D'Annunzio and Gramsci prophets in River

(To Alessandro Ghinassi)

Forward deserters, thus defined Filippo Tommaso Marinetti the authors of the river company led by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio. Just under three thousand legionaries who had escaped from the regular Regio Esercito occupied, in September of the 1919, the city of Fiume and declared it Italian. Pietro Badoglio, who at that time had been appointed by the Nitti Government Extraordinary Commissioner for the Venezia-Giulia he declared them deserters and wanted his head. There was a civil war in a territory, the Rijeka one, which was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy without the King and the Government wanting it, among other things D'Annunzio gave Fiume a republican constitution written by the leader of revolutionary syndicalism Alceste de Ambris.

Fiume, after the First World War, being an Italian majority, became the territory of contention on the wave of Italian irredentism that had contributed to the very reasons for the outbreak of the war. At the end of the conflict, the Paris Conference established that Fiume could not be Italian, and many Italian nationalists did not like this decision, because it contradicted one of the principles of the Conference itself, that of "Self-Determination of Peoples". D'Annunzio became the spokesman for this contradiction and occupied Fiume with his legionaries.

Why does this story lead us to Antonio Gramsci, given that D'Annunzio and Gramsci militated on very different fronts? D'Annunzio, bourgeois, right-wing, nationalist and later vate of fascism would seem to have little in common with Gramsci, workerist, leftist, internationalist and later founder of the Italian Communist Party. To understand this we must start from some considerations and from the figure of Alceste de Ambris, who wrote the Constitution of the Italian River.

Gramsci has never despised neither the bourgeoisie in its depth nor the Unification of Italy, certainly he from the left thought of a society different from the bourgeois and monarchical one that emerged from the process of the Unification of Italy. Gramsci wanted more leadership for the subordinate classes, especially for the laborers of the south who, according to him, had been betrayed by the Risorgimento. However Gramsci saw in the bourgeoisie an emancipated and evolved class compared to the parasitic class of the nobles and he saw in the unification of Italy a project of emancipation and an opportunity also for the working class. In Fiume Gramsci's enterprise he sees all the contradictions of the monarchy, the ruling bourgeoisie and the unitary process explode. The near-civil war that seemed to exist between d'Annunzio and the Italian government testified to the incompleteness of the Risorgimento process, and the fragility of the ruling class. D'Annunzio, for his part, entrusted the constitution of the Italian regency of the Carnaro - so called the Italian republic of Fiume - to a republican and founder of revolutionary syndicalism, the socialist Alceste de Ambris. The Constitution of de Ambris (note how Carnaro Charter) far exceeded it Albertino Statute in revolutionary terms, terms also dear to Antonio Gramsci. Here are two of the most significant articles, from the Carta del Carnaro, because in hindsight they closely resemble our current Republican Constitution:

Art 2. - The Republic of Carnaro is a direct democracy, based on productive work and as an organic criterion the widest functional and local autonomy. It therefore confirms the collective sovereignty of all citizens without distinction of sex, race, language, class and religion; but it recognizes greater rights to producers and decentralizes, as far as possible, the powers of the State, in order to ensure the harmonious coexistence of the elements that compose it.

Art 5. - The Constitution also guarantees all citizens, without distinction of sex, primary education, compensated work with a minimum wage sufficient for life, assistance in the event of illness or involuntary unemployment, retirement for old age, the use of legitimately purchased goods, the inviolability of the domicile, habeas corpus, compensation for damages in the event of judicial error or abuse of power.

It seems our constitution, indeed it is carried forward, even provides for the guaranteed minimum wage. These positions which evidently came from the republican and socialist de Ambris caught Gramsci's attention. Gramsci seems to see the solutions to the problems of the unitary process as he too had glimpsed them. Gramsci tried to meet d'Annunzio, but did not have time (in reality we do not know for sure), the Fiume experience soon ended. D'Annunzio returned to positions of the right that led him to support Mussolini, Gramsci left the Socialist Party to go towards more radical positions and found the PCd'I. In the background remains the little known figure of Alceste de Ambris. De Ambris was an anti-fascist, but remained in the Italian Socialist Party, he moved to Paris to escape fascism, even if Mussolini, who as a young man shared the same ideas as de Ambris, tried to bring him into the fascist party. In France de Ambris worked to found the LIDU (Italian League for Human Rights) but died at the age of 60. After the Second World War, in 1964, some Socialists and Republicans with a subscription returned the body to Italy - now buried in Parma - and on the tombstone they wrote: "Alceste de Ambris - writer-tribune-fighter for freedom and justice. Licciana 1874 - Brive 1934 ".