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AMG Will Not Purge Italian Fascists

(October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 41, 9 October 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The other day some seven thousand Italians dragged a fascist police official out of a courtroom in Rome and killed him. Their action was clearly a demonstration against the failure of the Allied Military Government and the weak-kneed Italian cabinet to rid the country of the fascist scum.

After one year of the AMG, fascist officials and jobholders still swarm throughout the occupied area. With the exception of the most notorious of Fascist Party bosses and outright criminals, there has been little action taken against them.

On the contrary, the AMG has taken steps to curb the anti-fascist actions of the working people and protect the fascists. The AMG declares the bulk of the fascists to be indispensable to their posts. They say that everything would be turned topsy-turvy if these people were cleaned out.

Why is this?

Because such action against the fascists would involve ninety-nine per cent of the capitalist class of Italy. It would involve the bankers, the industrialists, the newspaper publishers, the big landowners, the army officers and the politicians.

If you got rid of these, who would be left to run the capitalist system in Italy? In this sense the AMG tells the truth when it says that the fascist scum is “indispensable” – i.e., indispensable to Italian capitalism.

AMG Playing the Game

The Russian Revolution proved that such people are not indispensable. Committees of workers, peasants and soldiers proved that the people could get along without the capitalist class and its hangers-on. But that is exactly what AMG wants to prevent in Italy. In the last analysis, the American government would prefer to have fascism in Italy rather than a workers’ government.

The AMG is supposed to weed out the Italian fascists and leave Italian capitalism undisturbed. That’s like trying to pick pepper out of a sugar bowl while wearing boxing gloves.

Having been a fascist is no crime, in the eyes of the AMG. The “very best people” in Italy were fascists. Even in this country the “Very best people” praised Mussolini for “saving” Mussolini from socialism. It must be proved that a fascist committed “specific crimes” before he can be punished.

Was it a crime if the owners of the Fiat Motor Works put up the money with which Mussolini organized his Blackshirt gangs and got into power? Was it a crime if these capitalists used the Blackshirt thugs to smash labor unions and terrorize the workers?

No, says AMG. This was merely political activity, No one can be punished for his political actions.

Who Suffered Under Fascism?

By this means the entire top scum of, society will be declared innocent. But from among the bottom dregs of society – the degenerates, the thugs, the thieves, the pimps who, joined the Fascist Party for money and jobs – there will be a few hundred prosecuted for their crimes.

The prosecution of some former “Black Hand” gangster who turned fascist police official is considered by the AMG a sufficient blow against fascism.

The capitalist press dares not tell us the truth about .fascism. It tries to make it appear, that capital and labor suffered equally under fascism. But eyeryone who studies Italian fascism knows that this is a lie. Big business in Italy was almost one hundred per cent FOR Mussolini while the working class was almost one hundred per cent AGAINST Mussolini.

Gino Olivetti, of the Manufacturers Association (Confederazione Generate dell’Industria), was appointed to the Grand Council of the Fascist Party while Giacomo Matteotti, socialist spokesman of the working class in Parliament, was murdered by the fascists.

The banks and big trusts piled up a mountain of profits under fascism while the trade unions were smashed and workers had their wages reduced to the lowest in Europe.

Fascism was a weapon of Italian capitalism in the class war against Italian labor. Fascism is one of the political forms of capitalist rule. Fascist dictatorship is a means of saying capitalism when the working class begins to understand how to organize for power. To be effective, the war against fascism must be a CLASS WAR.

Will American capitalists sponsor a class war of the Italian workers against the fascist capitalists of Italy? Of course not!

Protecting Capitalism

On the contrary, the AMG will protect the capitalists from the wrath of the working people. That is one of the most important reasons for having an AMG.

Then who will purge Italy of the fascists?

This will only be done by the real enemies of fascism – the Italian workers and peasants.

But won’t this mean “mob rule” and “lynch law,” as the papers describe the killing of the fascist police official?

No. Such scenes only take place when the people are not permitted to deal with the fascists in an organized fashion. What Italy needs are independent committees of workers in the factories and soldiers in the army and peasants in the villages. An organized workers’ militia would seek out and arrest the fascists. Special tribunals, elected by the committees, would give them a trial and pass proper sentence.

Is there a chance that this will be permitted by the AMG? No. There is no such chance. But the working people of Italy who revolted against Mussolini and who today are fighting against the Germans in northern Italy will not stop fighting until Italy is free of all “occupiers” and “liberators.”

The history of the last twenty-five years proves that there is, only one path open to the Italian people – a government elected from out of the shops, the regiments and the villages. Such a workers’ government will not only clean out the fascist scum, but will also pull up the roots of fascism – the capitalist system.

Fascism was born out of the economic impasse of Italy after the First World War. The Italian workers, together with their brethren of Europe, will solve this economic impasse through a Socialist United States of Europe.

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