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Notes towards a history of Italian anarchism in Egypt (by Leonardo Bettini, translation)

category north africa | history of anarchism | opinion / analysis author Friday June 12, 2015 20:16author by Leonardo Bettini Report this post to the editors

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.

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