Demagogy, Democratic and Fascist. The Reality of Class

“Demagogia democratica e fascista e realtà di classe” - From Prometeo December 1, 1943

Each belligerent state has failed in convincing the working masses of the supreme necessity and sanctity of the massacre and thus adopts a certain social tint or a downright socialist facade. The National Socialism of Hitler has served as a cover for the military preparation of Germany; the "slow beverage" served Churchill as a means of gaining sacrifice of workers in the present for the promise of an easy life and a tranquil old age in the future. This social demagogy is all the more necessary the more profound the crisis of the bourgeois system becomes.

Thus in the states in whose social decay and internal political threat is founded, the same bourgeois society feels the necessity of supporting itself through analogous treatments of aesthetic surgery. Not by accident, the fascist republic, the point of least resistance within the global capitalist edifice is self-proclaimed as socialist in order to regain the confidence of the proletariat that it so sensationally lost.

This maneuver is in itself puerile and is one of the most startling examples of capitalist degeneration. This coming from the very same bourgeoisie that in the massive social crisis of the last post-war period raised the subject of fascism, a movement republican and "proletarian", then in a confused yet ingenuous twist removed its mask and revealed its nature as a monarchical movement both reactionary and patronal. With this form the bourgeoisie hoped to forever demolish the last threat to its rule by sweeping the proletariat into the abyss of the militaristic adventure.

This same bourgeoisie is pulverizing the proletariat again and wearing the old demagogic cloak of 1919 in hopes of harnessing to itself a part of the working masses as if it were their gravedigger. Twenty years of anti-proletarian reaction passed in vain with the capitalists orgy, shamelessly absorbing profit in the shadow of the minimum salary, under the protection of tariffs, of autarchy and finally of war.

With a stroke of a wand, capitalism transformed itself into... socialism.

Now what is this socialism which the Fascist Party heralds as having a revolutionary function?

  • A socialism made of the so-called "wages adaptation" and of profit-sharing schemes (which is a weapon half a century old), with which the ruling class has often tried to make the workers interested in the company's fate, promising them an invitation at lunch on the end of the year;
  • A socialism of the defense of the small farmer, of the production and distribution-coops; of the expropriation of the poorly cultivated or uncultivated lands;
  • A socialism which revives the obligatory themes of the most worn out and easy-going reformism;
  • A socialism which engages itself to rebuild the internal commissions and to give birth to a general confederation of only workers freely elected, while it stirs up in the proletarian centers and in the factories a pitiless reaction;
  • A socialism, above all, which declares the intention of putting labor at the center of the State, but suddenly hastens to declare private property as inviolable and protected by the State;
  • A socialism which threatens war against the world plutocracies, but refuses class struggle, and to the contrary wishes conciliation between the classes;
  • A socialism that thunders against the monopoly capital, but does not have the courage of discussing the nationalization of monopolies.

Equitable salary, profit sharing, internal commissions, free unions, cooperation of production and consumption, another step and the social program of the five or six anti-fascist parties would perfectly match that of the republican fascists. Thus it does justice to our thesis that fascism and democracy are but two sides of the same coin. This is only natural, in fascist republican Italy the social measures of the fascist program extended itself so far as to render the German war more popular. In democratized Italy this same program tended to lend popularity to the English war.

The demagogy, accordingly, is of both sides. At the bottom of this is hidden a tragically serious reality; the reality of a social crisis for whom the dominant class is already alerted to the symptoms that threaten it, and for which it preoccupies itself to delay at whatever cost the collapse.

Be sure that in order they not yield on the important question of their class domination - the bourgeoisie, fascist or democratic will tomorrow (and today as well) be inclined to yield on secondary questions. By augmenting salaries a little, giving up their resistance to the internal commissions that have many ways of corrupting, or by lifting control on the entrance of preventatively narcotized workers' organizations. It is also possible that, in extremes, they concede something more and in this game they find a fraternal apogee of support in the opportunism of the self-styled workers' parties.

Today it is our duty to unmask the maneuver of this old yet forever vigorous arm of the collaboration that blunts the revolutionary impulse of the proletariat and to always demonstrate that the solution of the social crisis cannot occur within the confines of the economy and the capitalist state - this is a first fundamental act which presupposes the broad sweep of the proletarian revolution.