Fasci Siciliani

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Illustrations of Fasci Siciliani protesters

The Fasci Siciliani (Italian: [ˈfaʃʃi sitʃiˈljaːni]), short for Fasci Siciliani dei Lavoratori ("Sicilian Workers Leagues"), were a popular movement of democratic and socialist inspiration that arose in Sicily in the years between 1889 and 1894.


  • When women took to their piazzas and fields in Sicily in 1892–94, they focused their anger on those who directly challenged their ability to subsist. Many considered the nation-state, large landholders, and those priests who were allied with such interests to be the most egregious off enders. After the Italian nation was formed in 1861, many members of the urban bourgeoisie and middle classes supported the national project, but most of the poor actively revolted against it. For the vast majority of Italy’s residents—the peasantry—the new state meant excessive taxation, forced conscription, dispossession from land, widespread poverty, police brutality, and government repression.
  • Local economies gave shape to women’s protests, whether they were based in subsistence agriculture, market cultivation, or large wheat estates. The tactics of striking and land occupation, for example, were more common in towns dominated by large-scale agriculture and industry. Tax protests typically occurred in places that were market- oriented. Because of this, the movement differed depending on the locale, leading the fasci to function in multiple ways—as mutual aid societies, trade unions, agricultural cooperatives, and political parties. In each of these towns, however, the fasci included the majority of residents. They might have developed in a single neighborhood but very quickly branched outward.

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