Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Response to Croatian Statements on Bilingualism in Fiume

Croatian politicians and representatives recently made statements regarding the initiative to restore visible bilingualism in the city of Fiume, a former Italian city which today belongs to Croatia (and has been officially known as Rijeka since 1947), but which still has a small and proud Italian community.

The Alliance of Primorje-Gorski Kotar (PGS)
“The Fiumani [Italians of Fiume] are the soul of this city, whose history and Italian culture is just as important as the Croatian one. Comparing Italians to other minorities makes no sense, because Fiume is their home; they are natives of this city and therefore should not be treated as minorities, even if today they are only a small part of the local population.”
This was the statement of the Alliance of Primorje-Gorski Kotar (PGS) on the question of restoring visual bilingualism in Fiume. It is certainly one of the most favourable and positive statement made by Croatian politicians on the Italian heritage of Fiume in recent memory.

However, for the sake of historical accuracy, it should be admitted that not only is the Italian history and culture of Fiume just as important as the Croatian one, it is in fact more important than the Croatian one. The Italian history and heritage of Fiume spans some 2,000 years, whereas the Croatian one dates only to the end of World War II.

Deputy Mayor Nikola Ivaniš

Nikola Ivaniš, Honorary Chairman of the PGS, as well as Deputy Mayor of Fiume, said:
“We are absolutely in favor of visual bilingualism in the historic centre of Fiume and I believe that substantially the other political parties more or less agree, because it makes sense in a city like ours, which has always been multicultural. Those who deny this fact don't know the history of their own city. The only negative thing is the politicization of the issue. We would have preferred this initiative to come from the Italian Community and not from a political party, because in this way the issue is likely to be exploited and create major misunderstandings.”
Mr. Ivaniš' support for the bilingual initiative is absolutely appreciated. The initiative, if approved by the government, will be a great step forward for both Fiume and its historical heritage, and for the Italian community. However, Mr. Ivaniš' statement still contains some inaccuracies that must be addressed.

Firstly, vocal members of the Italian Community of Fiume have been advocating for the visible restoration of the Italian language, in addition to the recognition of other Italian rights in the city, for many years now.

Secondly, in order to effectuate social and political change, it requires the use and support of politicians and political parties. This is not politicization; it is simply the only or at least the most effective way of changing the status quo. For decades the Italians of Fiume have asked for change, and their cries have until now fallen upon deaf ears. Without the support of political leaders and parties, the current initiative likely would have been ignored like the previous ones.

Finally, while Mr. Ivaniš' support for the initiative is greatly appreciated, it must be pointed out that his statement that Fiume “has always been multicultural” is entirely false and insulting. His statement was certainly politically correct, but as too frequently is the case when using the mask of political correctness, the statement does not correspond to the historical reality.

Fiume, historically, was ethnically, culturally and linguistically an Italian city, not a multicultural one. It is true that every major city has a number of minorities, and Fiume was no different in this regard: since at least the 19th century there existed small communities of Germans, Hungarians and Croats in Fiume. However, up until World War II these groups remained small minorities compared to the Italians, and to pretend that each ethnic group had an equal influence on the city's local culture and history is simply to rewrite and reinterpret history in light of modern multiculturalist ideology.

Brief History of Fiume

Fiume originated as the Roman city of Tarsatica. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the citizens clung to their Roman roots, continuing to adhere to Roman law and institutions, while likewise continuing to speak the Latin language. During the Middle Ages the city became a free commune, following in the same footsteps as Trieste and the other medieval Italian communes.

The official language of Fiume was Italian since the 15th century; the city's municipal statutes were written in Latin and Italian; and in order to partake in the social, commercial and cultural life of the city, one had to speak Italian. All the archives and historical documents of Fiume are written in Latin and Italian; not a single document was written in Croatian or any other language. This is an unassailable fact of history.

The ethnic composition of Fiume was overwhelmingly Italian until relatively recent times. Despite a significant influx of immigrants, especially Croats, to Fiume's environs in the 19th century, the census of 1918 showed that Italians still formed 83.3% of the city's population (14,194 Italians compared to 2,094 Croats). It was not until after the end of World War II, with the expulsion of 90% of Fiume's Italian population (54,000 Italians out of 60,000), that the Croats became a truly significant presence in the city. Croatian migrants subsequently colonized Fiume under the direction of Josip Broz Tito's Communist regime, leaving the Italians as a small minority in their own city.

To suggest that the smaller minority groups – especially those living in the suburban districts outside of the city proper and therefore outside of the city's cultural life – had an equal impact on Fiume's culture and history, or even a significant enough influence so as to merit the label of being a “multicultural city”, is to grossly distort Fiume's history, and does a great disservice to Fiume's historical character and heritage, which up until the end of the war was indisputably Italian.

More than this, to say that Fiume “has always been multicultural” is to do an enormous disservice to those many thousands of Fiuman Italians who lost their homes and lives in the ethnic cleansing by the Yugoslav Communists, and minimizes the true impact that this ethnic cleansing had on the city of Fiume, on its population, on its demographics and on its cultural heritage since the end the war.

The Independent Marinko Koljanin

Marinko Koljanin, an Independent, said:
“For me visible bilingualism in Fiume would be the most natural thing in the world. It's a matter of historical identity. In Italy, the Italian language has always been spoken, both as an official language and by the whole people, and for many years the districts, streets and squares of our city had Italian names. In my opinion, signs bearing the historical [Italian] names of these places would be interesting also for the Croats, because it would make them interested in the history of the city they live in.”
This is one of the most honest and clear statements made by a Croatian politician on the subject.

The Absurdity of Hrvoje Burić

Slightly different, however, is the opinion of Hrvoje Burić, also an Independent candidate, who does not believe that bilingualism should be exclusive to the Italian national minority. Burić said:
“Fiume must be open to multiculturalism, because this is the road that leads to Europe, but if it were decided to introduce additional signs for street names, it would be appropriate to do it in German and Hungarian as well as in Italian.”
Mr. Burić makes a very false comparison by equating the Germans and Hungarians to the Italians. These three groups are not equal when it concerns the history and heritage of Fiume, and therefore do not merit equal representation. Having signs in German and Hungarian alongside Italian would be just as historically inaccurate as having signs only in Croatian without Italian.

When Fiume was under Habsburg and Hungarian administration, the official language of the city was Italian. On all maps and administrative documents, the Hungarians officially used the Italian name of Fiume when referring to this city. Moreover, Germans and Hungarians never formed anything more than a small minority in Fiume, whereas Italians formed the absolute majority. The Italians founded the city, populated the city and for many centuries Fiume's population was almost exclusively Italian.

All signs and toponyms, therefore, were always Italian, even during the Habsburg and Hungarian periods; never German and never Hungarian. Neither the German nor the Hungarian language ever held a significant place – nor had any official status at all – in the history of Fiume. Therefore Mr. Burić's suggestion that German and Hungarian be given a place next to Italian is both historically unjustified and culturally absurd.

The Multicultural Vision of Juraj Bukša

Juraj Bukša, member of the Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS) and former mayoral candidate of Fiume, also endorsed bilingualism but for very different reasons:
“Fiume is the European Capital of Culture in 2020 and its slogan will be 'Port of Diversity'. In this context, restoring the historical names of the squares and streets in the city centre will be a great tourist opportunity and an added value for the multiculturality of our city. But we must be careful to equally represent all the historical periods. And we must exercise patience if a street has ten different names, which would be an additional curiosity for both citizens and tourists alike.”
Mr. Bukša supports the bilingual initiative, but only insofar as it serves his multicultural political agenda and brings added attention, accolades and tourism to the city of Fiume.

It is clear from his statements that Mr. Bukša has no intention of accommodating the heartfelt wishes of the autochthonous Italian community, nor any yearning to correct a grave historical and present-day injustice. Rather, he merely wants Fiume to flow with new visitors and become a shining example of multiculturalism in order to impress the other political leaders of Europe.

His personal motivations aside, the end result – if the initiative is approved by the government – will be the same: the visible restoration of the Italian language in Fiume for the first time since 1953.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Italian Language Returning to Fiume?

The former Italian city of Fiume — today called Rijeka

The Lista per Fiume, a regional political party in Croatia, has proposed a bill to reintroduce visual bilingualism in the city of Fiume.

Fiume, which has been officially known as Rijeka since 1947, was formerly an Italian city where the majority of the population spoke Italian. Today however the city is almost entirely Croatian. If the bill to introduce bilingualism passes and is implemented, it would mean the visible return of the Italian language to Fiume for the first time since the end of World War II.

The city of Fiume belonged to Italy during the interwar period. In 1918 Fiume and its environs counted 28,911 Italians (62.5%) and 9,092 Croats (19.6%); in the city alone there were 14,194 Italians (83.3%) and 2,094 Croats (12.3%). In an exercise of self-determination, Fiume proclaimed itself united to Italy in 1918. This act was formalized in 1924 following a short-lived provisional government led by Italian warrior-poet Gabriele D'Annunzio.

In 1945 the city of Fiume was occupied by the Yugoslav Communist Partisans, who unleashed a reign of terror against the Italian population: at least 700 Italian civilians from Fiume were murdered by the Yugoslavs in the Foibe Massacres. Between 1945 and 1954 approximately 90% of Fiume's population was lost when 54,000 Italians (out of a total of 60,000 in Fiume) were forced into exile in an event known as the Julian-Dalmatian Exodus or Istrian Exodus.

Following the mass expulsion of Italians, Croatian migrants arrived to repopulate the city. The few Italians who remained became a persecuted minority. Fiume was formally annexed to Yugoslavia in 1947 and every trace of Italianity was erased under the brutal dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito. By 1953 all Italian schools were closed, all Italian street signs were destroyed, the Italian names of all the squares were changed, Fiume itself was renamed Rijeka and the city was thoroughly Croatized.

Fiume was annexed to Croatia in 1991 following the breakup of Yugoslavia. The Italians of Fiume today represent only about 5% of the population, forming a registered community of some 7,000 people who identify as ethnic Italians, although only 2,445 people declared Italian nationality in the 2011 census. For years the Italian community of Fiume – currently led by Orietta Marot – has struggled to gain political representation and have its rights recognized.

On November 4, 2017 a round table discussion was held in Fiume dedicated to the subject of bilingualism. It was attended by both Italian and Croatian representatives, and also by a representative of the Serb minority. The participants agreed on the need to repair the wrongs and correct the injustices done against the Italian population of Fiume, who comprised the core social fabric of the city for two millenia.

Ivan Jakovcic, a Croatian politician and former President of the Istrian Democratic Assembly, who was in attendance, suggested that bilingualism should be introduced “for the names of streets, squares and other sites within the historical city of Fiume”. The round table participants emphasized that this should not be enacted merely as a political act, but as an act of culture and civilization.

If the initiative is officially approved by the government in Fiume, it would be the first step towards finally recognizing Fiume's Italian history, culture, heritage and spirit, thereby beginning the road to restoration after more than half a century of erasion, silence and neglect. It would also be a symbolic act of justice to those unfortunate Italian men and women who lost their homes and lives after World War II merely for the crime of being Italian.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Constitution of Fiume (1920)


27 August 1920

The Enduring Will of the People

Fiume, for centuries a free Commune of ancient Italy, declared her full and complete surrender to the mother-country on October 10, 1918.

Her claim is threefold, like the impenetrable armour of Roman legend.

Fiume is warden of the Italian marches, the furthest stronghold of Italian culture, the most distant land that bears the imprint of Dante. From century to century through all vicissitudes, through strife and anguish, Dante’s Carnaro has done faithful service to Italy. From her as from a centre the spiritual life of Italy has shone forth and still shines forth over shores and islands, from Volosca to Laurana, from Moschiena to Albona, from Veglia to Lussino, from Cherso to Arbe.

This is her claim from history.

Fiume, as of old Tarsatica, placed at the southern end of the Liburnian rampart stretches thence along the Julian Alps and is contained entirely within that boundary which science, tradition and history alike confirm as the sacred confines of Italy.

This is her claim from position.

Fiume, with will unwavering and heroic courage, overcoming every attack whether of force or fraud, vindicated her right, two years ago, to choose her own destiny, her own allegiance on the strength of that just principle declared to the world by some of her unjust adversaries themselves.

This is her claim founded on Roman right.

In contrast to this threefold claim stands the threefold wrong, iniquity, cupidity, and force to which Italy submits in sorrow, leaving unrecognised and unclaimed the victory that she, herself, has won.

Thus it comes to pass that the inhabitants of the free city of Fiume, faithful to their Latin origin and determined to carry out their lawful decision are framing a new model for their constitution to suit the spirit of their new life not intending to limit that constitution to the territory which — under the title ‘corpus separatum’ — was assigned to the crown of Hungary, but offering it as a free alternative to any of those communities of the Adriatic which desire to break through all hindrances and rise to freedom in the name of a new Italy.

Thus, in the name of a new Italy, the people of Fiume, taking their stand on justice and on Iiberty, swear that they will fight to the utmost with their whole strength against any attempt to separate their land from the mother-country and that they will defend for ever the mountain boundary of their country assigned to it by God and by Rome.

The Basis

1. The sovereign people of Fiume, in the strength of their unassailable sovereignty, take as the centre of their free State the “corpus separatum”, with all its railways and its harbour.

But, as on the west they are determined to maintain contact with the mother-country, so, on the east, they are not prepared to renounce their claim to a frontier more just and more secure than might be assigned to them by the next happening in the give-and-take of politics or by any future treaties which they might be able to conclude with the rural and maritime communes after the proclamation of an open port and of generous statutes.

2. The Italian province of Carnaro is made up of the district of Fiume, of the islands, traditionally Venetian, which have declared by vote that they will share her fortunes; and of any neighbouring communities, which, after making a genuine application for admission, have becn welcomed fraternally and in due legal form.

3, The Italian province of Carnaro is a State chosen by the people which has for basis the power of productive labour and for constitution the widest and most varied forms of autonomy such as were in use during the four centuries of our glorious communal period.

4. The province recognizes and confirms the sovereignty of all citizens without distinction of sex, race, language, class, or religion.

But above and beyond every other right she maintains the right of the producer; abolishes or reduces excessive centralization and constitutional powers, and subdivides offices and powers: so that by their harmonic, interplay communal life may grow more vigorous and abundant.

5. The province protects, defends, preserves, all popular rights and liberties; insuring international order by justice and discipline, seeks to bring back a time of well-ordered happiness which should bring new life to a people delivered at last from Government of lies and oppression; her constant aim is to raise the status of her citizens and to increase their prosperity; so that the citizenship shall be recognized by foreigners as a title of high honour as as it was in former days under the law of Rome.

6. All citizens of the State, of both sexes, are equal and feel themselves equal in the eye of the law.

The exercise of their constitutional rights can be neither diminished nor suppressed except by public trial and solemn condemnation.

7. Fundamental liberties, freedom of thought and of the Press, the right to hold meetings and to form associations are guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.

Every form of religion is permitted and respected, and allowed to erect its own places of worship; but no citizen may allege his creed or the rites of his religion as a reason for withdrawing from the fulfilment of duties prescribed by the law.

Misuse of statutory liberty, when its purpose is illegal and when it disturbs the public peace may be punished, as provided by the law; but the law must in no way transgress the principle of liberty.

8. The Constitution guarantees to all citizens of both sexes: primary instruction in well-lighted and healthy schools; physical training in open-air gymnasiums, well-equipped; paid work with a fair minimum living wage; assistance in sickness, infirmity, and involuntary unemployment; old age pensions; the enjoyment of property legitimately obtained; inviolability of the home; ‘habeas corpus’; compensation for injuries in case of judicial errors or abuse of power.

9. The State does not recognize the ownership of property as an absolute and personal right, but regards it as one of the most useful and responsible of social functions.

No property can be reserved to anyone in unrestricted ownership; nor can it be permitted that an indolent owner should leave his property unused or should dispose of it badly, to the exclusion of anyone else.

The only legitimate title to the possession of the means of production and exchange is labour. Labour alone is the custodian of that which is by far the most fruitful and profitable to the general well-being.

10. The harbour, station, railway lines comprised in the territory of Fiume are the inalienable and incontestable property of the State in perpetuity.

By a statute of the Free Port, the full and free use of the harbour for commerce, industry, and navigation is guaranteed to foreigners as to natives, in perfect equality of good treatment and immunity from exorbitant harbour dues and from any injury to person or goods.

11. A National Bank of Carnaro under State supervision, is entrusted with the issue of paper money and with all operations concerning credit.

A law for this purpose will decide methods and regulations to be followed and will point out the rights, functions, and responsibilities of the banks already in operation in the territory and of those that may be hereafter founded there.

12. All the citizens of both sexes have the full right to choose and carry on any industry, profession, art, or craft.

Industries started or supported by foreign capital and all concessions to foreigners will be regulated by liberal legislation.

13. Three elements unite to inspire and control the regulation, progress, and growth of the Community: the Citizens; the Guilds; the Communes.

14. There are three articles of belief which take precedence of all others in the Province and the federated communes:

Life is a good thing, it is fit and right that man, reborn to freedom, should lead a life that is noble and serious; a true man is he who, day by day, renews the dedication of his manhood to his fellowmen; labour, however humble and obscure, if well done adds to the beauty of the world.

The Citizens

15. The following persons have the rank of citizens of Carnaro: all citizens now on the register of the free city of Fiume; all citizens of the federated communes; all persons who have made application for citizenship and who have obtained it by legal decree.

16. Citizens are invested with all civil and political rights as soon as they reach the age of twenty.
Without distinction of sex they become electors and eligible for all careers.

17. Those citizens shall be deprived of political rights by formal sentence, who are: condemned by the law; defaulters with regard to military service for the defence of the territory; defaulters in the payment of taxes; incorrigible parasites on the community if they are not incapacitated from labour by age or sickness.

The Guilds

18. The State represents the aspiration and effort of the people, as a community, towards material and spiritual advancement.

Those only are full citizens who give their best endeavour to add to the wealth and strength of the State; these truly are one with her in her growth and development.

Whatever be the kind of work a man does, whether of hand or brain, art or industry, design or execution, he must he a member of one of the ten Guilds who receive from the commune a general direction as to the scope of their activities, but are free to develop them in their own way and to decide among themselves as to their mutual duties and responsibilities.

19. The first Guild comprises the wage-earners of industry, agriculture and commerce, small artisans, and small landholders who work their own farms, employing little other labour and that only occasionally.

The second Guild includes all members of the technical or managerial staff in any private business, industrial or rural, with the exception of the proprietors or partners in the business.

In the third, are united all persons employed in commercial undertakings who are not actually operatives. Here again proprietors are excluded.

In the fourth, are associated together all employers engaged in industrial, agricultural, or commercial undertakings, so long as they are not merely owners of the business but — according to the spirit of the new constitution —prudent and sagacious masters of industry.

The fifth comprises all public servants, State and Communal employees of every rank. In the sixth are to be found the intellectual section of the people; studious youth and its leaders; teachers in the public schools and students in colleges and polytechnics; sculptors, painters, decorators, architects, musicians, all those who practise the Arts, scenic or ornamental.

The seventh includes all persons belonging to the liberal professions who are not included in the former categories.

The eighth is made up of the Co-operative Societies of production and consumption, industrial and agricultural, and can only be represented by the self-chosen administrators of the Societies.
The ninth comprises all workers on the sea.

The tenth has no special trade or register or title. It is reserved for the mysterious forces of progress and adventure. It is a sort of votive offering to the genius of the unknown, to the man of the future, to the hoped-for idealization of daily work, to the liberation of the spirit of man beyond the panting effort and bloody sweat of to-day.

It is represented in the civic sanctuary by a kindled lamp bearing an ancient Tuscan inscription of the epoch of the communes, that calls up an ideal vision of human labour: ‘Fatica senza fatica.’

20. Each Guild is a legal entity and is so recognized by the State.

Chooses its own consuls; makes known its decisions in an assembly of its own; dictates its own terms, its own decrees and rules; exercises autonomy under the guidance of its own wisdom and experience; provides for its own needs and for the management of its own funds, collecting from its members a contribution in proportion to their wages, salary business profits, or professional income; defends in every way its own special interest and strives to improve its status; aims at bringing to perfection the technique of its own art or calling; seeks to improve the quality of the work carried out and to raise the standard of excellence and beauty; enrolls the humblest workers, endeavoring to encourage them to do the best work; recognizes the duty of mutual help; decides as to pensions for sick and infirm members; chooses for itself symbols, emblems music, songs, and prayers; founds its own rules and ceremonies; assists, as handsomely as it can, in providing enjoyment for the commune for us anniversary fetes, and sports by land and sea; venerates its dead, honours its elders, and celebrates its heroes.

21. The relations between the Government of the province and the guilds and between the different Guilds are regulated by the methods defined in the statutes which regulate the relations between the central province and the affiliated communes and between the several communes.

The members of each Guild form a free electoral body for choosing representatives on the Council of Governors (Provvisori).

The first place in public ceremonies is assigned to the consuls of the Guilds and their banners.

The Communes

22. The ancient ‘potere normativo’ will be re-established for all communes—the right of making laws subject to the Common Law.

They exercise all powers not specially assigned by the Constitution to the judicial, legislative and executive departments of the province.

23. Each commune has full sanction to draw up its own code of municipal laws, derived from its own special customs, character, and inherited energy and from its new national life.

But each commune must apply to the province for ratification of its statutes which the commune will give.

When these statutes have been approved, accepted, and voted on by the people they can be amended only by the will of a real majority of the citizens.

24. The communes have the acknowledged right to make settlements, agreements, and treaties between themselves, administrative and legislative.

But they are required to submit them to be examined by the Central Executive Power.

If the Central Power considers that such settlements, agreements, or treaties controvert the spirit of the Constitution, it sends them up for final decision to the Court of Administration.

If the Court declares them to be illegal and invalid, the Central Executive of the province makes provision for their cancellation.

25. If order, within a commune, should be disturbed by faction, rebellion, or plot, or by any other form of craft or violence, if the dignity or integrity of a commune should be injured or menaced by the transgression of another, the Executive of the province would intervene as mediator or peace maker, if the communal authorities agreed in requesting it to do so, if a third of the citizens exercising political rights in the commune itself should make the request.

26. The following functions belong especially to the communes: to provide for primary instruction, according to the regulations laid down by the Central Education Authority; to nominate the communal judges; to appoint and maintain the communal police; to levy taxes; to contract loans within the territory of the province, or even outside it, provided that the sanction of the Central Government shall have been obtained, but this will not be granted except in case of absolute necessity.


27. Two elected bodies will exercise legislative power: the Council of Senators; the Council of ‘Provvisori’.

28. The Senate is elected by means of direct and secret universal suffrage, by all citizens throughout the province, who have attained the age of twenty-one years and have been invested with political rights.

Any citizen who has a vote is eligible as a member of the Senate.

29. Senators remain in office ten years.

They are elected in the proportion of one to every thousand electors, but in no case can their number be under thirty.

All electors form a single constituency.

The election is to be by universal suffrage and proportional representation,

30. The Senate has authority to make ordinances and laws with reference to the penal and civil code the police, national defence, public secondary instruction, art, relations between the communes and the State.

The Senate meets, as a rule, only once a year, in the month of October, for a short definite sitting.

31 The Council of the Provvisori is composed of sixty delegates, elected by universal secret suffrage and proportional representation. Ten provvisori are elected by industrial workers and agricultural labourers; ten by seamen of all kinds; ten by employers; five by rural and industrial technicians; five by the managerial staffs in private firms; five by the teachers in the public schools, by the students in the higher schools, and by other members of the sixth Guild; five by the liberal professions; five by public servants; five by Co-operative Societies of production, of labor and of consumption.

32. The provvisori remain in office two years.

They are not eligible unless they belong to the Guild represented.

33. The Council of the Provvisori meets usually twice in the year, in the months of May and November, and uses the laconic method of debate.

It has authority to make ordinances and laws with reference to the commercial and Maritime code; to the control of labour; to transport; to public works; to treaties of commerce, customs, tariffs, and similar matters; to technical and professional instruction; to industry and banking; to arts and crafts.

34. The Senate and the Council of Provvisori unite together once a year as a single body on the first of December, as a Grand National Council under the title of Arengo del Carnaro.

The Arengo discusses and deliberates on relations with other States; on finance and the Treasury; on the higher studies; on reforms of the constitution; on extensions of liberty.

The Executive

35, Executive power in the province is exercised by seven ministers elected jointly by the National Assembly, the Senate, and the Council of Provvisori, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Finance and the Treasury, and the Minister of Public Instruction are elected by the National Assembly.

The Minister of the Interior and of Justice, the Minister of National Defence are elected by the Senate. The Council of Provvisori elects the Minister of Public Economy and the Minister of Labour.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs takes the title Prime Minister and represents the Province in intercourse with other States ‘primus inter pares’.

36. The seven ministers, once elected, remain in office for their allotted time.

They decide everything that does not interfere with current administration.

The Prime Minister presides over the discussions and has the deciding vote when the votes are equally balanced.

The ministers are elected for a year, and are not re-eligible except once.

But, after the interval of one year, they may be nominated again.

Judiciary Power

The Judiciary Power will be held by magistrates. Labour judges, judges of the High Court, judges of the Criminal Court, the Court of Administration.

38. The magistrates, elected to inspire public confidence, by all the electors of the various communes in proportion to their number, decide all civil and commercial casts under the value of five thousand lire and questions of crime where the penalty of imprisonment does not last more than one year.

39. The Labour judges decide eases of controversy between employers and workers, whether wage-earners or salaried staff.

The Labour judges are grouped in ‘colleges’, the members of each ‘college’ being nominated by one of those Guilds’ which elect the Council of the Provvisori.

According to the following scale: two by industrial workers and agricultural labourers; two by all workers connected with the sea; two by employers; one by technical workers, industrial or agricultural; one by the liberal professions; one by members of the administrative staff in private firms; one by public employees; one by teachers, by students of the higher institutes, and by other members of the sixth Guild; one by the Co-operative Societies of production, of labour and of consumption.

The Labour judges have power to divide their colleges into branches in order to render their proceedings more rapid, they are to dispense justice with promptitude, clearness, and expedition.

A joint assembly of the branches constitutes a Court of Appeal.

40. The judges of the High Court adjudicate on all questions civil, commercial, and penal which are not dealt with by the magistrates and the Labour judges except those which are dealt with by the judges of the Criminal Court.

The judges of the High Court constitute the Court of Appeal for sentences of magistrates.

The judges of the High Court are chosen by the Court of Administration from citizens holding the title of Doctor of Law (LL. D.).

41. Seven sworn citizens, assisted by two deputies and presided over by a judge of the High Court compose the Criminal Court which tries all crimes of a political nature and all those misdemeanours which would be punished by imprisonment for more than three years.

42. Elected by the National Council, the Court of Administration is composed of five acting members and two supplementary.

Of the acting members, at least three, and of the supplementary members, at least one shall be chosen from Doctors of Law.

The Court of Administration deals with: acts and decrees issued by the legislative and executive authorities to ascertain that they are in conformity with the Constitution; any statutory conflict between the legislative and executive authorities, between the province and the communes, between one commune and another, between the province and the Guilds, between the province and private persons, between the communes and the Guilds, between the communes and private individuals; cases of high treason against the province on the part of citizens who hold legislative or executive power; attacks on the rights of the people; civil contests between the province and the communes or between commune and commune; questions regarding the rights of citizenship and naturalization; questions referring to the competence (function) of the various magistrates and judges.

The Court of Administration has the ultimate revision of sentences and nominates by vote the judges of the High Court.

Citizens who are members of the Court of Administration are forbidden to hold any other office either in that commune or any other.

Nor may they carry on any trade or profession during the whole period that they are in office.

The Commandant

43. When the province is in extreme peril and sees that her safety depends on the will and devotion of one man who is capable of rousing and of leading all the forces of the people in a united and victorious effort, the National Council in solemn conclave in the Arengo may, voting by word of mouth, nominate a Commandant and transmit to him supreme authority without appeal.

The Council decides the period, long or short, during which he is to rule not forgetting that in the Roman Republic the dictatorship lasted six months.

44, During the period of his rule, the Commandant holds all powers —political and military, legislative and executive.

The holders of executive power assume the office of commissaries and secretaries under him.

45. On the expiration of the period of rule, the National Council again assembles and decides: to confirm the Commandant in his office, or else to substitute another citizen in his place, or else to depose him, or even to banish him.

46. Any citizen holding political rights, whether he have any office in the province or not, may be elected to the supreme office.

National Defence

47. In the province of Carnaro, all the citizens of both sexes, from seventeen to fifty-five years of age, are liable for military service for the defence of the country.

After selection has been made, men in sound health will serve in the forces of land and sea, men who are not so strong and women will serve in ambulances, hospitals, in administration, in ammunition factories, and in any other auxiliary work according to the capacity and skill of each.

48. State assistance on an ample scale is granted to all citizens who, during military service, have contracted any incurable infirmity, and to their families, if in need.

The State adopts the children of all citizens who are killed in defence of their country, assists their families in distress, and commends to the memory of future generations the names of the fallen.

49. In time of peace and security, the State will not maintain a standing army; but all the nation will remain armed, as prescribed by law, and its forces by land and sea well and duly trained.

Strict military service is confined to the period of instruction or to periods when war is either actually being waged or when there is immediate danger of war.

During periods of instruction or of war, the citizen will lose none of his civil and political rights; and will be able to exercise them whenever the necessities of active service permit.

Public Instruction

50. For any race of noble origin, culture is the best of all weapons.

For the Adriatic race, harassed for centuries by a ceaseless struggle with an unlettered usurper, culture is more than a weapon; like faith and justice, it is an unconquerable force.

For the people of Fiume at the moment of her rebirth to liberty, it becomes the instrument more helpful than any other against the insidious plots that have encircled her for centuries.

Culture is the preservative against corruption; the buttress against ruin.

In Dante’s Carnaro the culture of the language of Dante is the custodian of that which has ever been reckoned as the most precious treasure of the people, the highest testimony to the nobility of their origin, the chief sign of their moral right of rule.

That moral right is what the new State must fight for. On its will to victory is founded the exaltation of the human ideal.

The new State, with unity completed, liberty achieved, justice enthroned, must make it her first duty to defend, preserve, and fight for unity, liberty, justice in the spirit of man.

The culture of Rome must be here in our midst and the culture of Italy.

For this cause the Italian province of Carnaro makes education — the culture of her people — the crown and summit of her Constitution, esteems the treasure of Latin culture as the foundation of her welfare.

51. The city of Fiume will have a free University, housed in a spacious building, capable of accommodating a great number of students and ruled by its own special ordinances.

There will be in the city of Fiume, a School of Painting, a School of Decorative Art, a School of Music free from any legal interference, conducted in a candid and open spirit under the guidance of a judgment acute enough to get rid of the incumbrance of the inefficient, to choose the best students from among the good and to assist the best in the discovery of new possibilities in the rendering of human sentiment.

52. The secondary schools will be under the supervision of the Senate; the technical and professional schools under that of the Council of the Provvisori; higher education, under that of the National Council.

In every school and in every commune the Italian language will have the first place.

In secondary schools the teaching of the various dialects spoken in the Italian province of Carnaro will be obligatory.

Primary instruction will be given in the language spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of each commune and also in parallel classes in that spoken by the minority.

If any commune tries to evade the obligation of providing those double courses of instruction the Central Government of the province reserves its right to provide them at the cost of the commune.

53. An Educational Council decides upon the nature and method of primary instruction which is compulsory in the schools of all communes.

The teaching of choral singing based on the genuine poetry of the people (folk songs) and the teaching of decorative art based on examples of indigenous popular art will hold a first place.

The Council will consist of: a representative of each commune two representatives of secondary schools; two, of technical and professional schools; two, of institutions of higher education (to he elected by professors and students); two, by the Schools of Music two, by the School of Decorative Art.

54. Schools, well lighted and ventilated, must not have on their walls any emblems of religion or of political parties.

The public schools welcome the followers of every religious profession, the believers in every creed and those, too, who are able to live without an altar and without a God.

Liberty of conscience receives entire respect. Each one may offer up his silent prayers.

But there will be inscribed on the walls inspiring words that, like an heroic symphony, will never lose their power to raise and animate the soul.

And there will be representations of those masterpieces of the painter’s art which interpret most nobly the endless longings and aspirations of mankind.

Reforms of the Constitutions

55. Every seven years the Great National Council will meet in a special conference to consider constitutional reforms.

But the Constitution can be altered at anytime, when a third of the citizens electors make a request for the alteration.

The following bodies have the right to propose amendments of the Constitution: the members of the National Council; the representatives of the communes; the Court of Administration; the Guilds.

The Right of Initiative

56. All citizens belonging to electoral bodies have the right of initiating legislative proposals with regard to questions which fall within the sphere of action of one or other Council; but the initiative will not take effect unless at least one-fourth of the electors of the Council in question are unanimous moving and supporting it.

The Power of Appeal

57. All laws that have received the sanction of the two legislative bodies may be subjected to public reconsideration with the possibility of repeal provided that such reconsideration be asked for by a number of electors equal to at least a fourth of the enfranchised citizens,

The Right of Petition

58. All citizens have the right of petition towards those bodies which they have helped to elect.

Reduplication of Offices

59. No citizen may fill more than one official post nor take part in two legislative bodies at the same time.


60. Any official appointment may be revoked: when the official in question loses his political rights through a sentence confirmed by the Court of Law; when the decree of revocation is voted for by more than half of the members of the electoral body.


61. All holders of power and all public officials of the province are legally responsible for any injury caused to State, commune, guild, or single citizen by any transgression of theirs, whether through misdoing, carelessness, cowardice, or inaccuracy.


62. All public officials, enumerated in the Statutes and appointed in the new Constitution, will receive suitable remuneration, in accordance with the decision of the National Council annually revised.

The Aediles

63. There will be in the province a College of Aediles, wisely selected from men of taste, skill, and a liberal education.

This ‘College’ will be a revival not so much of the Roman Aediles, as of the Office for the adornment of the City’ which, in our fourteenth century, arranged a new road or a new piazza with the same sense of rhythm and proportion which guided them in the conduct of a Republican triumph or a carnival display.

It will provide for the decorum of life; secure the safety, decency, sanitation of public edifices, and private dwellings; prevent the disfigurement of roads by awkward or ill-placed buildings; enliven civic festivals by sea and land with graceful ornament, recalling our forefathers for whom the glory of the sunshine and a few fair garlands of flowers with human beauty of pageant and motion sufficed to frame a miracle of joy; convince the workers that to add beauty, some sign of joy in the building, to the humblest habitation is an act of piety, that a sense of religion, of human mystery, of the profundity of Nature may be passed on from generation to generation in the simplest symbol carved or painted on the kneading trough or the cradle, on the loom or the distaff, on the linen chest or the cottage beam; it will try to reawaken in our people the love of beautiful line and colour in the things that are used in their daily life, showing them how much, in the old days, could be achieved by a slight geometrical design, by a star, a flower, a heart, a serpent or a dove on a pitcher or oil jar or jug, on a bench or chest or platter; it will serve to show our people how the ancient spirit of communal liberty manifested itself even in the utensils that received the imprint of man’s life; finally, convinced that a people cannot attain to strength and nobility without noble architecture it will endeavour to make modern architects realize that the new materials — iron and glass and concrete — must be raised to the level of harmonious life by the invention of a new architecture.


64. In the Italian province of Carnaro, music is a social and religious institution. Once in a thousand or two thousand years music springs from the soul of a people and flows on for ever.

A noble race is not one that creates a God in its own image but one that creates also the song wherewith to do Him homage.

Every rebirth of a noble race is a lyric force, every sentiment that is common to the whole race, a potential lyric; music, the language of ritual, has power, above all else, to exalt the achievement and the life of man.

Does it not seem that great music has power to bring spiritual peace to the strained and anxious multitude?

The reign of the human spirit is not yet.

‘When matter acting on matter shall be able to replace man’s physical strength, then will the spirit of man begin to see the dawn of liberty’: so said a man of Dalmatia of our own Adriatic, the blind seer of Sebenico.

As cock-crow heralds the dawn, so music is the herald of the soul’s awakening.

Meanwhile, in the instruments of labour, of profit, and of sport, in the noisy machines which, even they, fall into a poetical rhythm, music can find her motives and her harmonies.

In the pauses of music is heard the silence of the tenth guild.

65. In every commune of the province there will be a choral society and an orchestra subsidized by the State.

In the city of Fiume, the College of Aediles will be commissioned to erect a great concert hall, accommodating an audience of at least ten thousand with tiers of seats and ample space for choir and orchestra.

The great orchestral and choral celebrations will be entirely free — in the language of the Church — a gift of God.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Italy and Jugo-Slavia

(Written by Alceste De Ambris, excerpt taken from the book “Italy and Jugo-Slavia”, 1919.)

Elements on Which to Base a Judgment.

Jugo-Slavia asserts its right to Istria, to Eastern Friuli and to Dalmatia; but Italy likewise asserts its rights to this territory. We must examine their claims to determine which has the strongest grounds for support.

It is necessary to reckon with diverse elements, none of which taken by itself can be decisive, although they would be decisive considered as a whole. These factors are: 1. Population, 2. Geography, 3. History, 4. Culture, 5. Political and economical necessities.

Population. The population of Istria and of Eastern Friuli always has been Italian in the past by a large majority. It is enough to look at any map to be convinced that the names of the cities and the villages of those regions are almost all Italian, even in the interior of the country. It is only within recent years that the Slav element has begun to have importance. It established itself in certain parts, as a voluntary immigration; and in others as an artificial influx from Austria to smother the Italian element, which never has ceased to manifest its desire to separate from the Danubian monarchy.

Altogether even today the Italians are on the coast in great numbers, inhabiting the busiest and wealthiest cities. Trieste, to which Italy's claim is disputed, contained 120,000 Italians before the war, subjects of Austria; 30,000 Italians who were Italian subjects; 6,000 Slovenes and 2,000 Croats, besides 12,000 Germans. Therefore the Italians comprised more than two-thirds of the whole. In the whole of Istria the number of Italians and Jugo-Slavs counter-balance, there being about 360,000 of each. The Jugo-Slavs are divided between Slovenes and Serbo-Croats.

Fiume Indisputably Italian.

Fiume likewise is indisputably Italian. Before the war its population was composed of 26,000 Italian subjects of Austria; 6,000 subjects of the king of Italy; 12,000 Croats and 6,000 Maygars. Therefore the Italians form 65 per cent of the population. In Zara, the capital of Dalmatia, there are 10,000 Italians and only 3,000 Croats. The population of the rest of Dalmatia instead, is Slav; but Italy asks only a small part of the coast.

Geography. Look at a map and from that point of view it would be easy to solve the problem. All of Istria and Eastern Friuli are included within the chain of the Alps which, with the sea, mark the natural confines of Italy. The great French geographer, Elisee Reclus, bears testimony moreover, that the whole of Istria and Eastern Friuli are absolutely Italian in orography, in hydrography, and in geology. In regard to Dalmatia there is more controversy, although authorities are not wanting who maintain the whole country belongs to Italy.

History. The whole history of Istria, of Italian Friuli and of Dalmatia is Italian history. Rome first, and Venice afterwards civilized those regions. The cities which did not belong to the republic of Venice were free cities and ever asserted their Italian character, as for instance did Aquileia, Fiume and Trieste. The history of Trieste is, more than any other, a continuous reassertion of its Italian character—from 1167, when it took part in the Lombard league against the German Barbarossa, down to the present time.

Culture. Wherever in Eastern Friuli, in Istria or in Dalmatia there is any trace of civility, that trace is Italian. The architecture is Italian (Roman or Venetian). The literature is Italian. The language spoken along the whole coast is Italian; the shipping is Italian and the language of commerce Italian. The Slavs themselves when they desire to take part in the life of the most polite centers are obliged to speak Italian.


I have said already that the coast cities, their trade and industries are all Italian. It is natural that the hinterland should gravitate toward Italy economically, and that, recognizing the Italian character of the centers of the coast, it is necessary to recognize as implicity the Italian right to the rural zone behind them as far as the limits of the boundary fixed by nature.

Noblest Sign of Italian Title. All these elements which bespeak the right of Italy to the country it liberated could be discussed altogether even if there were not another which constitutes in my opinion the noblest sign of the Italian character of those territories. That sign is the will of the peoples, expressed with ardent constancy through centuries of struggle, of suffering and martyrdom, stoically endured to vindicate the rights of their Italian nationality.

The history of Dalmatia and Trieste attests that only one political and national conscience finds expression in either. It is Italian. I have asserted before that Trieste took part in the Lombard League in 1167 to resist the Emperor Barbarossa. Its ships, in fact, fought with those of Venice on Ascension Day in 1177 in the waters of Salvore, defeating the imperial fleet. Trieste on that account shared the benefits of the peace of Constance signed in 1183 between the emperors and the Italian cities of which it had been the faithful ally.

Trieste Always Italian.

Even when it ceased to be a free city, Trieste never hesitated to proclaim itself proudly Italian in the face of the Austrian empire determined to nationalize it. In 1424, 1443, and in 1468, as a result, there were bloody conspiracies and insurrections in the beautiful Adriatic city. In turn history records movements, protests and declarations in support of the Italian character of Istria and Dalmatia in the years 1485, 1508, 1522, 1660, 1688, 1694, 1779 and 1797.

When the great movement for the unification of Italy was instituted, Istrians and Dalmatians took a large part in the conspiracies and tentative insurrections of 1821, 1833, and 1844. In the wars for Italian freedom Istrians and Dalmatians volunteered in large numbers to fight Austria. We find them, in fact, on the battle fields of Lombardy and Piedmont in 1848, in the defense of the Roman Republic and of that of Venice in 1849; and in the campaigns of '59, of '60, of '66, of '67, and of '70.

After that the struggle still continued. In 1879 a grave uprising against Austria occurred in Trieste. In 1882, [Guglielmo] Oberdan was hanged for asserting the Italian preferences of Trieste. In 1897, in 1902, in 1903, and in 1908 impressive manifestations of Italians occurred in Istria and Dalmatia with a long drawn out series of trials, death sentences and their ghastly toll of horrors.

When the world war broke out, Istrians, Dalmatians and Italians deserted the Austrian army in order not to fight under the flag of tyranny. They enlisted as volunteers in the Italian army as soon as Italy joined the conflict in May, 1915. Many of them fell in battle. Nazario Sauro, an Istrian was hanged before the eyes of his mother and sister. The same fate was meted out to the Dalmatian, Rismondo.

This is the noblest sign, the sign traced in blood, the sacred sign that nobody and no sophism can wipe out, of the love of their mother country shown by the Italians of Istria and Dalmatia.


...the natural borders of Italy, following the Italian national aspirations, stretch far outside the political borders demanded for Italy in the treaty of London. They are not only geographical lines. They are also the lines set by history, culture and ethnology. They are the lines of civilization which reveal the Italian character of those countries, some of which are now inhabited by Slav elements, artificially brought there, although they never have been able to amalgamate with or absorb the Italian element.