rivista anarchica
anno 40 n. 357
novembre 2010

dossier Anarchists Against fascism

Anarchists in Carrara

In no other place like in Carrara, the anarchico antifascism had similar popular roots and so much social influence.


Since its inception, the local labor movement was heavily influenced by libertarian socialism, to the point that Carrara was in the early years of the century an important center of anarchist propaganda.
It was especially the anarcho-syndicalist struggles of workers in quarries – which, organized by the anarchist Alberto Meschi obtained in Italy for the first time six hours of labor - workers who showed the validity of political anarchists, and so was always at Carrara the line in the struggle of people against militarism, against the owner's arrogance, against state repression, and then from the outset opposed determined resistance to fascism. The entire province of Carrara with its neighbors in La Spezia, Pisa and Livorno, was one of the epicentres of terrorism squad. Suffice it to recall the shooting at a group of anarchists by a fascist squad backed by police, in Carrara (June 1921). And then the general strike in the same city in response to fascist aggression against the companion Alberto Meschi, then secretary of the Chamber of Labour (October 18, 1921), and injured more by the black shirts of the anarchist Bonnelli in Bedizzano (Carrara). Many such incidents dot the antifascist opposition of workers in the area, which always brought their aid to other neighboring towns attacked by the fascists, as during the events of Sarzana, after which fifty anarchists were tried under the charge of "criminal association" (January 19, 1922).
During the two decades of fascist dictatorship, popular opposition to fascism was kept alive, even if there were sensational episodes in story (apart from the failed attack on Mussolini of the anarchists of Carrara Lucetti and Vatteroni).

A group of partisans of the formations
operating in the marble quarries of Carrara.

the Lucetti group

When, September 8th of 1943 they knew that the Germans were disarming Italian soldiers in the Carrara barracks Dogali, many anarchists (including Del Papa, Galeotti, Pelliccia, etc..) visited the site and managed to get hold of many arms, forming teams of partisans.
The participation of anarchists in Carrara assumed determinant proportions in the resistance, more than in any other part of Italy. This is not because of the presence of either single individuals nor was marked by the anarchists a partisan not anarchist group, in a desultory way. It was truly a mass phenomenon, involving the great majority of the population and who saw in the front row always anarchic formations.
Since September 1943, the comrades laid a valuable network of contacts that included Sarzana and other centers, and the first raid by police and militia work was carried out precisely against the first attempts of anarchist organized resistance. But no enforcement action had the effect hoped for, since the resistance movement was firmly rooted, some arrests were made among anarchists. After less than two months, however, was kidnapped the son of the director of mass incarceration, in exchange for his release was obtained the release of arrested comrades.
Reconstituted its full organic unity, the anarchist movement in the city and further development in small towns, making contact with other anti-fascist groups. The anarchist Gino Lucetti group operates in the same area of other groups; it was decided to establish a unified command of the brigade Apuana while leaving the political autonomy of the individual (anarchists, communists, etc.).. This decision was a result of the need, deeply felt, to technically co-ordinate military operations against the Nazi-Fascists, who - with the gradual stabilization of the Gothic Line - had become more numerous and more ruthless in putting down the partisan movement. In general, the relationship between the Lucetti and other types of groups were good, although the recent traumatic experience of the Spanish Civil War drove a great distrust of the Communists, and especially their group Giacomo Ulivi.

the episode of Casette

This mistrust is not unfounded as evidenced by the episode of Casette, yet totally new and unknown outside the circle of those who participated. Approaching the winter of '44, the situation was really difficult both because of the growing Nazi-fascist repression and for the non-arrival of allies aid. In return, Radio London continued to send invitations to supporters to go home, to spend the winter. But the Nazi where expecting the ones whi made it back home from the mountains and valleys, so the partisans preferred to remain in hiding, preparing for next spring. It was decided to try to overcome the Gothic Line through the mountains, and try to repair in Lucca, a town held by the Allies.
Found themselves in a single column of marching partisans Lucetti and comunist group Giacomo Ulivi, with their leaders Ugo Mazzucchelli (who has told us this episode of Casette), and Guglielmo Brucellaria. When they came near a bridge near the village of houses, connecting two valleys, the Communist commanders asked insistently for anarchists to take the head of the column, and first pass over the bridge. It was night, and when Ugo Mazzucchelli first set about to cross the bridge, the deep silence of the darkness was broken by the crackle of an infernal machine gun, which, placed in a bunker in front of the bridge, fortunately, could hit only one side of the bridge.
So our comrades, and other anarchists, were able to rescue themselves, unlike those that certainly were the hopes of the Communists. Their previous insistence raised serious questions among the anarchists, who stretched out a tough report to the unified command of the brigade Apuana: these questions had a precise answer when you came to know with certainty that the communist leaders knew in advance the presence of a machine gun in that bunker, but on the whole was immediately laid the absolute silence, with the usual justification of the need for anti-fascist unity (sic!).

Anarchist partisans in the Carrara province

the defense of Carrara

In addition to the Lucetti, worked in Carrara the anarchist group Michele Schirru, parallel to Lucetti, Garibaldi Lunense division, consisting mainly of anarchists and the group Wockievic Elio, whose second in command, the anarchist Giovanni Mariga, was so brave to be given the Gold medal for military valor, of course, refused to remain consistent with anarchist ideas.
Both on the Apuan Alps and the coastal plain various anarchist groups worked constantly, that wherever they were found themselves facing criminal prosecution by the Nazis and Fascists. Carrara was in fact the scene of some of the most brutal massacres committed by the Germans and their servants Republicans: just think of the massacres of the people of the village of Sant'Anna di Stazzena (560 deaths, 12 August 1944), Vinca (173 deaths, 24 August 1944) and San Terenzo Monti (163 deaths, 19 August 1944). And the list certainly does not end here. In this tragic reality of war, destruction and retaliation, the anarchists of Carrara had the great merit to organize and defend the life of the population in the city of Carrara. Above all, the comrades took it upon themselves to ensure a smooth flow of supply and operate the hospital, while continuing the armed struggle against the enemy.
Funds were essential, and their retrieval is one of the most beautiful pages written by the anarchists of Carrara. The method adopted was to convene the rich landowners, and to force them to pay large sums to the partisans, under the threat of weapons behind and with ... receipt of payment! This receitp was drafted in three copies, one for the contributor, one for the National Liberation Committee (CLN) and one for companion Ugo Mazzucchelli, commander of Lucetti, at whose place these meetings took place.
Thus it was possible to help families in need, fund partisan Hospital, reinforcing the strong unity between peoples and anarchist partisans, which remains the most important lesson of anarchist resistance in Carrara.

 Translation by Enrico Massetti ("The other Fabrizio")