After just three weeks in office, Giorgia Meloni’s government has declared war on migrant-rescue organizations. The affair has prompted a diplomatic incident with France — but also shows how far Europe has been won to the far right’s anti-immigrant agenda.
Richard Braude is a translator and anti-racist organizer in Palermo, Italy.
When former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi was appointed Italy’s prime minister, he was widely hailed as a pro-European bulwark against the populist right. Yet the first weeks of his government have seen a wave of attacks against migrant rescue NGOs and refugees.
With Italy’s tourist sector sunk by the pandemic, authorities are now hiring cruise ships as floating jails for refugees. The migrant prisons show capitalism’s ability to restructure in times of crisis — but also the potential resistance to it.
Among all the people living in Sicily, migrants are the single population best tested for coronavirus. Yet now the regional president is scapegoating them as the source of contagion — insisting that Africans must be expelled in order to “stop Sicilians becoming racist.”
Anti-mafia authors, police investigators, and far-right militants in Italy have a new obsession — organized crime by Nigerian citizens. But sensationalism about Nigerians importing “black magic” and “bloodthirsty violence” from afar fails to grasp the root of the problem — the criminal forms of organization that pervade Italian capitalism as a whole.
An Italian court has overruled the arrest of migrant-solidarity activist Carola Rackete. But as the far right in government criminalizes efforts to save lives at sea, the Left must offer unconditional solidarity to all those crossing the Mediterranean.
A fascist terrorist attack has highlighted the growing threat of Italy’s far right in the lead-up to the March 4 elections.
Italy has reversed its policy on Mediterranean migration, endangering the lives of those fleeing violence and civil war.