ROME (Project Syndicate)—Italy might soon be led, for the first time in its postwar history, by a party with roots in the detritus of Mussolini’s fascist movement. If the Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”) does end up at the helm of the governing coalition, as appears likely after the Sept. 25 voting, European politics will be profoundly changed.
Giorgia Meloni, the Fdl’s charismatic leader, has been accused of being a “neo-fascist,” and both the Fdl and its coalition’s second-largest member, Lega, have been labeled “populists.” Both labels miss the point. Yes, these parties have harnessed the seething discontent some voters feel, and they would take a tough stance on immigration and security. But the Brothers is hardly seeking to upend liberal democracy.Building a foundation for the right The FdI’s ambitions lie elsewhere. Recognizing that the key to the success of Europe’s two big political families, Christian democrats and democratic socialists, has been their well-developed political and ethical cultures, the Brothers is seeking to lay similar foundations for the right, thereby enabling it to gain and retain power well into the future. This is the insidious challenge that progressive thinking must confront.
“ By attempting to “conserve” existing systems and define identities by ethnicity and religion, rather than broader political or cultural affiliations, conservatism plays into people’s fears and divides rather than unites them. Cultural and political integration is to be replaced by policies that exacerbate the marginalization of vulnerable groups and fail to tackle broadly shared challenges. ”
The FdI’s goals extend beyond Italy; the Broth …