Rivista Anarchica Online


The tragedy of Monza
by Errico Malatesta

In the aftermath of the regicide, Errico Malatesta - exile in London after the daring escape from the confinement of Lampedusa two years before - post a single number, "Causes and effects", with an article that is reproduced in full here, with its original title. And some considerations of one of our editors.

Errico Malatesta

Another act of violence came to grieve the souls ... and sensitive to remind the powers that it is not without hazards to place themselves above the people and trample the great precept of equality and human solidarity.
Gaetano Bresci worker and anarchist, killed King Umberto. Two men: one who died prematurely, the other condemned to a life of torment, which is a thousand times worse than death! Two families plunged into grief!
Who is to blame?
When we do a critique of existing institutions, and remember the countless deaths and indescribable pain they produce, we never fail to warn that these institutions are not only harmful to the great proletarian masses because of them that is steeped in poverty, ignorance and all the evils that result from poverty and ignorance, but also to the same privileged minority who are suffering, physically and morally flawed that it creates the environment, and is in constant fear that the wrath of the people do pay dearly for the its privileges.
When the revolution redemptive hope, we are always talking about the good of all those men without distinction, and we mean that, whatever the rivalry of interests and party, which now divide them, everyone should forget the hatreds and resentments, and become brothers in common work for the welfare of all.
And every time that the capitalists and governments commit an exceptionally bad, every time the innocent are tortured, every time the ferocity of the powerful is unleashed in works of blood, we deplore the fact, not only for the pain that directly produces and the sense of justice and compassion in us offended, but also the legacy of hate that it leaves in the sense of vengeance that puts it in the soul of the oppressed.
But our warnings remain unheeded, they are actually a pretext for persecution.
And then, when the anger accumulated from the long torment in a storm breaks out, when a man reduced to despair, or a generous moved by the pain of his brothers and impatient to wait for justice to come late, raise his arm and hits where it is believed that the avenger the cause of evil, then the culprits, the perpetrators are we ....
It is always the lamb that is to blame!
You dream of absurd plots, there is a danger to us as a society, pretends to believe - and maybe some of you really believe - the bloodthirsty monsters, criminals for whom there should be choice but to jail and the criminally insane ...
On the other hand it is natural that way. In a country where they live free, powerful, honored, the Crispi, the Rudini, the Pelloux and all the murderers and the famine of the people, there can be no place for us, and against the massacres and the hunger protest against, and we rebel !
So much for the incorrigible people police leave aside those concerned know who lie to lie, we leave aside the cowards who throw themselves upon us to avoid the blows that might fall on them as well, and think a little glue People of good faith and common sense.

First of all we reduce things to their proper proportions.
A king was killed, and as a king is still a man, the fact is to be regretted. A queen has been widowed, and as a queen is also a woman, we sympathize with her pain.
But why so much fuss over the death of a man and a woman's tears when you accept as natural the fact that every day many men were killed, and many women cry, because of wars, of the accidents at work, the repressed revolts shot, and a thousand crimes produced by misery, by the spirit of revenge, fanaticism, and alcoholism?
Why such a display of sentimentality about a particular disaster, when thousands and millions of human beings die of hunger and malaria among the indifference of those who have the means to remedy it? Maybe because this time the victims are not employees of the vulgar, not an honest man and an honest ordinary woman, but a king and queen? ... Indeed, we find the most interesting case, and our pain is felt, more alive, more real, when it comes to a miner crushed by a landslide while working, and a widow is left to starve with her sons!
Nevertheless, they are also those of real human suffering and should be deplored. But the lament remains sterile if they do not investigate the causes and not trying to eliminate them.

Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta during a hunger strike
in San Vittore prison in Milan, in March

Who is it that causes the violence? Who is it that makes it necessary, fatal?
All the existing social system is based on brute force placed at the service of a small minority that exploits and oppresses the great mass of all the education that the kids can be summed up in a continuous apotheosis of brute force, the whole environment in which we live is a constant example of violence, a continuing fascination with violence.
The soldier, that the murderer professional, is honored, and honored above all is the king, whose historical character is to be the head of the soldiers.
Glue brute force forces the worker to be stealing the product of his work with the brute strength to tear the weak national independence.
The Emperor of Germany turns his soldiers to give no quarter to the Chinese, the British government taken from the Boer rebels who refuse to submit to the foreign power, and burning farms and hunting women from homes and persecuted even non-combatants, and reiterates horrible deeds of Spain in Cuba, the Sultan is the Armenians murdered hundreds of thousands, the U.S. government massacring Filipinos after they have been betrayed.
The capitalists workers fans die in the mines, railways, in the rice fields to do the necessary expenses to job security, and call the soldiers to intimidate and shoot if necessary workers who ask to improve their conditions.
Again, from whom the suggestion is, therefore, the provocation to violence? Who makes up the violence as the only way out of the state of affairs, as the only way not to suffer eternally the violence of others?
And in Italy is worse than elsewhere. The people suffer constantly from hunger, the worst that domineering lords in medieval times, the government, competing with the owners, workers bleeds to enrich their businesses and squander the rest in dynastic police is the arbiter of freedom of the citizens, and every cry protest, even though every moan softly in his throat is choked and suffocated by the guards in the blood by the soldiers.
Long is the list of massacres by Pietrarsa in Conselice, Calatabiano to Sicily, and so on.
Only two years ago, the royal troops massacred the unarmed people, and only a few days ago, the royal troops have brought to the owners of Molinella rescue their bayonets and their forced labor, against the starving and desperate workers.
Who is to blame for the rebellion, who is guilty of revenge that erupts from time to time, the provocateur, the offender, or who denounces the offense and wants to eliminate the causes?

But, they say, the king is not responsible.
We certainly do not take seriously the joke of the constitutional functions. The "liberal" newspapers who now argue on the irresponsibility of the king, knew, when it came to them, above the parliament and ministers, there was a powerful influence, a high ball which did not allow attorneys registered clear allusions to do too much. And now the Conservatives, who expect a "new era" by the energy of the new king, the king show to know that, at least in Italy, is not the puppet that would have us believe when it comes to responsibilities. And besides, even if it does evil directly, you are always responsible for it, a man who, if able, does not prevent it - and the king is the head of the soldiers, and can always, at least, prevent the soldiers to fire on unarmed people. And while it is also responsible for those who, unable to prevent an evil, let him do in his name, rather than give up the advantages of the place.
It is true that if you take into account considerations of inheritance, education, environment, personal responsibility is mitigated much of the powerful and possibly disappear completely. But then, if the king is irresponsible for his acts and omissions of his, if in spite of oppression, deprivation, the massacre of the people made in his name, he would have stayed in first place in the country, why on earth would be responsible for Bresci ? Why should Bresci be served with a life of unspeakable suffering, an act which, as far as you want to judge wrong, no one can deny was inspired by altruistic intentions?
But this question of the responsibilities of research interests us poorly.
We do not believe in the right to punish, we reject the idea of revenge as a barbaric sentiment: we do not intend to be or executioners or avengers. Holier, nobler, more fruitful it seems the mission of liberators and peacemakers.
The king, the oppressors, the exploiters, happy we extend the hand, when only they wanted to return to be men among men, equal among equals. But meanwhile they are bent on enjoying the present order of things and to defend it by force, thus producing the martyrdom, the worse for drink and the starvation of millions of human beings, we are in need, we're required to oppose force with force.

Carrara Turigliano Gardens, Bresci
monument, a work unfinished at the
death of the sculptor Sergio Signori. The
work was carried out on commission of
the anarchist craftsman Ugo

Oppose force with force!
Does that mean that we delight in melodramatic plots and we are always in the act and the intention of stabbing an oppressor?
Not at all. We abhor the violence and sense of principle, and we always try to avoid it, only the need to resist evil with suitable and effective may lead us to resort to violence.
We know that these individual acts of violence, people are still without sufficient preparation in the sterile and often, causing reactions that you are unable to resist, produce endless pain and hurt the very cause which they wanted to serve.
We know that the essential, the unquestionably is, not killing the person of a king, but kill all the kings - those of the courts, parliaments and workshops - in the hearts and minds of people, that is, to eradicate faith in the principle of authority to which he gives so much of religious people.
We know that the revolution is less mature, more it can bloody and uncertain.
We know that the violence being the source of authority, even being at the bottom of a whole thing with the principle of authority, the revolution will be more violent and there is no danger that it gives rise to new forms of authority.
And so we strive to buy, before using the latest reasons for the oppressed, the moral force and material needed to minimize the violence necessary to overthrow the regime of violence that underlies today's humanity.
We leave you in peace to our propaganda work, organization, preparation revolutionary?
In Italy you prevent us to speak, to write, to associate. Forbid workers to unite and fight peacefully, and for emancipation, even in small proportions to improve their uncivilized and inhumane living conditions. Prisons, house arrest, bloody repressions are the means which are opposed not only to us anarchists, but to anyone who dares to think of a more civilized state of affairs.
What wonder if, having lost hope of being able to fight at a profit for their cause, burning of souls are carried away to an act of vindictive justice?

The police measures, of which the less dangerous are always victims , and the frantic search for nonexistent instigators, which seems ludicrous to anyone who knows a little dominant spirit among the anarchists, the thousands of funny amateur proposals made for the extermination by police, do not serve other than highlighting the wild soul of the ruling classes.
To totally eliminate the bloody revolt of the victims there is no other way that the abolition of oppression by social justice.
To diminish and mitigate the outbreaks, there is no other way than to leave all freedom of propaganda and organization, but to leave the dispossessed, the oppressed, the malcontents, the possibility of civil strife, which give them the hope to gain, albeit gradually, bloodless ways to their emancipation.
The government of Italy does not do anything, continues to crack down ... and will continue to reap what it sows.
We, while deploring the blindness of the rulers who gives a bitterness to the fight that is not necessary, we will continue to fight for a society in which all violence is eliminated, in which all have bread, freedom, science, in which love is the supreme law of life.

Errico Malatesta

Lavinia Limentani
Lavinia Limentani, nel 1953

My grandmother, Bresci and Malatesta

My maternal grandmother - the only one of 4 grandparents that I knew - her name was Lavinia Limentani (Bassani). Born in Ferrara in 1886, she died in Milan in 1985 at the age of 99 years and 3 months. Lucid until the end, not long before she leave for good, solved the quiz "Enigmistica Week" and made crochet doilies. Fromhe Second World War onwards, she lived with my parents, then from when I was born when I left the house (24 years) I had her at home all day and once I moved elsewhere, I visited almost daily, doing the usual with her Scala 40 game. In recent years, say after 95 years, began to refuse to lose and began cheating. I've never forgiven (but then do not say anything) and since her death I hate card games.
If I mention her on "A", it is not for sentimentality or misuse of this newspaper. The fact is that my grandmother had not yet 14 when Bresci killed the king. She was, in 1900, old enough to understand what had happened, and seventy / eighty years later, a vivid enough memory to remember everything very well.
From the regicide it had happened so many things: the war in Libya, the Great War, the two red years, the gradual rise of fascism, the Empire, the racial laws (those for which she left her native Ferrara, and no longer wanted to go back - even in death: burial was made in the small Jewish cemetery in Mantua, in a tomb close to where my parents lie), and then the Resistance and all that we know, including the '68, and then an anarchist grandson ( myself), etc. .. Small-middle-class family, Jewish (her ancestors were locked at night, like other Jews, in the ghetto), but not religious nor in any way related to religious traditions, cultural, dietary or other, my grandmother was married to a Lavinia teacher socialist anti-fascist, who was also a not religious jew, who made one of his most private resistance to fascism, never not adhering to the PNF and so was forced to frequent transfers (to the point that his three surviving children - one carried it away, with hundreds of thousands of other Italians, by the epidemic of Spanish fever – were born in 3 different locations: Ferrara, Senigallia and Civitavecchia).
Lavinia was so anti-fascist, to personal dignity and rejection of obscene culture rather than politics or militant practice (which did not belong). It was, so to speak, a "historic" Republican, like Felice Cavallotti. So anti-clerical, with priest eater.
Then, with the racial laws and the abandonment of Ferrara (where my mother, twenty years old, was arrested in a raid against the so-called "conspiracy of the teacher Costa", named after the socialist teacher around whom had joined a group of peasants, workers and intellectuals among which, in fact, my mother and Giorgio Bassani), the choice was radicalized. But, when I met her "politically" in the 60s, it seemed to me (and I think it was) a genuine democratic, and devoid of any extremism, with good sense in the contrasts with the utopian impulses and ideals of anarchism.
We say that politics was not our main object of discussion.
But, in my better understanding of anarchism, and Errico Malatesta in particular (can not describe the impact it had on me Malatesta, with his writings while passionate and realistic), I came in, inter alia, "Causes and effects ", which was republished in the book by Massimo Ortalli we are dealing with in these pages of" A ". As my grandmother several times I had expressed her opposition to anarchism and even the anarchists in the flesh, often citing as an example and its negative Gaetano Bresci (for her) political assassination is unacceptable, I asked her to read the writings of Malatesta. Give it in, I was almost trembling.
In short - and all this long introduction is intended to report her opinion - in the end I said that she had always been and remains opposed to regicide (thought differently about Hitler, that maybe appeared as the "absolute evil" even more than the despised Savoia). Malatesta had not convinced her of the contrary. But liked that way of thinking, that she liked his attention to the human dimension. In short, the Malatesta is revealed, with one written, very different from the image that she had done it. If you are anarchist as Malatesa, and not as Bresci she told me, then I'm happy.
Forget about the family side of the issue. My grandmother, some opponents of anarchism and not at all prepared to be tender, I had given such an opinion on the Malatesta wrote for me was (and remains) a unique confirmation of his ability to make himself understood "by others".
Today, 40 years later, in the light of my experience and reflection, I have opinions and different sensitivity in part since then, both in relation to the regicide, both with respect to the "political project" of Malatesta. But I am even more convinced then that if anarchism has a future - and I really believe that it has (not only that it should have) - this is related - even in the multiform expression of what we call anarchic pluralism - his profound humanity in the socialist humanism that even the harsh necessity of fighting (revolutionary, I think it is normal to add) knows how to focus the action of reflection and ethical values that make our struggle to understand (though not necessarily shared) to all people of the heart, with a strong sense of social justice. As my grandmother Lavinia was at the bottom.

Paolo Finzi

translation Enrico Massetti