Friday, September 26, 2014

Paolo Di Canio is right — Italian Fascism was not racist by Nicholas Farrell

Mad, bad, dangerous - but racist? Benito Mussolini. Photo: Getty Images.

The truth is that the new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is right: Italian Fascism was not racist — at least not until its fatal alliance with German National Socialism. In truth, there is nothing necessarily racist about Fascism.

That many football hooligans and the entire Liberal Left disagree is irrelevant — irrelevant, that is, to the truth. Racism in the context of Fascism essentially means hatred of Jews rather than, say, of blacks. But here’s the funny thing: Fascism, unlike National Socialism, was not anti-Semitic.
True, the words ‘Fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are interchangeable these days, and often synonymous with the word ‘racist’. But Benito Mussolini, who founded Fascism, was not anti-Semitic. Indeed, many top Italian Fascists were Jews. The idea that the Duce wanted to exterminate Jews is inconceivable. Margherita Sarfatti, Mussolini’s main mistress and muse until the 1930s, was Jewish. Question: would it be possible for a man who wants to exterminate Jews because they are Jews to fall in love with a Jewish woman and conduct an affair with her that lasts 20 years? Could a Jewish woman fall in love and remain with such a man for so long?
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning someone called Piara Power, of something called Fare Network Football Against Racism in Europe, said:  ‘A fundamental pillar of Fascism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another.’
No. That might be said of National Socialism, or Nazism. But the fundamental pillars of Fascism which has far more in common with Communism than either does with Democracy, were the State and the Nation. Mussolini, a revolutionary socialist, founded Fascism in 1919 as an alternative revolutionary movement of the Left: The First World War had made him, and many other European Socialists, realise an essential truth: People are more loyal to their country than their class.
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