The Plough and the Sword: Labor Land and Property in Fascist Italy

The Plough and the Sword: Labor Land and Property in Fascist Italy

The Plough and the Sword: Labor Land and Property in Fascist Italy

The Plough and the Sword: Labor Land and Property in Fascist Italy

Excerpt

Fifteen years ago the Fascist party came to power in Italy. Since that day late in October 1922, when Benito Mussolini succeeded Luigi Facta as Prime Minister, Fascism has come to dominate the life of the Italian people. Similar methods of action and thought have risen to triumphant or potential domination elsewhere in the world. And people everywhere ask the meaning of Fascism.

The Italian Fascist leaders constantly speak of their concern for the welfare of the rural population. They declare that Fascism is "ruralizing" Italy, that it unceasingly champions the economic cause of the peasants and that it has given them, for the first time in history, a voice in the political life of the nation. Fascism, they say, is primarily a "rural phenomenon." Many commentators have accepted this claim and have done much to spread it in the world. Yet it is possible that Fascism-in-action is something very different. This, and the importance of the rural community -- peasants and landed proprietors -- in the life of Italy suggest the significance of a critical study of agriculture under Fascism.

The formal structure of the Corporative State and its alleged meaning for the Italian people have been frequently and exhaustively described. But the present study is concerned with the behavior of Fascism, with its bearing on work and life, on peasants and proprietors and their relations to bread and land. It deals with forms and professed objectives only as points of departure. Its purpose is to contribute toward an understanding of Fascism.

The study, of course, is limited by the quantity and quality . . .

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