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August 2021

What would you do if the next Arsenal manager has a tattoo of Sir Oswald Mosely on his arm?

By Tony Attwood

Just to clarify, Oswald Mosely was a founder of the British Union of Fascists, and was an MP just at the time that Lt Col Sir Henry Norris*, the man who saved Arsenal from extinction in 1910, (before he was knighted).

Amazingly (at least from a 21st century perspective) Sir Oswald was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in a Labour Government (yes a Labour Government).  Members of my family vigorously fought the Blackshirts (part of the British Union of Fascists), in the 1930s so I have a strong bias.

So why is this here at all, or at least on Untold, not on the Arsenal History Blog where we usually concern ourselves with Norris and all things historical?.

It is of course because of Paolo Di Canio, a self-confessed fascist, who claims he is not a racist.  And I just wonder what the AAA (who campaign endlessly for the removal of Mr Wenger) would do if Paolo Di Canio (or any other fascist) became manager of Arsenal.

It is a valid question, because just as most top players are not available for transfer most of the time, so most top managers are not available to come to Arsenal, most of the time.  You may draw up a short list, but what if they say no to the Ems simply because they don’t want to leave the current employer?  (Or maybe because they just don’t fancy taking on a club that has among its supporters, the AAA.)

You go down the list and get to… a known fascist.   He might be a good manager, but even so.  Do you really want a fascist in charge of Arsenal?

And just to deal with one technicality, as many have said before me in dealing with Mr Di Canio’s own suggestion: “is it possible to be a fascist and not a racist?”  No it isn’t.  Not at all.  Fascism is based on the inherent inequality of people as defined by their religion, their colour, and their background.

Anyway Di Canio has a tattoo of Mussolini, whom he has called “ethical”.   That’s a bit like taking “ethnic cleansing” and claiming it is ok, because the phrase is close to “ethical cleansing”.  No it isn’t.

Now I am not at all in favour of witch hunts of the, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” type that symbolised McCarthyism because despite my strongly held views, I also subscribe to the notion that everyone is entitled to his/her beliefs, no matter how awful I personally find them.

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But there is still the matter of the club I support.  Would I run this pro-manager, pro-directors blog if Arsenal appointed a fascist as manager?

And what if it all went further, and the fascist manager actually won the league, the double, the Euro Cup and even the quadruple (let’s throw in the league cup too).  Would I keep my season ticket?  Would I still be pro the club?  Would I keep running Untold Arsenal?

The simple answer is “no”, “no”, and “no”.  I would make my opposition to the appointment clear, because although Mr Di Canio has the right to vote fascist in elections (as a citizen of the EU he can vote in UK elections, so he can vote for the British National Party if he wants, as much as he can vote for the “Elvis likes Cats” party) and has the right to espouse his point of view, and indeed has the right to try and argue that you can be a fascist without being a racist, I personally would not want my club (and yes I still feel it is “my club” although I only own 12% of one share), to be associated with those views.

For me, there are levels of argument here.  If Arsenal were sponsored by Amazon, I’d stay as a supporter, but write endless diatribes against Amazon, on the grounds that the company pays no UK tax.  But I would still keep my season ticket.   Besides which I am already compromised since Amazon sell some of the books I’ve written.

But having as a manager a fascist?  No, for me that would be a step far too far.

Everyone has their own standards of course, everyone their own politics.  Everyone makes their own choices.  But I would like to read, one day, a clear statement from one of the AAA supporting web sites, what their position would be if our beloved club did take on a manager whose politics reached into the landscape occupied by the BNP, the National Socialists, and the rest.

* Since I have mentioned Sir Henry Norris, let’s resolve a few things before the argument starts.   As part of his election campaign in 1918 Sir Henry spoke in favour of the full emancipation of women, the reduction in rail fares of 50% to allow men to go looking for work, and a wholesale change in the government’s position on trade unions and strikes.  His view here was that most of the industrial unrest that beset his era was due to government ineptitude rather than left wing unrest.  He also constantly argued against the maximum wage for footballers.

And before our friends from other clubs think is so highly amusing to come here and say, “ah that’s the Henry Norris who fixed the Arsenal promotion in 1919”, you really ought to read “Arsenal’s election to the first division in 1919” before you make a bit of a fool of yourselves.  Again.

While speaking of sideshows, there’s one other such event: D Miliband, ex-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and major Arsenal supporter, resigning his lucrative job at Sunderland over Di Canio.  What exactly was he doing there in the first place at a nice little salary of apparently, £125,000 a year?   Or maybe I shouldn’t ask.

Good of him to resign however.

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148 comments to What would you do if the next Arsenal manager has a tattoo of Sir Oswald Mosely on his arm?

  • John

    I agree completely with you, Tony.

    I have little time for Sunderland FC, but it is a club supported by a community with deep-seated anti-fascist traditions. This event is another reminder of the dangers of ownership by individuals with no awareness of or concern for such matters.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    As one of the few non-Arsenal supporters who come on here, usually to argue the toss over some nonsense or other, I have to state I am with you wholeheartedly Tony.

    Until he renounces his fascist views, properly, then Di Canio has no place in this world for me, never mind at a top flight football club.

    The people he has associated with in the past advocate violence and murder, oppression and inequality, and given the opportunity, carry out sickening acts on the weak and defenceless.

    If you look on the internet, you will see him in numerous poses, Nazi Salute, hate in his eyes, surrounded by his cronies, it’s all out there.

    If I could get away with it, I would shoot him in the face.


  • Shard


    I’m going to have to disagree with you here. I wouldn’t care about our manager’s political beliefs as long as it didn’t affect the way he worked. (as in, I wouldn’t want my club to be run on racist lines for example)

    I’m not sure fascism necessarily incorporates racism though.(In any case, the meaning of words evolve, and Di Canio has said that he doesn’t believe in racism) What fascism definitely does is build up fear/mistrust of an ‘other’ so as to strengthen the grip over its own populace. In which case, why look back as far as Mussolini? What if the guy had a tattoo of George W. Bush on his arm, and called him ‘ethical’. Or Obama for that matter (yes, I know he’s black). But as ‘the most powerful man in the world’ (is that not building a cult of the leader?), the creation of the ‘other’ in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, the Arab world etc, all of this has, to different degrees, some elements of the same ideology. It’s just that no one uses the word fascist in that context. (well actually, not no one. Some do)

    Basically, it’s a grey area, and how you see it depends on where you look at it from. No one political belief is completely ‘pure’. SO how can we ostracise someone on that basis?

    In any case, we just know that Di Canio is a self proclaimed fascist. But do we have a right to inquire into others’ political beliefs? Do we know Wenger’s (actually we sort of do, because he’s given some interviews)or Ferguson’s? Or Moyes’? What if one of the PL managers is also a fascist, or an anarchist, or whatever ‘ist’ is supposed to be evil, but doesn’t say it openly. Does it make any difference? So are we going to persecute Di Canio simply because he declared his political belief? I wouldn’t.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think we have to be a bit careful over extremism here, doesnt our manager have some kind of communistic wage structure or something? He clearly must be a hardliner.
    Whilst I do not have a lot of time for some of the view points of Di Canio, anyone else think David Milliband is being just a little bit self serving as he prepares to join up with corporate America? I could list quite a few very unpleasant people Mr Milliband has cosied up to in recent years, some of them facists of the very worse kind and by the clearest of definitions, did not affect his position on the clubs board.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe we have to keep an eye on the situation and see if for example Di Canio suddenly drops Bramble and Sessegnon and replaces them with more “traditional looking European types”…

  • Matt

    Dont get rid of Wenger or we might get a fascist manager. Really? It that the sort of desperation this site resorted to to try and support Wenger and his failing methods.

  • Sid

    Oh dear Matt, you’re not very bright are you, judging by the way you’ve kept to your stunningly obtuse conclusion.

    Embarrassing really.

    Anyway, I think ordinarily the political views of any manager should not be a consideration, unless they are part of some underhand skulduggery or those views are extremist and/or incite or espouse hate, violence etc. therefore Di Canio has left himself open to investigation and criticism. If he is a bona fidelity fascist then he definitely should not be managing a dogs home never mind a premier league club.

  • nicky

    I’m sure you don’t need reminding that your family should be held in great regard over their stand against Mosley and his fascists in the 30’s, in London in particular. They were among the first of the few.
    They would have been the vanguard to oppose an evil which, unfortunately, still exists today, just below the surface of what appears to be a placid society.
    I would not regard a tattoo as a serious hazard on its own. Easy to apply but difficult to remove. De Canio will be watched, never fear and if he steps out of line , will be jumped on from a great height.

  • Stroller

    It seems that Di Canio’s politics are already overshadowing the job that he has to do at Sunderland. Already he is spending time explaining and justifying these to the media which must be a distraction from the urgent tasks he must face there. Whilst these matters largely passed under the radar at a small club like Swindon, they are making the headlines in his case rather than football.

    As a Sunderland fan I would be more concerned that Di Canio has no experience in management at this level and at a club this size. Equally his unpredictable temperament as both a player and a manager right up until recently, make this appointment huge gamble by the owner.

    The political stuff can’t be helping though.

  • BG

    Amaizing how you lefties cannot stand someone having a different opinion than yours… PC is the worst form of facism and it stem from your side of the political spectrum!! We live in a free society and if someone wants to sport a Mussolini tatto so be it… Europe as a whole has goen tits up since lefties have had more power so sit down shut up and let Di Canio do his job which statistically at least he does better than a lot of other managers… I think Di Canio will do well but he will have to water his fiery temperament to cope with the Prima Donnas and tarts that now “grace” the Premier League…

  • Mickey Finn

    Agree with Tony.

    Matt, no, not really. Try reading the article again.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Sunderland has shot themselves in the foot with Di Canio. As Stroller said the talk is more about his political ideas than about his managerial qualities.

    It will have a bad influence on the club. Not that I care about them. Not since Smith.

  • Sid

    What happened to my post?

  • Mick

    Re Matt’s remark’s. Isn’t it extraordinary how often the AAA comment on here and make total fools of themselves.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seem to also remember Di Canio in his younger days had forged some fairly close links with Lazio Ultras, quite an unpleasant bunch, with I am sure a few with far right leanings, as some Spurs fans may well testify.
    Italian politics is complicated, with disparate groups with their own agendas. For instance, the Northern Alliance may house some unpleasant people with unpleasant views, whether they can be classed as hard core fascists is open to debate.
    Can only agree with the post that suggests Sunderland, a club with proud socialist roots, with a ground built on a coal pit have committed a PR blunder. Iam sure there are any number of black players that would be quick to deny Di Canio is a racist, but he needs to denounce any fascist and hooligan links to regain credibility. There is an ex Sunderland manager who once had some very interesting and not especially popular ideals when young, more on an intellectual level than foot soldier level, but like all the better people in the situation, he moved on and this stuff, quite rightly never really saw the light of day. Di Canio , if he is prepared should distance himself, if he will not, it poses many questions.

  • robl

    @ Mandy, agree with you about Milliband senior; if he actually had any principles regarding fasicism/racism he would have resigned or at least done something overtly about Lord Ahmed.

    Notably a football manager is easier prey than a peer of the realm.

  • the mickster

    Does this mean anyone who voted for Tony Blair shouldn’t be an Arsenal manager as he is a war criminal ?

  • Sid

    Depends if those self same managers only voted for Blair on the understandings he waged wars with other soveriegn states and illegally invaded them…

    Its kinda different to aligning yourself with a fascist ideology and group mate.

  • BG – this is one of the most extraordinary comments I have seen. In an article in which I specifically defend the right of anyone to hold their own views, and specifically denounce (as if it needed me to denounce it) Macarthyism, you say

    Amaizing how you lefties cannot stand someone having a different opinion than yours… PC is the worst form of facism and it stem from your side of the political spectrum!

    There’s no evidence presented, just a statement. You utterly agree with the argue, but then set it up to suggest that you are disagreeing with the article. Is that what “you righties” do for a living? Downright contradiction through agreement?

  • bob

    Totally agree, Tony. Standing bravos to your eloquent re-affirmation here of your family’s anti-fascist legacy. Would DiCanio ever get a football manager’s job in Germany? No. Because the public wouldn’t stand for it for a nano-second. Postwar generations of Germans have been mostly crystal clear on what fascism is about and legally ban it from public representation — unlike Greece, where yesterday’s top story in the Guardian was on the intended current expansion worldwide of their fascist Golden Dawn party (with 11 members in Greece’s parliament). Does a link up with DiCanio seem that far-fetched? Do people want to open the stage presented by EPL football to an historically racist ideology that in practice has led to unprecedented mass killing. Does what recently happened in Norway escape awareness? Sunderland’s decision is a disgrace. And it’s a shame that the most that Sunderland fans on this website so far will only raise the bar against him to this level: well, geessh, I get’s it’s inconvenient ’cause it take away attention from the all-important football. As you affirm, Tony, some lines should not be crossed. Perhaps he’ll next be visiting schools in Sunderland and stand as a charismatic role model for adoring children who are as innocent of knowledge of what fascism is as the Sunderland ownership is as callous and obtuse about it. Who is that ownership? The next Sunderland-Spuds clash will be worth watching for how the London and Totts’ fanbase receives this manager.

  • bob

    “The politics can’t be helping though.”
    “Helping” what, exactly? Your focus is so head-stuck-in-the pitch about the world and your community and its children that your football uber alles attitude “can’t be helping.”

  • Sid


    That was even more embarrassing than Matt’s post! Well done mate.

    So, the sconomic meltdown is down to leftie’s not condoning the rights of others to try and wipe out whole swathes of peoples purely on the basis of their ethnic origin, religion, disability gender, etc? An extreme I know, but thats what fascism espouses.

    It still tickles me that blinkered, bigoted narrow minded peoplke always try and pin the blame on ‘lefties’ when the truth couldn’t be farther (right) from the truth.

  • “Now I am not at all in favour of witch hunts of the, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” type that symbolised McCarthyism because despite my strongly held views, I also subscribe to the notion that everyone is entitled to his/her beliefs, no matter how awful I personally find them.”

    Then, Mr Attwood, drop that silly AAA-theory once for all.

    Di Canio has never looked like the sharpest tool in the box. When he left Lazio for the first time, he said that it’s better to be a corner flag in Juventus or Milan than to play for Lazio.

    Still, that doesn’t excuse him for worshipping the ideology that has been responsible (yes, use of Present Perfect tense is absolutely right on this issue!) for millions people killed due to “wrong” colour, religion, race or ethnicity. If he were the one picked for Arsenal bench, I would become practical religious man and pray every day for Di Canio’s resign.

  • menace

    Just a note about war. War is never legal. It is an action against an enemy (real or imagined). Iraq has WMD to this day. Perhaps not on a plate with a waitress wearing a mini skirt, but certainly hidden away for use against an enemy.

    The UN is not a democratically elected organisation. It is an abuse of freedom and equality by wealthy/powerful nations (a little like Man City in todays EPL or like Littlewoods in the in the 60s with Liverpool).

  • Sid

    Yes, of course the WMDs were hidden in Saddam’s drinks cabinet all this time…. Why didnt anyone look behind the bottles of Tia Maria, Blue Nun and Cinzano FFS???

  • menace

    Oh Sid! You genius, what is WMD? How big? Can you find it more easily than the men still being looked for?

    FFS!!! No thanks. Lol…… Gooners score without WMD.

  • Sid

    Wooly Mammoth Digest???

  • nicky

    You display your youthfulness and ignorance when you criticise the United Nations.
    It may not be the perfect organisation but it’s the best we have and it has so far prevented WW3.
    Those of us who can recall the toothless League of Nations are thankful for the present organisation.

  • AL

    Agree Tony, I’m not sure what would happen to me loyalty-wise if a manager like di canio joined Arsenal. Lazio fans are among the most violent in Europe, and its not difficult to see where it all stems from.

  • Doanythingformoney

    I basically agree with Tony. And any form of extremism is, by definition, to be treated with caution. Di Canio should not have been appointed at Sunderland, of all places. Why would a supporter of a psychopath like Mussolini want to be a football manager anyway?

    But to put this in context, Di Canio’s fascism is of the baby candy variety. As Shard said, there are plenty of ‘ultra’ extreme fascist problems out there. To be ‘a fascist’ is not necessarily a party political position. The Global Banking Elite and their ‘gofer’ supporters like Obama, Blair, Bush and most of the leaders of all our political parties seem fascist to me. Fascism crosses party political boundaries so easily. Genghis Khan was fascist but so was Stalin. Are not the latest secret courts simply fascist? What about the fascism of the invasion of Iraq? Is making disabled people in a two bedroom bungalow share one the rooms not fascist?

    Worry about the seedy aspects of football by all means. It’s important. But don’t take your eye off the ball! The real problems are the global meetings taking place under Chatham House rules with ‘global control’ on their agenda (and football ownership- not football management incidentally).

  • Rufusstan


    After flip-flopping through a bunch of reactions, I have to tend to agree with you Tony. Nothing would drag me away from the Arsenal, but I could not actively support them while an individual openly holding such views managed the club. It is also one of the few things that would make me agitate for their removal.

    I am happy to let anyone believe whatever they want. I just get twitchy when their beliefs, if put into practice would punish me for holding mine. If someone with a high public profile holds them, I worry that they are being promoted just by their profile in the media.

    A few things from the comments:

    bob– agree completely, sadly Fascism always seems to gain traction in the bad times, when people are looking for any way to make things better.

    Shard — the racism issue is gray, but the ‘Other’ Fascism targets is often within their own society; the weak or different. As a consequence every Fascist government has been: racist, sexist, homophobic and suppressive of religion.

    BG — Sadly PC is not the worst form of Fascism; Fascism is. I’d take a society any day that censures people for saying things that might offend, over than one that locks you up (or worse) if you disagree with them. By the way, that free society thing; kiss that goodbye as well.

    After all that, it appears DiCanio has realised what he has walked into and is trying to backtrack.

  • Andrei

    So Arsenal announced 2013 Asian tour with visits to Indonesia and Vietnam. What do you think the Arsenal supporters over there would think about this Sir Oswald Mosely admirer as the next manager? Given that the names of Mosely and Mussolini mean close to zich to them? However, they may add more names on the banned list. They may even object to Arsene Wenger french connection.

    So the journey a slippery road begins…

  • BG

    What I mean is that noone would give a stir if he had Che Guevara tattoed on his arm or Marx or Stalin! What I find very funny but in a wrong sense is all the far right bashing because they did evil in the past (which they did) but I have never heard anyone say anything against Che Guevara who was a brute and murderer or Stalin who’s score at killing people far outweighs what the Nazis did!

  • Pedantic George

    Tell me more about this “Elvis likes cats”party.
    They sound just my cup of tea

  • Sid

    That makes absolutely zero sense Andrei…..

  • Andrei

    @Sid What doesn’t make sense? That Arsenal supporters are not limited to localities with certain historical background?

  • menace

    Spot on Nicky. Just like the PGMOL, the best we have at the moment!!! WW3 is only a name waiting for some nation to give to its war. WW1 and WW2 are like the US World series, names that satisfy a nations view not necessarily a view that I accept. Discovery was the ignorant finding what it didn’t know existed.

    Doesn’t take away the bias that exists in sport or in life.

  • menace

    As regards tattoos – they were markings worn by sea farers to identify the remnants of their bodies in the event of drowning. They are not an intelligent answer to clothing.

    I would regard an unacceptable tattoo in the same way as dog mess in the street. It would be better if it was not there but it is – and not the dogs fault!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    The more,you look into this, the more complicated it gets, having trouble even finding a true definition of fascism, below is one of the better articles I came across

    But still cannot bring myself to have anything other than disdain for some of the people Di Canio has linked himself with.

  • Mickey Finn

    doanythingformoney, look up fascism in a dictionary or wikipedia. it is not just a synonym for anything you don’t like.

    andrei, the point of the article is not about what arsenal fans globally like or don’t like. it’s about where you draw the line. would you support your club no matter what? the true slippery slope is not standing up against what you think is wrong.

    pg, don’t like political correctness. but that’s nowhere near as bad as nazis, fascists, racists and ultra religious & violent fruitcakes.

    menace, war can be legal. and morally right. a hitler or a stalin appears and the morally correct thing is to fight them.

  • nicky

    If you can compare WW1 and WW2 with the US World series, try persuading the widows who still mourn their lost loves, of such a view.

  • menace

    sorry Nicky not comparing the horror – just the name. I lost family in the ww2. Also visited Oswinciem in Poland so I know what humans are capable of. War is nasty and has no place in civilised society, yet there are those that want it.

  • Andrei

    @Mickey Finn So should Arsenal supporters in Vietnam draw a line at Wenger french connection if they feel strongly about atrocities committed by French in Indochina?

    ‘The true slippery slope’ is to find a common ground what is right and what is wrong. In many peoples mind Stalin fought a righteous war against Nazi Germany. So did Churchill and Roosevlet. German women mass raped by invading Soviet troops, thousands of Dresden civilians killed in the carpet bombing raids and Japanese Americans rounded up in the labor camps were just morally justifiable collateral damage.

  • Sid


    You just dont get the point being made mate…. Stop digging that hole.

  • Stroller


    ‘football-uber-alles attitude’. What on earth are you blathering on about? So I don’t say a manager’s politics are the over-riding issue for Sunderland fans right now. It seems that at least some of their supporters feel the same way:

    As for your unjustified assertions about my attitude to ‘my community, the world and it’s children’ – just what do you know and who do you think you are to comment ? Whatever we may agree or disagree about regarding Arsenal I don’t need to take arrogant cr*p from the likes of you about my character.

  • Andrei

    @Sid Help me out mate… What point am I not getting?

  • Shard

    I have to say, I agree pretty much completely with Andrei. Why worry about the French impact on Indochina in the past. Look at me. An Indian, supporting a British football club. The same Britain which ruled over India till not too long ago. They ruled on the basis of racial superiority (even as they claimed otherwise). They oversaw extreme famine and poverty. They divided the people by creating various interest groups, the impact of which is still felt today. They ruined traditional industries so as to promote theirs. They cut down the teak forests to build their ships,which in turn were used to commit the economic plunder of the land. The riches of India created more than a few Lords and rich men for them.

    Yet, if some football manager said he’s proud of Britain’s history and the empire, and calls it a force for good, I bet it wouldn’t lead to calls for his sacking.

    The evils of empire and the evils of fascism. No point comparing them. They are both evils. Yet, the vitriol will only be faced by one. The ideology which lost the war. Nothing new in that.

    My point is, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to feel that there is a better system out there. The earliest version of democracy existed on the foundation of a slave economy. Who’s to say a fascist ideology can’t evolve as well? He’s entitled to his views, and I don’t think those views involve the persecution of other races anyway.

    But apparently he’s recanted his belief in fascism. I hope he means it and was done through his free will rather than due to the pressure from the ‘liberals’ (or whatever monicker people like to attach to themselves – I don’t know these things) If he did so under duress, the irony will be too much to take.

  • bob

    “The politics can’t be helping though.”
    You’re right, as I don’t know your personal attitudes about your community, as I don’t know you, and vise versa. My point is that if not “right now”, just when might you find your new boss’s attitude a primary, if not THE primary issue: Especially for the Sunderland region, as stated by the VeryRev Michael Sadgrove: “You [to DiCanio] did not necessarily know this before you came. But I believe that unless you clearly renounce fascism in all its manifestations, you will be associated with these toxic far-right tendencies we have seen too much of in this region.” So it’s having read that that prompted my provocative comment. As I don’t know you, I apologize for its being an arrogant assumption. But we’re all anonymous here, so it’s the head-stuck-in-the-pitch attitude at this very moment that I find unresponsive to a situation that goes well beyond football. It’s an international concern, not just local. So it’s the too widespread attitude of football first no matter what; not you the person, that I’m attacking. In any case, I felt you should know where I was coming from. If you want to write all this off as my arrogance, then so be it. True or not, there’s an issue here that might be of some concern soonish? And that said, and for that very reason, I’m still interested in what you mean when you say ““The politics can’t be helping though.” Helping what?

  • bob

    It’s not just the ideology that lost the war; but the one that started the war. It is not a live and let live ideology. It is you’re different, and you’re in the way, our way, the purist way. And in practice it becomes another ultranationalist Gujaratt, for but one worldwide example. There’s so much historical precedence to fascism’s evils. It always becomes dictatorship, for just one, and it is not passive, but seeks power and exercises it with open violence. Need I say Norway? Or see the article on Greece in yesterday’s Guardian: there is a fascist internationale, and its Greek wing has taken wing. You may not have the time of day for liberals, but, in practice, would you favor a managerial appointment of a neo-Nazi to a Bundesliga side? Very few Germans would because they know. It’s not theoretical. And the Sunderland region has its actual racist cesspools, to the point, as I quoted to Stroller above, that one of the clergymen there has openly implored DiCanio to publicly disavow (not just disaffiliate from) fascism, lest his baggage of open public displays inflame the area. I fear that your big heart and tolerance runs the risk of giving prestige and a megaphone to the supporters of this man who, given power, would literally wipe the floor with the likes of us. I dread that their (or the region’s) apolitical children would find it so cool to have a coach with that salute. A recruiter’s dream, with visions of a stiff-armed parades down the jobless high street, bannana peels on the pitch, and….. the rest that follows from that slippery slope. It’s not a mistake to encourage; but one whose consequences can take generations to sort out.

  • Shard


    Whether fascism started the war, or the treaty of versailles and the policy of appeasement employed by democracies did, is debatable. I agree however about historical precedence as regards fascism. The violence that has occurred from it, and sponsored by it. But such violence happens through virtually all political systems, which wouldn’t generally be described as fascist. Gujarat as an example. Personally, I feel the model employed there is actually the Nazi model. But it is a democratic system. Of course, Hitler also came to power through a democratic system.

    Which should also make us question the system of democracy. Democracy is not actually an ideal the way I see it. It is a means to an end. Is there a system that can work better than the current so called democratic system? I would hope so. As such, any challenge to a political system in theory, is legitimate. And as someone who’s lived in a chaotic, often seemingly lawless environment, I can attest to there being an appeal in the idea of a benevolent dictator (it would just make things simpler). Of course, the dangers inherent in that system are vast (which is the same reason I don’t want Arsenal to be owned by one guy outright). But that doesn’t mean that the belief in itself is wrong.

    Fascism divides people, so does democracy. Neither system is perfect, and thus deserves challenge. In Di Canio’s case, it is not even a challenge. He simply, 8 years ago, stated that he believed in a fascist system. That’s surely his choice.

    Of course, if he deliberately uses his political belief to incite violence, preach hatred for other races etc then that is something worth opposing, and I would have no qualms condemning that. But that is different to simply believing that a fascist model of governance is better.

  • Sid

    bob knows Andrei, have a butchers at his posts…. You and Shard have kinda missed the point….

  • Shard

    Or maybe you have Sid.

  • Sid


    Di canio has affiliations to far right Ultra hooligans and criminal gangs, who have gained power and influence of their club through intimidation and violence, yet you think PDC is only interested in developing and tweaking a new more viable democratic model???

    Errrrrrmmmm, Right you are! 🙂

  • Sid

    Whatever floats your boat shard…. You;’ve gone right off on a helluva tangent, have a nice trip!

  • Shard


    Aaahhh.. Caricature of my argument, followed by sarcasm. If I were to do the same to your argument, do you then mean that PDC (as you dub him) is a sleeper agent for neo-fascists intending to take over the country of England, one community at a time? Yes, why don’t we stick him in the docks, the terrorist.

    What affiliations does Di Canio have actually? What evidence of this is there? As far as I know, he just aired his political views. If all contrary political opinions are to be suppressed to ‘protect’ the populace, wouldn’t that be fascism of a kind itself? Logically, that position doesn’t hold. It seems like an argument which is only based on personal belief in being in the right (as opposed to in the right) Which is the same right (that word again) that Di Canio should have.

  • Shard

    Yes Sid.. And see you next fall, when you get off your high horse.

  • Shard

    oh and bob…just to clarify.. I didn’t mean disdain for ‘liberals’. My disdain is for labels that solidify people’s usually nebulous opinions into one slot.

    I also genuinely meant that I don’t know what the guys opposing Di Canio would call themselves. I would think I was being liberal by defending his right to hold his beliefs. But I learnt a good few years ago, that the linguistic usage, and the political usage of words are sometimes very different.

  • bob

    what are you on about right now?
    have no idea what you’re saying. you were very coherent some hours ago. now it’s content-free insults.

  • @Andrei (and it is at certain point answer to Mr Attwood’s claims at leftist as well), Stalin was among good guys in World War Two. I don’t want to underestimate Western countries and their contribution in kicking Hitler’s ass but Russians suffered the biggest atrocities in the World War Two. Yugoslavian partisans gave their own contribution to Allies’ victory. Both Red Army and Yugoslav partisans were led by communists. No hard feelings but operation like Overlord would be called “busy Tuesday” on Eastern Front (on which we-know-who’s father fought for the bad guys).

  • bob

    Yeah, I’m with you on the labeling, and ‘liberal’ has had a long and amorphous history with content ranging from toxic to tolerant. But have you not seen the photos of DiCanio’s fascist salutes to his playmates in the stands at Lazio (arguably in the top openly racist echelon this very season)? Those photos and reports of his attendance at a fascist big shot’s funeral and his admission to being fascist (but not racist) point to something more of public advocacy than simply beliefs. And the power of celebrity to influence the young also greatly troubles me.

  • bob

    who’s father was this? do share the info.

  • Shard


    “the racism issue is gray, but the ‘Other’ Fascism targets is often within their own society; the weak or different. As a consequence every Fascist government has been: racist, sexist, homophobic and suppressive of religion.”

    At the time of WW2, democratic Britain, was still ruling over other peoples through force. All the negatives you state were once a part of a democratic form of government too (except religion, but that’s always been a convenient tool of control over people) If we look at the democracy as it was practiced in the 40s and judge it by today’s standards, it would hardly be a system worth upholding. Political systems evolve too. Those that don’t, perish. But if someone believes in it, that’s their right. People can believe whatever. Thought crimes should not be punished.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Guess all this stops the press printing negative stuff about Arsenal, for a while……..

  • Stroller


    I’ll answer you final question first. Not ‘helping what?’ Not helping the footballing task of avoiding relegation that’s what, Which is the reason di Canio was appointed. The issues around his political views are a distraction to that cause regardless whether you welcome his appointment or not.

    Your VeryRev asked for Di Canio to renounce fascism, which according to latest reports he has now done. Apparently the Durham Miners will now not be removing their banner, supporters seem to be giving him their cautious support and so now all may well be OK up there.

    Now to move on to the wider matter of whether a manager has expressed fascist views would be the primary issue in supporting his appointment at Arsenal. My head ‘isn’t in the pitch’ as you suggested, but I do see this as a largely theoretical question because I don’t know of any other manager other than Di Canio who has previously expressed such views and also believe that Arsenal as a club would not even countenance such an appointment given it’s historical links with the Army and current links with the community. Given these points, I just can’t see managerial fascism as a supporter priority ‘soonish’ at Arsenal.

    I do not trivialise the impact caused by past and present instances of fascist behaviour, be they wars or involving football in Italy where people have been killed, injured and abused. But that wasn’t what my post was about. It was about the distraction Di Canio’s appointment was causing at Sunderland, and how the political fallout was clouding other reasons for concern.

  • Shard


    Actually no. I haven’t seen those pictures. Nor have I read reports of his presence at the funeral of some fascist figures.

    You are also right about the power or celebrity. But that’s not really his fault.

    However. I realise that just as he has a right to his opinion, others have a right to denounce his opinion and disassociate themselves from it. I still don’t think it is relevant to his job as a football manager, and I wouldn’t clamour for his dismissal because I feel uncomfortable with those sort of pressure tactics. And I certainly wouldn’t pressure him to ‘recant’.

    Do I think his views are wrong? Prima facie, yes. (Because we haven’t really heard his views properly) Would I be willing to demand his dismissal on that basis? No. Would that position be different if it were an issue that affected me personally? Likely so.

    Still, logically, it is hard to argue he shouldn’t be hired. But I suppose it’s not always logical to be purely logical.

    In any case, I think this ‘issue’ is getting more coverage than it deserves. And I’m as guilty of that as anyone 🙂

  • bob – Alphonse Wenger was mobilized and sent to fight for Germans at Eastern Front in 1944. Arsene himself said that his father didn’t fight too hard. We can discuss whether 24-year-old man should have rejected Germans and join Resistance like many French people did or act like responsible husband and avoid heroic attempts that would only kill him.

    I was thinking what the hell Di Canio’s “fascist but no racist”-thing means and all I came up with is this: he probably think that fascism may be used as internal thing of his nation. Perhaps he is not a xenophobe but only an idiot.

  • Andrei

    @Josif My point is that there were no good guys in WW2. All sides committed countless atrocities with the ordinary people as collateral damage. It just the nowadays’s perception of WW2 and who was good or bad is based on the story told by the side that won.

  • Adam

    I have been following this with interest and cannot stay silent anymore.

    Josif’s comment is something I was thinking towards as I like to give people the benefit of doubt, fascism within Italy did not mean Nazism, although PDC has spent enough time in England to know how we would react to declarations of loyalties towards such an ideology and the links between “the third option”, Fascism and Nazism is all too clear for all to see, although all can be broken down into the fundamentals which most ideologies have similarities without the extremist views.

    The question I would like to put to Paolo Di Canio is; what good can fascism bring to Europe or the world?

    I cannot, for the life of me think of anything positive this or similar ideologies have given us? The only lasting legacy of Fascism entering the UK is the National Front and the British National Party. Neither of which should ever be allowed to gain power.

    So for me it’s a non-starter with regards to Arsenal football club having a self-professed Fascist at the helm. Arsenal would lose my support instantly, until the removal of such a person.

    There are football clubs operating today with direct links to convicted war criminals. There are companies trading today that profited from the Nazi regime an offshoot from Fascism/totalitarianism, these companies profited directly from the genocides of the 1940s yet are still allowed to trade, even though they are directly responsible for the holocaust.

    I can guarantee that most, if not all of us have taken aspirin in our lives yet the company that held the patent to this drug was the only company to have had its own concentration camp during the second world war and that concentration camp was called Auschwitz.

    What Mr Attwood alludes to within this article has actually come to pass in football, German football, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Owned by the Bayer corporation, this company was at the head of the Nazi party and after the Nuremburg Trials and convictions of some of the companies employee’s as war criminals, serving sentences of only five years, they went back to work for the corporation that owns Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

    There are organizations out there today that dedicate themselves to watching these companies that directed and profited from fascist ideologies, people still want justice for millions of dead, and these companies are no strangers to all of us, we buy their products and boost their profit margins. So none of us have a clear conscience when it comes down to it, as all that I have stated is our history not someone Else’s, it shaped the world we became, but not through positivity, and depending on where you was educated your views may differ in the details but the outcome is generally the same when discussing fascism and that is, it’s a sure path to conflict.

  • Stroller

    Josif – it’s stretching a bit to say Stalin was ‘one of the good guys’. Yes the Russian army contributed massively to the Allied cause, but it was only Hitler’s invasion of Russia that brought them into it. Had that not happened then Stalin was quite happy to stay out of the war. Subsequently he was responsible for some terrible atrocities against his own people.

    Andrei – yes there atrocities from all sides during WW2. But don’t imply that the difference between between the two sides is down to perception. Only one side was responsible for the killing of millions of Jews to achieve ethnic cleansing. Only one side invaded other countries in order to establish a Nazi regime across Europe.

  • bob

    To narrow the logical/ideological distinction you draw between fascism and nazism (as DiCanio might, at best, believe, or at worst is cleverly using), let’s reconsider these factors:
    As we know, adolf and benito did get married. There was enough ideological overlap and mutual interest for their alliance. Both these absolute patriarchs and their avid oiks wiped out most internal opposition by “othering large swaths of their populations.” And as for the idea that Italian fascism was not racist, why not turn to the invaded and massacred Ethiopians whether Il Duce’s brand of the new Roman Empire’s entitlement was not deadly racism. Clearly, all this requires closer scrutiny than any here will be giving it; unless more comes out about DiCanio and those saluting photographs, and purported attendance at whatever top comrade’s funeral, and advocacy of discriminatory social policies.

  • bob

    Addressing Josif, do you suggest/mean that the Russian army was not drawn from the Russian people; and that Stalin committed wartime atrocities against his own people (presumably those who did not ally with Hitler) to anywhere near the magnitude/scale of Hitler’s wartime atrocities against Russian Slavs? Do you know about Slavs, Russian and non-Russian being slated for genocide as one of the Nazi’s subhuman groups and were “culled” by at least a million?

  • Andrei

    @Stroller Perhaps you have a bit too narrow view on WW2 if you think it was limited to the conflict in Europe. Though the rise of Nazism was the biggest theme in Europe it was not the only driving factor worldwide. Moreover, in the bigger context both WW1 and WW2 and number of other worldwide conflicts, colonial wars and social uprisings in between should be considered a part of one continuous global struggle to change/preserve (depending on your side) existing world order in the first half of 20st century. During this time all parties involved committed acts of aggression and countless atrocities. Many people suffered from acts of genocide not just Jews. At the end WWII when new world order was established the sides that ended up on the top rewrote the history and assigned heroes and villains accordingly.

    What we are witnessing today with the end of Cold War and the rising globalization (and tribalism as response to globalism) is another attempt to redefine the world order. Once this new struggle is over we will be due to another history revision with its own set of heroes and villains.

  • bob

    In fairness, were not some like our Chamberlain and the Cliveden set and other (abdicating) exalteds not happy to stay out of the war – in hopes that Hitler and Stalin would exhaust each other – until events and interests dictated otherwise?

  • bob

    p.s. to be more accurate: in fact, some on high in England did want to stay out of the war not so that Hitler and Stalin would destroy each other, but in hopes that Hitler would destroy Stalin so there’d then be an abiding English alliance with Hitler.

  • bob

    Are you suggesting that the colonial nationalist uprisings of the period against the “great powers” were launched by people with global ambitions? are all contestants equally evil in your moral calculus?

  • Andrei

    @Bob First, operating with ‘equally evil’ or ‘more evil’ is pointless. Because nothing is inherently evil or good – I refer you to Shakespeare or Ecclesiastes for a better authority on the subject. Secondly, this worldwide struggle had all sorts of players some with global ambitions some happy to stay local. All contributed according to their means.

  • Andrei

    @Bob p.s. most colonial nationalist uprisings were result of weakened great power by its struggle with other great powers. Sometimes another great power was behind ‘nationalist uprising’.

  • bob

    Despite your realpolitik, I’d have cite acts of genocide and ecocide as inherent evils. Otherwise your realism is crackpot realism or just plain nihilism.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Great post!
    I wished we could interview Roberto Benigni about this issue.
    Benigni was educated politically in a family of notorious anti-fascists, with his father being a known anti-Mussolini activist.
    We see this in too many places: Fascists pretending to be patriots. Incidentally, fascism is not only a Western and/or European phenomenon, it is very present in every country.

  • nicky

    Re your 1.24, after the fall of France, Hitler really wanted Britain out of the War. He offered to allow Britain to keep its Empire provided he was given a free hand in Europe.
    Would-be appeasers like the British Lord Halifax were fortunately outgunned by the likes of Churchill and Eden who refused to have any truck with Hitler.

  • nicky

    Re my comment above, a correction…
    For “1.24” please read “1.21” Sorry…

  • Shard


    But where do you draw the line of culpability of individuals and companies? And why is this restricted to 1940s Germany? Big companies thrive on governmental links and influence policy and actions, including evil acts all over the world. The drug trials conducted in Latin America by American pharma companies. The Dow chemicals’ Bhopal gas leak (the worst industrial accident in the world) who were one of the sponsors of the London Olympics. There are sanctions against Iranian firms for doing whatever it is they are accused of doing, while it is legitimate business what certain American firms have done in Iraq. (including using the sanctions as cover to indulge in monopolistic trade with Iran) Go further back in history and you’ll find many examples of genocide, war, plunder sponsored by people and companies whose legacy led to creation of some companies which exist and thrive today.

    My point is, you cannot just put a blanket ban of evil on fascism because of the atrocities committed under its tutelage. Other ideologies (including religions), and other companies have done the same at different places and different times throughout history. If the same ‘evil’ tag doesn’t apply to them, it can’t, in all truth, apply to fascism.

    And I say this while being opposed to fascist ideals of the leader personifying the nation, the fight with the other and of course, if it includes racial superiority as a basic tenet then I condemn that completely. That still leaves the issue of why the evils committed under the belief of fascism are worse than the evils committed under any other belief system.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If each individual would try to be good we would have a perfect world. Alas, alas, alas….. alas.

  • bob

    cheers, nicky,
    but not only lord H; also, E8

  • bob

    p.s. in fact, it’s one reason that E8 was “induced” to become x-E8.

  • bob

    Because no other ideology so industrialized the intention and level of slaughter with the magnitude of loss. The deaths in world war 2 exceeded a minimum of 50 million by every account, and it is likely a conservative estimate. recently it’s come out in a recent research study reported worldwide that the nazis had 45,000(yes 45k) death centers in europe alone. Their death camps for ALL non-Aryans were rationally-planned with scrupulous accounting records to measure and maintain cost-effectiveness. Add to that the off-the-charts cost in lives of Japanese fascism’s predations in Korea and China. Add to that the lesser cost in Ethiopian (and European) lives of Mussolini’s (DiCanio’s man-crush) destruction there. The Axis – Germany, Japan and Italy – were all fascist and mobilized the worst (most destructive) killing machine – and within 4 years of war – in human history. That’s one reason why this ideology trumps the rest in the hearts and minds of living generations and fewer of their ahistorical offspring.

  • bob

    p.s. the above as a partial response to Shard’s @11:09

  • Rufusstan

    This seems to have gone a long way from Tony’s point, which is what would you be willing to accept and still support the Arsenal.

    The idea being, can you accept someone who holds a philosophy that you find abhorrent as being a figurehead for something you you hold close to your heart.

    Fascism is just the example; picked because of happenstance. It is not that it is worse than any other world-view (my Evil is worse than your Evil), sadly just DiCanio’s personal choice. Fascism tends to be more reviled in Europe where its impact has been felt, and just the name can trigger a strong response.

    The article could just as easily be about a manager who was openly: racist, or homophobic, or a supporter of any one of a dozen Evils brought up in the thread, and still ask the question: could you accept them as Arsenal manager? Where would be your line?

    Finally: At no point does it step away from DiCanio’s rights to his beliefs. Anyone can believe whatever they want. I like being in a society where that is a given, and part of my dislike for Fascism, which works on a ‘my view or else’ principle.

    It has already been brought up about someone like DiCanio and fame, that the fame itself is largely not his fault (other than choosing to not utilize his talent….). How he uses his fame is his choice however, and it is a positive sign that he is trying very herd to play down his views right now (admittedly because he may realise that it may keep him the job).

  • Stroller


    My response to Andrei was entirely related to him describing Stalin as a ‘one of the good guys’. Maybe that could just be applied in relation to his role in defeating the Nazis, but in the wider context he was a cruel and ruthless dictator. Not a good guy at all.

    And yes there were those who here and most other countries who would have preferred to avoid taking on Hitler. But they didn’t prevail which is most important thing.

    Anyway I think this is all well beyond the matter of PDC’s appointment at Sunderland, so with due respect I’m dropping out now.

  • Shard


    “Because no other ideology so industrialized the intention and level of slaughter with the magnitude of loss”

    That is a matter of opinion. i.e subjective. The numbers by themselves are shocking, but it is also a reflection of the world being at war. Events taking place in an accelerated manner. Not of the ideology itself.

    The British empire, all imperialism for that matter, was founded on an ideology also intending to destroy. The means of war were different, the methods were different and more long term, and a lot of their ‘evil’ practices were cloaked in a shroud of benevolence and generosity, but it was a deliberate, calculated system. I’d venture more people were killed in order to keep that system of empire going over the years and a lot more made destitute or enslaved.

    As I said, it is all about how you view the world. In any case, I’m still unsure by what fascism really means. Mussolini’s brand is not the same as Nazism, and just because they were in the war together doesn’t mean they were endorsing each other. After all, the allies were no fan of Stalin were they?

  • John

    It is surprising and disappointing that so many comments are devoted to sophisticated distinctions and comparisons of atrocities and injustices through history, all in an attempt to justify Di Canio’s behaviour, or, at least to undermine his critics.

    It is not necessary to explain / justify / apologise for / condemn British Imperialism, Stalin’s ruthlessness, South African apatheid etc. etc. as a pre-requisite for expressing a view on self-proclaimed fascism.

    To their great credit, players in the French squad a few years ago, led by Robert Pires, made a stand against the extremist views expressed by Le Pen. For all its faults, football does sometimes produce good moral examples and the Sunderland fans who are outraged by their club’s new appointment should be admired.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’m always reluctant to take a principle stance on such things. Let me explain.

    I come from a country that had 1 (one) colony. And we managed to organise a massacre in order to bring benefit to the king his wallet. The numbers vary a lot of how many thousands-hundred thousands-millions were massacred or had their hands chopped off. Bloodrubber if you know the expression.

    As I despise our royal family I have no bond with them. But I cannot deny that my country (a democracy or sort of democracy in those days at least) has a lot of innocent blood on their hands. So if you take Belgium as an example of democracy…even democracy is looking bad.

    But of course I will not throw away democracy as something bad. It is the least worst of all systems. Are there really good systems out there? Are there good systems that don’t bring bad things? I don’t know for sure.

    I know humans are animals. Mostly civilised animals. But when we let the inner beast out…be aware. Then we are worse than the lion that kills to survive.

    So who am I to condemn others.

    Like I said before and that is in my eyes the main thing: each individual has to take on his own responsibility and live his life as a good person. Be it based on the good values of humanism, good values of religions (I think each religion has its good values but also some bad ones) and with respect for other people lives and opinions.

    But even then I don’t know how I would react in a state of war. I’m a peaceful man but I think even I could get in a state of rage and go over borders that I now could not imagine crossing. Just attack my wife or children. And you will know my inner beast I think.

    Bottom line is that I usually try to judge people for their actions and not for their believes. But even that is not always easy I admit.

    Bottom line is that I do not know Wenger his political background and in fact I don’t care. I do know on what I can judge from him in seeing him work and in hearing him talk that he is a decent human being. And that is for me more important than him being an extreme left or extreme right person.

    Now if Di Canio would discriminate the coloured players from Sunderland then he steps over the border of course and he has to be condemned for that.

    Based on that I don’t know what I would do if Di Canio would become Arsenal manager. I just hope I never have to answer that question. Of having Fat Sam as manager for example. Or Tony Pulis. Ok, that is a person I never never never never could accept as Arsenal manager. NEVER! Because of his actions that is. Because for being a despicable person. Not for his political conviction, which I don’t know and don’t care about.

    We are all sinners 😉 But better not try to sin in a group. Then it gets dangerous.

  • bob

    Nazis, Japanese expansionists and Mussolini’s fascist were all openly and proud-of-it self-proclaimed ideological fascists. There were tactical differences, but all oversaw the merger of state/corporate functions with a militarized expansionist goal of takeover of a new empire. In their 4-5 years, they brought on the worst numerical slaughter in human history in the name of fascism and their respective racial superiorities in their zones. DiCanio’s affiliation to fascism can be undertaken with or without the knowledge and understanding of this legacy. But ignorance, assuming he doesn’t know what his tatoo stands for, is no excuse. Fascism today is real, expansionary, and thrives on that ignorance. Being right about other major systems that caused death does not make affiliation with fascism excusable. One can call that subjective, but the acknowledgment of so much calculated killing in the tens of millions is not subjective at all. I don’t, for all its legacy, see anyone asserting the re-establishment of the British imperium today under the label “white man’s burden.” If they did, I’d find them unfit to be a public high-profile figure on the big media stage. In Germany, as I’ve said, they refuse to provide the big stage to their fascist groups and are aware that they pose a present-moment international alliance, as Norway has found out. Present day.

  • Adam

    Shard, I’m not sure what your getting at? Nowhere have I stated that other forms of Government haven’t led to troubles of all kinds. The article was about Fascism in football and I know of Bayer Leverkusen’s links with I G Farben and the National socialists of Germany, agree many companies do wrong but not to the extent of profiting from a genocide, maybe the arms industries. Plus it has been stated before that the illegal re-armament of Germany would not of happened without these companies. So agree that a government needs the corporations to achieve their goals.

    I can understands a person’s wishes towards nationalism, however as pointed out by other commenters Paolo Di Canio has a bit of a history when it comes to gesticulating his support of a certain regime that did commit acts of genocide and many people connected with Bayer and I G Farben were convicted of mass murder and crimes against humanity, and this company still owns a football club.

    I thought that detail worth mentioning?

    What I don’t understand is; if a person truly believes in the fascist form of nationalism, why would they be so willing to work abroad with foreigners? so to this extent I don’t think Di Canio is dangerous in his political views which he has stated.

  • bob

    Well, IF he’s in any way an advocate/poster boy, there’s been international expansion of the f/internationale (as per norway, and the guardian piece on greece’s golden dawn two days ago into greek communities here, the us, etc.) It’s not confined within neighborhood backyards.

  • Andrei

    @John It is not about ‘sophisticated distinctions and comparisons of atrocities and injustices through history, all in an attempt to justify Di Canio’s behaviour’. There is no behavior to justify to begin with. It is if his personal beliefs purported to be closely associated with Italian flavor of fascism make Di Canio unfit to be a football manager. Most objections are that the question is too much of generalization and attaching political labels. It is as in ‘I hear this Di Canio bloke is a Mussolini admirer so unless he publicly denounces Nazism, racism, antisemitism and homophobia and completes mandatory pilgrimage to the rehab camp for recovering fascism aficionados I render anything he says in his defense irrelevant and don’t want to see him anywhere close to my football club’. Because of my family history I have all too painful experience with this kind of groupthink condemnation.

  • Adam

    bob, I know, many groups have formed allegiances. It’s a worry as I have said before, history seems to be repeating itself.

  • Adam

    Shard Just read your comment to bob about imperialism, Google a fella called Cecil Rhodes a Hertfordshire lad (where I now live).

    Some quotes from the man.

    “In order to save the forty million inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, our colonial statesmen must acquire new lands for settling the surplus population of this country, to provide new markets… The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question”

    “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life”.

    “I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race…If there be a God, I think that what he would like me to do is paint as much of the map of Africa British Red as possible…”

    For me, this man should be declared an enemy of humanity, yet is still revered in my country.

  • Andrei

    @Adam “For me, this man should be declared an enemy of humanity, yet is still revered in my country.”

    It is because common public in the UK is fed a carefully scripted narrative of history with a special designation of heroes and villains. No worries in 30-40 years kids in British schools will be studying a completely different history of the country. Full of special emphasis on colonialism, slavery and racial discrimination.

  • Adam

    Andrei, I have worked in primary schools (4-10 year old’s) they’re already taught about slavery, genocide and religious studies and I have read some reports written by the youngsters and my interpretation was writings full of hate.

    A great educational tool is hatred, and I do feel our system is set up to breed discrimination instead of understanding and acceptance which is meant to b the point of education. I do worry about the younger generations.

    It’s one of the things my partner and I are concerned about, the education of our boy as I know in Slovakia he will receive a better education geared towards him being a well rounded balanced adult instead of a well conditioned tax payer in England.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Shard, good work in this thread.

    This thread highlights the slippery nature of intertwining political ideology too much with sport (frankly I could care less about any manager or player’s political beliefs unless they directly affect managerial strategy [Wenger’s admitted borderline socialist wage structure for AFC is an example that puts me off a bit]).

    The original posting was also imo too over-simiplified, and black and white (pun not intended), good or evil, and doesn’t appreicate for the complexities and evolvement of ideologies, definitations and of a person him/herself.

    Lastly..: “And I just wonder what the AAA (who campaign endlessly for the removal of Mr Wenger) would do if Paolo Di Canio (or any other fascist) became manager of Arsenal.” The irony of this somewhat irrelevant to the topic line in the context of the underlying themes of the post is pretty stark, but is probably lost on its author and many of the readers.

  • Shard


    Firstly about Norway. I have some reservations about that perpetrator being described as a ‘fascist’, or right wing extremist, or a madman. Why? Because if that same person was expounding an extreme version of Islam, rather than Christianity, he would be dubbed a terrorist. So, call him what he is. A terrorist.

    A terrorist is no true barometer of what the majority opinion is. And by forcing the milder/alternate versions of any movement into the underground, it just leads to more acceptance of extremist ideas.

    Let me stress I’m aware that it isn’t possible to have a common solution to all situations (which is also the reason I dislike ‘isms’) and sometimes, some form of ‘censorship’ is called for. But Di Canio does not deserve it because he has done nothing wrong.

    As regards no one calling for the white man to take up his burden again, Di Canio isn’t calling for persecution of other races either. Lots of people are proud of the British Empire (and it wasn’t all evil, nothing ever is), and some might wish for a return to ‘the glory days’ without actually really wanting the bloodshed. Di Canio can want something similar. He doesn’t have to be right about it. But he’s doing no wrong by having his beliefs.

  • Shard


    “as I know in Slovakia he will receive a better education geared towards him being a well rounded balanced adult ”

    Can you elaborate please? I’m interested in your view on why this is so.

  • Andrei

    @Shard You are making some interesting point. In ex-Soviet Union countries Stalin is still hugely popular. Anniversaries of Stalin’s birth and death usually draw a large number of his supporters. So should we automatically label these supporters as hard-line communists seeking to round up opposition in gulags?

  • Shard


    It’s a rare occurrence, but I think we agree on this topic pretty much completely 🙂

  • bob

    As for the predator in Norway. Call him what you want. He’s also a fascist: At his trial: “He interrupted witnesses freely, smiled when the verdict was announced and entered court on Friday making a fascist salute, his right fist clenched.” And he killed almost 70 children because they were the next generation of Norways multi-cultural leadership. He said as much, whatever you wish to call him. Killing people for their race and saluting like that in court and he doesn’t merit the fascist label? There’s tons of coverage on this man that describe him as fascist, so have another think.

  • bob

    Shard, Andrei,
    A return to the glory days without really wanting the bloodshed?
    DiCanio’s I’m a fascist but not a racist?
    With all due respect, imo these are logical distinctions without a substantive difference (in the history of the actual world).

  • Shard


    There is a substantive difference in the history of the actual world. Just not in the story told about the history of the world.

    I am not supporting fascism. I don’t even really understand it. But would your anger be the same if Di Canio, or any other manager, were to have a tattoo of George Bush, or the presidential seal on his arm? If he once said, some 8 years ago, while meeting the white house staff or the armed forces of the country (playing to the gallery), that he believed that politically the US was a force of good in the entire world? I would venture to say, no it wouldn’t. Even though you’d recognise and acknowledge the wrongs committed by the government. Yet, to many millions of people, the US actually is worse than Fascist Italy ever was. And if they protested and put pressure on someone to not be hired as a football manager in, say, some Middle Eastern club, I would criticise them for it too, and I think so would you. Morally and logically, the two positions are the same.

  • It's Grim Oop North


    you would fully understand Fascism – the modern kind, if you happened to be unlucky enough to be from a long, long list of people types they hate and bumped into a bunch of them out of sight of CCTV – they love the violence, and their ideology supports the use of it.

    Basically, anyone who isn’t them, or weaker than them, they hate – that’s probably you, and they would beat you mercilessly given the chance.

    Why all this debate about other “baddies”?

    We’re talking about a card-carrying Fascist, self-confessed, a member of an Ultra football gang renowned for their violence, not a commie, or a psychopath, or a war criminal – they’re all to be avoided as well, but don’t water down the real threat of the modern fascist by comparison with others, you’re just sounding like a namby-pamby apologist.

    Fascists are inherently evil because their ideology allows for them to hate and kill in it’s pursuit, and it’s open season on EVERYONE else who disagrees with them – Google them, then you will know.

    However, he has now publicly wormed his way out of his Goose-stepping past since this article was penned, so maybe all those Black people he knows have made him see that we’re all equal in the eyes of God and stuff, and he no longer wants to escort whole ethnic groups out of Italy?

    Football is a power for good in our modern world, it forces these racists to recognise that we can all live and work together, that the foreign devils are the same as us, and of course the wages mean you don’t need to follow an outmoded ideology to prosper in Di Canio’s case – that for me is what is beautiful about the modern game, it brings us all closer together through education and example when it’s at it’s best.

    Like Tony asked, where do YOU draw the line? – For me when some c*nt wants me and other people dead for their own beliefs, then it’s time to stand up and stop them.

    If the time comes, and you had to choose a side to be on, which one would it be?

  • bob

    Are the Germans wrong for continuing to legally and officially block the so-called free public displays of Nazism?

  • Adam

    Shard it’s a difficult one to answer in short, but I’m going to give it a go. My son will be accepted without question into this community, however it has its problems, and it won’t be a multicultural society or even have varying religions. The health system out there is better than the UK’s on average which has more to do with Slovakia having a smaller population. The schools have less children in the classes so get more one on one time, you don’t really get a one sided view on history like you do within the UK its more balanced, the community is small so everyone knows who you are so no stepping out of line like the kids do on mass when leaving school for the day and causing havoc.

    The kids of this area in Slovakia are taught life skills from an early age as life there is semi-self-sufficient. They’re considered woods people and that life still exists to some extent. The communal spirit is still available to people who wish to indulge and with the country being ex-communist, most of the countryside is still state owned and people can go where they want at any time. Not like in England where most land is fenced off as belonging to someone.

    Life is harder out there but totally different from the UK, most people start work early and finish early which gives families more time together and they need this time for the self-sufficient lifestyle, I consider England to be fairly family unfriendly where other countries like Italy and Spain are more family orientated, and I include Slovakia in this, so most people are family orientated out there with strong values, but I find the nation a bit introvert when comparing Slovakia to the UK. Don’t get me wrong both places have their problems but I’d rather swap Slovakian issues for British ones.

    There have been issues with corruption in the schooling system which my partner had first-hand experience of, but in general most kids get a good education up to university level. For a small country they educate their population to a fairly high standard compared to most other European countries and this has been noticed, they also keep the majority of their graduates instead of losing them to higher paying economies this might have something to do with the standard of living.

    Most people own their own home as they build them their selves with little red tape. Once you build your home you’re not into a mortgage for 25 years it’s yours you own it outright. You will not find semi-detached house out there they are all detached with land, in the towns you get some blocks of flats that the Russians built trying to entice people in the towns bringing the communal spirit with them. It is an industrialised nation that has somehow been able to remain very family orientated.

    I tried to keep it short but its difficult trying to get the information across, although I’m sure i’ve missed loads out.

    Have a look at the wiki link for the actual set up, you might get a better idea about state run establishments.

  • WalterBroeckx

    So will we applaud Sunderland next Sunday if they take points away from Chelsea?

  • Andrei

    @Bob “Are the Germans wrong for continuing to legally and officially block the so-called free public displays of Nazism?”

    You already know my position – from moral perspective right or wrong is pointless. From the practical perspective the question should be rephrased is it helping them in what they are trying to accomplish? Without knowing their _real_ reasons or your interpretations of their goals I cannot provide useful opinion. All I can say it is futile. Nazism like it or not is part of their history. There is nothing they can do about it. Nazism had tremendous impact on them as nation and as a country. It is one the main factors that determined where they are today. The consequences and legacy of Nazism are everywhere – you can pretend they don’t exist but you cannot erase them. More importantly, from the historical perspective it is a relatively short-term campaign. People lived in German territories centuries before Nazism they will live many centuries thereafter. Considering demographic trends 100 years from now majority of German population will have very little in common with their ethnic origins, cultural background and historical legacy. They will care less about ‘so-called free public displays of Nazism’.

  • Andrei

    @Bob “A return to the glory days without really wanting the bloodshed?”

    As a reference to Stalin supporters in ex-Soviet Union countries your statement represents a summary judgement. You don’t know these people and I doubt that you can relate to their life experiences. Many of them are harmless old people clinging to nostalgic memories of their youth.

  • Adam

    @Walter, someones going to lose their 100% success rate this weekend. I might take a gamble and do an accumilator with Wigan to win as well.

  • Shard

    Thanks Adam. That helps. Seems interesting.

  • Shard


    Definitely 🙂

  • Shard


    Is it that all fascists believe that, or have the extremist versions of fascism coloured your perspective of them? I don’t know, but generally the truth is more complicated than ‘they hate everyone else’.

  • bob

    Historically, who’s the good fascist you’re leaving room for?

  • bob

    I’m not saying they’re harmful. I’m saying the cult of personality – that personality – with near absolute power cost immense losses of life as you well know. And staying in a nostalgiac fog about what has become well known does not help improve any situation, which, it strikes me, you’ve close to abandoned given the human bent and the bent human.

  • bob

    p.s. not your nostalgiac fog, theirs.

  • Shard


    Good and bad is all relative. In any case, it wasn’t historically. It was futuristically 🙂

    You might be interested to read a quote by George Orwell on similar lines to what I’m saying, though his intention in saying it..the context..MIGHT have been entirely different. It doesn’t seem like it to me though.

    “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable”…In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.”

  • Andrei

    @Bob The question is not if cult of personality is bad or if it caused immense losses of life. The question is if one should summarily judge other people by association not by what they have done. E.g. should one deny a person an employment merely because this person stays in ‘nostalgic fog’ and continues to adore Stalin. Should one pity them or condemn them.

  • It's Grim Oop North


    your modern Fascist would kick your thick skull in soon as look at you if you’re not one of them if they could get away with it.

    If you don’t believe me, go on a counter demonstration with some Anti-fascists and judge for yourself – The BNP or EDL usually have something going on in various locations throughout the UK for your perusal.

    Their ideology is based on their “superiority” over others, and that justifies the hatred and violence – therefore, if you are a Fascist, you do not believe in equality, and so remove the moral code all civilised people abide by to treat our fellow humans as equals – to them, a “foreigner” is on a par with an animal, to be slaughtered, herded, abused, as they see fit.

    ALL FASCISTS ARE EXTREMISTS Shard – it goes with the membership, the ideology, the very tenets their beliefs are founded upon, there are no Fascists Lite, they’re all dangerous – show me any Fascist governed country and I’ll show you a trail of murder and atrocity to go with it.

    Just a short list of people the British Fascists would like to see crushed under jackboot -Jews, Blacks, Irish, Asians, Chinese, Gypsies, Lefties, Students, Sympathisers of the aforementioned groups, Anarchists, all immigrants, illegal or not – pretty much everyone other than themselves who think their views are abhorrent.

    There is no need for a long debate on Fascism, should take a sane person about five minutes to decide which side they’re on, don’t get splinters in your bum sitting on that fence.

  • Shard


    A person managing a football club doesn’t look like an extremist to me. Denying him that employment based on an inferenced guilt (which itself is based on a telling of history, and the hijacking of a term by modern loonies) is, in my view, wrong.

    My thick skull can take care of itself, and don’t pretend your opposition to Di Canio is based on a desire for protecting it, thank you very much. Would your opposition extend to someone displaying love for the ‘americanism’ as per the example I gave to bob? Or someone claiming the British Empire was largely good?

    Show me any government and I can show you a trail of murder and atrocity. Mussolini’s fascism is hardly unique in that aspect. Sadly so.

  • Adam

    Shard, I’m not sure 100% on this but in England I don’t think your allowed in the police force if your a member of the BNP or EDL, that’s how highly we regard these views. So to allow a person access to a nation via football is a no no for me, and anyway PDC has refuted any claims.

    There are people with these nationalist or fascist views in England, the problem we have is not allowing the mentality to grow and gain momentum, even the closeted racist will come out if they feel the environment is OK to do so. We try to not allow history to repeat itself and when the BNP gains a little recognition its usually down to disgruntlement’s with the current government or local council’s.

    I agree with what your saying, but the mentality behind these ideologies has a history of escalating in to something ugly on a more frequent basis than other ideologies.

    Now I,m sure that you, and other untold regulars could live happily along side one another, however the world is not made up of open minds. I can show you whole nations with a majority of nationalists within it and some of them are European. The last genocide to occur in Europe was in Bosnia and came about due to hatred of differences that were allowed to fester.

    Anyway its good to talk about these things and exchange views.

  • It's Grim Oop North


    “A person managing a football club doesn’t look like an extremist to me.”

    How about people managing a Country? Adolf Hitler? Do you not think a fascist capable of holding down a high pressure job, or good at kicking a pig’s bladder around a field?

    Maybe he will win a bunch of mugs around with his managerial qualities and loveable ways, just like Nick Griffin has tried to smarten the BNP up to make them more popular with the morons who seem to refuse to do some research for themselves, and buy into the historical revisionism and muddying of waters with bollocks like “Tony Blair is a war criminal”, which makes him the same as Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, with a touch of Ghenghis Khan thrown in just to complete the hat trick.

    By all means oppose “Americanism”, communism, capitalism, democracy, wherever you see injustice, but do not, ever, defend fascism.

    I can’t believe what I’m reading from a person on a football forum, defending a known Fascist – he only renounced his fascism under mass outrage from all quarters to save his job, and we all know it.

    I just googled “Paolo Di Canio Sieg Heil pics” – and this was one of the first choices I had to click on –

    Please do us all the courtesy of reading the article, and have a good look at Di Canio’s face – would you want that face glaring at you anytime soon?

    I hate the Daily Mail with a passion, but here’s an article showing him at the funeral of a known Italian Fascist linked to a bombing that killed 85 people – he was jailed for his connection in fact for eight years – so Di Canio is more than ok with 85 people dying for the Fascist cause, which should come as no surprise, because that’s the very nature of these evil bastards.

    If Di Canio and his buddies had their way, Mario Balotelli would not be allowed to play for Italy, and would certainly be sent back to where his parents came from, or murdered in a gas chamber – that’s what they want, that’s what they would do if given the chance – they managed to blow up 85 people recently remember.

    Perhaps Di Canio has realised the error of his ways, and has overcome the childhood in which he was inducted into Fascist groups at an early age, but a Fascist will kill you if you’re not wary of them, unless you are of course a sympathiser.

    Which leads me to ask you this question –

    Are you a Fascist, or a Fascist sympathiser yourself Shard?

    No Bullshit and obfuscation here – just a simple yes or no, you know where I stand, I’m beginning to think your thick skull would like to stand alongside those Ultra’s.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    The Daily mail article about Di Canio’s bomber buddy, sorry failed to post it above –

    Just ask yourself one thing readers, how many funerals of Fascist Bombers does a normal person attend in their lives?

  • @Adam, since I’m from Bosnia, I think I should add something that might serve as rounding of whole story.

    My country Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of six republics that consisted Yugoslavia. Bosnia (to use short term) has had specific ethnic and religious structure for centuries as Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians have been living with each other.
    Yugoslavian communism was much different than the communism in former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria or Romania as Yugoslavian communism came from inside and wasn’t imported on Soviet tanks. Yugoslavian communists were people that organized resistance and fought both Nazis from Germany and their domestic accomplices between 1941 and 1945. Also, Yugoslavian communists said “No” to Stalin in 1948 which made Yugoslavia an exception in Europe – anti-Stalin communist country.

    Citizens of Yugoslavia (or at least 90 percent of them) have never had better and more carefree period in their history than it was between 1961 and 1989. Bosnia was usually called as mini-Yugoslavia and had a huge importance for Tito and the rest of KPJ (Communist Party of Yugoslavia). Nationalism was one of the main enemies of KPJ and no matter which nationalism was expressed, it was dealt with. Usually, Serbs among communists were in charge to deal with Serbian nationalism, Croatians had to deal with Croatian nationalism, etc. Yugoslavia had a policy called “Brotherhood and Unity” that has been mocked by nationalists ever since Socialistic Federate Republic Yugoslavia stopped to exist. Men and women were politically equal since 1945. While African-Americans in United States were suffering due to racism, students from African countries-members of Non-Aligned Movement were considered as our “Non-Aligned brothers”.

    After Berlin Wall felt, Yugoslavia – who was neutral in Cold War and one of the founders of Non-Aligned Movement – became surplus in international community. Nationalists – who were kept quiet for 40 years – including some former communists turned the heat on and awoke nationalistic hate among Yugoslavs. Light nationalists usually point their fingers to communists and say: “Had they allowed nationalists free speech, none of those massacres from nineties would have happen!” They made themselves look like a resistance to communism but, in reality, had we live in 1941 again, they would kill their neighbours of different religion or ethnicity. With a lot of blessings from their religious leaders, of course.

    The thing is, the differences in Bosnia could be resolved had international community wanted it. They could stop the genocide and other horrible crimes had they reacted properly. Was it because they weren’t very interested to protect Muslims as “aliens” in Christian Europe, because Bosnian Muslims have been one of rare Muslims in the world without oil or because they simply wanted to punish Bosnia for communist heritage which was only period of unity of all Bosnian people, it doesn’t matter. Paolo Di Canios all over Europe have been nurtured thanks to meek approach Europe had toward Nazism.

  • Shard


    Very reasonable and a stance I accept. I also said that if it were a subject closer to my heart (ie had affected me personally) I might have felt differently than I do now.

    All I wanted to point out was that there is a whole different world view out there, beyond the shores of Britain or Europe, where fascism isn’t necessarily considered the main ‘evil’. Also that fascism isn’t very well understood since it is simply taken as equivalent to certain evil acts. If we focus on the evil acts of any system or ideology and use that to define the system itself, it’ll be hard to consider any system worth following. This makes it a little more problematic when dealing with people from all over the world, who have had experience of the cruelty under various different ideologies. Some of them current, which aren’t widely considered evil because a) they haven’t been defeated and destroyed in war, and b) because not enough time has passed for history to deliver its verdict. As long as people realise that such a moral problem exists, it is fine by me whichever stance they have on the issue. Because understanding an alternate view always helps us form our own opinions better. And in any case, I don’t believe Di Canio is actually fascist.

  • Adam

    Who would’ve thought we could have a discussion like this on a football blog, well done Mr Attwood for raising this issue and to those commenters.

    I think we are all on a similar page, Shard raises some very valid issues and its was Josif’s comment that brought me in to this topic.

    Josif, thankyou for the information, I know a few former Yugoslavian nations are applying for NATO membership, do you have any views on this? And do you know what is happening with Kosovo as they seem a little isolated?

    And Josif my elderly neighbor has some very strong views on Tito, What are your views on the man (RIP)?

  • Adam

    Oh and Josif I forgot to mention, that my in-laws enjoyed life more under communism than they now do under democracy. More crime, stupid EU laws, and the rise of corporations are a few disgruntlement’s mentioned.

  • Shard

    Adam and Josif

    If I’m correct, Tito isn’t really someone who’s considered very favourably in the Western World. But as one of the founders of the NAM, he’s generally seen as a benevolent influence here. We even have a road named after him in Delhi, but then again we have roads named after very many people. 🙂

  • Shard


    I refuse to buy into a simple dichotomy of us and them (no matter who it is imposed by). How very fascist of me!!

  • Shard

    Rosicky Motm: 2 goals and 1 clearance of the line. Super Tom Rosicky.

    Who are we playing next week? No BFG for us.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    “I refuse to buy into a simple dichotomy of us and them (no matter who it is imposed by). How very fascist of me!!”


    it’s not very fascist of you, it’s bordering on suicidal to refuse to learn about modern Fascists, such as the Italian ones who Di Canio loves so much, and the British ones who I have real life experience and knowledge of.

    Of course, if you live in a different country without these people on your doorstep and at your football matches, then you can take them lightly – history is full of examples of people who have stood by and failed to intervene when wicked men commit atrocities.

    When a fascist skinhead is kicking your teeth in at a BNP rally you’ve stumbled onto in Burnley town centre, do you still refuse to buy into this simple dichotomy of us and them? Or picking up bodyparts of your loved ones in that train station Di canio’s buddies blew up? Still philosophically conflicted then?

    I’m not asking you to believe in the tooth fairy, just to do a little simple research on the fascist ideology and the violence dealt out in it’s name, then tell me if you think it’s something you could support, or oppose.

    You seem like a bright lad, I just can’t understand why you continue to defend an ideology which is as clearcut as any can be, where there are no grey areas, where inequality is a basic tenet – is it an intellectual game to you, do you feel backed into a corner and refuse to budge on principle?

  • Shard

    You don;t seem bright enough to understand that I’m not defending any ideology. Simply pointing out that there is no inherent right or wrong ideology. At best it can be evaluated in degrees, and that is subjective. Where I fall on in terms of my opinion of fascism is irrelevant. It is whether I feel Di Canio deserves to be hounded because of his political views. For myself, I prefer to know what he meant by fascism. No term is as simple to define, least of all a term so loaded.

    Do you want to read a few quotes on fascism?

    “What a man! I have lost my heart! … If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism. … Your movement has rendered a service to the whole world. The greatest fear that ever tormented every Democratic or Socialist leader was that of being outbid or surpassed by some oher leader more extreme than himself. It has been said that a continual movement to the Left, a kind of fatal landslide toward the abyss, has been the character of all revolutions. Italy has shown that there is a way to combat subversive forces.”

    That was Winston Churchill, in 1927, when ‘Leninism’ was apparently the big evil to worry about.

    Another quote:
    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    Fascism is itself less ‘ideological’, in so far as it openly proclaims the principle of domination that is elsewhere concealed.
    Theodor Adorno

    So you see, it isn’t as simple as saying fascism equals evil. It is your perception. That perception could be 100% right of course. But in my experience, such simplistic evaluations seldom are.

    The difference is, that when it comes to fighting against a clear and present danger, then these gaps in logic don’t matter. If someone is kicking my teeth in, or smashing my thick skull (as you’ve been inclined to paint such a pretty picture), I would worry about their actions rather than the intent (or stated intent – there’s a difference between the two) behind them. Di Canio, has never threatened such a thing. Nor is his managing a football club something I think which leads to that danger.

    As to your implying callousness on my part, with this statement, ” history is full of examples of people who have stood by and failed to intervene when wicked men commit atrocities.” Has Di Canio committed any atrocities on anyone? What is there to intervene in? How dare he manage a football club? Am I supposed to campaign to stop that ‘atrocity’? There is a difference between ideology and actions. I disagree with his ideology (or what I know of it). But I disagree with your assumed right to regulate what he can or cannot believe.

  • It's Grim Oop North


    I give in, you are plainly not to be moved by me, and my experiences of right wingers.

    Suffice to say, I don’t like them, and they would see me and my kind in the grave with all haste if they could. You too probably, and your family.

    For me this is no intellectual debate, it’s reality, maybe for you it’s a game.

    I pray you never live to regret any indecision you might have with fascism and choosing a side to be on.

  • bob

    Shard, Andrei,
    EPL squads garner mass attention and publicity, to say the obvious, and a platform for the legitimation and spread of those views. You don’t comment on the official policy that Germany today would not tolerate an openly fascist believer in that position; nor on the visual evidence that far from a mere passive believer with ideas in his head, DiCanio has very publicly and openly has advocated fascism (as in the uncommented on photos that I posted a couple of days ago), and in tandem with the oiks of Lazio, arguable the most openly racist support (the fascist section of it) in Italian football. You seem to ignore that and draw a logical line between having an idea and practicing that idea. Well, DiCanio has put the idea in practice in the past. And, as an EPL coach, he gives legitimacy and a poster child symbol for the legitimacy of that ideology. Your postmodernist everything’s just a story crashes against the long legacy of those ideas regularly turning toward racist violence. Do you really have to wait until someone physically attacks to make up your mind about whether there’s something to prevent from having another, present-moment foothold? If you think that DiCanio is not being used (and consciously so) as a poster boy by and for a presently-active movement, then look at this from today’s Guardian:
    Connecting the dots does produce a story – by definition. But some stories have long proven that their adherents seek power and with that power embark on ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaigns. And effective stories are effective because they actually are takes on what has happened. Your calling something a story does not make the story subjective, as in not (at least partly)factual. That ideology kills, and does so openly and with self-proclaimed principle. And the postmodernism that ignores this, by saying it’s all just a story and to each his own, is playing with fire. It’s not a matter of intellectual gymnastics, this discussion, but repeated historical precedence.
    You turn

  • bob

    It’s Grim Oop North, Shard, Andrei
    Stay in this thread, mates. Something happened, regardless of the reductionist position that says the only thing that happened is a “story” about what happened. And Churchill’s 1920s endorsement of Mussolini has everything to do with his then (in government as a minister, not prime minister obviously) pursuit of a war in Russia which actively fought for the Tsar’s return to power. So he looked to Mussolini to physically destroy in Italy any support for the Russian revolution from spreading in Europe. So to take Churchill’s quote out of that context to say that Mussolini’s fascism is just another murky story that even Churchill could like ignores Churchill’s reasons for getting into bed with a fascist thug like Mussolini in order to crush the threat posed by the then russian revolution (in 1917-1921) to the interests of the british empire, which was Churchill’s sole interest. Oh, but that’s just a story too, isn’t it…?

  • bob

    IGON, Shard, Andrei,
    Please come back here soon, because I posted something I’d like your takes on at 1:24, which is now in moderation because I inadvertantly allowed the same exact link to be posted twice in it. So please do come back once the Admin’s have cleared the path. Very frustrating this one link (even if the same) rule, especially for those of the luddite story persuasion 🙂

  • bob

    IGON, Shard, Andrei,
    While waiting for my fuller explanation for this article/link to clear UA moderation (a funny word when we’re discussing immoderation), here it is, “the link of the day” as it connects DiCanio and Mussolini and prime poster children in this Fascist Museum and its gift shop in Italy:

  • @Adam – I honestly believe than NAM-policy would be the right one. My country should use our ethnic and religious diversity as advantage – most of people that currently live in Bosnia are Bosniaks – Bosnian Muslims – which opens doors and windows for co-operation with Muslim countries (not to mention that Bosnian Muslims can be a useful example for European Union that Muslims – just like Christians, Jews, atheists and every other people – are members of European society). In 49 percent of the country – territory called Republika Srpska – most of the people are Serbs who have big sympathies for Russia. Bosnian Croats can be a connection with European Union as Croatia will become a member of European Union within three months time.

    The problem is, it’s only a big dream full of rainbows. None of aforementioned subjects (Muslim countries, Russia, EU) don’t care about anything but themselves. Fall of Communism allowed nationalists and religious leaders (usually the worst people regarding mutual hatred in Bosnia) to dominate under the mask of democracy. A lot of people who are illiterate are falling for their stories.

    I would, personally, teach how to catch fish from European Union, NATO, Russia, Muslim countries…but I would stay out of any treaties that might cause any damages. I would like to see self-sustainable model of country. Perhaps Arsene Wenger should be our choice for president? 🙂

    Regarding Tito – well, my nickname Josif is related to Tito in terms that Tito’s name was Josip Broz. Josif would be Serbian version of his name which would make a brotherhood and unity combination – Bosnian Muslim uses Serbian name and Croatian last name. 🙂 To be honest, Tito’s role in history can’t be easily judged. He was the only statesman from former Yugoslavia that was equal to the world leaders. He won the fight against Hitler and was the only chief in command in World War Two that got wounded during battles. He won fights against Ustashas and Chetniks movements and minimized the role of religious institutions who were mostly responsible for Antisemitism and mutual hatred between religious groups in Yugoslavia. After the war, he won the fight against Stalin who was ready to attack Yugoslavia after 1948. We can discuss whether his methods were always the good ones but his cat usually caught mice.

    Kosovo is a very complicated story. If there were anyone who were hurt by Yugoslavian (mostly Serbian) nationalism, Albanians from Kosovo were. However, Albanian nationalism on Kosovo since they got upper hand in 1999 hasn’t been something that Albanians should have been proud of. Kosovo is a territory in which two nationalism collide and people who live there are usually collateral damage. 🙁

  • bob

    The meaning of DiCanio’s becoming manager at Sunderland has not been lost on the long-time storekeeper on the high street in Mussolini’s hometown: “I am planning the next Paolo Di Canio T-shirt,” he said. “It will read ‘Sunderland’, with an image of Di Canio giving his salute above,” he added. Once in power, people would be forced to salute (if not purchase and wear) that T-shirt.

  • It's Grim Oop North


    thank you for your kind words, I shall continue to follow this thread, as it has opened up a debate we should all have, to realise what makes the world a better place, and what makes it worse.

    I fully understand the concept of winner writes the history in his favour, and many wrongs are committed under the banners of “acceptable” ideologies such as Democracy, but to use these excuses not to make a firm stand does not sit well with me.

    If an institution or political movement espouses inequality towards other human beings, branding them inferior, lesser, to the point where they wish to physically harm, displace, wipe off the face of the earth, then for me, there can be no argument – they are evil, and must be stopped.

    Fascists do not accept all humans are equal, therefore they feel justified in carrying out murder and hate crimes, genocide and war, they are expansionist, and strive to prove their supremacy, which always leads to conflict – history has proven this over the last century, so if you think you’re safe because there aren’t any Fascists in your little part of the world, then think again – someone will have plans for your country too if they can get away with it.

    Mind you, if you think war and death is a good thing, then by all means shave your head and get down your local Klan gathering to meet other like minded inbreds.

    Sorry Bob, went on a bit of a rant there, back on track, that Guardian article was very interesting, especially with the European financial meltdown – when it makes more sense to take up arms to feed your family, wars and fascists rear their nasty heads, and it looks like there are plenty of Italians sympathetic at least to those ideas at least in theory.

  • Adam

    Thankyou very much for the reply Josif and yes I spotted the name.

    I think what it comes down too, is what a person is willing to work for and towards. That’s why I think I’m not a very good capitalist, I can play the game but I’d gladly work for the greater good as long as my family was cared for.

    The problem we have in England is the people that have the most will not stop accumulating wealth. The gap is growing between the have’s and have not’s. We are currently cutting benefits to people whilst giving tax breaks to those big earners.

    The reason why I raise this issue is that more countries are entering into NATO and this comes at a cost, when times are hard for some we should be looking at civilian employment yet we still spend so much on military issues.

    With regards to Kosovo, I feel they have been ostracized and that needs addressing.