Casa Pound banner
Casa Pound banner (Photo Credit: Cronache Maceratesi)

Italy's far-right Casa Pound movement, whose member Gianluca Casseri shot dead two African street vendors in Florence Tuesday, has allegedly managed to infiltrate the Italian Parliament, according to the anti-fascist Searchlight magazine.

From 2007, the neo-fascist organisation spread to cities across Italy, through a squatting strategy that allowed them to take over houses in Rome, Florence and Bologna.

According to Searchlight, the international neo-Nazi Blood and Honour network managed to open their first branch in Italy thanks to Casa Pound, named after the American poet Ezra Pound, who lived in Italy during World War II and made anti-Semitic broadcasts for Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.

The far-right movement squatted the Colleverde Guidonia house in Rome in 2007. Then it was handed over to another neo-Nazi group, the SPQR Skin, also dubbed "Italian Division of Blood and Honour".

The decision to locate Blood and Honour there was just a matter of time.

Drawing inspiration from the motto of the Hitler Youth, Blood and Honour is a neo-Nazi group founded in 1987 that was declared illegal in Germany and other countries. Racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, they proclaim the superiority of the white race over others.

But Casa Pound also sought political legitimacy, enticing some Italian MPs to take part in its meetings.

A couple of months ago, Domenico Scilipoti, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party (PdL) chaired a conference entitled: "Usury, Ezra Pound lands in Parliament, a topic discussed by the Responsabili, Forum Anti-Usury and Casa Pound".

The so-called Responsabili were a pro-Berlusconi parliamentary group formed by Scilipoti to support the ex-prime minister in every confidence vote.

"Everybody says that I am crazy, but I don't care. They said the same to Ezra Pound," said Scilipoti during the seminar. Pound was confined to a U.S. mental hospital after the war.

Scilipoti "drafted the group's manifesto by doing a cut-and-paste job from a document written for Benito Mussolini in 1925 by the then-Minister of Education, Giovanni Gentile," Searchlight reports. At the "usury/Ezra Pound" meeting Scilipoti promised to bring the ideas and legislative proposals put forward by Casa Pound into the Parliament.

Other alleged links include Gateano Saya, from the Italian Nationalist Party, who drew up his manifesto from a Nazi document dated 1925.

Italy has never completely cut its links with fascism. Former members of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist political party formed in 1946 by supporters of Mussolini, are now in positions of power in the country.

The MSI was formally dissolved and merged into the National Alliance in 1995 by Gianfranco Fini, current speaker of the lower chamber of Parliament, who downplayed the fascist origin of the party and transformed it into a more conservative and moderate party.

However, Mussolini's legacy is still cherished by far-right parties including Destra Nazionale and even Berlusconi's party.