This article appears courtesy of Emma Goldman Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations Address to the International Working Men's Association Congress by Emma Goldman Life imposes strange situations on all of us. For forty-eight years I was considered an extremist in our ranks. One who refused to compromise our ideas or tactics for any purpose whatsoever--one who always insisted that the Anarchist aim and methods must harmonize, or the aim would never be achieved. Yet here I am trying to explain the action of our Spanish comrades to the European opponents, and the criticism of the latter to the comrades of the CNT-FAI. In other words, after a lifetime of an extreme left posi... (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.)
Social Democrats in nearly all countries begin to reap what they have sown. For years the propaganda of principles has had to stand back before the reckless strife for votes to conquer political and municipal power, as the phrase goes. Their ranks were swelled on one side by masses of voters, whose real convictions and prejudices remained for the greater part untouched; on the other side, by politicians and self-seeking persons who were on the lookout for a party which would accept them as leaders. Among the inevitable consequences of these superficial flippant tactics are some apparent successes of a kind that makes sincere members of the party blush with shame--like the admission of Millerand, the French Socialist politician, to the Minis... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The use of the strike as an offensive and defensive weapon against Capitalism has been illustrated during the past few weeks by noteworthy revolts of workers in Leeds and London. In the former city -the men have gained what they desired; in the latter they have supplied the capitalist newspapers with some sensational news by which to catch the pence of the multitude, whilst they have practically lost their, cause and allowed a number of the most energetic among them to lose their employment. The reason of this difference of fortune which has befallen the gas workers of Leeds and the postmen and policemen of London is not far to seek. In the Yorkshire town the men were determined and united. Following up the tactics of the Irish peasants whe... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
English translation by Charlotte Anheier Erinnerungen eines Proletariers aus der (Memoirs of a proletarian from the revolutionary labor movement) Josef Peukert From My Youth The memories of my youth are depressing images of the proletariat which exists in different forms in all modern societies. A bitter longing and deprivation surrounded the untimely death of my mother from the awful proletarian's illness, which has affected a fifth of the civilization of my hometown. Although the whole district in the Isergebirge, had become somewhat of a health resort for "Schwindsuechtige". The glass industry, which provided work for a tenth of the civlization in the mountains and valleys surrounding my home town, divided the workers into those who blew... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A Paper on Communism and Anarchism, By John Most New York, Bernhard & Schenck, 167 William Street, 1890. A DAGGER in one hand, a torch in the other, and all his pockets brimful with dynamite-bombs -- that is the picture of the anarchist, such as it has been drawn by his enemies. They look at him simply as a mixture of a fool and a knave, whose able, purpose is universal topsy-turvy, and whose only means to that purpose is to slay anyone and everyone who differs from him. The picture is an ugly carricature, but its general acceptance is not to be wondered at, since, for years all non-anarchistic papers have been busy in circulating it. Even in certain labor-organs one may find the anarchist represented as merely a man of violence, destit... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This article donated by William Loren Katz Lucy Parsons addressed the founding convention on two occasions and her speeches touched on issues close to her heart: the oppression of women and how to develop radical new tactics to win strikes. Her idea clearly were in advance of the time, presage the "sit-in" strikes of the 1930s, the anti-war movement of the 1960s, and her words resonate today. Delegate applause interrupted her speech several times and at the end. We, the women of this country, have no ballot even if we wished to use it, and the only way that we can be represented is to take a man to represent us. You men have made such a mess of it in representing us that we have not much confidence in asking you . . . We [women] are the sla... (From : LucyParsonsProject.org.)
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.)
• "A Union is set up to defend the day to day interests of the workers and to improve their conditions as much as possible before they can be in any position to make the revolution and by it change today's wage-earners into free workers, freely associating for the benefit of all."
• "The anarchists within the unions should strive to ensure that they remain open to all workers of whatever opinion or party on the sole condition that there is solidarity in the struggle against the bosses. They should oppose the corporatist spirit and any attempt to monopolize labor or organization. They should prevent the Unions from becoming the tools of the politicians for electoral or other authoritarian ends; they should preach and practice direct action, decentralization, autonomy and free initiative. They should strive to help members learn how to participate directly in the life of the organization and to do without leaders and permanent officials. They must, in short, remain anarchists, remain always in close touch with anarchists and remember that the workers' organization is not the end but just one of the means, however important, of preparing the way for the achievement of anarchism."
• "Today, I believe, there is no-one, or almost no-one among us who would deny the usefulness of and the need for the labor movement as a mass means of material and moral advancement, as a fertile ground for propaganda and as an indispensable force for the social transformation that is our goal. There is no longer anyone who does not understand what the workers' organization means, to us anarchists more than to anyone, believing as we do that the new social organization must not and cannot be imposed by a new government by force but must result from the free cooperation of all. Moreover, the labor movement is now an important and universal institution. To oppose it would be to become the oppressors' accomplices; to ignore it would be to put us out of reach of people's everyday lives and condemn us to perpetual powerlessness."
"Discussing the activities and role of the Anarchists in the Revolution, Kropotkin said: 'We Anarchists have talked much of revolutions, but few of us have been prepared for the actual work ,to be done during, the process. I have indicated some things in this relation in my Conquest of Bread. Pouget and Pataud have also sketched a line of action in their work on Syndicalism and the Cooperative Commonwealth. Kropotkin thought that the Anarchists had not given sufficient to the fundamental elements of the social revolution. The real facts in a revolutionary process do not consist so much in actual fighting--that is, merely the destructive phase necessary to clear the way for constructive effort. The basic factor in a revolution is the organiz... (From : Anarchy Archives.)