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Neo-fascist squadrism supported by the democratic government



It is 18 February 2023, less than two weeks from the time we write this article. It is early morning and school life in Florence is going on as normal as any other Saturday. Outside the Liceo Classico Michelangiolo, a small group of six neo-fascists from the youth organization Azione Studentesca are handing out leaflets. It should be noted that they are not even school students and that they are all between 16 and 20 years old. The members of the very democratic student organization of this lyceum, the Collettivo Studentesco, which, as is the case throughout Italy, is in the hands of democratic and antifascist, often social democratic or social reformist forces, were upset by this provocation and decided to protest against this activity. So far, nothing new: A youthful squabble between right-wing and “left-wing” militants, as has happened in previous years and as happens in reality every year. A handful of democrats quickly leave the school with the precise intention of stopping the leaflets from being handed out, carrying a basket in which to dump the leaflets and asking them to stop distributing them. However, the reaction of the neo-fascists is violent: two of the democrats are knocked to the ground and beaten. The intervention of other members of the lyceum's student organization, the arrival of a teacher, and finally the police put an end to this quickly impromptu clash. Immediately, propaganda from centre-left circles against the growing fascism begins with heartfelt appeals for constitutional legality and democracy; the government remains silent for the time being. After all, the prime minister Giorgia Meloni herself led the far right Azione Studentesca from 1996 to 2000, so it is only natural that this event should have embarrassed the majority, who, after all, come from this cultural and political milieu, which has a tradition of being eminently linked to the now defunct neo-fascist party, the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI). The silence of the government and of all the parties in the ruling majority has, of course, further fuelled the controversy on the part of the opposition, which saw in this silence proof of the government's complicity in actions of an essentially squadrist nature, such as the one that took place. It was in this political context that a circular by the director of the Liceo Scientifico Leonardo Da Vinci, Annalisa Savino (note that this is not the lyceum in front of which the events took place), inflamed the controversy once again. The circular is undoubtedly an antifascist document (in the worst sense of the word), as can be seen from the text, from which we extract a few excerpts. For example, it says: “Fascism in Italy was not born with large gatherings of thousands of people. It was born on the edge of an ordinary pavement, when the victim of politically motivated violence was left to his fate by indifferent passers-by. ‘I hate the indifferent people,’ said the great Italian Antonio Gramsci, who was imprisoned until his death by fascists frightened like rabbits by the power of his ideas.” Inherent to the antifascists is the quote of such an eclectic anti-Marxist of immense fame as Gramsci (in our 1955-1957 text Struttura economica e sociale della Russia d'oggi, this judgment on Gramsci’s Marxism was made: […] Gramsci had less orthodoxy [towards Marxist theory] than Turati”) (1).

Our position on antifascism is age-old and invariant; its roots lie in the revolutionary continuity of the program and positions of the Communist Left current which founded the Communist Party of Italy in 1921 and which has always been characterized by its struggle against all ideological, cultural and political manifestations of bourgeois domination of society, considering both democracy and fascism as different methods of rule by capitalist domination itself. Fascism was born as a response, not ideological, but military and squadrist, which the Italian bourgeoisie found in the most dangerous post-war period for its political power, when the proletarian masses led by the revolutionary communist party (precisely the Communist Party of Italy) showed with their struggle and determination that they “wanted to do as in Russia”, that they wanted to transform their economic defensive struggle into a revolutionary political struggle. In fact, fascism was born precisely as a detachment of liberal democracy, using all the democratic means at the disposal of the bourgeois power; the latter protected it with its forces of order in its murderous raids against the proletariat, and then was swept of when the time came to deal the proletarian class movement a blow of mercy and to centralize the bourgeois forces to the utmost by uniting them in an openly proclaimed bourgeois dictatorship, i.e. precisely in fascism. Our anti-democratic position has not changed today, just as it did not change in the past in the face of squadrist fascism: we are fundamentally anti-bourgeois and therefore consistently opposed to both democracy and fascism, just as we have always opposed both warring fronts in imperialist wars, precisely because we, as revolutionary communists, are anti-bourgeois. Democratic antifascism is an opportunist deception because it sides with a bourgeois method of government, the democratic, against an equally bourgeois method of government, the fascist. And it is from this position that the words in “What Distinguishes Our Party”, in the headline reprinted in the party press, derive: the rejection of all popular fronts and national resistance blocs.

We regard antifascism as shameful opportunism–and thus Gramsci's antifascist propositions. The struggle against fascism as proposed by bourgeois democrats, social democratic reformists and Stalinists is radically antithetical to the nature of the Class Party. Ours is not the Party of the united democratic struggle against fascism. Our party is the Party of the world proletarian revolution. Nor will we comment on the idealism of that circular which would like to reduce fascism to a “political motif” and the birth of fascism to political violence born almost by chance. But on the other hand, in the face of open fascist violence, here we have what the director (who turns out to be the perfect guarantor of the democratic and constitutional order) says: “In times of uncertainty, of collective mistrust of institutions, of preoccupation with one’s own closed-mindedness, we must all believe in the future and open ourselves to the world, always denouncing violence and domination.” This is not the solution to social problems.

Faced with periods of insecurity and collective mistrust of institutions, notwithstanding the fascists, the perspective in which lies the solution to social problems, the revolutionary classist struggle that will ultimately overthrow the bourgeois state in a political, social and military confrontation and destroy the capitalist system. On closer inspection, thus, the propaganda of the antifascist Centre-Left, which appears so anti-government and harsh towards the present political system, is nothing more than an appeal to democratic calm and respect for bourgeois legality. In fact, if we simplify the contents of the circular to the minimum, we find the opposite of what bourgeois journalism presents: far from being a revolutionary letter, it is rather an electoral appeal!

Of course, the current government has not taken the disgraceful message of that circular: Minister Giuseppe Valditara intervened in a rather grotesque way, declaring that: “There is no drift towards violence and authoritarianism in Italy, there is no fascist danger, the defense of the border has nothing to do with fascism or Nazism” (the emphasis is ours). It is not our job to comment on these words in a sensationalist way, as the bourgeois press, whether democratic or fascist, has already done. Obviously the condemnation of these words by the entire Italian antifascist political milieu was widespread. Instead, we want to underline the clear positions of our party on the question of fascism and democracy, precisely in relation to the disturbances of the democratic order. This is admirably summed up in a 1971 article: “To the worshippers of the sacred fire of democracy it seems unthinkable to turn the eyes and forces of the proletariat to the phenomenon of resurgent squadrism and its shameful violent attacks: it is the status quo that is threatened; ‘the institutions born of the Resistance are threatened’ – they cry; a common front is urgently needed; a united defensive array; a bloc of civilization standing above the classes against barbarism. But fascism does not fall from the sky. It is a manifestation of an internal crisis of the bourgeois regime, of its fissures and contradictions, of the disease of its very organism: and these, assuming that democracy intends to eradicate ‘squadrist violence’, are and will be equally alive and real in its bosom. If the squadrist rabble embark on offensive sorties, their efforts represent nothing more than the filth of the society, a kind of surfacing explosion of an otherwise profound reality; the convulsion of the capitalist world, after so many years of ‘plenty’, in the thorny bed of an impending recession. It is on this very ground that it rises, the same ground on which democracy reigns” (2).

Fascism and democracy go hand in hand, complementing each other, create common instruments of domination and learn from their mistakes. If squadrism exists, it is also because there are capitalist economic conditions that favor it, conditions that democracy obviously has no interest in eliminating. Calling for a “united front” against fascism, that is, subscribing to the antifascist ideology, plays into the hands of the ruling class. The only way to put an end once and for all to injustice, political violence, disorder and inequality is the one we have stubbornly pursued throughout history for almost two centuries: communism!


Against fascist squadrism!

Against the antifascist democratic order!

For the World Communist Party!



(1) Struttura economica e sociale della Russia d’oggi. Articles from 1955-57 collected in volume of the same title, Part I, § 24. Ed. “il programma comunista”, 1976. Turati was a major exponent of  “revisionism” and reformism in the Socialist Party in Italy before 1914.

(2) Democrazia e fascismo si integrano a vicenda, Il Programma Comunista, 1971, No. 4, p. 1.


March, 1st 2023



International Communist Party

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