Alfredo Maria Bonanno

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About Alfredo Maria Bonanno

Alfredo Maria Bonanno (born 1937 in Catania) is a main theorist of contemporary insurrectionary anarchism who wrote essays such as Armed Joy (for which he was imprisoned for 18 months by the Italian government), The Anarchist Tension and others. He is an editor of Anarchismo Editions and many other publications, only some of which have been translated into English. He has been involved in the anarchist movement for over four decades.

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This person has authored 39 documents, with 406,235 words or 2,516,605 characters.

Introduction Anarchists have tended to shy away from the problem of the national liberation struggle or rejected it entirely because of their internationalist principles. If internationalism is not to be merely meaningless rhetoric, it must imply solidarity between the proletariat of different countries or nations. This is a concrete term. When there is a revolution, it will be as it has been in the past, in a precise geographical area. How much it remains there will be directly linked to the extent of that internationalism, both in terms of solidarity and of the spreading of the revolution itself. The ‘patriotism’ of the people at a basic, unadulterated level is the struggle for their own autonomy, a natura... (From :
I am always somewhat embarrassed when I begin a talk, at least to start with. And this embarrassment increases in the case of what we mistakenly call conferences, or as one more modestly tries to camouflage them, conference-debates. After all, it is a question of someone turning up from elsewhere, perhaps from another generation, as though they have rained in from the past. Someone who stands in this classroom to give a talk and strangely, even dangerously, resembles those who hammer your brains with quite different intentions. If you listen carefully however you will find that, beyond appearances, there is a considerable difference in the concepts I am about to outline. The first of these concepts takes the form of a question: What ... (From :
Preface Over the last fourteen years, “political refugees” have developed counter-information work on the reality of class confrontation in Italy and about specific publishing attempts; all of this documentation, which is necessarily insufficient, only offered us a partial expression of the revolutionary movement, and only of certain aspects of the armed experience in that country. The text that we are publishing here, which was published in issue #42 of the Italian anarchist review Anarchismo, can fit into this documentation. Its critique of certain models and methods developed by armed organizations is not an overall rejection of the armed struggle of recent years. It tries to present the positive aspect of this ... (From :
Introductory note The appeal trial in Rome in which anarchists were accused of belonging to a clandestine armed organization has concluded with higher sentences than those meted out on the previous occasion. That was in the logic of things. In my case I was sentenced to six years, i.e. an increase of two and a half years for a robbery in Rome which, needless to say, I know nothing about. If on the one hand the fact that there was no sentence for ‘armed organization’ or ‘terrorism’ — to use the terms of the law — can be considered a defeat for the dogged zeal of general prosecutor Marini, the above-mentioned personage has every reason to feel pleased concerning the diatribes that this ... (From :
Introduction This book was written in 1977 in the momentum of the revolutionary struggles that were taking place in Italy at the time, and that situation, now profoundly different, should be borne in mind when reading it today. The revolutionary movement, including the anarchist one, was in a developing phase and anything seemed possible, even a generalization of the armed clash. But it was necessary to protect oneself from the danger of specialization and militarization that a restricted minority of militants intended to impose on the tens of thousands of comrades who were struggling with every possible means against repression and against the State’s attempt—rather weak to tell the truth—to reorganiz... (From :
Translator’s Introduction Canenero was a weekly anarchist publication that came out in Italy between the end of 1994 and the beginning of 1997 with one break. This was when the Marini investigation against anarchists began to bear its rotten fruit in an attempt to imprison dozens of anarchists on charges of “subversive association” or membership in an “armed gang”.[1] One of the ideas behind Canenero was to provide a means for ongoing communication and discussion in the face of this repressive operation of the state. A substantial portion of the material in the paper dealt with the situation and the various anarchist responses to it. But the editors of Canenero were not willing to allow the repres... (From :
In Italy there is a civil war in course. Just as in every other part of the world, the mortal clash has well defined characteristics in relation to the conditions of exploitation imposed by the dominant class. That is why we are speaking of class (civil) war. State violence and defensive class violence are opposing each other in a clash that only the politically short-sighted insist on not seeing. The terrorism of the various organizations in the service of the bosses is a constantly detectable element, just as in the other field, an organization of defense is beginning to take shape against the State assassins, organizations that should be examined and evaluated in their limits and perspectives. The other discourse, the so-called le... (From :
Introduction Seen at a distance of more than twenty years this work contains some interesting forecasts. Nothing exceptional, but on this subject the capacity to foresee is essential to the notion of seeing. Half way through the ’Seventies the world was still tied to rigid forms of productivity. Castled in its new fortresses, capital defended itself by having recourse to the final returns of the old Taylorism. It tried to rationalize production in every possible way by applying new complicated techniques of control at the workplace, drastically reducing the mechanisms of defense that the working class had cut out for themselves during a century and a half of exploitation on the line. In actual fact the results wer... (From :
(...) The structure of domination, the conditions of conflict and the composition of the exploited class have changed to such an extent that an operation like “the taking of the Winter Palace” in the marxist sense or a liberation from the bottom in the anarchist sense have become utterly inconceivable. These two endeavors are antithetical, but they share the idea of taking over the means of production and placing them in the hands of the representatives of the exploited class who will organize liberated society. So what remains? What remains is destructive attack... and this is a most ambiguous point... What does destruction mean? What does it mean to knock down a trellis, when a hundred thousand, perhaps a million of the... (From :
The dissonance lies in the content of these arguments. But by remaining in the content, crystallizing itself in the place for saying (and even doing), they could also become elements of recuperation, food for future conservative thought, new uniforms (of a different color), new ‘idols’ (in a more agreeable format). There are no definitive recipes not even dissonances, capable of breaking the rhythm that constantly envelops us. Yet dissonance has something else to offer. Something meaningful appears in the crossroads of rhythms between re-evoked facts, the time of writing and the time of fruition, that is, in the task freely taken on by the reader one perceives a content which is something other than the single argu... (From :
The end of ideology has almost arrived, but not quite. No political apparatus will ever be able to do without it completely. The substantial transformation in the productive structure of capital that has come about all over the world over the past ten years, has emptied nearly all the existing ideological coverings of their meaning. Having said that, one cannot maintain that politics, intended as the managerial and repressive action of the State, has sud-denly got closer to people’s needs. New ghosts have turned up on the heels of the old, with characteristics that are not always easy to distinguish, it being a question of ideological coverings that are still in formation. We can only say that their ob-jective is still that of ... (From :
This book has a lot to say, far more than it might seem at first sight. But it requires a particular disposition on the part of the reader, a disposition to understand rather than to simply inform oneself. In fact, there is not merely ‘information’ here, there are ‘ideas’, something that rarely happens in American (even ‘radical’) culture, and this is somewhat disturbing. How many of us are prepared to consider ideas? I don’t know. Those who do not want to question their certainties will find confirmation of their beliefs in this book in another guise, ruining the author’s solicitations to look at reality differently. Anyone can spend years ‘in the wilderness’, Feral ... (From :
Historical background In Italy as in many other parts of Europe May ’68 in France marked a great upsurge in libertarian expression, and parallel to this a relaunching of political organisations. There was a great surge towards the anarchist movement but the latter were full of contradictions and many of the young people who turned to it quickly left, disillusioned. An attempt was made to re-organise the anarchist movement through the old rigid structure of the FAI (Italian Anarchist Federation), however it was incompatible with the needs of the moment. At the same time Servire il Popolo (Serve the people), a Marxist Leninist organisation, was formed. In the Hot Autumn of ’69 workers in the factories began to orga... (From :
The evolving of social struggles leads to profound changes in the structure of the movement of the exploited. Capital’s attitude to the class struggle changes according to time and place, leading to diverse reactions and organizational forms. We are going to look at some of the more obvious of these forms, see where they belong in the social clash and point to their real or apparent revolutionary essence in the anarchist sense. The movement of the exploited It is not easy to identify the social composition of this movement for the same reasons that make any analysis that claims to fix the essence of a class of exploited here and now unreliable. The great mass of disinherited (those who have been deprived of the means ... (From :
Proposal For a Debate This proposal for a debate for an Anti-authoritarian Insurrectionalist International was first published in the Sardinian anarchist paper “Anarkiviu”. Oriented towards in the Mediterranean region it is the fruit of various anti-authoritarian realities active in this region, particularly in Greece and southern Italy. We are printing it here to participate in this debate and to contribute to the diffusion of this perspective of an informal, insurrectionalist character which must be of interest to anti-authoritarians everywhere. The reasons for choosing a particular geographical region There are many ways to look at the Mediterranean: a sea rich in peoples, traditions, culture and history but ... (From :
Introduction There can be little doubt left anywhere on the planet that a fundamental change is taking place in the organization of production. This change is most obvious and most felt in the centers of advanced capitalism, but the logic of information technology and decentralized production is now reaching what were once remote peripheral areas, drawing them into an artificial communitarianism whose only real common element is exploitation. In the “western world” the traditional worker, cornerstone of the authoritarian revolutionary thesis and still a principle element in many anarchist ones, is being tossed out of the gray graveyards of docks, factories and mines, into the colored graveyards of home-videos, brig... (From :
I am putting together here my studies on Hegel composed between the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies. Some of them have been revised later (indicated at the end of each piece) but, nearly always, it has been a question of updating the quotations with publications that were not available at the time they were drawn up. In the following decades I returned more than once to Hegel’s books, but of my many notes, in part expressions from a too personal point of view to interest anyone, I have not considered it useful to insert anything more. It was a question, for the main part, of reflections on the dialectic that will perhaps find a place in the future in the volume History of Logic that I am thinking of... (From :
I know who killed Chief Superintendent Luigi Calabresi on May 17 1972, outside his house in via Cherubini 6, in Milan, at a quarter past nine in the morning. This is a serious statement, not due its judicial implications, for goodness sake, which I don’t give a damn about, but for quite other reasons, and these reasons are what I want to draw my reader’s attention to. Basically, if we stop and think for a moment, what is there that we can be certain of? We get up in the morning, have a quick breakfast, rush to school, work, the nearest park to meet some friends, in a word, each towards their own daily business. In the evening we come back and lie between the sheets, nearly always the same as the evening before, whe... (From :
Introduction The following ideas have emerged from a long itinerary of struggle and reflection. They represent a tormented, complex thesis, which is not only difficult to set out — which would simply be due a defect of the author — but even to expose clearly and definitively. In conflict with my whole being, I am about to set out the fundamental elements of insurrectionalist anarchism anatomically. Will it be possible? I don’t know. I shall try. If the reading of these notes begins to suffocate, then just skip through them and leave it at that. A mass insurrection, or that of a whole people, can at any given moment lead to the State’s incapacity to maintain order and respect for the law and even lead t... (From :
Preface If we refuse to let our lives be organized by others we must have the capacity to organize ourselves, that is, we must be able to ‘put together the elements necessary to act as a coherent functioning whole’. For anarchists, individuals who ardently desire the elimination of every trace of tyranny and domestication, this has been experimented in a myriad of forms according to prevailing social and economic conditions, and marked by each one’s particular concept of wholeness. If this could once be interpreted — by some — to mean a big organization to oppose big industry, today social disintegration and uncertainty have gone further than any critique in relegating such undertakings to the pages of h... (From :
Introduction The old work ethic has disappeared along with the massive obsolete structures of capital which required a permanent army of producers, yet work still has far more implications than mere survival. Millions of people still compete for the privilege of turning up day after day, year after year, to surrender body and soul in exchange for a wage. The alternative: to encounter one’s real desires and create the means required to realize them, could present some surprises and lead to undreamed choices. A job, boring or arduous as it might be, is the easy way out. It gives structure to our day and puts order in our expectations, giving us just enough in our pockets to acquire instant sublimation and quell any sudden surge o... (From :
“The cleavage of men into actor and spectators is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish. If all the radios and televisions were deprived of their sources of power, all books and .... One is spectacle. Like the Phantasmagoria, its goal is the creation of a total ...” (Jim Morrison). The most successful and involving spectacle that power of our time dishes up to us daily is the magic pyrotechnics of armed struggle. Few actors, many supporting actors, walk-ons and a huge audience, all with the knowingful direction amplifying structures of mass communication. Who believed that movements such as that of ’68 got stuck in the quicksands of groupuscule reform... (From :
Preface Prison has come out of the shadows into the limelight as not a day passes without some allusion to ‘solving the problem’ of the State’s overflowing dungeons. Advances in surveillance technology are offering alternative models of isolation and control that could see a large number of the latters’ potentially explosive inmates defuzed and — opportunely tagged or microchipped — dispatched to the urban ghettos of capital from whence they came. The main obstacle, bolstered by some retrograde attempts to gain votes through a sworn intractibility concerning the ‘enemy within’, is power’s need for mass consensus from those it had led to believe that the State’s protection ra... (From :
Capital extends over whole of the planet in its many expressions at both the socio-economic level and those of repression and control. No tiny geographical corner escapes it, no action anywhere in the world can avoid putting itself in relation with situations everywhere else. It is not only projects of repression and control that are moving beyond State-capital borders. Specific acts of resistance and attack on the class enemy and insurrectional mass movements are also springing up all over the world. At the same time demonstrations that put themselves in the optic of revolutionary internationalism, i.e. of struggling alongside oppressed peoples at moments when capital is celebrating its great international programs, are devel... (From :
Introduction No one can understand what is happening in the land of Palestine, not even those who have followed the sanguinary vicissitudes of the peoples who have lived down there for so long. They face each other with hatred and suspicion, not just men and women, children and old people, but the very dust of the roads and the mud that covers them on rainy days, the asphyxiating heat and the stench of the sultriness. The ‘official’ terms of the controversy are well known. The Israelis chased the Palestinians off their land, but this happened so long ago that some of the people born in huts in the camps are now fifty years old. Ridiculous arguments between States have resulted in pieces of land being returned to th... (From :
Preface This is not the first time we find ourselves faced with a similar dilemma: how transcend the limitation of the means? Reach out beyond the constriction of the roles? Encounter those who have begun their individual insurrection but find their path obstructed by a pile of blunt instruments? Those who have decided to venture into the abyss and have become exigent, want to invent their own methods, draw them forth from the conditions they are constrained to live in against their will, now, as the bosses’ calendar indicates the arrival of the third millennium. Those who want to dance with life in more than fleeting encounters, in the adventure of discovery’ that illuminates destruction in all its possibilities. ... (From :
Contrary to what many believe, class is not a marxist concept. While we reject the marxist claims as to the historic role of the industrial working class above all the other exploited, it is obvious that society is still divided into opposing classes. The terms of this division are changing with the modification of capital. It is important to recognize this in order to address our attack towards the right objectives in the struggle. Many anarchists believe that the idea of “class” is a marxist concept, therefore they have no interest in it and they try to work out other ways of accounting for social divisions. These divisions clearly exist. Conflict and suffering dominate present day reality. The great masses who s... (From :
Introduction The concept of solidarity is not only used and abused by the various reformist syndicalist and humanitarian movements and even power itself, it is also sadly emptied of any content by many anarchists. The leveling is such as to reveal a symbolic attitude worthy of the Church but which allows us to put our conscience at rest. Counter-information and propaganda in the lead, demonstrations (true processions), then nothing, provoke a feeling of powerlessness, a pernicious frustration that sees justification open the way to resignation. We discover that everything crumbles there where the mentality of the group and quantity thought it was strong. Nothing changes as we enter a vicious circle with mournful calls t... (From :
Introduction The rationalization of exploitation at global level and the illumination among all those with a glimmer of dignity and passion that reformism is not the way to fight it, is leading to explosions of rebellion in many parts of the world. Anarchists are close to these moments, at least in spirit, but do we have anything to give this reality beyond causing immediate damage or attacking police lines? Must we continue to leave everything to chance, believing that organizational clarity will spring forth out of the blue? If we do, the great potential for new qualitative relations risks becoming reabsorbed into extremely pragmatic and convincing reformist programs which apparently appear from nowhere. Some are not sleeping. The ... (From :
The exploitation of the working class comes about in two precise ways which link together through a complex system of complicity: the first is the direct one, carried outby the national bourgeoisie. The second the indirect one, exercised by the bourgeoisie of other nations. Such a repartition however is not based on an ethnic concept of nation. Internal exploitation is not carried out by the national bourgeoisie in the role of ethnic representatives of power, but as the political representatives of the managerial centers of centralized power. In other words, all the States that exist today, in Europe for example, come from a primitive and preponderant nucleus which has gradually, throughout history, ended up including and dominating ... (From :
Introduction My reading of Stirner as philosopher of the Unique and the direct itinerary of reconstructing a “theory of the individual”, in a manner that varies through the other writings of mine presented here, at least seems to me to demonstrate a coherence of purpose that legitimates giving them a new life together here. In the current frozen panorama of anarchist readings, turning to the sources of The Ego and Its Own is always a radical shock. If nothing else, this explains the persistent fortune of a strange book that would not have obliged itself to relieve any worries in the watchful forecasts of power or taken any interest, or at least very little, in the few readers it was likely to have. No prediction wa... (From :
The fox knows many things. The porcupine only one, but it is great. Archilochus Fascism is a seven-letter word beginning with F. Human beings like playing with words which, by partly concealing reality, absolve them from personal reflection or having to make decisions. The symbol acts in our place, supplying us with a flag and an alibi. And when we put ‘anti-’ in front of the symbol it is not simply a question of being against what absolutely disgusts us. We feel safe that we are on the other side and have done our duty. Having recourse to that ‘anti-’ gives us a clear conscience, enclosing us in a well-guarded and much frequented field. Meanwhile things move on. The years go ... (From :
The ideas that follow are aimed at going into the problem of the relations between the movement of the exploited and the revolutionary anarchist movement. The conclusion is very simple and constitutes the starting point of a reflection that we are proposing to all comrades: it is not within the enclosure of the specific anarchist movement that one works for the revolution, but outside in the reality of struggles, which at this moment do not see us present. In this sense the anarchist movement still has a long way to go. In the face of the urgency of the situation it has become imperative for all sincere revolutionary anarchist comrades to reflect on the ways and conditions of organizing oneself to contribute to the widening, in the l... (From :
Our task as anarchists, our main preoccupation and greatest desire, is that of seeing the social revolution realized: terrible upheaval of men and institutions which finally succeeds in putting an end to exploitation and establishing the reign of justice. For we anarchists the revolution is our guide, our constant point of reference, no matter what we are doing or what problem we are concerned with. The anarchy we want will not be possible without the painful revolutionary break. If we want to avoid turning this into simply a dream we must struggle to destroy the State and exploiters through revolution. But the revolution is not a myth simply to be used as a point of reference. Precisely because it is a concrete event, it must be bu... (From :
Against the Logic of Submission: Neither Intellectualism Nor Stupidity In the struggle against domination and exploitation, each individual needs to take up every tool that she can make her own, every weapon that he can use autonomously to attack this society and take back her life. Of course, which tools particular individuals can use in this way will vary depending on their circumstances, desires, capacities and aspirations, but considering the odds we face, it is ridiculous to refuse a weapon that can be used without compromising autonomy on the basis of ideological conceptions. The rise of the civilization we live in with its institutions of domination is based on the division of labor, the process by which the activities ... (From :
A Few Words: Plundering the Arsenal “The heritage of revolutionary movements can no longer form a tradition to safeguard... or a program to realize, but must become an arsenal to plunder for the ongoing use of new revolutionaries.” The history of revolt is probably as long as the history of domination and exploitation. There have always been those who will not submit, who will defy god and master even against the greatest odds. And this history of revolt includes significant social struggles, uprisings of the multitudes of the exploited to throw off their chains in social revolution. Over the past few hundred years, these social upheaval have helped to create a revolutionary awareness that has manifeste... (From :
A Few Words: On the Aims and Methods of Critique The development of a coherent anarchist practice based on our desire to take back our lives requires the ongoing use of critical analysis on all levels. But, as with the totality of anarchist practice, critique is only useful when one is clear about the aims of the practice and develops methods consistent with those aims. Here as in all other areas of practice, our means need to embody our ends. For the sake of simplicity and clarity, we can speak of three general areas in which critical analysis is necessary: 1) the critique of the present society, of the institutions, systems and relationships that produce and maintain domination and exploitation; 2) historical critique, the c... (From :
Don’t ask for the formula for opening up worlds to you in some syllable like a bent dry branch. Today we can only tell you what we are not, what we don’t want. — E. Montale Life cannot simply be something to cling to. This thought skims through everyone at least once. We have a possibility that makes us freer than the gods: we can quit. This is an idea to be savored to the end. Nothing and no one is obliging us to live. Not even death. For that reason our life is a tabula rasa, a slate on which nothing has been written, so contains all the words possible. With such freedom, we cannot live as slaves. Slavery is for those who are condemned to live, those constrained to eternity, not for us. For us there is the ... (From :
Introduction The increasing contrast between the real workers’ movement and the ‘official’ spokesmen (parties of the left, trades unions, etc.) is a direct consequence of the latters’ failure to fulfill their professed task of freeing the workers from exploitation. Every day that passes demonstrates to whoever wants to see it that these organs have no intention of challenging the basic structure of capitalism, and are now making quite unashamed appeals to the workers to make sacrifices, accept unemployment, wage cuts, increased prices, and so on, in order to save the economy for their employers. Strangely, those who seem most reluctant to see things as they are, are the conscious minority where even ana... (From :


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April 16, 2020 ; 4:27:06 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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