Anti-fascism as a social power

The past days proved again that anti-fascism is an effective social power in many countries. On March 19, more than 100 rallies and public events took place all over Europe on the occasion of the International Day against Racism, to which also the FIR and its member federations had called. These actions were connected with the demand to end wars and armament immediately, which were in the past decades in the special measure reasons for refugee movements. Also in different countries, this influence of anti-fascist federations became visible.

On March 26, the German VVN-BdA celebrated its 75th anniversary with several hundred guests in Frankfurt/M.  Already in the run-up it became visible in the media that anti-fascist topics and the work of the organization are publicly noticed. That this does not only meet with approval was shown by right-wing media which thought they had to put the VVN-BdA in a “left corner”. In addition, the slander of many years as “orthodox communist” by the Bavarian “national office for protection of the constitution” shows that the cold war in the heads of the right forces is not overcome yet for a long time.

In Italy the FIR member federation ANPI held in these days its 17th national congress. It was a successful congress, which – despite Corona restrictions – had been prepared for over one year in all parts of the country and groups. Almost 400 delegates represented the more than 130,000 ANPI members in Italy and in the various European countries where there are ANPI sections, such as Belgium Germany and Spain.

In their declaration of principles, the delegates reaffirmed the three foundations of the common work: the memory of the anti-fascist struggle (Resistenza), the defense of the anti-fascist Constitution of 1947 and its principles for the shaping of Italian society contained therein, and anti-fascist action today. And there were and are countless occasions for this, as its chairman Gianfranco Pagliarulo emphasized in his closing speech. It is about racist and neo-fascist attacks, it is about femicides and other forms of violent exclusion. Moreover, of course it is about the question of war, disarmament and peace policy.

For the further development of the social influence of ANPI, many statements dealt with the attraction of the younger generations, now when the contemporary witnesses are no longer present. It was emphasized that it should not be about “Hagiographic”, but that the work with the topoi “Resistenza” should give young people access to their own decisions, which can become socially effective within the framework of ANPI.

A contribution for the development of a – as ANPI calls it – “Great Alliance” for the defense of anti-fascism in Italy was the invitation to guests from institutions, parties, trade unions, other national associations of resistance and persecution, personalities from the world of culture and entertainment and from abroad. The FIR was represented with its president Vilmos Hanti at these consultations. A goal of these invitations was to bring about a social dialogue also between different political conceptions. ANPI wanted to overcome the usual friend-foe scheme and political black-and-white thinking, against a militarization of politics and communication, which poisoned the public debate for weeks.

Right-wing media in Italy reacted to this openness with political denunciations of ANPI’s work. Thus, some journalists fabricated that ANPI was divided on the issue of war and peace and that its chairman was a “Putin friend” (which was used as an expletive). Offensively, ANPI responded to these accusations by quoting Pope Francis, who had publicly stated, “I was ashamed to read that a group of states had jointly agreed to spend 2% of GDP on the purchase of weapons in response to what was happening. This is madness.” Therefore, ANPI considered itself in good company. However, this clear message was ignored by right-wing media.