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Francesco Barbier
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Francesco Barbieri

Biographical/historical notes:

Although the name of Camillo Berneri was united fraternally with that of Francesco Barbieri by their deaths, this anarchist comrade is barely known.

Born 11th November 1895 in Briattica in the province of Catanzaro, Barbieri was active as an anarchist from his youth, and with the coming of Fascism, he emigrated to Argentina.

Argentina was in the midst of social disturbance: violent strikes repressed by the army (2,000 dead in Patagonia in 1921); powerful trade union organisations, of which FORA was anarcho-syndicalist. Barbieri meanwhile became involved in the Italo-Argentinian anarchist group of Severino di Giovanni which first attacked North American establishments with bombs at the time of the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, and then Fascist Italian firms. At the same time the group carried out several hold-ups to finance a secret press which in 1930 was to publish two volumes of 'Social Writings' by Élisée Reclus in Italian.

When di Giovanni and his comrades were arrested, Barbieri was able to make several compromising documents disappear and escape to Brazil from where he was expelled to Italy to be imprisoned. He succeeded in escaping and entering France. But, accused of using false papers, he was imprisoned and expelled from France to Switzerland from where he was similarly expelled to arrive in Spain in October 1935. But denounced by the Italian secret police who demanded his extradition, he passed secretly into Switzerland which is where he was when the events in Spain began. Barbieri reached Barcelona again, arriving there on 25th July 1936.

Because of illness, Barbieri found himself in Barcelona in May 1937 after having fought on the Huesca Front. (Information contained in part in the article by L. Mastrodicasa, 'Guerra di Classe,' 23rd June, 1937).

Bound together by their death, Berneri and Barbieri illustrate two complementary aspects of anarchism: the unrelenting struggle against dictatorships and their ideologies.

page created September 2006

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