MS Risk Blog

The Sardines: Grass-Roots Movement Against The Far-Right

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On 14 December, 100.000 people attended a rally in Piazza San Giovanni, Rome. This rally was organized by a grass-roots movement called “Sardines”. The movement was started by 4 activists on 14 November in Bologna. They organized a rally there which targeted 6,000 people to attend. Turns out, some 12,000 people attended it, double the expectations. The movement quickly spread across cities in Italy with dozens of subsequent rallies being held. In December alone, protests have been conducted in various cities such as Milan, Turin, Palermo, Florence, Naples, and Rome, which have been attended by more than 300,000 people in total. The aim of the Sardine movement is to counter the growing support of far-right politics which are being led by Matteo Salvini. The Sardine movement denounces the anti-immigration and Euroscepticism rhetoric which is promoted by the far-right.

Since 2018, Salvini has promoted radical anti-immigration and Euroscepticism throughout his speech. Even though he has already been removed from his position of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, he is still considered as one of the most powerful politicians in Italy. He has gained a huge public support especially in the northern part of Italy through his far-right campaign and his party has never been stronger. Even in the city of Bologna, which is considered as the stronghold for leftist, Salvini has proven to gain much support too recently when his political campaign was attended by some 5,000 people. Therefore, it is believed that Salvini’s removal from his position of power within the Italian government has had very little effect towards his popularity. His far-right idea has captured public attention and support, thus placing him as a significant threat to the current left-wing government for the upcoming election in January. The Sardine movement emerged as the reaction of this growing far-right threat, calling their actions as “the fight towards fascism”.

The Sardine movement is blatantly calling Salvini and his supporters as fascists, as Salvini’s campaign is considered by them as an action of “allowing the worst form of racism to exist”. The dozens of rallies conducted by the Sardine Movement were mainly denouncing the ideas of anti-immigration and Euroscepticism within Salvini’s campaign. However, it has been seen that some protestors were also protesting other issues such as the growth of mafia, poverty, and climate change. By seeing this, it is believed that Sardini’s movement is not a movement which is filled by a very specific demographic, which means that they are not linked to any political party. The movement welcomes everyone who agrees in fighting Salvini’s ideas and prevents him to rise into power. The movement itself can be defined as more leaning towards the left-wing within the political spectrum by looking at their views of equality, anti-racial discrimination, and support of civility in politics. However, their broad public scope and primary end goal shows their independency from any influence coming from particular political party. Therefore, The Sardines Movement can be characterized as a pure form of people controlled movement which fighting the growth of far-right populism as their sole purpose.