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A Confession by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy Distributed by the Tolstoy Library OnLine First distributed in Russia in 1882, first published in 1884. I I was baptized and brought up in the Orthodox Christian faith. I was taught it in childhood and throughout my boyhood and youth. But when I abandoned the second course of the university at the age of eighteen I no longer believed any of the things I had been taught. Judging by certain memories, I never seriously believed them, but had merely relied on what I was taught and on what was professed by the grown-up people around me, and that reliance was very unstable. I remember that before I was eleven a grammar school pupil, Vladimir Milyutin (long since dead), visited us one Sunday and announced as the latest novelty a discovery made at his school. This discovery was that there is no God and that all we are taught about Him...
• "The authoritarians, the rulers, either believe they hold an infallible formula, or must pretend to hold it, as they intend to lay down and impose the law. However, all history shows that the law's only use is to defend, strengthen and perpetuate the interests and prejudices prevailing at the time the law is made, thus forcing mankind to move from revolution to revolution, from violence to violence."
• "On the contrary, we do not boast that we possess absolute truth; we believe that social truth is not a fixed quantity, good for all times, universally applicable, or determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions."
• "To me a policeman is worse than a criminal, at least than a minor common criminal; a policeman is more dangerous and harmful to society. However, if people do not feel sufficiently protected by the public, no doubt they immediately call for the policeman. Therefore, the only way of preventing the policeman from existing is to make him useless by replacing him in those functions that constitute a real protection for the public."
• "Individual property and the principle of authority, in the new disguises of capitalism and parliamentarism, were in that program and had to lead, as has always been the case, to oppression, misery and the dehumanization of the masses."
• "...where violence intervenes, injustice, oppression and exploitation invariably triumph."
• "...official "morality"... serves to defend the privilege and violence of the ruling class..."
PART I. 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, ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The Red Association (1870). Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying. The workers necessarily strive after a fundamental transformation of society, the result of which must be the abolition of classes, equally in economic as in political respects: after a system of society in which all men will enter the world under special conditions, will be able to unfold and develop themselves, work and enjoy the good things of life. These are the demands of justice. But how can we from the abyss of ignorance, of misery and slavery, in which the workers on the land and in the cities are sunk, arrive at that paradise, the realization of justice and manhood? For t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Part I: Two Conceptions of the Revolution Chapter 1. Two Opposing Conceptions of Social Revolution Our principal task herein is to examine and establish, to the extent of our ability, what is unknown or little known about the Russian Revolution. We begin by emphasizing a fact which, without being ignored, is considered only superficially in the western world. This: In October, 1917, this revolution entered upon wholly new terrain — that of the great Social Revolution. Thus it advanced on a very special route which was totally unexplored. It follows that the subsequent development of the Revolution assumed an equally new and original character. Therefore, our account will not resemble any of the existing histories of that revolt. Its general appearance, the factors it comprised, its very language, will change, taking on an unaccustomed and singular aspect. We go on to another fact whi...