Early Globalization and the Italian Far-Right in the 1960s and 1970s
Why an historical focus?
My attraction for the far-right, and more specifically my interest and curiosity to learn about the latter is unmeasurable. Therefore, I decided to tackle this challenge for the academic year. However, considering how broad the rise of the modern far-right is, and acknowledging the multiple ways to approach the latter made it quite hard to settle and focus only on one specific branch of the topic.
For that specific reason, I decided to discuss the roots of the modern far-right. I firstly did so through a literature review that focuses on the rise of neo-fascism in Italy between the 1960s and the 1970s. Indeed, understanding the debut of neo far-right parties in a European country helps understanding the current European tendency that shows the popularity of the far-right. Additionally, analysing the rise of Italian radical right parties between the 1960s and the 1970s helped realizing that there was actually a correlation with the globalization occurring at the time.
How did globalization emerge?
It seems obvious that after the end of the Second World War, European countries were in need to restore their politics and accordingly, also obliged to adopt new political frameworks. The European territory was helped and saved from Nazi Germany by its British and American allies. As powerful as it is, the United States of America additionally offered to help European countries to rebuild themselves. By rebuilding a country, it is mainly referring to the economic recovery of the state. European country’s economies respectively faced a rebirth, notably done through the notorious Marshall Plan.
As countries were therefore progressively recovering, looking more particularly at the at the Italian case, it was noticed that through the 1960s, a remarkable economic advance was occurring. In fact, to use Paul Ginsborg’s words, cited by Richard Drake, ‘Italy ceased to be a peasant country and became one of the major industrial nations of the West’. The European post war society was gradually emerging, and was hardly emulating the American consumerist model. Luxury goods, such as televisions and refrigerators, but also music and fashion trends that were back then only belonging to the American lifestyle, were then promoted and slowly becoming abundant among European countries, including Italy. However, this economic boom that exploded in Italy caused riots, which will be furtherly explained in the next paragraph of this blog article.
As European integration is concerned, the process is traced back to 1951, which shortly follows the Second World War. As a matter of fact, the European Coal and Steel community (ECSC) marks the debut of the European Union era. The years following the Second World War therefore ended up tightening-up European countries, and made them interact together like never before. Ever since then, European countries interrelate and trade together more and more, as well as with the rest of the world. We can even say that in this 21st century, countries are interdependent.
Link between Italian far-right parties and globalization in the 1970s
But the emergence of that intertwinement between all countries, in addition to the North American influence, was not fully appreciated by the Italian citizens. As mentioned earlier, in the previous paragraph of the article, riots were organised due to the sudden increase of the economy. In fact, the labour force was required to work intensively in order to stimulate production of goods in the country. The latter is the result of the result of the American Taylorist model, which seek to maximize profits of a company.
However, even if the working classes had to work more than before, their working conditions were not ameliorated. As a matter of fact, their wages did not increase, and neither health care and house conditions saw an improvement. As a consequence, working classes were protesting and fighting to acquire better wages, as well as health care, that was inexistent in Italy in that time period.
With the presented arguments, we can conclude that globalization definitely impacted the rise of neo-fascists movements in Italy between the 1960s and the 1970s. As a matter of fact, the economic development that Italy faced in the post war era affected the nation. Indeed, after its economic recovery thanks to the Marshall Plan, also known as the recovery plan, Italy, as other European countries, was enabled to follow the American consumerist model. Nevertheless, that new economic process, which aims to maximize profits and productivity, made the working class work even more. However, the latter saw itself deprived of an increase of wages, as well as working-conditions.