One issue that rightly preoccupies revolutionaries is how the revolution will come about.
The established society cannot last, they say, but still it does reflect huge interests, is backed by a heap of time-honored prejudices, and, above all, is defended by a mighty military organization that will fall apart just as soon as the spell of discipline is broken, but in the meantime is a redoubtable guard dog and means of repression. Where are we going to find the strength and the unity of action required to win? Plots and conspiracies are fine when it comes to mounting a specific action needing only a handful of people, but they are generally unable to determine a popular upheaval sufficiently widespread to stand a chance of winning. Spontaneo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Opposition to institutions, support the workers rights because a right without opportunity is no right at all, and our struggle against the exploiters should be led by love and not hatred. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "Let there be as much class struggle as one wishes, if by class struggle one means the struggle of the exploited against the exploiters for the abolition of exploitation. That struggle is a way of moral and material elevation, and it is the main revolutionary force that can be relied on."
• "...it is a truth that history has made the proletariat the main instrument of the next social change, and that those fighting for the establishment of a society where all human beings are free and endowed with all the means to exercise their freedom, must rely mainly on the proletariat."
• "...I had always sought to demonstrate that the social wrongs do not depend on the wickedness of one master or the other, one governor or the other, but rather on masters and governments as institutions; therefore, the remedy does not lie in changing the individual rulers, instead it is necessary to demolish the principle itself by which men dominate over men..."
I recently happened to come across a French pamphlet (in Italy today , as is known, the non-fascist press cannot freely circulate), with the title Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Project).
This is a project for anarchist organization published under the name of a ‘Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad’ and it seems to be directed particularly at Russian comrades. But it deals with questions of equal interest to all anarchists; and it is, clear, including the language in which it is written, that it seeks the support of comrades worldwide. In any case it is worth examining, for the Russians as for everyone, whether the proposal put forward is in keeping with anarchist principles and whether impleme... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) This article was widely diffused in Italy in 1899, following the massacres and condemnations which happened the previous year. The aim was to spread the idea of the union of all anti-monarchy parties aimed to the insurrection against the monarchy, without renouncing principles of each individual party, and without commitment to what each will want to do after the fall of the monarchy. Here is a substantial part of it.
Facing the brutality of certain situations every discussion must be interrupted: we need to act. When a man falls into the water and drowns, we cannot spend time discussing why he fell and how to avoid him falling again: it is urgent to get him out of the water and prevent his death. When a country is invaded by a savage hord... Rejections of being accused of supporting the constituent assembly, tactics of kill-all or take-nothing against the state, and we should focus on bringing our ideas into reality more than what accusers may say. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "...a Constituent Assembly [parliament] is the means used by the privileged classes, when a dictatorship is not possible, either to prevent a revolution, or, when a revolution has already broken out, to stop its progress with the excuse of legalizing it, and to take back as much as possible of the gains that the people had made during the insurrectional period.
The Constituent Assembly, with its making asleep and smothering, and the dictatorship, with its crushing and killing, are the two dangers that threaten any revolution. Anarchists must aim their efforts against them.Â"
• "Practical proposals are coming from various sides. They are all good to me, if they appeal to free initiative and to a spirit of solidarity and justice, and tend to take individuals away from the domination of the government and the master."
• "I am breaking off here, as there are thousands and thousands of cases, both in individual and social life, in which, being unable to obtain 'all', one has to try and get as much as possible."
In nature, outside human nature, force only rules, that is, brute force, ruthless, and limitless, because there does not yet exist that new force to which mankind owes its differentiation, and its superiority: the force of conscious will.
All specifically human life is a struggle against outside nature, and every forward step is adaptation, is the overcoming of a natural law.
Natural law is struggle, general slaughter, destruction, or oppression of the vanquished; and on the social plane the greater the tyranny the closer is one to the state of nature.
The concept of freedom for all, which inevitably involves the precept that one’s freedom is limited by the equal freedom of others, is a human concept; it is probably mankind’s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The anarchist effort, like any effort, is one focused on social organization, these organizations should be voluntary and cooperative, and it is through these groups that we will establish a better world. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."
• "...we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance. It matters to us therefore that all interests and opinions should find their expression in a conscious organization and should influence communal life in proportion to their importance."
• "Workers will never be able to emancipate themselves so long as they do not find in union the moral, economic and physical strength that is needed to subdue the organized might of the oppressors."
A brief review of our first issue in the Naples-based Communist periodical Prometeo deals mainly with an article by Merlino and the reviewer, reflects on the basic incomprehension of those who claim to know all and are never wrong. He says, ‘Although the definition may seem strange, there does undoubtedly exist a category of reformist anarchist.’
Clearly Prometeo believes it has made a discovery.
Despite the the pleasantness of the word, which has been abused and discredited by the politicians, anarchism has always and could never be other than reformist. We prefer to use the word reformer to avoid any possible confusion with those who are officially classed as ‘reformist’ and who strive for small and often illu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Science is a weapon which can be used for good or bad ends; but science ignores completely the idea of good and evil. We are therefore anarchists not because science tells us to be but because, among other reasons, we want everybody to be in a position to enjoy the advantages and pleasures which science procures.
In science, theories are always hypothetical and provisional and are a convenient method for grouping and linking known facts, as well as a useful instrument for research, for the discovery and interpretation of new facts; but they are not the truth. In life—I mean social life—theories are for some people only the scientific guise in which they clothe their desires and their wills. The scientism (I am not sayin... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchists are opposed to violence; everyone knows that. The main plank of anarchism is the removal of violence from human relations. It is life based on the freedom of the individual, without the intervention of the gendarme. For this reason we are enemies of capitalism which depends on the protection of the gendarme to oblige workers to allow themselves to be exploited—or even to remain idle and go hungry when it is not in the interest of the bosses to exploit them. We are therefore enemies of the State which is the coercive, violent organization of society.
But if a man of honor declares that he believes it stupid and barbarous to argue with a stick in his hand and that it is unjust and evil to oblige a person to obey the will of ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It is true that anarchists and socialists have always profoundly disagreed in their concepts of historic evolution and the revolutionary crises that this evolution creates, and consequently they have hardly ever been in agreement on the means to adopt, or the opportunities that have existed from time to time to open up the way towards human emancipation.
But this is only an incidental and minor disagreement.
There have always been socialists who have been in a hurry, just as there are also anarchists who want to advance with leaden feet, and even some who do not believe at all in revolution. The important, fundamental dissension is quite another: socialists are authoritarians, anarchists are libertarians.
Socialists want power, whether b... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In 1876 we were, as we are still, anarchist communists; but this does not mean that we use communism as a panacea or dogma, and fail to see that to achieve communism certain moral and material conditions are needed which we must create.
Luigi Galleani’s “La Fine dell’Anarchismo” … is in essence a clear, serene, eloquent account of anarchist communism according to the Kropotkinian conception; a conception which I personally find too optimistic, too easy-going, too trusting in natural harmonies, but for all that, his is the most important contribution to anarchist propaganda that has been made so far.
We too aspire to communism as the most perfect achievement of human solidarity, but it must be anarchi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 1. Aims and Objectives
We believe that most of the ills that afflict mankind stem from a bad social organization; and that Man could destroy them if he wished and knew how.
Present society is the result of age-long struggles of man against man. Not understanding the advantages that could accrue for all by cooperation and solidarity; seeing in every other man (with the possible exception of those closest to them by blood ties) a competitor and an enemy, each one of them sought to secure for himself, the greatest number of advantages possible without giving a thought to the interests of others.
In such a struggle, obviously the strongest or more fortunate were bound to win, and in one way or another subject and oppress the losers.
So lo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
• "...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."
• "It is in fact a question of education for freedom, of making people who are accustomed to obedience and passivity consciously aware of their real power and capabilities. One must encourage people to do things for themselves..."
• "...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."
• "The great majority of anarchists, if I am not mistaken, hold the view that human perfectibility and anarchy would not be achieved even in a few thousand years, if first one did not create by the revolution, made by a conscious majority, the necessary environment for freedom and well being."
• "Insurrections will be necessary as long as there are power groups which use their material force to exact obedience from the masses. And it is only too clear that there will be many more insurrections before the people win that minimum of indispensable conditions for free and peaceful development, when humanity will be able to advance towards its noblest objectives without cruel struggles and useless suffering."
• "Social reorganization is something we must all think about right now, and as the old is destroyed we shall have a more human and just society as well as one more receptive to future advances. The alternative is that 'the leaders' will think about these problems, and we shall have a new government, which will do exactly as all previous governments have done, in making the people pay for the scant and poor services they render, by taking away their freedom and allowing them to be oppressed by every kind of parasite and exploiter."
What should we do?
That is the question facing us, as indeed it does all who have ideas to put into effect and interests to defend, in every moment of our party life.
We want to do away with private ownership and authority, which is to say we are out to expropriate those who cling to the land and capital, and to overthrow government, and place society’s wealth at the disposal of everyone so that everyone may live as he pleases with no other restriction than those imposed by natural and social necessity, freely and voluntarily recognized and accepted. In short, we are out to implement the anarchist-socialist program. And we are convinced (and day to day experience confirms us in this belief) that the propertied and governments use ph... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 21. Anarchists and the Limits of Political Co-Existence
“Everywhere and at all times, especially since my return to Italy  I have repeatedly stated that a union of intent is possible, in spite of our disagreements, to bring about real and lasting results which will really allow the workers to conquer well-being and freedom. Not only have I repeatedly declared that it is possible; I also believe it to be necessary.”
“You mean to say that it is necessary for the revolution …”
“Certainly! If we anarchists could achieve the revolution on our own, or if the socialists could on their own, we could enjoy the luxury of each acting independently and of perhaps quarreling. But the revolution will be mad... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Today the most powerful force for social transformation is the working-class movement (the trade-union movement), and on its intentions depends to a large degree the course that events will take and the objectives of any future revolution. Through the organizations established for the defense of their interests, workers acquire an awareness of the oppression under which they live and of the antagonisms which divide them from their employers, and so begin to aspire to a better life, get used to collective struggle and to solidarity, and can succeed in winning those improvements which are compatible with the continued existence of the capitalist and statist regime. Later, when the conflict is beyond solution, there is either revolution or rea... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) One can be an anarchist irrespective of the philosophic system one prefers. There are materialist-anarchists as there are others, like myself, who without prejudicing future developments of the human mind, prefer simply to declare their ignorance in these matters.
Certainly it is difficult to understand how certain theories can be reconciled with the practical aspects of life.
The mechanistic theory, no less than the theistic and pantheistic theories, would logically lead to indifference and inaction, to the supine acceptance of all that exists both in the moral and material fields.
Fortunately philosophic concepts have little influence on conduct. And materialists and “mechanicists” in the teeth of logic, often sacrifice the... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
• "...the oppressed are always in a state of legitimate self-defense, and have always the right to attack the oppressors."
• "...the mission of those who, like us, wish the end of all oppression and of all exploitation of man by man, is to awaken a consciousness of the antagonism of interests between dominators and dominated, between exploiters and workers, and to develop the class struggle inside each country, and the solidarity among all workers across the frontiers, as against any prejudice and any passion of either race or nationality."
• "...what seems to be elementary and fundamental for all Socialists (Anarchists, or others) is that it is necessary to keep outside every kind of compromise with the Governments and the governing classes, so as to be able to profit by any opportunity that may present itself, and, in any case, to be able to restart and continue our revolutionary preparations and propaganda."
A section of our movement is eagerly discussing about the practical problems that the revolution will have to solve.
This is good news and a good omen, even if the solutions proposed so far are neither abundant nor satisfactory.
The days are gone when people used to believe that an insurrection would suffice for everything, that defeating the army and the police and knocking down the powers that be would be enough to bring about all the rest, i.e. the most essential part.
It used to be claimed that providing sufficient food, adequate accommodations and good clothes to everyone immediately after the victorious uprising would be enough for the revolution to be founded on unshakable ground and be able to readily proceed towards higher and h... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Amédée Dunois: Anarchism and Organization
It is not long since our comrades were almost unanimous in their clear hostility towards any idea of organization. The question we are dealing with today would, then, have raised endless protests from them, and its supporters would have been vehemently accused of a hidden agenda and authoritarianism.
They were times when anarchists, isolated from each other and even more so from the working class, seemed to have lost all social feeling; in which anarchists, with their unceasing appeals for the spiritual liberation of the individual, were seen as the supreme manifestation of the old individualism of the great bourgeois theoreticians of the past.
Individual actions and individual in... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) From their first manifestations Anarchists have [been] nearly unanimous as to the necessity of recourse to physical force in order to transform existing society; and while the other self-styled revolutionary parties have gone floundering into the parliamentary slough, the anarchist idea has in some sort identified itself with that of armed insurrection and violent revolution.
But, perhaps, there has been no sufficient explanation as to the kind and the degree of violence to be employed; and here as in many other questions very dissimilar ideas and sentiments lurk under our common name.
As a fact, the numerous outrages which have lately been perpetrated by Anarchists and in the name of Anarchy, have brought to the light of day profound dif... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchy is a word that comes from the Greek, and signifies, strictly speaking, "without government": the state of a people without any constituted authority.
Before such an organization had begun to be considered possible and desirable by a whole class of thinkers, so as to be taken as the aim of a movement (which has now become one of the most important factors in modern social warfare), the word "anarchy" was used universally in the sense of disorder and confusion, and it is still adopted in that sense by the ignorant and by adversaries interested in distorting the truth.
We shall not enter into philological discussions, for the question is not philological but historical. The common interpretation of the word does not misconceive its t... (From: Anarchy Archives.) For the past several weeks the dock porters of Rotterdam (Holland) had set about starting their strike. On 26 September, the strike spread and the number of strikers climbed to four or five thousand; on 10 October they all returned to work, having secured a 10 cents an hour rise in pay.
The police actively sided with the bosses and were violent and brutal.
On the 27th they saber-charged and dispersed the strikers, wounding several of them. The reporter from the English Daily News says that the ones who should have been kept under surveillance and restraint were the police officers rather than the strikers, who bore the insults and saber blows with resignation. No English workman, the reporter adds, would ever have put up with such treatme... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) A Note
The manifesto below was issued on February 15, 1915. It was signed by thirty-five well-known libertarians of various nationalities—among them Errico Malatesta, Alexander Schapiro, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Domela Nieuwenhuis, etc. Malatesta and Schapiro were two of the five secretaries of the International Bureau, elected at the international anarchist congress in 1907. Another of the secretaries, Rudolf Rocker, had not been able to append his signature, in that he was an internee at the time—but he too was against the war.
Europe in flames, tens of millions of men at loggerheads in the most frightful butchery in recorded history, hundreds of millions of women and children in tears, the ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) I remember that on the occasion of a much publicized anarchist attentat a socialist of the first rank just back from fighting in the Greco-Turkish war, shouted from the housetops with the approval of his comrades, that human life is always sacred and must not be threatened, not even in the cause of freedom. It appeared that he accepted the lives of Turks and the cause of Greek independence. Illogicality, or hypocrisy?
Anarchist violence is the only violence that is justifiable, which is not criminal. I am of course speaking of violence which has truly anarchist characteristics, and not of this or that case of blind and unreasoning violence which has been attributed to anarchists, or which perhaps has been committed by real anarchis... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) CESARE: Let's resume our usual conversation.
Apparently, the thing that most immediately interests you is the insurrection; and I admit that, however difficult it seems, it could be staged and won, sooner or later. In essence governments rely on soldiers; and the conscripted soldiers, who are forced reluctantly into the army barracks, are an unreliable weapon. Faced with a general uprising of the people, the soldiers who are themselves of the people, won't hold on for long; and as soon as the charm and the fear of discipline is broken, they will either disband or join the people.
I admit therefore that by spreading a lot of propaganda among the workers and the soldiers, or among the youth who tomorrow will be soldiers, you put yourselves ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
The numerous editions and translations of this pamphlet by Errico Malatesta all over the world have already demonstrated that its importance and relevance have been universally recognized.
Fra Contadini shares the modest tone of Malatesta’s other writings, more obvious here through the use of dialogue. It is in fact a chat which two peasants, one more politicized than the other, could very well have had in the north of Italy at the end of the last century. It manages to avoid the affectation which often harms literary works which–like this one–do not conceal their intent to educate, because in reality this is a didactic piece of work. Malatesta’s intention is to supply the anarchist movement (then th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Kropotkin’s definition of anarchy — a definition to which Nino Napolitano refers [in his article] as virtually beyond question — in spite of being accepted quite uncritically by many anarchists because of the great and deserved prestige of the author and his agreement with the scientific and philosophical ideas which were widespread when anarchism was first being propagated, seems to me both mistaken and harmful. Mistaken because it confuses different things; harmful because it obliges even those anarchists who accept it to debate those contradictions that weaken the reasoning of all or almost all those who subscribe to the positivist and naturalist schools of thought when they deal with moral questions.
In his attempt... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)