How the Economic Crisis Came in Handy to CasaPound Italia
* Featured image from: https://www.casapounditalia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/IMMAGINE-2.png
The rise of far-right parties in Europe is still a persistent phenomenon. In this regard, CasaPound Italia (CPI) is the perfect concrete example in Italian politics. This blog is relevant because it represents a useful insight into the neo-fascist ideology of the twenty-first century.
CasaPound was created out of a social necessity in the early 2000s, and it was viewed as a solution to the economic crisis that was sweeping Italy at the time. Italy’s precarious position during the economic crisis represented fertile ground for CasaPound to spread its political ideals and the party’s ideas.
In which way does CasaPound Italia attract new and young supporters? CasaPound’s activity focuses on revitalizing political mobilization modalities and breaking down old forms of party involvement, with a particular focus on younger generations and social groups that have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis.
In the next sections, different aspects related to CasaPound are introduced. The first section comprehends two paragraphs; it starts with a brief introduction to neo-fascism followed by a description of the new fascists, members of CasaPound. The second section is dedicated to the relation between CasaPound and the economic crisis, the Euro crisis, focusing on how CasaPound uses it for its egoistic interests.
Neo-Fascism in Italy
CasaPound Italia portrayed itself as the defender of traditional national culture and religion, denouncing the economic crisis using its evident connection with fascism, thanks to a “new sort of extreme right“.
Italian elementary schoolchildren assemble for a propagandistic photo praising fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Translation: Leader, We Love You.
Courtesy of Diana Garvin
The expression “new extreme right”, in the contemporary academic debate, is used to describe neo-fascist and neo-nazist tendencies. These “neo-fascists” promoted militant nationalism and authoritarian values, using racist and xenophobic scapegoating. Moreover, neo-fascists glorified violence and military heroism and promoted populist right-wing economic programs.
The Fascist Movement that has brought Mussolini back to the Mainstream
“New Fascist” is how the younger CasaPound’s supporters call themselves nowadays. It is precisely on the younger generations that CPI has more influence. CasaPound counts 241 thousand young followers on Facebook.
Surely, with a charismatic leader and in step with times like Gianluca Iannone, CasaPound has a lot of grip on young people and their perception of politics.
In the folds of the economic crisis, in the most deprived suburbs where the left has disappeared, groups like CasaPound have continued to help, both in material and ideological terms. The pressure put by the party on the consequences of the economic crisis was a good mirror on the real Italian situation.
After this section with an introduction of CasaPound and more general information about the party itself, the next section will focus on the idea of crisis and, more specifically, it will focus on the impact the economic crisis had.
How CasaPound used the Economic Crisis for its Interests
The economic crisis and the necessity to help struggling social classes played an important role in CasaPound’s growth. In fact, CasaPound was able to expand its opportunities and rediscover a new identity to promote a fascist model of the new millennium. CasaPound’s action focuses on renewing political mobilization tactics and overcoming traditional forms of party engagement, with a focus on younger generations and social groups most impacted by the economic crisis.
Italy’s economic issues and its political lean to the right are linked. This indicates that the far-right is on the rise in many parts of the country because of the country’s poor economic situation. Consequently, it is logical to assume that economic inequality is a driving force behind the rise of the far-right.
Within the crisis, the main objective of Casapound Italia – following the economic crisis that began in Italy in 2008 – was to challenge the political-economic system that had allowed the crisis to expand and to force many Italians into poverty. CasaPound has described itself as “forced” to take political action to meet the socio-economic demands of Italian society, which have been neglected by an incompetent government.
The economic crisis allows CasaPound to revolt against the European institutions and Brussels’ austerity measures, which rob people of their autonomy and sovereignty. Criticizing European budgetary policy was one of the focal points on which CasaPound based its attraction for new supporters. In these regards, CasaPound was astute enough to make the economic crisis a political tool for its selfish interests.
The crisis provides a whole new set of opportunities for the extreme right to reconnect with its fascist heritage while also inventing and innovating crisis-related policy proposals and actions. All the crisis-related problems enable CasaPound to go beyond a single condemnation of the housing issue.
The Academic Debate on CasaPound
The topics analyzed in this blog represent avenues for future research. The debate on the correlation between CasaPound and the economic crisis is still new; most of the chosen sources are written in the twenty-first century not only by Italian scholars. Overall, in the debate, the main idea is that CasaPound is evidently related to Fascism in terms of political program and ideology. Together with the focus on the economic crisis, these two represent the most discussed topic in the debate related to CasaPound.
Matteo Albanese, Caterina Froio, Giorgia Bulli, and Pietro Castelli Gattinara are pillars in Italian literature when it comes to evaluating the phenomenon of CasaPound. In detail, this analysis is mostly based on their works and secondary sources.