Direct Social Actions in Extreme Right Mobilisations. Ideological, strategic and organisational incentives in the Italian neo-fascist right


Social movements scholarship has increasingly turned to the study of direct social actions (DSAs) in times of economic hardship. This paper broadens this perspective to extreme right organisations. Combining a Political Claims Analysis of newspaper articles and online press releases, with a qualitative discussion of online propaganda material, we explore the engagement in direct social activism by three neo-fascist organisations in Italy: Forza Nuova, Fiamma Tricolore and CasaPound Italia (1996 -2015). Our findings suggest that their propen-sity to direct social activism, rather than being exclusively related to economic distress, responds to a broad set of ideological, organisational and strategic incentives. Ideologically, DSAs are linked to the interpretation of the relationship between ideas and action of historical Fascism and of parts of the Italian neo-fascist tradition. Organisationally, DSAs serve as a tool to build support and solidarity, especially at the local level. Strategically, they are used to frame activism as a direct intervention in defence of interests of native peoples, and against political elites accused of being unresponsive to the needs of citizens. Our results offer a first empirical observation of the use of DSAs by extreme right actors, paving the way for comparative work at the cross-national level and on different arenas of engagement

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v9i3p1040

Keywords: direct social actions; extreme right; neo-fascism; repertoires of action; Italy


Albanese, M., Bulli, G., Castelli Gattinara, P. and Froio, C. (2014) Fascisti di un altro millennio? Crisi e partecipazione in CasaPound Italia, Roma, Bonanno Editore.

Art, D. (2011) Inside the Radical Right: The Development of Anti-Immigrant Parties in Western Europe, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Arzheimer, K. and Carter, E. (2006) ‘Political opportunity structures and right-wing extremist party success’, European Journal of Political Research, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 419–443.

Berkhout, J., Ruedin, D., Van Der Brug, W. and D’Amato, G. (2015) ‘Research Design’, in van der Brug, W., D’Amato, G., Ruedin, D., and Berkhout, J. (eds), The Politicisation of Migration, Routledge, pp. 19–31.

Betz, H.-G. (1994) Radical right-wing populism in Western Europe, New York, St. Martins Press.

Bjorgo, T. and Witte, R. (1993) Racist Violence in Europe, London; New York, Routledge.

Blee, K. M. (2003) Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement, London; Los Angeles, University of California Press.

Blee, K. M. (2007) ‘Ethnographies of the Far Right’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 119–128.

Bosi, L. and Zamponi, L. (2015) ‘Direct Social Actions and Economic Crises: The Relationship between Forms of Action and Socio-Economic Context in Italy’, Partecipazione e Conflitto, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 367–391.

Bouron, S. (2015) ‘Un militantisme à deux faces’, Agone, vol. 54, pp. 45–72.

Bulli, G. and Castelli Gattinara, P. (2013) ‘Tra vecchie e nuove identità. L’estrema destra in movimento nell’esempio di Casapound Italia’, in Alteri, L. and Raffini, L. (eds), La Nuova Politica. Mobilitazioni, movimenti e conflitti in Italia, Napoli, Edises.

Caiani, M. and Borri, R. (2013) ‘The Extreme Right, Violence and Other Action Repertoires: An Empirical Study on Two European Countries’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 562–581.

Caiani, M., Della Porta, D. and Wagemann, C. (2012) Mobilizing on the extreme right: Germany, Italy, and the United States, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Caldiron, G. (2009) La destra sociale: da Salò a Tremonti, Manifestolibri.

Castelli Gattinara, P. and Froio, C. (2014) ‘Discourse and practice of violence in the Italian extreme right: frames, symbols, and identity-building in CasaPound Italia’, International journal of conflict and violence, vol. 8, no. 1 [Online]. Available at (Accessed 7 June 2016).

Castelli Gattinara, P., Froio, C. and Albanese, M. (2013) ‘The appeal of neo-fascism in times of crisis. The experience of CasaPound Italia’, Fascism, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 234–258.

CPI (2016a) ‘Questa è CasaPound Italia’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 February 2016).

CPI (2016b) ‘Le FAQ di CasaPound’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 February 2016).

De Felice, R. (1997) Intervista sul fascismo, Roma; Bari, Laterza.

Di Nunzio, D. and Toscano, E. (2011) Dentro e fuori CasaPound: capire il fascismo del terzo millennio, Roma, Armando Editore.

Eatwell, R. (2000) ‘The extreme right and British exceptionalism: the primacy of politics’, in Hainsworth, P. (ed), The Politics of the Extreme Right: From the Margins to the Mainstream, London, Pinter.

Eatwell, R. (2016) ‘Ten Theories of the Extreme Right’, in Mudde, C. (ed), The Radical Right: A Reader, pp. 200–225.

Ellinas, A. A. (2013) ‘The Rise of Golden Dawn: The New Face of the Far Right in Greece’, South European Society and Politics, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 543–565.

FN (2004) ‘Forza Nuova: 30 “impiccati” a Senigallia per diritto a casa’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2008) ‘Forza Nuova distribuisce pane a 1 euro al chilo’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2011a) ‘Congresso Nazionale Forza Nuova - Tivoli 2011’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 April 2016).

FN (2011b) ‘Forza Nuova e il programma Colonie Evita Peron’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2011c) ‘Forza Nuova Università: Aiuta l’Italia, compra Italiano’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2013) ‘Forza Nuova: una moneta complementare per la Sicilia’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2014) ‘Forza Nuova Brescia promuove ronde contro i ladri’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2016a) ‘Forza Nuova Milano: Cosa Facciamo’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 4 November 2016).

FN (2016b) ‘Chi Siamo’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 8 November 2016).

FN (2016d) ‘Forza Nuova, passeggiate della sicurezza alla Bolognina’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2016c) ‘Forza Nuova sorveglia i paesi: ronde nelle notti della bassa’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2016e) ‘FN Vigilanza volontaria sui bus urbani a Pescara’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2016f) ‘Forza Nuova vigilanza contro parcheggiatori abusivi’, [Online]. Available at

parcheggiatori-abusivi-forza-nuova-servizio-che-faremo-periodicamente/ (Accessed 11 November 2016).

FN (2016g) ‘Forza Nuova raccoglie le segnalazioni di razzismo contro gli italiani’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

Forno, F. and Graziano, P. R. (2014) ‘Sustainable community movement organisations’, Journal of Consumer Culture, p. 1469540514526225.

FT (2009) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: Ronde, sbagliato l’approccio del problema’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 10 November 2016).

FT (2011) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: Dopo Torrevecchia Necessarie Ronde di Quartiere’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 October 2016).

FT (2012) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: ronde contro le discariche abusive’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 10 November 2016).

FT (2013) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: pane gratis contro la crisi’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 October 2016).

FT (2014) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: Convegno Nazionale 2014’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 April 2016).

FT (2016) ‘Fiamma Tricolore: Organigramma e Statuto’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 April 2016).

Gentile, E. (2011) Le origini dell’ ideologia fascista (1918-1925), Bologna, Il Mulino.

Gentile, E. (2013) Fascismo: Storia e interpretazione, Roma; Bari, Laterza.

Griffin, R. (2003) ‘From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular right’, Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 27–50.

Gunther, R. and Diamond, L. (2003) ‘Species of Political Parties A New Typology’, Party Politics, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 167–199.

Halikiopoulou, D. and Vasilopoulou, S. (2016) ‘Breaching the Social Contract: Crises of Democratic Representation and Patterns of Extreme Right Party Support’, Government and Opposition, pp. 1–25.

Hänggli, R. and Kriesi, H. (2010) ‘Political Framing Strategies and Their Impact on Media Framing in a Swiss Direct-Democratic Campaign’, Political Communication, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 141–157.

Hutter, S. (2014) ‘Protest Event Analysis and Its Offspring’, in Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 335–367.

Ignazi, P. (1992) ‘The silent counter-revolution’, European Journal of Political Research, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 3–34.

Ignazi, P. (2003) Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Kitschelt, H. (2006) ‘Movement Parties’, in Handbook of Party Politics, Thousand Oaks, CA, SAGE, pp. 278–290.

Kitschelt, H. and McGann, A. J. (1997) The Radical Right in Western Europe: A Comparative Analysis, Detroit: University of Michigan Press.

Klandermans, B. and Mayer, N. (2006) Extreme Right Activists in Europe: Through the Magnifying Glass, New York, Psychology Press.

Koopmans, R. and Statham, P. (1999) ‘Political Claims Analysis: Integrating Protest Event and Political Discourse Approaches’, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 203–221.

Kousis, M. and Paschou, M. (2014) ‘Portraying Alternative Forms of Resilience in Hard Economic Times: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations’, Paper, Glasgow.

Kriesi, H. (2008) West European Politics in the Age of Globalization, Cambridge University Press.

Lanna, L. and Rossi, F. (2003) Fascisti immaginari: tutto quello che c’è da sapere sulla destra, Firenze, Vallecchi.

Mammone, A., Godin, E. and Jenkins, B. (2013) Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe, London; New York, Routledge.

Minkenberg, M. (2000) ‘The Renewal of the Radical Right: Between Modernity and Anti-modernity’, Government and Opposition, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 170–188.

Minkenberg, M. (2003) ‘The West European Radical Right as a Collective Actor: Modeling the Impact of Cultural and Structural Variables on Party Formation and Movement Mobilization’, Comparative European Politics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 149–170.

Mudde, C. (2000) The Ideology of the Extreme Right, Manchester University Press.

Mudde, C. (2007) Populist radical right parties in Europe, Cambridge, UK ; New York, Cambridge University Press.

Mudde, C. (2016) The Populist Radical Right: A Reader, London; Los Angeles, Routledge.

Norris, P. (2005) Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Osservatorio Repressione (2016) ‘La galassia nera: i gruppi e le associazioni che ruotano attorno a Lealtà Azione’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 14 November 2016).

Pirro, A. (2015) The Populist Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe: Ideology, impact, and electoral performance, London, Routledge.

Rao, N. (2014) Trilogia della celtica, Milano, Sperling & Kupfer.

Santomassimo, G. (2006) La terza via fascista: Il mito del corporativismo, Roma, Carocci.

Sigona, N. (2011) ‘The governance of Romani people in Italy: discourse, policy and practice’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 590–606.

Taggart, P. A. (2000) Populism, New York, Open University Press.

Tarchi, M. (1995) Esuli in patria: i fascisti nell’Italia repubblicana, Milano, Guanda.

Tarchi, M. (2003) Fascismo: Teorie, interpretazioni e modelli, 2015th ed. Roma; Bari, Laterza.

Tarchi, M. (2010) La rivoluzione impossibile: dai Campi Hobbit alla nuova destra, Vallecchi.

Van der Brug, W., Fennema, M. and Tillie, J. (2005) ‘Why Some Anti-Immigrant Parties Fail and Others Succeed A Two-Step Model of Aggregate Electoral Support’, Comparative Political Studies, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 537–573.

Veneto Fronte Skinhead (2016) ‘La storia del Veneto Fronte Skinhead, dal 2000 ad oggi’, [Online]. Available at (Accessed 11 November 2016).

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.