April 21, 2008

Turns Out There's An Ugly Side To Italian Separatism

I'll translate this campaign poster for you non-Italian speakers: "Guess who comes in last? For rights to housing, jobs, and health care. ... [In the] regional elections, vote for the Northern League."

Just take a look at that cartoon! Can you imagine a more gross collection of racial caricatures? We're not so prejudiced against Gypsies here in the States, but believe me, they sure are in Europe. I especially like the Osama-looking dude holding a scimitar.

Oh, how embarrassing. And I have relatives who like the Lega Nord; I'm sure that they voted for it! They say it's because they think politicians in Rome are all corrupt and because the south of Italy is an economic drag on the country as a whole. But I'm mindful that immigration is a powerful issue everywhere and it seems impossible to avoid the tinge of racism while addressing the issue.

Someone please tell me this is a joke. Someone tell me that this is a photoshop of a real Lega Nord campaign poster. Ah, but you probably can't. See, one prominent Lega Nord politician held a "pig day" to protest the building of a mosque in Bologna. Same guy dismissed France's team in the World Cup as a bunch of "negroes, Communists, and Moslems." (Italy won, as you'll recall.) "Italia Per Gli Italiani!" it may as well say. "Italia -- Non Sei Un Turista Ricca? Uscire!"

I can't even begin to imagine the shitstorm that would happen if a similar kind of campaign poster circulated in the States. Yikes.

4 comments:

zzi said...

I realize it's not politically correct to say this but the Italians embraced fascism in 20s.

Liam said...

It's not factually correct either.

The Facscists came to power after a brutal struggle against the Italian unions and socialists. They were used to put down the factory occupations and centres of working class power.

The liberation struggle from 1943, led by the PCI, was incredibly bloody as the working class settled its scores and overthrew the Fascists.

Latterly the Italian working class has been one of the best organised and most militant in Europe and it's a long story to describe how it's been resoundingly trounced like this.

Glib judgements on national dispositions to Fascism might be briefly amusing but explain nothing.

zzi said...

Liam will someone be telling me fifty years from now that there was a brutal struggle against Islamic fascism by the Italian unions and socialists, some of us even made "Lega Nord campaign posters"

1943, my relatives were over there fighting. I wonder that had something to do with the overthrow.

Transplanted Lawyer said...

My point is not to minimize either the historical evil that was imposed upon Italians by the fascists during the thirties and forties, nor the present-day evil that Muslim theocrats would impose upon us. Rather, my point is that I had thought better of the Italians, just as I would have thought better of Americans, with regards to the issue of whether they will tolerate people different than them. It's saddening to see an appeal to racism like this anywhere, but particularly in a modern, liberal (small "l") democracy.