01 October 2022 ~ 0 Comentarios

Meloni: ¿Opportunist or Fanatic?

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

In 1959, 1960 and 1961, someone who was green on the outside and red on the inside was known in Cuba as a “political melon.” I don’t believe that Giorgia Meloni, who has just won the elections in Italy, is a fascist deep inside, nor even green on the outside, although many of her positions match the positions of the extreme right.

She experiences what happened to Hungary’s Prime Minister Víktor Orban, when he was the white hope of liberalism. At that time, he was the leader of Fidesz, a quasi-student organization which he came to preside thanks to his anti-communist speeches. He was the natural heir to Count Otto Graf Lambsdorff at the head of the Liberal International. Lambsdorff, former German Minister of Economy, was the one who recommended him to me. I remember that he asked me, when I returned from my trip to Hungary, what I thought of Orban as his replacement at the head of the Liberal International.

I told him I thought he was great. And it was true… until Orban realized that the votes in his country were elsewhere. Given the authoritarian background of Hungarians, the votes could be won by personifying immigrants as despicable types and believing in all kinds of conspiracies. (That is, the opposite of liberalism.) Votes could be won by blaming George Soros, the other very notorious person of Hungarian origin, for everything, which created a rather anti-Semitic connotation in a universe where this disgusting practice is not always condemned, as it happens in some regions of Hungary. Votes could be won by blaming “the Brussels bureaucrats” for the bad decisions of politicians, without admitting that Putin is a scoundrel who has earned the hostility of the European Union after his invasion of Ukraine.

In other words, Orban, more than an ultra of the fascist right, is an opportunist. What is worse? I really don’t know, but in general it seems to me that the greatest sin of a politician is to be unshakable and dogmatic. Opportunists can always switch sides. In these times, Orban has become a fascist. Tomorrow he may be something else. The substantial changes that have occurred in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Russia itself, post-war Germany,) have been made by opportunists).

We always have to expect the worst from fanatics. From the Steve Bannons of this world, one must expect the worst, even a scam, given that this gentleman — certified as a swindler by the courts of his country, but later pardoned by Donald Trump — sells “anti-globalization” and “nationalism” as if they were gold, when in fact they are manure generated before World War II. Dry old dung.

Is Meloni a fanatic or an opportunist? In my opinion, she is also an opportunist. I think that what she did in Spain was an electoral maneuver. Mrs. Meloni came to preach to the converts, to those who were moved by the support for Mrs. Olona. Meloni had a minor effect on Andalusia. Importing foreign agitators is always bad business. Beside the compensation, 4- or 5-star hotels and business-class airline tickets are expensive. The conventional voter generally believes that the stranger has a scarce influence on the vote, and this opinion is right. I have never met anyone who changes his or her vote, be it Vox bringing Meloni, or Podemos doing the same with Maduro, Cabello or a resurrected Stalin.

To what extent has Mrs. Meloni picked up the Italian fascist tradition? I think it’s not like that. Fascism was a unique movement in the history of her country. Not even Spain was fascist. Franco was an astute military man, very Catholic, a supporter of strict law and order. Not even the Falange was totally fascist. It had more than enough Catholicism for that task and lacked trade unionism, despite the JONS.

Benito Mussolini managed to galvanize his country in the second half of October 1922 by ordering his “Black shirts” to take Rome (they were barely 30,000 people) as part of a premeditated plan to bury liberal thought, the great enemy of fascism. The purpose of the march was precisely that — to eliminate liberal parliamentarism. It is forgotten that Mussolini had been a socialist. It is even forgotten that Lenin had initial sympathies for fascism, as explained in Emilio Gentile’s book on the two founders of the deadliest ideologies in history.

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