Malatesta 1853 - 1932 (79)

We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves.



Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarchist, activist, revolutionary, writer and journalist, who lived many years of his life in exile and in prison for his ideas.

He was born on December 14, 1853 in southern Italy’s Santa Maria Capua Vetere, province of Caserta, at the time part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. At the age of fourteen he was first arrested for writing a letter to the king about injustice in the area. He began studying medicine at the University of Naples, but was expelled in 1871 for participating in a demonstration. He later became a self-taught engineer and electrician. In 1872 he met Bakunin and in the following years he was imprisoned twice for propagating the positions and aspirations of the First International.

In April 1876 he took part in organizing an uprising against the king but his group was betrayed by one of their collaborators; he was arrested and exiled. This was followed by a long period of exile during which Malatesta traveled to Egypt, Paris, London, Switzerland, published newspapers and magazines and acted as a speaker for the anarchist movement.

He rejected political parties, preferring social revolutions. He was suspicious of the trade unions supported by the anarcho-syndicalists. He believed that the anarchist revolution would come soon, and that violence would be a necessary component once the state relied entirely on violent coercion. He wrote that it is a longing but also a goal for everyone to be able to become socially aware and combative; moment that is not done otherwise - the violence that denies these means within the workers.

After World War I, Malatesta returned to Italy for good. Two years after his return in 1921, the Italian government imprisoned him again. From 1924 to 1926, although he received threats and journalism was under government censorship, he published a magazine. Until they closed it. He spent the remaining years of his life relatively quietly, making a living as an electrician until Friday, July 22, 1932, when he died of bronchopneumonia after suffering for several years from a weakened respiratory system.