While President Mattarella went to the mountains with Piero Calamandrei, recalling the significance of April 25, the Prime Minister published a torrent of words in Il Corriere della Sera when one would have been enough. It’s hard to imagine a more apt scenario than these two Roman institutions to showcase the difference, uncover the distance, make sense of the contrast between a culture rooted in anti-fascism, and therefore in the Constitution, and a liberticidal ideology that makes use of the commonplaces of neo-post-fascism.
This anniversary of the Liberation was perhaps the most anti-fascist ever, because there was even greater presence of women, old people and young people in the squares, from Milan to Rome (as we documented with our live TV broadcast on manifesto.it), a testimony of their renewed commitment to anti-fascist and anti-racist resistance. After six months of seeing what the most right-wing government in Italian history since 1945 is made of, we know that individual, collective, civil and social rights are under attack by forces and figures who, by conviction, are foreign to the values of the Resistance.
For the majority party, April 25 is still experienced as the day of defeat, however disguised – preferably using the bogus yardstick, which the premier argued for in the Corriere piece, of equating those who resisted Nazi-Fascism with those who fought with and for Mussolini and Hitler, with and for the protagonists of the Republic of Salò, guilty of heinous atrocities.
An obscene, false, unacceptable comparison, for many reasons that we can easily summarize with Italo Calvino’s words: behind the worst partisan there was democracy and freedom, behind the best “Salò Republican” there were concentration camps and dictatorship. Or the words that Vittorio Foa said to the MSI’s Giorgio Pisanò: “If you had won, I would still be in prison; we won, and you are a senator.”
When Meloni writes that the parties representing the right have clearly stated their “incompatibility with any nostalgia for fascism,” bringing these forces into the mainstream of democracy, without ever using the adjective “anti-fascist,” she is merely applying the motto of her political father, Almirante, “neither restore nor disavow,” which allowed him to lead a party that made it into Parliament – the MSI – and to participate in two elections for the Presidency without ever disavowing the values of his political family. And those who did, such as Fini, who is still the target of attacks from his former underlings, were eventually overshadowed by the advent of Meloni and La Russa’s Fratelli d’Italia, which rose to lead the country. We often ask ourselves how it was possible for the fascists to return, and in a position of leadership to boot. Perhaps, in the end, the answer is simple: because they never left.
But talk is meaningless in the face of the great, festive and peaceful attendance in Tuesday’s many demonstrations, which marked a deeply felt and unambiguous popular certainty: April 25 is forever. And it is the hallmark of our true, deep, rooted national identity.