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 p... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
I. THE PLACE OF THE COMMUNE IN SOCIALIST EVOLUTION On March 18, 1871, the people of Paris rose against a despised and detested government, and proclaimed the city independent free, belonging to itself. This overthrow of the central power took place without the usual stage effects of revolution, without the firing of guns, without the shedding of blood upon barricades. When the armed people came out into the streets, the rulers fled away, the troops evacuated the town, the civil functionaries hurriedly retreated to Versailles carrying everything they could with them. The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a spring breeze, and on the nineteenth the great city of Paris found herself free from the impurity which had defiled ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A Defense for Fugitive Slaves, against the Acts of Congress of February 12, 1793, and September 18, 1850 (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1850). Lysander Spooner Table of Contents Poverty, Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure.—part I. By Lysander Spooner. Recommendations. Act of Congress of 1793.: An Act Respecting Fugitives From Justice, and Persons Escaping From the Service of Their Masters. Act of Congress of 1850.: An Act to Amend, and Supplementary to the Act, Entitled "an Act Respecting Fugitives From Justice, and Persons Escaping From the Service of Their Masters," Approved February 12, 1793. A Defense For Fugitive Slaves. Chapter I.: Unconstitutionality of the Acts of Congress of 1793 and 1850. Chapter II.: The Right of Resistance, and the R... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
CHAPTER VI OF THE INFLUENCE OF CLIMATE Means by which liberty is to be introduced.-Their efficacy illustrated.- Facts in confirmation of these reasonings.-Inference. Two points further are necessary to be illustrated, in order to render our view of man in his social capacity impartial and complete. There are certain physical causes which have commonly been supposed to oppose an immovable barrier to the political improvement of our species: climate, which is imagined to render the introduction of liberal principles upon this subject in some cases impossible: and luxury, which, in addition to this disqualification, precludes their revival even in countries where they had once most eminently flourished. An answer to both these objections is included in what has been offered upon the subject of the voluntary actions of man. If truth, when properly displayed, be omnipotent, then neither climate nor luxury are invincib...
Insurrections necessary -- Extent of reaction -- Work of Constituent and Legislative Assemblies -- New Constitution-Local government opposed to centralization-Difficulties in applying new laws -- Directoires on side of reaction -- "Disorder wanted" -- Active and passive citizens -- The gains of insurrection -- Equality and agrarian law -- Disappearance of manorial courts-Workers' demands answered by bullets -- Middle classes' love of order and prosperity -- "Intellectuals" turn against people -- Success of counter-revolution -- Plutocracy -- Opposition to republican form of government -- Danton and Marat persecuted and exiled -- Discontent and dishonesty in army -- Massacres at Nancy -- Bouillé's "splendid behavior" We have seen what the economic conditions in the villages were during the year 1790. They were such that if the peasant insurrections had not gone on, in spite of all, the peasants, freed in their persons, wo...
On the 5th of May last the celebration of the centenary of the French Revolution began by the commemoration of the opening of the States-General at Versailles, at the same date, in the memorable year of 1789. And Paris—that city which in January last so clearly manifested its dissatisfaction with Parliamentary rule—heartily joined in the festivities organized to celebrate a day when parliamentary institutions, crossing the Channel, went to take firm root on the Continent. Must we see in the enthusiasm of the Parisians one of those seeming contradictions which are so common in the complicated life of large human agglomerations? Or was it the irresistible attraction of a spring festival which induced the Parisians to rush in flock... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This work appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of Benedict Read, Executor & Trustee, Herbert Read Estate and Trust William Godwin [Herbert Read MS from University of Victoria] In the history of English poetry, no name is more secure than that of Shelley: he ranks with the greatest -- with Spenser, Shakespear, Milton and Wordsworth, and the years only add to the depth of our appreciation of his genius. But Shelley's name is indisociably linked with another name -- the name of a man to whom he owed not only his philosopy of life, but even his personal happiness, for he ran away with the philosopher's daughter. This philosopher was William Godwin, and in his day no man was more famous. His fame rested on one book, though he wrot... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
On Individualism and the Anarchist Movement in France
Viola, Bromley, Kent March 5, 1902 My dear friend, I read your letter with a great deal of personal and general interest, and I would like to be able to answer it at length, as well as to discuss one of its essential points, individualism. Maybe someday I will write a few articles on individualism. At any rate, I will try to answer you now without entering into lengthy details. I will start with the central point of your letter, in which you ask why youth is not the same now as it was in 1890-94. According to you, it is because at the time, we were affected by the libertarian movement in art and literature and so forth. Well, we still are. The only difference is that it is they who no longer want us, and that, after having given us several ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
We are often reproached for accepting as a label this word anarchy, which frightens many people so much. "Your ideas are excellent," we are told, "but you must admit that the name of your party is an unfortunate choice. Anarchy in common language is synonymous with disorder and chaos; the word brings to mind the idea of interests clashing, of individuals struggling, which cannot lead to the establishment of harmony." Let us begin by pointing out that a party devoted to action, a party representing a new tendency, seldom has the opportunity of choosing a name for itself. It was not the Beggars of Brabant who made up their name, which later came to be popular. But, beginning as a nickname -- and a well-chosen one -- it was taken up by the par... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
First Published in 1871 Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. Image:1 This work, like all my published work, of which there has not been a great deal, is an outgrowth of events. It is the natural continuation of my Letters to a Frenchman (September 1870), wherein I had the easy but painful distinction of foreseeing and foretelling the dire calamities which now beset France and the whole civilized world, the only cure for which is the Social Revolution. My purpose now is to prove the need for such a revolution. I shall review the historical development of society and what is now taking place in Europe, right before our eyes. Thus all those who sincerely thirst for truth can accept it and proclaim openly and unequivocally the philosophical principle... (From : Anarchy Archives.)