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 IDEA IS THE THING Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world? If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them. That is the crux of the whole matter: present-day society rests on the belief of the people that it is good and useful. It is founded on the idea of authority and private ownership. It is ideas that maintain conditions. Government and capitalism are the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The first topic for consideration today is this: will it be feasible for the working masses to know complete emancipation as long as the education available to those masses continues to be inferior to that bestowed upon the bourgeois, or, in more general terms, as long as there exists any class, be it numerous or otherwise, which, by virtue of birth, is entitled to a superior education and a more complete instruction? Does not the question answer itself? Is it not self-evident that of any two persons endowed by nature with roughly equivalent intelligence, one will have the edge - the one whose mind will have been broadened by learning and who, having the better grasped the inter- relationships of natural and social phenomena (what we might ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "...if one closely examines what happens deep down, in the intimate daily lives of the mass of humanity, one finds that as well as the struggle to snatch better working conditions, the thirst for domination, rivalry, envy and all the unhealthy passions which set man against man, is also valuable work, mutual aid, unceasing and voluntary exchange of services, affection, love, friendship and all that which draws people closer together in brotherhood. And human collectivizes advance or decay, live or die, depending on whether solidarity and love, or hatred and struggle, predominate in the community's affairs; indeed, the very existence of any community would not be possible if the social feelings, which I would call the good passions, were not stronger than the bad."
• "...fortunately there exists in Man another feeling which draws him closer to his neighbor, the feeling of sympathy, tolerance, of love, and, thanks to it, mankind became more civilized, and from it grew our idea which aims at making society a true gathering of brothers and friends all working for the common good."
• "The fact is that human life is not possible without profiting by the labor of others, and that there are only two ways in which this can be done: either through a fraternal, equalitarian and libertarian association, in which solidarity, consciously and freely expressed unites all mankind; or the struggle of each against the other in which the victors overrule, oppress and exploit the rest...."
Note to the article individualism and anarchism by adamas Errico Malatesta (Pensiero e Volont, n. 15, August 1, 1924) Adamas reply to my article in n. 13 shows that I did not express my thought well, and induces me to add some clarifications. I claimed that individualist anarchism and communist anarchism are the same, or nearly so, in terms of moral motivations and ultimate goals. I know that one could counter my claim with hundreds of texts and plenty of deeds of self-proclaimed individualist anarchists, which would demonstrate that individualist anarchist and communist anarchist are separated by something of a moral abyss. However, I deny that that kind of individualists can be included among anarchists, desp... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order, and in the assertion that, without Authority, there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that Anarchy can be instituted by a [violent- Editor]revolution. 'To establish Anarchy'. 'Anarchy will be instituted'. But it will be instituted only by there being more and more people who do not require the protection of the governmental power, and by there being more and more people who will be ashamed of applying this power. 'The capitalistic organization will pass into the hands of workers, and then there will be no more oppression of these workers, and no unequal distribution of earnings' 'But w... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Part 1 You must often have asked yourselves what is the cause of Anarchism, and why, since there are already so many Socialist schools, it is necessary to found an additional one -- that of Anarchism. In order to answer this question I will go back to the close of last century. You all know the characteristics which marked that epoch: there was all expansion of intelligence a prodigious development of the natural sciences, a pitiless examination of accepted prejudices, the formation of a theory of Nature based on a truly scientific foundation, observation and reasoning. In addition to these there was criticism of the political institutions bequeathed to Humanity by preceding ages, and a movement towards that ideal of Liberty, Equality, and ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Bakunin to Nechayev on the role of secret revolutionary societies
Bakunin to Nechayev on the role of secret revolutionary societies June 2, 1870 This text is from Spunk press, the original source is the June 2, 1870 letter to Nechayev (published in pamphlet form under the title Bakunin on Violence by the Anarchist Switchboard, NYC--the original is in the Herzen archives). Nechayev was a young Russian revolutionary who had a close relationship with Bakunin for a while in Switzerland in the late 1860's. There is some speculation that they may have been lovers. In any case Nechayev was the author of the 'Catechism of the Revolutionary', an authoritarian manual for the formation of secret societies. Some have suggested Bakunin was also involved in drafting this but as the quotes below show he had quite differ... (From : flag.blackened.net.)
It is only a few months now to the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. Great preparations are being made by the Communist Party and Government of Russia for the celebration of the important event. Numerous committees are at work to make the day the most memorable in the annals of Soviet Russia, and to demonstrate to the country and to the world at large the achievements of the first decade of Bolshevik rule. There is no doubt that the October Revolution was the most significant social upheaval known in human history. It broke all the molds of established society - not merely political forms, as was the case in previous revolutions, but the very economic foundations that support human slavery and oppression. The spiritual achievemen... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
First published in War Commentary - For Anarchism mid-march 1944. In no characteristic is existing society in the West so sharply distinguished from the earlier societies, whether of Europe or the East, than in its conception of time. To the ancient Chinese or Greek, to the Arab herdsman or Mexican peon of today, time is represented in the cyclic processes of nature, the alternation of day and night, the passage from season to season. The nomads and farmers measured and still measure their day from sunrise to sunset, and their year in terms of the seedtime and harvest, of the falling leaf and the ice thawing on the lakes and rivers. The farmer worked according to the elements, the craftsman for so long as he felt it necessary to perfect his... (From : Spunk.org.)
I. INDUSTRIAL COMPETITION In 1883, when England, Germany, Austria, and Romania, taking advantage of the isolation of France, leagued themselves against Russia, and a terrible European war was about to blaze forth, we pointed out in the Rvolt what were the real motives for rivalry among States and the wars resulting therefrom. The reason for modern war is always the competition for markets and the right to exploit nations backward in industry. In Europe we no longer fight for the honor of kings. Armies are pitted against each other that the revenues of Messrs. Almighty Rothschild, of Schneider, of the Most Worshipful Company of Anzin, or of the most Holy Catholic Bank of Rome may remain unimpaired. Kings are no longer of any account. In fact... (From : Anarchy Archives.)