Fire From Below

from It's Going Down

Zoe Baker on Lessons from Anarchist History

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On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak with anarchist historian and YouTuber, Zoe Baker, about lessons from anarchist history, what past struggles can teach us about the social movements of today, just what the hell an ‘anarcho-communist’ is, and how anarchists in the past have dealt with the question of organization, tactics, and strategy.

During our discussion, we talk about how anarchism spread throughout the world, how it broke with Marxists and socialists over the question of the State and engaging in electorialism, how historical anarchists have argued for or against informal and formal organization, and also how historical anarchists in the US engaged with the wider population.

We end our conversation by discussing why studying anarchist history is important and also map out examples of anarchists organizing through various informal and formal means in order to carry out mass actions that had far reaching impacts.

More Info: Zoe Baker on Twitter, on YouTube, on Patreon.

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"how anarchism...broke with Marxists and socialists over the question of the State"

For this session, we'll be bringing Ouija boards and channeling anarchist government officials Federica Montseny and Juan Garcia Oliver, who helped keep the peace as the anarchists got punked by the Stalinists during the Spanish Civil War. Remembering everything and learning nothing -- the past has never looked brighter at Its Going Down!

zoe insists anarchism is socialism and cherry-picks history to serve this distortion. would have been cool if the interviewer had challenged her on this, but nope.

cherry picking is allowed and the name of the game. all platforms favor a narrative. you can’t nag them into agreeing with your worldview. the interviewer did not invite her in order to challenge her, but to have her contribute to and support their narrative.

Errico Malatesta, Pasquale Binazzi, Dante Carnesecchi and thousands of others unknown who rot in those miasmal and deadly madhouses, which are the prisons of the Savoy monarchy and for which the small medal holders of the P.S.I. (Italian Socialist Party) have demanded at the parliamentary pigsty for the means to build others more vast, must for us be so many spectral regrets, walking in fearsome forms, among the uncertain twists and turns of our doubtful minds; they must be so many hot bursts of blood that break out from our hearts to shoot over the lines of our face and cover it with bleak shame.

I know, we know, that a hundred HUMAN BEINGS—deserving of this name—would be able to do what five hundred thousand unconscious “organized” ones are not and will never be capable of doing. Don’t you see, oh friends, the shade of Bruno Filippi who sneers and watches us?

So are there no longer ONE HUNDRED ANARCHISTS in Italy deserving of this name? Are there no longer a hundred “I’s” capable of walking with flaming feet over the whirling peaks of our ideas? Errico Malatesta and all the thousands of others who’ve fallen into the hands of the enemy at the first signs of this social storm, wait with noble and feverish eagerness the lightning that brings down the collapsing edifice, that illuminates history, that raises the values of life, that light the path of humanity…

But the brilliant and fateful lightning cannot break out from the heart of the masses.

The masses that seemed to be fervent admirers of Malatesta are cowardly and powerless.

The government and the bourgeoisie know it. They know and they sneer.

They know: “The P.S.I. is with us. It is the indispensable pawn for the baleful outcome of our wicked game. It is the Abracadabra that takes form in the Abracas and Abra voice of our magical, millenarian sorcery. The cowardly masses are its slaves and Errico Malatesta is old and sick. We will make him die in the hidden darkness of a damp cell, and later we will throw his corpse in the faces of his anarchist comrades....”

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