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At the Cafe: Conversations on Anarchism

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  12 reviews
While Malatesta was hiding from the police he regularly went to a cafe in Ancona, Italy. He had shaved off his usual beard but he was still taking a risk. Especially as this wasn't an anarchist cafe, but had a variety of customers including the local policeman. The conversations he had in this cafe became the basis for the dialogues that make up this book.
For the first
Paperback, 159 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Freedom Press (first published February 1st 2006)
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Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I always struggle to respond to both good faith and bad faith criticisms of anarchism with a clear concise description of what we want from the world. Malatesta spent his whole life agitating for the liberation of the working class and was a strong believer in making revolutionary theory and practice approachable for all working people. At the Cafe is Malatesta's dramatization of his many cafe conversations with liberals and conservatives about anarchism in the form of a Socratic dialogue that ...more
Garret Giblin
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
enjoyed the format of a series of dialogues dealing with different issues
Real good. I really enjoyed reading this. Simple, without being simplistic, I think it serves as a good introduction to the majority of anarchist principals.
It consists of a series of short discussions on fundamentals of anarchist thought, the discussions are only nominally conversations though, because the anarchist's interlocutors rarely get a chance to answer back, and thus it never overstays its welcome, and invites deeper exploration.
I think there are some gaps, particularly in the area
I'm pretty familiar with anarchist philosophy at this point, but it's nice to see it laid out so clearly and completely, along with responses to questions about it and arguments against it.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Naturally it's a bit outdated, but its literary form (100% dialogue) is an incredibly entertaining way to bring across and argue for the main theses of the book.
Jan 18, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: pals that I pal around with
This is a series of dialogues written while Malatesta was "incognito", a shaved beard, in Italy during the late 19th century. He frequented a cafe that was not exclusively anarchist and where the patrons took several different positions that contrasted his. Also, a lot of his discussions where with an agent of the state, and if the guy knew that he had an anarchist agitator on his hands, Malatesta surely would have been arrested.

Of course, if the reader is familiar with Malatesta's works, this
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory
This is quite a good exposition of what could be, and how we could get is rather theoretical of course but in simple language. And I liked the format of question and answer, although I do doubt that anyone sitting in an Italian cafe would have such a courteous and expository dialog. It certainly makes it easier to read and highlights the common questions that come up in any discussion of a better future. The fundamental one being human nature of course, but surrounding that the need ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you're never heard of anarchism before this is a good introductory book. This is not a novel though, the dialogue is crude and simple, only serving to guide the conversation forward and clear misconceptions that a typical person might have. If you already delve in anarchist literature before i suggest you read his other book on anarchy and learn more about the history of this man. He traveled around the world, meeting some great figures like Kropotkin and Bakunin, fighting and inspiring ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
At the Cafe by Errico Malatesta, which I carried in my bag for over a year, has finally been read although, I must say, it 19s the kind of book I have to discuss, think about, and read again sometime. It 19s position on anarchy is something to consider, although not to be taken entirely as it is.
Carlos Panhoca Da silva
Meio introdutório demais, mas ainda assim interessante.
Sep 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Introductory text to the ideas of anarchist-communism as espoused by E. Malatesta.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great discussion of anarchism in Malatesta's socratic method. Everything explained, even why capitalism fails as a theory
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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 ...more
“Capitalism is the same everywhere. In order to survive and prosper it needs a permanent situation of partial scarcity: it needs it to maintain its prices and to create hungry masses to work under any conditions.” 3 likes
“Communism made through the will of a government instead of through the direct and voluntary work of groups of workers does not really appeal to me. If it was possible, it would be the most suffocating tyranny to which human society has ever been subjected.” 0 likes
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