Italian Social Movement–National Right

Italian Social Movement–National Right

name_english = Italian Social Movement–National Right

foundation = 1946
dissolution = 1995
newspaper = Il Secolo d'Italia
leaders = Giorgio Almirante, Augusto De Marsanich, Arturo Michelini, Gianfranco Fini
membership = 202,715 (1993) max: 240,063 (1963) []
ideology = Post-fascism, Nationalism, Conservatism, Corporatism
international = "none"
european = "none"
europarl = European Right (1984–1989)
colorcode = black

The Italian Social Movement, later Italian Social Movement–National Right ("Movimento Sociale Italiano–Destra Nazionale", MSI-DN) was a neo-fascist and, later, national-conservative political party in Italy formed in 1946 by supporters of former dictator Benito Mussolini (the name "National Right" was joint in 1972, when some moderate-conservative groups entered joined it).

The party was dissolved in January 1995 by Gianfranco Fini, who founded National Alliance.


From RSI to MSI

The Italian Social Movement was founded in 1946 by disgrutled former supporters of the Italian Social Republic ("Repubblica Sociale Italiana", RSI), notably Giorgio Almirante, long-time leader of the party who reviewed his pre-war racist views [ [ Il Domenicale ] ] , Augusto De Marsanich and Arturo Michelini. For many of its supporters, "MSI" was both a reference to RSI and the backronym of "Mussolini sei immortale" (meaning "Mussolini, you are immortal"). The latter reading is however generally held as backronym.

Initially the party was relegated to a state of paralegality because it refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new republic (in Italy it was said it was outside the "constitutional arch"). MSI was largely the keeper of the fascist torch mostly in a nostalgic fashion, loyal to the "social" version of fascism embodied by RSI. On this basis it was active in the movement for pan-European nationalism, taking a leading role in the European Social Movement, the New European Order, the National Party of Europe and the European Right.

Arturo Michelini

After brief spells of Almirante and De Marsanich, Arturo Michelini was elected party national secretary in 1954. Despite not being very successful, the new leader traced a path to overcome the isolation suffered by the party since its foundation. The two pillars of the new strategy were the proposed alliance with Christian Democracy (exemplified by Fernando Tambroni's government in 1960), the Italian Liberal Party and the Monarchist National Party, and a Atlantist foreign policy agenda. In this respect MSI approved Italy's entry into NATO in 1955.

Giorgio Almirante

After Arturo Michelini's death in 1969, the return of Giorgio Almirante as national secretary demonstrated a new kind moderation, removing fascist symbols in 1970, declaring an acceptance of the democratic system and overseeing a merger with some monarchist and moderate-conservative groups in 1972. However MSI included more extremist currents, for some former members of Ordine Nuovo, such as Pino Rauti, who has been implicated in various trials on terrorist attacks in the 1970s. The path opened by those reforms led ultimately to the transformation of MSI to National Alliance, a mainstream conservative party.

Gianfranco Fini

Gianfranco Fini took over the party leadership from Giorgio Almirante in 1987 and set about modernising the party (except for a brief spell between 1989 and 1990 when Pino Rauti, who had joined MSI in 1969, was leader). In 1994 Fini proposed the creation of a National Alliance, along with respected conservatives (such as Domenico Fisichella, Alfredo Mantovano and Luigi Ramponi), members of Christian Democracy (such as Gustavo Selva, Publio Fiori, Gaetano Rebecchini, Andrea Ronchi, Antonio Mazzocchi, Cesare Cursi e Learco Saporito), the Italian Liberal Party (such as Giuseppe Basini, Stefano Pagliuzzi and Luciano Magnalbò) and other parties (notably Pietro Armani from the Italian Republican Party).

In January 1995 a party congress officially proclaimed the party's dissolution as well as the establishment of National Alliance, a mainstream conservative party which claimed to be committed to the democratic process (as also late MSI was), centrist in orientation and opposed in its constitution to antisemitism, xenophobia and racism. In particular, that party started to be one of the most pro-American and pro-Israel parties in Italy.

Hardliners, under the leadership of Pino Rauti, did not joined National Alliance and launched Tricolour Flame.


An array of themes that continuously inspired MSI for forty years included:
* advocacy of the third way in between liberal capitalism and social-communism;
* rejection of the party system;
* intransigent anticommunism;
* appeals for a strong executive branch;
* support for aggressive government intervention in the social sphere;
* opposition to the guiding role of superpowers in international politics.

However, since Michelini took the leadership in 1954, the party took an Atlantist stance and notably supported Italy's entry into NATO in 1955. When Almirante took the leadership in the 1970s, thanks to the role of Pino Romualdi, leader of the "liberal" faction of the party, MSI took an even pro-American stance and a more liberal position on economic issues, which led to the uphaveal of the early 1990s.

Popular support

MSI's electoral score has always been around the 4-6%, but sometimes it reached higher shares of votes, notably 8.6% in the 1972 general election. Its popular support came mostly of the Southern underclass and the rural oligarchy until the 1960s and then from the urban middle classes, especially from Rome and Lazio, Bari and Naples.


*Giorgio Almirante (1946–1950)
*Augusto De Marsanich (1946–1954)
*Arturo Michelini (1954–1969)
*Giorgio Almirante (1969–1987)
*Gianfranco Fini (1987–1990)
*Pino Rauti (1990–1991)
*Gianfranco Fini (1991–1995)



* Roberto Chiarini: "“The ‘Movimento Sociale Italiano': A Historical Profile”" in "Neo-Fascism in Europe".
* Betz, "Radical Right Wing Populism in Western Europe", op.cit., p 41.

External links

* [ Extreme Right in Europe: A Comparative Study of Recent Trends (pdf)]
* [ collection of MSI membership cards]

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