Emma Goldman: Callousness or Indifference

Spain and the World, 2nd July 1937

The advent of Dictatorship and Fascism has resulted in appalling indifference to the most harrowing crimes. Time was when political abuses in any country were met with immediate response from all liberals and revolutionaries. Especially this was the case with the victims of Czarism: more than one heroic fighter in Russia was saved from death or banishment by the concerted action and protest undertaken everywhere outside of Russia. All this wonderful spirit of solidarity and fellowship has gone by the board since dictatorship and Fascism have infested all ranks. No matter how heinous the crime committed in their names, hardly a voice is being raised in indignation against them. Indeed they are accepted as a matter of course and quite in keeping with dictatorship as a redeemer of the human race.

The astounding accord between Fascism and Dictatorship has again been demonstrated in two flagrant recent crimes. I mean the murder of Professor Camillo Berneri and his comrade Barbieri, anarchists, by Communist police in Barcelona, and the equally foul murder of Prof. Carlo Rosselli and his brother, Nello, by Fascist thugs. They all use identical methods in destroying their political dissenters. They not only take their lives, they also defame their characters. Thus Stalin perpetuates the infamous story that Russia has become a cesspool of self-confessed ‘spies, traitors, Trotskyists’ and crooks of every sort. Mussolini on the other hand proclaims the conversion of anti-fascists to his creed. He paints them as miserable weaklings and renegades who have come to see the error of their ways. They are just dying to embrace Fascism and do the bidding of its Master if he will only forget-and-forgive. It is for this reason that the murder of Professor Rosselli and his brother must be laid at the door of the anarchists. Unfortunately there are plenty of blind zealots who take the libel of old Russian revolutionists and anti-fascists as gospel truth.

To charge Professor Rosselli with having gone back on the anti-fascist cause is adding insult to injury. Far from having made peace with Mussolini his loathing had increased when ussolini’s alliance with Franco and his support of the latter became a fact. I had occasion to talk to Carlo Rosselli while I was in Barcelona and I know that no-one of the anti-fascist forces could be more dedicated to their cause or more determined to fight ascism to the bitter end than Carlo Rosselli was. Shortly before I left Spain for England Professor Rosselli told me of a plan he had perfected for the co-ordination of the militia without deadly military drill and command. At the time I was the guest of our comrade D. A. de Santillan who was at the head of the militia in Barcelona. I arranged for Carlo Rosselli to see our comrade one evening that he may have a chance to present his plan for him. The following day Carlo Rosselli came to tell me that comrade Santillan was intensely interested in his scheme and had promised help and co-operation. Shortly after Professor Rosselli was wounded and had to leave the front. hat no doubt has interfered with his determination to carry out his interesting plan.

I am mentioning this merely as a proof of the close unity and co-operation between the comrades of the CNT-FAI and Professor Carlo Rosselli. But if there should be anyone so dense as to believe the fantastic charge that anarchists have taken the life of their close friend and comrade in arms against Fascism, Professor Rosselli’s own tribute to the anarchists of Catalonia should convince the most credulous; SPAIN AND THE WORLD has already reprinted in its early issues the article by carlo Rosselli in the paper Giustizia E Liberta.

I can only add that Carlo Rosselli enjoyed the full confidence of the CNT-FAI and tthe admiration and affection of all the Spanish anarchists at the front as well as in the rear. It is therefore a cowardly evasiion of responsibility on the part of Mussolini to charge the anarchists with the murder committed by his hirelings.


SPAIN: Social Revolution – Counter Revolution, London 1990



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