Puslapio vaizdai

Venturi, is one of Mussolini's intimate counselors. The cardinal secretary of state, Cardinal Gasparri, is notoriously anti-Fascist and the butt of intermittent press campaigns in the Fascist papers. But he does not concern himself in Italian matters. "Italy?" he repeats, rubbing his hands. "Italy belongs to another department." The "other department" is Monsignor Pizzarro, the state manager of the Fascist party in the Vatican.

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, 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.

an idle dream to expect the Catholic
clergy to take the initiative in the
struggle against Fascism. The par-
ish 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 break-
down 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.


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 develop ment. 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 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 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. 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. pect 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. 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. 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."

There is in the Fascist mentality a strange mixture of megalomania and persecution mania. On the one hand, they are convinced that all neighbors are threatening Italy; on the other, they are ever threatening all their neighbors to prevent them from threatening Italy. On the one hand, they are angry because Italy is not possessed of raw materials, and is under the control of Great Britain, which holds the gates of the Mediterranean, at Gibraltar and Suez; on the other, they threaten to make war to acquire the territories which contain raw materials and to break down those gates. But how can they make war without raw materials? How can they break down those gates if the British Empire is stronger than Fascism? At one moment they aspire to lift the Italian nation to greatness and to glory; at the next they maintain that in an anarchical country such as Italy a dictator is necessary, to impose discipline on the people by means of terrorism. They do not ask themselves: "If to-morrow the dictator calls this people to the colors for a war, will he be able to send them to death by means of castor-oil? In a war against nations, which are trained by the spontaneous discipline of liberty, could victory ever go to a country, like Italy to-day, split up by the Fascists into a minority of masters to whom everything is permitted, and a minority of slaves, deprived of all rights and protected by no moral law?" The experience of the World War showed that czarist Russia, kaiserist Germany, the Austria of Francis Joseph, all of them autocratically or almost autocratically ruled countries, collapsed; while

the free and democratic countries, among which Italy then stood, emerged victorious from the awful ordeal.

All these contradictions and questions have no importance for the Fascists. In the state of apocalyptic expectation in which they are plunged, they are thoroughly sure that Mussolini will solve all problems, will overcome all contradictions, will answer all questions.

This fanaticism is a great danger for Italy and for world peace. Even if the leaders of the Fascist party are not fanatics but merely wish to arouse fanaticism among their followers, they arouse at least a dangerous fanaticism. One day these followers will break away from the control of the men who exploited their fanaticism, and will demand deeds, not words.

They hold the government without opposition, since they have suppressed by force every opposition in the press, in associations, in the Chamber. The root of the danger lies precisely in this. The Fascists, having demolished every opposition in the internal polity, have to find other obstacles against which to discharge their excitement. And not finding these obstacles in their own. country, they have to seek them abroad. Dictatorship and war, as history shows, always go together. Dictatorship results in war—as an outlet for internal troubles, if for no other reason.

But when an international crisis. arises, fair-minded men throughout the world must not charge the Italian nation with the responsibility, which is the burden only of the armed minority that gags and stifles

the Italian nation. When Mussolini is pushed by domestic difficulties to make in his foreign policy a blunder bigger than the blunder of Corfu, bigger than the shameful Garibaldi blunder, then all other governments will be compelled to preserve the peace of the world. Then they will deal with Mussolini, and with the Fascist militia likewise, as they did with Wilhelm II and the German army in November, 1918. They will declare that they refuse to have anything to do with Mussolini and that they wish to deal only with the Italian people after it has been restored to liberty. War will not be needed in order to make this step successful. This impulse, of an emotional origin, will set in motion against the dictatorship the whole of the Italian people, and the dictatorship will collapse.

I hope with all the strength of my heart that Mussolini is still alive and still in power when the crisis comes.

If Mussolini were removed from the scene before the failure of the whole Fascist régime, Fascism would lose its great propagandist. Among his possible successors none will ever equal him in dramatic instinct and theatrical inventiveness. None will ever hold such immense sway over the hosts of militiamen and Black Shirts. No one else would be in a position to hold at one time the posts of minister of the interior, minister of war, and commander of the militia. The attempts at disorder, which would follow the death of the Duce, would give the king more than sufficient reason to declare martial law throughout Italy. A ministry of generals would take the place of Mussolini's cabinet.

And the new man to whom the militarist-capitalist alliance would pin their faith is even now ready and waiting. He is Signor Federzoni, minister of the colonies in the Mussolini cabinet from November, 1922, to June, 1924, and minister of the interior from June, 1924, till November, 1926, when Mussolini forced him to leave the Ministry of the Interior and return to the Colonial Ministry. As early as 1910, Signor Federzoni was the spokesman of the iron industry and the military and naval staffs. At this time Mussolini was preaching the wildest revolutionary anti-militarism. In the new political situation the militia, without Mussolini, would have to accept subordination to the regular military authorities and would be easily kept in check. The press would have a little more freedom to breathe. Fresh Fresh elections, duly controlled, would allow the Chamber of Deputies to regain a certain appearance of working. And this diminution of illegal violence and legal pressure would be trumpeted on all sides as the end of Fascism. Victor Emmanuel III would pass down to history as "the restorer of Italian liberties."

But all this would be nothing but deception and mockery. Fascism. would not have ended, but only those more brutal forms of violence which do Fascism more harm than good.

Mussolini-as cannot be too often repeated-was not the creator of the Fascist régime. The Fascist régime is an alliance of big capitalists and high military authorities of which Mussolini is the figurehead and propagandist, even though, as chief

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