Neoliberalism and the Expansion of the Extreme Right in Europe and the US

JORGE ELBAUM
Giorgia Meloni.

The triumph of the extreme right in Italy accentuated European electoral skepticism and reaffirmed the failure of the different forms of civilized neoliberalism, including those that are exhibited as civilizing expressions linked to progressivism. Giorgia Meloni obtained 27% of the votes, representing the neo-fascist party Fratelli d’Italia. Your alliance with Forza Italy by Silvio Berlusconi and The LegaMateo Salvini will allow her to become the first woman to exercise the leadership of the government on the peninsula. The election of September 25 left as central data the increase in abstention, which reached its highest historical level: 36% of the electorate. Half of the Italian youth under the age of 24 did not go to vote: there was no political discourse to that generational group that questioned it.

Meloni began political activism at age 15, within the fascist Italian Social Movement party ( MSI ), founded in 1946 by the followers of Benito Mussolini. After the dissolution of the MSI, the National Alliance party was incorporated, led by Gianfranco Fini, who characterized his group as post – fascist, considering it as a continuator and at the same time an outperformer of the Social Movement. Between 2008 and 2011 she served as Silvio Berlusconi’s government minister and in 2012 she founded Fratelli, incorporating in his shield the identity emblem of the followers of the Duce, the tricolore fiama.

The motto of the political group is God, country and family. After being elected deputy in 2012, she asked to occupy the office of Parliament that the founder of the MSI Giorgio Almirante used for decades. Unlike Germany, Italy did not problematize the nostalgic political discourses of the Third Reich or put legal impediments to restrict extremist expressions of far-right organizations. Meloni’s triumph in the third economy of the Eurozone will produce a emboldening of all the extreme right movements and a weakening of the political debate. That emptying is what allowed Meloni to define herself as a feminist, in open inconsistency with the traditions of the groups promoted by women. The neo-fascist leader has considered that be a feminist is to be able to compete with men and achieve – despite their gender status – a social role.

The structural cause of political skepticism and its contiguous bias of right-wing societies – both in Europe and in the United States – is the product of abandonment, on the part of progressivism and social democracy, of a popular representation based on concrete interests. The indifference between neoliberalism and social rights left the vast majority unrepresentative, precarious and impoverished by deregulation, rentism and state lack of protection.

That vacant space was occupied with the promotion of a social terror inherited from the supremacist coloniality: the invasion of immigrants, the loss of Christian hegemony and the terror of ethnic substitution became the pillars of a public debate alien to the contradictions caused by globalization and the preminence of financial speculation. The displacement of the political and economic character of the crisis was linked to the configuration of an enemy, both external and internal. A criminal and phantasmagorical invader capable of imposing a partisan account of order, supported by a renewed xenophobic logic.

Colonial fear

The vote of the radical right tripled from 2014 to the present day while the educated left were in charge of instituting technocratic debates, or recognition of particular identities – always with intellectualized language – incomprehensible to workers, the unemployed and those who perceive the increasing inequality increased by inflation, and a permanent feeling of being oblivious to the normative configuration of the societies in which they live. Far-right parties grew in 18 of the 27 EU countries in the past two decades and exceed two digits of vote in 15 of those countries.

In 2018 political scientist Yascha Mounk described in The people against democracy the origins of the political swallowing that leads to apathy, the disconnection of the political system, authoritarianism and the demonization of collectives. “By basing electoral campaigns on pure moral condemnation, affirming a reactive identity that only consists of alerting about the perverse cataclysms that the ultras formations would bring, traditional parties erect them in representatives of a real alternative. Franco Bifo Berardi, in a recent article titled “From futuristic futurism fascism to geront – fascism”, points out that there is very little substantive distance between the neoliberalism of the Italian Social Democracy and Meloni’s party. His reasoning leads him to the following rhetorical question: “Why should we continue to believe in representative democracy if representative democracy has proven to be a hoax against workers. The referents that Meloni characterizes as her enemies are Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela.

As Europe and the United States constantly turn to the extreme right, Latin America and the Caribbean express an alternative and even opposite orientation. Both landslides, both the one in Brussels and the one seen south of the Rio Bravo, are the result of the same crisis of the neoliberal system. In the Latin American case – in a disorderly and not entirely coherent way –, it is consolidated on the basis of an inclusive multicultural and multinational solution: From Mexico to Argentina, political movements opposed to the globalist scheme imposed by the tripod of real power supported by Wall Street, the transnational companies and the military complex – industrial. For its part, the European response is sustained by updating the principle of Carl Schmitt, which requires an internal and external – enemy – in order to unite national forces to overcome and evade class contractions.

Denominating communes

Percentages of excluded population in the European Union.

The model of the invading foreigner, functional to the artificial dichotomy of civilization and barbarism, is tributary of the present Atlanticist, for which the only possible sovereignties are those inherited from a colonial and imperial tradition. The dogmas that support the political gear of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Giorgia Meloni, the French Marine Le Pen, the Falangists of VOX, Polish officials from the Law and Justice party, AfD Germans, Argentine macristas or ultra-liberals or Swedish neo-Nazis are loyal followers of those who marched on Rome in 1923. The principles that animate them, beyond their financial fascination, are:

  • Xenophobic nativism
  • Patriarchal authoritarianism
  • Armamentism
  • Punitive moralism
  • Apoliticality
  • I despise science and academia.

Essentialist nativism considers that States must be inhabited by indigenous citizenship and that any foreign element – especially if it is migrant and poor – threatens the peaceful homogeneity of a society. Walter Benjamin described the Jew as the absolute other, that is, a different subject who lived inserted in a community in which they considered him a stranger, an implantation, a disorder of the uniform. That place is occupied today by the Maghrebi and / or the Sub-Saharan. They are the Jews of today: those who pollute white and colonial supremacism, and who – for that reason – are visualized as those who threaten to replace pure native Europeans. While Ukrainian refugees are received with compassion,Africans or Syrians are ordered to drown in the Mediterranean because they question Christian centrality with their presence alone, bring multiculturalism and blur values that they consider unquestionable.

Authoritarianism, for its part, is a useful ordering principle to limit the conflicts that come from inequality, precariousness, lack of future and poverty. Patriarchal culture authorizes the explicit right to violence to overcome the chaos that comes with the proliferation of particular identities and diversities. Meloni announced that she will relaunch Italic motherhood through different social aid programs, to prevent migrants from replacing the indigenous population that tends to decrease.

Arms, the positive valorization of private possession of weapons and the deregulation of their commercialization is the material expression of the two previous dimensions, capable of intimidating and disciplining those who postulate changes or seek to disobey the required homogeneity.

Apoliticality is based on the cessation of public debate regarding the contradictions inherent in society: domination, subalternization and the distribution of income, income and wealth.

The denial of the construction of democracy, in its format of political debate and collective argument construction, requires – for the neo-fascisms – the des – historicalization of social events: who knows the past has more elements to judge the present. Ergo, you just have to talk about the present and the future without making genealogical connections. That is the enmity of radical rights with critical thinking: they demand a supposed simplicity and simplicity that conceals the will to eliminate all political rationality, empirical data or logical foundation.

Antonio Gramsci, arrested by order of Mussolini in 1927 and referred to as prisoner 7,047 of Turi prison, writes in prison that the central nucleus of fascism, euphemized and denied by its propagandists, it is violence against workers and wage earners. Meloni has announced that it will promote a tax cut and that the existing ones will no longer be progressive: rich and poor must contribute the same: 15% regardless of income or wealth.

In her autobiography, the future head of government recounts a traumatic event from her childhood: playing with a candle, she burned down the house where she lived with her sister and mother. Some analysts consider this event premonitory. And they link it to the fire that illustrates the shield of their organization Fratelli, the tricolore fiama what did he look Il Duce when he was arrested on April 27, 1945. The next day he was shot and his body was displayed upside down, hanging on a scaffold, in the Loreto Square in the city of Milan.

Antonio Gramsci.