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PostLand Reform under Mussolini (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 08/10/18 7:07 am)
When commenting on the excellent post of Istvan Simon, 9 August, our esteemed moderator asked:
"Has there been an example of land reform done right?"
I'll give a loud and clear answer: Mussolini did it!
The two principles of Fascist agrarian reform were collaboration and co-participation.
Only two months after having been nominated prime minister by the king with the overwhelming approval of the Parliament and Senate on 11 January 1923, Mussolini started working on land reform with the following points:
1) Elimination of the "bracciantato"--workers employed on a daily basis without a contract (presently the bracciantato is used, even if theoretically not legal, with undocumented immigrants).
2) The massive recovery of uncultivated lands mostly due to the marshes. More than 100 towns and rural villages considered now (finally) an example of great city planning and architecture were constructed. Some names: Littoria (now Latina), Sabaudia, Pomezia, Aprilia, Pontinia, Guidonia, Acilia, Colleferro, Alberese, Albinia, Arborea, Carbonia, Arsia (Rasa in Istria), etc. The same was done overseas in Dodecaneso (many tourists villages in these Greek Islands were constructed by Fascists), Libya, Somalia, Eritrea (just starting in Ethiopia). Tellingly, Fascist Italy was doing the contrary of what Israel is doing now. The Italians first built Muslim villages with mosques, schools and hospitals (but also for the local Jewish communities), while Israel is destroying villages. The United Nations has made hundreds of resolutions against Israel to no avail.
3) Expropriation with compensation of large unproductive estates.
4) Reaching grain self-sufficiency with the famous "Battaglia del Grano" introducing modern technology.
5) Large-scale reforestation of the mountains.
6) Creation of the agricultural consortia to protect the producers, with special technicians to help them. My wife's uncle was one of the last technicians/instructors in the reclaimed areas of Etruria.
Interestingly, the main figure of the leader of Opera Nazionale Combattenti (ONC) who was in charge of the main projects, the great (always socialist) Andrea di Crollalanza, reconstructed in three months the villages destroyed by an earthquake. Now after two years in the earthquake-devastated towns we still have rubble in the streets while people remain in temporary lodgings. Crollalanza was famous for completing the work under budget. Now we go two or three times over, but we are lay, democratic and antifascist.
With the Battaglia del Grano (proclaimed on 20 June 1925), the production of grain in Italy jumped to 81 million quintals. The importation of one-third of the grain requirements ended and we could even export. Agriculture was mechanized with the famous tractors (and threshers) Landini and Super Landini. These were the best in the world at that time, personally used and demonstrated by Mussolini. The US production record of that time was 8.9 quintals per hectare. Under the Battaglia del Grano, this was beaten with a 16.1. But unfortunately, this history is long in the past.
I could go for more but I do not believe it is necessary, as I mentioned various points that one can research further on one's own.
JE comments: Nationalized agricultural production campaigns have been notorious failures--think of Soviet collectivization, Cuba's 10 Million Tons of sugar, Mao's bizarre bird-killing schemes, and the list goes on, painfully. Eugenio Battaglia is famous on WAIS for his rosy view of Mussolini, but how can we be convinced the Battaglia del Grano was different?