Posts Tagged ‘‘Fascism in Italy: Its Development and Influence’’

The Fascists Admitted It: Fascism Is the Last Ditch of Capitalism

March 26, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political is planning to write a book on the similarities between the Tories and Fascism, Beasts In Our Time. Well, Hitler took to heart what Nietzsche wrote about ‘blonde beasts’, and that could describe Boris Johnson. As well as many other fine epithets. In fact there was a real debate amongst historians and political scientists about the precise relationship between Fascism, Conservatism and capitalism. Marxists saw the development of the Nazi party in Germany and Mussolini’s Fascists in Italy as the inevitable development of capitalism before it finally fell to the forces of Socialism. This has now been rejected – see the comments about it in Joachim C. Fest’s biography of Hitler. Other historians, such as Elizabeth Wiskemann, considered that while this wasn’t true of Nazism, it did contain much truth about Fascist Italy. Especially as that what was one Musso’s thugs said about it. in her book, Fascism in Italy: its Development and Influence (Basingstoke: MacMillan Education 1970) She writes

The word Fascism has ben taken over by Marxists to abuse what they regard as their class enemies: this leads to every kind of confusion and misunderstanding blurring the distinctions between Fascism and National Socialism. Of course both things were anti-Marxist, though much more fundamentally anti-liberal.

There is certainly considerable justification for the Marxist interpretation of the word Fascism. It has been seen that Cini himself called Italian Fascism the last ditch of capitalism, which, it has been shown, made good use of Mussolini to extend its wealth and power in Italy. Cini was an Italian count, and a member of Musso’s Council of Ministers. Ciano, Mussol’s son-in-law and another Fascist aristo, wrote it down in his diary on 4th December 1939.

So there you have it, more or less from the horse’s mouth. There are features of Fascism, that modern Conservatism doesn’t have. It doesn’t seem to have or even want mass worker participation, economic expansion or national self-sufficiency. But it is still extremely hostile to organised labour and the trade unions, and has become increasingly authoritarian to the point where it is taking on certain aspects of Fascism. And if BoJo does get in, or Osborne, all I expect we will hear from the prostrate media will be cries of ‘Duce! Duce!’ and demands we cower in obeisance to him.

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The Fascist ‘Charter of Labour’ and Tory Attitudes to Work and the Banning and Control of the Unions

March 13, 2016

One of the institutions of the Italian Fascist state was the Corporations. This was partly developed from Syndicalism, the form of Anarchism that advocates the abolition of the state and the control of industry by trade unions. The Corporations in Fascist Italy were a type of giant trade union, based on the medieval guilds, which included both the trade unions and the employers’ organisations for a particular industry. Instead of parliament, there was a council of corporations, which was supposed to regulate the economy. Il Duce claimed that this was the cornerstone of the Fascist state, which had transcended both capitalism and Socialism, and had created social peace. In fact the Fascist corporations were a device used to break the power of the unions, and place them under the control of the state and the employers. The main ideological influence in their creation was that of the Nationalist, Alfredo Rocco, rather than radical National Syndicalists like Augusto Turati or Panunzio.

And so of the regulations contained in Musso’s Charter of Labour read very much like standard Tory screeds against welfare scroungers, nationalisation and the trade unions. The Fascists did indeed grant some concessions to the workers, like free Sundays, an annual paid holiday, extra pay for night work, and insurance paid both by workers and the employers.

It begins with the statement ‘Work in all its forms is a social duty’. Articles VII and IX also state ‘The Corporative State considers private enterprise in the domain of production to be the most efficient method and the most advantageous to the interests of the nation … The state intervenes in economic production only when private enterprise fails or is insufficient or when the political interests of the state are involved’. See Elizabeth Wiskemann, Fascism in Italy: Its Development and Influence (Basingstoke: MacMillan Education 1970) 23. As well as making work ‘a social duty’, the Charter also criminalised its withdrawal. Strikes and lockouts were banned under the Fascist state, and there were Labour Courts which were supposed to settled industrial disputes.

The Tories certainly have the first attitude, that work is a duty, and are doing their level best to criminalise strikes without making them illegal. Hence Cameron’s passing a law that makes a strike illegal, even if the majority of union members have voted for it, if less than half of the members of the trade union have turned up and voted. If this same principle is adopted for politics, then this government should similarly be in jail, as only about 30 per cent or so of the population actually bothered to turn out and vote. They have also voted to use agency workers to act as blacklegs in strikes, just as Mussolini supplied blacklegs in Italian strikes, and his British imitators, the British Fascisti did over here. Cameron also wanted strikers on picket lines to give their names to the police and wear armbands identifying who they were, but this was a step too far even for David Davies, who called it a ‘Francoist’ idea.

Thatcherism has been described as ‘Corporativism without the working class’, and there is more than element of truth in that. The Tory party has been drawn overwhelmingly from the upper and middle classes, including the heads of businesses, and makes no secret of being the party of business. This is when it suits them, of course. At other times, they’re claiming to be the party of the poor. Which is why Cameron, aIDS and Osbo are all pukka Eton-educated Toffs. The legislation they pass is designed to protect the businesses they run, including smashing the unions and keeping wages low to provide a constant supply of cheap, dispensable labour.

Interesting, the Charter of Labour also states that industry was only to use labour from the Fascist controlled Labour Exchanges. I’ve reblogged a piece today from Private Eye, about how the Tories stopped the JobCentres from finding jobs for people, because they were better at it than the private firms that have been set up, and whose directors no doubt donate generously to the Tory party. It also casts a different light on a jobs fair held in aIDS’ Chingford constituency the other year. This was held in the local Conservative Club, which tells you how close Chingford business is to the Tories, and ominously suggests the Tory determination to maintain outright political control of the Labour market.

The Tories got very angry indeed when one leading trade unionist compared their anti-union legislation with the Nazis, but as this shows, there are very strong comparisons with Fascist Italy as well.