cover image Life and Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta

Life and Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta

Errico Malatesta, trans. from the Italian and edited by Vernon Richards. PM (IPG, dist.), $22 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-62963-032-8

Despite the deep and rich history of anarchism, it can appear as a utopian novelty among radical sociopolitical movements, if it even registers with the public at all. This collection, a reprint of the 1965 original, seeks to reintroduce Italian activist and propagandist Errico Malatesta (1853–1932) as a thoughtful, compassionate, and fierce anarchist. As Richards (1915–2001) noted in his original introduction, “everybody recognizes Malatesta as the man of action but few realise how valuable, and original, and realistic were his ideas.” The book is compiled from writings throughout Malatesta’s life and organized around 27 topics, including writings on revolution, the working class, intellectuals, and science. The work includes typical anarchist fare in its overtures against “both State and property,” but there are far more moments where Malatesta breaks the mold, revealing his deep compassion and his desire for solidarity among all peoples: “We want society to be constituted for the purpose of supplying everybody with the means for achieving the maximum well-being.” Malatesta’s writings offer a refreshing, undogmatic criticism of coercive power relations, and they point to the potential inherent to a society with neither oppressors nor the oppressed. (July)