Giorgia Meloni Giorgia Meloni. Photo: Vox España / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0 Universal

Viviana Biasco explores recent controversies around the Italian Prime Minister Meloni’s troubling relationship to the country’s fascist past

‘Fascism is capitalism plus murder.’ ― Upton Sinclair 

Today, Italy’s political landscape is marked by significant tensions. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, leading the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, is a central figure shaping the current political environment as her administration focusses on a range of controversial issues, including constitutional reforms to increase the powers of the Prime Minister’s office and strict immigration policies​​. 

All this has sparked a national crisis. Italians are divided between those who view her as a neo-fascist and others who agree with her view of defending ‘God, fatherland, and family.’ However, it is without doubt that Meloni’s party is historically connected to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which was founded by former fascists after World War II.  

Although Meloni has publicly condemned Mussolini’s racial laws and distanced herself from his dictatorship, her government has been involved in multiple incidents over restoring fascist symbols and rhetoric raising concerns about the rehabilitation of fascism.  

Meloni’s government has faced several internal conflicts within the ruling coalition and public outcry over fears of returning to a Fascist Italy. For instance, one significant controversy arose with the publication of the Italian army’s 2024 calendar, which included tributes to soldiers who fought for Mussolini’s regime. This move was criticised by opposition politicians and anti-fascist activists, accusing the government of attempting to rehabilitate fascism​.  

Meloni’s administration has also been under pressure following an event in Rome in January where hundreds of participants gave the fascist salute during a memorial for far-right activists. This event, attended by members of Meloni’s party, led to calls for stronger laws against the promotion of fascism and for a clearer condemnation from the Prime Minister​. 

Unlike Germany, which has systematically removed Nazi symbols, Italy still grapples with numerous remnants of its fascist history which contributes to current political tensions​. In fact, Italy has documented over 1,400 monuments and street signs from Mussolini’s era, sparking debate about how the country deals with its fascist past.  

More radically, in the wake of France decreeing abortion as a fundamental human right, Italy seems to be reverting to its fascist history where abortion was criminalised. Last month, the Italian Senate passed Meloni’s legislation that enables anti-abortion activists to enter abortion clinics.  

This shows not only the absurdity and outrage of what Italy is currently experiencing but indeed the danger this poses to the Italian people.  

Meloni often uses the argument of honouring historic memory, but there is nothing honourable about a fascist government.  

While the German state often argues that one must remember so as not to repeat history, but ignores the genocide in Palestine, it seems that Meloni is even more brazen – she is remembering so as to repeat.  

Viviana Biasco is a Politics and International Relations graduate student. She is looking to build a career in the field of human rights with a particular focus on refugees, women and children in the MENA region. 

Before you go

Counterfire is growing faster than ever before

We need to raise £20,000 as we are having to expand operations. We are moving to a bigger, better central office, upping our print run and distribution, buying a new printer, new computers and employing more staff.

Please give generously.