OF all the important powers which emerged victorious from the War, Italy gained the least. As the fascists expressed it, Italy won the war and lost the peace. The Versailles Treaty made France and Great Britain complete arbiters of the Continent, and excluded Italy. The secret treaties by which the other powers had induced Italy to break from Germany and to enter into the War on their side were abandoned. Italy was forced to see her great Mediterranean rival, France, dominate in the Balkans. At the same time she witnessed Serbia growing into a great rival State, seizing the provinces of Dalmatia, Croatia and Montenegro. None of the German colonies was handed over to Italy, but England and France consolidated their respective positions in Africa. Italy’s territorial gains were relatively insignificant, far less than what she claimed, so that after the War, she was impelled to take matters into her own hands and, through the vigor of D’Annunzio, to capture the important City of Fiume. No wonder, therefore, the Italian ruling class felt itself cheated and betrayed by its allies, and left weakened and susceptible to attack.

The Italian national State only recently had emerged, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and was not strong. The ruling cliques of Italy, the merchant princes and the grandees, never had been able to overcome the overwhelming influence in Italian affairs of Emperor and Pope whose concern it was to keep Italy divided into little morsels, each part fighting the other to the benefit of these two. As we have already seen, the people, organized by Mazzini and Garibaldi, had swept away the influence of these archaic forces and had brought into existence the unified national State. But, as usual, not these radical elements controlled the situation, but the conservatives who managed to maintain their hold. All this, of course, did not enhance in the least the prestige of the aristocratic royal elements of Sardinia.

No sooner was the Italian State formed than the rulers conceived it necessary to demonstrate the military courage of its classes by engaging in war for colonies. The Italians, however, for centuries had been disused to military fighting except through the condottieri, or mercenary soldiers. Their military exploits were, therefore, far from creditable to the ruling class. Lybia and Albania alone cost Italy six billion lire. The sound defeat Italy had received in the Abyssinian War, the muddled mismanagement of the army in the Turkish War, and finally, to cap it all, the disgraceful actions of the General Staff in the World War, heaping a staggering total of dead and wounded on the battle fields, led the masses to have only the greatest contempt for the martial ability of its so-called rulers.

The peaceful pursuits of the Italian population for many centuries had favored a practical anti-militarism. The Socialist Party in Italy grew rapidly over the issue of imperialism and war, and in 1896 was able successfully to oppose the further continuance of the war in Abyssinia. After the defeat at Adowa and following the termination of the war, huge disorders spread throughout the country, especially in Milan, leading to the killing of over four hundred by the soldiery of the government. (*1) So frightened were the rulers that all Italy was declared in a state of siege. Again, in the war with Turkey over Africa in 1911 and 1912, the socialists took a threatening attitude. While they could not stop the slaughter, they were able to purge their ranks at the time of a good many of the national and chauvinist reformists within the Party. Thus, by 1914, the Italian Socialist Party was in a strong position to fight the entrance of Italy into the World War, and helped to delay Italy’s participation. When the War broke out, its official stand was “neither to help nor to hinder.”

Immediately before the World War, the workers’ movements had developed into menacing proportions; in 1914, from June seventh to June fourteenth, a general insurrection raged throughout the city of Bologna and the province of Romagna. The World War came just in time to prevent the overthrow of the royalist regime.

The weak position of the ruling class in Italy was due also to the fact that Italy was an exceedingly poor country, unable to stand the expenses of imperialist adventures. Italy had no iron and no coal. Her chief economy was agriculture. Only in the twentieth century was she able to begin to develop her water power into electricity. Thus Italy was a second rate power, unable to meet her industrial rivals in Europe and unable, therefore, to carve out for herself any large colonial domain.

At the same time, although essentially an agricultural country, Italy possessed a well-developed proletariat, her land being worked not so much by individual peasants as by agricultural laborers on the estates of the grandees. In 1911, nine million or 54 per cent of the 16.8 million gainfully employed were working in agriculture, but of these six million were agricultural laborers. This accounts for the extraordinary activity of the Socialist Party on the countryside and the powerful agricultural laborers’ unions that it was able to build. Besides, there Were 2.3 million industrial workers who, with the transport workers, made up approximately four million. Thus, of the total gainfully employed, ten million were proletarians.

The fatal and congenital defect of this working class was that it was not employed in large-scale heavy industries such as existed in Germany, England, and the United States. The result was a peculiar combination of circumstances. The workers were in the majority; they were militant, discontented, and meant to take over power. At the same time, their socialist movement could be based, not on the most modern technique of capitalism, but on a level of relatively petty production. This caused the Italian workers to retain much of petty bourgeois emotional individualism; on the countryside, they felt themselves closer to the poor, individual peasant rather than to those engaged in large-scale factory farming; in the city, they displayed the artistic spirit of the artisan, rather than the regimented and disciplined approach of heavy industry. Thus, the development of the Italian proletariat was lopsided, and its organizations acted in a completely confused and befuddled manner when they tried to take over industry for themselves. Militancy they had, but not iron battalions.

The terrible results of the World War threw everything into chaos in Italy. The masses moved violently to the Left. Aristocratic rule completely broke down. The Italian Socialist Party grew to seventy thousand members. By November, 1919, it secured 156 seats out of a total of 508, with a program calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat, and its membership rose to three hundred thousand; the membership of the Confederation of Labor jumped to two million. (*2) In the municipal elections, the socialists controlled over two thousand communes, or one-third of the total. Vast strikes swept ry, there being registered over a million strikers in agriculture and over a million and a quarter strikers in industry that year. (*3) These strikes were not of the ordinary kind, but rather of the type that inevitably spells insurrection. After the employers had instituted a general lock-out, a half million workers marched into the important factories of Italy and took possession of them.

It had been admitted by practically all observers that the revolution was now inevitable. (*4) That the revolution did not occur, however, was mainly for the reason that the leadership of the workers either did not want to seize power or did not know what to do with it if they should. Simultaneously, the militant action of the workers had plunged the ranks of the Socialist Party into a crisis. The Right Wing, opposed to revolution, did not secede, but stayed inside the Socialist Party in order to work from within to kill the movement. The Left Wing, on its side, was stupid enough not to expel the Right Wing, but to allow it to remain to do its demoralizing work. The fact is that the Left Wing was wholly unable to understand a revolutionary policy. At best, the militants were guided by Centrists who held off the revolution long enough to demoralize the workers with incessant strikes that got them nowhere, who threw the country into a chaos that alienated the whole middle class population against the workers, and who permitted the employers to build up with impunity their fascist army. As a reward, these leaders earned the contempt not only of the workers but even of the rulers, who were thus enabled to write that the socialists, while threatening revolution, never really desired it. “The Italian socialists were not dangerous. Almost always they were merely tiresome and annoying. They talked of revolution and they aspired to carry out a policy of reform.” (*5)

To the treacherous action of the socialist leaders and their centrist policies was added the pressure of the syndicalists who told the workers to pay no attention to politics, to concentrate on economics, and to ignore the State. Thus, at a moment which would have been decisive for the history of all Europe, which would have fused the Russian revolution with the Italian, Hungarian, and German, which would have made almost inevitable the overthrow of capitalism in Europe after the war, the Italian workers were not able to consolidate and act. They could not solve the problems of revolution.

Only in 1921 were the communist elements able to separate themselves from the Right Wing centrists and to form their own organization; but it was entirely too late. Not communism, but fascism won the day.


The origin of the Italian fascist movement dates back to the Fasci d’ Azione Revolutionario, organized in 1914-15 under the leadership of Mussolini to bring Italy into the war. At the outbreak of the war Mussolini became a passionate patriot, upon which he was ousted from his post of editor of the leading Italian Socialist Daily, “Avanti.” He then founded the "Popolo d’Italia.” It is rather significant that before he became an ardent interventionist in the war, Mussolini was on the Left Wing of the socialists. We have already pointed out that, in the days of the Second International, the Left Wing was by no means necessarily composed of intransigent Marxists. On the contrary, often it contained a considerable number of declassed intellectual adventurers who took the side of the Left because of their urge for action. These intellectuals, deprived of a decent living by capitalism, felt they had to break and to destroy in revenge. By no means, however, did they accept the theories and practices of dialectical materialism. Further examples of this type were Briand and Viviani, in France, who were active in eulogizing the general strike, but who, once they achieved power, did their best to break it.

These men had curious counterparts among the professorial pundits, people like George Sorel in France and Thorstein Veblen in the United States, who were followers of a philosophy of action of the Bergson or James variety. Incontinent iconoclasts, they were ready to prove the antithesis of everything their smug philosophic brethren were trying to affirm.

Mussolini professed an enthusiasm for Sorel, (*6) who defended violence as a source of social progress, and, when il Duce was first elected to the Italian Parliament, he shouted to his former comrades: “I know you with a sincerity which may appear cynical because I was the first to infect you when I introduced into the circulation of Italian Socialism a little of Bergson mixed with much Blanqui.” (*7)

After the war, new Fasci (Fascio means union or association) were organized, this time ostensibly for the purpose of reaffirming the advisability of Italy’s entrance into the war and of defending the interests of the demobilized soldier. At this time, so unpopular were all memories of the War that Italians did not hesitate to rip off the uniforms of soldiers or of officers whom they met and to stamp the pieces into the ground. “Sometimes an express train waited hours in a country station until a general or a policeman decided to get off, and go on his way by some other means.” (*8) Highly significant in this anecdote is the cowardice of the socialists in being willing to wait, to hold up a whole train for hours to compel the officer to leave, rather than to throw him off bodily, without such waste of time. On a larger scale, precisely this policy caused the defeat of the entire socialist movement and enabled the fascist forces to grow bolder in their attacks. All the socialists could do was to confuse railway time tables; it was one of Mussolini’s greatest boasts that he restored the trains to schedule.

Mussolini has been stimulated in his views by three political theorists who preceded him, Machiavelli, Mazzini, and Sorel. He has attempted to synthesize their views and to round out what Machiavelli and Mazzini had begun. The principles of leadership in political affairs had already been laid down in the classic works of Machiavelli, who had worked out these practical rules as part of his general plan for the unification of Italy.

Mazzini had partly realized this unification; it was up to Mussolini to finish the job, to wipe out all the local provincialisms prevailing in the districts of Italy, to consolidate the country, to strengthen the national State, to centralize the government and to give it greater authority. Mussolini here completes Mazzini in the same manner as Adolph Hitler completes the work of Bismarck, not only creating the independent national State, but making the State all-powerful, compelling the Pope and the Catholic Church to take a secondary position.

Mazzini had worked along lines entirely different from those of Machiavelli, since he had mobilized the people independently of the aristocratic cliques to fight against the Austrian oppressor and the pretensions of the Pope. Many of the views of Mazzini were those to which Mussolini could give his most enthusiastic endorsement. We have seen that Mazzini tried to unite Italy under the slogan, “God and the people,” and thus to correlate intimately State and Church. Mazzini declared the first atheist must have been a criminal and what we must do was not to deny heaven but to make the earth like heaven. In a special address to Italian workingmen Mazzini pointed out: “Liberty is not the negation of all authority: it is the negation of every authority that fails to represent the Collective Aim of the nation…" (*9)

Above all did Mazzini fight against the essentials of communism, since to him property was one of the elements of human life, and the principle of property was eternal. (*10) The true remedy lay in the consolidation of labor and capital in the same hands. With these principles, Mazzini, although he insisted on free trade, advocated large public works, the eventual confiscation of church property by the State, the turning over of all unclaimed land and the profits of railways and public utilities to the State, the common land to be given to the State for the benefit of the poor in the communes and a national fund to be created for distribution to workingmen’s associations (corporations). Mazzini tied up this program with a denunciation of capital as the tyrant of labor, showing that the people had been first slaves, then serfs, and were now hirelings, and calling upon them in the sacred interests of tradition, progress, and association to build a new Italy.

On the question of communism, Mazzini broke sharply with Garibaldi, and denounced vehemently the Paris Commune. (*11) To Mazzini, the Commune was but the logical continuation of individualism, since both hated the Fatherland, which was holy. (*12)

Thus we can see that Mussolini carries forward almost the entire essence of Mazzini’s principles. To stress duties not rights, to link up God and the State, to hold the family sacred, to emphasize the duty of labor, to attack capitalism in phrases and communism in fact, to chain together liberty and authority, to stress action, to link up tradition with progress, and to justify this entire program on the ground of benefitting the nation as a whole and particularly the mass of poor,—all these things show that Mussolini has only borrowed heavily from the nineteenth century program to realize it today.

The philosophical method of Mussolini is heavily indebted also to the actionist views of Sorel and James. (*13) Sorel preached that humanity could reach truth only by allowing full play to its life force as expressed in impulse and emotion and the intellectual counterpart of which was intuition. All fascist schools adopt a violent anti-intellectualism and strongly favor a passionate intuitionalism. This was the view of Sorel, as it had been that of Carlyle and Nietzsche.

Frenzied by the general smugness of a society that was in reality resting on a mine of explosives, Sorel believed that both the middle classes and the proletariat were degenerating, and that only violence would restore vigor to both. Proletarian violence would force the middle class to attend to its own business; it would strike squarely slum-going welfare workers who tried to meddle in to the life of the workers with Christian phrases of charity and love. For the same reason, too, it was a good thing for the workers occasionally to battle certain representatives of the government. The ensuing bloodstream would purge the illusions in the minds of the workers that the upper classes and the government should control them.

Of course, as social welfare schemes terminated, the violence of the capitalist class would increase, but capitalist violence would inevitably lead to the victory of the proletariat. Sorel believed that such a violent method would bring to fruition the ultimate laws of the class struggle. “If a united and revolutionary proletariat confronts a rich middle class, eager for con- quest, capitalist society will have reached its historical perfection." (*14)

Sorel’s insistence on violence induced him to attach himself to the syndicalist movement wherein he eulogized the policy of constant strikes to inspire the workers for the revolution and affirmed that, while the general strike was but a myth, as was the revolution, it was by means of such myths that the worker could improve his lot. If, indeed, Meliorism was the escape for society, it was better to have Meliorism by blows than by persuasion. (*15)

The same contempt that Mussolini felt for the principal, socialist leaders Sorel felt for those at the head of the French Socialist Party; he delighted in quoting Clernenceau, renegade socialist, who had openly sneered that socialists were moderate radicals and not revolutionists at all. (*16) It was his complete disgust with the parliamentary cretins who called themselves socialists that had inspired Sorel to endorse the syndicalists and to denounce those intellectuals who had embraced the profession of thinking for the proletariat. By analyzing the views of Sorel, we can see how closely they resemble those of Mussolini.


In 1919, the Italian fascist movement was not strong, although even then it claimed twenty Fasci and twenty thousand members at its first congress. The movement was originally entirely spontaneous, decentralized and uncoordinated except for its guiding head, the clique around Mussolini. Some of the members were Catholic, some anti-clerical, some Free-mason. Such contradictions, however, offered no obstacle to the continuance of a movement based, not upon any great theoretical program, but precisely upon vague feelings of discontent and a consciousness of the necessity to change the existent order. By no means do fascists strive for intellectual clarity. In every case, their programs are larded with vague formulations that can be interpreted in any manner whatever, according to the needs of the moment. This permits the leadership to emphasize demagogically any aspect of events that it desires. At the same time it allows the organization to corral into its fold diverse petty bourgeois elements, each with entirely different grievances. Fascism thus transforms demagogy into a veritable science.

In the beginning, the fascists had to grope their way. The capitalist class rule was so unstable that it had to depend on persuasion and demoralization of the workers’ ranks by Fabian tactics rather than on violent suppression. It should be borne in mind that the workers were still heavily armed and only recently had gone through the experiences of the War. They had no fear of the regular army, which was in the process of reorganization. The bourgeoisie, through its spokesmen Nitti and Giolitti, and later through Bonomi and Facta, to gain time had to use the method of reform and concessions as long as it could. At the same time, it tried to counter the revolutionary unions by pushing the Catholic unions, which were growing mightily.

The fascists did not begin to play their important role until the working class resistance had been broken; it was broken not so much by external violence as by internal treachery. In the beginning, fascism had to adopt an extremely radical coloration and swim along with the stream. It offered itself as a sort of substitute for the regular socialist parties. “Its propaganda glorified strikes, food riots, calling for the hanging of speculators, the seizure of land by the peasantry, occupations of factories by the workers Dalmine, and denounced the State as the enemy—’Down with the State in all its forms.’ “ (*17)

As the social concessions only heated the revolutionary ardor of the masses and solved none of the basic social problems of the day, the State gradually began to augment its repressive forces. The gendarmerie in 1920 was increased from twenty-eight thousand to sixty thousand. A special Royal Guard of twenty-five thousand was formed. The fascists began to be armed by the authorities, although they as yet made no serious attacks on the people. Mussolini’s paper, “Popolo d’Italia,” was distributed by the army authorities freely among the troops. “From the Army the Fascisti received sympathy, assistance, and war material. Officers in uniform took part in its punitive expeditions. The Fascisti were allowed to turn national barracks into their private arsenals." (*18)

The professional officers of the army occupied themselves by training bands of fascists in military tactics. On October 20, 1920, the General Staff even issued a circular instructing divisional commanders to support the fascist organizations. At the same time, the police also helped the Fascisti enormously. “Sometimes carbineers and Royal Guards openly made common cause with the Fascisti, and paralyzed the resistance of the peasants. Against the Fascisti alone, the latter might have held their own.” (*19)

Thus in every possible way the State, supposedly controlled by Liberals and Catholic humanitarians who were interested in love and peace, was secretly allied with the fascists. We have, therefore, a double process: on the one hand, the development of mass formations below; on the other hand, heliotropic adversion of the State apparatus to the fascist sun. The Liberals and humanitarians directly prepared the way for the black-shirted fascists who rewarded them by deposing them from office as soon as possible.

The revolutionary movement came to a peak in 1920 when the workers, with a tremendous burst of enthusiasm, took over the factories. These workers, however, reckoned without their leaders, who at once did their best to break the revolutionary movement and, to the great dismay of the workers, actually surrendered the factories, shortly thereafter, in September. This proved to be the turning point of the revolutionary movement. The workers in disgust quit the trade unions and the Socialist Party by the hundreds of thousands. As the movement became demoralized, the employers believed the time advantageous for a political counter-attack, and threw all their forces behind the Fascists. In November, 1920-note the date-the Fascists launched their first terrorist action against the workers, at Bologna. “The Fascist jackal strikes only the already wounded proletarian lion.” (*20)

With the powerful help of the government, the Fascists vigorously pushed forward their work. Between January and May, 1921, alone, they destroyed 120 labor headquarters, attacked 243 centers, killed 202 workers and wounded 1,144. The method which the State used to help the Black Shirts was to send the Royal Guard to the labor center with the ostensible purpose of “protecting” the center, in reality to search the entire premises and entirely to disarm the workers. Then the center was attacked by the Fascists; the Royal Guards would retire, and the Fascists would be left to wreak their destruction at will. During the first months of 1921, 2,240 workers were arrested by the “impartial” State officers, but only 162 Fascists.

One reason why the workers could be subdued so quickly was that the old government, unlike that in Germany, never had been overthrown but had existed through the whole critical period of the War and since. In Germany, on the contrary, it took a much longer time before the fascists were able to crush the far better organized and disciplined working class.

Believing that the working class was now in full retreat, the government under Giolitti declared a special election in May, 1921. In this election, the fascists formed a bloc with the nationalists to win thirty-four seats, and in this period “Mussolini and his followers took their seats on the extreme Right, and in his speech as leader of the group he declared that he was ‘reactionary because he was anti-parliamentarian, anti-democratic, anti-socialist."’ (*21)

By this time, however, the communists had split away at the Livorno Congress in April to form their own party and to separate themselves both from Turati, the leader of the Right Wing, and from Serrati, the head of the Centrists. These two worthies soon adjusted their differences. The separating of the communist forces cleared the atmosphere considerably, and, to the surprise of the government, the masses actually voted in larger numbers than ever before for the socialist and communist candidates, both of whom received a total of close to one million nine hundred thousand votes, a record. It was clear that the masses had retreated simply because of their leaders, but that they were capable of a further attack in the immediate future, especially since they now had different leadership, a Communist Party that took its orders from Lenin and the Communist International. This fact decided the government to go the limit in aiding the Fascists to crush ruthlessly the entire movement.

While the ruling group was negotiating with the Fascists, the latter utilized the period to separate the revolutionary communists from the reformist socialists and trade union leadership. In this Mussolini was eminently successful, and, to the further dismay of the entire working class, he was able to make an agreement with the socialists and trade union bureaucracy that neither was to continue the struggle further. This was a most shameful compact, one that dealt the finishing blow to the aspirations of the workers, because, while it thoroughly disarmed the mass organizations of the proletariat, their leaders declaring that the fight was now over, the Fascists by no means ceased their bloody attacks, especially on the militant labor sections, the communists, who had now their own separate organizations and centers. The Fascists in truly Machiavellian style at the earliest possible moment tore up the agreement so solemnly sworn to.

By this time, the Fascists counted two thousand two hundred fasci groups, with three hundred and ten thousand members, and were rapidly expanding their forces. By now they could afford to change their program considerably, so as to become the chief agency of the reactionary ruling groups of Italy. Hitherto they had proclaimed the need of an Italian republic; they now become ardent Royalists, declaring that the King was necessary as the symbol of unity of the nation, that the talents of the aristocracy were essential in administering the government. They wiped out their clause calling for the abolition of all titles of nobility. With this, the King was able to give them his blessings and to make possible the march on Rome.

The Fascists did not “conquer” power; they were inducted into power by the government after the working class groups had collapsed from inner bankruptcy. It is true that “Luigi Facta, who headed the shadow government then in office, decided to oppose the advance of the Fascists. A state of siege was declared but the order had to be countermanded for the King refused to sign the decree.” (*22) The only effect of Facta’s act in declaring martial law was to disarm the civil authorities and thus prevent any real resistance to Mussolini’s march, which was handled by the generals of the regular army. Incidentally, the march was facilitated by the wild and unplanned action of the syndicalists who called an ill-advised general strike on the railroad; this did not stop the march, but enabled the Fascists to fill the important railway posts with their own key men and to insure that the march went forward in schedule time.

Having been commissioned by the King to form a government, October 29, 1922, Mussolini’s first step was to consent to form a coalition government. By this time, the Nationalists had completely fused with the Fascists, and Mussolini was able to use this period to complete the rout of the workers and to consolidate his forces. He began a vigorous attack both against the subversive elements and against the liberals who had permitted the chaos in Italy to endure so long and who were to be chastised for not knowing how to fight the communists. An effective instrument for such punishment was the Fascist militia, organized in 1923.

Mussolini’s next move was to call an election which would give him full power in parliament. Voting was held under Mussolini’s complete control and accompanied by a regular reign of terror. Having secured a preponderant number of seats, Mussolini was then able to annihilate the liberal socialist opposition. In this he was aided by the towering blunders of his opponents.

To provoke the socialists into battle, Mussolini actually murdered his troublesome opponent, Matteoti, but instead of heeding the challenge, the socialists deserted parliament entirely, refusing to take their seats, and complaining of the violence attending the election. Instead of preparing to overthrow the State, they whined interminably about the loss of their sinecures in the government. This was all that was needed by Mussolini to place the opposition in the light of an anti-national, disloyal group, interested only in disruption. He not only broke down the “Aventine” opposition, but, when they crawled back on their knees to take their places in parliament, he slammed the door in their faces and declared them out forever.

Thus, by 1925, Mussolini had won the day and could move on to establish his corporative State. He had no qualms whatever in eradicating those points in his radical platform that had called for universal equality and direct suffrage, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, association, press propaganda and individual collective agitation, decentralization of executive authority, administrative autonomy of provinces and communes, abolition of secret diplomacy, and similar measures.

Further, Mussolini was now free also to break completely whatever power the radical middle class had obtained within the Fascist ranks and to change the program of fascism to conform with the dictates of victorious Big Business. He denounced political democracy as a fraud. The State was the absolute to which everything was secondary and relative, and he raised the slogan: “Everything to the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State.” (*23)

Fascism thus repudiated the pass words of nineteenth century liberalism. Mussolini, as early as 1923, asserted, “Now the greatest experiences since the War, those which are in continual movement before our eyes, indicate liberalism’s defeat. In Russia and in Italy it has been demonstrated that it is possible to govern irrespective of and contrary to the whole liberal ideology. Communism and fascism are outside liberalism.” (*24)

Against the individualism of the nineteenth century, fascism set up the idea of a complete subordination to the State on the ground that individual happiness is dependent on the general well being. The twentieth century was to substitute the fascist ideal, “Each for all and all for God.” The principle of authority was to prevail in every line of social life. The State was to merge again with religion. The crucifix was put on the walls in every schoolroom and in every court of law.

Of course, this was only Mussolini’s Machiavellian method of utilizing religion for his own purposes. When the Church attempted to continue the social activity which it had launched under liberalism, when it strove to maintain its hold over the youth in education, in sports, and in social welfare, and to keep its Catholic unions and its prestige with housewives, the Fascist movement soon put an end to the pretensions of its rival and made it very plain that not even the Catholic Church could supplant the authoritarian State as the people’s mentor. The contest between the Catholic Church and fascism continued for a number of years until a compromise was worked out whereby the Fascist Party, while utilizing the Church as an instrument of social control, maintained its complete leadership in every field.

The attack against individualism was also made the pretext for an attack against the old theories of nineteenth century capitalism which had called on the State only to keep order while each one went his own way and each class struggled against the other. The State no longer was to be a police agent for any class, but a synthesis for all classes. The State would not permit class war between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but it would recognize different groups according to their function in production, not according to their wealth.


The legislation enacted by Mussolini was supposed to realize new and revolutionary principles. It was the duty of the individual to act so that his interests coincided with those of the community, the State to decide just when such coincidence occurred. Private property was not only an inalienable right but a public trust. Only those adhering to standards embodying a sense of responsibility to God, country, and family were eligible to political rights. No subversive propaganda nor allegiance to an International of any sort would be tolerated. The highest entity in life was the State which was to be considered not as undertaking a residuum of functions which the individual could not carry out, but as an organic whole embracing all. Competition would be allowed, nay, encouraged, but not class warfare. Arbitration would be compulsory. There would be a dictatorship set up, but one joined to a sort of representative system so as to keep in touch with all parts of the nation. (*25)

Mussolini undertook to reorganize social institutions from top to bottom. One of his first acts was greatly to restrict the universities, thereby barring many persons from higher education. A large number of teachers were discharged; the priest returned to his own. This phobia against higher education is a marked characteristic of fascism. The fact is, fascism cannot look science in the face; it can depend only upon pure force and terror for its control. Just as it cannot tolerate questioning and discussion, so can it not suffer a free academic atmosphere.

The reorganization of the government resulted in the dismissal of eighty thousand old employees. The purging of the State apparatus was a thorough one, and extended to the pettiest local administrations, bringing them under the complete control of the central authorities. This did not mean, however, that the bureaucracy of the State had decreased; on the contrary, the number of State pensioners was remarkably augmented as the State assumed enlarged functions. Needless to say, of course, the police, gendarmie, the army and navy were also entirely remodeled.

The fascist theory put an end to the check-and-balance system of liberalism. The Executive arm was made all important; it alone was responsible for the administration of laws. The Prime Minister no longer was responsible to parliament, nor did he require its consent for his acts. Such a change was absolutely vital to the politics of capitalism in an age of crisis and civil war. The State must be free to act rapidly and suddenly, responsible to no other force. Only in this way can the violent and extremely variable political fluctuations be met with safety. The present is not a period of talk but one of action, in which the chief enemy is, above all, within the gates.

Perhaps the most important innovation in politics instituted by fascism in Italy was the direct incorporation of the political party into the State apparatus. On the surface, fascist dictatorship looks like the dictatorship of one man, the leader, il duce, der fuehrer. This is far from being the case. The idealization of the one-man hero is simply to centralize and unify all striking forces to the maximum height. In reality, fascism brings out the fact in all its stark nakedness that the true commanding sovereign within the State is the Party, and that the sovereign outside the State is the Class. In the case of Italy, it is the Fascist Grand Council, that is, the Executive Committee of the political party, which controls the fascists in parliament and has decisive authority in the making of laws. It also determines what candidates appear before the electors at election time. No other political parties can exist. Thus, the fascists control not only the executive but the legislative arm of the government, and fuse both together.

On the surface, it may appear that the fascist dictatorship is independent of all classes, although it operates for the benefit of one, the capitalist. This independence is a myth. The Fascist Party is made up of elements of the small property holders. Its leaders are in close touch with those of big business and act as its agents. Moreover, the Fascist Party does not rule without the mechanism of democracy. It permits the proper persons, that is, those in harmony with the interests of capital and of private property, to vote, and by the utilization of this electoral paraphernalia, fascism makes it plain that it is not the master over classes but the servant of the general will of capital. Vicariously, through the Party, the Class dictates its will. Fascism is an open dictatorship of the capitalist class that strips aside the masks extant under democracy. From all this it is clear that fascism is not a return to monarchical despotism, but a reformation of capitalist society utilizing most modern means.

In these political changes, Mussolini was deliberately imitating the advances which had been made in political theory by the Bolsheviks in establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. A similar basic mechanism had permitted the Russian communists to survive their difficulties, namely, complete centralization of government, the fusion of the legislative and executive branches without division of powers, the incorporation of the Party itself into the State directly, the Party intimately and closely related to the Class to give the Party nourishment and foundation. The weapons which the proletariat had used so successfully in 1918-1923 were used by fascism for the benefit of the old order.

Fascism early recognized that the paramount factor in society was the class struggle engendered by the relations existing in the production of wealth. The old territorial divisions of government and representation had become inadequate. Materialists had never ceased to point out that those who controlled the economic power controlled the political. The utopian dreams of Saint-Simon had emphasized the possibilities of utilizing these principles in a reactionary direction; his idea was to give complete political power to the captains of industry. The guild socialists, too, had talked of representation by occupation rather than territorially.

The fascists determined to take the first steps in that direction; they began to organize the population on the corporative basis under the control of a Grand Economic Council connected with the central administration of the State. Thus, in Italy, there have existed two organs of government, the political parliament and the Council of Corporations. Formally, parliament had the general decisive voice, but as Fascism stabilized its hold, gradually the corporations have been given more power and brought closer to the general workings of the State, so that today Italy seems on the verge of abolishing the political parliament entirely and of substituting for it the corporative mechanism.

From its earliest days, fascism had attempted to link itself up with the working class and to organize separate unions affiliated to its policy. After its complete victory in the State, it was able to tackle this task seriously on a national scale. Fascist unions were to be recognized as soon as 10 per cent of the workers in the factory signified their willingness to join; they alone then would be entitled to make labor contracts with the employer. This 10 per cent was easy to win, since included in the number were foremen, technicians, and other relatively highly paid elements upon whom the employer could always rely. The Fascist union, therefore, was no better than a company union. Despite its compulsory character, the decisions of the union regarding wages and hours were held binding for all, even for the 90 per cent.

With a heavy hand was laid down the principle: “Every man in his place and a place for every man.” In Italy, the first part of this policy had to be stressed; in Germany, where fascism would arrive in a period of unemployment, the second part would rise in importance. All strikes and lockouts were now forbidden. All contracts of the workers with the employers had the sanction of the State; the violation of this private agreement became a criminal offense. Special labor courts were set up to compel obedience to the State’s decisions in all disputes that came before it.

In order to create uniform conditions throughout Italy, the workers were organized into local unions on an industrial basis, which in turn were organized into national federations. The various federations were tied together into six main confederations. The employers, too, formed their industrial confederations, and both sides then came together in a Council of Corporations, each industry having its own separate corporate agreements and problems. The National Council, organized in 1930, controls all corporations. This Council is heavily weighted with numerous State functionaries and is headed by the Ministry of Corporations, one of the main departments of the central authority.

The wisdom of the Fascisti in organizing the workers on an industrial basis might well be questioned, since this action would tend to bring together the workers. But actually, no other choice was available. The fascists could not organize craft divisions for the simple reason that they needed the higher paid men to spy on the others and thus insure the most perfect control. In the nineteenth century, craft divisions had been encouraged by the employers because the unskilled could not act of their own accord, and it was essential to divide the workers. In the twentieth century, when the unskilled workers had demonstrated their ability to organize themselves in revolutionary mass formations, it was absolutely imperative to dilute their ranks with higher paid elements who would refuse to travel in a revolutionary direction and who would report everything to the controlling agency in sufficient time to help break up the solidarity of the workers from within. These bribed elements functioned as stool pigeons for the capitalist class.

In building up his corporations, Mussolini adopted the theory that labor in all its manifestations, whether technical or manual, was a social duty and the basis of the State. However, the capitalist producer was also a laborer; he, too, had his rights, which were to be preserved. Although the capitalist formed a small minority, he was to be permitted far more influence than the workers.

In line with these views, thirteen confederations were formed, six of employers and six of workers; the thirteenth was made up of the liberal professions and arts. The purpose of the Council of Confederations was to examine and to work out the interests of national economy, and to secure permanent collaboration between workers and employers. In short, it was a mechanism for the increased nationalization of capital and compulsory subjugation of labor. The so-called “Charter of Labor,” for example, makes it a duty for the trade association of employers to increase business, to improve the quality of production, and to reduce costs in every way possible. If any particular business man does not conform to these provisions, then his private initiative may be declared insufficient and the State may intervene directly in his business, in the form of supervision, promotion, or direct management. The results are easily foreseen: “In no country was it so easy as in Italy to obtain the consent of employees to a reduction of wages, in accordance with the fall of prices and with the depressed state of industries.” (*26)

It is interesting to notice the distribution of power between labor and capital as shown in the workings of the Council of Corporations. These corporations have the duty of submitting to parliament the candidates to be elected. Each confederation nominates twice the number of candidates allotted to it and submits the list to the Fascist Grand Council, which reduces it to the proper number and presents the whole list as a unit to the electorate for approval. Each confederation, whether of employers or workers, is given the same number of votes, the relatively small number of employers nominating the same number as the many millions of workers.

In reality, the cards are stacked against the wage-worker in a multitude of ways. For example, 20 per cent of the list is allotted to the thirteenth confederation made up of professional men and artists who are entirely removed from the working class and intimately connected with the employers. Thus, already the wealthy control 60 per cent and labor only 40 per cent. But within the ranks of the workers still further divisions are made: 3 per cent is given to employees in banks and insurance offices; 12 per cent goes to agricultural syndicates; 6 per cent is assigned to commercial employees. Thus, only 10 per cent is left to industry, 5 per cent to seamen and airmen, 4 per cent to land transport and internal navigation workers. The most the industrial proletariat can control, therefore, is a weight representing 19 per cent or 20 per cent of the whole.

But even this percentage is entirely fictitious, first, because the fascist unions are completely dominated by the management of the factories; second, because the electoral list is submitted not by local bodies, wherein the workers could have some influence, but only through the district bodies where the fascists are in complete control; and third, because even this list contains twice the names required, permitting the Fascist Grand Council to eliminate half the number, especially to remove anyone who might be suspected of the slightest deviation from fascist tendencies. So far as representing the will of the workers is concerned, fascist “democracy” is an exceedingly refined mechanism to prevent this from ever appearing.

It must be emphasized, too, at this point, what power is vested in the bureaucracy of the fascist unions to discipline the rank and the file. Though only 10 per cent of the workers may belong to a fascist union, dues are collected automatically from all the workers by the employer and turned over to the leadership. At the same time, only those belonging to unions can obtain certain important privileges, such as assured annual vacation, or the right to be hired, or the prevention of dismissal by an employer at his whim, the right to appear in court, to press claims of wages and working conditions, certain recreational, sport, hospitalization, and other privileges, etc. Finally, anyone found disloyal to the State can be dismissed from the corporations and black-listed everywhere.


Should the parliamentary system give way completely to a government wherein only corporations would represent directly the nation as a whole, then the fascist system would be an inverted replica of the soviet form of government established by the communists, in Italy the entire machinery being in favor of the capitalist.

The difficulties that Mussolini has faced in establishing this program have been considerable and have been due not so much to any opposition on the part of Big Business as to the fact that Big Business in Italy was poorly developed, since the production of Italy was mostly in the hands of petty concerns. For this reason, Italian fascism always has stressed the value of individual private initiative in the field of production as the most useful and efficient instrument for furthering the interests of the nation. The corporations of fascism were not to annihilate individual competition, but were merely to channelize competition in a form that would be safe for the authority of capital as a whole. Thus Italian Fascism could aim only at putting all individuals, qua producers, in the position of choosing freely their own economic policy, and starts from the principle that everyone’s property shall enjoy ample guarantees. On the other hand, the right of property has limitations in the Fascist Regime when it conflicts with the interests of the national community, recognized and impersonated by the State. Economic freedom of enterprise also is subordinated to restrictions of various kinds, whenever it interferes with the public interest….

“The State does not assume the place of the organizer of an enterprise, nor take from him the control nor the possibility of directing his own undertaking in the manner he deems best, but proposes to place the individual in the best conditions for organizing that part of production which depends on himself.” (*27)

Prior at least to 1930, cartels and trusts were not encouraged directly, and the corporative State did not emphasize a planned economic system. True, that such ideas of planned economy gradually have been penetrating Italian fascism, but it should be remembered that, after all, the Italian has been a pioneer in the working out of the fascist program and practice, and he has been forced to work in a country relatively agrarian and backward in technique. The co-operative, the association, the joint stock company, the mutual aid group, these have been stressed in Italy rather than the trust and monopoly of imperialist business.

What has unified economy in Italy has been not so much the huge industrial trust as the interests of international finance capital. Finance capital represented by the United States reduced the war debt of Italy 85 per cent to bolster up the rule of Mussolini and to prevent his downfall. International finance capital permitted the restabilization of the lira in 1925 and helped Mussolini to overcome the political difficulties during the Matteoti affair. Italian Fascism owes its success to its intimate connection with finance capital.

In connection with the amount of lee-way accorded private initiative, it is to be noted, too, that both workers and employers theoretically are organized separately, that the contracts between them are of their own making. The government does not establish directly what the wages and hours of work must be, although it announces its power to do so in theory, and in practice generally interferes in one direction or another. In this form, the class struggle is still recognized in Italy, but it has become a class struggle appearing in the sphere of distribution rather than of production, the fight taking place as to what share of the total wealth should go to each category of “labor.” Once the contract is formed, however, the State throws its entire weight to enforce it.

Because of the widespread prevalence of petty industry in city and country, the complete functional mobilization of all sections of the population, so as to permit the corporations to be superior to territorial parliamentary representation, is exceedingly difficult to attain. Even in 1932, while there existed, according to a previous census, 623,640 industrial undertakings in connection with which about three and one-half million workers were employed, only about one hundred and eighteen thousand firms, employing only a little over two million workers, were represented in the corporations. Thus the numbers controlled by the confederations equaled only one-fifth of the active concerns, employing only one-third of the total number of workers. The mobilization of the individual peasants on the countryside has been an even more difficult task. Here, then, is the reason why fascism does not deny the theory of individualism in consumption while it decries such a theory in production. Italian fascism must cater to the individualist propensities of the small owners.

Since its corporative functional control is incomplete, fascism has made it its business to permeate all other forms of social life. It must see to it that the people are controlled not only at the point of production but in their family life, leisure, and recreation. It has, therefore, organized the population from children up. Here, too, it imitates the Russian Bolshevik system. The very young children are organized into the Balilla, the older children into the Piccole Italiane, the adolescent youth into the Avanguardia and the Giovanni Italiane. There is also the national militia and the Fascist Party. (*28)

In line with this system, the State has organized a national recreational service called Dopolavoro wherein fascist propaganda is presented to the population in the form of education, sports, games, etc. The institutions of Dopolavoro are practically the only places wherein workers can come together after work hours. The workers pay for this service through the dues which are taken from them by the fascist unions. To increase its control, the Dopolavoro provides for its members meeting rooms, the use of stadiums, special railroad fares, better steamship rates, cheap theater tickets, tax free food in Dopolovoro restaurants, special libraries, reading rooms, lectures and instruction in athletics, etc. This, too, has induced close to two million members to register under it. (*29)

Similarly national institutes have been formed to handle problems of maternity and child welfare. These institutes also serve the purpose of increasing the birthrate through protecting childbearing. To stimulate birth, the State has undertaken a veritable campaign. Bachelors are taxed; the legal age of marriage is reduced; honeymooners are entitled to cheaper railroad fares; mass marriages are encouraged; special food doles are given to those who acknowledge illegitimate children; special prizes are donated to mothers; bonuses and lower tax rates encourage those who raise large families. The birth rate, however, still goes down. In 1923 it was 29.23 per thousand; in 1933 it had shrunk to 23.5 per thousand.

Of course, the chief reason for fascism’s interest in maternity and child welfare, as for its interest in sports, is the drive for a maximum military force. The youth are fed the rawest kind of chauvinistic propaganda and are mobilized in military formations from their earliest years. Before the Ethiopian War, the standing army of Italy numbered close to three hundred thousand, with a reserve of about two and one-half million more. Immense improvements have taken place in the navy and in the air force. In 1932-33, Italy spent seven and one-half billion lire on her air force alone, having now eighty-one airports and eighty-six flying fields, all of which are fully equipped. The situation has become much intensified since the Ethiopian War. Gradually the whole population is being put in arms in preparation for the imminent world conflict.

As the birth rate shrinks, the fascists pay increasing attention to existing youth. The fascist seizure of power is hailed as a revolution of youth. The youth are idealized as a force capable of breaking away from the old ideas of class struggle and of instituting the new ideals fascism. It has been decreed that there shall be no admissions into the Fascist Party except youth of eighteen. Thus, on the surface, capitalism appears entirely rejuvenated. It is no longer a senile and decrepit order, but one which is supposedly enthusiastically hailed by children and young people. At bottom, however, this is merely a case of dementia praecox wherein the senile play perversely with the genitalia of children.

Naturally in such a highly agricultural country as Italy, the fascists have catered to the peasantry and have carried on large public works for their benefit: The Pontine Marshes, in the Province of Campagna, have been drained, a technological achievement which all previous Italian administrations from the time of early Rome on had failed to do.

In order to help the peasants, the import duty on wheat was raised 150 per cent in 1931. In this way, fascism was determined to bar the cheaper grains of Canada, Australia, Argentine, the United States, and Russia, and to maintain at all costs the peasantry, the main bulk of its army, and its dependable military force in war. The most strenuous efforts have been made to enable Italy to feed herself. From 1928 to 1934, although two hundred and seven thousand agricultural workers were shelved permanently, ninety-nine million more bushels of wheat were produced, representing an increase of 50 per cent. What is true of wheat is true of other agricultural commodities, barley, oats, corn, peas, potatoes, and sugar beets. All this has been part of the so-called national planning of fascism.

The essence of Italian national planning has been merely to insure a self-sufficiency in time of war. Hence the great drive to increase both the population and the food supply. As fascism plans not for peace but for war, in its very planning it thereby only brings war nearer. Looking about them to ascertain whether Italy can sustain herself in war, the Fascisti find that they can mine only one ton of coal for every fifteen tons that she requires in peace; that she has no fuel oil at all; that her total iron ore production is only one-hundredth of the Messaba Range of the United States; that her production of sulphur has steadily decreased so that, while she once led the world, she now produces only one-fifth that of the United States and, were it not for the forced labor which works the mines and the large subsidies of the State, she would not be able to maintain even this fractional proportion. Italy, therefore, must search for an empire that will make available the sources of raw materials which she demands for her world struggle. The fight for empire leads her directly into the vortex of a new world war. Thus the circle is completed.

As the war danger comes nearer, the fascists intervene more directly into the intimate workings of every large industrial concern, as, for instance, in the operation of the chemical, the electrical, and the machine industries. These industries have been narrowed into trusts or cartels dominated by the State. Montecanti, for example, Italy’s largest chemical concern, employing over twenty-five thousand workers and having assets of seventy-seven million dollars, practically controls chemicals. In the metal industry, Fiat, employing approximately thirty thousand men, has a similar hold in steel. It is important to note that the combined assets of Italy’s ten largest corporations, while only seven hundred and fifty million dollars, none the less represent 9 per cent of all the corporation assets in Italy. The key industries steadily are becoming fused with the State.


The pretensions of fascism have been that it would, by wiping out the old laissez faire liberalism, prevent the irresponsibility of capitalism and institute some sort of security and stability for all. None the less, when the economic crisis of 1929 came, it affected the fascist regime as seriously as it did the other profit-making countries. National self-sufficiency found itself overwhelmed by gigantic international forces which it could not control and of which it was indeed a part. It would be a miracle were it possible to except one country alone from the nexus of international relations that have been established through the centuries. Such miracle-dreaming has been the philosophy of all the utopians in the past, as it has been of the fascist theoreticians. What Italy has done has been not to evade the crisis but systematically to misrepresent its effects.

Foreign trade fell in Italy, as elsewhere, to exceedingly low levels during the crisis, declining from 44.5 billion lire (*30) in 1925 to 13.5 billion lire in 1933 or a drop of close to 70 per cent. The drastic reduction in exports has compelled Italy still more draconically to curtail imports, thus adversely affecting both the levels of living of the masses and the stability of the merchant marine. In order to bolster up the merchant marine, the government has been forced to pay over three hundred million lire annually for the past six years as subsidies to maintain the ships on the seas. The tourist trade which had been relied upon to redress Italy’s unfavorable balance to the extent of forty billion dollars annually has fallen off sharply during the crisis, helping to plunge Italy into an extremely poor financial position.

Italy’s long-term debt has risen from 84.4 billion lire in 1928 to 92.7 billion lire at the end of February, 1934, while the foreign debt, which in 1928 amounted to 1.6 billion lire, reached by February, 1934, the staggering figure of close to ten billion lire. Then there is the unprecedented advance in the public debt. At the outset of fascism in 1923, the public debt amounted to ninety-five billion lire; in 1934, with the additions stemming from fascism, the total had leaped to one hundred and seventy billion lire, which is close to nine billion dollars, or about two hundred and ten dollars per capita. Nor is this the complete balance sheet, for there must be added the war debts, the Morgan loan of more than sixteen and one-half billion lire, the subsidies and subventions of the State such as to the government-controlled merchant marine, and to the credit associations, which by now total over ten billion lire, the two or three billion lire indebtedness of the telegraph, telephone, and postal service and the forty billion lire in State annuities for work already done under contract.

Thus, even before the Ethiopian adventure, Italy was in a hopelessly bankrupt financial condition, having relied upon international finance capital to extricate it and to release it from its debt obligations. The Ethiopian War, of course, has continued the ruinous financial course of fascism. The figures have been carefully concealed from public view, but the country has notoriously been drained of all precious metals, and there is no adequate reserve to cover the currency.

During the depression, the national income of Italy declined from one hundred billion lire in 1929 to less than sixty billion. At the same time, taxes exceeded thirty-four billion lire, or more than one-half of the income on which it could be levied. Bankruptcies have steadily climbed upward from a total of one thousand nine hundred in 1921 to over twenty-one thousand for 1933. Ever since 1930, the budget has not been balanced, each year disclosing a wide gap between expenditures and receipts, equaling approximately three to four billion lire annually. Twenty per cent of the budget must be devoted to charges on the public debt. Another 20 per cent goes for military purposes. This is the Garden of Eden which the fascists have promised an eager world.

The workers are in a more miserable position than ever, for even allowing for the many services that the State supplies to the people, the level of living has sunk below pre-war, and is probably among the lowest of all Europe. And this has grown worse during the crisis. In 1928 it was estimated that the average industrial wage was about 10.4 cents an hour, the agricultural rate much lower, while women and children averaged from five to nine cents. By 1933 this had fallen to nine cents per hour as the average industrial wage, a little over six cents as the agricultural wage, with three and one-half cents for women in agriculture. These wages prevailed in a country that had raised its tariff on wheat, enormously increasing the cost of living for the workers. (*31)

These unbelievably low nominal wages do not reflect the real wages which the Italian worker actually receives, for not only are these wages average and conceal the wages of the mass of workers’ but they do not take into consideration the numerous indirect taxes which strike the worker at every turn. It has been estimated that almost one-half of the total government revenue of eighteen billion lire comes from these indirect levies upon everything on which the worker can be forced to bear the lion’s share of the burden, such as taxes on sales, salt, tobacco, slaughter of animals, matches, etc. The income tax of the State cuts sharply into the lower brackets, affecting farm incomes as low as 534 lire, or twenty-seven dollars. The highest categories have to pay merely 25 per cent income tax. Besides these taxes, there are the tributes in dues which the workers have to pay to the fascist unions, 82 per cent of this going to the maintenance of the apparatus and only 17 per cent admittedly taking care of educational and vocational training.

As for the great public works which Mussolini has advertised, it has been said that “Its record of public service, particularly in the smaller towns and in the suburbs of the cities—public service, as represented not only by utilities, but by such things as hospitals, sanatoria and schools—is poorer than that of any other European country in the same political category, and is certainly poorer than that of pre-fascist Italy.” (*32) Thus the entire cost of lethal fascism falls upon the masses who are to work and fight for the honor of Mussolini.

Mussolini has not been able to stop the torrent of unemployment let loose by the world crisis. The fascist figures, notoriously deceptive, admit one million registered unemployed. The truer estimate no doubt would be closer to three million, although a part of this is covered by the fact that the agricultural laborers, thrown out of work, have been driven into attempts to eke out a living on small farms or have returned to their folks on the land.

The Ethiopian adventure of Mussolini has given the fascists a fine opportunity to rid themselves of their surplus population, either by shipping the unemployed to Africa to be killed off by bullets or disease, or to remain there for years to “pacify” the country, or by mobilizing them in concentration camps and calling them to the colors in preparation for the immediate warlike struggles ahead.

Under such circumstances, the boastful statements of fascism are completely empty. None of the basic problems have been solved. The lid has only been clamped down tighter for the moment, making more violent the inevitable explosion of the compressed forces. Italian fascism has endured so long only because it came into existence at the very beginning of the partial stabilization of capital, when the workers were beginning their long retreat and could not aid. It is to be seen how well fascism will be able to stand the strain of the new turbulent epoch that awaits it in the near future.


1. See, C. M. Cresswell: Keystone of Fascism, p. 34.

2. See, R. P. Dutt: Fascism and Social Revolution, p. 94. (1934 edition.) See, also, Bonomi: From Socialism to Fascism, p. 36.

3. See, F. Pitigliani: The Italian Corporative State, p. 258.

4. See, G. Salvemini; The Fascist Dictatorship, I, 41.

5. F. Nitti: Bolshevism, Fascism and Democracy, p. 77.

6. “… in the great river of Fascism one can trace currents which had their source in Sorel, Pegly, Lagardelle……" (B. Mussolini: Fascism, p. 16 [Rome, 1935].)

7. See, I. S. Munro: Through Fascism to World Power, p. 120.

8. E. A. Mowrer: Immortal Italy, p. 319.

9. J. Mazzini: An Essay on the Duties of Man, p. 91.

10. Mazzini, The same, p. 120.

11. See, J. Mazzini: The War and the Commune. (1871.)

12. Mazzini had intimate contact with Carlyle who, however, did not agree with Mazzini’,s violent practical actions.

13. Regarding James, Compare J. S. Barnes: Universal Aspects of Fascism, pp. 126-128.

14. G. Sorel: Reflections on Violence, p. 91.

15. Compare, G. Sorel: The same, p. 47.

16. Compare, G. Sorel: The same, p. 57.

17. R. P. Dutt: Fascism and Social Revolution, p. 100, citing as authority Popolo d’Italia, April 6, 1930.

18. E. A. Mowrer: Immortal Italy, pp. 361, 362.

19. The same, p. 362.

20. R. P. Dutt: work cited, p. 99.

21. M. T. Florinsky: Fascism and National Socialism, pp. 12-13.

22. M. T. Florinski, The same, p. 18.

23. See B. Mussolini: Fascism, pp. II, 40.

24. Quoted in H. W. Schneider: Making the Fascist State, p. 371.

25. See, J. S. Barnes: Fascism.

26. P. Einzig: The Economic Foundations of Fascism, p. 31.

27. F. Pitigliani: The Italian Corporative State, pp. 18-19.

28. A. Turati, in his book, A Revolution and Its Leader, pp. xviii-xix (1930), gives the following figures: Balilla 781,000; Piccole Italiane 366,000; Avanguardia 325,000; Giovanni Italiane 66,000; national militia 300,000; Fascists 1,027,000 (88,000 women); total 2,865,000.

29. None the less, the Italian illiteracy rate is still very high.

30. The lira as stabilized after the war was considered at about the same level as the franc, or about 5 cents.

31. For the wage scale see “Fascism Fails Italy” by Hugh Quigley, Chief Statistical Officer of the, Central Electricity Board of Great Britain, in Current History, June 1934. The figures are from official fascist sources.

32. Quigley, work cited.