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The Political Spectrum after WW1:
Furthest Left Most Socialist
They wanted a revolution.
They argued correctly that:
Poverty was terrible and widespread (especially in the south). They complained that the
Liberal Government had given minimal help.
Wages for people living in towns and the countryside were too small compared with the
amount of hours done. They argued that they were the worst looked after workers in
There were very little welfare provisions. (E.g. pensions) the liberal government did not
care about the old or the infirm.
The Liberals had been wasting too much money on foreign wars. (E.g. Abyssinia and
Libya). This money could have been used to solve the problems that Italy faced.
The Liberals were associated with repression. The 200 killed in 1898 were never
forgotten despite Giolitti's efforts to work with the moderate socialists.
Many talked of revolution rather than cooperation with the Liberals. In August 1919 the
Socialist Manifesto was published and was shown to be very militant.
Militant Poor Agricultural Workers:
2nd Furthest Left Still Quite Socialist
This group was made up of peasants mainly in the areas of Ferrara and Tuscany.
They were angry about the commercialisation of farming in the north/centre which meant
losing jobs, lower wages and a raw deal.
They were heavily influenced by the socialist trade unions and the `chambers of labour'
(the selfhelp organisations who recruited peasants to the socialist cause)
They were prepared to strike and did. In 1920 in Ferrara the farmers went on strike.
They forced the landowners to grant wage rises. In Tuscany in 1920 the farmers were granted
security of tenure and over 50% profit to charecroppers.
They felt that the PSI (socialist party)'s idea to collectivize the land was their best hope.
(For example joining a farming cooperative where all the profits were shared equally was much
more appealing than working for a landowner doing all his work and getting a much smaller
percentage of the profit).
They found success in the Socialist cooperatives and labour markets as well as the
Peasant Leagues. These situations were not idea but they were better than starving and so
appealing to this group of Peasants.
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Reformist Catholics (significant minority):
3rd Furthest Left Held Socialist Sympathies rather than being Socialists.
These Catholics were definitely a minority. They held socialist sympathies rather than
actually being socialists. They were mainly southern Catholics who had experienced terrible
poverty and didn't think the Liberals had done enough. Proof of this is the mass American
emigration from the south of Italy. They saw the Liberals as an urban, educated elite who didn't
understand real Italy.…read more
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In 1861 the Liberals alienated many Catholics by trying to make the state more
powerful than the church.
Upper Classes (large landowners):
2nd Furthest Right Very Nationalist
This group consisted of the traditional ruling elites:
Owners of Estates
They feared the socialists might force them out of business they were already facing
competitive pressures from socialist labour markets, cooperatives and Peasant Leagues.…read more