John Foot

John Foot’s history of Italian fascism, Blood and Power, was published in 2022. He is finishing a book on the Red Brigades.

From The Blog
20 June 2024

Under the UK’s grotesque electoral system, a national breakthrough by a small party is more or less impossible. But in the new constituency of Bristol Central, the Green Party leader Carla Denyer is running Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire very close in the polls. Accounts of the race in the national press often recreate stereotypes of Bristol being somehow alternative, ‘bohemian’, quirky, as if voting Green were a bourgeois eccentricity reserved for people who play lyres and wear purple shirts. But the Green wave in Bristol has been a long time coming, and has its roots in disaffection with the way the city has been run at a local level. It also tells us something instructive about Labour in power, which may prefigure what happens when Keir Starmer takes over as prime minister in July.

Inthe dreadful 2001 film version of Louis de Bernières’s novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, a miscast Nicolas Cage plays the soldier hero. The opening scene depicts the (second) Italian invasion of Greece in 1941. Mussolini’s first invasion, in 1940, had been a political and military disaster, the first sign that Italian fascism’s ambitious war aims were...

When Mussolini​ took power after the March on Rome in October 1922, few thought he would hold office for long. Giovanni Amendola, a Liberal deputy first elected in 1919, failed to oppose the confidence vote on the new government. King Victor Emmanuel III had capitulated to the fascists, but Amendola had faith in Italy’s constitution and the strength of its democratic institutions....

In May​ 1937, troops under Italian command moved into the remote area around the monastery of Debre Libanos in Ethiopia. They had been sent there by Rodolfo Graziani, one of the commanders of the Italian invasion of the country in October 1935 and now the viceroy of Italian East Africa. In February 1937 he had survived an assassination attempt in Addis Ababa. In retaliation, the Italians...

From The Blog
12 January 2022

The Colston Four admitted fully to their role in toppling the statue but pleaded not guilty to criminal damage. Their case went to a jury trial at Bristol Crown Court. The prosecution argued that the four were common criminals who had damaged property. Colston, they said, was ‘irrelevant’ to the trial. The defence, however, turned the case into a ten-day history lesson, calling the historian David Olusoga as a witness. The jury heard in detail about the horrors of slavery – the rapes, the murders, the branding, the trafficking of children – and about the statue itself: even when it was put up, nobody really wanted it. The defence argued that the statue was a ‘hate crime’. They also pointed out that the total cost of the damage caused by toppling it and dragging it along the pavement was only £3750.

Franco Basaglia regarded the asylum itself as the problem. As a logical extension of the authoritarian society that had built it, it was irredeemable, and even an improved version – a ‘golden cage’...

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