A question which we are often asked is: “How will you organize the future society on Anarchist principles?” If the question were put to Herr Bismarck, or to somebody who fancies that a group of men is able to organize society as they like, it would seem very natural. But in the ears of an Anarchist it sounds very strangely, and the only answer we can give to it is: “We cannot organize you. It will depend upon you what sort of organization you will choose.” If the masses continue to cherish the idea that a government can do everything, and reorganize economical relations ― the growth of centuries ― by a few laws, then we may well wait whole centuries until the rule of Capital is abolished. But if there is ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Our comrades are perfectly right to say [in their letter] that the May strikes are a consequence of general economic conditions. If the return of work to the mines and in the iron industry, and if dreadful poverty in the other trades did not exist, there wouldn’t have been any strikes at all, as there weren’t any on such a large scale ten years ago. But what our comrades ignore is that, outside all socialist organizations, right now, within the workers of all nationalities, an immense work to press on to a general strike is taking place. Democrats, trade unionists, socialists, anarchists, have absolutely nothing to do with it. – “We are overwhelmed by this movement” we were told, two years ago, by a Belgian soc... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Freedom: March 1893, p14
Advice to Those About to Emigrate
In these days when Home Colonization is seriously discussed, and is even tried, in England as an outlet for the populations of our congested towns, the following letters will be of much interest to our readers. A comrade in New South Wales, writing to Kropotkin for suggestions and advice, says:
"As you are probably aware, the Labor movement in Australia has advanced tremendously during the last four or five years. The reason, I believe, lies in the increased agitation in the minds of the people through the late strikes here and also in England and America. The Labor Party here got the worst of it in the last three big strikes, yet the importance of those strikes as factors ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
ANARCHISM: Its Philosophy and ldeal.
Translated from the German by Harry Lyman Koopman.
Ever reviled, accursed,-n'er understood,
Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
"Wreck of all order," cry the multitude,
"Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage."
O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven,
The truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word's right meaning was not given.
They shall continue blind among the blind.
But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
That sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future! -Thine secure
When each at last unto himself shall waken.
Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill?
I cannot tell......but it the earth shall see!
I a... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
If each member of society is to have the opportunity of earning his
living by his own labor - without as a result enslaving himself to
anyone else, either to a private individual, or to a company, or to a
union - he must obviously always have the opportunity of acquiring that
spade with which he wishes to dig, that cotton from which he wishes to
spin thread or weave cloth, that bread, those clothes, that room to live
in, that place to work in, before he can manufacture anything having an
exchange value for society. It is apparent that in previous times
production was so simple that an this did not require a vast
accumulation of the initial products of personal labor, that anyone,
though working only with the instruments of labor a... (From: Spunk.org.)
ANARCHISM (from the Gr. ἄν, and αρχος, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to s... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they maintain that the ideal of the political organization of society is a condition of things where the functio... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
The history of human thought recalls the swinging of a pendulum which takes centuries to swing. After a long period of slumber comes a moment of awakening. Then thought frees herself from the chains with which those interested--rulers, lawyers, clerics--have carefully enwound her.
She shatters the chains. She subjects to severe criticism all that has been taught her, and lays bare the emptiness of the religious political, legal, and social prejudices amid which she has vegetated. She starts research in new paths, enriches our knowledge with new discoveries, creates new sciences.
But the inveterate enemies of thought--the government, the lawgiver, and the priest--soon recover from their defeat. By degrees they gather together their scatter... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Precursors of Syndicalism III
After discussing the rise of syndicalist ideas in the First International (Precursors of Syndicalism I) and then in the Chicago-based International Working People’s Association (Precursors of Syndicalism II), we now turn to debates within the European anarchist movement before the rise of revolutionary syndicalism in France. In other words, communist-anarchism in the form of its most famous thinker, Peter Kropotkin. To do so shows that the standard narrative on anarchism and syndicalism is wrong.
This narrative is simple and can be found in most Marxist diatribes against anarchism. With the embrace and failure of “propaganda by the deed” (acts of individual violence against membe... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
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 childr... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
"Peter Kropotkin...was recognized by friend and foe as one of the greatest minds...of the nineteenth century...The lucidity and brilliance of his mind combined with his warmheartedness into the harmonious whole of a fascinating and gracious personality. " -Emma Goldman
Addressed to young men and women preparing to enter the professions, An Appeal to the Young was first published in 1880 in Kropotkin's paper, La Revolte, and was soon thereafter issued as a pamphlet. An American edition was brought out by Charles H. Kerr in 1899, in the wake of the great Anarchist's first U.S. speaking tour; his Memoirs of a Revolutionist was also published (by Houghton-Mifflin) that year. A new edition in Kerr's "Pocket Library of Socialism... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
One of the commonest objections to Communism is, that men are not good enough to live under a Communist state of things. They would not submit to a compulsory Communism, but they are not yet ripe for free, Anarchistic Communism. Centuries of individualistic education have rendered them too egotistic. Slavery, submission to the strong, and work under the whip of necessity, have rendered them unfit for a society where everybody would be free and know no compulsion except what results from a freely taken engagement towards the others, and their disapproval if he would not fulfill the engagement. Therefore, we are told, some intermediate transition state of society is necessary as a step towards Communism.
Old words in a new shape; words sai... (From: AnarchyArchives.)
In olden times, men of science, and especially those who have done most to forward the growth of natural philosophy, did not despise manual work and handicraft. Galileo made his telescopes with his own hands. Newton learned in his boyhood the art of managing tools; he exercised his young mind in contriving most ingenious machines, and when he began his researches in optics he was able himself to grind the lenses for his instruments and himself to make the well known telescope which, for its time, was a fine piece of workmanship. Leibnitz was fond of inventing machines: windmills and carriages to be moved without horses preoccupied his mind as much as mathematical and philosophical speculations. Linnaeus became a botanist while helping his f... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
At this moment we are witnessing an interesting event. It is the collapse,
in theory and practice, of the counterrevolutionary current which, under the
name of social democracy, had ruled the roost in the european socialist movement
for more than a quarter of a century.
In 1871 the French proletariat – until then the incubator of revolutionary
socialism – underwent a terrible defeat. Without France the International
could not exist and collapsed: its Latin federations, supported by some
French revolutionaries, were barely enough to prevent triumphant reaction from
reaching its final frontier: a Restoration in France, the total crushing
of the proletarian.
Germany, until then recalcitrant to the teachings of French ... (From: Marxists.org.)
No. CXXVI---August 1887.
The Coming Anarchy.
The views taken in the preceding article* as to the combination of efforts being the chief source of our wealth explain why more anarchists see in communism the only equitable solution as to the adequate remuneration of individual efforts. There was a time when a family engaged in agriculture, and supported by a few domestic trades, could consider the corn they raised and the plain woolen cloth they wove as production of their own and nobody else's labor. Even then such a view was not quite correct: there were forests cleared and roads built by common efforts; and even then the family had continually to apply for communal help, as it is still the case in so man... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
If I were asked to give my opinion, as a geographer, on the pending conflict on the Afghan frontier, I should merely open the volume of Elisée Reclus's Geographie Universelle L'Asie, Russe, and show the pages he has consecrated under this head to the description of the Afghan Turkistan. Summing up the result of his extensive careful and highly impartial studies of Central Asia, Reclus has not hesitated to recognize that, geographically, the upper Oxus and all the northern slope of the Iran and Afghan plateaux belong to the Ural-Caspian region, and that the growing influence of the Slavonian might cannot fail to unite, sooner or later, into one political group, the various parts of this immense basin. And, surely, nobody who has studi... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
I. THE PLACE OF THE COMMUNE IN SOCIALIST EVOLUTION
On March 18, 1871, the people of Paris rose against a despised and detested government, and proclaimed the city independent free, belonging to itself.
This overthrow of the central power took place without the usual stage effects of revolution, without the firing of guns, without the shedding of blood upon barricades. When the armed people came out into the streets, the rulers fled away, the troops evacuated the town, the civil functionaries hurriedly retreated to Versailles carrying everything they could with them. The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a spring breeze, and on the nineteenth the great city of Paris found herself free from the impurity which had d... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Many Anarchists and thinkers in general, whilst recognizing the immense advantages which Communism may offer to society, yet consider this form of social organization a danger to the liberty and free development of the individual. This danger is also recognized by many Communists, and, taken as a whole, the question is merged in that other vast problem which our century has laid bare to its fullest extent: the relation of the individual to society. The importance of this question need hardly be insisted upon.
The problem became obscured in various ways. When speaking of Communism, most people think of the more or less Christian and monastic and always authoritarian Communism advocated in the first half of this century and practiced in c... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
THE CONQUEST OF BREAD
by P. Kropotkin
(1) Consult "La Répartition métrique des impôts," by
A. Toubeau, two vols., published by Guillaumin in 1880.
(We do not in the least agree with Toubeau's conclusions,
but it is a real encyclopædia, indicating the sources
which prove what can be obtained from the soil.) "La
Culture maraîchere," by M. Ponce, Paris, 1869. "Le
Potager Gressent," Paris, 1885, an excellent practical
work. " Physiologie et culture du blé," by Risler, Paris,
1881. "Le blé, sa culture intensive et extensive," by
Lecouteux, Paris, 1883. " La Cité Chinoise," by Eugène
Simon. " Le dictionnaire d'agriculture, " by Barral
(Hac... (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 wo... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Our friend Domela Nieuwenhuis published in the Societe Nouvelle of Brussels (March and May 1894), two remarkable studies of German Social Democracy: “The Divers Courses of the German Social Democracy,” and “Socialism in Danger;” and he follows these two studies by a third “Libertarian Socialism and Authoritarian Socialism,” published in the September and October numbers of the same review.
In these articles, based entirely on what has been said and published by the chiefs of the party themselves, and entirely divested of the element of polemics, Nieuwenhuis has demonstrated how the party, by its very essence, is forcibly brought to become bourgeoisist [the mere representative of the well-to-do midd... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
1. Michel Petit “In Mexico” (Temps nouveaux 17:4 (May 27 1911):1
In the appeal calling for international revolutionary solidarity and reprinted in the last edition of Les Temps nouveaux, our comrades from Mexico ask for two things, with the broadest possible publicity accorded to current developments: “emancipated workers and funding.”
The first of those demands may come as a surprise, as it conflicts with the communications coming from southern Latin America, and Argentina in particular, cautioning European workers against the fallacious promises of all manner of agents promoting emigration in competition with the proletarians already having difficulties in defending themselves down there.
The s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
We are going to say what anarchy is, what anarchists are.
The anarchists, messieurs, are citizens who, in a century where freedom of opinion is preached everywhere, believe it to be their obligation to call for unlimited freedom.
Yes messieurs, throughout the world we are a few thousand, a few million workers who demand absolute freedom, nothing but freedom, all of freedom!
We want freedom, which is to say that we demand the right and the means for all human beings to do whatever pleases them, to fully satisfy all their needs, without any limit but that imposed by their natural possibilities and the needs of their neighbors, which are equally worthy of respect.
We want freedom, and we believe its existence is inc... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
[What follows is an nineteenth-century defense of Lamarckism, the since-disproven belief that genetics are molded by the activity or behavior of the organism, instead of through the process of natural selection. Naturally, anyone should be cautious when reviewing a scientific article written more than a hundred year ago, but at least here below, you can see what passionate turns the debate took. In Kropotkin's favor, it may at least be said that the process of natural selection turned out to be far more complicated than Darwin and Wallace had believed, and was only fully elaborated by Dawkins as gene-centric, rather than organism or species-centric. -- Andy Carloff]
There can be no doubt that species may become greatly modified throu... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
For fifteen months everything was done to stifle anarchy. They reduced the press to silence, repressed men, shot down at point blank range in Guyana, departed to the isles of Spain, incarcerated by the thousands in Italy without even bothering with draconian laws or judicial comedy. Every method was sought, including starving women and children by sending the police to put pressure on those bosses who still dared to give work to anarchists.
They stopped before nothing in order to crush men and stifle the idea.
And despite it all, the idea has never made as much progress as it has during these fifteen months.
It has never so rapidly gained adherents. It has never so thoroughly penetrated sectors once resistant to any kin... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Dmitrov, Russia, April 28, 1919
I have been asked if I did not have a message for the workers of the western world. Certainly there is plenty to say and learn of the actual events in Russia. As the message would have to be long to cover all, I will indicate only the principal points.
First, the workers of the civilized world and their friend in other classes ought to prevail on their governments to abandon entirely the idea of armed intervention in Russia whether openly or secretly. Russia is undergoing now a revolution of the same extent and importance as England under went in 1639 to '48, and France in 1789 to '94. Every nation should refuse to play the shameful role played by England, Prussia, Austria and Russia during the Fren... (From: Marxists.org.)
I have attempted to give in the preceding pages a correct statement of the violent repression which is going on now in Russia, since the concession of representative government, contained in the Manifesto of October 30, 1905, was nullified by an under-current of organized reaction. In this statement I have done my best to avoid anything that might be a distortion, or an exaggeration of facts, and yet the picture is so terrible that it is almost shaking one's faith in human progress.
Suffering and martyrdom are certainly unavoidable in every struggle for freedom. But the amount of suffering and cruel repression now prevalent in Russia surpasses everything that is known from the lessons of modern history.
Every nation is certainly bound to ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
FREEDOM PAMPHLETS. No. 1.
New Edition. 1920.
I. REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT AND WAGES.
In their plan for the reconstruction of society, the Collectivists commit, in our opinion, a double error. Whilst speaking of the abolition of the rule of capital, they wish, nevertheless, to maintain two institutions which form the very basis of that rule, namely, representative government and the wage system.
As for representative government, it remains absolutely incomprehensible to us how intelligent men (and they are not wanting among the Collectivists) can continue to be the partizans of national and municipal parliaments, after all the lessons on this subject bestowed on us by history, whether in England or in France, in Germany, Switze... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
The spectacle presented at this moment by Europe is deplorable enough but withal particularly instructive. On the one hand, diplomatists and courtiers hurrying hither and thither with the increased activity which displays itself whenever the air of our old continent begins to smell of powder. Alliances are being made and unmade, with much chaffering over the amount of human cattle that shall form the price of the bargain. "So many million head on condition of your house supporting ours; so many acres to feed them, such and such seaports for the export of their wool." Each plotting to overreach his rivals in the market. That is what in political jargon is known as diplomacy.
[NOTE. -- While it will be understood that the political si... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
"All that you say is very true," our critics often say to us. "Your ideal of anarchist communism is excellent, and its realization would in fact lead to well-being and peace on earth; but so few want it, and so few understand it, and so few have the devotion that is needed to work for its achievement! You are only a tiny minority, your feeble groups scattered here and there, lost in the middle of an indifferent mass, and you face a terrible enemy, well-organized and in control of armies, of capital, of education. The struggle you have undertaken is beyond your powers." This is the objection we hear constantly from many of our critics and often even from our friends. Let us see what truth there is in it.
That our anarchist groups are only a... (From: Anarchy Archives.)