Subject and Keywords:
The paper analyzes Italian Fascism’s reception of political ideas and conceptions put forward by Vilfredo Pareto 1848–1923, a prominent Italian economist, sociologist and philosopher, one of the major representatives of the European elitism, taking into account in particular his theories regarding the circulation of elites, the role played by elites in a social life, the concept of revolution and the notion of the use of force. Pareto’s idea of the circulation of elites found its expression both in Benito Mussolini’s conceptions and in the writings of two chief ideologues of Italian Fascism, namely Guido Bortolotto in the book titled Massem and Führer in der faschistischen Lehre and Alfredo Rocco in the book titled La trasformatione dello Stato dallo Stato liberale allo Stato fascista. In the interpretations of Guido Bortolotto and Alfredo Rocco, the March on Rome in October, 1922, constituted a practical fulfillment of the concept of elites’ replacement. Fascists’ seizure of power in Italy was doubtlessly facilitated by the unstable social-and-economic situation, the crisis after the First World War, the increase in significance enjoyed by the Socialist party and left-wing trade unions, revolutionary tension of the 1919–1920 period, and — primarily — by the weakness of former elite: the liberal party. Fascist movement constituted also a practical realization of the conception of the revolution with the use of force, presented by Pareto in his Trattato di sociologia generale. The leader Duce performed the major function in the Fascist political system, being a supreme and remarkable individual who did not hesitate to use force in order to eliminate the old ruling elite and who — familiarizing himself with the nation’s character, its aspirations and its destiny — learned the proper methods to guide the nation, holding the dictatorial power in the state in his hands. The new Fascist elite encompassed primarily young people, coming from the middle-class and often ex-combatants, who were unable to discover a place for themselves in the post-war reality. The Fascist party was both the main instrument of power and the place of education for the new ruling elite, which was supposed to prevent the possibility of new elite’s degeneration by securing a cyclical influx of new social forces. Similarly, the important role in Fascist Italy was played by youth organizations, considered to be nurseries where the social and political elites of the future were being raised.