Anti-militarism is today an unquestioned mainstay of anarchism. This book presents a systematic analysis of anarchist responses to the First World War. It examines the interventionist debate between Peter Kropotkin and Errico Malatesta which split the anarchist movement in 1914. The controversy revolved around conflicting interpretations of the shared ideas of internationalism and anti-militarism. The book analyses the debates conducted in European and American movements about class, nationalism, pacifism and cultural resistance. Just as Kropotkin's position was coherent with his anarchist beliefs, it was also a product of his rejection of the main assumptions of the peace politics of his day. Malatesta's dispute with Kropotkin provides a focus for the anti-interventionist campaigns he fought internationally. Contributions discuss the justness of war, non-violence and pacifism, anti-colonialism, pro-feminist perspectives on war and the potency of myths about the war and revolution for the reframing of radical politics in the 1920s and beyond. The collaboration between the Swiss-based anarchists and the Indian nationalists suggests that Bertoni's group was not impervious to collaboration with groups whose ideological tenets may have been in tension with the ideology of anarchism. During the First World War, American anarchists emphasised the positive, constructive aspects of revolutionary violence by aestheticising it as an outgrowth of individual creativity. Divisions about the war and the experience of being caught on the wrong side of the Bolshevik Revolution encouraged anarchists to reaffirm their deeply-held rejection of vanguard socialism and develop new strategies on anti-war activities.
8 At war with empire: the anti-colonial roots of American anarchist debates during the First World War Kenyon Zimmer After members of the Young Bosnia movement assassinated the Hapsburg heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, the New York Times sought out anarchist Alexander Berkman’s thoughts on the killing. Berkman speculated that credit for the act was due to ‘[t]he anarchists, the revolutionists, and the strong republican faction’ in the Balkans, a quote that inspired the newspaper’s sensationalist headline, ‘Calls It Anarchist Plot’.1
understandings. Figure 1.1 depicts an attempt to visualize such networks (focused on North American anarchist movements during the 1990s and 2000s). Networks are often too complicated to understand immediately. They not only require sufficient time to discover and appraise all the constituent parts, but also to situate the network in relations to other broader networked systems. Anarchist movements are similarly complex. To use North American anarchist movements during the 1990s and 2000s as a case study, we find a combination of organizations, super-organizational structures
the midst of a civil war and, from an anarchist perspective, killing the revolution in the process.41 We can track the American anarchists’ response to this course of events through its underground newspapers, Freedom: A Journal of Constructive Anarchism and The Anarchist Soviet Bulletin. Beset by state repression on two fronts, they continued to imbue anarchist politics with ‘artistic’ qualities such as emotionally charged self-expression, creativity, individual agency and freedom in the course of critiquing the violence of state capitalism and Bolshevik
English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.
movements are networks of individuals and organizations – who sometimes acquire allies outside the ideological borders of that movement – bridging happens across movement borders, while bonding happens within. Recall the network diagram of the North American anarchist movement in the 1990s and 2000s (Figure 1.1): outside of the dotted lines of the SOCIAL CAPITAL IN ANARCHIST MOVEMENTS 181 anarchist movement borders, anarchists occasionally collaborate with leftists, mainstream unions, certain non-profit organizations, the Catholic Worker, alternative spaces, and
rationalist’ rather than a socialist. He was, recalled Kingsley Martin on his death, ‘ “meticulous about accurate detail . . . I have always regretted that I did not send [him] the manuscript of each of my books before publication; instead of awaiting his inevitable list of errors.” ’15 This was a trait inherited by his grandson. Walter’s other grandfather was Karl Walter, an American anarchist and journalist, who had known Peter Kropotkin and Edward Carpenter. After a period in Italy, when he became a fascist sympathiser, he returned to London and to his erstwhile
ungrateful individuals who do not appreciate all that the system has provided them. For example, a redacted document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation – a key actor in the American domination network – claims that anarchist movements are “made up of younger, educated, middle to upper class individuals” (FBI 2011). While not citing any thorough analysis or data source, the FBI seems to claim that (American) anarchists come from backgrounds of relative privilege. Additionally, anarchists are “not dedicated to a particular cause,” are “criminals seeking an ideology to
which America’s anarchists intended to support their ideologically divergent terrorist ‘brothers’ in distant Russia. Suggestions included everything from holding fund-raisers to buy bullets, to sending bombers over to St Petersburg to join in the carnage. There was even a suggestion to ride SR coat-tails and make ‘the American anarchistic movement one of the strongest in the world’. This was to involve finding Russian immigrants who would boast of SR successes at workers’ meetings and lectures, using stories of
international republic!” (Joll 1964, 123). Also injured in the attack was the Italian Prime Minister. Supporters of the King organized a parade to celebrate the monarch’s survival, but a bomb thrown into the procession killed four and injured ten. Twenty-two years later, a second anarchist, Gaetano Bresci would finish the job and successfully assassinate King Umberto. Following the King’s death, American anarchist James Ferdinand Morton, Jr. (1900) wrote: All through the [American] South, men are hung, shot, tortured, and burned at the stake on the flimsiest pretexts; and the