50 Years Ago: 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.


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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. Our view has received interesting confirmation from three sources—the Italian Communist, Bordiga; Professor Salvemini, a Liberal; and Modigliani, of the Italian Socialist Party.


Bordiga says (Labour Magazine, February & March 1923):- ‘After the Nitti, Giolitti, and Bonomi governments, we had the Facta Cabinet. This government was intended to cover up the complete liberty of action of Fascism in its expansion over the whole country. During the strike in August 1922, several conflicts took place between the workers and the Fascisti, who were openly aided by the government.


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Wherever Fascism had been beaten back by the workers, the power of the State intervened; workers who resisted were shot down; workers who were guilty of nothing but self-defence were arrested and sentenced; while the magistrates systematically acquitted the Fascisti, who were generally known to have committed innumerable crimes.


Thus the State was the main factor in the development of Fascism.


(From an editorial “Fascism and the State”, Socialist Standard, Dec. 1927.)