By Andrew Hoyt
This dissertation tells the story of how a small group of low-profile militants, located on the periphery of industrial America, set in motion a chain of events that led Luigi Galleani to become one of the most notorious Italian anarchist and resulted in the Cronaca Sovversiva (1903-1919) becoming the most infamous “anarchist rag” ever published in North America. To counter the erasure of anarchists from the social history of the immigrant working-class (and to describe members of the Cronaca network beyond Galleani), this dissertation conducts extensive analysis of a single journal but avoids its ideological content. Instead, I focus my investigation on the newspaper’s financial data (including over 70,000 lines of subscription information) and on over 700 “notes” published under the Cronaca Locale heading (which documented events and conflicts in the town of Barre). A focus on these two sources has allowed me to map the flow of money through the larger Cronaca network and to rebuild a calendar of the Barre anarchists’ social life; thereby facilitating a materially specific telling of a story of the Cronaca’s rise to prominence and the process by which the journal’s network spread and simultaneously narrowed—reaching a position of importance within a transnational movement while also walling itself off from that larger movement by becoming inseparably linked with the polarizing and larger-than-life personality of Galleani. It is a tale of social relations more than of ideas or ideology; its goal is to explain how a small sub-network within the anarchist movement became increasingly radical and turned away from mass-organizing, thereby setting the stage for the better-known history of the so-called “Galleanisti” as anarchism’s most divisive faction.