The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/adl/skinhead-international/skins-italy


Newsgroups: alt.skinheads,alt.politics.white-power,alt.politics.nationalism.white,alt.politics.italy,soc.culture.italian
Subject: ADL: Skinhead International; Italy
Summary: The ADL's "Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey
         of Neo-Nazi Skinheads"
Followup-To: alt.skinheads

Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/skinhead-international/skins-italy
Last-Modified: 1995/08/31

                           Italy

The Skinhead presence in Italy, set on the historic stage of
Fascism, combines the broad patterns of the world neo-Nazi
Skinhead movement with the unique qualities of the Italian
scene. The "Naziskins" -- as Skinheads are known locally --
represent the most violent grouping on Italy's far right.

The Interior Ministry has estimated hard-core neo-Nazi
Skinhead membership in Italy at something over a thousand and
youthful sympathizers or hangers-on at two or three thousand.
Virtually all of the known Italian Skinheads participated in a
national neo-fascist rally held in 1992 to commemorate the
70th anniversary of the Fascist "March on Rome" that
catapulted Mussolini to power. They gathered in Rome's Piazza
Venezia beneath the balcony from which Mussolini used to
mesmerize crowds.

The various Italian Skinhead groups constitute a force that is
able to exploit resentments prevalent among young people (i.e.
the growing anger towards immigrants in Italian cities). And
while anti-Semitism is not the chief theme of the Skins, it is
undoubtedly present and potentially dangerous.

(Note: In Italy it is difficult -- and often impossible -- to
distinguish between the works of actual Skinheads and those of
their violent mimics. The Skins frequently mix with other
rowdies -- for example, fanatical soccer hooligans who chant
anti-Semitic slogans and display Nazi symbols in Italian
stadiums. Such fans are not necssarily Skinheads, but many
assume the Skinhead style.)

                  Violence and Bigotry

Skinheads in Italy have assaulted refined-looking students
from middle-class homes, drug addicts, homosexuals and
prostitutes. Their favorite victims are _extracomunitari_ --
immigrants -- from Third World or eastern European countries
and the homeless. Persons sleeping in the streets have been
set afire on several occasions, and Naziskins in Rome are
known to have torched residences of foreignhers.

A week of violence by Skins and their imitators: On August 23,
1993, in Riccione, an Adriatic beach resort, seven Skinheads
shouting racist slogans beat up a 25-year-old woman from
Cameroon. The same night in Sardinia, three youths, also
spouting hatred, beat a Moroccan man. A few days earlier,
youths attacked a Moroccan family in their house in Rome. That
same week in Milan, a group of six teenagers described as
coming from "good families," and calling themselves the
Anti-Bum Squad, brutally assaulted a homeless man. "Milan has
become unlivable," one of the youths was quoted as saying.
"Seeing that no one has ever been concerned in cleaning things
up, we are doing it ourselves."

Similar acts of violence against foreigners continue to take
place periodically. In February 1994, five Skins beat and
stabbed a Tunisian passenger on a bus; in June, four Skinheads
attacked a Muslim religious leader in a small city. In both
these incidents, the perpetrators received suspended
sentences.

                     Anti-Semitism

While there have been relatively few physical assaults by
Skins against the persons of Jews as such, it is common to see
anti-Semitic graffiti with swastikas on the walls of
buildings, and Jewish cemeteries have been repeatedly
vandalized in Naples, Livorno and other cities. A 20-year-old
Palestinian medical student in Rome was beaten up because he
had expressed opposition to the campaigns of anti-Jewish hate.
In a pamphlet written for a Skinhead rally at San Giuliano
Milanese the "Common Enemies" were defined as "blacks, Jews,
dirty people," and, of course, _extracounitari_.

Police called in to quell Skinhead disturbances have
themselves come under assault. On April 16, 1995, Skinheads
clashed with police in Primavalle, a suburb of Rome. The date
marked the twelfth anniversay of an arson attack on the home
of a local far-right figure that resulted in the deaths of two
of his children. Armed with clubs, Skins gathered at the site
of the attack, fought with police and threw stones at cars
parked in the area. Three Skinheads were charged with
"resistance and aggression against a public official" and 15
others with participating in an unauthorized demonstration and
carrying arms without permission. Five policemen required
medical attention. That same evening, a group of 10 Skinheads
clashed briefly with police in Frascati, also near Rome,
before being forced to disperse.

                  The Mancino Law

In April 1993, the Italian government decreed an emergency
measure (Decree No. 122) against "racial, ethnic and religious
discrimination"; it was transformed into Law No. 205 two
months later. Widely known as the Mancino Law after
then-Interior Minister Nicola Mancino, whose signature it
bears, the law permits the prosecution of individuals for
"incitement to violence," for a broad range of hate crimes
that includes the use of symbols of hate. Before the law's
passage, prosecutors were limited to charging the perpetrators
of hate crims with specific offenses such as attempted murder,
arson or assault -- crimes for which convictions are difficult
to secure. Hundreds of youths have been convicted under the
new law.

More than 60 Italian Skinheads were recently brought to trial
in Milan on a range of charges under the Mancino Law. The
defendants stand accused, variously, of beating African
immigrants and Jews, supporting Nazi ideology, fomenting
racial violence, and setting fire to an Anarchist club. Also
indicted were Maurizio Boccacci, 38, an organizer of
Skinheads, and Dr. Sergio Gozzoli, 65, an outspoken
anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier. After the opening session,
the trial was scheduled to resume in January 1996.

                 Skinhead Organizations

Many Skinheads have been organized under the leadership of the
Movimento Politico Occidentale (Political Movement of the
West), founded by the aforementioned Maurizio Boccacci with
headquarters on the Via Domodoscala in Rome and a base in
Frascati. It has established ties with far-rightists in
Germany, France and Britain. MPO Skins were attacked in
November 1992 by young Roman Jews infuriated by the plastering
of yellow starts on some 100 Jewish shops in the city. After
being banned by the government, the MPO recently renamed
itself _I Camerati_, a term used by Mussolini for Fascist
party members. In December 1994, Boccacci and nine other
extremists were arrested on charges of violence, resisting
arrest, and wounding a policeman who was stabbed during
clashes at a November soccer match in Brescia.

Skinheads have been particularly active in the Lazio region,
with 300 to 500 supporters under the MPO; in Lombardy, with
300 members in Azione Skinhead (Skinhead Action); and in
Venetia, with 150 to 300 in the Veneto Fronte Skinhead
(Skinhead Front of Venetia). They are divided into groups of
about 20 members each, some organized under a federation
called Base Autonoma (Autonomous Base).

At the recent national party convention of the neo-fascist
Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement), a
majority of the delegates voted to dissolve the MSI and merge
into the more mainstream Alleanza Nazionale (National
Alliance) in an attempt to achieve greater respectability. In
addition, a strong statement against anti-Semitism was passed
by the assembly. In response, the hard-line minority --
Skinheads among them -- has split off to re-establish the MSI
on the fringe of the far-right political spectrum.

                 Ideology and Propaganda

Those providing the Skinhead gangs with their propaganda
themes and materials include a significant bloc of Italy's
veteran right-wing extremists, survivors of an older
generation of post-World War II neo-Nazis and Fascists. One
name mentioned by Interior Minister Mancino was that of Franco
Freda, a publisher of neo-Nazi literature in Padova. Such
types have shaped and manipulated the anger of young Skinheads
by focusing their attention on well-known hate themes of long
standing: (1) "Historical revisionism" -- the denial of Nazi
genocide against the Jews; (2) hatred or fear of foreigners,
based on myths of Aryan racial "purity"; (3) the demonization
of Jews in the context of a sinister "plot" to run the world.

Such a conspiracy -- if not a Jewish one, then sometimes a
plot of the bankers, the Masons, secret government controllers
of various loyalties, etc. -- is a favorite bugaboo in
Skinhead literature under the term _mondialismo_
("globalism"), used to describe a dread planetary system under
the control of assorted conspirators.

The style of these dire warnings is typically neo-Nazi.
_Azione Skinhead_, the one nationally distributed Skinhead
zine, reported on a recent Skinhead rally in Rome thus:

  Hundreds of people, hundreds of heads united by a sole
  ideal, a sole source of pride; the race ... defending
  our rights, the rights of white Aryans, the rights of
  Italians. The only ones who can and must combat this
  planetary system are we.

The other zines that have circulated in  the north are _Le
Fenice_ (The Phoenix) and _Blitz Krieg_.

                      Naziskin Bands

The Skinhead music scene in Italy is largely based in the
northern sector of the country, with the largest concentration
of groups in the Venetia region. Here, since 1988, Nazi Skin
bands from Germany, France and England have held concerts. The
first Skinhead music festival in the south was held in
November 1992. Featuring the group Blood and Honour, the
festival was watched over by guards in black uniforms with
Nazi symbols.

The most popular Skinhead music tapes are those produced by
Rock-O-Rama Records, a German firm, though other distributors
are also active. Italian lyrics, sung by groups with names
such as Peggior Amico (Worst Friend), Gesta Bellica (Martial
Feats), Verdi Bianco Rosso (Green White Red: the colors of the
Italian flag), Klasse Kriminale (Criminal Class), SS 20, and
Powerskins are expressions, variously, of hate, violence and
ultranationalism. One band has taken the name A.D.L. 122,
short for "Anti-Decreto Legge 122," expressing opposition to
the aforementioned government decree against racial, ethnic
and religious discrimination.

Peggior Amico, from Vicenza, has been playing since the late
eighties and is one of Italy's most well-known and most
political racist Skinhead bands. They have played abroad and
their records have been acclaimed in English and other foreign
skinzines. Songs by SS 20 and Powerskins appear in a
compilation tape of Skinhead bands around the globe called
"White Pride World Wide." Skinhead music fan clubs carry wuch
belligerant names as Bulldogs, Gioventu Nazista (Nazi Youth),
and Brigata Tafferugli (Fight Brigade). Compact discs
featuring old Nazi and Fascist songs are also notable
favorites of the Skinheads. (Anti-Defamation League, 48-52)


                          Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide
Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League,
1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY
10017.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.