He was a well-known anarchist leader in the United States and life-long friend of Emma Goldman, a young Russian immigrant whom he met on her first day in New York City. The two became lovers and moved in together, remaining close friends for the rest of Berkman's life.
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From : Anarchy Archives
"The state has no soul, no principles. It has but one aim -- to secure power and hold it, at any cost."
From : "The Kronstadt Rebellion," by Alexander Berkman, 1922
"But the 'triumph' of the Bolsheviki over Kronstadt held within itself the defeat of Bolshevism. It exposes the true character of the Communist dictatorship. The Communists proved themselves willing to sacrifice Communism, to make almost any compromise with international capitalism, yet refused the just demands of their own people -- demands that voiced the October slogans of the Bolsheviki themselves: Soviets elected by direct and secret ballot, according to the Constitution of the R.S.F.S.R.; and freedom of speech and press for the revolutionary parties."
From : "The Kronstadt Rebellion," by Alexander Berkman, 1922
"...partizanship of whatever camp is not an objective judge."
From : "The Russian Tragedy," by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Revolution Series, No.1, section I
"It must always be remembered - and remembered well - that revolution does not mean destruction only. It means destruction plus construction, with the greatest emphasis on the plus."
From : "The Russian Tragedy," by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Revolution Series, No.1, section IV
"The present situation in Russia [in 1921] is most anomalous. Economically it is a combination of State and private capitalism. Politically it remains the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' or, more correctly, the dictatorship of the inner circle of the Communist Party."
From : "The Russian Tragedy," by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Revolution Series, No.1, section V
"But when the industries will again begin to function more or less systematically, [Soviet] Russia will face a very difficult and complex labor situation. Labor organizations, trade unions, do not exist in Russia, so far as the legitimate activities of such bodies are concerned. The Bolsheviki abolished them long ago. With developing production and capitalism, governmental as well as private, Russia will see the rise of a new proletariat whose interests must naturally come into conflict with those of the employing class. A bitter struggle is imminent. A struggle of a twofold nature: against the private capitalist, and against the State as an employer of labor."
From : "The Russian Tragedy," by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Revolution Series, No.1, section V
"Or will the workers at last learn the great lesson Of the Russian Revolution that every government, whatever its fine name and nice promises is by its inherent nature, as a government, destructive of the very purposes of the social revolution? It is the mission of government to govern, to subject, to strenghten and perpetuate itself. It is high time the workers learn that only their own organized, creative efforts, free from Political and State interference, can make their age-long struggle for emancipation a lasting success."
From : "The Russian Tragedy," by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Revolution Series, No.1, section V
About Alexander Berkman
Alexander Berkman was born in Russia in 1870. It was a time of revolutionary upheaval, and Berkman was influenced by his uncle Maxim, later exiled to Siberia for his revolutionary activity. Joining a group of students who read the literature of the Nihilists and other prohibited organizations, Berkman was eventually expelled from school. Finding most professions barred to him, he emigrated to America. On his arrival in 1888, he quickly became involved in the anarchist movement, but, although in some ways strong, it was a divided movement.
The United States at the time was opening its gates to many thousands of new arrivals, many of them from Europe. These people tended to live in the same communities as others from their country, and work in the same places. Shops, bars, and newspapers would cater for each community, usually in their native language. In Europe, the anarchist and revolutionary socialist movements were relatively strong. There was no parallel in North America, and the trade union movement was still finding its feet.
The revolutionary movement, then, tended to be split into many nationalities. These groups were often made up of activists, like Berkman, who had to leave their home countries because of their activities. There were also divisions between anarchists, Marxists, and so on. The relations between these groups were often quite good, and there were large campaigns that brought all groups together, but the language and cultural divisions remained an issue.
The crisis point in Berkman's life came in 1892, when he was only 22. At the time, the steelworkers of Pittsburgh were some of the most highly skilled and best-organized workers in the country. When their contracts came up for review, Henry Clay Frick, the chairman of the Carnegie Company, refused outright to deal with the union. He fired all of the workers, and said they would have to apply individually for their jobs, an open attack on the union. Support meetings for the workers were held all across America, but Frick brought in hundreds of strikebreakers - Pinkerton Detectives (1). Then, in July, two months after the strike started, eleven strikers were shot by the Pinkertons. The die was cast.
Berkman traveled to Pittsburgh to kill Frick, an assassination he hoped would strike against the capitalist class, as well as avenge the deaths of the steelworkers. But his attempt failed, despite his shooting Frick three times, and stabbing him with a poisoned blade. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison (more than three times the then maximum for attempted murder). Clearly the same courts that had convicted the Haymarket Eight, had decided that an example was to be made of him. And this, at the age of only 22.
Berkman eventually spent 14 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement, and was often denied visits for years at a time. His only communication with the outside world was through smuggled letters. When he got out he was almost broken by his experiences, and it took him years to come to himself again. Yet even those years of recovery were filled with activity, editing Mother Earth magazine, and helping found the Ferrer School in New York.
With the publication of 'Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist', he came to terms with his experiences and gained a new lease of life. He was at the heart of the unemployed movement in New York, and one of the driving figures of the anti-war movement in America. For this he was jailed, for another two years, and in 1919 deported, along with Emma Goldman and many other revolutionaries, to the Soviet Union.
He spent two years in Russia, before exile in Germany and France. His book, 'The Bolshevik Myth', shows how at first he had tried to convince himself that the spirit of revolution still lived in Russia, and his anger and horror when the Bolsheviks massacred the sailors of Kronstadt, and with them the last hopes of freedom and socialism.
Although he remained an important figure in Europe, and continued writing, The 'ABC of Anarchism' was published in 1929, his poverty, and continual harassment by the authorities had made him old before his time, and he had less strength now to carry on the struggle. In 1936, seriously ill, he committed suicide, just weeks before the outbreak of the Spanish Revolution.
From a young age, Alexander Berkman was an exile, and he spent almost twenty years in prison, yet when he was free, he was at the heart of every important struggle, and he was a prodigious writer. 'The ABC of Anarchism' is still an essential starting point for any anarchist, and, together with his Memoirs, displays his burning desire for freedom, as well as the wisdom he paid dearly for.
1 The Pinkertons were not detectives as we would imagine them today, but were more like a small mercenary army. Quite often they were hired to infiltrate unions and pass on information, or simply served as hired muscle.
From : By Ray Cunningham, Published by Workers Solidarity No 56 in March 1999
This person has authored 162 documents, with 419,158 words or 2,604,197 characters.
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1931 ~ (1,437 Words / 8,727 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. AMERICA AND THE SOVIETS. A great deal is being written now in the Soviet Press about the new American law against convict or forced labor. The United States has recently passed a statute according to which no goods can enter the country that are the product of unfree, forced or convict labor. The new law went into effect in January and there is much discussion in Russia, as well as in the United States, as to what effect the new legislation will [have] on Russian industrial conditions and on its foreign trade. The unusual feature of the law is that the burden of proof is laid upon the accused. That is, if Russia attempts to bring its manufactured goods into the United States, it... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1934 ~ (2,707 Words / 18,512 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT TODAY By Alexander Berkman The history of human civilization is not a straight, continuously forward-moving line. Its diagram is a zigzag, now advancing, now retreating. Progress is measured by the distance separating man from his primitive conditions of ignorance and barbarism. At the present time mankind seems to be on the retreat. A wave of reaction is sweeping the countries of Europe; its effects and influence are felt all over the world. There is fascism in Italy, Hitlerism in Germany, despotism in Russia, destructive dictatorship in other countries. Every progressive and radical party, every revolutionary movement has... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,645 Words / 10,081 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN (By our Special correspondent ALEXANDER BERKMAN) The general conception of the "type" American is in Europe picturesque and niave at the same time. In France as in Germany, in the Northern as in the Southern countries, in fact throughout the European Continent, with the exception of England perhaps, the opinion of the man in the street about America and Americans is primitive and inadequate. First of all, the name "an American" immediately suggests riches, wealth. It is almost as if American and rich man are synonyms, at least in the view of the average European who has never been in the United States and who seldom comes in direct contact with Americans in Europe. In the mi... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (676 Words / 4,453 Characters)
Ideas are true liberators. Ideas as distinguished from so-called reason. For in our work-a-day world there is much reason and too little thought. It is given only to the seer and poet to conceive liberating ideas - impractical, wild thoughts that ultimately light the way of practical, blind man to better and higher endeavor. To "practical" minds the regeneration of the world is an empty dream. To transform the cold winter of our age into the warmth of a beautiful summer day, to change our valley of tears and misery into a luxurious garden of joy is a vain fantasy lacking reason and sanity. But a William Morris sees in his mind's eye a world of comradeship and brotherhood rejoicing in the plenitude of earth's bounty, and he challenges "practical reason" to justify the existence of poverty and antagonism in a society over-rich in all the physical and esthetic joys of a full human life. The incisive genius of a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (3,219 Words / 20,315 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. The Bolshevik Dictatorship At Work It must be left to the future historian to determine whether the Bolshevik repression of the bourgeoisie, with which they started, their rule, was not merely a means towards the ulterior purpose of suppressing all the other non-Bolshevik elements. For the Russian bourgeoisie was not really dangerous to the Revolution. As is well known, it was an insignificant minority, unorganized, without definite solidaric interests and entirely powerless. The revolutionary elements, on the contrary, were a real obstacle to the dictatorship of any political party. The elimination of the revolutionary elements would be of prime necessity to any dictatorship, because s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1925 The text is from my copy of Alexander Berkman, The Bolshevik Myth, New York: Boni and Liveright, 1925. Page numbers are in the source code. CHAPTER IV Moscow February 10, 1920.---The opportunity to visit the capital came unexpectedly: Lansbury and Barry, of the London Daily Herald, were in Petrograd, and I was asked to accompany them to Moscow as interpreter. Though not entirely recovered from my recent illness, I accepted the rare chance, travel between Petrograd and Moscow being limited to absolute necessity. The railroad conditions between the two capitals (both cities are so considered) are deplorable. The engines are old and weak, the road in need of repair. Several times we ran short of fuel, and our engineer left the train to go off into the woods for a fresh supply of wood. Some of the passengers accompanied the crew t...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1913 ~ (2,020 Words / 11,964 Characters)
(The 19th of December, 1913, was "confession evening" at the "Twilight Club", New York, among whose members are the "best" people, supreme court judges, and other pillars of society. "Confessions" were made by a drunkard, a dope fiend, an actress, a labor agitator, a convict, etc., some of whom spoke in complete darkness, to hide their identity.) This is an evening of confession, and I therefore at once confess myself a lawbreaker, a criminal -- if you will -- and a convict. Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman, I beg your kind indulgence, for the convict's manner is uncouth, his speech ragged, his thoughts indecently naked. For only the convict, the outcast from the fold of commonplace respectability and dull conformity, can afford the luxury of frank, honest expression. And I should be honest with you -- not only because of my lack of respect for that which is respected but the general consensus of stupidity, but rather because I hold in high re... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (607 Words / 3,876 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. TO OUR COMRADES EVERYWHERE The anarchist movement is passing through a very difficult time. The World War, the Russian Revolution, and the present international reaction have resulted in the disorganization of our movement in the disheartening and disillusionment of many comrades. We are facing a serious task of reorganization; many vital problems are pressing for solution -- problem so grave that they can be solved only by the closest cooperation of the comrades in a spirit of mutual understanding earnestness and responsibility. That at such a momentous time there should develop in our midst the spirit of petty personalities and strife is more than tragic. It is positively criminal. The growing tendency of irresp... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1919 ~ (13,069 Words / 81,591 Characters)
This pamphlet appears in Anarchy Archives courtesy of International Institute for Social History. Deportation Its Meaning and Menace: Last Message to the People of America. by Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. Ellis Island, New York, U.S.A., December, 1919. INTRODUCTION. WITH pencil and scraps of paper concealed behind the persons of friends who had come to say good-bye at the Ellis Island Deportation Station, Alexander Berkman hastily scribbled the last lines of this pamphlet. I THINK it is the best introduction to this pamphlet to say that before its writing was finished the rulers of America began deporting men directly and obviously for the offense of striking against the industrial owners of America. &nbs... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,685 Words / 12,843 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. EARLY DAYS: Life at home and school in St. Petersburg. My bourgeois father and aristocratic mother. Jews and gentiles. I question my father about the Turkish prisoners of war begging alms in the streets. OUR FAMILY SKELETON: Strange rumors about my mother and her brother Maxim. Echoes of the Polish rebellion of 1863. I hear of the dreaded Nihilists and revolution. A TERRIFIED HOUSEHOLD: A bomb explodes as I recite my lesson in school. The assassination of Czar Alexander II. Secret groups in our class. Police search our house. Uncle Maxim is arrested for conspiring against the Czar's Life. The funeral of the dead Czar. A terrorized city. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (2,446 Words / 15,471 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. THE IDEA IS THE THING Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world? If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them. That is the crux of the whole matter: present-day society rests on the belief of the people that it is good and useful. It is founded on the idea of authority and private ownership. It is ideas that maintain conditions. Government and capitalism are the forms in which the popular ideas express themselves. Ideas are the foundation; the in... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (675 Words / 4,474 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. THE JOBLESS By Alexander Berkman Generally speaking, there is neither any sincere and intelligent plan among the reformers, of whatever hue, to solve this great problem, nor any possibility of a thorough and final solution of unemployment within the legal and industrial boundaries of present-day capitalist society. Unemployment is no sporadic phenomenon of modern life. It is inherent in the character and mode of functioning of our industrial system. The jobless man is always with us, and industrial crises or stagnation, eliminating hundreds of thousands of workers, for a longer or shorter period, from the field of labor, are events of regular and inevitable recurrence. The causes of unemployment are ridiculously simple, and therefore so... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1922 ~ (12,095 Words / 81,366 Characters)
From my copy of Alexander Berkman's The Kronstadt Rebellion, Berlin: Der Sindikalist, 1922. Russian Revolution Series The Kronstadt Rebellion By Alexander Berkman Fifteen Cents 1922 I. LABOR DISTURBANCES IN PETROGRAD It was early in 1921. Long years of war, revolution, and civil struggle had bled Russia to exhaustion and brought her people to the brink of despair. But at last civil war was at an end: the numerous fronts were liquidated, and Wrangel -- the last hope of Entente intervention and Russian counter-revolution -- was defeated and his military activities within Russia terminated. The people now confidently looked forward to the mitigation of the severe Bolshevik régime. It was expected that with the end of civil war the Communists would lighten the burdens, abolish war-time restrictions, i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (544 Words / 3,539 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. The Lesson of the 11th Nov. 1887. We have assembled here today to honor the memory But not merely to honor their memory. They are dead and the loving one cannot be recalled to life; but the living may profit by the experience of the past. And this is the great curse of humanity that we seldom, very seldom profit by the experience of the years behind. And yet, the lesson of the past is very simple; if it teaches us anything it is the persistence of the idea. Persecution -- the prison and scaffold, and tortures and fire and the cross were used to strangle the idea -- in vain; even persecution but goes to nourishing the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. It gat... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1920 ~ (571 Words / 3,081 Characters)
Life be good to you. Whether we shall ever meet again, who know? I am losing hope, together with many other things I have been losing since December. But still I cling to the straws of possibilities. If I could at least hear from yourself as to how things stand, and whether he near or even the distant future may be looked forward to with any expectation. But in any event, and whatever may be hidden in the lap of the Gods for me, should even no line ever reach you from me again, you need but re-read my notes from Ellis Island, or to recollect their contents in case the notes do not exist any more, and to feel that they express my feelings now just as they did then. That is sufficient to say, and I know you will understand, even if you can reach me with no reply. My thoughts fly to you across the seas and the mountains, and all the love of my heart. &n... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1910 ~ (1,777 Words / 11,158 Characters)
One year has passed since the death of Francisco Ferrer. His martyrdom has called forth almost universal indignation against the cabal of priest and ruler that doomed a noble man to death. The thinking, progressive elements throughout the world have voiced their protest in no ambiguous manner. Everywhere sympathy has been manifested for Ferrer, the modern victim of the Spanish Inquisition, and deep appreciation expressed for his work and aims. In short, the death of Ferrer has succeeded - as probably no other martyrdom of recent history - in rousing the social conscience of man. It has clarified the eternally unchanging attitude of the church as the enemy of progress; it has convincingly exposed the State as the crafty foe of popular advancement; it has, finally, roused deep interest in the destiny of the child and the necessity of rational education. It would indeed be a pity if the intellectual and emotional energies thus wakened should exhaust themselves in... (From : Kate Sharpley Library, http://www.katesharpleylibr....)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (479 Words / 3,303 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. [are] very far from the truth... [kee]pers and jailers are but human, and may occasionally be guilty of abuse of power. It is only an awakened public consciousness that can progressively and successfully cope with such abuses, whether they be perpetrated in congress, in our courts of justice, or in the penitentiaries. Second bourgeois paper: A book by a degenerate who did not find prison to his taste. An indecent book, that is both a glorification of assassination and an apology, even justification, of unmentionable crimes. Mr. Comstock had better look into this work. Third bourgeois paper: A peculiar work, very uneven both as to merit and worth. It contains much that is good an... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1929 From: Alexander Berkman, Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism, New York: Vanguard Press, 1929. What Is Communist Anarchism? CHAPTER III Law and Government Yes, you are right: the law forbids theft. If I should steal something from you, you can call a policeman and have me arrested. The law will punish the thief, and the government will return to you the stolen property, if possible, because the law forbids stealing. It says that no one has a right to take anything from you without your consent. But your employer takes from you what you produce. The whole wealth produced by labor is taken by the capitalists and kept by them as their property. The law says that your employer does not steal anything from you, because it is done with your consent. You have agreed to work for your boss for certain pay, he to have all that you produce. Because you...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (2,931 Words / 17,371 Characters)
On the shooting of Henry Clay Frick by Alexander Berkman From 'Living My Life' by Emma Goldman "It was May 1892. News from Pittsburg announced that trouble had broken out between the Carnegie Steel Company and its employes organized in the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. It was one of the biggest and most efficient labor bodies of the country, consisting mostly of Americans, men of decision and grit, who would assert their rights. The Carnegie Company, on the other hand, was a powerful corporation, known as a hard master. It was particularly significant that Andrew Carnegie, its president, had temporarily turned over the entire management to the company chairman, Henry Clay Frick, a man known for his enmity to labor. Frick was also the owner of extensive coke fields, where unions were prohibited and the workers were ruled with an iron hand." "The high tariff on imported steel had greatly boomed the Ame... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1916 ~ (1,256 Words / 7,765 Characters)
[Originally published in The Blast! vol.1, no.13, page 2; May 15, 1916] Most Irishmen, in and out of Ireland, seem unanimous in condemning the brutality of the British government toward the leaders of the unsuccessful revolt. There is no need to recite here the atrocious measures of repression practiced by England toward her subject races. The arrogant and irresponsible tyranny of the British government in this relation is a matter of history. The point of interest just now is, what did the Irish people, or at least the Sinn Feiners, expect England to do in the given circumstances? I am not interested in the weak-kneed editors of Irish-American papers who bemoan, with all due decorum, Great Britain's "lack of generosity" in dealing with the captured Sinn Feiners, or who hide their cowardice by arguments about the "mistake" the British government has committed by its harsh methods. It is disgusting to hear such rot. As a matter of fa... (From : Spunk.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (355 Words / 2,579 Characters)
Les Miserable ". By Victor Hugo. 2 Vol "The Man Who Laughs." ", "The Rag Picker". " The Scarlett Letter". By Hawthorne. "Sunrise". By Wm Black. "Oliver Twist". By Charles Dickens. "Underground Russia". Stepmiak. "Under Sealed Orders" 2 Vol By ? "Popes of Rome". By ? "Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt". By Jacob Abbot "Hero". By Jacob Abbot "Genghis Khan" By Jacob Abbot "Julius Ceasar" By Jacob Abbot "The Gracchi" By A. H. Beesly... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (2,494 Words / 16,277 Characters)
March is a historic month: in the struggle of mankind against the power of darkness and oppression it has frequently played a very significant role. But the most important March event of modern times is of comparatively recent date. It took place in Russia just ten years ago in 1921, and is known as the Kronstadt Rebellion. In many of its characteristics the Kronstadt Rebellion had great similarity with another great historic uprising, namely that of the proletariat of Paris in 1870, which is known as the Paris Commune. The month of March is the anniversary of the Paris Commune, as well the as the Kronstadt Rebellion, and it is fitting that the two great events be celebrated at the same time. I say " celebrated" advisedly. For though Kronstadt as well as the Paris Commune ended as fearful tragedies, both of them stand out in proletarian history as stirring and momentous struggles for liberty and justice. They are beacon lights, shedding hope a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1912 Berkman, Alexander Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Mother Earth Press. 6 THE JAIL I THE DAYS RING with noisy clamor. There is constant going and coming. The clatter of levers, the slamming of iron doors, continually reverberates through the corridors. The dull thud of a footfall in the cell above hammers on my head with maddening regularity. In my ears is the yelling and shouting of coarse voices. "Cell num-ber ee-e-lev-ven! To court! Right a-way!" A prisoner hurriedly passes my door. His step is nervous, in his look expectant fear. "Hurry, there! To court!" "Good luck, Jimmie." The man flushes and averts his face, as he passes a group of visitors clustered about an overseer. "Who is that, Officer?" One of the ladies advances, lorgnette in hand, and stares boldly at the prisoner. Suddenly she shr...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (856 Words / 5,254 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. Prisons and Crime. Three Essays by A.B. III. Crime. Society makes not the least effort to prevent crime, as it could and should by pursuing such methods which would tend to remove the conditions breeding criminals. It deals with criminals, not with crime. It concerns itself only with the classes or individuals already criminal --- generally after the commitment of a crime and occasionally while in the act of commitment --- completely disregarding those standing on the precipice. of criminality; ready to take their fatal leap. Along the road of want and suffering and forbearance society's les miserables, those guilty without guilt are pushed forward by a strong and irresistible hand, forward and forward towards... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1917 ~ (255 Words / 1,828 Characters)
Text from The Blast, Vol. 2, #5, 6/1/1917 REGISTRATION By Alexander Berkman Registration is the first step of conscription. The war shouters and their prostitute press, bet on snaring you into the army, tell you that registration has nothing to do with conscription. They lie. Without registration, conscription is impossible. Conscription is the abdication of your rights as a citizen. Conscription is the cemetery where every vestige of your liberty is to be buried. Registration is its undertaker. No man with red blood in his veins can be forced to fight against his will. But you cannot successfully oppose conscription if you approve of, or submit to, registration. Every beginning is hard. But if the government can induce you to register, it will have little difficulty in putting over conscription. By registering, you willfully supply the government w... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1922 ~ (11,437 Words / 76,426 Characters)
This pamphlet appears in Anarchy Archives courtesy of International Institute for Social History. Russian Revolution Series, No. 2, 1922. The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party Berkman, Alexander PREFACE Clarity of ideas is not characteristic of the average mind. Many people still continue to think and to talk of the Russian Revolution and of the Bolsheviki as if the two were identical. In other words, as if nothing had happened in Russia during the last three years. The great need of the present is to make clear the difference between that grand social event and the ruling, political party --- a difference as fundamental as it has been fatal to the Revolution. The following pages present a clear and hi... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1922 ~ (9,089 Words / 58,463 Characters)
The Russian Revolution Series No.1 The RUSSIAN TRAGEDY (A Review and An Outlook) by Alexander Berkman FOREWORD We live at a time when two civilizations are struggling for their existence. Present society is at death grips with the New Ideal. The Russian Revolution was but the first serious combat of the two forces, whose struggle must continue till the final triumph of the one or of the other. The Russian Revolution has failed - failed of its ultimate purpose. But that failure is a temporary one. In the point of revolutionizing the thought and feeling of the masses of Russia and of the world, in undermining the fundamental concepts of existing society, and lighting the torch of faith and hope for the Better Day, the Russian Revolution has been of incalculable educational and inspirational value to... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,996 Words / 12,493 Characters)
This manuscript is part of the International Institute of Social History's Alexander Berkman Archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with IISH's permission. Some Reminiscences of Kropotkin By Alexander Berkman It was about 1890, when the anarchist movement was still in its infancy in America. We were just a handful then, young men and women fired by the enthusiasm of a sublime ideal, and passionately spreading the new faith among the population of the New York Ghetto. We held our gatherings in an obscure hall in Orchard Street, but we regarded our efforts as highly successful. Every week greater numbers attended our meetings, much interest was manifested in the revolutionary teachings, and vital questions were discussed late into the night, with deep conviction and youthful vision. To most of us it seemed that capitalism had almost reached the limits of its fiendish possibilities, and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,604 Words / 10,206 Characters)
It is only a few months now to the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. Great preparations are being made by the Communist Party and Government of Russia for the celebration of the important event. Numerous committees are at work to make the day the most memorable in the annals of Soviet Russia, and to demonstrate to the country and to the world at large the achievements of the first decade of Bolshevik rule. There is no doubt that the October Revolution was the most significant social upheaval known in human history. It broke all the molds of established society - not merely political forms, as was the case in previous revolutions, but the very economic foundations that support human slavery and oppression. The spiritual achievements of the Revolution are tremendous, their ultimate effects immeasurable. It sounded the liberation of a million-headed peo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1917 ~ (328 Words / 2,038 Characters)
Text from The Blast, Vol. 2, #5, 6/1/1917 TO THE YOUTH OF AMERICA By Alexander Berkman Tyranny must be opposed at the start. Autocracy, once secured in the saddle, is difficult to dislodge. If you believe that America is entering the war "to make democracy safe," then be a man and volunteer. But if you know anything at all, then you should know that the cry of democracy is a lie and a snare for the unthinking. You should know that a republic is not synonymous with democracy, and that America has never been a real democracy, but that it is the vilest plutocracy on the face of the globe. If you can see, hear, feel, and think, you should know that King Dollar rules the United States, and that the workers are robbed and exploited in this country to the heart's content of the masters. If you are not deaf, dumb, and blind, then you know that the American bourgeois democracy and capitalistic ci... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1917 ~ (228 Words / 1,771 Characters)
Text from The Blast, Vol. 2, #5, 6/1/1917 WAR DICTIONARY By Alexander Berkman ALLIES- The fairies of Democracy. BARBARIANS- The other fellows. CONGRESS- The valet of Woodrow the First. CENSORSHIP- The rape of Free Speech. CONSCRIPTION- Free men fighting against their will. CIVILIZATION- In God We Trust. DEMOCRACY- The voice of the Gallery Gods. FREE SPEECH- Say what you please, but keep your mouth shut. HUNS- Loyal patriots from Central Europe. HUMANITY- Treason to government. JUSTICE- Successful target shooting. KAISER- A President's ambition. LIBERTY BOND- A bone from a bonehead. LIBERTY LOAN- The bread line of the Unborn. LOYAL CITIZEN- Deaf, dumb, and blind. MILITARISM- Christianity in action. PATRIOTISM- Hating your neighbor. REGISTRATION- Funeral march of Liberty. SEDITION- The proof of Tyranny. SLACKER- Jesus Christ. TRENCHES- Digging yo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1916 ~ (8,034 Words / 51,100 Characters)
Alexander Berkman died 61 years ago on June 28th, 1936. We enclose here his editorial for the first issue of The Blast published in San Francisco on 15th January 1916. Why The Blast? Do you mean to destroy? Do you mean to build? These are questions we have been asked from any quarters, by inquirers sympathetic and otherwise. Our reply is frank and bold: We mean both: to destroy and to build. For, socially speaking, Destruction is the beginning of Construction. Superficial minds speak sneeringly of destruction. O, it is easy to destroy -they say- but to build, to build, thats the important work. Its nonsense. No structure, social or otherwise, can endure if built on a foundation of lies. Before the garden can bloom, the weeds must be uprooted... (From : Kate Sharpley Library.)
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