Cultural Revolutions

A Mediocre Showing

The Lega Nord has not been cowed by its mediocre showing in the spring elections. Virtually alone among Italian political leaders, Umberto Bossi has condemned both the "humanitarian" mission of the Italian army in Albania and the continued refusal of the government to keep out the so-called refugees, most of whom have spent the past ten years looking for a pretext for going to Italy. As Bossi told members of the Italian parliament, "I've been to New York and seen a multicultural society. I don't want that for Italy." Meanwhile, Gianfranco Fini, the leader of the postfascist Alleanza Nazionale, has stuck fast by his senior political partner, financier Silvio Berlusconi (leader of the Forza Italia), who supports the government's policies on Albania. So much for Fini being a fascist: he is not even a nationalist anymore.

In the middle of May, a few days after I arrived in Rome, a Venetian separatist group calling itself the serenissimo governo used a homemade "mini-panzer" in their capture of the campanile of San Marco in Venice. The press was quick to point out contacts between this extremist movement and the Lega, and prominent journalists and politicians began calling for a crackdown on Bossi. The "leader" responded by declaring, "We are revolutionaries, not terrorists"—an admission which, if made in America (where possession of the writings of Jefferson,...

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