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Sam Adams

Il Duce Is Dead! Bravo! Italian Partisans

(May 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 19, 7 May 1945, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Benito Mussolini, the man who headed the fascist state in Italy for more than twenty years, is dead.

Mussolini, the agent of the Italian financiers and industrialists, received justice that was long overdue.

Mussolini, the man who murdered and tortured the Italian workers and peasants in order to guarantee the profits of Italian big business, died at the hands of the people.

Mussolini, the man admired by capitalist business men and capitalist statesmen the world over, was caught in flight, tried and sentenced.

Mussolini, the man who dragged the Italian people into two wars which they did not want, who ruled with the assassin’s pistol and knife, whose weak regime was constantly bolstered through the financial assistance given him by American and British bankers as long as he promised to destroy the Italian labor movement and keep its working people in bondage, was shot and hanged by the workers!

He Was Not Alone

Thus ended the life of the “Sawdust Caesar,” the blowhard of fascism, the man who taught Hitler, who is also reported to be dead.

The man who ordered the assassination of the socialist, Matteotti, did not go alone. The Partisans shot his mistress, Claritta Petacci. They arrested, tried and shot Achille Starace, former secretary of the Fascist Party; Roberto Farinacci, another former party secretary; Carlo Scorza, party secretary; Nicola Bombacci, renegade communist, who made his peace with Mussolini, and a score of other fascist dignitaries.

They took these enemies of labor, these petty thieves who acted as the agents of the corrupt House of Savoy and the Italian capitalists who brought them into power, and hung them head downward for all of Milan to see.

When the workers of proletarian Milan heard the news they rushed to the city square to see the bodies. They wanted to be sure that the man who ruled over them for so many years was really dead. They stomped on his dead body.

They spat on him and his dead cronies. All their pent-up hatred was released, for they remembered their terrible slavery, their years of starvation and misery under Mussolini’s police regime.

And so the “inventor” of fascism went to his doom, in a climax befitting a scoundrel. And no one mourned his passing, that is, no one among the broad masses of the people.

Upper Classes Tremble a Little

No, it is only among the “upper classes” that they whisper about the swift justice of the people. It is only among the monopolistic ruling classes that a little fear is expressed about the unruliness of the masses.

It is only in the banking houses, especially those which helped to finance Mussolini’s regime, that the action of the Partisans was regarded with little favor.

It was in the high circles of diplomacy where gentlemen whispered softly that justice in this case was a little too swift! And why not? Their class brothers were done away with.

It was only the Vatican, for so many years living in peace with Mussolini and fascism, which deplored the “hasty procedure.”

The action of the Italian workers is embarrassing to the statesmen of the United Nations, who have been resisting the wishes of the people in purging the fascists and fascist collaborators in the “liberated” countries.

The People versus the Statesmen

The Milan event only brings more sharply to mind the British policy in Greece and Belgium, where they prevented a purge of the big business men and politicians who were Nazi agents and collaborators.

The Milan event only focuses more sharply the British-American policy in the rest of Italy of preventing a purge of other fascists like the King and his marshal, Badoglio. It calls to mind the long-drawn-ot trial of Roatta, who mysteriously escaped from a prison hospital to vanish completely.

What are the rulers of the Allied nations to do now? Condemn the trial and shooting of Mussolini and his henchmen? Then the whole game about a war against fascism and for democracy will be unmasked a little more.

What is de Gaulle to do in France, where he has resisted the demands of the French people in the underground movement for swift justice of the French industrialists, bankers and politicians who assisted the German fascists in their occupation of the country and in the slaughter of thousands of anti-fascist Frenchmen? What shall her do with Pétain, that reactionary servant of the French 400 families, who headed the Vichy regime? Can he do less than the Italian Partisans?

The Italian Partisans showed the way to mete out justice to fascists. It did not matter whether these fascists were of high station or low. They gave them the justice of the people, a true justice.

Bravo! fellow workers of the Italian Partisans!

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