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stalls, but many are still waiting in the queue; Mussolini multiplies officials, but it is no easy matter to find posts for all, and new "Samurai" are ever coming to the front. Thus the struggle between the "haves" and the "have-nots" becomes every day more bitter. The fifteen-year-old lad Zamboni, who attempted Mussolini's life on October 31, 1926, was a dissident Fascist.
But faced with the danger of an anti-Fascist rising, the Fascists will always present a solid front, whatever their domestic quarrels. Their internal dissensions undoubtedly increase the sense of insecurity among them, and may help to drive them to some stroke of folly, but will not alone be sufficient to cause a crisis.
It is likewise vain to hope that a grave economic crisis will lead to a political one. The Italians have an incredible capacity for tightening their belts; during the war they endured a standard of living to which no other people in the world could have adapted themselves. Stifled by the Fascist militia they will bear economic hardships in silence, until the day when some violent impulse of an emotional origin, like that of the murder of Matteotti, makes them rise as one man. They will then be They will then be capable of passing without transition from leaden passivity to unbridled revolt.
It is, again, vain to hope that the industrialists, bankers, and big profiteers will grow weary of being held to ransom by the Fascists, and, exasperated by some economic measure counter to their interests, will revolt against the dictatorship. Not only the armed militia, but also the machinery of trade-unionism, in the
hands of the Fascists, can become a formidable weapon against the employers. Having called up the demon, the employers can no longer banish it. Their mercenaries have become their masters. Rather, they will seek behind the scenes to gain on the swings what they lose on the rebounds, and they will seek, naturally, to gain it with interest. Certainly the latent discontent of the employers may contribute to intensify in the Fascist party that state of insecurity, suspicion, and instability that one fine day will lead to a final folly and ruin.
Many in Italy and abroad believe that the Italian people will find a way out with the help of the Catholic clergy and the army. These are now the only organized forces in Italy, besides the militia and the tradeunions; and it is certain that if the clergy and the army turned against Mussolini and his followers, the ruin of the Fascist régime would follow forthwith. Every time the Fascists have met with resistance from the carabinieri, they have taken to their heels as soon as they saw that their opponents meant business. If tomorrow the army were to take the lead in an anti-Fascist offensive, there would be no need for a long and sanguinary struggle; the arrest of a hundred of the superior officers of the militia would suffice to settle the matter. Not only would the militia forthwith melt away, but many militiamen would suddenly reveal themselves ferocious anti-Fascists, and it would be harder work to keep a check on these anti-Fascists of the thirteenth hour than to combat the Fascists who had stuck to their colors. If at the same moment the
First of all, the official teaching of the Catholic Church never authorizes active revolt against established authority. It admits only two attitudes as legitimate: active support of a friendly government by the clergy, or passive resistance to an enemy government. This is the abstract theory. In actual practice innumerable shades are possible, both of active support and of passive resistance. The choice of shade is dictated to the ecclesiastical authorities by the contingencies of the moment; for instance, by the stability of the friendly government, by the strength of the enemy government, by the hope of greater advantages, by the fear of greater evils, by
the state of mind of the lower clergy and of the Catholic masses, by the mentality of the actual leaders of the church, and so on.
To-day, in Italy, the parish clergy and the peasantry among whom they live are in the great majority stubbornly anti-Fascist. Many priests have had to suffer Fascist reprisals; the parish priest of Argenta, Don Minzoni, was beaten to death by the Fascists. If the ecclesiastical authorities left the lower clergy to its own devices, its opposition to Fascism, without ever becoming an active revolt, could create serious difficulties.
But within the Fascist party there are two conflicting currents: the "clerical" "clerical" current, led by Signor Federzoni, who advises the widest possible concessions to the Vatican in order to bind it to the Fascist cause; and the "anti-clerical" current, formed by the extreme Fascists, who demand the active support of the clergy, and, not finding it, would exact it by a large-scale use of the bludgeon. Mussolini with one hand allows the Vatican large concessions
religious teaching in the schools, restitution of churches and monasteries confiscated during the Risorgimento, loud manifestations of reverence while with the other he displays the bludgeon ready to descend.
The Vatican, making the best of both worlds, accepts the good and escapes the evil. It does not seem to be overfull of candidates for martyrdom. The higher prelates, who live in contact with the nobility, are for the greater part pro-Fascist. The Jesuits are in the majority pro-Fascist; a Jesuit, Father Tacchi
Venturi, is one of Mussolini's inti-
an idle dream to expect the Catholic clergy to take the initiative in the struggle against Fascism. The parish priests will keep to their churches, standing aloof from politics, under the rigid control of the Vatican, as long as the Fascist party retains its power. Only after the Fascist breakdown will the parish clergy issue freely from their churches, and try to gather the peasantry again round the church and withdraw them from the influences of socialism. No church authority will then admonish them that "the Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world." The parish clergy will certainly be acting in good faith. But the future will tell whether the peasantry will be naïve enough to forget the Fascism of the pope in the anti-Fascism of the parish clergy.
Pope Pius XI forbids the clergy to involve themselves in political strife, as "the Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world"; thus the anti-Fascist parish priests are bound to shut themselves in their churches and confine themselves to administering the sacraments. But any cardinal, bishop, or Jesuit who wishes to make a public demonstration in favor of Mussolini and his government is assured that no superior authority will remind him that "the Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world." Pius XI strongly condemns the doctrines and methods of the Action Française; but he mildly deplores the identical doctrines and methods of the Italian Fascists, tactfully wrapping his criticism in an abundance of personal praise of Mussolini. If the mass of the lower clergy were not tenaciously anti-Fascist, the proFascism of Pope Pius XI would be more decided and declared. But, in order not to shock too directly the feelings of his parish clergy, he is constrained to dissimulate his proFascism with formal reservations, although in the decisive moments his moves are always in favor of Fascist policy.
As for the army, here too we find about the same proportion of Fascists and anti-Fascists as in all other population groups. The common soldiers, nearly all of whom are workers or peasants, are strongly anti-Fascist. The junior officers, actively in sympathy with Fascism from 1919 to 1922, became in the main anti-Fascist in 1923 and 1924. They were indignant at the claims of the militia officers-adventurers whose records were often stained with abominable crimes-that they be treated on the same footing as the regulars. After the murder of Matteotti the high military authorities profited by the difficulties in which Mussolini found himself to force him to purge the militia of the most discredited officers and to reserve all the higher ranks to retired officers of the
With such a spiritual leader, it is regular army. This victory of regu
lars over irregulars provoked great discontent in the rank and file of militia and party.
Many hope that the return of the militia to its original methods of undisguised violence will aggravate the antagonism between the militia and the army. But while it is very likely that the irritation of the junior army officers against the officers of the militia still simmers below the surface, I do not think that this can bring about any important development. The junior officers will always obey their seniors, and this is as it should be. But the senior officers are nearly all pro-Fascist. They get from Mussolini all they want. Military expenditure goes on increasing, absolutely uncontrolled; pay and bonuses have reached a level that no soldier could hope for under any other régime; the militia-the armed guard of the Revolution-takes on itself the odium of all legal repressions and illegal violence, while the army has the beau rôle of remaining au dessus de la mêlée, thanks to the official theory that it must take no part in police operations but be used only in time of war. What interest would the army generals have in taking the lead in order to change such an agreeable state of things? To be sure, the militia gives rise to scandal; every now and then some house is burned down, some man is murdered. But is it the fault of the generals of the regular army, if these acts of the militia go unpunished? That is the business of the militia officers, the police, the magistrates. Every general of the regular army who is affiliated with the Black Shirts can honestly repeat the words of Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Of course not every general of the regular army is affiliated with the Black Shirts. There are still some who are loyal to their oaths. But what can these do against the Fascists? They must obey the orders of the minister of war, and the minister of war is Mussolini.
To conclude, I do not think that the generals will ever take the lead against the militia; that is to say, against the Fascist party. There will always be subterranean friction between the generals, who wish to control the militia, and the militia, which does not intend to be controlled; but this friction will never take the form of open conflict, unless Mussolini and the militia leaders are driven to some act of desperate folly.
If the king were to abandon his passive attitude, the situation would change forthwith. The generals hostile to Fascism would have at last a legal command to obey, many of the others would be tied by their oath of allegiance, and the mass of junior officers and common soldiers would rise. But it is vain to hope that the king will abandon his passive attitude. He is incapable of any act of will. If a will. If a Fascist extraordinary tribunal condemned him to death, and no outside force came to set him free, he would face the sentence without emotion, or at most with that sudden nervous twitch of the lower jaw that is habitual to him; but he would never struggle actively against his fate. He feels the dishonor into which he has fallen, and suffers from it because he is wellmeaning. He hopes that an OCcasion will present itself that will open the way for a return to the constitution. But no outside cir
cumstance can be of any use to a man who has not the inward strength which knows how to lay hold on circumstances, or to create them if they are not present. Thus he falls from capitulation to capitulation, from complicity to complicity, from shame to shame, seeking ever a position from which to organize resistance, and never finding it. The first position from which to resist is character, and character is lacking to him. There are kings who forswear themselves passively, allowing their ministers to violate the constitution while comforting themselves with the illusion that they have thus shaken off all personal guilt. Ferdinand II of Bourbon, "Re Bomba," belongs to this category; Victor Emmanuel III of Savoy has no such defense. He is not a man, but a machine for signing decrees. He is the roi fainéant par excellence. He is the last of the Merovingians.
If no change is to be hoped for either from the clergy, from the army, from the industrialists, from internal dissension among the Fascists, or from revolutionary organization, where can we look for the incident which will overturn the Fascist system?
I am convinced that it will be found in foreign politics. This is the weak point of the Fascist régime, and from this point will come its disaster.
The whole Fascist propaganda aims at keeping the country in a state of anxiety as to raw materials, the supply of which can be cut off at any moment, and as to the millions of men who, it maintains, can no longer live in Italy; and at the same time this propaganda aims at pro
ducing a state of apocalyptic expectation of some great coup by which Mussolini will provide raw materials and colonies for all those millions.
A clear-sighted French journalist, Monsieur Naudeau, who is rather sympathetic toward Fascism and who last year made a careful investigation of Italian conditions, described in "L'Illustration," July 10, 1926, the state of frenzied exaltation in which he found the Fascists, when he attended a demonstration at Milan in honor of Mussolini:
"The crowd was carried away by wild enthusiasm. All the people around me seemed genuinely to expect a miracle. They appeared to be in the grip of emotion caused by the direst suffering: they gave the impression of being assembled to demand solemn reparation for justice which had been denied them. Lads of fifteen or sixteen were the most excited of all. Suddenly framed in electric light, in a burst of music, Mussolini appeared on a third-floor balcony, majestic as a god of old. Then a great cry rose from below. One would have thought that a people crushed, ground down, and maddened by injustice had caught sight of their savior whose presence was a sure pledge of coming deliverance. It was clear that in the minds of the young men gathered there a vast national purpose was awaiting accomplishment. By such means grandiose dreams are fostered in these ardent spirits who see in Mussolini the man who shall immediately realize their dreams."
Signor Federzoni wrote in December, 1925, in "Rassegna Italiana”: "We would like to be loved, but we prefer to be envied and feared."