The Margaret Sanger Papers

Malatesta, Errico (1853-1932)

Italian anarchist and editor. Born to the noble Malatesta di Rinaldi family, Malatesta renounced his title and pursued medical studies at the University of Naples. He was expelled from the university for taking part in a republican demonstration, became a follower of Mikhail Bakunin and devoted the rest of his life to anarchist agitation. By 1876 Malatesta began to embrace a more militant form of anarchism that linked him closely to the doctrines of anarchist theoretician Peter Kropotkin. He worked to instigate revolution and insurrection in such places as Turkey, Italy, Spain, Argentina, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the United States. In the process, he was exiled from practically every European and South American country, as well as the United States. Sentenced to death in Italy, Argentina, and Spain, he managed to escape each. Malatesta spent much of his exile London, Argentina and the United States. While in France, Malatesta founded Le Revolte, an anarchist paper, and organized congresses of workers, calling for violent revolution. In the United States, he edited La Question Sociale and lectured around the country. In 1899 he was shot in Paterson, NJ and rescued by Gaetano Breschi, who would later assassinate King Humbert of Italy. Between 1914-1919 Malatesta remained in exile England until his return to Italy was cleared by a pardon from Premier Giolitti. He re-established Umanitá Nova, an anarchist daily, in Milan in 1920 and was arrested in the same year for inciting riots. Under the government of Mussolini, Malatesta was kept under house arrest until his death in 1932. Malatesta authored several anarchist tracts, including L'Anarchia (1891).
References: Dictionary of Modern Italian History, ed. Frank J. Coppa (1985).