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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  390 Ratings  ·  27 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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Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anarchism
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.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
It was pretty good, but nothing special. Kinda like a poor man's Bakunin (or Kropotkin in some sections). It suffers from the same problem that most lefty anarchist literature suffers from. Namely a vagueness about definitions of things like "private property," upon which the coherence of the entire thing rests. But its very anti-state and anti-government, and pro-emergent order and voluntarism in a way which most lefty anarchist literature is, but which righty anarchists don't seem to realize o ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
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
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to anarchism, which gives interesting insight into the ways ongoing academic and non-academic conversations about anarchism and its possibilities have developed since Malatesta wrote this.

I listened to the libervox recording which was quite good.
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: anarchy
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.
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.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I finally finished reading Errico Malatesta's pamphlet "Anarchy". I think it's a pretty good introduction to classical anarchist thought, which could of course be complemented with some contemporary perspectives. I noticed a dash of positivism in Malatesta's discourse, much like in Marx's, and a whole lot of influence from Kropotkin's biological outlook. His anthropological idea of how domination came to be would be very well reinforced by what we now know about the role of agriculture in the ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well, its a lot better than Berkman's the ABC of Anarchy.

Malatesta writes lovely prose in a direct way that is not insulting to the intelligence of the reader. Mostly. So far the anarchist writings i've read do a lot of talking and framing why Government is bad. Malatesta does a relatively decent job of this. He writes like an educated man who has read some social theory, some economic theory, some behavioral/protopsychology theory, darwinist theory. Because of hsi read background his idealism s
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good, short introduction to anarchism, describing what it is in easy to understand language.
Antonio Vena
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
basta il discorso sulla solidarietà per far amare questo libro.
Robert Yasenchack
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the hypothetical non-goverment utopia that the author describes, I greatly disagree with the overall idea. Under anarchy no civilization can survive or be unified. Even the most educated and peaceful people need order to function safely and productively in socitey. I find the author's optimistic faith of humanity to be very farfetched and unrealistic.

I do find this novel to be a good quick read describing what a "fictional utopian" lifestyle of Anarchy could be like, although I d
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent intro to anarchism and a good, quick refresher for those who forget!
Tammam Aloudat
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic of the Anarchist literature and is written with the tone and method of a pamphlet but with a good balance of rhetoric and reasoning. Malatista describes the reasons for abolishing government and the state, the futility of their role, and the need for free association of all people on the basis of liberty, solidarity, and socialism.

He goes on to put fairly detailed arguments for the better life of humanity under no government or private property. Government does nothing, it mer
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...
Sep 27, 2007 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.
Oct 02, 2013 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.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'And if today we fall without compromising, we can be sure of victory tomorrow.'
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
really clear and easy to digest! and this guy was writing over a 100 years ago....
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thought, relevant
Given the original publishing date, double amazing thoughts.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Christopher Trader
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Brief, and wonderfully lucid.
Massimo  Gioffre
it gives interesting hints
Katalin Eisenberg
rated it really liked it
Sep 26, 2012
rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2015
Ben Dempe
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Apr 03, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2014
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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
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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.” 17 likes
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