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Conclusive remarks

The chapter discussed how CPI’s high profile in the Italian public sphere relates to the group’s hybrid strategy of external mobilization. As we have seen, even though CPI emerged as a grassroots group, it progressively also engaged in the electoral arena. Today, one of its defining features is precisely this hybrid approach to street politics and electoral competition. Our analysis shows that the group seeks to obtain media coverage in both the protest and electoral arenas through a careful mix of agitprop actions, campaigning and contentious demonstrations.

By involvement in grassroots politics as well as in local and national elections, CPI considers that conventional and contentious activism are not mutually exclusive. Yet we also show that protest tactics still prevail over conventional ones. While this mirrors the group’s understanding of violence and contention as legitimate ways of doing politics, it also relates to the weak results obtained by CPI in the ballots. Beyond the election of a few local representatives, in fact, the group has not stood out among its many far-right competitors in the Italian party system. The choice to engage in elections mainly allowed the group to reshape its political supply and consolidate its visibility in the media. As an electoral competitor, CasaPound tried to take advantage of public debates on the European Union and the migration policy crisis. Electoral campaigning therefore allowed CPI to politicize issues on which it had long hesitated to take a clear- cut position in the protest arena.

Overall, rather than transitioning to electoral politics, CPI maintains a hybrid approach to mobilization combining conventional and protest actions. Through the mix of electoral competition tactics and the ‘logic of damage’ of social movements (Della Porta and Diani 2006), CPI seeks to maximize media coverage. This leads us to examine the way in which CPI interacts with the media and journalists, which will be the focus of the next chapter.

Notes

  • 1 The 2019 European Parliament elections confirmed this trend, as CPI obtained just 0.3 per cent of the vote, corresponding to fewer than 90,000 preferences. At the local elections that took place on the same day, however, CPI elected 63 local council members, mainly in small towns in Lombardy and Piedmont.
  • 2 CPI’s electoral programme in fact kept the same title (Una Nazione, 'A Nation’), but the 2018 document is slightly longer than in 2013 (21 pages vs 17 pages; and 6,359 words vs 5,749 words, corresponding to 304 vs 252 quasi-sentences).
  • 3 Equitalia is the Italian public agency in charge of tax collection.
  • 4 Interview no. 3a of 01/06/2012.
  • 5 This was further confirmed by Simone Di Stefano in a 2014 TV interview for the local broadcaster Relesole, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_BvGiNUSWc (accessed 20/12/2018).
  • 6 Interview no. lb of 19/04/2012.
  • 7 Interview no. 2b of 27/04/2012.
  • 8 This was recorded by the authors during CPI’s national festival ‘Direzione — Rivolu- zione’, Rome, 20—23 September 2012.
  • 9 Statement by Simone Di Stefano during a TV interview for the local broadcaster Relesole, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJ98YfPS2o (accessed 15/01/2019).
 
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