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north africa / imperialism / war / non-anarchist press Monday February 27, 2017 01:28 byNizar Visram

At the 28th Summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 30 January 2017, Morocco's readmission to the continental body generated heated discussion. At the end of the day the Kingdom of Morocco managed to win over sufficient member states on its side and it was allowed to join the fold unconditionally.

Morocco left the Organization of African Unity (OAU), precursor to the AU, in 1984 after the OAU recognized the right to self-determination and independence for the people of the Western Sahara and admitted the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) that was proclaimed in 1976 by the Sahrawi people's Polisario Front.

It was in keeping with the OAU principle not to recognize the occupation of any part of the continent that it admitted the SADR to its membership. While SADR claimed sovereignty over the Western Sahara territory, Morocco saw it as an integral part of its own territory. Thus, rather than accept SADR's independence, Morocco left the OAU.

Since then Morocco has refused to join the AU unless the organization withdraws the membership of SADR.

The Occupation of Western Sahara

The area of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1976 when Spain pulled out and relinquished its claim as a colonial power over the territory. This former Spanish colony was then annexed by Morocco. Sahrawi people, who fought Spanish colonial oppression, were now forced to fight Moroccan occupation. They conducted resistance struggle under the leadership of Polisario Front until 1991 when the United Nations (UN) brokered a truce.

A UN-supervised referendum on independence of Western Sahara was promised in 1992 but it was aborted by Morocco. A UN peacekeeping mission that was to organize the referendum has remained in the territory ever since, while Morocco built a 2,700km-long sand wall, with landmines.

SADR, headed by the Polisario Front, has been recognized by the AU as the legitimate government in exile. For decades Morocco made futile attempts to delegitimize SADR and Polisario. Eventually it applied to rejoin AU without precondition.

AU member states argued that Morocco should not be readmitted unless it accepts the 1960 UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which states that, “All peoples have the right to self-determination; and by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status.”

Morocco was also asked to accept unconditionally the OAU/AU African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which provides that:

“Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another. All peoples shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status.”

Thus, before readmission Morocco should have accepted all the 33 Articles of the Constitutive Act of the AU with Western Sahara as a founding member. Morocco should also accept the AU Act which recognizes African colonial boundaries, thus making its continued occupation of Western Sahara illegal.

All this was thrust aside and Morocco was readmitted to the AU when 39 out of the 54 African member states voted for Morocco. They tacitly endorsed the longstanding occupation of Western Sahara, while Morocco refuses to comply with the successive UN resolutions on the holding of a referendum on self-determination.

Western Sahara thus remains the continent's last colonial outpost, occupied by another African state. It is an albatross on the African Union's conscience, since it was a departure from its founding principles.

Morocco's Goodwill Tour

Morocco's readmission was reportedly influenced by Morocco's King Mohammad's affluence. This became evident when he demonstrated his largesse while touring the continent, lobbying for support from African heads.

It is said he will now bankroll the AU in line with what Libya's Muammar Gaddafi used to do. The two are, of course, poles apart. Gaddafi, arguably, had a pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist vision, while the King aims at continued annexation of Western Sahara.

That is why prior to the AU vote the King embarked on a charm offensive by touring African countries, seeking support for his AU bid. In February 2014 he set off on a tour of Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Gabon. This was his second regional trip in less than five months. He took with him a contingent of advisors and business executives who negotiated a pile of agreements covering practically everything – from religious training to agriculture and mining projects.

In December 2016, the King concluded the second leg of a nearly two-month, six-country Africa tour, resulting in some 50 bilateral agreements. The visits came on the heels of trips to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Senegal in October, when more than 40 bilateral agreements were signed.

This is how the monarch wound up his whirlwind tour of Africa prior to the AU Summit meeting in January 2017. For those who say the royal expeditions to African countries had altruistic motive, suffice it to quote his official who said:

“Aside from west and central Africa we must open up to east Africa and that is what is under way. The context of Morocco's return to the African Union is there too of course, and these are important countries in the AU.”

The tour of east Africa “is also a way to get closer to countries which historically had positions which were hostile to Morocco's interests,” said the Moroccan source.

In some circles it is argued that Morocco's readmission was a ‘positive’ step in that, as full member of the AU, it will now have to recognize the independence and sovereignty of SADR. If that is so then the readmission should have been conditional.

In any case, Morocco has no intention to give in on its occupation. Its return to the union is intended to eventually push for the removal of Western Sahara out of the AU, thus silencing the voice of the Sahrawi people in connivance with ‘friendly’ member states.

Yet while the AU fails to stand by such principles, the kingdom of Morocco is under pressure in the international diplomatic arena where Polisario is gaining global support. In fact, on 21 December 2016, a few days before the Addis Ababa Summit, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed Morocco's claim to Western Sahara. The ruling means the European Union's trade deals with Morocco do not apply to the occupied territory of Western Sahara which is endowed with its fish stocks, mineral deposits, agricultural produce and oil reserves.

The UN and the European Union

The ECJ ruled that Western Sahara cannot be treated as a part of Morocco, meaning no EU-Morocco trade deals can apply to the territory. The ruling confirms the long-established legal status of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and upholds existing international law. The EU member states and institutions have been asked to comply with the ruling and immediately cease all agreements, funding and projects reinforcing Morocco's illegal occupation of Western Sahara.

The Court also ruled that a trade deal between the EU and Morocco should be scrapped because it included products from Western Sahara. Morocco had to accept that any free trade deal would have to exclude Western Sahara. This includes the fruits and vegetables grown by companies such as Les Domaines Agricoles, which is partly owned by King Mohammed VI.

On top of this there have been more than 100 UN resolutions calling for self-determination for the Western Sahara. In March 2016, the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in Western Sahara as an “occupation.” The UN, however, has to go beyond rhetoric by enforcing its resolutions. It formally recognizes the occupation of Western Sahara as illegal, and has maintained a peacekeeping mission (MINURSO) commissioned to hold a referendum in Sahara since 1991. But it has a skeleton staff, with no mandate to even monitor human rights abuses, thanks to France's Security Council veto.

And so the French oil company Total is active in Western Sahara, while others have pulled out. Also big investors such as the Norwegian government's pension fund avoid any deals which involve Western Sahara. And the EFTA free trade association, a group of non-EU countries including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, excludes Western Sahara goods from its free trade deal with Morocco.

Morocco's return to the AU is an affront not only to the people of Western Sahara but to African people, for Morocco is a country that once refused to host the African Cup of Nations on flimsy grounds that Moroccans would be infected by African teams bringing in Ebola virus.

Some African heads claim that the admission of Morocco will now resolve the question of Western Sahara's occupation. Such argument is always pushed with some foreign machination. In fact Morocco is now emboldened. That is why those who voted for readmission of Morocco should have demanded an end to the illegal occupation as a precondition.

That did not happen at the AU Summit meeting in Addis Ababa. Instead we see the AU blatantly violating its own Constitutive Act, and the principle for African countries to respect each other's territorial boundaries.

We witness a violation of both the AU and the UN declarations on the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to independence and self-determination.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Sahrawi people are disenfranchized. It is estimated that up to 200,000 have fled to refugee camps in the neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania. They are separated by a 2,700km-long wall going through Western Sahara, surrounded by landmines.

north africa / history of anarchism / opinion / analysis Friday June 12, 2015 20:16 byLeonardo Bettini

English translation of the overview of early Italian anarchists in Egypt, from Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976), translation by Nestor McNab. Via Lucien van der Walt. Lucien van der Walt note: This is NOT a history of anarchism in Egypt as a whole, least of all of its important impact on the Arabic-speaking and Greek population, which can be found in work by writers like Tony Gorman. Nonetheless it is valuable, and not previously widely available in English. Worth noting for contemporary reflection is the destructive role of I. Parrini's [aka "Un vecchio” aka L'Orso /"the Bear"],"anti-organizationalism in disorienting the movement in the late 1800s. This was overcome in the 1900s, a period of great advance for the movement in the country. There is also much of interest, even if incomplete, on the role in the unions and popular education, although it grossly underestimates the successes, especially among the indigenous.

Notes towards a history of Italian anarchism in Egypt
BY: Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976)

The history of Italian anarchism in Egypt has its origins in the Internationalist age with the arrival in Ottoman territory of groups of refugees fleeing the repression that had followed the Bakuninist uprisings in Italy in 1874. In his later recollections, the Livornese, Icilio Ugo Parrini[1] , nonetheless insisted on underlining the existence, if not of a “movement”, at least of a small Internationalist faction which had formed previously and autonomously among the Italians of Alexandria; he also claimed the merit of converting to the new ideas of social emancipation, and removing them from republican circles, that small group of pioneers who would later make up the core of the “Alexandria Branch” of the IWMA. Although it is difficult to ascertain the truth of this information today, it is possible that in reality the echo of the insurrectional events in Italy at the time, and the tactic promoted by Luigi Castellazzo and other republicans, of “flirting with the notion of temporary alliance with the anarchists to further their plans for the overthrow of the monarchy” [2] , had sparked off lively debates among the Mazzinians in Egypt and, indeed, pushed some republican elements into the Internationalist area.

Howsoever, already in April 1876 we find a “Branch” of the International operating in Alexandria, around which were gathered people like Carlo Bertolucci [3], Leoncini, Boteghi, Giovanni Urban, Giuseppe Messina, Giacomo Costa from Imola and Parrini himself. Several months later, in February 1877, the Alexandria circle set up its own official newspaper, “Il Lavoratore”, publication of which then continued, clandestinely and under other names, despite the Italian consular authorities who had requested and obtained a ban on it; and in April of the same year it announced its participation at the “Universal Socialist Congress” in Ghent, delegating Andrea Costa to represent it [4] .

There was also promising news in this period on the expansion of the International in Ottoman territory and the creation in various places of new nuclei and branches [5] . The repression in Italy which followed the failed insurrections in the Benevento area also resulted in a new exodus of Internationalists to the Khedivate. Towards the end of 1878, those arriving included Guglielmo Sbigoli, Luigi Alvino and even Malatesta, who set up house in Alexandria and found a job as a clerk. His stay in the town, though, was brief. When news of Passanante’s attack on the life of Humbert I (17 November 1878) arrived, Egypt’s monarchist circles held a series of noisy demonstrations demanding vigorous measures against the Internationalists[6]. These demands by the reactionaries were promptly acted upon by the Ottoman authorities, who got rid of the best-known exponents of Italo-Egyptian subversivism by means of a completely arbitrary, hurried procedure. Malatesta – who was obviously among the first to be affected by the repressive manoeuvre – was forced onto a steamer headed for Syria and was effectively abandoned without any means for survival at the port of Beirut; other Internationalists too met with a not dissimilar fate, including Parrini, who ended up wandering from one place to another around the eastern Mediterranean for a year before being able to set foot in Egypt again in 1880.

The diaspora must have provoked, if not paralysis, at least a serious slowing down of the process of maturation and expansion of the nascent anarchist movement, to the extent that upon his return to Alexandria, Parrini found it split into “factions” and “decuries”[7], divided (he says) “not on questions of ideas or form, but for personal reasons and perhaps regional questions”.

Some patient reconstruction and reorganization thus had to be started in the early 1880s. This was to have its culminating moments, again according to Parrini’s later recollections in:
a) the unification (into a Federation?) of the groups that had come back to life in Egypt, and approved “after long, laborious discussions”, during a meeting attended by about a hundred anarchists of all tendencies in Sidi Gaber ”in early 1881” [8];
b) the founding of a clandestine printing press, decided at the same meeting[9] , and of a “Circolo Europeo di Studi Sociali” (European Social Studies Club), open to “all those who wished to study the social question”;
c) the return to Egypt of E. Malatesta, accompanied by Cesare Ceccarelli, Caetano Marocco and Apostolo Paolides, seeking armed participation in the Orabi Revolt of the summer of 1882.

The return to Europe in the last months of ’82 and early ’83 of the best-qualified elements and the splits created within the movement following Costa’s “change of heart”, eventually led to a new paralysis in anarchist activity, at least in Alexandria. The work of accelerating this process was facilitated by the Italian government, which had requested and “obtained the ability to arrest and extradite from the territory of the Ottoman Empire and its dependencies” subversives for whom arrest warrants had been issued [10]. Thus, Egypt was no longer a safe haven for political refugees; those who were already exiled there preferred to get out, thus thinning the ranks of the movement there even more noticeably. Among these were the Internationalist Florido Matteucci, who had come to Alexandria in the spring of 1881 together with O. Falleri, but who left after only a few months in Ottoman territory as a result of the new measures.

Directly influenced by the new nihilistic conceptions of anarchism that had been developed in Switzerland since the late ‘80s by Emilio Covelli and Carlo Cafiero, and had rapidly reached Egypt, the Alexandria group increasingly tended to move towards individualist positions with a strong hint of illegalism[11] ; and after 1890, in particular after the return of I. Parrini to Egypt after a nine-year absence, it effectively exhausted itself in a continual series of polemics against all the organized currents in the movement.

In Cairo, on the other hand, where the penetration of Internationalist ideas dated from somewhat more recent times[12] , the anarchist movement would seem to have maintained a certain consistency for some years to come. In the spring of 1883, we know that there was a group active there which was enlivened by the presence of Giuseppe Baldini from Siena (an ex- colonel from Garibaldi’s army), Oreste Falleri, Cesare Pichi and Giuseppe Mattei[13]. Two years later, we find the Cairo anarchist branches gathered into a single Federation – whose secretary was the Florentine Internationalist, Gaetano Grassi – which had joined the resurrected IWMA. In confirmation of their anti-legalitarian, revolutionary line, during a meeting held on the evening of 23 May 1885, Cairo’s anarchists also passed a motion in which they condemned without reticence Costa’s “deception” and appealed for the greatest intransigence against the legalitarian socialists: “Now the deception is clear to see; the political socialists and their press are the plague that affects and rots the party of Social Revolution. We need to disinfect it!”[14] .

The absence of information after this period leads us to suppose that in the capital, too, all manifestations of anarchism disappeared, at least from the end of the ‘80s. To see any concrete signs of new libertarian activity in Egypt, one must wait until the early years of the new century. The repression under Crispi[15] and then under Pelloux[16] led many subversives to seek refuge in the Khedivate; thus from the very end of the last decade of the century, the Italo-Egyptian anarchist movement could count on an undoubtedly considerable numerical force, as well as the qualified presence of some of the most noted revolutionaries. In 1894, one of the first to arrive was Francesco Cini from Livorno, who had escaped confinement; in his wake there followed (just to name some of the better known) the Internationalist Pietro Vasai from Florence, who would go on to become the inspiration and main promoter of all the main libertarian initiatives in Egypt until the outbreak of World War I[17] , and in early 1900 Luigi Galleani, who remained until mid-1891, participating actively in the local movement.

Every attempt to make inroads into local workers’ circles, however, was to prove fruitless. Somewhat lacking from the organizational point of view [18] and with no united programmatic basis, the Italian libertarians in Egypt were unable to carry out any political activity that suited the demands of an environment that was, obviously, quite different to the European situation and indeed revealed itself to be extremely averse to welcoming the new revolutionary ideas. Indeed, as R. D’Angiò wrote in 1905, “The Egyptian working class has consistently, nay stubbornly kept its distance from the anarchists, both because life is relatively better in Egypt than elsewhere and because anarchist ideas really frighten them, and indeed for reasons of climate and oriental customs”[19] .

There were nonetheless numerous initiatives of a social and trade-union nature taken by anarchists in those years, in the hope of attracting the indigenous proletariat and reclaiming it politically: from the founding of the Università Popolare Libera (Free Popular University)[20] in Alexandria in 1901, to the creation of “Servizi sanitari d’urgenza” (Emergency health services)[21] , to the various attempts, particularly by P. Vasai and R. D’Angiò, to organize workers’ “Resistance Leagues” along the lines of those in Europe . As part of this intense activity, there was also the founding of the “anarcho-syndicalist” newssheet, “L’Operaio” in 1902, whose publication provoked a hornets’ nest of polemics and the quite intransigent opposition of some individualists and in particular I. U. Parrini, who from Cairo where he had moved in the meantime, launched his anathema against the “deviationist” direction the Alexandrian paper was taking from the pages of “Il Domani”.

The disagreements and polemics which saw these two different methods of revolutionary struggle come to a violent head-to-head, contributed in no small way to rendering the propaganda work sterile and hampering the political penetration of progressive ideas into the working class. An Egyptian tour by Pietro Gori (Feb.-Mar. 1904), who had been asked to hold a series of conferences by the Alexandrian anarchists and who had no intention of “throwing away the fruit of the work they had done to instil libertarian ideas into the minds of the workers”[23] , does not seem to have had any appreciable results as far as propaganda was concerned, and if anything provided a motive for rekindling old sectarian conflicts. (On that occasion, Parrini wrote[24] : “It was in Egypt that, 22 years ago, Malatesta lay the basis for the resurrection of the International, so I would not be surprised if Gori were to lay the foundation for the anti-parliamentarian socialist party”).

There followed a new phase of stagnation which would become particularly noticeable after the departure of R. D’Angiò from Egypt (1905) and the death of Parrini (1906), the two greatest polemicists, but undoubtedly among the most committed activists. There were, however, evident symptoms of a recovery around 1909. In that year dispatches from the Italian authorities in the Khedivate to the Ministry of the Interior reported the presence of anarchists in various secular initiatives, amongst which the “free thinkers’ branch”, set up in Alexandria by Umberto Bambini which – according to a report dated 10 August 1909 by the Royal Diplomatic Agent in Cairo – already had “over 200 members and promised to become a very important centre for anarchist propaganda”[25] ; another particularly significant fact was the joint participation (with socialists) of Cairo’s anarchists in the creation of the “Federazione internazionale di resistenza fra gli operai” (International Federation for Resistance Among Workers)[26].

The need to prepare the ground for an agreement on a programme among Italian anarchists in Egypt and to discuss “the questions that are of greatest interest in this country in order to set out the standards for propaganda that is consistent with libertarian aspirations but also effective and practical enough to interest the workers, both intellectual and manual” eventually resulted in the calling of a National Convention, that was held on 1 August 1909 in Alexandria at the premises of the “Atheist Club”. A delegation of anarchists from Cairo – the promoters of the initiative – was present in the persons of Gaetano Nocchi, Alfredo Albano, Camillo Brigido[27], Cesare Franceschetti, Cesare Sacchi, Pietro Vasai, Luigi Ferdinando Paratocci and Giovanni Brunello.

The Cairo groups presented six discussion points for the agenda: relations with other parties; the tactics to adopt for “effective, practical propaganda”; possible participation of anarchists in political and economic associations or in the creation of workers’ organizations and resistence leagues; which ideas active propaganda should concentrate on; and lastly, press – the motions approved “with near unanimity” by those in attendance agreed that: 1) anarchists should consider “as enemy or adversarial parties those that accept dogmatism or are confessional; also those that oppose non-recognition of the need for social transformation by means of constant struggle against every obstacle placed in the way of our goal which is the abolition of all private property and the authority of the State”; 2) anarchists must adopt “all those means of propaganda that can contribute to the goodness, beauty and practicality of the anarchist ideal to those unaware of it, and thus: oral and written propaganda; propaganda through newspapers, pamphlets, readings, opposition conferences, travelling libraries; the promotion of rational education for children of both sexes; development of the Popular Universities; individual or collective intervention in protests of a moral, economic and social nature, active participation in all struggles between capital and labour, and lastly the observance of coherence between ideas and actions in our public and private lives, which can attract the sympathies of the people to anarchists”; 3) “The anarchist as an individual can participate in any association – provided it is non-.confessional – that does not damage individual liberty and the dignity of the anarchist ideal”; 4) if the workers’ organization is held to be “useful and effective”, anarchists “may join resistance leagues, syndicates or other already-existing equivalent societies and, if possible, encourage workers to form new ones”; 5) “The ideas that anarchists residing here must support with practical propaganda in daily life” are those which emerge from the Convention; whereas “as far as philosophical ideas are concerned, they have complete freedom of intellectual activity”; 6) it being universally agreed that a propaganda tool was required, publication of a fortnightly periodical was approved, to be called “L’Idea” and distributed free[28].

The drive for reconstruction that was set off as a result of the agreements at the Alexandria convention must have been, however, short-lived if only four years later the editors of the “Libera Tribuna” noted bitterly that “disagreements and intestine battles, the plague with which Italian anarchist elements especially are infected, also produce the same deleterious effect here. No work can be started without there first arising the usual questions of disagreements that paralyze the enthusiasm of those who are willing to act … And as if that were not enough, if the disagreements are overcome thanks to the goodwill of those with good intentions, the intestine war reappears like the poison of jealousy in such a way that it suffocates all energy, and leads people to give up rather than respond with the same arms … It is not the blows of the reaction that condemn us to inaction, but the obstinacy and bad faith that lies hidden amongst us ourselves”[29].

However, it was thanks to the patient, tenacious work of reorganization carried on by P. Vasai in those years that the production of the periodical “L’Unione” was made possible, the last concrete manifestation of militant activity among Italian anarchists in Egypt, though this too would be reduced to silence shortly afterwards as a result of the outbreak of World War I.

Stricken by tuberculosis and by now in a precarious state of health, Vasai was forced to return to Italy in June 1916 and dies there on 11 December of the same year. It was the end of the last propagandist capable of giving fresh impetus, once the conflagration had ended, to anarchist activity in Egypt. Instead, there seem to be no more signs of a recovery.

* * *

The documentary evidence is discontinuous and fragmentary – though more careful research in Egypt might be quite useful – and unfortunately prevents us from following the development of Italo-Egyptian anarchism in a uniform fashion. Any historical and political assessment, at least on the basis of these brief notes, would be somewhat haphazard as many points remain to be clarified. Little is known, for example, of the extent of the reciprocal influence and interaction with Levantine subversives (prevalently Greco-Illyrian) present in the two Egyptian cities, whose activities were more often than not carried out in conjunction with the Italians’; and above all there is no evidence regarding any connections or relations with local Masonic circles, which I have reason to suspect were deeper and longer-lasting than a cursory glance at the documentary evidence of Italo-Egyptian anarchism would lead one to suppose.

The influence exercised by the movement on the indigenous proletariat was in any case certainly negligible, if not non-existent [see comment in introduction -- LvdW], although it must be said that, particularly in certain periods, there were several serious attempts to begin a dialectic relationship with the local working class. The vigorous opposition of the individualists to this sort of initiative on the one hand and, on the other, the marked diffidence of the Arabic-speaking population towards any kind of product imported from Europe, even of a cultural nature, contributed in no small way to neutralizing every attempt to penetrate the Egyptian proletarian classes politically.

[1] See “Un Vecchio” [I. U. Parrini], L’Anarchismo in Egitto, in “La Protesta Umana” (San Francisco, CA), a. II, No. 36 (21 Nov. 1903) and following, some extracts of which are included below among the documents. On I. U. Parrini (1850-1906), see the dedication to him by L. Galleani on the occasion of his death, in “Cronaca Sovversiva” (Barre, VT) of 10 Feb. 1906 (now in Figure e figuri, Newark NJ, 1930, p. 46-47); also the brief portrait of him by the writer Enrico Pea in the book of memoirs Vita in Egitto (Milan 1949), p. 76. On Parrini’s father, Enrico, a patriot and insurrectionalist from Livorno, active in his home town during the events of 1848, see the moving obituary published in “La Questione Sociale” (Florence) of 7 Oct. 1888.
[2] See R. HOSTETTER, Le origini del socialismo italiano, Milan 1963, p. 489 [Translation from the English: RICHARD HOSTETTER, The Italian Socialist Movement. I: Origins (1860-1882), Princeton NJ, 1958, p. 335].
[3] On C. Bertolucci, see the obituari in “Il Domani” (Cairo), No. 6 of 20 Jul. 1903.
[4] See “Il Risveglio” (Siena), a. V, No. 16, of 22 Apr. 1877 in the column Nostre corrispondenze (letter from I. U. P[arrini]. from Alexandria, Egypt, dated 12 Apr.). The members of the Club also asked the Congress to decide on the “following question: the constitution of a federal office from which socialism can be propagandized to Oriental regions, by means of pamphlets in Italian, Illyrian [Serbo-Croatian], Greek, Turkish and Arabic. The costs should be borne through monthly contributions from the various International societies of Africa. This proposal is supported by the Cairo branch and the Greek Federation”.
[5] See “Il Risveglio” (Siena), a. V, No. 8 of 25 Feb. 1877, in the column Bullettino dell’operaio: “A branch has been set up in Port Said. Work is under way in Ismailia to create a nucleus. A female branch is under construction in Cairo”.
[6] See LUIGI FABBRI, Malatesta, Puebla, Mexico 1967, p. 118-19.
[7] Translator’s note: In Roman times, a decuria was a group of ten soldiers commanded by one of them. The cavalry, for example, was subdivided into decuriae.
[8] That the expression “merge” used in Parrini’s text meant in effect “constitution of a Federation of groups” seems reasonable to deduce from comparison with a passage from Nettlau, where it says that in that very year (1881), the “Federation … of Internationalists of Constantinople and Egypt (which meant groups formed among the many Italians whom emigration or exile scattered in the last)” delegated Malatesta to represent it at the London Congress. See M. NETTLAU, Errico Malatesta, New York, undated [1922], p. 193 [In Italian. An abridged edition of this book was published by the Jewish Anarchist Federation: Errico Malatesta: the biography of an anarchist: a condensed sketch of Malatesta from the book written by Max Nettlau, New York 1924]. The close relations between the Egyptian groups and those in Constantinople are also explained when one knows that the latter appeared as a result of propaganda carried out in the Turkish metropolis around 1879 and in early 1880 by I. U. Parrini, who returned to Alexandria shortly thereafter. In 1881, the Constantinople Federation of the IWMA already seems to have had around seventy members. See “Il Grido del Popolo” (Naples), a. II, No. 13 (20 Jan. 1881), in the column Notizie estere.
[9] The print works, set up “on the first floor of a house at the end of the Midan” in Alexandria, is believed to have had a “short, precarious” life. Initially run by O. Falleri, it ceased to function in all probability around mid-1882, after being used only to publish some manifestoes. This Alexandrian press also probably published the manifesto Decimo anniversario della Comune di Parigi. Parole di un Socialista Italiano (Tenth anniversary of the Paris Commune. Memories of an Italian Socialist), the full text of which is reproduced in “Il Grido del Popolo” (Naples) of 24 Apr. 1881; it seems that the plan to print C. Cafiero’s Rivoluzione, a manuscript copy of which was apparently available, brought perhaps by Matteucci, was never brought to completion. See P. C. MASINI, Presentazione to Dossier Cafiero, Bergamo, Bibl. “Max Nettlau” editrice, 1972, p. 7 and following.
[10] See “I Malfattori” (Geneva) of 28 May and 23 Jun. 1881.
[11] In this regard, see the motion in defence of anarchist expropriation, signed by numerous members of the “I Pezzenti” group from Alexandria (active since at least 1888; see “La Questione Sociale” (Florence) of 15 Jul. 1888, in the column Comunicati) and published by “L’Associazione” (Nice) of 27 Oct. 1889 (now in P. C. MASINI, Storia degli anarchici italiani da Bakunin a Malatesta, Milan 1969, p. 336-37.
[12] According to Parrini “In the capital of Egypt anarchy was first propagandized by Pasquale Pianigiani, followed by Boteghi, Bertolucci and Messina, who travelled to Cairo from Alexandria”. It is, however, certain that even in early 1878 there was an active “Italian Branch” of the IWMA around which were gathered names like Carlo and Vittorio Bertolucci, Domenico and M. Giaccaglia, Fortunato Botteghi, Achille Vanni, Pietro Rabezzana, Luigi Sani, P. Roux, Carlo Rossi, Giacomo Moime, F. (?) Binchielli, M. Drupollo, G. Pratili, M. Vinchine and F. Santini, whose signatures appear at the foot of a statement published by “La Plebe” (Milan) of 26 Feb. 1878, in which the Cairo Internationalists dissociated themselves from any manifestation of condolence or “rites of any sort, either funereal or civil” for the death of Victor Emmanuel. (The document is now in: La Federazione italiana dell’Associazione Internazionale dei Lavoratori. Atti ufficiali (1871-1880), edited by P. C. Masini, Milan, Avanti!, 1963, p. 289).
[13] See “Ilota” (Pistoia), a. I, No. 11, of 15 Apr. 1883, in the column Nostre corrispondenze.
[14] P. Vasai (1866-1916), milliner and compositor, ex-director (in 1884) of “La Questione Sociale” of Florence, arrived in Egypt at the end of 1897, having been “conditionally acquitted” of the sentence to five years of forced residence [internment], in part served on the islands of Ponza, Favignana and Ventotene. The write E. Pea dedicated a long, affectionate memoir to Vasai, “sick from altruism and consumption”, of uncommon belief and talent, op. cit., p. 138 and following, p. 164 and following.
[15] Translator’s note: Francesco Crispi (1819-1901) was a republican politician and freemason. He was Italian prime minister in 1887-1891 and 1893-1896, Foreign Minister in 1887-1891 and Minister of the Interior in 1877-1878, 1887-1891 and 1893-1896.
[16] Translator’s note: Luigi Pelloux (1839-1924), Italian general who was a conservative prime minister from 1898 to 1900. He also served as a minister in several governments.
[17] See U. FEDELI, Luigi Galleani. Quarant’anni di lotte rivoluzionarie (1891-1931), Cesena 1956, p. 105 and following.
[18] According to R. D’Angiò, “the only organizationalist anarchist in Egypt” left in 1901 was F. Cini from Livorno, at the time living in Alexandria. All the others belonged to individualist or anti-organizationalist currents. See 4 anni in Egitto. Ricordi di Roberto D’Angiò, in “Il Libertario” (La Spezia), a. III, No. 99, of 22 Jun. 1905. The Apulian anarchist R. D’Angiò (1871-1925), author of the “Memoirs”, had arrived in Egypt on a regular passport on 10 Feb. 1901. He stayed in Alexandria for several months and then moved to Cairo (1 Aug. 1901), where he remained until 28 June of the following year, when he returned to Alexandria. In that city he founded the periodicals “L’Operaio” and “Lux!”, with the collaboration of P. Vasai.
[19] R. D’Angiò, op. cit., in “Il Libertario” (La Spezia), a. III, No. 102, of 14 Sep. 1905. With greater insight, E. Insabato saw the causes of this impermeability to the new social emancipation doctrines in frustrated Arab nationalism and the resulting diffidence of Arabic-speaking peoples towards any cultural product imported from Europe: “ […] It is necessary to have the Arabs understand the struggle against capital. For them the irresponsible anonymous capital is the European one: thus the wars in Yemen and Morocco; but they are only half-right. The day they find out that capitalists are only a tiny part of the European population, they will give the right form to their hatred” (E. Insabato, Le idée avanzate in Egitto, in “Lux!” (Alexandria), a. I, No. 3, of 16 Jul. 1903).
[20] This institution was founded principally on the initiative of P. Vasai and Luigi Galleani, who indeed wrote its Statutes. It had a long, florid life and was able to win the support of Alexandrian intellectuals, who materially guaranteed its survival. Initially situated in Mahmoud Pasha el Falaki Street in Alexandria, it was able to move to a more central location shortly thereafter, in Sidi el Metwalli Street, on the ground floor of a building that had previously been the French Consulate. The poet Giuseppe Ungaretti – who had not yet found fame in the literary world – almost certainly participated in the institution’s activities, as it was in those years that he “engaged in heated disputes with anarchists and atheists” in Alexandria and frequented “the famous Baracca Rossa [Red House] in Hammam El Zahab Street, the infamous cove of subversives and the excommunicated that gathered there from every corner of the globe with their rebellious plans against society and God” (E. PEA, op. cit., p. 212). The initiative of setting up a Popular University was also attempted in Cairo, but with little success.
[21] Created in 1902 after a cholera epidemic. See “Lux!”, cit., of 16 Aug. 1903, p. 79. Among its promoters was the anarchist F. Cini.
[22] See R. D’Angiò, op. cit., in “Il Libertario” (La Spezia), a. III, No. 114 of 19 Oct. 1905: “[…] In Alexandria, the typographers, lithographers, bookbinders and all the workers who carried out related trades, were organized in a resistance league. It was the first association of its kind to exist in Alexandria, as all the others were based on mutual aid and were of no importance other than for the parties they threw. In that Association, Vasai often held conferences, which won him great admiration among the workers.”
[23] See “Il Libertario” (La Spezia), a. III, No. 31 (18 Feb. 1904), in the column Lettere dall’estero: letter from “Nemo” in Alexandria, dated 4 Feb. 1904.
[24] Ibid., a. II, No. 33 (3 Mar. 1904): letter from Cairo dated 27 Feb. 1904.
[25] ACSR: Ministero dell’Interno. Direzione generale di P. S. Ufficio riservato (1879-1912), b. 16 B, fasc. 50, sottofasc. 13.
[26] ACRS: 1. cit.: Report dated 3 Aug. 1909 by the Royal Diplomatic Agent in Cairo to the Minster of the Interior.
[27] C. Brigido, an old comrade-in-arms of G. Ciancabilla at the Battle of Domokos, became an anarchist thanks to the direct influence of his old brother in arms around early 1898. His conversion was communicated by means of a letter from Cairo dated 1 February 1898 addressed to “L’Agitazione” (Ancona), which published it in the 11 February 1898 edition under the title Progredendo.
[28] See the resolutions of the Alexandria convention, published in a flyer (dated: Cairo, 15 Aug. 1909) entitled Perché siamo Anarchici – Che cosa vogliamo (Why we are anarchists – What we want).
[29] See “Libera Tribuna” (Cairo), No. 1 (18 Mar. 1913) in the column Movimento Anarchico.

África del norte / represión / presos / other libertarian press Monday January 12, 2015 03:54 byFuerteventura Limpia

Una plataforma contra la tortura y en defensa de los derechos humanos recoge en un informe anual casos de brutalidad policial en Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife y Gran Canaria.

Desde los Cabildos, Ayuntamientos, y en especial desde la Delegación de Gobierno, no se condena abierta y públicamente la violencia en las comisarías. El trabajo de los compañeros de la Coordinadora para la Prevención de la Tortura – presentado ante diferentes medios de comunicación –, recopila los siguientes casos de maltrato policial en Canarias:

■ 10 de febrero de 2013 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

En marzo de 2013, diez agentes de la Policía Autonómica Canaria fueron detenidos por agentes de la Guardia Civil acusados de la detención ilegal de una persona durante los carnavales de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, y puestos a disposición del Juzgado de Instrucción nº 3 de las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

■ 12 de febrero de 2013 – Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Una juez, destinada en un juzgado de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, denunció en los juzgados haber sido agredida por un agente de UNIPOL (Unidad de Intervención de la Policía Local) de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, durante los carnavales de 2013.

■ 12 de febrero de 2013 – Arrecife (Lanzarote)

Un joven de 25 años de edad, denunció haber sido agredido por tres agentes del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía durante los carnavales de Arrecife. Según su denuncia, en la mañana del 12 de febrero de 2013, cuando se encontraba cerca del Parque Ramírez Cerdá, comentó con un amigo lo ocurrido la noche anterior y, en voz alta, dijo «los nacionales deberían escuchar más y pegar menos».

■ 22 de febrero de 2013 – Corralejo (Fuerteventura)

En junio de 2013, fue detenido e imputado por el 'caso Botavara' el ex jefe de Extranjería del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía de Puerto del Rosario (Fuerteventura). Después de que varios testigos denunciaran ser objeto de coacciones y amenazas por parte de familiares de algunos de los detenidos.

■ 9 de julio de 2013 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Cuatro personas, de edades comprendidas entre los 23 y los 47 años de edad denunciaron haber sido agredidos por agentes del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía el 9 de julio de 2013.

Estas cuatro personas denunciaron haber recibido patadas y pisotones cuando estaban ya inmovilizados, tirados en el suelo, con las botas de los agentes en sus cuellos, y en un caso quedaron registradas hasta nueve marcas de porra en su espalda.

■ 11 de agosto de 2013 – Agaete (Gran Canaria)

D.R.M. denunció haber sido agredida por un agente de la Policía Municipal de la localidad grancanaria de Agaete el 11 de agosto de 2013. Según la denuncia presentada, D.R.M, acompañada de un grupo de amigos, paseaba por las calles del Puerto de las Nieves participando en la Fiesta de la Rama en el municipio porteño, llevando la bandera canaria de las «siete estrellas verdes».

■ 28 de junio de 2013 – La Oliva (Fuerteventura)

Detenido, en junio de 2013, un agente de la Policía Local de La Oliva (Fuerteventura) bajo la acusación de amenazar a dos testigos en la investigación (R.J.S.R. y L.L.S.S.) sobre agentes de la Policía Autonómica Canaria, que habían sido detenidos, el 10 de febrero.

■ 16 de septiembre de 2013 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Un joven de 17 años, denunció haber sido agredido en los calabozos de la comisaría de la Policía Nacional el 16 de septiembre de 2013, tras ser detenido en el barrio de Las Rehoyas de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
north africa / history of anarchism / other libertarian press Thursday January 08, 2015 15:28 byI. U. Parrini

NOTE by Lucien van der Walt: English translation by Nestor McNab of three parts of the historical memoirs of I. U. Parrini – one of the initiators of the anarchist movement in Italy and Egypt, from the days of the First International – which were published in Italian in “La Protesta Umana” of San Francisco, nos. 36, 38 and 40 (21 Nov. and 26 Dec. 1903, and 9 Jan. 1904 respectively). This material is provided for purposes of historical recovery: it must be noted that Parrini was (according to Tony Gorman's 2010 overview of Egyptian anarchism) a "staunch anti-organisationalist, ... notorious for his uncompromising style and ... a persistent obstacle to greater cooperation among anarchists. Not until after his death in 1906 was a national program of action agreed which provided a solid basis for collaboration within the Egyptian movement." His current was in constant conflict with the growing, eventually ascendant, anarcho-syndicalists. Nonetheless, these memoirs -- despite their polemical quality and imbalances -- are a valuable testimony, deserving of wider circulation, not least for their insider view, from the perspective of one current in the movement.

The material is sourced from Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976), translation by Nestor McNab. Via Lucien van der Walt.

[Memoirs of Early] Anarchism in Egypt
by “Un vecchio” [I. U. Parrini]
In “La Protesta Umana” (San Francisco, CA), a. II, No. 36 (21 November 1903) and following [1]

During the Paris Commune, we find L’Orso [“the Bear”, i.e. I. U. Parrini] in Alexandria, Egypt. He read the democratic newspapers which were carrying on quite a wonderful campaign in support of Garibaldi, against the insults and lies directed against the Commune and the International by Giuseppe Mazzini.

Without doubt, right from 1871 one could see in Egypt the propaganda carried out by L’Orso against property and the family in support of freedom. However, the concept of liberty was not well explained or well defined: it consisted of an aspiration for a future society where men would mass together, feel solidarity with each other and thus form a single family. It was perhaps the circulation of a principle with utopian forms supported by a great deal of poetry: one could say that it began with a badly demonstrated truth.

L’Orso was alone, isolated, working only with his own mind: he thus remained behind in the ideas that were being widely developed in Europe.

The constant propaganda every day, every minute, little by little brought about if not a consciousness, then at least a doubt about property and Mazzinianism in the minds of three young workers who would later, as we shall see, form part of an anarchist group together with L’Orso. The names of these three young men were Carlo Bertolucci, Leoncini and Boteghi.

From 1871 to 1875 nothing worthy of attention took place. The movement was reborn after that period, when L’Orso returned from Italy. He joined the Mazzinian Pensiero ed Azione club, solely in order to carry out socialist propaganda. He was soon afterwards nominated president in place of the late Ottolenghi. One of the first proposals he made was to make a donation for the benefit of the Internationalists who had been tried in Rome. This sum was sent to comrade Luigi Castellazzo who, though a member of the Masonic Order, was nonetheless a fine anarchist theoretician and “sharpshooter”, as he called himself. An account of the donation was published in the newspaper “La Capitale” belonging to Raffaello [sic] Sonzogno, who was assassinated shortly thereafter by a fanatic patriot, stirred into action by the words of the parliamentarian Luciani. The first donation was followed by a second, for Amilcare Cipriani, whom L’Orso believed to have repented for the killing of poor Lantini – and L’Orso was wrong. At the time the donation was made, Cipriani was in New Caledonia.

Before the end of 1875, L’Orso proposed that the Club change its programme, making it international and socialist. This proposal was rejected: it was, however, supported by Giovanni Urban and Giuseppe Messina. They and L’Orso then left and set up the first International group.

Also towards the end of 1875, several fugitives from the Marches arrived from Italy after the repression of the Bakuninist uprisings. These Marches men, together with the Tuscans Bertolucci, Leoncini and Boteghi and another from Romagna, joined together to form another International group.

L’Orso and his comrades were unaware of the existence of this group until early 1875 [recte: 1876]. Once they had learnt of it, they joined and all together they founded a branch of the International in April of that year.

From that moment propaganda took off with greater force and activity, the number of members grew and a great will to act began to be seen!

In the same year (1876) L’Orso, Giuseppe Messina and Giacomo Costa from Imola published first the newspaper “Il Lavoratore”, which was banned by the authorities after three issues, and then, having acquired some movable type, “Il Proletario”, which was printed on one side only. The original feature of these two little papers was that none of the three editors knew, one could say, how to write: for this reason, from the linguistic and grammatical point of view, these publications left much to be desired, however good their content was.

In the meantime, the propaganda was fruitful; ideas circulated more easily once they were better developed. This was the situation until 1878, when Errico Malatesta, Guglielmo Sbigoli and Alvino arrived from Italy. It was something new and provided great hope; but the Consulate of Italy began to persecute everyone, previous residents and newcomers alike. Malatesta, Alvino and L’Orso were deported: the first two were sent to Beirut in Syria, while the latter was sent to Piraeus in Greece.

L’Orso returned to Egypt a month later, but was arrested while still on board and deported again. Two days after his arrival he set off for Larnaca in Cyprus, leaving a slap on the face of a janissary. From there he moved to Beirut, where he accompanied as interpreter a charlatan magnetizer and magician. Together they travelled the entire Asiatic coast as far as Constantinople. In that city he found Giacomo Costa, who had arrived there from Italy, and L’Orso joined him to carry out propaganda of ideas. Some anarchist groups were formed, though they had an apathetic life and lasted for only a year and a half.

Back in Alexandria the Consul we mentioned earlier had gone and another had taken his place. It was 1880. L’Orso returned with difficulty. The anarchist element had doubled: the problem was, however, that it was divided into two factions – not on questions of ideas or form, but on personal, perhaps regional, questions. One faction was captained by Luigi Palanca; the other was subdivided into decuries and appeared to be quite authoritarian in its form.

At the start of 1881, all the anarchists – around a hundred – held a festival [2] in the countryside, at Sidi Gaber. At the end of the festival a proposal was made for the two groups to merge. After a long, laborious debate the proposal ended up being approved. The splits thus ended; but later, as we shall see, they began again because all artificial organizations are prone to disagreements, arguments and real disorder, whereas the opposite is true in the natural organization, which alone can give life to free discussion, the creator of social harmony. That same day L’Orso proposed that a clandestine print works be set up, with each being obliged to pay only five francs each time. All accepted and in a few days the money was gathered together to buy a press and movable type. With the essentials bought, the print works was housed on the first floor of a house at the end of the Midan.

Around the same time a Circolo Europeo di Studi Sociali (European Club for Social Studies) was established in which, aside from anarchists, all those who wished to study the social question could participate. The members of a Masonic lodge also participated, for two conferences given there by L’Orso with the assistance of Allerini from Corsica, who is now a prefect in Tonkin, as far as I know.
On 14 July 1881 the Club hosted a public conference by comrade Florindo Matteucci, who ended up as a freemason in Buenos Aires. After the conference the anarchists headed for Place des Consuls with their flags and revolvers as there had been a rumour that some Italians wanted to set about the French, given that some days beforehand the French had beaten some Italians in Marseilles. The rumour was unfounded: the Italians remained calm – the French, too. The anarchists’ aim was to prevent one people going against another, by force if necessary. With all being calm, the anarchists ended up holding an anarchist demonstration under the windows of the French Consulate, cursing Thiers, Mac-Mahon and Gambetta, interspersed with cries of “Long live the Social Revolution! Long live the Commune! Long live Anarchy!”.

The numerous policemen and consular janissaries who were gathered in a group on the square, let them be as they saw that the anarchists were quite firm in their resolve. The next morning, L’Orso was arrested at his house; after two hours he was freed conditionally – freedom that he still enjoys [3].

The anarchist movement also existed in Cairo, though it was weak. In the capital of Egypt anarchy was first propagandized by Pasquale Pianigiani, followed by Boteghi, Bertolucci and Messina, who travelled to Cairo from Alexandria. Thus the movement was kept alive by everyone together, with all helping each other whenever it was decided to do something in one of the two cities.
The clandestine print works in Alexandria had a short, precarious life. It was entrusted to L’Orso and Matteucci, who printed several manifestoes that were sent to Italy and also began to publish Carlo Cafiero’s Revolution – a fine book, the first part of which alone saw the light of day in the pages of “La Révolution sociale” in Paris in 1887 [recte: 1881].

As a result of Andrea Costa’s volte-face, which L’Orso was the first to fight with a letter to comrade Arturo Ceretti and soon afterwards with a letter to Costa himself and then article to the newspapers, a split appeared: the majority, led by Palanca, Falleri and Cesare Pichi, supported Costa; the minority, with a certain Patruno at the head, remained anarchist it is true, but promised little, and those who were a part of it soon became indifferent or ended up as freemasons, as indeed was the case with Patruno.
The print works entrusted to Falleri ceased operations and was lost.

Together with a new element, L’Orso set up the “Passanante” group, the only one that concerned itself really with anarchy.
After the Urabi revolt of 11 June 1882, both the Costans and Patruno’s would-be anarchists left Egypt. There remained only the “Passanante” group made up of L’Orso, his younger brother, Carrara, Messina and a certain Gigetto, whose surname escapes me.
On 11 July of the same year, the English bombarded Alexandria. Soon afterwards the Costans returned to Egypt with renewed energy, declaring themselves to be anarchists once again.

The “Passanante” group set up three other groups, mostly made up of the new element. There were also some comrades who had never been in Egypt; amongst these should be remembered the fine comrade Demetrio Francini from Santa Sofia, in Romagna, who passed away in Paris in 1901 at the age of 60, having always remained active in the anarchist camp.

About a month after the said bombardment, Errico Malatesta, Cesare Ceccarelli, Gaetano Marocco and Apostolo Paolides arrived from Europe with the intention of reaching Urabi Pasha, who was camped in Damanhur. Their aim was to attempt a surprise attack in favour of anarchy.

The presence of military cordons around the city and the continuing skirmishes prevented them and L’Orso from achieving their goal. Many attempts were made to break through the cordons: by sea in an attempt to land at Abukir, by land at Ramleh, and over the Nile. The most dangerous and hazardous was the attempt to cross Lake Mariout, which was dry as a result of the closure of the Mahmoudiyah Canal: but not even this was successful, like the others mentioned – the still-soft mud of the lake forced them to retreat.
With the boyish dream of a daring coup vanished – nor indeed could it ever have come about – the idea was born in the mind of Malatesta to revive the International in Europe. With that in mind he joined Ceccarelli, Sbigoli and L’Orso and imagined that he had found some assistance which would provide money for the organization in Europe. Thus, in early 1883 Malatesta left for Italy with the money generously provided by our good comrade Luigi Alvino.

Once he arrived in Italy he did in fact establish the International (though only in name), which lasted as long as his stay in Florence. Outside Italy, Malatesta found no-one to join him, nor could he print the famous statutes in Geneva, through Grave, because the programme which had been printed without difficulty in Florence, only concerned Italy.

In the meantime, L’Orso too had returned to Italy. He too was in Florence and shared the more or less absurd illusions of Malatesta. The latter finally left for Buenos Aires and L’Orso, after eight years residing in various parts of Europe, returned to Egypt, where he found only two of his old comrades: Cesare Pichi and Augusto Bichielli; the others were lost to the cause and only thought of filling their bellies.

Fresh work was needed and fresh work was done.

No more artificial organizations, no more discipline, no more established programmes, but absolute freedom for comrades to do what each though best. There were no regular meetings: the anarchists met whenever they felt the need to; and this need was very often felt, to such an extent that one could say they were almost always together.

A new public anarchist presence was made on 18 March 1892 outside Moharrem Bey gate, with speeches and song. On the same occasion a manifesto by Bakunin was published and posted on the city walls; it had already come out in Europe, but many copies were also sent to Italy.

From this day on propaganda was re-born – not to find proselytes for a party but to form mind which would be useful for the development and establishment of the Idea.

There was also an end to dreams of coups de main, of organizing the revolution, of workers’ conquests, of the creation of a great party, compact and strong in appearance, in imitation of the old parties. [NOTE: Here, Parrini is speaking of his own current, and providing a misleading picture -- not least, he omits the rise of the multi-racial revolutionary syndicalist unions and leagues - note by Lucien van der Walt]

The anarchists of Egypt stopped calling themselves socialists, because socialism no longer grouped anything but scoundrels at the top and the witless at the bottom. Our comrades in Alexandria became anarchists and nothing but anarchists, just like in France. [NOTE: see previous note].

[1] Note by L. B.: The text of these historical memoirs was sent by I. U. Parrini – one of the initiators of the anarchist movement in Italy, from the days of the International – to Giuseppe Ciancabilla, who published it in instalments in the magazine “La Protesta Umana” which he edited at the time in San Francisco, California. The extracts reproduced here correspond to those of the first three instalments, from No. 36, 38 and 40, of 21 Nov. And 26 Dec. 1903 and 9 Jan. 1904 respectively (a double space in the text indicates the end of one instalment and the beginning of the next) and cover, chronologically speaking, a period of about twenty years, i.e. from the start [of his stay in Egypt] until 1892.
It seems superfluous to emphasize the importance of this memoir, which is also the only document to come down to us of any complete nature and breadth, with which we can reconstruct the history of Italian anarchism in Egypt. Other than some unimportant inaccuracies, for the most part easily identifiable, and in several places some uncertainty (clearly attributable to the author’s fading memory) regarding the events recounted, the historical references are completely reliable as far as can be ascertained; notwithstanding this, however, the reader is warned against any imprudent use of this account which, taken as a whole, is unfortunately marked by excessive and evident ideological twisting. One of the most fiery, fanatical individualists of his time, Parrini wrote this piece for exclusively polemical reasons, to be used against organiztionalist anarchists who at the time were “polluting” – in his opinion – the purity of the Italo-Egyptian libertarian movement. Thus, he tended to ignore facts and events that would not have suited his position and always ensured he gave greatest exposure to the work of the individualist, anti-organizationalist current, in order to be able to conclude that it was more efficient or politically realistic.
Despite these limitations, the document semed more than worthy of revival and republication, at least in its essentials, and being brought to the attention of historians of socialism, considering the fact that it is difficult to access for Italian researchers.

[2] Translator’s note [N.M.]: In English in the original.

[3] Note by L. B.: For further details, see “Il Grido del Popolo” (Naples), a. II, No. 17 (3 Aug. 1881), in the column Notizie estere.

NOTE: The material is sourced from Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976), translation by Nestor McNab. Via Lucien van der Walt.

CONTEXT: see GORMAN, A. (2010) 'Diverse In Race, Religion And Nationality . . . But United In Aspirations Of Civil Progress': The Anarchist Movement In Egypt 1860–1940 IN HIRSCH, S. J. & VAN DER WALT, L. (Eds.) "Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism and social revolution", Leiden, Boston, Brill. Republished 2014 in corrected paperback with new preface by editors.

north africa / history of anarchism / opinion / analysis Thursday January 08, 2015 15:25 byLeonardo Bettini

English translation of the overview of early Italian-language anarchist periodicals in Tunisia, from Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976), translation by Nestor McNab. Via Lucien van der Walt.

“L’Operaio” (The Worker)
Subtitle: Until 7 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 8): Giornale settimanale (Weekly newspaper). From 16 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 9) to 1 Apr. 1888 (a. II, No. 15): no subtitle. From 19 Apr. 1888 (a. II, No. 16): Organo degli Anarchici di Tunisi e di Sicilia (Newspaper of the Anarchists of Tunis and Sicily). From 14 Feb. 1889 (a. III, No. 25): Organo Comunista-Anarchica (Anarchist-Communist Newspaper). From 14 Feb. 1904 (a. IV, No. 2; or perhaps from the previous issue, not traced): Organo Internazionale dei Lavoratori (International Workers’ Newspaper).
Place of publication: Tunis.
Printer: Tipografia Franco-Tunisienne, Ch. Fath, rue des Glacières, Tunis. From 16 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 9): Imp. Internationale (Uzan & Castro), Rue des Glacières 53, Tunis. From 22 Feb. 1888 (a. II, No. 12): Tip. Del Giornale “L’Operaio”, Dribet Ghorbal Sidi Ali Azous 10 (from 8 May 1888 (a. II, No. 17), transferred to Rue du Moufti 10). From 14 Feb. 1904 (a. IV, No. 2; or perhaps from the previous issue, not traced): Tip. Guedj.
Duration: 20 Nov. 1887 (a. I, No. 1) – 20 Mar. 1904 (a. IV, No. 7). Publication interrupted from 14 Apr. 1889 (a. III, No. 26) to Feb 1904 (a. IV, No. 1; not traced).
Numeration is progressive for the first three years (26 issues from 20 Nov. 1887 to 14 Apr. 1889).
Frequency: Weekly (“Every Sunday”. From 16 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 9): “Every Monday”. From 14 Mar. 1888 (a. II, No. 13): “Every Sunday”). From 19 Aug. 1888 (a. II, No. 21): Varies. From 14 Feb. 1904 (a. IV, No. 2; or perhaps from the previous issue, not traced): “Every Sunday”.
Editor: Nicolò Converti.
Director: G. Grassi, redattore resp. From 11 Sep. 1888 (a. II, No. 22): N. Converti, direttore resp.
Format: 38 x 56 cm. From 16 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 9): 34.5 x 46 cm.
Pages: 4.
Columns: 5. From 16 Jan. 1888 (a. II, No. 9): 4.
Typographical notes: In No. 24, a. II, No. 25 and No. 26, a. III (11 Dec. 1888; 14 Feb. And 14 Apr. 1889), the page payout is inverted, with Page 1 in place of page 4; Page 2 in place of Page 1; Page 3 in place of Page 2.
IISG (No. 1 and No. 6 of a. IV are missing from the collection).
Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna, Fabbri Archive, No. 92 (contains: a. I, No. 2, 27 Nov. 1887; a. II, No. 14, No. 20 and No. 24, 11 Mar., 25 Jul. and 11 Dec. 1888).

“La Protesta Umana” (The Human Protest)
Subtitle: Rivista di Scienze sociali (Social Sciences Magazine).
Place of publication: Tunis.
Printer: Imp. Picard et, 17-19 rue de Glacières (later: rue Aldjazira), Tunis.
Duration: 9 Feb. 1896 (a. I, No. 1) – 30 Nov. 1896 (a. I, No. 10).
Frequency: Monthly.
Editor: Nicolò Converti.
Director: Nicolò Converti, direttore resp.
Format: 16.5 x 25.5 cm.
Pages: 16 + (4), progressively numbered, for a total of 160 pages.
Price: “Each issue: 25 Cent.”.
Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna, Fabbri Archive, No. 275 (No. 2 and No. 4 are missing from the collection).
Theoretical magazine, founded and edited by the Calabrian doctor Nicolò Converti with contributions from some of the most noted libertarian writers of the age.
The magazine included contributions from: A. Hamon (La definizione del delitto, from No. 1 of 9 Feb. to No. 4 of 31 Mar.); a young Luigi Fabbri, then a student at the University of Macerata (Una nota sull’inutilità dei Governi, No. 1 of 9 Feb.; Le transazioni collettivistiche, No. 3 and No. 4 of 16 Apr. and 31 May; Legalitari e autoritari, No. 6 and No. 7 of 31 Jul. and 31 Aug.; Individualismo ed anarchia, No. 8 of 30 Sep.; and a profile of the English poet William Morris, who died in London on 4 October that year and was judged by the author to be “one of the greatest modern poets, undeniably the greatest from England”, in No. 10 of 30 Nov.); by A. Agresti, a popular anarchist writer at the time (but later becoming an interventionist during World War I), who published, inter alia, a study on I poeti della libertà (from No. 4 of 31 May to No. 7 of 31 Aug.) in which he set out to “demonstrate the idea of liberty in certain poets of the modern age – foreign and Italian – and how close this idea of theirs is to our concept of a society without rulers, bosses and priests, to our anarchist dream for the future society”; the advocate Pietro Raveggi (“Evening”), author of a series of articles on questions of a sociological and political-economic nature (Le teorie sociali di F. Lassalle, No. 1 of 9 Feb.; L’Anarchia e il suo sviluppo, No. 2 of 12 Mar.; I criteri economici di Karl Marx, No. 3 of 16 Apr.; La Sociologia Criminale, No. 6 of 31 Jul.; I criteri moderni della sociologia criminale, No. 8 of 30 Sep.; L’antropologia e la frenologia in rapporto alla Sociologia Criminale, No. 10 of 30 Nov.). Lastly, in the first issue there appears a short biographical profile by P. Kropotkin of the Russian revolutionary Sergei Mikhailovich Kravchinsky (“Stepniak”), well-known author of Underground Russia , who had died tragically in London in December of the previous year (the piece would later be republished by L. Fabbri in “Il Pensiero” (Bologna), a. IX, No. 11 of 1 Jun. 1911, p. 162-63).
Among the various pieces by Converti himself published in the magazine, we can note the essay Idee generali, which appeared in three successive instalments, starting with the first issue. In this article, the author polemicizes with the German theoreticians of naturalism and, more particularly, with Ernst Haeckel who, in applying Darwin’s theories to social problems and, not infrequently, distorting or misinterpreting his ideas, concluded that “centralization”, i.e. the State, as the brain of the social body, was an eternal, absolute necessity for the organic maintenance of a society. “Instead of the autonomy of the individual and solidarity among men, they saw – everywhere and forever even until the end of time – centralization, the dominion of the strongest, the most gifted; and some of them even sought to demonstrate that the state was ... the brain of the social body ... But all this leads us to reject this centralization, the State; because thought always asserts itself outside and against it; in such a way that the one always achieves its evolution to the detriment of the other; and progress is only a continuous assertion of the human personality to the extent and on condition that the attributes of government diminish”.
Aside from several other theoretical pieces (Anarchismo e riformismo, No. 7 of 31 Aug.; Che cosa è il socialismo, from No. 8 of 30 Sep. to No. 10 of 30 Nov.), Converti was also a signatory, in the fifth issue of the magazine, to a vibrant protest in defence of the anarchists Bergamasco, Fibbi, Melinelli, Palla, Pezzi and Selvi who, having escaped from internment on 28 May that year and landed on the coast of Tunisia “where the freedom of asylum was known to be respected always”, were handed back to the Italian government by France. See Gli evasi di Favignana, No. 5 of 28 Jun.
After the tenth issue, the magazine was forced to suspend publication as a new, restrictive law had been introduced which made it obligatory for publishers of this sort of publication to pay a large deposit. An attempt to re-start the periodical in Italy was made a few months later by L. Fabbri who did manage to publish one more issue, in Macerata on 1 Jun. 1897. But prompt intervention by the tax authorities meant that this new series of the magazine could not continue either.

“Il Vespro Sociale” (The Social Vespers)
Place of publication: Tuni
Printer: Premiati Stabilimenti Grafici L. Soraci, 17 Rue d’Athènes, Tunis.
Duration: 25 Oct. 1924.
Frequency: Single issue.
Editor: Paolo Schicchi.
Director: Paolo Schicchi, redattore responsabile.
Format: 44 x 56 cm.
Pages: 4.
Columns: 6.
Price: “Each issue: 20 Cent. – Abroad, double”.

“Il Vespro Anarchico” (The Anarchist Vespers)
Place of publication: Tunis.

Printer: Tip. Speciale del Vespro Anarchico, Rue d’Athènes, Tunis.
Duration: 8 Nov. 1924 (a. IV, No. 47).
Frequency: “With this issue, the Vespro Anarchico recommences publication, fortnightly first and later, weekly” (see Comunicazioni, p. 4).
Editor: Paolo Schicchi.
Director: Nunzio Ciciriello.
Format: 44 x 56 cm.
Pages: 4.
Columns: 6.
Price: “Each issue: 20 cent. – Abroad, 40 cent.”.

NOTE: English translation of the overview of early Italian-language anarchist periodicals in Tunisia, from Leonardo Bettini, "Bibliografia dell'anarchismo, volume 2, tomo 2: periodici e numeri unici anarchici in lingua italiana pubblicati all'estero (1872-1971)" (CP editrice, Firenze, 1976), translation by Nestor McNab. Via Lucien van der Walt.

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George Floyd: one death too many in the “land of the free”

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North Africa

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