Alfredo M. Bonanno

Alfredo Maria Bonanno (born 1937 in Catania) is a main theorist of contemporary insurrectionary anarchism[1][2] who wrote essays such as Armed Joy (for which he was imprisoned for 18 months by the Italian government[3]), The Anarchist Tension and others.[2] He is an editor of Anarchismo Editions[2] and many other publications, only some of which have been translated into English. He has been involved in the anarchist movement for over thirty years.

Political life

In the 1960s a tendency within Italian anarchism which did not identify either with the more classical synthesist Italian Anarchist Federation or with the platformist inclined GAAP (Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action) started to emerge as local groups. These groups emphasized direct action, informal affinity groups and expropriation for financing anarchist activity.[4] It is from within these groups that Bonanno emerged, particularly influenced by the practice of the Spanish exiled anarchist Josep Lluís i Facerias.[4]

The Magazine Do or Die reports that "Much of the Italian insurrectionary anarchist critique of the movements of the '70s focused on the forms of organisation that shaped the forces of struggle and out of this a more developed idea of informal organisation grew. A critique of the authoritarian organisations of the '70s, whose members often believed they were in a privileged position to struggle as compared to the proletariat as a whole, was further refined in the struggles of the '80s, such as the early 1980s struggle against a military base that was to house nuclear weapons in Comiso, Sicily. Anarchists were very active in that struggle, which was organised into self-managed leagues."[5] A main theorizer of these ideas was Bonanno and his publication Anarchismo.[2]

In 1993 Bonanno wrote For An Anti-authoritarian Insurrectionalist International in which he proposes coordination between Mediterranean insurrectionists after the period of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and civil war in the former Yugoslavia.[6]

Bonanno was one of hundreds of Italian anarchists arrested on the night of June 19, 1997, when Italian security forces carried out raids on anarchist centres and private homes all over Italy. The raids followed the bombing of Palazzo Marino in Milan, Italy on April 25, 1997. On February 2, 2003 Bonanno was sentenced to 6 years in prison plus a €2000 fine (first degree 3 years, 6 months) for armed robbery and other crimes. These charges were related to the "Marini Trial", in which Italian anarchists were convicted of belonging to a subversive armed group whose ideological leader was Bonanno.

On October 4, 2009, Bonanno was arrested with Greek anarchist Christos Stratigopolous in Trikala, central Greece on suspicion of having carried out an armed robbery in a local bank.[4] 46,900 euros in cash were found in the car. On November 22, 2010 Bonanno was sentenced to 4 years and immediately released from prison[4] (he spent about a year there and he was more than 70 years old that time). Stratigopolous was sentenced to 8 years 9 months with possible release at the end of 2011.

Bonanno was denied entry into Chile in December 13, 2013. Bonanno had planned to participate in a series of conferences in Chile. Having arrived to Chile with Sky Airlines from Argentina he was flown back to Argentina by the same airline two hours after arrival.[7] The Investigations Police of Chile said the denial of entry was indebted to the penal record of Bonanno.[7]


Regarding national liberation struggles, he said that anarchists:

...refuse to participate in national liberation fronts; they participate in class fronts which may or may not be involved in national liberation struggles. The struggle must spread to establish economic, political and social structures in the liberated territories, based on federalist and libertarian organisations.[8]

Regarding the revolution, he said:

It's easy. You can do it by yourself, or with a bunch of trusted comrades. You don't need to have great means or technical competence. The capital is vulnerable, if you are determined to act.[9]

Another significant quote:

The man who acts is not the man with a destiny, but the man who has understood.[9]

Perhaps this quote best exemplifies his philosophy:

Hurry up, comrade, shoot at once on the policeman, the judge, the wealthy, before a new police will hinder you.

Hurry up and say no, before a new repression convinces you that to say no is nonsensical and crazy and that you should accept the hospitality of an asylum.

Hurry up and attack the capital, before a new ideology makes it sacred for you.

Hurry up and refuse work, before a new sophist tells you: Work makes you free.

Hurry up and play. Hurry up and arm yourself.[9]


Some of Bonanno's published essays translated into English include:


  1. "Modern illegalism is commonly associated and championed by proponents of ‘insurrectional anarchism’ of which Bonnano [sic] is seen as a main theoretician.""Illegalism" by Freedom Press
  2. Miguel Amorós. "Anarquía profesional y desarme teórico. Sobre insurrecionalismo"
  3. Bonanno, Alfredo M. (1998). Armed Joy. Catania: Elephant Editions. p. 7.
  4. "Vivir la Anarquía .Artículo en solidaridad con Alfredo Bonanno y Christos Stratigopoulos" Archived 2015-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Insurrectionary Anarchy: Organising for Attack! " by Do or Die Issue 10. page(s) 258-266.
  6. For An Anti-authoritarian Insurrectionalist International by Alfredo Bonanno
  7. PDI impide ingreso a Chile a reconocido pensador anarquista italiano
  8. Alfredo M. Bonanno, Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle, 1977
  9. Alfredo M. Bonanno, Armed joy
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