Showing posts with label Neofascists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neofascists. Show all posts

19 November 2018

Pino Rauti – politician and journalist

Writer chronicled the story of Fascism in Italy

Pino Rauti was a prominent figure in far-right Italian politics for 64 years
Pino Rauti was a prominent figure in
far-right Italian politics for 64 years
Pino Rauti, leader of the neo-fascist Social Idea Movement, was born Giuseppe Umberto Rauti on this day in 1926 in Cardinale in Calabria.

Rauti was to become a leading figure on the far right of Italian politics from 1948 until his death in 2012.

As a young man he had volunteered for the Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana of Benito Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and he then went on to join the Spanish Foreign Legion.

After his return to Italy, Rauti joined the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). He became associated with Julius Evola, a leading fascist philosopher, and became editor of his journal, Imperium.

Rauti joined the staff of the Rome-based daily Il Tempo in 1953 and later became the Italian correspondent for the Aginter Press, a fake press agency set up in Portugal in 1966 to combat communism.

In 1954 he established his own group within MSI, the Ordine Nuovo, but he became disillusioned with MSI and his group separated from the party two years later.

Rauti worked as a journalist on the
Rome newspaper Il Tempo
Rauti’s name was linked with a number of terror attacks, including the Piazza Fontana bombing. He was brought to trial in 1972 over this atrocity at a Milan bank, which caused 17 deaths, but he was acquitted through lack of evidence.

There were other claims linking him with terrorist activities but he was never convicted of any offences.

Rauti returned to MSI and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1972. In the 1980s, he became a leading figure in the European Parliament.

He went up against Gianfranco Fini for leadership of MSI in 1987 but Fini’s more moderate policies won him the biggest share of the vote.  In 1990, he did replace Fini as leader, but the party’s performance in the next regional elections was the worst in its history and he was removed from the leadership in 1991, with Fini taking charge again.

When Fini founded the Alleanza Nazionale in place of MSI, Rauti led a group of militants to form the Fiamma Tricolore, which he saw as continuing the path of Fascism.

Pino Rauti with Gianfranco Fini (left), whom he replaced as  leader of the MSI party in 1990
Pino Rauti with Gianfranco Fini (left), whom he replaced as
leader of the MSI party in 1990
Rauti stood down as leader in 2002 in favour of Luca Romagnoli, who then sought to work with Silvio Berlusconi’s House of Freedoms coalition. Rauti became a strong critic of Romagnoli and was eventually expelled from the party he had founded.  It was then that he established his own party, the Social Idea Movement.

Between 1966 and 1990, Rauti wrote a number of books about the history of Fascism and the policies of Mussolini.

Rauti died in Rome in November 2012, aged 85.

His daughter, Isabella, who also became a journalist, is now a member of Fratelli Italia, a conservative nationalist party formed by former members of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party. She was elected as Senator for Mantua earlier this year. She is the ex-wife of a former Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno.

A view over the rooftops of Cardinale in Calabria
A view over the rooftops of Cardinale in Calabria
Travel tip:

Cardinale in Calabria, where Pino Rauti was born, is a comune in the province of Catanzaro, the capital city of the region. Cardinale was proved to be a Neolithic site in the 19th century, when work was being carried out to reinforce an old iron bridge and axes made from stone were found, establishing the presence of man there as far back as the stone age. These axes can now be seen in the Archaeological Museum in Crotone.

The Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, seat of the Chamber of Deputies
The Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, seat
of the Chamber of Deputies
Travel tip:

The Camera dei Deputati - the Chamber of Deputies -  is one of Italy’s houses of parliament, the other being the Senate of the Republic. The Camera dei Deputati meets at Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, a palace originally designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and completed by Carlo Fontana in 1697, which is to the north of the Pantheon.

More reading:

How Giorgio Almirante tried to make MSI acceptable in mainstream Italian politics

Fini's move away from Fascism

The Piazza Fontana bombing

Also on this day:

1877: The birth of Giuseppe Volpi, founder of the Venice Film Festival

1893: The birth of Giuseppe Curreri, better known as the boxer Johnny Dundee

1907: The birth of Luigi Beccali, winner of Italy's first track gold at the Olympics


27 June 2018

Giorgio Almirante – politician

Leader who tried to make Fascism more mainstream

Giorgio Almirante founded his party shortly after the Second World War
Giorgio Almirante founded his party
shortly after the Second World War
Giorgio Almirante, the founder and leader of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, was born on this day in 1914 at Salsomaggiore Terme in Emilia Romagna.

He led his political party for long periods from 1946 until he handed over to his protégé, Gianfranco Fini, in 1987.

Almirante graduated in Literature and trained as a schoolteacher but went to work for the Fascist journal Il Tevere in Rome.

In 1944, he was appointed Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Culture to the Italian Social Republic, the short-lived German puppet state of which Benito Mussolini was the head after he was thrown out of office as Italy’s prime minister.

After the Fascists were defeated, Almirante was indicted on charges that he had ordered the shooting of partisans, but these were lifted as part of a general amnesty.

He set up his own fascist group in 1946, which was soon absorbed into the Italian Social Movement (MSI).

He was chosen as the party leader to begin with but was forced to give way to August de Marsanich as leader in 1950.

Giorgio Almirante in 1971, reading about his party's success in regional elections in Sicily
Giorgio Almirante in 1971, reading about his party's
success in regional elections in Sicily
Almirante regained the leadership in 1969 and sought to make his party more moderate by dropping the black shirt and the Roman salute.

He placed anti-communism at the centre of his policies in order to rival the Christian Democrats and merged with the Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity.

He helped the MSI become more politically acceptable and was allowed to enter Communist Party HQ in 1984 to pay his respects to their dead leader, Enrico Berlinguer, something that would have once been unimaginable.

Almirante stepped down as leader because of poor health and died in 1988 in Rome.

After Almirante's death, Fini took the MSI further towards a traditional conservative position in the political spectrum, ultimately joining with members of the disbanded Christian Democrats to form a new party, Alleanza Nazionale.

The Liberty-style baths at Salsomaggiore Terme
The Liberty-style baths at Salsomaggiore Terme
Travel tip:

Salsomaggiore Terme, where Almirante was born, is a popular spa town in the province of Parma in Emilia-Romagna. Its water is strongly saline and there are terme (baths) in the town that have been regarded as therapeutic since the reign of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma early in the 19th century.

Parma is famous for parmesan  (parmigiano) cheese
Parma is famous for parmesan
(parmigiano) cheese
Travel tip:

A university city in the Emilia-Romagna region, with a population of almost 200,000, Parma is famous for Grana Parmigiana (Parmesan) cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham, as well as a wealth of Romanesque architecture, including a cathedral containing acclaimed frescoes by Antonio da Correggio, and a pink marble Baptistery next door. More works by Correggio - and by Canaletto - are displayed at the Galleria Nazionale inside Palazzo della Pilotta.


30 December 2017

Alessandra Mussolini – politician

Controversial granddaughter of Fascist dictator

Alessandra  Mussolini is an Italian MEP
Alessandra  Mussolini is an Italian MEP
The MEP Alessandra Mussolini, niece of actress Sophia Loren and granddaughter of Italy’s former Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, was born on this day in 1962 in Rome.

Formerly an actress and model, Mussolini entered politics in the early 1990s as a member of the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano, which had its roots in the Italian Social Republic, the German puppet state led by her grandfather from September 1943 until his death in April 1945.

Her views have changed in more recent years and she has become known for embracing modern issues including abortion, artificial insemination, gay rights and civil unions from a progressive standpoint that has more in common with left-wing feminism.

She has left behind her association with the far right and serves on the European Parliament as representative for Central Italy under a centre-right Forza Italia ticket.

However, she is not without some admiration for the policies of her grandfather.  Only recently she caused consternation when asked her opinion on what to do about an escalating Mafia war in the Roman seaside resort of Ostia by claiming that “granddad would have sorted this out in two or three months.”

Mussolini in her days as an  aspiring young actress
Mussolini in her days as an
 aspiring young actress
The daughter of Benito Mussolini’s fourth son Romano, a jazz pianist who married Sophia Loren’s younger sister, Anna Maria Villani Scicolone, also an actress, she was taken under Loren’s wing as a child and was only 14 years old when she appeared with her aunt (in the role of her daughter) and Marcello Mastroianni in Ettore Scola’s award-winning movie Una giornata particolare (A Special Day).

After studying at the American Overseas School and then Sapienza University in Rome, where she graduated in 1986 and then obtained a Master’s in medicine and surgery, Alessandra returned to the cinema, winning acclaim for her role in another Loren hit, Sabato, domenica e lunedi (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), directed by Lina Wertmüller.

Somewhat ironically, given her ancestry, she had a part in the American-made film The Assisi Underground, which focussed on the efforts of a Franciscan priest to rescue Jews from the Nazis

She also recorded an album of romantic pop songs, albeit released only in Japan, and twice posed for Playboy magazine shoots.

She was elected to the Italian parliament in 1992 for a Naples constituency as a member of MSI, which would later evolve into the Allianza Nationale.  The following year she ran for Mayor of Naples, although she was beaten by the former communist, Antonio Bassolino.

Alessandra has inherited some of her grandfather's talent for passionate speeches
Alessandra has inherited some of her
grandfather's talent for passionate speeches
At the time she did not shy from associations with her grandfather’s politics.  At an MSI rally in Rome in 1992, during which supporters defied party instructions not to wear blackshirts and give Fascist salutes, she stood on a balcony at the Palazzo Venezia, from which the self-proclaimed Duce had delivered many speeches, and shouted “Grazia, Nonno!” (Thanks, Granddad!) as supporters marched past.

Later, she quit the Allianza Nationale after its leader, Gianfranco Fini, in an attempt to move the party away from its perceived position at the far right, made a visit to Israel in which he apologised for Italy’s role as an Axis Power in the Second World War and described Fascism as part of the “absolute evil” that brought about the Holocaust, although she conceded that the world should “beg the forgiveness of Israel” for what had happened.

When she then formed the Social Action party and organised a coalition named Social Alternative, it was expected she would continue to propagate a far-right ideology, so it came as a surprise that she chose to campaign on progressive policies usually associated with the left.

After the Italian general election of April 2008, Mussolini served as a member of the Italian parliament within Silvio Berlusconi's alliance of right wing parties, The People of Freedom.

In the election in February 2013, she was elected to the Senate for The People of Freedom, which was rebranded in November 2013 as Berlusconi relaunched Forza Italia, which had brought him huge success in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, including an unprecedented nine years as prime minister, the longest-serving Italian leader since Benito Mussolini.

In the 2014 European Parliament election, Alessandra Mussolini was elected for Forza Italia, a position she still holds.

The Palazzo Venezia looks out over the Piazza Venezia and the Via del Plebiscito
The Palazzo Venezia looks out over the Piazza Venezia
and the Via del Plebiscito
Travel tip:

The Palazzo Venezia, formerly known as the Palace of St. Mark, is a palace in central Rome, just north of the Capitoline Hill. Originally a modest medieval house intended as the residence of the cardinals appointed to the church of San Marco, in 1469 it became a residential papal palace. In 1564, Pope Pius IV, to curry favour with the Republic of Venice, gave the mansion to the Venetian embassy to Rome on condition that part of the building would remain a residence for the cardinals. Today, the palace, which faces Piazza Venezia and Via del Plebiscito, houses a museum. Its association with Benito Mussolini, who had an office in the palace, led to the balcony from which he made his speeches remaining covered up for many years amid fears it would become a place of pilgrimage for Fascist sympathisers, but it has recently been renovated and opened to the public.

Roman ruins at Ostia Antica
Roman ruins at Ostia Antica
Travel tip:

The seaside resort of Ostia lies 30km (19 miles) to the southwest of the centre of Rome, yet is part of the Rome metropolitan area and thus the only part of the city on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Situated just across the Tiber river from Fiumicino, home of Rome’s largest international airport, it adjoins the remains of the ancient Roman city of Ostia Antica. Many Romans spend the summer holidays in the modern town, swelling a population of about 85,000.