CasaPound Italy (CasaPound Italia, CPI; "House of Ezra Pound") is an Italian neo-fascist movement that emerged following a series of occupations of buildings by far-right squatters in Rome. The first of these squats appeared in the neighborhood of Esquilino in Rome on December 26, 2003. Subsequently the phenomenon spread, with other far-right squats popping up, followed by demonstrations and other initiatives, eventually resulting in the political movement known as CasaPound. In June 2008, CasaPound registered as a social association and assumed its current name CasaPound Italia – CPI (CP). In 2012, CP turned into a political party, but on June 26, 2019, the movement's leader Gianluca Iannone announced that CP is going back to its original status as a social movement.1
In CasaPound several of the most nasty strands of the Italian far right come together. The movement interfaces with dozens of other far-right projects, which have been meticulously listed in an article by Patria Independente, reaching from far-right sport and mixed martial arts clubs, to commercial and cultural projects.2 Until 2008, CasaPound was closely linked to the neofascist party Fiamma Tricolore, a far-right split-off from the neofascist MSI party, led by Pino Rauti (1926-2012), who was inter alia implicated in the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing.3 But after an internal dispute in 2008, CasaPound dissociated from Fiamma Tricolore, and appeared as a social association. From 2012 onward, when CasaPound turned into a party, it supported the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), an ultranationalist far-right European party, founded in 2009 and led by Jobbik’s Béla Kovács, which until 2011 included the French far-right party Front National. Before CasaPound had become a party, the AENM had already been supported by Fiamma Tricolore. In the run-up to the 2019 European elections, CasaPound, which in the meantime had retracted from its status as a party, kept on supporting the AENM openly. The announcement came from CasaPound's national secretary Simone Di Stefano on April 7, 2019.4
CasaPound has increasingly been associated with Italy's far-right Lega party. In 2014, a phone call between two Italian far-right proponents, Roberto Fiore and Alessio Constantini, was intercepted in the course of an inquiry by an Italian special command into a 2014 immigrant hunt.5 It revealed that the two agreed that the far-right terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie was behind the rapprochement of the Lega (then still Lega Nord) party and CasaPound. CasaPound had its peak moment when Matteo Salvini of the far-right Italian Lega party became deputy prime minister and minister of the interior in 2018.
Since 2006 CasaPound has also a youth cadre, the so-called "Student Block" (Blocco Studentesco). Blocco Studentesco's logo is reminiscent of the "flash and circle" symbol, used by the British Union of Fascists (BUF) up from 1935. But the flash symbol had already been used as a background motive in the official fascist flag, used from 1933-1935.
In April 2017, Blocco Studendesco, organized a large pan-European conference under the headline "Europe - Community of Civilized Peoples" (Europa – Comunita di popoli civilta). Representatives of various neo-Nazi organizations from all over Europe had gathered at the conference, such as the "Golden Dawn" from Greece, "Action Francaise" from France, or the Spanish "Hogar Social". Among the five Germans identified at the conference were politicians of the far-right AfD and NPD parties, and important figures from the Identitarian Movement, particularly from the Identitarian grouping Kontrakultur Halle.
CasaPound participates in the events commemorating the so-called Acca Larentia killings, a series of fatal incidents that occurred in Rome on January 7, 1978, when three members of the Youth Front of the far-right party Italian Social Movement (MSI) were killed. The occasion is instrumentalized by Italy's far right to present itself as the victim, rather than the perpetrator, of violent crimes.
The Italian Third Positionist ideologue Gabriele Adinolfi is deemed as one of the eminence gris of the movement. Since the end of the late 1960s, Adinolfi has been involved in right-wing extremist groups in Italy. After the Bologna massacre in Italy in 1980 by far-right terrorists, which killed 85 people and wounded over 200, an arrest warrant was out against Adinolfi, who subsequently fled to France. Adinolfi would live for almost 20 years in the underground, and even returned to Italy in 1982. Although Adinolfi publicly purports he has been merely a patron close to the movement, he certainly had an eminent role in its creation. This can be deducted from the various instances Adinolfi has appeared in the context of the movement, which are detailed on his website.6 His central role in the creation of CasaPound has also been acknowledged as such by prominent far-right figures. In 2010, the German New Right magazine Sezession (Götz Kubitschek) published a long feature article about CasaPound, which traces the movement back to Adinolfi:7
Among the exposed heads of CasaPound are the mastermind Gabriele Adinolfi, co-founder of the group Terza Posizione, which was active in the seventies and closely linked to “black terrorism,” and the 1973-born Gianluca Iannone, a bearded, tattooed giant who cultivates the image of a rough motorcycle rocker and has additional cult status as the head of the hardcore band Zetazeroalfa.
Azov Battalion (Ukraine)
CasaPound has strong ties to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine, a volunteer battalion subordinated to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, which first appeared as a paramilitary force in 2013 during the far-right regime change operation that disposed Ukrainian President 1st Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv describes CasaPound's preeminent role among Ukrainian nationalists:8. A report on the
Casapound Italia, the pioneer organization to support the struggle of Ukrainian nationalists captured between Putin’s neo-Sovietism and Western Cultural Marxism, closely observed the developments in the Maidan and in many respects triggered the birth of the young pan-European movement in Kyiv – Reconquista. Not incidentally, [the] Ukrainian Cossack House (Kozatsky Dim) is designed after the Italian Pound’s House, the heart of CPI.
The CasaPound affiliate Francesco Fontana has acted as a recruiter for the Azov-linked Misanthropic Division, a world-wide neo-Nazi network which in 2014 emerged in Ukraine, some of whose members fought as mercenaries against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.9
Kontrakultur Halle (Germany)
Ideologically and esthetically, the openly fascist CasaPound movement is a role model for the Identitarian Movement. Time and again, well-known Identitarian figures wear clothes from the CasaPound environment. In October 2017, Melanie Schmitz from Essen, member of the Identitarian grouping Kontrakultur Halle, showed off a patch of the official CasaPound band Zetazeroalfa in a photo. Philip Thaler, also a Kontrakultur member, had taken part in the 2017 conference organized by the Blocco Studentesco. He can be seen with a t-shirt of the neo-Nazi Italian band Bronson in a video, which is also deemed close to CasaPound.10
Haus Montag Pirna (Germany)
Haus Montag Pirna (HMP) is a neo-Nazi house project located in the German city of Pirna, which is very much modeled after CasaPound, and from the start the HMP had close connections with the organization. The main initiators of the HMP are Thomas Sattelberg, a far-right extremist local NPD politician as well as member of the neo-Nazi Kraftquell grouping, and the NPD functionary and military historian Dr. Olaf Rose,11 known in the scene for his historical-revisionist books and movie productions. It appears that it was Sattelberg who first introduced CasaPound to the local NPD chapter. The earliest reference to CasaPound on the NPD website is from January 2011, reporting on the New Year celebrations of the "forces loyal to the people" in the Muldetal/Leipzig region. The event had been organized by the local chapter of NPD's youth organization "Young National Democrats" (Junge Nationaldemokraten, JN). There, Sattelberg was introducing the fascist movement CasaPound "and their exceptional way of approaching people" to the audience.12 On January 30, 2014, HMP organized a free information event about CasaPound on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.13In 2014, HMP hosted a lecture on CasaPound, and in July of that year posted pictures of a graffiti that showed the logos of the two organizations side by side, together with a sticker by the JN, the youth cadre of the NPD.
Bastion Social (France)
In France, the far-right Bastion Social movement has reportedly been inspired by CasaPound. Bastion Social is deemed the successor to the militant far-right Groupe Union Défense (GUD), which was absorbed by Bastion Social (BS) in 2017. According to a 2017 report from the 1st Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, which was attended by the GUD/BS activist Steven Bissuel:14
... following the groundbreaking example of CasaPound Italia (Gianluca Iannone, President of CPI, paid a symbolic visit to Bastion Social), as well as Spanish Hogar Social, GUD has managed not only to seize a building named Bastion Social, but to launch the social movement of the same title aimed at the revision and requisition of the abandoned houses in all France, as well as facilitating terms of the residence acquisition for students and low-income families. So after the expulsion by the police, GUD says to take only a short break on the way to a new suitable free housing target. Dozens of organizations worldwide have already expressed their passionate support for the Bastion Social movement.
- On 21 and 22 April 2017 the congress "Europe - Comunita di popoli civilta" took place in the headquarters of CasaPound in Rome. As photos prove, besides John Hoewer, speaker for interior affairs of the AfD faction in the Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt, also the Identitarian cadre Philip Thaler of Kontrakultur Halle took part in the conference.10
- In 2018, Russian fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin appeared on a panel discussion hosted by CasaPound, together with Simone Di Stefano and Giulietto Chiesa et al.15
- In January 2019 a delegation of the German Third Way party Der III. Weg was invited to the headquarters of CasaPound in Rom to participate in the annual Acca Larentia march. They can be seen together with the foreign spokesperson of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, Olena Semenyaka, on the roof of the CasaPound building.
Also members of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary group Karpatska Sich took part in the Acca Larentia march.
- 1. "Casapound, Iannone: 'Finita esperienza di partito, torniamo movimento,'" La Repubblica, June 27, 2019, https://www.repubblica.it/politica/2019/06/27/news/casapound_torna_movimento_iannone-229739363/?refresh_ce.
- 2. "Le scatole cinesi di CasaPound," Patria Independente, June 13, 2019, https://www.patriaindipendente.it/persone-e-luoghi/inchieste/le-scatole-cinesi-di-casapound/.
- 3. Franco Ferraresi, Threats to Democracy - The Radical Right in Italy After the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 59.
- 4. “Elezioni Europee 2019: CasaPound in lizza con Destre Unite,” affaritaliani.it, April 7, 2019, http://www.affaritaliani.it/politica/elezioni-europee-2019-casapound-in-lizza-con-le-destre-unite-598085.html?refresh_ce.
- 5. Giuseppe Scarpa, "Roma, Fiore: 'Servizi dietro Militia. Delle Chiaie regista dell'asse CasaPound-Lega'," La Repubblica, 13 December 2017, https://roma.repubblica.it/cronaca/2017/12/13/news/fiore_servizi_dietro_militia_casapound_e_con_la_lega_ci_ha_lavorato_delle_chiaie_-183971971/.
- 6. "Agenda," http://www.gabrieleadinolfi.it/agenda.html.
- 7. Martin Lichtmesz, “Casa Pound,” Sezession Nr. 34, February 2010, https://sezession.de/wp-content/uploads/alte_nummern/sezession_heft34.pdf.
- 8. "1st Paneuropa Conference Report," Demon of an Old World (undated), https://demonofoldworld.tumblr.com/post/161878114630/reconquista-europe-1st-paneuropa-conference.
- 9. "Focos de radicalismo racial em Caxias do Sul," Zero Hora, January 15, 2017, https://www.unicamp.br/unicamp/sites/default/files/2017-01/impressao_boxnet_2017-01-16_-_13h03m28s.pdf.
- 10. a. b. "Das braune Netzwerk rund um die Identitäre Bewegung," Identitäre in Bochum (Blog), https://identitaereinbochum.noblogs.org/netzwerke/.
- 11. Website of Dr. Olaf Rose, www.dr-olaf-rose.de.
- 12. "Nachgereicht: Neujahrsfeier der volkstreuen Kräfte im Muldental," Junge Nationalisten, January 25, 2011, https://junge-nationalisten.de/uncategorized/nachgereicht-neujahrsfeier-der-volkstreuen-kraefte-im-muldental/.
- 13. Facebook post by Haus Montag Pirna, January 27, 2014, https://www.facebook.com/hausmontagpirna/photos/a.508427875916450/586298828129354/?type=3&theater.
- 14. 3. "1st Paneuropa Conference Report," Reconquista Europe, June 15, 2017. Archived version from June 13, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180613133924/http://reconquista-europe.tumblr.com/post/161847863121/1st-paneuropa-conference-report-the-1st-paneuropa.
- 15. Populismo, “Alexander Dugin, Simone Di Stefano, Giulietto Chiesa ed altri: ‘Putin contro Putin’ (22/06/2018),” YouTube video, 2:04:08, June 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSCqCf4GQNE.