THE defeat of the Communes in Paris, in Carthegena and Barcelona in Spain, and in some cities of France, gave the working class movement a severe setback. In compensation, it also wiped out forever the leadership of the petty bourgeoisie in any revolutionary movement in countries where capitalism had developed. It became clear that the defeat of capitalism was not for the adventurous or desperate little group, but the task of the whole nation rallying around a national and international proletariat. For the moment, the workers dug in deeper, and, in sullen determination, retreated to sharpen their weapons in secondary struggles, to reorganize their forces, and to bide their time, while allowing capitalism to develop its contradictions still further. Capitalism in Western Europe began a steady, relatively peaceful, organic growth; with big industry triumphant and turning imperialist, with the middle class absolutely bankrupt as a revolutionary force, and with the labor movement not yet ready, but girding itself for battles anew through the trade union and socialist movements, Anarchism entered into its period of decline and decay.
This period of decay is marked by the Communist-Anarchism of Kropotkin. (*1) After the Commune, no revolutionary movement could live long without proclaiming Communism as its end. The Anarchists were forced to change their titles from “Collectivist,” “Mutualist” and “Socialist” Anarchism to Communist-Anarchism. But this change was made by Kropotkin, Russian prince turned revolutionary, not so much in order to fight for the immediate establishment of Communism as to wage a bitter attack against the Marxian Communism then arising to influence.
This attack against Marxism was made all the easier by two events: first, by the liquidation of the First International after the defeat of the proletariat in the Paris Commune; and second, by the fact that the socialist parties then zooming up and utilizing the name and theories of Marx were becoming more and more corrupted by rank opportunism. Beneath the few Marxian formulas of the social-democratic parties there was revealed their actual program which catered to national prejudices, hailed the permanency of the State, idealized bourgeois democracy as an almost perfect system needing only slight improvement to transform it into socialism, and in every respect showed itself interested, not in the revolution of the workers, but in partial reforms and palliatives by means of which the workers could be chained still closer to the wheels of capitalism- imperialism. Anarchism was the punishment which the workers had to undergo for their opportunist sins.
While the Anarchism of Bakunin had been of the reckless and irresponsible sort, a reflection of the desire of the masses to test out their strength in actual battles, the Anarchism of Kropotkin, on the contrary, was of that sedate professorial type which, in reality taking a step backward towards Proudhon in a period when Proudhonism had lost its last vestiges of progressiveness, tried in an eclectic manner to harmonize the activities of all the Anarchists, both individualist-bourgeois and proletarian, and to organize them into a grand Anarchist International. (*2) Here was Herbert Spencer’s “synthetics” transferred to Anarchism.
We have already mentioned that Bakunin, upon his expulsion, had organized in 1873 another International which, having as its strongest member the Jurassic Federation (French and Swiss skilled workers, watchmakers, and such) soon numbered about fifteen thousand in France alone. At the head of this stood Paul Brousse, soon to become a renegade. Swamped by the period of reaction after the Paris Commune, the French Anarchists went steadily backward. In 1876 they had declared against the Paris Commune and had repudiated it as only another example of authority. As Kropotkin put it, the reason the Paris Commune fell was because it had a government. “We know that revolution and government are incompatible. One must destroy the other no matter what name is given to the government, whether dictatorship, royalty, or parliament.” (*3) Not only did Anarchism repudiate the Commune, it repudiated democracy as a tyrannical State as well, and in its International Congress in 1878 came out strongly against universal suffrage at the very time when the masses of all Europe were in arms against the restrictions of the suffrage and the limitations upon democracy imposed by the ruling cliques of Europe. Beneath all the revolutionary phrase-mongering of Kropotkin, a deeply reactionary policy of typical declassed elements could often be discerned.
The program of the French Anarchists was well illustrated by the Manifesto adopted at the Geneva international Congress in 1882, after the Congress had been reorganized in 1881 in London under Kropotkin. The Manifesto declared:
“Our ruler is our enemy. We Anarchists, i.e., men without any rulers, fight against all those who have usurped any power, or who wish to usurp it. Our enemy is the owner who keeps the land for himself, and makes the peasant work for his disadvantage. Our enemy is the manufacturer who fills his factory with wage-slaves; our enemy is the State, whether monarchical, oligarchical, or democratic with its officials and staff of officers, magistrates, and police spies. Our enemy is every thought of authority, whether men call it God or devil, in whose name the priests have so long ruled honest people. Our enemy is the law which always oppresses the weak by the strong, to the justification and apotheosis of crime. But if the landowners, the manufacturers, the heads of the State, the priests, and the law are our enemies, we are also theirs, and we boldly oppose them. We intend to reconquer the land and the factory from the landowner and the manufacturer; we mean to annihilate the State, under whatever name it may be concealed; and we mean to get our freedom back again in spite of priest or law. According to our strength, we will work for the annihilation of all legal institutions, and we are in accord with every one who defies the law by a revolutionary act. We despise all legal means because they are the negation of our rights; we do not want so-called universal suffrage, since we cannot get away from our own personal sovereignty, and cannot make ourselves accomplices in the crimes committed by our so-called representatives. Between us Anarchists and all political parties, whether Conservatives or Moderates, whether they fight for freedom or recognize it by their admissions, a deep gulf is fixed. We wish to remain our own masters and he among us who strives to become a chief or leader is a traitor to our cause. Of course we know that individual freedom cannot exist without a union with other free associates. We all live by the support one of another, that is the social life which has created us, that is the work of all which gives to each the consciousness of his rights and the power to defend them. Every social product is the work of the whole community, to which all have claim in equal manner. For we are Communists; we recognize that unless patrimonial, communal, provincial, and national limits are abolished, the work must be begun anew. It is ours to conquer and defend common property and to overthrow governments by whatever name they may be called."’ (*4)
The Anarchists wanted to overthrow all rulers but refused to designate the class to do the job, or to indicate how. Not representing the interests of the proletariat of large-scale industry and not rooted in industrial countries, the Anarchists refused to see that rulers could be overthrown only in the course of the class struggle; that the logic of the class struggle led to insurrection and the establishment of an armed force of the proletariat and its allies to meet the armed force of its enemies; and that this armed force, not being able to defeat the capitalists in one blow all over the world, would have to establish in the interim, as a transition, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Moreover, it was precisely dictatorship against which the Anarchists fought, so that, as the workers began to set up their own authoritarian centers to meet the impact of the bourgeois State, it was against the workers that the Anarchists increasingly had to fight; and in proportion as the world became ripe for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, so did the Anarchists expose their reactionary character.
It was not merely the actual Dictatorship of the Proletariat against which the Anarchists fought, but any step forward whatever in that direction. In the late nineteenth century these steps consisted in the struggle for democratic concessions for the workers. By wringing these concessions from the ruling class, the workers were able to utilize the opportunity by organizing their forces; circulating their ideas, testing out their strength. While thoroughly recognizing the limitations of capitalist democracy, and while understanding well that it was through this democracy that the dictatorship of the capitalist class manifested itself, nevertheless, the workers would have been guilty of criminal folly not to have fought for universal suffrage, for civil liberty, for the right to organize, etc. Besides, in the course of this fight for democracy, the workers were able to rally around themselves important sections of the lower middle classes and to tear these latter groups away from the rulers.
Furthermore, according to the Anarchists, the exploiters and oppressors of the world, and all their henchmen, could be overthrown without even a party or an organization. Even among the petty propaganda circles that were to be established there was to be no leadership, no differentiation and discipline. Thus, against the trained troops and iron discipline of the State armies, the masses were called upon to march as a spontaneous rabble and mob. Is it surprising that the mass of workers, growing more revolutionary and more disciplined and industrialized by capitalism itself should turn away from these phrase-mongering circles typical of decayed petty industry and declassed adventurism?
The fact is that the whole struggle of the Anarchists under Kropotkin was essentially a struggle against Marxism.(*5) Against Marx he posed Herbert Spencer, against the dialectic he set up his “scientific” eclectic method, and like Herbert Spencer, his aim was “to construct a synthetic philosophy comprehending in one generalization all the phenomena of nature-and therefore also the life of societies.” (*6) Instead of analyzing the laws of motion of capitalist society and its concomitant contradictions intensifying unto the breaking point, when they are solved on a new plane of development by forces produced within the society itself, Kropotkin would make use of the time-honored utopian method of “working out a plan” and would persuade (or compel) the rest to follow it. First of all he would work out “what are the needs of society?"; then he would work out “how we can satisfy them?"; by then he would have evolved a “scientific” political economy by means of which he could present a program to the people. Here Kropotkin only shows himself to be another Liberal utopian rationalist of the type of Bentham or Spencer, who would carefully eliminate all reference to the class struggle.
In the field of economics, as against Marxism, “anarchism has come to the conclusion that the root of modern evil lies not in the fact that the capitalist appropriates the profits or the surplus-value, but in the very possibility of these profits, which accrue only because millions of people have literally nothing to subsist upon without selling their labor-power at a price which makes profits and the creation of ‘surplus values’ possible. Anarchism understands, therefore, that in political economy attention must be directed first of all to so-called ‘consumption.’" (*7)
Thus, against control of production, Kropotkin would call attention to the need of controlling consumption; against the profit system bred by capitalist control over the means of production, Kropotkin would substitute, not the seizure of those large-scale factories, but the reversion, like Proudhon and the Anarchists generally, to small-scale factories and petty industries. (*8)
As against the art of insurrection, Kropotkin threw in heavy treatises on “mutual aid” and “ethics,” and volumes intended to prove that city and country will some day be fused together and to show wherein the co-operative movement is far better than any other means for the advancement of humanity. (*9) Try as he would to become revolutionary, Kropotkin remained nothing more than a perverted Spencerian and, like his disciple Elisee Reclus who was against any violent action of “the deed” whatever ("He who calls himself an Anarchist should be one of a good and gentle sort"), Kropotkin found himself closer to Proudhon and even Tolstoy than to Bakunin.
Essentially a Russian nationalist, Kropotkin could not help but be affected by the Radical and socialistic Populist movement in Russia at the time. In the fight against the Czar, the poor people in Russia were forced to separate themselves from the Liberals. Popular movements had to take on a violent and revolutionary color. On the other hand, many who called themselves “Socialist Revolutionaries” were merely Russian Radicals who dreamed of “Russia’s mission.” To the intensely nationalistic Russian revolutionaries it seemed that the whole Western world had taken a false direction and that it would be the Russian Commune, the Mir, that would show the way for the emancipation of the entire world. All that was needed was the overthrow of the Czar and the enlightenment of the people, and Russia could vault the stage of capitalism and return to the Communism of the people so well illustrated by the Mir. Clothed in European language, these were essentially the theories of Kropotkin as well. No matter how glittering they were to the benighted democrats of the backward countries such as Russia, they could prove only ludicrous to the modern proletariat of the machine age.
In spite of everything, the Anarchist congresses were forced to make concessions to the working class, just as they had been forced to take on the name “Communist-Anarchist.” In veritable self-preservation, Anarchists had to enter the trade unions and even the socialist movement. But, as Liberalism had perished in turning to labor, so did its counterpart, Anarchism. And no matter how much Anarchism may have infected this or that particular labor organization, the turning towards and entrance into the ranks of the proletariat, and the participation in their struggles as a class, marked the dissolution of Anarchism as a separate revolutionary force.
The French and Spanish Anarchists led the way towards the trade unions; in France, because the disaster of the Commune had crushed all movements aiming for political power, leaving only the primitive trade union organizations to carry on the day-to-day struggles; in Spain, because conditions as yet were not ripe for the creation of a revolutionary workers’ party of any proportions. In both France and Spain, a struggle ensued between the trade unionists who were Anarchists and who had turned to Anarcho-Syndicalism, and the “pure” Anarchists. The point of view of the pure Anarchist is well expressed by the following citation: “The organized labor movement throughout the world is by its very nature and purpose a protective barrier against any spontaneous revolutionary action that may arise from among the exploited toilers. This applies as much to the conservative pure and simple Trade Union movement of America as it does to the Syndicalist movement of France, or to the Anarcho-Syndicalist movement of present-day Spain.” (*10) We shall deal with Anarcho-Syndicalism at length in the next portion of this work.
While in Spain the Anarchists were the first to organize mass unions and had great success, (*11) in Italy the work of the Anarchists in this direction was far more difficult, since in the industrial cities, Milan, Turin, etc., the workers had turned to socialism. Still, it was these Italian and Spanish elements who, working together, were able to create a powerful revolutionary movement in South America.
Exceedingly ripe both for Anarchism and for Anarcho-Syndicalism was the situation in the Latin-American countries of South America. Although South American countries possessed all the potentialities of North America, capitalism, nevertheless, developed far too late for them to be anything but colonies or semi-colonies of the stronger imperialistic countries. The independence of these South American countries from Europe politically could not free them from economic bondage to imperialism.
In the beginning, the native Indians were conquered and transferred bodily from their primitive communism to the status of slaves and, later, agricultural proletarians. Under such a system of class-slave rule, Liberalism could find no fertile field among the masses and certainly could not compete with the Communist-Anarchism brought over from Italy and Spain by the modern proletarian immigration there. With the development of capitalism, great modern plantations and ranches grew up on the one hand, and revolutionary proletarians developed on the other.
Under such circumstances, what could develop but Communist- Anarchism, either of the Bakunin or of the Kropotkin variety? Liberalism in North America was the result of hope fulfilled; Anarchism in South America was the effect of possibilities never realized and El Dorados tantalizingly beyond reach. In view of the weakness of the rule of the economically dominant classes and their separation from other bourgeois centers, to which must be added the severe despotism of the camarilla in the Palace and the recurring Palace revolutions, stimulated by this or that imperialist power desiring to control the country for itself, all the forces which we have described above could operate only to produce in the sharpest manner a revolutionary tendency whose direction, at least in the beginning, had to be a variation of revolutionary Anarchism.
In German Austria, however, through the activity of Johan Most, Communist-Anarchism tried its hand within the Socialist parties themselves. Torn between industrialized Germany, with its strong theories of collectivism and its masses taking rapidly to socialism, and agrarian Italy and Southern and Eastern Europe, where Anarchist Populism was rooting itself, the Austrian movement presented peculiarities of its own. At first the masses were inclined to Communist-Anarchism. Eventually the socialists won the day. In the meantime, in the person of Johan Most, there was an attempt to reconcile the two tendencies and to fuse them together.
Reacting against the law passed in 1878 declaring socialism illegal in Germany, Johan Most, through his paper, declared war against the German government, and called for the arming of the socialists, secret agitation, and revolutionary acts. Upon his expulsion from the Socialist Party in Germany, Most was able to win the majority of the German clubs in Switzerland to his point of view and to develop a large movement in Austria and Hungary (under the name Socialist). Driven out of Europe, Most came to the United States, where he edited a paper, Freiheit.
In America, the authoritarian socialistic aspect of his views was stressed more than ever. Although he was willing to declare that he agreed with Kropotkin, yet he had great praise for the class struggle theories of Karl Marx and wrote that to go back to small-scale industry was impossible. (*12)
On the point that revolutions are necessary, Most raised the question whether revolutions could be “made” and answered, unlike Bakunin, “Certainly not, but they can be prepared for… .” (*13) Although supporting the Anarchist congresses, Most had organized a central committee and had proposed that some sort of organization and leadership be set up (backed up in this ten years later by Malatesta, Italian Anarchist) (*14); in furtherance of this proposal he was able to write: “Revolutionary committees must be constituted. These execute the decrees of the revolutionary army which, reinforced by the armed workingmen, now rule like a new conqueror of the world.” (*15) Here was a statement entirely authoritarian, leading, in fact, to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat itself.
From all this we can gather that of all the Communist-Anarchists, Johan Most was by far the closest to Marxism. If, then, Most behaved in part like Bakunin and wrote books on the construction of bombs and poisons (up to that point he went with Netschajeff), we may say that in his mind this was merely for the revolutionary instruction of the American working class, to be used when the time came, and not necessarily part of any Bakuninist theory of the coup d’e’tat by a small minority.
Johan Most had a marked influence upon the revolutionary history of the United States. That Anarchism was a force to be feared here easily can be seen from the fact that the first great “class” trial in this country was the trial of the Haymarket “Anarchists” (Parsons, Spies, et al.) in Chicago in 1889; that many of the most prominent Anarchists of the twentieth century, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Malatesta, spent their active lives in America; and even in recent years, the famous trial of Sacco and Vanzetti called attention to the influence of the revolutionary Anarchists. The first laws directed against revolutionary political immigrants were those directed against Anarchists, and so widespread was the belief that Anarchists were most dangerous revolutionists that it was under the heading of “Criminal Anarchy” laws that the attacks against all workers organizations were first launched in the early part of the twentieth century and have been carried on even up to the present.
Although the United States was the classic land for the petty bourgeoisie, capitalism in America had had enormous room, not only for artisans, handicraftsman, tradesmen, and petty capitalists, generally, it had not only turned workers into small business men and developed small business men into big ones, but particularly after the Civil War, it had turned big business into trusts, ruined vast layers of petty businessmen, closed the frontiers, driven artisans and farmers into factories and skilled workers into the ranks of the unskilled. The culminating period of American Liberalism was the American Civil War; the generation following saw the rise of militant Anarchist influence.
Up to the time of the Civil War, American Anarchism had been of the naive, indigenous variety characteristic of American utopian individualism. After the Civil War, the utopian character of bourgeois Anarchism had given way to the more reactionary type represented by Benjamin Tucker. But with the arrival of Most, with the decay of the First International and the rise of the Anarchist International in this country after 1880, Anarchism, finding a completely free field among the workers, and having as opposition only sectarian German socialist groups who were impregnated through and through with philistine prejudices and parliamentary illusions of the crassest type, became a force to be reckoned with. Even some workingmen began to take up the doctrines of Anarchism as preached by Most.
The termination of the Civil War between North and South had opened up the field for the civil war between labor and capital. With seven-league boots the slogan of the eight-hour-day, first raised by the Communist League in 1848, was being carried from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The big strike wave in the ‘70’s was being followed by an even greater attempt to achieve a national general strike in the ‘80’s. The culmination of these trials came in the Haymarket riots of 1886 in the midst of the big strike movement engulfing Chicago. In all of these strikes, violence and the direct action of the masses had played a considerable part. And in the midst of the Chicago affair were found the disciples of the Anarchist International, first and foremost the American Albert Parsons. The trial of these revolutionaries focused attention upon the doctrines of Johan Most and became a dramatic signpost of the industrialization of the United States and of the rise of the class struggle.
With the exception of Albert Parsons and some of his comrades in this early period of modern union struggle, the revolutionary Anarchists were not able to penetrate into the older American sections of the population. Quite the contrary, it was only through the vast flood of immigrants that washed the shores of this country in the latter part of the last century and the first decade or so of the present one, that revolutionary Anarchism became reinforced. Unable to take part in the political life of the country, bringing over from their non-industrial motherlands the many illusions of petty industry, thrown suddenly into the maw of large-scale industry and totally abandoned by the extant labor organizations native to the United States, such as the American Federation of Labor, taking no part in parliamentary elections, and disgusted with the petty bourgeois character of the socialist parties here, feeling withal only the enormous pressure of the capitalist State upon them and the open, cynical corruption of the State apparatus itself, many of the more conscious elements of these immigrants naturally turned to revolutionary Anarchism. They had left their old country to escape the conflicts there. When they arrived in the promised land and found capitalist antagonisms even more brutally and nakedly developed, was it any wonder that in desperation they should press forward their revolutionary aspirations in the Anarchist movement?
Nevertheless, Anarchism could not remain attractive to these immigrants for long. The whole industrial environment in which they were placed turned them in an authoritarian direction. It was not the individualism of the pioneer, of the frontier, of the farmer and petty business man which was part of them, but rather the collectivism and the caesarism within the huge plants and tremendous cities that were springing up all around them. Most and Parsons had been members of Social-Democracy and, especially Parsons, had never abandoned their authoritarian leanings. If Anarchism was to thrive in the United States, it could thrive as a national movement only within the ranks of the trade unions. More and more the “pure” Anarchist groups became reduced to miserable little sects so totally out of touch with reality in this country as to be ludicrous.
If the rise of imperialism, at the turn of the twentieth century, gave Anarchism its death blow, the Russian Revolution of 1917 placed the tombstone upon its corpse. At first, during the February Revolution, the Anarchists were able to grow greatly in strength—naturally enough in the Russian environment—and a considerable number even participated in the October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks took power. But when the Bolsheviks began to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and to complete the democratic revolution by the proletarian one, when a new type of State arose and control became centralized, when the Red Army became organized and the honeymoon period gave place to the grim realities of a class struggle taking place in cataclysmic proportions, then the Anarchists also declared war on the Bolshevik proletarian State. (*16)
Against the plan of the Bolsheviki for controlling all factories through one center, for socializing the production of the entire country, and nationalizing all industries, the Anarchists raised the slogan, “The factory to the workers and land to the peasants” in the most literal and demagogic sense. They declared that each set of workers that worked in a given factory and had taken possession of it should keep that factory as their own. They were to determine their own wages and their own conditions, not at all subject to the control of the working class of Russia as a whole. For the large-scale national industry planned by the Bolsheviks, the Anarchists substituted the petty industry and chaotic forms of the pre-capitalist commune. The Anarchists bitterly attacked the Bolshevik commissars as new bosses, new bureaucrats, new oppressors.
When, under the Bolsheviki, the land was nationalized, the peasants being given only the right to use the land, the fact that the estates of the nobles had been seized and partitioned off to the rest of the peasantry, particularly to the poorer peasantry, made no difference. The Anarchists raised the demand of petty private ownership of the land by each peasant and the right to do with it as he pleased. These views could only reflect the influence and interests of the kulak (wealthier peasant who hired labor) and significantly enough, it was when the kulak also began to be attacked and taxes were laid upon him, as the October Revolution drove deeper and deeper uprooting the old social relationships, that the Anarchists rose in militant rebellion against the new tax-gatherers, the new dictators.
To the highly disciplined, centralized, and effective Red Army which had been forged in the course of the Civil War following the Revolution, the Anarchists counterposed a demand for a return to the voluntary guerilla militia, the old Red Guard, which had been adequate for the Revolution itself, but was absolutely incapable of resisting the armed forces of the capitalist intervention. To Anarchists the Red Army only meant a new State, a new Terror, and a new discipline.
Against the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the revolutionary Anarchist tried to oppose the independent and “free” Commune, and covered up this essentially reactionary idea with phrases even more revolutionary than those of the Bolsheviki. Not only “Down with the Czar,” but “Down with all States.” They wanted no stages of development, no transition periods, no waiting. The whole program now! No exigency of the class struggle could excuse such monsters as Army, Secret Police, Tax-gatherers.
The final blow to the Russian Anarchists came when they discovered that they would win their struggle even temporarily only by abandoning their own principles. Having entrenched themselves in peasant armies in the Ukraine, the Anarchists under Makhno were forced to raise the slogan of “State government,” to form Soviets, to have elections, to create officials, to exact discipline by terror, etc. Standing between the Red and the White armies, this petty peasant nationalism was doomed to be crushed to pieces. In spite of himself, Makhno objectively aided the most rabid enemies of the Revolution. The Anarchists thus only brought upon themselves a terrific defeat and annihilation. They could no more defeat the proletariat than they could the Czar.
A similar disaster awaited them throughout the world. Face to face with a war embracing world forces of titanic power, all that the “pure” Anarchist could offer was the program of religious pacifism—conscientious objection!
In the struggle against Fascism during the revolutionary period immediately after the World War, the Anarchists, like the Italian Malatesta, revealed themselves as utterly bankrupt. In 1920 in Italy, Malatesta and his following, then in a strategic position with wide influence over sections of the revolutionary working class, proposed to support the governmental socialists if the latter would unite with the Anarchists and dispossess the capitalists of their property. The new government was to guarantee democratic civil liberties that would permit the Anarchists to convert the majority of the people to the Anarchist ideal.
This proposal was similar to the tactics of the Bolsheviks towards the Russian Socialists in 1917, although Lenin, as a realist, had never posed as a condition that the Socialists should take the possessions of the factory owners. What had happened in Russia reoccurred in Italy; the Socialists, not desiring any revolutionary action, rejected all co-operation on such terms. But Malatesta was no Lenin. To dispossess capitalism, Malatesta needed the aid of the strong Communist group in Italy, but he discovered he could not address himself to the Communist Party because the latter was against bourgeois democracy and for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Not being able, then, to unite with either Socialists or Communists, Malatesta refused to participate in the Revolution at all. (*17) In the choice between capitalism and Communism, the Malatesta Anarchists deliberately chose capitalism, even though the issue was clearly seen no longer to be bourgeois democracy versus Proletarian Dictatorship, but Fascist Dictatorship versus workers’ control over production.
The actions of the Anarchists in Russia complicated matters for the Anarchists in Italy. In the beginning of the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks had permitted the Anarchists to advocate their views freely so long as no overt acts were committed against the new State. The Italian Communists no doubt would have agreed to do likewise. However, by the time events were maturing in Italy, the Russian Anarchists were supporting Makhno with arms in their hands. The war between Anarchism and Communism was on to the end.
The recent revolutionary events in Spain have exposed the futility of Anarchism so clearly that, even in this last stronghold, the entire essence of Anarchism has disappeared into thin air. Today, in Spain, the Anarchists have actually become part of the government and are now ardently supporting the policy of a centralized and disciplined Army to fight the reactionaries. Anarchists as governmental officials enforcing the centralized authority of a capitalist government: can anything show us more clearly the complete breakdown of the old Anarchist shibboleths?
As it had done with Liberalism, so did it do with Anarchism; the authoritarian battles of the classes simply erased nineteenth century Anarchism as a virile movement of today.
1. Lived 1842-1921.
2. Using Spencerian synthetics, no doubt, this “revolutionary Anarchist” could declare, on the one hand, that Godwin had stated in 1793 the political and economic principles of Anarchism, and, on the other hand, could write that Bakunin was a very “Moral man.” Following Kropotkin, Emma Goldman also stated that the “real founder” of Anarchism was Godwin, and after Godwin, Proudhon.
3. P. Kropotkin: “Revolutionary Government,” Essay printed in Revolutionary Pamphlets, Vanguard Press Edition, p. 243.
4. Reprinted in Zenker: Anarchism, pp. 288-290.
5. According to Kropotkin, Marx plagiarized from Considerant, although this did not prevent Marx’s whole philosophy from being tainted with German nationalism; and as Kropotkin, turning chauvinist himself in a most rampant manner, hated anything German, this was enough to damn Marxism in his eyes forever.
6. See his "Modern Science and Anarchism," in Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 150.
7. The same, p. 193.
8. It was with this purpose that Kropotkin wrote his book, The State, in which he pours unmitigated praise upon the Communes of the Middle Ages. In this book he makes the most bizarre statements, such as that the Communes of the Middle Ages "were the centers of opulence and civilization such as we have not seen since," that the city-states of ancient Greece were "free cities" and not States at all, that the State as such dates only from the sixteenth century, etc., etc. This balderdash was peddled as new science!
9. See Kropotkin’s Anarchist Morality where he speaks about the social laws governing human sympathy, the need for altruism and the golden rule, etc. See also his Ethics, his Mutual Aid, his Conquest of Bread and his Fields, Factories, and Workshops.
10. Taken from the Anarchist paper. “Man!” (published in San Francisco), Vol. II, No. I, p. 4 (January, 1934).
11. In 1883, in the Congress of Seville, the Spanish Federation had 254 delegates with 200 local unions and 50,000 members attached. According to Postgate, as far back as 1872 the Spanish movement inspired by Bakunin had had 80,000 members centered in Madrid, Barcelona, Cadiz and Palma. All were sections of the First International organized as unions. (See R. W. Postgate: The Workers International, p. 55 [1920 edition].)
12. See J. Most: The Social Monster, p. 6.
Previously Most had published in Germany a popular version of Capital and had also put out a second edition supervised by Marx and Engels themselves.
13. J. Most: The Beast of Property, p. II.
14. Malatesta’s proposals were voted down by the Congresses. Malatesta (born 1853) can be said to be an organizational Anarchist although earlier he had written, “The party has no head, no authority; it is entirely founded on spontaneous and voluntary agreement amongst those who are fighting for the same cause.” (E. Malatesta: A Talk Between Two Workers, p. 30.)
15. J. Most: The Beast of Property, p. 12.
16. Symbolic of the decay of “Revolutionary” Anarchist literature are the works of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, written after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Heaping great praise upon Makhno, Emma Goldman denounces the Russian Revolution as not being ethical! (See her books: My Disillusionment in Russia and My Further Disillusionment in Russia.)
According to Alexander Berkman, the Bolsheviks not only stole all their important ideas from the Anarchists, but established, under Lenin, the worst despotism in Europe outside of Italy. (See his book: Now and After, the A.B.C. of Communist Anarchism.) Coming after Bakunin, these people can truly be called only degenerated Anarchists.
17. See Max Nomad: Rebels and Renegades, pp. 38-39.