Controversy over Forza Nuova’s “March on Rome”

By Sonia Gable

Alfio Bernabei writes:

In an unprecedented move Italy’s Forza Nuova has announced plans to march on Rome on 28 October, the same date as Mussolini’s march on Rome in 1922.

Enthusiastic members of the organisation, described as Nazi-fascist by Italy’s Supreme Court, have flooded its Facebook page with fascist slogans and offers of support in response to a call for donations from “fellow patriots” in order to fund the trucks, petrol, banners and flags needed for such an event.

While it is unlikely that local authorities will allow the march to go ahead, the announcement widely reported in the Italian Press still represents a further step in the organisation’s strategy to imitate the means by which fascism came to power in Italy 95 years ago.

By throwing such a high profile challenge to the authorities Forza Nuova clearly hopes to send a powerful signal of encouragement to other Nazi-fascist groups well beyond the Italian borders.

As well as in Italy the announcement appears in the Facebook Page of Forza Nuova newly formed branch in the United States.

Given Forza Nuova’s ambition to see itself as the lynchpin in international links with extreme right wing movements it would not be too far-fetched to think that by calling the proposed March on Rome “the March of Patriots” it intends to exploit the reverberations caused by recent events in America.

The former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke spent a mysteriously long period in Northern Italy in 2011 and 2012 and little is known about his contacts there.

On hearing about the planned march the Rome Mayor, Virginia Raggi, tweeted “the #MarchOnRome cannot and must not be repeated” signalling her intention to prevent it from happening. Partito Democratico that leads the Centre-Left government coalition said the proposed event “risks turning into a tragic day for our country”. ANPI, the Association of Italian Partisans that keeps alive the memory of the Resistance against Nazi-fascism in WW2 intends to put pressure on the Government to intervene to stop the march.

Roberto Fiore, the ex-fugitive from justice who took refuge in London in the early 1980s and subsequently set up Forza Nuova described the planned march to protest “against an illegitimate government, to say “no” to proposed legislation that would give Italian-born children of migrants Italian citizenship and stop violence and rapes by the immigrants who have mobbed our country” as “a patriotic demonstration, not pro-fascist or nostalgic,” warning that the interior ministry would be wrong to ban the event.

Mussolini’s March on Rome on 28 October 1922 took place with the future dictator escorted by 25000 armed blackshirts, part of the squads which had terrorized the population in Central and Northern Italy burning the offices of parties and trade unions and killing opponents.