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.