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First They Took Rome with author David Broder
Sun, October 24, 2021 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM$7.00 – $11.00
How the Populist Right Conquered Italy
“David Broder has produced an excellent account of what has made modern Italy different but also similar to other Western European states. It begins back in the early 1990s when Italy was once more a pioneer, in that it was the first Western democracy where an established and stable two-party system collapsed suddenly, opening the way for a series of new political forces, labelled populist, to emerge spectacularly and suddenly.” — Chris Bambery, Counterfire
Many commentators blame Italy’s malaise on cultural ills—pointing to the corruption of public life or a supposedly endemic backwardness. In this reading, Italy has failed to converge with the neoliberal reforms mounted by other European countries, leaving it to trail behind the rest of the world.
First They Took Rome offers a different perspective: Italy isn’t failing to keep up with its international peers but farther along the same path of decline they are following. In the 1980s, Italy boasted the West’s strongest Communist Party; today, social solidarity is collapsing, working people feel ever more atomized, and democratic institutions grow increasingly hollow.
Studying the rise of forces like Matteo Salvini’s Lega, this book shows how the populist right drew on a deep well of social despair, ignored by the liberal center. Italy’s recent history is a warning from the future—the story of a collapse of public life that risks spreading across the West.
DAVID BRODER is a Rome-based writer and translator. He is the European editor for Jacobin and regularly writes with a focus on Italy, including in the journal Internazionale.
Verso has provided the following code (good through November, 2021) for 50% off of First They Took Rome.