- Farinacci, Roberto
- (1892–1945)Before World War I, Farinacci was a railway worker and prominent labor boss in the Lombardy town of Cremona. Astreet-fighter called by a British historian “one of the more illiterate and brutish of the hierarchy,” he was rooted in the original revolutionary syndicalist left of the early Fascist movement and was one of the first members of the Partito Nazionale Fascista/National Fascist Party (PNF). Farinacci consistently preferred antibourgeois, antiestablishment rhetoric and violence so long as it was performed by the PNF. Farinacci’s reliance on violence is illustrated by two episodes. During the punitive expedition against Milan’s socialists on 3–4 August 1922, Farinacci not only broke up the presses of Avanti!but also evicted the socialist city government, having Gabriele D’Annunzio himself address the crowd from the city hall. Similarly, when the acting Italian high commissioners—appointed by the government in Rome to woo the newly absorbed German-speaking population of Alto Adige— pursued policies calculated to that end, Farinacci and allied nationalists rejected this “weak” approach. Under Farinacci’s direction, squads forcefully seized local government offices in Alto Adige. Farinacci was also corrupt. With a fraudulent university degree in law (he had attended few lectures and allegedly submitted another’s dissertation), he actually began offering his “legal” services as an “insider” influence peddler. He nevertheless acted as defense counsel for the Fascist thugs accused after the murder of Giacomo Matteottiand burnished his image with hard-line Fascists by doing so. Farinacci sided neither with Benito Mussolini nor with the 19 rebels who deposed the Duce at the fateful meeting of the Fascist Grand Council on 25 June 1943. He was nevertheless consistent in his loyalty to the Duce. Farinacci was captured and executed by partisans at Vinercate, near Milan, on 28 April 1945.
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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