In the wake of her country’s stunning rejection Sunday of the political left, Italy’s new prime minister – running on the belief that the government’s job is to support the family, church, and civil society rather than control it – is being cast as the most “far-right prime minister since Mussolini.”
Benito Mussolini, in fact, was an avowed socialist who said he launched his National Fascist Party to “save socialism.” But in any case, Italian voters have chosen a new governing coalition that will be headed by Giorgia Meloni, the nation’s first female prime minister, and her Brothers of Italy party.
Meloni’s platform is summarized in a 2019 speech to the World Congress of Families that has gone viral on social media since her party’s victory Sunday.
She asked rhetorically why “the family” has become “an enemy” and “so frightening” to the left.
“Because it defines us. Because it is our identity,” she said, according to an English translation.
“Because everything that defines us is now an enemy, for those who would like us to no longer have an identity and to simply be perfect consumer slaves,” she continued.
“So they attack national identity, they attack religious identity, they attack gender identity, they attack family identity,” said Meloni.
“I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No. I must be citizen x, gender x, parent 1, parent 2. I must be a number, because when I am only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators. The perfect consumer.”
In her October 2019 speech, Meloni said the left has reacted with “fear” to her movement and the World Congress of Families.
Fifteen years ago, WND was at the World Congress of Families conference in Warsaw, Poland, which featured the warning of a “demographic winter” that posed an existential threat to Europe as the rejection of the “natural family” was leading to plunging birthrates and the consequent importation of millions of workers from countries with historic colonial ties who spurn the values of their host nations and refuse to assimilate.
Meloni concluded by reciting lines from a quote by G.K. Chesterton, the English writer, and philosopher.
Chesterton wrote: “We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which furious party cries will be raised against anybody who says that cows have horns, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for the maddening mob with the news that grass is green.”
Meloni finished with: “That time has arrived, ladies and gentlemen. We are ready. Thank you.”
CNN.com ran this headline Monday: “Giorgia Meloni claims victory to become Italy’s most far-right prime minister since Mussolini.”
The network summarizes her views:
A 45-year-old mother from Rome, Meloni is deeply conservative, openly anti-LBGT, and has threatened to place same-sex unions, which were legalized in Italy in 2016, under review. She has also called abortion a “tragedy,” raising fears for the future of women’s rights in the country.
CNN said the agenda of the Brothers of Italy, which Meloni founded in 2012, is rooted in “Euroskepticism,” meaning support for Italians governing their lives rather than European Union bureaucrats in Brussels, and “anti-immigration policies,” meaning upholding the rule of law and advocating measures that take into account the interests and longterm well-being of everyone in the country.
The “CBS Evening News” account on Twitter said Meloni “leads a neo-fascist movement, reminiscent of Benito Mussolini’s party.”
In August, Meloni was criticized for posting a pixelated video of a Ukrainian woman being raped by an asylum seeker from Guinea in an Italian city.
“One cannot remain silent in the face of this atrocious episode of sexual violence against a Ukrainian woman carried out in daytime the in Piacenza by an asylum seeker,” Meloni wrote. “A hug to this woman. I will do everything I can to restore security to our cities.”
Among other issues, she also was criticized for her opposition to the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, including not vaccinating her daughter, and to mitigation measures.
Describing Brothers of Italy as “mainstream conservative,” Meloni rejects the description of her political views as “far right,” calling it a smear by opponents.
The name of her party comes from the words of the Italian national anthem.
With 63% of the votes counted, the coalition led by Meloni’s party was winning 44% of the vote. According to the Italian Interior Ministry, the Brothers of Italy party had 26%, while Matteo Salvini’s League had 9% and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia 8%. Final results are expected Monday, but it is expected to take weeks to for the new government to be formed.
In her 2021 autobiography, Meloni said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be commended for “defending European values and Christian identity.”
But she has condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and supports sanctions on Moscow.
‘Socialism is in my blood’
The characterization of Mussolini and his fascist political philosophy as “right wing” was addressed Monday in a thread on Twitter by Tom Elliott, the founder, and editor of the news site Grabien.
“Memo to my friends in the media covering Italy’s elections: Italian fascism – and especially Mussolini – were not ‘right wing,’ but rather another statist/collectivist ideology that was worshipped among left-wing intellectuals of the day,” he wrote.
Elliott pointed out that the political left in the 1920s and 1930s, including in the United States, “saw Mussolini as a hero.”
One of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal architects, Redford Guy Tugwell, wrote of Italian fascism: “It is the cleanest, neatest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes me envious.”
When Mussolini formed the National Fascist Party, he said the objective was to advance socialism.
“Twelves years of my life in the (Socialist) party ought to be a sufficient guarantee of my socialist faith. Socialism is in my blood,” he said.
“I am and shall remain a socialist and my convictions will never change! They are bred into my very bones.”
Mussolini explained it was “necessary” to get rid of the old socialist party and replace it with his fascist party “in order to save socialism.”