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Anarchism, 1914-18Internationalism, Anti-Militarism and War$
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Ruth Kinna and Matthew Adams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784993412

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784993412.001.0001

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Saving the future: the roots of Malatesta’s anti-militarism

Saving the future: the roots of Malatesta’s anti-militarism

Chapter:
(p.29) 1 Saving the future: the roots of Malatesta’s anti-militarism
Source:
Anarchism, 1914-18
Author(s):

Davide Turcato

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784993412.003.0002

Is anti-militarism an essential or disposable feature of anarchism? The question can be addressed by examining the controversy over intervention in the First World War, in which Malatesta argued that anarchists were to “stand aside to save at least their principles—which means to save the future.” Tellingly, his arguments were the same by which he supported his anti-parliamentarianism. This shows how foundational those arguments were for his anarchism. They concerned the principle of coherence between ends and means, which in turn proceeded from awareness of the heterogony of ends and its twin sides: the unintended consequences of intentional action and the displacement of goals. Malatesta’s perspective ultimately rested on his methodological individualism, which took the form of voluntarism in the prescriptive domain. Malatesta’s foresight is best appreciated in retrospect, for his seeming defeatist attitude truly saved the future: it allowed anarchism to preserve its aims intact by keeping its means coherent with them.

Keywords:   Anarchism, Malatesta, anti-militarism, anti-parliamentarism, voluntarism

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