Carlo Tresca pp 195-208 | Cite as

Troubled Times for Anti-Fascism

  • Nunzio Pernicone
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


The 1920s had ended victoriously for anti-Fascism with the acquittal of Greco and Carrillo and the disbanding of the Fascist League. Yet within a few years, the resistance was floundering in crisis and decline. “To deny this is for us to close our eyes,” Tresca declared.1 This was attributable mainly to the weakness and disarray of the radical movement upon which anti-Fascism was based. The anarchists were divided by the conflict between L’Adunat? and Tresca; they would never regain the key role they had played in the early days of the resistance. Social democrats were likewise in trouble. Membership of the FSI had declined to 400 in 1929 from around 800–900 in 1920; its following remained static thereafter.2 The Italian labor unions were experiencing grave financial difficulties because of the Depression and terminated their subsidies to Il Nuovo Mond?, which ceased publication in 1931, after its purchase by conservatives in league with the consul general. The anti-Fascist daily was resurrected by the social democrats as La Stampa Liber? in 1931, but barely survived. The few remaining Italian syndicalists of the IWW still clung to a tenuous existence but did little more than publish Il Proletario? The communists, too, faced dire times in the early 1930s. Their major organ, Il Lavorator? folded in 1931, but was replaced in 1932 with L’Unità Operaia? Unlike the other sovversiv?, however, the communists would recover and increase their strength. The Italian Bureau of the CP, which had numbered around 1,000 during the mid-1920s, and then declined by the end of the decad?, successfully recruited new members by the mid-1930s, chiefly among American-born Italians rather than older generation immigrants, a development stimulated by the Spanish Civil War.3


Foreign Minister Social Democrat District Attorney Unite Front General Staff 
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  1. 7.
    Denis Mack Smith, Italy: A Modern Histor?, revised ed. ( Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1969 ), 440–443.Google Scholar
  2. 26.
    Il Lavorator?, March 3, September 22, 1928, as cited in Luciano J. Iorizzo and Salvatore Mondello, The Italian-American? (New York: Twayne Publications, 1971), 201, 249.Google Scholar
  3. 30.
    After World War II, the L’Adunatist? ostracized Borghi because they disapproved of politics and his private life, namely, the woman he had chosen for his companion. Interview with Valerio Isca, June 5, 1975; Sam Dolgoff, Fragments: A Memoi? ( Cambridge, MA: Refract Publications, 1986 ), 33.Google Scholar
  4. 78.
    Ibid., 125–126; Guadagni and Vidal, Omaggi?, 3; The New York Time?, July 15, 16, 1932; John Herling and Morris Shapiro, The Terzani Case: An Account of a Labor Battle Against a Fascist Frame-U? (New York: League for Industrial Democracy, 1934 ), 3–5; John Nicolas Beffel, “Memorandum for Dr. John P. Diggins about Carlo Tresca” (cited hereafter as Beffel, “Memo to Diggins”), New York University, Tamiment Institute Library, John Nicholas Beffel Papers, box 2.Google Scholar

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© Nunzio Pernicone 2005

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