At Last!

By Johann Most

Alex II


Freihet Nr 12, III. Jahrg.
London, Sonnabend, 19 Maerz 1881.
The Raven, Vol. 1 No. 4, March 1988


Seize this one, seize that one;
Someone ne’ertheless will reach thee.

C. Beck

Triumph! Triumph! The word of the poet has accomplished itself. One of the most abominable tyrants of Europe to whom downfall had long since been sworn, and who therefore in wild revenge breathings caused innumerable heroes and heroines of the Russian people to be destroyed or imprisoned – the Emperor of Russia, is no more.

On Sunday last at noon just as the monster was returning from one of those diversions which are wont to consist of eye-feastings on well-drilled herds of stupid blood-and-iron slaves, and which one calls military reviews, the executioner of the people who long since pronounced his death-sentence, overtook, and with vigorous hand, settled the brute.

Five times did this rascal have luck to brush with the coatsleeve the boundary stone between the on this side and the beyond, and already was he at this time once more on the point of drivelling about the ‘God’s finger’ which had newly saved his accursed life, when the first of the people stopped his mouth for ever.

One of those daring young men whom the social revolutionary movement of Russia brought forth, Roussakoff – with reverence we pronounce his name – had thrown under the despot’s carriage a dynamite bomb, which indeed effected a great devastation on the conveyance and the immediate neighbourhood, yet left the crowned murderer for prey uninjured.

Michaelewitch, a princely general, and others, at once fall upon the noble executor of the people’s will. The latter, however, with one hand draws a dagger against the autocrat’s face, and with the other hand guides the barrel of a revolver against the breast of the same. In an instant he is disarmed, and the belaced, betufted, and by corruption eaten through and through retinue of the Emperor, breathe again on account of the supposed averted danger. Then flies a new bomb near, this time it falls down at the despot’s feet, shatters for him the legs, hips, opens for him the belly, and causes amongst the surrounding military and civil Cossacks, numerous, wounds and annihilations.

The personages of the scene are as if paralyzed, only the energetic bomb thrower, does not lose his presence of mind, and is able safely to fly.

The Emperor, however, is dragged to his palace where yet for an hour and a half, he is able, amidst horrible sufferings, to meditate on his life full of crimes. At last he died!

This in reference to the simple state of facts.

Instantly the telegraph wires played up to the remotest corners of the earth to make the occurance known to the whole world. The effect of this publication was as various as it was drastic.

Like a thunderclap it penetrated into princely palaces where dwell those crime-belated abortions, of every profligacy who long since have earned a similar fate a thousand-fold.

For three years past has many a shot whistled by the ears of these monsters. Without that, but for Nobiling’s shot with small shot, even one hair had been bent for them. Always and always again could they indemnify themselves in princely fashion for the fright endured by executions and regulations of the masses of all kinds; nay, just in the most recent period they whispered with gratification in each others’ ears, that all danger was over because the most energetic of all tyrant-haters – the Russian Nihilists, had been successfuly exterminated to the last member.

Then comes such a hit.

William, erstwhile canister-shot Prince of Prussia, the now Protestant Pope and soldier-Emperor of Germany, got convulsions in due form from excitement; like things happened at other Courts.

Howling and gnashing of teeth prevailed in every residence-nest.

But the other rabble too, which in the various countries, pulls the wires of the Government-machanism of the ruling classes, experienced a powerful ‘moral’ headache, and melted in tears of condolence.

The whimpering was no less in France, Switzerland and America, than in Montenegro or Greece.

A Gambetta carried through the adjournment of the Chambers and thereby put an insult on France from which even Austria was saved by the then president of the Reichstrat.

Public opinion is startled, and seeks in vain for the reasons of such a miserable attitude. One thinks of diplomatic motives and the like, but one misses the mark.

Much may indeed have contributed here and there which resembles mere political hypocrisy; in the main the grounds lie deeper.

The supporters of the ruling classes see just in the destruction of an autocrat which has taken place, more than the nere act of homicide in itself. They are face to face with a successful attack upon authority as such. At the same time they all know that every success has the wonderful power not only of instilling respect, but also of inciting to imitation. There they simply tremble then from Constantinople to Washington for their long since forfeited heads.

This fright is a high enjoyment for us, just as we have heard with the most joyful feelings of the heroic deed of those social revolutionaries of St Petersburg who slaughtered a tyrant on Sunday last.

In this time of the most general humiliation and woe, at a period when in many countries old women only and little children yet limp about the political stage with tears in their eyes, with the most loathsome fear in their bosoms of the castigating rod of the State night-watchman; now when real heroes have become so scarce, such a Brutus-deed has the same effect on better natures as a refreshing storm.

Let some say behind our backs we are carrying on a ‘game with Nihilists,’ let others blame us as cynical or brutal, yet we know that in expressing our joy at the successful deed, we were disclosing not only our own feelings but were also giving utterance to what millions of men, down-trodden and tyrannised over, thought with us when they read of the execution of Alexander.

To be sure it will happen once again that here and there even Socialists start up who, without that any one asks them, assert that they for their part abominate regicide, because such an one after all does no good, and because they are combatting not persons but institutions.

This sophistry is so gross that it may be confuted in a single sentence. It is clear, namely, even to a mere political tyro, that State and social institutions cannot be got rid of until one has overcome the persons who wish to maintain the same. With mere philosophy you cannot so much as drive a sparrow from a cherry tree, any more than bees are rid of their drones by simply humming.

On the other hand it is altogether false that the destruction of a prince is entirely without value, because a substitute, appointed beforehand, forthwith takes his place.

What one might in any case complain of, that is only the rarity of so-called tyrannicide. If only a single crowned wretch, were disposed of every month, in a short time it should afford no one gratification henceforward still to play the monarch.

Moreover, it is certainly a satisfaction for every right-thinking man, when such a capital criminal is done away with, i.e., is punished according to his evil deeds. It does not occur to the jurists of civil society to hang no murderer or lock up no thief, because it is proved that these punishments do not remove murder and theft (both institutions of this society) out of the world.

When we had entirely to do with such a subject as Alexander Romanow was, then one must accept his destruction with double satisfaction.

If one could believe newspaper writers, then one must, according to their chatter, take it that the exterminated Czar was a real pattern of benevolence. The facts prove that he belonged to the worst doers of abominations that have ever disgraced humanity.

Some 100,000 men were banished to Siberia during his reign; dozens were hanged after they had suffered the cruellest tortures. All these victims the Russian crown Moloch claimed, only because those concerned were striving against him for the improvement of society – wishing for the general welfare – perhaps had only passed on a single forbidden book, or written one letter in which a censure on the Government was expressed.

Out of the war abominations which this tyrant conjured up, we take but one scene from the last Turkish War.

Alexander was celebrating his name-day, and wished a warlike spectacle. He ordered a storming of Plevna; the generals ventured to call to his mind that such an one would not only fail, but would cost an enormous number of men. In vain! The order stood good, and in order to witness the slaughter with more gratification, the tyrant caused a special stand, with a kind of imperial box, to be erected for himself, whence he might watch the storming without himself falling into danger. The result corresponded with the predictions of the Generals. The storming was repulsed, and 8,000 dead and wounded covered the ground outside the walls of Plevna. But the ‘little father,’ as the despot by preference caused himself to be called, had amused himself cannibalistically.

All petitions, all wiishes for the introduction of ever so slight reforms, which were almost daily laid at his feet, he only answered be fresh meannesses of an Asiatic government – barbarism. Genuine ‘dragonades’ followed every warning of threat attempted, but unsuccessful attacks on his person increased his baseness to the monstrous.

Who is scoundrel enough really to bewail the death of such a beast?

But it is said: ‘Will the successor of the smashed one do any better than he did?’ We know it not. But this we do know, that the same can hardly be permitted to reign long, if he only steps in his father’s footsteps.

Yes, we could actually wish that it should so happen, for we hate the hypocritical, mock-liberal, monarchs, no less than the despots ‘sans phrase’ (which words are words in the French language, and being interpreted, mean ‘pure and simple,’) because the former, perhaps, have still greater power of retarding the development of civilisation than the latter.

In addition, the persistence of the new Czar in the old principle of government, must forthwith double and treble its enemies, because in Russia there are a number of people of that sort, which has believed in the Crown Prince legend, usual in all countries and at all times, according to which the successor spoken of only awaits the moment when he may be able to pour over the people a whole horn of plenty, full of blessing.

All these enthusiasts are forthwith converted, when they see that the new ukases smell as much of Russian leather as the old.

Meanwhile, be this as it may: the throw was good, and we hope that it was not the last.

May the bold deed, which, we repeat it, has our full sympathy, inspire revolutionists far and wide with fresh courage. Let each think of Herwegh’s words:

And where tyrants still exist,
There let us boldly seize them;
We have loved long enough,
And we wish at last to hate!

Carlo Cafiero: Action

The Raven #6, October 1988
(English translation by Nicolas Walter, who writes: L’Action was published in Le Révolté on 25 December 1880. It has occasionally been reprinted in French and translated into other languages, but has generally been wrongly attributed to Kropotkin.)

There’s no reason for scholars to shrug their shoulders so much, as if they had to bear the weight of the whole world: it wasn’t they who invented the revolutionary idea. It was the oppressed people, who by their often unconscious attempts to shake off the yoke of their oppressors drew the attention of scholars to social morality; and it was only later that a few rare thinkers managed to find this insufficient, and later still that others agreed to find it completely false.

Yes, it is the blood spilt by the people which ends by forming ideas in scholars’ heads. ‘Ideals spring from deeds, and not the other way round,’ said Carlo Pisacane in his political testament, and he was right. It is the people who make progress as well as revolution: the constructive and destructive aspects of the same process. It is the people who are sacrificed every day to maintain universal production, and it is the people again who feed with their blood the torch which lights up human destiny.

When a thinker who has carefully studied the book of the sufferings of mankind defines the formula of popular aspiration, – conservatives and reactionaries of all kinds all over the world begin shouting at the top of their voices: ‘It’s a scandal!’

Yes, it is a scandal: and we need scandals; for it is by the force of scandal that the revolutionary idea makes its way. What a scandal was stirred up by Proudhon when he cried: ‘Property is theft!’ But today there is no man of sense or feeling who does not think that the capitalist is the worst scoundrel among thieves; more than that, – the only true thief. Armed with the most terrible instrument of torture, hunger, he torments his victim, not for a moment but for a lifetime: he torments not only his victim, but also the wife and children of the man he holds in his power. The thief risks liberty and often life, but the capitalist, the real thief, risks nothing, and when he steals he takes not just a part but the whole of the wealth of the worker.

* * *

But it is not enough to find a theoretical formula. Just as the deed gave rise to the revolutionary idea, so it is the deed again which must put it into practice.

At the first Congress of the International, there were only a few workers in the French proletariat who accepted the idea of collective property. It needed the light which was thrown on the whole world by the incendiaries of the Commune to bring to life and to spread the revolutionary idea, and to bring us to the Hague Congress, which by the votes of 48 representatives of the French workers recognised free communism as the goal. And nevertheless we still remember that certain authoritarian domatists, full of seriousness and wisdom, repeated only a few years ago that the Commune had checked the socialist movement by giving rise to the most disastrous of reactions. Facts have shown the soundness of the opinions of these ‘scientific socialists’ (most of them knowing no science) who tried to spread among socialists the well-known ‘politics of results’.

So it is action which is needed, action and action again. In taking action, we are working at the same time for theory and for practice, for it is action which gives rise to ideas, and which is also responsible for spreading them across the world.

* * *

But what kind of action shall we take?

Should we go or send others on our behalf to Parliament, or even to municipal councils?

No, a thousand times No! We have nothing to do with the intrigues of the bourgeoisie. We have no need to get involved with the games of our oppressors, unless we wish to take part in their oppression. ‘To go to Parliament is to parley; and to parley is to make peace,’ said a German ex-revolutionary, who did plenty of parleying after that.

Our action must be permanent rebellion, by word, by writing, by dagger, by gun, by dynamite, sometimes even by ballot when it is a case of voting for an eligible candidate like Blanqui or Trinquet. We are consistent, and we shall use every weapon which can be used for rebellion. Everything is right for us which is not legal.

* * *

‘But when should we begin to take our action, and open our attack?’ friends sometimes ask us. ‘Shouldn’t we wait until our strength is organised? To attack before you are ready is to expose yourself and risk failure.’

Friends, if we go on waiting until we are strong enough before attacking, – we shall never attack, and we shall be like the good man who vowed he wouldn’t go into the sea until he had learnt to swim. It is precisely revolutionary action which develops our strength, just as exercise develops the strength of our muscles. True, at first our blows will not be deadly ones; perhaps we shall even make the serious and wise socialists laugh, but we can always reply: ‘You are laughing at us because you are as stupid as those who laugh at a child falling down when it learns to walk. Does it amuse you to call us children? All right then, we are children, for the development of our strength is still in its infancy. But by trying to walk, we show that we are trying to become men, that is to say, complete organisms, healthy and strong, able to make a revolution, and not scribbling editors, old before their time, constantly chewing over a science which they can never digest, and always preparing in infinite space and time a revolution which has disappeared into the clouds.’

* * *

How shall we begin our action?

Just look at an opportunity, and it will soon appear. Everywhere that rebellion can be sensed and the sound of battle can be heard, that is where we must be. Don’t wait to take part in a movement which appears with the label of official socialism on it. Every popular movement already carries with it the seeds of the revolutionary socialism: we must take part in it to ensure its growth. A clear and precise ideal of revolution is formulated only by an infinitesmal minoroty, and if we wait to take part in a struggle which appears exactly as we have imagined it in our minds, – we shall wait for ever. Don’t imitate the dogmatists who ask for the foormula before anything else: the people carry the living revolution in their hearts, and we must fight and die with them.

And when the supporters of legal or parliamentary action come and criticise us for not having anything to do with the people when they vote, we shall reply to them: ‘certainly, we refuse to have anything to do with the people when they are down on their knees in front of their god, their king, or their master; but we shall always be with them when they are standing upright against their powerful enemies. For us, abstention from politics is not abstention from revolution; our refusal to take part in any parliamentary, legal or reactionary action is the measure of our devotion to a violent and anarchist revolution, to the revolution of the rabble and the poor.’

När är folket ”redo” för frihet?

Av Johann Most, Freiheit, 15 november 1884.

”Inte än, inte på långa vägar!” är vad världens svartgardister har svarat sedan urminnes tider. Idag är det inte så mycket bättre ställt i det här avseendet, eftersom vi har folk som instämmer med denna uppfattning som annars uppför sig som om de arbetade för största möjliga mänskliga lycka.

Det är lätt att förstå att en eller annan kronprins deklarerar att folket inte är ”redo” för frihet; trots allt, om han skulle säga motsatsen skulle han visa precis hur överflödig han är och signera sin egen dödsattest.

På samma sätt, om han inte skulle förneka sitt eget existensberättigande, kan ingen aristokrat, byråkrat, advokat eller någon av regeringens eller ”lagens” mandariner medge att folket kan vara ”redo”. Visst, vi vet från ordspråket att världen styrs med ofattbart lite klokhet; men hur korkade dessa statens lättingar än är, har de fortfarande förstånd nog att begripa att ett folk lämpat för frihet snart kommer att sluta finna sig i sitt slaveri.

Alla de kyrkliga och litterära predikarna som finns är verkligen helt beroende av att vara folkets vakter, och därför gör de sitt yttersta för att försöka förvirra den mänskliga hjärnan med sitt dillande om Bibeln och Talmud, med deras tidningars bluffmakeri och teatraliska avskräde, med deras ordklyveri och skräpromaner, med deras historieförfalskning och filosofiska smörja – kort sagt, med hundratals olika sorters skulor – kommer de alltid att haspla ur sig någonting om folkets ”omogenhet”.

De uppblåsta och rundkindade kälkborgare som, trots att man kan läsa dumheten i deras ansikten, i sina positioner som exploaterande parasiter och statsbeskyddade rånare, känner sig lika lyckliga över ofriheten som grisar i en dyngpöl, gnuggar naturligtvis muntert sina händer och nickar medkännande sitt godkännande när deras organ utbasunerar från sina predikstolar, korpulpeter, katedrar och podier, för att söka bevisa för folket att det inte är redo för frihet och att det därför måste utplundras och skövlas inpå bara skinnet.

Den vanlige mannen på gatan har något av en apa eller papegoja över sig. Detta förklarar varför det är så att hundratusentals knallar runt och skär av sina egna halsar genom att kvacka för andra vad dessa sluga hjärntvättare har proklamerat. Vi är för korkade för frihet – se så korkade, korkade, korkade vi är!

Detta är helt begripligt. Vad som dock inte är begripligt är att folk som utger sig för att vara förkämpar för proletariatet också utkolporterar denna uråldriga gamla legend om att folket inte är redo och det därav för tillfället omöjliga i att låta det ta sin frihet i besittning.

Är detta bara okunnighet eller medvetet brott?

Låt dessa människor tala för sig själva; de visar klart och tydligt nog i både sina tal och skrifter att:

1. Konsekvenserna av det moderna samhället kommer att leda till dess förintande.

2. En av de mest fruktansvärda konsekvenserna av systemet vi har idag är den gradvis ökande försämringen för stora delar av befolkningen, deras fysiska förslappning och andliga demoralisering.

3. Dagens tillstånd av slaveri måste ersättas av ett tillstånd av frihet.

Med andra ord är det de säger detta: i det första fallet är det samhälle vi har nu oundvikligen på väg mot kollaps; i det andra fallet blir folket mer och mer eländiga (dvs mindre och mindre ”redo” för frihet) ju längre den nuvarande situationen existerar.

När därför sådana filosofer, trots sådana uttalanden, med sådana rörande toner hävdar att folket ännu inte är ”moget” för frihet, kan de inte annat än medge, i överensstämmelse med deras egen doktrin, att detta att vara ”redo” kommer att vara ännu mindre längre fram.

Är det så att dessa människor är oförmögna att följa sin egen tankebana från fastställt faktum till den resulterande slutsatsen? Om så vore fallet skulle de verkligen vara träskallar och, minst sagt, inte tillräckligt ”mogna” att framställa sig som folkets lärare. Eller är deras haltande logik helt klar för dem, och valsar de medvetet runt för att prostituera folket? Om detta vore fallet så skulle de vara kriminella svartgardister.

Vänta! – ropar någon till dessa människors försvar – vi har hittat ett sätt att motverka kapitalismens degenererande effekter och göra folket redo för frihet trots allt. Vi upplyser. Allt gott och väl! Men vem har sagt åt er att den hastighet som saker och ting utvecklas med kommer att ge er nog tid att genomföra er så kallade upplysning på ett systematiskt sätt? Ni själva tror inte på den sortens magi.

Men vad vill ni?

Vi provocerar; vi eldar på den revolutionära glöden och uppviglar folket till revolt på alla sätt vi kan. Folket har alltid varit ”redo” för frihet; de har bara saknat modet att kräva den.

Vi är övertygade om att nöden är och förblir den allt överskuggande faktorn i kampen för frihet och att därför hundratusentals män och kvinnor med tiden kommer att framträda på scenen som frihetskämpar utan att ha hört vår uppmaning till vapen; och har avsikten att bygga – genom att träna de vi kan nå nu – slussar som mycket väl kan visa sig lämpliga att leda den sociala revolutionens naturliga lavaflöden in i praktiska kanaler.

Liksom vid varje tidigare stor omstörtning kommer folkets ”redo” att visa sig i all sin storslagenhet i konfliktens stund – inte före, inte efter.

Och då, som alltid, kommer det att bli tydligt att det inte är teoretikerna eller de ”upplysta” ängsligt trevande som kommer att förse det raserade samhället med en ny fast grund, utan de mirakulösa krafterna när de behövs. Praktiska barn av naturen som fram till dess har levt stilla och blygsamma liv kommer plötsligt att sträcka sig ut och ta steg som ingen filosof i hela världen nånsin kunde ha drömt om på hundra år. Hur redo vi är för frihet kommer sedan som vanligt att dokumenteras på det mest förbluffande sätt.

Det är därför ett stycke monstruös idioti från varje socialist att hävda att folket inte är ”redo” för frihet.

Varenda en som inte hör hemma bland exploatörerna klagar över att andra är mer privilegierade än de själva är. Det är överallt tydligt att folket är missnöjt med sin lott. Och om det ännu inte vet vad det ska ersätta det nuvarande systemet med, kommer de att upptäcka det i den stund något praktiskt kan göras åt detta; vilket är – omedelbart.

Översatt från Anarchy Archives.

Cafiero: The Organisation of Armed Struggle

COMRADES and EDITORS of
“Il Grido del Popolo”

On the eve of the London Congress it is urgent that every opinion be expressed concerning immediate revolutionary action, action that is aimed at bringing the outbreak of revolution nearer.

At this congress the legalists and parliamentarians will be conspicuous by their absence, and all those present will be in perfect agreement concerning the need for violent means. Therefore, the whole order of the day will be reduced to the following question: How shall we organise the violence?

Two solutions will be proposed: one from the classical school, the other from the modern one. The first will propose the disciplined order of the army division and well-defined battle lines. The second, on the contrary, will support the scattered order of the maniple; the first will require a great concentration of strength, the second, an immense dissemination of strength.

The anarchists in France are organising with the same system: their strength is growing and is already imposing itself on the government.

All the other types of oppression which constitute the remaining States of Europe can be situated between the Russian autocracy and the French republic.

The problem, therefore, is practically resolved. The phalanx and cohort authoritarian military type of organisation has seen its day and is now absolutely impotent, even if it is strong enough to withstand the first clash with the State.

The centralised revolutionary organisation has been broken like a pane of glass in Germany by Bismarck, without a single drop of blood being shed, while the Romanovs, with their gallows and tortures, cannot overcome the scattered organisation of small groups in Russia.

It is true that in Germany the defect was not only in the form, but also in the content of the action. But after all, this compact strength had been so greatly exalted in the electoral field, and so much hope attached to it once the legal field had been barred, that with good reason we can attribute its defeat not only to its legalistic aims, but also too its authoritarian form. Today it has been demonstrated that the doctrine of similitudes will be relegated to the museum along with the armour of bygone times; the strength of the revolutionaries is its antithesis – the doctrine of opposites. To the centralising State, disciplined and disciplinary, authoritarian and despotic, we must oppose a decentralised force, free and anti-authoritarian. Need we enumerate the advantages of the new system? Apart from the greater strength of attack and resistance, action proceeds far more easily and quickly, everyone sacrifices more willingly possessions and life for the work of his own initiative, betrayal becomes difficult and of limited damage, defeats partial. All attitudes and all initiatives, finding their full development, give prodigious results, like the cabiliek bomb and masterly construction of mines. Therefore, no more offices of correspondence or statistics, no more general plans worked out in advance. That each comrade seek to form in his own locality a group around himself, a handful which will act infallibly. Ten men, six men (and women), can carry out actions which will find echoes all over the world.

Hardly will the actions of one group have begun, when the whole country will be covered in groups, and action become generalised. Every group will be its own centre of action, with a plan all of its own, and a multiplicity of varied and harmonic initiatives. The concept of the whole war will be one only: the destruction of all oppressors and exploiters.

Salute e rivoluzione anarchica

Carlo Cafiero

(from Il Grido del Popolo, Naples, 4 July, 1881)
Trans. by J.W. from Anarchismo
Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review, Volume One No. 3, Autumn 1977.

A FRAGMENT OF LUIGI GALLEANI’S LIFE

By Melchior Seele [Raffaele Schiavina]

If an Anarchist movement exists today among the Italian immigrants and if such a movement has suffered practically no desertions as a consequence of the Bolshevik incarnation of Socialism, it is due to a large extent to the teachings and example of Luigi Galleani.

Others and foremost Italian apostles of Anarchism have been in this country: F.S. Merlino, the pioneer; Pietro Gori, the poet, Errico Malatesta, Giuseppe Ciancabilla, impressing characters alls of them, clear minds and pure consciences. But their activity here, however intense, was more or less of a short duration. Galleani’s on the contrary, spread over most of twenty years and was marked by the continuous progress of his mind and of the revolutionary movement as well.

When he landed on these shores, in the fall of 1901, shortly after Czolgosz’ execution of president McKinley, Luigi Galleani was in the prime of his life. Ten of his forty years of age he had continuously spent either in jail, in relegation or in exile. His mind had matured through a very thorough education, hard thinking and personal experience. His conscience was clean of opportunistic entanglements. His convictions were deep-rooted. Persecution had steeled him beyond fear and temptation. He had chosen his place in life, and nothing was to lure him away from his purpose. In 1898 he was confined to the island of Pantelleria, when the socialist politicians, who had been intriguing with all sorts of reactionary tools, conceived the idea of subduing the Anarchists to their parliamentary policy. All Italian Anarchists were then either confined to the islands or exiled. Had they consented to give their names to a political campaign and had they been elected, which was all but impossible then, in many cases, they would have been automatically set free. Galleani answered to the socialist manoeuvre for all his comrades in seclusion, saying that prisons, chains and persecutions had not daunted their faith and that, no matter how painful they found it to be severed from the living world, they would rather stay and die, if need be, on the Mediterranean rocks, than lend their names to an electoral circus, which they despised, bow to a flag for which was not theirs. “Manet Immota Fides” – he wrote then on his flag, and his faith remained unchanged to his death.

Of course, although they were absolutely truthful when they said nothing in the world could persuade them to repudiate or soften their Anarchist convictions, neither Galleani nor his comrades expected to die on the Mediterranean rocks. Errico Malatesta had escaped from the Island of Ustica a few months before, Galleani escaped from the Island of Pantelleria a few months later, and all were set free after Bresci’s execution of King Humbert, in 1900.

Following his escape from Pantelleria, Galleani spent some time in Egypt and then, by way of London, came to America.

A deep knowledge of Anarchist philosophy, twenty years of experience at the front of the social war, the firm conviction that the social revolution was at one and the same time what the people want and what they must have if human progress is to continue and civilisation to survive, a powerful mind, a noble character that feared nothing and disdained all compromise, a masterly pen with a touch of classicism, a native and carefully cultivated talent of oratory, which made him an unsurpassed tribune of the people – these were his arms as he plunged himself in the vortex of American life, in the wake of the plutocratic imperialism that was being fostered by the elder Rooseveltian windbag.

Galleani was not assimilated by the American environment. His age was too advanced to permit him to master the English language to his own satisfaction. And you cannot reach a people whose language you don’t know perfectly. Besides, he was too much of an artist, too much of a scrupulous thinker to suffer himself to express his thoughts in less than a masterly way. For this reason, his passage through the American scene remains practically unknown to all but the Italo-American community and to the native police records.

But even though he was not absorbed by the American environment, he certainly had a good grasp of its workings. Holding himself consistently aloof from the ruling cliques and from those who aspire to rule as well he could see the American panorama – its past, its present, its tendencies, from the viewpoint of the underdog – and accordingly elaborate his policies, his doctrine and attitude in a state of absolute independence.

His first stop was in Paterson, N.J., then at its peak as the “hotbead” of Anarchism. Here he became the editor of a weekly paper called “La Questione Sociale.” When the famous textile strike of 1902 broke out, Galleani had the first opportunity to give the measure of himself as an agitator and a fighter. Nothing half-baked in him. If his written word might sound fiery to the mill czars, his spoken word rang as the hymn of resurrection to the hungry strikers. And his actions made good both. He was not an organiser. He called the workers to action for their bread, for their freedom – not for his own good. When the fight was on, he would ask the workers to keep it on, to rely on themselves, on their united effort to force the enemy into submission. He would not ask them to confide their troubles to his ability as a fixer or a mediator. For himself he would ask neither position, nor money, nor even the acceptance of his social philosophy – only to let him fight by their side for the triumph of their cause.

This kind of leadership is not familiar with the professional organisers of labour who are wont to approach the strikers with condescension with the more or less tacit understanding that they should organise under their banners and make a position for them as their paid leader. When, if ever, these organisers take to picketing, they do it for advertising purposes and only provided they are accompanied by the elaborate paraphernalia of loud drums, reel photographers, news reporters, defence counsel and other similar accompaniments. Galleani’s was the kind of leadership that marks the crusader and scares the job-seekers.

On June 18th, while leading picketing strikers, they came into contact with the gunmen of the police force. They fought valiantly. Galleani barely escaped with his life after having received a slash on the forehead and a gun shot on his upper lip. The Paterson police were in an uproar to capture him. But he succeeded in escaping and took refuge in Canada from where he came to Barre, Vt., the following year, under an assumed name. There he founded a weekly paper of Anarchist propaganda called “Cronaca Sovversiva,” which was later transferred to Lynn, Mass. His identity having been publicly revealed by a socialist politician, G. M. Serrati, who lived to succeed Mussolini as editor of the official organ of the Italian revolution of 1919 – Luigi Galleani was arrested in Barre, Vt., on December 30th, 19906, extradited to New Jersey, and tried in Paterson a few months later for his part in the strike of 1902. His case was afterwards dropped following a disagreement of the jury.

From 1903 to 1918 Galleani edited “Cronaca Sovversiva,” a paper which was a constant source of information, enthusiasm, courage and discussion. Into it Galleani transfused his wide knowledge and rare ability. He made it the mirror of his soul, which was itself the mirror of the anguish, torture and hopes of the underdog. For fifteen years this paper had an undisputed influence, not only over the Anarchist movement, but also over the whole revolutionary movement of the Italian community in America. It inspired a movement which was not probably very large in number but was highly select. Its members had a precise notion of what Anarchism should be, what it should do, and endeavoured to act accordingly. They did not waste their time pursuing elusive chimeras of actual realisations in any field. They conceived Anarchism as a militant struggle for the elimination of present-day oppression and exploitations – beyond their personal immediate need of acquiring knowledge. They were not to be found wasting time to conquer or build labour organisations only to be annihilated by them. They aimed, instead, at always being in the first places of the everyday struggle for the defence of liberty and social injustice. The new world could not possibly emerge but from the utter destruction of the old institutions based on privilege and compulsion.

Galleani himself gave the example in words and deeds. His ultimate aim was Anarchist Communism, more or less according to the Kropotkin philosophy. He knew, however, that before the ultimate aim could be realised much was to be done in order to pave the way. So he used to insist more on the details of a social order he very passionately wished for but could hardly hope he would have a hand in shaping. “Our children will see to that,” he used to say. “Our task is to bequeath to them an environment as free as possible from the hindrances of private property and political power. No free construction is possible unless preceded by thorough destruction.”

He toured the country from ocean to ocean several times, generously spreading the good seed of revolt and Anarchism, and ever leaving behind a deep wake of sympathy, solidarity and enthusiasm for the cause. Again, no formal organisation. From all sides people were doing their utmost to create new regimentations and new burdens for the oppressed multitudes in addition to the old ones. Not he. His purpose was to awaken independent minds, to form solid characters, to give consciousness to stern wills. He has no use for formal adherence to his person, or paper or even ideas. He felt that what the movement needed, above all, were men and women of strong convictions, deeply persuaded that the Anarchist ideal is right, that his paper was giving a genuine interpretation of this ideal. He tried to build such characters and consciences, confiding that, had he succeeded, with or without him the Anarchist movement would have recruited new real forces, a firmer hold upon society than any former organisation could ever give. Once Anarchists had been made, co-operation among them, was but a natural inevitable consequence. The doings of such co-operation would almost mechanically spring from the common urge of each and all to action.

Here is briefly sketched Galleani’s conception of Anarchism as an operating force. A movement of highly conscious individuals who knew exactly what they wanted and how to go after it, each always independent in his or her judgement, bound to common action by the singleness of their purpose, co-operating out of a spontaneous impulse and deep conviction that they were acting for the good of the common cause, not for the sake of any discipline – were it even called class discipline. That such a conception was coherent with the Anarchist philosophy is obvious. That it was bound to give good results in practice was proved when the changing circumstances of the American scene brought it to the great test of the struggle against war.

Whatsoever one may think of the Anarchist movement in the United States, this much is true: that, as a movement, it suffered less casualties than any other revolutionary movement on account of the war dementia. The socialists fled “en masse” to the patriotic standards of belligerent democracy. Debs remained at the head of but a handful of his former followers. The A.F. of L., prostituted itself to the federal government. The I.W.W.’s tried to attenuate their position, claiming a political agnosticism which was tantamount to overt opposition to the war, lacking only the audacity to affirm itself as such. All the Anarchists, instead, assumed from the beginning a courageous and open stand against the ghastly butchery.

Galleani, as usual, minced no words. Persecution soon fell upon him and his paper which was denied the freedom of the mail. “Cronaca Sovversiva” continued to appear, being distributed by other means. Never had a paper been the object of such a wave of solidarity. Galleani was arrested. The paper found the means to appear just the same. “Nulla dies sine linea” was then our motto: “Not a day without a word” – against the war. Galleani was sentenced by a domesticated federal court in Boston: he would not fold his flag. He was then arrested again together with fifty of sixty comrades who were supposed to receive the paper all over the U.S., and distribute it to the readers. They were all held by the immigration authority for deportation. It was then springtime, 1918. He was left almost alone in the printing shop, in Lynn. All the younger comrades were either in jail or in hiding. Mr. Palmer’s hounds ran into the printing shop for the last time, stole the forms of the paper, which had just been issued, and Galleani, a sick old man, whose words the mighty government of the U.S., feared, was silenced at last.

The following year, two more issues of “Cronaca Sovversiva” were published in New York. Galleani toured the country as far west as Kansas. May and June of that year had terrible bomb scares – as is always bound to happen when the freedom of speech and press is suppressed, and on the 24th day of June Galleani was torn from his wife and children, and embarked for Italy together with eight of his comrades – all undesirable from the great republic of Wall Street.

But the American government was to remember Galleani’s passage through the American scene for quite a long time. The seeds he had planted on this soil had not fallen on barren ground. The movement he had so prodigally nurtured for so many years remained, however, mutilated. And from this movement sprang Andrea Salsedo, who Mr. Palmer’s assassins threw from a fourteenth story window in New York City, on May 3rd, 1919; from it, too, came Vanzetti whose seven years martyrdom remains as one of the most inspiring facts in modern times, and as a blot of eternal infamy upon the history of this bloody plutocracy.

Galleani’s life in Italy was eventful. In 1920 he revived his paper “Cronaca Sovversiva” only to see it die again after eighteen issues, because the government was after him on account of some objectionable articles, and he had to hide himself to escape preventive arrest. Three days before he was to be tried for this crime, he presented himself to the police, in Turin, and on October 28th, 1922 – the very same day in which the king called Mussolini to preside over the government – Galleani appeared before a jury of twelve good citizens, who condemned him to fourteen months in prison, for the crime of having called the Italian soldiers to the cause of revolution.

In prison, his disease aggravated; so, when he was released, over a year later, he had to go to a hospital. Meanwhile the fascist dictatorship was affirming itself. Freedom of speech and press was confiscated. Being unable to resume active work in Italy, he prepared, in 1925, for publication, a little book on Anarchism, which was published by his comrades in America, under the title of “La fine dell’Anarchismo?” The title: “Is Anarchism at An End?” suggests the polemical form of the book which is a vigorous defence of Anarchist thought against Socialist attacks. Besides this very important work of his, he has left a big volume resuming the chronicles of heroic Anarchism up to 1898: “Faccia a Faccia col nemico” (Face to Face
(With the Enemy) and] a book of pen sketches: “Figure figure” (Men and Mugs), a small volume containing his criticism of the war-like attitude of Kropotkin and other revolutionists, and, finally, pamphlets of various character. Much else of standing value remains to be gathered from the collection of the papers he edited.

In 1927 he was arrested and fined because he had received an Anarchist newspaper enclosed in an envelope from America. Later for the same crime, he was again arrested, then sentenced to ten days in prison and, finally, sent to the Island of Lipari, for three years. A few days after he had landed in his new abode, he was arrested, accused of having said evil things of “il Duce” (Mussolini), and sentenced to six months in the Island’s jail.

In 1930 he was allowed to leave the island. He took residence in a small village in an Appenine valley and there remained under the continuous surveillance of the police, who never left his housedoor and followed him in his solitary walks by the countryside, to the end of his life, which came the evening of November 4th, 1931.

While returning from his usual walk that day, he dropped a few blocks from his home. Taken to his bed by solicitous neighbours – who, although never allowed to approach him, must have sympathised with him – he died half an hour later. As a last outrage, the policeman, who had been following him after his fall, robbed him of his pocket book, which he was known to have in his pocket and which was never found afterwards; and which in the absence of money – as Galleani had always been poor – must have contained tokens of his dear ones living far away and completely unaware of his plight.

To the last moment he remained faithful to the ideals to which he had devoted his life. All those who have met him in the various prisons of the kingdom and on the Island bear witness to the unwavering nature of his convictions, the nobility of his character, the generosity of his heart, and undying hopes for the future.

His last message to his children, which was also meant for his comrades with whom for years he had been unable to correspond directly, contained these words which may be considered as his political testament: “I live all alone, serene, hopeful, certain rather that the era of restaurations which are condemned by reason, by the teachings of history, and by the destiny of progress and liberty.”

From: “Man! An Anthology of Anarchist Ideas, Essays, Poetry and Commentaries”, ed. By Marcus Graham. Cienfuegos Press, London 1974.

Från ”salongsanarkismens” dagar

av Emil Agge, Röda Fanor, aug. 1921

Anarkismen, denna så ofta avsiktligt och omedvetet förvrängda och beljugna åskådning, som nu är borgarnas fasa har dock en gång haft en stor popularitet, ej blott bland arbetarna, utan även bland bourgeoisiens yngre element. Bland litterära och konstnärliga element i de stora kulturländerna märktes under 1880-90-talen en hel rad kända namn med mer eller mindre utpräglad anarkistisk åskådning och i tidens många olika anarkistiska tidningar och tidskrifter återfinnas dessa bland medarbetarna, ej blott i konstnärliga och litterära frågor, utan även i sociala. ja, en hel del speciellt litterära tidskrifter, som voro språkrör för de unga sysselsatte sig ivrigt med anarkismen och dess läror.

Denna, den intellektuella ungdomens sympatiska eller förstående ställning till anarkismen bottnar innerst i de ungas reaktion mot en förgrovad konstnärlig och social materialism, som på det konstnärliga området utmynnade i Zolas La Terre (orden) och på det sociala i Marxismen, socialdemokratien med framtidsmålet medelmåttornas massvälde och individens kvävande. Den konstnärliga reaktionen tog sig i synnerhet uttryck i den symbolistiska skolan med Sar Peladon som banérförare. En gren blev i socialt hänseende reaktionärer och troende katoliker, en annan blev radikaler, anarkister med mer eller mindre mystisk religiös anstrykning. sambandet mellan de båda riktningarna var individualitetens hävdande och tog sig politiskt uttryck i kamp mot parlamentarism och militarism. För övrigt var nog innerst inne skillnaden ej så stor. Bägge riktningarna lade snart bort sina ”överdrifter” och återvände som förlorade söner till borgarsamhällets kalvstekar. Endast ett fåtal blev en längre tid trogna sina ungdomsideal.

Framför mig ligger en av denna tids anarkistiska publikationer ”La Revue Anarchiste” som sedan ändrade namn till ”La Revue Libertaire”. Den delade de flesta liknande tidningars öde, att bliva kortlivad. Dålig ekonomi plus myndigheternas ursinniga förföljelser voro därtill orsaken. Denna tidning utgavs var 14:de dag och 13 nummer var allt som utkom från augusti 1893 till mars 1894. Redaktörer voro Charles Chatel, Andhré Ibels och Henri Gauche. Varje nummer om 16 sidor kostade 15 centimer. Det kulörta omslagets främre sida hade i enkel uppställning titel, en sentens: ”Samverkan av intelligens och handling för att nå full frihet” samt innehållsförteckning. På 4:e omslagssidan en lista på anarkistiska tidningar över hela världen, i sista numret 52 stycken på 10 olika språk. Ett tidstecken är adressen på den tjeckiska tidningen Pomsta, Imprimiere Secréte (hemligt tryckeri).

Listan på medarbetare upptar en hel rad mer eller mindre kända anarkistiska och litterära namn, Elisée Reclus, Bernard Lazare, Andhre Ibels, L. Malquin, S. Mougin, A. Veidaux, Ch. Chatel, A. Gesurier-Livard, M. Viochot, Lucien Weil, V. Barrucand, C. Mauclair, H. Gauche, J. Lafargue, Ch. Malato, E. Hilde, G. Randon, Th. Praxis, Paul Reclus, Seb. Faure, H. B. Samuels, G. Rossi, E. Decrept, J. Carrère m. fl.

Dess redaktion låg – naturligtvis skulle man vilja säga – i hjärtat av Montmartre, artisternas, bohemernas hemvist, vid en trång liten gata, Rue Gabrielle.

Artiklarna avhandla allt som kan tänkas, om rösträtten, mot parlamentarismen, mot militarismen och först och sist mot allt tvång, mot staten. Borgarna gisslas med allvar och satir, diktarna besjunga satan och den fria kärleken, de anarkistiska teoretikerna slåss angående individualism och kommunism. Kvickt och vass ”skäller” man på socialdemokrater, militärer och poliser, men lämnar prästerna i fred, kanske beroende på att man ej lider av dem.

Att 1880 och 90-talen var tiden för ”handlingens propaganda” synes nogsamt på tidningen. Det var den tid då vanliga stölder, dynamitstölder, attentat med mer eller mindre rätt brukades i anarkismens namn och den ena knallen av en bomb eller ett revolverskott hann knappt förtona förrän en ny hördes. Bästa sättet att hämnas en häktad eller straffad attentator var att göra ett nytt attentat, vilket dock tyvärr så ofta träffade oskyldiga. Numera veta vi ju att polisens provokation har en stor skuld i denna tids händelser samt att även en del element, som utan någon rätt kallade sig anarkister, använde sig av dessa stridsmedel. Men det fanns dock obestridligt inom rörelsen ärliga element som gillade och utövade handlingens propaganda. Myndigheterna använde sig naturligtvis av händelserna och indragning av tidningar, arresteringar, husundersökningar, domar till fängelse och avrättningar samt utvisningar voro dagens lösen.

I all synnerhet tog förföljelserna ett oerhört uppsving efter Ravachols beryktade bombattentat i mars 1892. Efter sin avrättning i juli blev han ett slags helgon för en del anarkister och hämndbomberna regnade. 1893 var ett oroligt år, kulminerande i Vaillaints attentat i deputeradekammaren, om vilket förresten La Revue anarchiste spydigt skriver och uppräknar en hel del attentat med många dödade och sårade vilka riksdagsmännen gav fasen; men bums, i helgedomen blir det buller av en fallande bomb, då väcks det ett skri! Hennes Majestät ”Folkviljan”, som de politiska skojarna älska kalla sig är sårad! Vilket brott!

Nyårsdagen 1894 företogs 2,000 husundersökningar, huvudsakligen hos anarkister och resultatet blev att ett hundratal häktades. Den anarkistiska tidningen Pére Peinard, som redigerades av E. Pouget, blev bl. a. indragen.

Förföljelserna blev allt värre, La Revue anarchiste nämner i sitt nummer av 1 febr. att Jean Grave är på Mazas (Paris Långholmen), att Pére Peinard är indragen, att Henri Gauche efterspanas men döljer sig. En intressant detalj förresten är att man i detta nummer, i den avdelning som motsvarar Brands Gnistor, ”Des Faits” mellan varje notis intrycker raden: ”Detruisez vos lettres” (Förstör edra brev). Denna gnistavdelning är förresten särdeles belysande för tidningens ställning, notiserna äro roliga, spydiga, satiriska, ja rent av utmanande fräcka. Alltid korta, rakt på sak. Jag skall tillåta mig göra en liten axplockning som är verkligt roande. T. ex.:

– ”Dåliga nyheter: General Gourka är tillfrisknad. Drottningens av Sverige hälsotillstånd ger ingen anledning till oro. Nå, det blir väl en annan gång. – Republikanerna arbeta bättre för oss än kejsardömet gjort för dem; vi hoppas att i vår tur behandla dem bättre än de gjorde med kejsardömet. – Underrättelse: Dynamitupplaget vid Chenneviéres är avskaffat. – Bourgeoisien har genom sina poliser gjort oss en visit på nyårsdagen. kanhända vi nästa år kunna återgälda den. – Vi ha haft ledsnaden få höra att zaren mår bättre. I gengäld ha vi nöjet meddela Herr Maxiom du Camps*) död. – Böhmen. 17 december. 32 kg. dynamit försvann från krutfabriken i Rakovitz. 18 dec. explosion hos Herr Wolf, advokat i Rakovitz. Betydande skador. Ett pris på 500 floriner har utsatts på gärningsmannen. – I Berlin är det 500 marks pris på mordbrännaren hos bankir Friedlaender. – En florin motsvarar 2 mark, därav jämförelsen: 1 Wolf = 2 Friedlaender. – Kapten L… vid 7 infanteriregementet har skjutit sig. Vad betyder det! – Må de trakasserier kamraterna varit utsatta för lära dem en sak: Då man vill förstöra ett brev, är det ej nog att bränna det, man måste även söndersmula askan! – En sergeant som kastades ur sadeln, dödades. Finns det anarkister bland hästarna? – En polis, M. Marullas, har skjutit sig. Rädda från glömskan denne hederlige mans namn! – En general som försökt mörda en civil, döms av krigsrätt bestående av 10 generaler. Men då en anarkist spränger ett hus, låter man honom icke dömas av anarkister… – o. s. v.”

De så tätt på varandra följande attentaten bedömdes inom anarkistiska kretsar högst olika. En del, däribland kretsen kring La Revolte, Jean Grave, Reclus, Krapotkin m. fl. togo avstånd, men dock med betonande på samhällets stora skuld, medan andra, t. ex. Pére Peinard och La Revue anarchiste mer eller mindre öppet förhärligade attentaten och deras gärningsmän. Belysande för deras ställning är tvenne artiklar om attentat begångna av Paulino Pallas och Léon Leauthier. Den förra börjar så:

”Söndagen den 24 sistlidne september (1893) passerade marskalk Martinez Campos i spetsen för sin stab Barcelonas gator på väg till en trupprevy. En arbetare som stod bland de nyfikna drog under sin blus fram tvenne bomber, kastade dem mot marskalken och ropade: ”Leve anarkismen!” Två generaler, en adjutant och två poliser sårades, en gendarm och en häst (Campos’) dödades. Vi beklaga hästen. Rörande Campos drog han sig ur spelet rätt bra. Det är värre.

Den oförvägne kamraten häktades och dömdes till döden. Hans namn är Paulino Pallas. Han är trettioett år och efterlämnar hustru och tre barn i nöd. – – – Ravachol och Pallas ha bevisat en god omdömesförmåga genom att rikta sina angrepp mot bäraren av domardräkten och bäraren av sabeln, mannen som dömer och mannen som dödar. – – – Pallas fusiljerades 6 okt. han dog frimodigt. Henri Gauche”.

Om Leauthier heter det i en artikel, även av Henri Gauche: ”Revolten växer. Hämnden nalkas. Handling följer på handling. Ibland
okända, i Véry, (Restauranten) i Bons-Enfants, (på polisstationen) i Licéo (teatern i Barcelona); ibland lysande, stolt protesterande: Ravachhol, Pallas, Leauthier.

Den sistnämndes handling är särdeles sund: en stor skönhet utstrålar – av handlingen i sig själv, av de omständigheter som föregingo den – och av den anklagades utomordentliga hållning. -”

hans handling framdrevs av arbetslöshet och hunger och han ville inte svälta ihjäl utan att protestera.

han gick in på en restaurant, satte sig att äta gott för francs 10:85 (mycket pengar 1893!) och betalade ej. Då han krävdes sade han att han inga pengar hade och då värden förebrådde honom att ha ätit så gott och druckit champagne svarade han: ”Champagne, ja varför inte, borgarna dricka det ju. – ja, men de betala. – Ja, men var har de tagit pengarna?”

Dagen efter gick han in på en annan restaurant och stötte sin skomakarekniv i en ordensprydd herre, som han ej kände, men som råkade vara Serbiens minister Georgowitch.

Han gick, ingen tordes hejda honom. Men han flydde ej utan inställde sig hos polisen. Där förklarar han sig stolt över sin hämnd som utövats med hans arbetsverktyg. Vid förhöret är han lugn och bestämd, erkänner sig vara anarkist men förnekar att ha medbrottslingar. Sebastian Faure uttalade sig för en tidning, att han fann Léauthiers handling mycket vacker och mycket nyttig.

Bland artiklarna är isynnerhet anmärkningsvärd en diskussion om individualismen. Däri deltog Paul Réclus, som då förresten efterspanades för attentat i Vaillaints attentat, Ch. Malato, H. B. Samuels, redaktör för den engelska tidningen Commonweal.

Varje nummer har en avdelning för litteratur- och teaterrecensioner samt en översikt av en del tidskrifters innehåll, vilken bjuder mycket av intresse i hänseende till de intellektuellas välvilliga uppfattning om anarkismen. Tvenne artiklar avhandlar den anarkistiska kolonien Cecilia i Brasilien, dit ett antal italienska arbetare avreste 1890, för att börja ett nytt liv på kommunistisk grundval. Företaget hade en tid framgång men ankomsten av flera utvandrare, varav många ej anarkister, orsakade så småningom att enigheten upphörde och kolonien förföll.

De 13 tidningsnumren skulle kunna ge stoff till betydligt mera än dessa rader, men får det anförda vara nog och kan som jag hoppas bli ett ringa bidrag till historien om en tid som svunnit, en tid som väl i sin dåtida gestaltning aldrig kommer igen. Men den popularitet anarkismen då hade hoppas vi dock skall återkomma och förökas, fast djupare förankrad i människornas känsla och tanke.

*Maxim du Camp var en känd reaktionär författare till ett arbete om Pariskommunen.

Cafiero: Aktion

Aktion
av Carlo Cafiero

(”L’Action”, Le Révolté, 25 dec. 1880. Brukar felaktigt tillskrivas Peter Krapotkin. Översatt från Raven nr. 6, okt. 1986.)

Det finns ingen anledning för intellektuella att rycka på axlarna så mycket, som om de var tvungna att bära hela världens börda: det var inte de som uppfann revolutionsidén. Det var det förtryckta folket som genom sina ofta omedvetna försök att skaka av sig sina förtryckares ok drog intellektuellas uppmärksamhet till samhällsmoral, – och det var först senare som några sällsynta tänkare lyckades finna denna itillräcklig och ännu senare som andra var överens om att finna den fullständigt falsk.

Ja, det är blodet spillt av folket som till slut formar idéer i intellektuellas huvud. ’Ideal kommer ur handlingar och inte tvärtom’, sa Carlo Pisacane i sitt politiska testamente, och han hade rätt. Det är folket som gör framsteg likväl som revolution: de konstruktiva och destruktiva aspekterna av samma process. Det är folket som offras varenda dag för att upprätthålla världsproduktionen och det är samma folk igen som med sitt blod föder facklan som lyser upp mänsklighetens öde.

När en tänkare som noggrant studerat boken om människosläktets lidanden definierar formeln hos en folklig strävan – början konservativa och reaktionära av alla slag världen över skrika allt de kan: ’Det är skandal!’

Ja, det är en skandal; och vi behöver skandaler; för det är genom skandalens kraft som den revolutionära idén banar väg. Vilken skandal det blev när Proudhon utropade: ’Egendom är stöld!’ Men idag finns det ingen människa med förstånd eller känsla som inte anser att kapitalisten är den värsta uslingen av tjuvar; mer än så – den enda verkliga tjuven. Beväpnad med det mest fruktansvärda tortyrredskap, hungern, plågar han sitt offer, inte en stund utan i en livstid: han plågar inte bara sitt offer, utan också mannens hustru och barn har han i sin makt. Tjuven riskerar sin frihet och ofta sitt liv, men kapitalisten, den verklige tjuven, riskerar ingenting och när han stjäl tar han inte bara en del utan hela arbetarens välstånd.

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Men det är inte nog att finna en teoretisk formel. Precis som handlingen gav upphov till den revolutionära idén, så är det handlingen åter som måste sätta den i praktiken.

På Internationalens första kongress var det bara några få arbetare i det franska proletariatet som accepterade idén om kollektiv egendom. De behövde det ljus som Kommunens gnista kastade över hela världen för att få liv och sprida den revolutionära idén, och föra oss till Haagkongressen som genom rösterna från 48 representanter för de franska arbetarna igenkände fri kommunism som målet. Och ändå minns vi ännu att vissa auktoritära dogmatiker, fulla av allvar och klokhet, upprepade för bara några år sedan att Kommunen hade hindrat den socialistiska rörelsen genom att leda till de mest katastrofala reaktioner. Fakta har visat sundheten i åsikterna hos dessa ’vetenskapliga socialister’ (de flesta av dem vet ingenting om vetenskap) som bland socialisterna försökt sprida den välkända ’resultatens politik’.

Så det är aktion som behövs, aktion och åter aktion. När vi går till aktion arbetar vi på samma gång för teori och för praktik, för det är aktion som ger upphov till idéer, och som också är ansvarigt för att sprida dem över världen.

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Men vilken sorts aktion ska vi ta till?

Ska vi gå in i eller sända andra för vår räkning till parlamentet, eller rentav till kommunfullmäktige?

Nej, tusen gånger Nej! Vi har ingenting att skaffa med bourgeoisiens intriger, ifall vi inte vill delta i deras förtryck. ’Att gå in i parlamentet är att underhandla; och att underhandla är att sluta fred’, sa en tysk f d revolutionär, som underhandlat åtskilligt efter det.

Vår aktion måste vara permanent revolt, i ord, i skrift, med dolk, med gevär, med dynamit, ibland rentav med röstsedel då det handlar om att rösta på en ovalbar kandidat som Blanqui eller Trinquet. Vi är konsekventa och vi ska använda varenda vapen som går att använda för revolt. Ingenting är fel för oss som inte är legalt.

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’Men när ska vi gå till aktion och sätta igång vårt anfall?’ frågar vänner oss ibland. ’Borde vi inte vänta tills våra styrkor är organiserade? Att anfalla innan man är redo är att avslöja sig och riskera nederlag.’

Vänner, om vi ska fortsätta vänta tills vi är starka nog innan vi anfaller – kommer vi aldrig att anfalla och blir som den gode mannen som svor att han inte skulle gå ut i havet förrän han lärt sig simma. Det är just revolutionär aktion som utvecklar vår styrka, precis som träning utvecklar vår muskelstyrka. Det är sant att våra slag från början inte kommer att bli dödliga sådana; kanske kommer vi till och med att få de allvarliga och kloka socialisterna att skratta, men vi kan alltid svara: ’Ni skrattar åt oss för att ni är lika korkade som de som skrattar åt ett barn som ramlar när det lär sig att gå. Roar det er att kalla oss barn? Nåväl då, vi är barn, för utvecklandet av vår styrka är ännu i sin barndom. Men genom att träna på att gå visar vi att vi försöker bli män, dvs fulländade organismer, friska och starka, förmögna att göra en revolution, inte klottrande redaktörer, åldrade i förtid, ständigt tuggande en vetenskap som de aldrig kan smälta, och alltid förberedande i oändlig rymd och tid en revolution som försvunnit upp i det blå.’

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Hur ska vi börja vår aktion?

Titta bara efter en möjlighet och den kommer snart att visa sig. Överallt där en revolt går att känna eller där en strid kan höras, det är där vi måste vara. Vänta inte på att delta i en rörelse som dyker upp med stämpeln officiell socialism på sig. Varje folklig rörelse bär redan med sig fröna till den revolutionära socialismen: vi måste delta i den för att garantera dess tillväxt. Ett klart och exakt revolutionsideal formuleras endast av en mycket liten minoritet, och ifall vi väntar på att delta i en rörelse som visar sig exakt som vi föreställt oss den i våra sinnen – kommer vi att få vänta förevigt. Imitera inte dogmatikerna som frågar efter formeln före allt annat: folket bär den levande revolutionen i sina hjärtan, och vi måste slåss och dö med dem.

Och när anhängarna till legal eller parlamentarisk aktion kommer och kritiserar oss för att inte ha något att göra med folket när de röstar, ska vi svara dem: ’Givetvis, vi vägrar att ha något att föra med folket när de är nere på knä inför sin gud, sin kung, eller sin herre; men vi ska alltid vara med dem när de står upprätt mot sina mäktiga fiender. För oss är avhållande från röstning inte avhållande från revolution; vår vägran att delta i någon parlamentarisk, legal eller reaktionär aktion är måttet på vär hängivenhet för en våldsam och anarkistisk revolution, för slöddrets och de fattigas revolution.’