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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  208 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Many think 'anarchy' means confusion, disorder, and chaos, but Maletesta sets the record staight. Errico Malatesta was a warm-hearted anarchist of widespread reputation and influence, who said that he considered Anarchy the best thing he had ever writter. This now classic work was first published in 1891 and has been in continual demand ever since. Translated from the orig ...more
Paperback, 54 pages
Published 1995 by Freedom Press (CA) (first published 1891)
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Anarchy is a slim book, just 54 pages altogether, of which the first 15 are the translator’s introduction. Malatesta’s style, though, is dense - arguments come thick and fast, but with extreme clarity. Of course, in such a short book, not everything can be examined in great depth. But as a brief, clear introduction to anarchist thought, this is hard to beat. It’s a hard book to summarise, because it’s already a very concise summary of a whole body of thought. Still, here’s a distillation of Mala ...more
A childish and frankly stupid lack of any understanding of humanity or reading of history. Not a book on anarchy at all but a lazily concealed promotion of socialism and class warfare through atheistic, Darwinian, and Marxist principles. Miserably fails in attempting to replace one utopian vision for another.
I chose to give this book a 2 star for its great introduction into what government is, what Anarchy isn't, and for a comprehensive explanation of human nature. On the issue of Anarchy itself, or what should be called Socialist Anarchy, Malatesta's ideal is a revolution to take all private property and distribute it amongst all men (much like communism) and thence punish through self-defense, which is still a form a punishment - despite the author's claim - anyone who decides to declare rights up ...more
This is probably the best single introduction to Anarchist Communism your ever going to read. Malatesta uses a plain language and his concern is approaching arguements from the view of the skeptic, using philosphy and concrete examples to show how Anarchists could organise a new and better society. Surely a must in the library or propaganda of any Anarchist.
A somewhat more meandering, pondering book on what anarchy is than you would get from someone like Bakunin, Berkman or Goldman. Worth reading from a canonical point of view but best not used as an actual introduction to what anarchy is and/or stands for.
i was not expecting to enjoy this nearly as much as i did, given my responses to other anarchist texts. this is a brilliant merger of communism and anarchism, and while in some areas malatesta falls into some of the idealist moralism that i found so irritating in goldman's essay of the same title, these areas are few and far between. this translation reads well and malatesta is a persuasive, visual writer who uses his rhetorical flourishes sparingly (and so to great effect). a very engaging, tig ...more
Given the original publishing date, double amazing thoughts.
Marts  (Thinker)
Malatesta presents thorough insights to the theory of anarchy in this rather short book. He begins by first explaining that anarchy isn't total confusion as is generally thought but more accurately put, it means 'without government'. He also presents views and comparisons with socialism and communism thought...
Nov 17, 2013 Vitto added it
It was a really interesting experience even in nowadays when this sort of thought it is quite difficult to accept although to be honet I do not follow the tendency in political terms. I bet for changing so I can not accept something that I do not believe it.
Oh, I suppose this is my way of celebrating May Day. Malatesta's not a bad guy. I still like reading his stuff, & he knows how to create a great metaphor. I'd like to read him in Italian some time because the translations include amazing vocabulary.
Excellent. A little hard to get through. It might have you looking up words in the dictionary if you're vocabulary isn't super strong. I had to. I learned a lot from this book.
'And if today we fall without compromising, we can be sure of victory tomorrow.'
really clear and easy to digest! and this guy was writing over a 100 years ago....
Apr 01, 2009 Tracey marked it as don-t-want-to-read
not interested
Sep 27, 2007 Lee added it
This is Malatesta's definition of what anarchy is and is not. Malatesta is an excellent writer, and this is possibly one of the best explanations and elborations of what anarchy should be along with Kropotkin's essay. Malatesta speaks to the reader in words that are appealing and does not go overboard with the usual social anarchists rhetoric.
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong publishing date 7 20 Oct 10, 2014 10:59AM  
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Errico Malatesta (December 14, 1853 – July 22, 1932) was an Italian anarchist. He spent much of his life exiled from Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. Malatesta wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of Mikhail Bakunin. He was an enormously popular figure in his time. According to Brian Doherty, writer for Reason magazine, "Malatesta could get t ...more
More about Errico Malatesta...
At the Cafe: Conversations on Anarchism The Anarchist Revolution: Polemical Articles 1924-1931 Malatesta: Life & Ideas Entre Camponeses The Method of Freedom: An Errico Malatesta Reader

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“In all times and in all places, whatever may be the name that the government takes, whatever has been its origin, or its organization, its essential function is always that of oppressing and exploiting the masses, and of defending the oppressors and exploiters. Its principal characteristic and indispensable instruments are the bailiff and the tax collector, the soldier and the prison. And to these are necessarily added the time-serving priest or teacher, as the case may be, supported and protected by the government, to render the spirit of the people servile and make them docile under the yoke.” 12 likes
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