From Anarchists Worldwide, Italy
The following interview is the 3rd part in an ongoing dialogue between anarchist comrade Alfredo Cospito, who is currently imprisoned at Ferrara Prison, and the editors of the Italian anarchist newspaper Vetriolo [Vitriol]. As far as we know, the first part of the interview has not been made available in English, however part two was translated by the Abolition Media Worldwide comrades in April 2019. Vetriolo have published the interview in parts, and have plans to publish the interview in its entirety in a forthcoming publication. We hope that we have captured the original spirit of the interview with our translation, however we are acutely aware of the possibility that some errors may have been made and we welcome any correspondence regarding any errors that may need correcting. To request copies of Vetriolo, they can be contacted via vetriolo[at]autistici.org
In some of your recent writings you have wanted to open a debate on: action and affinity groups, individual actions, claims of responsibility, ways to informally organize oneself among anarchists and propaganda through direct action. There are many different experiences that reach the present day, many and diverse within the different tensions of anarchism. We do not believe that there is, for the anarchism of action, an unavailability or impossibility with respect to the current historical context. Anarchists, in different ways and in every age, have always acted “here and now”. We would like to ask you, evaluating these experiences and different ways of acting and organizing in a horizontal and anti-authoritarian way: could one say that there is, especially in Italy, an ideological prejudice against “informal organization”, “anarchist groups”, and “claims of responsibility”? Equally, is the debate, which often ends up in mockery for its own sake, far from being able to confirm absolute validity or theoretical-practical evidence regarding “reproducibility, informality, anonymity”, in the Italian context conditioned by methodical, functional and a priori productive calculations, in a distorted logic of “factions”?
The “ideological” prejudice against informal organisation here is nothing new. Although there is no doubt that some concretizations of informal practice are more acceptable to “classical” anarchist organising than others. The “small” reproducible, unclaimed actions against structures of domination, without initials of any kind, create fewer problems than actions that endanger the lives of men and women in power, especially if these are claimed with initials that have a constancy over time. The former compared to the latter are more acceptable to the “movement” for the simple reason that they give rise to less intense repression by the State. The rejection of insurrectionism or informal experiences such as FAI/FRI by “classical” anarchism is almost always motivated as an “ethical” rejection of violence and specifically of certain actions (bomb attacks, arson attacks, parcel bombs, knee-cappings, expropriations…). For those who call themselves “revolutionary” it is more than obvious the hypocrisy of such a motivation. The revolution with its tragic trail of civil war is among the most violent events imaginable and when we talk about “classic” social and organised anarchism we are talking about comrades who have never questioned the concept of revolution, of a violent break with the system. For those who do not remove revolutionary violence from their ideological landscape, the indignant opposition to certain practices has its roots elsewhere, not in ethics, but in fear. Fear of repression, fear of losing that deceptive image (however comfortable) of the naive anarchist dreamer, innocent and defenceless victim of the system, who from Piazza Fontana onwards, many, here in Italy, have used as a shield against repressive vicissitudes. A “saint” on which a certain “social” anarchism, at times post-anarchist, has founded its own “myth” and its own “fortunes”. The anarchist armed struggle, albeit a minority one, has challenged this “myth” especially when it is claimed proudly in the face of the judges. We must then resign ourselves to the inevitable: the “ideological” prejudice against “new” forms of struggle is in the nature of things. Each new form of organization inexorably “disorganizes” preexisting realities that have their own end, displacing them and questioning them. The birth of what you call “factions” is the result of this “disorganization”, of this conflict. Our history is full of infighting between comrades who in theory (though with different practices) should be on the same side. The “insurrectionists”, when they appeared, in the 70’s and 80’s, suffered very violent attacks, shameful accusations were made against them. Decades later, accusations of the same tenor were not lacking against the comrades of the Informal Anarchist Federation. Having said that, however, it must be said that the affirmation of the “new” is almost always accompanied by gestures of aggression towards the “old” and we anarchists are no exception. Equally verbal aggression against “official” anarchists were not lacking (“armchair anarchists”, “cowards”, “reformists”, “bourgeoisie”…), nothing tragic, normal dynamics (even if unpleasant and counterproductive) within a movement, the anarchist one, overflowing with conflicting passions and beliefs and (let me say it) for this very reason still vital.
You argue that the debates risk being reduced to simple “mockery for its own sake” and that “reproducibility, informality, anonymity” are far removed from real “theoretical-practical” findings, undermined as they are at the root (a priori) by a “distorted logic of factions”. You would be right if such practices had never been tested in the field, but in fact a significant part of the movement has experienced them for years on its own skin. I’ve been in prison for years for this. For better or for worse I have tested in practice, in reality, the effectiveness and consequences of such “concepts”. I have enjoyed exhilarating victories and suffered discouraging defeats. When we “dirty” our hands with action, ups and downs are inevitable. When we are confronted with certain dynamics of conflict we cannot be sure of anything. Everything is possible, even the most unimaginable things can be realized as if by magic. The only certainty we have is that only by concretely clashing with power can we rework, expand and improve our action and practice, the rest is secondary. “Reproducibility, informality, anonymity”, three simple words that mean more to me than abstract and cerebral theories. I have attempted (not always successfully) to be consistent and to live my anarchy right now.
The “reproducibility”, I connect it to a feeling: the joy of seeing one’s own practices (the actions of anarchists) surprise by spreading everywhere. In the 1980s I saw an epidemic of attacks on pylons all over the country, decades later I witnessed, amazed and full of enthusiasm, the international campaigns and the FAI/FRI explosion reach halfway around the world. Past experiences (too brief, sometimes), but which leave the mark of a full life, a life worth living, the life of an anarchist of action overflowing with optimism. They are satisfactions difficult to understand for those who have not experienced them, but easy to achieve, just jump into the fray and move from theory to action, so you open a world…
These three practices, over the years, have all been tested in the field and even if (sometimes) they have produced a “distorted logic of factions”, they represent the most vital and combative part of anarchy, its concretization in the world. Especially when these debates involve comrades who practice action, in that case they acquire a different, real value. Precisely for this reason, even among those who practice informality, contrasts, even strong ones, have never been lacking. We should not be surprised, especially if we think that the latter (informality) can be characterized by different dynamics both from a “structural-organizational” and an “operational” point of view. Over the years, the greatest disagreements have been over the claim of the actions and above all over the use of acronyms, seconded only by the concept of “spectacularization” referring to certain actions accused of not being reproducible. In reality we are talking about different practices that have different, not conflicting, but profoundly different ends. That involve opposing attitudes and choices in life and that give rise to the two sides of today’s anarchy of action. On the one hand, the “anti-social” and “nihilist” conception which, with the violence of the action taken to the extreme consequences, recasts the “myth” of the “avenging anarchy”; the “social” implications of its action exist but will be seen tomorrow, when this “myth” will have breached the hearts of the oppressed. On the other hand, the “social” anarchist, the insurrectionalist who, in order to facilitate a collective and quantitative growth, is willing (setting intermediate objectives in specific struggles) to limit and calibrate their own destructive violence. To understand better, let us look at what these differences are, specifically, from a “structural-organizational” point of view, they are remarkable, between small “affinity groups” scattered throughout the territory that communicate through claims, promoting “international campaigns”, and “affinity groups” linked to a specific struggle in the territory that relate to “open assemblies” extended to the population and the “movement”. Equally radical are the differences at the “operational” level. On the one hand, actions of violence and strong impact which have as their objective the “propaganda of the deed”, the simple spreading of terror among the ranks of the exploiters. Therefore, an action that does not need to compromise, to mediate with the existing because it does not aim at an intermediate struggle. Its only purpose (besides the pure, beneficial, enjoyable pleasure of destruction) is to regenerate at any cost the “myth” of the “avenging anarchy”, of the “sun of the future”, of the “anarchist revolution”. Through the “propaganda of the deed” they rebirth this “myth” regaining that credibility among the exploited that we have lost over time. Credibility that we will obtain with actions that will not set any limits because they will have only one objective, the deeply ethical one of hitting the exploiters hard by avenging the exploited. So a practice that appeals to the “nihilist”, “dark” side of anarchy, revenge, hatred, violence and a strong irrationality dictated by the “crazy” and courageous desire for freedom, in my opinion is the most lively and optimistic part of our anarchy, the one that will lead us to revolution. On the other hand, there is insurrectionalism (social anarchism) with its links to the territory, with its actions that put all sorts of reformists and gradualists in the way. Actions which have as their objective the immediate concreteness of a specific struggle, which must take into account the popular assemblies and relate to the people. Forcing ourselves at times to limit our interventions so as not to run the risk of being isolated, of being put out of the “game”. Actions meditated and mediated by the social context that surrounds them. The characteristic of this type of action is to pursue objectives that involve the concrete life of people, linking them firmly to the reality of immediate, albeit partial results that have the merit of making people understand the real potential of direct action, of the refusal of delegation. Both these practices are characterized by a great leap in quality which, in my opinion, cannot be ignored, which puts them above all other anarchist practices: destructive action, armed action, questioning the state monopoly of violence. One can only start from this to overturn, to revolutionize the world because the seeds of the future brotherhood and sisterhood already lives today in conflict and in the way we choose to organize it. Only in a context of struggle, conflict, can we immediately taste, today, the purity of free relationships, of love, of living, revolutionary solidarity. The rest is compromised, quiet living, alienation, long-term surrender. Anarchy does not live in what we say or write but in what we do. We would like to take it for granted that those who talk about certain practices have experienced them with their own skin, but unfortunately this is not always the case. That is why (in my opinion) we should pay more attention to the texts and reflections in the claims. In those cases we can’t be wrong, whoever wrote them has acted and put their life on the line. By necessity their words have a materiality, a concreteness, a greater weight, we know with certainty that those who write them have moved to action putting their lives at risk. The strength of communication through actions lies precisely in this. Some comrades define the claims as useless texts full of demagogy, it may be so, but at least in these (however “demagogic” they seem) we are certain that the words carry the “burden” of life lived, acted upon. Something that is missing from many texts full of “splendid” literature but ephemeral because they are devoid of any real relevance, detached from the struggle, far from life.
For a few years now, you’ve been taking an “against the revolution” stance. A position that we imagine you have matured in prison, since the claim of the Olga/FAI-FRI Cell ends with a declaration of love for the social revolution. We believe we have perfectly understood your position, that is, the provocation “against the expectation of revolution”, which means postponing the action to better times, when the objective conditions will be in place. In short, the wait-and-see and all its sauces, even if cooked with revolutionary recipes. As long as it remains a provocation, they’re in. The dialectical paradox: revolutionaries today are reformists. It’s effective. But it stops being effective if you abandon the paradoxical use of expression. Let’s try to explain. It is effective against so-called social anarchism – social, but not classist – which “fronts” with a section of the bourgeoisie for success on specific objectives (workplace strikes, defending rights, etc.), waiting for conditions to improve for the revolution. A bit like what was said at the time of the war in Spain in 1936: first win the war, then make the revolution. It is therefore effective against the frontism that postpones the revolution, after having solved more pressing problems, in order to solve them, alliances are made with those subjects that the revolution should instead exterminate. So ask you: isn’t it like giving the ball game to your opponent? What else should be expected for the revolution? Hasn’t capitalism destroyed our planet enough already? Haven’t you already put enough on the shoulders of generations of exploited people? Instead of saying that the revolution is over, it would be better to defend the necessity of the revolution here and now, against those who want to postpone it until the distant future so as not to disturb the peaceful sleep – for example – of the winegrower who does not want a strike in his field, where he continues to exploit migrants as slaves, who fears the revolution more than anything else, since we would take away, as they say, their home and their vineyard.
We are going to be tough this time: the risk, when people say that the revolution is over, is that there are comrades who are so stupid – and there are, indeed – that they do not understand that this is a provocation, and they really believe it! So your invectives against the revolution may not so much push the comrades to act here and now, but not to act at all. Rebels need a dream; why go to jail or get killed?
Besides, today, to blame the revolution, don’t get offended, it’s not very original. It began in 1992 with Francis Fukuyama, with his essay “The End of History and the Last Man”. According to the American regime philosopher everything was over: democracy, capitalism, the liberal state had won forever. The eternal nightmare of the eternal present. A philosophical-social paradigm that society has reified in various ways: from TV to the consumerism of the web, the objects of consumption change very quickly, but it seems conversely to have lived in the same era for thirty years. And because anarchists, even those who profess to be more turgidly antisocial, live in this society and absorb its vices and ideas, many anarchists have begun to think exactly as the system wanted us to think: from the articles on “A-rivista anarchica” or “Umanità Nova” that pontificate on the end of the violent social revolution, which should be replaced by anarchism as a cultural, Kantian, normative idea… up to the comrades that were once fighters who are depressed today, because, sometimes, absence of revolutionary perspective also means absence of planning fantasy. I also invent a series of actions because there is a project that stimulates my mind…
Doesn’t it seem a mistake to have slipped into this vein, albeit with a completely different goal?
I could justify my “renunciation” of the “revolution” by quoting Camus: “Since we no longer live the time of revolution, let us learn to live at least the time of revolt”. In reality I agree with him only on one point: today we are certainly not living the time of “revolution”, but that of “revolt”. But I want to make it clear that my apology for the “revolt” is not a retreat, nor an invitation to settle for a half measure in a lean period. I am convinced that there is no “revolution” without a sequence of countless revolts that precede and prepare it. These revolts allow us both to live, immediately and fully, the pleasure of our anarchy (we were born for this, it is our nature) and to open ourselves to the world by building revolt after revolt, action after action, the “myth” of the “sun of the future”, building brick after brick our credibility in the eyes of the oppressed without which there can never be a “revolution” worthy of the name. Our role today can only be this: to strike, strike and strike again… Forging with blood, sweat and immense pleasure the “myth” of “avenging anarchy”. An anarchist revolution is possible. We just have to find the courage and strength to sustain such an imaginative and utopian perspective. The fact that it has nothing “ideological” and “authoritarian” is precisely because it is inherently imaginative and utopian. In the claim of the “Olga” Cell, this optimism clearly emerges in a declaration of passionate love for the “social revolution”. At that time it was (and still is, but today I do so in a more articulated way) important to relaunch action in the perspective of an overall change and overturning of things in the world (social revolution). Since in your question you mention the responsibility claim for the pistol attack against Adinolfi, let me say that in any case that writing had great limits. It was totally bent in on itself (addressed almost exclusively to the anarchist movement), the discourse of nuclear power was superficially addressed and the question of technology, of the “mega machine” (for me now central) was not even touched upon. The criticism that at the time some comrades made of that claim to be essentially a series of accusations against the other components of the movement contained truths. What I’m trying to tell you is that with time the analyses evolve, the important thing is not to give up, not to stand still at the post and above all never give in to the power that in my case means not giving up (in the situation in which I find myself not even on a theoretical level) the violent clash with the system, the armed struggle, whatever it costs. Remaining true to oneself is not always a quality, sometimes it is equivalent to a defeat, it makes us predictable, in some cases “folkloristic”. Consistency must not mean going down the same road again and again. Stagnating one’s strategy is in fact suicide, and brings nothing new to the fight. Being locked in a cell should not prevent me from evolving and looking for new paths. To have the strength to relaunch, all you need to do is keep your criticism and irony about yourself and the world firm. Self-criticism and irony: two indispensable antibodies so as not to turn us into fanatics or ideological trombones. So you should not be surprised if today I contradict myself with what I have argued in the past, questioning the credibility in our mouths of the resounding term “revolution”, going so far as to argue, as I did in this interview, that “revolution” as a word sounds empty and therefore “enemy”.
This sort of “injured majesty” is certainly a provocation (as you say) but it brings with it a substantial “criticism” linked to an attempt of mine to “analyse” reality which has its great limits, but which finds its tangible meaning in practice. Almost all anarchists fill their mouths with the word “revolution”, very few act accordingly by hitting power structures, even fewer go further by hitting men and women in the hierarchies of domination, but even in these cases the sound of this word continues to clash with reality, to sound false, out of place. If we want to be honest, we must tell ourselves that, even when we take part in uprisings and insurrections in distant countries, making our generous contributions, we know very well that no matter how just the cause we fight for, it will never lead to an anarchist revolution. We are so convinced that with “reality” we always have to make compromises, so convinced that it is no longer reality that transforms us, it is we who run towards it adapting and giving up our extreme idea of freedom in view of a possible, concrete “reality”. In doing so we obscure, we water down, we lose our utopian spark, we renounce the “anarchist revolution”, a perspective for us now “out of this world”, “anachronistic”, impossible to achieve. We no longer believe in it, this is the truth, deep in our hearts, day after day, year after year “realism” has undermined our certainties, digging an almost unbridgeable chasm. Fortunately the aforementioned Fukuyama was wrong, the game is not over, the story has not come to an end. The history of humanity (at least until now) has always been characterized by leaps forward, historical moments in which the “revolutionary” break is as inevitable as it is inexorable. The world around us is changing faster and faster but the technology that is going crazy has not yet managed to significantly affect our humanity, our instincts, our “soul”. But as we have said the stakes have risen, now the very survival of humanity and life on this planet is at stake. The only concrete possibility we have to reverse this trend is the “anarchist revolt” with all its disruptive charge of feelings, passions, irrationality, class hatred, anti-technological instincts against the so-called scientific “progress”. It will not be rationality, moderation or balance that will save us but the irrationality of passions, feelings, hatred, love, anger, revenge. It is not the time to build new societies but to destroy existing ones. It is the time of the revolt, of the “fascination” of the “myth” of the “anarchist revolution”. It will then be the “revolution” to create, to build, but this must not concern us now because there is no revolution in progress. That is why today “the anarchist revolution” sounds anachronistic, an out-of-this-world concept. This concept can regain its meaning, its concreteness, its topicality only if it is accompanied by “revolt”, by violence. The “revolt” is satisfied with “pathos” (feelings, passions, fascination) and “praxis” (destructive action, propaganda of the deed, violence). The “revolution” is a complete, complex concept, it also needs “ethos” (values) and “logos” (strategy, rationality). With ethos and logos, “myths” are not built, revolutions are not unleashed*. And revolutions only come when revolutions have opened a breach in the hearts of men, women, the oppressed, the excluded. Everything has its moment, every action is a child of its time. The “anarchist revolution” is the daughter of our revolutionary violence. So we are not living in a time of a crisis within anarchism but of regeneration.
The “revolt” and the “revolution” are linked in a double thread, however interdependent, interconnected, always in harmony. I will say more, the “revolution” must not become a “status quo”, it must be a sort of permanent revolt, of continuous, “infinite” experimentation. The “myth” is the invention that results in the “revolution”. After all, “history” and “myth” have the same purpose: “to paint the eternal man under the man of the moment”; women and men in revolt destroyers and creators of new societies, new worlds.
Discussing also some anarchist ideas and concepts such as those on which we reflect upon in this interview, in this dialogue, now our thoughts also end up on those means, on those publications, which allow the discussion of ideas and practices pertaining to anarchism, as well as making possible their propaganda or dissemination. Clearly there are substantial differences between propaganda and the spread of anarchist ideas. The mere spread seems to leave a sense of indeterminacy. So we ask ourselves: what meaning can it have, today, in a world where everyone is invited to spread their intellectual garbage and to amortize with their culture, with their opinions and considerations, to spread anarchist ideas? On the other hand, with regard to the term and concept of propaganda, it seems to us that this has taken on an almost negative value in anarchist contexts. It almost seems to mean that propaganda of anarchist ideas is a malicious fact because it would correspond to an attempt to convince or persuade “the people” (“and then propaganda makes it the power!”). We don’t feel the same way. We want to find at the end that deeper value that unites the possibility of making known one’s own ideas also in order to be able to reach possible accomplices to a constant agitation aimed at keeping anarchist thought in turmoil, also this expression of the conflict against power, never separated from action.
Anarchist propaganda, a thing of the past, something that has disappeared along with another propaganda, the one of the deed. We also know that, depending on the weather, terms can have very different values and meanings, but we do not want to go too far. I mean, what does anarchist propaganda mean to you today? And then, very heavily, another boulder falls: in the age of the Internet, of sites and blogs, even anarchists have “ventured” (so to speak) into the net – this has had many harmful consequences, in our opinion. Among these, the almost complete disappearance of paper publications that no longer act as a simple conduit and the total reliance on telematic tools to learn about a myriad of “news” and different facts about the anarchist movement. Moreover, the use of the Internet has led to a greater “internationalization” of certain aspects of communication between anarchists, as well as having dictated a new speed in communication itself. There are those who think it is possible to use such tools in a way that does not excessively compromise the words and meaning of what we say; and those who – like us – believe that they are tools and technological achievements that are uses of power. There’s still a lot to be said about, and not only that. What do you think?
“Spreading ideas” and “propaganda”, “thought” and “action”, the heart of anarchist coherence, anarchist action should always coexist. Dissemination of ideas: the debate between anarchists, the deepening and evolution of our analysis, of our thinking. Propaganda: openness to the world through deed, action, demonstrations, street fights, destructive actions that speak to everyone. The power in a democratic state persecuted, counteracts the “propaganda” when action is taken, but also those anarchists who with sites and newspapers incite action. This is indicative of what power fears, it fears our words when they clearly make “propaganda”, it fears the thought that pushes to action, the thought that one puts into action. Then, when the spread of ideas takes place through the “propaganda of the deed” to the States, all that remains is to give in and lose power or react and repress with violence. The spread of our iconoclastic thought in combination with our action risks becoming deadly for any democratic or dictatorial “power” that does not contemplate the building of a new state, of a “counter power”. This is why the repression is unleashed in a preventive manner even against the simple propaganda of the action made with our writings.
It is often said that ideas and intuitions are forged only in action, but the reflections that determine them must have their own concreteness in the observation of the effect that actions have on reality. Those who claim that “propaganda” has a bad name due to it being a “political instrument” are right, but if we tie it to action this acquires ethics, strength, beauty. We must be pragmatic when we choose a “tool”, never neglectful of its usefulness. The times change the weapons at our disposal, we must update ourselves, our press (newspapers, magazines) are insufficient instruments to communicate with the “masses”, to millions of oppressed people. The “press” finds its meaning almost exclusively as a “physical place” of debate, evolution of our ideas and communication between us. I will never tire of repeating it, today, the only way we can reach a substantial number of excluded people is through “exemplary”, destructive action. Claims of responsibility, small groups of comrades who practice armed struggle, comrades who take to the streets bringing conflict, only in this way can we pierce the curtain of silence that states erect around their dominion. It hasn’t always been like this, in the distant past our press has had a certain influence on the “masses”, just think of the tens of thousands of copies printed in the 1920s of the Malatesta newspaper, “Umanità Nova“. The last generous attempt to build something similar (at least here in Italy) took place in the 1990s, when the most combative part of the anarchist movement tried to found a daily newspaper, an attempt that then failed because of the repression and the huge work that would have been needed to raise funds, energy and skills. Of course, from the “cultural” point of view, at least since 1968 the influence of anarchist and libertarian thought has always been strong in art, in sociology, in anthropology…But this is another story that concerns not only the “printed paper” but also the kind of anarchism that rather than fighting and destroying power tries to limit it, to put patches on it, to improve things, I don’t say it with contempt, it’s simply an anarchy that I don’t feel is “mine”.
You ask me if the technology we use to communicate risks “compromising”, distorting what we want to say. The dilemma you pose is vital, and I believe there is some truth in what you say. The risk is indeed very high, but if we want to be incisive and effective with our action we cannot do without getting our hands dirty with technology and therefore with something really toxic and dangerous. In order to get down to reality, in the same way that I “dirtied” my hands with a gun, an “instrument of death”, in order to carry out the action against Adinolfi I had to identify beforehand the target, the address…on the internet, I had to compromise with technology. Not to mention the “necessity” that we sometimes feel to communicate to the greatest number of comrades scattered around the world, our reflections, the motivations of our actions, the repressive waves that affect us. The use of a simple weapon is much less toxic than the use of the web, it includes fewer risks because it is linked to concreteness, materiality. Of course, even in that case there are some drawbacks, we run the risk of being “fascinated”, of being conditioned by the object, the instrument, of getting carried away by “violence”, of giving in to efficient, specialist, “militaristic” tendencies, but it is nothing compared to the risk we run using technology even only in terms of communication. With the web and all its technological “derivatives” we risk totally detaching ourselves from “reality”, to become extras in a video game, ending up “living” in a virtual world made of “subversive” chatter that gives us the illusion to do, to act, but that actually neutralizes us by throwing ourselves into the arms of the “power” that slowly (without even realizing it) engulfs us, burning our life, our time, not so different from what happens to a prisoner locked in a cell. How many comrades exhaust their “revolt” in front of a keyboard? By doing so, alienation and dissatisfaction feed each other and find their outlet in the aggression towards those closest to us. The accusations of inconsistency, if not worse, “rain down”, the really sad thing is that for many it is the only way to feel “revolutionary”. Roaring incitements to action of an exceptional radicality, but never followed by deeds, only words, because everything is insubstantial and fictitious, so we have the excuse ready: “coherence is not possible in this world”. This does not detract from the fact that the discourse on the “purity” of the medium that is used, if not tackled in practice, risks becoming a bit like those theological discourses that the fathers of the church used to make about the sex of angels: a facia, something without any connection with real life. It is therefore necessary to make a further effort and enter into the specific, in particular, for example without the web, the FAI/FRI armed struggle experience (however limited in time it may have been) would never have been able to spread throughout the world. Each action corresponded to another in response somewhere far away in the world, this without any coordination or an all-encompassing structured organization. In this case, the “internet” made it possible to exclude authoritarian mechanisms avoiding, thanks to the anonymity and lack of knowledge between the various action groups and individuals, the birth of leaders and hierarchies. In a dynamic of this kind (without organizational structure) the web becomes “important” because it is organic and structural to the same action, it becomes a kind of “sounding board”, or a “backbone”, and if you break it the communication is “paralyzed”, it languishes. Receiving news (claims of responsibility) from the anarchists from the countries in revolt allows us to act more effectively, with immediacy, striking in their support “at home”, facilitating the internationalization of the struggles.
Today we cannot limit ourselves to bypassing the fictitious and distorting information of power by making “counter-information”, we must go further…And here we return to the title of this interview, “What international?”. How can we harmonize our strengths and build the international that we (as we have already said many times) feel the need for? The circulation of news followed by international action campaigns is a first step, difficult to achieve without communication via “internet”. Not for nothing, when there is a risk of insurrection in a country, the “power” immediately censors and closes the web. The clash, the revolt that naturally develops in the street, among the people, is guerrilla warfare carried out by the “people” in arms. “Counter-information” is not enough, it becomes revolutionary when it feeds the action, when it becomes a tool for the nuclei of action allowing them to synchronize their attacks and trigger the generalized insurrection. Only by acting in this way can we build “an anarchist international”, the simpler its operational dynamics will be the more effective its action will be and the more likely it will really affect our lives.
An elementary “tool”, adaptable to reality, constantly evolving, I think we should focus on this objective. The FAI/FRI was one of the attempts to realize such a “project”, an attempt born from the crisis of this world, in a spontaneous and natural way without leaders and theorists, by the will and action of hundreds of anarchists halfway around the world. I am firmly convinced that one day a “black international” will rise, as if by magic, from the ashes of the many defeats that we as anarchists have suffered in history, and on that day an oxymoron will come to light, an organization without organization, and it will be wonderful…
* Note: My reflections on ethos, pathos, praxis and logos were inspired by Amedeo Bertolo in “Pensiero e azione. L’anarchismo come logos, praxis, ethos e pathos”. I hope that no one will mind the “abysmal” distance between my anarchist terrorism and its creative anarchy. The beauty of anarchy lies precisely in the fact that in the course of experimenting with new paths, sometimes, even the “opposites” touch each other. Bertolo was looking for the “right balance” between these forces, I think that only from the fusion of these can be born the new, because life is contrast: rational and irrational, hate and love, all less than mortal static “balance”. Harmony is the child of “imbalance”, of chaos.
(Taken from issue 4 of the Italian anarchist newspaper “Vetriolo“, March 2020, translated into English by Anarchists Worldwide, from the online version published by Insuscettibile Di Ravvedimento)