It is 36 years now since I wrote ‘Stefano delle Chiaie. Portrait of a Black Terrorist”, an investigation into the so-called Strategy of Tension that led to the Piazza Fontana bombing of 1969, the subsequent murder by the Milan police of Anarchist Black Cross secretary Giuseppe Pinelli, and the eleven years of indiscriminate terror that followed, up to and beyond the Bologna Rail Station massacre on August 1980. I haven’t written much about it since then, but I recently received the following ‘L’Europeo’ (November 1974) article by three journalists — Incerti, Ottolenghi and Raffaelli — on AGINTER PRESS (International News Agency). It was sent by long-time comrades of the Circolo Anarchici Ponte della Ghisolfa (the original meeting place of the Milan Anarchist Black Cross) who continue to publish relevant documents in the interest of historical memory, and as a means of understanding the historical and political context of the Strategy of Tension.Continue reading “Aginter Press and the Strategy of Tension (Translated by Paul Sharkey)” »
From their first manifestations Anarchists have [been] nearly unanimous as to the necessity of recourse to physical force in order to transform existing society; and while the other self-styled revolutionary parties have gone floundering into the parliamentary slough, the anarchist idea has in some sort identified itself with that of armed insurrection and violent revolution.
But, perhaps, there has been no sufficient explanation as to the kind and the degree of violence to be employed; and here as in many other questions very dissimilar ideas and sentiments lurk under our common name.
As a fact, the numerous outrages which have lately been perpetrated by Anarchists and in the name of Anarchy, have brought to the light of day profound differences which had formerly been ignored or scarcely foreseen.
1. Carlo ALVISI: Barber, born Bologna on 5 May 1918. In October 1936, he set off to defend the Spanish Republic, enlisting in the Italian Section of the CNT-FAI’s “Ascaso” Column and fought on the Huesca front. In late January 1937, he returned to Luxembourg and was arrested there by the Germans in July 1941 and put in a concentration camp near Berlin. On 20 April 1942, he was released and made his way back to Luxembourg where he worked in a foundry. Rearrested, he was handed over to the Italian police and convicted for failure to do his military service. After 8 September 1943, he was freed, but during the Nazi occupation of Italy he was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Freed at the end of the war, he went back to living in Luxembourg. After 18 January 1971, he adopted the name PIANELLI, having been acknowledged by his father, Ambrosio PIANELLI. Date of death unknown.
Cover illustration by Flavio Costantini. ‘Oranienburg, July 10th 1934. Erich Mühsam.’ “…The following morning he (the overseer) went to enquire after M. When no one replied he said, cynically — ‘If he is not here then he’s dead.’” (K. Mühsam). From ‘The Art of Anarchy’, Cienfuegos Press, 1975. Mühsam was arrested as part of the ‘First Solution’ — on unspecified charges — in the early morning of 28 February 1933, a few hours after the Reichstag fire in Berlin. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, labelled him as one of “those Jewish subversives.”… Over the next seventeen months, he was imprisoned and brutally tortured in the concentration camps at Sonnenburg, Brandenburg and finally, Oranienburg, where he was murdered.
“IT IS TWENTY-THREE YEARS now since I first attended a National Socialist meeting, saw (without particular enjoyment) Herr Hitler at close range, and listened to the flood of nonsense—or so it then seemed to me—that he was spouting. It was only gradually that the effects of these speeches made me realize that behind all nonsense there was unrivaled political cunning.
“In 1923, as the leader of a small democratic organization in the University of Munich, I tried, with all the earnestness of youth, and with complete lack of success, to annihilate Hitler by means of protest parades, mass meetings, and giant posters. And so I am entitled to call myself the oldest —or one of the oldest —anti-Nazis now in the United State, for there cannot be many in this country who came into conflict with Adolf Hitler and his handful of followers at so early a date.
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It is a sad fact that so little historical material is available today dealing with the role of the various resistance groups throughout Europe. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the obvious; secrecy equals survival, to the more surprising and depressing fact, fascism was not defeated in 1945. Those who really fought the fascists, as opposed to those who only claim they did, still have to be careful even now. It was only in 1983 that the notorious butcher of Lyon, Klaus Barbie, was brought to trial. Between 1945 and his capture he was at various times working for the CIA, the Catholic Church, Latin American drug barons and Bolivian death squads. Likewise Paul Touvien, head of the Milice (fascist paramilitary) in Lyon, was only captured in 1989. He was protected for almost 50 years by a huge network of extreme right-wing followers, many in the highest positions in the land. If the fascists have such connections then it is quite understandable why those who have fought them do not wish to discuss these matters too openly.
In these pages we have recorded some episodes in the Italian anarchist resistance to fascism, particularly in the struggle against blackshirt gangs in the 1920s, and the armed resistance to the Nazis between 1943 and 1945. A few episodes only: We have many more accounts from comrades all over Italy than are given here. To present them all would make a much larger and more fragmented work than this.
We have not attempted to write the definitive history of the Italian anarchists in these struggles. That history, which has yet to be produced, would involve a more systematic search for documents and publications, and the collection of more eyewitness accounts from those involved in the fight. What we have tried to do is to break down the wall of silence which has surrounded the anarchists’ part in the fight against fascism, a fight which the Italian parliamentary parties now claim to have organised and led. — Revista Anarchica