Errico Malatesta: Italian, Anarchist Intellectual, Anti-Capitalist, and Anti-Fascist

December 14, 1853 — July 22, 1932

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December 14, 1853 — July 22, 1932


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...

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From : Cunningham Bio


"Let there be as much class struggle as one wishes, if by class struggle one means the struggle of the exploited against the exploiters for the abolition of exploitation. That struggle is a way of moral and material elevation, and it is the main revolutionary force that can be relied on."

From : "About My Trial: Class Struggle or Class Hatred?," Errico Malatesta

"...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."

From : "Anarchism and Organization," Authored by Errico Malatesta, 1897

"Government is the consequence of the spirit of domination and violence with which some men have imposed themselves on other, and is at the same time the creature as well as the creator of privilege and its natural defender."

From : "Anarchist Propaganda," by Errico Malatesta

"Our task then is to make, and to help others make, the revolution by taking advantage of every opportunity and all available forces: advancing the revolution as much as possible in its constructive as well as destructive role, and always remaining opposed to the formation of any government, either ignoring it or combating it to the limits of our capacities."

From : "The Anarchist Revolution," by Errico Malatesta

"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

"...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 Errico Malatesta, from: Freedom, November 1914

"...all history shows that the law's only use is to defend, strengthen and perpetuate the interests and prejudices prevailing at the time the law is made, thus forcing mankind to move from revolution to revolution, from violence to violence."

From : "Further Thoughts on the Question of Crime," by Errico Malatesta, Umanità Nova, n. 134, September 16, 1921

"If it is true that the law of Nature is Harmony, I suggest one would be entitled to ask why Nature has waited for anarchists to be born, and goes on waiting for them to triumph, in order to destroy the terrible and destructive conflicts from which mankind has already suffered. Would one not be closer to the truth in saying that anarchy is the struggle, in human society, against the disharmonies of Nature?"

From : "Peter Kropotkin - Recollections and Criticisms of an Old Friend," by Errico Malatesta, from: Studi Sociali April 15, 1931

"...the State is incapable of good. In the field of international as well as of individual relations it can only combat aggression by making itself the aggressor; it can only hinder crime by organizing and committing still greater crime."

From : "Pro-Government Anarchists," by Errico Malatesta, from: Freedom, April 1916

"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, from Umanità Nova, n. 191, October 7, 1922, Section 2


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About Errico Malatesta

Though anarchism is based on the idea of individual freedom, the anarchist movement, unlike most other political movements, does not revolve around particular individuals. Our history cannot be reduced to the 'history of great men', rather it is the story of the development of a particular set of ideas, and the struggle to put those ideas into practice.

That said, there are famous anarchists. Some are known because their writings helped stimulate new thinking in the anarchist movement, or define a new current in anarchist thought. Others, like Errico Malatesta, are famous because their very lives epitomized the development of anarchist politics, and reflected the setbacks and advances of the movement.

Activist in exile

Born in 1853, into a growing mood of republicanism, Malatesta soon saw the need for a more profound change in society, and in 1871 joined the Italian section of the International. At the time, the main anarchist/socialist strategy was to start insurrections, driving government officials out of small towns and burning the tax ledgers and bank books in the hope of sparking more widespread rebellions, a tactic which Malatesta supported enthusiastically. He was forced to flee Italy in 1878 after the assassination of King Umberto, by a republican cook, led to a general crackdown on radicals.

He returned to Italy after five years spent traveling around Europe, continually agitating for anarchism, but was arrested in 1884, and had to leave again, this time for Argentina, where he lived for twelve years and was very involved in the organization of the labor movement. He again returned to Italy, where he became the editor of L'Agitazione. After only a year, however, he was arrested once more, but he managed to escape, and after a few years in America he traveled to London.

There he lived and worked for the next thirteen years, with a mass campaign stopping him from being deported in 1909. In 1913 he went back to Italy of his own volition. Following the collapse of the general strike of 1914, Malatesta, now in his sixties, had to leave for London once more. He spent the war years there, writing and speaking often on the need for anarchists not to choose sides between two capitalist, imperialist powers. Finally, in 1919, he was able to return to Italy, this time for good.

Although he had spent barely half his life in his native country, his experience and dedication had won him much respect in anarchist circles there. At the time, the anarchist movement in Italy was strong, the popularity reflected in the fact that Umanità Nova, the daily anarchist paper which Malatesta founded, had, at its peak, a circulation of over 50,000. Unfortunately, this golden period was to be short-lived. When Mussolini came to power the left-wing papers were closed down, the anarchist movement decimated and driven underground, and Malatesta himself spent the last five years of his life under house arrest. Ideas and Actions

Malatesta was, above all, an activist. While he wrote many articles and pamphlets he was no academic, he was a working electrician who wrote when there was something to be said, not for the sake of writing. He described an anarchist society simply, as a "society organized without authority, meaning by authority the power to impose one's own will", "a society which reconciles the liberty of everyone with cooperation and liberty among men". What more needs to be said?

We also see in Malatesta's writings the changes that were taking place in the general anarchist movement. Though he always reserved the right to use arms in the defense of social gains, maintaining that "if you want the corn, you need the cannon", over the years the tactics he emphasized changed, from the insurrectionism of his youth to the syndicalism of his older years. He had always said that the anarchist movement needed to be as visible as possible, and this change reflects his coming to believe, as did the wider anarchist movement, that this is incompatible with the strategy of 'propaganda by the deed'.

There is no one action, no single pamphlet or article for which Malatesta is famous. 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, ideas backed up by action, and all driven by a fierce commitment to freedom.

Ray Cunningham

From : "Errico Malatesta," by Ray Cunningham, published by the Struggle Site,


This person has authored 126 documents, with 319,739 words or 1,966,084 characters.

One issue that rightly preoccupies revolutionaries is how the revolution will come about. The established society cannot last, they say, but still it does reflect huge interests, is backed by a heap of time-honored prejudices, and, above all, is defended by a mighty military organization that will fall apart just as soon as the spell of discipline is broken, but in the meantime is a redoubtable guard dog and means of repression. Where are we going to find the strength and the unity of action required to win? Plots and conspiracies are fine when it comes to mounting a specific action needing only a handful of people, but they are generally unable to determine a popular upheaval sufficiently widespread to stand a chance of winning. Spo... (From :
Opposition to institutions, support the workers rights because a right without opportunity is no right at all, and our struggle against the exploiters should be led by love and not hatred. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• " is a truth that history has made the proletariat the main instrument of the next social change, and that those fighting for the establishment of a society where all human beings are free and endowed with all the means to exercise their freedom, must rely mainly on the proletariat."
• "...I had always sought to demonstrate that the social wrongs do not depend on the wickedness of one master or the other, one governor or the other, but rather on masters and governments as institutions; therefore, the remedy does not lie in changing the individual rulers, instead it is necessary to demolish the principle itself by which men dominate over men..."
• " is easy to understand the hatred of so many wretches whose bodies and sentiments are tormented and rent by society: however, as soon as the hell in which they live is lit up by an ideal, hatred disappears and a burning desire of fighting for the good of all takes over."
I recently happened to come across a French pamphlet (in Italy today [1927], as is known, the non-fascist press cannot freely circulate), with the title Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Project). This is a project for anarchist organization published under the name of a ‘Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad’ and it seems to be directed particularly at Russian comrades. But it deals with questions of equal interest to all anarchists; and it is, clear, including the language in which it is written, that it seeks the support of comrades worldwide. In any case it is worth examining, for the Russians as for everyone, whether the proposal put forward is in keeping with anarchist principles and whether i... (From :
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 h...
Rejections of being accused of supporting the constituent assembly, tactics of kill-all or take-nothing against the state, and we should focus on bringing our ideas into reality more than what accusers may say. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "Practical proposals are coming from various sides. They are all good to me, if they appeal to free initiative and to a spirit of solidarity and justice, and tend to take individuals away from the domination of the government and the master."
• "...a Constituent Assembly [parliament] is the means used by the privileged classes, when a dictatorship is not possible, either to prevent a revolution, or, when a revolution has already broken out, to stop its progress with the excuse of legalizing it, and to take back as much as possible of the gains that the people had made during the insurrectional period. The Constituent Assembly, with its making asleep and smothering, and the dictatorship, with its crushing and killing, are the two dangers that threaten any revolution. Anarchists must aim their efforts against them.­"
• "Everyone has the right to state and defend their ideas, but nobody has the right to misrepresent someone else's ideas to strengthen their own."
In nature, outside human nature, force only rules, that is, brute force, ruthless, and limitless, because there does not yet exist that new force to which mankind owes its differentiation, and its superiority: the force of conscious will. All specifically human life is a struggle against outside nature, and every forward step is adaptation, is the overcoming of a natural law. Natural law is struggle, general slaughter, destruction, or oppression of the vanquished; and on the social plane the greater the tyranny the closer is one to the state of nature. The concept of freedom for all, which inevitably involves the precept that one’s freedom is limited by the equal freedom of others, is a human concept; it is probab... (From :
The anarchist effort, like any effort, is one focused on social organization, these organizations should be voluntary and cooperative, and it is through these groups that we will establish a better world. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "Workers will never be able to emancipate themselves so long as they do not find in union the moral, economic and physical strength that is needed to subdue the organized might of the oppressors."
• "...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."
• "...we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance. It matters to us therefore that all interests and opinions should find their expression in a conscious organization and should influence communal life in proportion to their importance."
A brief review of our first issue in the Naples-based Communist periodical Prometeo deals mainly with an article by Merlino[1] and the reviewer, reflects on the basic incomprehension of those who claim to know all and are never wrong. He says, ‘Although the definition may seem strange, there does undoubtedly exist a category of reformist anarchist.’ Clearly Prometeo believes it has made a discovery. Despite the the pleasantness of the word, which has been abused and discredited by the politicians, anarchism has always and could never be other than reformist. We prefer to use the word reformer to avoid any possible confusion with those who are officially classed as ‘reformist’ and who strive for small an... (From :
Science is a weapon which can be used for good or bad ends; but science ignores completely the idea of good and evil. We are therefore anarchists not because science tells us to be but because, among other reasons, we want everybody to be in a position to enjoy the advantages and pleasures which science procures.[67] In science, theories are always hypothetical and provisional and are a convenient method for grouping and linking known facts, as well as a useful instrument for research, for the discovery and interpretation of new facts; but they are not the truth. In life—I mean social life—theories are for some people only the scientific guise in which they clothe their desires and their wills. The scientism (I am not... (From :
Anarchists are opposed to violence; everyone knows that. The main plank of anarchism is the removal of violence from human relations. It is life based on the freedom of the individual, without the intervention of the gendarme. For this reason we are enemies of capitalism which depends on the protection of the gendarme to oblige workers to allow themselves to be exploited—or even to remain idle and go hungry when it is not in the interest of the bosses to exploit them. We are therefore enemies of the State which is the coercive, violent organisation of society. But if a man of honour declares that he believes it stupid and barbarous to argue with a stick in his hand and that it is unjust and evil to oblige a person to obey the w... (From :
It is true that anarchists and socialists have always profoundly disagreed in their concepts of historic evolution and the revolutionary crises that this evolution creates, and consequently they have hardly ever been in agreement on the means to adopt, or the opportunities that have existed from time to time to open up the way towards human emancipation. But this is only an incidental and minor disagreement. There have always been socialists who have been in a hurry, just as there are also anarchists who want to advance with leaden feet, and even some who do not believe at all in revolution. The important, fundamental dissension is quite another: socialists are authoritarians, anarchists are libertarians. Socialists wan... (From :
In 1876 we were, as we are still, anarchist communists; but this does not mean that we use communism as a panacea or dogma, and fail to see that to achieve communism certain moral and material conditions are needed which we must create.[62] Luigi Galleani’s “La Fine dell’Anarchismo” … is in essence a clear, serene, eloquent account of anarchist communism according to the Kropotkinian conception; a conception which I personally find too optimistic, too easy-going, too trusting in natural harmonies, but for all that, his is the most important contribution to anarchist propaganda that has been made so far.[63] We too aspire to communism as the most perfect achievement of human solidarity, but it mus... (From :
1. Aims and Objectives We believe that most of the ills that afflict mankind stem from a bad social organization; and that Man could destroy them if he wished and knew how. Present society is the result of age-long struggles of man against man. Not understanding the advantages that could accrue for all by cooperation and solidarity; seeing in every other man (with the possible exception of those closest to them by blood ties) a competitor and an enemy, each one of them sought to secure for himself, the greatest number of advantages possible without giving a thought to the interests of others. In such a struggle, obviously the strongest or more fortunate were bound to win, and in one way or another subject and oppress th... (From :

• "It is in fact a question of education for freedom, of making people who are accustomed to obedience and passivity consciously aware of their real power and capabilities. One must encourage people to do things for themselves..."
• "...a special class (government) which, provided with the necessary means of repression, exists to legalize and protect the owning class from the demands of the workers..."
• "In their [Capitalist] hands they have all the means of production; and thus they suppress not only the possibility of free experimentation in new ways of communal living, and the right of workers to live freely by their own efforts, but also the right to life itself; and they oblige whoever is not a boss to have to allow himself to be exploited and oppressed if he does not wish to die of hunger. They have police forces, a judiciary, and armies created for the express purpose of defending their privileges; and they persecute, imprison and massacre those who would want to abolish those privileges and who claim the means of life and liberty for everyone."

• "...our efforts must in the first instance be directed to making the revolution and in such a way that it is in the direction of anarchy. We have to provoke the revolution with all the means at our disposal and act in it as anarchists, by opposing the constitution of any authoritarian regime and putting into operation as much as we can of our program. Anarchists will have to take advantage of the increased freedom that we would have won. We will have to be morally and technically prepared to realize within the limits of our numbers, those forms of social life and cooperation which they consider best and most suitable for paving the way for the future."
• "Our task then is to make, and to help others make, the revolution by taking advantage of every opportunity and all available forces: advancing the revolution as much as possible in its constructive as well as destructive role, and always remaining opposed to the formation of any government, either ignoring it or combating it to the limits of our capacities."
• "ONE: Destruction of all concentrations of political power is the first duty of oppressed people. TWO: Any organization of an allegedly provisional revolutionary political power to achieve this destruction cannot be other than one trick more, and would be as dangerous to the people as are all present governments. THREE: In refusing every compromise for the achievement of the revolution, workers of the world must establish solidarity in revolutionary action outside the framework of bourgeois politicians."
What should we do? That is the question facing us, as indeed it does all who have ideas to put into effect and interests to defend, in every moment of our party life. We want to do away with private ownership and authority, which is to say we are out to expropriate those who cling to the land and capital, and to overthrow government, and place society’s wealth at the disposal of everyone so that everyone may live as he pleases with no other restriction than those imposed by natural and social necessity, freely and voluntarily recognized and accepted. In short, we are out to implement the anarchist-socialist program. And we are convinced (and day to day experience confirms us in this belief) that the propertied and govern... (From :
21. Anarchists and the Limits of Political Co-Existence “Everywhere and at all times, especially since my return to Italy [1919] I have repeatedly stated that a union of intent is possible, in spite of our disagreements, to bring about real and lasting results which will really allow the workers to conquer well-being and freedom. Not only have I repeatedly declared that it is possible; I also believe it to be necessary.” “You mean to say that it is necessary for the revolution …” “Certainly! If we anarchists could achieve the revolution on our own, or if the socialists could on their own, we could enjoy the luxury of each acting independently and of perhaps quarreling. But the revolu... (From :
Today the most powerful force for social transformation is the working-class movement (the trade-union movement), and on its intentions depends to a large degree the course that events will take and the objectives of any future revolution. Through the organizations established for the defense of their interests, workers acquire an awareness of the oppression under which they live and of the antagonisms which divide them from their employers, and so begin to aspire to a better life, get used to collective struggle and to solidarity, and can succeed in winning those improvements which are compatible with the continued existence of the capitalist and statist regime. Later, when the conflict is beyond solution, there is either revolution or rea... (From :
One can be an anarchist irrespective of the philosophic system one prefers. There are materialist-anarchists as there are others, like myself, who without prejudicing future developments of the human mind, prefer simply to declare their ignorance in these matters. Certainly it is difficult to understand how certain theories can be reconciled with the practical aspects of life. The mechanistic theory, no less than the theistic and pantheistic theories, would logically lead to indifference and inaction, to the supine acceptance of all that exists both in the moral and material fields. Fortunately philosophic concepts have little influence on conduct. And materialists and “mechanicists” in the teeth of logic, o... (From :

• "...the mission of those who, like us, wish the end of all oppression and of all exploitation of man by man, is to awaken a consciousness of the antagonism of interests between dominators and dominated, between exploiters and workers, and to develop the class struggle inside each country, and the solidarity among all workers across the frontiers, as against any prejudice and any passion of either race or nationality."
• "In all circumstances, it is the duty of the Socialists, and especially of the Anarchists, to do everything that can weaken the State and the capitalist class, and to take as the only guide to their conduct the interest of Socialism; or, if they are materially powerless to act efficaciously for their own cause, at least to refuse any voluntary help to the cause of the enemy, and stand aside to save at least their principles—which means to save the future."
• " long as men will be found who want to violate the liberties of others, it is incumbent on these others to defend themselves if they do not wish to be eternally beaten..."
A section of our movement is eagerly discussing about the practical problems that the revolution will have to solve. This is good news and a good omen, even if the solutions proposed so far are neither abundant nor satisfactory. The days are gone when people used to believe that an insurrection would suffice for everything, that defeating the army and the police and knocking down the powers that be would be enough to bring about all the rest, i.e. the most essential part. It used to be claimed that providing sufficient food, adequate accommodations and good clothes to everyone immediately after the victorious uprising would be enough for the revolution to be founded on unshakable ground and be able to readily proceed towards ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Amédée Dunois: Anarchism and Organization It is not long since our comrades were almost unanimous in their clear hostility towards any idea of organization. The question we are dealing with today would, then, have raised endless protests from them, and its supporters would have been vehemently accused of a hidden agenda and authoritarianism. They were times when anarchists, isolated from each other and even more so from the working class, seemed to have lost all social feeling; in which anarchists, with their unceasing appeals for the spiritual liberation of the individual, were seen as the supreme manifestation of the old individualism of the great bourgeois theoreticians of the past. Individual actions a... (From :
From their first manifestations Anarchists have [been] nearly unanimous as to the necessity of recourse to physical force in order to transform existing society; and while the other self-styled revolutionary parties have gone floundering into the parliamentary slough, the anarchist idea has in some sort identified itself with that of armed insurrection and violent revolution. But, perhaps, there has been no sufficient explanation as to the kind and the degree of violence to be employed; and here as in many other questions very dissimilar ideas and sentiments lurk under our common name. As a fact, the numerous outrages which have lately been perpetrated by Anarchists and in the name of Anarchy, have brought to the light of day ... (From :
Anarchy is a word that comes from the Greek, and signifies, strictly speaking, "without government": the state of a people without any constituted authority. Before such an organization had begun to be considered possible and desirable by a whole class of thinkers, so as to be taken as the aim of a movement (which has now become one of the most important factors in modern social warfare), the word "anarchy" was used universally in the sense of disorder and confusion, and it is still adopted in that sense by the ignorant and by adversaries interested in distorting the truth. We shall not enter into philological discussions, for the question is not philological but historical. The common interpretation of the word does not misconceive... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
For the past several weeks the dock porters of Rotterdam (Holland) had set about starting their strike. On 26 September, the strike spread and the number of strikers climbed to four or five thousand; on 10 October they all returned to work, having secured a 10 cents an hour rise in pay. The police actively sided with the bosses and were violent and brutal. On the 27th they saber-charged and dispersed the strikers, wounding several of them. The reporter from the English Daily News says that the ones who should have been kept under surveillance and restraint were the police officers rather than the strikers, who bore the insults and saber blows with resignation. No English workman, the reporter adds, would ever have put up with ... (From :
A Note The manifesto below was issued on February 15, 1915. It was signed by thirty-five well-known libertarians of various nationalities—among them Errico Malatesta, Alexander Schapiro, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Domela Nieuwenhuis, etc. Malatesta and Schapiro were two of the five secretaries of the International Bureau, elected at the international anarchist congress in 1907. Another of the secretaries, Rudolf Rocker,[1] had not been able to append his signature, in that he was an internee at the time—but he too was against the war. The Manifesto Europe in flames, tens of millions of men at loggerheads in the most frightful butchery in recorded history, hundreds of millions of women and childr... (From :
I remember that on the occasion of a much publicized anarchist attentat a socialist of the first rank just back from fighting in the Greco-Turkish war, shouted from the housetops with the approval of his comrades, that human life is always sacred and must not be threatened, not even in the cause of freedom. It appeared that he accepted the lives of Turks and the cause of Greek independence. Illogicality, or hypocrisy?[94] Anarchist violence is the only violence that is justifiable, which is not criminal. I am of course speaking of violence which has truly anarchist characteristics, and not of this or that case of blind and unreasoning violence which has been attributed to anarchists, or which perhaps has been committed by real an... (From :
Introduction The numerous editions and translations of this pamphlet by Errico Malatesta all over the world have already demonstrated that its importance and relevance have been universally recognized. Fra Contadini shares the modest tone of Malatesta’s other writings, more obvious here through the use of dialogue. It is in fact a chat which two peasants, one more politicized than the other, could very well have had in the north of Italy at the end of the last century. It manages to avoid the affectation which often harms literary works which–like this one–do not conceal their intent to educate, because in reality this is a didactic piece of work. Malatesta’s intention is to supply the anarchist movemen... (From :
Kropotkin’s definition of anarchy — a definition to which Nino Napolitano[1] refers [in his article] as virtually beyond question — in spite of being accepted quite uncritically by many anarchists because of the great and deserved prestige of the author and his agreement with the scientific and philosophical ideas which were widespread when anarchism was first being propagated, seems to me both mistaken and harmful. Mistaken because it confuses different things; harmful because it obliges even those anarchists who accept it to debate those contradictions that weaken the reasoning of all or almost all those who subscribe to the positivist and naturalist schools of thought when they deal with moral questions. In his a... (From :
In his recent article Nettlau states that the reason, or at least one of the reasons why, after so many years of propaganda, struggle and sacrifices, Anarchism has still not managed to attract the great mass of the people and inspire them to revolt, lies in the fact that the anarchists of the two schools of communism and individualism have each set out their own economic theory as the only solution to the social problem and have not, as a result, succeeded in persuading people that their ideas can be realized. I really believe that the essential reason for our lack of success is that given the present environment — given, that is, the material and moral conditions of the mass of the workers and those who, though not workers pro... (From :
Every anarchist propagandist is familiar with the key objections: who will keep criminals in check [in the anarchist society]? To my mind their concern is exaggerated since delinquency is a phenomenon of little importance compared with the vastness of ever present and general social realities. And one can believe in its automatic disappearance as a result of an increase in material well-being and education, not to mention advances in pedagogy and medicine. But however optimistic may be our hopes, and rosy the future, the fact remains that delinquency and the fear of crime today prevents peaceful social relations, and it will certainly not disappear from one moment to the next following a revolution, however radical and thoroughgoing it may ... (From :
Editor’s Note: Translated from “Cari Compagni dell’Ilota,” Ilota (Pistoia) 1, no. 9 (1 April 1883). The background to this letter was the defection from anarchism of Andrea Costa, one of the chief members of the Italian Federation, who in 1879 had started advocating the extension of socialist tactics to parliamentary ones. Costa had a significant following, especially in the Romagna region, and in November 1882 he had been elected to parliament. His tactics had sparked heated debates in part of the socialist press, and Ilota was one of the periodicals that considered those tactics legitimate. In a recent series of articles, the Ilota had thus called for the union and joint organization of all socialist forces, despit... (From :
The revolution we want consists in depriving the present holders of their power and wealth and in putting the land and the means of production and all existing wealth at the disposal of the workers, that is of everybody, since those who are not, will have to become, workers. And the revolutionaries must defend this revolution by seeing to it that no individual, party or class finds the means to constitute a government and restore privilege in favor of new or old bosses…. To defend, to save the revolution there is only one means: that of pushing the revolution as far as it will go. So long as there are those who will be in a position to oblige others to work for them; so long as there are those who are in a position to violate ... (From :
The rampant dictatorial governments in Italy, Spain and Russia, which arouse such envy and longing among the more reactionary and timid parties across the world, are supplying dispossessed ‘democracy’ with a sort of new virginity. Thus we see the creatures of the old regimes, well-accustomed to the wicked art of politics, responsible for repression and massacres of working people, reemerging — where they do not lack the courage — and presenting themselves as men of progress, seeking to capture the near future in the name of liberation. And, given the situation, they could even succeed. There is something to be said for the criticisms made of democracy by dictatorial regimes, and the way they expose the vises a... (From :
Reaction is let loose upon us from all sides. The bourgeoisie, infuriated by the fear of losing their privileges, will use all means of repression to suppress not only the Anarchist and Socialist, but every progressive movement. It is quite certain that they will not be able to prevent those outrages which served as the pretext of this present reaction; on the contrary, the measures which bar all other outlets to the active temper of some seem expressly calculated to provoke and multiply them. But, unfortunately, it is not quite certain that they may not succeed in hampering our propaganda by rendering the circulation of our press very difficult, by imprisoning a great number of our comrades, and by leaving no other means of r... (From :
The greatest discovery of this century was made by the International when it proclaimed that the economic question is fundamental in Sociology, and that other matters—political, religious, etc.,—are merely its reflections, perhaps even the shadows it casts. Indeed, in the past, lacking this key, all political problems (in the broadest sense, encompassing everything related to the existence of society) were insoluble, indeed, unfathomable. In Greece, for instance, in order to deliver the greatest well-being to the people, they sought the best government, or “the government of the most.” But in the end, it turned out that government is always government by the few and not by the best either but by scoundr... (From :
The end justifies the means. This saying has been much abused; yet it is in fact the universal guide to conduct. It would, however, be better to say: every end needs its means. Since morality must be sought in the aims, the means is determined. Once the goal one is aiming at has been established, consciously or through necessity, the big problem of life is to find the means which, in the circumstances, leads to that end most surely and economically. In the way this problem is solved will depend, so far as it can depend on human will, whether the individual (or party) reaches or fails to achieve his ends, whether he is useful to his cause or unwittingly serves that of the enemy. To have found the right means, herein lies the whole sec... (From :
Introductory note This talk of mine at the anarchist conference on Malatesta in Naples, December 2003, is a perfect example of how any attempt to justify or condemn the concept of revolutionary violence is a failure from the outset. Revolutionary violence has no need of my justification and cannot be affected by any kind of condemnation, even if it comes from the ranks of the anarchists themselves. Pacifism is also basically a non-issue and does not deserve to be refuted in too many words. My effort did not, nor does it here, intend to provide arguments supporting revolutionary violence. It just wanted, and still does, to make a contribution to the revolutionary ideas and activity of Errico Malatesta. Many unwarranted t... (From :
There is such a variety of folk calling themselves anarchists these days and peddling such a variety of disparate and contradictory ideas as anarchy, that it really is small wonder that the public, being new to our ideas and unable to make out at a glance the big differences lurking under the blanket of a common name, remains deaf to our propaganda and regards us with suspicion. Of course we cannot stop others from adopting whatever title they choose; nor would our jettisoning the title of anarchists achieve anything beyond adding to the confusion, since the public would reckon that we had merely switched flags. All we can do, and what we should do, is to differentiate ourselves clearly from those whose notion of anarchy diffe... (From :
In reply to "A project of anarchist organization" Dear Comrade Malatesta, I have read your response to the project for an 'Organizational Platform of a General Union of Anarchists', a project published by the group of Russian anarchists abroad. My impression is that either you have misunderstood the project for the 'Platform' or your refusal to recognize collective responsibility in revolutionary action and the directional function that the anarchist forces must take up, stems from a deep conviction about anarchism that leads you to disregard that principle of responsibility. Yet, it is a fundamental principle, which guides each one of us in our way of understanding the anarchist idea, in our determination that it should penetra... (From :
To destroy radically this oppression without any danger of it reemerging, all people must be convinced of their right to the means of production, and be prepared to exercise this basic right by expropriating the landowners, the industrialists and financiers, and putting all social wealth at the disposal of the people.[204] [In Teramo] at a meeting of peasants the local secretary of the Trade Unions, the president of the socialist cooperative and two socialist MPs told the peasants: “Keep yourselves ready; when your leaders will tell you to strike, abandon the fields, and if on the other hand they tell you to gather in only your share, obey them and leave the other half unharvested.” This is the advice of good refor... (From :
For the third time the thinking proletariat of all countries affirms by means of an international demonstration, true solidarity among the workers, hatred of exploitation, and the will, which from day to day grows more determined, to bring the existing system of things to an end. Governments and the classes tremble, and they have good reason. Not because on this day the revolution will break out—for that is an event which may happen on any day in the year—but because when the oppressed people begin to feel the weight and the shame of oppression, when they feel themselves brothers, when they forget all the historic hatreds fomented by the governing classes, when they clasp hands across frontiers and feel solidarity in the ... (From :
Obviously I am unable to make myself understood to the Spanish speaking comrades, at least as regards my ideas on the labor movement and on the role of anarchists within it. I tried to explain these ideas in an article that was published in El Productor on 8th January (an article whose heading, ‘The Labor Movement and Anarchism’ was wrongly translated as ‘Syndicalism and Anarchism’). But from the response that I saw in those issues of El Productor that reached me I see I haven’t managed to make myself understood. I will therefore return to the subject in the hope of greater success this time. The question is this: I agree with the Spanish and South American comrades on the anarchist goals that mus... (From :
Errico Malatesta(Umanità Nova, n. 192, October 14, 1922) My latest article on this topic drew the attention of many comrades and procured me numerous questions and remarks. Perhaps I was not clear enough; perhaps I also disturbed the mental habits of some, who love to rest on traditional formulas more than tormenting their brain, and are bothered by anything that forces them to think. In any case I will try to make myself clearer, and I will be happy if those who consider what I say quite heretical will enter the discussion and contribute to define a practical program of action, which can be used as a guide in the next social upheavals. So far our propagandists have been mainly concerned with criticizing the present... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Some comrades have been horrified by the observations I have made here and there recently on the relation between Science and Anarchy, and particularly by my having described, as absurd, Kropotkin’s definition of Anarchy: Anarchy is a concept of the universe based on a mechanistic interpretation of the phenomena which embrace nature as a whole, not excluding society. These comrades fail to understand what I meant, and clearly the fault is mine. Since they make me to have said that I believe science and philosophyhave nothing to do with anarchism; and have indulged in demonstrating the great merits of science. Anarchism, they say, is a general concept of life, therefore a philosophy, without touching in any way upon the point I ... (From :

• "On the contrary, we do not boast that we possess absolute truth; we believe that social truth is not a fixed quantity, good for all times, universally applicable, or determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions."
• "The authoritarians, the rulers, either believe they hold an infallible formula, or must pretend to hold it, as they intend to lay down and impose the law. However, all history shows that the law's only use is to defend, strengthen and perpetuate the interests and prejudices prevailing at the time the law is made, thus forcing mankind to move from revolution to revolution, from violence to violence."
• "To me a policeman is worse than a criminal, at least than a minor common criminal; a policeman is more dangerous and harmful to society. However, if people do not feel sufficiently protected by the public, no doubt they immediately call for the policeman. Therefore, the only way of preventing the policeman from existing is to make him useless by replacing him in those functions that constitute a real protection for the public."
In the course of those polemics which arise among anarchists as to the best tactics for achieving, or approaching the creation of an anarchist society - and they are useful, and indeed necessary arguments when they reflect mutual tolerance and trust and avoid personal recriminations - it often happens that some reproach others with being gradualists, and the latter reject the term as if it were an insult. Yet the fact is that, in the real sense of the word and given the logic of our principles, we are all gradualists. And all of us, in whatever different ways, have to be. It is true that certain words, especially in politics, are continually changing their meaning and often assume one that is quite contrary to the original, lo... (From :
The history of the struggles that won the present type of suffrage in Belgium is interesting and very instructive. It shows how, through vigor and constancy associated with caution, a popular party managed, in the space of a few years, to bring a selfish, arrogant class to surrender, even though that class was determined to resist every concession and could call upon the economic and military might of the entire nation in the defense of its privileges. And this history might serve as an example for further struggles targeting much more effective gains for the good of the people. Avanti! has received from its Belgian correspondent (A. Dewinne) an account of those events, which we know to be truthful. We think it might be useful to rep... (From :

• "None can judge with certainty who is right and who is wrong, who is nearest the truth, or which is the best way to achieve the greatest good for each and everyone. Freedom coupled with experience, is the only way of discovering the truth and what is best; and there can be no freedom if there is a denial of the freedom to err."
In the first issue of Pensiero e Vobnta Saverio Merlino[1] wrote: ‘The anarchists have been tormented and rendered powerless by the conflict, which has never ceased to rage among them, between individualists and communists. They are poles apart and agree on only one thing — their abhorrence of parliamentarism.’ I think Merlino exaggerates when he ascribes the impotence of the anarchists to the conflict between communists and individualists. When circumstances have favored action and, in general, when there have been the will and the ability to do something practical, any dispute has been forgotten and communists and individualists (I speak, of course, of true anarchists who are loyal to the principle, Neither Slaves... (From :
We do not intend in this article to speak of those who, in calling themselves individualists, see that as justification for any repugnant action, and who have about as much to do with anarchism as the police do with the public order they boast to protect, or as the bourgeois do with the principles of morality and justice with which they sometimes try to defend their murderous privileges. Neither is it our intention to speak of those comrades who style themselves “individualists about the means” and who, in the struggle we are fighting today, prefer or exclusively countenance individual action, either because they deem it more effective, or as a precaution, or again because they fear that any organization, any collective a... (From :
But how will this revolution be achieved? Naturally one must begin with the insurrectionary act which sweeps away the material obstacles, the armed forces of the government which are opposed to any social transformation. For the insurrection it is desirable, and it may well be indispensable, that all the anti-monarchical forces, since we are living under a monarchist regime, should be united. It is necessary to be as prepared as possible, morally and materially; and it is above all necessary to profit by all agitations and to seek to extend them and transform them into resolutive movements, to avoid the danger that while the organizations are getting ready the popular forces exhaust themselves in isolated actions.[198] ... (From :
They write from Bari, Italy: Our city is going through a very sad crisis. Barrel-making, once a thriving industry, is increasingly on the decline. The cause of this decline lies in the introduction of new fares by railroad and shipping companies, which allow for the return of empty casks at very low cost; therefrom comes a decreased consumption of barrels. Some time ago the barrel-making masters took steps to resolve this critical condition by asking that the transportation costs of empty casks be increased. Last Sunday, in front of the prefecture, they met to ask the authorities for help. A committee of 12 barrel-making workers, accompanied by a public safety inspector, was received by the prefect, who promised to sort things out. ... (From :
Dear comrades, In your journal I came across the following sentence: ‘If we must choose between Malatesta, who calls for class unity, and Rocker, who stands for a labor movement with anarchist aims, we choose our German comrade.’ This is not the first time that our Spanish language press has attributed to me ideas and intentions I do not have, and although those who wish to know what I really think can find it clearly set out in what I myself have written, I have decided to ask you to publish the following explanation of my position. Firstly, if things were really as you present them, I too would opt for Rocker against your ‘Malatesta,’ whose ideas on the labor movement bear little resemblance to... (From :
The problem of the land is perhaps the most serious, and dangerous problem which the revolution will have to solve. In justice (abstract justice which is contained in the saying to each his own) the land belongs to everybody and must be at the disposal of whoever wants to work it, by whatever means he prefers, whether individually, or in small or large groups, for his own benefit or on behalf of the community. But justice does not suffice to ensure civilized life, and if it is not tempered, almost canceled out, by the spirit of brotherhood, by the consciousness of human solidarity, it leads, through the struggle of each against all, to subjection and the exploitation of the vanquished, and that is, to injustice in all social relation... (From :
Comrades, In light of a number of inaccuracies and omissions in the official minutes of the Berne Congress, certain newspapers have drawn from the report presented by us on the situation and principles of the International in Italy some conclusions that do not quite match with the facts.[1] We therefore ask you to carry the following statement in your newspaper: We never said anything that might lead one to suppose that in Italy the International was split into two branches subscribing to two different schools of thought. The vast majority of Italian socialists have rallied around the Italian Federation’s anarchist, collectivist, revolutionary program, and the few who have, thus far, as a consequence of intrigues and l... (From :
Editor’s Note In 1893, the Fasci movement had spread over Sicily—”fasci” being the plural for “fascio” (bundle), a term that symbolized the strength of union and bore no relation but etymological with the later Fascist movement. It was a movement of peasants, miners, and workers that started with economic demands but escalated into a revolt, with strikes, attacks on city halls, destruction of custom-houses, and refusal to pay taxes. Dozens of workers were massacred by the armed forces. On 4 January 1894, the state of siege was declared in Sicily and a harsh repression ensued. In response, demonstrations took place in various Italian cities, peaking with an uprising that occurred in the anarchist st... (From :
In No. 9 of Pensiero e Volonta I wrote a review of Galleani’s[1] Book, La Fine dell’Anarchismo? Benigno Bianchi replies: ‘I hope you will not mind if I write to bring to your attention a sentence that would give rise to regrettable misunderstandings. I refer to the second paragraph of Galleani’s words quoted in your article. In the passage in question Galleani spoke of the need to clear the decks for posterity, of prejudices, privileges, churches, prisons, barracks, brothels, etc. It is therefore necessary to destroy, not to construct. You honestly reply that ‘it would be ridiculous, and fatal, to want to destroy all unhygienic ovens, all anti-economic mills, all backward cultures, leav... (From :
Revolt rumbles everywhere. Here it is the expression of an idea, and there the result of a need; most often it is the consequence of the intertwining of needs and ideas which mutually generate and reinforce each other. It fastens itself to the causes of evil or strikes close by, it is conscious or instinctive, it is humane or brutal, generous or narrowly selfish, but it always grows and extends itself. It is history which advances: it is useless to take time to complain about the routes that it chooses, since these routes have been marked out by all previous evolution. But history is made by men; and since we do not want to remain indifferent and passive spectators to the historic tragedy, since we want to contribute all our f... (From :
We do not recognize the right of the majority to impose the law on the minority, even if the will of the majority in somewhat complicated issues could really be ascertained. The fact of having the majority on one’s side does not in any way prove that one must be right. Indeed, humanity has always advanced through the initiative and efforts of individuals and minorities, whereas the majority, by its very nature, is slow, conservative, submissive to superior force and to established privileges. But if we do not for one moment recognize the right of majorities to dominate minorities, we are even more opposed to domination of the majority by a minority. It would be absurd to maintain that one is right because one is in a minority. If a... (From :
The Neapolitan Workers’ Federation recognizes and proclaims the following principles: All beings human in nature are equal and, since they all share the same rights and duties, there are no rights without duties, no duties without rights.[1] Since labor is a human necessity, there is a duty upon all to labor and everyone is entitled to enjoyment of the entire product of his labor. For that very reason, the instruments of labor and raw materials belong to the whole of humanity and everyone is entitled to make use of them in pursuit of his own activities.[2] Every individual born is entitled to be reared, fed, and educated technically, comprehensively and equally by the collective to which he ha... (From :
We have had the following letter from comrade Malatesta: Dear comrades, A French-language paper has chosen to dwell upon what I said at the anti-parliamentary conference held in London on 3 August in the hall of the Autonomie Club, and reports me as saying pretty much the opposite of what I actually did say. Would you allow me to re-state the truth? It might well also provide an opening for a discussion between comrades regarding matters of the utmost interest to the anarchist party. Here, then, are the thoughts I put to the comrades gathered at the Autonomie—albeit at rather greater length than I was able to express them in the little time afforded to each speaker. The main topic that the conference... (From :
Errico Malatesta(Pensiero e Volontà, n. 9, May 10, 1924) MEDICINE... AND ANARCHISM. — Under this title, in the editorial mail of our issue n. 5, we published a note by which we refused the invitation of some comrades to make propaganda in favor of certain methods of treatment conflicting with science and the commonly accepted medical practice. This fact upset comrade N. Cuneo from New York. Though acknowledging that Pensiero e Volontà is not the right place for medical discussions (in fact, he is not among those who urged us to that propaganda), in the April 15 issue of Libero Accordo he stands up for the “natural treatment”, i.e. a treatment without drugs, which is said to be making great progress, and ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
It is a mistake to believe as some do that the banks are, or are in the main, a means to facilitate exchange; they are a means to speculate on exchange and currencies, to invest capital and make it produce interest, and to fulfill other typically capitalist operations, which will disappear as soon as the principle that no one has the right or the possibility of exploiting the labor of others, triumphs. That in the post-revolutionary period, in the period of reorganization and transition, there might be “offices for the concentration and distribution of the capital of collective enterprises,” that there might or not be titles recording the work done and the quantity of goods to which one is entitled, is something we shall ... (From :
To crown a long series of crimes, fascism finally took over the government. And Mussolini, the Duce, just to distinguish himself, began by treating the deputies in parliament as an insolent master would treat stupid and lazy servants. Parliament, what was to be “the palladium of freedom”, has given its measure. This makes us perfectly indifferent. Between a bully who insults and threatens, because he feels safe, and a host of cowards who seem to delight in their abjection, we don’t have to choose. We simply note — and not without shame — what kind of people are those who dominate us and whose yoke we cannot escape. But what is the significance, the scope and the probable result of th... (From :

• "...fortunately there exists in Man another feeling which draws him closer to his neighbor, the feeling of sympathy, tolerance, of love, and, thanks to it, mankind became more civilized, and from it grew our idea which aims at making society a true gathering of brothers and friends all working for the common good."
• "...where violence intervenes, injustice, oppression and exploitation invariably triumph."
• "...official 'morality'... serves to defend the privilege and violence of the ruling class..."
Theoretically ‘democracy’ means popular government; government by all for everybody by the efforts of all. In a democracy the people must be able to say what they want, to nominate the executors of their wishes, to monitor their performance and remove them when they see fit. Naturally this presumes that all the individuals that make up a people are able to form an opinion and express it on all the subjects that interest them. It implies that everyone is politically and economically independent and therefore no-one, to live, would be obliged to submit to the will of others. If classes and individuals exist that are deprived of the means of production and therefore dependent on others with a monopoly over those means... (From :
... In his lecture of 6 March 1896, to which our Norwegian comrade Hz refers, Kropotkin neither explains nor justifies the idea — to me an absurd and arbitrary one — that Anarchy is ‘a concept of the universe based on a mechanistic interpretation of phenomena.’ Kropotkin makes obscure and debatable analogies between society and certain facts (or supposed facts) of the physical and biological world. He must have made them because it was the vogue in those days to relate everything to ‘Science’ without attaching great importance to it. For instance, Kropotkin begins by saying: ‘Let me take some examples from the field of the natural sciences, not to draw our social ideas from them &m... (From :
1 … So I left for Switzerland with Cafiero. At the time I was sickly, I spat blood and was said to be consumptive, more or less…. While crossing the Gothard during the night (at that time there was no tunnel and one had to cross the snowy mountain in a diligence) I had caught cold, and arrived at the house where Bakunin was staying in Zurich, with a feverish cough. After the first greetings. Bakunin made up a camp bed, and invited me—he almost forced me—to lie on it, covered me with all the blankets he could lay hands on and urged me to stay there quietly and sleep. And all this was accompanied by attention, and motherly tenderness, which gripped my heart. While I was wrapped up in bed, and... (From :
Note to the article “individualism and anarchism” by adamas Errico Malatesta(Pensiero e Volontà, n. 15, August 1, 1924) Adamas’ reply to my article in n. 13 shows that I did not express my thought well, and induces me to add some clarifications. I claimed that “individualist anarchism and communist anarchism are the same, or nearly so, in terms of moral motivations and ultimate goals”. I know that one could counter my claim with hundreds of texts and plenty of deeds of self-proclaimed individualist anarchists, which would demonstrate that individualist anarchist and communist anarchist are separated by something of a moral abyss. However, I deny that that kind of individualists can be in... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Adamas’ reply to my article in n. 13 shows that I did not express my thought well, and induces me to add some clarifications. I claimed that “individualist anarchism and communist anarchism are the same, or nearly so, in terms of moral motivations and ultimate goals”. I know that one could counter my claim with hundreds of texts and plenty of deeds of self-proclaimed individualist anarchists, which would demonstrate that individualist anarchist and communist anarchist are separated by something of a moral abyss. However, I deny that that kind of individualists can be included among anarchists, despite their liking for calling themselves so. If anarchy means non-government, non-domination, non-op... (From :
General strikes of protest no longer upset anybody; neither those who take part in them nor those against whom they are directed. If only the police had the intelligence to avoid being provocative, they would pass off as any public holiday. One must seek something else. We put forward an idea: the take-over of factories. For the first attempt probably only a few will take part and the effect will be slight; but the method certainly has a future, because it corresponds to the ultimate ends of the workers’ movement and constitutes an exercise preparing one for the ultimate general act of expropriation.[158] The metal workers started the movement over wage rates. It was a strike of a new kind. Instead of abandoning the fact... (From :
I have seen a statement by the Group of the 18e where, in agreement with the Russians’ “Platform” and with comrade Makhno, it is held that the “principle of collective responsibility” is the basis of every serious organization. I have already, in my criticism of the “Platform” and in my reply to the open letter directed to me by Makhno, indicated my opinion on this supposed principle. But as there is some insistence on an idea or at least an expression which would seem to me to be more at home in a military barracks than among anarchist groups, I hope I will be permitted to say another few words on the question. The comrades of the 18e say that “communist anarchists must work in ... (From :
A comrade writes: ‘After your act of contrition in No. 3[1] it isyour duty to tell us openly what the practical means are for carrying out the revolution. Only then can we discuss it. ’ Another asks me to ‘unbutton’; many others await for as it were a magic formula to resolve all the difficulties. Strange mentality for anarchists! Let me begin by saying that I have made no ‘act of contrition.’ I could easily document that what I am saying now I have been saying for years; and if now I place more emphasis on it and others pay more attention to it than before. It is because the times are riper, in that experience has persuaded many, who formerly luxuriated in that blessed Kropotkinian ... (From :
I For years now this has been a matter of great contention between anarchists. And, as is often the case when heat enters an argument and when insistence that one is in the right is injected into the search for the truth, or when arguments around theory are merely an attempt to vindicate practical behavior prompted by quite other motives, a great muddling of ideas and words is the result. Incidentally, and just to get them out of the way, let us run through the straightforward semantic quibbles that have occasionally reached the utmost heights of absurdity, such as, say, “We are for harmonization, not organization”; “we are against association but are for agreement”; “we want no secretary and no t... (From :
Strictly speaking, we cannot have a foreign policy, as we are and want to be outside and against the current partition of the world into rival States. For us there are no foreigners. We want all men, whatever their place of birth, whatever ethnicity they may be derived from, whatever language they speak, to consider themselves as brothers and sisters and to group together freely and cooperate together for the greatest well-being, the greatest freedom, the greatest civilization of all. And given that this universal brotherhood, this harmonization of all interests and all aspirations in a vast unity (that of humankind) that respects and favors the free development of all varieties, the full autonomy of all individuals and all gr... (From :
Some friends of ours have passed comment on the proposal we have put, and which has been generally well received, that a party be formed embracing all revolutionary anarchist socialists, regardless of the matter of the economic arrangement any faction may advocate for the society of the future.[1] Said comments show, on the one hand, a degree of repugnance on the part of some communists to the notion of coming together with collectivists, and, on the other, a fear lest we are out to revive an organization such as those past ones that collapsed because they were a spent force and no longer suited to the times. Allow us to explain ourselves briefly with regard to the two aspects of this matter; we promise to revisit the matter, if need... (From :
A celebrated historian, Lecky said that legend is often more truthful than history; and in so saying expresses, in a somewhat paradoxical form, a true and profound insight. Legend is truer and more interesting than history; since, while history tries laboriously to establish hard facts about circumstances, events, and individuals, and only with difficulty manages to ascertain the truth, amid the complexity of always inadequate elements and contradictory witnesses; legend instead, being formed unconsciously and expressing, not the fact, but how people saw the fact, reveals the state of mind of a people, the innermost meaning of a historical moment. This was the case for the revolutionary movement known as the Paris Commune, whi... (From :

• "...two passions: the desire for knowledge and the desire to act for the good of humanity, two noble passions which can be mutually useful and which one would like to see in all men, without being, for all this, one and the same thing."
• "If it is true that the law of Nature is Harmony, I suggest one would be entitled to ask why Nature has waited for anarchists to be born, and goes on waiting for them to triumph, in order to destroy the terrible and destructive conflicts from which mankind has already suffered. Would one not be closer to the truth in saying that anarchy is the struggle, in human society, against the disharmonies of Nature?"
• "PETER KROPOTKIN IS WITHOUT DOUBT ONE OF THOSE WHO have contributed perhaps more—perhaps more even than Bakunin and Elisee Reclus—to the elaboration and propagandation of anarchist ideas. And he has therefore well deserved the recognition and the admiration that all anarchists feel for him."

• "Today, as ever, let this be our slogan: Down with Capitalists and Governments, all Capitalists and Governments! Long live the peoples, all the peoples!"
• "During the present war we have seen Republicans placing themselves at the service of kings, Socialists making common the cause with the ruling class, Laborists serving the interests of capitalists; but in reality all these people are, in varying degrees, Conservatives—believers in the mission of the State, and their hesitation can be understood when the only remedy lay in the destruction of every Governmental chain and the unloosing of the Social Revolution. But such hesitation is incomprehensible in the case of Anarchists."
• "Peace ought to be imposed by bringing about the Revolution, or at least by threatening to do so. To the present time, the strength or the skill is wanting. Well! There is only one remedy: to do better in future. More than ever we must avoid compromise; deepen the chasm between capitalists and wage slaves, between rulers and ruled; preach expropriation of private property and the destruction of States as the only means of guaranteeing fraternity between the peoples and Justice and Liberty for all; and we must prepare to accomplish these things."
One must produce, say the government and the bourgeoisie. One must produce, say the reformists. One must produce, we (anarchists) also say. But produce for whom? Produce what? And what are the reasons that not enough is produced? They say, the revolution cannot take place because production is insufficient, and that we would run the risk of dying of hunger. We say, the revolution must take place so as to be able to produce and stop the greater part of the population from living in a state of chronic hunger.[121] … Arturo Labriola, the well known Italian intransigent socialist, maintained at a public meeting some time ago that “the urgent problem which needs solving is not that of the di... (From :
No longer in a position to deny the righteousness of socialist aspirations, the bourgeois say that the woes by which men are afflicted are attributable to a harsh necessity of nature, which has nothing to do with the way society is organized. Poverty can never be eradicated, they say, because poverty derives from an actual dearth of produce rather than faulty distribution; in any event, what is required is a boost to the amount of production, rather than any attempt to overthrow society as presently constituted, with an eye to replacing it with a different society based on different foundations. And even as they talk about shortfalls in output, they have the land they have taken over worked according to the most irrational methods, w... (From :
Editor’s note Translated from Programma e Organizzazione della Associazione Internazionale dei Lavoratori (Florence, 1884). The title page specifies that the pamphlet was issued by the editorial staff of the periodical La Questione Sociale. By the time this pamphlet was published, the International had practically ceased to exist, though there were local federations that still claimed affiliation to it. Even the London congress of 1881, which is considered the last congress of the federalist International, was rather an attempt to revive it. The present pamphlet should be seen in the same light. It was a proposal summarizing the views of Malatesta and his group, rather than a document collectively issued by an actual organizati... (From :
I recently happened to come across a French pamphlet (in Italy today [1927], as is known, the non-fascist press cannot freely circulate), with the title 'Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Project)'. This is a project for anarchist organization published under the name of a 'Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad' and it seems to be directed particularly at Russian comrades. But it deals with questions of equal interest to all anarchists; and it is, clear, including the language in which it is written, that it seeks the support of comrades worldwide. In any case it is worth examining, for the Russians as for everyone, whether the proposal put forward is in keeping with anarchist principles and whether implementation ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A comrade writes us: “It is our custom to mark our anniversaries with gatherings, talks, the putting up of posters and displaying of banners. Indeed we have stood trial and passed many a long month in prison for precisely these things. Meanwhile, as a rule, our gatherings and lectures are usually attended only by comrades who are already believers, our manifestoes are scarcely read and soon torn down, and our banners are poorly understood if at all. So I wonder, given the results produced by these things, whether they are worth the trouble of exposing the bravest of us to the danger of being taken out of circulation for a long time at intervals. “Something occurs to me. Would it not be a good idea for groups of... (From :
Our opponents, interested defenders of the existing system are in the habit of saying, to justify the right to private property, that it is the condition and guarantee of freedom. And we agree with them. Are we not always repeating that he who is poor is a slave? Then why are they our opponents? The reason is clear and is that in fact the property they defend is capitalist property, that is, property which allows some to live by the work of others and which therefore presupposes a class of dispossessed, propertyless people, obliged to sell their labor power to the property-owners for less than its value….[134] The principal reason for the bad exploitation of nature, and of the miseries of the workers, of the anta... (From :
London, July 30, 1919 Dearest Fabbri,[1] (...) It seems to me that we are in perfect agreement on the matters with which you are currently so preoccupied, to wit, the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” By my reckoning, on this score the opinion of anarchists cannot be called into question, and in fact, well before the Bolshevik revolution, it never was queried by anyone. Anarchy means no government, and thus, all the more emphatically, no dictatorship, meaning an absolute government, uncontrolled and without constitutional restraints. But whenever the Bolshevik revolution broke out, it appears that our friends may have confused what constitutes a revolution against an existing government with what wa... (From :
According to the Franco-Russian socialist, Frederic Stackelberg, who is well-known not only for his political activity but for his valuable work in popularizing astronomy: ‘socialism is nothing more than the biological monism* of the arts and sciences of the 19th century and the astronomical monism of the Renaissance, confirmed by recent astronomical discoveries.’ (Le Semeur de Normandie, 25th October). In ordinary vulgar language this means that if recent discoveries were to give rise to biological theories that differ from the dominant theories of the nineteenth century, and if astronomical research were to show that the stars were composed of matter different from our own planet’s, there would be n... (From :
The present uncertain, tormented and unstable political and social situation in Europe and the world [1931], which gives rise to all sorts of hopes and fears, makes it more urgent than ever to be prepared for the upheavals which, sooner or later, but inevitably, will come. And this revives discussion — which is in any case always topical — as to how we can adapt our idealistic aspirations to the situation prevailing in various countries at the present time, and how to pass from the preaching of ideals to their practical application. Since it is natural in a movement like ours, which does not recognize the authority either ofpersons or of texts and which is entirely founded on free criticism, there are a number of differen... (From :
The fundamental error of the reformists is that of dreaming of solidarity, a sincere collaboration, between masters and servants, between proprietors and workers which even if it might have existed here and there in periods of profound unconsciousness of the masses and of ingenuous faith in religion and rewards, is utterly impossible today. Those who envisage a society of well stuffed pigs which waddle contentedly under the ferule of a small number of swineherd; who do not take into account the need for freedom and the sentiment of human dignity; who really believe in a God that orders, for his abstruse ends, the poor to be submissive and the rich to be good and charitable — can also imagine and aspire to a technical organization o... (From :
Thoughts on Republic and Revolution Our avowed intention to take part in any revolutionary movement aimed at gaining greater liberty and justice, together with recent statements by certain comrades — whose real ideas have possibly been distorted by thehaste with which newspaper articles are written — have convinced some people, unfamiliar with our ideas, that we would accept, albeit on a provisional basis, a so-called ‘social’ and ‘federated’ republic. There are even some people who send us republican propaganda articles, in the confident beliefthattheywill be published, for all the world as though we were a republican periodical! It would not seem necessary to waste words on this subject, g... (From :
About fifteen years ago, this writer was a youngster studying rhetoric and Roman history, Greek, Latin, and Giobertian philosophy. Despite the best efforts of my teachers, schooling did not managed to stifle my nature and, in the stultifying, corruptive modern high school setting, I managed to keep my mind wholesome and my heart unblemished. By nature affectionate and impassioned, I dreamed of an ideal world in which all would love one another and be happy. Whenever I wearied of daydreams, I succumbed to reality, took a look around me, and saw: here, someone shivering from cold and hunger and meekly seeking alms in the shape of a crust of bread; there, some children crying; and over yonder, some men mouthing curses; and my hea... (From :
The resistance society is the workers’ association for defending their own interests against the contrary interests of the capitalists. Workers in the same trade, or from various trades attached to the same firm, band together and fight to improve their pay and other working conditions, or in order to stop the master from making existing conditions worse, as well as to protect any of them who may be personally singled out for injustice and annoyance. And, in order to add vim to their struggle and marshal the resources of all behind whatever section of them may from time to time be involved, these various groupings, conscious of the ever-growing solidarity of interests between workers of every trade and every land, progressively... (From :
This was the headline under which La Rivendicazione in Forlì carried, in its 5 October edition, an article over the signature of N. Sandri, regarding which a few critical comments may be in order. Revolution, the author writes, taken in the precise sense of thoroughgoing and lasting upheaval affecting any established institution, is rather more than some revolt or cobbled-together riot on the part of the people. Such riots, he goes on to say, nearly always backfire on those who mount them, and public affairs fall back into the hands of folk who bide their time as long as the fighting lasts and then make of the fighters’ dead bodies a footstool for themselves to rise on.[1] Then, out of the blue, he goes on to say that &l... (From :
Malatesta was a committed revolutionary: he believed that the anarchist revolution was inevitable, and that violence would be a necessary part of it since the state rested ultimately on violent coercion, which can be seen in the article, "the Revolutionary 'Haste.'" (From : Wikipedia.)Let us deal again with G. Valenti’s article republished by the Reggio Emilia newspaper Giustizia. Valenti dwells on enumerating all the masses that are indifferent or hostile to subversive propaganda. Writing about the United States, he claims that there are 60 (?) million Catholics organized in religious associations who go to church and pray God, and he invites the anarchists to go and make propaganda among those 60 millions, if they want to speed up the revolution. He claims that only 4 and a half million producers out of 40 million are organized in organizations, the majority of which, as a matter of fact, are still opposed to socialism; he also invites trade unionists to start working at organizing workers in unions, if they re... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
At the meeting held in Bienne (Switzerland) on the fiftieth anniversary of the Saint Imier Congress, comrade Bertoni and I expressed some ideas that comrade Colomer did not like. So much so that he wrote on the Paris Libertaire that he is sure those ideas contrast the most lively tendencies of the contemporary anarchist movement. Had the comrades of Germany, Spain, Russia, America, etc. been present at that meeting, he writes, they would have got moved and nearly indignant (“émus et presque indigné”), as he himself did. In my opinion, comrade Colomer slightly overstates his knowledge of the real tendencies of anarchism. In any case, it is an improper use of language, at the least, to talk about “indign... (From :
Our opponents, the beneficiaries and defenders of the current social system, are in the habit of justifying the right to private property by stating that property is the condition and guarantee of liberty. And we agree with them. Do we not say repeatedly that poverty is slavery? But then, why do we oppose them? The reason is clear: in reality the property that they defend is capitalist property, namely property that allows its owners to live from the work of others and which therefore depends on the existence of a class of the disinherited and dispossessed, forced to sell their labor to the property owners for a wage below its real value. Indeed, in all countries of the modem world the majority of the population ... (From :
I went to the funerals of Emily Davison, “dead for the cause of women,” as the funeral banners said — and I came back sad and moved. The cause of women! For it believed to be fighting the poor martyr who, leaving the comforts of a privileged position, sacrificing her favorite studies and exercises, devoted her whole self to the struggle for the conquest of the vote for women. She had always persisted for years, always full of audacity and initiative, in the guerrillas made by the suffragettes in order to draw the public’s attention to their claims and force the parliament to respond to them; she had been repeatedly imprisoned, she had gone on hunger strike, she had been subjected to the torture of forced feedi... (From :

• "The anarchists within the unions should strive to ensure that they remain open to all workers of whatever opinion or party on the sole condition that there is solidarity in the struggle against the bosses. They should oppose the corporatist spirit and any attempt to monopolize labor or organization. They should prevent the Unions from becoming the tools of the politicians for electoral or other authoritarian ends; they should preach and practice direct action, decentralization, autonomy and free initiative. They should strive to help members learn how to participate directly in the life of the organization and to do without leaders and permanent officials. They must, in short, remain anarchists, remain always in close touch with anarchists and remember that the workers' organization is not the end but just one of the means, however important, of preparing the way for the achievement of anarchism."
• "A Union is set up to defend the day to day interests of the workers and to improve their conditions as much as possible before they can be in any position to make the revolution and by it change today's wage-earners into free workers, freely associating for the benefit of all."
• "...a mass of people plagued by urgent needs and driven by aspirations - at times passionate but always vague and indeterminate - to a better life, and on the other individuals and parties who have a specific view of the future and of the means to attain it..."
Editor’s note The background to this article is a protracted controversy that had taken place in the columns of La Révolte from August to September 1892 between Malatesta and the Italian anti-organizationist Amilcare Pomati. This was part of a broader, heated debate on organization in which Malatesta and his friend Saverio Merlino engaged in the early 1890s. The main issue at stake—as already discussed in the previous article “Matters Revolutionary”—was whether anarchists should organize in any permanent, structured form. Anti-organizationists opposed the idea, and rejected organization in institutional forms such as parties, programs, and congresses. Thus, Pomati had argued that, “in the pr... (From :
William. Ah Jack, is that you? I’m glad to meet you. I’ve been wanting a talk with you for a long time. Oh, Jack! Jack! What have I heard about you! When you lived in the country you were a good lad, quite an example to the young fellows of your age—If your poor father were alive— Jack. William, why are you speaking to me like this? What have I done that you reproach me? And why would my poor father have been dissatisfied with me? William. Don’t be offended at my words, Jack. I am an old man and I speak for your good. And besides I was such friends with old Andrew, your father, that I am as vexed to see you go astray as though you were my own son, especially when I think of the hopes your father h... (From :
It is a general opinion that we, because we call ourselves revolutionists, expect Anarchism to come with one stroke - as the immediate result of an insurrection which violently attacks all that which exists and which replaces all with institutions that are really new. And to tell the truth this idea is not lacking among some comrades who also conceive the revolution in such a manner. This prejudice explains why so many honest opponents believe Anarchism a thing impossible; and it also explains why some comrades, disgusted with the present moral condition of the people and seeing that Anarchism cannot come about soon, waver between an extreme dogmatism which blinds them to the realities of life and an opportunism which practically makes... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
It would seem that it’s late in the day to still talk about it, but the subject nevertheless remains current, since we’re dealing with acts and discussions that have occurred over and again in the past and that, alas, will repeat themselves in the future as well. For as long as the determining causes have not disappeared. A few individuals stole, and in order to steal, killed; they killed at random, without discernment anyone who stood between them and the money they were after. Killed men unknown to them, workers, victims like themselves and even more than themselves of a bad social organization. At heart there was nothing in this but the ordinary: they were the bitter fruit that ripen on the tree of privilege in ... (From :
Violence, i.e., physical force used to another's hurt, which is the most brutal form the struggle between men can assume, is eminently corrupting. It tends, by its very nature, to suffocate the best sentiments of man, and to develop all the anti-social qualities: ferocity, hatred, revenge, the spirit of domination and tyranny, contempt of the weak, servility towards the strong. And this harmful tendency arises also when violence is used for a good end. The love of justice which impelled one to the struggle, amid all the good original intentions, is not sufficient guarantee against the depraving influence exerted by violence on the mind and actions of him who uses it. In the whirl of battle one too often loses sight of the goal for wh... (From :

• "Let nobody wait for someone else's initiative; let anyone take the initiatives they deem appropriate in their place, in their environment, and then try, with due precautions, to connect their own to others' initiatives, to reach the general agreement that is necessary to a valid action."
Material force can prevail over moral force. It can even destroy the most refined civilization, if it doesn’t know how to defend itself with appropriate means against the offensive returns of barbarism. Any ferocious beast can rip a gentleman to shreds, even if he is a genius, a Galileo or a Leonardo, if he is naive enough to believe that he can curb the beast by showing it a work of art or announcing a scientific discovery. But brutality hardly triumphs, and in all cases its successes have never been general and lasting, when it fails to achieve a certain moral consensus, when civilized men recognize it for what it is and, even if powerless to eradicate it, move away from it as a dirty and repugnant thing. Fascis... (From :
The origin of this division of men into “intellectuals” (who often are simply idle people without any intellectuality) and “workers” can be found in the fact that at times and in circumstances when to produce enough to amply satisfy one’s needs demanded excessive and unpleasant effort, and when one ignored the advantages of solidarity and cooperation, the strongest or the more fortunate, found a way of obliging others to work for them. This manual work, apart from being more or less exhausting, also became a symbol of social inferiority; and thus the seigneurs willingly tired themselves and killed each other in equestrian exercises, dangerous and exhausting hunts, and wore themselves out in competitions, but wo... (From :


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