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Life and Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta (Paperback) | Bookends & Beginnings
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But today the situation is more mature, circumstances have changed Our task is that of demonstrating the uselessness and harmfulness of government, provoking and encouraging by propaganda and action, all kinds of individual and collective initiatives. It is in fact a question of education for freedom, of making people who are accustomed to obedience and passivity consciously aware of their real power and capabilities.
One must encourage people to do things for themselves, or to think they are doing so by their own initiative and inspiration even when in fact their actions have been suggested by others, just as the good school teacher when he sets a problem his pupil cannot solve immediately, helps him in such a way that the pupil imagines that he has found the solution unaided, thus acquiring courage and confidence in his own abilities.
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This is what we should do in our propaganda. And if he ever found himself in a position of having to act as leader or teacher in some action or in propaganda, when the others were passive he would have tried to avoid making the situation obvious so as to stimulate them to think, to take the initiative and gain confidence in themselves. If instead of awakening new forces, and encouraging more ambitions and enthusiastic activity, it were to absorb all our forces and stifle all other initiatives, it would be a misfortune rather than an affirmation of vigor, and witness to our strength, vitality and boldness.
Furthermore there are activities which cannot by definition, by carried out by the paper or by the press. Since the paper has to address itself to the public it must of necessity speak in the presence of the enemy, and there are situations in which the enemy must not be informed. Malatesta was one of the famous anarchists of the 19th century.
He lived 79 years. Not as much is known of him as for example Bakunin or Kropotkin for a few reasons. He never kept a diary, he was Italian, and he was very active and continually hopping from one country to another, which meant he never kept a store of his own writings. For these reasons he has not been an attractive person to study and write about, because the work would be too hard.
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Life and Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta Errico Malatesta
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