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At a time when every newspaper is printing in its pictorial section pictures of "bolshevik" Italy, portraying in vivid detail seizures of mills and factories by the "red" element, it is comforting to hear from such a reliable source as the Italian Ambassador that conditions are not so drear as they have been painted. Of course the pictures and reports are correct, but the occurrences themselves are fewer and less alarming than the scareheads would seem to indicate; and it is only the frequent and often-repeated publication of these few occurrences that has led to the general impression that Italy is hopelessly revolutionized.
But such is not the case. In fact, Baron Ovezzano remarked in his recent statement that his country has repudiated the more violent "red" doctrines; and the socialists, though they gained a few seats in the last election, fell far short of their expected majority; also, the factories and shops, comparatively very few of which have been in any way molested, are working steadily at top speed. True, the laborers and employees themselves now, have a voice in the management of their factories, but that is not revolution; it is progress. Italy, in other words, far from turning "bolshevik," has finally thrown off the scum of unrest brought to the surface by the boiling heat of war, and has settled back again to a normal period of living and working.
It is pleasant to hear such assurances from the Ambassador. The fact that Italy has kept a firm grip on herself is not only encouraging to other nations which are passing through the same crisis, but tends also to stabilize Europe and to hasten its sluggish progress toward after-war prosperity by an increase in trade markets. It is sane and steady work, and not unrest that is so sorely needed to-day throughout the world; and Italy is giving it.
There is significance, too, in the fact that this work is given by shops run on the co-partnership plan between labor and capital; shops where the workers as well as the directors have a vote on matters concerning the management of the business and receive their share of the profit. It is this condition--a condition that is sensible, just, and, in these days of general education, inevitable--that has been brought about by Italy's much-heralded "uprising." Instead of terrorism, there is peace; instead of idleness, there is labor; instead of restlessness and oppression there is stability and co-operation. The Italian manufacturers have acted wisely in being amenable to concession and arbitration; and the land across the Alps has once more played a leading part in a renaissance--this time, one of industry.
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