Preussiskt polisvälde och anarkisterna

Preussiskt polisvälde och anarkisterna
Didrik Stigman (A. Jensen)
BRAND Nr 1, 1908, Lördagen den 4 januari

Ingenstädes är reaktionen så jättemäktig som i ”det stora fäderneslandet”, med den starka socialdemokratien i Tyskland och i synnerhet i Preussen.

Polisen är zarism i smått.

I synnerhet äro anarkisterna deras skötebarn, omhuldas på allehanda upptänkliga sätt. En särskild detektivkår följer dem i hälarna som deras egen skugga och registrerar deras steg, deras ord, blickar och åthävor. Se här hur en sådan beskuggans anteckningsbok ser ut. Utdragen äro gjorda ur en notisbok, som borttappats av en detektiv.

-18.9.07. Möte Atte Jakobst 75. Om bekanta anarkister varit där?

-Chan arbetar nu hos pantlånare Nathan, Schutzenstrasse 15 kl 8-8.

-9 8 07. Vid ”Der Freie Arbeiter”, K. Krause, Oester, Emil Neuman, Ville Ernst (Petersen) till posten.

-Emil Neuman S. O. kl. 9-10 Ostrowski.

-Hos Lange 10 9.07. Aliseh, Groth, Eluenberg, Lax Jensen.

-Möte hos Patt 16 9 07, Chan, Schiefer, Möller, Chan deltog i disk.

-Dresdenerstr 88/89. Kl. 3. Grossmann 1,66 mörkt hår, mörka ögon, glasög, mörk kavajkostym med sportskjorta, ljus överrock.

-20.4. Förm. Hermansdörfer, 6,05 från bostaden till arbetsstället Friedman, Kaiserallee 98.

-29.6.07. V. Oestrich, kl. 7 till arbetet.

-24.7.07. V. Calin, kl. 8 till arbetet.

12.8.07. N. Eluenberg gick kl. 8.30 till Lange.

Och i denna stil är denna notisbok fullklottrad, och icke allenast denna utan tusende andra, som visa att så snart en människa misstänkes vara anarkist, registreras han, antecknas varje steg, varje handling, också den oviktigaste.

I tankarna ser man polisen löpa gata upp och gata ner, ständigt bakom den harmlöse stackare, som är på väg till arbetet eller till en vän, och icke har en aning om vilken intressant pärson han i själva verket är.
Så kommer en del utgiftsposter annoterade.

10.3.07. ”Vorvärts” 1:10.

13.3.07. Valföreningsbidrag 0:25.

1 ex. ”Der Freie Arbeiter”. 1 ”Der Revolutionär”.

Porto 0:05 = 25 pfg

Och hjärtligt skrattande konstaterar man att den preussiska staten, trots all finansmisér, har råd att köpa anarkistiska tidningar och betala bidrag till de röda valföreningarnas fonder.

Mäst av allt intresserar oss dock slutligen en notis i boken:

Pühringer Johann, född 1883 i Robsback, liten till växten, rödaktigt hår, blå ögon, runt ansikte, egendomlig gång. Vill kasta bomber. Fasttages varhälst han anträffas.

Äntligen! Utropa vi, äntligen en, gud ske lov! Hundra och åter hundra ännu starkare måste dagligen bliva kontrollerade, förföljda, citerade och visiterade – men så upptäcker åtminstone polisens späjaröga en som ”vill kasta bomber”. Välsignad vare du Pühringer Johan! Du som skall häktas var du träffas, du låter dig ingenting bekomma. Du tar intet exempel av hundrade av dina vänner som öppet konspirera på gatan, utan du ”vill” kasta bomber och håller dig undan för polisen.

Det faller sig verkligen svårt att hålla sig för skratt när man läser igenom dessa snillrika polisanteckningar, men skrattet förstummas på läppen när man tänker på detta systems konsekvenser. Vi behöva endast påminna om fallet Rasmussen, genom dylik polisförföljelse drevs han i döden. Och ett par liknande exempel kan Tyskland uppvisa.

Det är mer än förklarligt att dessa människor, som ständigt ser sig bevakade, förföljda och registrerade som brottslingar, som icke kunna göra en rörelse utan att vara observerade, vars husfrid titt och tätt störes av husvisitationer och undersökningar, att de slutligen förlora tålamodet och hämnas på sina förföljare på ett fruktansvärt sätt.

Systemets frukter!

Härom dagen blev en fransman, som befann sig i Berlin i och för affärer, häktad på blotta misstanken att vara anarkist!

Ett anarkistiskt möte är också en stor ”begivenhet” för polisen. Jag kom härom dagen till ett sådant öppet möte. På långt håll kunde man se var det var, ty på var sida om porten stod en polikonstapel beväpnad med sabel och revolver. Inne på gården fann jag en polissergeant och fyra konstaplar posterade, och inne i salen två polislöjtnanter och väl ett tjog konstaplar. Det hela tog sig riktigt högtidligt, riksviktigt ut. Och så debatterade man de fackliga organisationernas former!

Icke så märkvärdigt att även jag under sådana förhållanden fann mig vid utkomsten från mötet observerad av en av det tiotal detektiver, som här voro posterade, en som jag förr en gång iakttagit utanför Langes – en af de i anteckningarna omnämnda – bostad.

Jag låtsades som det rägnade och steg upp i en spårvagn där jag emällertid snart fann mig ha sällskap med subjektet ifråga.

-Sind Sie ein Ausländer?

-Ich bin ein Däne, ljög jag. Men det var lite oförsiktigt, ty mannen började genast tala flytande danska. Och snart hade han lurat oss dit han ville till anarkism.

Då for den lede i kroppen på mig. Jag började orera vitt och brätt om anarkismen i Danmark och det roade mig synnerligen att kittla min åhörare med detaljer i det Rasmussenska dramat.

-Kende di Rasmussen?

-Om jeg kende Rasmussen! Ja, jed ska sie dem – jeg er Rasmussens broer… og – viskade jag, jeg bär også revolver i lommen.

-Oha, oha, de’ e’ skräkkelig at man ikke kan la menniskene vaere me’ ro!

-De syns jeg nu også, min herre. Men vorfor forlader de så ikke spårvognen lige i öjenblikket?

Tablå!

Mannen såg icke glad ut och antagligen icke jag heller.

Vid nästa hållplats steg jag av och – slapp sällskapet.

Didrik Stigman.

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!

Erich Muehsam 1878-1934: The Man and His Work

By Roland Lewin
Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review, Volume One No. 3, Autumn 1977

The public is unaware of the life and work of Erich Muehsam, the anarchist militant whom Rudolf Rocker called ”an unshakeable opponent of every tyranny”. Some works devoted to the history of contemporary Germany, however, that he played an important role in the revolutionary Bavaria of 1918-1919, and that he was one of the first victims of the Hitler regime.

Erich Muehsam is one of the most interesting figures of the German libertarian movement. He was born in Berlin on 6 April 1878. He came from a Jewish family. His father was a pharmacist. The family settled down in Luebeck where the young Erich went to secondary school. His spirit of revolt and taste for action soon showed themselves. He published, in the town’s social-democratic newspaper, several anonymous articles on life at boarding school. His descriptions were not academic but just and his criticisms did not spare anybody. His articles caused quite a stir. He was found out and expelled from school for his ”socialist activities”. However, he graduated at Parchim. His father advised him to follow in his footsteps, and he was for a while an apprentice then an assistant pharmacist.

He soon met Gustav Landauer, the famous writer and anarchist militant. [2] He became his friend and disciple. Both belonged to the New Community, a literary liberal group which had strong influence on the intellectual life of Germany. Apart from Gustav Landauer and Erich Muehsam, this cultural circle included the Hart brothers, Peter Hille, Paul Scheerbart. Muehsam travelled to Switzerland, Italy, Austria and France. In 1909 he settled down in Munich where he earned his living by contributing to various newspapers, notably Jugend and Simplicissmus. In April 1911 he created and activated the monthly review Kain, which lasted until the first world war (a new series appearing from November 1918 until April 1919). During the ten years which preceded the war, he also published many other works: an essay on homosexuality, children’s stories, collections of poems, and plays.

In January 1918 the workers in the munitions factories decided to demonstrate against the war. They launched a general strike which extended throughout Germany. This action, however, did not last long. Muehsam had approved of this kind of struggle and had addressed the Krupp factory workers at Munich. Furthermore, he had refused to be recruited into the auxilliary patriotic service which had just been established. The police arrested him and sent him under house arrest to Trauenstein. He was released on 5 November. During the three days which followed his release he delivered anti-war speeches in front of the Munich barracks.

The revolutionary wave broke all over Germany. During the night of 7-8 November, the king of Bavaria abdicated and the republic was proclaimed. The independent socialist Kurt Eisner formed a coalition government with the majority social-democrats. He relied on the workers’ councils and broke away from the central power of Berlin. He conceded, however, to the pressures from his right wing and was soon practising a policy of concessions that in turn brought him hostility from the far left.

Muehsam had restarted the publication of the review Kain and founded the Union of Revolutionary Internationalists. He was a member of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council which soon transformed itself into a Central Revolutionary Committee. Gustav Landauer and the poet Ernst Toller were also members. On 7 December, 400 men led by Muehsam and the sailor Rudolf Eglhofer, one of those mainly responsible for the Kiel mutiny, occupied the Munich press buildings. He tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain the resignation of the Interior Minister, Auer, who represented the right wing of the Bavarian government.

In his monumental history of the German Army, Benoist-Mechin recounts this episode as follows:

”Disquieted by the growing progress of the counter-revolution, and inspired by the example of their Berlin rivals, Eglhofer and Muehsam decided to take action before it was too late.

”In the night of 7 December, they attempted, on their own initiative, a coup. Accompanied by 400 armed men, they invaded the editorial premises of the principal newspapers of Munich and declared the installation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Eisner, woken in the middle of the night, dressed in great haste and went to the spot to try to calm things down and to oppose the violence. Impressed by his courage, the red guards went to Auer, at the Ministry of the Interior, where they broke down the doors. Amid the hue and cry they insisted on the minister’s resignation. At revolver point Auer was obliged to sign the following declaration:

”‘In the night of 7 December I was attacked by 400 armed men, and was compelled to give up my commission. Under duress I declare my resignation as Minister of the Interior.’

”Then the troops loyal to the Government jumped into lorries and drove to the Miniatry of the Interior, rushed up the stairs, entered Auer’s office, dispersed the extremists and finally became masters of the situation.” [3]

On 11 December, the Spartacists founded their first Munich group. Until the spring of 1919, they had less influence in Bavaria than in other German states. During many months, the presence and action of the anarchists constituted an obstacle to their efforts in this region. On 29 December 1918 the Spartacusbund merged with the Left Radicals and became the Communist Party of Germany.

On 10 January 1919, fearing trouble during the legislative elections, Kurt Eisner had Muehsam and eleven other revolutionary militants arrested.

The Workers’ Council made him release them the following day. Polling day was 12 January.

The independent socialists were defeated in every constituency. The received only 2.5 percent of the votes. The electorate voted en masse for the majority social democrats (centralist tendency) and for the Bavarian People’s Party (catholic). Encouraged by these results, the bourgeoisie took a harder line and tried to overthrow the government. On the 21 February, when going to present his resignation, Kurt Eisner was assassinated in the street by a young officer, Count Arco-Valley. The popular conscience made a martyr of him; about a hundred thousand attended his funeral.

On the same day as his death, the Central Revolutionary Committee declared a stage of siege and a general strike throughout Bavaria. Furthermore, a new government was immediately formed, presided over by the majority socialist Hoffman. Fearing a trial of strength, he made a few concessions to the extreme left who were soon to find them insifficient. At the beginning of April, the workers’ councils of Augsburg launched a political strike, of which Muehsam was the protagonist. This action rested on the following watchwords: unlimited dictatorship of the proletariat, creation of a republic of councils, alliance with soviet Russia and soviet Hungary, breaking off of relations with the central government of Berlin, formation of a revolutionary army. Several towns in Bavaria joined the movement.

Seconded by Gustav Landauer and Ernst Toller, Erich Muehsam invited the Central Revolutionary Government to proclaim without delay the republic of councils. The proposition was adopted by 234 votes to 70. The communists voted against because they judged it premature. They estimated that the economic and political conditions were not yet ready for the realisation of such a project.

The Bavarian republic of councils was proclaimed during the night of 6-7 April. Hoffman and his cabinet took refuge in Bamberg, whence they organised a counter-offensive. At Munich, a council of peoples commissioners was immediately formed. Ernst Toller was its president. Gustav Landauer became commissioner of public instruction. Despite the pleas of his friends Muehsam accepted only a secondary post. The new government had a brief existence. It lasted only six days. This short period was however the reign of pure idealism. It was described by Erich Otto Volkmann as follows:

”Toller and Muehsam establish the principles of the new art. This art must come into the service of the revolutionary socialist ideals, must impregnate uniformly all the manifestations of the human spirit, architecture, town planning, sculpture, literature, painting and journalism, and lead men to a superior order of civilisation. The theatre must belong to the people. ‘The world must florish like a meadow upon which each can make his harvest.’

”Landauer reforms the educational system. He declares: ‘Everyone will work at what he thinks he is good at; all compulsion is abolished, the juducial spirit is gone.’ The teachers and civil servants in charge will be dismissed as soon as possible, exams and university degrees will be reduced to the minimum. Any civilian of eighteen is entitled to attend university. The teaching of history, that enemy of civilisation, is forbidden.

”A people’s commissioner appointed to the housing department arders the requisition of all dwellings on Bavarian territory. From now on each family will be allowed only one living room, with kitchen and bedrooms.

”Other measures are aimed at integrated socialisation, with the complete renovation of the financial and currency systems.” [4]

Some initiatives were excellent. Others lacked realism. Despite the good intentions of its protagonists, the Bavarian republic of councils was not established on solid ground. As Ernst Toller later recalled, it also had to face a lot of practically insuperable obstacles:

”The inadequacy of its leaders, the opposition of the Communist Party, the disunity which reigned among the socialists, the disorganisation of the administration, the increasing scarcity of food, the confusion of the soldiers, all these components contributed to its fall.” [5]

On 13 April, the first government of the councils was overthrown by the troops of the Hoffman cabinet, who had succeeded in regrouping. One part of the Munich garrison, helped by the republican guards (majority socialists), occupied the principal public buildings of the Bavarian capital. Muehsam and twelve people’s commissioners were arrested and taken under escort to Ebrach prison, near Bamburg. The same day the workers and soldiers, led by Ernst Toller, defeated the counter-revolutionary army. In the confusion that followed a new government of councils was formed under the aegis of three Russian communists: Levine, Levien, and Axelrod. They kept Landauer away from any responsibility. Toller was too popular to be completely set aside and was nominated as commander-in-chief of the north sector of Munich. The military supreme command was entrusted to the sailor Eglhofer. A few days later, Hoffman reassembled his troops and sent them in the direction of the Bavarian capital. Toller smashed this second counter-revolutionary offensive at Dachau on 16 April.

Hoffman and the members from his cabinet then appealed for help from the central government of Berlin. Gustav Noske, the Minister of National Defence, agreed to come to their aid and supervised the operations himself. He sent to Bavaria a considerable and well-equipped army. The generals von Luettwitz and von Oven were in command. The main attack started on 27 April. The revolutionary troops resisted bravely but could not contain the enemy advance. On the first of May, the government army occupied Munich and started a severe repression. There were about seven hundred executions. Landauer, Eglhofer and Levine were among the first victims. Axelrod and Levien fled to Austria before the capture of the town. As for Toller, he was arrested and sentenced to five years’ gaol. He was granted a relatively mild sentence because he had prevented the execution of several counter-revolutionary prisoners.

The trial of Muehsam and twelve of his comrades took place in July in Munich. It lasted eight days. The court martial condemned Muehsam to fifteen years’ detention. He was sent to prison at Ansbach then to Niedershoenfeld. During his imprisonment he wrote Homage to Gustav Landauer, some poems and his famous drama Judas which was to appear later on the reportoire of Erwin Piscator.

As with Ernest Girault and so many other libertarian militants, Erich Muehsam believed that the October revolution would reconcile marxism with anarchism. In 1920 he wrote:

”The theoretical theses and practices of Lenin on the achievement of the revolution and of the communist tasks of the proletariat have given to our action a new base… No more insuperable obstacles to a unification of all the revolutionary proletariat.” [6]

His illusions were short lived. After the crushing of Kronstadt and of the Makhnovists, he understood that it was impossible to reconcile the differences between the two currents of the working class movement. Until the end of his life, however, he tried to unite their struggles in the fight against the bourgeoisie and national socialism. For propaganda purposes the communists presented him as their fellow traveller. They exploited with success his good will and his concialiatory attitude.

Muehsam was granted an amnesty on 21 December 1924. Thousands of Berlin workers were waiting for him at the station the following day. For six months he travelled across Germany and spoke of behalf of political prisoners. After that he helped individual cases and took up more particularly the defense of the famous militant communist Max Hoelz who had been sentenced to life imprisonment. He also took part in the campaign to free Sacco and Vanzetti. In October 1926 he founded the monthly review Fanal, which lasted five years. He also created his own publishing house and published many works: his memoirs about the Bavarian councils republic, a recital of his literary encounters, an essay on communist anarchism… up until the advent of the Third Reich he attended many meetings and urged the German workers to unite against national socialism.

On 28 February 1933, a few hours after the burning of the Reichstag, he was arrested when he was getting ready to leave Germany. He spent time in several of Hitler’s gaols: Lehrterstrasse prison (Berlin), Sonnenburg camp, Ploetzensee prison (Berlin), Oranienburg concentration camp. Nazi propaganda blamed Muehsam for the execution of twenty-two hostages at Munich on 30 April 1919. As he pointed out to his executioners, this accusation did not stand up to the facts: he was arrested and taken to prison at Ebrach on 13 April. This legend (of the hostages) was used as a pretext to justify treatment of the worst kind. Despite humiliations and tortures, Erich Muehsam kept a very dignified attitude. His agony lasted seventeen months. He was assassinated at the camp of Oranienburg during the night of 9-10 July 1934.

The nazis claimed that he committed suicide. Many details and many testimonies proved that he was coldly killed by the SS. He was buried on 16 July 1934 in the cemetary of Dahlem.

The same day his companion left Germany and took refuge in Czechoslovakia. A few months later she was invited to the U.S.S.R. She took with her all her husband’s manuscripts as she was promised that an edition of all his works would be published. She had the imprudence to give these documentsto the Soviet archives where they are probably still kept. The censorship allowed the publication only of some poems and literary memoirs. Zensl Muehsam was not deceived for long and showed her disappointment. During the Stalinist purges of 1936, she was arrested and condemned to eight years’ of hard labour and deported. [7] She only left the hell of a concentration camp fifteen years later.. she was then gravely ill and starting to lose her mind. She was sent to East Germany where she received a few medals and a pension. The Pankow regime made her sign documents and used her name on many occasions. She died in East Berlin on 10 March 1962.

The history of the German libertarian movement has still to be written. It is however surprising to note that in most books on anarchism the names of Gustav Landauer and Erich Muehsam are never mentioned. These two revolutionary militants played an important role that seems worthy of acknowledgement. Their main works deserve to be translated and distributed. They would, now, constitute an excellent instrument for reflection and discussion. Thanks to the recent work of a few comrades the life and works of Gustav Landauer were rescued from obscurity. We hope that it will be the same with Erich Muehsam.

Roland Lewin

NOTES
[1] This study appeared previously in Recherches Libertaires (No. 4, Sept. 1967) and Volonta (Vol. XX, No. 11, Nov. 1967), and as a supplement to Le Monde Libertarire, No. 143 (June 1968).

[2] See especially: ”Gustav Landauer et la regeneration social”, by Rene Forain, Le Monde Libertaire, No. 125 (Sept.-Oct. 1966), ”La Revolution et l’esprit unifiant” by Gustav Landauer, Le Monde Libertaire, Nos. 126 (November 1966) and 127 (December 1966); ”Gustav Landauer et la Revolution allemande,” Le Monde Libertaire, No. 128 (Jan. 1967); ”Gustav Landauer”, by C.W., Recherches Libertaires, No. 1 (Dec. 1966). The principal work by Gustav Landauer as been re-edited: Aufruf zum Sozialismus (Call to Socialism), Europaische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt-Main, 1967, 195 pages (with a preface by Heinz-Joachim Heydorn).

[3] Benoist-Mechin: Histoire de l’armee allemande Vol. 1, ”L’effondremont (1918-1919)”. Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 1964, 379 pages.

[4] E.O. Volkmann: La revolution allemande. Librairie Plon, Paris, 1933, 310 pages.

[5] Ernst Toller: Eine Jugend in Deutschland. Querido Verlag, Amsterdam, 1933, 293 pages. This autobiographical work is also to be found in the selected works of Ernst Toller published in one volume by Rowohlt in 1961. I was a German: an autobiography, Ernst Toller, trans. by Edward Crankshaw, John Lane The Bodley Head, London, 1934, 298 pages plus X prelims.

[6] Bulletin communiste, 22nd July, 1920. Cited by Pierre Broue: Le parti bolchevique (history of the C.P. U.S.S.R.). Edns. Minuit, Collection ”Arguments”, Paris, 1963, 628 pages.

[7] Consult on this subject the writings of Alexandre Weissberg (L’accuse; preface by Arthur Koestler; Editions Fasquelle, 1953, 591 pages) and of Margarete Buber-Neumann: Deportee en Siberie; afterword by Albert Beguin; Editions de la Baconniere et du Seuil, collection ”Cahiers du Rhone”, Paris, 1949, 255 pages. Also ”How the Berlin journal of the Unified Socialist Communist Party, New Germany, tries to distort the fate of Zensl Muehsam”, Le Libertaire, No. 185 (10 June 1949).

Principal Sources:
Benoit-Mechin, Histoire de l’armee allemande, Vol. 1, ”L’effondrement, 1918-1919”, Paris 1936 and1964 (two editions).

Beyer, Hans, Von der Novemberrevolution zur Raterepublik in Munchen. (From the November Revolution to the Munich Republic of Councils). Berlin, 1957.

Dorst, Tankred and Neubauer, Helmust, Die Munchener Raterepublik. (The Munich Republic of Councils). Frankfurt, 1966.

Hem Day, Erich Muhsam. Brussels, no date (1934 or 1935?).

Mitchell, Allan, Revolution in Bavaria, 1918-1919. The Eisner Regime and the Soviet Republic. Princeton U.P. 1965; Munich, 1967 (two editions).

Muehsam, (Kreszentia), The Painful Life of Erich Muhsam, Paris, 1934; Genoa, 1960 (two editions).

Rocker, Rudolf, Der Leidensweg von Zensl Muhsam. (The Grief of Zensl Muhsam). Frankfurt-Man, 1949.

Schade, (Franz), Kurt Eisner und die bayerische Sozialdemokratie. (Kurt Eisner and the Bavarian Social Democracy). Hanover, 1961.

Volkmann, E.O., La revolution allemande (1918-1920). (The German Revolution (1918-1920). Paris, 1933.

Braunbuch uber Reichstagsbrand und Hitler-Terror. (Brown Book on the Reichstag Fire and the Hitler Terror) Basle, 1933.

Weissbuch uber die Eriessungen des 30 Juni 1934. (White Book on the Executions of 30 June 1934). Paris, 1934.

Wir sind die Rote Garde. Sozialistische Literatur 1914-1935 (We are the Red Guard. Socialist Literature 1914-1935). 2 vols. Leipzig, 1967.

Bibliographical Postscript
Grunberger, Richard, Red Rising in Bavaria. Arthur Barker, London, 1973, pp. 164.
Maurer, Charles B., Call to Revolution. The mystical anarchism of Gustav Landauer, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1971, pp. 218.

Articles on Erich Muehsam and texts by this militant have appeared in the following periodicals (by chronological order):

Bulletin communiste, No. 21, 22 July 1920.
Les Vagabonds, Jan. 1924.
La Revue Internationale Anarchiste, No. 1, 15 November 1924.
La Revolution Proletarienne, No. 4, April 1925.
Le Nouvel Age, No. 11, Nov. 1931.
Le Libertaire, Nos 391 (24 March 1933), 422 (3 Aug. 1934) and 435 (8 Feb. 1935).
Le Voix Libertaire, Nos. 273 (4 Aug. 1934) and 274 (1 Sept. 1934).
Terre Libre, No. 5, Sept. 1934.
La Revue Anarchiste, No. 21, Oct.-Dec. 1934.
L’Espagne Antifasciste, No. 18, 7 Nov. 1936.
Ce qu’ll Faut Dire, No. 48/49, Dec. 1947.
Die freie Gesellshaft, Nos. 10 (Aug. 1950) and 19 (May 1951).
Information, No. 4, 1959.
Le Monde Libertaire, No. 86, Jan. 1963.

Iconography
Terre Libre, No. 5, Sept. 1934.
Le Revue Anarchiste, No. 21, Oct.-Dec. 1934.
Weissbuch uber die Erchiessungen des 30 Juni 1934, Paris, 1934.
Muhsam, Kreszentia, La Vie douloureuse d’Erich Muhsam, Paris, 1934.
Muhsam, Erich, Auswahl, Zurich, 1962.
Schade, Franz, Kurt Eisner und die bayerische Sozialdemokratie, Hanover, 1961.
Mein Kampf. (Documents about Hitler and the Third Reich, from the film of Erwin Leiser). Paris, 1962.
Bloch, Charles, La nuit des longs couteaux, Paris, 1967.

Works by Erich Muehsam

Die Homosexualitat. Ein Beitrag zur Sittengesschichte unserer Zeit (Homosexuality: A contribution to the history of the customs of our times).Berlin, 1903.
Billy’s Erdengang. Eine Elephantengeschichte fur artige Kinder (Billy’s Stay on Earth. A story about elephants for good children). Berlin, 1904.
Die Wuste. Gedichte (The Desert. Poems). Berlin, 1904.
Ascona. Eine Broschure (Ascona. A pamphlet). Locarno, 1905 and 1906 (two editions).
Die Psychologie der Erbtante. Eine Tanthologie aus 25 Einzeldarstellungen als Beitrag zur Losung der Unsterblichkeitsfrage (The Psychology of the Wealthy Aunt. A study of the aunt through 25 unique descriptions contributed to resolve the problem of immortality). Zurich, 1905.
Die Hochstapler. Lustspiel in vier Aufzugen (The Crooks. A comedy in four acts). Munich, 1906.
Die Jagd auf Harden. (The Pursuit of Harden). Berlin, 1908.
der Krater. (The crater). Berlin, 1909.
Die Freivermahlten. Polemisches Schauspiel in drei Aufzugen (The Question of a Free Union. A polemical play in three acts). Munich, 1914.
Wuste – Krater – Wolken. Gedixhte (Desert – Craters – Clouds. Poems). Berlin, 1914.
1919. Dem Andenken Gustav Landauers (1919. Homage to Gustav Landauer). Berlin, 1919.
Brennende Erde. Verse eines Kampfers (Earth on Fire. Verse of a Combatant). Munich, 1920.
Judas. Arbeiter Drama in funf Akten (Judas. Working class drama in five acts). Berlin, 1921 and 1924 (two editions).
Das Standrecht in Bayern. (Martial Law in Bavaria). Berlin, 1923.
Alarm. Manifeste aus zwanzig jahren (Alarm. Demonstrations of twenty years). Berlin, 1925.
Revolution. Kampf, Marsch und Spottlieder (Revolution. Fighting, marching and satirical songs). Berlin, 1925.
Seenot. Verse und Gesange (Peril at Sea. Verse and Songs). Vienna, 1925.
Gerechtigkeit fur Max Hoelz! (Justice for Max Hoelz!). Berlin, 1926.
Staatrason. Ein Denkmal fur Sacco und Vanzetti (Reasons of State. Memorial for Sacco and Vanzetti). Berlin, 1928.
Sammlung 1898-1928. (C ollection of texts, 1898-1928). Berlin, 1928.
Von Eisner bis Levine. Die Entstehung der bayerischen raterepublik. Personlicher Rechenschaftsbericht uber die Revolutionsereignisse in Munchen vom 7 November 1918 bis zum 13 April 1919. (From Eisner to Levine. The genesis of the Bavarian republic of councils. A personal account of the revolutionary events in Munich from 7 November 1918 to 13 April 1919). Berlin, 1929.
Unpolitische Erinnerungen. (Unpolitical Memories). Leipzig, 1931; Berlin, 1961 (two editions).
Die Befreiung der Gesellschaft vom Staat. Was ist Kommunistischer Anarchismus? (The Liberation of Society from the State. What is communist anarchism?). Berlin, 1932.
La Liberte comme principe social. (Freedom as a Social Principle), Brussels, 1936.
Auswahl. (Chosen pieces). Moscow, 1960 )with an introduction and notes by N. Pawlowa).
Auswahl. (Chosen pieces). Zurich, 1962 (with an obituary article by Erich Weinert and an appendix by Dieter Schiller).

(Translated by A. and J.W.)

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.

Utdrag ur Rockers ”Den ryska statskommunismens bankrutt”

Rudolf Rocker (1921)

Dagstidningen Arbetaren Nr 160, årg. 34, Torsdagen den 14 juli 1955

På sista sammanträdet för Röda Fackföreningsinternationalens kongress i Moskva 1921 kom det till ett betecknande intermezzo. Bucharin begärde plötsligen ordet och gjorde en häftig attack mot anarkisterna. Kort efter sin ankomst till Moskva bildade de utländska kongressdelegaterna en särskilt kommitté som hos sovjetregeringen skulle kräva frigivandet av de då fängslade anarkisterna och anarkosyndikalisterna. Man lovade kommittén att göra det möjliga, och denna förpliktade sig samtidigt att inte diskutera den pinsamma angelägenheten på kongressen. Kommittén höll sitt löfte. Desto större blev förvåningen när Bucharin kort före kongressens slut helt omotiverat framlade frågan för kongressens plenum. När den franske delegaten Sirolle i sin tur begärde ordet i frågan, försökte ordföranden Lossovskij hindra honom, men han fick till sist böja sig för kongressen. Bucharing försökte bevisa för delegaterna att man inte fick förväxla de ryska anarkisterna med andra länders. Här i Ryssland rörde det sig om en särskild avart som regeringen måste skydda sig för. De fångna anarkisterna var vanliga förbrytare, anhängare av bandithövdingen Maknov, kontrarevolutionärer m. m. förklarade han.

I själva verket hade anarkisterna spelat en aktiv roll i den allmänna revolutionära rörelsen. De disponerade då ett större antal dagliga tidningar och deras propaganda hade trängt in djupt hos massorna. I Kronstadt, Odessa, Jekaterinburg och en del andra städer hade de hela arbetarklassen bakom sig. De hade skrivit parollen ”Hela makten åt råden” på sina fanor innan bolsjevikerna överhuvud visste vilken ställning de skulle inta till sovjeterna.

I Paristidskriften ”Les Temps Noveaux” har en rysk anarkist beskrivit händelserna efter revolutionen. Lenin skyndade sig att publicera ett dekret, skriver han, där han förklarade att hans parti framdeles skulle kalla sig för ”Kommunisternas parti”. Petrograds Anarkistiska federation avkrävde honom en deklaration om vad han avsåg med kommunism. Eftersträvade han en fri kommunism eller skulle arbetare och bönder gå i partiets ledband? Lenin svarade att han ville införa fri kommunism, men att detta endast kunde ske etappvis, och tillade att han därtill också behövde de anarkistiska gruppernas hjälp. Anarkisterna var naiva nog att ta dessa ord för sanning och stödde bolsjevikerna i kampen för det gemensamma målet. Men så snart som kampen och den omedelbara faran var över, började bolsjevikerna se med största misstro på de anarkistiska organisationerna.

Efter vapenstilleståndet med tyskarna växte eländet bland massorna. De s. k. folkkommissarierna utsände dekret efter dekret utan att kunna förbättra läget. Anarkisterna började i samverkan med de vänsterorienterade socialrevolutionärerna att reagera mot bolsjevikernas metoder, och deras första försök var att organisera ”folkkök” och hem för de svältande och bostadslösa befolkningsgrupperna. Framförallt försökte de också att skapa fackliga organisationer för arbetarna istäderna och på landet och att bygga upp fria kommunistiska bygemenskaper. I denna situation blev det Mirbach, den tyska regeringens representant i Moskva, som fäste Lenins uppmärksamhet vid att en ordentlig stat inte fick tolerera folk som anarkisterna. Därmed fick Lenin en förevändning att gå fram mot anarkisterna. Han gav order att storma och ockupera anarkisternas lokaler i Moskva. Natten mellan den 14 och 15 maj 1918 inringade polisen alla hus där anarkister brukade träffas. Kanoner och kulsprutor ställdes upp och trädde i aktion. Under hela natten förekom bombardemang och slaget blev så häftigt som om en främmande armé försökte ta staden. På morgonen erbjöd de kvarter där kampen rasat en fruktansvärd anblick. Hus var sönderskjutna, mellan förstörda möbler och ruiner låg omkring i gårdarna och på gatorna. Segerherren som lett kampen mot anarkisterna var Bela Kun, Ungerns kommande kommunistiske diktator.

Upphetsningen bland befolkningen var så stor att Lenin och Trotskij såg sig föranledda till en förklaring, Det var inte avsikten att gå fram mot alla anarkister, sade de, utan bara mot dem som inte ville underkasta sig diktaturen. Några av de anarkister som befann sig i tjekans händer frigavs också. Men de anarkistiska organisationerna upplöstes, deras bibliotek konfiskerades, litteraturen brändes. Häften av de anarkistiska grupperna likviderades, ett stort antal kamrater försmäktar nu bakom fängelsegaller, resten har blivit kringströdda över hela landet precis som under tsarens regim, slutar den ryska anarkisten i ”Les Temps Noveaux”.

I ett uttalande som antagits av den ryska anarkosyndikalistiska kongressen den 25 augusti 1918, förklarades att kamp skulle föras mot stat och kapitalism, för en federativ sammanslutning mellan råden och för samverkan mellan arbetare- och bondeorganisationer med syfte att organisera produktionen. Uttalandet rekommenderade bildande av ”fria sovjeter” och vände sig emot ”folkkommissariernas sovjeter” som förklarades vara en för folkets intressen skadlig organisation. Fördelningen av livsmedel och andra förnödenheter skulle överföras i arbetar- och bondeorganisationernas händer och ”de väpnade aktionerna mot bönderna” skulle inställas, eftersom dessa metoder försvagade solidariteten mellan arbetarna och bönderna och endast gynnade kontrarevolutionen. Man kan hysa delade meningar om denna resolutions teoretiska och praktiska betydelse, men ingen normal människa kan påstå att dessa strävanden var kontrarevolutionära såsom bolsjevikerna påstod.

För att känneteckna bolsjevikernas tendenser räcker det däremot att såsom ett bland hundra exempel citera ett ord av Bucharin: ”Proletärt tvång, börjande med summariska avrättningar och tvångsarbete, detta är, så paradoxalt som det än må låta, den metod medelst vilken den kapitalistiska epokens människomaterial omformas till den kommande kommunistiska mänskligheten.” Man tar sig i huvudet och frågar om mannen som uttalat dessa ord rymt ur ett mentalsjukhus. Herr Bucharin och hans vänner tycks inte förstå att de själva tillhör ”den kapitalistiska epokens människomaterial” och att just de behövde ”omformas” för att passa till en ”kommunistisk mänsklighet”. Man påminns om Torquemadas dystra gestalt som med tårar i ögonen följde sina offer till bålen – också han var av den uppfattningen att tidens ”människomaterial” endast genom de renande flammorna kunde ”omformas” till trogna tjänare för den heliga kyrkan. Torquemadas mål var den ”heliga kyrkan”, Bucharins är ”den kommunistiska mänskligheten”, men deras metoder har framsprungit ur samma mentalitet.

I sin skrift om Radikalismen som kommunismens barnsjukdom skriver Lenin om de metoder som det gäller att använda för att överrumpla arbetarorganisationerna: ”Man måste förstå att göra motstånd mot allt detta, man måste vara besluten att bringa alla offer och att,om nödvändigt, även bruka list, slughet, illegala metoder, förtigande och förhemligande av sanningen för att tränga in i de fackliga organisationerna, för att stanna i dem och för att där genomföra kommunistisk verksamhet.” Men denna centralism som blivit till en dogm för de flesta riktningarna inom socialismen var inte bara oförmögen att skapa den av alla efterlängtade arbetarrörelsens enhet, den kunde inte heller upprätthålla enheten inom det egna partiet. Splittringar framträder överallt. Dessa eländiga misslyckanden medför dock inte att dessa människor börjar fundera över orsakerna. Efter varje fiasko skärps centralismen och disciplinen blir ännu hårdare, så att man, för att citera bolsjeviktidningen ”Kommunist” i Stuttgart, t. o. m. kan skriva: ”Partimedlemmen måste vara beredd att skjuta sig på partiets order. Kort sagt, varje egen vilja upphör.” Men för en revolutionär arbetarrörelse behövs andra förutsättningar för att nå målet. Självständigt tänkande, kritiskt ställningstagande till alla ting, personlig frihetslängtan och skapande handling är betingelserna för den slutgiltiga segern. Sovjetism (rådssystem), inte bolsjevism, frihet, inte diktatur, detta är våra paroller.

RUDOLF ROCKER

MAX NETTLAU’S 70th BIRTHDAY

By Fritz Brupbacher (Translated by Jules Scarceriaux)

April 30th, Max Nettlau, the historian of anarchism, was seventy years old. He lives in Vienna in a tiny little room hardly big enough for himself, a stove and a few needed books. There, he toils day and night to complete his works without asking himself if they will ever be printed. Times are hard for men who have only their thoughts and knowledge to sell. We live in an epoch where love is no longer loved, when each one looks for either a master or a slave. But Dr. Max Nettlau studies the libertarian movement and writes its history. The knowledge of such a movement is not wished for by masters nor by slaves; to them, such history is enervating.

For more than thirty years Nettlau’s Bakunin, a monumental biography, waits for an editor, in any language. Still it is in existence, about fifty copies polygraphed by himself, have been spread all over the world. Every one of us who writes about the libertarian movement and upon Bakunin has taken something from Nettlau. Without him we should practically have ignored everything from the history of anarchism.

Now, a 40,000 Volume library collected by his own means is packed up in boxes somewhere. Nettlau is not “rich” enough to install his own library and make use of his own books. Day and night he is at work as the poorest worker and he is as poor as the last of them; for his work is poison to the wealthy of the world. Should Nettlau manufacture ammunitions, he would then live in abundance.

Yes, Dr. Nettlau was born in Vienna. His father was chief gardener for prince Schwarzenberg; he was a republican of the German 48; fatherhood was well understood by him, for he left his son to grow like his flowers. Nettlau had a happy childhood growing up in a wonderful garden in Robinson Crusoe and Grimm’s stories atmosphere, dreaming of some South-Sea Islands, idealistic and free. Later, this dream of a free island passed into his social conceptions. The political dream of the year 1848 remained a part of his life. Already as a youth, he wanted to organise a society of conspirators to fight the tyrants.

When a young collegian he read “Die Zukunft” (The Future), an Australian socialist publication. Very early in life he participated at socialist gatherings and meetings. Once, at the Gymnasium, he was already reprimanded for his conceptions; in a composition he had condemned Louis XIV for having made too many wars. He was then told that a prince can never be blamed.

First, Nettlau studied philology. He obtained his doctorate summacum lande for his Cimbrian Celtic grammar. From 1891 on, he published his first work upon Bakunin, and thus the latter was known in our midst.

Later he gave up philology and applied himself entirely to the study of the libertarian movement. He wrote numerous well-documented articles for newspapers and reviews. He wrote not only a biography of Bakunin, but also one of Reclus and another on Malatesta.

Furthermore, besides the above mentioned works, he published in German three volumes upon the history of anarchism; four more manuscripts on the subject are ready. But these books cannot see the daylight. Here, one could ask if the editors are under the impression that there is no more a public of revolutionary readers for such books. Or we should be inclined to enquire if the revolutionary element has lost the taste for everything dealing with freedom.

However, we believe that there must still be one editor for the history of anarchism in a single volume, a book that would consign the essential of the work to which Nettlau has concentrated his entire life. This summing up which we have asked him for, Nettlau is now writing without bothering about its publication. Deep into his heart he has confidence. He works at what he believes to be his task as must work all those who love and advocate freedom.

Again, we, the old ones, cannot conceive our intellectual workshop without Nettlau’s work. And I think that it will be the same with the young element, for those who think that freedom is as much needed as our daily bread.

Thus, all of us, friends of freedom, of truth, will say today to Dr. Nettlau, on his 70th birthday, that our hearts are thankful for him who has kept the treasures of the anarchist literature through his researches and publications. Nettlau has not worked and suffered in vain. And if he is dear and so great to us, it is as much for the reason that he is not only a scholar, but also a man who has lived only for his ideas locked up in the midst of his books that speak of them. We shake hands with him with gratitude and wish him in his work many, many more years. No doubt that finally, there will be an editor in some country in the world who will understand the importance of Nettlau’s marvellous work.

Man! Vol. 3 No 6
June 1935

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

Louis Lingg

Louis Lingg

Tysk-amerikansk anarkist, född 1864, död 1887. Den yngste av Haymarketmartyrerna och den ende av dem som man verkligen vet sysslade med bombtillverkning.

Lingg föddes i Schwetzingen, Baden. Fadern var skogshuggare som invalidiserades efter en arbetsplatsolycka, fick sparken och dog sedan. Efter det var Linggs liv hårt och hungrigt, han fylldes av ”bittert hat mot det existerande samhället”. Han blev snickare och socialist och vandrade genom Tyskland och Schweiz i jakt på arbete. I Freiburg gick han med i en lasalleansk grupp. I Zürich träffade han anarkisten August Reinsdorf och blev lärjunge till honom. (Reinsdorf halshöggs 1885 för att ha konspirerat mot kajsern). Lingg efterlystes för att han inte inställt sig till militärtjänstgöring och utvandrade till USA, dit han kom 1885 och slog sig omedelbart ner i Chicago. Han började nästan direkt arbeta som betald organisatör åt snickarfacket. Det säger en del om Linggs intryck på sina arbetskamrater att han som 21-åring, ny i landet och utan att kunna engelska, fick en sådan uppgift. Han tillhörde också sin fackförenings väpnade gren.

Lingg jagades efter Haymarketexplosionen och greps efter ursinnigt motstånd. Under rättegången var han föraktfull och satt mesta tiden och läste. Hans alibi var att han då Haymarketexplosionen inträffade hade suttit hemma och tillverkat bomber. Han höll ett klassiskt anarkistiskt tal inför domstolen (”Om ni använder kanoner mot oss kommer vi att använda dynamit mot er!”). Han dömdes till döden men lurade bödeln genom att spränga sig med dynamit i dödscellen natten innan avrättningen. Dynamiten smugglades inte in av hans flickvän, som ibland hävdas, utan av Dyer D. Lum.

(Anarkanda)