Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarchist propagandist and revolutionary socialist.
34 Facts About Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta edited several radical newspapers and spent much of his life exiled and imprisoned, having been jailed and expelled from Italy, England, France, and Switzerland.
Originally a supporter of insurrectionary propaganda by deed, Malatesta later advocated for syndicalism.
Errico Malatesta's exiles included five years in Europe and 12 years in Argentina.
Errico Malatesta participated in actions including an 1895 Spanish revolt and a Belgian general strike.
Errico Malatesta toured the United States, giving lectures and founding the influential anarchist journal La Questione Sociale.
Errico Malatesta was born on 4 December 1853 to a family of middle-class landowners in Santa Maria Maggiore, at the time part of city of Capua, at the time part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Errico Malatesta went to Egypt briefly, visiting some Italian friends but was expelled by the Italian Consul.
Errico Malatesta would come and go from that city for the next 40 years.
Errico Malatesta attended the Anarchist Congress that met in London from 14 July 1881.
Errico Malatesta lived in Buenos Aires from 1885 until 1889, resuming publication of and spreading anarchist ideas among the Italian emigre community there.
Errico Malatesta was involved in the founding of the first militant workers' union in Argentina and left an anarchist impression in the workers' movements there for years to come.
Errico Malatesta found the situation irresistible and early in 1898 he returned to the port city of Ancona to take part in the blossoming anarchist movement among the dockworkers there.
Errico Malatesta was identified as a leader during street fighting with police and arrested; he was therefore unable to participate further in the dramatic industrial and political actions of 1898 and 1899.
From jail, Errico Malatesta took a hard line against participation in elections on behalf of liberal and socialist politicians, contradicting Saverio Merlino and other anarchist leaders who argued in favor of electoral participation as an emergency measure during times of social turmoil.
Errico Malatesta was convicted of "seditious association" and sentenced to a term of imprisonment on the island of Lampedusa.
Errico Malatesta was able to escape from prison in May 1899 and he was able to make his way home to London via Malta and Gibraltar.
Errico Malatesta's escape occurred with the help of comrades around the world, including anarchists in Paterson, New Jersey, London and Tunis, who helped arrange for him to leave the island on the ship of Greek sponge fishermen, who took him to Sousse.
In subsequent years, Errico Malatesta visited the United States, speaking there to anarchists in the Italian and Spanish immigrant communities.
Errico Malatesta's cutting gear is on permanent display at the City of London Police museum at Wood Street police station.
Errico Malatesta then took part in the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam, where he debated in particular with Pierre Monatte on the relation between anarchism and syndicalism or trade unionism.
The latter thought that syndicalism was revolutionary and would create the conditions of a social revolution, while Errico Malatesta considered that syndicalism by itself was not sufficient.
From 1924 until 1926, when Benito Mussolini silenced all independent press, Errico Malatesta published the journal Pensiero e Volonta, although he was harassed and the journal suffered from government censorship.
Errico Malatesta was to spend his remaining years leading a relatively quiet life, earning a living as an electrician.
Goodway argues that Errico Malatesta was able to do so "by modifying his optimistic approach, substituting one of the more sophisticated versions of anarchism".
Goodway writes that Errico Malatesta developed "a two-pronged strategy" by the 1880s and early 1900s.
Goodway further writes that "Errico Malatesta defined this type of anarchist communism as 'anarchism without adjectives'", described by Goodway as "a concept which he had developed with a group of Spanish anarchist intellectuals in the process mediating between mutually hostile collectivists and communists".
In stressing "tolerance within the libertarian movement", Errico Malatesta hoped that "Marxist socialists would permit the anarchists liberty for their own movement in post-revolutionary society".
For Errico Malatesta, "demanding the anarchists' admission to the congress meant reasserting socialism and labor movement as central to anarchism; conversely, the Marxists' effort to exclude anarchists aimed at denying that they had a place among socialist and workers".
Errico Malatesta argued with Pierre Monatte at the Amsterdam Conference of 1907 against pure syndicalism.
Errico Malatesta thought that trade unions were reformist and could even be at times conservative.
Errico Malatesta warned that the syndicalists aims were in perpetuating syndicalism itself whereas anarchists must always have overthrowing capitalism and the state, the anarchist ideal of communist society as their end and consequently refrain from committing to any particular method of achieving it.
Errico Malatesta believed that the anarchist revolution was inevitable and that violence would be a necessary part of it since the state rested ultimately on violent coercion.
However, Errico Malatesta cautioned anarchists to beware the corrupting influence of wanton violence, stating in his earlier 1895 essay "Violence as a Social Factor":.