Skinheads Italia

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Words by Billie Jenkins Images courtesy of Paolo Marchetti

It is something we often choose to ignore, yet the reality is fearful. It was not until UKIP exceeded all expectations that I opened my eyes to the real, right wing sympathies growing on my home soil. I thought it was something drunkenly muttered in the corner by the guy no-one wanted to invite to the party, or by the old guy at the end of bar whose only source of information was a few more old guys in bars and a gut feeling he had been undersold by circumstance. Turns out the sentiment is growing and the reality is we will only realise fully the implications when it is too late. Move over to Italy, and the extreme right wing is even more dangerous, and evermore public. There are music festivals and public rallies that put the EDL fisticuffs to shame. Doting on their Roman heritage, and often looking back to Mussolini’s state as a glorious moment in modern history, they’re angry at their lack of place and power in the current system. It’s a fearful set of conditions, an incubator for anti-immigrant, anti-other mentalities.

Paolo Marchetti’s series Fever captures the intense, and often violent, energy of the Italian right wing movements in his collection Fever; spending time with significant members of the extreme right wing community. It makes uncomfortable viewing. The hyper-masculine, often emotionally charged, imagery create powerful images. One particular image, of attendees at a Skrewdriver gig, become more grotesque when you learn lyrics include ’Thank God I’m White’. It serves both as a bold insight into a culture that many of us will never see, much less understand, as well as a chilling reminder of what happens when we don’t take the angry and disillusioned seriously.

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