Basso and Modolo smacked around by protesters!

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May 14, 2010
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rhubroma said:
Then you are a blockhead.

The entire motion was politically based from the outset. It's about fascism and money vs. decency. Nothing more. If there were any dignity to the sport and the riders and organizations that make it up, which there blatantly is not, then such an event would have been boycotted. End of story.

If you can't discern the issues then you are too taken in by the sporting aspect of it, which is where the problem began.

I can only repeat what I have already reported before in another thread:

"Qui la politica non c'entra, siamo venuti per correre." ("Here politics counts for nothing, we have only come to race.") So spoke Ivan Basso, the number one Italian cyclist and the most illustrious participant of the so called Giro di Padania. But as even any Italian child can understand, a manifestation that is called "Giro di Padania" and which has been financed and publicized by exponents of the Northern League is political in the purest state.

To be able to say "Qui la politica non c'entra" one needs a strong dose of hypocrisy, or else has to know nothing, absolutely nothing, about the country in which he lives. Ivan Basso will have to decide for himself in which category he prefers to belong: that of the hypocrites, or that of the imbeciles.

For Ivan Basso the Giro d'Italia and the Giro di Padania are evidently the exact same thing in terms of what the sport glorifies and promotes, even if one symbolically celebrates national unity and solidarity, the other racism and separation. Though for Basso it's only a question of pedaling your bike with bowed head without ever raising it to comprehend where one is going, and why.
Don't discount a third possibility vis a vis Basso: that of sympathizer. Not saying he is, but one must avoid the pigpen for fear of being mistaken for swine. Unless of course one is swine.

Zoncolan said:
Nicely summed up.
Indeed. I'm especially fond of the bolded part.

Zinoviev Letter said:
Hopefully every stage of this vile race will be disrupted, although I also hope that this is done without some idiot hitting a cyclist. It is grotesque that the UCI have sanctioned a propaganda event for a bunch of bigots.
Agreed. I have to say, "Padania" is new to me. After looking it up I tried to imagine an analogous situation here in the U.S.

A neo-Nazi group, such as the Aryan Nations, decides to claim the Pacific Northwest as their own. Let's say they lay claim to Washington state and Oregon, and have designs on British Columbia (in Canada) as well. On the very thinnest of historical pretexts they decide to call their fantasy country New Albion. (I'm making this up off the top of my head, based on the above links, but that name is appropriate, and appropriately absurd.) They plan to exclude or enslave (or kill) every nationality and religious minority they don't approve of. A very few well-off business people in the region support them, as well as an alarming (minority) number of the long-term unemployed. Most everyone else regards them as nut cases.

To promote and facilitate the legitimacy of their claim, they organize a bicycle race in its name - Tour of New Albion. (Though, in truth, here in the US it would be a pro American football team.) In order for this race to be taken seriously, it requires the inprimatur of the UCI. (Perhaps this is where the wealthy backers come in, for such approval isn't given lightly or without cause.) A substantial sum is paid (under the table) to Pat McQuaid and other concerned persons, and they have themselves a bicycle race!

With the stamp of the UCI behind it, the race is able to attract real teams and real talent. For a fee, even Lance Armstrong makes an appearance. (Grey Manrod throws excrement at him from the sidelines.) At some point, anti-fascist protesters confront the racers and Lance ends up getting slapped in the face. Do I have it about right? Perhaps not a perfect analogy, but the salient points are there.

It seems to me the real culprit in this fiasco has to be, once again, the UCI. At such a political juncture as this, their role goes from that of amoral businessmen making money wherever they can, to real threat (albeit minor) to society and the rule of law, such as it is. The sooner that organization is investigated and abolished, the better!
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Maxiton said:
Don't discount a third possibility vis a vis Basso: that of sympathizer. Not saying he is, but one must avoid the pigpen for fear of being mistaken for swine. Unless of course one is swine.
Bearing in mind Basso's home town is Varese in Lega Nord's heartland, I'd hazard a guess that he may lean that way. That said, irrespective of his political leanings, it would have been wiser to say nothing.
 
rhubroma said:
Then you are a blockhead.

The entire motion was politically based from the outset. It's about fascism and money vs. decency. Nothing more. If there were any dignity to the sport and the riders and organizations that make it up, which there blatantly is not, then such an event would have been boycotted. End of story.

If you can't discern the issues then you are too taken in by the sporting aspect of it, which is where the problem began.

I can only repeat what I have already reported before in another thread:

"Qui la politica non c'entra, siamo venuti per correre." ("Here politics counts for nothing, we have only come to race.") So spoke Ivan Basso, the number one Italian cyclist and the most illustrious participant of the so called Giro di Padania. But as even any Italian child can understand, a manifestation that is called "Giro di Padania" and which has been financed and publicized by exponents of the Northern League is political in the purest state.

To be able to say "Qui la politica non c'entra" one needs a strong dose of hypocrisy, or else has to know nothing, absolutely nothing, about the country in which he lives. Ivan Basso will have to decide for himself in which category he prefers to belong: that of the hypocrites, or that of the imbeciles.

For Ivan Basso the Giro d'Italia and the Giro di Padania are evidently the exact same thing in terms of what the sport glorifies and promotes, even if one symbolically celebrates national unity and solidarity, the other racism and separation. Though for Basso it's only a question of pedaling your bike with bowed head without ever raising it to comprehend where one is going, and why.
I only wanted to say I didn't understand what was going on as I don't want to believe a single statement by an Italian news source. Not that I support one group or another...

Anyway, even if 61% of the North Italians favor a separation, there is still the issue with the South Italians in North Italy.

I don't have exact figures, but I was told by my roommate that South Italians with their labor influx account for a lot of economic welfare in Northern Italy.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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rhubroma said:
Fair enough. No.

We can't separate the racist and xenophobic aspects of it, from the invented fable the movement has chosen as its cause. In other words, the former can't exist without the other and vice versa.

For the Lega Nord "Piemonte-Lombardia-Veneto" simply do not exist, only "Padania" does, whereas if they decided to recognize the legitimacy of these northern Italian regions, such would be tantamount to approving the common historical destiny they share with the rest of The Boot, which of course they categorically rejects.

And can we really feel that a party with a leader as deluded and pathetic as Umberto Bossi could be any different simply by changing brand name?. Bossi, once again, has publicly refereed to African immigrants as "bunga-bunga", homosexuals as "culatoni" ("big a$$-lovers") as well as denouncing all muslims as maliale "swine".
If you wouldn't have added Umberto Bossi with that description I'd say you were talking about Berlusconi. Let's face it, Italy isn't doing much better. And In South Italy there is a lot of racism as well. I actually thought there was more racism in South Italy than in North Italy.
 
rhubroma said:
For the Lega Nord "Piemonte-Lombardia-Veneto" simply do not exist, only "Padania" does, whereas if they decided to recognize the legitimacy of these northern Italian regions, such would be tantamount to approving the common historical destiny they share with the rest of The Boot, which of course they categorically rejects.
See, this is what I was getting at. If the Lega Nord was a moderate party that respected the LGBT collective and was all for the integration of immigrants, it would seem their separatism would still be a problem. I'm not convinced it's not the key issue here, frankly. There's no "common historical destiny" - "Italy" has been divided into many political entities for the vast majority of its history, and there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to secede from it.
 
El Pistolero said:
If you wouldn't have added Umberto Bossi with that description I'd say you were talking about Berlusconi. Let's face it, Italy isn't doing much better. And In South Italy there is a lot of racism as well. I actually thought there was more racism in South Italy than in North Italy.

The question of Italian identity, like unification, is a long and complex one, which here certainly is not the place to elaborate on all the issues. Entire books have treated these subjects.

In the end, all of Europe is ultimately an amalgam of many regional and sub-regional identities that go back not centuries, but millennia, which have usually been in perennial struggle for survival and emergence. However since the first and second World Wars Europe entered a new era of collaboration and integration, which, following all the horrors and tragedies had, in many cases, at least at home, brought democracy to unedited levels of progressive civility. Against this backdrop then the Northern League is simply a direct effrontery to Italy's recovery after fascism and is thus a scar on the country's successful distancing itself from a condemnable past. They simply are old and backwards as a result, to a degree that the establishment of the Republic since 48 was a gigantic step forward in forging a new age of peace at home and on the Continent. But they are not like the Nazis. This is a mistaken comparison. In fact they have become just acceptable enough within the multi-party system to have gained legitimacy, which neither declared fascists nor Nazis ever would. In this sense they become politically and socially more dangerous in creating antagonisms and divisions, as the protests have demonstrated.

In any event Italian unification is a 150 year-old fact, while comparisons with Flanders have only limited validity. For one if the north has been so economically strong, it is also because of the significant contribution of the immigrant southern workers. While I can not excuse the south for its many problems, and there are many, the Lega has worked unremittingly to ensure that il meridionale remains hopelessly entrenched in its dramatic situation, something which is as mean spirited as it is gravely unjust to the honest and civil people of the south. As if their oppressive mafias weren't enough, the southerners also have to contend with a Roma that is often hostile to them and that has, because of the Lega's role in keeping the majority coalition unified and hence the government in power, no interest in providing help and incentives toward improvement.

The problem with holding such a race, consequently, is that the movement behind the event also has a legitimate seat in the national government, and makes an expedient of this as a platform to promote its own xenophobic and separatist agenda. One that goes against every national interest of a country, as well as many Italians' ideas about integration and solidarity, which they are supposed to support and defend (given that they are in Italy's parliament and not that of some phantom state).

All of this in light of Ivan Basso's comments, and the third option mentioned above that he may well be at least a tacit supporter is probably the more accurate one, only reinforces the appallingly grotesque and offensive nature of the race in the eyes of probably the silent majority in Italy.
 
hrotha said:
See, this is what I was getting at. If the Lega Nord was a moderate party that respected the LGBT collective and was all for the integration of immigrants, it would seem their separatism would still be a problem. I'm not convinced it's not the key issue here, frankly. There's no "common historical destiny" - "Italy" has been divided into many political entities for the vast majority of its history, and there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to secede from it.
I can only respond with what I to el pistolero above. :p
 
Apr 14, 2011
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hrotha said:
I know, but you'll agree it'd be kind of hard to stick all those regions into the name. This is not one of Gianni Savio's teams!

If 61% of North Italians favour independence, wouldn't that automatically legitimate the whole idea of an independent Padania, North Italy or whatever you want to call it, together with the Giro di Whatever?
I'm not sure it would. Separatism where there is a history of suppression of linguistic/cultural differences, political inequalities etc is one thing, separatism based on the politically/economically dominant part of a country wanting to divest itself of troublesome poorer regions is quite another.

For example, I have no problem with Scots or Welsh nationalism. But if a 'southern league' were to come to prominence in England aiming to get rid of the north and the Celts, it would be totally illegitimate.
 
May 25, 2009
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In fairness, while Padania is a made up term, a seperate identity for northern Italy isn't totally without historic precedence. The north was the Kingdom of Italy and part of the Holy Roman Empire, the middle was the Papal States and the south was the Kingdom of Sicily/Naples/the Two Sicilies.

But I do think the UCI should have thought twice about giving official sanction to such a blatantly political tour.
 
hrotha said:
Everything is made up, but once it's old enough we like to pretend it's part of the natural state of affairs.
Exactly. Everything has its own time. It’s why mainstream society now regard Paganism & Scientology as objects of ridicule and scorn whilst embracing the religious and spiritual movements that are at their height today.

Should we never hold a bike race in Flanders, Kurdistan, Kosovo, Scotland, Israel, Abkhazia? Geographic locations whose status and identity have been in flux in the past 100 years. What about the Vuelta going back into the Basque country or the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec? I don’t want to look at those cases in turn, rather my point is, there are a bundle of places in the world where you could host a bike race and it’d put somebody’s nose out of joint. That is in no way an argument for not having a bike race.

Politicians always use sport as a way of garnering publicity and support. Should we ban the TdF because Sarkozy uses it as a publicity vehicle (incidentally, another reason to like VdB!). Should we ban the Rugby World Cup because AIDS denier Thabo Mbeki jumped up and down on the podium with the triumphant Springboks?

hrotha said:
The protesters at the Giro di Padania are anti-Lega Nord. Since "Padania" is not a historical term and it was coined by the Lega Nord, they see this race basically as separatist propaganda. And frankly, whether they're right or not to protest against the race itself, they're right about the propaganda bit – how many foreigners were even aware that "Padania" was a thing before this happened?
And how many less would have been aware of it before the overzealous protests of what appeared to be a rather small grouping? The only winner from the protest is the Lega Nord as the protest succeeds on further putting both their bike race, and the concept of Padania, on the map.

The opinion of personalities within the LN towards homosexuals and immigrants is not relevant to this bike race – unless they have replaced intermediate sprints with “chase the North African” bonuses. The LN is a political party with a strong and legitimate democratic mandate spanning near twenty years regardless of your opinion on their policies. They often receive roughly 10-15% of the popular vote in areas they contest and others will know better than me if in 1997 their “Padanian Elections” really had a turnout of 4 million voters.

So yes, they may be lunatics, but they are not a lunatic fringe. They are elected into positions of power and have funds available. How they use those funds is up to them. The Italian people have ample opportunity at regional and national elections to give their verdict on decisions the LN make. The rest of Italy has a duty to respect the democratic process and are free to exercise their right to peaceful protest.

The UCI and (to a much lesser extent) cycling news, have a duty to not base their decisions on political judgements or affiliations.

Finally, the LN wish to separate away from southern Italy, the true hotbed of post fascist thinking (the pre-Fini National Alliance, Alessandra Mussolini etc). So in that respect, the LN could be described as anti-fascist.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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The Ronde van Vlaanderen doesn't have anything to do with nationalism though :p Bart de Wever doesn't even like cycling :eek:
 
Fergoose said:
I don’t want to look at those cases in turn, rather my point is, there are a bundle of places in the world where you could host a bike race and it’d put somebody’s nose out of joint. That is in no way an argument for not having a bike race.
This is completely missing the point. The problem is not with holding a bike race in the North of Italy. There are many bike races in the North of Italy after all. The problem is with holding a bike race as a propaganda event for a bunch of xenophobic, racist, homophobic bigots.

Those bigots are entitled to spend their money as they please, and I suppose we should be grateful that they are spending some of it on a bike race rather than a torch lit rally. However, it is an insult to every non-white cyclist in the world, every gay cyclist in the world, every Eastern European cyclist and every Southern Italian cyclist for the UCI to endorse a propaganda event for those bigots. And it is an insult to the same people for cycling teams to take part, and for cyclists to take part and for national federations to send national teams to take part.

I suppose we shouldn't expect any better from the UCI, given that our supreme leader was himself banned from participating in the Olympics because he broke the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa. He probably mumbled some nonsense about how it wasn't political at the time too.
 
zinoviev letter said:
this is completely missing the point. The problem is not with holding a bike race in the north of italy. There are many bike races in the north of italy after all. The problem is with holding a bike race as a propaganda event for a bunch of xenophobic, racist, homophobic bigots.

Those bigots are entitled to spend their money as they please, and i suppose we should be grateful that they are spending some of it on a bike race rather than a torch lit rally. However, it is an insult to every non-white cyclist in the world, every gay cyclist in the world, every eastern european cyclist and every southern italian cyclist for the uci to endorse a propaganda event for those bigots. And it is an insult to the same people for cycling teams to take part, and for cyclists to take part and for national federations to send national teams to take part.

I suppose we shouldn't expect any better from the uci, given that our supreme leader was himself banned from participating in the olympics because he broke the sporting boycott of apartheid south africa. He probably mumbled some nonsense about how it wasn't political at the time too.
+100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
 
Jul 26, 2011
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Maxiton said:
Agreed. I have to say, "Padania" is new to me. After looking it up I tried to imagine an analogous situation here in the U.S.

A neo-Nazi group, such as the Aryan Nations,
The US Tea Party would be a better analogue. Or a New Confederacy. Look at what Rick Perry has said about Texas. Lega Nord aren't neo-nazis, like rhubroma said. (Not that I want to defend them.)

http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2009/04/perry-says-texas-can-leave-the-union-if-it-wants-to/
“Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”
 
May 14, 2010
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rhubroma said:
<snip>In the end, all of Europe is ultimately an amalgam of many regional and sub-regional identities that go back not centuries, but millennia, which have usually been in perennial struggle for survival and emergence. However since the first and second World Wars Europe entered a new era of collaboration and integration, which, following all the horrors and tragedies had, in many cases, at least at home, brought democracy to unedited levels of progressive civility. Against this backdrop then the Northern League is simply a direct effrontery to Italy's recovery after fascism and is thus a scar on the country's successful distancing itself from a condemnable past. They simply are old and backwards as a result, to a degree that the establishment of the Republic since 48 was a gigantic step forward in forging a new age of peace at home and on the Continent. But they are not like the Nazis. This is a mistaken comparison. In fact they have become just acceptable enough within the multi-party system to have gained legitimacy, which neither declared fascists nor Nazis ever would. In this sense they become politically and socially more dangerous in creating antagonisms and divisions, as the protests have demonstrated.<snip>
Thanks for the clarification. It sounds as though they are indeed more like our own so-called Tea Party, as Nielsa points out below, than either Mussolini's Fascists or the Nazis. In the event they attain state power, however, there or here, I'm not sure the net effect will be greatly different.

Nielsa said:
The US Tea Party would be a better analogue. Or a New Confederacy. Look at what Rick Perry has said about Texas. Lega Nord aren't neo-nazis, like rhubroma said. (Not that I want to defend them.)

http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2009/04/perry-says-texas-can-leave-the-union-if-it-wants-to/
 
Zinoviev Letter said:
This is completely missing the point. The problem is not with holding a bike race in the North of Italy. There are many bike races in the North of Italy after all. The problem is with holding a bike race as a propaganda event for a bunch of xenophobic, racist, homophobic bigots.

Those bigots are entitled to spend their money as they please, and I suppose we should be grateful that they are spending some of it on a bike race rather than a torch lit rally. However, it is an insult to every non-white cyclist in the world, every gay cyclist in the world, every Eastern European cyclist and every Southern Italian cyclist for the UCI to endorse a propaganda event for those bigots. And it is an insult to the same people for cycling teams to take part, and for cyclists to take part and for national federations to send national teams to take part.
Right, so the UCI should make subjective judgements about what political parties throughout the world it should have dealings with regardless of the democratic mandate handed down to said parties by their electorate? How very patronising. If that is the route you wish to go down I hope you have been vocal in your opposition in the Tour of Beijing thread.

[jest]Oh, and you might want to change your username so it doesn't have an affiliation with a high ranking member of the Soviet Politburo responsible for some of the greatest crimes against humanity in 1910s to 1920s. I don't think this is the sort of political association that Cycling News should be endorsing. Plus you are siding with the Italian Communist Refoundation here. :p [/jest]

Seriously though, the LN has been part of the government of Italy for a majority of years since 1994 - during which time the sky hasn't fallen in and gays and blacks haven't been lynched; it is easy to exaggerate how terrible a political party is by looking at things that individual members have said as individuals rather than at official party policy. If you did that with any political party, you'd find similar remarks about different minority groups in society. I'd happily be pointed to any legislation that the LN have helped implement that has resulted in suffering for minority groupings, that would make the argument against the competition more persuasive (maybe they have changed since the turn of the century when I was more knowledgable of them - at that time they certainly weren't any worse than many right wing parties of government around the EU).

The LN are also a part of the current government of Italy. Governments (both local and national) play a central role in trying to attract sporting events to their region so why should the LN be any different?
 
Fergoose said:
Right, so the UCI should make subjective judgements about what political parties throughout the world it should have dealings with regardless of the democratic mandate handed down to said parties by their electorate?
The UCI shouldn't be endorsing party political events. At all. The fact that in this case it is endorsing a propaganda event for a bunch of racist, homophobic bigots just makes it all the worse.

And no, the issue isn't just that "some members" of the Northern League have made xenophobic or homophobic statements (what kind of party exactly do you think just happens to be overrun with prominent members of that ilk anyway?). Their election material is often openly xenophobic. One of their Ministers was the man who ordered the mass interception/deportation of Libyan refugees and they were in government throughout attempts to register and fingerprint all Roma and Sinti residents of Italy.

I'm not really interested in getting into a political debate here. I'd think it bizarre for the UCI to endorse a propaganda event for any political party. The fact that it's a particularly obnoxious party is merely the icing on the cake.

I hope that each and every stage is disrupted and this shameful farce of a race isn't repeated. Actually, that last part isn't quite true. I'd be happy enough to have one more edition of it, with a final podium consisting of Blel Kadri, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Vincenzo Nibali.
 
Sep 8, 2011
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There' s not such thing as a northern italian identity: due to historical reasons every region feels pretty different from the others.

Secession is not even more in the LN political agenda. Main reason for the secession idea was that back in the 90's Christian Democrat party was using north money to finance loose spending in the south in order to guarantee his electoral support. That's not happening anymore, so secession is really out of the table. Xenophoby is LN main argument these days.

Whilst LN may use a pretty violent language they're not Nazis, they're just a bunch of harmless lunatics. They now and then propose some xenophobic laws, but it's just propaganda, they perfectly know these laws are unconstitutional and can never be approved.

If Blel Kadri won the Giro di Padania, nobody in the LN would care, it's not 1936!
 
Apr 1, 2009
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The Badger said:
Whilst LN may use a pretty violent language they're not Nazis, they're just a bunch of harmless lunatics. They now and then propose some xenophobic laws, but it's just propaganda, they perfectly know these laws are unconstitutional and can never be approved.
They are not harmless. People were dismissing Hitler the same way back in the early '30s. Unfortunately, we know just how "harmless" he was.
 

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