The Buenos Aires Tragedy: The Last Fight of Severino Di Giovanni and Paulo Scarfó [Review]

This new offering from the KSL presents a translation from a special commemorative edition, well-written and obviously sympathetic to Di Giovanni, of the United State's own Italian-language anarchist newspaper, L'Adunata dei Refrattari (The Call of the Refractories). It is the story of the capture and execution of the Italian-born anarchist Severino Di Giovanni and his Argentine comrade, Paulo Scarfó. It also includes a letter from América Scarfó, Paul's sister and Severino's lover, first published in San Francisco's own Man!

Those who are unfamiliar with the story and life of Severino Di Giovanni may find the pamphlet inadequate, but it should stand on its own. Those who are fascinated with the history of anarchist armed struggle, and especially those of an insurrectionist bent will find this an useful addition to their collection; others who are more critical will find in these two anarchists figures worthy of contemplation. Whatever ones criticisms of their actions, they were dedicated anarchists whose actions were in no way mere illegalism or individualism, but were instead actions full of purpose and intention, and not in any way motivated by self-interest.

For those who find themselves intrigued, Paul Sharkey's translation of Osvaldo Bayer's Anarchism and Violence: Severino Di Giovanni in Argentina, 1923–1931 (Elephant Editions, 1986) provides the closest thing to the entire story that we may ever get.

The Buenos Aires Tragedy: The Last Fight of Severino Di Giovanni and Paulo Scarfó (Kate Sharpley Library, 2004)

From: The Dawn #3 September 2004.