I have never visited CasaPound myself. What I know about that Roman movement was learnt through books, articles, but also through friends’ testimonies who have had the chance to go to Rome and experience first hand this movement. More importantly, what I am writing on today is based on two interviews I carried with authors linked to CasaPound (Gabriele Adinolfi and Adriano Scianca) and the lecture and subsequent meeting with CasaPound’s French spokesman Sébastien.

On February 28th, Sébastien, along with two leaders of the student association Blocco Studentesco gave a lecture in Montreal about CasaPound, its goals, its methods. After the lecture, I had the chance to speak at length with Sébastien to explicit some points his lecture had not answered.

The purpose here is not to discuss CasaPound’s ideas or objectives. This neofascist group defends ideas that are rooted in Italian history and would seem out of place in North America. The focus of this essay is on the methods used by CasaPound to achieve the success it is now achieving and to highlight the ones that could be imported here in order to build a strong alternative movement.

It is on December 26, 2003, that fifteen nationalists evolving around the Italian band Zeta Zero Alfa decided to occupy a building in downtown Rome. These fifteen nationalists had been regular customers of the pub Cutty Sark, the place where they realized they did not fit into traditional political organizations and decided that it was time to be active in order to bring the desired changes to society.

From 15 members in 2003, it grew to a pan-Italian movement with thousands of members. They now occupy several buildings, have more than ten different bands, an art gallery, a student association that is the most popular among Italian youth, a movie theater and many businesses associated with the movement. They organize weekly activities in every town and city where they are present and are extremely involved at the social level. For example, besides being active politically, they are also helping poor Italian families find a shelter, among other things.

How did they grow from a non-organization of a few people to a national group known by everyone?

Dedication and courage

The first thing that needs to be assessed is the level of commitment and risk taking of the members of CasaPound. Being a member involves participating in one meeting every week and at least one of the two mandatory activities planned for the week. This level of commitment is unique to CasaPound and allows the organization to leave the weak, the hobbyists and parasites aside, only the dedicated can be part of that organization.

Promotions within the organization are also given according to a meritocracy concept. Only the best can achieve promotions, which does not mean less responsibility, but more responsibility and obviously more risks.

Risk taking is also a very important thing to take into consideration while studying the rise of CasaPound. The members must show their face and do not hide behind a pseudonym or a mask. They are open about their beliefs, whatever professional, personal or social risk it entails. At the moment, there are about a hundred different cases of members being on trial or awaiting trial for actions committed as part of their activism on behalf of CasaPound. The social climate is not better in Italy than it is in North America and countless activists lost their jobs because of their involvement, either fired because of their political stance or because they were incarcerated because of their actions. They seek victory and no risk is too great in order to achieve it.

The House of Pound
Physical risks are also associated with being a member. Antifascist groups are more active in Europe than in North America. People sporting CasaPound’s shirts have been targeted by groups of antifas and the group has also been victim of bomb attacks in the past. Faced with this physical threat, Italian Third Millennium’s fascists answer smilingly : “Me ne frego!” or in English “I don’t care!”.

Media Squadrismo

The methods used by the Italian neofascists are based on Mussolini’s own methods. Squads of black shirt fascists used to go around the cities yelling fascist slogans in order to get some publicity. That was Squadrismo.

Times have changed, but fascists are still usually ignored by the media who want to prevent giving publicity and encouraging the rise of nationalist groups. In order to break the silence of the media, CasaPound developed a technique fit to modern times: Media Squadrismo.

The purpose is to be so blunt, so original that the media cannot ignore the different actions undertaken by the organization. Although flyers and posters are used, the main propaganda tool is actions that are esthetic, original and daring. Media can ignore a few people handing out flyers, but they will definitely react to a few mannequins hung from a bridge in order to draw a parallel with immigration and the death of our race.

The actions must appeal to the imagination and the more risks, the better.

Culture and sports

Fighting fit.
If CasaPound is first and foremost a political organization with candidates trying to be elected in different elections, it does not see politics as something isolated from the other spheres of one’s life.

It is the reason why CasaPound is also involved in sports and culture. Traditional political events like lectures are usually combined with a cultural event (a play or a concert) or a sport event. It is also a very good way to recruit new members as it is always easier to invite a colleague to a concert or the gym than to a political lecture.

CasaPound, it must be said, is not a movement that can be imported; even its leaders are unanimous, it is not an exportation product. Its revolutionary methods though can be adapted to any ideas and any settings, Génération Identitaire, a branch of French Bloc Identitaire, proved it. Although they ideologically differ greatly from CasaPound, they used the same methods of risk taking and media Squadrismo to spread their message with a success unequaled by other French nationalist organizations. Today it is the largest nationalist group and is well known around Europe.

Although the setting somehow differs, a North American group with enough dedicated members ready to put their career, safety and freedom in jeopardy could use media squadrismo in order to build an organization that would have to be reckoned with.

Rémi Tremblay is the spokesman of Fédération des Québécois de souche and the editor of Le Harfang.

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