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  Michael Bakunin
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Malatesta's Biographical Information

Born: December 14, 1853; Santa Maria Capus Vetera, Italy
Died: July 22, 1932; Rome, Italy

Anarchism's greatest Hits No. 2

Max Nettlau, Errico Malatesta: The Biography of an Anarchist, New York, 1924.

Luigi Fabbri, The Life of Malatesta


1853 - Born in Caserta Province, S.Italy.

1867 - At the age of 14, Malatesta is arrested for writing a letter to King Victor Emmanuel II complaining about a local injustice.

1871 - Having been expelled from medical school for joining a demonstration, Malatesta becomes a member of the Italian section of the International He also trains himself as a mechanic and electrician.

1872 - Meets Bakunin in Switzerland.

1877 - With fellow anarchists Andrea Costa and Carlo Cafiero, he leads an armed band into two villages in Campania, where they burn the tax registers and declare an end to Victor Emmanuel's reign. The townspeople welcome them but refuse to join the insurrection. The group is broken up by the arrival of troops soon after.

1878 - Malatesta leaves Italy to visit friends in Eygpt. The Italian government takes steps to prevent his return. He travels to Geneva, where he befriends Kropotkin and Elisée Reclus. Forced to leave a few months later, he visits Rumania and Paris.

1881 - Malatesta takes up residence in London.

1883 - Returns to Italy, where he writes his most widely read pamphlet, Between Peasants, in which he advocates anarcho-communism.

1884-5 - Visits Florence, assists in a cholera epidemic in Naples. He is arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment for his writing. He jumps bail and sails to Buenos Aires, where he spends the next four years, spreading anarchist ideas among Italian immigrants there.

1889 - Returns to London.

1891 - Publishes the influential pamphlet Anarchy and visits Spain during the Jerez uprising.

1892-3 - Witnesses the general strike for universal sufferage in Belgium and recognizes the limitations of this technique.

1896 - Organizes the London Congress of the Second Internationale.

1897 - Malatesta returns secretly to Italy, where he edits the anarchist paper L'Agitazione. During this period, rising prices and poor harvests result in peasant uprisings.

1898 - He is arrested in the city of Ancona following riots there, and charged with "criminal association". Convicted of belonging to a seditious organization, Malatesta is sentenced to imprisonment on the island of Lampedusa.

1899 - He escapes by boat during a storm and returns to London. He then visits the U.S., where he meets with Italian and Spanish anarchist groups in New Jersey. During a heated discussion at an anarchist meeting, he is shot in the leg.

1900 - Malatesta returns to London. Following the assasination of King Umberto by an Italian anarchist from New Jersey, Malatesta is watched by British police.

1907 - He attends an international anarchist conference in Amsterdam. Also present are Emma Goldman and Rudolf Rocker.

1909 - He and Rudolf Rocker are imprisoned for three months on charges of criminal libel. He is considered for deportation, but the attempt is dropped when supporters organize a demonstration in Trafalgar Square.

1910 - Malatesta is suspected of involvement in the Houndsditch Murders. Three policemen were shot during a jewel robbery in London's East End. The thieves tunneled in from an empty house nearby. A search revealed a card with Malatesta's name on it. The investigation revealed that, several months earlier, one of the thieves had contacted an anarchist group in the area, claiming to be an out-of-work mechanic. He was introduced to Malatesta, who was working as a mechanic at the time. Malatesta gave him a card of introduction to his suppliers. The thief used the card to buy tools (including a welding torch) that were used in the robbery. Malatesta was found innocent and the thieves were killed in a police raid on their hideout.

1913 - He again returns to Italy to take part in planned anti-clerical and anti-parliamentary demonstrations in Ancona.

1914 - A general strike begins when two demonstrators are killed by police in Ancona. Known as "Red Week", troops in the area fraternize with protesters while Malatesta and his fellow anarchists attempt to organize a revolt against the government. Their plans are frustrated when the General Confederation of Labor (which controlled most of Italy's trade unions) calls off the strike. Malatesta returns to London.

1919 - Malatesta returns to Italy, where he starts the first anarchist daily, Umanità Nova It is a period of turmoil prior to Mussolini's ascent to power.

1920 - (October) He urges that workers strike and occupy their factories. Metalworkers in Milan and Turin do so. Other strikes follow, but the Socialist Party and the General Confederation of Labor convince the workers to end the strike. Malatesta and 81 other anarchists are arrested.

1921 -(July) Malatesta goes on a hunger strike to protest the delay in being brought to trial. He is found not guilty and released, two months before the facists gain power.

1924-6 - Despite harrasment and censorship, Malatesta publishes the journal Pensiero e Volontà In 1926, Mussolini silences all independent press.

1932 - Malatesta dies.


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