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Costa, Andrea (1851–1910)

Marco Manfredi

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Southern Europe » Italy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, communism, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00412.x


Andrea Costa is considered one of the fathers of Italian socialism and his life in some ways summarizes the excruciating evolution of socialism in Italy. Costa was born in Imola on November 29, 1851 into a very religious Catholic family of poor means. After finishing high school in 1870, he moved to Bologna, where he worked as a clerk to earn his living and enrolled at the local university. His career as a university student came to an abrupt end, however. In Bologna Costa came into contact with First Internationalists. These years were marked by enthusiasm for the Paris Commune, and Costa developed a positivist, humanitarian revolutionary socialism that led him to embrace Bakunin's ideas. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Congress of Rimini that created and organized the Italian Federation of the Socialist International and broke every tie with the London Council led by Marx and Engels. One month later he attended the anti-authoritarian Congress in St. Imier called for by the anarchist sections expelled from the First International. In 1874, a year of grave economic crisis and strong social tensions, he was the main organizer of a plan for an insurrection that, starting from Romagna, was to involve the whole peninsula. After its complete failure, he was imprisoned for more than a year and a half before being acquitted. Ten months later he established his residence in Switzerland ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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