Fascism and the Traditional Political Idea
by Julius EVOLA
In 1964, Julius Evola, a few years after having stated at his trial in Rome 'I am not a Fascist nor, a fortiori, an anti-Fascist, I am a super-Fascist', published 'Fascismo visto della Destra' ('Fascism As Seen From The Right'), a critical study of Fascism on the plane of principles. Meanwhile, on a far lower plane of their own, using underhand methods corresponding to their intellectual level and gruesomely gory propaganda corresponding to their spiritual level, the representatives of what F.P. Yockey called the anti-Western forces, back in power in Europe for two decades, were busy demonising both National Socialism and Fascism, especially the former, and brainwashing the European peoples, while many of those who had adhered to the Weltanschauung of these regimes, either disowned it opportunistically or sentimentalised it idealistically. Beyond idealisation as well as demonisation, Evola, imperturbably, was by this time in a position to achieve that work of discrimination between the positive and the negative aspects of Fascism, as well as of National Socialism, which he had started in the early 1930's in a series of articles which revolved around three main motifs. These were : (1) a re-assumption of the spiritual idea of Empire in the perspective of a united, hierarchical as opposed to federalist, Europe, that is a New European Order, led by Germany and Italy - the conditions of such unity and the means to reach it ; (2) a critical and detailed comparative analysis of National Socialist ideology and Fascist ideology, attempting to bring them together after having rectified them from a radical traditional point of view ; and (3) the examination of various more contingent questions of the social and economic order. In fact, one of the greatest merits of Evola's political work on this subject is that of having shown that, contrarily to what is generally assumed nowadays, Fascism and National Socialism, as well as other contemporaneous nationalist movements, far from being mere products of modern times, were essentially based on the founding principles of European civilisation, as they manifested themselves in a much purer manner, for example, in ancient Rome and, later on, in the European societies of the Middle Ages. From this higher point of view, it becomes clear that Fascism and National Socialism cannot be regarded as at all similar to communism, but that, on the contrary, the former are intrinsically opposed to the latter, while the true 'twin sisters' are communist democracies and liberal democracies. Evola does not invite us merely to an act of testimony in this work, but in accordance with his non-intellectualistic approach to reality, perfectly conscious of the problematic nature of the task to be carried out, he asserts that these perennial values, partly assumed by Fascism and National Socialism, need to be re-assumed, fully re-assumed, in order that a New European Order may be created on the ruins of the current Western world. 'Fascismo e l'idea politica tradizionale' is particularly important in this context, in that it can be considered as the pattern of 'Fascismo visto della Destra', and as a foretaste of it for English-speaking readers, since the latter has not been translated into English yet. FASCISM AND THE TRADITIONAL POLITICAL IDEA As is well known, 'neo-Fascists' is the word which is now used, both in the democratic and in the communist milieux, to designate those who, in Italy and elsewhere, are still standing up and fighting for a higher political idea. In a way, moreover, this designation has been accepted by these groups themselves. A situation not devoid of misunderstanding and danger has thus been created which often plays into the adversary's hand. Hence, among other things, the fact that people speak, in an obviously pejorative manner, of 'nostalgias'. As a matter of fact, the part played among the forces which we have just mentioned by what can be called mythologising is obvious : a myth has been made of Fascism and Mussolini, and what is focused on, in general, is a historically conditioned reality and the man who was the centre of it, rather than an idea which can be worthwhile in itself and for itself, independently of these conditionalities, an idea, therefore, which is not confined to a past as an object of more or less inane 'nostalgia', but on the contrary remains today well-defined and retains today all its meaning. Let us be quite clear about this : as against the detractors, those who change their opinion, and the mediocre moral figures of our times, we do not repudiate the past, but acknowledge all the value which the Fascist period had in Italian history, and that which the National Socialist period had in that of Germany. There is nothing to be carped at. However, a Mussolini cannot be resuscitated, nor can the general premises which made possible the advent of historical Fascism and its development be restored. We must make it clear that we cannot content ourselves with this distressing acknowledgment, and that mere nostalgias and mythologisations will not fit us for the tasks which we are called to today. As we have said, it is necessary not to give weapons to the adversaries. What is always peculiar to 'mythologisation' is 'idealisation', that is to say, the accentuation of the positive and the elimination of the negative regarding the object. Whoever, unlike the 'neo-Fascists' of the new generation, lived during Fascism and, therefore, had a direct experience of the men and of the system, knows that not everything was ideal. As long as Fascism existed, because it was a reconstructionist movement in motion with possibilities which were not exhausted, it was not right to criticise it beyond a certain point. Whoever, like us, supported an order of ideas coinciding only in part with Fascism (and with National Socialism), collaborated with these movements in spite of the precise consciousness of those incomplete or deviated sides, and did so counting precisely on further possible developments which hopefully would have eliminated them. But now that Fascism is behind us as a reality of past history, our attitude cannot be the same. Instead of the 'idealisation' peculiar to 'myth', a work of discrimination is necessary : to distinguish the positive from the negative, to re-assume, to develop adequately and to assert only the positive. Moreover, therefore, the epithets 'Fascist' and 'neo-Fascist' should not be indiscriminately adopted. We should endorse and identify ourselves only with what was positive in Fascism, and not with what was not positive in it. It is only in this way that we can prevent ourselves from being easily out-manoeuvred by the adversaries, who find it naturally convenient, by means of a process opposed to that of 'idealisation', to make an opposite myth of Fascism, highlighting solely its problematic sides in order to be able to denigrate and cast odium on the whole thing. This process, let us note in passing, because we are not directly concerned with it, was applied with even more astounding success in Germany than in Italy : it is incredible how the younger German generation has followed in the most passive manner those who have presented the whole of National Socialism as a set of horrors and aberrations, giving to everything the same value, whereas, in Germany's case, the aforementioned discrimination, on account of the relations which Nazism had with a political tradition which was superior and prior to it, should have been much easier than it was in Italy. Further, and in addition to the identifiably negative and the positive attributes, and because of their character as restorative or reconstructionist movements still in motion which we have just mentioned, these national currents contained various possibilities and tendencies not well differentiated, and only the future could have shown which would have prevailed, if the military catastrophe and the weakening of the peoples had not stopped everything. The general unity in Italy and in Germany did not exclude tensions of some importance within their systems. This demonstrates the illegitimacy of 'mythologisation' and the necessity of selectivity : Fascism cannot be assumed without distinction, as a whole. We have to know clearly what it is that we are declaring ourselves to be in favour of, among the possibilities which Fascism, like any analogous movement of yesterday, contained in an as yet undifferentiated manner. Besides, if we think of the two Fascisms, of that of the Ventennio and that of the Social Republic, united, surely, by a continuity of faith and 'combattentismo' (1), but very different in political doctrine because of the fatal force of circumstances, the necessity of choice will become even more obvious, as will the fact that the 'myth' only leads to misunderstandings and dangerous confusions. A last consideration, more important than all those which we have just exposed : those today who want to fight the right fight must not give the impression that they are like those born since the events they idealise, and therefore with no direct experience of them, who think that only yesterday holds absolute truth. Here both the danger of 'myth' and the misunderstanding of those who speak facilely of 'Fascism' and experience no difficulty in being called purely and simply 'Fascists' become clear. There is, basically, a fundamental difference between those who have Fascism (or National Socialism for Germany, or similar movements such as the Spanish Phalange or Belgian Rexism) as their only point of reference, making their political and doctrinal horizon start and end in them, and those who, on the contrary, consider these movements to have been particular forms in which ideas and principles of a previous tradition re-manifested themselves and acted. The latter take these movements as bases not in themselves and for themselves or merely in terms of what was original and 'revolutionary' in them in a narrow sense, but rather in the sense that they incarnated these ideas and these principles in their own specific ways, more or less imperfectly, and adapted them to changed circumstances. Now, to assume this second attitude obviously means not only to acknowledge even more the necessity of the aforementioned discrimination, but also to declare oneself for the precise direction in which it must be made. This would constitute the fundamental proof of vocations. A great spirit of the past century, the Catholic and Spanish statesman Donoso Cortès, spoke of the times which were approaching for Europe, foretold by the first revolutionary and socialist movements, as those of 'the absolute negations and the sovereign assertions'. Those times have come. A right-wing radicalism has to be opposed to the left-wing radicalism. But, more than that, the direction of the discrimination we have mentioned a short while ago cannot be doubted : beyond the 'myth', beyond nostalgia, beyond the mourning for the great man, fascism can be used as a base only insofar as it was a manifestation and re-assumption of the great European political tradition, of that which acted in a formative manner on the spiritual, political and social plane before the French revolution, before the advent of the third estate and the world of masses, before the bourgeois and industrial revolution and all its consequences and the sets of congruent actions and reactions which have led to Europe's current prostration, to all that threatens the definitive destruction of what little may still be left of the European civilisation and the white race. The historical task of qualified men nowadays would be to assume as starting point the elements of that heritage which manifested themselves again in Fascism, and to complete them so as to free them from the deviant or even perverted inflections which had become associated with them and which were to some extent the effects of the very evil to be fought. Unfortunately, however, we have not even seen the beginning of this yet. If, among those who are still standing, there is a certain unanimity about what must be denied and fought, the positive counterpart is weak and fleeting, and the radicalism of a correctly formulated and consistently developed idea is as yet nonexistent. During all these post-war years, apart from loyalist or nostalgic manifestations and the activities of vague political oppositionist parties which show a very poor inner unity - in Italy, the MSI (2) is as fragmented as the monarchist parties - not a single book - not a single one - has been published which, leaving aside the myths of the man and of the system, worried about giving, in terms of a clear political doctrine and of a general doctrine of the antidemocratic and antisocialist state, sound points of reference. This is the vacuum which still exists on the side of the 'national' groups, no matter how good their intentions. Having explained the gravity of the problem, it would be frivolous for us to pretend to solve it, on this plane, with what is possible in a short essay. What will follow must thus be considered as a simple outline, limited to a few essential points, in need, therefore, of being supplemented by a much vaster, more detailed and documented exposition. Here, we present merely a simple excursus, meant to fix some fundamental ideas present in Fascism which can be enhanced from a higher, traditional, point of view, and which, once separated from the rest and developed, can be used as a foundation of a true right-wing radicalism (3). Idea of the State Fascism originated from a reaction, fueled mainly by the 'combattentistico' (1) element, against a crisis which was essentially the crisis of the very idea of the state - of authority and of the Imperium. Italy was still under the influence of the unfortunate ideologies of the Risorgimento period. It appeared as a secular state, where the Masonic influence was powerful, with a mediocre liberal government and a weakened, that is, a parliamentary and constitutional, Monarchy ; as a state which, on the whole, was deprived of a 'myth' in the positive sense, that is of a higher guiding and organising idea. That a nation in such conditions was not in a position to face the problems which the forces set in motion by the war and the post-war period presented, and to oppose the ideologies and the social suggestions of the imminent revolution of the fourth estate, was becoming each day more and more obvious. The merit of Fascism was above all to have rectified, in Italy, the idea of the state, to have set up the base for a strong government, asserting the pure principle of authority and political sovereignty. In principle, in the fascist doctrine, all such ideologies as the romantic one, that of the society of nations, and the democratic one, were overcome, and a pre-eminence was accorded to the state, the dignity of a power by virtue of which the nation has a consciousness, a form, and a will and takes part in a supranatural order. The trinomial of the Ventennio Fascism, 'Authority, Order, Justice' reassumes undeniably the political tradition which created all the great European states. What is more, Fascism evoked again the Roman idea as higher integration of the 'myth' of the new political organism, and as the ideal for the assertion of the new type of the Italian man who was to have the power in his hands. All this is positive in Fascism, and its message, if a reconstructionist movement were again made possible for us or for Europe, would not need to be changed. We need merely to eliminate the deviations of the system. Totalitarianism and the 'Ethical State' The first of these deviations is totalitarianism. The principle of a central incontrovertible authority degenerates when it asserts itself in a system which controls everything and intervenes in everything, according to the formula 'Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state'. Such a formula can be proclaimed within a totalitarian Soviet etatism, given its materialist, mechanist and collectivist premises, not in a traditional system, which is based on spiritual values. The traditional state is organic, but not totalitarian. It is differentiated and articulated, it admits of zones of partial autonomy. It co-ordinates and makes subordinate to a higher unity forces whose liberty, however, it respects. It is precisely because it is strong that it does not need a mechanical centralisation. According to a happy formula, it is omnia potens, not omnia facens (W.Heinrich), that is to say that it holds an absolute power in its centre, which it can and must enforce when necessary - but it does not interfere everywhere, it does not substitute for everything, it does not want a barracks-style enlistment nor a levelling conventionalism, but free acknowledgment and loyalty ; it does not proceed to impertinent and obtuse interventions of the public into the private. The traditional picture is that of a natural gravitation of parts, or partial unities, around a centre which commands without compelling, acts through prestige and through an authority which can, surely, resort to force, but abstains from it as much as possible. Whoever lived in the Fascist period knows the distance which unfortunately existed between the praxis of the regime and this ideal of the true state. What must thus be considered as an aberration of the system is the conception of the so-called 'ethical state', by which the atmosphere of the state is coarsened to that of an educationalist or a reformer and the ideal of the leader to that of an unbearable and invasive pedagogue. The relations which exist between the leader and his followers on a virile and 'combattentistico' (1) plane, which are based on free adhesion and mutual respect and non-interference in what is solely personal beyond what is objectively required for the purpose of common action, illustrate the opposite direction, which is the positive one. So, all that in Fascism had the character of a state pedagogism and of a pressure not on the political objective plane, but on that of the moral personal life, must be rejected. A typical example among many : that of the so-called Fascist 'demographic campaign', odious even if it had not been based on an absurd principle according to which 'numbers are power', a principle contradicted by all known history, the 'numbers' having always been made subject by small groups of dominating peoples, empires having been founded by these groups and not by the demographic overflow of masses of pariahs and underprivileged pouring out onto the lands of the richer and having no other right than their poverty and their procreative incontinence. One official, one of the brave defenders of Giarabub (4) did not get the promotion of rank which he was expecting, because, not following the imperative of the 'demographic campaign', he did not get married. Another, rightly, considered precipitate resignation from the army (5). Neither the 'totalitarian' idea, nor that of the 'ethical state', nor the control of purely personal life, should be re-assumed by the inheritors of Fascism. State and Nation We have already pointed out that the traditional principle of the pre-eminence of the state over what is merely people and nation asserted itself again in the doctrine of Fascism. This idea must be re-assumed and further developed in the direction of a precise ideal opposition between state and 'society', gathering in the word 'society' all those values, those interests and those dispositions which concern the physical and vegetative side of a community and which are linked to mere pacific living and are not organised according to a higher idea. The antithesis between political systems which gravitate around the idea of state and those which gravitate on the contrary around the idea of 'society' is fundamental. The latter comprise all the varieties of bourgeois democracy, of natural right and so forth up to socialism, the horizon of socialism too being limited to physical and collectivist values for the simple reason that it has as its only base the world and its economic processes. However, a similarly degenerated idea of nationalism has not been clearly criticised and avoided by fascists : a nationalism calling on the mere feelings of fatherland and people, and associated with a 'traditionalism' which in Italy, on account of the very character of the previous history of this nation, could not have anything in common with tradition meant in a higher sense, but was limited to a mediocre conservatism of the bourgeois kind, 'priggish', catholicising and conventionalist. The aggregation of the nationalist group to the Fascist party, once power was conquered, contributed to this limitation of the revolutionary Fascist idea ; besides, there were the tactical reasons which led one to play on feelings easy to reawaken in the struggle against the left-wing currents. Now, we have to go beyond this, conscious of the naturalist and in a sense pre-political character which the feeling of fatherland and nation has, a pre-political character not entirely distinct from mere family feeling. We must discern what it is that, in contrast, unites a nation on the basis of an idea and of a symbol of sovereignty. It is all the more appropriate to consider this, when we note how easy it is to abuse the call for 'fatherland' and 'nation' through an empty and mendacious rhetoric : it can be seen nowadays, in the ostentatious patriotism employed for tactical and electoral purposes even by parties which in their essence tend not only to be anti-state but also to deny the possible higher content which can be gathered by a purified nationalism. ‘Diarchy' The great problem which, nowadays, given that the general conditions are fundamentally changed, is extremely difficult to solve practically, concerns the institutional system in which the principle of pure political and spiritual authority must be positivised. Various criticisms have been leveled, from various points of view, against 'diarchy', that is, against the coexistence of Monarchy and a sort of dictatorship in the Fascist period. Some people have thought they could recognise in the Fascist acceptance of the monarchic institution a misunderstanding or a fault by the revolutionary force of the Mussolinian movement. The truth is that, if a true Monarchy had existed in Italy, a Monarchy as a power and not as a mere symbol, Fascism would never have arisen, the 'revolution' would not have been necessary or, better, would have had the form of that 'revolution from above', with an abrogation of constitutional checks and balances, which is the only acceptable one in a traditional regime. Since, however, this was not the way things were, other methods had to be employed. Turning from the plane of recent history to that of pure doctrine, it is not to be thought that 'diarchy' is a compromise or a hybrid ; on the contrary, it can have its traditional chrism. A 'dictatorship' cannot acquire a permanent institutional character. Ancient Rome admitted it in cases of necessity and so long as that necessity lasted, as an instinctive recourse which was not revolutionary, but was viewed with perfect equanimity as part of the legitimate existing order. We find in other traditional constitutions too dualities equivalent to that of the rex and the dux, of the rex and the heretigo or imperator (in the military sense), the former embodying the pure, intangible and sacred principle of sovereignty, the latter appearing as the one who, in stormy periods or in view of particular exigencies carried out exceptional duties in a perilous position which, because of the nature itself of his function, could not befit the rex. He was required, unlike the rex, to have the qualities of an exceptional and particularly gifted individual, since he was not to draw his authority from a pure symbolic non-acting and, so to speak, 'Olympian' function. Moreover, in less remote times, particular figures such as Richelieu, Bismarck, Metternich and, to a certain extent, even Cavour, to some extent played this role in relation to their respective Sovereigns. I am speaking here on the abstract plane, the plane of pure principles. What happened in Italy in the context of Fascism and its crises cannot be judged simply in these terms. What may be said doctrinally however is that whether or not Mussolini had succeeded in discharging his principal function, analogous to that of the great loyalist chancellors, which began with the creation of the empire not for its own sake but as a service to the King of Italy, the hybridity of the Fascist system would still have been apparent in his populism, his acquisition of a prestige which verged on that of a Bonaparte or a Tribune, his prominence as a personality, and his democratic if not demagogic inclination to 'go towards the people' and not to disdain the adulation of the public (for which he was richly rewarded by them in 1945). One point is very important for the task of discrimination in which we are presently engaged : it is hardly felt nowadays, but there is an insuperable difference between the 'sacred' authority of a genuine ruler and the authority based on the informal power, the capacities, and the skills of an exceptional individual, from the 'Prince' of Machiavelli to the 'caesarist' figures conceived of by Spengler at the obscure end of any 'civilisation', to rouse the emotional and irrational forces of the masses. In the traditional world people obey and are subordinates or subjects on the basis of a 'pathos of distance' (Nietzsche), to be precise because they feel they are before one who is almost of another nature. In the world of today, with the transformation of the people into a plebes and into a mass, they know at most how to obey on the basis of a 'pathos of nearness', that is of equality : they bear only the leader who, in essence, is 'one of us', 'popular', interprets the 'will of the people'. Ducism in an inferior sense, as asserted especially in Hitlerism, corresponds to this second, modern, and anti-traditional orientation. Today the forces which resist are very far from reaching the stage of consideration appropriate to those who see the conquest of the state as the possibility of a near future. So what we have said in this paragraph on diarchy and on the rest must be considered only as doctrine, outside any consideration on the present situation, men and things. Because, to look at reality, we would have to repeat what a great representative of the counter-revolutionary idea already said in 1849 : "Today kings who dare to call themselves such otherwise than by the will of the people there are none, and, if there were some, nobody would obey them", and, from this observation we would have to draw the conclusion that only empirical and abnormal solutions can be considered for a period which, in the Roman sense, can be called interregnum, a period whose end it is still impossible to foretell. The Single Party The idea of the single party and of the function peculiar to it represented, in Fascism, something hybrid ; the positive instance contained in it must be isolated from the rest and properly implemented. The true state, we barely need to say, does not know the partitocracy of the democratic and parliamentarian regime. But the idea of the single party is nonsense, because to say party means part, and implies therefore a multiplicity ; hence the single party would be the part which wants to become the whole, or in other words, a faction which eliminates the others without rising to a higher plane, precisely because it keeps on considering itself as a party. The Fascist party in the Italy of yesterday represented a sort of state within the state, a prejudice to a really organic and monolithic system. In the phase of the conquest of power it can have a vital importance as centre of a national movement. After this phase, however, its continued existence makes no sense. This must not be thought of as an argument for 'normalisation', in an inferior sense, with the related political and spiritual decrease of tension. The valid forces of a party which has asserted itself must remain in power in another form, becoming part of the normal and essential hierarchies of the state itself, occupying its key positions and constituting a sort of armed guard of the state, an elite which bears, to a high degree, the Idea. Then, more than of a party, we will need to speak of a sort of 'Order'. It is the same function which, in other times, the nobility had as political class : up to the period of the central European empires. As a very approximate form, we have the House of Lords in its original conception. Fascism maintained on the contrary the conception of the 'party' and there was a sort of duplication of the state and political articulations (militia next to army, federals next to prefects, Great Council next to parliament, and so on), instead of an organic synthesis and a symbiosis. This cannot be regarded as valid element of the heritage of Fascism (6). Finally, the very conception of the Fascist party felt the effects of its origins, by lack of qualitative criterion : it was that of a mass party. Instead of making membership of the party a difficult privilege, the regime imposed it on almost everyone. Is there anyone who, at that time, did not have the 'card'? Who could afford not to have it? Hence the fatal consequence of outward, conventionalistic and opportunistic membership - with effects which appeared precisely at the moment of the crisis. Originally, in communism and in National Socialism itself, the conception of the party had on the contrary a much more exclusive character. To us, the positive point of reference, the positive counterpart of the concept of the single party, must be that of a sort of Order, serving as the spine of the state and partaking, to a certain extent, of the pure authority and dignity which gather at the peak of the state. Corporatism and Autarchy On the plane of principle, the significance of Fascism lies essentially in its political aspect : only secondarily in its socio-economic aspect, because, according to the traditional conception, socio-economic problems in the narrow sense cannot be absolutised beyond the place which is due to them in the scheme of a vaster hierarchy of values and interests. Nevertheless, on this plane, what remains valid is the Fascist imperative of fighting, in the first place, the system of incompetence peculiar to democracy, of substituting for it a principle of solidarity, energy and unity in a world which was and is feeling the effects of the deleterious influences of class consciousness, of partitism, of the regime of influential and incompetent political schemers, in addition to the antagonisms between monopoly capitalists, the markets and the forces of work in the liberal-inspired system. In this respect, the corporative system, if judged on the basis of its direction and its fundamental requirement, represents undoubtedly another positive aspect of Fascism. This direction can be defined as that of an organic reconstruction of the economy through the re-assumption, on a gigantic scale adequate to the dimensions of the modern economy, of the spirit which, all things considered, was already the driving force of ancient corporations and, in general, the company units before they came to be compromised on one side by the deviations and the abuse of power of late capitalism, and on the other side by the Marxist intoxication which spread in the working masses. But a requirement of this kind in the praxis of the regime was only half carried out. In Fascist corporatism there were still remnants of class consciousness because - again owing to the origins of the movement, and even to the personal precedents of Mussolini - they did not have the courage to assume a clearly anti-syndicalist position ; the system even decreed legislatively the double formation of the employers and of the workers, a duality which was not overcome where it should have been, that is in the companies themselves, through organic original forms, but rather in inefficient and often parasitic state superstructures, shaped by a heavy bureaucratic centralism. We need hardly add that the Ventennio corporatism and the positions of the 'second Fascism', the 'socialisation', the confirmed and widened acknowledgment of the syndicate and the rest represented a step backwards and not a step forwards. If ever there was a step forwards and an example to keep more than any other, it was, in principle, the National Socialist legislation of work, which excluded trade unionism and showed how, on this basis, it was possible to come to an organic and efficient reconstruction of the economy, with the adequate satisfaction of the need of a 'social justice' which was correctly understood, and not according to a legalised demagogy (as nowadays in Italy). So we can gather from Fascist corporatism on one side the principle of an anti-classist solidarity in the productive order, with an overcoming both of liberalism and socialism in an organic conception, on the other side the principle of a regime of competences, supposed to have also a political content through the Corporative House substituted for the democratic parliament of parties. What has been considered by some people as a fault, and almost as a stopping of the 'social revolution', of Fascism in this field must be regarded on the contrary to its merit. Fascism opposed the reduction of state power in the corporations to the increase of state power in the economy : this is the so-called 'pancorporatism'. The primacy of the political principle over the economy, which was to be kept in its normal condition of mere order of means, was recognised and asserted, and this must be considered as its positive message. If the absurd formula of the 'state of work' appears here and there, and if someone, led by an unhappy set of circumstances to have a certain authority in Fascism, was not satisfied with having put forward the corrupt formula of the 'ethical state', but produced, in addition to it, the even more deplorable formula of the 'humanism of work', all this can be referred to the waste, the evanescent part of Fascism, not to its essential and valid part. This must be asserted today more resolutely than ever. To turn now to another issue, this one concerning not just the national economy : the most varied contemporary circles are used to condemning the Fascist principle of autarchy. We cannot associate ourselves in any way with this condemnation. At the scale of the nations no less than at that of the person, there is no better good than liberty. It is well known that the concept of autarchy originates in classical antiquity, in the Stoic schools, where it was considered as an imperative of the ethic of independence and self-sovereignty ; to defend these very values, if necessary, the precept was to be abstine et substine. The Fascist principle of autarchy is a sort of extension of this ethic to the plane of the national economy. If necessary, to maintain the general tone of life relatively low, but to be as free as possible from the ties of capital and alien economies, this is a sound and virile idea. When it comes to a nation with limited natural resources, like Italy, a system of autarchy and austerity within a balanced economy of consumption rather than of forced production and of the superfluous must be opposed to what we can witness today : an apparent general prosperity and a happy-go-lucky day-to-day life, and, beyond one's own condition, a dreadful debit of the state balance, an extreme instability, a progressive inflation and the invasion of alien capital - an invasion which nowadays bears the charming but hypocritical label of 'development assistance to under-developed areas'. Russia and America Since with these last observations we have moved from the inner doctrine of the state to international relations, we barely need to say that one thing that must be purely and simply re-assumed from Fascism, as a clear watchword, is opposition to both Russia and America, to both the 'East' and the 'West', according to the terminology which has become fashionable. Even if in different forms, these two 'societies' of nations, which pretend to be the leading nations, and, unfortunately, are so nowadays to a large extent, represent to the same degree anti-tradition and the denial of any of the higher values of the European heritage. Unfortunately, today, we cannot think of more than an inner, spiritual defence, for lack of the necessary base for a third military and economic bloc able to oppose in any way both perils on the plane of world politics. Inner defence, however, from Americanism as well as from communism, would already signify a great deal. Beyond this, all is still indefinite. It even remains indefinite, in general, what can be done outside the plane of doctrinal orientation, after having determined what can be used in the Fascist heritage for a pure right-wing radicalism. As we have noted, it is to the Ventennio Fascism that we have referred so far. Basically, we discussed exclusively questions of doctrine, and the second Fascism, that of Salò, to us, could be re-assumed almost solely according to this criterion. Too many contingent and unhappy factors, however, have affected whatever it possessed as rough outline of politico-social doctrine ; it lacked completely a period of maturation. The value of the second Fascism lies on the contrary in its 'combattentistico' (1) and legionary aspect ; as rightly said by someone, it lies in the fact that, with it, perhaps for the first time in our history, an impressive number of Italians decisively chose the way of sacrifice, of defeat and unpopularity in the name of the principle of faithfulness to a leader and military honour. Its value lay, more generally, in the pure heroic will to fight even on lost positions. On this plane - therefore, an existential and not a political plane - the continuity between the first and the second Fascism must be acknowledged, and the ideal instructions of the latter can be re-assumed. As a matter of fact, given the atmosphere and the forces which were prevailing both in Italy and in the world, to have the courage of 'sovereign affirmations', to have declared ourselves for a long time for the ideas which we have isolated as traditional potential content of Fascism can only mean nowadays to testify to the very vocation of the Northern fighters : to defend an ideal and keep the positions, even if they were to be lost positions, or better, even if it were to be doubtful that those who will stay awake during the night may meet those who will appear in the morning. -------------------------- (1) Spirit of brotherhood and solidarity which linked Italian ex-soldiers in the aftermath of WW1 ('combattentistico' is the adjective of 'combattentismo'). (note of the publisher) (2) In the aftermath of World War II, various neo-Fascist movements were founded in Italy ; the Movimento Sociale Italiano was one of them. It was founded by Giorgo Almirante, leader of the left-wing socialist-inspired, current of neo-Fascism, who, after having being supplanted by the right-wing of the party in the 1950's, led it again later on, until his death in 1987, when Fini, his 'protégé', took over ; due to bad electoral results in 1990, Fini was dismissed and replaced by Pino Rauti, who, in 1956, had left the movement to set up Ordine Nuovo on the basis of the ultra-conservative ideas of Julius Evola and is known in Italy to be one of the very few Evolian Italian politicians ; due again to bad electoral results, he was replaced, the year after, by....Fini, who, a few years later, was to publicly disown Fascism and Mussolini and is now a member of the ultra-liberal plutocratic coalition in office in Rome. (note of the publisher) (3) We know very well the objections, to some extent legitimate, raised by some people against the use of the word 'right', both because of what is understood by this word in Italy nowadays and, more generally, because of the partitistic references - 'right' and 'left' - within a system such as the parliamentarian democratic one, which is to be rejected as a whole. It is therefore appropriate to make it clear that we use the word 'right' in a special sense, specifically as a designation of the orientation which, in the interregnum represented by the parties regime, best reflects what is superior to the parties and refers to the transcendent idea of state. (4) Giarabub was an Italian oasis military post in the Libyan desert, which, during World War II, a group of Italian soldiers, besieged by the British, heroically defended, refusing to surrender, despite their desperate situation. (note of the publisher) (5) Along the same lines, in Fascism, the preoccupation for 'petty morality' instead of 'grand morality', especially with regard to sexuality, with the corresponding measures of censorship and state interdiction. In this respect, it is good that people, especially the young, know nowadays that Fascism was not that different from the present puritan-like demo-Christian regime but rather differed from what was peculiar to German National Socialism. (6) The presence of men of the party in many government positions during the regime often had negative effects, because of the confusion of planes. The indisputable merits which this or that Fascist might have had, in respect of his having been a squadrist or activist of the first hour were not enough, on their own, in the discharge of functions of the purely political, economic or cultural order, for which a competence, an experience, and a formation, which could not be expected of him, were necessary. From these interferences derived various weaknesses of the regime, and many cases of valid forces which found themselves obstructed by the bloc constituted by men of the party, having very few merits outside those we have just mentioned, occurred.