Anarchist broadside protesting the quasi-universal male suffrage granted to Italian men over 30 by the “moderately progressive” government of Giovanni Giolitti in 1912. The enfranchisement extended the vote to the very poor and illiterate, with the dramatic impact of trebling the electorate (from 3 to almost 9 million voters) in advance of the 1913 elections. The far left parties (Estrema) did not support the franchise; here anarchists protest it as a bourgeois “swindle,” keeping intact economic tyranny and solidifying the power of the political elite.
Italian anarchists were influenced by Mikhail Bakunin, who wrote “the whole system of representative government is an immense fraud resting on this fiction [of political liberty in the popular vote] ... Political power means domination.” (In fact, the “democratized” 1913 elections resulted in no representative gains by the revolutionary or working class parties of Estrema.)