The Dangers of Anti-Trumpism
Silvio Berlusconi's tenure as Italian prime minister shows how not to resist an authoritarian demagogue.

Arruzza, Cinzia
Date Written:  2016-11-21
Publisher:  Jacobin
Year Published:  2016
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20123

Comparisons between Donald Trump and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi abounded throughout the presidential election campaign. We can draw some important lessons if we move our attention away from the apparent similarities between Berlusconi and Trump, and focus instead on the analogies between anti-Berlusconism and the shape anti-Trumpism threatens to take.



Mainstream Italian anti-Berlusconism has always suffered from a grave form of selective amnesia. The effects of six years of harsh austerity policies and virtually no significant social opposition have never been taken into consideration as a decisive causal factor in the consolidation of Berlusconi's power. Nor has mainstream anti-Berlusconism ever shown any willingness to admit the substantial continuity between Berlusconi's second government's austerity policies and those of the center-left.


An effective opposition to Trump should work on disentangling these heterogeneous and even incompatible motivations, by, on the one hand, fighting back against the new wave of racism, misogyny, and homophobia ahead of us, and on the other, addressing the legitimate desire for a radical change expressed in part by votes for Trump and in the abstention of millions of former Democratic voters.
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