Italy's far right weaponizes culture for nationalism

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Italy's far right weaponizes culture for nationalism

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The Italian Brothers, a far-right populist party led by Giorgia Meloni, has outlined plans to “transform” Italy’s arts sector ahead of September 25 general elections. Her proposals to dispel artifacts held in deposits, cut the art loan bureaucracy, and boost visitor numbers won praise from political allies. Others, however, expressed alarm over the pledges to criminalize “preserving Italy’s historical memory” and “defeating culture and iconoclasm”, likening the policies of some of Europe’s most staunch nationalists.

A descendant of the National Alliance (the successor to the post-fascist MSI party), the party pledged before the election to protect “Christian values” and close Italian ports to illegal immigration. The brothers’ cultural program, titled “Culture and Beauty: Our Renaissance,” declares art to be a “key strategic point” for the Meloni-led government. It proposes to introduce tougher laws against those who damage heritage sites such as statues, as part of the party’s effort to combat the “unbearable and pervasive anti-Western ideology” of “cancelling culture.” is doing. It also commits the party to promoting the next Catholic Jubilee Year of 2025 and a “Christian Rome”.

Federico Morricone, the party’s cultural strategist, said: art newspaper The brothers’ intention is to create a new Italian “collective imagination” by investing in culture and education. As part of the 2014 museum reform, Dario Franceschini, Italy’s Minister of Culture, appointed a number of high-ranking officials.
Profiles of non-Italian directors. Asked if his brother would continue that policy, Morricone said future museum directors would be chosen “on merit”, adding: We need a level playing field. “

cultural jackpot

A series of other proposals include lowering the VAT on cultural services to 4% (from 22%), reducing ticket costs and attracting Italians to museums. Encourage heritage protection through tax breaks on restoration and restoration projects. It promotes cooperation between private and public institutions to “maximize Italy’s cultural potential” and exposes currently inaccessible heritage. Importantly, Mollicone said the party would cut museum bureaucracy, digitize collections and reward museums for promoting their works online.

Morricone was chairman of the City of Rome’s Cultural Commission from 2008 to 2013, organizing a number of major exhibitions and community art initiatives. , Peppa Pig Later cartoons that included same-sex couples among the characters. He also accused the Venice Film Festival, which is part of the Biennale, of broadcasting political propaganda.

In an interview with the AgCult news website, Morricone said the Brothers will institute a day to commemorate Marocinat, the rape and mass murder of Italian civilians by Moroccan Goumiers soldiers during World War II. He also mentioned the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a Roman war memorial adopted by Benito Mussolini as a nationalist symbol.

Art historian and noted cultural critic Tommaso Montanari said in an interview that references to Moroccans were “a particularly grave example of racism that gives goosebumps”. References to Christian Rome are Islamophobic He added that the proposals shaping the Italian imagination were “the ones of the dictatorship”. He warned that using culture to promote nationalist ideology mirrored the approaches taken by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

In 2020, protesters defaced a statue in Milan of Indro Montanelli (1909-2001), the journalist and colonialist who bought and married a 12-year-old Eritrean girl, blaming the controversial figure. The memorial has sparked a heated debate.Alessandra Fellini, Artist and Post
By conflating the terms “iconoclast” and “cancellation of culture,” colonialist researchers say the brothers portray anti-colonialists and anti-racists as enemies of the state. She says the Brothers program is bombarded with nationalist language and symbolism.

Art historian Vittorio Sgarbi, once Silvio Berlusconi’s undersecretary of culture, said in an interview that he “accepted” the Brothers’ cultural programme. Citing the late British collector and scholar Dennis Mahon, who campaigned for free admission to British museums, he argued that while Italy charges foreign tourists, it does not allow entry for Italians. He added that fees should be completely abolished.

• Italian museum directors are legally prohibited from voicing policy opinions during election campaigns.

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