Archive for the ‘Malato (Charles)’ Category

Charles Malato

September 4, 2017

by Charles Malato
adapted by Michael Shreve
cover by Mike Hoffman

The moqqadem whistled a strange tune and the folds of his burnous parted: the heads of snakes peeked out, their squirming coils twisted around his chest and waist.

Charles Malato (1857–1938) was a notorious French anarchist and revolutionary once accused of plotting the 1905 assassination attempt against King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Malato was also a distinguished journalist and the author of exotic adventures serials such as Lost! (1915).

Forced to hide in the still unexplored regions of Morocco, political prisoner and escapee Antonio Perez is caught in the grips of the most unexpected and most extraordinary predicaments. Lost! is original because of its Moroccan setting and contains the standard devices of lost world novels, each one more extraordinary than the last, piling mystery upon mystery, peril upon peril, such as an usurped throne, an enemy priestess, trial by combat, precious treasures, an ill-fated romance, but with unusual, original twists.

Malato’s heroes are not stereotypes, but subversive pariahs, marginal figures, escaping from society like Fantômas, Arsène Lupin and the real-life Bonnot Gang, bringing a radically different vision of the instability of the world around them.

This collection includes two other stories, The Rat and the Octopus, a Kanak Tale from New Caledonia (1885) and The Memoirs of a Gorilla (1901).

Available at Black Coat Press


A Conversation with Charles Malato

September 9, 2012

A Conversation with Charles Malato, Le Matin, February 28 1894.

London, February 27. From our Special Envoy.
After Mecca, Jerusalem and Rome—London! Today London has become an anarchist holy city. Here the militant “companions” have come to fraternize in their miserable exile, thrown out or chased off the continent. Today there are around a thousand of them on the shores of the Thames, mostly French, Italian and Czech. Next come the Swiss and Belgians. As for the Spaniards, they are represented by only two or three revolutionaries, which might seem surprising given the hunt for anarchists that has taken place on the Iberian Peninsula over the past four months. Finally there are many Russian Jews.
The most remarkable of the Slavs is indisputably Prince Kropotkine, a first rate philosopher and scholar but who lives very secluded. He lives in Acton, a London suburb, with his wife and daughter Sacha, in a modest little house that he hardly ever leaves, really only to go work in the library of the British Museum.
Stepniak, once a famous terrorist, devotes himself now to propaganda by the pen for Free Russia, a paper sent clandestinely into Russia. However, he is not an anarchist but rather a social democrat.
Finally it would not be right to forget the… English anarchists, even though they are, as their counterparts on the continent admit, more like theologians than dynamiters. They form two groups that each takes their name from the newspaper they publish: Freedom and Commonwealth. Their main orators are Mowbray, Samuels and Nicholl.

The Clubs
The Autonomy club, which now has the honor of being famous, was founded by the German companions a dozen years ago. It consists of a long, narrow hall used for conferences and balls, a bar whose walls are plastered with revolutionary posters, and a few other rather cramped rooms. Originally created on Whitfield Street, it has since been transferred close by to Windmill Street, right near the main thoroughfare of Tottenham Court Road. It is smack in the middle of the French quarter and has as many French regulars as German. It is entirely anarchist.
The Graiton Hall club, which is just as famous of late, is independent socialist. More fashionable and especially bigger, it counts among its members not only revolutionaries of different stripes, but also the dandies that come on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday evenings to enjoy the two-step waltz. The grand ballroom that is used for both the choreographic entertainment and for public meetings can hold 1,200 people. The walls are decorated with that call that ends Karl Marx’ famous manifesto, written in every European language: “Workers of all countries, Unite!”
It is, however, in another club, the one on Tottenham Street, where the real gospel of Marx is preached. The old friend of the German sociologist, Frederic Engels, who has lived in London for a number of years, graces it with his presence. On Tottenham Street the club is completely authoritarian communist.

At Malato’s
After a little research, I went to see an anarchist considered by his friends to be as far from the staunch individualists as he is from the pompous theoreticians.
Monsieur Charles Malato, whom we met once in the Pavillon of the Princes in Sainte-Pélagie [a Parisian prison], is a writer for the cause with virulent ideas but not a very savage appearance. He did not, however, welcome me with open arms.
“Are you annoyed that I asked you to talk to me, to tell me something that a militant can honestly say, about the anarchist movement in London?”
“But,” he answered, “you have here a Mr. Melville, inspector at Scotland Yard (the police department), who’ll be able to accommodate you better than I. You’re wonderful! Your newspapers treat me everyday like a wild madman, a coward and bandit, demanding that they deport me or exterminate me and then you come here, sweet as can be, to ask for an interview.”
“Come now, my dear colleague,” (Monsieur Malato publishes books and articles), “don’t be unfair. Not all the journalists, even the bourgeois, deserve to be bombed. When you came to Paris five weeks ago, didn’t one of us recognize you and keep it secret in good faith?”
This ad hominem argument seemed to affect the revolutionary publicist. After a moment of reflection he responded, “Well, so be it! Even though we’re at war, speak first, Monsieur Bourgeois. If I can, in good conscience, answer you, I will, but solely my own ideas, as is the custom among us other anarchists. After all, it doesn’t bother me to tell you what I think, which is the same as many friends, about [Auguste] Vaillant and [Emile] Henry.”
“They say you went to Italy to take part in the revolutionary movement.”
“Well now, I’ve come back so I have no reason to hide it or, really, to get any misplaced glory out of it, because despite the courage and self-sacrifice of the rebels, the movement was crushed.”
“What kind of anarchist movement was it, republican, authoritarian? Were there leaders?”
“A revolution is made with all kinds of elements. For example, the movement in Sicily was due to economic causes, to poverty. In Lunigiana, it was purely anarchist. The staunch revolutionary accepts the battle under all circumstances, be it alone or with ten thousand men. For me, I went down there alone, on the strength of my will alone, being a soldier not for a man or for a committee but for the Revolution. I fully admit that the on-the-spot organization was a little like the Garibaldian bands under enemy fire, but I don’t much believe in massive organizations prepared over a long period that go rusty and derail when the day comes.”
“Did you believe in success when you went Italy?”

“I believe that the triumph will not come by itself, that it has to be won. Anyway, I consider it a duty for those who urge others into combat to go and risk their own hide sometimes. The triumph of the Italian Revolution, which would have given them, at the very least, a largely social republic, would have been an invaluable benefit from the economic standpoint: the emancipation of twenty five million alpine proletariats, the end of their economic rivalries with the French proletariats. From the political standpoint: breaking up the Triple Alliance [Italy, German, Austria-Hungary] and a guaranteed European peace—the working masses of France and Italy don’t really want war. So, I stopped correcting the proofs of my book De la Commune à l’Anarchie [From the Commune to Anarchy], which is why, sorry, the reader will find some mistakes in it—which irks me a little.”
I noticed a pile of books with oxblood covers. I thumbed through one and was surprised to see the following note printed:
“The author and editor reserve all rights of translation and reproduction in all countries including Sweden and Norway. This book has been registered with the Ministry of Interior (publishing section) in February 1894.”
“Well, well, is this really anarchist?”
“For the reproduction I’m bound by my contract with the publisher, Monsieur Stock. As for sending the book to the Ministry of Interior, he did it himself while I was wandering around in the mountains of Italy and, from the point of view of the publisher, he had the very ingenious idea that I, being an anarchist, would never have come up with. I think that now the government won’t be able to seize my book like it did with [Jean] Grave’s Societé mourante et l’Anarchie [Moribund Society and Anarchy].

The Movement
We talked again about the current anarchist movement and I asked Malato if he considered it collective or individualist.
“Both,” he answered. “It’s wrong for some rather intolerant friends to want to force people to do things they don’t want to do. There have always been temperaments made for isolated actions and others for methodic, collective actions. The Revolution needs both and I figure that the plasticity of the anarchists is what’s allowed them so far to resist the shocks that have crushed every compact, centralized organization. Nevertheless, there are times when we must act together. Individual action can’t be the answer to everything. I think it makes more of an impression than some collective movements, but it’s only by collective revolt that the bourgeois society will collapse. Both modes of action are compatible with the anarchist idea. You see now, at the same time, Vaillant’s isolated action and the revolt of the whole Carrara population in Italy.

The Finer Points
“What’s your opinion of Vaillant’s act?”
“For this noble-hearted man whom I once had the honor of knowing, I have nothing but admiration and, even if it might seem excessive coming from the mouth of an anarchist, respect.”
“Hell, you’re going too far.”
“How’s that? I thought that the bourgeois republicans admired regicide like, for example, the one in 1793 from which they benefited greatly. Well, the proletariat Vaillant, by throwing a bomb at the ‘kings of the Republic’ committed an act of regicide.”
“And you also admire Emile Henry’s action?”
“Not at all.” His answer was curt. He continued, “I say what I think and not being a moderate, a simple theoretician, like they’ve sometimes said, not having thrown a stone at Ravachol, unreservedly admiring [Paulino] Pallas and Vaillant, I believe, without being guilty of spinelessness, that I can confess my absolute lack of enthusiasm for an action of this sort. I complete agree with Octave Mirbeau: The act of Emile Henry, even though he is a highly intelligent and highly courageous anarchist, has, more than anything, been a blow to anarchy. It was savage to attack a collaborator who, even if it was a mistake, almost killed him. But I can’t help thinking that he could have done better. I approve all violence that targets the obstacle, that strikes at the enemy, not that strikes blindly. A crowd is unconscious, often even brutal and hateful, I know that very well, but whose fault is that? The masters who keep it in ignorance and secular submission. If we are really what we have always claimed to be, friends of the masses, and not neurotic decadents, we ought to be throwing at the crowd, which has the right to go a café, not dynamite but ideas.”

A Legal Crime
“This said, I will add that to guillotine Emile Henry would be a crime and my reasoning is not sentimental but purely scientific. Emile Henry, whom I knew rather closely, who had a remarkable education and has a great deal of intelligence, suffered more than others from the influence of his background and his surroundings. He was born in that Catalonia that is both fervent and tenacious, of a mother with a passionate imagination, almost extravagant. His father, a member of the Commune, condemned to death, nursed him with stories of the Semaine Sanglante [The Bloody Week]. When he came to France, being cultivated and proud, he suffered from the scorn of his aristocratic relatives. He buried himself in his studies with feverish enthusiasm and soon slipped into occultism. The spiritualists got hold of his young imagination and made him participate in their séances until they finally subdued him, as a medium of incarnations. I know this from him, from his experiences that disturbed his sensitive organism so much that they always ended in him fainting. Seeing their hoaxes he left them, but the fatal blow had already been struck.
Emile Henry is proud. He will march toward death with his head held high, forbidding his lawyer to call up any extenuating circumstances. But if, instead of dealing with judges, whose job is to condemn, he were dealing with men of science, I wonder if they would dare deliver the young man to Deibler [the executioner].”
And with that it was over.

Also at The Anarchist Library

Charles Malato on Religions

July 29, 2011

by Charles Malato.

La Plume no. 97, May 1, 1893

“Fear gave birth to the first gods,” a Latin poet said.

Yes, Very Holy Father, representative of that tramp Jesus, humbly give your holy slipper to kiss, if some sad idiots prostrate themselves before your sacred toes—it is because one fine day the polished monkey who was our ancestor was too scared of thunder—from this fear was born the idea of religion.

Only the most uneducated minds can still imagine that religions were created all at once. Spontaneous generation (as in the physical world so in the moral) is much rarer than you might believe. For such a birth to take place, all the constitutive elements have to have already developed, met and combined. The superficial observer, by himself, might believe that it happened all at once; in reality, a religion is not, any more than a man, made in five minutes.

How our primitive ancestors must have trembled! Everything was mysterious and hostile to them: lightning, hurricanes, snow, storms, epidemics and monsters magnified by the imagination, leaving their dens to battle with men! All these forces, inherent in eternal matter, all these formidable beings seemed to them to be greater than them—poor, naked, ignorant animals. Everything became a god whom they sought to sway, to whom they attributed passions, with whom they tried to talk. And to succeed in such an enterprise, wasn’t the best thing to offer gifts? The first believers naturally offered to the gods what they themselves loved: fruits, flowers, the products of the hunt or the harvest—that’s the origin of worship, an immense field open to the exploitation of the gullible by conmen. And then there arose imaginative people, the poets, the false savants who claimed to know more than the others, the swindlers who wanted to capitalize on the situation, and everyone adding legend upon legend and codifying the superstition. Thus, side by side with the monarchs and the warlords, they created an infinitely more frightening authority, for it was based in the heavens, i.e. in the unknown—the almighty mystery.

There went humanity down the road of marvels. Where will it end? While those lagging farthest behind linger in fetishism, in the worship of raw matter, others stole their cosmogonies. The Persians set up a whole system based on the dualism appearing in nature: Ohrmazd-light and Ahriman-darkness are in constant struggle.

Egypt deified its Nile and, in sketching out an astronomical science, took its basic mythology from it. Everywhere else, too, the climate, the place and the race had an affect upon the development and the form of the religious idea.

Man was not created in the image of God: he himself created his gods.

The Greeks, a nation of artists, sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean, deified their shores, their mountains, their laurel forests, their chanting springs—they raised a temple to lovely nature. On the contrary, the Semites, wandering in the gloomy deserts, living under a constantly blazing sky, made a menacing Jehovah, always ready to punish; and it was only after the Macedonian conquest, when the Greeks of Alexander brought a few scraps of Platonic ideology into Judah, that these two such opposite beliefs began to fuse together. From this fusion was born the Christian religion.

The social revolts of Judas the Gaulonite, of Mathias and later of Joseph Gorionides were stifled in Palestine by the Roman generals, but something survived: an idea of reform blowing through the old world. A renewal, not just symbolic but real, was able to come out of it. The first Christians, revolutionary innovators, had proclaimed human equality. Consequently, the disciples who claimed to follow them should have preached (then and still) the holy insurrection against the powerful. A few of them did, but after the destruction of Jerusalem, their successors trembled before the power of the Caesars, mumbling their opportunist words, “My kingdom is not of this world.” They submitted and protested their submission. However, they had to do something to feed the zeal of the faithful, if they did not want to be dragged by them into some perilous movement, like of the Bagaudae in the third century. The bishops gave up all social demands, threw themselves whole-heartedly into theology, intoxicating the naïve flocks with their casuistry. At the same time they conspired among the emperors, crept into their palaces, into the Senate, into public offices. These descendants of communist-anarchists became clever and power-hungry when Constantine, knowing all the help they could give him, summoned them to him. It was their ascension: all of a sudden these reformers turned into unyielding guards of the old order—the usual about-face for all the upstarts, men and parties.

Such is, in a few lines, the historical summary of the Christian movement from its apparent origin to its moment of triumph. Jesus (taking into account his existence stripped of miracles) was less an originator or chief than a poet; a popular poet writing in prose and parables; a poet who was remembered because he appealed to the emotions more than to the intellect and he had the crowd and women on his side.

Paul, who came after him, had a completely different role to play as founder and organizer of the Church. At his urging the first communities of the faithful were formed, drawing up their statutes, electing their ministers, striving to influence the profane world and enter into it. How did this organization, which was democratic at first, turn into the most tyrannical of autocracies? It was the work of centuries and also of circumstances, just as much as the stubborn ambition of the Latin bishops, who were closer than the others to the spectacle of imperial power and by this very fact were more quickly corrupted.

Constantine summoned the heads of the Church; they flaunted their victory at the Council of Nicaea where they established the grounds of the faith that the world would have to suffer. We know the results: the emperors abandoned more and more of the West to the power of the barbarians; the Roman bishops ended up taking their place and becoming temporal as well as spiritual masters.

This lasted eleven centuries. For eleven centuries people were forced to believe even in the absurd, especially in the absurd, credo quia absurdum; for eleven centuries men were burned, drowned, hanged and tortured for the crime of thinking or simply of doubting. And when the popular sentiment threatened to rebel, fast, we need a diversion: Go after the Jews! They’re the ones who spread disease! Go after the Muslims! God wants it! Those miscreants are living among you, as they want, without asking permission from the Pope!
And the disinherited rush out to reforge their chains.

Against this papal Christianity is a popular Christianity, which gave rise to the revolts of Judas the Gaulonite and the Bagaudae ended up bursting forth. The Albigensian anarchists—for, the anarchist inclination, if not the conception, is as old as the world—massacred in the 13th century, found their avengers in the Germanic countries. While the princes and the bourgeois followed Luther in his revolt against Rome, demanding a few liberties, the disinherited, who called for all liberties because they had none, (with Stork and Munzer) waged a war to the death against the convents and castles. Crushed in Frankhausen, they were reborn in Munster and even though they were conquered again, they scattered the seeds of republican and communist ideas into the winds of the future.

These enragés played the same role as the Hébertists who 260 years later shook up the reluctant Conventionnels. Without them the Reform could not have worked—it had capitulated right away to Rome. But they stopped it and that is what brought upon them the hatred of Luther and Melanchton, who were scared of what they had done and were still thinking of negotiating with the enemy. They finally saw (and this to their great honor) that it was not simply a religious overhaul but a complete social and human renovation.

Since the 16th century the truncated Church has lost its power, in spite of the invisible protection that the Jesuists provide to it. It is tough, however, and gives up ground only inch by inch, often carrying out terrible offensive counter attacks. The revolution chases it away and it returns; the Empire tames it and it snaps at the heels; the socialist state threatens to devour it and it tries to sidetrack it because it cannot fight head to head.

That’s where we are right now: a tremendous trap is laid out for the modern mind. The champions of the Papacy, dressed up like Christian Socialists and Anti-Semites know that the huge mass of people, disgusted by the old credos, has still not digested all positive philosophy. They know that the human mind, in search of wonders, is easy to lead astray and centuries of atavism lie heavily upon us. Having decided to take advantage of every opportunity to give life back to the idea of religion, they are lying in wait for us in the students of Loyola. It’s up to us to understand their plans and to fight relentlessly against a disguised enemy for the intellectual and material emancipation of humanity!

Also at The Anarchist Library

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