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Meloni victory in Italy is a warning for American democracy

September 30, 2022

The 26th of September was a sad day for me. I woke up to the news that the right-wing coalition led by the “Brothers of Italy” party, directly descended from the Mussolini fascist party, won the election. This win means that Italy now has the most conservative right-wing government we have ever had since the dictatorship.

Giorgia Meloni is the party leader that originates directly from fascism, despite all the adjustments they have made in the last 30 years to appear more acceptable. She is an outspoken Christian extremist against LGBTQIA+ rights, defensive of the “natural family,” willing to take away the right to abortion (that’s already embedded in the national law), and virulently anti-immigration.

Italy is going through a challenging time, and this new government will undoubtedly, exacerbate discrimination, marginalization, and authoritarianism.

I’m sad for my country and terrified of seeing how much this new wave of fascism is spreading across Europe. I’ve seen a lot of reflections about what the new fascism looks like, why it has received so much support, and how it has managed to get roots into the so-called working class traditionally inclined to left parties.

Many of these reflections highlight the difference between 19th-century fascism and the other national articulations we’re now seeing across Europe (Poland, Hungary, France, Sweden, etc.). In my own reflections, I see emerging common traits that will characterize the new course, and I think we need to talk candidly about them. Here are my personal reflections:

  • The new fascist parties all are late-stage white supremacist regimes proclaiming racial superiority and genocidal practices.
  • They will not run into a new Holocaust, but how many immigrants fleeing wars, climate disasters, hunger, and poverty, will die? When Matteo Salvini (now a member of the winning coalition party) ran the Interior Ministry, 1,369 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea, leading some to rename the Mediterranean the “cemetery of migrants”.
  • How many non-white people will die in prisons because they will be at a higher risk of arrest and persecution due to a combination of social factors that will make them more exposed to violence and crime and more criminalized in the name of public security?
  • How many women will suffer if the right to abortion, enshrined in Law n.194 and firmly pushed by the feminist movements in the 70’, is taken away and anti-abortion policies are implemented, like in Hungary, where women must hear the fetus’ heartbeat before an abortion?
  • • What happens to democracy and parliamentarian institutions if Meloni succeeds in changing the Italian Constitution to increase presidential power at the expense of peoples’ power?

We must learn how history evolves and brings violence, poverty, and human rights violations in other forms into our society and build our capacity to push back.

“And the trees still voted for the axe because the axe was clever and had convinced them that it was one of them because it had a wooden handle.”Turkish proverb