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”