Fascist violence has spread since the election of Italy’s new right wing government in April. However this has led to an impressive response from anti-fascists.
Silvio Berlusconi’s government includes the anti-immigrant Northern League and the “post-fascist” National Alliance.
Last month a Nazi gang beat to death a young man, Nicola Tommasoli, in Verona. This murder was excused by the press as being the outcome of a clash between two opposing “extremisms”.
There have been a series of incidents in the capital, Rome. In one, ten masked men attacked Bengali shops in the multi-ethnic Pigneto area. In another, there was a fascist attack against anti-fascist students at La Sapienza University. Lastly there was the placing of a powerful bomb at the entrance of the popular Acrobax social centre, which was fortunately defused.
The media presents these incidents as the logic of a clash between opposed “extremisms”.
Racism has been made respectable by the new government – particularly the Northern League – and it is only mildly criticised by the centre left whose preferred response is to say that a distinction has to be made between honest, working immigrants and delinquents that have to be repressed.
But there has been a serious response to racist attacks. In Pigneto we had an enormous demonstration just after the attack and it was the starting point for the creation of a neighbourhood committee which has issued the proposal for a one day general strike of all migrant workers.
At La Sapienza University a student mobilisation won the Human Rights Faculty to taking legal action against the fascist attackers.
Across Italy this year’s demonstrations marking the Liberation from fascism on 25 April 1945 were the largest in many years.
There are still problems in creating a united response but with each attack it becomes clearer that this the only way to change things.