Paolo Di Canio: “I’m not a Fascist” (but Italy would be in a ‘better situation’ under Mussolini)

Andy McSmith
Di Canio 300x225 Paolo Di Canio: Im not a Fascist (but Italy would be in a better situation under Mussolini)

Paolo Di Canio (Getty Images)

Is Paolo Di Canio still a Fascist? Right now, he is not saying because he only wants to talk about football, but there is a rambling interview in a 2002 book West Ham: Irons in the Soul by Pete May (available as an e-book) in which he can be said to have answered the question:

“I never said I was a fan of Mussolini but for the media it is more easy to make the polemic. I said that after Mussolini no one political man was a patriot or a nationalist because nationalism is not equal to being a Nazi. English people are very proud of their nationalism too; my nationalism means you are proud because you are Italian…

“In Italy if the right or left win the election they don’t think in three or four years time we will give the people a better society… They don’t think tomorrow we are going to work for the people, they think tomorrow we start the publicity for the next election. They have no vision. With Mussolini I’m sure we would have had a better situation, but not in a wrong way, not with a union with the Nazis because I am not a Fascist. Then was a different time, nobody wants war, now we want peace…”

“Black or white or yellow people, gay people, men or women, they can come to my house and be my friend because I am not xenophobic.”

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  • logrunner

    That’s the opinion of a man who has his brains in his feet.

  • Tom Sea

    Give the guy a break, what next? Deny someone a job because they’ve cheated on their spouse? Looked at pornography? He didn’t break the law. Go Paolo.

  • IgnoreAllTheFrownsInTheUK

    He’s right about the politicians being tied to the four/five-year cycle, though, and fair play for him putting that out in the public consciousness. If not for refusing to provide a better solution to politicians’ dependence on parties, election cycles and of course money from the likes of his co-worker (in effect) Rupert Murdoch…

  • JDSixsmith

    Past few days there’s been a real struggle to define what fascism is

    I don’t think it’s political goals that define fascism, it’s the methods they see as legitimate to reach those goals – basically it’s seen as legitimate to threaten, coerce, abuse, lie, arm-twist & use physical force to get your own way – to impose your will on others – & whichever individual is most effective at that has the legitimate right to rule. It’s fundamentally anti democratic.

    Orwell said a fascist was what the English commonly referred to as a bully.

    I suppose it a could be argued that the mentality fits football & the specifically some supporters rather well – do whatever it takes to win – which might explain why football is something of a magnet for far-right groups to gather round.

    It’s also the practical outcome of the US movement for libertarianism, where the state has so little regulation on its citizens that the practical effect is that the most powerful (usually the richest) can more easily impose the way they want things done. In the US fascism is usually considered “state control” but if you look at historical fascist regimes that take power the state consists of little but a powerful military & a powerful police force.

    Well, presumably Paulo has made a conscious decision to embrace it as a political philosophy, perhaps a lot of people do it anyway just because they see it as an effective way of getting what they want? I suppose it’s also strong in some cultural features, the Camorra, for example.

  • Tom Sea

    I respect a definition from Wikipedia, however on the condition that that is an English definition, I’ve heard the definition is different in Italian. It may have been more mild in the 1920s when Il Duce came to power. Also, in Africa, in Eritrea, the Eritreans actually welcomed the Italians, maybe not the Ethiopians who we always hear about. The Eritreans and Ethiopians were enemies. Let’s not forget, Italy fought on the Allied side in World War I and Italy lost many many in that war.

  • Eric Priezkalns

    The only people struggling to define fascism are leftists who like the idea of an authoritarian state, but who don’t like to admit that fascist authoritarians share a common ideological history with leftist authoritarians. They both hated democracies, and thought it was paramount to impose their will upon the general population.

    And so we get your absurd argument that US libertarians are crypto-fascists. The ideological root of that current US movement is classical liberalism via isolationist/constitutional conservatism. Feel free to disagree with their actual views, but these ideologies are clearly in favour of democratic government. In contrast, fascism rose in an era when many socialist thinkers were also anti-democratic. In other words, your redefinition of fascism could easily be used to describe huge swathes of socialist ideology. As a result, these attempts to reinvent the word ‘fascist’ are confused and unhelpful.

  • IgnoreAllTheFrownsInTheUK

    Isn’t it better that ’superior’ ANYTHING gets precedence over that which is weaker, though? Superior in reality, that is, not in some racial fantasy. However, the strength of this philosophy is that it does encourage positive thinking if taken in the right way (I’m sure a pure Communism would work fine, too… relatively). We argue too far to the contrary in a sense – and people demanding false equality is as unjust and equally as far from reality as people who demand a false superiority, I reckon. Ironic.
    Anyway, is ignoring nature ever going to be healthy? Is human nature to compete and attempt to attain superiority or to collaborate? Or both? Personally, I feel indoctrinated with the views I’ve been sold and brought-up with, rather than having come to them via critical analysis – and those were generally leftish ones with a dash of right-wing jingoism. Anyway, the bigger douche is the one who pretends a given philosophy is the way the world should be, who for whatever purposes, perpetrates delusions – rather than who proves it via demonstrable logic and evidence. Let the superior idea win!

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