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On Tuesday 13th December, two Senegalese market traders – Samb Modou and Diop Mor – were shot dead and three more were injured when Italian fascist accountant Gianluca Casseri decided to vent his racism in the most brutal way possible.
He drove to the market in Dalmazia Square in Florence and got out the car to shoot three of the traders – two of whom died. He then drove a couple of miles to San Lorenzo market where he once again opened fire and wounded another two Senaglese men. Fortunately, Gianluca Casseri, a member of CasaPound, then turned the gun on himself as police approached him.
Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in the city with Senegalese traders marching through the streets, angry at both the shootings and more widespread racism that has been directed at African migrants. Signs expressing residents' opposition to the shootings are now commonplace in Florence. On Wednesday night, Italian antifascists attempt an assault on CasaPound's HQ in Rome, but hundreds of riot cops managed to shield the building from justice.
CasaPound is an Italian fascist group, founded in 2003. They are effectively a movement based around the 'teachings' of ZetaZeroAlfa (ZZA) – an Italian punk band. While it would be worrying if large numbers of people started following the ramblings of most brewed-up punks, it is particularly worrying when their vision of the future is that of a third position, neo-facsist, racially pure utopia influenced by the likes of Benito Mussolini and Ezra Pound (the fascist poet CasaPound are named after). They have officially disassociated the actions of Gianluca and said they don't support violence – though this is far from the first violent incident that has been linked to the group.
CasaPound's has built much of its strength from a counter-cultural scene formed around music, anti-capitalism and social projects. They have set up a number of squatted social centres known as ONC's (Occupazioni Non Conformi) as well as occupying buildings in protest at the removal of services and providing services of their own to the local community. They have used these (alongside gigs and a conscious effort to mimic the fashions, imagery and slogans of the anti-authoritarian left) to help increase its membership and influence. The driving force behind all this is Gianluca Iannone – a long-term far right activist, leader of CasaPound, and bearded frontman of ZZA.
While the politics of those at the top are clearly defined, much of the movement's base is drawn in via the music, fashion and sense of community offered by CasaPound. Disaffected youth, who in the past may have turned towards leftwing politics, are instead become willing footsoldiers for a new, dangerous form of fascism. While the shootings in Florence may be at the extreme end of this, it has brought the rise of groups like CasaPound to the attention of mainstream media, but while the column inches will dry up fairly quickly, the threat from the far right will not disappear so easily.
* For a more in-depth look at CasaPound check http://libcom.org/library/casa-pound-new-radical-right-italy
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