Malatesta’s Anarchist Vision of Life After Capitalism

by Wayne Price

Anarchism has been challenged for its supposed lack of vision about post-revolutionary society. In particular, Michael Albert challenges the great anarchist Malatesta. Actually Malatesta did have a post-capitalist vision. it was not a formal model but a set of ideas which were to be developed through experimentation, flexibility, and pluralism. The highpoints of his political life are outlined. His ideas are contrasted with that of other great radicals.

The Anarchist Method

One of the most prominent attempts to present a model for a post-capitalist society has been the theory of Parecon (“participatory economics”). One of its two founders, Michael Albert, has written a new book (2006) with the subtitle of “Life Beyond Capitalism.” Among other topics, he criticizes anarchists for their lack of a vision of what institutions a new society would have. Anarchism “…often dismisses the idea of vision, much less of providing a new political vision, as irrelevant or worse.” (p. 175) He makes the same charge against the Marxists, even the “libertarian Marxists or anarcho marxists…[who are] the best Marxism has to offer.” (p. 159) In my opinion, there is truth in this accusation, especially for the mainstream Marxists, but also the libertarian Marxists and even anarchists. At the same time, it is exaggerated. His appreciation of the positive proposals of anarchists and other libertarian socialists is clouded by a desire to see fully worked-out programs for a new society, such as his Parecon, which leads him to ignore valuable, if less detailed, anti-authoritarian proposals. Continue reading “Malatesta’s Anarchist Vision of Life After Capitalism”

The Political Thought of Errico Malatesta

by Felipe Corrêa.
Translation by Jonathan Payn.

This text is divided into four main parts for the presentation of Malatesta’s political thought: a.) a brief description of the author’s life, the political environment in which he found himself and his main interlocutors; b.) a theoretical-epistemological discussion, which differentiates science from doctrine/ideology and, therefore, the methods of analysis and social theories of anarchism. A notion that will be applied to the discussion of Malatestan thought itself; c.) theoretical-methodological elements for social analysis; d.) conception of anarchism and strategic positions.

“Errico Malatesta remains alive and integrally
present in our spirits and memories”

– Luigi Fabbri

Introduction

To deal with the political thought of Errico Malatesta is not a simple task and is something that must be carried out with necessary caution. It is relevant to bear in mind three fundamental questions that run throughout any more careful analysis of his work: 1.) He was an anarchist for more than 60 years of his life; 2.) His complete works are not available, not even in Italian; 3.) He never was, nor intended to be, a great theorist; he was essentially a propagandist and organiser.

This means that general readings, like that which it is intended to realise here, should take into account that there is no uniformity regarding his positions in those 60 years, some of which vary significantly. They must also take into account that, as an important part of his work is not known, one can not point to exceedingly definitive conclusions. Finally, they should take into account that although the larger part of his works are composed from texts for the exposure and dissemination of anarchism, and that, although the author does not have the breadth of other libertarian thinkers, he makes relevant contributions, which will be taken up briefly. Continue reading “The Political Thought of Errico Malatesta”