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TOPIC: fascism

Ideas

In Brazil And U.S., Elections As Stress Tests For Democracy

After the Brazilian presidential election and the American midterms, checking the temperature on the state of democracy in a world that has been heading in the opposite direction for too long.

-Analysis-

MONTREAL — Beyond climate change and the return of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, we can add another element threatening the stability of the world: the backsliding of democracy and faith in a system based on the rule of law, free expression, and a sovereign choice of leaders.

The V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden publishes an annual report that has tracked this decline.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a growing desire for democracy around the world, and the number of people living under a system of freedom and the rule of law was on the rise. But that number has been decreasing since the beginning of the 21st century.

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We Still Don't Know How To Fight Fascism

It's no longer accurate to say the "rise" of the far-right — fascism is already here. After Trump's election, a group of prominent analysts gathered to discuss how the left could fight back. Six years later, their insights are more urgent and insightful than ever.

-Essay-

MADRID — There were very few who'd ventured to predict that he would win. That night, Nov. 8, 2016, we in Europe went to sleep watching the United States, and woke up in the middle of a nightmare. Donald Trump, whom both the Republican and Democratic establishments and opinion makers had dismissed, had become real. He had won.

Far-right leaders scattered around the world began to send congratulations while protests began to take place in North American cities. The pundits couldn't understand why their brilliant analyses had failed.

Six years later, fascism continues to triumph, for the simple reason that people continue to vote for it. In Italy, it won last Sunday with Giorgia Meloni. The Vox party arrived in Spain a long time ago.

But no one can say that we were not warned. In December 2016, with the arrival of Trump to power, we at La Marea organized a debate to collect the responses the left was devising in the face of this wave that threatens the basic principles of a democracy. They were interesting then, but perhaps they are even more relevant now because they were never implemented.

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It's Not About Mussolini, Searching For The Real Giorgia Meloni

As the right-wing coalition tops Italian elections, far-right leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is set to become Italy's next prime minister. Both her autobiography and the just concluded campaign help fill in the holes in someone whose roots are in Italy's post-fascist political parties.

-Analysis-

ROME — After Sunday’s national election results, Italy is set to have its first ever woman prime minister. But Giorgia Meloni has been drawing extra attention both inside and outside of the country because of her ideology, not her gender.

Her far-right pedigree in a country that invented fascism a century ago has had commentators rummaging through the past of Meloni and her colleagues in the Brothers of Italy party in search of references to Benito Mussolini.

But even as her victory speech spoke of uniting the country, it is far more useful to listen to what she herself has said since entering politics to understand the vision the 45-year-old lifelong politician has for Italy’s future.

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Orbán And Kaczynski, A Duet In The Key Of Fascism

As the populist leaders face sinking poll numbers and the nearby war in Ukraine, they turn to the tactics of racism and transphobia, which ultimately adds up to fascist tactics.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Soaring inflation, economic stagnation, pressure from Brussels and the blockade of European funds, war on the eastern front...

The autocratic governments of Viktor Orbán and Jaroslaw Kaczynski are facing a wave of adversity they have not faced before.

Their governed subjects are starting to get fed up, taking to the streets, blocking bridges (in Budapest), and chanting: "You will sit!". Poll ratings for Orbán's Fidesz party in Hungary and Kaczynski's PiS in Poland keep falling.

So the pair of autocrats are reaching for a tried-and-true method of distraction: inventing alleged "enemies of the nation" and pointing the blame at them.

Kaczynski has taken aim at transgender people to rouse the attention of the God-fearing masses — even if some voters from his party are forced to listen to the leader's stories with amazement and slight distaste.

Orbán, on the other hand, brought out an artillery of a heavier caliber. Last month, in his annual keynote speech he reached for arguments from the arsenal of 20th-century racism and — yes, let's not be afraid of the word — fascism.

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Ideas
Lal Dena

How Hindutva Tries To Steal The Best Of Hinduism — And India

The true version of Hinduism teaches that one has to respect other faiths. That has been threatened the past century by ideologues inspired by the worst ideas of our times.

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — Of all the religions of the world, Hinduism is perhaps the most liberal and accommodating. It is one of the richest philosophies, embodying rich culture and codes of behavior.

One fundamental characteristic of Hinduism is its spirit of tolerance. True Hinduism teaches that one has to respect other faiths: “a true Hindu can go to the extent of allowing others the right to be wrong,” Shashi Tharoor writes in Why I am a Hindu. This quality of mutual acceptance of differences begets tolerance, which is the hallmark of true Hinduism.

Hinduism does not claim that it is the only way of salvation. A true Hindu believes that he follows a true path and at the same time he also understands that others also follow their own paths.

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Geopolitics
Santiago Villa

Welcome To The Age Of Instability

As Russia and China push their way to the top of the power heap, and the United States balks at playing global police force, expect fundamental changes to accepted norms governing international affairs.

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ — We live in contradictory times.

On the one hand, nations have, to a universal and unprecedented degree, agreed upon certain rules of an international system. The principle of nation-state as defining political actor has spread to every corner of the Earth — bar Marie Byrd Land, that unclaimed territory of the Antarctic. Even marginal and rebellious states like North Korea are slowly integrating into the international rules system.

On the other hand, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, several non-Western powers have given themselves authority to violate the principle of national sovereignty. The previous international order revolved around another idea: that only the Western powers could violate the sovereignty of states without provoking a violent reaction from other powers.

The idea that states have a sovereign right to determine their affairs is a laudable principle, yet it is as fragile as ever, increasingly violated in different regions around the world.

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Son Of A Gunnar
Carl-Johann Karlsson

Germany or Sweden? Two Models Of Social Democracy Put To The Test

From afar, new Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz share much, both in their views and the political system where they rule. But subtle differences, which arose in the rubble of World War II, can be everything.

My dad has died ...

That was my first thought a few Fridays ago when I saw that Netflix had added another series to its growing Nordic-noir category: a six-part crime drama about the 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Well, OK, my very first thought was trying to guess who they’d picked for the role of Palme’s assassin; but almost immediately after that, my second thought was that indeed, most certainly yes, Gunnar Karlsson had clocked out.

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LA STAMPA
Mattia Feltri

Italy And Fascism, A Lingering Question Of National Character

Giorgia Meloni, rising star of Italy’s far-right, was a member of neofascist organizations in her youth. She insists that she's changed her way, and that fascism is not an Italian peculiarity. Not all agree.

-Essay-

ROME — A couple of weeks ago, under our apartment window, my kids and I heard a neatly lined-up demonstration passing by, chanting a single uninterrupted chorus: "Where are the anti-fascists?" It wasn't a huge crowd, and maybe that's why my kids heard the slogan differently: "Where are the other fascists?"

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LA STAMPA
Mirella Serri 

Mazzini V. Mussolini: How Italy's Anti-Fascist Exiles Rediscovered America

It was autumn, 1939. Germany had just invaded Poland. France had not yet fallen. Mussolini was Hitler's ally on paper, but had not yet mobilized troops. And the United States wouldn't enter the war for another two years.

Exactly 80 years ago this week, the Mazzini Society was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, allowing intellectual émigrés to dream up a liberal, Italian republic in the Land of the Free— far from the grasp of Benito Mussolini.

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LA STAMPA
Mattia Feltri

Who Said That? Words From New Italian Leaders Echo Dark Past

Rhetoric coming from anti-establishment Five Star Movement and League evoke the words of historic tyrants like King Louis XIV, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini.

ROME — Addressing his followers in Rome, Five Star leader and incoming labor minister Luigi Di Maio insisted last week that his party "is now the state." His words — delivered on June 2, Italy's Republic Day — recall the famous "I am the state" declaration by King Louis XIV of France that became a symbol of absolute monarchism. Enlightenment thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, supposedly much admired by Five Star members, are turning over in their graves.

Maybe, like the rest of us, Monsieur Rousseau would have become inured to these statements by now. Statements like infrastructure minister Danilo Toninelli's desire to establish "an ethical state." The field of ethics is profoundly misunderstood, and these misunderstandings are often manipulated by dictatorships that declare the state to be the ultimate arbiter of what is good and evil.

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Germany
Henryk M. Broder

Germany, Welcome To The New Normal

The success of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in the election is history’s revenge against the idea that Germans had to be a model for the rest of the world.

BERLIN — The Netherlands has Geert Wilders and France has Marine Le Pen. Austria has its Freedom Party, Belgium has Vlaams Belang and Britain has the UKIP. Further north are the Danish People's Party, the Swedish Democrats, the True Finns and Norway"s Progress Party; down south are Italy's Northern League and Five Star Movement and the Golden Dawn in Greece. Only Germany, a not entirely unimportant country in Europe, has not seen a populist right-wing movement or party in a very long time.

And how proud of this we always were! Because unlike the other Europeans, we had learned from our history, renounced nationalism and declared "Europe" our homeland. Even the German national soccer team adopted an international moniker in 2016, calling itself "Die Mannschaft," or "The Team," without any mention of the disturbing word "German" in the name.

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LA STAMPA

Italy's Echos Of Fascism As Immigrants Blamed For Disease, Rape

At the epicenter of Europe’s migrant crisis, Italy is facing a new burst of blatant racism that comes with a whiff of fascist nostalgia from the country’s ugly past.

A tragic story filled Italian newspapers earlier this week: a four-year-old girl from northern Italy died of malaria. Doctors had noted that the disease is rarely found in Italy, and the family had not traveled abroad. The next day a pair of conservative newspapers claimed they'd solved the mystery: "Immigrants' were responsible for the girl's fatal illness. "After Poverty, They Bring Disease" the Milan-based daily Libero splashed in its front-page headline Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Rome-based Il Tempo"s lead story was titled "So Here Is The Malaria of Immigrants."

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