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Assassins against the Old OrderItalian Anarchist Violence in Fin de Siècle Europe$
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Nunzio Pernicone and Fraser M. Ottanelli

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041877

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041877.001.0001

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Malfattori: Government Repression and Anarchist Violence

Malfattori: Government Repression and Anarchist Violence

(p.25) 2 Malfattori: Government Repression and Anarchist Violence
Assassins against the Old Order

Nunzio Pernicone

Fraser M. Ottanelli

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 2 explains the role of government repression as the primary precipitant of Italian anarchist violence. Specifically it describes how, in a climate of growing economic hardship and social unrest among the peasantry and factory workers, in 1878 Giovanni Passanante’s failed “tyrannicide” of King Umberto I provided Italian authorities with a justification to attempt to deliver a mortal blow to socialism and the International. Repression took various forms. Socialists and anarchists groups were dissolved, their newspapers suppressed, rank-and-file members classified as “malefactors” and subjected to ammonizione (admonishment) and domicilio coatto (internal exile). Important anarchists were arrested and those who escaped detention, as in the case of Errico Malatesta and Carlo Cafiero, forced into exile. These developments led many anarchists to embrace anti-organizational forms of revolutionary ideology and practices that rejected all forms of organization and exalted terrorist violence.

Keywords:   King Umberto I, Giovanni Passanante, tyrannicide, socialism, Italian anarchists, repression, malfattori, ammonizione, domicilio coatto, International, Errico Malatesta, Carlo Cafiero, anti-organizationalism, terrorism

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