How many Saturdays and Sundays in a row are now that people go to the square? Days of parades, demonstrations, clashes with the police, assaults on political offices, blocked cities, injured … Someone mentioned the seventies, one of the most tragic moments in the recent history of the country. There are those who may be nostalgic for it, others are rightly afraid. Like Pierluigi Battista, writer, journalist and careful observer of political reality, who in his new novel “La casa di Roma” (La nave di Teseo) – presented here at the Turin Book Fair with great public success, is as if there warned of some insidious analogies. In the novel – the story of a Roman family that spans the twentieth century over three generations, from fascism to today – an entire chapter is dedicated to two cousins, politically aligned on opposing sides, who fall into the ideological hurricane of riots and street clashes that will explode in the murder of Mikis Mantakas, the student and militant of the University National Action Front, the Fuan, shot down by two bullets in front of the MSI section of Via Ottaviano in Rome on February 28, 1975 – during street clashes in the days of the trial of the accused accused of the Primavalle stake.
Pierluigi Battista: «The house in Rome» tells of what could happen again.
«Let’s hope not. But I feel around an insidious nostalgia for those terrible 70s, a hellish season of militant anti-fascism, of attacks on party headquarters, of demonization of the political opponent who becomes the enemy to be annihilated, or to be excluded from the public debate. Forgetting that those years, which some people regret today, were the decade that broke all records of political killings, and not only in terms of massacres and terrorism, black or red, but in terms of everyday life: aggressions, bars, ambushes, cars on fire, police charges, deaths in the street. A perennial clash between fascism and low intensity but bloody anti-fascism. Be careful to evoke ghosts … We are talking about a tragic moment in our history, joking is dangerous ».
The dead can escape.
“Of course. I don’t want to make easy similarities. I’m just saying: let’s be careful. In the 1970s, outlawing small political movements such as the National Avant-garde or the New Order was not at all useful. We do not fall into the same mistake. Taking a sick idea and throwing it into the infected fence of lawlessness will be a harbinger of further violence. If Giuliano Castellino and Roberto Fiore commit a crime, such as the assault on the CGIL headquarters, they must be arrested and held accountable for that act. But dissolving their movement would dangerously turn back the clock of history. And I make things clear: I have no sympathy for Forza Nuova, on the contrary they brought me to trial for having defined them scoundrels. But it is one thing to prosecute a crime, another to want to cancel a political force, be it small or large “.
The impression is that you want to demonize Forza Nuova in order to better hit Fratelli d’Italia and Giorgia Meloni, who have great acclaim, by connecting the two instrumentally.
«And the seventies are back. I repeat: attention, attention, attention. In that season, left-wing extremists shouted: Msi outlaw, to death the DC that protects him. They wanted to put the MSI out of the game by smearing the Christian Democrats, which was their real adversary, with fascism. Indeed: the enemy, that is, absolute Evil. Everything returns ».
An expression that we wanted to forget also returned: “strategy of tension”.
«Yes, but badly used, as if behind the street clashes and protests there was a hidden direction, someone who has decided in the shadows how to maneuver the country as he pleases. That expression is the root of all conspiracies, it is the paranoid idea of the 70s that there was a secret thread that connects everything and everyone, from Piazza Fontana to the Br, in a single subversive design conceived by obscure puppeteers. A completely wrong idea then as it is wrong today. And then, as today, there was no strategy, but there is no strong tension: widespread fear and anxiety. I am not worried about a possible direction, which does not exist, but about the climate of violence that is spreading, and the return of that ghost created in the 70s which is called neo-fascism: it is since then that the enemy to be eliminated has been called fascist. In this way, all that is done is to radicalize the conflict. But then: the very left that wants to be inclusive with everyone asks to delete someone? The opponent should not be thrown into a ghetto, but constitutionalized ».
The constitutionalization of extremisms is an old and unresolved discourse
“Indeed. And in any case, let’s be clear: this applies to the left as well as to the right. It is equally wrong to want to close social centers, as Salvini and Meloni sometimes ask. The task of politics is to understand the extreme wings, not to throw them in jail. Nothing must be closed! What kind of democracy is it that accepts to see the social centers or anarchists or neo-fascists disappear? And then it is irresponsible: the risk is that a civil war will break out ».
Some say that the protest against the green pass is also irresponsible. Who is in or behind this movement?
«Behind I would say none. Inside there is a bit of everything: for me it is a cauldron in which many things boil – dangerously many things: neo-fascists, anarcho-insurrectionists, extremisms of the right as well as of the left. Except that the left, with the usual double standards that distinguishes it, tends to exaggerate the former and forget the latter. Prefers one-way: simpler and more useful. And then within the movement that says no to the green pass there are also angers and fears that touch very delicate knots of the right to work. Warning: when we say that a company that has fewer than 15 workers can replace those who do not have the green pass, we are saying that it can lay off. I am firmly in favor of the green pass, but I do not underestimate the strong flare up of social tension that we are witnessing and in which resentments, resentments, economic crisis, lost jobs, pain and the looting of politicians who in all this swim us like fish…”.
What will be the effect of all these days of demonstrations and clashes?
“I do not know. But one thing struck me a lot in the riots of the past few weeks: that alongside the let’s say militarized groups that sought a confrontation with the police there were also people not framed in specific political movements, but who did not flinch when the policemen charged, and said: Kill us all!. I’m afraid of what is smoldering. And I say to be on the alert ».
In that chapter of his novel La casa di Roma he tells just this: how we started with the processions, then we got to the clashes, then the bars, then the Molotov cocktails and the pistol shots
“Indeed. And in all this terrorism has nothing to do with it. Here we are not talking about BR but about the movement of 77, that is, something that fueled a widespread endemic violence that brought the country to its knees. And to risk all this – I say this to the Left – for an instrumental political game and to put a party in difficulty, I am talking about the Brothers of Italy, which in any case has an important popular consensus, is crazy. It’s dangerous”.