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Comparing the Speeches of Mussolini and Peron

by Samuel Chapman
Central European University
Winter, 2010
The speeches of both Mussolini and eron have stri!in" similarities# $t is clear that eron
admired many tenets of Mussolini%s domestic policies, as &ell as the fact that 'ascism is tied to
disin"enuous populist foundations# $ndeed both opulism and 'ascism share the fusion of disparate
popular interpellations appearin" in each ideolo"ical discourse, underpinned by anta"onism, and a
"eneral opposition to the current dominant ideolo"y# (ut the e)tent to &hich either re"ime radicali*ed
and carried out their political discourse is the main difference bet&een the t&o# (oth believed in the
stren"th of a centrali*ed "overnment, freedom from forei"n influence and a corporatist approach to
economics throu"h fervent nationalism, &hich once a"ain varies in de"rees bet&een the t&o+ from
radical, to socially democratic# 'urthermore, they &ere both an historical blend of the revolutionary and
the traditional that &as essentially 'uturist# While they both supported a return to ethical precepts of
reli"ion, Christianity and Catholicism, it &as more about the spirituality of the State for Mussolini and
a return to common values for eron, ,the state has no theolo"y but it has a moral code#- Similarly,
both shared a vision of social revolution and proposed a new way in contempt of classical liberalism#
The concepts of unity, stren"th and .ustice, &hich symboli*ed the 'ascist party of Mussolini, can be
used to compare eronism &ith $talian 'ascism#
Within the unity of both ideolo"ies &e see a stron" tendency to&ards anti/intellectualism and a
revolt a"ainst the dominant ideolo"ies that &ere faulted for their country%s economic and social
situations# (oth ideolo"ies emer"ed from economic and political crisis and thus &ere counter/
revolutionary aimed at national redemption# 'reedom from forei"n influence &as important to both
leaders but in the case of Mussolini this aspect &as accompanied by e)pansion and &ar, &hereas the
0r"entine State &as merely isolationist# 'or Mussolini the state &as absolute and all embracin",
outside of &hich no values, &hether ethical, moral or spiritual could e)ist+ similarly &ith eron the
State is a central to the ideolo"ical values as it a form of corporate nationalism# The stren"th of
eronism &as derived from a centrali*ed "overnment &ith authoritarian tendencies, &hile Mussolini%s
'ascism &as ,an or"ani*ed, centrali*ed, authoritarian democracy#- (oth believed in the corporatist
structure of economy to certain e)tents as &ell# (ut the !ey difference, as mentioned, in terms of
stren"th &as the commitment to violence on the one hand and more of a nefarious consideration of
opposition on the other# 0nother !ey aspect &as the dissolution of classes# $n $taly it &as entire
devotion to the State throu"h class collaboration and a perverted sense of national syndicalism# $n
0r"entina, eron supported the mediation of classes and a sense of social .ustice that &as absent in it%s
counterpart# eron%s combination of nationalism &ith social democracy diver"es from Mussolini%s
radical nationalism, interventionism and social 1ar&inism#
The commitment to systematically or"ani*ed violence is the main cleava"e bet&een the t&o
ideolo"ies# 1ictatorial rule &as the norm in $taly, &hile eron only displayed patholo"ical tendencies
to&ards it# The other !ey difference is the racial element# eron did not build his ideolo"y on racial
purity or the propa"ation of his countries sin"ular ethnic element because it truly &as diverse &hich
"ives rise to populist notions in the first place# (oth had different conceptions of the meanin" of ,the
people- and this is a distin"uishin" characteristic in that for luralism ,the people- is a concept &ithout
a defined theoretical status &hile for Mussolini the people are state/capital 2ho&ever it is important to
mention here that eron%s social policy &as panoramic of the State because it re"ulated the ,human
factory of the country, from birth to death#-3 We may not call eron a 'ascist outri"ht but perhaps &e
can say the he participated, or created a version of 4atin 0merican residential 'ascism# (oth men
&ere central symbols of the ideolo"y but eron &as merely the symbol &here Mussolini &as the
manifestation and ultimate representation of the State in Man+ a Machiavellian personification of the
state# $n this re"ard eron%s e)hibits a more rational stance in relation to the radical irrationalism of
The speeches themselves display a similar vocabulary but the tone and audience are obviously
different# While both spea! of security and preservation, perpetuation of the State, lar"e/scale
institutional reor"ani*ation, the doctrines &hich set forth the activity are different in terms of the
relationship bet&een the state and the individual# $n either leader%s speeches there is an undercurrent, a
call to action and responsibility of the people in li"ht of a ne& o&nership of history directed to&ards
the proprietary ri"ht to the 'uture#