JUSTICE IS RARE IN THE ITALIAN PENAL SYSTEM’S CULTURE OF GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE AND IMPUNITY

by Alessandra Arpaia

Content warning: violence, abuse, police brutality

Santa Maria Capua Vetere is a small town in the southern Italian region of Campania. A few weeks ago, prison surveillance videos emerged showing guards brutally attacking prisoners after inmate protests took place in April 2020. The footage is proof not only of the abuse of power that takes place in silence in Italian prisons every day, but it also highlights the urgent need for Italy to reevaluate its penal system. Despite being sparked by demands for better Covid protection and testing, last Spring’s protests were a culmination of longstanding issues which have characterised the Italian judicial and penal system for too long; from lack of basic hygiene standards to a general slowness in judicial processes – not to mention the extreme levels of violence perpetrated by prison guards.

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FOOTBALL, ENGLISH PATRIOTISM AND THE LEFT

by Callum Luckett

Perhaps Marcus Rashford was trying to be too precise. Whilst Frank Lampard, my dad and thousands of others criticised Rashford’s stuttering steps in the build-up to his penalty, he successfully sent Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way. Had his effort been just a few inches to the right it would have been hailed as a brilliant penalty. But elite sport is a game of inches.

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VATICAN’S REACTIONARY RESPONSE TO ITALY’S ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA MUST NOT BE TOLERATED

by Alessandra Arpaia

Content warning: hate crime, assault

In the past few months, Italy has witnessed lengthy debates concerning a new anti-discrimination bill due to be passed by the Senate. Named the ‘Zan’ Bill after deputy Alessandro Zan, who proposed it, the bill’s main resolution is to criminalise hate speech. The proposition is to expand an existing law against racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, so that is also covers discrimination based on gender, sexuality and disability.

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ITALY’S FAR-RIGHT ARE INDOCTRINATING SCHOOL CHILDREN

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by Alessandra Arpaia

CW: violence

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Italian party Fratelli d’Italia, has recently published a book about her life. One Italian journalist has described the book as the “biography of a leader who has been trying for some time to humanise her public image”. Another called it the “perfect influencer biography”, and a book filled with “pre-made sentences that would look great on Instagram”. Many others have criticised the book for its outright lies. Needless to say, it’s sparked widespread controversy. 

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ITALY STILL COMPLICIT IN THE ABUSE OF MIGRANTS IN LIBYA

by Alessandra Arpaia

CW: abuse, sexual assault, drowning, death.

Last month Italian Prime Minister and former European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, took his first trip abroad since he assumed office. He chose to visit Libya, and met with Libyan president Abdel Hamid Mohamed Dbeibeh to discuss the countries’ economic ties and cooperation on tackling irregular immigration. During his visit, Draghi congratulated the Libyan government on their work over recent years in stemming the movement of migrants who leave Libya’s coast in hope of finding refuge in Europe.

The truth is, and as many investigations have shown, Libya’s ‘rescue missions’ out at sea often result in the transportation of people to Libyan detention camps notorious for their human rights violations

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FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE: SOCIAL MEDIA, CELEBRITY, AND MIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN ITALY

CW: Murder, suicide, abuse

by Alessandra Arpaia

In recent years, Italy has undergone enormous internal change as a result of mass immigration from sub-Saharan African countries. The situation has been exploited and manipulated from every angle by the Italian media, politicians and organised crime gangs, fostering hostility towards migrant labourers as well as fuelling their exploitation. Right-wing political elites are adept at harnessing the power of social media to influence the masses; but this is a tactic that needn’t be irreplicable for social justice movements and activists on the Left, too.

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NO LONGER THE PRESIDENT, NEVER THE PRINCE: STOP CALLING TRUMP ‘MACHIAVELLIAN’

By Howard Green

The last days of Trump have come at last, heralding an inevitably vast amount of journalistic analysis. Trump has been criticised continually through his presidency from many angles by commentators across the media spectrum. Now, as we seek to understand the terrifying exceptionalism of the past four years, classical political thought has once again reared its head. In order to criticise Trump, many invoke writers who have become associated with a collective anxiety – Orwell, Kafka, and, most frustratingly, Machiavelli. Niccolò Machiavelli and his writings have been associated with despotism and evil ever since his works were placed in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Catholic church. But to describe Trump as Machiavellian is a misunderstanding of the controversial but frustratingly correct political theorist who warned against tyrants like him.

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POP-UP GALLERY: MARIA LUISA AZZINI

by Carmina Masoliver

I recently moved to Forest Hill, and amongst the shops, pubs and restaurants, I found a pop-up gallery displaying the work of local artist Maria Luisa Azzini. Normally found in Greenwich Market, Azzini is originally from  Florence, Italy, though she has been based in London for nearly twenty years now. 

In the present times, the visual arts is just one of the many industries that needs support, with arguably very few industries not heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s possible to buy Azzini’s work from as little as £45 for a print (£55 framed), to a few hundred pounds for an original painting. Each print is unique as Azzini touches them up with small strokes of silver and gold.

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THE DEATH OF EUROPE AS IT ONCE WAS

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By Sarah Edgcumbe

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2012, over three million civilians have fled the country. The vast majority are currently living in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Libya. Afghanistan has been subjected to war for four decades resulting in Afghans comprising the second highest refugee population in the world, yet the vast majority of Afghan refugees live in Iran and Pakistan. This resettlement of Syrian and Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries is no anomaly: the majority of refugees around the world reside in countries neighbouring their own. These countries often have poor economies and fragility of peace and governance, yet they often accommodate millions of refugees.

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REFUGEE SOLIDARITY IN THE FACE OF THE RISING FAR RIGHT

by Sarah Edgcumbe

Owen Jones recently pointed out that the far right is now at its strongest since the 1930s. A horrifying reality of today’s populist Europe. These groups have been unfailingly and cynically opportunistic in using terrorist attacks in Europe to galvanize hatred against Muslims, whilst presenting themselves as protecting white European innocents from the depravity of the Qu’ran, or simply as “not racist” concerned citizens who feel that we should help “our own” (read: white) homeless before helping others. This mindset has contributed to the election of far right governments in Poland, Hungary and Italy and demonstrates that we should not view these groups as fringe street-movements – they are effecting political change with horrifying efficiency through influencing voters.

Mainstream media is in on this, of course. As Chris Jarvis wrote in October 2016, the media’s reaction to refugees and migrants has been nothing short of inflammatory.  The influence of mistruths presented in the media has led to vilification of refugees and migrants. In our failure to protect vulnerable people who are unable to seek protection in their country of origin, we have failed to learn history’s lesson. Enoch Powell would be proud of us. We should all be fucking ashamed of ourselves.Continue Reading