The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Far-Right PM Giorgia Meloni is Not Right for Italy

There are plenty of women that are more than capable of holding seats of power. Giorgia Meloni is not one of them.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube EuroNews

“The election of the first woman prime minister in a country always represents a break with the past, and that is certainly a good thing,” said former Secretary of State and ‘woman in politics’ Hillary Clinton. 

She is referring to Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, who became the country’s first female prime minister Sept. 25. The month has also seen fellow woman Liz Truss, who on Sept. 5 became Great Britain’s third female prime minister. While these women break the glass ceiling, Truss is pulling her country into a recession and Meloni is a bigot belonging to a party with neo-fascist roots quickly on the rise in Italy. 

Italy elected its first female prime minister — Giorgia Meloni — in September. Meloni led the Brothers of Italy party to its first victory since the fall of Benito Mussolini in World War II. Italian voters backed the right-wing candidate, awarding the party over a fourth of votes cast. 

While the country elected its first female prime minister, it seems Italy’s population vies to break away from the past. But is this a good thing? Meloni’s views set Italy up for a drastic (and frightening) change which will alter the political tone of the nation.

As a nationalist, Meloni believes in putting traditional Italians first, and is strongly anti-immigration, anti-choice, anti-religious freedom and opposes LGBTQ+ families. In a speech earlier this year, she summarized her platform: “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death.” In other words, she believes in “God, fatherland and family,” a phrase that speaks volumes across Europe. 

These words immediately set off red flags in my brain, and remind me of a charismatic leader who rose to power in America circa 2016. Meloni has quickly become a darling of the GOP, with many Republicans praising her beliefs on immigration, among many others. 

Several Trump allies have also praised Meloni’s efforts. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz labels her “spectacular,” and U.S. Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Green proclaims her thoughts “beautifully said.” If that’s not enough, the prime minister considers herself a ‘deep ally’ of convicted former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. 

During campaign speeches, audiences wave a tricolor flag with a torch symbol, which happens to be the same symbol engraved on Mussolini’s tomb. As a young activist, Meloni professed her support for the dictator, telling reporters that “everything he did, he did for Italy.” 

She even campaigned with the dictator’s granddaughter, politician Rachele Mussolini. Her charisma commands a nation who longs for change following the Italian government’s collapse earlier this year. 

As a “pro-family” politician, Meloni argues that Italy’s birth rate needs to be increased by “encouraging native women to have babies, while at the same time denouncing the danger of an ‘ethnic substitution’ by immigrants.” Along with this, she believes in traditional gender roles, determining that women should performtraditional maternal destiny, in a traditional family, where gender roles return to their place”. 

Meloni expressed that “unlucky children” up for adoption “deserve the best,” meaning a mother and father. These views bring up real fears for the LGBTQ+ community in Italy,and highlight fears for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States after the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year and Justice Clarence Thomas’ intent to review the legalization of gay marriage and contraception rights. 

As a queer woman, these views terrify me, and highlight the identity politics Meloni and the far-right have established. It just proves that contrary to popular belief, not all women want equality. It’s isolating to know that someone who has experienced the same systematic oppression as you continues to perpetuate a patriarchal system. 

Should Italy’s allies be concerned? To put it bluntly, yes. 

Considering Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, although Meloni supports Zelensky and the people of Ukraine, the same cannot be said for her coalition partners. Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and self-proclaimed friend of Vladimir Putin believes that “Putin was pushed by the Russian population by his party and his ministers to invent this special operation.” 

To make matters worse, Meloni’s other coalition partner and leader of the League party Matteo Salvini used to wear Putin embossed T-shirts. The pair have been staunch supporters of Russia for years, so knowing that people in power believe this is extremely concerning. 

The future of Italy looks dim. Meloni’s way of allowing basic human rights to become talking points is cause for great concern, especially if you are a woman or a minority. Living in Mussolini’s shadow, the leader has a prime opportunity to strip rights from Italians and turn the country into a far-right playground.

There are plenty of women that are more than capable of holding seats of power. Giorgia Meloni is not one of them.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman, Editor-in-Chief
 

Olivia is a senior journalism student currently serving as The Torch’s Editor-in-Chief. She previously served as Managing Editor for two years. She's also written for amNewYork, Bronx Times and QNS. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an undergraduate writing consultant at the University Writing Center. She loves to watch St. John's Basketball, exploring New York City and matcha lattes!

Olivia can be reached at [email protected]  
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