1.2. Fabbri (or, Maturity)

Luigi Fabbri (1877-1935) had a much less adventurous life than Bakunin, but spent his militant life in both the specific Anarchist movement and in the organizations of the workers' movement. His name, even among Anarchist old-timers, is often shadowed by that of his contemporary, Errico Malatesta.

Luigi Fabbri

However, without wishing to take away from the importance the latter played as the spark - theoretical, too - of the movement (think, for example, of the clarity with which he approached the debate on the role of the unions with Pierre Monatte at the 1907 Amsterdam Congress), Fabbri's position was more coherent, not as heavily veined with generic and tendentially inter-class humanism, and more thorough with regard to the role of the political organization. Fabbri can be said to have brought those ideas which Bakunin had elaborated during his work in the First International to their logical conclusion, providing Anarchist Communist theory with a complete and self-consistent, almost definitive framework.

The role of the mass organization (or labour union) was always clearly defined for Fabbri as the sole, irreplaceable agent of revolution, but it is also necessarily the only possible place where the proletariat can spend its revolutionary apprenticeship. For this reason it cannot distance itself too much from the levels of consciousness expressed by the real masses, or it risks turning into the virtual image which the vanguard makes of the revolutionary movement, in other words the fruit of a desire and not of the reality of class war.

"Those among the workers who have determined convictions [...] within the class organizations must realize that there are those in there with them who do not share their ideas and that therefore, out of respect for the opinions and freedoms of others, they are obliged to maintain the pact for which the organizations were created, working around common goals without wanting to lead them towards special goals (even apparently good ones) which do not correspond to the desires of others". From this the workers' organization is doomed to split (for example the split that led to the creation of the Unione Sindacale Italiana, even if this was the work of the "reformists' evil plans"). Side by side with the mass organization, he foresaw the presence of a cohesive, structured political organization and, in fact, after World War I was one of the promoters of the Unione dei Comunisti Anarchici d'Italia (UCAd'I - Union of Anarchist Communists of Italy), before Malatesta's drive for unanimity led to the formation of the Unione Anarchici Italiani (UAI - Union of Italian Anarchists).

In 1926, when the international Anarchist movement was jolted by the organizational proposals which had been set forth by a group of Russian refugees in Paris (Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Arshinov, etc.), the "Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists - Project", and many prestigious militants cried scandal because of what they considered to be its overly leaderist tones, Fabbri took a most responsible position and recognized that it placed "in the arena of discussion a number of problems regarding the Anarchist movement, the place of Anarchists in the revolution, the organization of Anarchism in the struggles, and so on, which need to be solved if Anarchist doctrine is to continue to respond to the growing needs of the struggle and of social life in the present-day world".

Lastly, we should remember that it was his lucid analyses which allowed him to be the first to clearly foresee developments in the Russian Revolution (which had just taken place) and the counter-revolutionary nature of the coming Fascist regime.


1.3. Berneri (or, Innovation)