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Giorgia Meloni: The Great Replacement Moves In

Demographic angst is a terrifying thing, especially to leaders concerned about poor returns from horizontal folk dancing. Viktor Orbán of Hungary is particularly apprehensive that precious Hungarian blood is not being propagated, facing dilution, if not disappearance, from hordes of swarthy immigrants from the Middle East and Africa.

In Italy, the country’s imminent first female prime minister is much of that same view. Giorgia Meloni speaks about being a “woman, mother [and] Christian” with messianic purpose: to defend “God, country and family.” The stress is on mother virtue rather than female rights, the latter only being relevant when it comes to highlighting migrant violence in fits of what has come to be known as femonationalism.

Unlike other conservatives and those of the Right in the Anglo-American tradition, welfare, in her political constellation, is not ill-fare. People – provided they come from a certain traditional demographic and background – should be supported and encouraged by the state. What matters is that they are the right sort of people.

To that end, Meloni insists on a pro-natalist platform to arrest Italy’s demographic decline, including reducing VAT rates on nappies, baby bottles and formula; increasing child benefits; and making childcare free.

The spectre she claims to combat is that of the Great Replacement, a view promoted by the French novelist and critic Renaud Camus. In his essay, “Le Grand Remplacement”, he describes a process of colonisation in reverse, with native “white” Europeans deluged and eventually overcome by black and brown immigrants. “You have one people, and in the space of a generation you have a different people,” he warns threateningly.

The corollary of such natalist welfare is a deep suspicion of the dark forces of the market and the sinister elements that operate beyond government control. In this, Meloni shares ground with those on other sides of the political aisle concerned about the more destructive effects of predatory capital and its handmaidens.

On such policies as unwanted refugees, she sounds awfully like her counterparts in other parts of the European Union and the EU-exited Britain. While governments in Copenhagen and London have put forth programs to process asylum seekers in third countries, notably Rwanda, aping the grotesque Australian model of offshore processing, Meloni has repeatedly promoted much the same thing in the lead up to the 2022 elections.

She has even advocated the use of a “naval blockade” to halt illegal immigration, justifying it as a humanitarian gesture to prevent deaths at sea. In this, she could hardly improve on Australia’s own justifications for its Pacific concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island. We will bar you, detain you, and torture you in order to save you.

Meloni has managed to weave a number of themes in a populist narrative she delivers with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, claiming that Italy’s liberals have facilitated “the project of ethnic substitution of European citizens, desired by big capital and international speculators.” Like her Hungarian counterpart, she has pointed the finger at the financing activities of George Soros, drawing heavily from the anti-Semitic trope of the Jewish usurer.

Allegations abound that the leader of the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is a fascist. Given that the Italian constitution openly prohibits “the reorganisation in any form of the dissolved Fascist Party,” this would be a remarkable coup indeed. That said, the party can be said to be the spiritual heir to Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement), a creation of Benito Mussolini’s supporters after the Second World War.

In an interview with Corriere Magazine, Meloni explained how she had a “serene relationship with fascism.” Mussolini, she conceded, had made “several mistakes.” Despite producing “a lot”, this fact did not “save him.”

In 1995, MSI joined a larger agglomeration of parties to become the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance). AN, in turn, joined Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party in 2009, where Meloni found herself Minister for Youth. Three years later, she was part of a splinter group that ultimately became the Brothers of Italy. Italian politics remains, as it has been for decades, populated by changelings.

It would be far from accurate to claim that Italian voters have somehow lost their marbles and lent dramatically rightwards in a fit of absentmindedness. The formula is common to that of other elections witnessed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016: despair and disgust, tempered by considerable apathy.

The continued rule of Orbán, and Meloni’s victory, are also points of transatlantic celebration. Former US Secretary of State was full of congratulation, claiming that, “Italy deserves and needs strong conservative leadership.”

Another former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, forgot her political stripes in also cheering the prospect of a Meloni victory, showing that smashing glass ceilings is far more important than a sound reading of history. “The election of the first woman prime minister in a country always represents a break with the past, and that is certainly a good thing.”

In forming a government, Meloni will have to keep a close eye on the antics of prospective coalition partner and perennial Eurosceptic Matteo Salvini of Lega, who is hankering for his old post at the interior ministry. His message on decentralising power jars with the centralist sentiments of Meloni’s. With 66 MPs and 29 senators, he is mischief-bound as, for that matter, will be others seeking a position in government.

The program of Italy’s new government will be troubling to immigrants, minorities, women, the LGBT community and all groups that do not hum the regressive tune of the Brothers. But it is hard to see what those in Brussels will or can do. The EU is as complicit as any in the undermining of rights when it comes to, for instance, irregular migrants, keeping up barriers as much as possible, repelling the unwanted (Ukrainians excepted). An ugly continent, politically speaking, just got uglier.

 

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14 comments

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  1. Michael Taylor

    My first reaction was; “Has Italy gone mad?”

  2. New England Cocky

    Michael ….. when has Italy been anything other than politically mad???

  3. Phil Pryor

    We have observed, over time and in many western nations, leaders emerge having done nothing ever, having never succeeded or worked, having never uttered useful, positive, enlightened thought, yet getting to the top by snide patrons, backing extreme lies, self deception, some shine of polish to the punters, by awful fantastic “magic” of loud negativity, the extension of wishes and drives of ordinary folk fancying themselves betrayed, forgotten, denied, repressed, It is not so, it is not vaguely sensible to support failure, hostility, contrived ignorance, self defeating defiance. Meloni is such a horror of the mind, now a fact.

  4. Harry Lime

    Michael, Italy hasn’t gone mad…it has ALWAYS been mad.The Parlimento Italiano is impossibly complicated,by design,much like some of the cars they make,and in the same way.prone to throwing tantrums,and often governments into the Palazzo Madama at any perceived sleight,imagined or otherwise.We need not be too concerned,there’ll be a new government before you can shout Vaffancula.If you’ve ever been to a loud Italian Sunday lunch,you’ll get the picture.

  5. Michael Taylor

    True, NEC/Harry. Epic fail from me.

  6. Andrew J. Smith

    Concerning, a rebranding of eugenics or are we witnessing its last gasps?

    Further, one would argue that segregation roots of the ‘radical right libertarian’ socio-economic ideology we see in US, UK and Australia, has eugenics coursing through much of its raison d’etre, less about economics and even colour, but control or pecking order for 1% or the ‘planters’.

    The modern ‘great replacement’ movement has always been Trans Atlantic including Malthus on population and Galton on social Darwinism in the UK, conservationist Madison Grant in the US (admired by Hitler), then links with Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes on eugenics research, then Nazis through WWII and later craftily repackaged by deceased US white nationalist John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton et al..

    Tanton was on board of fossil fuel and auto oligarch supported ZPG Zero Population Growth (Rockefeller Bros., Ford & Carnegie Foundations), viewing ‘environmental hygiene through a fertility, immigrant and population growth prism, he admired the white Australia policy, visited and was hosted by an ‘environmental NGO’.

    More generally or globally he is the muse of Bannon et al and before the Trump White House, informs much media content including mainstream legacy media, has a journal, The Social Contract Press (TSCP) and known in US by journalists and academia as ‘Tanton Network’; described by LInda Chavez in NYT some years ago (like segregation economist James Buchanan) as ‘the most influential unknown man in America’.

    How does this relate to Camus, the ‘Great Replacement’, and Australia? Camus’s ‘Great Replacement’ was inspired by Jean Raspail’s ‘Camp of the Saints’ who gave an interview in the mid ’90s for TSCP with an Australian academic from Swinburne University and sometimes collaborator with ‘Australia’s best demographer’.

    Article is titled ‘A Conversation With Jean Raspail (Reprint)’ https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1504/article_1340.shtml

  7. Claudio Pompili

    Italy has not gone mad, it never was, but ever more ‘complicated’…I voted at the other end of the spectrum and there are real Left parties that have taken a modern, progressive approach or independent investigative journalists eg Italia Sovrana e Popolare partito or Sara Reginella. One must remember that Italy had the largest Communist party in the immediate post-WWII era. That said, the Constitiution and especially the ‘pacifist’ Article 11 has been trashed, once and for all, and there are both citizen riots throughout Italy and the greatest (although pales against USA) absentianism on record. The movement for change is on and includes withdrawing from NATO, the USA which has nuclear/drone bases in Italy and the 6th fleet at Naples, and establishing its own currency, the lira.

  8. wam

    She fits the rabbott’s exception and she would love to be a putin.
    She seems an enigma. Is she firmly in the catholic thrall of god, family and homeland but sometimes god homeland and family, (whatever family is never same sex) whilst embracing fascist ideals like advocating the lnp naval blockade against asylum seekers?
    Historically any political virus infecting the italians quickly spread throughout europe. But this time the disease may have begun in hungary, with PM orban developing the virus.

  9. Stephen S

    The great replacement? Italy, with only ~ 10% overseas born, is a rank amateur. Migration-mad Australia is on ~ 30%. Only four countries in the world can beat that. They’re all Middle East autocracies. Not such a great look, is it?

  10. Gav

    “Italian voters have somehow lost their marbles and lent dramatically rightwards in a fit of absentmindedness.” The reason is that the politics of the day leaned too far left so some voters tried to counter-balance. The same thing happens in Australia regularly. There is nothing absent-minded, it is a protest vote against the embrace of socialism attendant with the destruction of basic human rights. Or has everyone forgotten the scenes of State coercion broadcast during the recent medical tyranny worldwide? I’m glad one leader in the world is on the front-foot.

  11. Canguro

    Gav, the complete quote is ‘It would be far from accurate to claim that Italian voters have somehow lost their marbles and lent dramatically rightwards in a fit of absentmindedness.’

    You’ve managed to turn the sentence 180 degrees from its initial intention.

    There’s little to be gained by misquoting Binoy Kampmark, but co-opting other’s words for selective interpretation is such a common enough ploy that it rarely gets challenged.

    As to cheering the election of yet another fascist; congrats. Might be worth reminding yourself of the words of Martin Niemöller.

  12. Roswell

    Judging by Gav’s two comments here I’d suggest that he sounds like a fascist-supporting conspiracy theorist.

    Message to Gav: You’re in the wrong place.

  13. Lambchop Simnel

    I suppose it s a pinch from the Paleontological term, “Grande Coupere” of thirty four million years ago, the “Great Replacement” extinction event that coincidied with volcanic actiity and meteorite strikes,

    Fascists are so predictable in their destructive lack of imagination.

    Should I draw up a will, having missed the last overt (human) “Great Replacement” extinction event during the genocidal nineteen thirties and forties?.

    Liz Truss on pasta?

  14. Lambchop Simnel

    Andrew J Smith…ta, interesting and the link looks interesting also.

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