As with many things, the word is it all began in a bar in Rome.
The pub was one of those well-worn places with stickers and memorabilia hanging from the walls. In the Nineties, punk bands came through, played loud, and the crowds would raise hell. One day, a handful of Italian friends came in, sat down, and put their heads together. Rome had housing problems and no one was doing anything about it. Something had to be done. But what? How?
In 2003, talk became action, and with the squatting “occupation” of Via Napoleone III, CasaPound Italia was officially born.
Since the establishment of its initial headquarters, the group has expanded its reach to not only bars, “squats,” and a music scene, but to bookstores, restaurants, hostels, publications, radio and TV, pro-bono tax and legal counsel, housing services, disaster relief, and clubs for activities and interests ranging from sports to motorcycles, boasting thousands of members.
In a 2011 interview, CasaPound’s leader, Gianluca Iannone discussed its strategy:
…CPI works on dozens of projects and with various methods: from conferences to demonstrations, distribution of information, posters. The important thing is to generate counter information and to occupy the territory. It is fundamental to create a web of supporters other than focusing on elections. For election, you are in competition with heavily financed groups and with only one or two persons elected, you can’t change anything. Politics for us is a community. It is a challenge, it is an affirmation. For us, politics is to try to be better every day. That is why we say that if we don’t see you, it is because you are not there. That is why we are in the streets, on computers, in bookshops, in schools, in universities, in gymnasium, at the top of mountains or in the newsstands. That is why we are in culture, social work and sport. That is a constant work.
While CasaPound primarily operates at the social level, it does so with an eye directed toward influencing real world policies other than housing. Their 18 point platform advocates the following:
- FOR PUBLIC CONTROL OF THE BANKS; “The issue of money was snatched from the national community in favor of private groups hostile to the public good with piloted privatization, and has strangled our citizens, destroyed savings, multiplied the debt, and devastated the welfare state…” State control over the Bank of Italy, local credit institutions, “the complete outlaw of usury,” etc.
- FOR A CLOSED EUROPEAN TRADE AREA; Integrated Autarky, protectionism.
- FOR THE RESTORATION OF REAL DIVERSITY; Ending immigration, expelling illegals, block support funding, etc.
- FOR WORK AS A SOCIAL DUTY; Apprenticeship, revaluing Blue Collar sector.
- FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE COMMON GOOD AND THE STRATEGIC SECTORS; Nationalization of natural resources (water and gas) and critical sectors of the economy (energy, telecom, etc.), regulation of pharmaceutical industry.
- FOR SOCIAL RIGHTS; Protection of Social Security and pensions, pro-family tax plan, property tax reform, etc.
- FOR THE RIGHT TO MOTHERHOOD AND LIFE; “The actions of multinationals and large financial institutions provide, among other things, the demographic death of Italy and Europe. The high cost of living, the devaluation of wages, and the impossibility of finding accommodation has initiated the emergence of negative birth rates.” State-sponsored pregnancy pediatric care, when needed, economic incentives for large families, custody reform, etc.
- FOR ENERGY SOVEREIGNTY; Nationalization of energy, support of sources from nuclear to “clean energy” research.
- FOR THE RIGHT TO HOME OWNERSHIP BY SOCIAL MORTGAGE (MUTUO SOCIALE); Incentivize home ownership, state-sponsored buildings sold at cost only to families living there, etc.
- FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION; increased support of public schools, student participation on school boards, increased physical education.
- FOR A REVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGICAL PROGRAM; increased rail and ship transportation, heightened conservation programs, etc.
- FOR A FREE CULTURE; State to foster “a virtuous circle of spiritual growth of its citizens” via promotion of arts (most specifically, cinema) celebrating European and Italian heritage.
- FOR REAL JUSTICE; Reform Judiciary. “Decriminalization of all ideological crimes, all crimes of association.”
- FOR THE DEFENSE OF OUR NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY; Replace/dismantle NATO, removal of foreign military presence within borders, restoration of mandatory conscription (Swiss model).
- FOR FUNCTIONAL POLITICS; “Democracy” has been, to date, the name of a fraud. Politicians are the waiters of bankers and the popular sovereignty is flushed in favor of economic, criminal, sectarian or supranational powers.” Chamber of Labor to replace Senate; Municipal Advisory Council, reform seeking to streamline/harmonize relations between the State, unions, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, etc.
- FOR A REAL APPLICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION; Use of Article 46; “right of workers to collaborate…in the management of enterprises,” and others concerning labor issues, monopolies, and private property rights.
- FOR SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY, NOT THE POLICE STATE; Reform of prisons and security services.
- FOR A NATIONAL POLICY OF SOBRIETY; “expenditure restraint;” prevent tax evasion, restructure subsidies, “eradicate the parasitic oligarchies that vampirize state coffers,” etc.
Seeking to break ranks from the orthodoxies of contemporary Left/Right distinctions, CasaPound has made identity and the welfare of the flesh-and-blood nation the foundation of its platform. However between their embrace of Italian Fascism (“neither Left nor Right,” but simply ‘Fascista.’”), and the Identitarianism associated with Alain de Benoist’s Nouvelle Droite, they have inspired first-rate pearl-clutching by Leftist watchdog groups lamenting them as the dangerous evidence of “the rise of the radical and extreme right.”
CasaPound has yet to make inroads sufficient to capture a majority share of Italian politics, however, they appear to be an important node in emerging European Populist and Right-Wing movements, serving as a kind of vanguard laboratory for young activists. And considering that the young people in their ranks will inherit a world that is shaping up to be more unstable and violent, with their own leaders and institutions actively working against their chances of having homes or families of their own (let alone countries), for dissident groups such as CasaPound, the sky is the limit.
CasaPound is, however, an Italian movement. What they do belongs to them.
I believe they have a great deal to teach Southern Nationalists, though there is much that would be lost in translation. The open embrace of Fascism, for instance, would no doubt find more fertile soil in Italy than Georgia, Tennessee, or Alabama. (With the exception of the occasional pockets of “Jerryboos” of course.) However, Populism, as evidenced in the recent presidential election, is practically made for Southern clay. Likewise, whereas CasaPound, for the most part, runs Atheist, Southerners tend to possess an innate religiosity to a higher degree, and any Southern movement should take such realities into account.
For all of that, after a brief survey of CasaPound, it seems to possess several qualities and practices that I think merit consideration by Southerners.
- Take up Space (“occupy the territory”); “A key point for the CPI is to have a constant visible presence and strong image in the neighborhoods that it regards as its own. This street profile often means using posters and street art to visually ‘claim’ areas they believe are theirs.” While I am a fire-breathing supporter of what Silas Reynolds coined, “The Kriegzahn Doctrine,” for now The Urbanite is still with us. They are committed to destroying us; what if we had boots on the ground in their safe space? Supporters and fellow travelers in cities could not only continue to engage in sticker/postering campaigns on streets, but research bars and restaurants catering to clientele amenable to our world view (country music joints, college bars, etc.), and become regulars, building relationships with staff, management, and fellow patrons, and recruiting when possible. Make those places synonymous with us (similar to the way gentrified quarters are linked to Hipsters). If anything, enterprising souls could start not only bars, but other services and stores; things that would provide spaces for our sort of people, as well as assets and revenue streams. Imagine dissident-run coffee shops or barber shops throughout The South where you knew as soon as you walked through the door there’d be Shitlords on the other side.
- Link to Real World Goals; CasaPound began by addressing housing in Rome. Understand what specific “roof-over-our-heads-and-food-in-our-bellies” issues are confronting Southerners, what can be done about it, and apply pressure in a dynamic way.
- The Usury Question; the movement is so critical of the economic basis of many of the problems confronting us that it took its name from Ezra Pound: “Usury is the worst thing,” Iannone states. “It is the head of the octopus. It is it that initiated the wars that are starting around the Mediterranean Sea, which generates illegal immigration and destruction. It is it which creates unemployment, debts. It is it that threatens the future of our children, which make them weak and ready for the massacre.” As to what constitutes usury in a modern economy and what to do about it is a subject outside the scope of this article. For now, it is enough for me that they are making the issue known. Considering how much of The South is in the pocket of the Chamber of Commerce, that in itself would be a start. And as Colin Liddell wrote of their position, “CPI’s anti-usury stance is so strong that one wonders how they would ever manage a complex economy if they succeeded in gaining total power. But perhaps that is the point: seeing themselves as political outsiders allows them to give full rein to populist utopian notions more as an article of faith rather than worrying about the practical implications.”
- Meta-Politics, Counter-Culture, and Fun; as someone once said, “Before you seize the palace, you must first seize the culture.” Through trolling via social media, the AltRight has exposed the degree to which American politics has been a sucker’s game due to “Political Correctness,” and has made great strides to changing that. However, it is still in its infancy in terms of translating its meta-political victories to meatspace, whereas CasaPound has managed to carve out a sub-culture that functions both at the meta-level as a kind of Right-Wing Gramscianism, as well as one in which people actually live out in their daily lives to the point that some have noted it’s almost a nation within a nation. With the recent popularity and proliferation of phenomena from internet-based content (podcasts, youtube videos, etc.) to MMA, weightlifting, and CrossFit, as well as Southern mainstays such as hunting and shooting, fishing, country and bluegrass music, racing, etc., a Southern-based movement has a broad range of potential linkages that could harnessed toward the end of cultivating a cohesive collective culture, that would in turn, change our political fortunes.
- Health; the issue of culture is related to another aspect of CasaPound in that it is marked by a strong presence of heathy people, the majority of which are young. The South, like much of The Western world suffers from a range of maladies ranging from obesity to social alienation and substance abuse. A counter-culture that attracted people to activities and lifestyles in which they met people who reinforced healthy behavior would go a long way to correcting these trends.
- Organization/Network; in addition to providing a space for people to live and think outside of the modern social and political paradigm, the sum of CasaPound’s cultural activities and political activism create a loosely organized network. This allows for a broad range of people to gravitate towards where their natural talents and inclinations guides them while still remaining under its banner, as well as offering leadership within the organization the means to coordinate members more effectively to further achieve the movement’s ends.
- Offer Struggle; A critical feature of CasaPound is that it offers young men a place in which they can struggle and sacrifice alongside a peer group. (This is perhaps the result of its roots in that punk bar.) Furthermore, it does this all the while framing their efforts within the very real context of defending their people, place, culture, and heritage. This lends an ennobling effect to their actions in the eyes of themselves and their admirers, separating them from common street thugs, and provides a kind of dramatic tension that attracts young women (who then further raise the status of the group and inspire the men to greater ardor). Whether through seizing buildings through squatting, poster campaigns, MMA training, or mass demonstrations, CasaPound provides young men with the chance to take risks and binds it to public action. For instance, in the 2008 “Piazza Navona Clashes,” CasaPound’s student group fought it out with Antifa when a demonstration went violent. Last year, following “a 10,000-strong anti-invasion march and demonstration in Rome,” residents of Ostia asked them to help remove hundreds of invaders who had been terrorizing the town and living in a makeshift camp in the park. CasaPound sent a detachment, who with many of the locals, conducted a demonstration. “After more than three hours of confrontation, which took place with police present, the invaders decided to flee in the face of the angry crowd.” Applying this to The South would be a challenge. (This is to say nothing of the debate concerning the ultimate effectiveness of Populist/Right-Wing efforts to “take it to the streets” in America, let alone The South.) However, any effective Southern social and political movement will need to have a Männerbund at its core and a means by which young men can test their mettle.
- Offer Assistance; CasaPound assists in disaster relief both in Italy and abroad. This is not only a good thing in and of itself, but also enhances their reputation and serves a diplomatic function. Between last year’s fires in Tennessee and the ever-present bouts of floods, tornados, and sundry acts of nature, creating a means to offer aid swiftly and effectively should be paramount to any Southern movement.
- “There is a time to LARP and a time to refrain from LARPing”; CasaPound has carefully cultivated its image in such a way that it appears dynamic, militant, and revolutionary enough to appeal to the young, while being sufficiently accessible and supportive to find a home amongst The Normie set. This is perhaps their secret ingredient. As Mao observed, every successful guerilla campaign had “the active support of a significant portion of the population.” (That means cultivating relationships with average people. That doesn’t happen if all they see are Edgetarian Space Monkeys.) CasaPound seems to understand this deeply. Their iconography runs from the gamut from Classical European works to Italian Futurist imagery, all of which provides an anchor point that both activist and Normie can share. However, rather than solely trying to resurrect the past, they seek to draw from it and adapt it to the present day. “We are fascist and proud of our heritage,” says CasaPound’s international spokesman Sébastien de Boëledieu. “But we have to face different problems than the original fascist regime had to solve. The spirit is there, the example of courageous ancestors that made this possible but it would be shameful to try to make a copycat. We are not nostalgic. CasaPound militants have enough respect to not put Mussolini’s face on lighters, wine bottles or underwear like you can sometime see. We don’t wear uniforms that the historical fascists wore with their courage, not because we want to cut with them but for respect for their fight.” You can see this theme play out with them in all sorts of ways. For instance, their flag offers an interesting juxtaposition of a bold red field with a black and white turtle in the middle. A turtle. A Fascist turtle. And yet it works. No one is scared of turtles. Women and children think they’re cute. However, thousands of people tear-assing around Rome with big red turtle flags is a whole other thing, and one gets the sense that Leftists get wildly frustrated trying to explain why that’s important and how it’s evil. As to how this relates to The South, broaching conversations concerning aesthetics and flags (let alone the Vanguard vs. Normie question) is a good way of winding up getting challenged to a duel, so I shall leave that debate to others for now and retire to the porch.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe we are in the midst of an unfolding crisis period. There are destructive trends that have been left to fester for far too long, and while it was encouraging to witness the ascendency of Mr. Trump to the presidency, it isn’t enough by a damned sight. To truly begin to right things, we will have to become better. We will have to become masters of ourselves. Toward that end, I would encourage further study of European movements, as well as exploring older American and Southern ones. In the meantime, I believe CasaPound is on to something, and we would be wise to learn from them.
“What are your future objectives,” the man asked CasaPound.