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The development of fascist doctrine.

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UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE COURSE OF POLITICAL HISTORY MS. PETRESCU CRISTINA STUDENT: GUTAN ANAMARIA SPE II, GR. 2 THE DEVELOPEMENT OF FASCIST DOCTRINE During the years between Italy's entry into World War I in 1915 and the March on Rome in 1922, Mussolini's social and political thought took on the specific doctrinal features that were to characterize Fascism. From 1915 until the founding of the Fasci di combattimento, on March 23, 1919, Mussolini traced the first outlines of Fascist doctrine. The subsequent period, during which the movement was transformed into the Partito Nazionale Fascista saw the articulation of the specific fundamentals of Fascism. The development during this period was continuous and pursued a fairly consisted logic. It was an evolution which did not cease with the accession to power. Nonetheless, it is instructive to focus attention on this initial period of doctrinal development because it enables a more precise and competent assessment of the judgment. Until 1914, Mussolini had had experience with one but complex social and political doctrine, that of Marxism as it was then understood. Mussolini's interpretation of Marxist thought, as unique as it came to be, represented the thinking of a significant number of revolutionary socialists of prewar Italy. Mussolini' s socialism, however, remained socialism only as long as class membership was understood to constitute the fundamental social and historical relationship into which individual men can enter. The entire fabric of his socialism hang upon his critical conception. As long as class was the unit of loyality, as long as class was construed as the vehicle of moral and social regeneration, Mussolini could remain a socialist, however novel his interpretations and however extensive his revisions. ...read more.


They launched campaigns, quasi- military, organizational, and propagandistic at their own will and discretion. Any policy decision by Mussolini was likely to be compromised by the independent activity of any or all of the local ras (as the local leaders were called). It was with this undisciplined Party that Mussolini seized control of the state. For almost two years thereafter Mussolini continued to promise an end to Fascist violence, and yet the violence persisted. The Party threatened to fragment into factions, and expulsions from its ranks were not uncommon. With the murder of Giacomo Matteotti by Francists in June, 1924, the entire political situation became critical. For six months, the Fascist government trembled. Finally Mussolini forced the issue. Fascism emerged dominant over the opposition and Mussolini rapidly became absolute master of the Party. On January 3, 1925, after his control over the Party became secure, Mussolini proclaimed that Fascism, and Fascism alone, will rule the nation. After that date, Fascism could speak without equivocation. Its doctrine could be articulated without qualifications and without tactical reservations; but, as we have seen, this is not to suggest that the doctrine of Fascism had not long since taken on the specific features that were its own. Fascism, from the foundation of the Partito Nazionale Fascista in 1921, gravitated around a hard core of concepts that had crystallized into a political doctrine of considerable specificity. In the weeks before the slaying of Matteotti, Mussolini could, with justification, maintain that Fascism had a program "based upon a unitary principle, based upon a classic conception of the state", radically different from that of liberalism. After thr resolution of the crisis which followed the death of Matteotti, Fascism was free to embark upon a massive program of social revolution, a program accompanied by explicit vindications and anticipated in its doctrinal commitments as early as 1919. ...read more.


Fascist theorists like Panunzio recognized that organized associations within the state had the capacity to issue rules and regulations governing their collective membership, but they held that such rules and regulations were effective only if they were directly or indirectly sanctioned by the state. That is, it was recognized that association would follow interests, real or fancied, that provided the grounds of identification among men. The imposing rise of economic organizations, specifically the syndicates, was ample evidence of that historic reality. Sects, clubs, cooperatives, cultural association- all constituted interest-fostered, rule-governed association within the state. All were autonomousinsofar as they were capable of governing their own internal organization by the promulgstion of procedural and substantive rules. The state might not, for whatever reasons, exercise its sovereign right over them. Organizations might continue to function on the strenght of their own capacity to sanction their members. Nonetheless, Fascists insisted, the state is the sole and ultimate source of imperative sanction since the stae has the exclusive right to the regulation of the use of force. In effct, Fascism rejected the thesis that there was any limit, in principle, to the state's political and juridical sovereignity. The state was "integral", "totalitarian". Fascism conceived no interest-economic, educational, religious or cultural- as falling outside its purview. Tere was, consequently, no private as distinct from public interest. This idea found doctrinal expression in Mussolini's aphorism: "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, and nothing against the state". If the term community has as its reference a number of individuals whose behaviour is governed by a normative order, and if the state provides the ultimate sanction that sustains theorder, the state is then understood to constitute an underlying and essential social reality that is coextensive and coterminous with, and logically prior to, the community. ...read more.

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