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The International Anarchist Congress, Amsterdam 1907

category international | history of anarchism | opinion / analysis author Friday August 17, 2012 21:41author by Dimitri (MACG - personal capacity) - Anarkismoauthor email ngnm55 at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Maurizio Antonioli (ed.), The International Anarchist Congress, Amsterdam 1907 (Black Cat Press)
This presentation published in "Rebel Worker" Sydney's anarchosyndicalist journal, issue 214, August-September 2012. [ελληνικά] [Italiano]


This 280 page book is built upon a pamphlet of Italian Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (FdCA Federation of Communist Anarchists) that was published some years ago in the series Studies for a Libertarian Switch (Studies for a Libertarian Alternative) in English (and which is also available online). This book is largely the work of historian Maurizio Antonioli, who is professor of Contemporary History of the Faculty of Political Science, University of Milan. We should note here that Maurizio Antonioli has published several studies on the history of the Italian labor movement, especially on the history and struggles of the Federation of Metal Workers and Labour Centres (Camere del Lavoro) of Milan and Lombardy regions.

The translation in English and general editor of the publication is the work of Nestor MacNab, amongst the others, a member of FdCA and the editorial collective of

The book "The International Anarchist Congress, Amsterdam 1907 consists of separate chapters on the six days of the duration the Congress, since the book's editors cited the presentations, the positions of the key-participants and points of the dialogue that developed on each separate issue that was presented to the Congress. The subjects were on many and so diversed issues such as participation in antimilitarist Conference that was hold the same days in Amsterdam, reports on the state of the anarchist movement, in a series of countries from which delegates came from (Belgium, Bohemia, Holland, Romania, U.S.A., Austria, Germany, Russia, Serbia, Italy, England), anarchism and organisation (which lasted the entire second day of the Congress party and the third), the Anarchist International, anarchism and syndicalism, anarchist press, the Russian Revolution (of 1905 ), trade unionism and the general strike, anarchism and trade union movements in Argentina, anarchism and antimilitarism, education of children, alcoholism, productive c-operatives, Esperanto language and others. (Note that in most of these issues the Congress adopted and issued respective Resolutions).

Also in the book several texts, reports on the activities of anarchists and other documents een published especially on Russia and the Russian Revolution of 1905, that been submitted to Congress.

This Congress was held between 26-31 August in 1907, at Plancius Hall in Amsterdam. This year close to 105 years of this so important for the international anarchist movement Congress. In the previous (of this) Anarchist Conference that was held in London to1881, an attempt was made for reconstituting the old First International, but then inaugurated the period known as "anarchist terrorism (propaganda by deed), by which the anarchist movement expelled of the toiling masses.

During the period between 1881 and 1907 several dramatic changes in the labor movement took place. This time, however, the anarchists were placed entirely outside the realm of the working class, though some few comrades remained by the side of workers. When the anarchist movement at some point realised that it had to put an end to this isolation, the result was to convene the International Congress in Amsterdam that it had to discuss the most important issues of the day: the attitude of anarchists in the (then) new phenomenon of syndicalism and the question of anarchist organisation.

During of the time of a week, the delegates who attended the Congress dealt seriously with a number of key issues employing the international anarchist movement of the era, like the always thorny issue of organisation and the work in the trade union movement, the issue of a general strike as a method wrestling and various others, including the possibility of setting up a new Anarchist International.

As we said before, those years were the next season of the time during which the anarchists finally realised that the propaganda by deed does not lead anywhere and decided to return to their roots from which the anarchist movement was born, ie years of Mikhail Bakunin and the First International. So, then, it was all natural that of all those issues discussed in this Congress the most debatable and most important ones regarding the future development of the anarchist movement, was the question of organisation and the issue of the then new trade and labor movements that emerged everywhere and compared with those of the anarchists, and the relationship between the specific anarchist organization in the mass labor organisations. How could to interact with each other? Had anarchists to participate in workplace struggles as members of political organizations?

Note that in this Congress some important figures of the international anarchist movement of the era participated, such as Christian Cornelissen, Errico Malatesta, Luigi Fabbri, Emma Goldman, Aristide Ceccarelli, Thomas Keel, Karl Walters, Nikolai Rogdaev, S. Velev, Pierre Monatte, Amedee Dunois and several otherw frpm countries such as Holland, Italy, Germany, U.S.A., Argentina, England, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Belgium, France and Bohemia.

Towards the realisation of this publication and the introduction of the book Dibattito sul sindacalismo: Atti del Congresso Internazionale anarchico di Amsterdam (1907) (published in Italian in 1978), historian of the working class movement Maurizio Antonioli, examines the process that led to the Amsterdam Congress and its importance for the labor and anarchist movements of the time. Thereafter, Antonioli lists the various references to anarchist literature of his time on the Congress, creating the most comprehensive work on thiw important event, and cites the whole debate that lasted six days.

In this book, except the record of six days during the conference, the Resolutions and the Annexes, there is also a brief prologue by the translator in English and editor Nestor MacNab, and follows a fairly thorough introduction entitled "Anarchism and / and Trade Unionism "of Maurizio Antonioli with a quite useful informative document by a historical point of view of the same editorial note on the relevant reports, and the area took the Congress through the pages and columns of anarchist newspapers, magazines and other publications of this time.

Today, more than a century later, the different positions and views of todays anarchist militants and organisations have lose none of their value or their fighting ability and continue to be key points of departure for all those present and those facing similar situations and dilemmas wearing out the same top-down issues and problems. This book on the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam of 1907 is just one of all those most historical and non unshakeable invaluable reports of ours.

Finally we want to note that the book was published by Black Cat Press based in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada and everyone who wanted to buy it or have more information can visit their website at

Dimitris Troaditis

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