This article from the UK Spectator is a pretty strong accusation to make against Italian comedian-turned-rabble-rouser Beppe Grillo:
The stand-up comedian Beppe Grillo, like the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini before him, has a craving to take over the piazza and mesmerise the crowd. Where once young Italians chanted the mantra ‘Du-ce! Du-ce!’ now they chant ‘Bep-pe! Bep-pe!’. But it is not just a shared need to rant and rave at large numbers of complete strangers that hirsute Beppe and bald Benito have in common. Worryingly, for Italy and also for Europe (where democracy seems incapable of solving the existential crisis), there is a lot more to it than that.
Beppe Grillo founded the MoVimento 5 Stelle (M5S) in Milan on 4 October 2009. The capital ‘V’ stands for his signature slogan ‘Vaffa!’ which roughly speaking means ‘F[*]ck off!’ — in his case, to everything more or less, except wind farms. ‘Surrender! You’re surrounded!’ he bellowed over and over again at his rallies. The phrase was traditionally very popular with Italian fascists. He was referring to all Italy’s politicians, except his lot.
…but if you’re familiar at all with Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism then you’ll probably find that it’s not a very baseless accusation. It’s all in there in Grillo’s history: origins on the Left; ostensible rejection of ideology (while being actually deeply ideological itself) in favor of … ah, I suppose that the best word would be enthusiasm; a predilection towards state solutions to problems (whoo, boy, yeah) without a hint of internationalism… where the analogy, of course, breaks down is that Benito Mussolini’s Blackshirts enjoyed cracking heads and didn’t really care who knew it – or which heads they cracked. Then again, if Benito Mussolini came to power in a milieu where Italy had the same formal and informal restrictions against organized state violence (whether foreign or domestic) he might have toned down the revolutionary militarism, too. Although I don’t actually know what fascism would look like, if it wasn’t punching people on a regular basis. That’s kind of baked into the cake.
Still: interesting article, and it’s always entertaining to watch a comments section bristle at the commonplace observation that Italian fascism was invented by people who thought that a socialist state would be perfect, just as long as all those dirty foreigners were told to shut up and go make their own statist utopias. Some of ‘em even froth! It’s better than a Punch & Judy show.
(Via Hot Air Headlines)
PS: Or Beppe Grillo could be a Jew-hating lunatic*, which would certainly put him square in the mainstream of German fascism, at least. The presence of, and basic need for, inherent anti-Semitism in Italian fascism is a somewhat… divisive scholarly argument; although certainly it ended up that the Fascists didn’t stand in the way of the Nazis when the latter started killing all the Italian Jews that they could grab.
— John Ekdahl, Jr. (@JohnEkdahl) March 3, 2013