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.)
BOOK II CHAPTER V 0F RIGHTS Active rights exploded.-Province of morality unlimited.-Objection.- Consequences of the doctrine of active rights.-Admonition considered.-Rights of kings-of communities.-Passive rights irrefragable.-Of discretion. THE rights of man have, like many other political and moral questions, furnished a topic of eager and pertinacious dispute more by a confused and inaccurate statement of the subject of inquiry than by any considerable difficulty attached to the subject itself. The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men. The first of these a just philosophy will probably induce us universally to explode. There is no sphere in which a human being can be supposed to act, where one mode of proceeding will not, in every given...
Convention formed -- Its composition -- Girondins -- Mountain -- Plain or Marsh -- Activity of sections since their formation -- Revolutionary Commune -- Jacobin Club and -- Mountain -- Jacobins support "Mountain," but oppose Girondins On September 21, 1792, the Convention, that Assembly which has been so often represented as the true type, the ideal of a revolutionary Assembly, was at last opened. The elections had been made by all the citizens, both active and passive, but still in two degrees, which means that all the citizens had first elected the electoral assemblies, and these had nominated the deputies to the Convention. Such a mode of election was clearly in favor of the wealthy; but as the elections took place in September, in the midst of the general agitation resulting from the triumph of the people on August 10 and many who were opposed to the, Revolution, being terrorized by the events on September 2, preferred not to show...
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.)