(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 luxur... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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 Li... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Berkman, Alexander Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Mother Earth Press. Part II 2 THE WILL TO LIVE I THE DAYS DRAG interminably in the semi-darkness of the cell. The gong regulates my existence with depressing monotony. But the tenor of my thoughts has been changed by the note of the mysterious correspondent. In vain I have been waiting for his appearance,-yet the suggestion of escape has germinated hope. The will to live is beginning to assert itself, growing more imperative as the days go by. I wonder that my mind dwells upon suicide more and more rarely, ever more cursorily. The thought of self-destruction fills me with dismay. Every possibility of escape must first be exhausted, I reassure MY troubled conscience. Surely I have no fear of death-when the proper time arrives. But haste would be highly imprudent; worse, quite unnecessary. indeed, it is my duty as a revolution ist to seize e...
IN 1849 Feodor Dostoyevsky wrote on the wall of his prison cell the following story of The Priest and the Devil: "'Hello, you little fat father!' the devil said to the priest. 'What made you lie so to those poor, misled people? What tortures of hell did you depict? Don't you know they are already suffering the tortures of hell in their earthly lives? Don't you know that you and the authorities of the State are my representatives on earth? It is you that make them suffer the pains of hell with which you threaten them. Don't you know this? Well, then, come with me!' "The devil grabbed the priest by the collar, lifted him high in the air, and carried him to a factory, to an iron foundry. He saw the workmen there running and hurrying to and fro... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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,... (From : Anarchy Archives.)