Other themes

Nativism, authoritarianism and socio-economic stances are at the core of CPI’s ideological worldview, but the group also refers to historical Fascism to position itself on issues that acquire relevance in public debates. We focus, in particular, on four key themes: European integration, the environment, gender and international relations.

European integration: for Europe but against the EU

On European issues, CPI makes a clear distinction between its support for Europe as a nation or as a ‘civilizational area’, and strong opposition against the EU integration as a political and economic process. On the first aspect, CPI’s positions configure what Bar-On summarizes as a ‘dream of a pan-European empire’ (Bar- On 2008). On the second, instead, CPI progressively radicalized its positions, attributing increasing importance to the EU in its political campaigns, and moving towards a hard form of Euroscepticism in the wake of the European sovereign debt crisis. In this section, we discuss CPI’s positions on Europe and the EU separately and look at the interrelations between the two.

CPI imagines Europe as the cradle of Western civilization: a spiritual space built on shared and immutable traditions. In line with the above-mentioned eth- nopluralist worldview, European traditions constitute the identity of the ‘West’ (as opposed to the ‘East’), and they are increasingly threatened by the arrival of non-Europeans with their own (incompatible) traditions. This vision is indebted to the theory of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’, discussed earlier in this chapter. According to CPI, the progressive eradication of native peoples from their land (which CPI calls ‘an ethnocide’) is accelerated by supra-nationalization, and specifically by EU integration and globalization (Froio 2017).

Today, the greatest danger for European civilization is represented by the Great Replacement of its populations, organized by right-wing economic elites colluding with the left-wing cultural caste. They promote the idea that our lands can be repopulated by foreign masses of people coming from who knows where.

(Sciatica 2016)

To contrast the Great Replacement project, European peoples only have one option, according to CPI: building a strong, homogeneous ‘pan-European empire’ that can defend European civilization from the threats posed by destructive cosmopolitan ideologies such as liberalism, conservativism, communism and social democracy (Bar-On 2008: 327).

It follows that CasaPound challenges all supra-national processes that could endanger the nativist equation of Europe as a civilizational space based on ethnicity and territory, and thus on tradition.

At the same time CPI does not endorse Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations, which acquired prominence in the Italian public debate through the writings of Oriana Fallaci and Magdi Allam (Cousin and Vitale 2014) and influenced the campaigns of other far-right organizations (notably Forza Nuova, Fratelli d'Italia and the Lega).

There is no Islamic invasion at the door and there is no crusade setting out against Islam. The ultimate enemy of our people and traditions is not another people or another tradition, but something that is hostile to all peoples and all traditions. This enemy is the project of homologation called ‘globalization’. A two-headed monster made of two complementary forces: liberalism, which is the capitalist idea of a market without rules (‘right-wing globalism’); and cosmopolitan culture, which is internationalist and multiracial (‘left mondialism’).

(Radio Bandiera Nera 2015)

In sum, for CPI the ultimate enemy of all peoples and nations is mobility (in CPI’s words ‘the eradication of peoples’ roots’), which is fostered by globalization, and fuelled by the mixing of different communities and traditions. This extreme view inevitably shaped CPI’s vision of the EU integration project. On this ground, CPI’s activists joined the #DefendEurope campaigns that started in August 2017, organized by the Identitarian movement to oppose migration from Northern Africa and the Middle East (Zuquete 2018).

Similar to other far-right parties (Pirro and Kessel 2017; Vasilopoulou 2017) however, the positions of CPI on the EU have oscillated between soft and hard forms of Euroscepticism. While Euroscepticism broadly refers to all negative attitudes towards EU integration, scholars usually distinguish varying degrees of opposition (Taggart and Szczerbiak 2008). So-called hard Euroscepticism designates a principled opposition to the EU (e.g. parties that believe that their countries should withdraw from EU membership), whereas soft Euroscepticism represents a qualified opposition to the EU, often concerning specific policy areas or aspects (e.g. the idea that ‘national interests’ are at odds with EU policies). CPI’s Euroscepticism radicalized over time passing from soft to hard forms. This is also visible in the mobilizations and policy proposals of the group (see Chapter 6). Today, the EU is a major concern for CPI, which envisages it as the ‘Trojan horse’ of globalism, fostering people’s movement and thus the eradication of national traditions. As we discuss in more detail in Chapter 6, this was not previously the case; EU politics were basically irrelevant in the agenda and internal material of the group.

The turning point seems to have been the appointment of the technocratic government of Mario Monti (2011—2013), and the grand-coalition governments that ruled Italy over the following years. Until then, CPI had been much softer on EU issues. Three examples are helpful to better illustrate this. First, until 2013, CPI never sought Italy’s exit from the EU, despite denouncing a democratic deficit in EU institutions and decision-making. Second, the early platforms of CPI did not advocate for the replacement of the Euro currency, but rather for the introduction of a local complementary currency (the Equo). And third, until 2013 CPI did not call for the abolition of the Schengen Treaty, but rather for a revision that would however preserve a closed trade area within Europe.32 CPI’s position on EU integration was thus rather original if compared to similar extreme right-wing groups:

The Europe stemming from the Maastricht treaty is the right thing done in the wrong way. |... | The old microstate sovereignty often invoked by ‘nationalists’ against the EU seems to us utterly obsolete. Nation-states have all the flaws of the current EU but none of its potential [...]. Those who oppose [the EU] are engaged in a reactionary struggle that does not belong to us and does not interest us. This does not mean that CPI will stop claiming that the EU is a tool of globalist demands. Yet, for us a bad Europe is still better than no Europe at all.

(Ideodromo CasaPound 2013)

Thus, before 2013 CPI already described the EU as a threat to Italy’s sovereignty and to the tradition of European peoples. Yet, it voiced an internal opposition to EU policies rather than a principled rejection of the EU as a polity (Mail- 2007). This changed with the intensification of the social and political consequences of the Great Recession in Italy, ultimately leading CPI to a fully-fledged Euroscepti- cism consisting of symbolic actions (e.g. the tearing down of an EU flag from the Commission’s office in Rome; see II Messaggero 2013a), forming international



Poster for CasaPound’s 2014 EU election campaign, with the slogan

FIGURE 3.1 Poster for CasaPound’s 2014 EU election campaign, with the slogan: ‘Enough of the EU: we are Europeans, not slaves’.

It states six main demands that CPI aims to ‘say out and loud to the EU: under these circumstances, we want to exit the euro; we do not wish to work at the slave wages of Eastern Europe; we want to print our own currency with a sovereign central bank just like Hungary and the UK; we want to eat first our own agricultural products, and only later produce from other countries; we want to protect our industry and our workers from foreigners and unfair competition; we do not wish to destroy the future of our children by paying 50 billion per year for the Fiscal Compact’.

partnerships (e.g. with Nigel Farage during the Brexit campaign; see II Primato Nazionale 2016) and policy proposals calling for the ‘unilateral exit of Italy from the EU’ (CPI 2018: 3).

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