Gradualism

Originally published as “Gradualismo,” Pensiero e Volantà (Rome) 2, No. 12, 1 October 1925. Appears in The Anarchist Revolution: Polemical Articles 1924-1931, edited and introduced by Vernon Richards (London: Freedom Press, 1995), p. 82-87.

In the course of those polemics which arise among anarchists as to the best tactics for achieving, or approaching the creation of an anarchist society – and they are useful, and indeed necessary arguments when they reflect mutual tolerance and trust and avoid personal recriminations – it often happens that some reproach others with being gradualists, and the latter reject the term as if it were an insult.

Yet the fact is that, in the real sense of the word and given the logic of our principles, we are all gradualists. And all of us, in whatever different ways, have to be.

It is true that certain words, especially in politics, are continually changing their meaning and often assume one that is quite contrary to the original, logical and natural sense of the term.

Thus the word possibilist. Is there anyone of sound mind who would seriously claim to want the impossible? Yet in France the term became the special label of a section of the Socialist Party who were followers of the former anarchist, Paul Brousse – and more willing than others to renounce socialism in pursuit of an impossible co-operation with bourgeois democracy. Continue reading “Gradualism”

Revolution in Practice

Umanità Nova, No. 191, October 7, 1922

At the meeting held in Bienne (Switzerland) on the fiftieth anniversary of the Saint Imier Congress, comrade Bertoni and I expressed some ideas that comrade Colomer did not like. So much so that he wrote on the Paris Libertaire that he is sure those ideas contrast the most lively tendencies of the contemporary anarchist movement. Had the comrades of Germany, Spain, Russia, America, etc. been present at that meeting, he writes, they would have got moved and nearly indignant (“émus et presque indigné”), as he himself did.

In my opinion, comrade Colomer slightly overstates his knowledge of the real tendencies of anarchism. In any case, it is an improper use of language, at the least, to talk about “indignation” when the matter is a discussion where everyone honestly tries to contribute to the clarification of ideas in the best interest of the common goal. Anyway, it is better to keep discussing in a friendly manner, as we did in Bienne. Continue reading “Revolution in Practice”

The Revolutionary “Haste”

Umanità Nova, No. 125, September 6, 1921

Let us deal again with G. Valenti’s article republished by the Reggio Emilia newspaper Giustizia.

Valenti dwells on enumerating all the masses that are indifferent or hostile to subversive propaganda. Writing about the United States, he claims that there are 60 (?) million Catholics organized in religious associations who go to church and pray God, and he invites the anarchists to go and make propaganda among those 60 millions, if they want to speed up the revolution. He claims that only 4 and a half million producers out of 40 million are organized in organizations, the majority of which, as a matter of fact, are still opposed to socialism; he also invites trade unionists to start working at organizing workers in unions, if they really want to speed up the revolution. He claims that only one million voters out of twenty-five million voted for Debs in the last polls, he recalls that in the South socialist speakers get beaten and driven out of towns by mobs intoxicated with patriotism; finally, he invites communists to go and propagandize their 21 points in the South, instead of “bugging socialists into accepting them”. Continue reading “The Revolutionary “Haste””

The Anarchist Revolution

Various publications and dates (see footnotes).
Published in Vernon Richards (ed.), Malatesta: Life and Ideas, Freedom Press, 1965.

The revolution is the creation of new living institutions, new groupings, new social relationships; it is the destruction of privileges and monopolies; it is the new spirit of justice, of brotherhood, of freedom which must renew the whole of social life, raise the moral level and the material conditions of the masses by calling on them to provide, through their direct and conscious action, for their own futures. Revolution is the organisation of all public services by those who work in them in their own interest as well as the public’s; Revolution is the destruction of all coercive ties; it is the autonomy of groups, of communes, of regions; Revolution is the free federation brought about by a desire for brotherhood, by individual and collective interests, by the needs of production and defence; Revolution is the constitution of innumerable free groupings based on ideas, wishes, and tastes of all kinds that exist among the people; Revolution is the forming and disbanding of thousands of representative, district, communal, regional, national bodies which, without having any legislative power, serve to make known and to coordinate the desires and interests of people near and far and which act through information, advice and example. Revolution is freedom proved in the crucible of facts—and lasts so long as freedom lasts, that is until others, taking advantage of the weariness that overtakes the masses, of the inevitable disappointments that follow exaggerated hopes, of the probable errors and human faults, succeed in constituting a power, which supported by an army of conscripts or mercenaries, lays down the law, arrests the movement at the point it has reached, and then begins the reaction.[1] Continue reading “The Anarchist Revolution”