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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.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and New Politics. The Communist Manifesto: Insights and Problems Murray Bookchin [from New Politics, vol. 6, no. 4 (new series), whole no. 24, Winter 1998] Murray Bookchin is the author of numerous books on left social theory and history. His most recent work is The Third Revolution, a three-volume history of popular movements in the revolutionary era, Volumes 1 and 2 of which have recently been published by Cassell. IT IS POLITICALLY RESTORATIVE TO LOOK WITH A FRESH EYE at The Manifesto of the Communist Party (to use its original title), written before Marxism was overlaid by reformist, postmodernist, spiritual, and psychological commentaries. From an examination of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
It is told of Rothschild that, seeing his fortune threatened by the revolution of 1849, he hit upon the following stratagem: - I am quite willing to admit, said he, that my fortune has been accumulated at the expense of others, but if it were divided among the millions of Europe to-morrow the share of each would only amount to five schillings if he asks me for it. Having given due publicity to his promise, our millionaire proceeded as usual to stroll quietly through the streets of Frankfort. Three or four passersby asked for their five schillings, which he disbursed with a sardonic smile. His stratagem succeeded and the family of the millionaire is still in possession of its wealth. It is in much the same fashion tha... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
To Business Men. To you, business men, I dedicate these new essays. You have always been the boldest, the most skillful revolutionaries. It was you who, from the third century of the Christian era, drew the winding-sheet over the Roman Empire in Gaul, by your municipal federations. Had it not been for the barbarians, whose coming suddenly changed the aspect of affairs, the republic which you established would have ruled the Middle Ages. Remember that the monarchy in our country is Frankish, not Gallic. It was you who later vanquished feudalism, arraying the town against the castle, the king against the vassals. Finally, it was you who, for eighty years past, have proclaimed, one after the other, all the revolutionary ideas—liberty of worship, liberty of the press, liberty of association, liberty of commerce and industry: it is you who, by your cleverly drawn constitutions, have curbed the altar and the throne, and established upon a per...
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 flocks to Ve... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This work appears in Anarchy Archives courtesy of International Institute for Social History. Reclus, Elisée. The Ideal and Youth. Liberty Press, London, 1895. The Ideal and Youth. By ELISÉE 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 sc... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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.)
From Correspondance de Michel Bakounine, published and prefaced by Michel Dragmanov, 1896, Paris, France, pages 121-124. Letter from Bakunin to Herzen and Ogareff October 3, 1861 San Francisco My dear friends, I was able to escape Siberia and after having traveled for a long time on the Amour and through the coasts and straits of Tartarie, in crossing Japan, I have finally arrived in San Francisco. But during this trip my savings, very modest as they were, have been completely exhausted and if I had not stumbled across a generous man who willingly loaned me 250 dollars to take the train from New York, I would have found myself in a terrible predicament. You, my friends, are too far away, and in this particular city I know no one. I hope to ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
“Be realistic, do the impossible” A Libertarian Marx? Marx’s famous address “The Civil War in France”, written in the name of the General Council of the International Working Mens Association two days after the crushing of the Paris Commune, is an inspiring text for Libertarians. Writing in the name of the International in which Bakunin had extensive influence, in it Marx revises some passages of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. In the Manifesto Marx and Engels had developed the notion of a proletarian evolution by stages. The first stage would be the conquest of political power, thanks to which the instruments of production, means of transport and credit system, would ‘by degrees’, be centralized in the hands of the State. On... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)