Saturday, 20 May
Booklaunch Talk: The Works of Camillo Berneri
Iain McKay is one of the British anarchist movement's most prolific essayists, and perhaps its most prominent anthologist. Lead author of the Anarchist FAQ and a long-time writer for Freedom, Anarcho-Syndicalist Review and Black Flag, he has brought out definitive collections of the works of Proudhon, Kropotkin and George Barrett in recent years.
The State - or Revolution is the first anthology of Camillo Berneri's works in the English language. Born in the northern Italian city of Londi in 1897, Berneri was a militant from his teens and a noted anti-militarist during the First World War. His militancy as an anarchist and anti-fascist saw him arrested and eventually forced to flee Italy as Mussolini secured his grip on power there. A fearsome reputation preceded him and he was subsequently harassed, imprisoned and expelled from nations across Europe, until in 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out, and he rushed to defend the anarchist revolution there. Berneri's unwavering principles and fame as an anarchist writer made him a hugely popular figure within his own political circles but brought him to the notice of the Stalinists, and he was murdered during the May Days in Barcelona.
Berneri left a huge legacy in both Italy and Spain, which is rarely explored in the English language. McKay's collection aims to fill that gap and bring more light onto a fascinating historical figure.
"I considered Berneri the most brilliant mind since Malatesta, among the most courageous [...] It was he who organised the Italian anti-fascist [militia] column [...] and raised their spirit when he saw sign of discouragement and pessimism. [...] Camillo Berneri was one of the finest [types] of comrades I have ever come across in the anarchist movement."
- Emma Goldman
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