The article deals with a revision of anarchism attempted by an Italian jurist, F.S. Merlino, at the end of the Nineteenth century. Merlino tried to relate the vision of a society without domination and state to a republican view of the polity as self-government and public deliberation. Whereas Bakunin and his followers over-stressed the voluntarist and existentialist side of political autonomy, Merlino be-lieved that social freedom could only be achieved through a different form of in-stitutional rationality. Whereas "classical" anarchism does not hesitate to make democracy collapse into a vague and strong-arm form of politics and even identi-fies politics in general with domination, Merlino conceived anarchy as a radical version of democratic polity. In his opinion, the only way to destroy domination was redistribute power and give an equal share of it to each citizen. Merlino’s views are not only relevant from an historical perspective: they still constitute a valid contribution to the contemporary debate about the principle of deliberative democracy, in particular with respect to his attempt to cross-fertilise anarchism with republicanism and vice-versa. Merlino demonstrated that there is very little of "republican" about those doctrines to which today's political regimes react in their democratic deficit by adopting a "regulatory" approach to govern-ance, by which they mean a new form of state where legislative responsibilities, deliberation and representation should no longer be pooled and ascribed to the same institutional agencies.