At the Cafe: Conversations on Anarchism
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While Malatesta was hiding from the police he regularly went to a cafe in Ancona, Italy. He had shaved off his usual beard but he was still taking a risk. Especially as this wasn't an anarchist cafe, but had a variety of customers including the local policeman. The conversations he had in this café became the basis for the dialogues that make up this book. For the first time in English, Malatesta, in his usual commonsense and matter-of-fact style, sets out and critically analyses the arguments for and against anarchism. Translated by Paul Nursey-Bray, this is a classic defence of anarchism that anticipates the rise of nationalism, fascism and communism.
their labour? AMBROGIO: Proprietors use their goods in ways they believe for the best, and they have the right ta do so, in the same way the workers free ly dispose of their labour. Ow ners and workers contract freely for the price of work, and whe n the contract is respected no one can complain. Charity can relieve acute trou bles, unmerited troubles, but rights must remain untoucha ble, 44 t! The spe ck·Ing of a free contrac GIORGIO: Bu t You are m· re5e ty k cannot eo t , and his liber worker
will recognise necessity of working and will favour that structure in wh work will be less tiring and more productive, and that is, my view, a communist organisation. AMB ROG 1 0 : But then there will be a new underprivileged class? G l O R G 1 0 : Not at all. Everyone has the right to land, to the instr uments of production and all the advantages that huma n beings can enjoy in the state of civi lization that humanity has reached . If someone does not want to accept Consider also that in comm
fam i ly i s a n economic institution it is clear that once individual property is abolished and a s a consequence i nheritance, it has no more reason to exist a nd will de facto disappear. In this sense, however, the family is already abol ished for the great majority of the population, which is com posed of proleta rians. A M B R O G I O : And as far as sexual relations? Do you want free love, do. . . Even among men, among males, there are some who are G I O R G I O : O h , come on l Do you
Inclmallon to g ive up peacefully. So there will be g u nfire, distribution and the whole of social life. 1 06 1 07 '&'1 But I do not intend to give you a course in i n surrectional tech C E S A R E : And if the occasion doesn't arise? n ique. This is a matter that.. .does not concern you. G I O R G I O : Wel l , we'll look for ways to m a ke it happen. Good eve n i n g . P R O S P E R O : How many i l lusions you have, m y boy! ! ! You t h i n k that we are still i n the time of
to avoid m istakes we must look at all Sides of the question , as I was on the point of doing when you interrupted me. There are certa inly some absurdities, real or apparent, in the It is true that the proprietors' interests greatly i nAuence the present social order. For example, I find it difficult to under imposition of an import tax. But on the other hand, if there stand the customs policy. While here people are dying of was open entry, the Americans, who can prod uce wheat hunger or