The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, FL)/November 12, 1924
Foes Draw Up Proclamation Condemning Fascist Rule—
Premier’s Majority May Be Weakened in Coming Session
Two years from the time he led the Fascisti black-shirts in the triumphant march to Rome, Premier Benito Mussolini finds the opposition to himself and his party so formidable that the hitherto invincible Fascisti parliamentary phalanx may be shattered when the chamber reconvenes.
While Mussolini pleaded for continued support before a meeting of government deputies Tuesday, members of the opposition drew up a proclamation to the country condemning Fascist rule and reiterating the determination of the opposition deputies to refuse to participate in the Fascist-bossed parliament which meets Wednesday.
“Fascism has forced Italy to concentrate all her energies in conserving public and private liberty and representative institutions,” the opposition deputies declared in their message to the people. “Italy cannot overcome this crisis until power is restored to popular sovereignty and the opposition cannot abandon the fight until Italy knows how to redeem her liberty.”
Mussolini’s situation is precarious because his majority in the chamber is not composed entirely of members of the Fascist party. There are Liberals and former-combatants among his supporters and if these could be coaxed over to the side of the opposition, the Italian dictator would find himself stripped of a parliamentary quorum and the choice of governing without a parliament, or of entering into a doubtful general election which would be thrust under the government’s nose.
The opposition deputies are making the most of the incidents of Nov. 4, the Italian Armistice day, when regimented Fascisti and members of the ex-combatant organized by a descendant of Garibaldi fought in a public square in Rome following a misunderstanding for which each blames the other.
Mussolini’s 24-month dictatorship has caused tremendous dissatisfaction among Liberal elements who were gradually alienated from his cause as he unfolded his political theories including the famous tenet expressed in a speech several months ago that democracy is a futile thing with which Fascism would not toy.
There has been continuous bloodshed in Italy, culminating in outrages perpetrated by hoodlum bands of Fascisti and opposition supporters. The Fascisti themselves had pointed the way to summary and unlawful punishment of dissenters to their scheme of government with the famous castor oil cure which many Romans and provincial Italians suffered.
Neither Mussolini’s nor his authority of government nor his authority can be compared with the almost chaotic situation that is resolving itself out of the dictatorship of General Prime De Rivera in Spain, but it is significant that the two great south European dictatorships are simultaneously experiencing opposition which may topple them from power.
The Italian opposition demands a general election to be held without the interference or dominance of the Fascist party which has developed an uncanny ability to influence the trend of balloting.
Whether Mussolini will accede to this request depends upon the attitude of his extra-Fascist supporters who hold the balance of power in the Italian parliament.
(Source: Google News, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19241112&id=d95PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uVQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4970,1546203)