Cultural Revolutions

Sublime As Ever

American ignorance of European politics is as sublime as ever. All eyes switch back and forth (as in a tennis match) from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and what goes on among the allies who gave us our civilization—France, Germany, Italy, Britain—remains a closed book. Of England we hear occasional tidings from her expatriate journalists, but even in this case the news is limited to the inner workings of the liberal Tories who fought under Mrs. Thatcher's banner.

Italy is the most extreme example: a country that everyone wants to visit and no one wants to read about. Last fall we informed our readers of the early progress made by the Italian autonomist movement spearheaded by the Lega Lombarda. Since then, virtually the only notice in the press has been David Dinkins' casual lumping of the Lega together with "national front" groups. The Lega Lombarda (and its umbrella organization the Lega Nord) is actually the opposite of most right-wing movements: its emphasis is regional and local, as opposed to national; it opposes all forms of imperialism; and so far from wanting to rebuild a fascist state that can make the trains run on time, the party's leader, Senator Umberto Bossi, wants to decentralize the Italian state and set up a federal constitution, on the Swiss model, with three republics.

The press had been predicting that the rapid ascent of the Lega would soon be stalled as voters...

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