[Book] Ted Grant Writings: Volume Two


Fascist butchers now in allied camp

[Socialist Appeal, Vol. 5 No. 21, Mid-October 1943 - Not signed]

Churchill’s quislings have no mass support

If clear proof is needed of the farcical character of the “war for democracy,” it is provided by the switch of the italian capitalist class, the italian fascists and monarchy into the Churchill-Roosevelt camp.

In gathering into their bosom the gangster generals, the Allies have given clear proof of the “Europe of tomorrow” as they visualise it. A Europe ruled by the reactionary fascists, monarchists and near-fascists; a Europe ruled by Giraud, de Gaulle, Badoglio, Roatta, Ambrosio, Salazar, Franco and Michailovich – all having one thing in common: hatred of the working class.

Badoglio formally declared war on Germany. By this action the major section of the italian ruling class has thrown in its lot with the Anglo-American imperialists. And in this action is revealed the complete hypocrisy and insincerity of the claim that the war is a war of democracy against fascism.

Badoglio and the Italian monarchy are as guilty of the crimes of fascism as Mussolini himself. It was Badoglio and the King, as representatives of the Italian capitalists and landowners, who paved the way for the coming to power of Mussolini, who supported and aided fascism to the very end.

It was not Badoglio’s and Victor Emmanuel’s new-found love of democracy which has dictated the change of sides in the middle of the war after all the bloodshed of Italian workers and peasants, but the interests of the Italian ruling class.

The bewildering changes that have taken place during the course of the present war have indicated clearly the nature of the conflict, so far as its imperialist participants are concerned. Not democracy or fascism is the issue, but the struggle for markets, raw materials, colonies, and spheres of influence.

The real nature of these sterling democrats is revealed by the members Badoglio has chosen for his government. Before they realised the change in line of the democratic Allies, most of the British press wrote disapproving articles on the composition of the government. Badoglio, Mussolini’s former Chief of Staff, the man who conquered Abyssinia with bombs and poison gas, announcing his conversion to democracy and his opposition to fascism enlightens us as to the personnel of his new government:

“It will naturally and definitely exclude all fascists and it will be absolutely democratic. I shall keep the service ministers with me now. General Ambrosio, Chief of Combined Staff; General Roatta, Chief of Army Staff; Admiral de Courten, head of the Navy; and General Sandalli, commanding the Air Force.”

Even the yellow press baulked at this hypocrisy. General Roatta was responsible for the reorganisation of the Italian fascist troops in Spain after their defeat at Guadalajara. Later he succeeded Graziani as Chief of the Army Staff. In January 1942 he became commander of the Italian troops of occupation in Yugoslavia, in which role he massacred, burned and pillaged the land and its people. In June 1943 he was reappointed Chief of the Army Staff, which post he has retained in Badoglio’s government. General Ambrosio, who was Roatta’s predecessor in Yugoslavia, has an equally criminal record of terror and suppression. These men are on the list of fascist war criminals for perpetrating atrocities in occupied countries including Greece and Yugoslavia, yet they turn up newly groomed, as members of the “democratic” government supported by the Allies. Marshall Badoglio’s own record, plus his retention of such infamous fascists in the government, is sufficient indictment.

Events in North Africa, and now in Italy are the foretaste of what is being planned for the future of Europe. The rulers of Britain and America are preparing to prop up and support the very forces which placed fascism in power. In doing so the very last consideration they have in mind is the restoration of “democracy”.

The real reason for the change of front of Badoglio and the Italian monarchy is the attempt to regain, if possible, some parts of the lost Italian empire and to rely on the bayonets of Anglo-American imperialism to protect them from the wrath of the Italian masses. The hypocrisy of the Anglo-American imperialists is clear for all to see. Badoglio and the King have no support whatsoever among the Italian masses. Far from seeking out the real representatives of the masses, the allied imperialists have gone out of their way to emphasise their support of the “royal” Italian government. This underlines their intention to preserve even the reactionary monarchy which ushered in fascism.

Apart from the removal of Mussolini and a few scapegoats among the high-up fascists, everything is to remain the same in Italy according to their calculations.

When Badoglio was being questioned by newspaper correspondents as to whether his intentions included the restoration of democracy, according to the report of the News Chronicle, General Mason Macfarlane intervened on his behalf, with the remark: “Under the circumstances the question might be difficult to answer!” Here we see how much the Allied generals at any rate, care about “democracy”!

As if expressly designed to make a mockery of the Allied claims, almost simultaneously with the announcement of the Italian declaration of war against Germany, comes the agreement with Portugal on the Azores. While Hitler was winning in the early stages of the war, the Portuguese government inclined towards Germany. Salazar is a dictator who has suppressed the Portuguese trade unions and working class organisations, who supports fascism and actively assisted Franco, Mussolini and Hitler to defeat the Spanish workers in the Civil War. Now he is supporting the “democracies”. And Franco too is preparing to move over to the side of the British and American imperialists in order to gain concessions. None of them are concerned with anything but loot.

Meanwhile the Italian workers who so heroically demonstrated their willingness to strive for a better world and for socialism after the fall of Mussolini, are held under the boot of the Nazis and Allied imperialism, while Italy has become a battlefield.

But the imperialists will not be able to work such an easy passage for Badoglio or for themselves either. The Italian revolution will rise again together with the workers of all Europe. Badoglio has unwittingly provided proof of this fact, in his interview with the war correspondents when he said:

“A curious incident shows the extent of the feeling of relief, not only among Italians, but among the German soldiers. About the same time as the fall of Mussolini was announced, a rumour spread round Rome that Hitler had been assassinated.

“We saw German soldiers go into ecstacies of joy. They threw photographs of Hitler into the streets from their barracks windows, and cheered.”

It is this movement of the Italian masses which destroyed fascism. The German soldiers in Rome have provided a glimpse of the movement of the German workers tomorrow. Together with the workers of Britain and America, they will build a new world in which fascism and war will be abolished forever by abolishing their cause: capitalism.