1920s >> 1927 >> no-273-may-1927

Mussolini and Parliament

To Editorial Committee :

I read with interest your reply to Kett re “Mussolini and Parliament.”

You state that Mussolini was returned to Parliament with a majority of his supporters. Surely, comrades, you have made a grave mistake, as he gained power through the now well-known “March on Rome.” His majority came at an election after he had changed the election laws of Italy and crushed the organisations which opposed him. He cares little for majorities as he frankly states, as long as his own followers are well armed in support of the present system. However, it does prove the foolishness of supporting leaders, as at the time of the coup d’etat in Italy, his party was more republican, and its home policy different to the present one ; it has changed to suit him and the Capitalist interests.

Although I keenly support the need for a majority of Socialists in Parliament (if possible), yet I see the danger of such methods being used here in this country. The boss class may “close down” the House if it suits their purpose. This may come, as in Italy, through confusion in the working-class organisations.

Yours fraternally,
S. W.

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The “grave mistake” lies with “S.W.” Had he read the description of the so-called “March on Rome” at the time it took place, he would know that the half-armed rabble that followed Mussolini on that occasion bore no comparison with the better-armed and more highly-drilled body Mussolini commands to-day. When this rabble reached Rome, they were not allowed to enter the city, as the regular soldiers denied them admittance. The commanding officer of these soldiers who offered to clear Mussolini’s crowd out of the place in an hour, found to his disagreeable surprise that not only was he not to drive them out, but received orders to let them in. It suited the Capitalist government to let Mussolini take charge of affairs owing to the strained conditions of the time. It still suits them to let him continue in charge.

When the Capitalists no longer need this opera-bouffe hero as a “smoke-screen” between themselves and the Italian workers, Mussolini will be kicked out like an office-boy.

“S.W.” is also wrong about the election laws. These were altered after Mussolini had been elected by a majority of those voting. Conditions here are different from those existing in Italy, and the “closing down” of the House of Parliament, apart from a special temporary crisis, a much more
difficult matter.

Ed. Com.

(Socialist Standard, May 1927)

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