Rauti, Giuseppe Umberto

(1926– )
   “Pino” Rauti has been the most vocal and uncompromising fascist leader in postwar Italy. As a youth he served in the armed forces of the Republic of Salo. Rauti has always remained faithful to the anticapitalist rhetoric of the Salo Republic; for him Fascism is a revolutionary ideology whose main goal should be the overthrow of the institutions of the bourgeois state. These radical sentiments were frowned upon by the leadership of the Movimento Sociale Italiano/Italian Social Movement (MSI) for much of the postwar period, and Rauti’s relationship with Italy’s neofascist party has thus always been a troubled one. Between 1956 and 1969, in fact, Rauti was not a member of the MSI, preferring to act as the theoretician of a neo-Nazi group with the ominous name Ordine Nuovo (New Order). Inspired by the political thought of the philosopher Julius Evola, the “New Order” group propagated a subNietzscheian ideology deriding safe bourgeois weaklings and the utilitarian values of democratic civilization while exalting the superman, the hero, the aristocrat, and the warrior. Ordine Nuovo would prove to be the breeding ground for many of the neofascist terrorists who plagued Italy in the 1970s, but by then Rauti, finding some of his disciples too extreme, had returned to the MSI. The movement was officially dissolved by the courts in November 1973.
   Rauti became a parliamentary deputy for the MSI in 1972. He swiftly became an influence among the party’s most youthful members and diffused his belief in the necessity of a “Fascism of the left.” His conviction that the fascist movement should take aim at the egoism, materialism, and superficiality of modern life, and abandon all thought of cooperating with the political parties of Italy’s corrupt democracy, gradually won over a majority of the MSI’s members. Rauti became secretary of the MSI at a heated party conference in Rimini in January 1990. “Fascism of the left,” however, was not popular with the MSI’s intensely conservative petty bourgeois electorate, and the party suffered the worst defeat of its history in the 1990 local elections, obtaining just 4 percent of the vote. After a further disaster in regional elections in Sicily in June 1991, Rauti was obliged to resign.
   Despite the electoral success brought to the neofascist movement in Italy by his successor, Gianfranco Fini, Rauti has been unable to digest the transformation of the MSI into the Alleanza Nazionale/National Alliance (AN). At the Seventeenth and last Party Conference of the MSI at Fiuggi in January–February 1995, Rauti left the party rather than accept Fini’s apparent abandonment of fascist ideology and objectives. He became the leader of a split-off party, the Fiamma tricolore (whose emblem was a flame burning in the three colors of the Italian flag), but this movement split too, and Rauti was left to form yet another movement of the far right, the Movimento Idea Sociale/Social Idea Movement.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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