This article aims to be a contribution to the ongoing debate among scholars concerning the question whether recently formed right-wing radical parties represent a new phenomenon and a break with the fascist tradition or whether they remain close to a fascist ideology. The author focuses on a specific national radical right-wing party: CasaPound Italia (cpi), founded at the beginning of this century, which declares itself to be ‘fascist’. While existing research insists on the intervention of external factors such as the economic crisis of 2008 in order to explain a new ‘wave’ of right-wing radicalism in Italy, this article will show the constant evolving of right-wing radical discourse over a longer historical period. The analysis will mainly delve into the ideological and political role played by three leading exponents of the Italian and European radical right: Pino Rauti, Roberto Fiore and Gabriele Adinolfi. Through a narrative style, and using a historical approach and qualitative analysis, this paper argues that their experiences represent the roots and sources for Gianluca Iannone’s project with cpi.
Elisabetta Cassina Wolff
Central European University (ceu), Budapest, 27–29 April 2018
Between 27 and 29 April 2018, approximately seventy academics from all over Europe met in Budapest to discuss fascism at the first comfas convention. The theme for this inaugural convention was ‘Comparative Fascist Studies and the Transnational Turn’. The International Association for Comparative Fascist Studies (comfas) was originally conceived in 2015 with the idea of creating a nonprofit and non-political community of researchers, ranging from graduate students to established professors. Not restricting itself exclusively to the narrow topic of European fascism of the mid-twentieth century, the organization would aspire to facilitate an interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarly-network that includes the whole spectrum of right-of-center politics and related social issues, including ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism, political violence, racism, genocide, and the Holocaust. Three years later, the original idea was finally put into action. The conference incorporated an overwhelming amount of presentation panels, public lectures, open debates, and would culminate in a reflection discussion on how the association could grow and improve in the future.
This article deals with the political conversion and ideological thought of the Swedish National Socialist Sven Olov Lindholm (1903–1998). Lindholm began his career as a fascist in the twenties, and became a member of Sweden’s main National Socialist party led by Birger Furugård, in the early thirties. Ideological divisions and a failed attempt to oust Furugård saw Lindholm found his own party in January 1933, the nsap (later renamed the sss). Previous research has often described this party as a left-wing Nazi alternative, but its ideological basis has never been thoroughly dissected. The present article uses a variety of archival collections, speeches, pamphlets, and newspaper articles to suggest a cluster of six interdependent core concepts in Sven Olov Lindholm’s ideological thought: anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-materialism, the idealization of the worker, and the definition of Nazi Germany as a worker’s state. Lindholm underwent a second political awakening in the sixties, redefining himself as a communist, and thus the article also examines the ideological remains thereafter. It is found that anti-materialism, linked to a broad antipathy to modernity, was central throughout his career.
Third Lecture on Fascism – Amsterdam – 22 March 2019
In the entry on ‘Fascism’ published in 1932 in the Enciclopedia Italiana, Benito Mussolini made a prediction. There were, he claimed, good reasons to think that the twentieth century would be a century of ‘authority’, the ‘right’: a fascist century (un secolo fascista). However, after 1945 the many attempts by fascists to perpetuate the dreams of the 1930s have come to naught. Whatever impact they have had at a local level, and however profound the delusion that fascists form a world-wide community of like-minded ultranationalists and racists revolutionaries on the brink of ‘breaking through’, as a factor in the shaping of the modern world, their fascism is clearly a spent force. But history is a kaleidoscope of perspectives that dynamically shift as major new developments force us to rewrite the narrative we impose on it. What if we take Mussolini’s secolo to mean not the twentieth century, but the ‘hundred years since the foundation of Fascism’? Then the story we are telling ourselves changes radically.
Martin Kristoffer Hamre
Following the transnational turn within fascist studies, this paper examines the role German National Socialism and Italian Fascism played in the transformation of the Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling in the years 1933–1936. It takes the rivalry of the two role models as the initial point and focusses on the reception of Italy and Germany in the party press of the Nasjonal Samling. The main topics of research are therefore the role of corporatism, the involvement in the organization caur and the increasing importance of anti-Semitism. One main argument is that both indirect and direct German influence on the Nasjonal Samling in autumn 1935 led to a radicalization of the party and the endorsement of anti-Semitic attitudes. However, the Nasjonal Samling under leader Vidkun Quisling never prioritized Italo-German rivalry as such. Instead, it perceived itself as an independent national movement in the common battle of a European-wide phenomenon against its arch-enemies: liberalism and communism.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Italy experienced a series of crises when its precarious postwar political compromise was challenged by the effects of decades of structural corruption. The author was offered unsolicited narratives of the prewar and especially wartime Fascist period. Surprisingly, many of these stories cast Fascists and their Nazi political allies in a positive light. Here, the author argues that these favourable views of a bleak period are linked to the disenchantment and diffidence many felt (and continue to feel) toward the state and its institutions, and that these stories are not nostalgic expressions of fascist sympathies. Instead, they stress how people managed the micro-details of everyday life to gain small, individual victories against wartime degradations that would otherwise transform them into powerless victims. Even today, these expressions of individual agency reinforce shared notions that there is alternative to the institutional culture of an inefficient and oppressive state.