The new political movement in Italy called Fascism is not clearly understood outside of that country save by a very few careful students of political tendencies. Fascism is not a mere party upheaval such as often takes place in any country where parliamentary institutions exist. It is, rather, a silent and bloodless revolution which rests upon a body of political principles and seeks to achieve a set of political ideals which, taken together, constitute a new aspect of political philosophy. The intelligent world everywhere has been waiting for some systematic and ordered exposition of the political philosophy of Fascism. Men have wished to know how Fascism differs from that form of democracy which has widely established itself in Western Europe and in North and South America, with parliamentary government as its mode of expression and action. They have wished to know what relation Fascism bears, either of similarity or of opposition, to the form of communistic class government which has developed in Russia. They have also wished to know whether Fascism is a product peculiar to Italy and limited in its application to Italian life and Italian conditions, or whether it claims universality and is to be preached and offered as an alternative to Communism on the one hand and to democratic Parliamentarianism on the other hand in lands which are now under either the communist or the parliamentary regime.
On August 30, 1925, His Excellency Alfredo Rocco, Minister if Justice, delivered at Perugia an address which is the first authoritative answer to these inquiries. Signor Rocco, himslef a jurist of eminence and Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Padua, is a member of Premier Mussolini’s present ministry. His address has the Premier’s warm approval. It may be accepted as an authoritative statement of the philosophy of Fascism and as such it invites and requires careful and dispassionate study. The translation has been made by Professor Bigongiari of Columbia University.
A record of recent legislation in Italy, reprinted through the courtesy of the Foreign Policy Association, and a general bibliography of publications on Italy since the World War appear at the end of this document.
Nicholas Murray Butler
New York, September 1, 1926.