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(en) Britain, Organise! #65 - Obituary - Alfonso Nicolazzi

Date Thu, 10 Nov 2005 07:59:50 +0200


Some of us in the Anarchist Federation got to know Alfonso
Nicolazzi over the last few years when we began attending
meetings of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF).
Alfonso - Alfo to his Italian comrades - was always there
with his check shirts and braces and his flat cap, and the nearly
omnipresent cheroot. We first met him in Lyon, and then over
the years, in other cities of France, in Germany, Britain and Italy.
Born in the countryside outside Stresa in the province of Verbania,
Alfonso was very active in the Collectivo dei lavoratori Alitalia,
one of the base unions of the airline Alitalia, in the 1960s.
Thanks to his job as steward, he
was able to master several
languages, including English,
French and Spanish. He
developed many contacts with
the Spanish anarchist movement
in exile. He gave up a reason-
ably well-paid job to devote
himself full time to the anarchist
cause and to the Federazione
Anarchica Italiana(FAI). He
moved in 1974 to that strong-
hold of Italian anarchism,
Carrara, set among the marble
quarries of the Apuan Alps. For
the last thirty years he was
closely associated with the
editing and production of the
FAI weekly paper, Umanita
Nova ( founded in 1920 by
Errico Malatesta), running its
printshop.
But Alfonso was not just a
printworker. He was extremely
active in the Carrara region in
many struggles, including
around the environment.
He was extremely involved with
international anarchist activity
from the 80s. In April 1990 at
Trieste, I remember him
translating in several languages
during a conference where
anarchists from Western Europe
met those from the emerging
East European movements. He
was a key member of the
Commission of International
Relations of the FAI and he had
an important role in developing
the work of the IAF.
As he grew to know members of
the British Anarchist Federation,
he realised that we were serious
militants and we gained his trust
and friendship. He loved to sing
the old anarchist songs in his
powerful voice. Equally, he
loved the white wine of the
Apuan region and was a bon
viveur like many anarchists on
the Continent!
Just a few months ago, we
attended a meeting of the IAF
which coincided with the 50th
anniversary celebrations of the
FAI, in Carrara. One of the
highlights was a visit to the
graves of many Italian anar-
chists in the local graveyard.
There Alfonso pointed out the
graves of Gino Lucetti, who had
attempted to assassinate
Mussolini, Gogliardo Fiaschi,
who had fought with the
Spanish resistance and who had
been imprisoned for many years
and Giuseppe Pinelli, the
anarchist railwayman who had
been thrown out a window at
Milan police HQ ( he is the
subject of Fo's Accidental Death
of An Anarchist).
Now Alfonso lies alongside his
comrades. A heart attack struck
him down as he was preparing
to send out Umanita Nova in the
post on September 14th this
year. He was 63. A thousand
anarchists flying red and black
flags paraded through the streets
of Carrara in his funeral cortege
the following day. His favourite
song Vieni o Maggio, written by
the outstanding anarchist Pietro
Gori, was sung over his grave.
We'll miss you at those interna-
tional meetings, Alfonso, we'll
miss you very much.

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