The End of Anarchism?

By Luigi Galleani (1925)

Revolt Library Anarchism The End of Anarchism?

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(1861 - 1931)

Insurrectionary Anarchist and Alleged Mastermind of the Wallstreet Bombing

: Famous internationally, he was a proponent of propaganda by the deed. Galleani became versed in legal and political theory at the University of Turin while acquiring a law degree. As a fervent supporter of Anarchism, he was wanted by the Italian police. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "The anarchist, assumes himself/herself at least, to have reached (under the whip of experience, or cross the inquiry, the study, the meditation) the belief that social unease in nature and misery is in servitude..." (From: "The Principal of Organization to the Light of Ana....)
• "...they descend from a primeval monopoly, fundamentally: from the cornering, to the work of a greedy minority, of the ground, the fields and minerals, those products of the ground are modified in the elements of life, of security, of joy; of the railways and shops that these products spread for all the latitudes in exchange of other products, or against the gold of the realm that is the tool of wealth, of power, of tyranny..." (From: "The Principal of Organization to the Light of Ana....)
• " that church that consecrates this usurpation like a particular benediction of god, like the state that is legitimate in the parliaments, in the codes, in the tribunals, and defends it with its rules, with its army; which the morale, the hypocrite and dewy moral flow, the thief merges this camp into a circus of religious devotion." (From: "The Principal of Organization to the Light of Ana....)


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The first decade of the twentieth century seemed to be quite promising. We were being told at school and on the streets that a new era of democratic freedom and social justice had opened. Criticism of the old institutions was encouraged by politicians, and the hopes of working people were raised by the labor unions’ promises of protection. The vanguards of political and social thought were spreading the seeds of new ideas among the workers of the world about ways and means to bring about a thorough emancipation from the oppression of political power and from the exploitation of land and capital by private ownership. Rulers and employers had not changed, of course, and used violence and terror from time to time. But their brutality was beginning to provoke tentative efforts at resistance. In the industrial centers, the mining fields, and agrarian communities, sporadic explosions of rebellion were registered. In Russia a serious revolutionary movement shook the... (From :

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Let us begin by giving the complete text of the interview. Our own modest considerations will follow. The Congress held in Rome and attended by 37 groups from the more important centers in Italy, has led me to undertake an investigation that I consider of interest; that is, to get acquainted with the anarchist party of today and to try to foresee its probable future. For this purpose I have turned to the wisest mind the anarchist party had in Italy up to a few years ago, Saverio Merlino, the lawyer who defended Bresci at his trial in Milan. The name of Merlino evokes a whole past of struggle and, let us say it, of persecution. Saverio Merlino was, for a certain period of time, among the most active internationalists in Italy at a time when this could mean arrest, jail, exile, ‘domicilio coatto’ [enforced residence]. In 1884 he was a member of the famous armed rebels of Benevento and eve... (From :

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We believe that such a demonstration is easy, even face to face with Francesco Saverio Merlino, who is a formidable debater, wise, versed in dialectics, learned — provided that two essential terms of the debate are defined with precision. If we agree — and I am almost certain that we do — on the notion of progress and if we agree on the fundamental and characteristic meaning of anarchism, then we have only to test the content of anarchism as a doctrine, the multiple aspects and scope of its manifestations as a movement, on the touchstone of our mutual notion of progress in order to deduce — perhaps again in agreement — whether it still contains the basis of a positive progressive aspiration (even if it lies in the distant future), whether it carries the vigorous throbs of exuberant vitality, or the incoherent convulsions of distress and agony. Hoping to reach the desired and necessary harmony of these pre... (From :

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These aims are characteristic of anarchism, not only because the whole anarchist doctrine rests upon them as a fundamental basis, but also because anarchism alone promotes them and pursues their realization and, therefore, they constitute the essence that distinguishes anarchism from all the other schools of socialism. If we reduce the antitheses existing in the various schools of socialism to those that distinguish anarchist-communists from socialist-collectivists (these being, after all, the only vital trends of popular socialism, the only ones involved in this controversy, because, according to Merlino, what is essential in anarchism has been absorbed by socialist-collectivism) this will expose in a much clearer way the exact terms of their differences. In the collectivist society, promoted (almost without exceptions) by the International Socialist Party, work and satisfaction of needs will be directed by the workers’ collect... (From :

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This new characteristic has not yet appeared within the thought of classical democracy, which, following in the footsteps of Ledru-Rollin and Mazzini, is still raving about the Utopia of an impossible alliance between capital and labor, an impossible harmony between the exploited and the exploiters. Socialist philosophy expressed it as the social ownership of all means of production and exchange. So, the socialist movement represents a progress over the old democratic doctrine, which used to lull us to sleep with its old nursery songs about alliances and harmony. Such progress becomes more and more evident as the huge proletariat of all nations, called to action and insurrection by the new social theories, inspires and hastens the selective processes within the socialist party itself. Because, even if there is no disagreement, generally speaking, on the main point (the abolition of private ownership of the means of pro... (From :

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This conclusion is so far from being rash that it is shared, more or less sincerely, by even the most qualified exponents of socialist-collectivism. In addition to Morgari, who, as we have seen, admits that socialist-collectivism represents a lower stage in social evolution than anarchist-communism, there is no other apostle of socialism who, when pressed, would not be willing to call himself a communist, even if, in so doing, he forgets that every premise implies a deduction and that only anarchism can correspond to the economic premise of communism. No, if we pay attention to the text of the Merlino interview, and, if we remember his repeated criticisms of collectivism, and remember the cordial antipathy he has persistently expressed for the program and action of the Socialist Party, we would have to conclude that he too would agree with our theoretical deductions. In fact, he bases his judgments and funereal prophecies more upon the outward manifestati... (From :

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“Against the workers’ organizations, also?” It is not a question of pro or con. The anarchist movement and the labor movement follow two parallel lines, and it has been geometrically proven that parallels never meet. It is presumed that through experience, research, learning, meditation, the anarchist, at least, has reached the conviction that the social malaise, in general and, in particular, poverty, serfdom and the involuntary, imposed ignorance of the working people who produce everything that gives life its fullness and the splendor they will never enjoy, but which is and will be enjoyed by those who have never done a day’s work anywhere) derive from a primitive and fundamental monopoly — from the hoarding, by a greedy and cunning minority, of the land, fields and mines and their products; of the factories and forges, where the earth’s products are transformed into the elements of life, security, and pleasure; o... (From :

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I am beginning to suspect that Merlino may see in the individual acts of rebellion — rebellion against the church, against the State, against property or morality — and in the iconoclasts who commit themselves to them, almost always losing their freedom or their lives — the essential source of disagreement and the insurmountable obstacle to a cordial and productive understanding among the various tendencies of anarchism. If that were the case, I would be very sorry... for a long series of reasons. Because, if I remember the disdainful and bitter attitude Merlino assumed in Paris a quarter of a century ago against the ‘Intransigent Groups’ (in these, side by side with some scoundrels who exploited the fervor and generosity of some comrades and, in the name of anarchism, thought only of piling up money for themselves, becoming capitalists as greedy as all the others, sincere and courageous men were to be found worki... (From :

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I am unable to reply to one of Merlino’s statements with consideration and breadth that it requires and that my opponent deserves. I am sorry. But he who has had to live for about ten years in a small mountain town, with only a small library for the needs of twelve thousand inhabitants of least half-a-dozen nationalities, has only a sparse and backward bibliography at his disposal. And, unable to renew or increase his slender library with the scanty compensation of his work (compensation susceptible to frequent eclipses when Cronaca Sovversiva sails among the rocks of deficit), he can only with uneasiness, contest F S Merlino — a walking library in himself — when he states that, “Anarchism which was once so productive, can no longer inspire any works of noticeable scientific and political value”; and that “... since Kropotkin and Reclus it has had no other first-rate names”. Reclus is dea... (From :

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The original edition of this book had very few footnotes: they have all been translated and they are printed in italic type in this edition. The editor of the second edition, Giuseppe Rose added many interesting notes most of which are repeated in the present edition. Even more have been added by the translator. Syndicalism is defined in the Encyclopedia Britannica as “the name given to a form of socialist doctrine elaborated by and born from the experience of the French Syndicats or trade Unions. Francesco Saverio Merlino (1856–1930) was a militant anarchist from 1877 to 1897. He wrote many pamphlets and books on anarchism and libertarian socialism and edited newspapers and essays. A lawyer, he defended the 26 insurgents of the ‘Matese Band’ (April 5 1877) at their trial in Benevento (August 29, 1878) and all his life continued to defend — in court and in the press — anarchists wh... (From :


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