoned his landline he was on his mobile making the final arrangements to speak at an anti-fascist meeting.

Luigi, a former Italian partisan who resisted both Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime and German Nazis, is coming to the Marxism festival in central London this week to speak on the fight against fascism, then and now.

He is a worried man, concerned about the votes for the fascists in the European elections and the presence of fascists within the Italian government.

Members of Silvio Berlusconi’s right wing government have their political roots in the fascist period.

As Luigi says, “They just pretend to be democrats. Take Gianfranco Fini, the speaker of the parliament and the former leader of the National Alliance party.

“He’s been to the Wailing Wall in Israel and paid homage to the victims of Italy’s racial laws.

“He’s a fascist but he’s not stupid. He’s not a rabid dog. His ilk are just waiting for the right moment.

“Once Berlusconi falls – and he’s wobbling a bit at the moment – Fini and his gang will make a bid for power.”

Fiori is also worried because he experienced fascism as a schoolboy.

Mussolini’s National Fascist Party took power in Italy in 1922 and imposed a one party state that ruled with an iron fist.

Luigi said, “We knew nothing about what was happening outside of Italy. We were totally isolated.


“Society was totalitarian and you couldn’t speak a word out of turn.

“When other people of my age say, ‘I used to say’ I respond with comments like, ‘What do you mean? You couldn’t say anything.’

“Fascism was normality. Due to the level of repression, the anti-fascists – we didn’t know who they were – didn’t dare talk to us because we were just kids.

“They would have risked too much by revealing their identities to us.”

Even the taking of exams was an excuse for indoctrination.

If you weren’t wearing the fascist uniform then you weren’t allowed to take your place in the examination hall.

Soon after leaving school Fiori was called up to serve in the Italian army in the Second World War.

When the fascist regime collapsed in 1943, Luigi – along with tens of thousands of others – refused to serve in the puppet army set up by the Nazis and a severely weakened Mussolini.

Luigi and his comrades went up into the mountains to become partisans – armed anti-fascist resistance fighters.


Over the next 18 months they fought – and won – a bitter guerrilla war against fascists and German Nazis.

As opposed to a conventional army, the resistance movement had no hierarchy of ranks.

Commanders were elected and their powers could be immediately revoked.

Fiori led a unit in the Appenine mountains.

For security reasons he was only known by a codeword: “Commander Friar Devil”.

He never tires of telling young people that his generation faced terrible problems – and overcame them.

“When I speak at meetings I’m always saying to people: ‘Look kids, don’t give up.’

“Many are the times the Nazis assembled between 10,000 and 12,000 men to attack us, and they really knocked the hell out of us.

“But ten days later we were back on our feet again, and had already organised another brigade.”

Fiori is keen to learn about the situation in Britain, and agrees that parties such as the fascist British National Party (BNP) need to be confronted on the streets.

He says, “We need to be careful though as normally they have the police on their side.

“However, we’re far stronger denouncing what they’re doing – shouting loud and clear that what they’re doing is dangerous.

“We’ve been far too tolerant for far too long – these people shouldn’t be allowed to go around waving swastikas.

“Our strength lies in our commitment and our numbers.”

Only days before the G8 summit opens, a new security law directed primarily against illegal immigrants comes into force in Italy: here.

19 thoughts on “Italian anti-Mussolini fighter interviewed

  1. Hungarian Guard told to go home

    Hungary: The far-right Hungarian Guard says that it will continue its activities despite a court ruling upholding the group’s disbanding.

    The decision by the Budapest Appeals Court upholds a 2008 ruling breaking up the association which founded the Hungarian Guard because of activities incompatible with the “democratic rule of law.”

    The Guard has staged several marches in towns with a large population of Gypsies or Roma, with the stated aim of “protecting” non-Roma from their alleged crimes.


  2. Undocumented migrants are workers and not criminals

    Resist the criminalization of undocumented migrant workers in Italy and in the European region

    07 July 2009

    (Statement of the Network on Undocumented Migrant Workers on the new law on undocumented migrant workers in Italy. Network members are MIGRANTE Europe, INDIES Indonesia; KASAMMAKO – Korea; MIGRANTE Middle East, Institute for Migrant Workers – Indonesia; FIOB (Mexico), USA; MIGRANTE United Arab Emirates; TENAGANITA, Malaysia; Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM); May 1st Coalition, USA; UMANGAT – Rome; NLO, Nepal; ATIK, The Netherlands, and ; ATIK, Germany)

    The Network on Undocumented Migrant Workers consisting of grassroots organizations of migrants, advocates and NGOs in Asia-Pacific region and in Europe condemn the new law on undocumented migrant workers that the government of Italy is set to implement soon. We call on its immediate repeal as it unjustly criminalizes undocumented migrants and make them vulnerable to human rights abuses.

    Italy’s tougher law on undocumented migrant workers that includes stiffer fines and imprisonment, formation of so-called citizen’s groups to report undocumented migrants, and mandating parents to present documents of their legality before registering a child is but the most repressive yet of all policies in the European Union on undocumented migrants.

    With this new law, Italy has joined the ranks of countries like Japan, South Korea and Malaysia for being the most notorious in terms of treating undocumented migrants as nothing more than criminals. This, despite the very obvious contribution of the migrant workers – documented or not – to the respective economies of said countries.

    Aside from criminalizing undocumented migrants, the provision of allowing citizens to mount so called patrols is very similar to the use of RELAs or People’s Volunteer Corps in Malaysia with the same function. RELA’s have been accused of human rights abuses as they raid houses, and search places and people without any warrant. Especially in this time of crisis and with anti-migrants sentiment fanned by no less than states themselves, such a policy can result to even more severe violations of rights of undocumented migrants and families.

    Meanwhile, the requirement for parents to present their legal papers when they declare the birth of a child would create a generation of stateless children.

    The new law in Italy is but a preview of worse things to come for undocumented migrants in the European region.

    In 2010, the European Union is set to implement the Return Directives Policy that will roundup hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants in the region and deport them without any consideration to their rights. Moreover, last March EU also passed the European Commission Employers Sanctions Directive that does not recognize the labor rights of undocumented migrant workers.

    The dreaded ‘Fortress Europe’ is already taking shape as the EU implements stricter border controls while intensifying crackdowns on those already present in its member countries. This is becoming more pronounced now as the global crisis fans anti-migrant worker sentiments, discrimination and xenophobia throughout the world.

    Ironically, the Third Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) that purports to protect migrant workers is going to be convened in Greece – an EU member country – this November. While it pronounces protection, the GFMD has made no attempt to concretely address burning concerns of migrant workers but instead just create policies and guidelines to intensify the commodification of migrant workers and the cornering of remittances for so-called development that is not really for the migrants and their families.

    It is but right for migrant workers and advocates to resist this new law in Italy, call for its repeal, and advance the cause for the protection of undocumented migrants in Europe. Even the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families make no distinction to documented and undocumented ones when it comes to protection of the rights and wellbeing of foreign workers.

    The Network on Undocumented Migrant Workers vow to conduct actions to expose this draconian rule in Italy and also prevent the implementation of the Return Directive Policy in EU. This will be one of the major issues to be taken up by the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) that shall serve as the counter and parallel gathering of grassroots migrant workers against the GFMD.

    We call on all migrant workers, advocates and families of migrants to join the fight for the rights of undocumented migrant workers.

    Undocumented migrants are workers and human beings deserving of the full rights accorded to others.

    Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
    G/F, No.2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

    Tel. no.: (852) 2723-7536
    Fax no.: (852) 2735-4559
    General E-mail:

    Other Email Addresses:
    Managing Director : /
    Advocacy Program : /
    Research and Publication: /
    Women’s Program : /


    “We dream of a society where families are not broken up by the urgent need for survival.
    We dream and will actively work for a homeland where there is opportunity for everyone to live a decent and humane life.”


  3. Quando nel maggio 1996 la Lega Nord decise di istituire le Camicie verdi, l’On. Domenico Gramazio della direzione nazionale di Alleanza nazionale così commentò la notizia: “Bossi non sa che le Camicie verdi appartengono alla storia e alla tradizione del vecchio mondo attivistico della destra italiana. Apparvero per la prima volta nel 1953 ai funerali del maresciallo d’Italia Rodolfo Graziani. È proprio con le Camicie verdi che nel lontano 1956 l’allora segretario giovanile del Movimento sociale italiano, Giulio Caradonna, preparò il famoso attacco alle Botteghe Oscure, al quale parteciparono con la camicia verde, fra gli altri, Vittorio Sbardella, Mario Gionfrida, Romolo Baldoni e tanti altri attivisti dell’Msi”.
    Gramazio, pur sbagliando data, rammentò un episodio realmente accaduto. L’assalto alla sede nazionale del Pci avvenne infatti un anno prima, nel 1955, la sera del 9 marzo, quando un centinaio di neofascisti con camicie verdi, bracciali tricolori e cravatte nere, scesi da due pullman, tentarono di irrompere all’interno del “Bottegone”. La porta venne prontamente chiusa. A quel punto si scagliarono contro la sottostante libreria Rinascita con molotov, pietre e bastoni. Nell’occasione Mario Gionfrida, detto “er gatto” (mai appellativo fu così azzardato), nel tentativo di lanciare una bomba si tranciò di netto una mano. Lo si rivedrà di nuovo in giro con una protesi in legno.
    Tornando al 1996, il 15 settembre Umberto Bossi dichiarava l’indipendenza della Padania, minacciando il ricorso a vie non democratiche. Il 22 settembre, come filiazione delle Camicie verdi, decideva anche di istituire la Guardia nazionale Padana, suddivisa in cinquanta compagnie e dedita all'”esercizio del tiro a segno come motivo di aggregazione sociale”. Erano gli anni in cui ai magistrati ricordava che “Una pallottola costa solo 300 lire”. L’ex senatore Corinto Marchini, il primo comandante delle Camicie verdi, poi fuoriuscito dalla Lega, solo qualche anno fa in un’intervista a Claudio Lazzaro che stava appunto girando “Camicie verdi”, un film-documentario uscito nel 2006, raccontò come lo stesso Bossi lo avesse istigato a organizzare manifestazioni eclatanti, ben più del semplice bruciare il tricolore nelle piazze. “Bossi mi chiamò all’una e mezza di notte” – ribadì Marchini – “mi disse di sparare ai carabinieri, che le Camicie verdi dovevano essere pronte a sparare”. Seguirà a fine gennaio 1998 la richiesta di rinvio a giudizio del procuratore della Repubblica di Verona Guido Papalia per tutta la dirigenza della Lega e una ventina di Camicie verdi. I reati: attentato contro la Costituzione e l’integrità dello Stato, oltre a formazione di associazione militare a fini politici. Un processo mai fatto.
    Sarà forse un caso, ma la camicia verde come uniforme fu anche adottata in Europa nel secolo scorso da alcuni dei principali movimenti fascisti. Tra loro, le Croci frecciate ungheresi, fondate nella primavera del 1935 da Ferenc Szalasy, un ufficiale ultranazionalista. Lo stemma ricordava la bandiera nazista: un cerchio bianco, su sfondo rosso, con all’interno al posto della svastica due frecce disposte a forma di croce. Strutturate come un ordine religioso invocavano la benedizione del cielo per la loro crociata “contro gli ebrei e i bolscevichi”. Alleati dei nazisti, costituirono nell’ottobre del 1944 un governo fantoccio in Ungheria sotto la guida di Szalasy, autoproclamatosi “Reggente della nazione”, deportando migliaia di ebrei nei campi di sterminio. Almeno 15 mila, invece, secondo gli storici, gli ebrei direttamente massacrati in quei mesi dalle Croci frecciate a Budapest.
    Assai simile all’esperienza ungherese fu la Guardia di ferro rumena, movimento fanatico e antisemita fondato nel 1927 da Cornelius Zelea Codreanu. Nel gennaio del 1941, in un tentativo di colpo di Stato, le bande paramilitari della Guardia di ferro, con tanto di camicia verde, fecero irruzione al quartiere ebraico incendiando case e sinagoghe. Al termine trascinarono al mattatoio comunale centinaia di sventurati. Molti di loro furono sgozzati, simulando una cerimonia kosher, altri decapitati. I corpi furono successivamente appesi ai ganci da macellaio. “Li avevano scorticati vivi a giudicare dalla quantità di sangue”, riferì in un suo telegramma l’ambasciatore degli Stati Uniti in Romania. Tra loro anche una bambina di cinque anni appesa per i piedi.
    Movimenti fascisti a sfondo mistico-religioso che percorsero l’Europa, come furono anche i Verdinazo (Vereinigung dienst national-solidaristen) o Associazione dei solidaristi fiamminghi, fondata negli anni Venti da Joris van Severen, il cui progetto era di riunificare il Belgio, il Lussemburgo, i Paesi Bassi e le Fiandre francesi, riportando la ruota della storia al tempo dell’impero di Carlo V. Dotata di milizie con camicia verde, originò anche un corpo parapoliziesco che collaborò con i nazisti. Storie terribili e lontane, chissà se conosciute dai dirigenti leghisti…..


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