One of the propaganda stunts of the Fascists all over the world is their promise to replace “political” control by “corporative” control, i.e., that the ultimate control of industry and all economic affairs should be handed over to a body representing employers and workers in industry, transport, etc. Parliament and the present State power in Italy were to be replaced by a Corporative Legislature. Mussolini has been in undisputed power now for 14 years, and he has carried out his pledge to the very last word, or rather, to the last word but one. He has established his Council of Corporations and has created his 22 corporations, representing different industries. He has given them—-on paper—wide powers, but he has discreetly provided that they may do nothing whatever without the consent of Parliament and of himself as head of the State. Read the following account by the Rome correspondent of the Observer (November 18th, 1934): —
We must remember that the law of 1930, instituting the Council of Corporations, is still in being. It established that the Council, and, therefore, the corporations of to-day cannot pass legislative measures regarding those subjects which have been regulated already by laws passed in Parliament. This prudent reservation avoids confusion, and also shows how successive developments will come about.
The Council of Corporations, on the other hand, has the right to form any regulations referring to collective and economic relations which have not passed through Parliament, and these are fully valid so long as they bear the signature of Mussolini. This limitation is the only one to be withdrawn so as to arrive at a complete Corporative Parliament.
From this we perceive that the Council can do everything on paper, and nothing important in fact. Not only must they not infringe Parliamentary statutes, but their own acts are invalid without Mussolini’s signature; and he is himself President of every one of the 22 corporations!