Despite the considerable research on Italian anarchism conducted over the last forty years little is known about the history of the anarchists and anarchism in Milan. To fill this gap, Fausto Buttà’s Living Like Nomads: The Milanese Anarchist Movement Before Fascism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015) examines the political and ideological debates and the lifestyles of anarchist militants in Milan during the two decades before the rise of Fascism. In addition to its historical value, this study of the history of anarchism contributes to an understanding of the modern Left and the values of freedom, justice and equality. The table of contents and the introduction are available here.
Living Like Nomads analyses anarchist thought, particularly the relationship between theories of individualism and communist anarchism, and engages with the work of Bakunin, Malatesta, Stirner and Kropotkin. By bringing to light the lives of Milan’s unknown anarchists, it reveals their pivotal role within the eclectic Italian Left. They established the first non-denominational modern school, campaigned against militarism, engaged with the labour movement, and published extensively. They matched practice to theory by providing the first instance of anti-Fascist resistance when they stood up against the violence of Mussolini’s black shirts after the First World War.
Fausto Buttà is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, where he also teaches Italian language and contemporary history. Born in Milan, Fausto moved to Western Australia in 2003, and has spent the past decade researching Italian anarchism.