This book was written in 1977 in the momentum of the revolutionary struggles taking place in Italy at the time, and that situation, now profoundly different, should be borne in mind when reading it today.
The revolutionary movement including the anarchist one was in a developing phase and anything seemed possible, even a generalisation of the armed clash.
But it was necessary to protect oneself from the danger of specialisation and militarisation that a restricted minority of militants intended to impose on the tens of thousands of comrades who were struggling with every possible means against repression and against the State’s attempt — rather weak to tell the truth — to reorganise the management of capital.
That was the situation in Italy, but something similar was taking place in Germany, France, Great Britain and elsewhere.
It seemed essential to prevent the many actions carried out against the men and structures of power by comrades each day from being drawn into the planned logic of an armed party such as the Red Brigades in Italy.
That is the spirit of the book. To show how a practice of liberation and destruction can come forth from a joyful logic of struggle, not a mortal, schematic rigidity within the pre-established canons of a directing group.
Some of these problems no longer exist. They have been solved by the hard lessons of history. The collapse of real socialism suddenly redimensioned the directing ambitions of Marxists of every tendency for good. On the other hand it has not extinguished, but possibly inflamed, the desire for freedom and anarchist communism that is spreading everywhere especially among the young generations, in many cases without having recourse to the traditional symbols of anarchism, its slogans and theories also considered with an understandable but not sharable gut refusal to be affected with ideology.
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