Mussolini's Grandchildren:
Fascism in Contemporary Italy

Mussolini's Grandchildren: Fascism in Contemporary Italy

by David Broder

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The fastest-rising force in Italian politics is Giorgia Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia - a party with a direct genealogy from Mussolini's regime. Surging to prominence in recent years, it has waged a fierce culture war against the Left, polarised political debate around World War II, and even secured the largest vote share in Italy's 2022 general election. Eighty years after the fall of Mussolini, his heirs and admirers are again on the brink of taking power. So how exactly has this situation come about?

Mussolini's Grandchildren delves into Italy's self-styled 'post-fascist' movements - rooted in historical fascism yet claiming to have 'transcended' it. David Broder highlights the reinventions of far-right politics since the Second World War, and examines the interplay between a parliamentary face aimed at integrating fascists into the mainstream, and militant fringe groups which, despite their extremism, play an important role in nurturing the broader far right.

Fratelli d'Italia has retained its hegemony over fascist subcultures whilst embracing a raft of more pragmatic policy positions, fusing harsh Islamophobia and anti-communism with support for the European Union and NATO. As countervailing anti-fascist forces in Italian society wane, the far-right party's mission to redeem historical fascism, legitimise its political heirs and shift the terrain of mainstream politics is proving alarmingly successful.