Alberto Moroni, the Gentle Anarchist

The death of Alberto Moroni on 4 December 2000 marks the disappearance of one of last remaining eye-witnesses to the anarchist fight against fascism. Born in Milan in 1923, the son of Antonio Moroni – a controversial but central figure in anti-militarist and revolutionary syndicalist circles right up until the Red Week in 1914 – Alberto started work at the age of 15 as a typesetter with Capriolo & Massimino. His political debut came in the early months of 1942 when, along with his father, he printed and clandestinely distributed a pacifist, anti-German version of the famous song Lili Marlene. Given away to the OVRA (Mussolini’s secret police) by an informer, the Moronis were taken to S. Vittore prison and after several months in custody were sentenced to 5 year terms to be served on the Tremiti islands.

Released under an amnesty on 28 October 1942 marking the anniversary of the fascist March on Rome, Alberto returned to Milan and carried on working in the print industry at the Mombello psychiatric hospital. Notorious for his trade union activism, he was obliged to go to ground on 8 April 1945 in order to avoid capture by the Italian SS. Having joined the Mazzini Brigades organised by the Italian Republican Party, which carried some military clout in the Milan area and contained a sizeable libertarian and anarcho-syndicalist component with its roots in the USI, he awaited incorporation into the mountain brigades.

Following the Liberation, Moroni threw himself wholeheartedly into trade union and anarchist propaganda activity, becoming one of the most prolific and eclectic essayists of the anarchist movement. His contributions in Il Libertario, Umanita Nova, L’Internazionale and, above all, Volonta between 1958 and 1979 became regular, with upwards of fifty articles printed. I his later years he helped out with the Centro Studi Libertari (CSL) in Milan by helping to classify the newspaper collections. He spent his remaining energy on the publication of his recollections of his father (Alberto Moroni, Antonio Moroni. Una vita controversa dall’inizio del secolo al dopoguerra, edited by Virgilio Galassi, Capriolo & Massimino, Milan 1998, pp. 156).

He has left lots of testimony behind, including an appearance in the video Gli anarchici nella Resistenza (Anarchists in the Resistance) made by the CSL in Milan in 1995 and many hours of interviews deposited with the CSL’s tape archives.

From: A Rivista Anarchica, No 269, February 2001. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.