Vote. What For?

Freely adapted from Malatesta’s En Periode Electorale. 1959 English translation of Errico Malatesta’s pamphlet “Vote. What For?” by the New York based Libertarian League.

George: This beer’s not too bad, is it?

Jack: Yes, it’s alright, but what a price!

George: Shocking – especially when you remember what things used to cost. Still, you can’t wonder with all these taxes. It costs you twice as much to live as it used to. They put up the price of some things, and say you can do without them. But you can’t do without bread, and food, and clothes – you have to pay the rent all the same, and then there are the taxes on this and the rates – on our wages too! What a life! And it’s our own fault! If we wanted to we could alter things. The working class has the remedy in its own hands. Continue reading “Vote. What For?”

Anarchism, Individualism and Organization

First publication and date unknown.

I have listened attentively to everything that has been said before me on the problem of organization and I have the distinct impression that what separates us is the different meaning we give words. Let us not squabble over words. But as far as the basic problem is concerned, I am convinced that we are in total agreement.

All anarchists, whatever tendency they belong to, are individualists in some way or other. But the opposite is not true; not by any means. The individualists are thus divided into two distinct categories: one which claims the right to full development for all human individuality, their own and that of others; the other which only thinks about its own individuality and has absolutely no hesitation in sacrificing the individuality of others. The Tsar of all the Russias belongs to the latter category of individualists. We belong to the former. Continue reading “Anarchism, Individualism and Organization”

A Little Theory

Date and first publication unknown.

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 forces to determine the events which seem to us most favorable to our cause, we must have a criterion to guide us in the evaluation of the facts which are produced, and especially in choosing the place that we will occupy in the combat.

The end justifies the means: we have spoken much ill of that maxim. In reality, it is the universal guide of conduct. Continue reading “A Little Theory”

Towards Anarchism

Towards Anarchism by Errico Malatesta (1853-1932) first appeared in English in the Depression era periodical MAN!.

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 them forget that they are Anarchists and that for Anarchism they should struggle. Continue reading “Towards Anarchism”

A Talk about Anarchist Communism between Two Workers

Undated. Is a reworking of Malatesta’s Fra Contadini pamphlet.

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 had of you and the sacrifices he made to leave you a good name. Continue reading “A Talk about Anarchist Communism between Two Workers”