Fascist manifesto
The Manifesto of the Italian Fasci of Combat was the initial declaration of the political stance of the founders of Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

. The Manifesto that was written by national syndicalist
National syndicalism
National syndicalism is a nationalist variant of syndicalism.- Founding of national syndicalism in France :National syndicalism was founded in France by the fusion of Maurrassian integral nationalism with Sorelian syndicalism. Interest in Sorelian thought arose in the French political right,...

 Alceste De Ambris
Alceste De Ambris
Alceste De Ambris , was an Italian syndicalist, the brother of Amilcare De Ambris. De Ambris had a major part to play in the agrarian strike actions of 1908.-Life:De Ambris was born in Licciana Nardi, province of Massa-Carrara....

 and Futurist
Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century.Futurism or futurist may refer to:* Afrofuturism, an African-American and African diaspora subculture* Cubo-Futurism* Ego-Futurism...

 movement leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti was an Italian poet and editor, the founder of the Futurist movement, and a fascist ideologue.-Childhood and adolescence:...


Origins of Italian Fascism

The classic definition of Italian Fascism applies to the latter part of the history of the movement in power, when Italy was firmly under the leadership of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. Its initial political stance–in the June 1919 Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

–includes, however, many elements that would not be normally associated with fascism in the classic definition, including support for democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 (indeed, the fascist manifesto actually called for greater democratic rights) and a limited number of social
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 ideas. All these were slowly abandoned over the following years, as fascism took its recognizable, anti-democratic form.

Originally, the leading committee of the Fascist Movement included both former Socialist Party members (among them Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 himself) and nationalists. The resulting manifesto, united in the common aim of overturning the existing system, reflects a clear compromise between these strands. Only subsequently did Mussolini establish outright leadership of the movement.

Given that Fascism is recognised (with a few exceptions) as being dictatorial, it is noteworthy that elements of the manifesto call for wider democracy. What was enacted during two decades of Fascist government was quite contrary in substance to the demands of the manifesto. During 21 years of Fascist government, not all manifesto pledges were achieved, and many were simply ignored; forgotten by the system. Interestingly, many elements were subsequently imposed by the Italian Republic during the post-Fascist era.

Contents of the Fascist Manifesto

The manifesto (published in "Il Popolo d'Italia
Il Popolo d'Italia
Il Popolo d'Italia , was an Italian newspaper founded by Benito Mussolini on November 15, 1914, as a result of his split with the Italian Socialist Party. Il Popolo d'Italia ran until July 24, 1943 and became the foundation for the Fascist movement in Italy after World War I...

" on June 6, 1919) is divided into four sections, describing Fascist objectives in political, social, military and financial fields.

Politically, the manifesto calls for:
  • Universal suffrage
    Universal suffrage
    Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

     polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation
    Proportional representation
    Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

     and voting and electoral office eligibility for women;
  • Proportional representation on a regional basis;
  • Voting for women (which was opposed by most other European nations);
  • Representation at government level of newly created national councils by economic sector;
  • The abolition of the Italian Senate (at the time, the senate, as the upper house of parliament, was by process elected by the wealthier citizens, but were in reality direct appointments by the king. It has been described as a sort of extended council of the crown);
  • The formation of a national council of experts for labor, for industry, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made of professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a general commission with ministerial powers (this concept was rooted in corporatist
    Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that involves association of the people of society into corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of common...

     ideology and derived in part from Catholic
    The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

     social doctrine).

In labour and social policy, the manifesto calls for:
  • The quick enactment of a law of the state that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers;
  • A minimum wage;
  • The participation of workers' representatives in the functions of industry commissions;
  • To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants;
  • Reorganisation of the railways and the transport sector;
  • Revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance;
  • Reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55.

In military affairs, the manifesto advocates:
  • Creation of a short-service national militia with specifically defensive responsibilities;
  • Armaments factories are to be nationalised;
  • A peaceful but competitive foreign policy.

In finance, the manifesto advocates:
  • A strong progressive tax on capital (envisaging a “partial expropriation” of concentrated wealth);
  • The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor;
  • Revision of all contracts for military provisions;
  • The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.

The manifesto thus combined elements of contemporary democratic and progressive thought (franchise reform, labour reform, limited nationalisation, taxes on wealth and war profits) with corporatist emphasis on class collaboration (the idea of social classes existing side by side and collaborating for the sake of national interests; the opposite of the Marxist
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 notion of class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....


The Manifesto in practice

Of the manifesto’s proposals, the commitment to corporative organisation of economic interests was to be the longest lasting. Far from becoming a medium of extended democracy, parliament became by law an exclusively Fascist-picked body in 1929; being replaced by the “chamber of corporations” a decade later.

Fascism’s pacifist foreign policy ceased during its first year of Italian government. In September 1923, the Corfu crisis demonstrated the regime’s willingness to use force internationally. Perhaps the greatest success of Fascist diplomacy was the Lateran Treaty of February 1929: which accepted the principle of non-interference in the affairs of the Church. This ended the 59 year old dispute between Italy and the Papacy.
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