Friday, September 30

The Marche, the ‘ultra’ experiment in the navel of Italy

To the mayor-worker Marco Fioravanti he likes so much the statuette of the saint that he has in his town hall which is the first thing you touch when you sit at your desk. “Forgive my delay. I went to the funeral of an elderly woman in the neighborhood,” she says, justifying her late arrival at the appointment with this newspaper. Fioravanti exercises the far-right apostolate in Ascoli Picenoin The Brandsin the center of Italya aged territory and injured by the trauma of the offshoring. there where Brothers from Italy three years ago accelerated its escalation towards institutional power. Sitting in his neat office, Fioravanti recalls the golden age when subsidies rained down on local industry and young people didn’t leave. It is the memory of a dream that has been in decline for two decades and that Fioravanti, the son of a socialist, believes that only one woman can resurrect: Giorgia Meloni, the ultra favorite leader to win the elections in Italy this Sunday.

Fioravanti smiles at the thought of his past. Some time ago he chose to be on the right and he does not regret it. He is 39 years old, with a lukewarm character and a political faith that took root when his father passed away and he started working at a rubber tube plant at the age of 19. “I worked night shifts at a multinational plant, and when that multinational relocated and left, I also lost my job,” he says. That was how he got fully involved in politics. In 2009, he was elected councilor in Ascoli and, in 2019, became the first mayor of Brothers from Italy of his city. A year later, the regional government was also left in the hands of a coalition led by his party.

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It was an overwhelming conquest that, studied closely, explains some keys to the ultra ascent (and its consequences) in Italy. Months after his victory, Fioravanti participated in a controversial dinner on the occasion of the anniversary of the March on Rome (1922)which brought to power the ‘black shirts’ of the dictator Benito Mussolini. But the episode did not dampen his popularity. This year was the second most popular mayor of Italy. “The experience in the factory reinforced in me the conviction that you can fight against the system only if you are inside. And that, in order to defend the working class, companies must be given a boost, so that they can hire people”, says Fioravanti. “The right is an alternative. A right that is responsible above all for the social, since a minimum must be guaranteed to everyone,” he adds, reflecting on the postulates of the rhetoric of the social and communitarian right.

The odyssey of accessing abortion

In a period of social upheaval, is the message that has permeated society. Like the defense of the traditional familya model of reproductive policies that, however, has turned the access to abortion in a real Odyssey for the women of The Brands. “This is how we ended up discussing abortion 44 years after it was legalized in 1978,” says the social worker Tiziana Antonuccipresident of the network Italian Association for Demographic Education (AIED). The latest, in 2021, has been the decision of the regional government to prohibit the use of Ru-486 abortion pill, which according to the new national legislation is allowed until the ninth week. Something that, explains Antonucci, is added to the already difficult context of the shortage of public clinics that help women to abort and high rates of conscientious objector gynecologists, which in this region add up to 70% (a figure higher than the national average, which is 64%). “There are centers where 100% of the staff are conscientious objectors,” says Antonucci, also lamenting that not enough funds are allocated for contraceptive measures.

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According to figures from Italian Ministry of Health of 2020, The Brands they are at the bottom of the list of regions by abortion rate in Italy, with an average (4.5 per 1,000 inhabitants) lower than the national figure (5.4). In parallel, in some cities of this territory, such as Fermo, the percentage of women who are forced to move to other locations to interrupt their pregnancy reaches 50%. It is the result of policies that, according to various sources consulted, reflect the far right strategy to stop the population decline and the flight of young people who seek alternatives in other areas of the country and Europe. A phenomenon that is national in Italy, but that is particularly evident here and that affects both Italians (-18% children born, between 2013 and 2019), and the migrant population (-26%).

Nevertheless, and although the obstacles for women to abort are one of the most controversial issues, it is not the only concern of NGOs and social promotion associations. Paula Amadio, feminist activist, says it bluntly. “For the workers, they haven’t done much, but they have cut funding to the most vulnerable people,” she criticizes. “Attacks on minorities have increased a lot throughout the region. This affects both the community LGBTI+like the migrants already the ‘homeless‘”, he adds. The chronicles of recent years prove him right.

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