Studying the ideology of a political group is never an easy task. Not only because the role of ideologies in contemporary politics is changing drastically, but also because ideologies encompass complex, and often contradictory, belief systems. In this respect, this chapter offers a plea to move beyond simplistic interpretations of CPI’s ideology as simply a copycat of historical and post-war Fascism. At the same time, we remain somewhat sceptical as regards the ‘innovative’ nature of CPI’s ideology, and refrain from describing it as completely disconnected from the past.
CPI does not dismiss references to inter-war ideologies. Rather, it explicidy endorses historical Fascism, and its normative beliefs about democracy, the nation and the organization of society. These references are crucial to define CPI’s ideological nativism and authoritarianism, and confirm the definition of the group as ‘extreme right’ (as opposed to ‘radical’, see Chapter 1). From Fascism, CPI borrows not only nativism, the authoritarian stance and a principled opposition to democracy, but also some elements concerning welfare and state interventionism in the economy.
In addition, CPI takes explicit inspiration from multiple strands of post-war right-wing extremism, including the European intellectual movement of the New Right, the Third Position’s approach to international relations and the Social Right understanding of socio-economic affairs. Above all, CPI is heavily indebted to the post-war Noiwellc Droite, which has inspired its understanding of Europe as a ‘civilizational’ project, and the ethnopluralist understanding of ethnic and cultural communities. Furthennore, CPI’s economic platform is very ambiguous, calling simultaneously for welfare expansion (for natives only) and tax reduction within a system of domestic laissez-faire.
We also found that CPI’s platform includes a patchwork of ad hoc issues that the group addresses strategically when these are salient in the public debate. Eth- nopluralism is thus used by CPI as a frame to articulate a ‘Fascist’ understanding of issues as diverse as welfare, the environment and gender. Ethnopluralism grants ideological consistency across different themes, upholding a reference to historical Fascism while avoiding appearing anachronistic, explicitly racist or openly homo- phobic. In this respect, the impact of CPI’s hybridization strategy on the ideological domain has been limited. The group’s worldview is generally coasistent and rooted in the tradition of the extreme right. Yet, it strategically mixes insights and positions from different strands of historical Fascism and post-war extremism (Fascism as a movement, the Social Right, the Third Position, etc.), and articulates them to address issues that become prominent in public debates.
This chapter argued that while CPI maintains some ideological references to historical and post-war Fascism, it has embedded other elements too. The hybridization strategy of CPI juxtaposes aspects of historical and post-war Fascism, as well as issues at the top current of public debates. The question therefore is how CPI manages to transmit this hybrid, heterogeneous worldview to its activists. The next chapter addresses this question in detail, focusing on how CPI organizes internally.