Errico Malatesta : Complete Works (in Italian)

Translated by: Paul Sharkey

No doubt about it: Errico Malatesta was the most important exponent of the Italian-speaking anarchist movement. A protagonist in the movement’s history from the days of the International through to the advent of fascism, he has been, given his contribution to theoretical and political debate and as an organiser and agitator, an inevitable reference point for several generations of militants and for the various strands within anarchism. A person of acknowledged humanity, modesty and personal integrity, his lengthy experience of exile helped him work and carry out political and trade union activity in the many countries in which it fell to him to live, and placed him at the epicentre of a rich network of international connections. Malatesta left behind no systematic, theoretical exposition of how he saw anarchism, any more than he showed any willingness to write his memoirs. The evolution in his thinking and in the meaning of his life are therefore reconstructed primarily through the huge numbers of his articles meant for newspapers and propaganda pamphlets, addresses to meetings and rallies and from dense correspondence. Apart from the odd anthology of articles and periodical reprints of his best known and most widely read pamphlets, most of Malatesta’s writings remain unfamiliar even to the present day. Continue reading “Errico Malatesta : Complete Works (in Italian)”

Sound Teachers: Reprinting Errico Malatesta

by Davide Turcato

During his recent stay in Italy we met up with Davide Turcato, who lives in Canada; he is the supervising editor of the Complete Works of Errico Malatesta [in Italian]. Out of that meeting came this interview. – The editors of A Rivista Anarchica (Milan).

Q. Where did the plan to publish Malatesta’s Complete Works come from?

A. At the back of the plan lies my long-term turning to Malatesta’s writing, initially in my youth, and then, more recently, study of the three volumes of collected writings that were the beginning of the plan by Luigi Fabbri and Luigi Bertoni to publish Malatesta’s complete output, albeit that their plans were interrupted. But this current plan proper goes back to a quiet evening in September 1999. I was just finishing off my reading of Luigi Fabbri: Storia d’un uomo libero by Fabbri’s daughter Luce, when I stumbled upon a description of the outline of the project that Fabbri had had in mind. “Now is the time to see that plan through”, I simply said to myself. And so our plan was born. I am not the sort who makes decisions easily. And it still stuns me that this could have happened … Continue reading “Sound Teachers: Reprinting Errico Malatesta”

Malatesta, Life and Ideas, edited by Vernon Richards, Freedom Press [Review]

by Dave Poole

For almost ten years now the only work by Malatesta readily available to the English reader has been his essay Anarchy. Now, though, with the timely reprinting by Freedom Press of this selection of Malatesta’s writings, first published in 1965, the full range of this great anarchist activist’s ideas are once again in circulation.

The editor has translated several hundred articles by Malatesta, taken from most of the journals he either edited himself or only contributed to, from the earliest, L’En Dehor of 1892, through to Pensiero e Volonta, which was forced to close by Mussolini’s fascists in 1926, and the bilingual Il Risveglio/Le Reveil of Genoa which published most of his writings after that date. These articles have been pruned down to their essentials, apart from a handful which are reproduced in their entirety, and collected under 27 sub-headings ranging from Anarchism and Anarchy to Anarchist Propaganda. In addition there is a short biographical piece Notes for a Biography, while the third part of the book is devoted to an essay, by the editor, on Malatesta’s relevance today. Continue reading “Malatesta, Life and Ideas, edited by Vernon Richards, Freedom Press [Review]”

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”

Errico Malatesta

Errico Malatesta (14 December 1853 – 22 July 1932) was an Italian anarchist. He spent much of his life exiled from Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. Malatesta wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of Mikhail Bakunin.


Early Years

Errico Malatesta was born to a family of middle-class landowners in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Italy (in the province of Caserta) on 14 December 1853. More distantly, his ancestors ruled Rimini as the House of Malatesta. The first of a long series of arrests came at age fourteen, when he was apprehended for writing an “insolent and threatening” letter to King Victor Emmanuel II.[1][2] Continue reading “Errico Malatesta”

Death of Malatesta

by Thomas Henry Keell

Freedom Bulletin, No. 15, December 1932.

The Anarchist movement has united in mourning the death of one of its outstanding fighters and thinkers. For fifty years he was an active propagandist, and though he produced no great works on Anarchism his articles and pamphlets have been printed in almost every modern language. He combined action with theory and his years of imprisonment proved how much his influence was feared by all upholders of privilege and power.

Malatesta lived for a number of years in London and we met on many occasions at meetings, at Freedom office, or at his home. He impressed me as a frank and loveable man, always willing to help us. On one occasion he spent an entire day overhauling our printing machine. If he were asked to write an article he would at first refuse, saying we should get English comrades to write for an English paper; but in the end he usually agreed. He wrote in very good French and complained that translators sometimes distorted his meaning. At last we found a really good translator for one of his articles, and when we took the translation to him and read it, his eyes twinkled as he said it really was his article, not the translator’s. Continue reading “Death of Malatesta”

Errico Malatesta, Italian Anarchist, Agitator & Theorist

An Italian communist-anarchist who promoted revolution through direct action, land seizure & the general strike. Born with great wealth, he spent all of it on radical causes until he was buried in a pauper’s grave. He organized numerous demonstrations, radical newspapers, & workers’s insurrections in Europe & Argentina despite constant exile & arrest. Frequently escaped execution & often traveled in disguise.

Born in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Italy 1853, died in Rome 1932.

Important Italian anarchist militant & thinker; member of the Naples section of the International Working Men’s Association (IWMA); from 1872 member of the Fraternité intime, derived from Mikhail Bakunin’s earlier inner group of 1864; imprisoned many times for his revolutionary activities from 1873 on & repeatedly forced into exile to evade imprisonment; developed in 1876 together with Covelli & Carlo Cafiero a theory of anarchist communism. Continue reading “Errico Malatesta, Italian Anarchist, Agitator & Theorist”

The Life and Times of Malatesta

Talk Given by Andrew Blackmore on 23 November, 1994. This is a talk given to WSM meetings. As such it represents the authors opinion alone and may be deliberately provocative in order to start discussion. Also it maybe in a note form and has not been edited. Still I hope you find it useful.

Malatesta was one of the famous anarchists of the 19th century. He lived 79 years. Not as much is known of him as for example Bakunin or Kropotkin for a few reasons. He never kept a diary, he was Italian, and he was very active and continually hopping from one country to another, which meant he never kept a store of his own writings. For these reasons he has not been an attractive person to study and write about, because the work would be too hard.

For nearly sixty years, Malatesta was active in the anarchist movement as an agitator and as a propagandist. He was one of the movements most respected members as well as remaining to the end one of its most controversial. He was active in many parts of the world, as well as the editor of a number of Italian anarchist journals including the daily Umanita Nova (1920-22). Nearly half his life was spent in exile and his impact is evidenced by the fact that he spent more than ten years in prison, mainly awaiting trial. The last six years of his life were spent under house arrest. Continue reading “The Life and Times of Malatesta”

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


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”

Further Thoughts on Revolution in Practice

Umanità Nova, No. 192, 14 October 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. Continue reading “Further Thoughts on Revolution in Practice”