The Doctrinal Development of Corporatism

Pitigliani, F. (1934). Pp. 91-96. In The Italian corporative state. New York: Macmillan.

The Fascist State encourages and gives its support to the establishment of occupational associations for every category and seeks to set up a proper balance between the producing classes by putting itself above the various groups. the State tendency is to maintain its position of superiority in regard to the various groups by reabsorbing them in itself, by exercising a moderating influence in their disputes and by protecting their interests. The State wishes to act as an umpire who, in every decision and in all circumstances, takes into account the interests of the Nation, conceived as an indivisible whole dependent on certain fixed postulates of a political order. The difference, however, between Fascist Syndicalism and Syndicalism in the ordinary acceptance of the term is not limited to a question of method-namely, the adoption or otherwise of violence as a means of resolving the contrast of class interests. Fascist Syndicalism, after the various categories have been grouped in the occupational associations by which they are represented, sets out to devise the machinery which will allow effective collaboration.

The characteristic of this new syndicalism is thus not so much its concern with the tone of the relations of the producing classes as with the possibilities of the institutions which are at their service. Its problem is not restricted to the method of organising masters, workmen, etc., but is more particularly concerned with securing collaboration as between the various categories of producers in each particular trade or branch of productive activity. In the light of this concept the two important features in Fascist syndical organisation are clearly revealed. The first of these is the enrolment of the various producing categories with due regard to their qualifications as employers, employed, etc.; the second, the combining of producers in State-recognised bodies, in which they are grouped according to the branch in which they are engaged, that is to say, as employers and employed in industry, commerce, banking, etc. Hence, while the Confederations are associations of higher grade in which the various associations of the grade which comes immediately below are united, limited always to persons occupied in a certain specific branch, the Corporations are the bodies which enable the State to make use of the producing classes and categories for the purpose of bringing about the development of national production.

In order clearly to understand the exact relation between the syndical and the corporative organisations respectively in the detailed programme of Fascism, the idea of a vertical and of a horizontal form of structure may be found helpful. the provincial Unions, the Federations and the Confederations may be said to be constructed on vertical lines, inasmuch as they incorporate individuals and the occupational associations in which they are employed being always separately grouped. On the other hand, the National Corporations, which will be discussed in detail later, proceed on horizontal lines, since they incorporate the combined factors in production, grade by grade, in accordance with its qualitative subdivisions but without any differentiation as to occupation status, i.e., as between employers and employed. The Corporative organs referred to cause the factors in production to come together on a footing of equality. Thus there arises the question how do the purposes of the syndical associations differ from those of the Corporation.

It is the purpose of the syndical associations to obtain equilibrium and peace in social relations through an organization of the various classes of producers and a control over their relations with each other. The purpose of the Corporation is the protection of the national resources and the development of the forces of the country through the contact of the different factors in production raised to the dignity of organs of State. according to the principles as a present laid down by the legislator, the Union, and generally the syndical associations, is required to function in a sphere predetermined and clearly delimited, wherein are included such duties as the arrangement of collective contracts, the organisation of the Employment Offices, the settlement of the labour disputed, the work of social assistance and benefit, vocational training, etc. The Corporation on the other hand, whether in integrating the social activities of the syndical associations in the field of the relations between the producing categories or, e.g., of measures for dealing with the problem of unemployment, or in carrying out its own special responsibility for the development and control of national production, is free to work along lines not materially restricted by definite legislative provisions.

While syndical action pursues a course precisely defined as regards aims and means, which have been specifically predetermined, corporative action launches out into vastly wider fields, which are extremely hard to reduce to a common denomination or to bring under any system capable of abstract definition, by reason of the dynamic character of national production and of the shifting character of the methods used in the exploitation of a large part of the natural resources of the country. There need be no surprise at the existence of so marked a difference in form between the principles underlying syndical and corporative organisation respectively, when account is taken of the remote historical origin of the provisions characteristic of syndicalism as contrasted with the recent character of the corporative solution. Fascism has adapted to the new requirements of its programme a number of points from the code proper to revolutionary and classical syndicalism, but the code in the Corporative State is an altogether new creation, drafted in too short a space of time to allow that in its present form it can give any impression of finality. Apart, however, from questions of chronology, this difference in form leads to considerations of far deeper significance, having code to set up. The main object of Fascist Syndicalism is the attainment of social peace, and hence it simply constructs machinery for the solution of the social problem in the best way possible, always keeping within the bounds of the law....

The principle of private initiative, which Fascism looks upon as a most effective and valuable instrument in the service of the national interest, is in no sense abrogated in the corporative movement, but combined with an idea of responsibility as regards the State in the matter of production. This attitude is based on the hypothesis, that when once the State has determined their respective roles, all categories will actively pursue the appointed goal and that private enterprise will be bound to follow the same course, if it desires to continue to enjoy that liberty of direction and initiative in the organisation of its undertakings which has been guaranteed to it by the legislator on these terms.

The necessity for a plan which comprises in harmonious gradations the economic life of the nation is growing increasingly evident. The object of the corporative organisation is to supply this need, to judge by its present structure rather than by its actual working. Too short a time has elapsed since the legislation dealing with the Corporations was promulgated to allow an opinion to be expressed as to the degree to which the various institutions satisfy the purposes for which they were established. These purposes, moreover, although adumbrated in the essential features of the law, have not so far been specified precisely, a fact which shows how largely the system is capable of development and fuller definitions.

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