Italy

Italy’s new government only took office in early June, but the country is already facing an alarming rise in racist violence, writes Daniele Fulvi.

Incidents of racial discrimination have risen in the past few weeks, with large numbers of immigrants being attacked — and in some cases killed.

The most outrageous case involved 29-year-old Soumayla Sacko, who was shot dead in Calabria, in southern Italy.

Racism

Born in Mali, Sacko migrated to Italy where he got work as a labourer.

Italy’s new government is the most conservative and reactionary since World War II, writes Daniele Fulvi.

After three months of laborious negotiations, Italy finally has a new government. However, there is very little to celebrate.

The populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega Nord (Northern League) came to an agreement on the government’s agenda. They won the argument against Italian President Sergio Mattarella to give the prime ministership to Giuseppe Conte, a professor and jurist who sympathises with M5S.

Thousands of women marched across Italy on May 26 to mark the anniversary of Italy’s 194 Law, which passed in 1978 and legalised abortion in the country.

At the same time as the Israeli Defense Force massacred more than 50 Gazans protesting against the US shifting its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Matte Gallo writes that Italians are joining protests against the decision of the major cycling race Giro d’Italia to start the contest in Israel.

In various stages of this important Italian sporting event, many activists have protested -- waving flags, chanting slogans and making their presence felt energetically.

Palestinian civil society groups have accused Giro d’Italia cycling race, which started its first leg in Israel on May 4, of covering up Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and its secret police’s repression against Giro protests, said Kerry Smith.

The results of Italy’s March 4 general elections paint an alarming picture. No one holds the numbers to form a new government alone and the situation is very puzzling and uncertain.

The relationship between Italians and fascism has always been ambivalent in the aftermath of World War II. This is mainly because Italians have never come to terms with its fascist past.

As a result, neo-fascist groups are flourishing today amid increasing social and political hatred, and receiving considerable media coverage. This includes groups such as CasaPound (named after the fascist poet Ezra Pound) and Forza Nuova (New Force).

Italian general elections on March 4 will be a testing ground for the new grassroots, left-wing movement Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), born only four months ago.

In a climate of hatred that has poisoned the electoral campaign, Power to the People has stood out for its scale of popular participation, both in the way it established its political agenda and in the campaign itself. In this sense, Power to the People is an unprecedented attempt at creating a real bottom-up democratic movement.

In Rome on December 17, the first national meeting of Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), a new grassroots left-wing movement aiming at running for the March general elections. But the new group also aims at giving new lifeblood and a new perspective to Italy’s radical left.

Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), suffered and died in Mussolini’s prison system. In jail, he wrote his famous Prison Notebooks — more than 3000 pages long — in which he theorised a unique revolutionary Marxist alternative to Stalinism.

More than 800 Somali and Eritrean refugees were violently evicted on August 24 from a building they were occupying in the centre of Rome. The occupation, which began in 2013, had come to symbolised the inefficient and broken nature of refugee reception policies in Italy.

A new wave of neo-fascist sentiment has been emerging in recent years in Europe, endangering the basis of Western democracy.

Just think of the Ukraine, where the Communist Party has been banned, or Hungary, where the President Viktor Orban built an anti-migrant wall along the Serbian border (and is about to build a new one). Or Poland, where the parliament recently approved an illiberal law designed to limit the autonomy of the judiciary, subordinating it to the diktats of the justice minister.

In recent weeks, there have been some worrying developments in the Italian political scene. Extremist, anti-refugee and xenophobic ideas are increasingly gaining ground.

In a growing climate of uncertainty and social instability, all major political forces seem to be riding the wave of discontent to raise their electoral profiles, rather than trying to calm things down.

It is official: solidarity and activism are, according to the Ukrainian government, criminal acts. It seems paradoxical, but it is true.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko has demanded the Italian government extradite members of the so-called Anti-Fascist Caravan (AFC), a group of activists who recently visited the separatist region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

Italian soccer authorities were branded as “gutless” amid calls for strikes from the league’s Black players after a Ghanaian player was banned for protesting racist crowd abuse.

During a May 1 match between Cagliari and Pescara in Italy’s top league, the Serie A, Pescara’s Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari was given a yellow card for dissent after he protested opposition fans’ racist taunting.

Muntari was seen complaining to the referee to stop the game after coping with abuse throughout the game. He shouted at the fans that “this is my colour”.

Italian Democratic Party (PD) members re-elected former prime minister Matteo Renzi as party secretary with 70% of the votes in primaries on April 30. Renzi’s re-election carries important significance for both Italy and Europe.

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