Sivut kuvina

Argine, Ettore Stagni (decorated for war services) and others have been arrested. Ten families will be evicted with their household goods in lorries belonging to the artillery and brought to Bologna, where they will be quartered in the old customs barracks in Piazza Malpighi, which have been cleared for the purpose. Other military lorries are lined up in the square in front of the Law Court in Bologna, ready to start on other evictions. The assistant chief of police of Bologna will superintend operations.

Yesterday (September 29) the women were received by the vice mayor of Molinella, who said to them: 'You shall not be left out in the rain, but they will take you away because you cannot remain any longer at Molinella unless you enter the Fascist unions.' The same thing was repeated to them by the police commissioner of Molinella: 'You can go where you like, or else you will be taken to Bologna. There, if you wish, you can join the unions. You can also remain outside them if you can find work there. But you must not even think of staying on here at Molinella.' I need not tell you the answers of the women. They insisted on remaining in their own parish and declared that, if taken away in the evening, they would return in the morning.

To-day the women sent a deputation to Bologna, accompanied by a barrister, which was received by the secretary of the chief of police, who could do nothing but shrug his shoulders. He acknowledged that these doings were worthy of a madhouse, but 'they' wished these things to be done and one is obliged to act in this way.

The barracks are meant to house forty families, a number which will be reached by degrees. Then operations are to be suspended to see what effect is produced on the recalcitrants by this first internment of families from Molinella in Bologna.

October 1

This morning the evictions began. Yesterday at about 8 P.M. the houses of ten families to be evicted were surrounded so that no one could leave. The men had already taken to the fields, so that only women, children, and old men remained in their homes.

At 7.30 this morning (October 1) some porters and the carabineers insisted on the women being present while the furniture was being loaded up and taking note of what was being loaded. All pressure and threats proved useless.

When the women tried to leave the houses, they were seized by the carabineers and brought before the local police. The old people and children were taken in by the neighbors. At 11, the women were still at the police station. There was a going and coming of women taking them food. The courtyard of the police station was surrounded by some twenty carabineers.

In the meantime porters continued to load up the lorries and had not finished by midday.

The district is like enemy territory in war time. A cordon of carabineers surrounds its boundaries; there is no road, path, or outlet which is not barred.

It is not the authorities who command here, but Regazzi, who, in a fast car, flies backward and forward between Bologna and Molinella and the surrounding villages.

At this moment, 5 P.M., news comes in that, as the women refused to be removed on the lorries with their furniture, they have been taken to Bologna on lorries under the escort of carabineers.

We do not yet know whether they have been taken to S. Giovanni in Monte (prisons of Bologna) or to the barracks where the evicted families are to be interned.

The number of men arrested has reached 34, among whom is Gaetano Bagni. It is absolutely forbidden for their families to send them food.

October 2

Yesterday the lorries loaded with furniture and those carrying the women and some of the children and old people reached Bologna, the remainder of the latter being still at Molinella. They were all taken to the barracks in Piazza Malpighi. At 8 P.M. there were still two lorries of furniture waiting to be unpacked in the square. Only part of the furniture has been unloaded - beds, tables, chairs, and so forth. Chickens, pigs, firewood, and wine were left on the spot at the mercy of anyone.

When the lorries had left, the secretary of the Fascio gave orders to families belonging to the Fascist unions to take possession of the houses. Many of these refused to do so, and had for answer that if they continued to refuse they would suffer the same fate as the others.

The barracks in Bologna to which the women were taken are surrounded by carabineers and police no one is allowed to enter, except relations already living in Bologna. To-day no one has given them any food, and they are not allowed to go out. Toward eleven o'clock one of them, under escort, was allowed to go out and buy something for all the others with the few pence they had in their pockets.

And to-morrow? Bear in mind that among them is the old Mainardi, aged seventy, who is ill, and who at home could only feed on bread and broth; he has charge of three small children, two of whom are of school age. A police officer is searching Bologna for relatives to take them in and look after them and persuade them to make their home permanently in Bologna. A sister of one of the interned women was not allowed to take her child in with her.

Their lawyer is taking steps to know whether they are under arrest, in which case they are entitled to prisoners' rations, but if they have only been taken there as free citizens they have a right to circulate freely. So far he has had no satisfaction.

October 8

The evictions and arrests still continue. On the evening of October 3, the following were arrested: Domenico Burnelli, seventy-six years old; Carlo Bianchi, seventy-four years old; Algeri Poggi, a disabled ex-soldier; Alberto Buriani; Ungarelli, aged fifteen; Zanghi, aged fifteen; and two women, Ines Gamberini and Angiolina Burnelli.

On October 4 the military lorries removed the furniture of seven more families, including that of a widow and of two men over seventy.

On October 5 eight more suffered the same treatment.

On October 7 notification was given of four further evictions.

As most of the evicted families had already left their homes, the police officials had to break in the doors to remove the furniture.

In the barracks at Bologna there is no change, except that a daily food allowance is made of four lire for grown-ups and two for children. Old Mainardi, they say, went out of his mind last night.

October 11

Among the evicted is Natalina Piazzi, aged seventy-three, who lost her son in the war and had lived in her house for over forty years. The Bianchi husband and wife are both over seventy, and had lived fortyeight years in the house from which they were evicted: their three sons served in the war. Domenico Burnelli, aged seventy-six, whose three sons fought in the war, has lived for nearly sixty years in the house from which he has been evicted. He was not allowed to take shelter with his own son, and when the son claimed the right of taking charge of his parents both father and son were arrested. The old Frazzoni and his wife have been evicted three times in four years and their son was killed by the Fascists in 1924.

The material damage is not inconsiderable, considering the poverty of the people. Their furniture was loaded carelessly on the military lorries; part got broken in the loading, part during transit, some remains on the spot with no one to look after it.

Relations and friends of evicted families, even though inscribed in Fascist unions, are not allowed to take charge of furniture and other goods left in the houses.

Some families are without means and live from hand to mouth; others are helped by their neighbors. Help is urgently needed for the worst cases.

The government authorities have given orders that no permits to go out be given, as they fear that the people would all go back to Molinella. They offer them work in Apulia, Sardinia, Tuscany, or the Marches. The object is to split up the solid block of opposition. However, the people are not to be cajoled or cowed into submission. They keep repeating: 'We have done nothing wrong; we have a right to remain in our native town, and directly we are set at

liberty we shall return there because it is the place of our birth, and we are attached to it. Why offer us work in Sardinia and Apulia when there is plenty of work going

in Molinella? Is it our fault that the landowners have boycotted our labor? Why has the Government not stopped forcing us to live the life of vagabonds?'

In all fairness I must add that the attitude of the population has been and is kindly to our members. All disapprove the turning on to the streets of so many old and respectable families. Many landlords hoped that the Government would step in

in time.

There are landlords who go and offer

their evicted tenants help and money, but they beg it to be kept secret from the Fascists; otherwise, not only would they be bludgeoned, but their businesses would also be ruined. The workers refuse such help.

It is common knowledge that the Fascists, fearing the landlords would not have the writs executed, get the proprietors to give up their papers and act in their name. The expenses of eviction, they say, are not borne by the landlord, but by the Fascio of Molinella.

November 19 The evictions continue. In the last week and the first days of this week notices of eviction have been served upon eighty-one families. In the village of Marmorta on Monday (November 15) thirteen evictions were carried out, eleven being tenants of

houses belonging to the commune. In

Molinella seven families were evicted on Tuesday and three on Wednesday. As regards the other threatened evictions we are still quite in uncertainty. Those evicted are always taken to the barracks at Bologna.


Things drag on still, in the same monotonous way, as oppressive as a nightmare. By these means the working people of Molinella are being

'reconciled with their country' — in the terminology of the 'new era.'

At the Conference of the International Labor Office at Geneva on October 15, 1926, the question of Molinella was raised. From the rambling reply of Signor De Michelis, the representative of the Fascist Government, I extract the following sentences: A certain number of members of the old Red unions have joined the Fascist unions and it is possible that they have not quite forgotten their old methods. . . The Fascist unions set up a labor exchange, which gave work in the first place, of course, to members of Fascist unions, but as far as possible they offered work also to non-Fascist workers [he does not mention that it was on condition that they became Fascists]. ... Works to regulate the course of a small river near Molinella had been started; the non-Fascists, who had refused the work offered by the Fascist labor exchange, found jobs in these works; they were, however, dismissed, as this state of things disturbed the normal course of agricultural work.

The Red union, which contained only three or four (!) remaining members, was dissolved, because it carried on a political campaign which endangered public peace. . . . The evictions were carried out under a new law which allows landlords to sign new agreements with their tenants; some landlords of Molinella took advantage of the new law to give notice to their tenants in regular form. . . . Molinella is an islet of rebellion; the authorities acted in a legal and normal way; there has been no infringement of trade-union liberties; the non-Fascist union was dissolved by the legal methods in order to safeguard the public peace.'



FIVE years ago, at the height of one of those perennial civil wars which have racked North China ever since, a quiet, elderly Chinese in neat Western costume landed at Hongkong, the Britishowned island just off the southern coast. He had come to seek England's help in establishing an efficient civil government in Canton. But, although he was banqueted by the Governor, the desired assistance did not materialize. Sun Yat-sen was indignant. "The British,' he said, 'think that I am not of sufficient importance. They want a strong man with whom to deal. But whatever happens they will eventually have to reckon with me. For I am the strong man of China.'

Sun Yat-sen was right. Since his death two years ago he has become in the realm of ideas a more powerful figure than any militarist who ever cursed the country. More than that, his political organization, the Kuomintang (National People's Party), has beaten the Northern war lords at their own game over two thirds of China proper. Most significant of all, the Chinese Revolution, for which he gave forty years of ceaseless effort, and of which the present Nationalist movement is the concrete expression, is fast becoming a nation-wide reality. The China of the 'opium war' and of the Treaty of Nanking; the China of the Boxer Protocol and the Twentyone Demands; the China, in short, of the 'sleeping giant' variety, is gone


forever. The giant is awake dazed and fuddled and irritable after its long sleep.

It is important, before we consider the immediate problem presented by this revolution, to notice where it originated. Ever since foreign nations have had diplomatic relations with China, these relations have been with Peking, capital city of the Manchu emperors. It was here, in 1792, that the 'Son of Heaven' first received homage from a British ambassador. Here England, the United States, and other nations sent their ministers and built their legations. It was against Peking that Japan waged war on China in 1895, while the mass of the Chinese people along the Yangtze and in the South sat back and shrugged their shoulders. Peking, again, was the capital of the new government that in 1912 assumed power as the Republic of China. And it has remained the capital ever since, although the name 'republic' soon became a mere euphemism applied by tactful diplomats to the succession of military swashbucklers who alternately bought and fought their way into power.

To the outside world, then, and to the Orient at large, Peking represented China. The literary world took up the idea. Many volumes were written in which the dominant note was the temple bell, the squeak of the wheelbarrow, or the sombre wail of a funeral horn outside the Forbidden City, while

whole histories were made to revolve about the 'dragon throne.' Diplomats and their governments took it for granted, for all treaties had been made with Peking, negotiations must be carried on with someone, and any constitutionally organized authority, however vaporous, was to be preferred to none at all. Finally, certain foreign business interests encouraged the Peking fiction. The whole system of concession areas, limited customs schedule, and extraterritorial legal status was based on treaties concluded with the old régime in Peking.

It is this habit of interpreting the Chinese through Peking that seems to be responsible for much of the current misunderstanding of modern China. Whether or not Peking itself is doomed does not concern us here, although some Nationalists are already talking of turning it into a public museum on a massive scale. Nor will factions in the Southern ranks postpone the necessity of a shift of emphasis. What must concern us is that North China can no longer be regarded as the key to the Chinese puzzle. If we would find that key we should look among the rice fields of the South. Canton - home of revolution and base of the Nationalist movement - best represents the embryo nation, and no view of China which does not attempt to see through the eyes of Chinese nationalism is worthy of serious consideration to-day.

Less than a year ago the Nationalist Government was a nonentity outside its own Kwangtung Province. Until last August the only people who paid any attention to Canton were Hongkong merchants whose trade had been nearly wiped out by an anti-British boycott. The rest of the country, writhing under militarist oppression, was indifferent. In February 1926, I journeyed overland by rail, river, and flagstone highway from Wuchang to

the South China coast. Military governors, appointees of General Wu Pei-fu, were governing Hupeh and Hunan with an iron hand, and growing rich on the opium traffic. Farmers were struggling desperately with the famine caused by floods and crop failure. Many of them had never even heard of the 1911 Revolution, and it was not surprising to find that most of them knew little about the Cantonese and cared less.

Back in Central China a month later I tried to explain some of the experiments that were being worked out down South by the political heirs of Sun Yat-sen. There was no response from the Chinese, and even tales of Red Russian advisers failed to stir the foreign press. Canton was six hundred miles by train, houseboat, and sedan chair - a full fortnight's journey traveling 'light.' No man in his senses, they said, would give orders to drag cannon over mountains and rice fields even if he had the army to back them. Of much greater interest was the tenmillion-dollar military note issue that Wu Pei-fu planned to force on Hankow merchants in order to hit back at Chang Tso-lin.

The change came with dramatic suddenness. In mid-July 1926 an eager band of Southerners started north. The National Revolutionary Army, they called themselves; Commander in Chief, Chiang Kai-shek; political affiliation, the Kuomintang; political faith, Sun Yat-senism. In a little over a month they had reached the Yangtze River. In a little over two months they had taken Wuchang and driven Wu Pei-fu out of Hupeh Province. Four months and they had set up a Central China administration in formal opposition to the Peking régime. And when, last March, they took Shanghai and Nanking, all the world knew that this was something vastly

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