ARMED JOY by Alfredo Bonanno

ARMED JOY by Alfredo Bonanno

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Along with At Daggers Drawn, this is a classic of insurrectionary anarchism, by the single writer who has done the most to explain and explore the Italian insurrectionary perspective (with many thanks to Jean Weir and to Wolfi Landstreicher for the translating efforts they have both put in over the years!).

In Italy it seemed essential to prevent the many actions carried out against the men and structures of power by comrades every day from being drawn into the planned logic of an armed party such as the Red Brigades.

That is the spirit of this book. To show how a practice of liberation and destruction can come forth from a joyful logic of struggle, not a mortifying, schematic rigidity within the pre-established canons of a directing group.


"This book was written in 1977 in the momentum of the revolutionary struggles taking place in Italy at the time, and that should be borne in mind when reading it today. ... This book has become topical again, but in a different way. Not as a critique of a heavy monopolising structure that no longer exists, but because it can point out the potent capabilities of the individual on his or her road, with joy, to the destruction of all that which oppresses and regulates them.

Before ending I should mention that the book was ordered to be destroyed in Italy. The Italian Supreme Court ordered it to be burned. All the libraries who had a copy received a circular from the Home Ministry ordering its incineration. More than one librarian refused to burn the book, considering such a practice to be worthy of the Nazis or the Inquisition, but by law the volume cannot be consulted. For the same reason the book cannot be distributed legally in Italy and many comrades had copies confiscated during a vast wave of raids carried out for that purpose. I was sentenced to eighteen months' prison for writing this book."

Alfredo M. Bonanno Catania, 14 July 1993 --from the introduction