SHIRTS, BLACK--AND BLOODY
The Frankenstein of Fascismo which Premier Mussolini raised in Italy put him into power, but it now threatens to destroy him because he cannot control it. Beginning last July with the assassination of Matteoti, the Socialist deputy, there has been a sucqession of disturbances which culminated in the Italian Armistice Day riot. The grandson of the great Garibaldi has even challenged Mussolini to a duel but has not been answered.
The trouble with Fascism is that it is too firm a believer in violence. When an Opposition deputy is too curious about the administration, he is put out of the way if not by the order at least with the acquiescence of Mussolini Socialist newspaper editors are harried unmercifully, even when they are not allowed to print their papers. But such methods are not conclusive. It is the old attempt to kill an idea by killing the men who champion it, and it is about as successful as the inquisition was Indeed, the bloody instruction which the Fascists teach is only too eagerly copied by the Socialists and the ex-soldiers, who it appears now bear no love for Mussolini.
It does not seem possible that Mussolini can long maintain his strength by such extra-constitutional means. To justify his methods he has brought forth a succession of bug-bears which he pointed to as the reason and the justification of his violent tactics. But each scare must of necessity be greater than the previous one, or it will fall flat. The supply of scares is limited, and so is the gullibility of the masses. By their exuberant methods the Fascisti have convinced the rest of the people as well as themselves that violence is the natural instead of the exceptional method of settling controversies, and Mussolini could not now cry them halt if he would.