Dedicated Followers of Fascism
Posted on April 4, 2013
What with it being a four day week and all sorts of other things going on, it has been a real struggle carrying out my favourite hobby of writing blog posts. This wasn’t helped by the mass popularity of this site that resulted in it crashing through its bandwidth limit, leaving literally tens of people with nothing read on the Bank Holiday weekend, just when they needed me the most. Only my fans can judge what it must be like to be denied my untamed wit for two days; I can only imagine it was awful.
So, amongst the haze in my head this week there is one thing that has stood out perpetually and that is the employment by Sunderland football club of the alleged self-confessed fascist, Paolo Di Canio, as their new manager. I won’t be alone in being someone who is trying to pick my way through all the hypocrisy, double standards and moral outrage that is being aimed at someone who once claimed that he had some fascist sympathies in line with the ideology of Benito Mussolini.
My first point is that whether or not Di Canio is a raging fascist, it seemed to matter not a jot when he was managing (rather successfully as it goes) Swindon Town, who, with all due respect, are a bit of a non-entity who have been languishing in the lower reaches of the Football League for many years. Is it okay to employ a fascist in League One but not the Premier League, the most plastic and over-hyped league in world football? Surely it can’t be one rule for one and one for another?
Secondly, what is Fascism? Now there’s a question if you ever wanted one. Now, as far as I read it, it is a political ideology that is led by a totalitarian power house of a leader who advocates nationalism, self-protection, and self-efficiency whilst promoting among its people fear, hatred and expulsion of other races (Jews being a classic example) who are perceived to be interfering with both economic and nationalistic traditions. Fascists as a whole were more interested in conflict with nations and races rather than internal class conflict, focusing on ending the divisions between classes within their nation.
It starts getting really scary when you read on, as one of its key principals was to promote the idea that “superior” nations and races should attain living space by displacing supposed weak and inferior ones. It is at that point where you have to start asking the question, can you be a fascist without being a racist? Surely the answer is no, because if you are displacing ethnic groups or perceived weaker groups, that has to be racism as well as fascism. Am I right or wrong? Anyway, for some the argument goes that Fascism is a political ideology just like Socialism, Communism or Capitalism; if this is the case Paolo Di Canio should be allowed his own political views and they should be irrelevant to the task of being a manager of a football team. If supporting a political ideology is not acceptable, then why is Alex Ferguson, a staunch Socialist, still in a job?
If you look at some of the policies of Fascism such as self-efficiency and a classless society (something the Tories advocated a few years back) it could be argued that it is just a political view and if Di Canio felt those aspects of the ideology were politically to his liking whilst others weren’t, that really should for him to debate on Question Time, not in a football dug out. However, if he was a fan of ethnic cleansing and the ridding of weaker members of a nation, then he perhaps, should not be working in an environment that has an on-going equality and anti-racism policy.
The funny thing is that if you asked the majority of football supporters what Fascism was, they wouldn’t know or care; they certainly wouldn’t know that in the 1930’s it was not just a political ideology in Berlin, Madrid and Rome, but also in Britain where Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists received huge support from the press, notably the Daily Mail, at least until the Battle of Cable Street that swung public opinion and effectively ended its rise. Despite once carrying a headline title “Hurrah For the Blackshirts” The Daily Mail is still, rightly but sadly, allowed to publish its diatribe and in doing so, it shows far more rabid hatred to immigrants than Paolo Di Canio ever has.
The Cable Street Riots in London, 1936
What Di Canio has said or believed in the past was, in my opinion, based around his character as an attention seeker, using controversial views as a way to bait his detractors; as far I am concerned, as long has he doesn’t become the leader of a far right fascist movement, he should be allowed to be left in peace to do what he does best by rescuing a mediocre football club like Sunderland where he will be no threat whatsoever to any political system in the United Kingdom. He can leave that to Nigel Farage.
If Sunderland avoid relegation, not many fans of theirs will really care about his political beliefs, because as George Orwell said in his book 1984, if you give the Proletarians beer, football and a national lottery, you can easily distract them from anything else.
The words storm and tea cup come to mind.
*As the Chairman of Oakley Cricket Club, I would like to confirm I am neither a fascist or a racist, though I have been known to have Socialist tendencies. Maybe I should resign?