Who is Francesco Ghezzi? An entire volume would be necessary in order to outline the exceptional story of the life of this revolutionary idealist; nevertheless it is important that lovers of liberty become acquainted with at least the most essential points of his stormy life.
Ghezzi was born 38 years ago in the city of Milan, Italy, in a poor, religious family. He suffered from childhood on all the bitter experiences of poverty. As he grew older he became generous audacious, and developed a bright, open mind, framed in an outspoken and honest character, thus building in his heart the noble sentiments of protest and revolt against slavery and exploitation. At an early age he began to feel the urge to dedicate his life to the cause of freedom and to the rights of the downtrodden, having felt that liberty and justice will be denied as long as government and authority remained in power. This unfaltering belief led him to become an Anarchist, an opponent of all forms of oppression of man by man.
In addition to his ability to think clearly Ghezzi has for 20 years been a man of action, a revolutionist of the classic type. In Italy, he took part in every revolutionary mass movement, always among the first in the face of danger. Many times he was persecuted and imprisoned, but the tortures and suffering helped to strengthen his anarchist faith. At the outbreak of the world-war he opposed this war definitely and concretely - he flatly refused to bear arms. He crossed the border to Switzerland, where he reinvigorated his Anarchist and anti-war activities, for which he was imprisoned for 15 months.
As the war ended he returned to Italy only to agitate and to work for the advent of the social revolution. The revolutionary effervescence of the times resulted in actual deeds against the exploiting powers and again Ghezzi was exiled from Italy, having been marked as one of the most dangerous enemies of rising fascism. He went to Russia, hoping to find there a true motherland, but he became disillusioned upon finding a new dominating class (in place of the czaristic rule) born of the Bolshevist party, which was aiming to destroy all the fruits of the revolution and to inaugurate a new tyranny and repression against the masses.
Forced out of Russia he landed in Berlin, where, upon request of the fascist government, he was arrested by the Social-democratic government with orders of deportation, which meant sure death at the hands of the black shirts, but following an international protest and agitation he obtained his release and returned to Russia. Since this time (the winter of 1922-23) Ghezzi lived the life of a worker and peasant in a state of submission as was imposed by Bolshevist rule. He never altered his stand as an Anarchist, nor could he remain silent in the face of all the Bolshevist injustice. For this unflinching attitude the O. G. P. U.(Political Secret Service) tried to get rid of this clear-sighted opponent and in 1929 Francesco Ghezzi, without any evidence or specific charges, was arrested and sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
Ghezzi Is Dying of Tuberculosis
The years of jail and the various persecutions undermined Ghezzi’s health, and the 18 months of slow agony in the Bolshevic dungeons (the political prison regime in Bolshevist Russia far surpasses the Czarist prisons in cruelty and despotism) are dooming Ghezzi to his death. This crime of torturing to death a true friend of the people, only because of his opposition to a new form of tyrannical government shall be an indellible stain upon the pseudo-friends of the proletariat. True Friends of Freedom, arise in protest and save Ghezzi from his present plight! Don’t hesitate! Let your voice re-echo in Moscow till it stirs Stalin & Co.
Ghezzi Has Never Been Tried
In a capitalist land, when an Anarchist or a Bolshevist or any malcontent is arrested, he is indicted on a specific charge, even if framed up, and accordingly he is tried and sentenced if found guilty or released by a tribunal, with the prerogative of obtaining defense counsel. No charges of any nature have ever been made public against Francesco Ghezzi, he was not given a chance to obtain a defense counsel, neither was he given a regular trial. Yet Ghezzi has been sentenced to three Years of imprisonment!
By whom and how has this sentence been imposed? Was it by orders of the O. G. P. U.?
Suppose in a city of a capitalist country the police arrested a citizen merely because he opposed the existing government and sentenced him to many years of imprisonment without first arraigning him before a duly functioning judge, forbidding him to see his friends or relatives, denying him a lawyer, refusing to state the charges. Would such a procedure be considered different than vile inquisition? No Public Prosecutor anywhere would dare attempt to commit such barbarism.
Under Bolshevist despotism the institution of justice, when applied to political prisoners, is monopolized by dangerous fanatics, little czars, upon whose mercy depends the life and liberty of political opponents. This is done exactly as in fascist Italy.
A New Sacco and Vanzetti Case?
In that Ghezzi case it isn’t American plutocracy that is trying to drink the blood from the veins of a labor friend, but the pseudo-Communist government of Moscow, the citadel of old and new czars, where the Ghezzis of the past were no worse off than those of the present.
This time Stalin takes the place of Fuller, and Moscow beats even Massachusetts! The Communists are the willing heirs of the Romanoffs, for their persecutions against the honest opponents of their absolutism is far worse and even more dangerous than that of the former czars.
Workers of the World! Free men! Francesco Ghezzi is a victim of the O. G. P. U. Capitalism must be fought and abolished, but no new form of slavery under the guise of Bolshevism shall be allowed to go on unchallenged and unopposed.
Bolshevist - Fascists
It is not a mere nickname with which we brand their regime. This is no time for frivolity. We denounce vigorously their shameful deeds and opprobrious tendencies which run parallel with the fascist regime, which subject workers to slavery and repression; where freedom of thought and the right to criticism are stifled; where political opponents are denied the right to work, deprived of the means of subsistence, and are thrown into jails and tortured to submission and even death. This is fascism in Bolshevist Russia!
To the sincere Communists, to the true revolutionary Communists we say: Friends, your so-called leaders are destroying the Russian Revolution; they are playing on your good faith and are basely deceiving you. They are exploiting the Revolution for their own glory; they are sacrificing the welfare of the Russian people; they are planting hatred and contempt not only against reaction, but against thousands who fought and bled for the Revolution.
Don’t let any “Communist” or Commissary lead you to misinterpreting this humane appeal. This is no recruiting propaganda for Anarchism. It is an alarm that should arouse every exponent of freedom and justice, in behalf of the greatest Revolution in history. Communist friends, beware! Your turn may be next! Stop this political crime before it is too late! Demand from the Russian government officials the IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF FRANCESCO GHEZZI and of all the remaining political prisoners.
See that freedom is given back to all true and sincere revolutionists, regardless of party or shade of thought. Solidarity and tolerance are necessary in order to build a united front in the common fight against all forms of oppression, slavery and tyranny. Join in this crusade and help remove the stains that are blotting the Revolution. Help stop this inquisition, with all its horrors and tortures.
Francesco Ghezzi Must Be Released at Once!
Not only is Ghezzi’s freedom demanded by his Anarchist friends and the various revolutionary movements the world over, but also by some of the most renowned men and women in the fields of science, literature, philosophy and political science, such as: ROMAIN ROLAND, Mme. AUTANT-LARA, of the Comedie Francaise; PANAIT ISTRATI; FRANS MASEREEL; GIORGES DURAMEL; MARCEL MARTINET; HAN RYNER; CHARLES VILDRAC; Mme. ANDRE VIOLLIS; LEON WERTH and
The Anarchist Prisoners Defense and Aid Committee of America
[b. 1893, so 1930 or 1931? “Free in 1931 thanks to an international campaign on his behalf orchestrated by Romain Rolland.”]
[This article presumably comes from 1930 or 1931, when he was imprisoned in Suzdal. The campaign worked: “thanks to the urgent lobbying, Ghezzi was freed after he had been dispatched to exile in Kazakhstan in 1931.” He was rearrested in November 1937 and died 3 August 1942 in the Vorkuta camp. For more details see Francesco Ghezzi: Italian Anarchist in Vorkuta by Barbara Ielasi and Mikhail Tsovma in KSL Bulletin 55.
In KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 63-64, October 2010 [Double issue]