OPINION

One goose step to Berlusconi’s law

The Italian Senate’s vote in favor of a new anti-immigration law brings to the surface something that has been slowly festering in Europe for years. Il Cavaliere Berlusconi’s law calls on citizens to form militias and patrol the streets in search of illegal immigrants; the neofascist Guardia Nazionale responded with alacrity. Moreover, all public servants will be forced to turn in any foreigner they come across who is without papers and infants born to «foreign» parents will not be entered in local registries. The Italian law creates an individual that lacks any political or human rights – not even the right to exist. He is a veritable «homo sacer» – the «accursed man» of Roman law who could be exiled and killed by any citizen. The path has been opened for fascism to enter daily life. Multilingual and multicultural Europe is being harshly tested chiefly due to a lack of political will, much hypocrisy and a great deal of sticking one’s ostrich-like head in the sand. Parties on the left have done nothing to stem the migrational tide; passing the buck, they hid behind the problem. As the tide kept rising, they were too busy fighting neoliberalism to take action or come up ideas. And now, the tidal wave of Third World refugees and immigrants threatens to destabilize the fragile and bankrupt democracies of the West, already hit by deindustrialization, unemployment, the global recession and the deep apathy felt about government in general. EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot has already warned that Greece’s stability is at risk. The political vacuum left by hypocritical center-right and center-left parties has been eagerly filled by far-right populists, neofascists and ultranationalists, who already have a following among the weak, scared and poor masses. Greece, a porous colander with a blocked exit finds itself just one step away from Il Cavaliere’s law; one step from citizen militias, informants and the creation of our very own homo sacer.