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The Militant, 1 August 1929


Banquet for Balbo – Exile for Trotsky

From The Militant, Vol. II No. 11, 1 July 1929, p. 1.
Transcribed by Jan Leder.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The anti-Fascist movement in this country, and in the rest of the world, is experiencing a tumultuous discussion and dissension. The subject involved is the report that Theruci, chief of the Fascist militia and Italo Balbo, one of the most notorious hangmen of Fascism, and Minister of Airways in Italy, upon his arrival with an airplane squadron of Fascisti in Odessa, U.S.S.R., was given an enthusiastic reception by the Soviet authorities. According to the United Press reports, Balbo and his fellow blackshirts had a banquet tendered to them in Odessa which was attended by the official head of the Soviet Air Fleet and other notables.

Thousands of the best sons of Italian labor were murdered, assaulted and imprisoned by Mussolini’s butchers. It is Italo Balbo whose name is imprecation on the lips of every Italian proletarian. It was he who ordered the murder of the anti-Fascist priest, Don Minzoni, for which he was tried and released. It was he who has the blood of scores of Italian revolutionists on his hands. Wherever he goes he is pursued by the curses of the working class. When he came to Argentina some time ago, the demonstrations of the workers against him raised such a commotion that two of them were killed by the reactionaries. In New York City, when Balbo came here he was met with a demonstration of infuriated workers at the City Hall, at the Plaza Hotel a nd at the dock when he sailed. Many of the Italian workers in the city felt the clubs of the Tammany Hall police who protected Balbo. In Greece and Bulgaria through which he has just passed, no reception was accorded him.

After the death of the martyred Matteotti, a session of the League of Nations in Geneva took place, during which Mussolini came forward with outstretched palm to Emile Vandervelde, the Belgian social patriotic prime minister. Vandervelde said: “I don’t give my hand to Matteotti’s murderer.” Even the yellow social democrat Vandervelde did not dare to shake the hand of blood for fear of the fury of the workers.

But Stalin has found it possible to give Italo Balbo a royal reception! For Leon Trotsky, for the comrade of Lenin, for a leader of the Bolshevik revolution, for a founder and leader of the victorious Red Army, for a founder and leader of the Communist Interrnational – Stalin has only imprisonment and exile in Siberia and deportation to the White Guards in Turkey.

Party Members Protest Balbo’s Reception

On Friday, June 21, 1929, at the district membership meeting of the Italian comrades in New York and vicinity at the Workers Center, the question of the Russian reception to the famous fascist murderer, Italo Balbo, was heatedly discussed for hours. Many of the Italian comrades protested against the action of the Stalin regime, the most energetic voice of condemnation was raised by comrade Mainelli, of Union city, New Jersey. When he declared: “It was shameful to receive Balbo!” he expressed the feelings of numerous Italian comrades who have had to hang their heads and be unable to reply to the taunts of the yellow socialist and anti-Party Italian press in New York, which has raised a hue and cry about the Balbo reception.

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Last updated on 24 October 2020