Mussolini’s 1922 “march on Rome” to rescue Italy from economic crisis, working-class militancy, factory occupations and the imminent danger of a Bolshevist revolution, was the high point of the wave of reactionary popular mass movements that — much like today —swept across much of Europe and America. The Rome march marked the rise to power of a Fascist party that was to successfully seize control of government and state institutions by means of a ‘justified’ and effectively unopposed coup d’état, one endorsed by king, parliament and the mainstream parties. By 1926 Italy’s state institutions had evolved into a new political system with a raison d’être that went far beyond the negative myth of anti-Bolshevism to the more positive ideology that was the “corporative state” — an ideology that established the personal dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.
This comprehensive contemporary analysis by Professor Gaetano Salvemini of Mussolini’s ‘corporative’ state — its organisation and operation — is intended for anyone interested in how fascism functioned in reality. Based almost exclusively on official Italian material and documents Salvemini’s conclusions are damning: a fall in real wages, high unemployment, lowered living standards — all of which had been claimed by the regime’s fake news agencies and fascist apologists around the world as ‘achievements’ of the dictatorship. A useful work of reference in this ‘post-truth world’ of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Lord Jonathan Sacks.