Why this story matters:
On October 6, a dozen militants of the Italian neo-fascist group Forza Nuova staged a protest in front of the Espresso Publishing Group, which publishes the newspaper La Repubblica, the weekly L'Espresso, and several other publications including MicroMega.
With their faces covered, the neo-fascists threw smoke bombs, unrolled a banner with the inscription "Boycott L'Espresso and La Repubblica" and read a proclamation of accusations against the editorial staff.
The protest -- a genuine intimidation attempt against one of the main publishers in the country -- was justified on their Facebook page with these delusional words:
"This afternoon a team of FORZA NUOVA militants 'assaulted' the Roman editorial office of La Repubblica. [...] We lit torches to shed light on the truth against the lies of the lousy writers of the regime, with masks on our faces. We acted in such a way to represent every Italian betrayed by those whose pen favors ius soli, invasion and ethnic substitution.
[...] Rome and Italy will fight back, shoulder to shoulder, ready to kick and punch if necessary. [...] Today was only the 'first attack' against those who preach for immigration, serve the interests of NGOs and various mafias. [...] These villains know we will not let them rest, we will fight them everywhere."
This is the last -- and most serious -- episode in a long series of similar events: all over Europe, neo-fascist groups are acting out in an attempt to pollute the political and cultural debate. Their numbers are small, but their members are very active and militant, and they must be stopped before it's too late.
60,000 neo-fascists marching in Warsaw is a very clear sign that the phenomenon should not be underestimated; we have not yet fully assimilated the lessons of history -- what has happened before can happen again.
After the neo-fascist blitz, Repubblica and Espresso received messages of solidarity from the all over the world of information, culture, and civil society. An anti-fascist garrison was organized at the Espresso Group headquarters, with dozens of associations in attendance, including "Amnesty International", the "Link" student network, the association of women journalists for the freedom of information "Giulia", the journalists' union, the association of Italian partisans "Anpi" and the association for freedom of the press "Articolo 21".
The forces of democracy have a huge responsibility: we must not give these subjects the slightest iota of political acceptability. To recognize them as political interlocutors means to legitimize them.
As the director of MicroMega observes in the article below, written right after the attack in front of our editorial office -- which I encourage you to read -- the laws is clear: in Italy, much like in Germany and several other countries, it is forbidden to re-establish the fascist party and praise fascism.
Groups like Casa Pound and Forza Nuova should simply be shut down, but instead they regularly appear in the elections, gradually gaining more and more followers. On the one hand, the judges do not apply the existing laws, interpreting them in a very permissive manner, and on the other the politicians and, often, mass media, provide these groups with political space, treating them as equals and interlocutors in public debate.
Amidst the widespread distrust of institutions and the generalized social malaise, these groups have it easy: they identify an enemy -- foreigners, for example -- and blame their precarious situation entirely on them. Europe is familiar with this sort of scapegoat logic. Let's stop it while there's still time.
Details from the story:
- On December 6, a small group of neo-fascists attacked the editorial office of Repubblica and Espresso in Rome;
- Civil society made a great show of solidarity with the two newspapers, and dozens of associations participated in an anti-fascist garrison in front of the Espresso Group headquarters on December 11
- Neo-fascist groups are on the rise everywhere in Europe, as evidenced by a march of 60 thousand nationalists in Warsaw on November 11
- In Italy the law prohibits the re-establishment of the fascist party and any praise of fascism, but the provision is interpreted loosely and rarely applied.