‘The Fascist Menace in the United States of America’ by Carlo Tresca from Labor Defender. Vol. 2 No. 1. January, 1927.

Tresca rallying for Sacco and Vanzetti.

Carlo Tresca writes on the war against anti-fascist Italians in the United States by black-shirted supporters of Mussolini’s regime. Carlo Tresca himself would be felled by a fascist bullet in New York City 15 years after this was written.

‘The Fascist Menace in the United States of America’ by Carlo Tresca from Labor Defender. Vol. 2 No. 1. January, 1927.

IT is a well-known fact by now among all conscious workers that Fascism is the most bestial and murderous of the bourgeois Reactions. The aim of Fascism is that of reducing the proletariat to the most abject form of slavery, and thus ensure to the capitalist class large and generous profits.

In order to achieve power and to serve as a vendetta for the plutocracy, who, at the period of the occupation of the factories, had felt itself nearing the end of its domination, and to disarm and weaken the people, Fascism has sown death in all the streets of Italy, has clothed in mourning thousands upon thousands of mothers, has rendered orphans thousands upon thousands of children, and has generally proceeded along a blind alley. Thousands of Italians have been exiled, from the most humble worker to the most cultured university professor.

The story of the crimes committed by Fascism is such that when compared with those of the inquisition of Rome under the popes it would put to nothing the dark and gloomy night which was the Middle Ages.

The methods of Fascism are only the use of the poignard and brutal beatings of the bodies of men, women and children. From incendiarism in all of the chambers of labor to the destruction of all co-operatives, from pistol shots in cold blood on the breasts of the harmless to the torture of the numerous political prisoners, from the administration of castor oil to the washing of their stomachs with strong doses of iodines; from the cutting of their hair and beards to rubbing soot upon their faces; from lynching to legal hanging; from violent death of the persecuted to slow, painful torture, immersing them into blood and filth — these have never bothered their conscience.

At the thought of the horrible crimes committed by Fascism, recorded history of the ignominy of the capitalist class, the blood beats violently in the temples, the heart shrinks with pain, for shame. We, the Italian proletarians, feel dishonored before the civilized world. In Italy all liberty is dead. The opposition press is suppressed. Working class organizations are dissolved; all meetings of citizens who have a view different from that professed by the assassins who are at the head of the government, are prohibited. Ostracized and brought face to face with hunger, the school teachers, doctors and lawyers who are not Fascists, make it impossible for workers to find jobs unless they are affiliated to Fascist unions which are like a straight jacket applied to the workers of Italy to suppress their revolutionary impetuousness, and to numb their conscience. Italy is an armed camp.

Fascist Italy drips with red from the blood of the proletarian, made to flow in rivulets from all the victims of this band of brigands paid by the bourgeoisie which is neither back- ward nor has any remorse for its thirst for power and lucre.

Fascist Italy is a perennial menace to the peace of all peoples. Fascism seeks to hide the stilleto which is its armor and that it wields as a challenge to all who oppose it, and immerses itself into a big swamp of lies. Fascism with its money stolen from the miserable, beaten and humiliated people of Italy seeks to present itself to the workers of the United States by means of a lying and insidious propaganda under the guise of a liberating revolutionary movement.

But what the workers of the United States do not perhaps know and should know is the fact that the Fascist methods of violence and murder are practiced not only on the beautiful soil of Italy, on that peninsula which the sea surrounds and the Alps cross, but also here in America under the eyes of the complacent American authorities, the Fascisti operate. The emissaries of Mussolini carry on their infamous activities. The consulates of Italy in the United States are spy nests. Spies paid by Mussolini are everywhere, and are constantly on the lookout for political refugees.

We have here in the United States thousands of Italian workers who have escaped from death, bearing the marks of the most subtle violence on their bodies, asking for some rest, for some peace in the republic of Washington and Lincoln which vaunts itself upon being hospitable to all exiles, but which, as in the case of Sormenti, has placed itself in the services of the tyrant of Rome by deporting them when denounced by the emissaries of Mussolini. They are seized by their agents to be returned to Italy where death awaits them.

The Sormenti case is a revelation of the menace that surrounds all political refugees. It is a clear indication of the deplorable concubinage between the authorities of Washington and Rome. But that is not all. The Fascist revolver operates also in America. Guisseppe di Maio, an anti-Fascist, after a calm discussion on Fascism and Mussolini with a follower of the brigand who commands from Rome, was killed by revolver shot which split his heart. The assassin, brought before the jurors, was defended by a notable lawyer, ex-assistant district attorney, Warbasse. He was absolved! Who paid the expense for the defense? Giovanni Foddai, an anti-Fascist, on his way home late at night, in May, 1926, at Elizabeth, N. J., was killed at the door of his home by three revolver shots in the back from a Fascist who was arrested but who has not been and probably never will be tried. David Zambasi, an anti-Fascist miner, was killed August 30, 1926, at Steubenville, Ohio, by a Fascist with whom he had been engaged in a heated discussion over question of ideas. These are our dead. Here in the republic of Jefferson! These are the victims of Italian Fascism on American soil.

Then there are those who have been clubbed. In Bronx, New York, the Fascisti have formed their own organization which is called Fascio Mario Sonzini and protected as they are by the priest in the nearby church, he also a Fascist, and sure of the complacency of the police to whom were denounced their actions and against whom no measures have been taken, organized themselves in squads of ten or twenty and armed with clubs, go about in that section, meet an unarmed and lone anti-Fascist, club him until they draw blood.

Many comrades, members of the Anti-Fascist Alliance, organized in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, or in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers, socialists, communists or anarchists, have been victims of the actions of these squads of Fascists in New York. The anti-Fascist quarters of Chrystie street in New York, and Corona, Long Island, were devastated several nights ago by Fascisti. At Uniontown, New Jersey, Comrade Buratti had to submit to an ambuscade on the part of one Fascist who drew him with a polite manner into a shop conducted by him, assaulted him with a club, striking him many times and breaking his right arm. Similar incidents could be enumerated for pages and pages of this noble and generous Labor Defender, which is for us as a banner of faith and hope.

The cause of Enea Sormenti, which is the cause of liberty of all people, is defended by the right of asylum to all those who struggle for an idea. The soldiers of labor, seeking for asylum from the tyranny that infests the by-ways of Europe, have been banned throughout the world. The cause of Enea Sormenti, which is the cause of all the oppresed of the world must serve first of all, above all to tear the long arm of Mussolini off this valorous youth and inflexible militant.

Oppressed of the world, lift your robust arms! Threaten the tyrant! Shout loudly to the face of all the oppressors and against their violence and oppression!

Close your ranks and take up again the march for the conquest of all our rights!

For the liberty of Enea Sormenti! For the destruction of the Fascist regime! As one man let us lift ourselves, proletarians of the world, and hopefully march towards our end!

Labor Defender was published monthly from 1926 until 1937 by the International Labor Defense (ILD), a Workers Party of America, and later Communist Party-led, non-partisan defense organization founded by James Cannon and William Haywood while in Moscow, 1925 to support prisoners of the class war, victims of racism and imperialism, and the struggle against fascism. It included, poetry, letters from prisoners, and was heavily illustrated with photos, images, and cartoons. Labor Defender was the central organ of the Scottsboro and Sacco and Vanzetti defense campaigns. Editors included T. J. O’ Flaherty, Max Shactman, Karl Reeve, J. Louis Engdahl, William L. Patterson, Sasha Small, and Sender Garlin.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/labordefender/1927/v02n01-jan-1927-LD.pdf

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