On September 14, 2008, Derek P. Moore made the following comment on this blog:
“Peter Kropotkin wrote the Anarchism article for the 1911 Encylopædia Britannica.”
Yesterday, I realized that the blog doesn’t really have any deep, scholarly explanation of anarchism and its history and so I started reading the anarchism entry in that Encylopædia. I very much liked what I read and felt that it would be an outstanding reference post. Should someone question me about what anarchism is and isn’t, I could just point them to the post (and you could, too, should you feel so inclined). So, I am including it here, along with the entry on its author, Prince Kropotkin.
Entry on Anarchism from the 11th Edition (1910-1911) of the Encylopædia Britannica:
ANARCHISM (from the Gr. àv-, and àρχη, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government—harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international—temporary or more or less permanent—for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary—as is seen in organic life at large—harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.
If, it is contended, society were organized on these principles, man would not be limited in the free exercise of his powers in productive work by a capitalist monopoly, maintained by the state; nor would he be limited in the exercise of his will by a fear of punishment, or by obedience towards individuals or metaphysical entities, which both lead to depression of initiative and servility of mind. He would be guided in his actions by his own understanding, which necessarily would bear the impression of a free action and reaction between his own self and the ethical conceptions of his surroundings. Man would thus be enabled to obtain the full development of all his faculties, intellectual, artistic and moral, without being hampered by overwork for the monopolists, or by the servility and inertia of mind of the great number. He would thus be able to reach full individualization, which is not possible either under the present system of individualism, or under any system of state-socialism in the so-called Volkstaat (popular state).
The Anarchist writers consider, moreover, that their conception is not a Utopia, constructed on the a priori method, after a few desiderata have been taken as postulates. It is derived, they maintain, from an analysis of tendencies that are at work already, even though state socialism may find a temporary favour with the reformers. The progress of modern technics, which wonderfully simplifies the production of all the necessaries of life; the growing spirit of independence, and the rapid spread of free initiative and free understanding in all branches of activity—including those which formerly were considered as the proper attribution of church and state—are steadily reinforcing the no-government tendency.
As to their economical conceptions, the Anarchists, in common with all Socialists, of whom they constitute the left wing, maintain that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land, and our capitalist production for the sake of profits, represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility. They are the main obstacle which prevents the successes of modern technics from being brought into the service of all, so as to produce general well-being. The Anarchists consider the wage-system and capitalist production altogether as an obstacle to progress. But they point out also that the state was, and continues to be, the chief instrument for permitting the few to monopolize the land, and the capitalists to appropriate for themselves a quite disproportionate share of the yearly accumulated surplus of production. Consequently, while combating the present monopolization of land, and capitalism altogether, the Anarchists combat with the same energy the state, as the main support of that system. Not this or that special form, but the state altogether, whether it be a monarchy or even a republic governed by means of the referendum.
The state organization, having always been, both in ancient and modern history (Macedonian empire, Roman empire, modern European states grown up on the ruins of the autonomous cities), the instrument for establishing monopolies in favour of the ruling minorities, cannot be made to work for the destruction of these monopolies. The Anarchists consider, therefore, that to hand over to the state all the main sources of economical life—the land, the mines, the railways, banking, insurance, and so on—as also the management of all the main branches of industry, in addition to all the functions already accumulated in its hands (education, state-supported religions, defence of the territory, &c.), would mean to create a new instrument of tyranny. State capitalism would only increase the powers of bureaucracy and capitalism. True progress lies in the direction of decentralization, both territorial and functional, in the development of the spirit of local and personal initiative, and of free federation from the simple to the compound, in lieu of the present hierarchy from the centre to the periphery.
In common with most Socialists, the Anarchists recognize that, like all evolution in nature, the slow evolution of society is followed from time to time by periods of accelerated evolution which are called revolutions; and they think that the era of revolutions is not yet closed. Periods of rapid changes will follow the periods of slow evolution, and these periods must be taken advantage of—not for increasing and widening the powers of the state, but for reducing them, through the organization in every township or commune of the local groups of producers and consumers, as also the regional, and eventually the international, federations of these groups.
In virtue of the above principles the Anarchists refuse to be party to the present state organization and to support it by infusing fresh blood into it. They do not seek to constitute, and invite the working men not to constitute, political parties in the parliaments. Accordingly, since the foundation of the International Working Men’s Association in 1864-1866, they have endeavoured to promote their ideas directly amongst the labour organizations and to induce those unions to a direct struggle against capital, without placing their faith in parliamentary legislation.
The Historical Development of Anarchism.—The conception of society just sketched, and the tendency which is its dynamic expression, have always existed in mankind, in opposition to the governing hierarchic conception and tendency—now the one and now the other taking the upper hand at different periods of history. To the former tendency we owe the evolution, by the masses themselves, of those institutions—the clan, the village community, the gild, the free medieval city—by means of which the masses resisted the encroachments of the conquerors and the power-seeking minorities. The same tendency asserted itself with great energy in the great religious movements of medieval times, especially in the early movements of the reform and its forerunners. At the same time it evidently found its expression in the writings of some thinkers, since the times of Lao-tsze, although, owing to its non-scholastic and popular origin, it obviously found less sympathy among the scholars than the opposed tendency.
As has been pointed out by Prof. Adler in his Geschichte des Sozialismus and Kommunismus, Aristippus (b. c. 430 B.C.), one of the founders of the Cyrenaic school, already taught that the wise must not give up their liberty to the state, and in reply to a question by Socrates he said that he did not desire to belong either to the governing or the governed class. Such an attitude, however, seems to have been dictated merely by an Epicurean attitude towards the life of the masses.
The best exponent of Anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece was Zeno (342-267 or 270 B.C.), from Crete, the founder of the Stoic philosophy, who distinctly opposed his conception of a free community without government to the state-Utopia of Plato. He repudiated the omnipotence of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the moral law of the individual—remarking already that, while the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads man to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct—that of sociability. When men are reasonable enough to follow their natural instincts, they will unite across the frontiers and constitute the Cosmos. They will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money—free gifts taking the place of the exchanges. Unfortunately, the writings of Zeno have not reached us and are only known through fragmentary quotations. However, the fact that his very wording is similar to the wording now in use, shows how deeply is laid the tendency of human nature of which he was the mouth-piece.
In medieval times we find the same views on the state expressed by the illustrious bishop of Alba, Marco Girolamo Vida, in his first dialogue De dignitate reipublicae (Ferd. Cavalli, in Mem. dell’ Istituto Veneto, xiii.; Dr E. Nys, Researches in the History of Economics). But it is especially in several early Christian movements, beginning with the 9th century in Armenia, and in the preachings of the early Hussites, particularly Chojecki, and the early Anabaptists, especially Hans Denk (cf. Keller, Ein Apostel der Wiedertäufer), that one finds the same ideas forcibly expressed—special stress being laid of course on their moral aspects.
Rabelais and Fénelon, in their Utopias, have also expressed similar ideas, and they were also current in the 18th century amongst the French Encyclopaedists, as may be concluded from separate expressions occasionally met with in the writings of Rousseau, from Diderot’s Preface to the Voyage of Bougainville, and so on. However, in all probability such ideas could not be developed then, owing to the rigorous censorship of the Roman Catholic Church.
These ideas found their expression later during the great French Revolution. While the Jacobins did all in their power to centralize everything in the hands of the government, it appears now, from recently published documents, that the masses of the people, in their municipalities and “sections,” accomplished a considerable constructive work. They appropriated for themselves the election of the judges, the organization of supplies and equipment for the army, as also for the large cities, work for the unemployed, the management of charities, and so on. They even tried to establish a direct correspondence between the 36,000 communes of France through the intermediary of a special board, outside the National Assembly (cf. Sigismund Lacroix, Actes de la commune de Paris).
It was Godwin, in his Enquiry concerning Political Justice (2 vols., 1793), who was the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of Anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his remarkable work. Laws, he wrote, are not a product of the wisdom of our ancestors: they are the product of their passions, their timidity, their jealousies and their ambition. The remedy they offer is worse than the evils they pretend to cure. If and only if all laws and courts were abolished, and the decisions in the arising contests were left to reasonable men chosen for that purpose, real justice would gradually be evolved. As to the state, Godwin frankly claimed its abolition. A society, he wrote, can perfectly well exist without any government: only the communities should be small and perfectly autonomous. Speaking of property, he stated that the rights of every one “to every substance capable of contributing to the benefit of a human being” must be regulated by justice alone: the substance must go “to him who most wants it.” His conclusion was Communism. Godwin, however, had not the courage to maintain his opinions. He entirely rewrote later on his chapter on property and mitigated his Communist views in the second edition of Political Justice (8vo, 1796).
Proudhon was the first to use, in 1840 (Qu’est-ce que la propriété? first memoir), the name of Anarchy with application to the no-government state of society. The name of “Anarchists” had been freely applied during the French Revolution by the Girondists to those revolutionaries who did not consider that the task of the Revolution was accomplished with the overthrow of Louis XVI., and insisted upon a series of economical measures being taken (the abolition of feudal rights without redemption, the return to the village communities of the communal lands enclosed since 1669, the limitation of landed property to 120 acres, progressive income-tax, the national organization of exchanges on a just value basis, which already received a beginning of practical realization, and so on).
Now Proudhon advocated a society without government, and used the word Anarchy to describe it. Proudhon repudiated, as is known, all schemes of Communism, according to which mankind would be driven into communistic monasteries or barracks, as also all the schemes of state or state-aided Socialism which were advocated by Louis Blanc and the Collectivists. When he proclaimed in his first memoir on property that “Property is theft,” he meant only property in its present, Roman-law, sense of “right of use and abuse “; in property-rights, on the other hand, understood in the limited sense of possession, he saw the best protection against the encroachments of the state. At the same time he did not want violently to dispossess the present owners of land, dwelling-houses, mines, factories and so on. He preferred to attain the same end by rendering capital incapable of earning interest; and this he proposed to obtain by means of a national bank, based on the mutual confidence of all those who are engaged in production, who would agree to exchange among themselves their produces at cost-value, by means of labour cheques representing the hours of labour required to produce every given commodity. Under such a system, which Proudhon described as “Mutuellisme,” all the exchanges of services would be strictly equivalent. Besides, such a bank would be enabled to lend money without interest, levying only something like 1%, or even less, for covering the cost of administration. Every one being thus enabled to borrow the money that would be required to buy a house, nobody would agree to pay any more a yearly rent for the use of it. A general “social liquidation” would thus be rendered easy, without violent expropriation. The same applied to mines, railways, factories and so on.
In a society of this type the state would be useless. The chief relations between citizens would be based on free agreement and regulated by mere account keeping. The contests might be settled by arbitration. A penetrating criticism of the state and all possible forms of government, and a deep insight into all economic problems, were well-known characteristics of Proudhon’s work.
It is worth noticing that French mutualism had its precursor in England, in William Thompson, who began by mutualism before he became a Communist; and in his followers John Gray (A Lecture on Human Happiness, 1825; The Social System, 1831) and J. F. Bray (Labour’s Wrongs and Labour’s Remedy, 1839). It had also its precursor in America. Josiah Warren, who was born in 1798 (cf. W. Bailie, Josiah Warren, the First American Anarchist, Boston, 1900), and belonged to Owen’s “New Harmony,” considered that the failure of this enterprise was chiefly due to the suppression of individuality and the lack of initiative and responsibility. These defects, he taught, were inherent to every scheme based upon authority and the community of goods. He advocated, therefore, complete individual liberty. In 1827 he opened in Cincinnati a little country store which was the first “Equity Store,” and which the people called “Time Store,” because it was based on labour being exchanged hour for hour in all sorts of produce. “Cost—the limit of price,” and consequently “no interest,” was the motto of his store, and later on of his “Equity Village,” near New York, which was still in existence in 1865. Mr Keith’s “House of Equity ” at Boston, founded in 1855, is also worthy of notice.
While the economical, and especially the mutual-banking, ideas of Proudhon found supporters and even a practical application in the United States, his political conception of Anarchy found but little echo in France, where the Christian Socialism of Lamennais and the Fourierists, and the State Socialism of Louis Blanc and the followers of Saint-Simon, were dominating. These ideas found, however, some temporary support among the left-wing Hegelians in Germany, Moses Hess in 1843, and Karl Grün in 1845, who advocated Anarchism. Besides, the authoritarian Communism of Wilhelm Weitling having given origin to opposition amongst the Swiss working men, Wilhelm Marr gave expression to it in the ‘forties.
On the other side, Individualist Anarchism found, also in Germany, its fullest expression in Max Stirner (Kaspar Schmidt), whose remarkable works (Der Einzige and sein Eigenthum and articles contributed to the Rheinische Zeitung) remained quite overlooked until they were brought into prominence by John Henry Mackay.
Prof. V. Basch, in a very able introduction to his interesting book, L’Individualisme anarchiste: Max Stirner (1904), has shown how the development of the German philosophy from Kant to Hegel, and “the absolute” of Schelling and the Geist of Hegel, necessarily provoked, when the anti-Hegelian revolt began, the preaching of the same “absolute” in the camp of the rebels. This was done by Stirner, who advocated, not only a complete revolt against the state and against the servitude which authoritarian Communism would impose upon men, but also the full liberation of the individual from all social and moral bonds—the rehabilitation of the “I,” the supremacy of the individual, complete “a-moralism,” and the “association of the egotists.” The final conclusion of that sort of Individual Anarchism has been indicated by Prof. Basch. It maintains that the aim of all superior civilization is, not to permit all members of the community to develop in a normal way, but to permit certain better endowed individuals “fully to develop,” even at the cost of the happiness and the very existence of the mass of mankind. It is thus a return towards the most common individualism, advocated by all the would-be superior minorities, to which indeed man owes in his history precisely the state and the rest, which these individualists combat. Their individualism goes so far as to end in a negation of their own starting-point,—to say nothing of the impossibility for the individual to attain a really full development in the conditions of oppression of the masses by the “beautiful aristocracies.” His development would remain uni-lateral. This is why this direction of thought, notwithstanding its undoubtedly correct and useful advocacy of the full development of each individuality, finds a hearing only in limited artistic and literary circles.
Anarchism in the International Working Men’s Association.—A general depression in the propaganda of all fractions of Socialism followed, as is known, after the defeat of the uprising of the Paris working men in June 1848 and the fall of the Republic. All the Socialist press was gagged during the reaction period, which lasted fully twenty years. Nevertheless, even Anarchist thought began to make some progress, namely in the writings of Bellegarrique (Cœurderoy), and especially Joseph Déjacque (Les Lazaréennes, L’ Humanisphère, an Anarchist-Communist Utopia, lately discovered and reprinted). The Socialist movement revived only after 1864, when some French working men, all “mutualists,” meeting in London during the Universal Exhibition with English followers of Robert Owen, founded the International Working Men’s Association. This association developed very rapidly and adopted a policy of direct economical struggle against capitalism, without interfering in the political parliamentary agitation, and this policy was followed until 1871. However, after the Franco-German War, when the International Association was prohibited in France after the uprising of the Commune, the German working men, who had received manhood suffrage for elections to the newly constituted imperial parliament, insisted upon modifying the tactics of the International, and began to build up a Social-Democratic political party. This soon led to a division in the Working Men’s Association, and the Latin federations, Spanish, Italian, Belgian and Jurassic (France could not be represented), constituted among themselves a Federal union which broke entirely with the Marxist general council of the International. Within these federations developed now what may be described as modern Anarchism. After the names of “Federalists ” and ” Anti-authoritarians” had been used for some time by these federations the name of “Anarchists,” which their adversaries insisted upon applying to them, prevailed, and finally it was revindicated.
Bakunin (q.v.) soon became the leading spirit among these Latin federations for the development of the principles of Anarchism, which he did in a number of writings, pamphlets and letters. He demanded the complete abolition of the state, which—he wrote—is a product of religion, belongs to a lower state of civilization, represents the negation of liberty, and spoils even that which it undertakes to do for the sake of general wellbeing. The state was an historically necessary evil, but its complete extinction will be, sooner or later, equally necessary. Repudiating all legislation, even when issuing from universal suffrage, Bakunin claimed for each nation, each region and each commune, full autonomy, so long as it is not a menace to its neighbours, and full independence for the individual, adding that one becomes really free only when, and in proportion as, all others are free. Free federations of the communes would constitute free nations.
As to his economical conceptions, Bakunin described himself, in common with his Federalist comrades of the International (César De Paepe, James Guillaume Schwitzguébel), a “Collectivist Anarchist”—not in the sense of Vidal and Pecqueur in the ‘forties, or of their modern Social-Democratic followers, but to express a state of things in which all necessaries for production are owned in common by the Labour groups and the free communes, while the ways of retribution of labour, Communist or otherwise, would be settled by each group for itself. Social revolution, the near approach of which was foretold at that time by all Socialists, would be the means of bringing into life the new conditions.
The Jurassic, the Spanish, and the Italian federations and sections of the International Working Men’s Association, as also the French, the German and the American Anarchist groups, were for the next years the chief centres of Anarchist thought and propaganda. They refrained from any participation in parliamentary politics, and always kept in close contact with the Labour organizations. However, in the second half of the ‘eighties and the early ‘nineties of the 19th century, when the influence of the Anarchists began to be felt in strikes, in the 1st of May demonstrations, where they promoted the idea of a general strike for an eight hours’ day, and in the anti-militarist propaganda in the army, violent prosecutions were directed against them, especially in the Latin countries (including physical torture in the Barcelona Castle) and the United States (the execution of five Chicago Anarchists in 1887). Against these prosecutions the Anarchists retaliated by acts of violence which in their turn were followed by more executions from above, and new acts of revenge from below. This created in the general public the impression that violence is the substance of Anarchism, a view repudiated by its supporters, who hold that in reality violence is resorted to by all parties in proportion as their open action is obstructed by repression, and exceptional laws render them outlaws. (Cf. Anarchism and Outrage, by C. M. Wilson, and Report of the Spanish Atrocities Committee, in “Freedom Pamphlets “; A Concise History of the Great Trial of the Chicago Anarchists, by Dyer Lum (New York, 1886); The Chicago Martyrs: Speeches, &c.).1
Anarchism continued to develop, partly in the direction of Proudhonian “Mutuellisme,” but chiefly as Communist-Anarchism, to which a third direction, Christian-Anarchism, was added by Leo Tolstoy, and a fourth, which might be ascribed as literary-Anarchism, began amongst some prominent modern writers.
The ideas of Proudhon, especially as regards mutual banking, corresponding with those of Josiah Warren, found a considerable following in the United States, creating quite a school, of which the main writers are Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Grene, Lysander Spooner (who began to write in 1850, and whose unfinished work, Natural Law, was full of promise), and several others, whose names will be found in Dr Nettlan’s Bibliographie de l’anarchie.
A prominent position among the Individualist Anarchists in America has been occupied by Benjamin R. Tucker, whose journal Liberty was started in 1881 and whose conceptions are a combination of those of Proudhon with those of Herbert Spencer. Starting from the statement that Anarchists are egotists, strictly speaking, and that every group of individuals, be it a secret league of a few persons, or the Congress of the United States, has the right to oppress all mankind, provided it has the power to do so, that equal liberty for all and absolute equality ought to be the law, and “mind every one your own business ” is the unique moral law of Anarchism, Tucker goes on to prove that a general and thorough application of these principles would be beneficial and would offer no danger, because the powers of every individual would be limited by the exercise of the equal rights of all others. He further indicated (following H. Spencer) the difference which exists between the encroachment on somebody’s rights and resistance to such an encroachment; between domination and defence: the former being equally condemnable, whether it be encroachment of a criminal upon an individual, or the encroachment of one upon all others, or of all others upon one; while resistance to encroachment is defensible and necessary. For their self-defence, both the citizen and the group have the right to any violence, including capital punishment. Violence is also justified for enforcing the duty of keeping an agreement. Tucker thus follows Spencer, and, like him, opens (in the present writer’s opinion) the way for reconstituting under the heading of “defence” all the functions of the state. His criticism of the present state is very searching, and his defence of the rights of the individual very powerful. As regards his economical views B. R. Tucker follows Proudhon.
The Individualist Anarchism of the American Proudhonians finds, however, but little sympathy amongst the working masses. Those who profess it—they are chiefly “intellectuals”—soon realize that the individualization they so highly praise is not attainable by individual efforts, and either abandon the ranks of the Anarchists, and are driven into the Liberal individualism of the classical economists, or they retire into a sort of Epicurean a-moralism, or super-man-theory, similar to that of Stirner and Nietzsche. The great bulk of the Anarchist working men prefer the Anarchist-Communist ideas which have gradually evolved out of the Anarchist Collectivism of the International Working Men’s Association. To this direction belong—to name only the better known exponents of Anarchism—Elisée Reclus, Jean Grave, Sebastien Faure, Emile Pouget in France; Enrico Malatesta and Covelli in Italy; R. Mella, A. Lorenzo, and the mostly unknown authors of many excellent manifestos in Spain; John Most amongst the Germans; Spies, Parsons and their followers in the United States, and so on; while Domela Nieuwenhuis occupies an intermediate position in Holland. The chief Anarchist papers which have been published since 1880 also belong to that direction; while a number of Anarchists of this direction have joined the so-called Syndicalist movement—the French name for the non-political Labour movement, devoted to direct struggle with capitalism, which has lately become so prominent in Europe.
As one of the Anarchist-Communist direction, the present writer for many years endeavoured to develop the following ideas: to show the intimate, logical connexion which exists between the modern philosophy of natural sciences and Anarchism; to put Anarchism on a scientific basis by the study of the tendencies that are apparent now in society and may indicate its further evolution; and to work out the basis of Anarchist ethics. As regards the substance of Anarchism itself, it was Kropotkin’s aim to prove that Communism—at least partial—has more chances of being established than Collectivism, especially in communes taking the lead, and that Free, or Anarchist-Communism is the only form of Communism that has any chance of being accepted in civilized societies; Communism and Anarchy are therefore two terms of evolution which complete each other, the one rendering the other possible and acceptable. He has tried, moreover, to indicate how, during a revolutionary period, a large city—if its inhabitants have accepted the idea—could organize itself on the lines of Free Communism; the city guaranteeing to every inhabitant dwelling, food and clothing to an extent corresponding to the comfort now available to the middle classes only, in exchange for a half-day’s, or a five-hours’ work; and how all those things which would be considered as luxuries might be obtained by every one if he joins for the other half of the day all sorts of free associations pursuing all possible aims—educational, literary, scientific, artistic, sports and so on. In order to prove the first of these assertions he has analysed the possibilities of agriculture and industrial work, both being combined with brain work. And in order to elucidate the main factors of human evolution, he has analysed the part played in history by the popular constructive agencies of mutual aid and the historical role of the state.
Without naming himself an Anarchist, Leo Tolstoy, like his predecessors in the popular religious movements of the 15th and 16th centuries, Chojecki, Denk and many others, took the Anarchist position as regards the state and property rights, deducing his conclusions from the general spirit of the teachings of the Christ and from the necessary dictates of reason. With all the might of his talent he made (especially in The Kingdom of God in Yourselves) a powerful criticism of the church, the state and law altogether, and especially of the present property laws. He describes the state as the domination of the wicked ones, supported by brutal force. Robbers, he says, are far less dangerous than a well-organized government. He makes a searching criticism of the prejudices which are current now concerning the benefits conferred upon men by the church, the state and the existing distribution of property, and from the teachings of the Christ he deduces the rule of non-resistance and the absolute condemnation of all wars. His religious arguments are, however, so well combined with arguments borrowed from a dispassionate observation of the present evils, that the anarchist portions of his works appeal to the religious and the non-religious reader alike.
It would be impossible to represent here, in a short sketch, the penetration, on the one hand, of Anarchist ideas into modern literature, and the influence; on the other hand, which the libertarian ideas of the best comtemporary writers have exercised upon the development of Anarchism. One ought to consult the ten big volumes of the Supplement littéraire to the paper La révolte and later the Temps nouveaux, which contain reproductions from the works of hundreds of modern authors expressing Anarchist ideas, in order to realize how closely Anarchism is connected with all the intellectual movement of our own times. J. S. Mill’s Liberty, Spencer’s Individual versus The State, Marc Guyau’s Morality without Obligation or Sanction, and Fouillée’s La morale, l’art et la religion, the works of Multatuli (E. Douwes Dekker), Richard Wagner’s Art and Revolution, the works of Nietzsche, Emerson, W. Lloyd Garrison, Thoreau, Alexander Herzen, Edward Carpenter and so on; and in the domain of fiction, the dramas of Ibsen, the poetry of Walt Whitman, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Zola’s Paris and Le travail, the latest works of Merezhkovsky, and an infinity of works of less known authors,—are full of ideas which show how closely Anarchism is interwoven with the work that is going on in modern thought in the same direction of enfranchisement of man from the bonds of the state as well as from those of capitalism.
1 It is important to remember that the term “Anarchist” is inevitably rather loosely used in public, in connexion with the authors of a certain class of murderous outrages, and that the same looseness of definition often applies to the professions of “Anarchism” made by such persons. As stated above, a philosophic Anarchist would repudiate the connexion. And the general public view which regards Anarchist doctrines indiscriminately is to that extent a confusion of terms. But the following résumé of the chief modern so-called “Anarchist” incidents is appended for convenience in stating the facts under the heading where a reader would expect to find them.
Between 1882 and 1886, in France, Prince Kropotkin, Louise Michel and others were imprisoned. In England, Most, one of the German Anarchist leaders, founded Die Freiheit, and, for defending in it the assassination of Alexander II. at St Petersburg, was sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment with hard labour. After this he moved to the United States, and re-established his paper there in New York, in May 1886. During this period there were several Anarchist congresses in the United States. In one at Albany, in 1878, the revolutionary element, led by Justus Schwab, broke away from the others; at Allegheny City, in 1879, again there was a rupture between the peaceful and the revolutionary sections. The Voice of the People at St Louis, the Arbeiter Zeitung at Chicago, and the Anarchist at Boston, were the organs of the revolutionary element. In 1883, at Pittsburg, a congress of twenty-eight delegates, representing twenty-two towns, drew up an address to the working men of America. The programme it proposed was as follows:—
First, Destruction of the existing class rule by all means, i.e. energetic, relentless, revolutionary and international action.
Second, Establishment of a free society, based upon co-operative organization of production.
Third, Free exchange of equivalent products by and between the productive organizations, without commerce and profit-mongery.
Fourth, Organization of education on a secular, scientific and equal basis for both sexes.
Fifth, Equal rights for all, without distinction of sex or race.
Sixth, Regulation of all public affairs by free contracts between the autonomous (independent) communes and associations, resting on a federalistic basis.
This, together with an appeal to the working men to organize, was published in Chicago, November 1883, by a local committee of four, representing French, Bohemian, German and English sections, the head of the last being August Spies, who was hanged in 1887 for participation in the Haymarket affair in Chicago, 4th May 1886. This affair was the culmination of a series of encounters between the Chicago working men and the police, which had covered several years. The meeting of 4th May was called by Spies and others to protest against the action of the police, by whom several working men had been killed in collisions growing out of the efforts to introduce the eight hours’ day. The mayor of the city attended the meeting, but, finding it peaceful, went home. The meeting was subsequently entered by the police and commanded to disperse. A bomb was thrown, several policemen being killed and a number wounded. For this crime eight men were tried in one panel and condemned, seven—Spies, Parsons, Engel, Fischer, Fielden, Schwab, and Ling—to death, and one—Neebe—to imprisonment for fifteen years. The sentences on Fielden and Schwab were commuted by Governor Oglesby to imprisonment for life, on the recommendation of the presiding judge and the prosecuting attorney. Ling committed suicide in jail, and Spies, Parsons, Engel and Fischer were hanged, 11th November 1887. On 26th June 1893 an unconditional pardon was granted the survivors, Fielden, Schwab and Neebe, by Governor Altgeld. The reasons for the pardon were stated by the governor to be that, upon an examination of the records he found that the jury had not been drawn in the usual manner, but by a special bailiff, who made his own selection and had summoned a “prejudiced jury”; that the “state had never discovered who it was that threw the bomb which killed the policemen, and the evidence does not show any connexion whatever between the defendants and the man who did throw it,” or that this man “ever heard or read a word coming from the defendants, and consequently fails to show that he acted on any advice given by them.” Judge Gary, the judge at the trial, published a defence of its procedure in the Century Magazine, vol. xxiii p. 803.
A number of outbreaks in later years were attributed to the propaganda of reform by revolution, like those in Spain and France in 1892, in which Ravachol was a prominent figure. In 1893 a bomb was exploded in the French Chamber of Deputies by Vaillant. The spirit of these men is well illustrated by the reply which Vaillant made to the judge who reproached him for endangering the lives of innocent men and women: “There can be no innocent bourgeois.” In 1894 there was an explosion in a Parisian café, and another in a theatre at Barcelona. For the latter outrage six men were executed. President Carnot of the French Republic was assassinated by an Italian at Lyons in the same year. The empress Elizabeth of Austria was assassinated in September 1898. These events, all associated by the public with “Anarchism,” led to the passage by the United States Congress of a law, in 1894, to keep out foreign Anarchists, and to deport any who might be found in the country, and also to the assemblage of an international conference in Rome, in 1898, to agree upon some plan for dealing with these revolutionists. It was proposed that their offences should no longer be classed as political, but as common-law crimes, and be made subject to extradition. The suppression of the revolutionary press and the international co-operation of the police were also suggested. The results of the conference were not, however, published; and the question of how to deal with the campaign against society fell for a while into abeyance. The attempt made by the youth Sipido on the (then) prince of Wales at Brussels in 1900 recalled attention to the subject. The acquittal of Sipido, and the failure of the Belgian government to see that justice was done in an affair of such international importance, excited considerable feeling in England, and was the occasion of a strongly-worded note from the British to the Belgian government. The murder of King Humbert of Italy in July 1900 renewed the outcry against Italian Anarchists. Even greater horror and indignation were excited by the assassination of President McKinley by Czolgoscz on the 6th of September 1901, at Buffalo, U.S.A. And a particularly dastardly attempt was made to blow up the young king and queen of Spain on their wedding-day in 1906. (ED. E.B.)
BIBLIOGRAPHY.—William Godwin, An Enquiry concerning Political Justice and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness, 1st edition, 2 vols. (1793). Mutualism:—John Gray, A Lecture on Human Happiness (1825); The Social System, a Treatise on the Principles of Exchange (1831); Proudhon, Qu’est-ce que la propriété? 1er mémoire (1840) (Eng. trans. by B. Tucker); Idée générale sur la révolution (1851); Confession d’un révolutionnaire (1849); Contradictions économiques (1846); Josiah Warren, Practicable Details of Equitable Commerce (New York, 1852); True Civilization (Boston, 1863); Stephen Pearl Andrews, The Science of Society (1851); Cost, the Limit of Price; Moses Hess, “Sozialismus und Communismus, Philosophie der That” (on Herwegh’s Ein-und-Zwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz, 1843); Karl Grün, Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien (1845); W. Marr, Das junge Deutschland (1845). Anarchist Individualism:—Max Stirner (J. K. Schmidt), Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (1845) (Fr. trans., 1900); J. H. Mackay, Max Stirner, sein Leben und sein Werk (1898); V. Basch, L’ Individualisme anarchiste (5904). Transition period:—J. Dejacque, Les Lazaréennes (1851); Le Libertaire, weekly, New York, 1858-1861, containing L’ Humanisphère (re-edited at Brussels, Bibl. des temps nouveaux). Anarchist Collectivism of the International:—The papers Egalité, Progrès (Locle), Solidarité; James Guillaume, Idées sur l’organisation sociale (1876); Bulletin de la fedération jurassienne (1872-1879); A. Schwitzguébel, Œuvres; Paul Brousse, Le Suffrage universel (1874); L’ État à Versailles et dans l’association internationale (1874); newspaper L’ Avant-garde (suppressed 1878); Arthur Arnould, L’ État et la révolution (1877); Histoire populaire de la commune (3 vols., 1878); César de Paepe, in Rive gauche and La liberté (1867-1883). Many others are in the Comptes rendus of the congresses of the International Working Men’s Association. All these ideas, conceived as a whole, may be found in Bakunin’s Fédéralisme, socialisme et anti-théologisme, published first in portions under the names of L’Empire knouto-germanique, Dieu et l’ état, The State-Idea and Anarchy (Russian), and only now reproduced in full in his Œuvres (Paris, 1905 and seq.); Sozialpolitischer Briefwechsel (1894); Statuts de l’alliance internationale (1868); Proposition motivée au comité central de la ligue de la paix et de la liberté (1868). The famous Revolutionary Catechism attributed to Bakunin, was not his work. Biographie von Michael Bakunin, by Dr M. Nettlan, 3 large vols., contains masses of letters, &c. (hectographed in 50 copies; in all chief libraries).
MODERN ANARCHISM.—The best sources are the collections of newspapers which, although compelled sometimes to change their names, were run for considerable lengths of time and are appearing still: J. Most, Freiheit, since 1878; Le Révolté—La Révolte—Temps nouveaux, since 1878; Domela Nieuwenhuis, Recht voor Allen, since 1878; Freedom, since 1886; Le Libertaire; Pouget’s Père Pèsuard; Réveil-Risveglio; see Nettlan’s Bibliographie. These papers and a great number of pamphlets are indispensable for those who intend to know anarchism, as the works published in book form are not numerous. Of the latter only a few will be mentioned:—Elisée Reclus, Evolution and Revolution, many editions in all languages; “Anarchy by an Anarchist,” in Contemp. Review (May, 1884); The Ideal and Youth (1895); Jean Grave, La Société au lendemain de la révolution, many editions since 1882; La Société mourante et l’anarchie (1893); L’Autonomie selon la science (1882) La Société future (1895); L’Anarchie, son but, ses moyens; Sébastien Faure, La Douleur universelle (1892); A. Hamon, Les Hommes et les théories de l’anarchie (1893); Psychologie de l’anarchiste-socialiste (1895); Enrico Malatesta, Fra Contadini, transl. in all languages—Eng. trans. A Talk about Anarchist Communism, in “Freedom Pamphlets” (1891); Anarchy (do. 1892); Au café and many other Italian pamphlets, as also several papers started at various times in Italy under different names: F. S. Merlino, Socialismo ò Monopolismo? (1887). Pamphlets, reviews and papers by P. Gori, L. Molinari, E. Covelli, &c. The manifestos of the Spanish Federations contain excellent expositions of Anarchism; cf. also many books, pamphlets and papers by J. Lluñas y Pujals, J. Serrano y Oteiza, Ricardo Mella, A. Lorenzo, &c. John Most, the paper Freiheit, of which a few articles only have been reprinted as pamphlets in the Internationale Bibliothek (“The Deistic Pestilence,” “The Beast of Property” in English); Memoiren, 3 fascicules. F. Domela Nieuwenhuis, Le Socialisme en danger (1895); C. Malato, Philosophie de l’anarchie (1890); Charlotte Wilson, Anarchism (“Fabian Tracts,” 4); Anarchism and Violence (“Freedom Pamphlets”); Albert Parsons, Anarchism, its Philosophy and Scientific Basis (Chicago, 1888); The Chicago Martyrs: Speeches in Court; P. Kropotkin, Paroles d’un révolté (1884); Conquest of Bread (1906) (1st French ed. in 1890); Anarchist Morality; Anarchy, its Philosophy and Ideals; Anarchist Communism; The State, its Historic Rôle; and other “Freedom Pamphlets”; Fields, Factories and Workshops (5th popular edition, 1807); Mutual Aid: a Factor of Evolution (1904). Modern Individualist Anarchists:—B. Tucker, the paper Liberty (1892 sqq.); Instead of a Book, by one too busy to write one (Boston, 1893); Dyer Lum, Social Problems (1883); Lysander Spooner, Natural Law, or the Science of Justice (Boston, 1891). Religious Anarchists:—Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Yourselves; My Faith; Confession; &c.
The best work on Anarchism, and in fact the only one written with full knowledge of the Anarchist literature, and quite fairly, is by a German judge Dr Paul Eltzbacher, Anarchismus (transl. in all chief European languages, except English). Prof. Adler’s article “Anarchismus” in Conrad’s Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, vol. i., is less accurate for modern times than for the earlier periods. G. v. Zenker, Der Anarchismus (1895); and Prof. Edmund Bernatzik, “Der Anarchismus,” in Schmoller’s Jahrbuch, may also be mentioned—the remainder being written with absolute want of knowledge of the subject.
A most important work is the reasoned Bibliographie de l’anarchie, by Dr M. Nettlan (Brussels, 1897, 8vo, 294 ff.), written with a full knowledge of the subject and its immense literature. (P. A. K.)
Entry on Prince Peter Kropotkin from the 11th Edition (1910-1911) of the Encylopædia Britannica:
KROPOTKIN, PETER ALEXEIVICH, PRINCE (1842-), Russian geographer, author and revolutionary, was born at Moscow in 1842. His father, Prince Alexei Petrovich Kropotkin, belonged to the old Russian nobility; his mother, the daughter of a general in the Russian army, had remarkable literary and liberal tastes. At the age of fifteen Prince Peter Kropotkin, who had been designed by his father for the army, entered the Corps of Pages at St Petersburg (1857). Only a hundred and fifty boys—mostly children of the nobility belonging to the court—were educated in this privileged corps, which combined the character of a military school endowed with special rights and of a Court institution attached to the imperial household. Here he remained till 1862, reading widely on his own account, and giving special attention to the works of the French encyclopaedists and to modern French history. Before he left Moscow Prince Kropotkin had developed an interest in the condition of the Russian peasantry, and this interest increased as he grew older. The years 1857-1861 witnessed a rich growth in the intellectual forces of Russia, and Kropotkin came under the influence of the new Liberal-revolutionary literature, which indeed largely expressed his own aspirations. In 1862 he was promoted from the Corps of Pages to the army. The members of the corps had the prescriptive right of choosing the regiment to which they would be attached. Kropotkin had never wished for a military career, but, as he had not the means to enter the St Petersburg University, he elected to join a Siberian Cossack regiment in the recently annexed Amur district, where there were prospects of administrative work. For some time he was aide de camp to the governor of Transbaikalia at Chita, subsequently being appointed attaché for Cossack affairs to the governor-general of East Siberia at Irkutsk. Opportunities for administrative work, however, were scanty, and in 1864 Kropotkin accepted charge of a geographical survey expedition, crossing North Manchuria from Transbaikalia to the Amur, and shortly afterwards was attached to another expedition which proceeded up the Sungari River into the heart of Manchuria. Both these expeditions yielded most valuable geographical results. The impossibility of obtaining any real administrative reforms in Siberia now induced Kropotkin to devote himself almost entirely to scientific exploration, in which he continued to be highly successful. In 1867 he quitted the army and returned to St Petersburg, where he entered the university, becoming at the same time secretary to the physical geography section of the Russian Geographical Society. In 1873 he published an important contribution to science, a map and paper in which he proved that the existing maps of Asia entirely misrepresented the physical formation of the country, the main structural lines being in fact from south-west to north-east, not from north to south, or from east to west as had been previously supposed. In 1871 he explored the glacial deposits of Finland and Sweden for the Russian Geographical Society, and while engaged in this work was offered the secretaryship of that society. But by this time he had determined that it was his duty not to work at fresh discoveries but to aid in diffusing existing knowledge among the people at large, and he accordingly refused the offer, and returned to St Petersburg, where he joined the revolutionary party. In 1872 he visited Switzerland, and became a member of the International Workingmen’s Association at Geneva. The socialism of this body was not, however, advanced enough for his views, and after studying the programme of the more violent Jura Federation at Neuchâtel and spending some time in the company of the leading members, he definitely adopted the creed of anarchism (q.v.) and, on returning to Russia, took an active part in spreading the nihilist propaganda. In 1874 he was arrested and imprisoned, but escaped in 1876 and went to England, removing after a short stay to Switzerland, where he joined the Jura Federation. In 1877 he went to Paris, where he helped to start the socialist movement, returning to Switzerland in 1878, where he edited for the Jura Federation a revolutionary newspaper, Le Révolté, subsequently also publishing various revolutionary pamphlets. Shortly after the assassination of the tsar Alexander II. (1881) Kropotkin was expelled from Switzerland by the Swiss government, and after a short stay at Thonon (Savoy) went to London, where he remained for nearly a year, returning to Thonon towards the end of 1882. Shortly afterwards he was arrested by the French government, and, after a trial at Lyons, sentenced by a police-court magistrate (under a special law passed on the fall of the Commune) to five years’ imprisonment, on the ground that he had belonged to the International Workingmen’s Association (1883). In 1886 however, as the result of repeated agitation on his behalf in the French Chamber, he was released, and settled near London.
Prince Kropotkin’s authority as a writer on Russia is universally acknowledged, and he has contributed largely to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Among his other works may be named Paroles d’un révolté (1884); La Conquête du pain (1888); L’ Anarchie: sa philosophie, son idéal (1896); The State, its Part in History (1898); Fields, Factories and Workshops (1899); Memoirs of a Revolutionist (1900); Mutual Aid, a Factor of Evolution (1902); Modern Science and Anarchism (Philadelphia, 1903); The Desiccation of Asia (1904); The Orography of Asia (1904); and Russian Literature (1905).
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