So what exactly are Paolo De Canio’s politics?
There’s a pretty good and damning account here. Back in 2011, he also gave an interview to Robert Chalmers which perhaps revealed a deeper engagement with the far right than the odd stiff-armed salute or Mussolini tattoo, all the more interesting because the interview is basically a case for the defence. It included this, for instance:
"I love to visit Stonehenge. The idea that, around 3,500 years ago there were these people, with their connection between earth and heaven. And that community came together at the solstice."
He has a friend in Italy who shares his interest in pagan ritual. "On 21 December he will be coming over, and we'll celebrate the solstice."
As it happens he didn’t go to Stonehenge – an away match at Morecombe interrupted his schedule – but had a bonfire in his garden instead.
There’s obviously a general link between paganism and the wider world of fascism; the Italian far right in particular loves its Celtic crosses. But it also points to a more specific allegiance. In fact it sounds like the ‘solar masculinity’ propounded by Julius Evola, the conservative-revolutionary philosopher and all round guru to the postwar Italian far right. Evola’s wiki is here. The short version is that he posited two competing world spirits: that of the Northern, masculine, hierarchical, solar and Nordic and that of the Southern, feminine, democratic, lunar, materialistic and - surprise, surprise – Jewish. You won’t be surprised to learn that Julius approved of the former and promoted the idea that one could grasp one’s inner Aryanness through participation in the rites of the ancestors. (if you want any more of this stuff, you can get it in brain melting detail in Goodritch-Clarke's Black Sun)
Two points about Evola. He didn’t believe in biological determinations of race (his Nordic category included the Japanese and the Aztecs, along with anyone with a history of conquest) and he never actually joined the fascist movement. By extension, perhaps, one can claim to be not a racist nor a card carrying fascist and in a strictly technical sense be accurate. Actually, Evola’s attitude towards Mussolini seems to be congruent with the quote about him given by Chalmers from Di Canio’s autobiography.
I’ve really no idea whether or to what extent Di Canio might be a follower of Evola or to what extent. But given that he was a kind of guru to the MSI and Di Canio was raised in the quasi-fascist milieu of the Lazio ultras, it’s difficult to believe that he was never exposed to his work. And now he’s dancing round bonfires.
What we have here overall is what happens when someone is transplanted from an environment from where the wider fascist world of ideas was never eradicated to one in which it never really took root. Nor should it be allowed to. Having said that, and given that the whole conservative-revolutionary approach to politics seems to be making a comeback in Europe, his specific political views may be both stranger than we think and of wider interest. Accepting for the sake of argument you're a post fascist, Paolo, what kind of post-fascist are you?