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Benito Mussolini

Freedom of Opinion

 On November 18th Mussolini made a speech to the Italian Fascist Party in which he claimed that the Italian war bulletins were truthful and fair statements of Italian as well as British war losses.

 Commenting on this speech in its editorial for November 19th, the Daily Express compares the position of the Press in this country with its position in Italy and Germany and Russia, quite rightly pointing out how impossible it is for any criticism of the Government to obtain publicity in the latter three countries.

 We know quite well that the dictatorships owe much of their success to lies and the suppression of opinion, but how do we stand here in that respect? The Daily Express says: —

Notes by the Way: Mussolini Fights Bolshevism

 Mussolini Fights Bolshevism

 In the years when Russia and Italy were in close relationship their trade was fairly considerable, and part of it took the form of Italy receiving Russian oil for the navy. In payment for goods received from Russia, Italy, in return, built some warships for the Russian navy. A year or so ago a dispute arose and trade came nearly to a standstill. Russia refused to supply oil and the Italians refused to deliver a small 3,000-ton cruiser built for Russia at the Leghorn navy yards.

 Now the dispute has been patched up and trade is being resumed. It is also announced by the Rome correspondent of the Evening Standard (February 7th) and the Daily Telegraph (February 20th) that the vessel is being handed over to the Soviet authorities, and Italy is to receive, among other things, manganese, which is, no doubt, required for armament purposes.

Editorial: Fascism and the State

 When we urge the supreme importance of the working class capturing Parliament, with the administrative departments and local councils which it controls, we are often met with the argument that the Fascists came to power in defiance of the then constitutionally elected Italian Government. Even if this were true it would still not necessarily follow that the overthrow of capitalism could be achieved, or could best be achieved by methods which succeeded well enough in a quite opposite object, i.e., the strengthening of the capitalist state in the interests of a section of the ruling class.

 But, as we have pointed out before, the Fascist seizure of power took place not in defiance of, but with the approval and active assistance of, the democratically elected Italian Government. But for that active assistance Mussolini and his followers would have been helpless. Then, as before and since, the possession of the State machinery proved to be the deciding factor.

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