The Forbidden Hystory
Introduction by Nicola Zitara
(translated by Vince Angeloni, Australia).
As national collectivist, we are considered the most subdued country in the world. And, in effects, we are.
It is an ancient defect, often endorsed by Italians themselves, starting from father Dante, but praised, instead, by Macchiavelli.
It must be added, though, that the disesteem of other Europeans, if at one time involved the regional gentleman, the Roman curia, the soldiers of fortune and the political staff who put themselves at the service of foreign monarchs, it touched southerners much less. For the South, political hypocrisy is an immoral behavior acquired by contagious disease.
Its first manifestation has one very specific date, the events of 1799, when the bourgeois conception of full and absolute property ran against the vital requirement of the peasants to keep alive the ancient enjoyment derived from a promiscuous land.
At the time of South’s conquest, the patriotic defamatory campaign against the southern man had a wide following. Cesare Abba, followed by Francesco De Sanctis and Pasquale Villari started it. Edmondo De Amicis and Renato Fucini added a touch of elegant writing, the "bovine head" of Cesare Lombroso framed the topic in scientific terms.
The consolidation of the unitary State, handed the issue to the meridionals themselves, those reputed to be more illustrious such as his Lordship Giovanni Verga and the multimillionaire Don Benedetto Croce. After the second world war, having read Gramsci, the Prince of Lampedusa and a whole horde of masters of the pen and of the movie camera, they found it rewarding to dip in the soup that was South’s backwardness.
The chorale and patriotic sentence of the backward and acephalous southerners interlaced - not by chance - with the systematic defamation of the entire dynasty of the Bourbon of Naples, with Masonic lies manufactured in their national and foreign halls.
The use of this clever argument within such a huge scheme of things will make hair stand on end for the beautiful spirits.
The cynical and interested hypocrisy that sullies the last the two centuries of Italian national history not only deserves being demystified, but also joked and laughed at.
In the first half of the 20th century, the new class of agrarian, industrial and financial capitalists, beside badly supporting the bread eating proletariat - a terrible impediment to the accumulation of profits – also showed a great aversion for those kings who were so obstinate in giving it power.
The Kings of Naples were among the toughest not only because they believed to be the Lord's Anointed but they were also convinced that the modernizations were not supposed to be necessarily binding association to capitalist pauperization.
But slander is a prevailing wind.
Through the London press and the missions to foreign countries of its worldwide leaders, the advent of the capitalist party to power and its popularity had the ability to taint the adjective bourbon with negative connotations.
The successful outcome of the plot was supported by the subliminal antagonism between the predatory Anglo-Saxon world and the quiet Mediterranean civilization.
Since the negative content, insufflated in the adjective bourbonic, made comfortable those who governed Italy in an anti southern sense, its roots became cultivated with unusual diligence, so to continue the notion that the paspalum provokes the itch.
To this day, a particularly oppressive tax is defined as bourbonic.
An inefficient bureaucracy is represented as bourbonic. An antiquated master endures identical censorship and is accused of bourbonism. Even today, Bourbons are considered the negation of God, the enemies of modernity, of civilization, of political democracy, the social justice, the cultural progress, the freedom of thought.
Their jails were infamous, and therefore their police; their ministers were authentic executioners; the kings, themselves, ferocious buffoons.
As a logical opposition, their adversaries enjoy the palm of patriots, of people who worked profusely until their martyrdom for the freedom of the southern people and for the greatness of Italy; to them comes the merit of having saved the South otherwise condemned to "backwardness, non-productivity and ignorance".
How profitable this rescue has been, it is useless to say: it can be seen by all. It is not a photo printed on cardboard.
The perdition of those saved from this shipwreck does not improve minimally; indeed there are moments in which it gets much worse. In the analysis of the social processes through which the past has become this infamous present (and not a different one), is something that still remains surrounded by shadows.
It is a case of the political reason because of which a castle of lies resists for 140 years and still grows tall with its malignant shadow on the journalistic prose, the media and even on the academic texts.
Looking closely, the Bourbon dynasty is by now a century and a half-old memory. In the day to day living, its traces should have evaporated, like those of the Lorena, the Estensi, the Pope-king, and the emperor of Austria.
Then why should the current evils of the South be charged to the Bourbons?
If water and detritus of torrents submerge Genoa, nobody will think of calling in cause Carlo Alberto or the Compagnia di San Giorgio. If the same thing happened in Florence, nobody points the finger to the responsibilities of the granduca. It is not, per chance, a case that the responsibilities of the
Bourbons should pair with that lack of wants to work or with the amoral for which we meridionals have become famous in Italy?There is an explanation, but there is a pressing interest to keep it hidden. It consists of the upsetting of the responsibilities, in the preconstitution of an alibi to favour the true responsible.
By now we see such an array of thrillers that every one of us can imitate Sherlock Holmes. Garibaldi was still in Naples, the intrepid king of the Reign of Sardinia still had not come down through the Marche and the Abruzzi to take possession of the new conquest, when the proletarian classes of the south realised they had made a grave error, a counter-productive action, by selling - immediately after Napoleon III’s victory on Austria - the Bourbon dynasty and the independence of the south (we must be careful here: not as much to the Savoia, but more to the Tuscan-paduan ruling class).
From their part the peasants, the craftsmen, the outcasts from the bourbon army, small and great proprietors, clergymen, professionals and massari of the province rebelled against the invader, igniting a guerrilla war. I can’t say whether those that had the power in Turin truly faced the issue of leaving the South conquered.
To this end, some data exists, for example an article by Massimo d’Azeglio, in which the former sabaudo prime minister proposes a sort of referendum amongst the meridionals for or against unity.
The proposal did not echo with the governing moderate right, nor did it with the several movements of the left, the latter strongly unitary.
It is of fact that, although the discontent was growing amongst all the classes and although the peasant revolt assumed the dimensions of a popular revolution, the men who had power in the new State were no longer in the condition to return freedom to the Italians of the South.
The king, who now had against not only Austria, but also France, could not have declined lightly the throne of one of the greater European powers.
From their part the military commandos, prospecting a large army and an able naval army to face the Austrian fleet and, eventually, that of the French, knew that the sabaudo state treasury was not enough to meet their needs. The tax basis, gone, in less than two years, from five to twenty-three million contributors, could not be revoked.
The contribution of the Lombardy, the Tuscany, the Garrisons and great part of the Church State had been devoured in a flash by the debts that the Cavour initiatives had produced in the budget sabaudo. In addition, the new State was revealing itself to be more expensive than all the former conquered States put together.
Without the pillage of the historical saving of the bourbonic country, the sabauda Italy would not have had a future. The Liguria-piedmontese bank was also counting on the same resource.
The mountain of silver circulating to the South would have supplied five hundred million metallic coins, an imposing mass to assign to a reserve, on which the Sardinian issuing bank – which at the time only had one hundred million - could have constructed a high castle of currency worth three billions.
Like the Devil, Bombrini, Bastogi and Balduino did not weave, nevertheless they had set up a shop in order to sell wool. To sum up, for the piedmont people the pillage of the South was the only answer to hand, in order to try to come up from the hole they had dug for themselves.
Then there were England, contrary to the hypothesis that France had other space in the Mediterranean, and not last the speculators who only attended to make money. From their point of view, the enlargement of the Reign of Sardinia to entire Italy was a godsend matter: it had come from heavens, through miraculous processes, a market equal in amplitude to British and French together, but one yet to be filled up with speculations. In such climate, the street and railway plans jumped out of their wallets and the wallets of the Sardinian mediators, of the English and French bankers like the pigeons out of a magician’s hat.
To sum up, in the context of laissez-faire politics and at the same time expansionist (protectionism from the inside, so defined it Francisco Ferrara) set up, and sets up, from Cavour, the southern country, with its nine million inhabitants, with its immense saving, its income in foreign currency, appeared one great resource.
Instead the bourbounic South was satisfied with itself, averse from every form of territorial and colonial expansionism. Its economic evolution was slow, but sure.
Those who held the State were contrary to the political bets and preferred to measure the increase in relation to the occupation of the popular classes.
In the Neapolitan system, the bourgeoisie of the transactions was not the dominant class, to which the general interests obtusely were sacrificed, like in the Sardinian Reign, but a class at the service of the national economy. The unitary rhetoric, which covers particular interests, must not deceive us.
The innovative choices adopted from Cavour, when they were imposed to the whole of Italy, already had been revealed bankrupt in Piedmont. To wanting to insist on that road was the political cynicism of Cavour and its successors, one and the other more bankers that true patriots.
A modification of route would be been equivalent to a self-confession. When, in the end, taxes also came to the South, they had the function of a hangman’s halter. A few months were enough to suffocate the manufacturing articulations of the country, which did not have need for ulterior market increases in order to work better.
Agriculture, that fed the foreign trade, once freed of the ties that the Bourbons imposed on the export of commodities, recorded in all an increase and it would take twenty years before the governments sabaudi would kerb its growth.
From the start, the unitary State was the worst enemy that the South had ever had; worse of the Angioini, the Aragoneses, the Spanish, the Austrians, or the French, whether revolutionaries or imperialists. Even before the gathering of the national parliament (March 1861), the southern country sent very visible signs of intolerance.
Those who want to get an idea of the feelings fluttering in the air only a month and a half after the loss of Gaeta, should read the parliamentarian speech by Neapolitan deputy Polsinelli – an anti-bourbonic who had exited jail –on the dictat by Cavour on the matter of customs duties. It is a very instructive document!
The bourbonic South was a country structured economically on its dimensions. Because at that time, the exchanges with foreign countries were facilitated by the fact that in the area of Mediterranean productions the southern country was the most advanced in the world, wisely the Bourbons had chosen to draw all the profit possible from gifts lavished from nature and protect manufacturing from foreign competition.
The consisting surplus of trade balance allowed the financing of industries, which, contrary to sabaudist fables told from the academic circles, were sufficiently large and diffuse, although still not perfect and incapable to project themselves on the international market, like, nevertheless, all the Italian industry of the time (and in the successive one hundred years).
Nothing more mistaken, therefore, than to analyze such economic politics applying canons of appraisal coherent with the liberalism, according to the fashion permeating our university, beginning with the one of Naples.
The local history writers, when they face the topic " Burbonic South ", have the nick to let the reader believe that the Turin of the time did not have anything to envy to Manchester and that Cavour was the smaller brother of lord Cobden, when in effects the piedmontese industry was somewhat behind to that Neapolitan and the Ansaldo workshop was financed by Cavour not less than Pietrarsa was by Ferdinand II (with the main difference, though, that it was in the condition to realise products that Genoa still had not dreamed of).
The bourbonic approach to modernization was an explicit state planning and not a state planning masked by liberalism, like that of Cavour which unloaded on the shoulders of the desperate classes the cost of modernisation. The Burbons did not mean to race through the stages, creating rakes-off and parishes thieves ante litteram as the so-called great minister was doing.
The economic circuit tied the several regional realities in a perfect, exemplary way, the likes of which had never been seen; the Capital city acquitted its function most efficiently, assuring the Neapolitan country of a prestigious world-wide importance, the likes of which would not be seen again; the state treasury was rich and the monetary signs in circulation (the famous institutes of credit) accepted with confidence and respect, the likes of which would not be seen again; the bank was incredibly solid, something that not only the Due Sicilie has lost memory of, but Italy in its entirety.
Savings were entirely incorporated in circulating silver and in the one deposited in the Bank. Starting from such a solid base, it would have been possible to emit bank currency to the equivalent of three billions, without alterations to the exchange rate, something that instead has upset Italian life for more than thirty years.
Such a consisting wealth would have allowed industrial growth for the country and the completion of capital works on streets, railway and the harbor when, forty years later, navigation by sail would have been replaced also in the coasting trade. But it went all to benefit of the Paduans. Is it not a saying that the worth man dies at the hands of the unworthy?
In exchange for that huge expenditure, the South had a colonial lengthening of the Paduan railroads, whose construction gave patriotically birth to the largest and most clamorous illicit dealing of the national history (other that rake-off!) and it did not have other scope than to allow for the fast movement of the army from the North to the South.
And to the aim was not to defend the southern coasts from an eventual attack by the Turks, who were happy in their own land, but in case of further uprisings of the southern boors. In truth the main worry of the loathed Bourbons was in assuring food to the people, in its country.
From the English experience they had learned that the unbridled race towards industrial development would have provoked that which then would effectively happen: hunger, mass unemployment, the escape to Argentina and in the United States of eight million men of working age, a third of all of the population of the South, that was able to produce. In their political vision the modernisation processes needed to be regulated, modernity would have to come a step at the time, with a balanced increase in productivity.
And here they were right too. In spite of the incredible sacrifices imposed on people, the local capitalists were rather speculators and deal makers than industrialists.
In Italy, we can only talk of a modern and able industry capable of projecting itself on the world-wide market when we talk about the Vespa, the Lambretta and the refrigerator at a good price, that is from 1950. It is true history: the gestation of the Paduan industry lasted ninety years and cost the complete zeroing of the South.
When, confronted by an advancing Garibaldi, Francesco II did not escape to hide between the arms of Austria, as had done the monarchs of Tuscany and the Ducati, but barricaded in Gaeta with the attempt to raise the peasants, Cavour understood that the English gold had exhausted its corruptible abilities and proceeded to transform the South in a battlefield, in a country in the hands of an enemy State. The tension grew.
The owning class was retracing its own steps. The Piedmont tightened the bridles. The occupation army showed its muscles. Divide et impera, the tuscan-paduan adopted the maxim that so appealed to Metternik.
Since it all had to be covered by a mask of decency (and also because Napoleon III was felt taken for a ride), hypocrisy, ancient art for the Italians , was recalled on active duty.
The army was allocated to the South in order to repress the uprising of some thousand wild men. It was born, finally, one of those political-cultural conspiracies that Peter Giannone therefore had fiercely denounced: one says white where it is black, a beautiful profile is designed so that ugliness can be presented in a beautiful shape, lies are methodical, moral dishonesty is adorned with bay leaves , thieves are crowned and honesty exposed to the public’s mockery.
The eyes were closed when confronted by the regimen profiteers , indeed they were celebrated like illustrious and deserving of native land glories.
The most incompetent ministers were defined as the saviours of the native land; an unreliable, incorrect and wasteful king was put on saddlebows on bronze horses and glorified like father of the native land; the traitors of the people were called national heroes.
And still today, between the scent of the scholastic incense, authentic bandits accompany the poor meridional in his passage from boy to man. The history of Italy stands on one brazen lay.
The faults of the Bourbons are the alibi to cover the faults of the Paduan ruling classes and, last, of the entire Paduan nation.
The disaster in the South and the responsibilities of the national State are both immeasurable. A country of twenty million inhabitants, of which five million job-less for life, belongs to the same State in which, between thirty six million inhabitants, all those that want to work have an occupation and a high income.
I do not believe that the world has ever seen an equally double nation and equally ridicule. And there does not exist a more appropriate term in order to define the buffoonery.
In no country in the world is internal colonialism so enduring.
It would not have been (and it would not be) otherwise possible than to turn upside down on others the responsibility of the disaster.
The onta poured with full hands on the Bourbons and the onta poured upon the southern man have no other other scope and function that to acquit the tosco-Paduan dominant groups from the historical responsibility of having imposed on the southern population an identical role to what tied the Helots to Sparta.
The thesis according to which the unit of Italy would have been born from the regal conquest smells of false as far away as a mile. That because the true weapon used in that game was the gold made in England. The true truth is that the unitary State is none other than an a piece buffoonery, a cheat, a fake more clamorous than the donation of Costantino and the annual homage anniversary of one white mare from the king of Naples to the Roman pontiff, a sign of feudal submission.
To resurrect the truth, the real history, is not an easy task in an atmosphere in which the false is glorified like patriotism.
To make it known is still more arduous, because the truth counterfeits the notions instilled in the minds of the children together with Catholicism lectures. In this work of resurrection, that involves generous minds and authentic patriots, the authors have not only put the passion that the reader will note is gushing from every phrase, but much shrewdness; the sagacity of he who wants to communicate a faith, and that therefore writes to be read.
In the book, the information arrive like squalls from a machine-gun that won’t break-down. The first twenty pages are enough in order to floor any adversary.
Is it revenge, availed again, highly summarized justice? No, it is the dignity of native land been born in the heart of brave persons. And it is a terribly effective weapon, in as much as it arms the heart of others.
Related reading: Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ,