MIA: Subjects: Anarchism:
Marxists.org Archive on
Photo by: Fibonacci Blue,
2017, CC BY License
Anarchist Resources: On Anarchist theory, Anarchist practice, and the struggle between Marxists and Anarchists.
- Pre-cursors of Anarchism
- Beginnings of Anarchism
- Anarchist Theory
- Anarchism, Syndicalism, and Labor Unions
- Anarchism and Pacifism
- Individualist Anarchism
- Anarchism in Russia
- The Russian Revolution
- Nestor Makhno, the Makhnovist Movement, and the Free Territory, Ukraine (AKA: Makhnovtchina)
- Opposition to State Socialism by Anarchists
- Opposition to the Soviet Regime by Anarchists
- Anarchism and the Spanish Civil War
- Anarchism in the USA
- Anarchism and the Humanities (Art, Literature, etc.)
- Master List of Anarchist Revolutionaries and Theorists
- Anarchism and Other Subject Archives on Marxists.org
Opposition to authoritarian control is an endemic part of the human situation. Opposition to political, cultural, economic, or other authority marks every great conflict. Naturally, there are movements before modern Anarchism that express these sentiments, ranging from ancient Taoism as described in the 6th century BC to the Paris Commune at the edge of 1870.
The English Revolution of 1640-48, in which Oliver Cromwell built the New Model Army, decapitated Charles II and laid the basis for the constitutional monarchy under which the bourgeoisie could develop its industry and trade without the fetters of feudalism
The English Revolution was also the scene of revolutionary struggles by the predecessors of the modern revolutionaries: the Diggers and the Levellers.
“In the beginning of Time, the great Creator Reason, made the Earth to be a Common Treasury, ... but not one word was spoken in the beginning, That one branch of mankind should rule over another”
In 1871, with Paris surrounded by Prussian troops after France had capitulated, the workers of Paris rose up and seized power. This was the first time in history that the working class had seized state power. The ideas of Proudhon and Blanqui were the most widespread theories of revolution known to the Paris workers, but the International Workingmen’s Association actively participated through its Parisian section. The Commune was eventually overthrown by a reactionary army raised in the countryside and workers were slaughtered. Blanqui was elected President of the Paris Commune, but remained in prison throughout.
The Paris Commune was the testing ground for revolutionary theory, and in the light of its experiences Marx revised his theory of the State, concluding that the working class had to smash the state machine, rather than hoping to take it over or leaving it intact.
- Letters from the Time of The Siege and the Commune (1870) — Elisée Reclus
- The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State (1871) — Mikhail Bakunin
- The Paris Commune (1880) — Peter Kropotkin
- The Paris Commune (1900) — Errico Malatesta
- The Commune is Risen (1912) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- The Paris Commune and Kronstadt (1920s) — Alexander Berkman
- The Paris Commune (~) — Voltairine de Cleyre
The founders of both Anarchism and Marxism all came out of the dissolution of the Young Hegelians in the 1840s, during the revolutionary upheavals that swept across Europe and destroyed the “Old Order”. Both Mikhail Bakunin and Frederick Engels were present at the December 1841 lecture by Friedrich Schelling denouncing Hegel, representing two of the plethora of radical currents that sprung out of that conjuncture. Also with their roots in the Young Hegelians were Max Stirner, a founder of libertarian individualism, one of the targets of Marx’s The Holy Family, Proudhon, the founder of theoretical anarchism and Bakunin’s teacher.
Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881)
The writings of Blanqui are currently being made available in English for the first time in the M.I.A. Reference Archive. Despite spending most of his adult life in French prisons, Blanqui was a hero of the French working class and was elected President of the Paris Commune in 1871. The government refused to allow Blanqui to take up his position.
Blanqui is more a communist rather than an anarchist and yet he is a precursor of both. His policy was for the formation of secret armed detachments of workers for the purpose of seizing political power, smashing the forces of the bourgeoisie and implementing socialism. His long years in jail were the result of his repeated attempts to put theory into practice.
His heroism, honesty and charisma earned him the respect of Marx and Proudhon alike, and Mikhail Bakunin was a supporter of Blanqui in his early years. Blanqui is the forerunner of the “urban guerillas” of the 1960s as well as the “militant” anarchists in the anti-WTO movement.
From the 1860s onwards, Anarchists and Communists alike rejected Blanqui’s “conspiratorial” strategy, though ironically it has forever after remained the bourgeoisie’s stereotype of radicalism.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1803-1865)
“Property is not self-existent. An extraneous cause – either force or fraud – is necessary to its life ... it is a negation, a delusion, nothing.”
Proudhon was the first the attempt to use Hegelian ideas to make a radical critique of political economy. This work is first set out in What is Property? (1840) but his most famous work is The Philosophy of Poverty (1847), the subject of Marx’s famous Poverty of Philosophy. Proudhon’s ideas were probably the most influential current among the participants in the Paris Commune of 1871. Proudhon’s ideas are at the root of that type of anarchism which envisages a world of small-scale producers living in self-sufficient, sustainable communities using local systems of exchange. It is often called “petit-bourgeois anarchism” because its ideal is the self-sufficient independent proprietor, and appeals to the self-employed tradesperson or small business person in capitalist society whose hatred is directed against big capital.
Max Stirner (1806-1856)
“Communism rightly revolts against the pressure that I experience from individual proprietors; but still more horrible is the might that it puts in the hands of the collectivity.”
Max Stirner was one of the Young Hegelians blasted by Marx as “Saint Max” in Chapter 3 of The German Ideology (1845).
Stirner was a Young Hegelian, but returned to the philosophy of Hegel’s predecessor, Johann Fichte. Stirner advocates egoism, an extreme form of Libertarianism which idolises individualism and rejects any and all forms of collectivism. Thus, in contrast to the communal spirit of Proudhon’s philosophy, Stirner is the precursor of Autonomism. Shades of Stirner are also visible in Nietzsche.
Early Pioneers of Anarchist Thought
- The Political Revolution (1842) — Edgar Bauer (1820-1886)
Ravachol and Emile Henry were among the “bomb-throwing anarchists” of pre-World War I France, alluded to, for example, in Emile Zola’s Germinale and in Victor Serge’s memoirs.
“I am nothing but an uneducated worker; but because I have lived the life of the poor, I feel more than a rich bourgeois the iniquity of your repressive laws. What gives you the right to kill or lock up a man who, put on earth with the need to live, found himself obliged to take that which he lacks in order to feed himself?” [Ravachol Archive]
See also Archives of the Bonnot Gang (1911), Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917), Léo Taxil (1854-1907), Sebastien Faure (1858-1942), Emile Pouget (1860-1931), Auguste Vaillant (1861-1894), Fernando Tarrida del Marmol (1862-1915), Georges Darien (1862-1921), Zo d’Axa (1864-1930), Georges Etiévant (1865-), Emile Armand (1872-1963), Manuel Devaldes (1875-1956), Emile Henry (1872-1894), Albert Libertad (1875-1908), Marius Jacob (1879-1954), Elisée Reclus (1830-1905), Paraf-Javal (1858-1941), Jules Méline and Andre Lorulot (1885-1963), Noël Demeure (1906), The Bandit of the North (1890), Henry Poulaille (1896-1980), Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), Mauricius (1910) and Letter from a Conscript.
Anarchy and Comunism, Carlos Cafiero 1880.
See On the Anarchists, Jean Jaurès 1894.
The Trial of Sante Caserio, 1894.
An Anarchist Joins the Communists, Erich Mühsam 1919.
Is the Anarchist Ideal Realizable?, La Revue Anarchiste, Dec 1929, Jan & Feb 1930.
Excerpts from “The Anarchist Encyclopedia,” ed. Sébastien Faure 1934.
The Sacred Conspiracy, Georges Bataille 1936.
Anarchy and its Heroes, Cesare Lombroso 1897.
Manifesto of the Anti-parliamentary Committee, Paris 1910.
Anarchists have also contributed to the development of philosophy in the 20th century. See the Georges Palante Archive, for example.
- The Psychology of Political Violence (1917) — Emma Goldman
Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876)
“A popular insurrection, by its very nature, is instinctive, chaotic, and destructive, and always entails great personal sacrifice ... The masses are always ready to sacrifice themselves; and this is what turns them into a brutal and savage horde, capable of performing heroic and apparently impossible exploits”
Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian aristocrat and archetypal revolutionary firebrand, is the most famous and important of 19th century anarchists. Bakunin was also a Young Hegelian, who turned Hegel’s conception of the State as “the march of God on Earth” on its head, casting the state as the representative of evil. (See God and the State)
Initially an advocate of “Democratic Pan-Slavism” (See Appeal to the Slavs, Bakunin 1848, and Democratic Pan-Slavism Neue Rheinische Zeitung, February 1849) and a member of the Narodniks, who advocated terror as a weapon against the Czarist autocracy in pursuit of a type of communism founded on the Russian village commune. (See Marx on the Russian Revolution.)
Bakunin was won over to socialism by the influence of Blanqui, and Bakunin was notorious for his propensity to form secret organisations fomenting rebellion. Bakunin regarded Proudhon however as his foremost teacher and recognised Proudhon as the founder of anarchism.
In 1866, Bakunin joined the International Workingmen’s Association and built up an anarchist wing within the International, along with James Guillaume, Errico Malatesta and others. After the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871, a reaction set in in Europe. Bakunin was expelled from the International at the Hague Congress in 1872, and his influence declined after this time and he died in 1876.
James Guillaume (1844-1916)
"The communes will freely unite and organize themselves in accordance with their economic interests, their language affinities, and their geographic circumstances."
Guillaume was Bakunin’s closest comrade, a member of the International Workingmen’s Association, the main chronicler of Bakunin’s life and work and later also a founder of the Anarcho-Syndicalist movement in the early 20th century.
See his Ideas on Social Organisation (1876) for a summary of the ideas of the nineteenth century anarchist movement.
And see The Necessity and Bases for an Accord, a response to the rise of mass programmatic socialism aspiring to state power, on one side and the terminal insanity of “bomb-throwing” anarchism on the other, by Saverio Merlino, 1892.
See also, the Italian Anarchist: Errico Malatesta, (1853-1932), a member of the First International from 1871.
During the last decades of the 19th century the socialist movement progressed well while anarchism became marginalised and generally reduced to terrorism and sabotage. However, while transforming itself into vast working-class parties, the socialist movement also became somewhat “respectable”. The conflict between Rosa Luxemburg and Eduard Bernstein and between Lenin and Kautsky illustrate the divergence between reformist and revolutionary wings of socialism. Doctrinaire socialists such as Henry Hyndman also criticised the mass socialist parties from the left.
At the same time, a dynamic new movement grew in the working class, particularly in the trade unions, which merged features of Marxist theory with the best traditions of anarchism. This current became known as Anarcho-Syndicalism. Participants in this movement included both anarchists and Marxists, and others somewhere in between.
Anarcho-syndicalism was especially strong in the English-speaking world where the trade union movement had its own traditions independently of the political parties and in Spain and Italy, where anarchism had a long history among the peasantry before the advent of anarchist theory in the workers’ movement.
The founders of Anarcho-Syndicalism in the English-speaking world were socialists before they were anarchists, and looked to Marx not Bakunin for their theory. However, their focus on the independent development of the trade unions and their suspicion of parliamentarians provided the stimulus for the development of the vibrant and anarchic Industrial Workers of the World.
Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958)
“In modern Anarchism we have the confluence of the two great currents which before and since the French Revolution have found such characteristic expression in the intellectual life of Europe: Socialism and Liberalism.”
Rudolf Rocker, a German immigrant to the U.S., is generally regarded as the founder of syndicalism, the doctrine which emphasises the role of the trade unions as vehicles of working class power and rejects the use of party-political organisation. His history of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism is an excellent resource for the anarchism of the early 20th century.
- Syndicalism and Anarchism (1908) — Peter Kropotkin
- Syndicalism: Its Theory and Practice (1913) — Emma Goldman
- Syndicalism: The Modern Menace to Capitalism (1913) — Emma Goldman
- Syndicalism and Anarchism (1925) — Errico Malatesta
- Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism (1949) — Rudolf Rocker
The IWW was a powerful movement that engaged both socialists and anarchists in the early years of the 20th century, especially in the English-speaking world. Among Marxists who fought against Anarchism and Syndicalism within the unions were Eugene Debs and Daniel DeLeon.
Daniel De Leon (1852-1914)
Founder of the US Socialist Labor Party and advocated “socialist industrial unionism.”
“Working Class still is a tumultuous mob. No revolutionary class is ever ripe for success before it has itself well in hand. ... It is one of the missions of the Trades Union to drill its class into the discipline that civilization demands.”
Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926)
American socialist, co-founder of the IWW and a leader of the left-wing of the Socialist Party. Solidarised with the Russian Revolution, but did not join the Communist Party.
“The workers ... are developing their industrial consciousness, their economic and political power; and when the revolution comes, they will be prepared to take possession and assume control of every industry. With the education they will have received in the Industrial Workers they will be drilled and disciplined, trained and fitted for Industrial Mastery and Social Freedom.”
Among the Marxists who fought against the syndicalist anti-party disposition of the workers, and in favour of the formation of a socialist party, in the early 20th century was John Maclean. Maclean argued for a single revolutionary socialist party and was made Soviet Consul in Scotland after the October Revolution.
After the Russian Revolution, the Communist International recognised the I.W.W. as the representative of the most militant sections of the working class in the English-speaking world, and made a decisive effort to enlist the I.W.W. in its ranks. Many of its leaders, such as Eugene Debs, Big Bill Haywood and Jock Garden joined the Communist International and were instrumental in founding the Communist Party in their own country. There was another wave of IWW recruits to the Comintern during Stalin’s "Third Period" in the late 1920s.
England: When the Anarchist International held their Congress in London in 1881, the four English delegates who attended were not actually anarchists and listened in silence. Until the 1960s, anarchism, in the forms known on the Continent, never took on in England; the English anarchists were either anarcho-syndicalists or better described as ultra-left or anti-parliamentarian socialists. The Social Democratic Federation split between pro- and anti-parliamentary groupings, and Joseph Lane was an archetype of the English anti-parliamentary socialist agitator, and people like William Morris, Frantz Kitz and Sam Mainwaring were sympathetic to his position.
Later on, people like Sylvia Pankhurst and Kate Sharpley, supported the Russian Revolution, but rejected participation in Parliament.
See also the Communist Left Subject Archive.
Unfortunately we do not currently have material on the Spanish and Italian anarchist movements of this period. These movements were more directly connected with Bakunin’s supporters from the 1860s, and James Guillaume was also an active player in laying the theoretical foundations of anarcho-syndicalism and introducing the experiences and traditions of Bakunin’s work to a new generation of anarchists. The Anarchist History Archive [external link] says of the Italian anarchist movement:
“In 1906, the Confederazione Generale di Lavoro (CGL) was formed to centralize and control the local Chambers of Labor. Six years later, in 1912, the Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI) broke away espousing anarchist-inspired syndicalism. By 1919, it was fairly sizeable though dispersed through multiple regions. Despite attempts at worker control and self-governing, World War I and the more reformist CGL prevented the USI from every really consolidating its strength. In the early 1920’s fascism came along and it saw to anarchism’s decline.
Photo of Randolph Bourne,
Notable Anti-War Activist
Photo of Voltairine de Cleyre
Like many other Leftist movements, Anarchism is notable for its anti-war and pacifist philosophy.
- Patriotism and Christianity (1894) — Leo Tolstoy
- Patriotism, or Peace? (1896) — Leo Tolstoy
- Patriotism and Government (1900) — Leo Tolstoy
- Patriotism, a Menace to Liberty (1911) — Emma Goldman
- Trans-national America (1916) — Emma Goldman
- Anarchism and American Traditions (1932) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism (1984) — Fredy Perlman
- War and Peace (1869) — Leo Tolstoy
- War or Peace? (1896) — Peter Kropotkin
- Two Wars (1898) — Leo Tolstoy
- The Coming War (1913) — Peter Kropotkin
- Wars and Capitalism (1914) — Peter Kropotkin
- Anti-War Manifesto (1915) — Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Others
- Preparedness, the Road to Universal Slaughter (1915) — Emma Goldman
- The War and the Intellectuals (1917) — Randolph Bourne
- A War Diary (1917) — Randolph Bourne
- Speeches Against Conscription (1917) — Emma Goldman
- War Is the Health of the State (1918) — Randolph Bourne
- Designing Pacifist Films (1961) — Paul Goodman
- Some Remarks on War Spirit (1962) — Paul Goodman
The individualist trend can be seen in all branches and variations of Anarchism, but it has also formed a core following around anti-Collectivist and anti-Statist Anarcho-Individualism. This trend has not been ignored by the other types of Anarchism but is typically incorporated into them in some way.
Photo by: Martin Fisch,
2020, CC BY License
Photo of: Emile Armand,
Notable Anarchist Individualist
and Advocate of Free Love
Since prostitution constitutes a social situation with a dominant (the pimp) and an inferior (the prostitute), which leads to numerous social abuses, prostitution is equally condemned within Communist, Socialist, and Anarchist societies. This does not mean an overall approval of one, single, acceptable relationship and sexual practice in any of these branches of thought. For Anarchists, while there is some support (and even activity) within pimpless, stateless organizations, the matter still remains controversial.
- The Economic Relations of Sex (1891) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- The Traffic in Women (1910) — Emma Goldman
Today, Free Love typically goes by the name Polyamory, although there is an infinite variation on this theme in practice and theory.
- Anarchy and the Sex Question (1896) — Emma Goldman
- Marriage (1897) — Emma Goldman
- They Who Marry Do Ill (1907) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure (1910) — Emma Goldman
- Marriage and Love (1914) — Emma Goldman
- The Social Aspects of Birth Control (1916) — Emma Goldman
- On Sexual Liberty (1916) — Émile Armand
- The Hypocrisy of Puritanism (1917) — Emma Goldman
- Without Amoralization, No Anarchization (1926) — Émile Armand
- Anarchist Individualism and Amorous Comradeship (1956) — Émile Armand
- Variations on Voluptuousness (unknown) — Émile Armand
- Revolutionary Nudism (1934) — Émile Armand
Anarchism has a long history in Russia dating back to Bakunin and peasant struggles against the Czarist autocracy and the landowners.
Particularly during the Civil War, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, substantial anarchist movements grew up, and found bases of support both in the Russian working class and particularly amongst national groups fighting for their independence.
¤ History of Anarchism in Russia, from the Anarchist History Archives [external link]
Strangely enough, it was Mikhail Bakunin who can be credited with introducing Marxism into Russia. Through Narodnya Volya (People’s Will) he recruited Georgi Plekhanov, widely recognised as the "father of Russian Marxism", teacher of Lenin and Trotsky. The Narodniks advocated secret society terrorist methods of struggle reminiscent of Louis-Auguste Blanqui.
Marxism was introduced into Russia the same way it was introduced to the German colonies of Africa: through the massively-popular and well-funded party organism of the German Social-Democrats, who became the dominant opposition party by 1850, and could wield a salaried staff of 10,000 by the year 1900.
Anarchists filtered through Japan out of Russia and into other Russian spheres of influence at around this same time period. Elie Metchinkoff, the Nobel-prize winner of phagocytes (non-harmful, voluntarily-cooperative bacteria in humans), was the brother of another Russian Anarchist, and these two, along with Mikhail Bakunin, his followers, and others (Kropotkininsts, etc.), fled from their homelands as emigres during years of political repression in imperial Russia.
Although the Narodniks pre-existed Bakunin, his supporters would become its main force. Later, Bakunin’s supporter, James Guillaume, recruited the Russian emigré Prince Petr Kropotkin (1842-1921) to anarchism. (Anarchism of the libertarian variety has a long history of support in the Russian aristocracy, counting Leo Tolstoy among its numbers.) Kropotkin was the most prominent anarchist of the years leading up to the Revolution, but he is not a significant figure for the anarchism of the post-revolutionary period.
Victor Serge, an anarchist who was deported to Russia by France in 1918, became Assistant Secretary of the Communist International under Zinoviev and made great efforts to reconcile the anarchists and the Bolsheviks until the rise of Stalin made such a project impossible. Serge was the last member of the Left Opposition to leave the Soviet Union before the Moscow Trials led to the execution of all Stalin’s opponents.
¤ Volin (1882-1945) served under Makhno, later lived in Berlin and then Paris where he collaborated with Sébastien Faure.
¤ Victor Serge Home Page [external link]
Flag of the Makhnovist Anarchist Army
Nestor Makhno (1884-1934), an organizer of the anarchist armies which fought against both the Red Army and the invading White Armies, is probably the most famous of anarchists of the time of the Russian Civil War. Peter Arshinov eventually became the celebrated, great historian of the Makhno's movement. At first, Makhno's forces fought the Tsarist, White General Denikin, whose forces had massacred Jews in pogroms. Eventually, Makhno's forces fought against the Red Army, who had invaded the Free Territory and sought to subdue it under the USSR's power. Makhno lived abroad afterwards, largely in Paris, where he advocated for a type of Anarchism he called Platform Anarchism or sometimes just Platformism, in which he advocated greater unity and self-discipline of all fighting Anarchist forces.
- Manifesto of the Makhnovists (1918) — Nestor Makhno
- The Makhnovists on the National and Jewish Questions (1919) — Peter Arshinov
- To All Peasants and Workers of the Ukraine (1920) — Nestor Makhno
- To the Young People: From the Insurgent Makhnovists (1920) — Nestor Makhno
- Anarchist Communist Manifesto: From the 1st Italian Section of the International Anarchist Communist Federation (1920) — Nestor Makhno
- To all workers of the plough and the hammer! (1920) — Nestor Makhno
- Our Organization (1925) — Nestor Makhno
- Supplement to the Organizational Platform (Questions and Answers) (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- The Struggle Against the State (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- The First of May (1928) — Nestor Makhno
- The Anarchist Revolution (1920s) — Nestor Makhno
- History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918–1921) (1923) — Peter Arshinov
- The Russian Revolution in Ukraine (March 1917 — April 1918) (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- Recollections on Marx and Engels (1871) — Mikhail Bakunin
- The Place of Anarchism in Socialistic Evolution (1884) — Peter Kropotkin
- Process Under Socialism (1887) — Peter Kropotkin
- The Collapse of Counter-Revolutionary Socialism (1890) — Peter Kropotkin
- Revolutionary Government (1892) — Peter Kropotkin
- Anarchism, Socialism, and Communism (1923) — Errico Malatesta
- Socialism: Caught in the Political Trap (1916) — Emma Goldman
- Manual for Revolutionary Leaders (1977) — Fredy Perlman
- Marxism, Freedom and the State (1872) — Mikhail Bakunin
Many Anarchists have opposed the Soviet Union during the early periods as well as during the latter periods.
- The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Government: Letter to the Workers of Western Europe (1919) — Peter Kropotkin
- Letter on Russian Revolution (1920) — Peter Kropotkin
- Bolsheviks Shooting Anarchists (1922) — Emma Goldman & Alexander Berkman
- The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party (1922) — Alexander Berkman
- The Russian Tragedy (1922) — Alexander Berkman
- The Idea of Equality and the Bolsheviks (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- In Memory of the Kronstadt Revolt (1926) — Nestor Makhno
- The Two Octobers (1927) — Peter Arshinov
- The Bolshevik Dictatorship at Work (1920s) — Alexander Berkman
- America and the Soviets (1931) — Alexander Berkman
- There Is No Communism in Russia (1935) — Emma Goldman
- Trotsky Protests Too Much (1938) — Emma Goldman
- My Disillusionment in Russia (1923) — Emma Goldman
- My Further Disillusionment in Russia (1924) — Emma Goldman
- The Bolshevik Myth (1925) — Alexander Berkman
- The Unknown Revolution, Book One (1947) — Voline
- The Unknown Revolution, Book Two (1947) — Voline
- The Unknown Revolution, Book Three (1947) — Voline
Emma Goldman (1864-1940)
One of the most important anarchists of post-revolutionary Russia was Emma Goldman, whose political life spanned the I.W.W. activities and the anti-conscription fight in the U.S., Soviet Russia and the Spanish Civil War, in whose cause Emma Goldman gave her life.
Bolshevik Writings on Anarchism
My First Exile, My Life
“The first time I ever met a living anarchist was in the Moscow transfer prison. He was a village school-teacher, Luzin, a man reserved and uncommunicative, even cruel. In prison he always preferred to be with the criminals and would listen intently to their tales of robbery and murder. He avoided discussions of theory. But once when I pressed him to tell me how railways would be managed by autonomous communities, he answered: ‘Why the hell should I want to travel on railways under anarchism?’ That answer was enough for me. Luzin tried to win the workers over, and we carried on a concealed warfare which was not devoid of hostility.” (from Chapter 9)
Why Marxists oppose Individual Terrorism, 1909
The July Days, History of the Russian Revolution
The Makhno Movement, 1919
Makhno’s Coming Over to the Side of the Soviets, 1920
How Is Makhno’s Troop Organised?, 1920
Contradictions Between the Economic Successes of the Ussr and the Bureaucratization of the Regime, 1932
Anarchism and Socialism, 1901
Socialism and War, 1914
State & Revolution. Controversy with the Anarchists, 1917
A democratic republic was formed in Spain in 1936, but Franco assembled a Fascist Army in Morocco and with the aid of Mussolini and Hitler, waged a civil war which overthrew the republic and established a fascist dictatorship.
Workers came from all over the world to fight alongside the Republicans in the International Brigades. However, following the triumph of fascism in Germany, Stalin and the Spanish Communist Party were more interested in avoiding revolution in Spain than in defeating fascism, so as to appease “democratic imperialism”. As a result, the Soviet Union used its forces to split the revolution, and Franco faced Stalinists, Trotskyists, “Centrists” and Anarchists who were unable to form a United Front.
Anarchism had a long history in Spain, going back to the 1830s, with a strong syndicalist movement among the workers. The main anarchist force in Spain was the C.N.T. (National Confederation of Workers).
- Before The Storm (1935) — Buenaventura Durruti
- Interview with Buenaventura Durruti (1935) — Buenaventura Durruti
- 2,000,000 Anarchists Fight For Revolution Says Spanish Leader : Through With Government Says Fiery Chief, Who Urges People On; People vs. Fascism; Sees Workers’ Spain Arising Out Of Ruins Of Present Class War (1936) — Buenaventura Durruti
- Durruti Is Dead, Yet Living (1936) — Emma Goldman
- Political Persecution in Republican Spain (1937) — Emma Goldman
- Images of Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) [External Link]
The eight accused Anarchists.
Haymarket Martyrs Monument;
Text Reads: "The time will come when our silence
will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today."
Anarchists in the USA have a rich, deep history. Anarchists like Henry David Thoreau and Albert Parsons were naturally born here, while many others from abroad, like Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, had temporarily made it their homes.
On May 4, 1886, after numerous May Day protests for the Eight-Hour Day by workers, a bomb exploded during a procession, and the police reacted by gunning down and executing hundreds of people on the streets. The chief of police actually bragged about how many unarmed civilians he had shot during his cross-examination at trial. None of the dead protesters' names were printed in the press, but they did print the name and age of every spouse, child, and sibling of every police who was allegedly wounded by the bomb. The trial was against a group of Anarchists, including Albert Parsons and August Spies, was interrupted when the governor pardoned the accused, revealing that the bomb had been a manufactured plot by the police to discredit the labor movement. Four defendants, Engel, Fischer, Parsons, and Spies, were hurriedly executed before the announcement, and now, May First has forever been emblazened on the workers' movement, and the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument today remains one of the most important, historical places for Leftists in America.
- A Word to Tramps (1884) — Lucy E. Parsons
- Equal Rights (1884) — Albert Parsons
- Force! The Only Defense Against Injustice and Oppression (1885) — C.S. Griffin
- The Black Flag! The Emblem of Hunger Unfurled by the Proletarians of Chicago (1884) — from Anarchist paper The Alarm
Photo of: Leo Tolstoy,
Anarchists have included a number of great writers like Leo Tolstoy, novelists like Octave Mirbeau, literary critics like Emma Goldman, poets like Voltairine de Cleyre, and painters like Eric Drooker [External Link].
Mary Shelley wrote the famous Frankenstein (1822), one of the first horror novels in which it was society that was the was true monster. Her father was the legendary pioneer of Anarchism, William Godwin, her mother was the legendary pioneer of Feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her husband the legendary pioneer of Atheism, Percy Shelley. Gaston Leroux, the famous French writer, would eventually pen The Phantom of the Opera (1911), which is based on his investigation of a Paris opera house that was used by the Monarchist forces to imprison, execute, and torture Communard prisoners from the Paris Commune. Leo Tolstoy devoted all of his written work to social progress, and his famous work, War and Peace, remains today a staunchly Anarchist text. Henrik Ibsen wrote "An Enemy of the People" (AKA: "An Enemy of Society"), which was perhaps the most important play by the most important playwright of the 19th century, and the theme was clear: democratic institutions by themselves are insufficient in preventing authority from behaving with mercilessness, brutality, and ignorance; and likewise, Emma Goldman, the famous Anarchist, voiced critical support for Ibsen.
Throughout history, Anarchism and the humanities continually intertwine and intermix across the currents.
- An Enemy of Society (1882) — Henrik Ibsen
- War and Peace (1869) — Leo Tolstoy
- Anna Karenina (1877) — Leo Tolstoy
- Calvary: A Novel (1886) — Octave Mirbeau
- The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894) — Leo Tolstoy
- A Chambermaid’s Diary (1900) — Octave Mirbeau
- The Modern Drama: A Powerful Disseminator Of Radical Thought (1910) — Emma Goldman
- Tolstoy on Shakespeare (1906) — Leo Tolstoy
- The Social Significance of the Modern Drama (1914) — Emma Goldman
- The Worm Turns (1897) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- Bastard Born (1891) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- The New Hope (1893) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- Collected Poems (from Selected Works) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- Collected Poems (from Collected Works) — Voltairine de Cleyre
- Queen Mab (1813) — Percy Shelley
(1817 — 1876) Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist, socialist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and a major founder of the revolutionary socialist and social anarchist tradition. Bakunin's prestige as a revolutionary also made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, gaining substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe.
(1921 — 2006) Murray Bookchin was an American communalist, political philosopher, trade-union organizer, and educator. A pioneer in the environmental movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books covering topics in politics, philosophy, history, urban affairs, and social ecology. Among the most important were Our Synthetic Environment (1962), Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971), The Ecology of Freedom (1982) and Urbanization Without Cities (1987). In the late 1990s, he became disenchanted with what he saw as an increasingly apolitical "lifestylism" of the contemporary anarchist movement, stopped referring to himself as an anarchist, and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called communalism, which seeks to reconcile Marxist and anarchist thought.
(1842 — 1921) Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian anarchist, socialist, revolutionary, economist, sociologist, historian, zoologist, political scientist, human geographer and philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, essayist, researcher and writer.
(1869 — 1940) Emma Goldman was an anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Kaunas, Russian Empire to a Jewish family, Goldman emigrated to the United States in 1885.
(1884 — 1934) Nestor Ivanovych Makhno, commonly known as Bat'ko Makhno (Ukrainian: батько Махно; ˈbɑtʲko mɐxˈnɔ, "Father Makhno"), was a Ukrainian anarchist revolutionary and the commander of an independent anarchist army in Ukraine from 1917–21.
(1828 — 1910) Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909. That he never won is a major controversy.
(1870 — 1936) Alexander Berkman was a Russian-American anarchist and author. He was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century, famous for both his political activism and his writing. Berkman was born in Vilna in the Russian Empire and immigrated to the United States in 1888.
(1830 — 1905) Jacques Élisée Reclus was a renowned French geographer, writer and anarchist. He produced his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes, over a period of nearly 20 years.
(1858 — 1942) Sébastien Faure (born 6 January 1858 in Saint-Étienne, Loire, France; died 14 July 1942 in Royan, Charente-Maritime, France) was a French anarchist, freethought and secularist activist and a principal proponent of synthesis anarchism. Before becoming a free-thinker, Faure was a seminarist. He engaged in politics as a socialist before turning to anarchism in 1888.
(1886 — 1918) Randolph Silliman Bourne was a progressive writer and intellectual born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and a graduate of Columbia University. He is considered to be a spokesman for the young radicals living during World War I.
(1844 — 1916) James Guillaume was born in London in February 1844. He became interested in anarchism when he was a student in Zurich, and later as a printer in Neuchatel. He became one of the leading members of the Jura Federation of the First International. Having accepted anarchist beliefs, he associated himself with Bakunin, with whom he was expelled from the International at the Hague Congress in 1872.
(1934 — 1985) From 1963-66 Fredy studied at the Belgrade University Economics Faculty where he received a master’s degree. His thesis was titled “The Structure of Backwardness.” He received his Ph.D at the Law Faculty; his dissertation was titled “Conditions for the Development of a Backward Region,” which created an outrage among some members of the faculty. During his last year in Yugoslavia, he was a member of the Planning Institute for Kosovo and Metohija. In May 1968 after lecturing for two weeks in Turin, Italy, Fredy went to Paris on the last train before rail traffic was shut down by strikes. He participated in the exhilarating May Days in Paris and worked at the Censier center with the Citroen factory committee.
Voltairine de Cleyre
(1934 — 1985) Voltairine de Cleyre was an American anarchist known for being a prolific writer and speaker who opposed capitalism, marriage and the state as well as the domination of religion over sexuality and women's lives which she saw as all interconnected. She is often characterized as a major early feminist because of her views.
(1846 — 1892) Carlo Cafiero was an Italian anarchist, champion of Mikhail Bakunin during the second half of the 19th century and one of the main proponents of anarcho-communism and insurrectionary anarchism during the First International.
(1904 — 1988) Daniel Guérin was a French anarcho-communist author, best known for his work Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, as well as his collection No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism in which he collected writings on the idea and movement it inspired, from the first writings of Max Stirner in the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. He is also known for his opposition to Nazism, fascism, capitalism, imperialism and colonialism, in addition to his support for the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) during the Spanish Civil War.
(1904 — 2005) During the next 10 years, Ba Jin acted as editor to several important publishing firms and periodicals, as well as composing the works which he is best known for – The Family (1931), The Love Trilogy Fog (1931), Rain (1933) and Lightning (1935), the novellas Autumn in Spring and A Dream of the Sea, the short story collection Mengya 萌芽 (“Germination”) and prose writings in Fuchou 复仇 ("Vengeance") and Shen, Gui, Ren 神, 鬼, 人 ("Gods, Ghosts and Men").
(1890 — 1922) Abele Rizieri Ferrari, better known by the pen name Renzo Novatore, was an Italian individualist anarchist, illegalist and anti-fascist poet, philosopher and militant, now mostly known for his posthumously published book Toward the Creative Nothing (Verso il nulla creatore) and associated with ultra-modernist trends of futurism. His thought is influenced by Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Palante, Oscar Wilde, Henrik Ibsen, Arthur Schopenhauer and Charles Baudelaire.
(1886 — 1963) Though English by birth, Aldred lived in Scotland from 1912 onwards. In Glasgow he established the Glasgow Anarchist Group and the Communist Propaganda Groups, in support of Russia's October Revolution. The Communist Propaganda Groups later became a component of the Communist League in 1919. Following the collapse of the Communist League, Aldred founded the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation (APCF) in 1921, and gradually moved towards opposing the Soviet Union. However, he softened his stance toward the Soviet Union following the death of Joseph Stalin.
Marie Louise Berneri
(1918 — 1949) Marie Louise Berneri was an anarchist activist and author. Born in Italy, she spent much of her life in Spain, France, and England. She was involved with the short-lived publication, Revision, with Luis Mercier Vega and was a member of the group that edited Revolt, War Commentary, and the Freedom newspaper, which is still being published by the Freedom Bookstore in London. She was a continuous contributor to Spain and the World. She also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia, first published in 1950 and re-issued in 2020. Neither East Nor West is a selection of her writings (1952).
(1859 — 1909) Francisco Ferrer i Guàrdia was a radical freethinker, anarchist, and educationist behind a network of secular, private, libertarian schools in and around Barcelona. His execution, following a revolt in Barcelona, propelled Ferrer into martyrdom and grew an international movement of radicals and libertarians, who established schools in his model and promoted his schooling approach.
Ricardo Flores Magón
(1874 — 1922) Cipriano Ricardo Flores Magón was a noted Mexican anarchist and social reform activist. His brothers Enrique and Jesús were also active in politics. Followers of the Flores Magón brothers were known as Magonistas. He has been considered an important participant in the social movement that sparked the Mexican Revolution.
Stephen Pearl Andrews
(1812 — 1886) Stephen Pearl Andrews was an American libertarian socialist, individualist anarchist, linguist, political philosopher, outspoken abolitionist and author of several books on the labor movement and individualist anarchism. Andrews was born in Templeton, Massachusetts on March 22, 1812, the youngest of eight children of the Reverend Elisha Andrews and his wife Ann Lathrop. He grew up thirty-five miles northeast in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Andrews went to Louisiana at age 19 and studied and practiced law there. Appalled by slavery, he became an abolitionist.
(1812 — 1886) Peter Andreyevich Arshinov, also known as P. Marin (Russian: П. Ма́рин) (1886–1937), was a Ukrainian anarchist revolutionary and intellectual who chronicled Nestor Makhno's 1919–1921 uprising. Peter Arshinov was born in Yekaterinoslav. In 1904 he become involved with the revolutionary movement. In 1905 he worked as a locksmith in the railway workshops of Kizyl-Arvat (now Serdar in Turkmenistan), where he joined the Bolshevik section of the Russian Social Democratic Party. From here he led the organization of the RSDLP and was the editor of the illegal Bolshevik newspaper Molot.
(1902 — 1990) Sam Dolgoff was an anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist from Russia who grew up and lived and was active in the United States. Dolgoff was born in the shtetl of Ostrovno in Mogilev Governorate, Russian Empire (in present-day Beshankovichy Raion, Belarus), moving as a child to New York City in 1905 or 1906, where he lived in the Bronx and in Manhattan's Lower East Side where he died. His father was a house painter, and Dolgoff began house painting at the age of 11, a profession he remained in his entire life.
(1864 — 1943) Karl Diehl was a German economist and professor who taught from 1908 until his death in Freiburg. He taught at the universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg, known for teaching on the subject of Anarchism. The motivating force behind his scholarship was that academia must counter the idea that "...anarchism represents a criminal sect which lacks any social or political programme..." According to one historian on German reformers, Diehl had acquired a reputation as the "most important authority on socialism, communism, and anarchism," comparable only to Werner Sombart.
(1945 — ) Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit is a French-German politician. He was a student leader during the unrest of May 1968 in France and was also known during that time as Dany le Rouge (French for "Danny the Red", because of both his politics and the colour of his hair). He was co-president of the group European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. He co-chairs the Spinelli Group, a European parliament inter-group aiming at relaunching the federalist project in Europe. He was a recipient of the European Parliament's European Initiative Prize in 2016.
(1896 — 1936) José Buenaventura Durruti Dumange was a Spanish insurrectionary, anarcho-syndicalist militant involved with the CNT, FAI and other anarchist organisations during the period leading up to and including the Spanish Civil War. Durruti played an influential role during the Spanish Revolution and is remembered as a hero in the anarchist movement.
(1861 — 1931) Luigi Galleani was an Italian anarchist active in the United States from 1901 to 1919. He is best known for his enthusiastic advocacy of "propaganda of the deed", i.e. the use of violence to eliminate those he viewed as tyrants and oppressors and to act as a catalyst to the overthrow of existing government institutions. From 1914 to 1932, Galleani's followers in the United States (known as i Galleanisti), carried out a series of bombings and assassination attempts against institutions and persons they viewed as class enemies.
(1854 — 1944) Charlotte Mary Wilson was an English Fabian and anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886 with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895. Born Charlotte Mary Martin, she was the daughter of a well-to-do physician, Robert Spencer Martin. She was educated at Newnham College at Cambridge University. She married Arthur Wilson, a stockbroker, and the couple moved to London. Charlotte Wilson joined the Fabian Society in 1884 and soon joined its Executive Committee.
(1860 — 1931) Émile Pouget was a French anarcho-communist, who adopted tactics close to those of anarcho-syndicalism. He was vice-secretary of the General Confederation of Labour from 1901 to 1908.
Fernando Tarrida del Marmol
(1862 — 1915) Fernando Tarrida del Mármol was a mathematics professor born in Cuba and raised in Catalonia best known for proposing "anarchism without adjectives", the idea that anarchists should set aside their debates over the most preferable economic systems and acknowledge their commonality in ultimate aims.
(1862 — 1921) Georges-Hippolyte Adrien was born at 46, Rue du Bac in Paris, to linen draper Honoré-Charles-Emile Adrien, born in 1822 in the Charente, and Françoise-Sidonie Adrien, née Chatel. His brother, Henri-Gaston Darien, was born two years later, in 1864. Henri-Gaston was later to become a peintre du genre specializing in interiors and scenes of Paris life. He exhibited in the Salons of 1896 and 1897, received the Légion d'honneur in 1910, and died in 1926.
(1864 — 1930) Alphonse Gallaud de la Pérouse (28 May 1864 – 30 August 1930), better known as Zo d'Axa (French pronunciation: [zo daksa]), was a French adventurer, anti-militarist, satirist, journalist, and founder of two of the most legendary French magazines, L'EnDehors and La Feuille. A descendant of the famous French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, he was one of the most prominent French individualist anarchists at the turn of the 20th century.
(1865 — 1900) Georges Etiévant, born on June 8, 1865 in Paris and died in the Salvation Islands, in Guyana onFebruary 6, 1900, is an individualist anarchist and proponent of propaganda.
(1872 — 1963) Émile Armand, pseudonym of Ernest-Lucien Juin Armand, was an influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist.
(1805 — 1881) Louis Auguste Blanqui was a French socialist and political activist, notable for his revolutionary theory of Blanquism.
(1885 — 1963) André Lorulot was a French individualist anarchist and freethinker, born in Paris, in the district of Gros-Caillou. Lorulot was known for his exploration of anticlerical ideas, including in his most famous book Why I am an Atheist, published in 1933 with a foreword by Han Ryner. Lorulot chaired the National Federation of Freethought and co-founded the newspapers L'Anarchie and La Calotte.
(1875 — 1956) Manuel Devaldès, whose real name is Ernest-Edmond Lohy, born February 5, 1875 in Évreux and died at the Necker Hospital on December 22, 1956 in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, is a railway employee , proofreader, then writer, libertarian individualist, anti-militarist, pacifist and neo-Malthusian.
(1875 — 1956) Émile Henry was a French anarchist, who on 12 February 1894 detonated a bomb at the Café Terminus in the Parisian Gare Saint-Lazare killing one person and wounding twenty.
(1875 — 1908) Joseph Albert (known as Albert Libertad or Libertad) was an individualist anarchist militant and writer from France who edited the influential anarchist publication L'Anarchie.
Le Bandit du Nord
(? — ?) In English: The Bandit of the North.
(1896 — 1980) Henry Poulaille was a French writer and a pioneer of proletarian literature.
(1882 — 1945) Vsevolod Mikhailovich Eikhenbaum, known later as Volin or (the spelling he used) Voline (Во́лин), was a Russian anarchist who participated in the Russian and Ukrainian Revolutions before being forced into exile by the Bolshevik Party. He was a proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.
(1890 — 1947) Victor Lvovich Khibalchich (better known as Victor Serge) was born in Brussels, the son of Russian Narodnik exiles. Originally an anarchist, he joined the Russian Communist Party on arriving in Petrograd in February 1919 and worked for the newly founded Communist International as a journalist, editor and translator. As a Comintern representative in Germany he helped prepare the aborted insurrection in the autumn of 1923.
(1911 — 1972) Paul Goodman was an American author and public intellectual best known for his 1960s works of social criticism. Goodman was prolific across numerous literary genres and non-fiction topics, including the arts, civil rights, decentralization, democracy, education, media, politics, psychology, technology, urban planning, and war. As a humanist and self-styled man of letters, his works often addressed a common theme of the individual citizen's duties in the larger society, and the responsibility to exercise autonomy, act creatively, and realize one's own human nature.
(1820 — 1886) Edgar Bauer was a German political philosopher and a member of the Young Hegelians. He was the younger brother of Bruno Bauer. According to Lawrence S. Stepelevich, Edgar Bauer was the most anarchistic of the Young Hegelians, and "...it is possible to discern, in the early writings of Edgar Bauer, the theoretical justification of political terrorism." German anarchists such as Max Nettlau and Gustav Landauer credited Edgar Bauer with founding the anarchist tradition in Germany.
(1862 — 1925) Georges Toussaint Léon Palante was a French philosopher and sociologist. Palante advocated aristocratic individualist ideas similar to Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. He was opposed to Émile Durkheim's holism, promoting methodological individualism instead.
(1848 — 1917) Octave Mirbeau was a French novelist, art critic, travel writer, pamphleteer, journalist, and playwright, who achieved celebrity in Europe and great success among the public, while still appealing to the literary and artistic avant-garde with highly transgressive novels that explored violence, abuse and psychological detachment. His work has been translated into thirty languages.
(1854 — 1907) Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, better known by the pen name Léo Taxil , was a French writer and journalist who became known for his strong anti-Catholic and anti-clerical views. He is also known for the Taxil hoax, a spurious exposé of Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to it.
(1861 — 1894) Auguste Vaillant was a French anarchist, most famous for his bomb attack on the French Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1893. The government's reaction to this attack was the passing of the infamous repressive Lois scélérates.
(1879 — 1954) Alexandre Jacob, known as Marius Jacob, was a French anarchist illegalist. A clever burglar equipped with a sharp sense of humour, capable of great generosity towards his victims, he became one of the models for Maurice Leblanc's character Arsene Lupin.
(1858 — 1941) Georges Mathias, known as Paraf-Javal (pseudonym Péji), born October 31, 1858 and died March 13, 1941 in Paris, is a navigation inspector, professor of natural sciences, engraving artist and writer.
(1838 — 1925) Félix Jules Méline (French pronunciation: [ʒyl melin]; 20 May 1838 – 21 December 1925) was a French statesman, Prime Minister of France from 1896 to 1898.