(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.)
Published by Freiheit Publishing Association New York Among all mental diseases which man has systematically inoculated into his cranium, the religious pest is the most abominable. Like all things else, this disease has a history; it only regrettable that in this case nothing will be found of the development from nonsense to reason, which is generally assumed to be the course of history. Old Zeus and his double, Jupiter, were still quite decent, jolly, we might even say, somewhat enlightened fellows, if compared with the last triplet on the pedigree of gods who, on examination, can safely rival with Vitzliputzli as to brutality and cruelty. We won't argue at all with the pensioned or dethroned gods, for they no longer do any harm. But the m... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This text was taken from In Russian and French Prisons, London: Ward and Downey; 1887. In Russian and French Prisons by P. Kropotkin CHAPTER I MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH RUSSIAN PRISONS My first acquaintance with Russian prisons was made in Siberia. It was in 1862. I had then just arrived at Irkutsk--a young Lieutenant of Cossacks, not fully twenty years of age,--and a couple of months after my arrival I was appointed secretary to a committee for the reform of prisons. A few words of explanation are necessary, I suppose, for my English readers. The education I had received was only what a military school could give. Much of our time had been devoted, of course, to mathematics and physical sciences; still more to the science of warfare, to the art of destroying men on battle-fields. But we were living, then, in Russia at t...
(From our Italian Correspondent.) The labor agitation is spreading in town and country. A general laborers' strike is expected in the Varesotto, whither the government have dispatched two companies of soldiers to frighten the peasants into submission. At Bregnano, near Como, the peasants have revolted against the hearth tax (fuocatico) lately increased by the parish authorities: the mayor passed a bad quarter of an hour. The movement has gained the neighboring localities of Lomorro, Belforte, Casa Litta, and others. Here also troops have been hurried to maintain order. But by far the most alarming troubles have broken out at Olgiate in the province of Como, where bands of laborers on strike, 4,000 strong men whose wages were less than 4d. a... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
[SECOND NOTICE.] Are Prisons Necessary? is the title of the concluding chapter of Kropotkin's account of his prison experiences. "Unhappily, hitherto," he goes on to remark, "our penal institutions have been nothing but a compromise between the old ideas of revenge, of punishment of the 'bad will' and 'sin,' and the modern ideas of 'deterring from crime,' both softened to a very slight extent by some notions of philanthropy." But is it not time that we fully recognized the fact that crime, like bodily disease, is capable of scientific investigation, and of that scientific treatment which considers prevention the best of cures? An energetic school of scientific students of crime has sprung up of late years in Italy and Germany, who have devo... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
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.)
There is no question with which Anarchists are more commonly met than, "What is to be done with criminals in a society where there is no government? You say that the present system of coercion is a cruel wrong to human nature; you say that the masses, when they rise to overthrow the economic tyranny of the property owners, will destroy all this elaborate machinery of law-court and prison, and indeed it is a fact that the opening of prison doors has been a prominent feature of popular revolts; but surely you cannot wish and intend to let the criminal class loose upon society?" And the most selfish and brutal of respectable objectors will go on discoursing about the "criminal class" in the tone of the Pharisee of all ages when be has occasion... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA IN 1887. In no countries more than in these (Russia perhaps excepted) is the history of the revolutionary movement last year such a dreary catalog of persecutions and condemnations. Sentences to penal servitude (Zuchthaus) and imprisonment have been dealt out with a free hand for no other offenses than distribution of prohibited papers, or even electoral manifestos. Workmen's meetings have been abruptly attacked and dispersed often by the police, sometimes even by the military, with the usual results in the form of wholesale arrests and bloodshed. Some officers and soldiers have been suspected of professing Socialist opinions, and arrested at Munich and elsewhere. An exceptional law exceptionally administered hangs over ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)