IEET > Rights > Vision > Technoprogressivism
The Complicated Politics of Italian Transhumanism Part 2
IEET   Feb 9, 2010   Ethical Technology  

Last October we published an essay by Stefano Vaj, a leader of the Italian Transhumanist Association, responding to charges that he had ties to the Italian far right, and was himself a fascist. The seven members of the rival Italian Transhumanist Network have written the following indictment to document their charges.




On the Neofascist Infiltration of Italian Transhumanism

By the founding members of the Italian Transhumanist Network

Italy is the only country in the world with two transhumanist associations, the Italian Transhumanist Association (AIT), and the Italian Transhumanist Network (NTI). Both are Humanity+ affiliated, and both are politically transversal. AIT, however, harbours an internal faction – the so-called ‘overhumanists’, from now on ‘sovrumanists’ (see below for a terminological clarification) – that is seen by some as far too close to neofascism for comfort. This is the reason for the split in Italian transhumanism, and this is the subject of this article.


The term ‘overhumanism’

‘Overhumanism’ is the name given to Stefano Vaj’s brand of transhumanism in the first English-language article on the topic of Italian neofascist transhumanism (The Political Roots of Overhumanism), but it could lead to a misunderstanding. While in English the term ‘overhuman’ is commonly associated with Nietzschean concepts, we’d like to clarify that the fascism-informed ideology espoused by the ‘overhumanists’ is not simply characterized by a general appreciation of Nietzschean thought, but specifically by Vaj’s minoritarian interpretation of Nietzschean thought. In order to avoid such confusion, we’d like to introduce a neologism to describe the ideology of the Italian neofascist transhumanists: ‘sovrumanism’. This might sound strange, but surely so did ‘Fascism’ when it first entered the English language.


Giorgio Locchi

In the Italian Nietzschean literature the term of choice to describe Nietzsche’s

thought is superomismo (superhumanism), while sovrumanismo (sovrumanism, in our translation) is exclusively found in the writings of neofascist author Giorgio Locchi – a clear influence on Italian sovrumanism and described by Vaj as “my personal guru and maitre à penser” in his article For a Total Ethnical Self-Defence –, and not coincidentally used by Vaj to define his ideology.

In his Political Expression and Repression of the Sovrumanist Principle (formerly known as Essenza del Fascismo), Locchi explains that “one cannot understand fascism without realising, or refusing to admit, that the so-called ‘fascist phenomenon’ is nothing but the first political manifestation of a larger spiritual and cultural phenomenon, which we can call ‘sovrumanism’ [sovrumanismo]”, that “the ‘sovrumanist principle’ [principio sovrumanista], in relation to the world surrounding it, becomes the absolute rejection of an opposite ‘egalitarian principle’ which gives shape to that world. If the fascist movements recognised the ‘enemy’, spiritual even before political, in the democratic ideologies – liberalism, parliamentarianism, socialism, communism, anarcho-communism – it is because within the historic perspective instituted by the sovrumanist principle, those ideologies represent as many manifestations […] of the opposite egalitarian principle, all aiming towards the same goal, with different levels of understanding, and all causes of the spiritual and material decadence of Europe, of the progressive weakening of European man, of the disintegration of Western societies”, that “with the purpose of the ‘mythical’ stance of a fascist movement, the analysis it makes of the first cause and origin of the European nations decadence and break-up process is essential. Nietzsche identified them with Christianity, as a transmission agent of the ‘judaic principle’, which he identified with the egalitarian principle”, and finally that “the issue of ‘totalitarianism’ is linked to a fundamental ‘political philosophy’ problem. Every society (or more exactly community), if it wants to be ‘sound’, has to be totalitarian.” (it is worth noting that Vaj fully endorses this odd reconstruction and political perspective in his foreword to Locchi’s article).

According to Roger Griffin, Locchi in his book Essenza del Fascismo (1981) “not only argued for the centrality to generic fascism of the myth of national or cultural palingenesis, but stressed the importance of Indo-Europeanism, Nietzsche, myth, anthropology, the human sciences, and writers of the Conservative Revolution such as Spengler to the future vitality of neo-fascism”, setting out “his own strategy to keep ideological fascism alive in the hostile climate of the post-war era” (see Griffin’s Plus ça change! The Fascist Pedigree of the Nouvelle Droite).


Ambiguity as strategy


Stefano Vaj

When Charlie Stross wrote his Chrome Plated Jackboots, after stumbling upon The Political Roots of Overhumanism, he probably didn’t intend to attract such a level of international attention to the unusual going-ons in Italian transhumanism, but that’s exactly what happened. As a consequence, Stefano Vaj, AIT National Secretary, appeared on the IEET blog in an article introduced by James Hughes (On the Alleged Rightist Influence in Italian Transhumanism) making the case that he has no personal connections with Fascism and/or the far right. In so doing, he employs an unusual interpretation of the terms far-right, fascism and neofascism, so we’d like to clarify that when we use these terms we refer to their actual and commonly understood meaning (see Umberto Eco’s Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt, “absolutely vital to understanding the Fascist mind-set”, as Charlie Stross correctly pointed out), and not to capitalism as such. We do not refer to right or center-right European leaders, and even less to New Labour, unlike what Vaj seems to do in his IEET article.

Vaj is very skillful in calibrating his message to his many different audiences, and if you read his article you will come away with the distinct impression that he must be ‘one of us’. Exactly the same impression that he might make on the ‘ethnoidentitarian’ audiences he often entertains, whose politics are close to the more xenophobic wing of Italian party the Northern League, the most controversial party in Berlusconi’s coalition, in whose newspaper Vaj occasionally writes and with whom Vaj is quite close and often collaborates (please note that Vaj is listed on this last page as a ‘consultant’ for the Northern League under his real name, a name that we will not to mention in this article, as we understand his choice to use a pseudonym in order to safeguard his professional activity, considering his controversial connections). Such audiences might be more impressed by ideas taken from Vaj’s For a Total Ethnical Self-defence. Reflections on La colonisation de l’Europe, by Guillaume Faye (a French far right journalist and writer, sentenced in 2000 by a French court for incitement to racial hatred, and ‘guest of honor’ in the last issue of Divenire, an AIT publication), than with the attacks on Berlusconi and the Vatican he launched from this website. And that same impression he might make on the openly neofascist members of internet forum Vivamafarka (‘Radical Right and Surroundings’) where Vaj is a moderator and ‘hero member’.

But who’s right?


A breathtaking lack of judgement

Before we examine more in depth the atypical brand of neofascism that lies beneath sovrumanism, let’s accept for a moment Vaj’s claim that he has nothing to do with the extreme right. If that’s the case, Vaj’s choice of publisher for his Biopolitica (2004) shows an appalling lack of judgment, as Società Editrice Barbarossa specializes exactly in far-right/neofascist material.

According to Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today, “About forty antisemitic books (in addition to those containing Holocaust-denial theories) remain in print, published mainly by small publishing houses usually linked to the far right. These include: Edizione il Cinabro of Catania; Edizioni dell’uomo libero of Milan; the Società Editrice Barbarossa of Milan…”. The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism describes Società Editrice Barbarossa as “extreme right publishers”.

Even a cursory look at their small catalogue will make this perfectly clear, but if you are still not convinced about the political stance of this niche publishing house, please make sure you don’t miss the truly eye-popping CD section.

And the publisher of Vaj’s latest book is not much of an improvement: Dove va la biopolitica? (2008) is published by Edizioni Settimo Sigillo, a small publisher specializing in “Fascism, Second World War and the Italian Social Republic, Nazism, Fascisms and other national movements, Paganism and Roman Traditional Religion”. The book is edited by Adriano Scianca, another sovrumanist and close Vaj follower, who is also in charge of “cultural activities” for Italian neofascist organization Casapound, and the author of The Identitary Struggle (La Battaglia Identitaria), in which he calls for “articulating a fully national revolutionary, archeofuturist thought, a direct descendent of fascist sovrumanism.” Scianca is also a prominent AIT member and a regular presence in the AIT journal Divenire.

Moreover, a substantial number of Vaj’s articles were originally published on, or have been republished by, L’Uomo Libero (Free Man), described as an “extreme right-wing periodical” in Antisemitism Worldwide, a

report produced by ‘The Stephen Roth Institute for The Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism’, under the patronage of the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress. And according to the already mentioned Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today “L’Uomo Libero [...] advocates the struggle against mondialismo and a multiracial society; it is antisemitic and denies the Holocaust. In 1997 two issues supported nationalism and opposed immigration to Italy from developing countries, and referred to the existence of an ‘international Jewish power’ controlling and manipulating the Italian media. One of these issues focused on Holocaust denial and included an international bibliography of 1,200 publications on the topic”.

Even if we were to accept Vaj’s claim that he has nothing to do with the extreme right, his association with these publishers and websites would show such a persistent lack of judgment that, in our view, his position at the head of an H+ affiliated association would be simply unacceptable. But there’s more.


Leftist fascists?

Vaj, in his IEET contribution, quotes a couple of articles published by the Italian newspaper Rinascita, The National Left Daily (one of which is available in the newspaper archives, and the other one at LaDestra.info, a far-right website), which supposedly exposes the “relationships with neo- or post-fascist sectors of Mr. Berlusconi’s coalition” of some of his critics at NTI. This is a breathtaking attempt at misrepresentation: it is Rinascita that happens to be a neofascist newspaper, despite the intentionally misleading name (more on that in a moment). And the author of the articles is not an impartial third party, but one Mafalda Grandi, a well-known sovrumanist and Vaj follower, and the name given as the registrant for the domain where Vaj’s Biopolitica is published online, as shown by the Whois of the site.

We should be grateful to Vaj, however, for mentioning Rinascita, as both the paper and its ambiguous politics are central to the understanding of the highly atypical brand of neofascism we are confronted with here.

But first, a clarification. James Hughes, in his introduction, mentions that “Americans have now had a year or two exposure to hysterical charges from right-wingers that every putatively progressive policy and politician from FDR to Obama was in fact ‘fascist.’” That might very well be the case, but that’s not what we are driving at. We are not trying to prove any larger points or to make any sweeping generalizations. We are simply stating the well documented fact that there is an Italian neofascist fringe that borrows heavily from the far-left, and that Vaj and the other sovrumanists have a close and continuing relationship with it.

Such a meme-complex, mixing far-left and far-right ideas, is obviously unusual, and we have always been very careful to specify that we are talking about an atypical brand of neofascism. Whether this borrowing from the left is genuine or simply part of an infiltration strategy is open to debate, but it’s not without historical precedent.

Back to Rinascita. To anybody familiar with Italian politics, the name Rinascita ( Rebirth) can only bring to mind the magazine of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). The magazine stopped publication in 1991, the same year PCI changed its name to Democratic Party of the Left and moved further toward social democracy. That move to the center caused the appearance of some groups to its left, one of which is the Party of Italian Communists, which happens to publish a magazine also called Rinascita ( of the Left). Not surprisingly, the journalists of this Rinascita are less than pleased by the presence on newsagents’ stands of a neofascist daily by the same name, and last year they published an investigative reportage centered on Rinascita (the neofascist one) and the surrounding microverse of publications and organizations: “Black Daily. An investigation on Rinascita, the neofascist daily that pretends to be left-wing”(Nero Quotidiano. Indagine su "Rinascita", il quotidiano neofascista che si finge di sinistra), in Rinascita della Sinistra November 27th, 2008.


Alain de Benoist

The reportage is an in-depth study of this unusual branch of Italian neofascism. Here are a few significant passages:

[ Rinascita] is a neofascist newspaper that hides behind leftists’ symbols and words. Their project of political chameleonism goes as far back as 1968 […] it belongs to a far-right network that tries to pass itself as leftwing. [...] Rinascita, says director Gaudenzi, ‘has never described itself as far-right’. Nevertheless, its contributors, the content of its articles, and the external links are all in the neofascist area. [Rinascita] continues the old habit of winking to the left, for example in criticizing American imperialism.”

According to the reporters

“the exponents of this area declare themselves to be against financial globalism, but also against class struggle and in favour of hierarchies. [...] For them the main emergency is that of a national rebirth, i.e. ethnic defense and the defense of Euro-Italian identity and tradition. Not only do they refer to the differentialist theories of Alain de Benoist but are close to the more extreme positions within the Northern League. From the hate for the US derives an arabophile stance, in an anti-Jewish role. As an alternative to American world dominance they propose an ‘eurasian’ geopolitical power [...] Whoever opposes America is seen as a reference point: in the past it was Milosevic’s Serbia and Saddam’s Iraq, today it’s Ahmadinejad’s Iran, but also ‘red’ strongholds such as Cuba and North Korea. [...] But this political transversality doesn’t stop this area from remaining racist, according to the tradition of defending Italian ‘blood’ from external contaminations (‘globalism’ as a ‘conspiracy to destroy races’ is the bête noir of this specific type of Italian neofascists). [...] The born-again Nazis do not choose a ‘Christian’ Europe, but look with sympathy to neopaganism and Islam.

The article mentions a ‘black web’ of neofascist websites and publications that gravitate around Rinascita. As it turns out, every one of AIT’s sovrumanist authors, all regular contributors to AIT’s publication Divenire, are to be found in this ‘black web’. These include Italia Sociale. The Periodical of National Socialism (where Francesco Boco, another sovrumanist author and Vaj’s follower, has declared his admiration for the Waffen SS – which he described as “a model for the future, a European army of political soldiers”– and where he enthusiastically reviewed Vaj’s Biopolitica), and the already mentioned magazine L’Uomo Libero. Just as Scianca, Boco is gaining a recognized role, in Italy, as a ‘transhumanist’ intellectual and ideologue, thanks to his articles in Divenire, where he has appeared in all of the three issues so far published.

The Rinascita (of the Left) journalists then proceed to illustrate how the infiltration tactics employed by today’s “left-wing” neofascists originate in the 1960s, when their predecessors (christened ‘nazi-maoists’ by the media of the day) attempted, unsuccessfully, to infiltrate the students’ movement, and how their ideological ‘borrowing’ is little more than ideological camouflage employed in an attempt to infiltrate protest movements dominated by the left.

If you have read The Political Roots of Overhumanism, much of this will be familiar, but it is worth noting how the journalists of Rinascita (of the Left) seem to have independently reached the same conclusions regarding this unusual and little-known neofascist fringe as the politically transversal Estropico.org, where The Political Roots of Overhumanism is published.



An unfortunate juxtaposition of transhumanism and neofascism

At this point we would like to clarify that we do not necessarily ask for the expulsion from AIT neither of Vaj nor of the other sovrumanists, as we’re staunch supporters of freedom of speech and expression.

Our main concern is with the exposure provided by AIT to sovrumanists, exposure which is leading to a growing confusion between transhumanism and sovrumanism. This unfortunate juxtaposition of transhumanism and neofascism has already begun. In 2008, an Italian intellectual heavy-weight, science historian Paolo Rossi, published a short book titled Speranze (Hopes), in which he criticizes both those that for decades have been announcing an ever near end of the world, and those whose unbound hopes makes them foresee a future heaven on Earth. Among the latter, the author includes the transhumanists, to whom he devotes ten or so pages, in which he surveys the writings of international authors (mostly Nick Bostrom), and then those of Italian transhumanists. Vaj’s book (Biopolitica) is dismissed by Rossi with two words, “considered neo-nazist”, and the author’s attention moves on to Scianca’s writings. His correct impression is that Scianca pines for a ‘community of destiny’ (Schicksalsgemeinschaft) of Hitlerian memory. Not only does Rossi dedicate more space to Scianca than to Bostrom, in his quick survey, but he establishes an association between fascism and transhumanism which will haunt us for years to come – all thanks to the hyperactive sovrumanists and to AIT’s decision to give them exposure.

Once Riccardo Campa, founder and president of AIT, decided to offer the position of national secretary to Stefano Vaj, now over two years ago, we came to the conclusion that the only path left to us, in an attempt to prevent such confusion, was to set up an alternative Italian transhumanist organization. You could describe the birth of the Italian Transhumanist Network as a ‘not-in-my-name’ moment. In the meantime, the AIT sovrumanists have been actively proselytizing within their specific political milieu and, perhaps due to the subsequent arrival of a growing number of sovrumanist foot soldiers, AIT seems now to be flirting with a post-modern form of posthumanism increasingly unmoored from transhumanism’s Enlightenment roots. We hope to be wrong on this, but the antagonistic and militaristic language and style employed on the website of AIT’s latest initiative, the European Transhumanist Front, doesn’t reassure us.


Vaj’s Biopolitica

In his introduction to Vaj’s IEET article, James Hughes describes Vaj’s Biopolitica as “reassuringly bioliberal”, but in further discussion elsewhere he clarified that he hasn’t actually read it and that his opinion was based on reassurances from people who have – we can only assume that means some non-sovrumanist members of AIT – and that his comments do not represent an endorsement. Despite this useful and honest clarification, and while we fully understand Hughes’ desire to protect transhumanism’s reputation, his original comments will be certainly exploited and presented as a ‘seal of approval’, therefore unwittingly facilitating the sovrumanists’ infiltration project.

Biopolitica is a masterpiece of plausible deniability, which is why we will not present a selection of quotes from it. Instead, we encourage you to read it (in an automated translation, if necessary) rather than accepting somebody else’s opinion of it – ours included. This will preempt Vaj’s usual tactic of sidestepping the issue by accusing us of quoting him out of context, and will put the responsibility of endorsing his book squarely on the shoulders of whoever decides to do so. Furthermore, Stefano Vaj is only the tip of the sovrumanist iceberg and only a systematic interpretation of this emerging movement, as we hope to have presented here, can explain its background, aims, and the kind of posthuman future it aspires to.

We are convinced that if you do read Biopolitica, you’ll understand how it happened that such a ‘bioliberal’ book found itself included in a list of recommended readings on the neo-nazist forum Stormfront.org (‘White Pride World Wide’) titled “Essential books for a sound racial education” (“Libri essenziali per una sana educazione razziale”), shoulder to shoulder with well-known racist authors like Gobineau, Guenther, Duke, Klassen, Kemp, and others. Or on the reading list of Italian neofascist party Tricolor Flame Social Movement.




COMMENTS

I trust the authors of this article will forgive me for not taking their rant seriously.

I will take them more seriously if they start dedicating more time to promoting transhumanism in Italy. But not if they continue to focus exclusively on their worn-out hate campaign against one person.

In the meantime, the AIT publishes books, cultural magazines, appears on national media, manages vibrant and popular discussion fora, and continues its work to make Italians aware and supportive of our transhumanist vision.

I cani abbaiano, e la carovana passa.

Dear Giulio, I wish you were right and this was just about one person! But as we say in the article, Vaj is only the tip of the “sovrumanist” iceberg. Your association has decided not only to welcome a number of “neofascist transhumanists” (if that’s not an oxymoron) but also to give them continuous exposure in its publications. Now, that’s not the transhumanism *I* want to promote - in Italy or anywhere else! If any of the points raised in the article are not correct, please feel free to point them out - we’d be happy to make corrections if needed. Otherwise, your refusal to take our accusations seriously can only make me think that you find it difficult to explain how and why a bona fide transhumanist and man of the Left like yourself could possibly find a modus vivendi with the “sovrumanists”.

And just to clarify, on the subject of promoting transhumanism: my website (estropico.org) has been doing exactly that for years, starting from the first Italian translation of the Transhumanist Declaration and FAQ; its blog (estropico.blogspot.com) is, as far as I can tell, the most read, Italian-language, openly transhumanist site on the web; Network H+ (transumanisti.org), is gearing up to initiatives both on-line and in the “real world”.

Dear Fabio,

I am, of course, well aware of the fact that your website estropico is a key transhumanist reference in our language.

By “the authors of the article” I am actually referring to the person whose name appears in the url of this article (which is http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/stile20100209/).

This gentleman, as you know, has never written anything about transhumanism, and seems only interested in his personal hate campaign against a person who, on the contrary, has done and continues to do a lot to promote our transhumanist vision in Italy, Europe and the world.

Giulio says: “the AIT publishes books, cultural magazines, appears on national media, manages vibrant and popular discussion fora, and continues its work to make Italians aware and supportive of our transhumanist vision”.

Is that your solid alibi? V.I.P. Very Intelligent People!

For your information, we also have a popular discussion forum and we work to spread the transhumanist values.

As one can see, conspiracy nuts are not a an exclusively American breed, and there we find again the disgruntled preachers of the “red-brown-islamic-overhumanist threat hiding in technoprogressive and transhumanist ranks”.

What I had to say on the subject is already contained in the article referred to in the introduction to the post above. The growing participation of some of the best-known Italian intellectuals (in most cases commonly considered as undisputed left-wingers) to the planned issues of Divenire, AIT’s magazine, is eloquent enough on the seriousness of the allegations.

I will only add that while I obviously have no responsibility whatsoever for what a few alleged fans of mine may be or say, I can only approve and support the invitation contained in the rant above to check directly my writings, and form your own opinion. 

As already mentioned elsewhere, I am also available to provide privately anybody caring to know more on the subject with documented details on the interesting backgrounds of the couple of individuals involved in this unrelenting but ultimately very repetitive campaign, always just short of what could be prosecuted in Italy as criminal defamation.

Join the Peoples’ Front of Judea now!

Actually, as it is clearly stated on top of this page, the authors of the article are not a “couple of individuals” but the seven founding members of the Italian Transhumanist Network. They all stand by what is written here.

I’d like to point out how neither Giulio nor Stefano seem particularly keen to point out anything that might be factually wrong in the above article…

Stefano Vaj resorts to name-calling and refers to his article on IEET which is strong on opinion, but, unlike our own article, rather short on facts corroborated by independent links. He mentions the presence of left-wingers on AIT publications, but we never claimed that the whole of AIT is a neofascist organisation - see the very first lines of our article. He then tries to push the discussion off-line, asking to be contacted privately - why should we do that? What’s wrong with this or any other public forum?

Finally: Stefano says that our “campaign” is “always just short of what could be prosecuted in Italy as criminal defamation.” Bingo! In order to defame him we’d have to say something that is not actually correct…

Yes, as any amateur psychopoliceman should understand, I am not particularly keen to contend that “I did not molest child X on the 18th of October because on such date I had a flu”, since this is the hoped for reaction of those who count on it to raise subsequently the question of whether I did it on some other date, or of what I would have done had I been perfectly healthy on such occasion. And so on.

I remain nevertheless available to discuss your and my respective views on global warming, embryo stem cell therapies, your funny flavour of western-christian supremacism, intelligent design, socialism, IVF prohibitionism, the WMDs allegedly stockpiled by Saddam Hussein, welfare, diversity, globalisation, social medicine, basic income guarantee, popular sovereignties, the use of drugs for social control purposes, imperialism, the idea of your friends to forbid the muslim cult in Europe under threat of deportation or their support to the electoral campaigns of neofascist politicians, you name it.

Then, we can count the transhumanists and technoprogressives who share my actual ideas, and those who share yours (if they exist at all).

I must thank the author of the article for these words:

“Boco is gaining a recognized role, in Italy, as a ‘transhumanist’ intellectual and ideologue”

Well, as far as I can see, no one ever asked me to write “the official line” of AIT, so you can be sure that actually I’m not an ideologue. I write in total freedom what I think, and I usually respect different opinions. Of course, here in Italy like there in USA, police of political correctness is always ready to speak about what doesn’t comprehend.
You should read my articles before attacking my point of view, and then you should speak on the matter of what I write. I quote Marinetti, Junger, Spengler etc. and you can’t deny also these can be part of a transhumanist way of thinking.
As for the Italia Sociale site, if you can read italian language you should easily get that this is not a “national socialist” site, but a “social national” site, which is a deeply different thing.
About the Waffen SS I think is an historical fact that this was the first true European army of the modern era. This is not an ideological point of view, but simply a fact. You can be against an European army but in any way you look at the Waffen SS, then this was the first one.
Clearly, I do not reject anything of what I wrote, I like what Stefano Vaj writes and I think Giorgio Locchi was one of the most important italian thinkers of the last 30 years.
Seems that in a matter where moralism and conformism are simply an obstacle, you’re still thinking about personal points of view while someone else is studying a new kind of philosophy.

@Giuseppe Regalzi
‘Actually, as it is clearly stated on top of this page, the authors of the article are not a “couple of individuals” but the seven founding members of the Italian Transhumanist Network. They all stand by what is written here. ‘

Weren’t the NTI members… eight? But wait, the eighth must be the one who has just privately informed me that he did not accept responsibility for the garbage above, thus refusing to sign it.

Perhaps “some founding members” would have been more appropriate, but hey, accuracy is not the forte of whoever prepared the dossier above anyway. grin

I am OTOH surprised that you do “stand by” it, given that I was repeatedly given for months now the opportunity to express my opinions on your own blog, where I have never been dealt with (nor do I believe I have ever behaved) as an “infiltrator” of one kind or another…

Stefano, the founding members of the Network are seven, not eight. You are probably mistaking an ordinary member - not a very brave one, apparently, since he has not yet notified us of his dissociation - for a founder.

“I am OTOH surprised that you do ‘stand by’ it, given that I was repeatedly given for months now the opportunity to express my opinions on your own blog, where I have never been dealt with (nor do I believe I have ever behaved) as an “infiltrator’ of one kind or another…”

Well, we never said you tried to infiltrate my blog… grin And the fact that you have been allowed to post your comments there does indeed prove that “we’re staunch supporters of freedom of speech and expression”, and that the problem has never been with your person nor even - in a sense - with your ideas, but only with your role within AIT.

Dear Stefano, I can understand why you’re so keen to change the subject, but your tactic is transparent. Throwing anything and everything at your critics in the hope that something might stick and distract the readers will not change the reality of what’s in the above article. Anyone can now follow the link to the openly neofascist publisher you have chosen for your Biopolitica, just to mention one, and make up their own mind about you and your peculiar version of transhumanism. In the same way they can follow the links to my online activities and judge by themselves if what you say about me makes any sense or is just spin. Here they are, conveniently google-translated for the non-Italian speakers:

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http://estropico.org

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?u=http://estropico.blogspot.com/&sl=it&tl=en&hl;=&ie=UTF-8

and here are the original, Italian-language versions:

http://www.estropico.org

http://www.estropico.blogspot.com

Cheers,
Fabio

>Stefano Vaj wrote:
>Weren’t the NTI members… eight? But wait, the eighth must be the
>one who has just privately informed me that he did not accept
>responsibility for the garbage above, thus refusing to sign it.

Actually, no. You’re making a mistake. The blogs/websites, members of the Network, are constantly growing, and they’re now 12, while the founders were originally 5.
We decided to sign as “the founding members..” just to avoid that members who have joined the network later were involved in this dispute. Nonetheless, two of the new members firmly showed their willingness to sign the article, so we decided to ‘upgrade’ them to the founding member status.

>Perhaps “some founding members” would have been more
>appropriate

Again, you’re wrong, as it’s exactly the opposite: thank to you, we have now two more founding members grin

For Loretta: Yes, I am painfully aware of the Pythonesque undertones…

>Francesco Boco wrote:
>As for the Italia Sociale site, if you can read italian language you
>should easily get that this is not a “national socialist” site, but a
>“social national” site, which is a deeply different thing.

Not really. The name is ‘Italia Sociale. Il periodico del Socialismo Nazionale’ - ‘socialismo’ is substantive, and ‘nazionale’ is adjective - so the correct translation is precisely ‘Italia Sociale. The Periodical of National Socialism’ (and not ‘Social National-ism’).

>About the Waffen SS I think is an historical fact that this was the
>first true European army of the modern era. This is not an
>ideological point of view, but simply a fact.

I don’t know if it was “the first true European army”, but anyway, as in that article you’re suggesting to take the waffen SS as a “model” for a future European army, then you’re not simply reporting a fact, but you’re proposing exactly your ideological point of view.

>Clearly, I do not reject anything of what I wrote, I like what
>Stefano Vaj writes and I think Giorgio Locchi was one of the
>most important italian thinkers of the last 30 years.

I greatly appreciate the intellectual honesty you’re showing here.

Come on, Albertario, some Italians speak English and we knows where you come from and what your political leanings are.
Not to mention your friend Tecnoumanista, who I hear admitted in the WTA public list he had actively campaigned for the election of Alessandra Mussolini, Benito’s grand-daughter, who left National Alliance, the Italian neofascist party because it was not extremist and anti-Semitic enough anymore.
Or have you become all of a sudden a good socialist? Pardon me if, speaking of infiltrators, I would doubt your sincerity, but I’m certain this statement from your side would make interesting reading for your Italian contacts of very different persuasions. I’m even afraid they wouldn’t be too happy. But never mind, come out of the closet, don’t be shy about your own political ideas, don’t let us in the dark any further.
To make a long story short: are you asking Stefano Vaj to renounce bigotry, capitalism, white supremacy, class / gender / cultural chauvinism, intolerance, christian fundamentalism, oppression of proletarians, western imperialism, corporate interests, anti-darwinism, individual egoism, “pro-life”, death penalty, xenophoby, militarism, social conservatism, etc. etc. etc.?
Of course not. He has *always* raised his voice in transhumanist channels and other places against all that, AFAIK. Alas, the same can’t be said for some of his critics. Quite the contrary, in fact.

@Mafalda Grandi (alias MG): Do you have any proof of your charges or you just spreading rumors?

What about your nazi-maoist magazine, Rinascita?

Why don’t you let your boss clarify his views on the subjects I mentioned? Vaj repeatedly did, including in this Web site, and most people would consider them very relevant to decide who is a fascist and who is not, don’t you think?
But he better keep in mind that I still keep at hand a full archive of my exchanges with him in his mailing list, and it will be my pleasure to point out how recent his “conversion” would be.
As to “my magazine Rinascita”, it is a daily newspaper and I do not own it, but I remark that its editor-in-chief is Ugo Gaudenzi, the former editor-in-chief of L’Umanità, the daily newspaper of the Socialist Democratic Party, the heirs of one of the oldest socialist parties in the world (1892) who refused to support Stalinism in 1948 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Democratic_Socialist_Party). Amongst its leaders, Saragat, subsequently president of the Italian Republic, and the sons of Matteotti, the member of parliament murdered by fascists in 1924.
Even today, Rinascita opposes privatisations, western imperialism, dismantling of welfare, cultural colonisation, globalism, exploitment of the working classes and of third world countries, interferences of the church in Italian affairs. More than enough to make them fascists in the eyes of “leftwing” agents provocateurs who are notoriously fed and encouraged by the disinformation depts of the intelligence circles that are so close to the heart of your boss’ ideological leaders. What else is new? The only difference is that who echoed this really authoritative stuff in the article above surely did it for free, because nobody would pay them anything, invisible as they are on the Italian scene.

>MG wrote:
>Come on, Albertario, some Italians speak English and we knows
>where you come from and what your political leanings are.
>Not to mention your friend Tecnoumanista, who I
>hear admitted in the WTA public list he had actively campaigned for
>the election of Alessandra Mussolini, Benito’s grand-daughter, who
>left National Alliance, the Italian neofascist party because it was
>not extremist and anti-Semitic enough anymore.

Well, if that’s the case, why would I have contributed to the article we are now commenting? On the contrary, I would have been the biggest fan of Stefano Vaj, and I would have published articles and books through his same publishers (L’Uomo Libero, Società Editrice Barbarossa, etc - see http://www.axt.org.uk/antisem/countries/italy/italy.htm ).

But let’s face it, this is MG - Mafalda Grandi, I suppose (if that’s your real name) - Vaj’s ‘assistant’, registrant for the domain where his Biopolitica is published online, and a specialist in doing the ‘dirty work’ on demand. As you’re trying to do in this post.

As far as your important ‘revelation’ concerning me - everyone can check in the wta-talk archives ( http://www.transhumanism.org/mailman/private/wta-talk/2009-October/027489.html ) -, I just replied to Riccardo Campa, who some monthhs ago ‘disclosed’ that I _voted_ for Alessandra Mussolini in the 1993 Naples mayoral election (as about _an half_ of Neapolitan voters did), saying that yes, I voted for her: I was young (18 years old), then i grew up and changed idea. Currently, since about 17 years, my political views can be clearly described as liberal, social democrat and progressist (and on that occasion I reminded Campa that in the past he publicly and repeatedly said that my political views were very similar to his). Please note that, as 1993 mayoral elections came just after “Mani Pulite” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mani_pulite ), all four parties in government in 1992 disappeared, so the forced choice (not only in Naples, but also in Rome and in other italian main cities) was between a post-fascist and a post-communist candidate.

Mafalda, as you falsely said that I “had _actively campaigned_ for the election of Alessandra Mussolini”, I challenge you to prove your claim (as we did in our article regarding Vaj, you, and the other sovrumanists, about much more relevant - deep and current - connections with the far-right). Otherwise, perhaps you could write one more of your comical articles on Rinascita (the neo-Fascist one), but these half-baked attempts at mud-slinging are not worthy of appearing on IEET.org.

On the other hand, interestingly you also said that Alessandra Mussolini “left National Alliance, the Italian neofascist party because it was not extremist and anti-Semitic enough anymore”. That is true, except that Alleanza Nazionale wasn’t a “neofascist party”, but a conservative party ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Alliance_(Italy) ). In fact, when its leader Gianfranco Fini (currently President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies) visited Israel in 2003, he justifiably labeled the racial laws issued by the fascist regime as “infamous”, referred to the Italian Social Republic as belonging to the most shameful pages of the past, and considered fascism part of an era of “absolute evil”. As a result (and 10 years after I voted for her in Naples mayoral election), Alessandra Mussolini decided to left the party and to form Social Alternative (Alternativa Sociale). Then, in 2005, Tricolor Flame Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Fiamma Tricolore), the other neo-fascist party, joined Mussolini’s Alternativa Sociale. The same tricolor Flame Social Movement that _currently_ suggest Vaj’s Biopolitica in his reading list ( http://www.fiammagiano.altervista.org/libri.htm ) and the same Tricolor Flame Social Movement you _recently_ praise in your article on the neo-fascist Rinascita ( http://www.webcitation.org/5leAdjAxU ).

Moreover, not surprisingly, Adriano Scianca - prominent AIT member and now even considered an important italian transhumanist thinker thanks to his regular presence in the AIT journal Divenire - in these same years published an article ( http://www.italiasociale.org/AlzoZero/almirante_tel_aviv.htm ) on ‘Italia Sociale The Periodical of National Socialism’- where else? - harshly criticizing the refusal of fascism made by Alleanza Nazionale and what he called the “pilgrimage to Israel” made by its leaders, and concluding with these words: “Poor people: haven’t they understood that they never have been fascists?”.

So I found quite odd that - in this quibbler and rambling attempt to divert attention from the main issue - you’re trying to associate myself to a political movement, and more in general to political milieu, to which actually you, together with your leader and the other sovrumanists, are very close _today_.

First of all, I must say that I’m not 100% sure who I’m replying to here. MG (Mahutg) is the nick of Mafalda Grandi, one of the “neofascist transhumanists” mentioned in our article. But the *rumor* in Italian transhumanist circles is that it is another pseudonym of Stefano Vaj. My *personal opinion*, I must say, is that it is more than a rumor. “Vaj”, in turn, is a made-up surname, as the secretive “Vaj” has decided not to use his real name to sign his books and his many political articles on the net - understandably, given their often controversial nature.

But let’s see where we stand. Whether it’s Stefano or Mafalda, it looks like the sovrumanists’ response to our article is going to be a series of increasingly desperate attempts to change the subject. Their “accusations” grow more surreal and more sweeping, and are typically offered without any corroborating evidence. And just a little research is all it takes to show how unfounded they are, as in the not exactly thought through attempt to smear TecnoUmanista (see his reply, above).

My political leanings. If I *had to* pigeon-hole myself, I guess I would describe myself as a liberal (european sense), with some libertarian tendencies. But politics is not my main interest, and I have found myself forced to become an “accidental antifascist” by the emergence of the Italian sovrumanists. I don’t write articles on political websites or even on political mailing lists, unlike the sovrumanists whose activities are documented in our article. My online activities are confined to transhumanism, in the form of my website (Estropico.org). But whatever my political leanings, I have made a conscious effort to make Estropico a resource for transhumanists from both the right and left. Check by yourselves: go to the homepage. You don’t even need to read Italian, just look at the pictures of the the people featured in the more recent articles. Right now you’ll see that the most recent additions are the translations of an interview with Ben Goertzel and one with Jamais Cascio… What really upsets Vaj & co is that *they* and *their* neofascist politics are not welcome there.

Cheers,
Fabio (Albertario)

MG said: “Rinascita opposes privatisations, western imperialism, dismantling of welfare, cultural colonisation, globalism, exploitment of the working classes and of third world countries, interferences of the church in Italian affairs”.

Yes, the notorious “Third Position” between capitalism and communism…

You’re playing with words. For example, the Members of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party did not refer to themselves with the fascism-word, nor the nazism-word.  They referred to themselves as socialists and/or national socialists and they used the actual entire name of the party… It is one of the peculiar ironies of history that there are no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of socialist theories and marxist thought…

THIS THREAD IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU ALL FOR PARTICIPATING.

While I am not going to waste time by replying to the not very cogent posts of the anti-AIT clique, I think this exchange shows how politics is never simple.

We are used to simplified binary political categories like right-left, authoritarian-liberal, reactionary-progressive, individualist-collectivist, but the reality is much more entangled, and often difficult to disentangle. This is always true, but it may be especially evident in Italian politics.

History shows that, in Italy, the early fascist party was closely associated to socialist groups not only before, but also after its rise to power in the 20s. Conversely, the socialist and especially the communist parties after the war were run as authoritarian dictatorships. Some of the groups mentioned in this debate are especially difficult to classify. The old right-left, socialist-fascist binary labels don’t apply, and we seem to need new categories.

Or, even better in my opinion, we need to stop insisting on easy, binary and worn-out categories, and start paying more attention to what persons and groups actually say and do. Are they in favor of X? Are they against Y? What is their proposed approach to solve Z?

The only thing I can say is: If you agree with me on most of the issues that I consider important, I will consider you as a political ally. If you not only agree with me, but also do something to advance our common agenda, I will consider you as a very valuable political ally. Regardless of labels.

OOPS sorry James, our posts crossed. Thread closed.

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