Élisée Reclus : Exiled Anarchist Geographer, Environmentalist, and Animal Rights Activist
Reclus was also actively involved in a number of societies during this time, including the Freemasons, the Freethinkers, the International Brotherhood of Michael Bakunin, and a number of anarchist cooperatives. In 1864, Elisée and Elie even helped to co-found the first Rochdale-type cooperative in Paris...
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From : Samuel Stephenson Bio
"Everything that can be said about the suffrage may be summed up in a sentence. To vote is to give up your own power. To elect a master or many, for a long or short time, is to resign one's liberty."
From : "Why Anarchists Don't Vote," by Élisée Reclus
"The possession of power has a maddening influence; parliaments have always wrought unhappiness. In ruling assemblies, in a fatal manner, the will prevails of those below the average, both morally and intellectually."
From : "Why Anarchists Don't Vote," by Élisée Reclus
"How can a worker, enrolled by you among the ruling class, be the same as before, since now he can speak in terms of equality with the other oppressors?"
From : "Why Anarchists Don't Vote," by Élisée Reclus
About Élisée Reclus
His education, begun in Rhenish Prussia, was continued in the Protestant college of Montauhan, and completed at the university of Berlin, where he followed a long course of geography under Karl Ritter.
Withdrawing from France in consequence of the events of December 1851, he spent the next six years (1852—57) visiting the British Isles, the United States, Central America, and Colombia. On his return to Paris he contributed to the Revue des deux mondes, the Tour du monde and other periodicals a large number of articles embodying the results of his geographical work. Among other works at this period was an excellent short book, Histoire d’un ruisseau, in which he traces the development of a great river from source to mouth. In 1867—68 he published La Terre; description des phénomènes de la vie du globe, in two volumes.
During the siege of Paris, Reclus shared in the aerostatic operations conducted by M. Nadar, and also served in the National Guard, while as a member of the Association Nationale des Travailleurs he published in the Cri du Peuple a hostile manifesto against the government of Versailles in connection with the Communist rising of the 18th of March 1871.
Continuing to serve in the National Guard, now in open revolt, he was taken prisoner on the 5th of April, and on the 16th of November sentenced to transportation for life; but, largely at the instance of influential deputations from England, the sentence was commuted in January 1872 to perpetual banishment.
Thereupon, after a short visit to Italy, he settled at Clarens, in Switzerland, where he resumed his literary labors, and, after producing the Histoire d’une montagne (a companion to Histoire d’un ruisseau), wrote nearly the whole of his great work, La Nouvelle Géographic universelle, la terre et les hoinmes, 19 vols. (1875—94). This is a stupendous compilation, profusely illustrated with maps, plans, and engravings, and was crowned with the gold medal of the Paris Geographical Society in 1892. An English edition appeared simultaneously, also in 19 vols., the first four by E. G. Ravenstein, the rest by A. H. Keane.
Extreme accuracy and brilliant exposition form the leading characteristics of all Reclus’s writings, which thus possess permanent literary and scientific value.
In 1882 Reclus initiated the "Anti-Marriage Movement," in accordance with which he allowed his two daughters to marry without any civil or religious sanction whatever. This step caused no little embarrassment to many of his well-wishers, and was followed by government prosecutions, instituted in the High Court of Lyons, against the anarchists, members of the International Association, of which Reclus and Prince Kropotkin were designated as the two chief organizers. The prince was arrested and condemned to five years’ imprisonment, but Reclus, being resident in Switzerland, escaped.
After 1892 he filled the chair of comparative geography in the university of Brussels, and contributed several important memoirs to French, German and English scientific journals. Among these may be mentioned "The Progress of Mankind"
(Contemp. Rev. , 1896); "Attila de Gerando" (Rev. Géograph. , 1898); "A great Globe" (Geograph. Journ. , 1898); "L’Extrême-Orient" (Bul. Antwerp Geo. Soc. , 1898), a thoughtful study of the political geography of the Far East and its possible changes; "La Perse" (Bul. Soc. Neuchateloise, 1899); "La Phénice et les Phéniciens" (ibid., 1900); La Chine et al diplomatie européenne ("L'Humanité nouvelle" series, 1900); L'Enseignement de la géographie (Instit. Geograph. de Bruxelles, No. 5, 1901). Shortly before his death Reclus had completed L'Homme et la terre, in which he set the crown on his previous greater works by considering man in his development relative to geographical environment.
Reclus died at Thourout, near Bruges, on the 4th of July 1905.
— From the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, pages 957-58
From : From the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, pages 957-58
This person has authored 13 documents, with 94,684 words or 561,384 characters.
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1901 ~ (522 Words / 3,209 Characters)
Dear Comrades, It is our usual habit to exaggerate both our strengths and our weaknesses. During revolutionary periods, it seems that the least of our actions has incalculably great consequences. On the other hand, during times of stagnation, even though we have dedicated ourselves completely to the cause, our lives seem barren and useless. We may even feel swept away by the winds of reaction. What then should we do to maintain our intellectual vigor, our moral energy, and our faith in the good fight? You come to me hoping to draw on my long experiences of people and things. So as an old man I give you the following advice. Do not quarrel or deal in personalities. Listen to opposing arguments after you have presented your own. Learn how to remain silent and reflect. Do not try to get the better in an argument at the expense of your own sincerity. Study with discretion and perseverance. Great enthusiasm... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1884 ~ (7,375 Words / 43,952 Characters)
(Originally published in the Contemporary Review, and then reprinted as a pamphlet by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1884) An Anarchist on Anarchy by Elise Reclus It is a pity that such men as Elise Reclus cannot be promptly shot. Providence Press To most Englishmen, the word Anarchy is so evil-sounding that ordinary readers of the Contemporary Review will probably turn from these pages with aversion, wondering how anybody could have the audacity to write them. With the crowd of commonplace chatterers we are already past praying for; no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting. Public speakers on social and political subjects find that abuse of Anarchists is an unfailing passport to public favor. Every conceivable crime is laid to our charge, and opinion, too indolent to learn the truth, i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (4,975 Words / 29,589 Characters)
DAR-FR. DAR-FR, or the Country of Fr," more commonly called Darfur, by fuzing the two words in a similar fashion to that in which the French say "Angleterre," instead of "Pays des Anglais," is the region which stretches west of Kordofn on the route to the river Niger. Dar-Fr does not entirely belong to the Nile basin. Its western slope, which has as yet been explored but by few travelers, appears to lose its waters in depressions with no outlet; but if the rainfall were sufficiently abundant the wadies of this region, changed into permanent watercourses, would ultimately reach Lake Tsad. The streams draining in the direction of the Nile also run dry in the plains, except in the season of the kharif, when the streamlets rising in the southern part of Mount Marrah fall into the Bahr-el-Arab. Wady-Melek, or Wed-el-Mek, that is to say the "Royal Valley," also called Wady-Mas-Sl, which runs to the north-... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1923 ~ (1,831 Words / 10,624 Characters)
The Death Penalty La Peine de Mort Translated by Natalya Ratan and Virginia Anton. By Elise Reclus I do not have the honor of being a Swiss Citizen and know only imperfectly the means to petition the removal of an article, but it is an issue of human agitation in all civilized countries As an international citizen I have the right to address this issue. Unfortunately I also am French and my motherland is also a country of executioners and the guillotine, that we have invented and use everyday Enemies of the death penalty. I must try to find their origins. Is if justifiable that it takes away from the right to self defense? If it is, it will be difficult to oppose it because we all have the right to self defense, against beasts and attacks from other men. But is it not clear if the right to self defense can be delegated because it ends immediately with danger? When we take into our hands the lives of our fellow men,... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1891 ~ (5,749 Words / 33,857 Characters)
From Elise Reclus , Evolution and Revolution, London: W. Reeves, Seventh Edition EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION By Elise Reclus THESE two words, Evolution and Revolution, closely resemble one another, and yet they are constantly used in their social and political sense as though their meaning were absolutely antagonistic. The word Evolution, synonymous with gradual and continuous development in morals and ideas, is brought forward in certain circles as though it were the antithesis of that fearful word, Revolution, which implies changes more or less sudden in their action, and entailing some sort of catastrophe. And yet is it possible that a transformation can take place in ideas without bringing about some abrupt displacements in the equilibrium of life? Must not revolution necessarily follow evolution, as action follows the desire to act? They are fundamentally one and the same thing, differing only according to... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1855 ~ (9,017 Words / 53,417 Characters)
Elise Reclus' "Fragment of a Voyage to New Orleans " The following introduction to and translation of Reclus' "Voyage" was published in Mesechabe #11 (Winter 1993), pp. 14-17 and #12 (Spring 1994), pp. 17-22. A revised version, with illustrations and a much expanded introduction is forthcoming as a pamphlet from Glad Day Books. The editors and translators have also completed a collection of Reclus' writings, with extensive commentary on his ideas, entitled Liberty, Equality, Geography: The Social Thought of Elise Reclus. They are at work on another Reclus collection entitled An Anarchist in the Old South: Elise Reclus on Slavery and Antebellum Society. This work appears in Anarchy Archives with permission from John Clark. Putting Freedom on the Map: The Life and Work of Elise Reclus by John Clark Elise... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1933 ~ (2,749 Words / 16,112 Characters)
Man loves to live in dreams. The effort which Thought must put forth in order to seize hold of realities seems to him too hard, and he tries to escape the task by taking refuge in opinions ready-made. If doubt is the pillow of the wise, we may say that blissful faith is the pillow of the weak in mind. There was a time when the power of a supreme God, who thought for us, who willed and acted over our heads, and directed human destiny in accordance with his own caprice, was amply sufficient for us, and caused us to accept our mortal lot with resignation or even with gratitude. Now this personal God, in whom the meek reposed their confidence, is perishing in his own temples, and men have to find a substitute for him. But there exists no longer any almighty power on which they can count; they only have a few words, to which they seek to give as it were a mystic force as it were a magic virtue; for example, the word progress. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1881 ~ (51,419 Words / 305,542 Characters)
THE HISTORY OF A MOUNTAIN ILLUSTRATED BY L. BENNETT RANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH NEW YORK HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE 1881 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by HARPER & BROTHERS, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. CONTENTS. I. THE RETREAT II. PEAKS AND VALLEYS III. ROCKS AND CRYSTALS IV. THE ORIGIN OF THE MOUNTAIN V. FOSSILS VI. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE PEAKS VII. LANDSLIPS VIII. CLOUDS IX. FOGS AND STORMS X. SNOW "XL AVALANCHES XII. GLACIERS XIII. MORAINES AND TORRENTS XIV. FORESTS AND PASTURES XV. THE ANIMALS OF THE MOUNTAIN XVI. GRADATIONS OF CLIMATE XVII. THE FREE MOUNTAINEER XVIII. CRETINS XIX. MOUNTAIN-WORSHIP XX. OLYMPUS AND THE GODS... (From : Archive.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1895 ~ (5,342 Words / 31,579 Characters)
This work appears in Anarchy Archives courtesy of International Institute for Social History. Reclus, Elise. The Ideal and Youth. Liberty Press, London, 1895. The Ideal and Youth. By ELISE RECLUS. If the word "Ideal" has really any meaning, it signifies far more than a vague yearning for better things, wearisome search for happiness, or a fitful and sad longing for an environment less hateful than the society of to-day; ah yes, we must give to the term an exact value, we must settle resolutely and intelligently what is the ostensible end of our ceaseless aspirations. Let us investigate then that Ideal. For some it would be no more than a return to the ages of the past, to the childhood of humanity; it would consist in the negation of science, in a humble prostrati... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1901 ~ (3,221 Words / 18,543 Characters)
On Vegetarianism First printed in the HUMANE REVIEW, January, 1901 MEN of such high standing in hygiene and biology having made a profound study of questions relating to normal food, I shall take good care not to display my incompetence by expressing an opinion as to animal and vegetable nourishment. Let the cobbler stick to his last. As I am neither chemist nor doctor, I shall not mention either azote or albumen, nor reproduce the formulas of analysts, but shall content myself simply with giving my own personal impressions, which, at all events, coincide with those of many vegetarians. I shall move within the circle of my own experiences, stopping here and there to set down some observation suggested by the petty incidents of life. First of all I should say that the search for truth had nothing to do with the early impressions which made me a potential vegetarian while still a small boy wearing baby-frocks. I have a distinct remembrance o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,398 Words / 8,261 Characters)
PETER KROPOTKIN's first political book, 'Paroles d'un Rvolt' -- a collection of articles from 'LeRvolt', the paper he had founded In Geneva in 1879 -- was published in France in 1885, while he was serving a five-year prison sentence. It has been translated into nearly all the main languages of the world but, though most of its nineteen chapters have appeared in English at various times and in various places as articles or pamphlets or both, there has never been a complete translation. The first English language edition of the whole book will be published by the Libertarian Book Club of New York next year, In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Kropotkin's death, under the title 'Words of a Rebel' (copies will of course be available from the Freedom Press). This edition is being prepared by Nicolas Walter, of the London Anarchists, a contributor to 'Freedom' and 'Anarchy' for many years, who has... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1901 ~ (556 Words / 3,454 Characters)
This letter was translated by John Clark and appears in Anarchy Archives with his permission To the editors of la Huelga General in Barcelona. Brussels, Dec. 4, 1901. Corresp. III:238-240. Dear comrades, We have an ingrained habit of exaggerating both our strengths and our weakness. During revolutionary periods, it seems that our most minor actions have incalculably great consequences. On the other hand, during times of stagnation, though we may be totally dedicated to our work, our entire lives seem barren and useless, and we may even feel swept away by the winds of reaction. What then should we do to maintain our intellectual vigor, our moral energy, and our faith in the good fight? You come to me hoping to draw on my long experience of people and things. So, as an elderly person I give you the following advice: Do not quarrel or deal in personalities. Listen to other people's arguments... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (530 Words / 3,245 Characters)
From MOTHER EARTH (ed. Emma Goldman) WHY ANARCHISTS DON'T VOTE BY ELISE RECLUS EVERYTHING that can be said about the suffrage may be summed up in a sentence. To vote is to give up your own power. To elect a master or many, for a long or short time, is to resign one's liberty. Call it an absolute monarch, a constitutional king, or a simple M.P., the candidate that you raise to the throne, to the seat, or to the easy chair, he will always be your master. They are persons that you put "above" the law, since they have the power of making the laws, and because it is their mission to see that they are obeyed. To vote is befitting of idiots. It is as foolish as believing that men, of the same make as ourselves, will acquire in a moment, at the ringing of a bell, the knowledge and the understanding of everything. Of course it is so. Your elected person... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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