Syndicalism versus Corporationism

Pp. 339-340 Schneider, Herbert W. Making the Fascist State. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1928.

The posthumous syndical survivals, and above all the conviction that syndicates have rights over and above the state, are now evident in current terminology. Too many continue to talk of syndical law, the syndical order, syndical functions, and they persist in using this adjective in a critical, polemic and anti-state sense, which the Labor Charter has sought to exclude, by declaring definitely that the bases of the corporate order consist in the inseparable unity of production and labor, and in the organizing and disciplining function of legally recognized professional associations. Thus, excessively independent attitudes are not wanting among certain syndical directors towards the state and towards the authorities which represent it; and there is a neglect of cooperation even in details and an exaggerated regard for the vindication of particular interests. Those who govern the associations of employers and workers in the provinces do not always observe with the proper solicitude and intelligence the politics which the Head of the Government and Minister of Corporations has established by means of the corresponding ministry and by the confederate and federate bodies and which tend to constitute the solid skeleton of the regime and ought to transmit that marvellous governing will that is the supreme virtue of the regime itself to all spheres of the nation. Moreover, some of them even present themselves as the nearest heirs of the old parliamentary privileges and pretend to exercise in the life of the state, on the periphery as well as at the center, the traditional influences of 'Member of Parliament,' without taking into account that whatever be the solution that will be given to the problem of the legislative bodies of the fascist state, the position of syndical representative can never approach, not even formally, that fiction of representative sovereignty which veiled the exorbitant political and administrative claims of the parliamentary system. The breaking up of certain productive forces, which took place in connection with the present efforts at price systematization, is the most evident proof of this state of things.

That the corporate fascist system is a system of duties and not of rights, that the syndical representative is an instrument of the state and not of separate parties, that class interests have no emphasis nor claim because they are outside the corporate unity, these are three given facts that it still behooves us to engrave deeply into the minds of many syndicate organizers in the corporate state. And it may be opportune and preferable that the energies of the fascist party in which the predominance of spiritual motives is most active, be dedicated to this work.

Corporate representation, destined to so important a place in the life of the nation, can not and must not in any way revive the reproduction, under a new terminology, of political liberalism, made worse by being given a syndical content. . . .

The reform embodied in the law on the legal regulation of collective labor relations and in the Labor Charter is often treated in bureaucratic practice as a partial, limited and incidental reform in the face of which the continuance of the old democratic machinery of public administration is excused. Occasionally they even refer to the attempt to devancer the corporate reform, by putting improvised bodies and complicated systems into operation, that are destined to create situations of increasing conflict with the bodies of the corporate order and in general represent a waste of energy and of means.

Let us speak clearly: the law on the attributes and prerogatives of the Prime Minister is the premise to which the present and coming rules of the corporate order are the conclusion. To imagine today, after similar fundamental acts, that the structure of the separate administrations can remain unchanged, is equivalent to refusing the principle of the revolution; a refusal all the more reprehensible and dangerous because the executive power is by force of circumstances called to take the first place in the new state.

It is not merely a matter of 'substituting men.' It is a matter of 'renovating systems.' Or better: it is a matter of doing both these things at once, which is more difficult and more decisive.

To sum up, political syndicalism and bureaucratic democracy, the two causes of state dissolution in the pre-fascist period, still persist here and there, among the increasingly few remains. Against these it is truly necessary that the revolution concentrate its forces.

Disfattismo Sindacale, in Critica Fascista, June 15th, 1927, p. 229

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