Meloni’s New ‘March on Rome’?

The Italian Republic was born from the ashes of Fascism, with the post-war constitution enshrining pluralism. Giorgia Meloni, nonetheless, got the majority of the vote, reports Attilio Moro.

Giorgia Meloni arrives at the Quirinale on Oct. 21 to meet the Italian president two days before her swearing in as the new prime minister. (Quirinale/Wikimedia Commons)

By Attilio Moro 
in Pula, Italy  
Special to Consortium News

On Oct. 28, 1922 Benito Mussolini (with British help, as has been shown recently) marched on Rome to seize power.

A hundred years later almost to the date, on Oct. 23, Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d’Italia (FI) (Brothers of Italy) — seen by many as a neo-fascist party – was sworn in as prime minister of the new Italian government.

Meloni was elected with a comfortable majority on Sept. 25.  She’s been, in the last couples of years, an ascending figure in Italian politics, praised by some for her direct manner of speaking, for instance, declaring that Italy will renegotiate its membership in the European Union; that it will rein in immigration; and that the “fatherland” and the family must be protected from the ravages of modern society.

During the campaign, the ‘leftist’ Democratic Party confronted her, saying she represents an ideology doomed by history. The Italian Republic was born from the ashes of Fascism with the post-war constitution enshrining pluralism. Meloni, nonetheless, got the majority of the vote.  

This raises three questions:

1: Does Meloni’s popularity mean Fascism is back in Italy?

2: Is Meloni really a fascist?

3: Whether she is fascist or not, can her government enforce a program significantly different from the previous one?

Huge Boycott of Vote

Meloni got 26.5 percent of the vote, from her party’s 4.3 percent in 2018. As spectacular as the jump was, she was chosen by ‘only’ 7,300,000 voters, far from a substantial share of the Italian electorate (more than 50  million). 

If one considers those who abstained from voting as a bloc, they would be the real winner with 35 percent of  the vote (more than ever before). So if you look at the numbers, Italians are more abstentionist than fascist.  

Meloni  is 44. She was born in 1978, 33 years after the fall of Mussolini. The party she joined when she was 18, the Movimento Sociale (MSI), was founded just after the Second World War to give a political home to fascists who survived the war.

But during the 1990s, the MSI, which changed its name to the Alleanza Nazionale (AN), underwent a radical change: from Mussolini’s ideology to acceptance of democracy.

It changed from representing the remnants of Fascism into a rightwing, traditionalist party with a populist and nationalist ideology, becoming more acceptable in a globalized world.

From left to right: Italo Balbo, Benito Mussolini, Cesare Maria de Vecchi and Michele Bianchi during the March on Rome, October 1922. (Unknown/Illustrazione Italiana, 1922, n. 45/Wikipedia)

On Fascism, Meloni is quite explicit: “I consider Fascism a page of our history, Mussolini made several mistakes, from the racial laws to the declaration of war, no doubt his regime was authoritarian…” .

For her, Fascism is over. It belongs to the “archeology of Italian politics,” as Massimo Cacciari – an iconic  leader of the the Italian Left – puts it. Though aspects of it remain, Fascism belongs to the last century.

But what about her radical program? Does her government have the power to enforce its radical program of diverging from the NATO-EU orthodoxy?

No government, even the most proudly nationalistic one, can ignore the fact that Italy has a skyrocketing public debt, and would go bankrupt in 24 hours if it loses EU support (including 200 billion euros in a recovery fund) as well as the trust of  financial markets.

On the whole, Italian politics can hardly be defined by which party or coalition holds power. Its foreign and military policies depend on the United States. Economic policy is dictated from Brussels. Its civil rights, such as euthanasia, same sex marriage, etc., is pretty much still directed from Vatican.

Any ambition to ignore those constraints, even from a bold political leader like Meloni, is doomed from the start.   

Attilio Moro is a veteran Italian journalist who was a correspondent for the daily Il Giorno from New York and worked earlier in both radio (Italia Radio) and TV. He has travelled extensively, covering the first Iraq war, the first elections in Cambodia and South Africa, and has reported from Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan and several Latin American countries, including Cuba, Ecuador and Argentina.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

18 comments for “Meloni’s New ‘March on Rome’?

  1. lester
    November 15, 2022 at 19:33

    Thank you for an excellent analysis, Mr. Moro!

  2. Ray
    November 15, 2022 at 12:35

    We won’t know if Giorgia Meloni is a Fascist not until we know she governs. No matter to the elites in the U.S. Because she does not share their political views she must be vilified, an denounced at every opportunity.
    Similarly, Mr. Musk because he hopes to make Twitter available to points of view the U.S. elites don’t want the American people to hear, must be vilified. They have already stated. He must be bad because he has Arab financial backing for his venture.

  3. Realist
    November 15, 2022 at 06:49

    With “children” as young as Sunak, Macron and Meloni running some of the largest, richest European powers, America’s gerontocracy seems even further out of step. Perhaps one’s life expectancy should exceed one’s term of office.

  4. Mick McNulty
    November 15, 2022 at 06:33

    Since I woke up politically in the mid-1980s when still in my mid-20s I always warned people one day fascism will return, albeit with a slightly different flavour. Designer jackboots with laces kind of thing. But then once it’s unassailable it will evolve into its purest form, Nazism, and its cruelties will return. I also think next time it won’t be speaking German. It will speak English with an American accent.

  5. Prof.Dr.Graubear
    November 15, 2022 at 02:15

    Pula is in Croatia not Italy any more

      November 15, 2022 at 02:33

      Pula is in Sardinia. Sardinia is in Italy.

  6. blimbax
    November 14, 2022 at 21:53

    Fortunately the article discusses some more currently relevant characteristics of the challenges Meloni faces and how she might deal with them.

    Still, articles arranged around the fascist origin story of the FdI become tiresome after a while or show a lack of imagination. But I suppose we must endure them.

    However, let us from now on expect that any article that mentions the Democratic Party in the U.S. begin by noting the Democratic Party’s historic connection with pro-slavery antebellum southerners, with it’s resurrection from the ashes of the Civil War, and the close connection between the party and the Ku Klux Klan. Let’s also mention the fact that Harry Truman and other political figures were members of the Klan, and let’s not forget, but make it a part of every such article, that for many years after the end of World War II (and long after the demise of Mussolini and his party) the Democratic Party in the South supported segregation and opposed civil rights.

    In other words, if it is somehow relevant or necessary to begin and to infuse every article about Meloni or the FdI with references to Mussolini, let’s expect the same consideration in articles that pertain to the Democratic Party.

    Or, let’s focus on the current situation and not on old history, unless old history can be shown to be relevant.

    By the way, it’s interesting how easily some people use the word “fascist” to mean different things, as witness not only the article itself but also the first two comments.

      November 15, 2022 at 02:37

      You seem to have missed the glaring point that the article concludes that Meloni is NOT a fascist. One could not ignore the history to examine this question.

    • DW Bartoo
      November 15, 2022 at 08:44

      It took a number of paragraphs for the author to clarify that Meloni is NOT a fascist.

      However, the last two paragraphs are the gist.

      The next-to-last asserts that Italy’s “foreign and military” policies “depend” on the U$, while “economic” policy is “dictated” from Brussels.

      Frankly, it is the U$ which dictates ALL of these things.

      Remember, the U$ is Top Dog and all the fleas who ride around on “us”, are riding high.

      This is “Full Spectrum Dominance”.

      Also, kiddies, the U$ is macho enough to push the button, if their hissy gets fitted.

      Additionally, the terms “fascist” and “commie” set off U$ians.

      They have been “educated” to be fooled, to get righteous and superior, to strut their exceptionalism and indispensability.

      However, the real threat to human existence is the “need” of the U$ elite to control and dominate the world, militarily and economically to complete destruction if “necessary”, to prevent any other course for humanity.

      Remember, neither Meloni nor any other minor “leader”, fascist or not, is as dangerous as any U$ president, current or likely future ones.

      Fascism is not the problem.

      Unless “we”, the U$, is fascist.

      Are we?

      • lester
        November 15, 2022 at 19:21

        No, we are not Fascist, we are bad in our own way.

  7. November 14, 2022 at 18:07

    My insights are from living in Italy fifty years ago, following the news, visiting Italy three times for a total of five months, away from touristcentral, talking to Italians in Italian, subscribing now to an Italian daily paper.

    Italy has been poisoned by Berlusconi’s TV dominance. In one casual conversation a few years ago someone said “Can we sent you Berlusconi [to Australia]?” I said ok, we’ll send you Murdoch, to which the reply, oh, no you can’t, we already have Murdoch with Sky. So to a large extent the poisoning of human existence in Italy is much as by the White Man’s Media in the English speaking world.

    The Centre-Left in Italy, for which many placed great hope, with former communists included from the 1990s, simply failed to deliver and faction dominated. To hear intelligent Italians in spontaneous conversation speak damningly of this was tragic.

    First the non-party Five Star Movement [M5S] sprang from Genoa to rescue but has been unsuccessful, but in Genoa in 2018 a small shopkeeper woman said no, not them, La Lega, the right wing League led by Matteo Salvini, that was where she put her hopes. Her children were a mirror of the economic situation, two employed, one unemployed, the latter bouncing between employers getting short term wage subsidies. Another female shopkeeper in a more glamorous situation in Rome offered us a tirade on the theme of work for young people only being available if you have family who can offer work. An elderly woman (almost my age) in a village in 2018, as we waited for a bus, spoke of how her home town was beautiful but being ruined by the arrival of globalizzazione.

    While Meloni has expressed fealty to Biden and the EU on Ukraine, she has slapped back at attempts by von der Leyen and Macron to sneer at Italy one way or another. As also she has reprimanded both her coalition partners, Berlusconi and Salvini, for their demands and rudeness in the weeks of forming the government. She’s tough. The jobs are tough.

    Hitherto Italy has been bullied by France and Germany on Eurozone matters. Now the strong northern countries are feeling the pinch. Italy has perhaps a little more room to manoeuvre and as Mediterranean power for millennia may head in new directions. This recent essay hxxps:// by Romano Prodi hxxps:// demonstrates capacity to think in non-military directions.

    We need to be thinking in fresh ways about the world, over a longer time frame. I invite you to read just the first paragraph of this writing by historian Giuseppe Felloni, to put the world now in historical perspective.

  8. Drew Hunkins
    November 14, 2022 at 15:08

    Unfortunately she’s not an isolationist. (“Isolationist” has highly positive connotations in my book.) She’s an actual fascist who totally supports the dangerous Russophobic Kiev fascists. In other words, she’s a joke.

    • Gaetano Candino
      November 14, 2022 at 19:01

      Sir, Unfortunately your comments suggest that you’re the joke. Listen to Giorgia Meloni in her native language; and, read a little more about current events. She is not a Russophobic Kyiv fascist.
      Gaetano Candino

      • Drew Hunkins
        November 14, 2022 at 22:27

        Haha! You sir are the lying joke.

        In Brussels the meeting with von der Leyen and Michel. Then COP27 and the G20 in Bali. The premier reiterated full political, military, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine. She also told the NATO chief she “fully” supports the Ukies.

        Learn the facts before disparaging me with your projection.

        • Gaetano
          November 15, 2022 at 11:13

          Be more bservant of the facts.
          Look at the photo of 1922; some front row marchers are bearing
          sidearms. And, there are mounted police on the sidelines.

          There aren’t any mounted police; nor, any one (walking w/duly elected Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni) bearingside arms.
          Find something better to do; other, than citing bullets points from PROGRESSIVE media.

          • Drew Hunkins
            November 15, 2022 at 15:20


            It’s real simple: She’s a full-throated supporter of the corrupt Ukrainian fascists and Russophobes. She’s stated it repeatedly. It’s disgusting to support the Ukie filth who are completely in bed with the Washington-Zio-militarist empire.

            This isn’t that difficult.

            Find something better to do instead of deluding yourself about reality.

            (I actually agree with her on some domestic issues, but regarding supporting the Ukrainian quislings, it’s grotesque.)

            • Gaetano
              November 15, 2022 at 17:21

              Your complaint is that she supports war.
              On the contrary, she does not.
              She has stated she stands for God, Family, and Patria.

  9. rosemerry
    November 14, 2022 at 15:05

    “Italian politics can hardly be defined by which party or coalition holds power. Its foreign and military policies depend on the United States. Economic policy is dictated from Brussels.”
    This means, now with Ursula and her coterie ruling us, that it is a fascist foreign policy.

Comments are closed.