Malatesta is the living link between the demise of the First International in 1871 and the struggle against European fascism which started some forty years later. After the ruckus between Marx and Bakunin catalysed the separate development of revolutionary socialist organisations, he joined both the anarchist Federalist International and its Italian section. Spending long stretches of time in exile, dodging arrest and escaping jail, he lived much of his life like the great white shark, permanently on the move. Though there were periods of settlement in Italy, Argentina and the UK, he travelled widely in Europe, equally in its northern regions and along its Mediterranean shore, and made trips to Egypt, the US and Cuba. Wherever he happened to be, he always played a prominent role in Italian anarchist politics, editing a series of highly influential newspapers. He also wrote one of the movement’s best loved pamphlets. Malatesta was present at the key international gatherings of the period including the 1896 London meeting of the Second International, where he reportedly delivered a ‘fiery speech’ protesting the decision to eject anarchists from its congresses. In debates between organisationalists and individualists he sided with the former. Yet he stood in solidarity with his opponents to help frustrate police actions. A communist, he was pragmatic rather than doctrinaire and though he also advocated workers’ self-organisation, he was cautious about syndicalism.......
- Social Sciences
- Politics and International Studies