The Italian Bourgeoisie and its Loyalty in Alliances (IX)
From 1882 to 1914, Italy was part of the Triple Alliance with Austria and Germany to the great spite of all Italian Democrats. However, they managed to tear the treaty apart because, when the first European war broke out in August 1914, they prevented the intervention, which was to take place under the terms of the treaty, until, during the "radiant May" of 1915, the popular forces of pacifist democracy - led by d'Annunzio and Mussolini - succeeded in overthrowing the resistance of the monarchy, the government and parliament so that they would go to war with the other party, i.e. alongside the Entente, France and England.
It is on this historical outline that the campaign of the current opposition to the Atlantic Pact, to the war alliance of the Italian State with American capitalism begins.
It is convenient for propaganda, which is made today after an easy start "by hand", to put forward this kind of parallel and to base itself on the slogan that history repeats itself.
But while there is no doubt that the material of yesterday's history is a fundamental guide for today's politics, two things, both of which disturb fairground demagogues, are necessary for this: to use a non-falsified history and to situate the development of relationships from their old disposition to their new disposition.
That the Italian Democrats did not like the Triple Alliance policy and fought it with avalanches of rhetoric in prose and verse is true and perfectly explainable. National unity, as a means for the consolidation in the peninsula of the liberal bourgeoisie's power, had been achieved through wars against Austria and had left behind the irredentist claim to take back Trentino and Julie, partly Italian-speaking regions. But it is also true that Prussia had, in the third war, helped to heal the wounds of the failures of Lissa and Custoza, and it is also true that France, in case it had not been defeated by this same Prussian in Sedan in 1870, would have pocketed the conquest of Rome. But all the political and ideological armaments of bourgeois democracy always flowed above these contradictions into the ardent sympathies for the regimes and the classic liberal history of France and England against the backdrop of Masonic and anti-Vatican hues, of blatant parliamentary admiration.
So the Democrats' papers from half a century ago are in order. But that they can serve as passports for today's movements that claim to claim to be part of the proletarian class and socialism is something else.
For these people, it is an article of faith that socialism is only a subspecies of democracy and that the proletariat should act today as a naturally advanced and progressive fraction of democratic forces and according to their directives.
But this was already a falsification in the situation of the Triple Alliance, and those who already asked this question at that time by mobilising the working class in the irredentist and interventionist wake, after having tried to channel it in the first phase of neutralism and pacifism, deserve the condemnation without appeal of the renegades and traitors.
Those who reproduce this path in the current situation therefore fully deserve the name of Mussolini's disciples, which they have already won with distinction for the policy they have pursued in the recent war.
In 1914, the working class and the socialist party resolutely fought against the bourgeois policy of alliances, blocs and war, not only when it came to preventing engagement in the Triple Alliance from taking effect, but also when the bourgeois government, the monarchy and especially the nationalists of the war for the war (coherent with themselves) embraced in the shadow of the tricolour flag with classical democrats and some traitors out of our ranks, threw themselves in an indecent way in the Anglo-Francophile interventionism.
This determined opposition of the proletariat, which had a class meaning in the face of the two imperialist markets of the bourgeoisie and which was maintained during the war, provoked a useful and active situation for the revolutionary forces, even if historically (for objective reasons and insufficient orientation of the movement) it did not lead to the transformation of the war between nations into a civil war, which the Bolsheviks achieved in a glorious way. If other deviations and betrayals had not intoxicated the working class in its setting in motion, this situation should have been the prelude to the open position of these problems, not according to the interests of the Country, the Fatherland and the Nation, i.e. the bourgeoisie that oppresses us, but solely on the basis of international revolutionary perspectives.
Apart from the unfortunate state of regression and degeneration of the class movement, it is obvious that the situation in which the Italian bourgeois state finds itself, faced with the prospect of a world war, has nothing to do with that of 1914 and even that of 1939 because, if the cause of wars is always traced back to the developments of capitalist imperialism, the government of Rome has, in the world context, a much smaller weight and a much smaller dynamic than then.
This government of servants and henchmen can do neither interventionism nor neutralism, it can only follow orders and obey commands and threats. It does not have an autonomous war force that it could put up for sale today for dollars like yesterday for sterling and marks, speculating on the blood of workers, and it cannot afford campaigns based on hegemonic or subhegemonic daydreams and won through war adventures.
In this state of impotence, nothing would change if the opposition were in power. All the parties in the current parliament have contributed to this situation - and if there were any revolutionary developments, we would rejoice that they are trampling on national pride - because of their favourable attitude to the blocs, in domestic and foreign politics, during the last war. It is unheard of that the charlatans of the current opposition dare to define the war in preparation as America's third aggression. Some mouths defile the truth; they are the mouths of those who were only ecstatic during the landings in Africa and France because they brought them closer to the costume of a bourgeois minister of which they dreamed between the torments of exile and the vetoes of the Duce.
In 1914, even small states, because of the characteristics of the economy and also of military technology, could have weight in changing the balance of the conflict. In any case, the United States was disinterested in European politics and did not possess a military weight corresponding to its economic weight; England was experiencing the last act of its arbitral isolation function in the world; on the continent, quite a few silly calculations were being made, of the same nature as those of our parliamentary speakers today, on the number of battleships and divisions of at least five military powers of comparable size, grouped together here and there, three by three, in classic blocs. Then, among waltzes, the hiring of renegade socialists and the ideological crusade for democratic civilisation, the shameless liquidation of the splendid British isolation and of the Monroe Doctrine and even the descent into the field of the faraway Japan were not enough to take out Germany without supreme efforts.
The result was a new situation and the regions of subjugation of small states to the great powers began to form, especially among the debris of the Austrian Empire (one of the least indecent public administrations that the history of capitalism could offer). It was first France and England who clashed in Europe for hegemony over the various Czechoslovak puppets at their birth; then happened what everyone knows, bar infants.
The second Germany was overthrown by a general coalition and poor little Italy failed to place on the map, it couldn't manage to get good credit on a second deal, for a better version of betrayal. Naturally, those who speculated on this in order to become great men under the light of friends or enemies’ sunlights (that does not count much) have the nerve to say that they were tricked by Hitler when the partisan war broke out and when the Leonine post-armistice declaration took place.
In the situation that followed, the same centres in Paris and London sold their influence and autonomy and find themselves facing two colossuses alone. The problem of who the small government of Rome should ally with is a completely silly problem. The important question is to establish whether, in the possible monstrous confrontation, a historical alternative must be found on which all the forces of the proletariat will be played.
Who, in Italy, knew how to say no to Mr. Mussolini should know how to say the same to Mr. Nenni, well chosen to build this bridge of thieves between the anti-Triple Alliance movements of 1914 and anti-Atlantism of 1949.
By selling the proletariat to the bourgeois anti-Triple Alliance movement, they wanted to subjugate it to militarism and war, to ally it with nationalists and interventionist combat groups. From this bag of vermin came the tumours of fascism and pro-English and Atlanticist antifascism. The honourable Mr. Nenni, who has never been seen on the road to socialism, is a very worthy symbol in all these successive sales blunders to well-supplied customers.
Battaglia Comunista Nr. 11, 1949.
Translation by Libri Incogniti