Alex Foti on Thu, 15 May 2008 13:47:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> cryptofascism, spaghetti style

dear folks,

net friends have asked me to resume my spaghetti chronicles after the
deluge. for the first time in my life, i find it hard to read the
press: it's a nightmare... i've never been particularly proud of being
a spaghetti: today i'm positively ashamed of being italian.

yesterday in naples the latest episode in the bipartisan ethnic
cleansing campaign (it's been referred to as such in the mainistream
media!) against the rom and sinti populations, in all a couple hundred
thousand people, most of whom have been in italy for centuries. stoked
by camorra (the local mafia), poor native residents have assaulted "un
campo rom" with batons and molotov cocktails, burning it to the ground
after days of assaults. firemen were jeered and obstacles were put to
their action. kids and babies have been terrified for life, and roms
are fleeing the napoli region. This happens as the new Northern League
interior minister tries to appoint a (sinister) minister to "the rom
question" against EU objections, and has granted special powers in
this respect to the prefect of Milan. The first act of the Berlusconi
government has been to target (perfectly legal) Romanian immigration
and to make "clandestine immigration" a penal crime (which would
violate UN human rights conventions). Most "clandestines" are in fact
people who have lost their residence permit because of tougher
administrative policing n or because they were laid off (the
bossi-fini law denies you residence if you don't have a jb). Maximum
stay in segregation centers for undocumented migrants has now been
augmented to 18 monts.

In fact, the racist hysteria was unleashed in the North at the end of
2006, when in the leafy Milanese suburb of Opera a transitional gypsy
camp was torched by local politicians, mostly of the right. They went
on to win the mayoral elections last month... I've long lived close to
rom settlements (my daughter went to day care with rom kids; her
school, next to mobile home camp, was burned down in a mysterious
incident), and since 2006 the fascist vice-mayor of Milan (in power
for over a decade now) has been systematically persecuting the
10,000-strong rom population over the last year, by executing unlawful
mass evictions and threaten to deport the whole gypsy population. the
centerleft president of the milano province agrees: there shall be no
place for roms on Milanese territory. The movement must absolutely
defend the Triboniano camp, the city's largest, on the outskirts of
the municipal cemetery, repeatedly threatened by arson and police
raids. Centri sociali with the support of the now extraparliamentary
left have been alone in defending rom sisters and brothers in Milano
and Pavia. Calls by the Milano cardinal for humanity in treating women
and kids have gone unheeded. And in Rome, the brandnew neofascist
mayor (he wears a celtic cross around his neck) has made persecution
of gypsies a top priority. Last year, the brutal murder of an Italian
woman by a Romanian man in Rome had shocked public opinion and
provided the excuse for bipartisan calls for "tougher security" and
"tight-fisted police". Veltroni, former mayor of rome who handed the
capital city to the Right by unsuccessfully trying to run for prime
minister, put security (read anti-immigration) at the top of his
electoral agenda.

Spaghetti cryptofascism was brought to power with last month's general
elections. It's a coalition of right-wingers 100%, with no catholics
to temper their callousness. Postfascist Fini (butcher of genoa who
once declared that mussolini was thee greatest statesman of the 20th
century) is the new president of the chamber, and to the former clean
hands judge who spoke yesterday, he told that he had to watch his
language if he didn't want to hear whistles from berlusconi's
troopers. When a 28-year-old guy was beaten to death by 5 young
neonazis in Verona (a national demo is called for this weekend) he
said that this was not as bad as burning the israeli flag in Turin
(where local centri sociali and other factions of the so-called
antagonistic left tried to boycott the invitation to the state of
israel as guest of honor of the book fair; a 5000-strong demo took
place last saturday with red flags and cries for "free palestine").

Berlusconi launched the new cartel associating his forza italia
consultants with fini's alleanza nazionale with an impromptu speech
from piazza san babila, the notorious Milanese square where
neofascists were in command in the 70s and 80s. During the election
campaign, he often wore a black-shirted attire in public. Mr B has
never made any mystery of being a nostalgic of the fascist regime,
often disparaging the resistance and milano's history of partisan
insurrection. And his connections to the Sicilian mafia are well
known. A popular journalist has been reprimanded by ALL politicians
for saying on national tv that the new speaker of the Senate, a truly
repulsive person, has been a legal procurator for mafia interests.
However, Mr B crucially depends on the xenophobic and populist
Northern League for its majority, the actual winners of the elections.
They not only got the Interior, but thru Berlusconi's tax lawyer
Tremonti, an aged yuppy with fondness for protectionism (his latest,
and derivative, essay on globalization is topping the charts) they
have a say also in the Ministry for the Economy. They will impose
fiscal federalism and leave the Mezzogiorno to its bleak destiny (e.g.
Naples' mountains of garbage, another camorra-induced emergency) of
being under the seemingly unbreakable spell of nepotism, patronage,
and organized crime. Already outmigration flows from the South to the
North are paralleling those at the height of the 60s economic miracle.
It's tough being young and precarious in Italy today. If you add woman
and southerner to the equation, social exclusion is almost guaranteed.

Cryptofascism is already a zeitgeist. Magazine ads and TV commercials
have started echoing graphic styles and songs popular during the
fascist Ventennio (1922-1943). Historical revisionism is rampant.
History textbooks in high schools should be rewritten, it is said. And
the nastiest phase of fascism (1943-45) when nazis and black brigades
massacred, tortured, deported side by side is being photoshopped (but
leftist instances of retribution condemned as atrocious crimes). The
so-called "ragazzi di salò" were good italians, it is argued. A direct
descendant of them is now mayor in Rome, and the national partisan
association (ANPI) has been reprimanded by moderate unions for having
said that the legacy of april 25, national liberation day from fascism
and nazism, risked being forgotten due to the new government. In fact,
as Berlusconi asked for the confidence vote at the House the other
day, what was stunning was not so much his sly new style of acting
sheepish and reasonable only to fuck you twice over, but how the
"opposition" of veltroni's democratic party congratulated him and all.
In the lower chamber there are only 5 parties, while popolo delle
libertà (with lega nord) and partito democratico monopolize the
senate. Cryptofascism thus can prosper in the absence of a veritable
opposition, now that the left has been wiped out, and the dem party is
unwilling to raise its voice, because they think il Cavaliere (the
Knight, that's how they refer to him in the Italian mainstream press)
has spaghetti public opinion under his wing, and because for the third
time in a decade they delude themselves into thinking he will do
election and constitutional reforms with them.

Although the italian predicament is unique in its combination of
xenophobia, fascism, clericalism with social aging, cultural decline,
and economic stagnation, it fits the trend of the new European right
spearheaded by Sarkozy and Merkel: ramming thru authoritarian and
securitarian measures by appealing to a bipartisan consensus in
parliament and mainstream media. Only a truly European left from below
can defeat the securitarian agenda and save italy and the continent
from the permanent threat of nationalism and racism.

several friends of mine are moving to spain with their families...



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