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From the Greek word anarchos, meaning without government or authority, anarchism is the belief that governmental regulation is both unnecessary and harmful to society. The movement has few adherents today and is largely confined to making protest statements at well publicized international gatherings.


T he roots of this course are entangled with the roots of the World Wide Web. Although the internet component receives little emphasis this semester, an important resource for the course is Anarchy Archives, the most comprehensive and oft-visited anarchist site on the internet. Conceived in 1995 as the World Wide Web was just starting to inflitrate into our lives, this course was designed following a "content based approach to internet literacy." The idea was to simultaneously develop internet skills and an understanding of the history and theory of anarchism by creating digitized versions of anarchist writings. As a result, the great bulk of materials found in Anarchy Archives is the product of students at the Claremont Colleges. Today, most students no longer require basic internet training, so the emphasis has shifted to the history and theory of anarchism, using Anarchy Archives as the princple source of reading material.

A lthough unintended and despite attempts to reign it in, the internet is the quintessential example of a large scale anarchist organization. There is no hierarchical authority controlling the internet, the subunits participate voluntarily, information flows freely, individuals join and exit associations at will. Since the internet also contains abundant information about anarchism, it is the perfect medium for a course on the political history and theory of anarchism.

T he class will consist of lectures, films, a field trip and discussions.

T raditionally, teachers control students' behavior by establishing a hierarchy based on the power to grade. The result is that most students pursue grades rather than knowledge. Anarchists have approached education in an entirely different manner. Anarchists believe that in all spheres, including education, "more harm than good results from coercion, top-down direction, central authority. pre-ordained standardization. etc." (Goodman, 1987, "The Anarchist Principle", in A Decade of Anarchy, ed. Colin Ward, p. 38. Also see Godwin, Political Justice, Book IV, Chapter 5, appendix.) Anarchists still recognize the value of leadership and expertise, but leadership and expertise must be separated from the exercise of power in order to avoid the deleterious and corrosive effects of coercion. Accordingly, in this course, my evaluations will not result in a grade. As elaborated upon below, students will be responsible for grading, and my evaluation of your work will be for the purpose of edification, with one caveat. Given that this is but one of several courses you are taking, the tendency will be to let this course slide in order to meet the onerous graded assignments in other courses. Consequently, to insure that you do not waste your fellow students' time, or mine, before the three assignments discussed below are submitted to your peers for grading, I will certify that adequate work has been done, that major errors have been corrected, and that the subject fits within the scope of the course. The caveat, then, is before your work is graded by your peers, it must pass my most basic standards which include 1) sufficient reading in the area of the work's focus, 2) sufficient effort to construct an analytic framework and argument, and that 3) the subject is within the scope of anarchist history and thought and that you have attended classes as agreed to by enrolling in the course. Failure to meet my minimal standards will result in an F for the assignment.

T he practice of anarchy requires order and moral integrity. Although adherence to anarchism is by no means a requirement of the course, order and integrity are necessary values to maintain if the course is to be a success. To meet these requirements, by voluntarily enrolling in this course, you have agreed to attend class sessions, do the weekly reading for the course on a regular basis and on time, and produce three works on the history and theory of anarchism, one due February 26, one on April 1, and the final work is due the last day of class, May 6. Since I must certify that the work is ready to be graded, the material must be submitted to me 10 days before it is due for review by your peers. Therefore, I will need you work by Feb 12, Mar 23 and Apr 22. There are distinct topics for each of the assignments. The first paper must focus on an aspect of anarchist theory or the thought of a particular anarchist. The second paper must be on some aspect of anarchist history in a particular city, e.g. Paris, Barcelona, London, Buenos Aires, NYC, or Chicago (other cities are possible but check with me first). The third assignment will be a collective class project upon which all members of the class will work. The topic of that collective project will be determined by the class.

D uring the semester we will take a tour of anarchist sites in L.A. led by Matt Hart who is involved with the Anarchist Black Cross, the IWW, and other anarchist groups in the area. The tour will visit Jewish, Italian, and Mexican-American anarchist neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles as well as various anarchist landmarks. The date of the tour is yet to be set. We will take public transportation downtown and everyone is required to participate.

B y eliminating traditional grading from the internal structure of the course I hope to create the possibility of a truly collective learning experience. Hopefully, this will create an environment in which we participate in the class activities for the intrinsic pleasure of learning, not the fear of a plummeting GPA. While traditional grading has been eliminated, work has not. Perhaps by removing the drudgery of grades, room can be made to experience the joy of productive work. The class is designed in such a way that we will all be able to make real contributions to others' potential for learning, at the same time that we learn ourselves. How much we each learn will depend upon how much effort we each put into the course. The basic activities of the course are elaborated upon below.


T here are three books not on the internet which you will read during the semester and should be purchased:

Marshall, Peter. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: Fontana Press. Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism. Oakland: AK Press. Cornell, Andrew. Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the 20th Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scholarly Work

M ere assimilation of material, without an attempt to analyze, synthesize, and recapitulate the material, is mere intellectual wheel spinning. It takes you nowhere. That is why you are expected to try to put together an intellectual product dealing with the assigned topics in the history and theory of anarchism. You will be expected to consult with me about the projects regularly throughout the semester. I will provide as much feedback and evaluation of the projects as I possibly can to make your project a success. Peer groups of no less than three and no more than five members will be formed for each of the first two projects based on some affinity for the topics chosen and these groups will provide the feedback and grade for your work. What form this work takes is up to you. It may be a written article or any other form of reproducible intellectual communication. Each project will constitute one third of your final grade. For the final project due the last day of class, peer evaluations and grades will be due during the period scheduled for the final exam (there is no final in the course).

M ovies will also be included as part of the course on a voluntary basis. Over the course of the semester I will screen various anarchist films at my home to which you will be invited, and most will be available for private viewing as well. A few films will be shown during class sessions.

10 Revolutionary Catalonia

As a result of the Spanish coup in July 1936 when the Fascists were trying to gain control of Spain, the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo&ndashFederacion Anarquista Iberica (CNT-FAI), an anarchist party within Catalonia, led a popular uprising by organizing militias against the Nationalist forces.

Overall, these militias were made up of 18,000 workers (including George Orwell, who fought for the Catalonians). They were collectively able to defeat the Nationalist forces and gain independence for Catalonia. Each militia was led by elected delegates who met to decide on the individual militia&rsquos course of action.

Although the CNT-FAI was criticized for joining the national government, which meant that it had to work with socialist groups such as the Unified Socialist Party, it did this to have a better chance of winning the war against Spain. It was also able to implement some of the policies it supported&mdashnamely, the collectivization of land and resources.

The government was able to encourage voluntary collectivization, where workers pooled resources and had general meetings of all its participants. Factories were also &ldquoconfiscated and controlled by workmen&rsquos committees, either term possessing for the owners&rsquo almost equal significance,&rdquo said Burnett Bolloten in his book The Grand Camouflage. Eventually, the anarchist government fell to a large Nationalist offensive in 1938.

A Brief History of Anarchism: The European Tradition

Firefighters stand outside the Greek Embassy in Rome, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. A package bomb was found four days after similar mail bombs exploded at two other embassies injuring two people. The device was defused and no one was injured.

A recent spate of letter bombs dispatched to foreign embassies in Rome, as well as the headquarters of a far-right Italian political party, focused attention upon a rogue group of anarchists that claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Informal Federation of Anarchy says it is a cobbled-together coalition of anarchist outfits in Italy, and boasts ties with like-minded groups across the world. Their parcel bombing campaign follows a similar wave of deliveries sent in November by Greek anarchists to embassies in Athens. But security experts aren't wringing their hands over an emerging global threat. One told TIME that the aborted bombings were simply "something [the anarchists] have to do from time to time to show that they exist."

Anarchist organizations in Italy and elsewhere today may be as fringe as analysts say they are, but they are the heirs of a political credo that deeply impacted the past two centuries of world history. The term "anarchism" stems from the ancient Greek anarchos, or "without rulers," and historians see anarchist strains in everything from the writings of certain Daoist scholars in pre-modern China to the emancipatory zeal of early Christianity. But anarchism, as we know it, is a distinctly modern phenomenon, crystallizing in the wake of the French Revolution, as more and more people in the industrializing world chafed both under the yoke of despotic monarchs and the growing power of capitalist elites. (See the anarchists who claim to be behind the bombs in Rome.)

The man credited as being the first self-proclaimed anarchist and one of anarchism's most influential ideologues, Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, famously said in 1849: "Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and tyrant, and I declare him my enemy." Contrary to contemporary notions of anarchists as trouble-making, chaotic nihilists, Proudhon championed anarchism as the most rational and just means of creating order in society. Among other things, he advocated what he called "mutualism," an economic practice that disincentivized profit — which, according to him, was a destabilizing force — and argued far ahead of his time for banks with free credit and unions to protect labor. What cemented Proudhon's anarchism was his vehement distrust of the state and even electoral politics.

Anarchism's 19th century standard bearers were a beguiling, motley troop of globe-trotting intellectuals. Mikhail Bakunin, a larger-than-life Russian known for his great love of cigars, escaped Siberian exile in 1861 and embarked on a whirlwind odyssey that took him first east to Japan and then San Francisco and eventually saw him land in the newly united state of Italy in 1864. There, he developed his anarchist views, building from Proudhon's earlier work his own idea of "collectivist anarchism," where, workers banded together as equals in private associations and wholly controlled the fruits of their labor. Bakunin's writings underpinned "anarcho-syndicalism," a creed that saw anarchist-led labor unions form and fight for greater freedoms across the western world, from the Ruhr Valley to the Rocky Mountains. Yet he also presciently warned against Karl Marx's aspiration for a "dictatorship of the proletariat," writing in 1868 that "socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." (See a video of Ze Frank sounding off about socialism.)

Anarchism's European heyday was in the late 19th and early 20th century. The events of the short-lived Paris Commune in 1871 — when France's capital fell briefly under anarchist-communist rule — fired the anarchist imagination. A vibrant print culture emerged of pamphlets and newspapers, distributed widely to a growing working class readership. Labor strikes in remote dusty valleys rapidly became the talk of capitals worldwide. At the turn of the century, anarchist European emigres in New York's Greenwich Village comprised a significant bloc among the restless American city's literary world. The ideology had profound mainstream cachet. Perhaps the most luminous anarchist of the time was Peter Kropotkin, a Russian prince who renounced his hereditary titles and advanced the notion of "mutual aid," pointing to evidence in the natural world of species cooperating together without competition or coercion. Oscar Wilde likened Kropotkin to "Christ. coming out of Russia."

Yet, anarchism also had a strong violent streak, with many radicals arguing for direct confrontation with the oppressive state — what could incite revolution better than the "propaganda of the deed" itself? An anarchist assassinated Russia's Czar Alexander II in 1881 in 1901, a Polish-American anarchist shot U.S. President William McKinley. Not surprisingly, governments spied and loudly denounced lurking anarchist threats in all sorts of cases, from the controversial Sacco and Vanzetti trials in 1920s Massachusetts to unrest in colonial India.

Anarchism's last great, albeit fleeting, moment under the sun came at the time of the Spanish Civil War. For a few years in the 1930s, anarchist collectives thrived in Catalonia. George Orwell, who threw in his lot with an anarchist faction, wrote admiringly of his Spanish comrades: the fiercely egalitarian anarchist militias, said Orwell, "were a sort of microcosm of a classless society. where hope was more normal than apathy and cynicism." Of course, as Orwell charts in Homage to Catalonia, the anarchists' downfall comes not at the hands of Gen. Franco's fascists, but during an internal putsch among Spain's Republicans, led by U.S.S.R-backed Communists. An ideology that loathed hierarchy could never be tolerated by Stalin. (See TIME's 1936 report on anarchism in Spain.)

In the decades since, the allure of anarchism as a viable political system has faded. Its adherents and symbols — the black flag of anarcho-syndicalists and the "A" enclosed by a circle — remain. The tradition of "antifa," or anti-fascist mobilization and activism popular throughout Europe, particularly in politically polarized societies like Greece and Italy, draws on the support of self-proclaimed anarchist groups. Anarchists have also fueled the "anti-globalization" movement, a legacy that has twinned the ideology with images of crunchy protestors hurling stones through Starbucks windows or chaining themselves to trees.

History on Anarchism in Russia

I n the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics at the present time the anarchists no longer enjoy any influence over the masses. They are met with only as isolated individualists. The reason for this is the victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. The old Russia, landlord and petty-bourgeois peasant Russia, which fostered anarchism and gave birth to the founders of anarchism, those repentant aristocrats--Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin and Leo Tolstoy--has passed away.

In place of this old tsarist Russia, a new state, a Soviet socialist state has been built during the last 20 years, the like of which history has never known. This state arose in the flames of civil war, as a result of the victorious socialist, proletarian revolution.

This revolution opened a new page in world history. In October, 1917, a big breach was made in the system of imperialist states. The young Soviet government of workers and peasants, guided by the Bolshevik Party, the Party of Lenin and Stalin, succeeded in vanquishing the forces of all the enemies who rose against it. It abolished the capitalist and landlord classes. In the U.S.S.R. there is not a single capitalist or landlord. The Soviet state routed the armies of the whiteguards, the armies of the bourgeoisie, although they were commanded by the old tried tsarist generals and included nearly all the old officers. The Soviet state defeated the armed intervention and the economic blockade of the 14 capitalist states which joined in the struggle against it.

The Soviet state vanquished economic chaos and built up a splendid industry and agriculture equipped with the most up-to-date machinery. In place of the old, dilapidated, capitalist, landlord and small-proprietor system of economy, the Soviet state, in accordance with the plan drawn up by the Communist Party, has built up a new, powerful socialist system of economy, with a more developed technique and higher productivity of labor. It has raised the economic, political and cultural standard of life of the entire population. It has created a splendid Red Army, the only one of its kind, which stands guard over the banner of communism, over the life, labor and property of vast masses of the people on one-sixth of the globe. The Soviet state has secured the great amity of nations in the U.S.S.R., thanks to the correct national policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the vanguard of the Communist International.

This Party arose 40 years ago in the form of small secret workers' circles which were persecuted by the tsarist government. Its chief organizers were Lenin and Stalin, those brilliant theoreticians, strategists and leaders of the revolution. The workers and peasants of Russia achieved their splendid results primarily because from its very inception the mass revolutionary working class movement in Russia was headed by the Bolshevik Party. This Party organized the advanced workers, it organized the armed insurrection, it organized resistance to the whiteguards and foreign intervention, and it organized their defeat. The Bolshevik Party organized the new, Soviet, proletarian state it organized the new system of economy. It ensured the great victories achieved by the working people.

But it succeeded in doing all this because it fought against all forms of opportunism in the working class movement, including anarchism. The anarchism of Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin was the theory of the Narodniks of the Land and Freedom society, who wanted to secure "land and freedom" under tsarism. During the 1905 Revolution anarchism in Russia took the form of terrorist groups which organized plots against the lives of tsarist officials and raids on banks and government institutions. During this period some of its adherents began to go over to the anarchosyndicalists. In their propaganda the Russian anarchists tried to create enmity between the revolutionary Socialist intellectuals and the working class.

After the Revolution of 1917 had triumphed, the anarchists in certain localities of Russia attempted to put their doctrine into practice, and thus came into sharp conflict with the whole course of the revolution. In the form of the so-called Workers' Opposition, anarcho-syndicalism attempted to establish itself in the working class movement, in the Communist Party, under the proletarian dictatorship.

At the most critical moment in the struggle of the proletariat against the united forces of the Russian and the international bourgeoisie, the anarchists engaged in dividing up the residences and property they had plundered from the rich, never realizing that in place of the old demolished system the proletariat must build its socialist system of economy.

In the south of the Ukraine, the anarchists-Makhno and his supporters-attempted to put into practice the ideal of anarchism. For the working people of the Ukraine and the whole of the Soviet Union the name of Makhno and his hordes is synonymous with the blackest crimes against the revolution, against the cause of the working class.

Thus the first proletarian revolution in the world tested not only the doctrine, program, strategy and tactics of the Communists, but also the doctrine, program, strategy and tactics of the anarchists. In their struggles the vast masses of the people throughout the world can benefit by the experience of the October Revolution. Of course, they must take into account the specific features of the struggle for emancipation in their own countries, but they would be making a great and irretrievable mistake if they simply disregarded this experience and failed to apply it. What could one say about people who obstinately refused to take a known and tried road leading to the goal but must at all costs take a different road, which leads them to defeat?

The workers in those countries where they now have to choose between the doctrine of the anarchists and that of the Communists should know both these roads.

The Rise of Revolutionary Marxism.

In 1884 the first Russian Marxist group, known as the Emancipation of Labor, was founded in Switzerland by Plekhanov, Axelrod, Deutsch and Zasulich. It should be noted that all the organizers of this group had for several years been prominent in the Narodnik movement, and had belonged to the Bakuninist rebel wing. The formation of this group was preceded by a split in the Land and Freedom organization, which broke up into the People's Will and the Black Redistribution (Cherny Peredel) groups in 1879. The founders of the latter group afterwards formed the Emancipation of Labor, carrying with them their old anarchist views on the revolution and the state. The Black Redistribution group did not have much influence on the revolutionary movement in Russia. In a letter to Sorge, written on November 5, 1886, Marx ridiculed the Black Redistribution as a Bakuninist semianarchist group.

These gentlemen-Marx wrote-are opposed to all political revolutionary action. According to their plan Russia is to leap straight into the anarchist-communist atheist millennium. In the meantime they are preparing for this leap by the most tedious doctrinairism. The so called principles of their doctrine have been taken from the late Bakunin.

After they became Social-Democrats, these people abandoned and criticized the Narodnik anarchist views. But it is with good cause that Marxists call anarchism the twin brother of compromising reformism. From their Bakuninist anarchism Plekhanov, Axelrod and their supporters in the Emancipation of Labor group soon went over to Menshevism and became the leaders of the Menshevik movement.

With Lenin's organization of the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in St. Petersburg towards the end of the nineties, the movement of revolutionary Marxism began to develop, the Bolshevik trend began to take shape. At the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party, in 1903, this trend assumed definite organizational shape as a party. In 1905 the Bolsheviks held a separate Party Congress, and in 1912 the Party finally rid itself of the Mensheviks and organized its own Central Committee.

After the proletarian revolution of 1917 the Bolshevik Party adopted the name of Communist Party. But from the outset this Party was the embryo of the future Third, Communist International, for which Marx and Engels had fought. The St. Petersburg League of Struggle was already the embryo of the new party, a fighting party, capable of overthrowing not only tsarism, but also the power of the landlords and capitalists in Russia and this was its greatest and most difficult task, considering that under tsarism the proletariat constituted an insignificant minority of the population of Russia. It was only in alliance with the peasantry, and only under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, that the working class could accomplish this gigantic historic task.

As far back as 1894, during his controversy with the Narodniks, Lenin had written in his book, What the "Friends of the People" Are and How They Fight Against the Social-Democrats, that as a result of the propaganda of Marxism carried on among the workers by the Marxists and as a result of their organizational work in establishing an independent working class party:

The Russian workers will rise at the head of all the democratic elements, overthrow absolutism and lead the Russian proletariat (side by side with the proletariat of all countries) along the straight road of open political struggle towards the victorious communist revolution.*

Now the whole world can see that Lenin was absolutely right, that in 1894, more than two decades before the October Socialist Revolution of 1917, he correctly and precisely marked out the line of development of the revolution. The revolution in Russia did not follow the prescription of the anarchistsBakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus, Puget, Malatesta and the restbut the road foreseen by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Is not this the best possible proof that the theory and practice of the Communists are correct, that they correctly judge the development of the struggle, the strength and importance of the various classes in society, the enemies and allies of the proletariat, indicate the proper methods of struggle and properly employ them?

In the period when the forces of the first Russian revolution were taking shape and rising in the struggle, the anarchists in Russia did not perform a single revolutionary act of any importance. But they undoubtedly caused the revolutionary movement considerable harm by their struggle against the Marxists, and particularly by their advocacy of individual terrorism and anarchy.

In 1905-06, the activities of the Russian anarchists were confined almost exclusively to the South of Russia-Odessa, Ekaterinoslav, Elisavetgrad-and partly the Caucasus and Poland ( Lodz, Byelostok, Warsaw). Those who are familiar with the history of the revolution in Russia know that the anarchist movement of 1905-07 did not give Russia a single outstanding revolutionary leader, did not provide a single idea of value to the revolution this anarchist movement cannot name a single fact of positive and decisive significance in its development.

Revolutionary methods of struggle, such as the mass strike or the armed uprising, were widely employed in Russia, not under the influence and leadership of the anarchists, but by the Bolshevik Party. In the Moscow insurrection of December, 1905-the most important event in Russia prior to the 1917 revolution-there was not a single anarchist fighting squad, whereas the Bolsheviks and even a section of the Menshevik workers fought on the barricades.

The favorite methods of struggle chosen by the anarchists in 1906-07 were individual terror and expropriation but these methods showed the weakness, and not the strength of the anarchist movement. They degenerated into sheer banditry, which had nothing in common with the aims of the revolution.

We do not mean to suggest that there were not among the Russian anarchists people who in their own way were devoted to the cause of the revolution, for some of the workers also supported anarchism. But let us see what a competent witness like Kropotkin has to say on this point:

Our revolution has brought forth many heroes, people with personal courage but it has not brought forth people with courage of thought, capable of carrying revolutionary ideas among the seething masses, of rallying them and inspiring them to perform great revolutionary deeds that would cause a revolution in the organization of life, in the economic distribution of forces, in all the ideas of the poor and exploited masses.

Let us bear in mind this opinion of a prominent anarchist leader. But at the same time let us recall that the Bolshevik movement has produced such giant thinkers as Lenin and Stalin, who rallied and inspired the masses to rise in armed insurrection, and trained these masses to make the greatest revolution known in history.

But the anarchist movement hindered the working class in this struggle. Let us examine the facts.

First of all we must say a few words about the Makhayev trend, which caused an enormous amount of harm to the working class movement in Russia.

A. Makhayev (Volsky), a Social-Democrat of the reformist type, while in exile in Siberia came to the conclusion that "behind the capitalists a new exploiting and master class is growing up, namely, the intellectuals, the commanding intellectuals who also invented socialism in order to transform the working class into a tool for their own ends." To prove this "theory" he wrote a book, The Intellectual Worker. Makhayev soon found adherents among the exiled anarchists, Taratuta and others. In a leaflet issued in 1902, the Makhayevites argued that the intellectuals represented "a superior race whose mission it was to rule." In the same leaflet they tried to prove that the revolutionary party in Russia was fighting against tsarism only in order, when political liberty had been gained, to get into power and exploit the working class. Concerning the Jewish Labor League, known as the Bund, the Makhayevites wrote that the Jews were fighting against tsarism in order to be permitted to enter government service. Is it surprising that the gendarmes in Irkutsk freely permitted these counter-revolutionary productions of the Makhayevite anarchists to be distributed among the population? The ideas they preached played into the hands of the gendarmes, into the hands of tsarism. The Makhayevites succeeded in establishing the Invincible (Neprimirimy) group in Odessa and the Struggle (Borba) group in Byelostok. Novomirsky, one of the Russian anarchist leaders, characterized the Makhayevite program as follows:

It can be reduced to three points: (1) the working class needs no ideals (2) what it needs is an economic, revolutionary terrorist struggle against capital and (3) the intellectuals are an exploiting class hostile to the proletariat.

Novomirsky also expressed the following opinion about the Makhayevites:

The Makhayevites could not become the vanguard of the mass movement, for practically their whole program was a negative one. The very causes that proved fatal for "Economism" and brought about the collapse of "Zubatovism" inflicted a mortal blow on Makhayevism. A political struggle was a historical necessity, and by their repudiation of politics the Makhayevites put themselves outside of history.

For the benefit of readers who are not sufficiently acquainted with the revolution in Russia we will explain that the Russian "Economism" of the nineties tried to persuade the workers to reject the political struggle, to leave that to the liberal bourgeoisie. "Zubatovism" was the attempt of the tsarist police to direct the working class movement into the legal channel of economic demands, and thus, by diverting the proletariat from the political struggle, to make it innocuous. The anarchism of the Makhayevites was something between "Economism" and "Zubatovism." For example, Makhayev tried to convince the workers that they could reach a standard of wages equal to the profits of the capitalists.

Makhayevism was not widespread among the working class. It is a characteristic fact that its leaders were not workers. For instance, Nikolai Striga (Vladimir Lapidus), the leader of the Makhayevites in Odessa, came of a bourgeois family. The purpose of Makhayevism was to create distrust between the masses of the workers and the socialist intellectuals, thus playing into the hands of the tsarist gendarmes who were pursuing the same end by different means, although at the end of 1904 the Makhayevites in Odessa styled themselves anarchist-communists.

The Anarchists in the Revolution

During the 1905 revolution the Russian anarchists split up into several trends, but they had one thing in common, namely, the repudiation of the state and of the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution. The Russian anarchists took their ideas from Bakunin, Kropotkin, Proudhon, Malatesta and Reclus. They tried to prove that the revolution in Russia must lead to the destruction of every kind of state, that it must lead to anarchy. In their opinion, skipping all transitional stages, including the dictatorship of the proletariat, the revolution would immediately establish in place of the tsarist landlord and capitalist state complete communist-anarchist society, a society based on the rule: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

One of these "anarchist-communist" trends was named after their publication. No Authority (Beznachalive). An article dealing with the program of the group, published in No. 1 of this publication, state that the anarchists must inscribe on their black banner the slogan: "Ruthless, bloody popular retribution." It demanded the "recognition of burglary and all other open attacks on stores and houses committed by the oppressed classes."

Another-group of Russian anarchists were called the Black Banner (Chernoye Znamya) group. Their publication, the Rebel (Buntar) stated in its first editorial, addressing the unemployed: "Organize and arm! Attack the stores and seize necessities in an organized manner. Let that be your demand for bread!"

Of course, it was easier to attack some small shopkeeper, or to rob a private apartment, than to carry on an organized class struggle against the landlord and capitalist classes as a whole it was easier to attack an individual official of the tsarist government than to attack the entire tsarist autocracy, than to organize the masses to overthrow tsarism. But such activity is not revolutionary-far from it. These anarchists called themselves communists. But their communism was "consuming" communism. They deceived the masses when they said that it was possible to provide everything "to each according to his needs" on the morrow of the revolution, and that the class struggle would also cease immediately after the revolution.

It should be noted that these anarchists did not carry on their activities among the more organized, class-conscious workers, but among the children of ruined petty bourgeois, among the petty-bourgeois intellectuals, among the lumpenproletariat, and sometimes among real criminals, for bandits were quite suitable as far as burglaries and attacks on houses and stores were concerned. No principles were necessary for this purpose. But if we recall that Bakunin himself regarded highway robbers as the finest revolutionaries, we shall realize why the Russian anarchists formulated their objectives in this way.

The following was related by the anarchist Novomirsky, publisher of the magazine New World (Novy Mir), regarding the Odessa anarchist-communist group at the end of 1905. When in his report Novomirsky had set forth the anarchist views on the revolution, Gershkovich, the leader of the Odessa anarchist-communist group, took the floor and declared that the anarchist-communists did not agree with Novomirsky.

The anarchist-communists absolutely differ with him: we say to the workers, "Murder, rob, killl We do not want any societies, we do not want any organizations: rob, murder, kill!"

Judge for yourselves what enormous harm such a doctrine caused in those places where it was not opposed by that of the genuinely revolutionary party of Bolshevik Marxists, who under exceedingly difficult conditions built up their party step by step, teaching the proletariat to fight its class enemies in the most effective way.

The No Authority and the Black Banner were not the only anarchist trends in Russia during the revolution. A participant in the anarchist movement gives the following description of this variety of "shades" of anarchism:

Bombs of "unmotivated" terror-and Tolstoy's "thou shalt not kill" revolution-and passive resistance the refusal of the members of the No Authority to go to work in order not to be exploited-and strikes the No Authority justification of robberies perpetrated against capitalists-and the social expropriation of the exploiters, these were incompatible forms of direct action, this was the distance between a beast and an angel.

The only thing this anarchist forgot was that revolution is made not by beasts and not by angels, but by working people.

We shall not deal in detail with all the trends of anarchism. Tolstoyanism, as an anarchist trend, is in a separate category, since it is the doctrine of non-resistance to evil, and repudiates all political struggle. We have seen what the theories and the practical slogans of the active anarchist groups were like.

Nor was there much difference between the above-mentioned groups and the Bread and Freedom (Khleb i Volya) group organized by Kropotkin, Orgeyani, Cherkezov, Corn and other anarchists in London with supporters in Russia. This group also preached the direct transition to the "anarchist millennium," it also denied that it was necessary for the working class to establish an independent party and to take part in the political struggle. Thus, all the anarchists detached a section of the workers from the united front of the working class and the peasantry, weakened the forces of the revolution and thereby played into the hands of the counter-revolution.

We have already said that the principal methods of struggle recommended by the anarchists were economic terror, expropriation, and what was known as "unmotivated terror," which was intended to terrorize the bourgeoisie.

The anarchists, themselves, in a statement addressed "to the Anarchist Comrades" gave the following withering description of their theory:

The elements of Utopian idealism, fragments of 18th century thought, are mixed up with modern "progressive" theories, and in places all this is pierced by the rays of the class theory. (Chernoye Znamya, 1905, No. 1.)

And the anarchists put forward this miserable and pernicious jumble as the most advanced doctrine of the proletariat!

But the tactics of individual and economic terror practiced by the anarchist groups and by individual anarchists served to rouse among a section of the workers the false hope that the anarchist "heroes" were fighting their battle, that they would be freed from exploitation as a result of the anarchist terrorist acts. These tactics relaxed the activities of the masses of the workers, they subdued their mass militant spirit. As a typical example of this we may quote from a letter addressed to the Odessa anarchist-communist group by the women working in the Odessa Municipal Laundry and published in the anarchist magazine, Stormy Petrel (Burevestnik),Geneva, 1907, No. 7. As a means of ridding themselves of exploitation, these women turned for help to the anarchists, since they regarded them as "comrades who exercise more influence over the bastards who suck the blood of poor working people." . . . They requested the anarchist leaders "not to leave us unprotected, if only by scaring the parasites who drink our blood. Send a special letter threatening these parasites." Could such faith in the action of anarchist threats snake people fit for the mass revolutionary movement?

In the summer of 1906 the author of this pamphlet was working in the industrial center of Ekaterinoslav (now Dniepropetrovsk), where there was a fairly large group of anarchist-communists. The anarchists killed the director of the engineering works in that town, although they took no part in the strike that was then in progress. This terrorist act, like most of its kind, produced only negative results. Some time later the workers were compelled to resume work under worse conditions than before the strike.

Especially harmful were the acts of "unmotivated terror," intended to frighten the bourgeoisie in general. Here is a description of the consequences of such an act given by the prominent anarchist, Novomirsky:

On December 17 (1905), a group of the Black Banner leaders organized a terroristic act which undermined the influence of the anarchist-communists in Odessa for a long time after. This was the notorious attack on Liebman's Cafe. The group wanted to commit a model act of "unmotivated terror." But they could not have chosen a more unfortunate object to popularize this theory. Lieb- man's Cafe was a second-rate place patronized not by wealthy people, but by people of all classes, including minor office employees and needy intellectuals. Moreover, the act itself was very clumsily performed: the bomb was thrown in the street, and of course produced nothing but noise and confusion. The workers were puzzled and asked what this throwing of bombs in an ordinary cafe could mean. Nobody wanted to believe that this was the work of revolutionaries. I myself was among the crowd that gathered after the explosion and heard the workers say: "Have revolutionaries nothing better to do now than throwing bombs at restaurants? Has the tsarist government been overthrown and the power of the bourgeoisie destroyed? The. bomb must have been thrown by the Black Hundreds** to discredit the revolutionaries."

The mass of the workers were far above anarchist methods of struggle and had outgrown the anarchist theory. They understood the object and methods of the struggle better than the anarchists did. But in some places the backward section of the workers, misled by the anarchists, adopted this system of petty terrorist acts and robberies. The expropriation of the owners started by the anarchists during a shoemakers' strike in Warsaw in 1907 resulted simply in the more adroit shoemakers grabbing the shoes from the workshops for themselves, and not in any real "expropriation of the expropriators."

The result was that the term anarchist began to serve as a screen for various criminal gangs, such as the notorious Black Raven gang in Odessa.

The Russian anarchist Arshinov, well-known among the Spanish, Italian and French anarcho-syndicalists, who played a prominent part under Makhno, wrote as follows in summing up this movement in Russia during the period of the first revolution:

Some genuine anarchists had remained at liberty and were resisting this turbid wave of expropriation. A special article against it was printed at the end of 1906 in the Buntar, the principal organ of the Russian anarchistcommunists, which at first had advocated the tactics of expropriation in theory, but then began to sound the alarm. . . . This turbid wave rose higher and higher, overwhelming the genuine anarchists. As a consequence, ordinary workers came to identify anarchism with plain banditry. Moreover, even the genuine anarchists, especially the younger ones, could not break through the vicious circle of partial expropriation. They were powerless to adopt any road other than that of expropriation and terror, for the anarchist leaders themselves knew no other road. By 1908-09 anarchism in Russia had ceased to exist as a movement. It had been partly destroyed by the tsarist government, but it collapsed mainly owing to its false theory and fundamentally false tactics.

Such were the results of the anarchist movement during the period of the first Russian revolution.

The tsarist government persecuted the Bolsheviks no less than it persecuted the anarchists. Large numbers of Bolsheviks were killed and executed during the revolution. Thousands were sent to penal servitude, imprisoned or exiled. But, unlike the anarchists, the Bolsheviks had succeeded in taking root so deeply among the working class that no persecution could destroy the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement. Even during the blackest reaction the Bolsheviks kept the banner of revolution flying and continued their preparations for a new armed uprising, which in February-March, 1917, overthrew the tsarist monarchy and paved the way for the Socialist October Revolution.

*V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 455. International Publishers, New York. ?Ed.

**Members of the monarchist counter-revolutionary League of Russian People.

New Zine: The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago

We’re excited to announce the completion of our latest project, an updated version of the zine The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago.

In this new edition, editor Alex Iwasa expands on their previously published history of The Autonomous Zone (The A-Zone) in Chicago and shares new research that provides additional information about both the A-Zone and the larger context of the U.S. anarchist space in the 1990s and early 2000s. A new contribution in this edition adds additional reflections on the A-Zone, joining an interview and two reflective essays that appeared in the original edition of the zine.

The history of the Autonomous Zone has a relevance for those outside of Chicago, as the A-Zone was typical of anarchist experiments in counter-institutions and infoshops undertaken by anarchists in the 1990s and as such the writings within cover an important aspect of recent anarchist history. It gives an interesting snapshot of the infoshops of the 1990s and the related anarchist milieu. Beyond the A-Zone, the zine talks about the Love & Rage anarchist federation, the anarchist networking project (Dis)Connections and the related Network of Anarchist Collectives, as well as the Chicago-based projects Baklava Collective and Wind Chill Factor. Also covered are Food Not Bombs, Anarchist Black Cross, and Anti-Racist Action.

You can get the zine as a printable or screen readable version

Anarchism - History

Bob Barney-The Plain Truth

So when history repeats itself ( and it always does) EXPECT DEATH!

Anarchists are not new in American history, but sadly, most Americans have little knowledge of the extreme dangers this political group will bring us in the coming years. You need to know, and the media isn't reporting that Plain Truth about the left wing of The Democrat Party, who are anarchist!  

From Wikipedia: Anarchism in the United States began in the mid-19th century and started to grow in influence as it entered the American labor movements, growing an anarcho-communist current as well as gaining notoriety for violent propaganda by the deed and campaigning for diverse social reforms in the early 20th century. In the post-World War II era, anarchism regained influence through new developments such as anarcho-pacifism, anarcho-capitalism, the American New Left and the counterculture of the 1960s. In contemporary times, anarchism in the United States influenced and became influenced and renewed by developments both inside and outside the worldwide anarchist movement such as platformism, insurrectionary anarchism, the new social movements (anarcha-feminism, queer anarchism and green anarchism) and the alterglobalization movements.

This philosophy has caused world wars (YES WORLD WARS) assainations of world leaders, and a death toll that would rival Hitler!

A short list of the death toll that CNN, nor even Fox News is telling you:

  • Sept. 10, 1898. Elisabeth, Empress of Austria is stabbed by an anarchist.
  • July 29, 1900. Umberto I of Italy is assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci.
  • Sept. 6, 1901. President William McKinley is shot by an anarchist.
  • Nov. 1919. Palmer Raids begin.
  • Sept 16, 1920. A bomb explodes on Wall Street killing 38.
  • The assisnation of Archduke Ferdinand, which caused World War 1 and 37 MILLION DEAD!

What is happening today in the streets of America, France and Asia, caused mainly by George Soros and Democrat leaders, will eventually lead to disaster, and possibly MILLIONS of death! This is not an exaggeration, it is the future if we do not put a halt to anarchy in the streets!

Anarchy refers to the state of a society being without authorities or a governing body, and the general confusion and chaos resulting from that condition. It may also refer to a society or group of people that totally rejects hierarchy. The father of anarchy is Satan the Devil himself. Satan represents lawlessness-the state of anarchy.   In 1 John 3:4 we see the ONL:Y DEFINITION of SIN in the Bible!  Yes, there is only one thing you can do to sin: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Sin is ANARCHY!  

Paul warns us in his writings , " Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

Don't be fooled, Satan is alive and well, and controls this earth age!  If you love God, you obey His Laws!  If you love Satan, you worship lawlessness.  


Bob Barney-The Plain Truth

So when history repeats itself ( and it always does) EXPECT DEATH!

Anarchists are not new in American history, but sadly, most Americans have little knowledge of the extreme dangers this political group will bring us in the coming years. You need to know, and the media isn't reporting that Plain Truth about the left wing of The Democrat Party, who are anarchist!  

From Wikipedia: Anarchism in the United States began in the mid-19th century and started to grow in influence as it entered the American labor movements, growing an anarcho-communist current as well as gaining notoriety for violent propaganda by the deed and campaigning for diverse social reforms in the early 20th century. In the post-World War II era, anarchism regained influence through new developments such as anarcho-pacifism, anarcho-capitalism, the American New Left and the counterculture of the 1960s. In contemporary times, anarchism in the United States influenced and became influenced and renewed by developments both inside and outside the worldwide anarchist movement such as platformism, insurrectionary anarchism, the new social movements (anarcha-feminism, queer anarchism and green anarchism) and the alterglobalization movements.

This philosophy has caused world wars (YES WORLD WARS) assainations of world leaders, and a death toll that would rival Hitler!

A short list of the death toll that CNN, nor even Fox News is telling you:

  • Sept. 10, 1898. Elisabeth, Empress of Austria is stabbed by an anarchist.
  • July 29, 1900. Umberto I of Italy is assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci.
  • Sept. 6, 1901. President William McKinley is shot by an anarchist.
  • Nov. 1919. Palmer Raids begin.
  • Sept 16, 1920. A bomb explodes on Wall Street killing 38.
  • The assisnation of Archduke Ferdinand, which caused World War 1 and 37 MILLION DEAD!

What is happening today in the streets of America, France and Asia, caused mainly by George Soros and Democrat leaders, will eventually lead to disaster, and possibly MILLIONS of death! This is not an exaggeration, it is the future if we do not put a halt to anarchy in the streets!

Anarchy refers to the state of a society being without authorities or a governing body, and the general confusion and chaos resulting from that condition. It may also refer to a society or group of people that totally rejects hierarchy. The father of anarchy is Satan the Devil himself. Satan represents lawlessness-the state of anarchy.   In 1 John 3:4 we see the ONL:Y DEFINITION of SIN in the Bible!  Yes, there is only one thing you can do to sin: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Sin is ANARCHY!  

Paul warns us in his writings , " Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

Don't be fooled, Satan is alive and well, and controls this earth age!  If you love God, you obey His Laws!  If you love Satan, you worship lawlessness.  

Editorial Reviews


“So skillful is Finn's historical synthesis that Debating Anarchism becomes a work original research in its own right. This book will undoubtedly become an essential introduction to the history of anarchist ideas and movements.” ―Matthew Adams, Lecturer in Politics, History and Communication, Loughborough University, UK

Debating anarchism: a history of action, ideas and movements is a meticulously researched, rigorous and fascinating history and theory of anarchism. From its radical beginnings to our current times, Mike Finn gives us, finally, a full understanding of anarchism in theory and practice. This is an important and necessary book.” ―Dr. Dana Mills, Lecturer in Poltiics, Vrije Univeristeit, Amsterdam, author of Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion, 2020)

Debating Anarchism is a panoramic examination of anarchism's shifts and fortunes from the nineteenth century to modern times. Mike Finn's 'anarchist squint' counters the marginalisation of anarchism in European and global histories. His compelling narrative combines impeccable scholarship with crisp, clear analysis to show that the recovery of anarchist history is an important, subversive activity.” ―Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory, Loughborough University, UK

About the Author

Mike Finn is Senior Lecturer in History at University of Exeter, UK.

Anarchism - History

The letter "A" comes from the first letter of the word "anarchy" or "anarchism", which has the same meaning in many European languages. The letter "O" stands for order. Together they stand for "anarchy is order."

Anarchy is a philosophy or political beliefs that advocate the absence of authority, resulting in a state of chaos and disorder.
Theoretically, it would be anarchy complete freedom from political, governmental and authoritative intervention, resulting in maximum freedom and individual rights.

How the Circle-A anarchy symbol was born, no one knows but there are records to show that it used in the late 1800s by the anarchists, the "Federal Council of Spain of the International Workers Association." It comes later with photos of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) applied to a military's helmet.

It was not until the 60th century when two French anarchist youth groups began to use the Anarchy Symbol as it became known, first in France and then throughout the world. First, "Jeunesse Libertaire" in 1964 and later "Circolo Sacco e Vanzetti" in 1968.


A New York building "wrecked by the explosion of a bomb which was made by Joseph Caron, said to be an anarchist." July 9, 1914. The Day Book (Chicago, IL), Noon Edition, Image 9. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Chaos! Smoke, bombs, and screams of terror permeate the crowded street. The anarchists are at it again. A 1894 issue of the Omaha Daily Bee described anarchists as those that believe &ldquoall human government is usurpation, tyranny, essentially wrong.&rdquo Anarchists have caused riots, bombings, and successfully assassinated several world leaders&mdashincluding the 25th president of the United States. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Anarchism : A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements

“‘Whoever denies authority and fights against it is an anarchist,’ said Sebastien Faure. The definition is tempting in its simplicity, but simplicity is the first thing to guard against in writing a history of anarchism. Few doctrines or movements have been so confusedly understood in the public mind, and few have presented in their own variety of approach and action so much excuse for confusion.” These are the opening sentences of this book, which brilliantly effaces confusion by providing a critical history of anarchist thought and practice.

Mr. Woodcock traces the development of anarchism from its earliest appearances, and the rise and fall of anarchism as a movement aiming at practical social changes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He discusses the ideas of the principal anarchist thinkers—Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, among others—and explains the various forms—anarchist individualism, anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism—that anarchist proposals for change have taken. The development of anarchist organizations, the various forms (peaceful and violent) of anarchist political action in Europe and America, the reasons for the appeal of anarchism at certain periods and to certain people—all these are given full treatment in Mr. Woodcock’s comprehensive work, which closes with a discussion of the causes of anarchism’s failure as a movement and with a consideration of whether there are any elements in anarchist thought that—despite the failure of anarchism as a political panacea—may still be worth preserving in the modern world.

“The essential introduction to the classical anarchist thinkers.”—Mark Leier, Director, Centre for Labour Studies, Simon Fraser University

Отзывы - Написать отзыв

LibraryThing Review

Actually, it would deserve a much better rating, if only it was possible to tell where he's inventing facts to suit his idea of what the anarchist movement ought to be. Clue: he's not very good on the Spanish movement, those nasty ruffians! Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

A history of anarchism as ideology and political movement. Читать весь отзыв

Другие издания - Просмотреть все

Об авторе (2018)

George Woodcock (May 8, 1912 - January 28, 1995) was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet and published several volumes of travel writing. In 1959 he was the founding editor of the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically dedicated to Canadian writing. He is most commonly known outside Canada for his book Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962).

Woodcock was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but moved with his parents to England at an early age, attending Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow and Morley College. His first job as a clerk at the Great Western Railway first piqued his interest in anarchism, and he was to remain an anarchist for the rest of his life, writing several books on the subject, as well as biographies of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, William Godwin, Oscar Wilde and Peter Kropotkin. His first published work was The White Island (1940), a collection of poetry.

He spent World War II working as a conscientious objector on a farm in Essex, and in 1949, moved to British Columbia. At Camp Angel in Oregon, a camp for conscientious objectors, he was a founder of the Untide Press, which sought to bring poetry to the public in an inexpensive but attractive format. Following the war, he returned to Canada, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1955, he took a post in the English department of the University of British Columbia, where he remained until the 1970s.

Towards the end of his life, Woodcock became increasingly interested in what he saw as the plight of Tibetans. He travelled to India, studied Buddhism, became friends with the Dalai Lama and established the Tibetan Refugee Aid Society. With his wife Inge, he established Canada India Village Aid, which sponsors self-help projects in rural India.


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