Let us see that the virus allows us to reflect on ourselves, not simply at a national level, but at a civilizational level – at the level of the human species.
David Swanson was to speak at a conference in Florence, Italy, on April 25, 2020. The conference became a video instead. Below is the video and text of Swanson’s portion. As soon as we receive the video or text of the whole, in Italian or English, we will post it at worldbeyondwar.org. The video aired on April 25 on PandoraTV and on ByoBlu. Details on the full conference are here.
Historical fiction is a special and important genre. It can bring history to life, but more importantly it can allow us to put ourselves in the lives of those of another time, another context. There is a strong tendency in the United States toward historical amnesia. This is perhaps one of the biggest character flaws of the country. Floating in a constant now there is a complex, but highly malleable, context that disappears in the moment. This can drain the richness from our lives, set us on paths both personally and societally destructive, and perhaps most importantly, totally erode the concept of free will replacing it with faux will.
Get out your atlas. You will likely need it when you read farther here about the intriguing but little known story in a lesser known part of Alpine Europe: Italy’s northern territory of Alto Adige, better known as South Tyrol. I used an atlas for geographical details about the borderlands with which this article deals and where I have spent long periods. For it’s the details—often geographical—that will confound you every time. Such details make you aware that military planners of national strategy never spend enough time with their atlases. Over much of my lifetime I have passed through these border territories countless times, from north to south, south to north and yet I still discover new things about them.
As shown in the permissive attitude of Italians toward Fascism last century, also contemporary Italians perceive of a strong and charismatic leader as a shield against disorder and their inherent inclination toward anarchy. Someone to protect them against their own nature. Promises of more police and more security are reassuring to those Italians who see today’s enemy in immigrants and in the European Union with all its rules … including its Euro currency. When a legitimate government to control their inclination toward anarchy goes missing, some form of servility to a powerful individual returns. Strongmen emerge from that conundrum deep in the Italian psyche: anarchy or a strongman at the helm. Italy today seems to be following the same familiar old script.
My generation has seen that history does repeat itself. We know world wars I and II and we have seen “regime change” in action from country to country, from Libya to Iraq. Those who think that history does not repeat itself might read some of these lines about what once happened and what is happening today.
Yet: a world in which Pinochet Is Better Than Communists!
Premise: Reporting on the still unresolved abduction and murder of statesman, Aldo Moro, by the Red Brigades back in 1978—or in their name—the Rome sometimes left-wing investigative magazine, Espresso, reported that the USA and many European leaders considered Premier Moro’s project to bring the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into the Rome government destabilizing and of the utmost danger to European security. On both sides of the Atlantic, Premier Moro was considered an obstacle to be removed at all costs.
Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Blackshirts and Reds
While walking through New York’s Little Italy, I passed a novelty shop that displayed posters and T-shirts of Benito Mussolini giving the fascist salute. When I entered the shop and asked the clerk why such items were being offered, he replied, “Well, some people like them. And, you know, maybe we need someone like Mussolini in this country.” His comment was a reminder that fascism survives as something more than a historical curiosity.
After World War II the USA and NATO labeled Italy the “soft under-belly of Europe”, chiefly because of the presence of The Italian Communist Party (PCI), Europe’s biggest political formation of the left. Because of capitalist Italy’s unpredictable and individualistic character existing like a Trojan Horse inside the European Union (EU), that label stuck even after the PCI died following the dissolution of the USSR. The party’s later iterations were reduced to rivulets as dry as the river Po in August and about which hardly a murmur is heard today. That label however has conditioned US-NATO relations with Italy since then. The Bel Paese became not only a US vassal state but an occupied country, an aircraft carrier jutting out toward North Africa and hosting dozens of US military bases. Today’s La Repubblica, Italy’s major newspaper, reported that 70 American atomic bombs are concealed on the US Airbase of Aviano in NE Italy, the greatest number in one country of the 180 atomic bombs scattered across Europe.
“We work for the moral and traditional values which Socialists neglect and despise….”
It’s their strutting. That detestable image of the strutting that links them, the strutting and prancing Fascists and their swaggering and parading military cousins, up front for their conveniently concealed corporatist controllers. A strutting and swaggering couple they are, Fascism and the entrenched class of war. Their distorted visions of gallantry and nation come so naturally to both. The spick and span generals, employers of mercenaries and killers, chin in, chest out, and their majors and their colonels (especially the generals in the offices and the majors in the tents), thick chests covered with ribbons and medals and rows of multicolored decorations—awarded for killing. And the political Fascists! Defiant chins thrust forward, hard fists clinched, swaggering and prancing and strutting across the stages of piazzas nations and continents—in support of the killing.
by Gaither Stewart
Writer, Dandelion Salad
May 14, 2017
I read a Facebook post by an American Liberal comparing the refusal of the French Far-Leftist Jean-Luc Melanchon to choose between Emmanuel Macron and the rightist Marine Le Pen as President of France to the Left’s rejection of the German Social Democrats on the eve of WWI, resulting, ultimately, in the emergence of Naziism. He cited other similar cases where Communists of the 1920s and 1930s who refused to distinguish between the far right and those “insufficiently to the left”, ie. Social Democrats, thus paving the way for the fascist right and the rise of Hitler and Mussolini. He cites also the case of Fausto Bertinotti in Italy who withdrew his support for the center-left government of Romano Prodi and paved the road for the disastrous return to power in Rome of Silvio Berlusconi. This indeed sad history is compared to the choice (non-choice) between Clinton and Trump. And thus the nightmare of Trump in the White House.
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Sep 3, 2016
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges is joined by journalist and author Adam Hochschild to remember the rebels in history whose moral conviction drove them to battle. Hochschild chronicles rebels who joined the fight against fascism in his latest book Spain in Our Hearts: Americans and the Spanish Civil War. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil provides a brief history on why the idealists from the U.S. and Europe made the journey in the 1930s to join the civil war.