ITALY: Land for a Song

At dusk, throughout the Roman countryside, loudspeakers suddenly blared an incitement to landless farm workers: "Landless poor, collectively occupy the land of those who have too much. ..." The signal for the expropriation: church bells tolling at dawn. The inciting voices were Communists and left-wing socialists. But the motive force for expropriation was months of disappointment at the Republic's failure to satisfy the land hunger of the rural proletariat.

When the tocsin rang, motley mobs formed in village squares. Headed by local labor leaders and squeaky village bands, they marched on what they called "invasion." In some cases, priests and...

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