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public opinion, and when each side has colors. There were clashes with the "shown its hand," demonstrated its Jugoslavs; there were clashes with the power, the weaker side submits. Socialists. To the occupied regions There may have been, meanwhile, no flocked the most adventurous spirits change in the Government at all, of Italy, arditi,—the shock-troops of especially if the bureaucracy of office the army, selected for their daredevil holders has been prudent enough to courage,--decorated heroes, much set keep neutral in the struggle.
up by the publicity they had been enThe comitium, the vox populi, the joying and loathe to return to the "assembly of the people,” is still the humdrum labors of peace; demobilized fundamental, the instinctive, political officers and soldiers who had not as yet institution of the Italian race. Just been able to find employment in civil as in the old days, at the sound of the life. tocsin, the populace rushed out to the Read the speech that D'Annunzio public square to determine policy in made to his comrades on his squadron great crises, so, with due reserves, it of airplanes—the famous Serenissima does to-day.
-in proposing an Italian trip by air to
Tokio. It was a gloomy, drizzling day § 2
in camp—a camp of peace-times, with The first Fascista organizations no hope of combat on the morrow. sprang up in Triest in the late winter The atmosphere of depression and and spring of 1919. The territories irritated boredom appalled. For four conquered in the war from Austria and years Italian heroes had been pouring still awaiting disposition from the out their blood in defense of a great peace conference in Paris were a cause. Life had been thrilling, inchaos of conflicting propagandas. The spiring, intoxicating. Suddenly, with Jugoslav population, in its three mutu- peace, it had lost meaning. Colorless ally discordant branches, the Serbs, and mournful the future stretched out Croats, and Slovenes, were staging before men who had known existence anti-Italian demonstrations. From in its most tremendous manifestations Italy came an agitation of two kinds, of effort and action. The flight to that from the Socialists, who were Tokio appealed to the poet as a counting on the disorganization of the semblance of another great adventure. devastated regions to find allies for the It was not to Tokio, however, that coming revolution; and that from the D'Annunzio and his comrades went. Nationalists, determined to realize They went to Fiume, and the raid on the extreme program of the Italian Fiume, the achievement of a handful imperialists, which involved the annex- of patriotic enthusiasts, brought to the ation of Istria, Fiume, Dalmatia, and war-strained nerves of a few thousand southern Albania.
restless men the excitement they were Throughout Istria and Julian Vene- craving. tia the more ardent Italian patriots, The Fiume episode was the great exunder the protection of an army of pression of the Fascista spirit in the occupation, disgruntled and demoral- first phase of the movement; it was also ized by delayed demobilization, united the most dangerous to the Italian to intimidate their foes of different monarchy: for the adventurers chose
an issue on which they could count on inces of Emilia and Romagna, and no virtually unanimous support from the longer the reconquered territories, great amorphous Italian public. The were principally involved, the point Government could do nothing but in question was domestic policywear the morale of the raiders out by a Socialism. policy of strict inaction. An observation is in point here.
§ 4 The theory of “direct action,” though In this, the more striking of its of syndicalist origin, has been part and manifestations, the Fascista moveparcel of Italian Nationalist doctrine ment presents an interesting paradox. from the beginnings of that party, just The originators and leaders of fascismo before the Italo-Turkish War. Ac- were not, as might be supposed and as cording to that theory, of which a is often stated, men from the reactionbrillant exposition was made by the ary middle classes, but ex-Socialists, Frenchman Sorel fifteen years ago, and often of the most revolutionary type; in the interests of the proletarian revo- ex-anarchists, even. lution, the course of history is deter- Umberto Pasella, General Secretary mined not by the stolid, unthinking, of the Fascisti, writes: comfortable majority of citizens, all
The first legend I must refute is that engrossed in their daily concerns of
we constitute a sort of “White Guard” business and pleasure, but by the self- in the service of conservatives, reacconscious minority, which knows what tionaries, and profiteers. We have, as a it wants, and at the strategic moment
movement, nothing to do with the empty imposes its will, by violence if need be. formulæ, the vacuous platforms of the
past. Our leaders belong to the ad
vanced posts of progressivism. They The writers of our “New National
are all anxious for reform, change, imism” perceived the utility of that doc- provement in public life. Benito Mustrine for the purposes of the middle solini, the founder of our organization, is classes as well as of the proletariat.
an ex-Socialist (revolutionary). On our
executive council in Milan are Enrico Our old Nationalist locals of 1914, for
Besana, a former comrade of the archinstance, met the Socialists on their Socialist Costantino Lazzari; Cesare
; own ground, exchanging blow for blow.
Rossi, a Syndicalist; Leandro Present-day fascismo is, in this Arpinati, an ex-anarchist; Amedeo respect, only a continuation, on a Buttafava, a revolutionary workinglarger scale, of this earlier Nationalism. man from Sampierdarena. On our comThe Fiume episode illustrates the di- mittee, in fact, we have only one man rect action of a minority on a legally of thorough Nationalistic extractionconstituted majority (the government Piero Marsich, of Venice. . . . So much
... of Mr. Nitti). At a time when the
for our “General Staff.” As for the ) Nationalists had virtually paralyzed
rank and file, I may say that in all Italy the ministry in Rome they had one
we have scarcely five hundred members
living on incomes. Our followers are for representative in a Parliament of 509!
the most part boys of very moderate Here the paramount issue was the
means, students, professional men, recountry's foreign policy. In the sec- turned soldiers, heroes who have come ond phase of fascismo, where the prov- back from the front animated by unself
ish ideals and burning with noble of the Fascisti by studying men rather enthusiasm--the will to purify Italian than ideas or political theories. public life and restore the moral fiber of
I select one, a personal acquaintance the Italian nation.
of mine, who illustrates in his biogNationalism, in the sense of a burn- raphy the type predominant among the ing love of country, is, for that matter, moving spirits of the Fascisti. He is characteristic of certain elements in the Ferdinando Agnoletti, leader of the otherwise radical parties of Italy. Fascisti in Florence. Alceste de Ambris, for instance, exiled Agnoletti is fifty years old, a graduonly a few years since for establishing ate in letters of the Florentine Studio, an abortive syndicalistic republic in and trained for the teaching profesParma, was vice-regent of Fiume under sion. He has never been able, however, D'Annunzio. The Italian Seamen's to settle down to any kind of life that Union, of which the picturesque smacks of monotony. In 1894, for Giulietti is chief, is an organization of instance, he threw aside his books and, , patriotic communists, who on the one following one of the traditions of hand kept the patriots of Fiume well Italian democracy, volunteered with provisioned from the sea, and on the the Garibaldi filibusters to take sides other repatriated Errico Malatesta, with the Greeks in the war against the anarchist leader, from England. Turkey. He was present at the battle And just as we have Nationalistic radi- of Domokos. Returning to Italy, he cals, so we have radical Nationalists. took his degree in letters, and then The first seizure of a factory in Italy went to England, becoming lecturer in was made not by socialists or com- Italian literature at the University of munists, but by some very conserva- Edinburgh. In the Scottish capital tive working-men, veterans of the war, he organized a coöperative union in the province of Bergamo.
among the Italian ice-cream venders and hurdy-gurdy men, and even edited
a journal called the "Clarion Call to Though we speak of its "leaders,” Latinity.” When I first met Agno
. its "councils,” its "committees,” we letti in Florence, he had become a
” must not infer that the Fascisti have dairy farmer, with the idea of furnisha responsible organization, with head- ing'grade A” milk in competition with
” quarters and an address. Fascismo the "adulterated" article commonly is a vague, a formless movement; it is a supplied by the "milk trust." He state of mind, a spontaneous under- went into insolvency in due time. standing, rather, of certain elements in I next found him as a theatrical prothe Italian population. It is almost a ducer, and then, later still, as an matter of temperament. We look in antiquarian and second-hand bookvain for a coherent body of political dealer. opinion among the Fascisti. Some are When I founded the magazine called republicans, but others profess devo- “La Voce," to furnish an organ for the tion to the monarchy. Some, as we modernist movement in Italian letters, have seen, are socialists, anarchists, Agnoletti blossomed out as a Futurist, while others are extreme conservatives. and wrote a number of articles for me.
. That is why we get closer to the spirit They had some success. Then the
war broke out. Agnoletti was on the favor of Italian intervention in the war inside track in all the "interventionist" against Germany, failed to carry his intrigues. He became the author of party with him, and then became one a popular song, writing the music of the bitterest assailants of anti-war himself, which the boys of Florence socialism and all opposed to a complete used to sing about the streets while victory of the Allies. During the war shouting for war against Germany. Mussolini founded the patriotic daily When Italy went in at last, Agnoletti called "Il Popolo d'Italia," which is joined the Alpini, and later was an now the official organ of the Fascisti. officer in the artillery. Since the Mussolini's change from extreme armistice he has been in the forefront radicalism to violent nationalism-he of every imperialistic and patriotic was the leader in breaking up Bissodemonstration. He has been pro- lati's pro-Wilson meeting at Milan in Dalmatia, pro-Fiume, pro-D'Annun- 1919—has led enemies to challenge the zio, anti-Socialist. He is now a free sincerity of his manifold political activmason (which in Italy means anti- ities. His open intimacy of recent Clerical), and has taken up his anti- date with rich manufacturers in Milan quarian work again, collecting expen- and Turin furnishes the basis for sive masterpieces and books.
gossip. However, Italian NationalMussolini himself, the reputed leader ism is frankly opportunistic, reserving of the Fascisti, has not had a regular the right to reverse positions overor placid life. Born in Romagna, the night if Italy is the gainer thereby. "reddest" region in “red” Italy, in Mussolini's career has thus an internal 1884, Mussolini was for many years a consistency of its own-hostility to revolutionary Socialist, and was, in everybody and everything not confact, sent into exile with the famous sonant with an aggressive Italian Socialist leader Giacinto Menotti- chauvinism. Serrati. In Trent, which was then an Restlessness, the spirit of adventure, Austrian city, he joined Cesare Bat- impatience with routine, intemperance tisti, the Nathan Hale of Italy in the of thought and action, thirst for exciteGreat War. At this time Battisti was ment, passion for publicity in cona Socialist deputy in Vienna, where he nection with noble emprise—these are acted as leader of the Tretine irreden- traits prominent in many of the outtists. Mussolini worked on Battisti's standing figures in Italian fascismo. paper, “Il Popolo," till he was expelled from Austria.
§ 6 Returning to Italy, he rose to the In defying the Government so long front rank of Italian Socialists, was at Fiume the Fascisti were supported strong enough to exclude the moder- by public opinion, outraged by the ate reformists, Bissolati and Bonomi, treatment of Italy at Versailles. In from the Socialist party in 1913, and their war on the Socialists they were in 1914, as editor of "Avanti,” was supported by all the elements in the prominent in swinging Socialist sup- country not directly involved in the port to the famous "Red Week" of the struggle between capital and labor. anarchists of Ancona. In August of It was not the seizure of the factories that year he came out violently in by working-men in September of last
year that so much irritated the non- endless reprisals. A boycotted person combatant public. Premier Giolitti, cannot continue living in his home in refusing to suppress the revolution- town. The baker will not sell him ists, could count on the approval of a bread, the cobbler will not mend his growing number of Italian citizens who shoes, the barber will not cut his hair, are as much disgusted with profiteering and even the doctor, if he is a Socialist, as they are with strikes, and who are will refuse to visit him when he is sick. willing to find a solution of the class There have been cases where a boystruggle in some form of coöperative cotted family has had to bury its own management of industry. The com- dead, because undertaker and grave plaint of the public against the Social- digger belonged to the “Proletarian ists rested on other, more intimate League." grounds.
This boycott assumed the proporIn the year 1919 and the early tions less of a punitive system of terror months of 1920 Italian laborers were than of an actual system of proletarian in an ugly frame of mind. On any or fiscal administration by blackmail. no pretext strikes were called with or Boycotts were adjusted to the gravity without notice. Public service of all of the offenses chargeable to the vickinds was suspended from moment to tim, but especially to his financial moment. Mails, telephones, and tele- means. They could be lifted in some graphs were interrupted by strikes cases by joining the league, more lasting from an hour to three days at a often by the payment of fines or assesstime. Street-cars would stop running ments. The reports of the Proprietors' because a conductor had quarreled Association, of the Parliamentary with a passenger. Express-trains Commission of Investigation, and of would refuse to start because a soldier the Bishop of Bologna show that the was aboard, or because a package of boycott worked with all the efficacy of arms had been reported in a baggage the ecclesiastical excommunication of car. The electric lights would be the Middle Ages. turned off because a foreman had re- In some districts the boycott was fused to apologize to a workman. applied with great rigor to the church.
In the two provinces of Emilia and Some Socialist communes laid a heavy · Romagna, where the masses inhabit- income tax on church property. Then,
ing the great plains of the Po are again, an individual priest would be solidly Socialist, a veritable "dictator- "outlawed” for having mown his hay ship of the proletariat" had been on a field under the ban or for having organized even before the war; after employed a laborer who was "in bad"
" the armistice it became openly menac- with the Socialist leagues. Violence ing. The practice of boycott had be- was occasionally used to prevent the gun to weigh heavily upon all kinds priest from celebrating mass, from of individual activity. Landowners, preaching, or even from using the their agents, and their superintendents streets to get to his church. were put under the Socialist ban, and For two years the bourgeoisie sub any one having dealings with them mitted to these conditions, contenting except on the conditions laid down by itself with criticizing the Government the Socialist leagues was exposed to through the newspapers for not safe