For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli

Guido Pacelli – Leader of the Resistance to Fascism

Guido Picelli was the leader of the last armed resistance to Italian Fascism, rousing the working men and women of Parma to defeat some 20,000 Fascists in pitched battles fought in the streets.

After five days of urban warfare fascist columns were seen leaving the area in disarray, military discipline melting away.  The black shirts had suffered 39 dead and 150 wounded. Once the news of the fascists’ departure spread, the working class populations of Parma rushed into the streets in an indescribable explosion of enthusiasm – red flags were hung from the windows in ‘old Parma’.  The news of the working class’s victory spread rapidly in the surrounding area, where terrified local landowners abandoned their houses and ran towards Cremona.  It was the finest hour of the resistance.

Worried that the resistance would spread to other cities, the King declared martial law and the Army moved in to occupy Parma.  There was no stopping infantry units armed with machine guns.

In ten weeks Mussolini would rule Italy – fascism, industrial capitalism and the monarchy had come to agreement before the “March on Rome.”

Guido Picelli, the leader of the resistance, would be arrested 5 times by the fascists and then elected to parliament by the workers of Parma.

On May Day, May 1, 1924 in the flower of the full fascist state, he would enrage Mussolini by hanging the red flag on the parliament building for 15 minutes in protest for the cancelling of Labor Day.

He was repeatedly attacked on the streets by black shirts and served over 5 years in prison.

He died in the Spanish Civil War leading the Garibaldi Brigade in front of Guadalajara, fighting for the Republic against General Franco.

Today there are monuments in both Italy and Spain to the anti-fascist leader; in Parma the Piazza Picelli.

The Spanish Republic buried him with honors in a tomb fit for heroes.

General Franco, in a fit of pique,  destroyed his tomb after taking power and had his bones thrown into an ossuary with unidentified Spanish Civil War dead.

He was a leading light in the history of twentieth-century Italy and Europe and fought untiringly for the affirmation of social justice and opposed every form of totalitarianism.

He was persecuted by Stalin as well as Mussolini.

Happy May Day.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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9 Responses to For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli

  1. Happy May Day to you, too, Toritto. We the people know not from whence our heroes will emerge.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. beetleypete says:

    I had heard about him in connection with the Spanish Civil War, but this background information was an interesting read, Frank. Mayday here just means a day off on Monday, to most people.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Our “Labor Day” is in September. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, after a number of workers were shot down by their own government during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland made reconciliation with the labor movement a top political priority. Workers were pissed; seems the government had a habit of shooting down strikers. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike – and the gunning down of workers.

      Amazing how quickly government can work when it is scared shitless.

      The September date was chosen as Cleveland was concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would remind American workers of the Haymarket Affair when American workers were also shot down by their own government. Besides, May Day was too “socialist” All 50 U.S. states have made September Labor Day a holiday – even Texas.

      Anyone notice any “honoring” of labor lately?



      Liked by 1 person

      • beetleypete says:

        We only got Mayday as a holiday in 1978, Frank. We had to wait a lot longer than the US…As for honouring of labour, you know my feelings on that.
        Best wishes, Pete.


  3. Pingback: For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli — Toritto – Views àla JoAnn

  4. Pingback: For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli — Toritto - Aware & Fair

  5. jfwknifton says:

    History is too often written by the victors, unfortunately, but this brave man, hopefully, will not be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli | toritto | First Night History

  7. Pingback: For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli — Toritto – JoAnn Chateau

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