In April 1945, Benito Mussolini and his mistress were caught making a break for Switzerland as it became clear that their team was getting steamrolled by the Allied powers. They were caught and executed by communists and their bodies were hung from the roof of an Esso in Milan. Imagine being in one of those Allied countries, seeing those images as they first reached the living rooms of family members waiting for their fathers and brothers and sons to come home. Imagine the feeling of seeing swarms of Italians gleefully defile what remained of the architect of so much fear and suffering. And imagine the relief of knowing that the world would forever be free of him and people who think like him.
Boy, it must suck for people who were alive in the 40s to be alive now. All that crazy shit they fought against, and now everyone’s like “come on, we should hear these guys out, maybe there are too many Jews on Wall Street — we won’t know until we listen to both sides of the argument, we can’t just jump to conclusions.” Suck my dick, Silicon Valley, your principled libertarianism somehow prevents you from blocking white supremacists, but as soon as the symbol of power for a people to whom you refuse to even pay taxes gets its windows broken, you manage to locate your balls? Were they buried in a comically large vault filled with loose hundred-dollar bills and jewels?
This brings me back to Italy, because the failure to stop these dogshit, god-awful ideas from proliferating has put dear, sweet, fascism free Italy in a bit of a pickle. Well, to be fair, a lot of things contributed to putting it there, I can’t just blame Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Bannon for everything; I’ll end up sounding like Rachel Maddow.
Regardless, this particular predicament has left Italians, who are in the midst of one of the hardest fights against Covid19 in the West, staring down the barrel of an election that polls suggest would carry another far-right European government to power. The trigger is in the hands of the Italian head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, who has been tasked with negotiating a new ruling coalition along with Giuseppe Conte, who resigned as prime minister earlier this week, but who experts say is banking on Mattarella reinstating him, which apparently he can just do according to law.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella
If a new coalition can’t acquire a mandate from the president, with or without Conte in charge, the country will default to elections, something literally nobody in power wants right now, because of the whole deadly virus ravaging their constituents. Conte resigned following feuding political bitch fits pitched by himself and an unpopular former prime minister named Matteo Renzi, whose Italia Viva party left the previous coalition.
Seriously, it’s insane to me that they’ve decided now is the best time to have the fight about everything that went wrong with Italy’s pandemic response, the cited reason for Renzi’s rebellion. It’s shitty that Renzi’s trying so hard to take shots at Conte while he’s trying to vaccinate an entire country — it would be like spitballing your doctor while he’s trying to perform open heart surgery — but it’s equally shitty for Conte to take an entire country hostage by threatening to make your doctor win an election while he’s trying to perform open heart surgery.
The only shades of reason behind Renzi’s decision to take his ball and go home come from concerns about the handling of the 209 billion Euro economic relief package on its way from the E.U. That infusion is almost 16 times larger than what Italy received after WWII under the Marshall Plan, when the U.S. needed help dealing with Russia. If Conte really is to blame for Italy’s botch-job of a Covid response, I wouldn’t want him in charge of that much money either.
That being said, he is certainly better than the alternative of a coalition headed in part by Matteo Salvini, head of the League party and another eurosceptic Trump fanboy who would rather immigrants not bother him with their poverty and their cultural diversity. A driving force behind Salvini’s popularity has been the immigration crisis that came to a head in 2015 and that has continued to strain European policymakers since.
Stinky Butthead Mateo Salvini (leader of the far-right League party)
The subsequent backlash against, I don’t know, change I guess, has led to surges in popularity among nationalist and populist movements all across Europe, including and especially in Italy, which, due to geography, receives the bulk of migrants from North Africa. The European Union and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s firm stance on accepting migrants from 2015 aggravated longer standing tensions with right-wing politicians over the handling of the European debt crisis, an aftershock of the Great Recession.
Italy has a serious history of political turmoil. Since WWII, the nation had had the same government for an average of 1.14 years each in 2018. That’s a crazy stat — they’re barely hovering above a government a year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest crisis is what puts them under. Covering politics in Italy must be fucking wild, it would be like covering a sports team that’s literally always in a rebuild, except with people’s lives on the line. It would be like covering the Sens if they played hockey to the death. The coke binges those 80s newsrooms must have seen would make Jordan Belfort and Lorne Michaels nut themselves simultaneously.
All this turmoil, from Covid deaths still ranging in the low hundreds to a breeding resentment of outsiders and elites, is prime feeding ground for batshit ideologies like the ones inspired by the gas station Halloween decoration himself. Don’t get me wrong, people should be held accountable for what’s happened to Italy over the past year, and frankly decade, but allowing someone like Matteo Salvini, whose only policy convictions seem to be to agree with Trump, to secure a mandate is definitely not the way to do it. Now might also be a good time to mention that the flow of migrants hasn’t stopped, which means that Italy has the health of thousands of refugees to consider as well.
Mussolini (second from left) and his supporters hanging out at an Esso station in the Piazzale Loreto in Milan
This means that even allowing that possibility is pretty fucking irresponsible right now. I don’t know if there’s a world where Mattarella fails to organize lawmakers into at least some semblance of a ruling coalition in order to please for the love of god get their people vaccinated they’ve been through enough, but if he does, it’s bad news bears. Literally — Salvini is apparently also against gay marriage.
My point is that Italy needs to get its shit together before their politicians’ bitch-pissing gets more people killed than it already has. And as for Salvini, it turns out that in 2018, he pledged support to the European populist and anti EU group called The Movement, which was founded by, knock knock, who’s there, it’s the concierge of cucks himself, Steve Bannon. Turns out I actually can blame this one on him after all.