Updated: May 24
Pp. 313-316 Meenan, J. (1944). The italian corporative system. Cork: University Press.
“The Corporative idea,” has historic precedents in Italy. It flourished even before the war, in the two currents of thought, syndicalism and nationalism, which, at first separate, gradually approached each other and mingled during the period of neutrality and the war. The latter having steadily become more social, in the strict sense of the word, and the former more national, they found a natural point of contact in the concept of nationalist syndicalism, from which the corporative idea must necessarily spring. With the rise of Fascism after the war, that idea began not only to be delineated and to spread but also to spring from idea to fact, as a result of Fascist syndicalism. It must not be forgotten that the Fascist syndicates were organized not only in name, but also in spirit, as Corporations.
After the Revolution of October 1922, the corporative spirit of the Fascist organisations became stronger. The agreements of the Palazzo Vidoni were it culminating manifestations. In this manner the time became ripe for greater advances in legislation and organization.
The law of April 3rd, 1926 on the legal control of collective labour relations and the rules of July 1st were of fundamental importance for the development of corporativism. The corporative idea in these laws was not merely a feeling, a tendency or a mental outlook; it was carried into effect by organs set up by the law. The immediate effect by organs set up by the law. The immediate aim of the 1926 legislation was the abolition of the self-defence of classes and categories, their oganisation within and under the control of the State, and pacific resolution of labour disputes. After eleven years of the Fascist regime the spirit, both of employers and workers has been changed so greatly by the new institutions, that these problems, which Fascism has solved, may appear unreal. The truth is that at that time they were grave and menacing, as they are today in countries that the Fascist idea has not penetrated…
Even the law of 1926 realised that the control of labour relations would not exhaust the innovatory resources of Fascism in the economic field. Not only the problem of distribution but also that of production could be resolved without liberal anarchy or socialist tyranny. In production, the work of control, organization and of direction cannot be entrusted to the syndicates alone, expressing as they do only one of the factors of production. It must necessarily be discharged by a new body in which all the factors of production would be united under the direction and control of the State; to this organ was given the very first, the name of Corporation…
The Fascist economy therefore is not an associated or a directed or controlled economy; it is, above all, an organized economy. It is organized by the producers themselves under the direction and control of the State. In this sense, we may speak of the Fascist economy as self-government by the producing categories. The phrase is incisive, if not completely exact, since the producing categories do not govern themselves, but govern production, which is indeed their interest but is above all a collective interest. It is for this reason that the government of production by the producing categories cannot be developed without the direction and control of the State.
The essential organ of the new Fascist economy is the Corporation, in which the various factors of production, employers and workers, are united; and it is certain that it is well adapted to control production, not in the interest of this producer or that, but in the interest of the best return to the productive process, which is above all a national interest. In this manner the State uses the ability and the self-interest of individuals for national aims….
…. This is why the Corporations are, and must remain, organs of the State. It does not signify that the State assumes the burden of production any more than it means that the Corporations do so. Production, except in the case of its direct taking-over by the State, especially for grave political reasons, as provided for in the Labour Charter, remains in the hands of individuals. But its control and co-ordination are given to the Corporation, which is an organ of the State but is autonomous and composed of representatives of the producing classes themselves.