The Campaigner

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The Campaigner

On September 13 the FIOM found it necessary to issue occupation reached the workers' assemblies and workers

appeals for discipline and calm [47] and the Turin were asked to vote a referendum, there could be no

Central Labor Council repeated orders to workers not to doubt about the results. Regardless of cries of treachery

take single items out of the factories for sale or emanating from supermilitant anarchist and some

otherwise. Ordine Nuovo quarters, the overwhelming majority of

Party leaders were upset about the workers' demands; workers were ready to throw in the towel and leave the

at the 1921 PSI congress A. Baratono let slip this revolution for another day.

r6vealing comment: "Some of them, not well educated, As one participant said, "Look, boys, we've gotta do

perhaps too utilitarianistic, were already asking above all this referendum. If the vote is yes, then we leave the

to be supplied with the means to live from day to day if shop. If the vote is no, they'll kick us out anyway."[S2]

they were to stay in the factories." [48] With the taste of defeat in their mouths, the workers

Without anywhere else to go, the worker could only tried to ward off the squalid hangover by having one last

direct their attention to the immediate day-to-day jolt. The important thing was to accept defeat with

problems of survival and say to hell with the rest. The "honor," to put on a good show. And the workers did.

only events that broke the boredom and demoralization In many factories the last day of the occupation was

were occasional attacks from the police or other hostile commemorated by a final banquet with all the fixings!

forces: "In a second, at the sound of the sirens, whose [53]

whining filled the night with anguish, the machines

stopped working. From all departments, all corners of At the Fiat Centro plant on Sept. 30 the workers

the enormous room, the workers in their overalls, faces gathered around to await the arrival of the returning

idirtied With oil and dust, ran in tens and hundreds, some industrialists.

armed with revolvers, hand grenades, rifles, others with

only enormous iron lances that they had forged and About 11:30 a long angry whistle, bOoing, like an alarm,

sharpened themselves; all of them ready to defend their a cry of pain, announced the arrival of the scabs and their

goons coming to take their 'places. 'They arrive. A

factory even at the cost of their own lives, if necessary." powerful cry welcomes them, a cry that was an enormous

[49] (emphasis added) protest, a great promise: Long live the Soviets[ The

At such moments, the workers rallied, excited by industrialists, livid, passed through the rows of red

fantasies of their own bravery. But even that wore out in guards...)54)

time. The Red Guards put down their rifles and red In Novara, the red flag is raised where the clock was, and

flags, refusing to fulfill guard duties except under threat stays there for about 10 days, since this was the condiof

expulsion from the party, and succeeded in working tion on which the workers had said they would allow the

up a little enthusiasm only when called upon to form return of the industrialists, who were thus forced to

admit that in the three days of occupation production

rescue squads for victims of an earthquake in the Spezia continued normally.(55)

area. [50]

Once in a while the fascists even dared come to the Thus the good workers got to have their red flag

factory gates and were dealt with in the following waving, got to hiss at the nasty capitalists, deluding

fashion: themselves that the entire month-long orgy of work,

morality, sacrifices and flag-waving had been more than

We have a magnificent example of this: three gena

cazzista's one-night stand.

telmen were walking around outside the factory at

about 9 p.m. The Red Guards go up to them: "What are

All that remained to do was to fight to no avail for the

you doing here?" they ask. "Well, we just came to see back pay the industrialists had withheld during the

how the work was going." "Oh, you want to see how the occupations. [56] And the revolution? The formation of

work is going? Come inside then!" The three resisted a ,, ,,

bit, were brought in, searched; they were found with soviets? No, says Bruno Bellini, a Florentine worker,

revolvers and membership cards for the Fasci di member of the FIOM agitation committee, "actually, I

Combattimento. "Now, since you want to see how the guess we never exactly understood what soviets were

work is going, the best thing for you to do is go Work anyway." [57]

with the workers." Three pairs of overalls were put on Beyond the Factory Gates

them and they were sent to the furnaces. There they

hollered that the iron burned; the workers replied: "For

us they burn all our lives, for you they're burning only Throughout 1920 other working-class strata outside

one night, so keep working." On the front of the furnace the factories were in a state of ferment, but the swinish

there was written: "Work makes you noble."(51) factory councils and commissions took no notice,

When news of the union-party deliberation to end the effectively considering peasants, ex-soldiers,

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