What’s the difference between racism and fascism? Nothing, if you take into account the fact that in democratic societies, racism seeks to limit the rights of minorities. Though they may have the ability to vote, and use public services, the privileges they receive, and their treatment, by the state, and by civil society, is not equal to what poor persons, who are members of ethnic majorities, often experience.
Populist political parties, like Italy’s Northern League, tend to thrive on the ambiguity of such situations. They can’t be called formally ‘fascist’ parties, even though their concept of democracy is severed from any commitment to equality. Not just economically, but most importantly, ethnically. This is especially problematic in European countries, especially those with distinctly authoritarian political histories, of relatively recent vintage.
Prior to the present economic crisis, Italian leftists used to regularly express their support for the federalization of the European Union. For many of them, the concern was incompletion of Italy’s post-war democracy, not to mention, of course, its corruption. At least under Brussels’ aegis, local tendencies towards regression might be curbed by more cosmopolitan, ideally liberal-democratic lawmakers.
Though such an expectation may seem unrealistic under present circumstances (since when has the EU curbed the French government’s discrimination against Roma?) it’s not hard to wish for regional censure of such anti-democratic politics. In the absence of an effective parliamentary left, someone has to impose a more democratic situation.
Leave it to the Italian left to highlight the dreadful environment that the country’s extreme right continues to impose on its citizenry – ‘ethnic’ Italians, as well as immigrants. Anarchists, communists, feminists – they remain Italy’s conscience. The following flyer, advertising an anti-racist protest against the Lega Nord, is a great example.
(WE WANT) THE RACISTS OUT OF THE CITY
The Northern League has announced a national march on October 12th, in Turin, against immigration and in favour of ‘legality’.
In (recent) years, the League has been one of the main parties responsible for the tightening of immigration policies (CIE, the Bossi-Fini act, stopping refugee ships at sea.) With the [economic] crisis ongoing, it wants to get back on the streets, using the immigration card as a threat, in order to ask for more security.
Turin is also the main city of the [Piedmont] region, whose governor is Northern League advocate [Roberto] Cota. [His administration’s tenure is] one of the most explicit examples of how the League is responsible for austerity policies, the dismantling and selling out of our healthcare system, and the opening of doors of public family counseling to the fundamentalist Catholics of “Movement for Life.”
For this and for many other reasons, we invite everybody to mobilize.
ON SATURDAY 12TH OF OCTOBER 2013
3PM – PIAZZA CASTELLO – TURIN
TOWARDS THE MOBILIZATION OF !”TH OF OCTOBER…
FRIDAY OCTOBER 4TH, 2013 – ANTIRACIST COCKTAIL
(DISTRO, STANDS, MUSIC, BELLAVITA COCKTAIL AND MORE…)
STARTING 6PM IN PIAZZA MADAMA CRISTINA
Translated from the Italian by Giulia Pace. Introduction and photographs courtesy of Joel Schalit.