Monday 5 March 2018

A warning from the Italian elections


The Italian election results should send a warning across Europe.

Although the results are still being counted, a number of forces that pushed racism during the campaign have won millions of votes. The right-wing electoral alliance of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi includes the racist Northen League and the fascist Brothers of Italy.
Berlusconi himself made the deportation of 600,000 immigrants one of his central pledges.

Over two thirds of the vote have been counted, with the coalition headed by Berlusconi, currently on 37 per cent of the vote, but lacking an absolute majority of seats. There has been a swing in support for the Northern League, which beat Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, earning 18 per cent of the vote and becomes the central, racist populist force in Italy.

Northern League leader Matteo Salvini has spoken of “Illegal” immigrants as “a tide of delinquents and I want to send them home, from the first to the last. We are packed with drug dealers, rapists, burglars — and the League is the solution.” He says Islam is incompatible with Italy’s values and freedoms. This week Salvini suggested he could talk to CasaPound, the openly fascist group, about being in government together.

Chillingly, Susanna Ceccardi, the Northern League mayor of Cascina, said on the eve of the vote, “I read everyone else’s platforms and they are our own. We have imposed our political agenda with the line dictated by Salvini. The League has already won.”

The Five Star Movement, which may be the largest single party, has also scapegoated migrants for the country’s problems.
“Italy has imported from Romania 40 percent of that country’s criminals,” the movement’s candidate for prime minister, Luigi di Maio, posted on his Facebook page in April 2017.
“Tuberculosis, scabies, Aids, cholera are diseases which have been imported,” the movement’s founder Beppe Grillo wrote on his blog in 2013.

Anti fascists
There are many in Italy who reject racism. Large numbers have demonstrated against division, But this need a focus and a continuing united campaign.

Brian Richardson, assistant secretary of UAF, said, “Again and again politicians in Italy have targeted desperate people fleeing poverty, war and climate change. Instead of conceding to them, it’s time for unity and a rejection of these divisive lies.

“The problem is that when virtually the whole political establishment peddles the attacks on refugees, it’s not surprising that many voters believe that this is the greatest problem that Italy faces.”

Sabby Dhalu, joint secretary of UAF, said, “We cannot calmly allow this trend of rising support for racist forces to grow. We know it means attacks on migrant, refugees, Muslims and Jewish people. It threatens us all. During the election campaign a fascist went on a shooting spree in the central Italian town of Macerata, wounding six Africans.

“On 17 March we will take to the streets in London, Cardiff and Glasgow against all forms of racism. And on the same day there will be dozens of marches across Europe with the same message. We urge everyone to join us.”
Join the #MarchAgainstRacism,

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