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A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that "anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything"---including, he noted those whose acts are such that "a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better." There have been many styles of thought and action that have been referred to as "anarchist." It would be hopeless to try to encompass all of these conflicting tendencies in some general theory or ideology. And even if we proceed to extract from the history of libertarian thought a living, evolving tradition, as Daniel Guérin does in Anarchism, it remains difficult to formulate its doctrines as a specific and determinate theory of society and social change. The anarchist historian Rudolph Rocker, who presents a systematic conception of the development of anarchist thought towards anarchosyndicalism, along lines that bear comparison to Guérins work, puts the matter well when he writes that anarchism is not a fixed, self-enc...

Anarchy and Organization appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. The essay originally was written in reply to an attack by Huey Newton on anarchist forms of organization. ANARCHY AND ORGANIZATION A Letter To The Left Reprinted from NEW LEFT NOTES January 15, 1969 by permission of the author There is a hoary myth that anarchists do not believe in organization to promote revolutionary activity. This myth was raised from its resting place by Marcuse in a L'Express interview some months ago and reiterated again by Huey Newton in his "In Defense of Self-Defense," which New Left Notes decided to reprint in the recent National Convention issue. To argue the question of "organization" versus "non-organization" is ridiculous; ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Johann Most's most famous speech. "Among the beasts of prey man is certainly the worst." This expression, very commonly made nowadays, is only relatively true. Not man as such, but man in connection with wealth is a beast of prey. The richer a man, the greater his greed for more. We may call such a monster the `beast of property." It now rules the world, making mankind miserable. and gains in cruelty and voracity with the progress of our so called `civilization " This monster we will in the following characterize and recommend to extermination. Look about ye! In every so-called "civilized" country there are among every 100 men about 95 more or less destitute and about 5 money-bags. It is unnecessary to trace all the sneaking ways by which t... (From :

Gaston Leval: Social Reconstruction in Spain (London 1938); quoted in Vernon Richards: Lessons of the Spanish Revolution (London 1983) The mechanism of the formation of the Aragonese collectives has been generally the same. After having overcome the local authorities when they were fascist, or having replaced them by Anti-fascist or Revolutionary committees when they were not, an assembly was summoned of all the inhabitants of the locality to decide on their line of action. One of the first steps was to gather in the crop not only in the fields of the small landowners who still remained, but, what was even more important, also on the estates of the large landowners all of whom were conservatives and rural `caciques' or chiefs. Groups were o... (From :

Published by Freedom Press 27 Red Lion Street, London, W.C.1 July 1945 and printed by Express Printers, London. We are reproducing an abridged version of the first part of Gaston Leval's pamphlet "Social Reconstruction in Spain," which was published by Freedom Press in 1938, but which has since gone out of print. Many readers of "War Commentary" have expressed a desire for the reproduction in some form of the contents of this excellent pamphlet. COLLECTIVES IN SPAIN INDUSTRIAL socialization was the first undertaking of the Spanish Revolution, particularly in Barcelona. But obstacles were created from the beginning, which resulted in preventing these experiments from being developed to their logical end. The war was the principal handicap. B... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The greatest excitement has prevailed in Russia for the last few weeks since it became known that representatives of the Zemstvos of thirty-four provinces of the Empire were going to meet at St. Petersburg in order to discuss the necessary reforms in the general political organization of the country. The very fact that such an authorization had been granted was equivalent to an invitation to discuss a scheme of a Constitution; and so it was understood everywhere. When the Zemstvo delegates were leaving their respective provincial towns they were sent off by groups of enthusiastic friends, whose parting words were: 'Return with a Constitution!' Their original intention was to make of their conference a solemn official gathering which would s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Translated by Robert Helms "Des ilections" first appeared in La France (Paris), Aug.12, 1885. What's going to happen? Where will we flee? Already the election campaigns are infected by a terrible leprosy. The cabarets roar, rolling over with drunken eyes. Looming above the intersections, the red, blue, and yellow posters explode across the walls of solitary houses. The peasants hurry to gather their wheat and oats before the political whirlwind blows in, like a devastating sirocco. The bad smell of spilled wine is hanging in the air, and the deafening clamor of committees comes from everywhere, left, right, and center, calling for an encore, and marking time on the bass drum of alcoholic frenzy. People walk by, cross themselves, don't recog... (From : Mid-Atlantic Infoshop.)

Condition of people previous to 1789 -- Wanton luxury of aristocrats -- Poverty of majority of peasants -- Rise and importance of well-to-do peasant class It would be waste of time to describe here at any length the condition of the peasants in the country and of the poorer classes in the towns on the eve of 1789. All the historians who have written about the great French Revolution have devoted eloquent pages to this subject. The people groaned under the burden of taxes levied by the State, rents and contributions paid to the lord, tithes collected by the clergy, as well as under the forced labor exacted by all three. Entire populations were reduced to beggary and wandered on the roads to the number of five, ten or twenty thousand men, women and children in every province; in 1777, one million one hundred thousand persons were officially declared to be beggars. In the villages famine had become chronic; its intervals were s...

The month of October 1917 is a great historical watershed in the Russian revolution. That watershed consists of the awakening of the toilers of town and country to their right to seize control of their own lives and their social and economic inheritance; the cultivation of the soil, the housing, the factories, the mines, transportation, and lastly the education which had hitherto been used to strip our ancestors of all these assets. However, as we see it, it would be wide of the mark if we were to see all of the content of the Russian revolution encapsulated in October: in fact, the Russian revolution was hatched over the preceding months, a period during which the peasants in the countryside and the workers in the towns grasped the essenti... (From :

From Selected Writings on Anarchism and Revolution, P.A. Kropotkin, edited and translated by Martin A. Miller. The letter appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the editor and translator. Dmitrov, 4 March, 1920 Esteemed Vladimir Ilich, Several employes of the postal-telegraph department have come to me with the request that I bring to your attention information about their truly desperate situation. As this problem concerns not only the commissariat of mail and telegraphs alone, but the general condition of everyday life in Russia, I hasten to fulfill their request. You know, of course, that to live in the Dmitrov district on the salary received by these employes is absolutely impossible. It is impossible even to buy a bushel of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

I should be very glad to join you and your associates -- whose work I know and appreciate -- in standing up for the rights of the Literature Committee and opposing the enemies of popular education. But in the sphere in which you are working I see no way to resist them. My only consolation is that I, too, am constantly engaged in struggling against the same enemies of enlightenment, though in another manner. Concerning the special question with which you are preoccupied, I think that in place of the Literature Committee which has been prohibited, a number of other Literature Associations to pursue the same objects should be formed without consulting the Government and without asking permission from any censor. Let Government, if it likes, pr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

March is a historic month: in the struggle of mankind against the power of darkness and oppression it has frequently played a very significant role. But the most important March event of modern times is of comparatively recent date. It took place in Russia just ten years ago in 1921, and is known as the Kronstadt Rebellion. In many of its characteristics the Kronstadt Rebellion had great similarity with another great historic uprising, namely that of the proletariat of Paris in 1870, which is known as the Paris Commune. The month of March is the anniversary of the Paris Commune, as well the as the Kronstadt Rebellion, and it is fitting that the two great events be celebrated at the same time. I say " celebrated" advisedly. For though Kronst... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

PREFACE Clarity of ideas is not characteristic of the average mind. Many people still continue to think and to talk of the Russian Revolution and of the Bolsheviki as if the two were identical. In other words, as if nothing had happened in Russia during the last three years. The great need of the present is to make clear the difference between that grand social event and the ruling, political party --- a difference as fundamental as it has been fatal to the Revolution. The following pages present a clear and historically true picture of the ideals that inspired the Revolution, and of the role played by the Bolsheviki. This pamphlet conclusively proves what the Russian Revolution IS and what the BoIshevik State, alias the Communist Party, IS... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

If the September number of the North American Review, which contained a rejoinder by the procurator of the Holy Synod to my article on "The Present Crisis in Russia," (North American Review, May, 1901) was allowed to enter Russia, my compatriots will surely feel most grateful to the editor for having obtained that rejoinder. For nearly twenty years, almost every paper and review in Russia, with the exception of the subsidized Moscow Gazette and The Russian Messenger, has been bitterly criticizing both the system of schools inaugurated by the procurator and the highly-colored reports about them which have been made every year to the Emperor. These papers have received "warnings" — three warnings meaning the suppression of the paper; bu... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The Russian Revolution Series No.1 The RUSSIAN TRAGEDY (A Review and An Outlook) by Alexander Berkman FOREWORD We live at a time when two civilizations are struggling for their existence. Present society is at death grips with the New Ideal. The Russian Revolution was but the first serious combat of the two forces, whose struggle must continue till the final triumph of the one or of the other. The Russian Revolution has failed - failed of its ultimate purpose. But that failure is a temporary one. In the point of revolutionizing the thought and feeling of the masses of Russia and of the world, in undermining the fundamental concepts of existing society, and lighting the torch of faith and hope for the Better Day, the Russian Revolution has b... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Translated front the French of JEHAN LE VAGRE. VIII.--HARMONY, SOLIDARITY. In the preceding chapter we have seen that individuals will be able to group themselves and understand each other in the organization which will result from their daily relations without the necessity for any authority existing among them, by the mere fact that those who group themselves will have the same affinities, the same tendencies, the same end in view. It remains for us to see if the groups can continue their existence side by side without hindering, troubling, or lighting each other. We firmly believe it, and we will explain the reasons which, in our opinion, make this belief a certainty. If we study the causes of division which in the present society makes ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)

"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.)

THOMAS DREW vs. JOHN M. CLARK. ARGUMENT FOR PETITIONER. Lysander Spooner The alleged contempt for which the petitioner was condemned consisted in his refusal to be sworn before a committee of the legislature; not in his refusal to answer questions after he had been sworn, but in his refusal to be sworn. His objection to being sworn did not arise from any conscientious scruples as to taking an oath; nor from any fear of criminating himself; nor from any objection whatever to testifying before a committee of the legislature; nor from any objection to testifying in regard to any subject-matter whatever which the legislature has authority to investigate by compulsory testimony. He concedes fully that, if anybody could be compelled to be sworn i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936Preface These essays are less an analysis of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War of 1936-39 than an evocation of the greatest proletarian and peasant revolution to occur over the past two centuries. Although they contain a general overview and evaluation of the Anarchist and Anarchosyndicalist movements (the two should be clearly distinguished) in the three-year struggle at the end of the 1930s, they are not intended to be a full account of those complex events. It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish Revolution was the farthest-reaching movement that the Left ever produced, for reasons the essays that follow will make clear. The Spanish proletariat and peasantry, led largely by Anarchist militants whose names will never be known to us, strained the limits of what we in the 1930s called "proletarian socialism" and went appreciably beyond them. Far more than the leaders of the Anarchosyndicalist National Confederation of Labor and the Iberian Anarchist Fe...

The victorious revolution of the workers and peasants in 1917 was legally established in the Bolshevik calendar as the October Revolution. There is sane truth in this, but it is not entirely exact. In October 1917 the workers and peasants of Russia surmounted a colossal obstacle to the development of their Revolution. They abolished the nominal power of the capitalist class, but even before that they achieved something of equal revolutionary importance and perhaps even more fundamental. By taking the economic power from the capitalist class, and the land from the large owners in the countryside, they achieved the right to free and uncontrolled work in the towns, if not the total control of the factories. Consequently, it was well before Oct... (From :

We have all been so drilled from our youth up in the prejudices of property and authority that even the workers, for whom property and authority have done so little, are not free from superstitious belief in their necessity. Especially we are all too much inclined to believe that mere confusion must follow on a popular revolt, unless some central or local authority be immediately set up to control social life and reorganize the people. During the Commune of 1871, the newly-elected Municipal Government was too deeply engaged by the enemy at the gates to make many attempts at social reconstruction. Was the city, in which so much of the old order had been overthrown, given up to disorder or to merely aimless individual effort 7 Did its social ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


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