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Revolutionary Fascist Party

Revolutionary Fascist Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario, PFR) (AKA Fascist Revolutionary Party) was the first political party established by Benito Mussolini, founded in January 1915, as described in his 1933 "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism".[1][2]

Election of November 1919

In the election of 1919, Mussolini and his party put forth a "decidedly leftist" and anti-clerical program which called for higher inheritance and capital-gains taxes and the ousting of the monarchy.[3] He also proposed an electoral alliance with the socialists and other parties on the left, but was ignored over concerns that he would be a liability with the voters. During the election, Mussolini campaigned as the "Lenin of Italy" in an effort to "out-socialist the socialists."[4] Mussolini and his party failed miserably against the socialists who garnered forty times as many votes, an election so dismal that even in Mussolini’s home village of Predappio, not a single person voted for him.[5] In a mock funeral procession after the election, members of Mussolini’s former Italian Socialist Party, carried a coffin that bore Mussolini’s name, parading it past his apartment to symbolize the end of his political career.[6]

Election of May 1921

In Italy’s general election of 15 May 1921, Mussolini’s PFR won 35 seats in the Italian parliament, including Mussolini.[7] Earlier, Mussolini joined the National Blocs (NB) lead by Giovanni Giolitti’s Italian Liberal Party, which also included the Italian Social Democratic Party (PDSI) and the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI). The NB received 19.1% of the vote, a total of 105 members in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.[8] During his maiden speech as a newly-elected Fascist Deputy on 21 June 1921, Mussolini acknowledged his paternity of communism, proclaiming that "I know the Communists. I know them because some of them are my children…"[9] After his election successes, Mussolini attempted to push back against the violence of the Squadrismo, telling his followers that the fasci should be purged and that too many people had joined his party to ride its "wave of success."[10] In one chamber speech, Mussolini argued for three great forces of sincere collaboration to facilitate a happier destiny for Italy—self-improving socialism, the Popolari, and fascism.[11] During this turbulent times of infighting and division, Mussolini would have been happy as late as "1920-21 to take under his wing the Italian Communists," for whom he had great affinity.[12] Other attempts to stop the violence included Mussolini’s Pact of Pacification with the Italian Socialist party and other socialist syndicalist leaders. That strategy was abandoned after the delegates at the Third Fascist Congress opposed such an arrangement, being more favorable to promoting nationalism.[citation needed]

Third Fascist Congress of 1921

Although PFR elections results were more substantial in 1921 under a coalition,

Due to the disastrous results in the November 1919 election, Mussolini contemplated a name change for his Fascist party. By 1921, Mussolini favored a plan to rename the PFR and the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento to the "Fascist Labor Party" or "National Labor Party" at the Third Fascist Congress in Rome (7-10 November 1921), in an effort to maintain his reputation as being loyal to the left-wing tradition of supporting trade unionism.[13] Mussolini envisaged a more successful political party if it was based on a fascist coalition of labor syndicates. [14] This alliance with socialists and labor was described as a sort of "nationalist-leftist coalition government", but was opposed by both more conservative fascist members and the governing Italian Liberal Party of Giovanni Giolitti, who already had decided to include the Fascists in their National Blocs.[15]

However, Mussolini was pressured by a majority of the attending squadristi leaders at the Third Fascist Congress, who were resolute to inhibit the power of the revolutionary socialists and labor unions. In order to retain his position as the undisputed leader of the Fascist party, Mussolini agreed to make various conciliatory agreements, including changing the party’s moniker to the National Fascist Party.[16][17]

References

  1. ^ Benito Mussolini (2006), My Autobiography with The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism, Mineloa: NY: Dover Publication Inc., p. 227. Benito Mussolini, "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism," Jane Soames, trans., Leonard and Virginia Woolf (Hogarth Press), London W.C., 1933, p. 7 [1] Note that some historians refer to this political party as "The Revolutionary Fascist Party"
  2. ^ Charles F. Delzell, edit., Mediterranean Fascism 1919-1945, New York, NY, Walker and Company, 1971, p. 96
  3. ^ Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini, New York, NY, Vintage Books, 1983, p. 38
  4. ^ Denis Mack Smith, Modern Italy: A Political History, University of Michigan Press, 1979, pp. 284, 297
  5. ^ Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini, New York, NY, Vintage Books, 1983, p. 38
  6. ^ Martin Clark, Mussolini (Profiles in Power), Routledge, 2014, p. 44
  7. ^ Thomas Streissguth, Lora Friedenthal, Isolationism (Key Concepts in American History), New York, NY, Chelsea House Publishers, 2010, p. 57
  8. ^ John Foot, Modern Italy, New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, p. 233
  9. ^ Ernst Nolte, The Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, Henry Holt & Company, Inc.; first edition, 1966, p. 154
  10. ^ Ernst Nolte, The Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, Henry Holt & Company, Inc.; first edition, 1966, p. 203
  11. ^ Ernst Nolte, The Three Faces of Fascism: Action Française, Italian Fascism, National Socialism, Henry Holt & Company, Inc.; first edition, 1966, p. 206, Opera Omnia di Benito Mussolini, XVII, 21, p. 66
  12. ^ Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books, 1995, p. 253
  13. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, p. 99
  14. ^ Charles F. Delzell, edit., Mediterranean Fascism 1919-1945, New York, NY, Walker and Company, 1971, p. 26
  15. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, p. 100
  16. ^ Charles F. Delzell, edit., Mediterranean Fascism 1919-1945, New York, NY, Walker and Company, 1971, p. 26
  17. ^ Joel Krieger, ed., The Oxford Companion to Comparative Politics, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 120