Like father, like son: Fascists of the 3rd Millennium in Italy

Like father, like son: Fascists of the 3rd Millennium in Italy

Two policemen are under investigation for covering up a fascist brawl that involved Rome’s Mayor’s son, Manfredi Alemanno.

According to Rome’s Public Prosecutors the inquiry that had followed the event was obstructed and then buried under the sand by the Police, thanks to the withholding of evidence and false statements made by policemen Roberto Macellaro (who in his free time volunteers to be the Mayor’s personal chauffeur) and Pietro Ronca, a local Chief Inspector in Rome. These two helped Manfredi Alemanno “disappear” from the scene after the beating had concluded, and then lied about what had really happened.

The story goes back to 2009. It’s June 2nd, the day on which Italy celebrates the anniversary of the 1946 referendum that brought an end to the monarchy and the beginning of the Republic. Manfredi Alemanno, who is then 14 years old, goes to a party with some friends in a posh area of Rome. Once there, they start singing fascist songs and doing the fascist salute. This is not surprising: Manfredi Alemanno, who was later photographed on a holiday in Greece in 2012 in the same pose, comes from an all-fascist family (more on this below).

One of the teenagers who had organised the party confronted them and told them to leave. At this stage the situation quickly escalates: one of Manfredi’s friends threatens the organisers and declares his membership of Blocco Studentesco – Casapound‘s youth wing (of which, by the way, Manfredi Alemanno became representative in his college in 2011). The same guy then starts making calls to dozens of people. Their girlfriends are told to get away because “something is about to happen”. Within a few minutes a group of 4 or 5 young men enter the scene – nobody sees how they get in, but they are probably let in by their friends – who then start beating up, even using a motorbike helmet, the teenager who had stopped the fascist singing.

At the time Manfredi Alemmano stated he had quickly got away in his family friend’s car before the beating had started. But at least two witness statements contradicted him: he was there, “assisted” the beating and left straight after. Interestingly enough, though, these two statements never landed on the Public Prosecutor’s desk and only re-appeared recently, thanks also to a report published firstly by Il Fatto Quotidiano (who were subsequently sued by Gianni Alemanno for breaking media legislation around children).

However, Manfredi Alemanno’s impunity is still pretty much guaranteed: the events took place when he and all his friends were still minors. Already in 2010, the Minors’ Public Prosecutor had stated they needed a formal statement to be able to press charges; but the young man who was beaten up (also 14 at the time) has never made any formal statement and doesn’t seem to be willing to – which says a lot on the level of fear and silence that surrounds certain “environments”. Of the people contacted on the phone by Manfredi’s friend, nobody was identified as the people actually present at the beating. Manfredi’s most recent police statement of 2012 was a long series of “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know who the beaters were”. The only people under investigation are the two policemen, but it seems likely that everyone else, Manfredi Alemanno included, will happily get away with it. It helps to have a fascist dad who is also the Mayor…

A little bit of very interesting history
Gianni Alemanno, who has been Mayor of Rome since 2008, is currently a PM for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party but has been active in the Italian far right since a young age. He was a member of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement and ended up being the General Secretary of its youth wing, the Youth Front. He was involved in beatings of leftwing activists in the 70s and 80s. He is married to Isabella Rauti, daughter of a ‘real charmer’ named Pino Rauti, one of the founders of the Italian Social Movement. Pino Rauti was closely associated with the “strategy of tension” the far right adopted during the 70s and 80s to keep Communism at bay in Italy. His name came up in some of the most horrific and controversial tragedies that took place in those years, such as the Piazza Fontana Bombing in 1969. Just an ordinary family then…

Sources and links on the original article: http://italycalling.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/like-father-like-son-fascists-of-the-3rd-millennium/

Comments

Ed
Apr 14 2013 22:23

Another excellent blog post! It highlights a thing that I've noticed that makes Italian fascism different from British fascism; basically that Italian fascists just have really strong connections to power whereas British fash tend to just be loners and odd balls, at their most dangerous they sometimes have connections with football hooligans.. I guess it's coz of the thing you mention about the workers' movement in Italy being so strong after WW2 that the state actively kept up all it's fascist heritage from Mussolini's time to try to keep it in check. But it does mean now there's this situation where there are basically unrepentant and open fascists really high up in Italian politics (not just Alemanno but also Ignazio La Russa, Gianfranco Fini etc) and they obviously help out their more radical friends (like the 11.8 million euros Alemanno gave to Casapound to buy their headquarters in the centre of Rome)..

Italy Calling
Apr 15 2013 18:08

The thing is we got rid of Mussolini, but never of fascism. Many ex-fascists founded and funded neo-fascist groups after the war, and the legacy still continues with their sons and daughters. One of Mussolini's nieces is a MP. What's really scary about the last decade or so is how confident and open these characters have become. When I was growing up (the 90s) the far right was still pretty much a niche, now they're everywhere, they are in positions of power because that's how Berlusconi has repaid them for their support. And so you get Mayors and MPs making openly racist comments and openly supporting fascist ideas, and it's perfectly fine! Like Spain and Greece, it really feels like we are going backwards in the Mediterranean, rather than forwards. The ghosts of the past are not ghosts, they are very alive...

Ed
Apr 15 2013 22:00
Italy Calling wrote:
When I was growing up (the 90s) the far right was still pretty much a niche, now they're everywhere, they are in positions of power because that's how Berlusconi has repaid them for their support. And so you get Mayors and MPs making openly racist comments and openly supporting fascist ideas, and it's perfectly fine!

Yeah, it's pretty mad.. like in the last elections, I saw this poster on my way back from the pub and I had to do a double-take coz I couldn't believe my eyes..

Maybe it's coz I grew up in the UK where open symbols of fascism are kind of frowned upon, but for one of the candidates of the centre-right to be wearing fascist symbols on her campaign poster was just a bit nuts for me..

Related to this, I think another interesting thing about the far-right in Italy is not just their influence in mainstream politics but also oppositional politics. You can see that they don't want to be in a situation like they were in the 60s/70s where they were basically just trying to stop the left but they want to be a mass movement in their own right.. so Casapound have loads of anti-capitalist and anti-austerity campaigns/posters, Forza Nuova attempted (unsuccessfully) to become a part of the No tav movement etc..

That said, I think it's really easy to over-estimate the far-right threat.. Rome is a particularly mental but apart from that, I can't think of that many big Italian cities where the far-right have that much strength..

NannerNannerNan...
Apr 15 2013 22:48

Why the hell is Rome such a hotbed of fascism? I heard people can't even take a stroll without seeing celtic crosses and swastikas!

Italy Calling
Apr 16 2013 21:17
NannerNannerNannerNannerNanner wrote:
Why the hell is Rome such a hotbed of fascism? I heard people can't even take a stroll without seeing celtic crosses and swastikas!

This made me laugh although it should probably make me cry because it's true in part and it certainly was like that when I was growing up in a suburban area of Rome and I felt surrounded by neo-fascists...swastikas and other far right symbols everywhere. A couple of times I was shouted at in the streets (even by middle-aged people, and I was maybe 15) because I was wearing a t-shirt with Che Guevara on! Rome is a big city though, there's loads of different neighboroughoods and areas and some of them are very "red" and very multicultural. I think it's the same in any big city. I have friends from Milan and Turin and it's the same there. But maybe it's got something to do with Rome being the capital and hence a very powerful symbol. I mean, the march on Rome and the centre of power. There are lots of places in Rome where Mussolini used to give his mass talks, the whole city is full of symbolism and history and I guess that unfortunately appeals to a large number of neo-wankers.
I know Alemanno also wears a Celtic Cross, a "religious symbol" apparently...which belonged to one of his crazy mates from his years in the Italian Social Movement. Charming.

Italy Calling
Apr 16 2013 21:24
Quote:

Related to this, I think another interesting thing about the far-right in Italy is not just their influence in mainstream politics but also oppositional politics. You can see that they don't want to be in a situation like they were in the 60s/70s where they were basically just trying to stop the left but they want to be a mass movement in their own right.. so Casapound have loads of anti-capitalist and anti-austerity campaigns/posters, Forza Nuova attempted (unsuccessfully) to become a part of the No tav movement etc..

Spot on! This is the real problem. They're portraing themselves as being ordinary people, working for ordinary people. They want to do everything the "left" has traditionally been doing. In Rome Casapound used to (and maybe it still does) give employment advice in the same way that trade unions local offices have always done. I mean, Casapound was born out of a squatted building they turned into a social centre!! They're notimaginative for sure...

Entdinglichung
Apr 16 2013 23:15

i've read somewhere that a large percentage of Italian settlers who left Libya, Eritrea and Somalia after 1945 moved to Rome, many of them deeply racist and mourning the downfall of the Italian empire

fingers malone
Apr 17 2013 08:19
Italy Calling wrote:
Spot on! This is the real problem. They're portraing themselves as being ordinary people, working for ordinary people. They want to do everything the "left" has traditionally been doing. In Rome Casapound used to (and maybe it still does) give employment advice in the same way that trade unions local offices have always done.

This is really interesting Italy Calling.
I was looking into a far right group in Spain, called Espana 2000, and their website is full of stuff about how "ordinary Spaniards" are suffering in the crisis, articles about eviction suicides and unemployment, like a left wing website. Then they lay the blame at corrupt self serving politicians (massively popular topic in Spain) and immigrants. All I could see of a political line about the crisis was that we can't afford immigrants while so many Spaniards are out of work. They are also doing a lot of this stuff similar to Golden Dawn, soup kitchens and food banks "for Spaniards only". One guy also had a boxing gym which allowed a lot of young unemployed men free membership and was absolutely full of people. It was all worrying as it looked like they were attracting a lot of people by relating to their fears and material needs.

NannerNannerNan...
Apr 17 2013 10:14

Has fascism penetrated the working-class in Italy? I really don't give a damn if a bunch of lonely petite-bourgeois are sieg heiling and bitching about communists in the trade unions and whatever, but what about working Italians? Surely they haven't drunk any of the far-right's swill, right?

Italy Calling
Apr 17 2013 18:32
fingers malone wrote:
This is really interesting Italy Calling.
I was looking into a far right group in Spain, called Espana 2000, and their website is full of stuff about how "ordinary Spaniards" are suffering in the crisis, articles about eviction suicides and unemployment, like a left wing website. Then they lay the blame at corrupt self serving politicians (massively popular topic in Spain) and immigrants. All I could see of a political line about the crisis was that we can't afford immigrants while so many Spaniards are out of work. They are also doing a lot of this stuff similar to Golden Dawn, soup kitchens and food banks "for Spaniards only". One guy also had a boxing gym which allowed a lot of young unemployed men free membership and was absolutely full of people. It was all worrying as it looked like they were attracting a lot of people by relating to their fears and material needs.

Yes, absolutely the same in Italy with Casapound. Scary. And clever. They say what a lot of people want to hear. The big scapegoats in Italy too are immigrants and the "Caste", the corrupt political and economic elite. And M5S isn't that different. The fill the hole left behind by the failure of the traditional left (parties, trade unions, etc). Decades of Berlusconism didn't help either, it gave them loads of space to express their ideas. It gave them a right to be part of the political scene.

fingers malone
Apr 17 2013 18:39

Do you think they are successful because our side don't reach those people, or because it's an easy answer to people's problems, gives them someone close at hand to blame, and so on?
I would say in Spain that the radical movement actually is reaching out quite successfully to desperate working class people, with the anti eviction movement and so on, much more than here anyway.

Italy Calling
Apr 17 2013 18:42

Erm...fascism penetrated and won over large part of the Italian working class a long, long time ago...I'd say that's one of the main points of its ideology...take the "ordinary working man" and turn into the "New Man", a semi-God. Mussolini docet...

Many of my friends from school and college were racist and wouldn't have seen it as an insult to be called a fascist. Most of my girlfriends had neo-fascist boyfriends. Many of the people that I talk to when I go over totally buy into far right scapegoating bullshit. Especially people who have never been political and who might feel like they're not "intelligent" enough to be into politics or have their own ideas. The far right goes in there and listens to them. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the left...

Italy Calling
Apr 17 2013 18:50
fingers malone wrote:
Do you think they are successful because our side don't reach those people, or because it's an easy answer to people's problems, gives them someone close at hand to blame, and so on?

All of these things I'd say.

Quote:
I would say in Spain that the radical movement actually is reaching out quite successfully to desperate working class people, with the anti eviction movement and so on, much more than here anyway.

Yep, and there are examples of this in Italy - I covered a lot the Occupy Pisa movement on my blog last year, and they're doing similar things over there; and there are many other examples, even in fascist Rome! And in Italy the NO TAV movement has definitely managed to unite under one flag a lot of people from different backgrounds who have realised they have some fundamental principles in common. But I still think Italy is a very divided country at its foundations and the far right is very good at playing on that, whereas large areas of the left have shrank into themselves and got lost into their petty debates.

Ed
Apr 17 2013 21:32

I dunno, I'm actually not as pessimistic about the political situation in Italy as I used to be.. like, it's easy to get scared about the far-right but then I wouldn't really say they are any stronger than the far-left in Italy (and in some places definitely weaker).. the recent elections can be said to be a victory for the political centre, as both the far-right and far-left votes basically collapsed.. and elections aside, yeah, there are some places where the far-right is quite strong (Rome in particular, but even Rome has its 'red' areas), the same can be said for the far-left (i.e. anywhere in Tuscany)..

So even in a city like Milan, which until about two years ago had something like 15-20 years of centre-right local govt, the far-right has very little traction outside of the Inter Ultras whereas the far-left/social centres have had some very successful mobilisations over the past 6 months, as well as a lot more long term organising going on.. that's not to say that there's no fascist threat (an anti-fascist got stabbed a few months back), but for the moment at least, there's no hint that the far-right could mobilise anything close to what we can.. and that's in a city like Milan, which is much more 'up for grabs' politically than, say, Pisa or Bologna or whatever..

That said, Italy is so confusing and unpredictable that now that I've said that, there'll probably be a massive fash march laying waste to the city tomorrow.. confused

Entdinglichung
Apr 18 2013 09:54

the post-fascist union UGL which evolved out of the fascist MSI-DN's front CISNAL claims more than 2 million members (probably to high and a large quantity of pensioners), CISNAL was the dominant union in many Southern Italian and Sicilian areas during the 60ies and 70ies, especially in agriculture and small and medium businesses, not always only due to pressure by the employers, don't know if CISNAL participated in strikes, today's UGL definitely occasionally did it