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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 the time of the great revival of thought which followed in our country the Crimean defeat; and even the education in military schools felt the influence of this great movement. Something superior to more militarism penetrated even the walls of the Corps des Pages. The Press had received some freedom of express...

I The days drag interminably in the semi-darkness of the cell. The gong regulates my existence with depressing monotony. But the tenor of my thoughts has been changed by the note of the mysterious correspondent. In vain I have been waiting for his appearance,-yet the suggestion of escape has germinated hope. The will to live is beginning to assert itself, growing more imperative as the days go by. I wonder that my mind dwells upon suicide more and more rarely, ever more cursorily. The thought of self-destruction fills me with dismay. Every possibility of escape must first be exhausted, I reassure MY troubled conscience. Surely I have no fear of death-when the proper time arrives. But haste would be highly imprudent; worse, quite unnecessary. indeed, it is my duty as a revolutionist to seize every opportunity for propaganda: escape would afford me many occasions to serve the Cause. it was thoughtless on my part to condemn that man Jamestown. I even resented...


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.)

On the date referred to in the previous chapter (August, 1908, some correspondence appeared in the Times concerning the numbers of administrative exiles in Siberia and Northern Russia. The Russian Prime Minister, M. Stolypin, in an interview with Mr. Stead, told him that the number of administrative exiles was only about 12,000. The Assistant Minister of the Interior, M. Makaroff, also interviewed a fortnight later by Mr. Stead, explained, however, that this figure could only apply to those who had been exiled in virtue of a decision given by the Ministry of the Interior; but there were also, he added, a considerable number of persons who had been exiled by mere orders of the local Governors, and about whom the Ministry of the Interior had no information. I wrote at that time to the Times that, according to our estimates, the number of exiles in Siberia and Northern Russia reached the figure of about 78,000. We have now the exact figures, which have b...


First published in War Commentary - For Anarchism mid-march 1944. In no characteristic is existing society in the West so sharply distinguished from the earlier societies, whether of Europe or the East, than in its conception of time. To the ancient Chinese or Greek, to the Arab herdsman or Mexican peon of today, time is represented in the cyclic processes of nature, the alternation of day and night, the passage from season to season. The nomads and farmers measured and still measure their day from sunrise to sunset, and their year in terms of the seedtime and harvest, of the falling leaf and the ice thawing on the lakes and rivers. The farmer worked according to the elements, the craftsman for so long as he felt it necessary to perfect his... (From : Spunk.org.)

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