Marie-Louise Berneri

March 1, 1918 - April 13, 1949


Source: Wikipedia


Marie Louise Berneri  was an anarchist activist and author. She was involved with the short-lived publication, Revision, with Luis Mercier Vega and was a member of the group that edited Revolt, War Commentary, and the Freedom newspaper, which is still being published by the Freedom Bookstore in London. She was a continuous contributor to Spain and the World. She also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia, first published in 1950. Neither East Nor West is a selection of her writings (1952).

She was born in Arezzo, Italy, the elder daughter of Camillo andGiovanna Berneri. The family went into exile in 1926 for resisting Mussolini. In 1936 her father went to Spain, to fight against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. He was assassinated by communists in 1937. Marie visited Barcelona twice, the second time after her father's murder. Around this time she was living in France and studying psychology at the Sorbonne.

Towards the end of 1937 she married Vernon Richards, also an active anarchist with many of the same groups and publications as she. In April 1945 she was one of the four editors of War Commentary which she had helped to found, who were tried for incitement to disaffection. Because her husband was a co-defendant she was acquitted on a legal technicality that allows that a wife cannot conspire with her husband. When her three comrades were imprisoned she took on the main responsibility for maintaining the paper into the postwar period.

She attended the first post-war international anarchist conference in Paris, 1948 as a member of the British delegation. Her mother and sister Giliane Berneri also attended as members of the Italian and French delegations. She received much praise for her Freedom press pamphlet, the anti-Stalinist Workers in Stalin's Russia (1944).Berneri was also one of the first people in Britain to promote the ideas of Wilhelm Reich.

Marie-Louise Berneri died, along with her baby, during childbirth, 13 April 1949 in London at the age of 31.

George Woodcock and Ivan Avacumovic dedicated their biography of Peter Kropotkin, The Anarchist Prince (1950) to Marie-Louise Berneri, "a true disciple of Kropotkin."



Quotes by Marie-Louise Berneri

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“We shall denounce political trials, whether they are held in Washington or Warsaw. When a government puts a man in jail for his political opinions, we do not ask the nationality of that government. We are always on the side of the victim of State tyranny. 

We hate war and have consistently fought against it and for that reason we fight State oppression wherever it occurs.” 
 Marie Louise Berneri


“Every defeat of the capitalist class is a defeat for fascism. Every time the workers obtain a reduction in their hours of work and a rise in salaries, every time they affirm workers’ solidarity by defending a victimised fellow worker, every time they abolish degrading methods of production, every time they achieve a victory over their boss, they win a victory against fascism and pave the way to socialism.

THE LEFT & WORLD WAR II: Selections from the Anarchist Journal 'War Commentary' 1939-1943” 
 Marie Louise Berneri


Quote Source: Goodreads

Books by Marie-Louise Berneri

Photo: Unsplash / Joao Silas / CC0


  • Journey Through Utopia

  • Neither East Nor West

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