Benito Mussolini emigrated to Switzerland in 1902, where he became active in the Italian socialist movement. He worked for the L'Avvenire del Lavoratore newspaper, served as secretary of the Italian workers union in Lausanne, gave speeches and organized meetings for socialist activists and sympathizers. He continued to study socialist philosophers including Friedrich Nietzche, Vilfredo Pareto of the Lausanne School, and the syndicalist Georges Sorel. It was Sorel's ideas about the need for a violent overthrow of liberal democracy and capitalism through violence, general strikes and direct action that highly influenced Mussolini's own political views and were later incorporated into his Fascist movement. He also credited Christian socialist Charles Peguy and the syndicalist Hubert Lagardelle as being some of his mentors.
Mussolini denounced Italy's "imperialist war" in Libya
Mussolini spent two weeks in jail in 1903, after having been arrested for advocating for a general strike. The Swiss government deported him back to Italy, but he returned after falsifying his papers. He studied at the University of Lausanne and was arrested, a year later, in Geneva, Switzerland.
In February of 1909, he moved to the Italian-speaking city of Trento which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There, he worked in the office of the local socialist party.
Mussolini returned to his hometown in Italy, in 1910, to edit the weekly newspaper, Lotta di Classe (The Class Struggle). He also published "Il Trentino veduto da un Socialista (Trentino as seen by a Socialist), in the Left-Wing periodical La Voce.
Mussolini described Marx as the "greatest of all theorists of socialism"
In September of 1911, he denounced Italy's "imperialist war" in Libya, as a participant in a socialist-led riot. This protest caused him to be arrested and to spend five months in jail. But, it also built his credibility and led to his becoming editor of the Socialist Party newspaper, Avanti.
Describing Marx as the "greatest of all theorists of socialism," Mussolini fully considered himself a follower of the Communist founder. Vladimir Lenin would later criticize Italian socialists for expelling him from their ranks. So, why did he separate from the Italian Socialist Party? Did his political philosophy really change? We shall see that his passion for socialism remained strong and true. It was his philosophy about Italian involvement in World War I that evolved.
Samuel Griswold is a lifelong student of history and politics, whose studies have given him unique insights into the true nature of totalitarianism in all of its aspects... Fascism, Communism and Socialism. As an American Jew, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, he's lived by the pledges "Never Forget" and "Never Again." But, for him, these pledges mean to never let the policies that led to the Holocaust happen again. To prevent fascism from thriving, we must know how to see and define it. That is the purpose of FightingFascism.com, to draw attention and rally opposition to current fascist policies and governments.