(1853 - 1932) ~ Italian, Anarchist Intellectual, Anti-Capitalist, and Anti-Fascist : There have almost certainly been better anarchist writers, more skilled anarchist organizers, anarchists who have sacrificed more for their beliefs. Perhaps though, Malatesta is celebrated because he combined all of these so well, exemplifying thought expressed in deed... (From : Cunningham Bio.)
• "...the oppressed are always in a state of legitimate self-defense, and have always the right to attack the oppressors." (From : "Anarchists Have Forgotten Their Principles," by E....)
• "We want to make the revolution as soon as possible, taking advantage of all the opportunities that may arise." (From : "Revolution in Practice," by Errico Malatesta, fro....)
• "And tomorrow, in the revolution, we must play an active part in the necessary physical struggle, seeking to make it as radical as possible, in order to destroy all the repressive forces of the government and to induce the people to take possession of the land, homes, transport, factories, mines, and of all existing goods, and organize themselves so that there is a just distribution immediately of food products." (From : "The Anarchist Revolution," by Errico Malatesta.)
This article was widely diffused in Italy in 1899, following the massacres and condemnations which happened the previous year. The aim was to spread the idea of the union of all anti-monarchy parties aimed to the insurrection against the monarchy, without renouncing principles of each individual party, and without commitment to what each will want to do after the fall of the monarchy. Here is a substantial part of it.
Facing the brutality of certain situations every discussion must be interrupted: we need to act. When a man falls into the water and drowns, we cannot spend time discussing why he fell and how to avoid him falling again: it is urgent to get him out of the water and prevent his death. When a country is invaded by a savage horde that insults, rapes and massacres all inhabitants, the first thing to do is to throw the invader out, for no matter how big the wrong-doing of each citizen may be [?] the aspirations of the different parties.
This is the situation in Italy today: a country occupied by the military, where all the inhabitants of every class - except the camorra which surrounds the government and sustains it because it draws its life from it - are threatened, offended in their freedom and possessions and exposed to the most violent arrogance on the part of the soldiers. What party, unable to attack the enemy alone, would condemn itself and the population to the indefinite perpetration of its slavery, rather than uniting with adverse parties and find the strength to win in the union?
At any rate, if someone would prefer to continue the present state of things rather than act with the other parties, in light of a justifiable doctrine that would reveal the lack of faith in their own program, the state of necessity would still impose the union on those who are not willing to be passive spectators of the events, betraying their own ideas and those of the party. Given the present conditions of Italy and its government, it is certain that sooner or later a new explosion of popular rage will be produced, and suffocated in blood if, once again, only stones were opposed to rifles and cannons. The subversive parties, little as they have learned from past experience, and making sense of their own interest and duty, will throw themselves in the fight and will bring to the people the aid of means and plans prepared in advance. So, if the various revolutionary parties will take part in the struggle, and no one could, even if they wanted, prevent the others from joining, impeding their own influential part on the future development of the revolution. this part will come from the part they had in the victory, so wouldn't it be a great mistake to act each on their own, without any agreement, running the risk of paralyzing each other to the enemy' advantage, instead of looking to secure a material victory that is a necessary condition of any transformation of the present order of things?
After this, if everyone has the same respect for freedom they claim they have, and will let everyone their right to experiment and propagate their ideas, freedom will produce what it needs to produce, and the institution that best respond to the material and moral conditions of the moment will prevail. Otherwise, the fall of the monarchy will always mean the suppression of the worst enemy - and the struggle will begin again, but in better and more civilized conditions.
We are facing a material question. The brutality of the force used is just an addition to the economic and moral problem that torment the country. The government has soldiers, cannons, rapid means of communication and transportation: it has a powerful organization ready for repression, and it showed us how ready and able it is to use it. To end an agitation, that would be reduced to small innocuous demonstrations and tumults, easily silenced by fees abolitions and some other meaningless concession, the government did not hesitate to slaughter hundreds of citizens. what would the striped beasts, servants of the king, be capable of if a serious menace would threaten them? An insurgent city, hoping that others will follow its example, would probably be reduced in ruins before news spread elsewhere. a population willing to demonstrate their discontent with energy, but without the right weapons, would be suffocated in blood before the movement could develop. We then need to strike through consensus, with force and decision It is necessary that, before authority can wake up from surprise, the people, or better, groups that are previously organized for action, put their hand on the largest number possible of chiefs of the military and government; it is necessary that every insurgent group, every tumultuous crowd, feel that it is not alone, and encourage by the hope for victory, insists on the struggle pushing it to the extreme; the soldiers need to realize they are facing a real revolution and be tempted to fraternize and disert with the population, before the intoxication of blood makes them enraged; useful news must be rapidly spread and the movements of the troops are prevented with every means necessary; with simulated movements, we must attract the troops to different locations from those we intend to use for action; we need to oppose bombs, mines, to cannons and quick rifles. fires to their means of war. we need, in brief, to oppose adequate means to the enemy's means of war, and we need to oppose a more stern action to a stern repression that will not stop at any obstacle. We need to wage war, and for this reason we need to use all the tricks of the science of war applied to the conditions of an insurgent population, fighting against regular troops with more modern and perfected weapons. All this, however, cannot be improvised in a moment, at the right moment, if is not previously prepared and the way to take possession of them by surprise or force; the agreement of who takes part in what in order to erect barricades, light fires where needed and apply any type of battle plan cannot be done at once, and while one is already engaging in battle; the simultaneity of the insurrection in different places or at least an expansion of the movement so fast to prevent the government to concentrate its troops and suffocate one by one the different centers of the insurrection. this cannot be obtained without the previous coordination action groups communicating with each other. It is this practical planning work that we ask all of those who are enemies of the monarchy and decided to stop it once and for all. May all men of good will find each other and associate to prepare for the insurrection. all the initiatives will meet and federate and the necessary strength will be reached to move the next popular movement to victory. The near future will tell if we were wrong to rely upon the revolutionary energy of the Italian people.
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