From Stirner to Mussolini

The “anarchist abduction” story from 1910 described in this article sounds like the idiotic drama that goes on in anarchist circles today.

By William Gillis, Center for a Stateless Society

Review: The Anarchist-Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism

In 1910 Luigi Fabbri and Armando Borghi abducted an anarchist woman who had shamed their friend by divorcing him. Together, they forced her into a gynecological exam so the doctor could publicly pronounce her deformed and incapable of sex.

All three were prominent leaders in the Italian anarchist scene and involved in criminal activities. Despite having been abducted, medically raped, and slandered by her scene rivals, when the cops raided them for publishing anti-war articles, Maria Rygier refused to turn on anyone and tried to take full responsibility. She was sentenced to three years in prison where she was again medically raped, this time by representatives of the state.

Disenchanted with the anarchist scene’s patriarchs and looking for support from dissidents within the movement, upon release Rygier took up with a prominent Stirnerite, Massimo Rocca. But if you’re looking for a triumphant vindication of individualist underdogs against rapist scene patriarchs, this is not that story. Despite their origins in the anarchist movement, Rygier and Rocca would go on to play central roles in the emergence and establishment of fascism. Many of their followers would join them as fascists, with one, Leandro Arpinati, even rising to the status of “second Duce,” just behind Mussolini in power and popularity.


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