No doubt about it: Errico Malatesta was the most important exponent of the Italian-speaking anarchist movement. A protagonist in the movement’s history from the days of the International through to the advent of fascism, he has been, given his contribution to theoretical and political debate and as an organiser and agitator, an inevitable reference point for several generations of militants and for the various strands within anarchism. A person of acknowledged humanity, modesty and personal integrity, his lengthy experience of exile helped him work and carry out political and trade union activity in the many countries in which it fell to him to live, and placed him at the epicentre of a rich network of international connections. Malatesta left behind no systematic, theoretical exposition of how he saw anarchism, any more than he showed any willingness to write his memoirs. The evolution in his thinking and in the meaning of his life are therefore reconstructed primarily through the huge numbers of his articles meant for newspapers and propaganda pamphlets, addresses to meetings and rallies and from dense correspondence. Apart from the odd anthology of articles and periodical reprints of his best known and most widely read pamphlets, most of Malatesta’s writings remain unfamiliar even to the present day.
Two libertarian publishing houses – La Fiaccola and Zero in Condotta – are now sponsoring the publication of Errico Malatesta’s complete works. This, we think, is a project of considerable significance in itself, not least as an opportunity for cooperation between publishing imprints. A project that also entails a substantial commitment in terms of funding and effort, to which end we call upon all interested comrades to offer their concrete support.
Beginning in June 2010, Malatesta’s works are to appear at the rate of two or three volumes per year. The plan provides for a total of ten volumes that will collate, in chronological order, those articles of Malatesta’s published in Italian and foreign periodicals, all of his propaganda pamphlets, his outgoing correspondence and indices.
The oversight of the complete works has been entrusted to Davide Turcato. An expert in Malatesta’s thought, from whom the idea of completing the project that Luigi Fabbri launched back in the 1930s emanated, and by whom the task of collating texts was begun. Each volume will be stand-alone and will contain an introductory essay dealing with the period under scrutiny, this task being entrusted to a different expert each time.
The Planned Complete Works
1. “Chi è povero è schiavo”: Il periodo internazionalista e l’esilio in Sud America, 1871–1888. “The poor man is a slave”: The Internationalist phase and exile in South America, 1871–1888
2. “Andiamo fra il popolo”: L’Associazione e gli anni londinesi del 1889–1897. “Let us turn to the people”: L’Associazione and the London Years, 1889–1897
3. “Un lavoro lungo e paziente…”: Il socialismo anarchico dell’Agitazione, 1897–1898. “Long and patient endeavour …”: The anarchist socialism of L’Agitazione, 1897–1898
4. “Verso l’anarchia”: Malatesta in America, 1899–1900. “Towards anarchy”: Malatesta in America, 1899–1900
5. “Lo sciopero armato”: Il lungo esilio londinese del 1900–1913. “The armed strike”. Long exile in London, 1900–1913
6. “È possibile la rivoluzione?”: Volontà, la Settimana Rossa e la guerra, 1914–1918. “Is revolution feasible?”: Volontà, Red Week and the War, 1914–1918
7. “Fronte unico proletario”: Il biennio rosso, Umanità Nova e il fascismo, 1919–1923. United proletarian front”. The red biennium, Umanità Nova and fascism, 1919–1923
8. “Anarchismo realizzabile e realizzatore”: Pensiero e Volontà e ultimi scritti, 1924–1932. “Anarchism, doable and doing.”: Pensiero e Volontà and late writings, 1924–1932
9. “Che cosa vogliono gli anarchici”: Opuscoli, programmi, manifesti e altre pubblicazioni miscellanee. “What the anarchists want”: Pamphlets, manifestoes and miscellaneous other publications
10. “Tuo e per l’anarchia…”: La corrispondenza di Malatesta. “Yours, and for anarchy …”: Malatesta’s correspondence.
It is not anticipated that the volumes will appear in strict chronological order but that will depend on the state of progress of the undertaking. The volumes will be available in paperback. It is anticipated that discounts will be available for groups and associations placing orders for a certain number of copies. Groups and individuals are invited to refer to the addresses of the two publishing houses regarding placement of orders:
Associazione culturale “Zero in Condotta”
Casella Postale 17127 – MI 67,20128 Milano
Edizioni La Fiaccola
Associazione Culturale Sicilia Punto L
Vico L. Imposa 4 – 97100 Ragusa
Sezione La Fiaccola
Via Tommaso Fazello 133
96017 – Noto (SR)
Translated by: Paul Sharkey.