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First Black Italian Female Mayoral Candidate Denounces Far-Right Salvini

Michael East, Red Revolution

The first ever black female candidate for mayor of a major Italian city has denounced the far-right Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, accusing the League leader of “institutionalised racism”.

Speaking on Monday in Florence, Antonella Bundu spoke on rising rates of racism and violence against BAME individuals and women across the Mediterranean country.

Antonella Bundu is an ex-DJ and activist for Oxfam who is running for mayor of Florance, being the leading candidate in a coalition of left-wing parties that includes Potere al Popolo (Power to the People) and Rifondazione Comunista (Communist Refoundation). She will be challenged in the election by Ubaldo Bocci of the League and Brothers of Italy parties.

Racial violence has soared in Italy under the rhetoric of Salvini, tripling between 2017 and 2018. Speaking to The Guardian earlier this month, Bundu said that should could have never once believed she could take on such a role.

“A movement tied to the left invited me to speak at the Alfieri Theatre in Florence. I was given one word on which to improvise a seven-minute speech. The word was ‘black’. Without hesitation I poured out about what was happening in Italy. I spoke about myself, my story. They must have liked my monologue, because they immediately asked me if I’d be interested in running for mayor’s office.”

Antonella Bundu, The Guardian

The candidacy of Bundu has been divisive even amongst members of the alleged left in Italy, with some centrists believing that promoting a black candidate as rates of racism soar might be seen as a provocation to those with racist tendencies, even being detrimental to the leftist cause. It is a belief that Bundu wholeheartedly rejects.

“The real provocation is not that I am a woman, or even a black woman. The real irritation for some is that we have succeeded in creating a coalition of parties of the true left, whose values are anti-fascism and the struggle for freedom. We represent the left of equality, the left that is close to the people, the left that Italy has always had within itself, but that recently seems forgotten. Florence is the city that received the gold medal for its resistance against the fascists. The time has come to remind people.”

Antonella Bundu, The Guardian

The mayoral elections are to be held in parallel to the 2019 European elections on 23-26 May. The current mayor is the centre-left Dario Nardella of the ailing Democratic Party.

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Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right

By Elizabeth Fekete

It is clear that the right is on the rise, but after Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the spike in popularity of extreme-right parties across Europe, the question on everyone’s minds is: how did this happen? An expansive investigation of the ways in which a newly-configured right interconnects with anti-democratic and illiberal forces at the level of the state, Europe’s Fault Lines provides much-needed answers, revealing some uncomfortable truths. What appear to be “blind spots” about far-right extremism on the part of the state, are shown to constitute collusion-as police, intelligence agencies and the military embark on practices of covert policing that bring them into direct or indirect contact with the far right, in ways that bring to mind the darkest days of Europe’s authoritarian past. Old racisms may be structured deep in European thought, but they have been revitalized and spun in new ways: the war on terror, the cultural revolution from the right, and the migration-linked demonization of the destitute “scrounger.” Drawing on her work for the Institute of Race Relations over thirty years, Liz Fekete exposes the fundamental fault lines of racism and authoritarianism in contemporary Europe.


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