On the Ruins of the Liberal Democratic State

Updated: Jan 30

Pp. 15-30 What Is Fascism and Why? Edited by Tomaso Sillani. (Translated by C. Grove Heines, Helen Rossetti Angeli .) Ernest Benn: London; Spoleto printed, 1931.

The imposing achievements of the Fascist Revolution, which has established a new legal and moral order in every field of Italian life, have as their central and fundamental point the transformation of the State. This transformation has taken place gradually, but continuously, since the day of the march on Rome. But two phases, divided by an historic date, can be distinguished.

From the day on which Fascism took over the Government, a series of vast and radical reforms began. Especially memorable among the changes effected in the first period was the great educational reform which laid the foundations of a system of schools for the education not only of the intellect, but also of the character, schools which by their national spirit should form the modern Italian. The financial reforms were very important also, for they contributed to the financial readjustment of the State and made possible the balancing of the budget an indispensable condition for the reconstruction of Italian finance and economy. Besides, there was also a reform in the organization of the bureaucracy, which brought back order and discipline into a sphere long a prey to the confusion and mismanagement of the demagogy. In the administration of justice vast and substantial reforms were made, principal among which were the revision of judicial districts, and the unification of the Court of Cassation; these changes had long been desired but had never been made, because of the invincible opposition of regional interests which the old parliamentary regime had never been able to overcome.

These reforms, the great importance of which must be emphasized, have already been tested by the experience of recent years, which has revealed their soundness, though, of course, some modification in detail has since become necessary to correct particular errors, inevitable in such a colossal work. The Government at once availed itself of long studies and legislative work that had already been going on for decades, and put them into practice, thus demonstrating the active strength of Fascism, which accomplished more in a few months than the preceding Governments had been able to carry out in the course of long years. The reforms had some rather important political aspects, but on the whole they were of a technical character. There was no real political reform of legislation in this first period, which was of necessity one of transition and of sound preparation for the work which was to follow.

In reality a vast legislative reform in the constitutional and political field, in order to be solid and effective, had to be preceded by a profound transformation of the public spirit. The enormous driving force of Fascism acted rapidly on the mind of the Italians, and in a brief time renovated the public life of the nation. Then came the moment for Fascism to govern alone. The Head of the Government, with the infallible intuition which assists him in times of crisis , had the clearest understanding of this, and his memorable discourse of January 3, 1925, opened the second phase of the Revolution. Every trace of collaboration with other parties was eliminated. The remains of the old political system disappeared, and Fascism alone dominated the State. Public spirit had been matured by the complete abandonment of antiquated judicial and political forms which had already proved themselves behind the times. Then began the constitutional reform, which was to give a new structure to the Italian State.

On the ruins of the liberal democratic State arose the Fascist State, whose edifice, strong and well built, was rapidly completed.

In its spirit as in its exterior form, the Fascist State is the exact opposite of the liberal-democratic State, which had brought the Italian nation to the verge of ruin. It is solidly rooted in the theories of Fascism which the Revolution has thoroughly realized with inflexible consistency. The creation of a State of truly sovereign authority, which dominates all the forces in the country, and which at the same time is in constant contact with the masses, guiding their sentiments, educating them and looking after their interests: this is the political conception of Fascism.

This conception is the very antithesis of democratic and liberal ideas, which are all derived from the doctrines of an exotic philosophy, individualistic doctrines, which regarded the individual as the ultimate end of society, and society simply as the aggregate of the individuals of a given generation, without any aims of its own but those of the individuals which compose it. Thus the State could have no other essential function save that of coordinating the will of its members so a$ to prevent the liberty of one from encroaching upon that of another. This lack of an entity, an ideal, a will of its own, was therefore the characteristic of the liberal and negative State, which was thus incapable of controlling the real forces existing in the nation; these forces therefore organized themselves, lived and prospered outside the State, and ended by mastering it.

The State, in fact, having no character of its own, had to await the impression of exterior forces, all of which had the right to stamp it with their own spirit and their own will. The result was paralysis of the State, and the familiar inconsistency in which its daily activity operated because, by virtue of the fact that it lacked its own ideal and program and was therefore compelled to borrow those of its components, the State was always faced with the contradiction of opposing doctrines which rendered it incoherent.

The triumph of this liberal-democratic conception was to have much more serious consequences in Italy than in other countries. The existence of the liberal-democratic State, which is in itself a fragile structure, is bound up with conditions which are lacking in our country.

Outside Italy, and especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, the liberal democratic State has been able to flourish and to achieve great results, because in the social and political conditions of those peoples it found correctives which we do not have. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, and also in France, there is a great national tradition, and the idea of the State has been fortified by centuries of struggle maintained by the State to affirm its own supremacy. Besides, in England the individualistic and disintegrative spirit of Germanism is counteracted by a rigorous moral education, so that the individual, while theoretically maintaining perfect liberty in the face of the State, knows of himself how to keep it within limits. All these conditions are lacking in Italy. The old Roman tradition, splendidly renovated by the Catholic Church, was certainly inspired originally by discipline, by the subordination of single individuals to the State; but it was a tradition now distant, profoundly modified by the disintegrating influences of Germanism, medieval anarchy, and foreign rule; this latter, above all, made the State appear for centuries as the instrument of foreign oppression, and in the mass of the Italians gave rise to a profound spirit of distrust and of revolt against public authority. This spirit ought to have been transformed by a steady political education and discipline on the part of the State. But the liberal-democratic State was incapable, spiritually and materially, of carrying out this task which should have been its first and most urgent duty.

Thus it happened that even after unity and independence were established, the Italian masses preserved towards the national State the same distrustful and hostile attitude which they had for centuries maintained towards the foreign State. In these circumstances, the liberal State in Italy could maintain its position only with difficulty, and its weakness increased in proportion as the development of national life led to the organization of new forces in the country. The innate qualities of the race and the military organization of the nation in arms saved the State during the War, but the great disturbance which followed the war found the State still weaker, and more than ever negative and lacking in energy. Undermined in every direction, the liberal State could not, and did not, hold out any longer, with the result that after the War camejijgeriod of total anarchy, in which the State became the shadow of itself and had to look on passively at the outbreak of the civil strife which it was powerless to restrain or to overcome.

The painful period of anarchy was arrested by the coming of Fascism, which, by restoring order and discipline to the country, was obliged to bring about the transformation of the State in accordance with its own fundamental doctrine, which is eminently social and therefore clearly anti-individualistic. Fascism has indeed an organic and historical theory of society, opposed to the traditional conception-atomistic and materialistic as it is - of liberalism. Society must be considered as an imperishable organism where life extends beyond that of the individuals who are its transitory elements. These are born, grow up, die, and are substituted by others, while the social unit always retains its identity and its patrimony of ideas and sentiments, which each generation receives from the past and transmits to the future. According to the Fascist conception, therefore, the individual cannot be considered as the ultimate end of society. Society has its own purposes of preservation, expansion and perfection, and these are distinct from the purposes of the individuals who at any one moment compose it. In the carrying out of its own pro per ends, society must make use of individuals. This entirely reverses the expressive formula of Emmanuel Kant, " the individual is the end and cannot be considered as the means to the end. " The State, however, which is the legal organization of society, is for Fascism an organism distinct from the citizens who at any given time form part of it; it has its own life and its own superior ends, to which the ends of the individual must be subordinated.

The Fascist State is, therefore, the State which develops the legal organization of society to the fullest degree of its power and cohesion. It is not negative, like the liberal State, but in every field of collective life it has its own mission to fulfil, and a will of its own.

The Fascist State has its morality, its religion, its political mission in the world, its judicial function and, finally, its economic duty. Therefore the Fascist State must defend morality and instil it in the people; it cannot ignore the religious problem, but must profess and protect the religion which it considers true, that is to say the Catholic religion; it must fulfil in the world the civilizing mission entrusted to peoples of great culture and great traditions, and thus it must interest itself in political, economic and intellectual expansion beyond its own boundaries; it must mete out justice among the different classes and prevent the unrestrained self-defence of one class against another; finally, it must labour to increase production and wealth, using the powerful stimulus of individual interest, and also interfering, when necessary, with its own powers of initiative.

And since the State must realize its own ends, which are superior to those of the individual, it must also have superior and more powerful resources. The force of the State must exceed every other force; that is to say, the State must be absolutely sovereign and must dominate all the existing forces in the country, coordinate them, solidify them, and direct them towards the higher ends of national life. This conception of the State has been completely realized in every act of Fascist legislation. But the fundamental laws which have directly brought about the transformation of the State may be reduced to a small number. The real Constitutional reform began with the law of December, 24, 1925, no. 2263, on the attributes and prerogatives of the Head of the Government, who is both Prime Minister and Secretary of State; this was followed by the law of January 31, 1926, no. 100, concerning the right of the executive power to issue judicial regulations, and by the law of April 3, 1926, no. 563, on the judicial regulations which govern the relationship of the various workers' corporations, a law which was completed by the Regulations for its application, issued by the Royal Decree of July I, 1926, no. 1130, and by another document, which, though not strictly legislative, is of great political importance, namely the Charter of Labour of April 21, 1927; the reform closes with the law of September 2, 1928, no. 1993, on parliamentary representation, and with the law of December 9, 1928, no. 2693, on the organization of the Grand Council.

The first two laws have reinforced and rendered preeminent the executive power, which is at once the most genuine expression of the State, and the essential and supreme organ of its action.

The decadence of the State, especially in Italy, became apparent in the exaggerated growth of the powers of the elective Chamber, to the detriment of the executive power.

The unrestrained parliamentary regime of the last ten years of our political history was absolutely unknown to the original Constitution (Lo Statuto) of the Kingdom, which established a simple Constitutional regime, in which the principal functions of sovereignty pertained to the executive power and to the King, its Supreme Head, while to the Parliament was reserved the secondary function of collaboration and of cabinet control.

But Constitutional practice through long years had modified the Constitution, always granting more power to Parliament and thus to the elective Chamber. As long as there was a majority, relatively homogeneous, in the elective Chamber, this system might work well or badly. But when by the imprudent introduction of proportional representation into the electoral system, no party had any longer a majority, the crisis became irremediable. The Chamber having become a collection of minorities, the Cabinet also had to become a coalition of minorities, in which every party was represented. The conception of Government as an organ ic and solid unit under one Head was entirely lost, since each Minister took the road which his ideas and the orders of his party suggested to him. This was to lead inevitably to the complete paralysis of governmental functions.

The unity of the Government has been reconstituted on a different basis by Fascism, and rendered much more effective and complete.

According to ancient Constitutional practice, Cabinet Government was generally understood to imply not true unity of action and of policy, but rather a total solidarity among the Ministers, so that each one was responsible for all the acts of the others. In this way the unity of the Cabinet was a cause of weakness rather than of strength, because it served to multiply the vulnerable points, and thus make the Ministries more turbulent and ephemeral. Under the Fascist Government, the Cabinet at once acquired a true unity of policy and of action, rigorously maintained by the Head of the Government. The old idea of solidarity is abandoned because it assumes diversity in action, and therefore has no longer any reason to exist when there is only one policy, that is to say, when action is unified. Technical matters alone remain outside the unity, for in this sphere individual work may be carried on by the various Ministers.

The constitutional function of the Prime Minister, who is the true Head of the Government, thus assumes special importance. No trace is left of those water-tight compartments characteristic of the parliamentary regime, in which each Minister, as the representative of one special force, one group with particular economic and political interests, tried to further his own policy. At the head of the Government, to direct the general policy of the State, there must be a single person, not the Council of Ministers, which--of course remains a consulting organ of the highest importance, but which from its collegiate nature cannot be the effective director of the political life of the country.

The law of which we are speaking frees the Government from dependence on Parliament. Parliamentary Government arose when suffrage was restricted and the forces of the State were practically in the hands of some minorities of the intellectual bourgeoisie. These minorities, which held the vote and governed, constituted the only efficient force in the country, because social life was very simple, the conflicting interests between class and class were few, and the masses, not being politically minded, held aloof. Things changed when the masses entered into political life for the guardianship of their economic interests. The lower Chamber, elected by universal suffrage, became simply a numerical representation of the electors, and could no longer be the exact expression of the political forces existing in the country, nor could it be an accurate reflection of the true state of the nation. There are, in fact, other living and active forces not represented, or represented inadequately in Parliament, because their qualitative value does not correspond to the number of the votes at their command. The estimate and the interpretation of all real forces in the country is a very complex task, and is so far from being indicated by an enumeration of votes, that it can only be made by one who is above all the conflicting forces, and is, therefore, more than anyone else in a position to give each its true value. Italy has the great good fortune to be guided by a Sovereign, who belongs to a glorious dynasty which has had a thousand years of political experience. It is, then, only the Sovereign who can be the judge and arbiter of the situation at critical moments in the national life.

The Government being freed from its dependence on Parliament, a return has been made to the principle of the Constitution that government emanates from the Royal power and not from Parliament, and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the King, the faithful interpreter of the needs of the nation. In a period when the life of a great people has become highly complex, it is no longer possible to give to the elected representatives the chief power in the government of the country. Political representation is the representation of the interests of individuals and of groups. If the organ of such interests acquires preeminence in the exercise of sovereign power and dominates the executive power, the traditional and permanent interests of society are lost sight of in the interests of individuals, groups, and classes; thus the sovereignty of the State is reduced to a shadow.

The law concerning the right of the executive power to issue judicial regulations determines the limits between the legislative activities of Parliament and those of the executive power. The tendency to restrict the action of the executive power was a characteristic of the years before the advent of Fascism. It may have been because of the encroachments of Parliament, it may have been for other reasons, but the fact remains that the true field of legislation was extended beyond every reasonable limit, while at the same time there was a reduction of the regulating power belonging to the Government. A strange result was thus reached: while the rapid economic and social transformations of modern times necessitated a continuous evolution in the activity of the Government, and required its action to be more watchful and effective, the liberty of the executive power became more and more restricted. It was thus necessary to restore the exercise of the regulating power to its original sphere, to allow the Government the exercise of its activity in its own ample field. At the same time, the law filled up a gap in the Constitution which was made for a small State at a time when economic and social evolution was slow, and now gives the Government the right, in some cases, to exercise legislative power, even in the field normally reserved to Parliament.

Thus the Government was recognized as an organ of the State, not only preeminent, but also permanent, and has the power to secure the continuity of the State's existence at the most critical moments in the national life.

The preeminence of the executive power, clearly affirmed by the two laws mentioned, has since been completed by a series of minor reforms, as, for example, those on the functions of the Prefects and on the duties of the Podestas, and so the authority of the executive power, by means of its own agents is forcefully radiated from the centre to the circumference, thus dominating, as it should, the life of the Provinces and of the Communes, where in the past only local ambitions held sway.

The reorganization of the executive power in its form, faculties, and relations with the legislative power, was followed by the reorganization of Parliament.

While combating parliamentary and electoral degeneracy, and insisting on a strong State, Fascism has never failed to recognize the usefulness of parliamentary collaboration. We hold that Parliament can no longer be the only means by which the Government places itself in contact with the masses, becomes acquainted with their sentiments, and influences their minds. We reject, therefore, the conception of a parliamentary Government, and the omnipotence of Parliament. However there is no doubt that among the vaxions Constitutional organs of the State there should be a place for an assembly composed of men who, by virtue of their origin and the manner of their selection are both interpreters of the ideas dominating the various social groups, and agents conscious of the great interest of the nation.

It is clear, however, that in the political system created by Fascism the electoral system of the democratic-liberal regime could not be maintained.

The Fascist doctrine denies the dogma of popular sovereignty which, on one hand made the Chamber the only seat of sovereign power, and therefore the chief organ of the State, and on the other surrendered the election of the deputies to the caprice of the masses.

The masses cannot themselves have a spontaneous will, still less can they Spontaneously proceed to the choice of deputies.

By a fundamental law of social life, which Maine calls the law of 46 imitation, the mass of men tend to follow the will of some dominating element, some so-called "guiding spirits." The problem of the Government will never be solved by trusting in this illusive will of the masses, but must be solved by a careful selection of the "guiding spirits." If a good system of selection is not organized, circumstances often place the least worthy in authority over the masses. When the choice of the candidates and of the representatives is placed completely in the hands of the electoral body, it means that the choice is in reality abandoned to the management of a few intriguers, self-delegated to be the guides and spiritual teachers of the masses.

Neither did matters improve when the nomination of candidates was entrusted to the old parties. That duty was actually assumed by the parties most lacking in scruple, least solicitous of the national interest, most hostile to the State. The dogma of popular sovereignty in electoral matters ended thus by resolving itself into the dogma of the sovereignty of small minorities composed of intriguers and demagogues.

The old electoral systems, moreover, failed to recognize the facts of social life, in which individuals, taken separately, are of negligible value. Society is not a mere aggregate of individuals; it is the complex of groups interwoven and coexisting organically. These minor organisms characterize the national life, in which the individual is formed, and in which he finds the basis for his spiritual life.

According to the Fascist doctrine which maintains the sovereignty of the State, in contrast with the doctrine of popular sovereignty, Parliament and consequently, the deputies who compose it, are among the fundamental agents of the State. Their selection must be regulated in the best way, so that the ends of the institution may be reached. And Since the Chamber of Deputies has for its first task that of collaborating with the Government in framing the laws, by interpreting the needs and the sentiments of the various social groups, and harmonizing them with the historical and imminent needs of the nation, it is clear that a good electoral system must depend, above all, on the support of the organized forces of the country, and must then guarantee that the men selected for the Chamber have full knowledge of the national interests, - that is to say, they must be political men in the highest sense of the word.

The problem of the political representation of the nation had to be solved on these bases; and the solution of this problem was, in a manner quite original and true to the Fascist conception of the State, closely related to the new organization given to Italian society by the law concerning the judicial regulation of labor problems.

This law, completed by the regulations for its application and followed by the Charter of Labour, has enormous social and political importance, and is perhaps among those which have contributed most to give its outward aspect to the Fascist State, and a concrete social significance to its policy.

The high social aim of the syndicalist reform does not need to be illustrated. It has solved, completely and simply, the gravest problem of our times -a problem which has troubled humanity for more than a century. Not only the question of how classes might live peacefully together and by what legal means the inevitable conflicts between them might be settled, but also the problem of the better organization of production and the better distribution of wealth, have been solved by this reform. Unlike the old organizations which arose outside the State and lived outside it, our new syndicates form part of the State, and are for the State elements of force and of prestige. But, besides all this, the syndical and cooperative organization of the nation has given a new order to Italian society, which is no longer based on the individualistic atomism of the French Revolution philosophy, but on a truly organic conception of society, which cannot ignore the qualitative differences existing among its component parts. Italian society is, in fact, reorganized on a professional basis, that is to say, on the basis of the productive function exercised by each individual.

This organization of society has made it possible to attain the- political representation of the nation by a new method. Electoral provinces were abolished, a single national electoral college was constituted, the number of the deputies was reduced, and the proposal of candidates was confided to the syndicalist organizations legally recognized, and also to other permanent organizations for the promotion of culture, education and public welfare. An accurate selection of the proposed candidates finally made by the Grand Council, the supreme organ which synthesizes all the institutions of the Regime, assures the choice of those most fit to exercise in Parliament their function of legislative collaboration and guardianship of the general interests of the nation. The unanimous votes of the people at the elections tinder the new system, shows how this is in harmony with the renewed conscience of the Italian people. The elective Chamber of the Fascist Regime is no longer the liberal-democratic Chamber which was the expression of the unformed will of the amorphous and indifferent masses; it is a Chamber created by organized votes, - and is close to the spirit of the people, - an active and conscious instrument of the national fortunes.

The Constitutional reform has thus completely transformed the traditional and fundamental organs of the State. But other essential organs, each having a characteristic aspect of its own, have been inserted in our constitution. These new organisms do not find any parallels in the old State organization, because their delicate function was unknown to the liberal-democratic State, and is in absolute contrast with the very conception of the liberal State.

The Fascist State has vast tasks, in fact, which the liberal doctrine held to be foreign to the State. The Fascist doctrine rejects the conception of the negative State, which has no substance and no ends of its own, and is alien to the life of the individuals. Unlike the liberal- democratic State, the Fascist State can never consent that social forces should be left to themselves. Fascism has understood that the masses, which have remained for so long alien and hostile to the State, must be brought near, and incorporated in the State, which performs its own function and its own mission in every field of social life, directing, encouraging and harmonizing all the forces of the nation. This coordination raises the national energies to their highest potentiality, directing them effectively to secure their own ends, in the interests of national prosperity.

Thus the Fascist State is certainly an authoritative State, but it is also a popular State, such as no other has ever been. It is not a democratic State, in the old sense of the word, because it does not give the sovereignty to the people, but it is a State eminently democratic in the sense that it is in close touch with the people, is in constant contact with them, penetrating the masses in a thousand ways, guiding them spiritually, realizing their needs, living their life, and coordinating their activities.

One of the most original features of Fascism is the number of institutions which bring the State into contact with the spirit of the people. I have already mentioned the syndicalist reform. Unlike the old organizations which arose and existed outside the State, our syndicates form part of the State. The syndicalist phenomenon is an undeniable feature of modern life. The State cannot ignore it, but must regulate it in a spirit of absolute impartiality. The organized masses have thus entered the State no longer tumultuous and discontented, but happy and calm. The old struggle of classes - the curse of the nation - has been substituted by harmonious collaboration among the various parts of the engine of production. The corporative syndicalist reform has thus solved the problem of how to organize the productive forces, and of how to unify and coordinate the economic forces; this coordination has for its supreme organ the National Council of Corporations which synthesizes all the productive activities of the nation.

But it is not only in the economic field that this State action operates. According to Fascism's all embracing ideal, the State must preside over and direct national activity in every field. No organization, whether political, moral, or economic, can remain outside the State. Fascism, therefore, is near the people; it has educated them politically and morally, and has organized them, not only from the professional and economic point of view, but also from the military, cultural, educational and recreative point of view.

There has thus been created a series of institutions by which the life of Fascism is more and more identified with the life of the people. The fundamental institution of the Regime is the party, an organization eminently political, which directs and stimulates every other activity. The party lives the life of the people, interprets their sentiments, supports them in difficulties, forms their civil conscience. It continually intervenes to lend its disinterested aid: when some national problem presents itself, the Fascist party is at its post, ready to guide and enlighten the Italian people.

The military organization of the people is the militia, the purest expression of the revolution, which constitutes, after the party, the most active channel of communication between the people and the State.

From the operation of the Fascist organization have sprung the young people's organization, " the Balilla, " the recreational organisation, the " after-work " association, the organizations for sport, the women's organizations. No aspect of the national life escapes this wise discipline; so it may be said that all the Italians participate actively in the national life. More than ten millions of Italians are regularly inscribed in these different institutions; all are animated by one faith in the great ness of the nation, and cooperate in securing the prosperity of the renewed Italy.

The numerous institutions created by the Fascist movement are not outside the State, which, in conformity with its unifying function, has gradually brought them into line. The Fascist Regime is thus identified with the State.

But this new and wider order of the State made necessary a supreme organ in which all the organized forces and all the institutions of the Regime should be brought into contact, thus creating a synthesis which should provide both discipline and coordination of effort.

This organ of coordination and of integration existed already in practice. It was one of the great institutions which arose, as a result of the Revolution of 1922, in the heart of the Fascist Party. All these institutions, created to uphold the State, have been little by little incorporated in the State. Then it was necessary that also the supreme organ which formed a bond between the State and the masses should enter it and become part of the State. The Grand Council of Fascism has thus become, by the law of December 9, 1928, no 2693, one of the fundamental organs of the State, the supreme regulator of all the activities of the Regime. Presided over by the Head of the Government, composed of the representatives of the principal organizations of the Regime, the Grand Council interprets the spirit of the masses towards the Government and receives from the Government direction for carrying out the work of material and moral advancement.

The Grand Council has thus assumed an eminent position among the constitutional organs of the State, but one which is quite distinct from that of the Government and of the Parliament. It is an organ eminently political; it collaborates with the Government, and has the delicate function of an adviser in constitutional and political questions, but it does not encroach upon the sphere of the Government nor on that of Parliament. To this latter belong in full the functions of legislation and inspection as established by the Constitution. The Government, to which the Grand Council lends its collaboration, is always the driving force of political action, which through the Grand Council is radiated to the Nation.

The character of the Grand Council was more clearly defined by the law of December 14, 1929, no. 2099. This law, by reducing the members to the most important representatives of the military and economic groups of the Regime, made the Grand Council a fitter organ for its high political functions. Thus was clearly established the coordination between the duties of the Grand Council itself and those of other important organizations, like and the National Council of Corporations, the Supreme Commission of Defence, the Superior Council of National Education. Each of these latter exercises its own coordinating function, in a given sphere, limited to economic, military or cultural matters, as the case may be.

As the Grand Council of Fascism became an organ of the State, the national Fascist Party, which gave rise to all the institutions afterwards absorbed by the State, also became a part 'of the State. This occurred gradually, and the law of December 14, 1929, marked the last stage of the process.

The Constitution of the party is approved by Royal Decree. The secretary of the party is also nominated by Royal Decree, on the proposal of the Head of the Government, and has by right a place in the Grand Council (of which he is secretary), in the Supreme Commission of Defence, in the Superior Council of National Education, in the National Council of Corporations, and in the Central Corporative Committee. He may, besides this, be called upon to take part in the sittings of the Cabinet. The members of the National Directorate and the federal secretaries of the party are, lastly, nominated by a decree of the Head of the Government.

Thus the inclusion of the party in the State becomes complete. And this is strictly in conformity with the coordinating doctrine of Fascism, in contrast with old liberal-democratic ideas. The parties of the old Regime were private organizations, outside the State, struggling amongst themselves for the mastery of the State. And this was inevitable as long as the State, being purely negative, was obliged to receive its content from the various parties which succeeded one another in the Government. But the Fascist State is well defined in character and content; it has its personality, its political ideal to realize, and cannot accept ideals from organizations outside the State, such as the parties in the old regime. In the Fascist State there is then no place for political parties of the old stamp.

The Fascist Party, in truth, is not a party in the liberal-democratic sense of the word. It arose as a private organization which has created the present State. But after constituting the new State, the party, while still keeping its glorious name, has gradually transformed itself from a private organization into a great political institution. By virtue of its work of propaganda, of educating the Italian people politically and socially, the Fascist party constitutes a kind of civil militia, the essential instrument of the Regime, and thus it had to find a place within the State, while retaining the necessary liberty of action for the performance of its functions.

Thus appears in its fullness the synthesizing character of the Fascist State, which is an integral organization of all the forces existing in the country, and fully realizes the formula of Mussolini: " Nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.

"The Fascist State, that granite block in which are fused all the energies and resources of our people, is therefore a State of authority and of strength, while yet it is in close connection with the masses, and so it is a true regime of the people.

The necessity for political organization and that of the harmonious development of the human personality, once regarded as being fatally in contrast with each other, are reconciled by the new State; though in the State the individual may have a subordinate social position, this very subordination secures development and prosperity for the individual in a way only possible under the guardianship of a vigorous and well organized State. Two phenomena, which the liberal doctrine erroneously considered separate and antagonistic, are reconciled. The well-being of the individual is a condition of the development and prosperity of society as a whole, but at the same time it depends on the solid organization of the State.

The admirable achievements of the Fascist State attest its authority and its strength.

The Fascist State has restored peace and order to the Italian people, has revived their confidence and has raised their prestige in the eyes of the world. Economic life goes on steadily, without that waste of resources which morbid unrest and strife between social classes brings about. Work in fields and factories is not disturbed by the old conflicts between capital and labour, which cooperate harmoniously for the improvement and increase of production.

The last trace of political disorder having been suppressed, public administration re-established, the financial situation stabilized, the problem of the currency solved, and the inevitable economic crisis dealt with, the Fascist State is proceeding resolutely on its way, backed by the eager consent of the Italian people, in the useful works of peace. The impetus given to the cultivation of wheat, which is liberating the country from its heavy tribute to foreign lands, the colossal public works which have now given beauty and value to many parts of the country, the re claiming of land which offers new fields to the efforts of our agriculturists, are so many new stages in the advancement of our country.

No problem is neglected. Always and everywhere the Fascist State steps in with effective action, whether it be to protect infant life, to defend the family, to increase population, or to extend its jealous care to maintaining the moral and physical integrity of our race.

The State has restored religious peace, and eliminated the discord which had tormented the conscience of the Italians ever since the days of the " Risorgimento " by the solution of the Roman Question and the Concordat with the Holy See. This Concordat has established new relations between Church and State and it has been followed by a general reform of ecclesiastical legislation.

In the Fascist State cultural problems are of the first importance. Besides the schools, now completely remodelled, there have arisen institutions and associations of high culture, such as the Academy of Italy, the National Committee of Research, the National Committee of Historical Science, the Fascist Institute of Culture, and the Italian Universities.

In its international relations the Fascist State, while avoiding merely verbal internationalism, is always to the fore whenever there is practical work to be done to promote the collaboration of peoples. The International Institute for the unification of the laws of private property, the one for the Educational Cinema, and the Italian Commission of Intellectual Cooperation are clear examples of the effective participation of our country in international affairs.

The reform of the State and the renewal of national life having been achieved, Fascism proceeded to the reform of the law. New criminal codes and new codes of criminal procedure have already been published, and will be put into operation on the 1st of July. They are an imposing manifestation of the strength of Italian legal genius. With these new codes has been created a system of criminal law which synthesizes the various scientific tendencies, making of them a transcendent organic whole, and satisfying the real needs and actual exigencies of society and the State.

The other codes, which are in preparation, will also represent an obvious technical advance over the old ones, and will have a decisive political importance, because they will provide a complex of laws fully in accordance with the new political and social order. For the individualistic principle of the French Revolution, which still inspires the law, will be substituted the social principle which is the basis of the Fascist theory. With the general reform of the law, Italy will rise again to that position of preeminence in the legal field which she has repeatedly held in the past.

The Fascist State absorbs and applies the legal sentiment so profoundly rooted for centuries in the Italian people. The general reform of the State did not alter the characteristic institutions of administrative justice, which the genius of Francesco Crispi created in Italy. They have instead received new authority and vigour in the Fascist State, which is, as it aims at being, strong but within the law, that is to say, a legal State. The idea of the strong and sovereign State is not inconsistent with the ideal of justice, nor with the essentially popular character of the State. Both, on the contrary, complete and strengthen the power and the sovereignty of the Fascist State. Here we have further proof of the solidity and harmonious structure of this powerful organism which the Fascist Revolution in its forward march, under the guidance of Benito Mussolini, has constructed for the future destinies of Italy.

24 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All