A short biograhy of Italian anarchist and metalworker Guido Barroero
Guido Barroero was born in 1946 into a working-class family in Sampierdarena, a proletarian district of Genoa. He gained his technical certificate in 1965 and from then on worked as a metal worker up to his being made redundant and his subsequent retirement in 1998. He was active in the base unions and then in the USI. In the meantime he undertook different study courses, being forced for economic reasons to give up a mathematics course, but graduating in philosophy after a five year course in 1989.
He was at first active for a short time in the Communist youth organisation, the Federazione Giovanile Comunista Italiana . In 1968 he became an anarchist and was active as a neo-Platformist in the early 1970s. He was persuaded as an anarchist communist that theoretical rigour and collective responsibility were requisites for an effective movement.
This and his great love of history led him to write a history of the Platformist group the Gruppi Anarchici di Azione Proletaria – Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action-(1949-1957) published by the Franco Salomone Centro di Documentazione of Fano in October 2013, although his previous articles on the subject were also worthy of attention. The Centre of Documentation was named after Franco Salomone (1948-2008) who had been active with Guido in first the Organizzazione Anarchica Ligure (OAL)- Ligurian Anarchist Organisation and then the Organizzazione dei Comunisti Libertari (Libertarian Communist Organisation) of Genoa until 1975 (1).
He also wrote important articles on anarchist resistance against fascism in Liguria, detailing the formation of anarchist partisan groups in Genoa in 1943. (in the Rivista Storica dell’Anarchismo- Historical Review of Anarchism- no.2,1998), on the early days of the labour movement and the occupation of the factories on Sestri Ponente, the working class district of Genoa that was a stronghold of anarchism, both in 2002 for the FAI (Italian Anarchist Federation)paper Umanita Nova. He also delivered a report on "The Legacy of Malatesta after World War II: the presence of anarchists in the labour movement" at a conference of the Livornese Anarchist Federation in March 2004, following his contribution to a book on Italian revolutionary syndicalism. He made various contributions to the Dizionario degli Anarchici Italiani (Dictionary of Italian Anarchists) published in 2003. He also produced a book on Ret Marut/B. Traven published in Genoa in 2006. Until 2008 he was editor of the magazine Collegamenti Wobbly, Per Una Critica Libertaria and the bulletin Altra Storia. He contributed to the magazine Rivista “A” and distributed it in bookshops and newsstands.
In 2001 after the events of the G8 Summit in Genoa he came under increased surveillance from the Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale (Italian Carabinieri Special Forces) who regarded him as the anarchist leader in Genoa. However, attempts to incriminate him failed.
A keen mountain climber, he was endowed with a scathing sense of humour, including at his own expense. He died after a long illness on the night of 23rd November 2015.
(1) I met Franco at a summer camp of the Union des Travailleurs Communistes Libertaires near Toulouse in 1984. He was rather fond of red wine. I remember him pointing at his bright red hair and beard, and claiming Celtic ancestry!