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1. The Basic Ideas of Anarchism 1 The Basic Ideas of Anarchism A MATTER OF WORDS The word anarchy is as old as the world. It is derived from two ancient Greek words, av (an), apxn (arkhe), and means something like the absence of authority or government. However, for millennia the presumption has been accepted that man cannot dispense with one or the other, and anarchy has been understood in a pejorative sense, as a synonym for disorder, chaos, and disorganization. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was famous for his quips (such as "property is theft") and took to himself the word anarchy. As if his purpose were to shock as much as possible, in 1840 he engaged in the following dialogue with the "Philistine." "You are a republican." "Republican, yes; but that means nothing. Res publica is 'the State.' Kings, too, are republicans." "Ah well! You are a democrat?" "No." "What! Perhaps you are a monarchist?"...
ANARCHISM: WHAT IT REALLY STANDS FOR ANARCHY. Ever reviled, accursed, ne'er understood, Thou art the grisly terror of our age. "Wreck of all order," cry the multitude, "Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage." O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven The truth that lies behind a word to find, To them the word's right meaning was not given. They shall continue blind among the blind. But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure, Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken. I give thee to the future! Thine secure When each at least unto himself shall waken. Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill? I cannot tell--but it the earth shall see! I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will Not rule, and also ruled I will not be! &n... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism versus Socialism By WM. C. Owen. London: Freedom Press, 1922. A FOREWORD "Anarchy versus Socialism," which FREEDOM now reissues, after it has run through its columns (1921-22), was published first some eighteen years ago. Emma Goldman was then one of the most popular lecturers in the United States, and, being questioned constantly as to the difference between the Anarchist and Socialist philosophies, felt the need of a treatise that would explain that difference. At her suggestion I undertook the task. The title showed my conviction that between these two philosophies of life no honest alliance is possible. I considered then that both sides suffered seriously from tile persistent efforts made to reconcile the incompatible, for tho... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism is a world view, a philosophy of society; indeed the philosophy of society, for whoever considers the world and human life in their profoundest senses and their complete development, and then decides on the societal form of greatest desirability, cannot but decide for anarchism. Every other form is a half-measure and a patchwork. Is anarchism desirable? Well, who does not seek freedom? What man, unless willing to declare himself in bondage, would care to call any control agreeable? Think about it! Is anarchism possible? The failure of attempts to attain freedom does not mean the cause is lost. The facts that the struggle for freedom is clearer and stronger than ever before, that today there are different preconditions to achieving... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
ANARCHIST COMMUNISM: ITS BASIS AND PRINCIPLES Section I Section II Additional Note to "Anarchist Communism" I Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they mai... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
(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 cri... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "[Our ideal is...] War on religions and all lies, even if they shelter under the cloak of science."
• "...we have more reason on our side than have the parties because of the nobility of our ideal of freedom, but also that our ideas and methods are the most practical for the achievement of the greatest measure of freedom and well-being that is possible in the present state of our civilization."
• "...some have inherited the land and all social wealth, while the mass of the people, disinherited in all respects, is exploited and oppressed by a small possessing class."
• "Our task then is to make, and to help others make, the revolution by taking advantage of every opportunity and all available forces: advancing the revolution as much as possible in its constructive as well as destructive role, and always remaining opposed to the formation of any government, either ignoring it or combating it to the limits of our capacities."
• "...our efforts must in the first instance be directed to making the revolution and in such a way that it is in the direction of anarchy. We have to provoke the revolution with all the means at our disposal and act in it as anarchists, by opposing the constitution of any authoritarian regime and putting into operation as much as we can of our program. Anarchists will have to take advantage of the increased freedom that we would have won. We will have to be morally and technically prepared to realize within the limits of our numbers, those forms of social life and cooperation which they consider best and most suitable for paving the way for the future."
• "Revolutionaries yes, but above all anarchists."
(Front our Norwegian correspondent.) In one of the highest parts of Norway, in the wide and beautiful Osterdalen (East Valley), there lies a large and rich country named Tynset. The winters are long and very cold up there, but it is a summer resort, and people from all parts of the country, but mostly from England arid other foreign lands, come up the fjord in steamers to breathe the fresh and healthy mountain air. This remarkable place is the bead-quarters of the Anarchist movement in mountainous Norway. That is to say, that in this place the Norwegian Anarchist paper Fedraheimen is published. The present editor-in-chief Rasmus Steinsvik, is living in a little cottage, very little indeed, living the rich life of a man fighting for truth an... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
From Metropolitan Magazine, vol. IV, No. 3; October 1896. Anarchy Defended by Anarchists by John Most and Emma Goldman To most Americans Anarchy is an evil-sounding word -- another name for wickedness, perversity, and chaos. Anarchists are looked upon as a herd of uncombed, unwashed, and vile ruffians, bent on killing the rich and dividing their capital. Anarchy, however, to its followers actually signifies a social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all government of man by man; in short, it means perfect individual liberty. If the meaning of Anarchy has so far been interpreted as a state of the greatest disorder, it is because people have been taught that their affairs are regulated, that they are ruled wisely, an... (From : Anarchy Archives.)