Centro Studi Libertari - Archivio Giuseppe Pinelli
In 1976, during preparations for an international conference on the «grand old man» of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin, an idea was conceived. This idea was to transform the work undertaken for this event into a sustained project, and thus to create a permanent cultural point of reference. Once conceived, this idea very soon came to fruition. The opening of that conference (Venice, September 1976) saw the announcement of the birth of the Centro Studi Libertari G. Pinelli.
The Center is founded on two ideas. On the one hand, it is an archive in which the memory of anarchism (both written and unwritten) can be preserved through the collection of newspapers, issues of periodicals, books, manuscripts and other materials that had been widely dispersed because of historical and personal events.
On the other, it seeks to contribute to the development of a distinctively libertarian cultural milieu that can provide a creative, forthright and lucid critique of the all-pervasive culture of domination.
We feel that the development of such a milieu means, above all, the restoration of the historical significance and cultural wealth that was so evident in anarchism's past. We also feel that it should be recognized today as the most advanced and coherent theory and practice of human freedom; that is, as the most thorough critique of all forms of domination.
The anarchism to which we refer is less a political movement than a cultural «tradition»: an amalgam of ideas, intellectual and existential initiatives, and personal and collective histories.
This anarchism is a source of both meaning and direction; it is a way of looking at the world and a willingness to transform it. Its fundamental values are freedom, equality, diversity and solidarity (of which freedom is, on grounds of both reason and emotion, primus inter pares). It is a cultural tradition that, while requiring a certain logical coherence based on its axiological foundations, is, by definition, anti-dogmatic and open to comparison, innovation and experimentation.
The conferences, seminars, research and other initiatives undertaken by the Center over the decades have undertaken a reconsideration of anarchism's historical «roots». Even more, they have sought to create a contemporary libertarian imaginary: an analysis and fruitful consideration of the «here and now» in the light of an ethical and aesthetic «elsewere». This adventure has brought us many companions – both long-term and occasional – who have arrived from all parts of the world, not only from the various tendencies of anarchism itself but also from other more or less related cultural areas.
In the meantime, the Center's library has been enriched by the acquisition of thousands of volumes (mostly in Italian, but also in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German). It can now boast a virtually complete collection of Italian-language books and leaflets on anarchist history and thought and on libertarian movements, as well as a complete collection of the most important Italian periodicals and single issues, in the original or on microfilm. Since 1978 the CSL has belonged to the FICEDL, a European body which acts as a coordinator of archives and libertarian study centres. In 1986 the two basic functions of the Center - its historical documentary role and that of a more general promotor of culture have been formally divided, thus giving rise to the two names: theArchivio Giuseppe Pinelli and the Centro Studi Libertari.