Posts Tagged ‘Mussolini’

Italians: Doing the Jobs Germans Won’t Do

November 14, 2012

By MILTON BRONNER
(NEA Service Staff Correspondent)

London, July 27 — Germany has just seen arriving the last contingents of the greatest mass emigration of Italians in recent years — the result of an agreement between Reichsfeuhrer Hitler and Premier Mussolini.

But they are only temporary emigrants. Within the year they must all be back in Italy, the last ones returning to their native land by next December 15.

Their mass coming to Germany seems almost paradoxical. The Nazis boast they have cut down unemployment by millions. But, according to their own figures, there were about 500,000 people still unemployed. But apparently these workless ones are not suited for farm labor. Hence the demand for Italians — 22,000 men between the ages of 18 and 40 and 8000 women between the ages of 18 and 30. In many cases the men and women are married couples, but without young children.

They hail mainly from the northern provinces of Italy, there being 2100 from around Ferraro,  2300 from Padua, 1800 from Bologna, 1500 from Ravenna, 2100 from Rovigo, 1300 from Verona, 1300 from Venice and 2300 from Modena. Many of these towns are known the world over because Shakespeare laid the scenes of his plays in them. But these peasants have not gone to Germany to recite poetry or to carol. They are going to cultivate and later, to dig up sugar beets and potatoes.

*     *     *

Last March 300 gang chiefs were sent to Rome to get their final instruction. Each gang chief is responsible for the earnest labor and good conduct of 100 peasant workers. Forty special trains took the army laborers to Germany. They have been scattered mainly in central Germany and in Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden and Hesse.

The temporary emigrants were not taken at haphazard. The Fascist Confederation of Agricultural Workers selected those who were known to be physically the strongest, morally the best-behaved and technically the most competent. A sort of set uniform of clothes was chosen for the men and the women and given them by the Italian central organization. They were also given a valise of a uniform type, a contract for their employment, a passport and a little guide book, filled with choice sayings by Mussolini and Hitler, glorifying the role of the peasant in the life of Germany and Italy.

*     *     *

Germany guaranteed all the workers free railway passage to and from Germany, free lodging and meals. In addition, they get the equivalent of a German peasant workers’ wages — 7.60 lire per day — or about 40 cents. The Italian government will pay part of this to the families of the workers. In this way Italy will cut down the commercial debts it owes Germany, for what Italy pays the workers will  be deducted from its debt to Germany.

Even though the 30,000 will be in Germany many months, they are made to feel that the eyes of their rulers are upon them and also that they must uphold the honor of Italy. For in their little guide-book there is this significant passage:

“You, peasant, quit your country today for the moment; you are not as formerly, an emigrant that is to say a poor pariah like so many others, humiliated, wandering, knocked about seeking work. By the merit of the regime you depart in organized service as an Italian, as a soldier of the great Fascist army of Labor, as a creator, as an instrument of activity, solicited, guaranteed, defended in all circumstances.”

Dunkirk Evening Observer (Dunkirk, New York) Jul 27, 1938

European Politics for First Graders

October 30, 2012

Image from Rootsweb

EUROPEAN POLITICS FOR FIRST GRADERS

In Ruhral places peace is pending
And passive resistance now is ending.

Mussolini still is Fiume-ing
And Napoleonic airs assuming.

The Prince of Wales has left incog.,
Canadian girls are all agog.

The comitadjas of Bulgaria
Enjoy their annual war malaria.

Albania will be smeared with Greece
For Italian mission’s sad decease.*

Cease balking! Cease! the league demands
But the Balkans balk at all commands.

Mark well the Ger.’s financial larks
A dollar is 50,000,000 marks.

Premiers Baldwin and Poincare
Are glad to fix le grande affaire.

— Clyde.

(*But after all, the prospect’s bright
That Corfu shall not ring tonight. –Ed.)

Middletown Daily Herald (Middletown, New York) Oct 1, 1923

Mussolini’s Ghost and the Corporative State

December 1, 2011

Mussolini’s Ghost

One of the “anti-recession” measures talked of by liberal politicians during the recent session of Congress was creation of a gigantic federal bureau to oversee American industry.

Among other things the bureau would be empowered to move industrial plants into pockets of unemployment and thus provide work for the jobless. Rep. John W. Byrnes calls the idea 99.9 per cent socialism. he sees it as an opening wedge for further government control of private enterprise.

In the light of historical experience the idea of government control over a nation’s industrial resources is an interesting one, especially since it is apparently being offered now as a brave progressive step toward economic utopia.

The fact is that such a proposal is neither brave, new or very progressive. State control of the means of production is usually associated with communism — a theory advocated by the extreme left side of the political spectrum. The idea is Marxist in its conception, but it was a man named Benito Mussolini, hardly a liberal saint, who developed it into a working reality, all the while professing a vague belief in private enterprise.

A great show was made of utilizing all productive forces of the nation by combining politics with economics in Mussolini’s Italian “corporative state.”

He tried to produce a social paradise by organizing producers into nine syndicates — four for employers and four for employes, in agriculture, industry, credit and commerce, plus one for professional men and artists. These syndicates were responsible for wages, working conditions and industrial relations. They also exercised a measure of control over production.

The fascist constitution gave the syndicates power to “fix fair prices” on the basis of “reasonable profits.” They could adjust wages “to meet the normal requirements of life and assure a fair price to the consumer.” In short, the state had total power to regulate prices, profits and wages.

Economic life was further organized and controlled by the formation of 22 corporations or guilds, each to be concerned with all phases of production in one field — such as cereals, mining, internal communications, the tourist industry and so on. Mussolini, representing the state, was head of each corporation and of the national council of corporations. He appointed ministers of corporations who were nominal directors of the system.

Eventually the chamber of corporations, plus a collection of other party hacks, took the place of Italy’s parliament. As head of the ruling party and the corporations, Mussolini could legislate by degree and depend on the chamber for confirmation.

An enlightening sidelight to the “corporative state” was that once the government decided to regiment industry, it developed similar plans for labor. Unions too became appendages of the government. Stating that “public order must not be disturbed for any reason, at any cost.” Mussolini decreed a national labor charter. He saw it as a means of eliminating industrial conflict and bringing about a balanced economy.

With one or two exceptions, the terms of the fascist labor charter sound like the realization of a trade unionist’s dreams. It established uniform collective labor contracts and labor courts to resolve disputes. The 8-hour day became law of the land. Each labor syndicate was given jurisdiction over workers in one field of production.

But, in return for state protection, the government asked some concessions from labor. Into the charter went terms stating that each syndicate would be controlled by the government, and wages and conditions were to be regulated “as best suited to the needs of employes and type of job.” Since the economic paradise was at hand, there wouldn’t be any need to strike, so the right to strike became illegal.

What did the utopia bring? A contemporary writer reported that between 1923 and 1932 wages in Italy were reduced 40 to 50 per cent and the cost of living was reduced 5 per cent.

Image from the CusterMen website

The “corporative state” was hardly a success and Mussolini, its founder, ended up a bullet-riddled corpse, shot by his own people.

The lesson taught by the “corporative state” experiment should be borne in mind again today when politicians of another stripe seek to protect capitalism from itself.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Sep 12, 1958

20 Years of Utopia – BOOMSKI!

December 1, 2011

Image from the Defender de Madrid website

TWO CELEBRATIONS AT MADRID

The Red government of Spain celebrated the 20th anniversary of Russia’s Communist revolution and with it the first anniversary of the defense of Madrid.

The Reds in Spain do not see the utter inconsistency of the two anniversaries.

When the Spanish Reds have honors to confer upon Spaniards they limit them generally to General Jose Miaja, chief of Madrid’s defenders, hailed as  national hero in that his military genius and high spirit in the direction of his troops made their dogged and so far successful defense possible.

But there is the inconsistency.

For the Reds almost always, like certain denizens of the jungle, devour their favorites.

He who is carried on the shoulders of Communists today should not be surprised to be blindfolded tomorrow and shot in the back.

During the other rampages of Communism upon this earth the leaders one week were almost invariably guillotined the next week. Under modern communism, such are the improvements of the age, a leader may last some years before he is disgraced and shot.

But, no matter. General Miaja had his great day last Sunday. and Communism never yet looked to the future.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Nov 09, 1937

“NO FAIR”

The burly Soviet Bear pushes up one of its purple and swollen eyelids to remark, above the rattle of gunfire as it shoots more of its former leaders, that Italy’s adherence to an anti-Communist pact is “not friendly toward the Soviets.”

It is wrongful for any nation to wish communism ill. It is proper, however, for the Reds to spend the millions sweated out of the Russian serfs to destroy other nations and their respective forms of government by fomenting discord and revolt.

American newspaper correspondents write from Moscow that Comintern, devoted to the spread of communism by violence, has abandoned its old offices because insufficient for its enlarged force and that those actively associated in the Russian mind with the spreading of propaganda in foreign lands are specially placed in seats of honor at the great parades staged to attract and entertain the people.

It is true, as claimed by most democratic enemies of Fascism, that the Russian Menace is largely a myth in that no people have ever undertaken it on any really extensive or serious scale except as their mental functions have been distorted by misery, disease or ignorance.

But the fact remains that this menace has been nevertheless the most powerful factor in keeping the people quiet and steady until the Fascists could yoke them.

The circle of madness has funny quirks and sketchy twists but it invariably completes itself.

The Communists set out to kill others and created conditions that, in the end, will consume themselves.

The principle involved has been recognized from of old. In the ancient vernacular it was written, “Those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword.”

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Nov 11, 1937

Image from the Masters of Photography website

THE TEMPERAMENTAL ARTIST GETS A CHILL

Diego Rivera, the Mexican artist, cannot be cited as an authority upon serene government since he has been very much of a Mexican jumping bean in respect to any stable opinion of the sort of government he really wanted.

But today Senor Rivera is no longer carrying a red flag. And he wants the world to know what he has discovered about Stalin and the Communists. Perhaps he has poured too much chili into his concoction but that is expected of most Mexicans and Rivera in particular.

Offering an interview to an American press this painter of murals declared that Moscow has selected Mexico as “a base of operations” in its restless war to bring Latin America under its sway. And to prove his assertion he declared that his own country is now alive with Russian agents, pockets stuffed as usual with the gold filched from Russian toilers, buying and bribing their way in true conformity to the principles of the Black Utopia.

And Senor Rivera, who so recently was embracing communism with wild affection, now finds that the Russian worker is worse off than the Mexican and that Communism is even more wretched than any other sort of totalitarianism. He points to the fact that Mussolini sacrificed a relatively few people and jailed no more than 30,000, that Hitler’s quota in jail has passed a million, and then he turns to the real sink of iniquity and quotes Pravda to show that Communism has to its discredit 1,863,000 political executions of which 150,000 were Red army officers and that today there are nearly six million in prisons, concentration camps and isolation areas so they cannot get their fingers upon the Red leaders who brought them this heaven and placed upon their shoulders these wings and in their hearts these pious thoughts of strangling some one. And then Rivera concludes that, by comparison, “Mussolini is a philanthropist.”

It is good to see the sinners crawl along the sawdust trail. But it cannot be expected that those who were originally so easygoing as to have faith in

Moscow will not embrace the next grisly nostrum, even one covered only by a shroud.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Nov 4, 1939