International Jake Johnson Voting

Fascists Set to Take Power in Italy for First Time Since Mussolini

"Italians must now repeat what their ancestors once did: defeat fascism," said the progressive movement DiEM25. "But not for the return of the politics-as-usual that brought the fascists to power in the first place."
Giorgia Meloni at CPAC 2022. Vox España, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the fascist Brothers of Italy party, is set to become the country’s prime minister after her far-right coalition emerged victorious in Sunday’s snap election, defeating a fragmented center-left and setting the stage for a viciously xenophobic and anti-democratic Italian government.

The alliance of Meloni’s party, Matteo Salvini’s The League, and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia won roughly 43% of the vote in early tallies, with Brothers of Italy winning around 25% in the low-turnout contest. Results counted thus far indicate that the right-wing coalition failed to garner enough support to amend Italy’s constitution.

Italy’s centrist Democratic Party is poised to lead the opposition.

“This is a sad day for the country,” Debora Serracchiani, a Democratic Party leader, said of Meloni’s win.

Meloni has rejected the fascist label, but her party has its roots in the neofascist movement that emerged following the death of dictator Benito Mussolini. Meloni was a youth member of the Italian Social Movement, which was created by former members of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.

Brothers of Italy’s fascist heritage can be seen on its flag, which features a tricolor flame that served as the Italian Social Movement’s symbol.

Last month, in an address aimed at distancing herself from her past involvement with fascist organizations, Meloni said that she has in recent years “had the honor of leading the European Conservative Party,” which “shares values and experiences with the British Tories, the U.S. Republicans, and the Israeli Likud.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, wrote for The Atlantic last week that “Meloni’s enemies list is familiar: ‘LGBT lobbies’ that are out to harm women and the family by destroying ‘gender identity’; George Soros, an ‘international speculator,’ she has said, who finances global ‘mass immigration’ that threatens a Great Replacement of white, native-born Italians.”

“Meloni seems unlikely to tone down her extremism or change her alignment with illiberal parties in Europe, such as Hungary’s Fidesz,” Ben-Ghiat argued. “After all, pursuing hard-line anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ policies in the name of defending white Christian civilization has worked well for them. Like [Hungary’s authoritarian leader Viktor] Orbán, Meloni has made common cause with U.S. Republicans, attending the Conservative Political Action Conference and the National Prayer Breakfast.”

Italy has seen 11 governments in 20 years, and Sunday’s snap contest came after unelected Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a former central banker, announced his resignation in July following the collapse of his unity government amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

“For too many years, Italy has been stuck in a cycle: a merry-go-round in which power is passed up between failed career politicians, unelected technocrats, and opportunistic populists,” said DiEM25, a pan-European progressive movement co-founded by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. “One of these populists—an openly fascist one—is now set to become the country’s new leader.”

“To break with this cycle, Italians must now repeat what their ancestors once did: defeat fascism,” the group added. “But not for the return of the politics-as-usual that brought the fascists to power in the first place.”

Varoufakis argued Monday that the far-right’s surge to power in Italy represents another “colossal failure” by the European establishment and its disastrous economic policies that have worsened inequality for the benefit of elites.

“Yesterday’s Italian elections signal the absorption by the European and NATO establishment of Italian neo-fascism,” said Varoufakis. “The specter of fascism may once again be hovering over Europe. But, as in Greece, it is now fully integrated—and continues its misanthropic work—within the oligarchic European establishment.”

Jake Johnson
Jake Johnson

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.


  1. The Left is equally responsible. They have zero vision of a better future and much prefer squabbling with each other over joining forces. We saw the same petty sight a few months ago in France and here again. Bah. Shame on them.

    One vision they should all at least share is….is on how to work together. Here’s how…

    All the left & centre-left fractions join into one joint entity (joint list whatever it takes to not lose stray votes). On the ballotsheet keep the various flavours for the voter to choose from. Internally use systemic consensus (SK) to get all the various fractions to unanimously back collective proposals.

    See Felber use SK to achieve just this in less than 5 minutes. Watch here from minute 12:00 onwards

    It works and is nowdays even available as an App.

      1. “the amerikan liberal wants to preserve the essence of the past, the conservative wants more and more progress; the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future, the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the past”. Geoffrey Gorer
        “american radicals black and white adopted radical style without any radical content”. Christopher Lasch
        “the monolingual inevitably confuses style with content”. George Simmel

  2. Question:

    What is worse a communist government — after WWII — or a right-wing fascist government in 2022?

    Is the US going to interfere in Italian politics like they did in the 1940s?

    Or, are we going to discreetly look the other way?

    Remember, due to difficult economic times (The Great Depression) in the 1930s, Europe turned right — a hard right!!

    An ugly recession is on the way. Right now — the US Stock Market is sinking into a morass of debt and hubris.

    Dozens of nations are already experiencing intense financial difficulty.

    As Italy goes, so goes Western Europe?

    The UK has recently been saddled with the most conservative government in forty years!

    England is imploding financially. Stubborn inflation, an energy crisis and a political leadership crisis.

    Professor Adan Tooze calls this a “poly-crisis” — multiple systems breakdown.

    And Europe finds itself dealing with a nasty recession.

    How far behind is the US? Not far. Our day is coming!!

    1. @Cuthbert: Speaking Truth Against Leftist Evil

      Ooooh, you’re right–of course the only real choice is between RED or BLUE!

      For the U.S. Rs, anything beyond center-right is the off the chart territory that used to be labelled “here be dragons.” Green New Deal/socialist/anti-capitalist/peacenik/whatever, anything not totally thrilled with the status quo is all the same: leftist EVIL! Come to think of it, true for the Dem party elite, too.

      That link is to other pieces by Jake Johnson. The site name itself is suspicious–common?! As in common, meaning mediocre, or common good, which is just another way of saying collectivist–right?

      As for the articles: “Huge Victory–Starbucks Agrees To Begin Contract Talks” “44 House Democrats Push Biden DOJ To Investigate DeSantis Over ‘Cruel Migrant Flights'” “House GOP Agenda Signals Push For Social Security and Medicare Cuts” Clearly this silly criticism must be mere left wing economic ignorance.

      You go, S.T.A.L.E.!!!

    2. you are confused—elections have no relationship to fascism feudalism, democracy etc—the most common understanding of fascism is when corporations own the nation
      “Tsarist Russia is far more free and just than america where corporations rule and robbery and thievery is made official”. Vissaron Belinsky

  3. The choice these days in America seems to be between a Liberal Corporate Dystopia or Christian Fascism.

    Not an enviable choice and not somewhere you want to be when it gets real.

  4. Why are you upset? The EU is a fascist entity all prepared to stop any dissent. All are supporting the neo-or even true-nazis in Ukraine. What is the problem with Italy??

  5. The notion that choices lay ahead of us that lead to fascism is false because fascism is more like a balloon inflated by the cavity created from earlier decisions. In America the corrupt oligarchy and capture of government has put fascism in out path. Fascism is not a pejorative, it’s a populist movement with features. We can argue all of fascism’s ugliness is drown directly from the state of the State. Wealth inequality, pauperizing the middle class, unchecked greed consuming the State. Fascism is actually a half-step in recovery, dislodging some of the plundering oligarchs. “The Doctrine of Fascism” (1932)
    by Benito Mussolini should be read before the word is used. We can avoid fascism of course by convincing oligarchs to repent their greed, give up their power and pay taxes.

    1. populism often leads to fascism, not always. to understand this one must examine the relations between regions, corporations, a state religions, economic arrangements, etc—as used by by the DNC website it is meaningless

  6. Varoufakis has gone silly. He supports the NATO war against Russia. Populist parties are opposing it. The real fascism, in the negative sense of police state and glorified military imperialism, is all on the neoliberal side, the status quo parties who have brought to the brink of climate and nuclear annihilation.

  7. different understandings of fascism exist—the most common is when corporations own the nation. “Tsarist Russia has far more freedom and justice than america where corporations rule and robbery and thievery are made official”. Vissaron Belinsky. George simmel perceived the same. This matters not for americans…”the problem with americans is not Orwellian it is huxleyan: americans love their oppression”. neil postman
    “the American world view is nihilism with a happy ending”: Alan bloom
    “in america the citizen has been transformed into a client, the worker into a consumer”. Christopher Lasch
    “only in america do people act like machines , are treated like machines and only in america are machine metaphors used to describe human behavior ….the american liberal wants to preserve the essence of the past, the american conservative wants more and more progress; the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future, the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the past”. Geoffrey gorer

  8. Giorgia Meloni is not even a fascist. Fratelli D’Italia is a party established in 2012 as a spin off of he National Alliance, itself a less dogmatic and more liberal reincarnation of the MSI.
    The ideological foundation and electoral program of FDI has been approved at a congress in 2017 and has no fascist characteristics .It is typical for a nationalist, conservative, liberal party ready to participate in democratic elections, with a liberal economic program (tax reductions for corporations and not a planned, totalitarian approach to economy as typical of fascists regimes. Ms. Meloni clearly declared that there is no place in the FDI for people nostalgic for Il Duce laws and policies.

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