Echoes of the 1st of May

Agitiamoci per Socialismo Anarchico (May 8, 1897), single issue, replacement for No. 9 of L’Agitazone. Translated by Paul Sharkey and appeared in The Complete Works of Malatesta, Vol. 3: A Long and Patient Work

As we had forecast, the 1st of May this year was a very poor show. And, most hurtful of all, the process of decadence tending to turn the demonstration, the strike on that day into mere holiday has become even more pronounced.

Drinking, marquees, balls: these are the key features of the day in those places where anything at all took place.

Not that we despise amusements; in fact we should like to see the workers get used to them and demand time and wherewithal to indulge in them. Neither would we have have preferred riots and upheavals, which would have gifted the government with an outlet for its lust for persecution, since it is our conviction that persecution is not welcome, unless one is in position to resist it successfully. Continue reading “Echoes of the 1st of May”

The 1st of May (II)

Agitiamoci per Socialismo Anarchico (May 1, 1897), single issue, replacement for No. 8 of L’Agitazone. Translated by Paul Sharkey and appeared in The Complete Works of Malatesta, Vol. 3: A Long and Patient Work

At the time of writing, we do not yet know how important the 1st of May demonstration will be this year. Unfortunately, we do not have high Hopes.

The democratic socialist, who could ensure a solemn demonstration if only they committed to this agitation—in which class struggle could really be affirmed and organized—a tenth of the effort they put into the election campaign, stage the event indolently, merely because, at this point, staging it is a habit. Right from the outset they strove to turn the workers’ strike into a labor holiday, mounted, if possible, with the assent of the masters, and they so far as to want governments to declare it an official and mandatory holiday—and they are now carrying on in the same vein. They are afraid of playing with fire, afraid that the people might start to become conscious of their own strengths and start doing things for themselves. In their eyes, there is nothing but Parliament, and any other approach is a hurdle that they hearty abhor, even when they are required by convenience to consider it. Continue reading “The 1st of May (II)”

The 1st of May

L’Agitazione (Ancona) 1, No. 5 (Apri 12, 1897). Translated by Paul Sharkey and appeared in The Complete Works of Malatesta, Vol. 3: A Long and Patient Work

Six or seven years ago, the approach of this date used to arouse great hopes and great fears. The bourgeois quaked, the police made ready for a crackdown, the revolutionaries stood in readiness for the struggle, and huge masses of proletarians looked forward eagerly to that date like some mystical day fated to signal the end of their suffering

Since then, the movement has, little by little, been dwindling in importance until it has been forgotten by some, and looked upon by others as one more innocuous anniversary on the calendar of the revolutionary merry-makers Continue reading “The 1st of May”

The Experimental Anarchist Colonies

“Le colonie anarchiche sperimental,” L’Agitazione (Ancona) 1, No. 33 (October 28, 1897). This article was translated by Paul Sharkey and appeared in The Complete Works of Malatesta, Vol. 3: A Long and Patient Work

In our last issue, comrade Fabbri spoke to us of the Clousden Hill anarchist Colony in England and, in his enthusiasm, portrayed it as proof that anarchy is no utopia.[1]

Needless to say, we are convinced that anarchy is feasible since it is, as we see it, the form of social organization that best ensures freedom and well-being for all and therefore must eventually win everyone’s support—and we believe that, with respect to social institutions, everything is practical and achievable as long as men agree in wanting it. But it does not seem to us that the English comrades’ Colony proves much as to the feasibility of our ideas; and we hasten to say so because, should that colony some day go to rack and ruin—which would displease but not surprise us—we want to be able to claim that the experiment’s failure is not an argument against us, just as its success is not an argument in our favor. Other colonies prospered for a time and were cited by enthusiasts as proof that anarchy is achievable, but now are the bourgeois’ laughing stock! Continue reading “The Experimental Anarchist Colonies”

Anarchism and Organization

Dated 1897. No more information found.

Organization which is, after all, only the practice of co-operation and solidarity, is a natural and necessary condition of social life; it is an inescapable fact which forces itself on everybody, as much on human society in general as on any group of people who are working towards a common objective. Since humanity neither wishes to, nor can, live in isolation it is inevitable that those people who have neither the means, nor a sufficiently developed social conscience to permit them to associate freely with those of a like mind and with common interests, are subjected to the organization by others, generally constituted in a class or as a ruling group, with the aim of exploiting the labor of others for their personal advantage. And 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 …

Now, it seems to us that organization, that is to say, association for a specific purpose and with the structure and means required to attain it, is a necessary aspect of social life. A human being in isolation cannot even live the life of a beast, for they would be unable to obtain nourishment for themselves, except perhaps in tropical regions or when the population is exceptionally sparse; and they would be, without exception, unable to rise much above the level of an animal. Having therefore to join with other humans, or more accurately, finding themselves united to them as a consequence of the evolutionary antecedents of the species, they must submit to the will of others (be enslaved) or subject others to his/her will (be in authority) or live with others in fraternal agreement in the interests of the greatest good of all (be an associate). Nobody can escape from this necessity. Continue reading “Anarchism and Organization”