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Smith or Mr. McAdoo. These gentlemen, with all their fine qualities, make no great appeal to the corn belt. The next campaign could not be a repetition of the ClevelandBlaine fight. No such body of independent-thinking Republicans is in sight to support Governor Smith as rallied around Mr. Cleveland. The Republican party has rejoiced in the fat of the fleshpots too contentedly to encourage any such hope. Where the tall corn grows, the strains of "The Sidewalks of New York" would hardly thrill the Democratic voter on the farm and in the small town. And Mr. McAdoo, with familiar provincial philosophy, sees in the cities only sin and the bitter fruit thereof.
There are many Democrats between the Alleghenies and the Missouri River who do not even know from what State Mr. McAdoo hails. In the popular mind he is only a gentleman who once filled admirably the office of secretary of the treasury. His Toledo speech was like an exasperating interference on the radio.
Those dreary hours in Madison Square Garden during which the home-keeping Democrats waited and despaired caused a heartache that still hurts. There must be a new deal!
It would be a splendid manifestation of patriotism for both Governor
Smith and Mr. McAdoo to announce immediately that in no circumstances and under no compulsion will they permit the use of their names in next year's convention.
KEEP OFF THE GRASS!
The sign is written large and requires the interpretation of no soothsayer or medicine-man. It is not I alone who would plant this warning firmly on the Democratic reservation. There are a good many thousands of us fried-meat-eaters, as well as Democrats of the paler academic type, who would like a chance to win next year. And it can't be done if the party is again to make a fool of itself. Our prolonged captivity has become a weariness. We cannot sit forever thrumming our muted harps by the rivers of Babylon!
With Messrs. Smith and McAdoo renewing their battle, or with either nominated, we should be exactly where we found ourselves when the gavel fell finally in Madison Square Garden. It would be ruinous to open the next convention with that same calamitous deadlock clearly in prospect before the ordering of the first roll-call of the States.
The eyes of the country are upon Governor Smith and William G. McAdoo. By eliminating themselves before the trumpet sounds for action, they would kindle hope in the hearts of Democrats everywhere.
MUSSOLINI, THE POPE AND THE KING
From What Quarter Will Disaster Come?
F THE majority of Italians are not satisfied with the Fascist régime, why do they tolerate it? Why do they not rid themselves of it, as the population of any other civilized country would do?
When an Englishman or a citizen of the United States asks, "Why do the Italians not resist Fascism?" resist means for him to vote against, or get up meetings of protest, to write to the papers, or to demonstrate on the street-corner. He thinks that, should any one hamper him in the expression of these rights, the police would intervene to protect him, and the bench would vindicate him, if necessary, even against the police. He is so secure in the enjoyment of his free institutions that he cannot conceive a civilized country in which these no longer exist. He does not realize that in Italy all legal means of expressing one's will are forbidden. Associations are dissolved; the right of assembly no longer exists; elections are suppressed or falsified; the press is silenced; anti-Fascists are spied upon, their correspondence intercepted, their houses searched; a section of the police, that which bears the name of militia, actually commits the worst outrages against every personal and political liberty; the other
section, the police proper, is paralyzed by the militia or its accomplice; the magistrates do not awake when men belonging to the party in power are involved in a political crime; anti-Fascists, if they are suspected of being politically active, are imprisoned, banished, interned, bludgeoned, or killed.
What could a liberal-minded Italian, averse to violence, actually do to "resist" the Fascist dictatorship? What avails moral strength against a party whose boast it is that it got into power by force and intends to stay there by force?
The words resist, oppose, revolt, in Italy to-day, can have but one meaning, to meet force with force.
But the problem of setting force against force is not an easy one.
Instances of individual revolt and revenge occur sporadically. But individual acts of despair are of no avail against a dictatorship which can rapidly concentrate powerful military forces. When some desperate outburst occurs in a town, Fascists often disappear for some hours, fearing a general uprising. But the militia is rapidly summoned by telephone from the neighboring cities, and reprisals reduce the place to a state of terror more suffocating than before. In purely local revolts
the Fascists will always be the victors. The dictatorship can be fought only by a general movement throughout the whole country, so that the Fascists, attacked everywhere at once, have no chance to concentrate their forces.
But formidable technical difficulties stand in the way of a general uprising. Only school-boy romanticism could plan a revolutionary organization to include the whole of Italy, distribute arms, hold itself ready for simultaneous attacks under the orders of a central committee. A big centralized organization involves large expense, and the anti-Fascists are not backed by the bankers, industrialists, and big landowners. Moreover the police would speedily discover it and hand over its members to Fascist reprisals. History shows that no revolution ever came about through a big organization with a central committee. Large secret societies serve merely to earn money for spies.
Revolution in a large country can only break out if two circumstances conjoin: desperate unrest among large sections of the population; and some national event which stirs the people to its depths, sets the spur to its hatreds and hopes, and drives it everywhere to action, while, on the other hand, it discomposes and paralyzes the dominant party and makes it incapable of resisting.
The first condition is being prepared during these years by the work of the Fascists themselves. All the experiences of these years showed that each effort at legal opposition unchained a fresh murderous offensive and gave a new turn to the thumb-screw of "normalizing" laws.
As a result the opponents of the dictatorship are forced to recognize that they must either give in, like animals at bay, or abandon the legal and resort to the revolutionary struggle.
The worst of all Mussolini's crimes against the Italian nation is that by destroying all belief in the integrity of the bench and by demolishing all free and representative institutions, he has choked the safety-valves by which discontent can let off steam in time of stress. People who claim that Mussolini has checked the revolutionary peril in Italy claim the reverse of the truth. In 1922, when Mussolini seized the government, the revolutionary peril was over, and he was able to seize the government because the revolutionary peril was over. The Fascist dictatorship has created a new revolutionary peril far greater than any that existed before its triumph.
But irritation, however desperate, cannot bring about a revolution, if the second condition is still lacking; that is, the incident which sets in motion the whole mass of the opponents throughout the whole country.
The murder of Matteotti in June, 1924, might have been the signal for such a revolt. But the public mind was unprepared.
Will such another moment ever occur?
That the Fascist dictatorship will fall through internal dissensions among the Fascists, is a vain hope.
Fascism is indeed seething with violent dissensions; among the wouldbe "Samurai" the more skilful are already comfortably seated in the
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 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
clergy gave the peasantry the word to rise, very few Fascists in the country-side would escape immediate destruction. In the towns, the workers, now forcibly penned up in the Fascist unions, would only have to appoint leaders whom they trusted, and the unions would immediately become centers for the reorganization of the working masses. But I do not believe that the clergy or the army can ever take the initiative in a rising against the Fascist party and the militia.
The subject of the relations between the Catholic Church and Fascism is one which cannot be adequately treated in a few pages. Only a prolonged analysis, documentation, and study of precedents could show the present policy of Pius XI and his collaborators. For the moment I must confine myself to an explanation of my assertion that there is no hope that the clergy will ever take the lead in an anti-Fascist rising.
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" 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 at--religious teaching in the schools,
First of all, the official teaching of the Catholic Church never authorizes active revolt against established authority. It admits only two titudes 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
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