The Preventative Counterrevolution

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[Fabbri’s] most incisive, most effective, intellectually most inspiring essay is, in our judgement, Preventive Counter-revolution (1922). It was written in the heat of the moment whilst fascist goons were gaining the upper hand over the revolutionary disturbances in the factories and the fields. The post-war elections had inflated out of all proportion the strength of the leftwing parties, the striking workforce was poised to bring the system grinding to a halt and the trams were running with red flags on display. It was time to act, before the reaction could orchestrate any countervailing measures. Fabbri wrote: “But the revolution did not come and was not made. There were only popular rallies, lots of rallies; and alongside these demonstrations, countless choreographed marches and parades … Moreover, this euphoria lasted too long, at almost two years; and the others, the ones who felt everyday that they were under threat of being toppled from their thrones and stripped of their privileges began to wake up to the situation and appreciate their own strength and the weakness of their enemies.” And they had armed the fascists to mount a counter-revolution to pre-empt the revolution; what we might describe as a preventative counter-revolution which fastened upon society even though the revolution never happened. This was Fabbri’s interpretation of the fascist phenomenon, which came into existence as the armed wing of the landlords and capitalists and as a substantially novel force, the subsequent evolution of which defies explanation unless we recognise a frightening series of errors, shortcomings, ingeniousness and weakness on the part of the left.

(Francesco Lamendola in Remembering Luigi Fabbri)

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From: La controrivoluzione preventiva : riflessioni sul fascismo (1922). Translated by: Paul Sharkey.