The Fascist Corporate State

Main Aims

  • To strengthen the political system

  • To make Italy self-sufficient and to achieve autarky

  • To fund Italy’s military and expansionist aims

Early Success

In 1922, Mussolini appointed an Economics professor, Alberto de Stefani, as his Minister for Finance, adopting liberal policies of reducing the government’s economic intervention, stimulating investment, reducing taxes on war profits, reducing public spending and taking steps to balance the budget.

In the early years of the Fascist government, the Italian economy was improving.

In 1925, de Stefani was dismissed.

His position was filled by an industrialist and the Fascist Economic Structure was began to develop.

(Above) Alberto de Stefani

How did Mussolini build a Corporate State?

Alfredo Rocco's Law on Corporations

  • Came into effect in October 1926.

  • Trade unions were banned and a new law court was set up to deal with political offences

  • Strikes were deemed illegal.

  • The National Council of Corporations was initially established by royal decree on 2 July 1926, and inaugurated in 1930.

      • One of the main aims was managing business operations in foreign countries.

      • It consisted of 823 members, 66 of whom represented the Fascist Party, with the rest being representatives of the employer and workers confederations.

General Confederation of Labour (CGL) and Catholic Confederation of Labour (CIL) decided to dissolve themselves in 1927

  • This was as a result of the Fascist crackdown on workers unions.

Charter of Labour, 1927

  • He recognised private enterprises as the most efficient, gaining him support from rich industrialists.

  • The charter also stated that the state could take control of, manage or encourage enterprises that were considered inefficient.

The National Confederation of Fascist Syndicates

  • In November 1928, the National Confederation of Fascist Syndicates, led largely by Edmundo Rossoni, was disbanded.

  • Under his leadership, membership rose from 250,000 in 1920 to 1.8 million by 1924, surpassing every other labor organisation. It even had more members than the National Fascist Party, which, comparatively, had just 650,000 members.

      • This was a cause for alarm among Fascist leaders, and they especially resented Rossoni’s autonomous role in controlling the Fascist syndicates.

  • The General Confederation of Industry decided to dismantle the National Confederation of Fascist Syndicates in November 1928, claiming that his syndicates had failed to achieve the original goal of“educating the masses.” They also disagreed with him as his fascist syndicate wanted to involve workers in the organisation of factories, introduce minimum salaries, working hours and terms for employment, which were unfavourable for employers and industrialists. As a result, his confederation was broken up and re-organised into six smaller syndicates that were arranged by economic sectors.

The 22 Corporate States

  • By 1935, twenty-two corporate states had been established, with each being responsible for specific categoria, managing labour contracts and promoting production.

  • Each of these corporations was controlled by councils where employers and employees were represented equally.

  • These councils coordinated with a committee that mirrored the Ministry of Corporations, and decisions had to be approved and issued by Mussolini.

Parliament was replaced by the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations

  • In March 1939, Parliament was replaced by the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, with members being selected from the various corporations of Italy.

The Third Way

  • The Fascists wanted a society where the employers and workers worked together in the national interest. Mussolini claimed that his Corporate State was founded on the strengths of capitalism and socialism. He called this the “third way”.