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The Bolshevik revolution and the rise of Italian fascism.


Like all complex and significant historic events, there is no single interpretation of the rise of Fascism that satisfies all specialists. There are many renderings, each competing with others for acceptance. (2) Among those in contention is one that would argue that without the reactive response of Italians to the possibility of a Bolshevik revolution on the peninsula, there would not have been a Fascist revolution, and the history of Europe would have been vastly different. The intention here is to explore just that possibility.

Virtually all political historians are prepared to accept the general proposition that the Bolshevism of V. I. Lenin exercised some sort of influence on political developments on the Italian peninsula. What will be attempted here will be a discussion of the rise of Fascism by (1) focusing on the role played by its doctrinal beliefs as one factor among many, and (2) attempting to trace the specific impact of the Bolshevik revolution on the entire sequence of events. The evidence suggests that the doctrinal convictions of the major protagonists of Fascist revolution in Italy shaped events in accordance with those convictions--and that throughout the course of those events Lenin's Bolshevism was of a significance not often fully appreciated.

The sequence of events considered here took place in a context in which most political historians have been prepared to accept the reality of the major influence of two political belief systems on the history of the twentieth century: the Bolshevism of V. I. Lenin and the Fascism of Benito Mussolini. (3) What has not been generally appreciated is the fact that both found their origins in the nineteenth century doctrine of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. More than that, they shared something of a peculiar set of material circumstances that impacted their development. Each took root in a community languishing in economic backwardness that had been severely damaged by war. In both, entire populations had been displaced and loosed from familiar patterns of behavior. No longer following settled routines of conduct, both Russians and Italians more and more fell under the influence of agents of change.

At the time when revolutionaries in both communities considered themselves Marxists, Marxism as a doctrine was undergoing substantive change. With the death of Engels in 1895, Marxism's entire elaborate structure had come under increasingly critical scrutiny. In Germany, France, and Italy Marxism was interpreted and reinterpreted by intellectuals all convinced that their interpretations were either more faithful to the genius of the founders, or advanced modifications required by changing circumstances. (4) Out of all that, for the purposes of our account, the two variants of classical Marxism--Lenin's Bolshevism and Mussolini's Fascism--took on particular configuration early in the century.

The Significant Variants

By the time of his first maturity, V. I. Lenin was already a dedicated revolutionary--seeking a suitable rationale for his willed commitment. He was immediately attracted to the work of Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov, (5) the founder of the first Russian Marxist revolutionary organization, the Emancipation of Labor. For Lenin, Plekhanov was "among the world's greatest thinkers and publicists"--a contemporary who, in Lenin's judgment, had "the greatest knowledge of Marxist philosophy." (6)

Plekhanov spoke of Marxism as a "teaching" that explained the entire course of human development, with society's economic base the ultimate determinant of its human activity--all of which proceeded independent of the will of participants. Human conduct was seen as a function of "general laws" that governed a shared existence. (7) Plekhanov argued that the individual "serves as an instrument of (...) necessity and cannot help doing so, owing to his social status (...) Since his social status (...) imbued him with this character and no other, he not only serves as an instrument of necessity and cannot help doing so, but he passionately desires, and cannot help desiring, to do so." (8) He felt he had thereby resolved the problem of the role of the individual in what he saw as the inevitable course of history. (9)

These were some of the views Lenin inherited as an intellectual legacy. Like Plekhanov, he held Marxism to be an exquisitely scientific enterprise devoted to the contention that one could demonstrate "by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of the given order of social relations, and to establish, as fully as possible (...) the necessity of another order which must inevitably grow out of the preceding one regardless of whether men believe in it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not." He went on to conclude that since "the conscious element plays so subordinate a role in the history of civilization," it was "self-evident" that any discussion of society and its development could hardly take "as its basis any form of, or any result of consciousness." (10) Lenin conceived Marxism a repository of intersubjectively observable social laws. (11) He affirmed that, in his judgment, "the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, and death of a given social organism" were a function of given "social relations" that rested on a material basis of prevailing "productive relations," which, in turn, were a function of existing "productive forces." (12) Social and productive relations, together with the existing material productive forces constituted the "economic base" of society. Notions of law and morality, religion and philosophy, were "effluxes" of that economic base.

For Lenin, Marxist materialism not only provided a "scientific conception of history (...) it [was] the only scientific conception of it." (13) Having established that, Lenin proceeded to "creatively develop" that scientific conception by arguing that only a minority, a "vanguard" of the proletariat, sufficiently informed of the "truth" of Marxism, could be allowed to assume the responsibilities of instruction and leadership. To ensure the continued correctness of political belief and the consistency of obedience, a vanguard leadership would be required to organize the revolutionary proletariat into a tightly structured and hierarchically arranged militancy--forever under the tutelage of, and purge by, a specially schooled leadership. Masses could only be led by a Marxist elite fully cognizant of the intricacies of the doctrines embedded in the voluminous writings of the founders. In that sense, Lenin's belief system was a variant of traditional Marxism--for neither Marx nor Engels anticipated such circumstances. Leninism conceived Marxism a positive science, with physical science the paradigm --tending to marginalize the role of individual and group psychology as well as the moral and dispositional human properties that attend them.

Such were the notions that directed Lenin's efforts in leading his Bolsheviks to victory against the Romanov dynasty and ultimately shaped his policies in cobbling together the first socialist state of the twentieth century. Given those notions, Lenin was inflexibly opposed to other Marxists whose opinions departed in any way from his own. Lenin dismissed other claimants as "opportunistic" and "heretical" Marxists. Among those he would so identify he included the revolutionary syndicalists--who had made their appearance in France around the turn of the century. (14)

The Revolutionary Syndicalists

The development of revolutionary theory in France, driven more by individual initiatives than organizational imperatives, was characteristically more varied and nuanced than that found in the Germany of the period. Syndicalist thought became increasingly prominent with Georges Sorel serving as a typical, and particularly influential, representative.

Without equivocation, Sorel early had declared himself a Marxist. He was, in fact, a Marxist with a significant difference. He was possessed of specialized notions concerning the nature of science. He understood science to be productive, at best, of probabilistic results intended to address immediate problems. When he came to deal with history, he understood it to be the consequence of an interactive flow of contingencies involving human dispositions--beliefs, preferences, sentiments, recommendations, enjoinments, commandments, and invocations. As early as the first years of the new century, in an essay analyzing the dispute between Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, we find Sorel insisting that human behavior is a matter of inspired choice and value judgments rather than the deterministic by-product of economic forces as understood by Kautsky. (15) Sorel argued that Kautsky was convinced that Marx and Engels had sought to make of social speculation a precise science--and as a consequence had accepted a great deal of the contemporary positivistic mythology of natural laws somehow governing the behavior of human actors, individually and in concert. Sorel countered that the "laws" Marxists imagined governing human conduct were, in fact, vaguely framed correlations, loosely expressed and dependent on constituent terms that were, at best, ill-defined. (16)

Sorel understood the kind of cognitive activity that occupied the founders of Marxism as essentially heuristic in nature--given to suggesting possible answers to prevailing social issues--but in no meaningful sense science. (17) For him, Marxism was to be seen as a conceptual framework, generous in scope, stimulating in its subject matter, and suggestive as to how its followers were to seek the answers to the most insistent urgencies of the epoch. (18)

Very early in the twentieth century, Sorel's work reached Italy. There, it attracted a group of young Marxists dissatisfied with monistic and unilinear interpretations of their belief system. Gifted theorists such as Roberto Michels, (19) Angelo O. Olivetti, and Sergio Panunzio, entered the discussion. Given Sorel's critique, the Italian syndicalists held that any effort to portray Marxism as monistic, deterministic, and unilinear was simply not convincing--a judgment that not only reduced the credibility of the necessities and inevitabilities to which the system made recourse, it placed more and more dependence on the contingencies associated with human behavior. More and more of those behaviors were understood to be a result of ethical and moral sensibilities. Syndicalists more and more reflected on the psychology of crowds, organized groups, and on generously defined "social elements"--something monistic Marxists had neglected. They alluded to accounts like that of Gustave Le Bon's psychological study of the group mind (20)--in discussions preamble to the account of how workers were to be mobilized to revolutionary purpose. (21)

Once embarked on the study of mobilization, syndicalists were drawn into the study of collectivities composed of other than proletarians. One finds ready references in their works to sociologists prominent in their time. Elements of the work of Ludwig Gumplowicz, Vilfredo Pareto, and Gaetano Mosca surfaced and resurfaced in their work. Italian syndicalists focused attention on "social elements," other than workers, as possible agents of history. For more than half a hundred years, Marxists had spoken almost exclusively of classes as those agents. Sorel, and the Italian syndicalists in general, had come to believe that classes were nothing other than one social element among others. That was to change the entire understanding of historical dynamics.

Crowds, church groups, families, consortia of various sorts, labor organizations, schools, athletic teams, and nations were just some of the "social elements" seen as impactful agents. Once history was viewed as a product of the interaction of such elements, the theoretical perspective of revolutionaries was broadened and became increasingly complicated. Once identification with one's nation, for example, was accepted as a group affiliation that had historic consequence, the interpretation of history was dramatically altered. For one, it belied Marx's claim that national sentiment could no longer influence the proletariat. (22)

Developments in Italy

For a variety of historic reasons, Italy was especially susceptible to Sorelian ideas. Italians were to rapidly and independently develop them until they stood largely distinct from all others. Within less than a decade after the appearance of syndicalism in France, the thought of Italian syndicalists wielded influence over some of Italy's most radical Marxists--and, as such, syndicalism was to establish itself as a force in the shaping of events. (23)

It was generally the case that syndicalists conceived social science as predominantly pragmatic in essence--with human subjects critically influenced by "ideal" factors: sentiment, moral convictions, faith, will, and courage. All of this was to transform the Marxism operative in Italy. Italian syndicalists were to argue that "spiritual" motives, sometimes independently and sometimes in concert with other factors, influenced the behavior of crowds, masses, and participants in organizations both large and small. (24) Spiritual factors often found most immediate expression in the form of political "myths"--images that captured the imagination and inspired the will of collectivities by embodying the substance of an anticipated, imagined future. Syndicalists held that through the impact of such myths, masses could be moved and suitably led, to historic purpose. (25)

With attitude and conviction discharging so important a role in human conduct, syndicalists tended to be impressed by the sentiment of nationalism that found expression among proletarians. Michels, very early, explored the possibility of finding place for such sentiments within the internationalism of the then prevailing socialism. (26) Among syndicalist theoreticians, the significance of nationalism, so lightly dismissed by "orthodox" Marxists, came to occupy more and more of their attention. In 1906, Olivetti introduced his new publication, Pagine Libere, with a column that spoke of Italian exceptionalism, and the merits of restoring, once again, that sense of national pride that had been diminished through years of systematic humiliation at the hands of foreigners. (27)

Among Marxists, the issue of the role of national sentiment in the making of revolution had never been definitively resolved. The issue became more and more insistent in the years between the turn of the century and the commencement of the First World War. By the time of Italy's War in Tripoli in 1911, the importance of national sentiment in the mobilization of masses urged itself on Italian theoreticians. With his advocacy of Italy's involvement in the war, Olivetti, for one, was to invoke and combine several of the themes that had occupied the immediate interests of the syndicalists--including nationalism--in his arguments. He spoke, for example, of the need for a rapid expansion of industrial production (28) to meet the material needs of Italy at war. Meeting the arduous demands of rapid industrial growth would foster the creation of a new, more assertive, collectivistic demeanor among the masses of the peninsula. Olivetti spoke of things that all serious revolutionaries would understand. For years they had spoken of production as the very transformative basis of conscious life. The practical necessities of the War in Tripoli made all that more than simply a theoretical matter. The rapid increase of production had become essential. The war had made it a vital necessity that the nation be prepared to radically expand its industrial base. Industrialization would not only shape the future of the nation--it would transform Italians and lay the material foundations for revolution. What was required was the industrialization of the Italian peninsula. (29)

In pursuing such a course, revolutionary syndicalism would find itself in league with political nationalists. (30) Both recognized the transformative function of war. A victorious nation possessed of an aroused populace could assume revolutionary responsibilities. War, the rapid growth of material production, and the transformation of collective psychology, were all seen intimately connected. (31) As early as 1911, Olivetti had spoken of Italians finally escaping that oppressive sense of inferiority with which they had burdened themselves in the course of their protracted contact with industrially advanced "plutocratic" foreigners. He held that the restorative process would proceed through the test of arms and the rapid maturation of the nation's industrial economy. (32) To accomplish all of that would require the taking up of those collective and individual virtues of commitment and industriousness with which syndicalists had identified.

Events in Europe moved rapidly between the War in Tripoli and the advent of the First World War. By August 1914, the die had been cast. The major nations of Europe found themselves being irresistibly drawn into conflict. As war descended, the organized internationalism of socialism dissolved in the readiness of each national sector of the International to support its own government in the conflict.

Events pursued their own course in Italy. With the outbreak of war, the Italian government declared its neutrality. (33) Italian syndicalists were repelled by what they understood to be a failure of their nation to meet its responsibilities. All that created special problems for organized Italian socialism. The official Socialist Party of Italy had opted for Italian neutrality in the war--accompanied by threats of a general labor strike if the government chose to enter the conflict. In the gathering storm only some elements of British labor and the Italian Socialist Party refused to support their respective governments in the war. In Romanov Russia the social democrats, led by Plekhanov, chose to defend the homeland against the threat of German and Austro-Hungarian invasion. Among the Russian socialists, only Lenin's Bolsheviks consistently opposed any Russian involvement in the conflict. He threatened to transform the war--"chosen by the capitalists and reactionaries"--into a popular antiwar revolutionary insurrection. In Italy, matters proved no less complicated.

Lenin, Mussolini, and the Great War

By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century both Lenin and Mussolini had assumed leadership responsibilities as committed Marxist revolutionaries. Lenin was leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian social democrats and Mussolini had established himself as leader of the most radical faction of the Italian Socialist Party. Both held themselves to be Marxists--distinguished from other Marxists only by their intransigence. In terms of Mussolini's political beliefs, between 1902 and the advent of the First World War, everything he published testified to his informed and essentially orthodox Marxist convictions. (34) By the time he acceded to the editorship of Avanti!, the official daily of the Socialist Party in 1912, he had already earned a convincing reputation as a major Marxist theoretician, a Party functionary, and a principled socialist revolutionary.

At the same time, should one read his contemporary publications, it becomes evident that many of Mussolini's arguments featured themes shared with syndicalist theoreticians. There was talk, for example, of elites moving masses by appealing to recognized moral sensibilities; there was talk of "myths" that could mobilize, and the special function of self-selected elites in the marshaling of revolutionaries; there was Sorelian talk of the use of willed violence by organized labor against the established institutions of class oppression. Frequently the very language and the embodied concepts are syndicalist in origin. Mussolini, himself, testified that for almost a decade into the new century, he had been under the direct influence of syndicalists--prominent among whom were Olivetti and Michels. (35)

As suggested, by the advent of the Great War, Lenin had already modified his orthodoxy. He too spoke of elites and their role in the mobilization of masses. He spoke of "bringing revolutionary consciousness" to the masses rather than awaiting "life" to discharge the task. Lenin's variation brought major implications in train.

In Italy, on the occasion of the War in Tripoli many syndicalists, having accepted national sentiment as an active factor in the making of history, chose to support Italy in its conflict with the Turks. Of course, not all syndicalists were so disposed. At the time of the conflict neither Mussolini nor Filippo Corridoni, a sincere and active syndicalist, chose to support the war effort against the Caliphate. They both became involved in the popular opposition to the conflict--actually organizing obstruction to the movement of military supplies intended for the combat areas.

When Lenin reviewed developments among Italian socialists during the biennial 1911-1912, he identified Mussolini's faction as having chosen "the correct path." (36) In significant measure, the policy advocacy of Mussolini and his followers mirrored his own. As the Great War began to take shape on the horizon, however, all that began to rapidly change.

Lenin was adamantly opposed to the war. He insisted that any convinced Marxist must be similarly opposed. Almost no other socialist leader in Europe took so inflexible a stand. For a brief period only British socialists refused to identify with their nation at war--and that was very quickly resolved. Only in Italy, where officialdom vacillated in its uncertain neutrality, were Italian socialists steadfast in their opposition to involvement in the conflict. In those circumstances, Lenin made a special effort to congratulate Mussolini's Avanti! for its "courage" in resisting the blandishments of the "bourgeoisie" to support the nation's intervention. Under Mussolini's editorship the official journal of the Party continued to refuse to countenance Italy's participation in what Lenin insisted was a "brigand's war." (37)

Very soon, however, the issue began to pose very serious political problems for Italian socialists, in general, and Mussolini, in particular. Irrespective of his objection to Italy's war in Tripoli, Mussolini clearly identified himself with the interests of the land of his birth. (38) Moreover, his experience, earlier in the century, in Austrian-held Trentino had taught him something of the durability and political importance of nationalist sentiment. (39)

Some of Mussolini's closest revolutionary associates--almost all syndicalists --were urging him to consider a more "flexible" posture in responding to the prevailing crisis. It was clear that Mussolini felt confined by the various doctrinal "rigidities" of the institutional Party. As early as November 1913 he had founded his own journal, Utopia, in which he might speak without Party constraints about issues that had become increasingly urgent--ranging from the theoretical interpretation of funded Marxist doctrine to what response should be made to the realities of international war. (40) He had not resolved all the issues to his own satisfaction, and as the reality of war became increasingly urgent, syndicalists and nationalists used the pages of his journal to attempt to convince him of their views. By the time the war was six weeks old Mussolini gave evidence of being deeply troubled. He was particularly moved when he was notified that Corridoni--so much the model revolutionary--was prepared to support a war against the Central Powers. (41) Towards the end of October, Mussolini began to advocate a more flexible attitude toward the war--and in mid-November, he announced he would publish his own daily journal, Il Popolo d'ltalia. It was clear to all who were participants in the events that Mussolini was prepared to use his new journal as a platform from which to challenge the official policies of the Party. The response was quick. On the twentyfourth of November he was expelled from the Socialist Party.

In the interim, some of the most radical elements of the revolutionary left had begun to agitate for Italy's intervention in the war--to oppose the possible victory of German hegemony with its threat of authoritarian dominance and anti-revolutionary mastery over all of Europe. By October, Olivetti was a major figure in the organization of an association of interventionists: the Fascio rivoluzionario d'azione interventista. Around the interventionists Marinetti's Futurists, (42) and some of Giuseppe Prezzolini's Vociani, (43) collected themselves. They all brought with them the elements of doctrine that had rendered them objectionable to the institutional socialism of the Socialist Party. By December, Mussolini, picking up a recurrent theme found in syndicalist advocacy, chose to publish in the last issue of Utopia a selection from the works of J.G. Proudhon reflecting on the transformative character of war. (44) At the same time, Mussolini became an active participant in the public efforts of the Fascio, advocating Italy's entry into the growing conflict as an ally of the Entente. (45)

Collateral to all the public activity, many of the interventionists sought to make their ideas available to a broader audience by publishing each their own rationale. By April, Corridoni, one of Mussolini's particularly close collaborators, published his rationale for intervention, Sindacalismo e Repubblica. (46) The exposition threaded together some of the themes that characterized syndicalism as a revolutionary doctrine. At its very commencement, Corridoni reaffirmed his Marxism. He held that everything he was to argue was derivative of the richness of Marxist social theory. He insisted that Marxism provided singularly instructive social and economic insights into the workings of contemporary society. His immediate concern turned on Marxism's apparent failure to predict events as they unfolded in the contemporary world. Corridoni sought to explain the failure of prediction by citing social and economic intervention by the political state--that succeeded in thwarting anticipated outcomes. Protective tariffs for fragile industries, social welfare legislation that mitigated the most egregious industrial practices, all influenced the course of events. Economic competition was correspondingly blunted. Labor was either domesticated or encouraged to emigrate--reducing the intensity of the struggle for employment. The overall decline in competition dissipated entrepreneurial ardor, leading to relative economic stagnation. The industrial bourgeoisie failed to behave in historically appropriate fashion. They had been deflected from their historic "responsibilities." They had not industrialized the peninsula. That caused the collateral failure of the working class--which, without the experience provided by industry, lacked class consciousness and the systematic commitment that would attend a protracted class struggle. All of Marx's prognostications had been falsified by interventions of the state--and, as a consequence, Italy remained a retrograde economy, languishing at precapitalistic economic levels with both a bourgeoisie and a proletariat ill-provisioned to meet the requirements of the twentieth century.

In terms of its practical implications, Corridoni's analysis constituted a plea for the rapid industrial development of a retrograde economy in an intensely threatening world arena--not only to counter the existential threat to the nation's very survival, but to create the necessary material conditions for social revolution. Marx had consistently taught that a mature industrial base was the necessary condition of revolution. Corridoni argued that circumstances had altered the surface features of Marxist theory--but the essentials remained. Italy was to embark on an intense period of horizontal and vertical industrial development that would offset its material inferiority vis-a-vis the more advanced "plutocratic" nations. That would create the material conditions for a socialist society--an adequate industrial base, class conscious proletarians, and an association of entrepreneurs prepared and equipped to discharge their historic responsibilities. The catalyst would be an international war. (47)

In fact, at the end of April 1915, and for its own reasons, the Italian government declared war against Austria-Hungary. Corridoni volunteered for service almost immediately--and almost as quickly found himself facing Austrian troops on the Isonzo. In August, Mussolini was called to service with his age-cohorts, (48) and by mid-September was at the front. Towards the end of October Corridoni was killed in an assault on Austrian positions. Mussolini remained at the front until February of 1917--when he was gravely wounded, during a field exercise, by the explosion of a mortar.

After a prescribed period of convalescence, (49) Mussolini returned to the offices of Il Popolo d'ltalia to continue his advocacy of sustained effort in the ongoing conflict. He broadcast arguments composed of the elements syndicalists like Corridoni had made their own. The nation was the acknowledged agent of change and all its members were united as a single bloc of steel. After the victory in the field, they would commit themselves to accelerating increasingly sophisticated production that would revolutionize postwar Italy. (50) Mussolini correspondingly changed the subheading of his journal from "A Socialist Daily," to a "Journal of Combatants and Producers."

Mussolini worked through a period of turbulence and uncertainty. In March, revolution toppled the "Czar of all the Russians"--and the military situation in the East became more and more problematic. In June, Alexander Kerensky, who had succeeded to power in Russia, ordered a general offensive against the German invaders--that was to fail almost at its commencement. In the West, at approximately the same time, large scale mutinies in the ranks threatened the integrity of continued French resistance. In October, Austrians, supported by German troops released from duty in the East, routed the Italian army at Caporetto. The entire front collapsed. It was during that dark interlude, during the first days of November 1917 (Western calendar), that Lenin's Bolsheviks succeeded in overthrowing the Kerensky regime--and very quickly proceeded to a cease-fire with Germany.

Mussolini and the Bolsheviks

The ensuing circumstances prompted Mussolini to fully characterize his socialism. Many Marxists insisted that with Lenin's revolution, it was socialism that had come to Russia. Mussolini was faced with the reality of his fundamental objections to Leninism on the one hand, and his insistence that the interventionists who had collected around him were socialists. Throughout the entire period antecedent to the Bolshevik revolution, Il Popolo d'Italia had continued to identify itself as a "Socialist Daily." With the success of Lenin's revolution--and Mussolini's strident opposition--the need for some resolution of what appeared an apparent contradiction was evident.

Given his resolute advocacy of interventionism, it was obvious that Mussolini could only find Lenin's unqualified pacifism anathema. It was clear, however, that there were more fundamental reasons for his emphatic disapproval of Bolshevism. It was in that context that Mussolini, about a month after Lenin's revolution, addressed the issue of how the term "socialism" was to be understood by contemporary revolutionaries. (51) Given his doctrinal history, what followed was perfectly predictable. It was implicit in everything Mussolini had written in the years leading to the crisis of the Great War.

Mussolini argued that the meaning of "socialism" was not fixed by any unimpeachable authority. The term had shown itself to be sufficiently equivocal that both its referential and substantive meanings were uncertain. He admitted that for some time he himself had succumbed to the temptation of conceiving the term "socialism" as a simple reference to Marxism--and that there was only one Marxism-fully articulated, demonstrably scientific, and insulated from theoretical challenge. 52 Under the influence of syndicalist thought, however, he had been compelled to alter his judgment.

By the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, Mussolini was prepared to argue that, over time, there had been many candidates for identification as "socialist." There was, for example, a "Latin socialism," a product of the work of luminaries such as Giuseppe Mazzini and Carlo Pisacane. 53 There were well credentialed socialisms that saw the nation as the agent of change--and which advocated some form of "national socialism" or "national syndicalism." (54) Mussolini argued that each was a legitimate expression of a general socialist attitude. It was even conceivable, he continued, that some candidate socialisms would contain literally nothing of traditional Marxism--and, in fact, assume postures that were, for all intents and purposes, anti-Marxist. Nonetheless, he argued, they had a legitimate claim to membership in the broad tradition considered socialist. (55) So armed, Mussolini faced those who pretended that only Lenin's Bolshevism qualified as socialist.

Lenin, having succeeded to power, withdrew Russia from the war. Mussolini immediately made his objections to the entire Bolshevik enterprise abundantly clear. First of all, Mussolini argued that, as a consequence of his policies, Lenin was not only a "traitor to his native land" (56)--his domestic policies made him particularly objectionable to true revolutionaries. (57)

In seizing power, Lenin had immediately suppressed organized labor, and rendered the proletariat subject to Bolshevik party control. Mussolini interpreted that as dramatic evidence of Lenin's abandonment of the essentials of Marxism. Marx, Engels, Kautsky, and Plekhanov, all expected a self-directed proletariat to command revolutionary socialism--with the maturity of the working class a function of a fully developed capitalist economy. Lenin sought to make revolution in economically retrograde Russia (58)--where he sought the major participation of peasants. Where Marxism insisted that only the proletariat could truly serve as the revolutionary class, Lenin made revolution with those whom the Communist Manifesto had deemed "reactionary." Where Engels understood that the political state would "wither away" as a result of the socialist revolution, Lenin labored to enhance and reinforce the state's control and management capabilities subsequent to successful revolution. (59)

Mussolini's explications were interrupted by events that saw the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto and the rapid conclusion of the war. On November 3, 1918 the Austrians sought an armistice. In France, a new Allied offensive threatened the weakened German forces--resulting in a cessation of hostilities that signaled the end of the Great War. With the end of the war, Mussolini faced political tasks that had become increasingly demanding. The entire issue of how official socialism was to be handled became critical. As developments would have it, Mussolini found his political options increasingly influenced by the political behavior of Italy's official socialism.

In March 1919, Mussolini sponsored a conference in Milan intended to bring together, under a central leadership, the loosely structured interventionist fasci. What had become evident by that time was the fact that the war itself had not been the transformative experience that syndicalist theoreticians had led him to expect. At that immediate juncture, it was not clear what would be required to precipitate revolutionary change in Italy.

What was generally accepted was the conviction that those who had advocated and fought the war, required organization and a strategy. That was forthcoming with the March meeting in San Sepolcro. The organization was to be composed of a collection of associations of veterans called the Fasci di combattimento. Representatives of many of the left-wing interventionist groups were represented--together with Futurists, economic and political nationalists, and industrializing Vociani. Mussolini affirmed that two existentialist realities would bind them together: the nation and its productive potential--understood to represent the conditions necessary to support a revolutionary form of national syndicalism. (60) The Fasci were to serve as its vanguard--with their members identified as Fascisti.

National syndicalism was to be the revolutionary creed of those who advocated and fought the Great War. (61) It involved an intention to make of Italy a "Great Nation" --no longer the "proletarian" supplicant of the "plutocratic" powers. The founding meeting in San Sepolcro provided the first statement of what was to become the doctrine of Fascism. Mussolini held that those who had collected around the standards of Fascism possessed their political myth in the nation (62) and were to make production their commanding imperative. (63) The doctrine, in effect, was to incorporate a more nuanced and sophisticated version of the political beliefs and strategy of those national syndicalists who had earlier supported Italy's war against the Turks. What was missing in the reformulation of the creed was an identification of the catalyst that would assure success.

In the months that were to follow the founding conference in Milan, political Fascism had very little recruiting success. (64) In the elections of November 1919, Fascists were defeated wherever they entered the lists. Conversely, Socialist Party candidates made impressive gains--as did the Popolari, the clerical party. Together, the two non-Fascist parties dominated the legislature. For the Fascists, the war had not been the transformative experience their doctrine anticipated.

The Fascists possessed their defining doctrine, the required myth and associated imperatives. What they lacked was the energizing phenomenon that would somehow ignite revolutionary response on the part of masses.

It seems clear that at some point in this period Mussolini recognized that the existence of a plausible Bolshevik threat to the community might well serve in just such a capacity. He made clear to his immediate followers that he recognized that, in fact, Italy had little to fear from Bolshevism. (65) In his judgment, there was little prospect for its success in any country in Europe. Europe was not Russia. He acknowledged that any community that still possessed a functional military and a viable security system would not allow itself to be overwhelmed by so implausible a doctrine. The Bolshevik-inspired revolution in Hungary had been suppressed, and those who entertained the vision of such a revolution in Germany were summarily defeated and marginalized.

Mussolini argued that Leninism failed to make revolution in countries that could defend themselves. (66) Among the primary reasons for its failure was its intrinsically flawed doctrine. Bolsheviks pretended to make "classes," and class membership central to the revolution (67)--and yet had no coherent definition of who might qualify for entry into each very general sociological category. Bolsheviks could not unequivocally identify either members of the "proletariat," or members of the "bourgeoisie." During the Bolshevik revolution, many "proletarians" were to be found in the ranks of the "reactionaries," while many "bourgeois" elements were to be found in leadership positions among the Bolsheviks. In such an environment, everyone was suspect, including many Marxists. The Bolsheviks had even deemed the iconic Plekhanov unsuitable to serve the revolution. Everyone's life was thus placed in jeopardy. At a time when the national community required contribution of every productive citizen, the Bolsheviks undertook its division using vague and unspecific criteria.

Mussolini held that the results could only induce political confusion, vast injustice, and the impairment of any effort to provide for the revolutionary community. All "bourgeois" institutions were made suspect--and a control infrastructure created composed of loyal Party members possessed of but minimal skills. The possibility that domestic Bolsheviks might impose such a system in Italy could well energize all vital community elements to resistance. As a consequence, it was evident that a perceived Bolshevik menace might well provide Fascism its "hour." (68)

In the months that were to follow their success in the Italian elections, the "maximalists" and "Bolsheviks" of the Italian Socialist Party were to make Mussolini's strategy appear increasingly prescient. Lenin, himself, contributed to the evolving political situation in Italy by initiating and fostering his Third International. Still anticipating the worldwide proletarian revolution prognosticated by Marxist orthodoxy, Lenin founded an international organization designed to draw all nations into the revolution. Emissaries were dispatched to all the European nations in the effort to bring together all socialist elements that were available. Grigory Zinoviev was dispatched to Italy, to draw its socialists into the fold, and to radicalize their policies. The results included emphatic efforts by the "maximalists" in the Italian Socialist Party to identify with the Bolshevik program. They advocated singular expressions of political radicalism in the urban areas--seizing city councils and flying the red flag to mark their victory. Socialist labor unions, by their very demonstration of power, attracted more and more membership. Their collective behavior became more and more aggressive. Strikes became pandemic. Their members physically attacked returning veterans and members of the security forces in order to provide evidence of their revolutionary zeal. They flew the red flag everywhere to demonstrate their revolutionary intent. In the rural areas socialist leagues, at the expense of production, forcefully organized day laborers and tenant farmers against landowners. This continued erratically throughout the year.

In the summer of 1920, socialist labor organizers decided there would be an effort to "expropriate the expropriators"--and a seizure of factories commenced in several major urban centers. In September, metalworkers occupied facilities throughout the north. Occupations spread to the major industrial cities of Milan and Turin. Those who had seized the factories were intent on producing product, marketing it themselves, and distributing returns as they saw fit--with the full exclusion of owners. The occupied factories were secured by armed "Red Guards" and festooned with red flags. Not only were owners denied entry, but the government was denied supervision. In Rome, the politicians (perhaps wisely) rejected any use of force in attempting to restore property to lawful owners.

The occupation of the factories lasted throughout September. Unmolested, those who occupied the sites gradually lost control of the enterprise. There was organizational failure, an exhaustion of basic supplies, an absence of commercial infrastructure, and a depletion of finances. (69) In the frustration of failed revolution, the Red Guards had killed several innocents. The general response among the citizenry was one of outrage. Industrialists felt that the economy of the nation had been needlessly impaired. The general public feared the declining availability of staples and the increase in lawlessness. Mussolini could insist that Fascism was not at war with socialism, but with its corrupt manifestation as Bolshevism. (70)

In Ferrara and the region around Bologna and Milan, groups of war veterans spontaneously organized in aggressive self-defense. War veterans struck out against their tormentors. They organized combat teams to assault socialist organizing sites and communication centers. They donned their wartime uniforms, emphasizing the Black Shirt--the uniform of the Arditi--Italy's special forces. The Fascist "punitive squads" entered Italian history in number--with squadristi soon to be found everywhere on the peninsula.

The ideology that informed the Fascist movement was one that emphasized not class warfare, but class collaboration--in the service of a nation threatened by a "new barbarism." It was a political persuasion predicated on individual choice and individual responsibility. It touted courage and will against opponents who spoke of "inevitabilities" and human conduct that was governed by some sort of obscure social laws. In opposition, Fascism offered an ideology that was essentially pragmatic, calculated to grow the economy with a system that, at least in part, was governed by market ques. It was, in effect, the obverse of Lenin's Bolshevism--and, in general, appealed to the individual and collective self-interest of the Italians of the period.

That, together with support of veterans and the existing security forces, precipitated the accelerated growth of Fascist organizations. Their membership grew exponentially. All the veterans who felt their sacrifice dismissed and their victory tarnished; all the university students who entertained romantic illusions about victory in the Great War; the rural owners whose lands had been seized or rendered unproductive; the factory owners whose property was no longer secure; the general public tired of labor strikes that made daily life inconvenient and unpredictable; all filled the coffers and the ranks of Mussolini's Fascism.

By the beginning of 1922, the die had been cast. The military and the public security forces clearly favored the Fascists in their conflict with the domestic socialists --whether "orthodox," "maximalist," or "Bolshevik." Fascism rapidly extended its political influence throughout Italy--with the overt or tacit support of many members of the entrepreneurial class, a discrete number of labor organizations, the rural landowners, the military, and the constabulary. The process culminated in the Fall of 1922 with the Fascist "March on Rome." Effective resistance to Fascism could nowhere be mobilized. When Italy's military leaders advised the reigning monarch that the Army had the capabilities to suppress the threatening insurrection--they felt compelled to add that they could not assure the King that the troops would obey--so much were the Fascists favored. On the 29th of October 1922, King Victor Emanuel invited Mussolini to organize a government. Fascism had come to Italy. It was to determine the nation's future for a quarter century--and influence that of Europe for a still longer period. In fact, without the real or apparent threat of Bolshevism, it is unlikely that Mussolini would have been successful. Without the specter of Bolshevism, and its exploitation by Fascism, it is probable that Mussolini would have remained a minor contender for political power in Italy--and the history of the twentieth century would have been far different.


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A. James Gregor (1)

(1) Professor emeritus A. James Gregor (University of California, Berkeley) received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1961. His fields of interest and his course offerings cover the areas of Comparative Ideology, Political Theory, and Methodology. His current research focuses on U.S. security interests and comparative fascism. His recent publications include: "Mussolini's Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought" (Princeton University Press); "The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science" (Cambridge University Press); The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the 20th Century (Yale University), Phoenix: Fascism in Our Time (Transaction, 1998), Interpretations of Fascism (2nd Edition. Transaction, 1997), and Marxism, China and Development (Transaction, 1995). E-mail:

(2) I have provided a summary of some of the more familiar efforts at an explanation of the rise of Italian Fascism. See A. James Gregor, Interpretations of Fascism (New Brunswick, N. J.: Transaction Publishers, 2000). Over the decades, the candidate explanations have changed in terms of content and emphasis. To this day there is no one single account that is accepted by all academics. See the current efforts at dealing with Fascism and "neofascism." See A. James Gregor, The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

(3) Adolf Hitler maintained that without Fascism there would not have been a National Socialism--and it is unlikely that there would have been a Maoism in China without the antecedence of Stalinism, heir of Bolshevism.

(4) See the discussion in A. James Gregor, Marxism, Fascism and Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).

(5) He read the works of Nikolai Chernyshevski with particular dedication. Chernyshevsky was the favorite author of Lenin's martyred brother--who had given his life in an attempt to take that of the reigning Czar. It is clear, nonetheless, that the reading had far less cognitive impact on Lenin than his reading of Plekhanov.

(6) V. Fomina, "Plekhanov's Role in the Defense and Substantiation of Marxist Philosophy," in G. Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works in Five Volumes (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 9.

(7) See Plekhanov, "Socialism and the Political Struggle," ibid. section 2, particularly pp. 76-80.

(8) Plekhanov, The Role of the Individual in History (New York: International Publishers, 1940), p. 17.

(9) Plekhanov regularly made the point that the laws of social development cannot be administered "abstractly." They must function within a concrete set of initial conditions. See Plekhanov, "Our Differences," ibid., pp. 144-150.

(10) V. I. Lenin, "What the 'Friends of the People' Are and How They Fight the Social Democrats," Collected Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1960. Hereafter LCW), vol. 1, p. 166.

(11) At twentyfour, Lenin was sufficiently convinced of the analysis that he could write that Marx's basic idea was that the development of the social economic formations is a process of natural history, singling out productive relations from all social relations as being basic, primary, determining all other relations." He went on to make the final reductionist claim that a scientific sociology was made possible with "the reduction of social relations to productive relations and of the latter to the level of the productive forces." Lenin, ibid., pp. 137-140.

(12) Ibid. pp. 140, 167.

(13) Ibid., pp. 140-142.

(14) Plekhanov had written an arch critique of syndicalist thought: Plekhanov, Sindicalismo y Marxismo (Mexico City: Gryhalbo, 1968), particularly pp. 11-15. That of Lenin appeared as a relatively mild rebuke.

(15) In 1905, Kautsky published his exposition of the Erfurt Program of the German Social Democratic Party. He made eminently clear that he saw developments in metronomic regularity, leading to the inevitable conquest by the German proletariat. See Karl Kautsky and Bruno Schonlank, Grundsatze und Forderungen der Sozialdemocratie (Berln: Vorwarts, 1905).

(16) Sorel, Les polemiques pour ['interpretation du Marxisme: Bernstein & Kautsky (Paris: V. Giard & E. Briere, 1900), pp. 4-6.

(17) Sorel was to formalize his conception of science with the publication of his De l'utilite du Pragmatisme (Paris: Marcel Reviere, 1928. Tenth edition; parts were published in 1906).

(18) It was largely for that reason that Sorel chose to support Bernstein in his "courageous" critique of Marxist "orthodoxies"--as they were formulated largely by German Marxists. See Sorel's discussion in Le polemiques, pp. 12-25. For Sorel's interpretation of the nature of Marxist "science," see Sorel, "The Decomposition of Marxism," in Irving Louis Horowitz, Radicalism and the Revolt Against Reason: The Social Theories of Georges Sorel (New York: The Humanities Press, 1961).

(19) Michels was to go on to become one of the founders of political sociology as a discipline. Early in his career he chose to take up Italian citizenship.

(20) Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (New York: Penguin Books, 1960), originally published in 1895. Sorel had called attention to the work of Le Bon.

(21) For a more extensive development of these issues, see A. James Gregor, The Ideology of Fascism: The Rationale of Totalitarianism (New York: The Free Press, 1969), pp. 49-85.

(22) Marx insisted that "working men have no country." He went on to affirm, "National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing (...) The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish even faster." Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, part 2. With the coming of the twentieth century, there were other Marxists who seriously considered the role of ethnic or national sentiment in the making of history. By 1907, Otto Bauer, one to the more important theoreticians among the Marxists of Austria-Hungary, spoke of ethnic and national identity that he argued provided motive for distinctive and discriminatory working class behavior. See Otto Bauer, Die Nationalitatenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie (Vienna: Marx Studien, 1907). The acknowledgment of such sentiments among workers was not restricted to Sorel and the syndicalists. Ludwig Woltmann, one of the Marxist theoreticians recommended by Lenin, himself, later made a similar transition. See Gregor, Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, chaps. 3 and 9.

(23) See Francesco Perfetti (editor), Il sindacalismo fascista: Dalle origini alla vigilia dello Stato corporativo (Rome: Bonacci editore, 1988).

(24) Michels exemplified all the cognitive convictions that typified syndicalists. He early committed himself to socialism, and very soon to syndicalism. In his treatment of scientific subjects his causal analyses were multifactorial. In his assessment of scientific accounts, he objected to generalizations that were based on uncontrolled observations and expressed in vague and selective fashion. (Years later, he expressed his views very succinctly in the opening of his Lavoro e razza [Milano: Francesco Vallardi casa editrice, 1924]--views that were prominent throughout his work [see the comments in A. James Gregor, Roberto Michels e l'ideologia del fascism [Rome: Volpe, 1979], pp. 5-69.)

(25) This was to be seen in Michel's earliest works on political sociology. See, for example, Michels, II proletariat e la borghesia nel movimento socialista italiano (Turin: Bocca, 1908).

(26) See Michels, "Nationalismus, National gefuhl, Internationalismus," Das Freie Wort (1903) pp. 107-110

(27) See Olvetti's editorial, "Presentazione," in the 15 December 1906 issue of Pagine Libere, reproduced, in part, in Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, Dal sindacalismo rivoluzionario al corporativismo (edited by Francesco Perfetti. Rome: Bonacci editore, 1984), pp. 22-26.

(28) By that time, Olivetti regularly spoke, unselfconsciously, about syndicalists constituting a "hierarchy of producers." See, for example, Olivetti, "Polemica con J. Novikow." Pagine Libere, 15 May 1910.

(29) Olivetti spoke of the syndicalists as foreshadowing the advent of an "a new civilization of producers." Olivetti, "L'altra campana," Pagine Libere, 15 November 1911.

(30) Enrico Corradini was the spokesman of Italian nationalism and early made overtures to the syndicalists. See the discussion in A. James Gregor, Mussolini's Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), chap. 2.

(31) For a more detailed review of primary sources, see A. James Gregor, Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), chaps. 2 and 3.

(32) See the entire discussion contained in Olivetti, "Sindacalismo e nazionalismo," Pagine Libere, 11 February 1911, pp. 60-67.

(33) The reasons were not far to seek. Austria had been an obstacle to Italian reunification--and at the time of the outbreak of the war still occupied substantial territory that Italians considered their own. Other than that, the British were prepared to offer Italy substantial benefits for its refusal to honor the security treaty with the Central Powers.

(34) For a more detailed discussion of this period, together with the appropriate documentation, see A. James Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), particularly pp. 37-43.

(35) See Ibid., chap. 3.

(36) See Helmut Konig, Lenin und der italienische Sozialismus 1915-1921 (Tubingen: Bohlau Verlag, 1967), pp. 8-9.

(37) Lenin, "The European War and International Socialism," LCW, vol. 21, p. 20.

(38) Much of the following material is summary of the more detailed account, plus all the references to primary sources, to be found in Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, chaps. 6 and 7.

(39) See ibid., chap. 4.

(40) Mussolini, "Al largo!" Utopia, vol. 1, 1 (22 November 1913), pp. 1-4.

(41) Ivon de Begnac traces the evolution of Corridoni's thought in his L'Arcangelo Sindicalista (Filippo Corridoni) (Verona: Mondadori, 1943).

(42) At the very first years of the twentieth century F. T. Marinettti's Futurists were calling for the rapid industrialization of Italy, a rejection of traditional passivity and an invocation of masculinity, courage, and audacity. Including revolutionary warfare--calculated to precipitate the development of "New Men" who would restore the nation to its proper place in history. A convenient collection of Marnetti's articles can be found in Futurismo e Fascismo (Foligno: Campitelli editore, 1924).

(43) The iconoclastic vociani were those authors who collected around the journal La Voce, published by Giusepppe Prezzolini--and with which Giovanni Gentile and Roberto Michels associated themselves. A convenient collection of articles appearing in the journal may be found in La Voce: 1908-1913 (Milano: Rusconi, 1974). By the time of the intervention, Prezzolini, together with Giovanni Papini, had published Vecchio e Nuovo Nazionalismo (Rome: Volpe, 1967, a reprint of the 1914 edition), a call for the industrialization of the peninsula and the mobilization of masses to revolutionary purpose.

(44) P. J. Proudhon, "La guerrra e un fatto divino," Utopia, vol. 2, nos. 13-14 (December 15-31, 1914), pp. 376-380.

(45) This period is covered in greater detail and documentation in Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, chaps. 7-9.

(46) Filippo Corridoni, Sindacalismo e Repubblica (Milano: S.A.R.E.P., 1945. Reprint of the 1915 edition).

(47) The identification of the final condition is absent from his Sindacalismo e Repubblica, but is clearly stated in his "Political Testament" where war is identified as monstrous--but necessary to spur Italians to the development of their nation's economic potential. See ibid., pp. 109-111.

(48) Mussolini attempted to enlist at the outbreak of war, but was informed that he would have to wait until his "class" was called. See Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, pp. 204-205, n. 2.

(49) Mussolini's wounds never properly healed. For years after the war he continued to require medical attention.

(50) Documentation and full citation of Mussolini's relevant articles can be found in Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, chap. 9.

(51) Mussolini, "Trincerocrazia," Oo, vol. 10, pp. 140-142.

(52) Mussolini, "'Giustizia Inesorabile!'" Oo, vol. 10, p. 369.

(53) See Mussolini, "Amilcare Cipriani e Morto," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 38-39; "Osanna! E la Grande Ora!" Oo, vol. 11, p. 458; "L'Adunata di Roma," Oo, vol. 10, pp. 433-435.

(54) Mussolini, "Dopo l'Adunata Proletaria di Genova," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 21-22; "Amilcare Cipriani e Morto," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 37-39.

(55) See the discussion in Mussolini, "Divagazioni del centenario," Oo, vol. 11, pp.44-47.

(56) See Mussolini's early comments in "Da Sturmer a Lenine," Oo, vol. 9, pp. 74-76; "Nell'Attesa," vol. 10, p. 20; "il patto della Schiavitu" vol. 10, p.149.

(57) See Mussolini, "Crepuscolo," Oo, vol. 14, pp. 67-69; "La Fine di una Illusione," Oo, vol 15, pp. 97-99.

(58) "According to orthodox socialists, the nation that displayed the requisite conditions for revolution was Germany; the least objectively prepared for revolution was Russia," "Divagazione," Oo, vol. 11, p. 341. See the discussion in A. James Gregor, Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship (Princeton: Princeton Legacy Library, 1979), pp. 121-126.

(59) See the entire discussion in Mussolini, "Divagazione," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 341-344.

(60) See Mussolini, "Atto di nascita del Fascismo," Oo, vol. 12, pp. 322-327.

(61) See Mussolini, "Dopo-Guerra," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 469-472.

(62) The outline was already contained in the "Atto di nascita del Fascismo," of San Sepolcro, Oo, vol. 12, pp. 321-327, and was repeated in "Il Discorso fi Napoli," Oo, vol 18, p. 457.

(63) "We have made the program of national syndicalism our own (...) We have made the maximization of production the cornerstone of our politics." Mussolini, "Atto di nascita del Fascismo," Oo, vol. 12, p. 327. See the discussion in Mussolini, "Produrre per Vincere," Oo, vol. 10, pp. 98-101; "Patria e Terra," Oo, vol. 10, 55-57; "Sindacalismo franchese," Oo, vol. 14, pp. 245-247. The emphasis on increments of production and industrial development is repeated throughout Mussolini's enjoinments and regularly appears in his speeches and writings.

(64) Much of the following material is a summary of that to be found in Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il rivoluzionario

(65) See Mussolini's judgment in "Le Manovre des 'Boches'," Oo, vol. 12, p. 29; "Non Passano Piu," Oo, vol. 10, p. 83; and "Divagazioni," Oo, vol. 10, p. 360.

(66) See the discussion in Mussolini, "Liebknecht e stato Fucilato," Oo, vol. 12, pp. 151-152.

(67) See Mussolini's account of how the notion "class" functioned in "Terza, ma forse no ultima Divagazione," Oo, vol. 11, pp. 356-360.

(68) See Mussolini's account in "L'Ora del Fascismo," Oo, vol. 15, pp. 152-154; and his comments on Bolshevism, "La fine di un Illusione," Oo, vol. 15, pp. 97-99.

(69) See Mussolini's comments "Alla moda Russa?" Oo, vol. 15, pp. 178-181.

(70) See Mussolini's insistence that Fascists did not oppose socialism, but its grotesque mockery as Bolshevism, in "Discorso di Cremona," Oo, vol. 15, p. 187.
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