Sunday, February 26, 2006

Alessandra Mussolini and Italian fascism

Turin, where the Olympics are wrapping up today, has long been a bastion of working-class left-wing politics in Italy. But right-wing politics -- post-fascism, neo-fascism, or just plain fascism, whatever you want to call it -- continues to be a force in Italy despite its obviously repellent past.

Alessandra Mussolini, Il Duce's granddaughter, currently an Italian member of the European Parliament, is running in Italy's upcoming parliamentary elections.

And here's where it all gets rather troubling: Ms. Mussolini heads a party called Social Alternative, a small right-wing party she founded three years ago after breaking from the "post-fascist National Alliance," as the AP puts it. The leader of the National Alliance -- a fascist party, keep in mind -- is none other than Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini. Apparently, the National Alliance wasn't quite fascist enough for Ms. Mussolini, hence the break. (Indeed, the break came after Fini had visited Israel, declared fascism to have been "the absolute evil," and apologized for Italy's treatment of the Jews under Mussolini.) Ms. Mussolini is running for parliament now that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has rejected two neo-fascist candidates, but, before this dispute, she and her Social Alternative were part of Berlusconi's coalition, the House of Freedoms (which includes Berlusconi's own party, Forza Italia). For those of you who read Italian, see here.

Let me repeat that: A Mussolini-led fascist party that found a post-fascist party too mainstream for its liking was included in the governing party's coalition.

And, what's more, the opposition coalition, Romano Prodi's The Union, includes communist parties and various other leftist groups.

Good times, Italian-style. Only Fellini could make sense of this.

(The election is scheduled for April 9-10 -- see here.)

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