And, really happened: on May 4, [Italian far-right politician] Salvini stood on the balcony of the town of Forlì, constructed by Mussolini, to face a small crowd in the pouring rain. In Piazza Saffi, a paragon of fascist architecture, where four resistance fighters, including a girl [Iris Versari], were hung on August 18, 1944 to show the crowd what happened to resistance fighters. Salvini looked out at the memorial plaque.
Salvini under fire for address from notorious balcony used by Mussolini to watch executions: here.
In 1932 Mussolini predicted that the 20th century would be ‘un secolo fascista’, a ‘fascist century’. However, the Axis Powers were defeated in 1945 and attempts to revive his movement have failed. March 2019 marks the centenary of the formation of the first Fascio in Milan, and is an ideal moment to assess just how badly Mussolini misjudged how politics would evolve in the future.
Roger Griffin will consider the factors that could explain Mussolini’s delusion that fascism was becoming the dominant ideology of the modern age, and what ultimately condemned the socio-political experiments undertaken by the two fascist regimes to abject failure, sealed with their crushing military defeat in April[/May] 1945. However, having refuted the duce’s prediction for the political climate over the next 70 years, Griffin then considers how radically the perspective changes if ‘secolo’ is taken to mean, not a century, but ‘a hundred years’. In particular, it poses the question whether the apparently inexorable rise since the end of the Cold War of xenophobic populism,
identity politics, and the emergence of various new forms of right-wing movements and states, both secular and religious, might not be considered an argument for seeing Mussolini’s prophecy fulfilled, at least in part, even if far removed from the official Fascist dream of a new Italy whether in Russia, Hungary, Turkey or Brazil. So was Mussolini right after all, or at least more right than wrong? And what can liberal humanists and social democrats do about it? Moderated by Robin te Slaa.
Roger Griffin is Emeritus Professor in Modern History in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture at Oxford Brookes University. He is an expert on the socio-historical and ideological dynamics of fascism, as well as the relationship to modernity of violence stemming from various forms of political or religious fanaticism, and in particular contemporary terrorism. His theory of fascism as a revolutionary form of ultranationalism driven by palingenetic myth has had a major impact on comparative fascist studies since the mid-1990s. His latest book is Fascism: An Introduction to Comparative Fascist Studies (Polity 2018).
I think there are valuable elements in Professor Griffin’s analysis of fascism. My criticism is that it looks like Griffin sees fascism in a perspective of history of ideas; in which the origin of ideas is other ideas. History of ideas is a worthy subject of research. However, ideas do not evolve in a vacuum. They evolve in certain types of societies. There is not only the ‘superstructures’ of the world of ideas; but also the substructures of the social context in which these ideas evolve. Eg, will there be as much fascism in a society with much equality as in a corporate monopoly capitalist society with very much inequality? What is the influence of a society which is capitalist but which also has relics from feudalism (like Germany when they helped Hitler to become dictator in 1933)? Should there not be emphasis on the fascists’ aim of crushing the labour movement? What is the influence of wars? Both Mussolini’s fasci death squads and Hitler’s SA and SS paramilitary troops originated from ex-World War I officers and soldiers. They had been taught, being soldiers, that killing people supposedly is not criminal but heroic. And today, much neonazi violence is influenced by the endless NATO regime change wars.
I have translated parts of Reijnen’s translation back into English. With probably, mistakes creeping in from translating something twice.
Mussolini foresaw a fascist century. Is he still right?
For a long time the fascists seemed to have disappeared from the world stage. We celebrated too soon, historian Roger Griffin regrets. Is this the “fascist century” that Mussolini foresaw?
Benito Mussolini made a prediction in the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana. He wrote that the 19th century had been one of socialism, liberalism and democracy, but that the 20th century did not have to be the same. There were, he claimed, good reasons to believe that it would be the age of “authority”, of “the right”, a fascist age.
When Mussolini made his prediction, fascism was on the rise. Liberalism had been discarded by authoritarian regimes in more and more countries, and Nazism, which had only 2.6 percent of voters in 1928, now stood at 37 percent. At the same time, both obscure and prominent Western intellectuals announced the “downfall of the West” and came up with draconian solutions to cope with the crisis of civilization.
So Mussolini sensed the spirit of the time well. A few months after Hitler became Chancellor, he wrote: “We are in the middle of a time that we can describe as the transition from one type of civilization to another. The ideologies of the 19th century collapse and nobody wants to defend them anymore.” He then explains that socialism is “mummified by Marxist dogmas” and that many democrats and liberals believe that the demo-liberal phase of Western states is over‘. But fortunately: the “new fascist ideas that are emerging in all countries of the world” will mature in time to guarantee a positive future for humanity.
It went differently. On August 15, 1945, the three Axis powers were defeated and occupied by their arch-enemies: the communists and the liberal democrats. …
In the early 1990s, when the Cold War was coming to an end, the threat of fascism had almost disappeared and Francis Fukuyama could confidently predict that the clashes between fanatical ideologies that had determined the history of humanity would permanently belong to the past. Fortunately (from a liberal point of view) “History” had come to an end. Mussolini had simply been wrong. …
The rebirth of fascism
History, however, is a kaleidoscope of perspectives that change as major new developments force us to rewrite the story of how we interpret it. For suppose we do not see that century of Mussolini as the 20th century, but as the “one hundred years since the beginning of fascism”? Then the story we tell ourselves changes drastically. Because when Fukuyama finalized his article, the civil wars driven by mutual ethnic and religious hatred in Yugoslavia just got underway and [ex Pentagon Iraq war soldier] Timothy McVeigh and David Copeland were preparing for the deadly attacks they would commit in Oklahoma and London respectively.
Both were partly inspired by The Turner Diaries, the fictional diaries of a white racist who becomes a guerrilla fighter for the “Organization” successfully participating in the decisive war at the end of the 20th century. In it, the Aryan majority ultimately defeats all people who are “genetically unfit” by race or ideology and then exterminates them; first in the United States and then in the rest of the world. McVeigh had taken the idea of blowing up a government building with a bomb in a delivery van from that book. It is a kind of modern Mein Kampf dedicated to “the great Adolf Hitler.” In 1998 the Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (NSU) was established in Germany, a terrorist organization that would commit ten murders
More, according to some estimates.
, three bombings and fourteen bank robberies. Together, these attacks on the rule of law outlined the contours of new forms of fascism that would not be revealed until later.
During the same period, US “alt-right” fascists felt sufficiently strengthened by the rise of officially approved populism in their country to emerge and openly support the president. Supporters of extreme right-wing solutions to the growing worldwide problems of (in)equality and social integration have also found their place under the broad umbrella of the populist organizations that you find today in all Western countries, sometimes even as a government party or coalition partner.
Regarding those who remain faithful to the revolutionary vision of original fascism: some neo-Nazi splinter groups now take the NSU as an example.
(who shot dead 69 participants in a socialist summer camp for young people because in his eyes the Workers’ Party had promoted the mass immigration of Muslims). And now last week in New Zealand, Brenton Tarrant created an even more “sophisticated” example for fascist extremists who want to end the “genocide of the white race“. These terrorist attacks show that without being affiliated with a uniformed organization or “leader”, you can conduct powerful “action propaganda” for millennial fantasies of ethnic apartheid, cultural cleansing, forced repatriation, and the final struggle of a race war: an alternative “end of history”. …
Tarrant developed his politicized hatred via the worldwide web, there he gathered information about extremism and terrorism, bought his weapons there, streamed his massacre live and published his “manifesto”. …
This picture (also reproduced on the Facebook page of the Dutch NVU nazi party) shows the symbol of the Ukrainian Kiev government’s Azov battalion; source: here. It is the wolfsangel, or wolf’s hook. Which used to be a symbol in Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS. It was also the symbol of the Dutch nazi partyNSB in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Azov battalion logo has, behind its black wolfsangel, also another nazi SS symbol, depicted in white: the ‘schwarze Sonne‘ or black sun.
, taken from the pattern on the floor of the northern tower of Wewelsburg castle, which Heinrich Himmler had rebuilt. It looks like a combination of a spider web and a swastika. Multiculturalism and Islam – issues that did not play a role in the Third Reich –
There were very few Muslims in nazi Germany. However, the fight against multiculturalism, then referred to as ‘evil’ Jewish, Roma and other ‘un-German’ influence, was part of nazi ideology.
are the main symptoms of the social decline that must be eliminated. Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the interbellum, is also an important influence for Tarrant. However, there are also contemporary influences. The title of the manifesto is “The Great Replacement”, a reference to the 2012 theory of Renaud Camus: because the birth rate of the “whites” is falling and that of other ethnic groups is rising, Western civilization will gradually fall into barbarism and transform Europe into Eurabia. Tarrant’s example for the ideal terrorist attack against Islamization is Anders Breivik. Like some germs, fascism shows remarkable resilience when it comes to adaptations to the radically changed post-war socio-political environment. Although it is always necessary to be careful with disease metaphors: the Nazis also used them frequently to justify mass eradication. …
If that is the case, then we must conclude that the centenary of the formation of the first fasci is marked by the emergence of an alliance of anti-democratic, anti-pluralist and anti-humanist forces, while the defenders of human rights and egalitarianism are increasingly in the defensive. In some countries they are already standing with their backs to the wall, sometimes even to a prison wall. In that sense, Mussolini’s prediction of a “century of the right” seems less megalomaniac than twenty years ago. For four years, Dutch media such as de Volkskrant were silenced by the occupying power of the Third Reich and its collaborators.
We live in a time when carefully planned fascist acts of terror can provoke horrifying retributions by Islamist counterparts, and where the obsession with “differences” threatens to marginalize the liberal belief in shared humanity. This is not a time when democrats, whether they are religious or not, must keep quiet.
THE First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Since he took office in January 2017 the world has witnessed the US hurtle head first into the Trump world, a world which is hostile to minorities, the press and the truth.
Twenty-four hours after being sworn in as president, Trump sent White House press secretary Sean Spicer to drill some discipline into the media. Their crime? Reporting the low numbers at the presidential inauguration.
At the White House press room, Spicer went into Rottweiler mode and barked out his insistence that the numbers were much higher than reported.
Although we all saw the poor turnout, either on the ground in Washington or live on TV, the new regime at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wanted us to believe an “alternative fact”. It was January 2017 and a style of censorship and propaganda reared its ugly head in the “land of the free.”
Censorship and propaganda were fiercely important tools used by many ruling regimes throughout history. Italy’s fascist dictatorship wielded these tools in order to control public opinion of Il Duce.
In Mussolini’s Italy a special ministry was set up to oversee the controlment of communication. The Ministero della Cultura Popolare (Ministry of Popular Culture) controlled what newspapers published, what radio could broadcast and what cinemas could show.
The 1940 film lampooned the likes of Hitler and Mussolini and, of course, it did not go down too well with Der Fuerher and Il Duce.
Over 70 years later, the very thought of banning a piece of screen satire is considered an extreme act, but satire still attracts the ire of those it lampoons. When Saturday Night Live skewered Trump, he declared his hatred for it and called it unfair.
Mussolini’s ministry of popular culture was one of the most overworked departments in his dictatorship. Its iron fist handed out daily slogans for people to adhere to, such as Il Duce ha Siempre Ragione (the leader is always right).
The words that poured out of Mussolini’s mouth were akin to gospel. His powerful nationalism of “Italy first” whipped up a frenzied support base with the aid of censorship and propaganda.
He was portrayed as a macho man who would clamp down on corruption and crime. Mussolini’s propaganda machine even managed to make people believe that he single-handedly made Italy’s trains run on time.
The light was never turned off in his office as a ploy to make people think Il Duce was working hard into the early hours, when in reality he was in bed. Had the technology been around in those days, I suspect he would have been tweeting in bed.
The press in Mussolini’s Italy was instructed on what to report and what not to report. Of the things that were strictly off limits with regards to Mussolini was his birthday and illnesses.
The totalitarian leader wanted to portray a man who never fell victim to sickness or never fell victim to the ageing process.
He held an obsession with his appearance and any photos taken of him would have to get his approval before going to press.
Any unflattering pictures showing the dictator’s bulging belly or double chin were either binned or doctored.
Media outlets in Mussolini’s Italy that reported opposing news about the regime were instantly suppressed while pro-Mussolini media was awarded for its loyalty with state subsidies.
In 1926, a law was passed which saw newspapers needing a special permission from the government to publish anything. This was Mussolini’s style of stranglehold on an Italy he wanted to make great again. He wanted to resurrect the Roman empire with himself at the helm of it, unchallenged and unquestioned.
In those bleak days of European fascism, citizens of totalitarian regimes were told untruths until they eventually believed them or at least accepted them, however reluctantly. Mussolini decreed that Italy was such a hopeless case that it needed a strong man like him to fix it.
And recently, the midterm elections resulted in more young people, more women and more minorities taking on the fight against Trumpian politics at the polls. People are enraged and engaged and, as long as they remain so, the first amendment should survive.
Salvini tweeted “tanti nemici, tanto onore”, meaning “so many enemies, so much honor”, a variation on Mussolini‘s famous “molti nemici, molto onore”, or “many enemies, much honor.” He tweeted the comments on the anniversary of Mussolini‘s birth.
, Salvini, from the right-wing League party, said Italy’s low birth rate is being used as an excuse to “import immigrants”.
“A country which does not create children is destined to die”, he said. “We have created a ministry of the family to work on fertility, nurseries, on a fiscal system which takes large families into account. At the end of this mandate, the government will be measured on the number of newborns more than on its public debt.”
He said that Italy’s “tradition, our story, our identity”, was at stake as the left uses the fertility crisis as an “excuse” to “import migrants”.
Last week the leading Roman Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana called Salvini the devil in a blistering critique of the interior minister’s migration proposals.
The magazine ran a front cover with a Latin headline: “Vade retro, Salvini”, a play on Jesus’ words: “Get behind me, Satan.” …
Salvini’s comments come as Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives in Washington for a summit with Trump on Monday.
In Rome, Salvini and Le Pen launch campaign for a neo-fascist Europe: here.
ON FEBRUARY 19, 1937, less than a year after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, resistance fighters threw hand grenades at members of the fascist Italian high command as they assembled for a public ceremony at the occupied emperor’s palace in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. No-one was killed but a handful of highranking officials were injured.
With dreadful savagery Italian civilians, [fascist paramilitary] blackshirts and army personnel, encouraged by an official announcement that they had “carta bianca” — permission to do what they wanted — flooded onto the streets to bludgeon defenceless local citizens to death with shovels, daggers, clubs and anything else they had to hand.
Families were sealed inside their huts as they were set alight with flame throwers, men were tied alive to trucks and driven around until they were torn apart and hand grenades were thrown into crowds of fleeing innocents. Women and young girls were raped and disembowelled, while others had their hands tied behind their backs and were thrown off bridges and into wells.
Even when the authorities called an official halt to the slaughter after 72 hours, the murder, rape, torture and pillaging continued for many more days. For months afterwards, thousands were herded into concentration camps, where they perished from hunger or disease.
Amazingly, thanks to Allied prevarication after the second world war, no-one was ever brought to book for the crimes committed over those three days and, while most of the Italian protagonists are now dead and gone, Campbell has been determined to put their deeds down on paper for all to see.
This is by far the most complete account of the massacre ever constructed and it is an important, impressive body of work. What it is not, though, is a “good read.” In Campbell’s understandable commitment to corroborating and confirming the evidence, his 478-page tome takes on the feel of a long inquiry report rather than a book.
As it progresses painstakingly through the atrocities, the author’s commitment to providing a narrative gradually wanes and, by the second half, the reader has to be content with little more than a series of disjointed observations, potted histories and eyewitness accounts, rather than any held-together story.
As a document designed for posterity that approach might be justified but, as a book, the job could have been done using half the space.
Does that matter? Probably yes, because one of Campbell’s stated aims is to bring much greater attention to a forgotten corner of history. Crass as it may appear to ask for such wicked events to be presented in a more engaging fashion, the truth is that by doing so Campbell would have had a much better chance of reaching a wider audience.
Mr Trump was also asked on Sunday why he had retweeted a quote from the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The tweet, initially posted by another user, read: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
Asked about whether he had known the quote belonged to Mussolini and whether he wanted to be associated with fascism, Mr Trump told NBC’s Meet the Press: “Mussolini was Mussolini. It’s a very good quote, it’s a very interesting quote. I know who said it, but what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else?”
In 1927, Fox News Service filmed Benito Mussolini telling immigrants to ‘make America great’
By Philip Bump July 23 at 11:00 AM …
Fox News wasn’t the only group to recognize the value of the combination of sight and sound. Benito Mussolini, the fascist prime minister of Italy, at one point reportedly said that were he to broadcasting his speeches “in twenty cities in Italy once a week” he would “need no other power.” When he was approached about filming a statement for the newsreel, he agreed.
Fox promoted the upcoming statement in advertisements in the New York Times in September 1927, with the debut of the speech coming to New York City’s Times Square theater later that month.
… This was that statement.
Mussolini’s accent was heavy, and it’s hard to pick out everything he said. But the thrust was that he was offering praise for the United States and for the Italian immigrants that were helping to build it. He praised the citizens of Italy who were working to make America great.
Locals are calling for the building in the Tor Sapienza district to be closed after blaming the migrants it houses for “insupportable” levels of street crime in the area.
But the nastier side of the protests were apparent on Tuesday night with hundreds of people chanting: “The blacks have to go,” and dozens more shouting: “Long live Il Duce (Mussolini)”.
The violence in Tor Sapienza began simmering on Monday night with hooded men throwing stones at the Sorriso reception centre in Viale Giorgio Morandi. On Tuesday night the situation escalated dramatically. At around 10pm around 50 people, at the head of a 250-strong crowd, attacked the centre with rocks and petrol bombs. At least 14 people, including four policemen, were injured in the clashes that saw cars and rubbish bins set alight and used as barricades. …
The 36 African and Bengali refugees inside pleaded with police to be led away to safety, according to Corriere Della Sera newspaper. A few hours earlier one of the refugees was attacked in the street.
The ugly developments are the latest sign of a wave of anti-immigration sentiment sweeping Italy, with populist political leaders appearing to profit from, even encourage it. Matteo Salvini, head of the xenophobic Northern League, has seen his ratings rise after appearing in a T-shirt bearing the phrase: “Stop Invasion”.
Mr Salvini said: “Tor Sapienza represents the failure of the state, caused by the stupid politics of that part of the left that allows everyone to do anything they like.”
According to some reports, the protests were encouraged by local drug dealers who are unhappy at the high level of policing in the area as a result of the migrant centre.
The violence at Tor Sapienza is the latest in a series of racially-motivated confrontations in the capital in the past few months. In September there were several clashes between refugees and locals in the Corcolle district.
Thursday Oct 23, 2014, 15:53 (Update: 23-10-14, 15:59)
Stir in Swiss cafes: creamer cups with portraits of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini surfaced there. The Swiss supermarket chain Migros, whose subsidiary Elsa is distributing the cups handles, reacts horrified. The producer of the images does not.
Understand the commotion
The issue came to light when a Swiss man ordered coffee at a station. On the creamer was a picture of Hitler. The man was horrified by it and sent a photo to the newspaper 20 Minuten.
[Migros’] Subsidiary Elsa had commissioned a third party, Karo Versand, to make 55 new images for creamer cups. Elsa had checked the result insufficiently. “An unforgivable error” can be read on the Migros website.
“No one thought it strange”
Producer Karo Versand thinks the criticism is exaggerated. On the new cups more images of historical figures are used, and director Peter Wälchi thinks that you can not ignore the era of Hitler and Mussolini.
The company has acquired the images of the dictators, in their own words, from old cigar bands. “None at our company found a portrait of Hitler strange or offensive,” said Wälchi.
The creamer with Hitler and Mussolini images is served in cafes and restaurants across the country. The cups are not for sale in the supermarket. In total, about 1200 cups with the portraits were in circulation. These are now being removed from the market. “Waste of food,” says Wälchi. Migros has terminated its collaboration with Karo Versand.
Labels of creamer cups have cult status in Switzerland. … Karo Versand is specialized in producing the images.
Sunderland took a gamble by hiring Paolo Di Canio as its new manager on Sunday, empowering the inexperienced and outspoken Italian with the tough task of ensuring the relegation-threatened team retains its Premier League status.
The appointment came a day after Martin O’Neill was fired following a poor run of results and sparked immediate controversy, with former British politician David Miliband resigning from his positions as vice chairman and non-executive director of the club because of Di Canio’s openly fascist leanings.
Di Canio had a colorful playing career in the top divisions of Italy, England and Celtic, marked by sublime goals and headline-grabbing antics — notably when he pushed a referee to the ground after being sent off while playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1996.
Then there was the straight-arm salute — adopted by the Italian Fascist regime in the early 20th century — that he performed in front of the fans of his Lazio team in 2005, earning him a ban, a fine and condemnation by FIFA.
“I am a fascist, not a racist,” Di Canio said at the time, and he has praised Mussolini in his autobiography, calling the former Italian leader as “basically a very principled, ethical individual” who was “deeply misunderstood.”
Di Canio has limited managerial experience, with his only previous job ending at third-tier English club Swindon last month after a turbulent 1 1/2 years in charge. It is a big call by Sunderland owner Ellis Short at this stage of the season. …
[David] Miliband, who contested the leadership in 2010 of the Labour party in Britain, stood down within minutes of the 44-year-old Di Canio’s appointment.
“I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future,” Miliband wrote on his website. “It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games. However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.”
Great demonstration today in Sunderland against the disgusting DFLA. A far right group not even trying to disguise what they stand for today. Racism, hatred and violence. Worrying to see them out in such large numbers today but we will not be defeated. No place for them here! pic.twitter.com/68DnHBl6ms