|Billboard boy in Barrow earning a crust.|
LESSON FROM HISTORY
Italy has never seen anything similar to the type of planning exhibited by the Government of Soviet Russia.
When an important branch of the banking system, or a large-scale industry which could be confused with the "higher interests of the nation" has threatened to collapse, the Government has stepped into the breach and prevented the breakdown by emergency measures. If there is a field in which planning is necessary and can be done without notable obstacles, it is that of public works; but even a Fascist expert is obliged to recognise that "they are begun as required without a general plan in the region where the depression is most severe."
The policy of the Italian dictatorship during these years of world crisis has been no different in its aims, methods, and results from the policy of all the Governments of the capitalistic countries.
The Charter of Labour says that private enterprise is responsible to the State. In actual fact, it is the State, i.e. the taxpayer, who has become responsible to private enterprise. In Fascist Italy the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise. As long as business was good, profit remained to private initiative. When the depression came, the Government added the loss to the taxpayers' burden. Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.
Under the Axe of Fascism, Gaetano Salvemini, LBC, 1936, page 416
In Britain today, taxpayers bailed out failed banks to the tune of £1.3 trillion and workers are paying the price of this in job losses, benefit cuts, erosion of health care, wage freezes, and rising energy and food costs whilst the bankers and financiers are able to return to awarding themselves millions in annual bonuses. And this has been achieved without the usual Fascist coercion techniques of blackjacks, torture or concentration camps. How much longer will it be before the unemployed will be housed in 'hostels' and engaged in 'work details' for the good of society - and will they be obliged to wear striped pyjamas, perhaps?
In the meantime, three men (one, in his twenties here in Furness) have died in eight days as a result of police using a combination of immobilizing tasers and pepper sprays. There has been a significant increase in cases of police intimidation and brutality against young, elderly, and even disabled civilian demonstrators in recent years and courts are dismissive of any attempts to bring thuggish police to account. The future use of water cannon and plastic bullets must surely now be on the agenda as protests against government-imposed poverty increase in size and frequency.