In Italy, the conspiracy theory has now become national policy (2023)

Almost 65 percent of Italians believe that a clique of multinational corporations control the world and are "responsible for everything that happens to us".accordinglyon a 2021 study. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, while not among those surveyed, has proved just as vulnerable to conspiracy theories.

Almost 65 percent of Italians believe that a clique of multinational corporations control the world and are "responsible for everything that happens to us".accordinglyon a 2021 study. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, while not among those surveyed, has proved just as vulnerable to conspiracy theories.

Meloni is the first Western European politician to turn to the theory of the great change, which states that immigration to the West did not evolve into an organic movement driven by poverty and war. It seems to indicate that the world's political and business elite is meeting in secret somewhere to increase the influx of immigrants, and not just to take advantage of cheap labor, but to replace the white race with brown and black people. These ideas were conceived by Renaud Camus, a French writer, in 2011, but were adopted by white supremacists in several European countries and in the United States.

Matthew Feldman, author and specialist on far-right extremism, said the Great Replacement Theory is flexible enough to be used by conservatives in a weakened form and dangerous enough to be used as a motive by terrorists. far too many cases in the last five years,” he sharedforeign policyby phone from London.

Proponents of the theory include extremists behind some of the most racist attacks in recent memory. The perpetrator of the 2019 Christchurch attack on Muslims in New Zealand that killed 51 people called his manifesto "The Great Reparation". Last year, the man who shot dead 10 black people in a Buffalo, New York supermarket released a 180-page racist statement repeatedly endorsing the idea. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has brought it up hundreds of times andimpliedfrom a political perspective, suggesting that members of the US Democratic Party support immigration to replace voters with voters from developing countries, as they tend to vote for the Democrats.

Association with extremists forced Meloni to change language, calling it "an ethnic replacement plan" for European citizens "wanted by big business". Feldman said that "ethnic replacement" is simply "a synonym for greater replacement."

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He said even Meloni couldn't use that exact phrase "because their political opponents would immediately say, 'Wait a minute, are you using the same expression as terrorists?'"

Meloni has publicly referred to the idea of ​​an "ethnic replacement plan" "on at least 15 to 20 occasions," said David Broder, who teaches history at Syracuse University in Florence and recently authored a book on the titleThe Grandsons of Mussolini: Fascism in Modern Italy.

Brother said members of Meloni's party...brothers of Italyor Brothers of Italy - positively cite literature such as Jean Raspail's 1973 novelcamp of the saints, "a sort of precursor to the 'racist' theory of the grand surrogate."

The theory posits "that a supposedly homogeneous Italian 'ethnicity' risks being overshadowed by Muslim and African newcomers," Broder said. He pointed out that Meloni had advocated the immigration of white Christians of Italian descent from Venezuela.

In addition to religious intolerance, her election also revealed the Italian Prime Minister's preference for unproven conspiraciesthe attackBillionaire philanthropist George Soros, long an ogre of the far right, as the “financier” of mass immigration. She accused the Italian left of promoting an “invasion” of immigrants and giving them citizenshiponly aloneA principle that grants citizenship to anyone born in any country. In Italy it is only applied to children of immigrants in special circumstances.

However, since campaigning and becoming prime minister last year, Meloni has had to choose his words more carefully, if only to appear less controversial in Brussels. Italy needs billions of euros in COVID-19 recovery funds from Europe as economic aid, which could falter if it appears to be bucking the bloc's more progressive values.

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"Since 2022, Meloni has tended to break down the theory into multiple slogans," Broder added, "with emphasis on threatening low birth rates or defending national identity."

José Pedro Zúquete, Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon and author ofThe Identitarians, said, "Even though she's stopped talking about 'ethnic substitution,' it's not far-fetched to think that ... that fear drives her politics, both on immigration and on birthrights."

The declining birth rate in Italy has become the fig leaf with which Meloni is now veiling his xenophobic and racist ideology, observers say. (Italy has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe and last year saw the steepest decline. For the first timemuchbelow the 400,000 to 393,000 mark, with a fertility rate of 1.24 children per woman, well below the 2.1 replacement level at which a population exactly replaces itself from generation to generation.)

Italian political experts believe that while Meloni herself has had to restrain her racist and conspiracy innuendos, she has given free rein to her party members and is voicing her political aspirations behind closed doors.

When Italy's Agriculture Minister, Francesco Lollobrigida, said late last month that Italians risked "ethnic replacement" by immigrants as Italy's birth rate plummeted, and stated that this was "not the way forward," the Italian opposition responded that their comments after of white supremacy, reminding them of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime. Lollobrigida happens to be a member of Meloni's Brothers of Italy party — and her brother-in-law.

The Italian government has decided to improve social security for Italian mothers to encourage them to have more children. This would be an innocent national policy were it not for the racist underpinnings of Meloni and her party. On the one hand, Meloni supports a pro-natalist agenda and wants to reduce VAT on baby products like diapers and milk bottles and make childcare affordable. On the other hand, she effectively rejects citizenship for babies from immigrant families. On the one hand, she advocates for Italian mothers to enter the labor market; On the other hand, she insists that only Italian women take jobs, while immigrants do not.

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Italy as soon as possibleneedalmost 200,000 farm workers, but also hotel employees and baristas for coffee shops in Espressoland. Meloni says Italian women, not immigrant women, should fill these vacancies. "The way to solve this problem is not migrants," she said, "but the vast untapped reserve of the female workforce."

Pedro Zúquete said Meloni is pushing for a new immigration law that will be "much tougher" on illegal immigration.

She threatened a naval blockade to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea under the guise of protection from drowning and signed a pact with Libya despite the war-torn country's treatment of migrants. Dunja Mijatović, High Commissioner of the Council of EuropesentencedThe memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya, which "plays a central role in facilitating the interception at sea of ​​refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and their subsequent return to Libya."

Speaking at the European Council on Migration in February, Meloni said that "relocation [of migrants] has never been my priority" and that the EU's voluntary solidarity mechanism has not worked.

The mechanism was created to ease the pressure on refugees arriving in coastal countries such as Italy, Greece and Malta and to relocate them to other European countries on a voluntary basis. From January 2023,if 207People have benefited from the system, largely due to other EU countries' reluctance to accept immigrants.

According to data from Frontex - the EU's border and coast guard - last year the EU saw the largest increase in irregular immigration since 2016.330,000 crossingswas noted, an increase of 64 percent over the previous year.

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In the absence of a fair distribution of immigrants across Europe and further influenced by the Great Substitute conspiracy theory, Meloni praised the British Conservatives' policy of deporting asylum seekers who crossed the English Channel back to their countries of origin on small boats. Origin or Rwanda, a "safe" third country.

Visiting the UK about a week ago, Meloni said the UK government is very good at dealing with "smugglers and illegal migration". "I follow your work and I totally agree with your work and I think there are many things we can do together," she told Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister.

Unlike the UK, Italy is part of the EU. Barring power on the continent shifting further to the right, Meloni must be contained.

However, Pedro Zúquete believed that as European societies become more multicultural and multi-ethnic, we can expect that "the 'grand surrogate' analytical framework will become more prevalent in mainstream conservative narratives."

Meloni's Brothers of Italy party has its roots inItalian social movement(Italian social movement), founded by Mussolini's followers. She talks about being a woman, a mother, and a Christian committed to defending God, country, and family. But her support of racist theories implies that she means only her family and those who resemble her, excluding those who practice a different faith or simply look darker, even if they feel Italian or contribute equally to Italian society.


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