The rise of anti-establishment and far-right forces in Italy: Neoliberalisation in a new guise?

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Abstract

Over the last decade, the succession of financial crisis, neoliberal reform processes, and emergence of anti-establishment and far-right political forces has become a familiar pattern across Europe. But in few countries has it been as striking as in Italy. After the 2018 national elections, the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League joined forces to form a government characterised by its rejection of past neoliberalising reforms and by its defiant stance towards European Union fiscal rules. The League’s victory in the latest European elections confirmed its ascendance and its centrality in the Italian political landscape. This article examines these developments in light of the recent trajectory of the Italian political economy and investigates whether the rise of these parties, and particularly the League, marked a break with the post-2011 neoliberalisation process. Analysis of the M5S-League government’s action indicates that these forces can further neoliberalisation processes together with a mix of anti-migration and welfare chauvinist measures. Moreover, an investigation of the political-economic project of the League shows that far-right parties can advance ‘nation-based’ neoliberalisation processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCompetition & Change
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • neoliberalisation, capitalist crisis, Italy, far right, nationalism, League, Five-Star Movement

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