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(en) wsm.ie: Antifascist Demo - Marcerata Italy

Date Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:15:02 +0200

On February 10th over 20,000 took to the streets of Macerata (Italy) at a national antifascist demonstration, one week after a fascist terrorist attack on migrants in the city. Demonstrators who came from all over the country, joining many people from the local area, held a powerful show of strength in resistance to the swelling of fascist activity and legitimation in Italy. The strong attendance and relatively peaceful atmosphere was a stark contrast to the predictions of both mainstream media mouthpieces and political opponents who envisioned either a low turnout or violence. ---- On February 3rd a local fascist drove around the city of Macerata randomly targeting black people. At least six people were shot, one of whom is in a serious condition in hospital. The attacker, who was wrapped in an Italian flag during the attack, made a fascist salute after being apprehended by police (almost two hours after the attack began). Last year the attacker stood for local elections with the Northern League, an anti-immigration party with growing support. The party response was to distance themselves from the actual shooting, however blaming the attack on ‘unrestrained immigration'. Forza Nuova, a self-declared neo-fascist party responded by offering to cover the attackers legal expenses. In several cities Forza Nuova and Casapound, another fascist party with wider support who are running in the national elections in March, hung banners in solidarity with the gunman.

The demonstration, which was called by the social centres of Marche, was initially prohibited by city mayor, a decision supported by national officials. As a result some organisations such as the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), the CGIL (a major trade union) and Libera (an anti-mafia NGO) who were originally meant to partake in the demonstration, deserted.

In covering the run up to the demonstration, the mainstream media have focused the experience of the citizens of Macerata, depicting them as helpless victims trapped between two equally violent, opposing sides. Some smaller demonstrations which were held around the country in support of the march in Macerata resulted in clashes with riot police, a key talking point in the mainstream media coverage, who claimed that antifascists were using fascist methods. The false equivalence is standard in the mainstream narrative of anti-fascism in Italy, which delegitimises left movements and creates fear and uncertainty around social centres and the left amongst the general population.

All of this fits into a broader historical context in Italy, a country which has never fully cleansed itself from the legacy of fascism since liberation at the end of the second World War. While any attempt to re-establish the fascist party or spread fascist propaganda is technically prohibited under law, governments have tended to show huge tolerance to outspoken fascists, and inrecent years have even actively conceded them platforms in the name of ‘free speech'. Once again fascists are penetrating political institutions, at the same time intensifying street violence and racist attacks (almost 150 incidences of fascist violence, including murders, have been reported since 2014 - www.ecn.org/antifa/). In Italy as elsewhere, it is as important as ever to actively resist fascism, both by fostering a rejection of fascism and racism in society, and fighting it head on, bringing antifascism onto the streets.

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