ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WHEN I WENT BACK to work in a dress factory early in 1942 I set out to write a book on my years afield as a labor organizer. During that period I had accumulated a great mass of memoranda÷letters, articles written for the labor press, leaflets, pamphlets, copies of special publications used in organization drives, statistical reports, diaries. I had the material and the urge, but soon realized that I was not equal to the task before me. Fortunately, at that stage, my friend John Nicholas Beffel came to my aid. Though he has kept modestly in the background, claiming credit only as editor on the title page, it was largely his collaboration that made this book possible. Mere words cannot express my deep appreciation for his energy and endurance, his ability to get at firstÄhand sources of data, and his painstaking accuracy with regard to names, dates, and historical facts.
EARLY DAYS: Life at home and school in St. Petersburg. My bourgeois father and aristocratic mother. Jews and gentiles. I question my father about the Turkish prisoners of war begging alms in the streets. OUR FAMILY SKELETON: Strange rumors about my mother and her brother Maxim. Echoes of the Polish rebellion of 1863. I hear of the dreaded Nihilists and revolution. A TERRIFIED HOUSEHOLD: A bomb explodes as I recite my lesson in school. The assassination of Czar Alexander II. Secret groups in our class. Police search our house. Uncle Maxim is arrested for conspiring against the Czar's Life. The funeral of the dead Czar. A terrorized city. FAMILY TROUBLES: Rumors of my beloved Uncle Maxim's execution. My terrible grief. Death of my father. We ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Rights and Duties Under Anarchy. [Liberty, December 31, 1887.] Old readers of this paper will remember the appearance in its columns, about two years ago, of a series of questions propounded by the writer of the following letter and accompanied by editorial answers. To-day my interrogator questions me further; this time, however, no longer as a confident combatant, but as an earnest inquirer. As I replied to him then according to his pugnacity, so I reply to him now according to his friendliness.(13 ¶ 1) To the Editor of Liberty:(13 ¶ 2) Will you please insert the following questions in your paper with your answers thereto, and obl...
From Correspondance de Michel Bakounine, published and prefaced by Michel Dragmanov, 1896, Paris, France, pages 121-124. Letter from Bakunin to Herzen and Ogareff October 3, 1861 San Francisco My dear friends, I was able to escape Siberia and after having traveled for a long time on the Amour and through the coasts and straits of Tartarie, in crossing Japan, I have finally arrived in San Francisco. But during this trip my savings, very modest as they were, have been completely exhausted and if I had not stumbled across a generous man who willingly loaned me 250 dollars to take the train from New York, I would have found myself in a terrible predicament. You, my friends, are too far away, and in this particular city I know no one. I hope to ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Suggestions that I write my memoirs came to me when I had barely begun to live, and continued all through the years. But I never paid heed to the proposal. I was living my life intensely -- what need to write about it? Another reason for my reluctance was the conviction I entertained that one should write about one's life only when one had ceased to stand in the very torrent of it. "When one has reached a good philosophic age," I used to tell my friends, "capable of viewing the tragedies and comedies of life impersonally and detachedly -- particularly one's own life -- one is likely to create an autobiography worth while." Still feeling adolescently young in spite of advancing years, I did not consider myself competent to undertake such a task. Moreover, I always lacked the necessary leisure for concentrated writing. My enforced European inactivity left me enough time to read a great deal, including biographies and autobiographies. I discovered, much to my d...
Published: New Masses, May 2, 1939. HTML: for marxists.org in March, 2002. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, renowned labor organizer, surveys her memories of thirty-three May Days in America. The glorious pageant of American working-class solidarity. Thirty-three May Days have come and gone since my activities in the American labor movement began. In memory I view them – an endless procession of red banners, flying high and wide, in the eager hands of marching, cheering, singing workers. Banners of local unions and AFL central labor councils; three-starred IWW banners; banners of Amalgamated, of International Ladies Garment Workers, furriers, pioneers of unionism for the “immigrants and revolutionists"; banners of craft unions, independe... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Czar's Cat's-paw. The Republican rulers of France have consummated their own disgrace by sentencing to three years' imprisonment seven young men of whom is Russian majesty was afraid. Some of these were studying chemistry and experimenting on the force of explosives, and the Czar has his reasons for objecting to his faithful subjects becoming too learned in that line. The absurd charge of conspiracy fell through at the trial, but the popular dread of "anything that might go off" was cleverly used to make the prisoners appear dangerous. The spy who worked up the affair-the gentleman one of whose many aliases is Landesen -was condemned to five years by default, i.e., after he had had time and means given to him to get out of the way. All ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
WHAT is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivety, we would watch the fleeting clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not run so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds, and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or the place where we would sit at mother's knee, enraptured by wonderful tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a h... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
To write a biographic sketch of even an ordinary man within the limited space at my disposal would be difficult. But to write about one whose personality is so complex and whose life so replete with events as that of Alexander Berkman, is almost an insurmountable task. To do justice to such a rich and colorful subject one must not be so limited by space as I am. Above all, one should be removed, in point of time and distance, from the life to be portrayed. Which is not the case in the present instance. I shall therefore not attempt a biography at the present time. I shall merely joint down a few outstanding features in the life and activities of our Comrade, which may serve as an introduction to something bigger yet to be written. Perhaps i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)