Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, The Spirit of Russia: Studies in History, Literature, and Philosophy, 1919.




In our account of modern Russian anarchism we shall first describe the system of Petr Kropotkin.1 For the most part Kropotkin is a disciple of Bakunin, but is a less highly strung revolutionist than his predecessor, his anarchism being more temperate, or shall I say less rugged, than Bakunin's, not only in form but in content. Bakuninist pandestruction is in Kropotkin's hands a sociological and ethical criticism [379] and negation of the old social order, which the revolution is destined to abolish.

According to Kropotkin, this old order is the dominance of the few over the many, and above all the dominance of a small number of capitalists. The love of our neighbour is officially preached, but remains mere dead preachment, just as we are habitually told that we are never to lie whilst misrepresentation and sophistry constitute the whole basis of our social life. It is impossible, therefore, that this life can be retained, and it must be altered from the foundations upwards. But the question of its transformation does nor depend merely upon the material conditions of existence, and the change must involve the entire domain of human activity. The new world can only be upbuilded by a new faith. This new world signifies the political and social freedom of all.

Anarchism, for Kropotkin, is a method, is a natural philosophy of socialism, a philosophy in fact. Just as Marx proclaimed his socialism as science, so does Kropotkin speak of anarchism as science.

Kropotkin's anarchism is directed against the power and dominion of the state, being essentially astatism and apolitism, but at the same time it is directed against authority in every form. Kropotkin stigmatises the wielders of power, the guardians of the law, and the pious, as the hereditary enemies of thought. Opposing reason to authority, he rejects the Bible and the gospels, Kant (the categorical imperative), Bentham and the utilitarians (self-interest rightly understood), and all hitherto extant religious and moral education. Like Bakunin, he demands a new morality and a new faith, meaning thereby, not a new religion, but a new philosophy.

As happens to so many of the anarchists, Kropotkin's astatism involves him in grave perplexities. Let us suppose, he says, that a group of individuals have combined to carry out an undertaking. One of them proves disorderly and work-shy; what is to be done? Is the group to be dissolved; is it to be given an overseer who will dictate punishments or keep a time-book of work done? Kropotkin "solves the difficulty in the following way." The comrades will say to the comrade whose conduct is injuring the undertaking: 'Good friend, we should like to go on working with you, but since you often fail to turn up, and often neglect your work, we shall have to part company. Go and seek other comrades [380] who will get on better with you.' " Extremely amiable, but somewhat childish. Lenin's comment would be, "Kill withkindness!"

Bakunin spoke of his anarchism as revolutionary socialism, and sometimes as social or socialistic democracy. Kropotkin terms his own doctrine "anarchistic socialism," for he distinguishes anarchism from socialism solely in respect of method. Kropotkin represents the relationship between anarchism and socialism in the following way. Socialism has sprung from three sources and in a threefold manner. Social democracy (state socialism) originated from Saint-Simonism, anarchism from Proudhonism, autonomist trade unionism and municipal socialism from Owenism. These systems represent three trends, three methods, three routes towards a common goal; anarchism is far more closely akin to Owenism than to Saint-Simonism. Anarchising socialism and social democracy are distinguished one from another by their divergent estimates of organisation or of state socialism. Kropotkin is opposed to centralisation. Like Bakunin and Proudhon, he demands the autonomous federation of the individual associations, which he does not conceive as territorial, but rather as consisting of a moderately large number of persons belonging to different localities. Kropotkin adduces the postal service as an example of the anarchistic organisation of the future. Just as the posts between the different states can be carried on exceedingly well without a central office, so can the autonomous lesser social organisations be federatively linked and internationally combined. But Kropotkin forgets that the international postal treaties are regulated and guaranteed by the state.

Kropotkin rejects, not merely centralism, but individualism as well. He refuses to recognise the rights of the individual, since these do not signify equal rights for all, but the rights of the few over the many. Above all, Kropotkin dissents from Nietzsche, whom he regards as a hopelessly vague thinker, and where not vague, narrow. Rejecting Nietzsche, he rejects also the Russian individualist aristocrats like Merezkovskii.

To some extent, Kropotkin agrees with political radicalism in his estimate of the state; he opposes the state on principle. The radicals, he says, hope that the republic and universal suffrage will bring salvation, but their hope is vain. Parliament cannot help the weak, nor can it reconcile opposing [381] forces; majority rule means always the rule of mediocrity; the electoral method is not the way to find those who can represent the people. The whole of political life is permeated with falsehood; the root of the evil lies in the very principle of the state; consequently all the functions of the state are to be reduced, not to a minimum, but to nil. Anarchism is annihilation of the state, is anarchy, Kropotkin declares, following Bakunin.

Kropotkin has much to say against social democracy, but he never really tries conclusions with social democracy. Like Bakunin, he is adverse to Marxism and to Marx, but gives no sufficient grounds for his antipathy. He fails to pay sufficient attention to the evolution of the Marx-Engels doctrine and to Marxism; he fails to see that Marx, too, was opposed to the state, and was an enthusiastic advocate of revolution. Kropotkin's utterances upon the leading question of historical materialism are extremely vague.2

Kropotkin's views are distinguished from Marx's above all in the recognition of morality. He negates the old morality, [382] but his outlook is not amoralist either in the sense of Marx- Engels or in that of Nietzsche. Like Bakunin, Kropotkin wishes to found a new ethic. For Kropotkin, that is good which is useful to society, and that is bad which is harmful to society. He troubles himself little to enquire whether this definition is adequate, just as he fails to formulate with precision the concept "society." Without further ado, he identifies that concept with the concept "race," and he uses the term "humanity" with the same signification. An opponent of Bentham and the other utilitarians, Kropotkin himself is unable to get beyond the utilitarian foundation of his ethic. He is a rationalist utilitarian, a disciple of the English utilitarians of the eighteenth century. He goes back, above all, to Adam Smith, teaching that men are endowed with natural sympathy, which suffices as a principle of morality. This natural sympathy is simultaneously a sense that we are all members of one another, and that consequently the sound organisation of society is a spontaneous product. Kropotkin discerns this social sense of mutual dependence among the lower animals also, and he therefore considers the formation of societies to be a natural law. Mutual aid is a natural law for beast as well as for man. The struggle for existence, the class struggle, are not the only laws of nature and society.

Kropotkin terms this natural social order, mutualism. In this matter Kropotkin dissents, not only from Darwin, but also from Spencer, for whereas Spencer had taught that the great progress of future society would be realised by effecting a coincidence between the happiness of the individual and the happiness of the community, Kropotkin contends that there has not from the first been any conflict between the interest of the individual and that of the community; there has always been a harmony of interests, for had it not been so the human race would never have been able to maintain itself, and no animal species would have been able to attain to its present level of development. Kropotkin forestalls possible objections to this idea of preestablished harmony by admitting that alike among men and among animals there have always existed numerous individuals unable to comprehend such harmony and mutuality. But the failure, he says, is due merely to a lack of understanding, to narrowness and stupidity; and there have always been individuals able to [383] recognise the true nature of the case and therefore able to lead a perfectly social life.

Like so many positivists and evolutionists, Kropotkin fails to reconcile ethics with historical development. For him ethics is a positive science, its function being merely to note facts. There is no ethical imperative. The anarchist studies society, and endeavours to understand its past and present trends. His ideal does no more than specify in which direction evolution is actually advancing. It seems hardly necessary to point out that such a sociological guide to action is extremely vague and unpractical. Kropotkin recognises four great historical stages: the social order of primitive tribal communism; feudahsm; urban communities; and finally the centralised organisation of the state, which will be replaced by the stateless communistic federation. Now if we assume this account of historical development to be accurate, what follows as regards the practical activities of Kropotkin himself? Are his concrete doings based upon such an outlook?

In this evolutionist solution of the problem of liberty, Kropotkin follows Guyau, whom he extols as the founder of anarchist ethics. Kropotkin eludes the imperative by a positively foolish turn of phrase. Since he is compelled to insist upon the right and even the duty of revolution and tyrannicide, he adopts the hypothetical form, saying that every stalwart man begs us to kill him if he should become a tyrant. Of course the use of "if" does not really evade the imperative, but Kropotkin imagines he has eluded the difficulty when he declares the moral sense to be a natural endowment, no less natural than the sense of taste or smell. Morals, therefore, need neither sanction nor obligation (une morale sans obligation ni sanction, as Guyau puts it). When, therefore, Kropotkin makes use of the term "right," he promptly explains that it means nothing more than the consciousness of a good action. Kropotkin recognises no right, no law, no coercion. The natural inclinations of human beings serve to explain human actions; every one treats others as he wishes to be treated by them.

Kropotkin likewise adopts Guyau's ethical measure of intensity. The more intense a man's moral sense, the more does he do for society; and the more a man lives for society, the more intensively does he live. This follows from the [384] previously explained mutuality of the individual and of society. Kropotkin therefore condemns the morality of simple equality, condemns a life in which everything should be meted out to all by the same measure. Such a life would be grey, monotonous, devoid of strong impressions, lacking great joys and great sorrows, a vegetative life of mediocrity, life in a rotting swamp. "Be strong!" cries Kropotkin to his neighbour, and he demands that life shall be lived to the full; we must strive to give more than we receive, to produce more that is great, beautiful, and powerful. "To live means to spread one's energies abroad; to live means to strive for the attainment of perfect freedom; mere justice, mere equality would be the death of society. The anarchist must be strong and active; he must do great things; must do the greatest!"

Kropotkin, perhaps, hardly realises that he, the communist, is borrowing from Guyau's aristocratic doctrines, and even from Nietzsche's aristocratic radicalism.

Aristocratic, too, is Kropotkin's theory of revolution, at any rate in so far as revolution is the great deed he demands from the anarchist.

For Kropotkin, revolution is merely a form of natural evolution. Revolution represents the period of accelerated evolution, the period of torrential progress of the new order of society. Revolution is just as natural and necessary as is the slower manifestation of evolution.

It cannot therefore be the task of the sociologist and politician to discover how revolution is to be avoided. His aim must be to learn how revolution can be made to yield the greatest results.

Here Kropotkin takes a different line from Bakunin. Whereas Bakunin is quite unconcerned about plans for the future, and merely demands negative passion, the instinct of pandestruction, Kropotkin insists that we must have a definite plan, a distinct aim, and that we must choose the right method of revolution. Kropotkin wishes to restrict civil war to the utmost; the number of victims must be as small as possible; we must endeavour to minimise the reciprocal embitterment of the contending parties.

There is only one means to secure these practical human restrictions. The revolting and oppressed portion of society must be perfectly clear in its own mind regarding the aims and methods of the civil war, and must possess the enthusiasm [385] requisite to carry it on to the goal. Kropotkin, therefore, in contradistinction to Bakunin, does not desire to have any secret revolutionary organisations. The mass revolution must be the outcome of the deliberate agreement of all.

The revolution will be assured of success when the social class against which the struggle is being carried on shall have been brought to recognise the validity of the new ideals of the revoltes. Already the members of the dominant classes have ceased to appeal to the rectitude of the old regime, and they appeal merely to its utility. Consequently the imminent great revolution is already half won.

Turning to recent history for an example, Kropotkin refers to the Paris commune of 1871 as a mistaken and spurious revolution. Whereas Bakunin regarded this manifestation of civil war as the first "striking and practical" expression of revolutionary socialism, and whereas Marx likewise gave his cordial approval to the commune, Kropotkin condemns it as an awful example of a revolution devoid of definite aim. On the other hand he describes the great French revolution with loving admiration. As an anarchist, he cares nothing for the parliamentary institutions brought into being by the revolution, but he delights to note how the lower strata of the population, the peasantry no less than the urban proletariat, were won over to the revolution. Obviously, he is thinking of the possibility of an extensive peasant uprising in Russia, such a movement as that of which Bakunin had dreamed. Severe, on the other hand, is his condemnation of the bourgeoisie of that day, and above all his condemnation of the Girondists, so that the account he gives of the Gironde and its political aims differs greatly from that which we owe to liberal historians. But Kropotkin idealises the communists of the council of the Paris commune (Roux, Varlet, etc.) and Chaumette as genuine representatives of the working class. It is plain that Kropotkin is not a scientific historian, and that his historical works are written to further his sociopolitical ideals.

Kropotkin recognises the right and the duty of individual acts of violence as well as of mass revolution, but in accordance with his revolutionary principles he demands that an individual act of violence shall only be undertaken in the last resort, as an act of self-defence. For example, he exculpated Perovskaja and was on the most friendly terms with Stepniak, [386] having cordially commended the novel wherein Stepniak described the life of the terrorists. Tyrannicide, said Kropotkin, is morally permissible, we have a "right" to undertake it, because the terrorist asks us in advance to slay him also should he ever become a tyrant, a viper to his fellow men. "Treat others as you would wish them to treat you in similar circumstances." To slay a tyrant is just as justifiable as to slay a viper.

Kropotkin is himself a fresh illustration of the psychology of the Russian revolutionary. Humane as a man can be, a gentleman in the best and finest sense of the word, when he speaks of "vipers" Kropotkin is concentrating in that expression the revolutionary mood of a lifetime. The phrase embodies his personal experiences, his unjust persecution by the government and the court, the way in which his beloved brother was compelled to seek by suicide an escape from the intolerable conditions of Siberian exile; it embodies his view of Russian conditions as these had been determined by the existence of serfdom (conditions which had poisoned home life for Kropotkin during childhood). Thus does it come to pass that a man who by temperament and philosophic training is one of the kindliest of his day can justify and recommend the slaughter of a tyrant as though he were a viper. Such is the mood in which Kropotkin has described and stigmatised the white terror. (See 36, and Kropotkin's The Terror in Russia.)

To complete this sketch we must briefly consider Kropotkin's relationship to his Russian predecessors and contemporaries, and his attitude towards Russian literature and its leading trends. For Kropotkin, his system of anarchism is a general philosophy of life.

Kropotkin's chief teacher among the Russians was Bakunin, regarded by Kropotkin as the founder of modern anarchism or antistate socialism. A few of the distinctions between these two thinkers have already been mentioned. The most notable difference is that Kropotkin is less strongly and less directly influenced by Feuerbach, so that Bakuninist "antitheologism" makes its appearance in Kropotkin in a somewhat mitigated form.

Bakunin died just at the time of Kropotkin's escape from prison, so that the two men never met. But Lavrov was a personal friend of Kropotkin, and Kropotkin considers that [387] Lavrov's Historical Letters supply the correct solution of the problem of the relationships between the folk and the individual. Lavrov, writes Kropotkin, "was too widely learned and too much of a philosopher to join the German social democrats in their ideals of a centralised communistic state, or in their narrow interpretation of history." Kropotkin agrees with Cernysevskii's socialism. Kropotkin, too, wishes the liberated peasants to get possession of the land, and he looks upon the mir as the groundwork of the coming federative autonomy. He agrees with Cernysevskii in the latter's estimate of the nihilists, and above all he is enthusiastic in his admiration for Cernysevskii's feminine types. He accepts the solution offered in What is to be Done of the problem of marriage and divorce. In Puskin, too, he extols that writer's respect for women.

Kropotkin was a young man of twenty when the struggle was raging round Turgenev's Bazarov and the problem of nihilism. Accepting nihilism, Kropotkin interpreted it as anarchist' philosophy.

From this outlook Kropotkin followed Herzen, and made a great distinction between terrorism and nihilism, insisting that the nihilist is a far profounder and more significant figure than the terrorist. Thus Kropotkin was not satisfied with the Bazarov type, for, as has been explained, his own ideals were those of Cernysevskii as expounded in What is to be Done.

In respect alike of matter and of form, Herzen exercised great influence upon Kropotkin. As writer and philosopher, Kropotkin likewise owes something to Turgenev, and yet more to Nekrasov and Tolstoi. Ethical anarchism is his link with Tolstoi. Nekrasov charms him by the apotheosis of the mother-woman and of the Russian peasant woman. For the same reason, Kropotkin is especially attached to other Russian authors to whom we are indebted for a good analysis of the Russian woman (Hvoscinskaja, Panaev). Dostoevski's outlook, on the other hand, is essentially alien to Kropotkin, who, as rationalist and positivist, detests mysticism. He considers Raskolnikov a poor typification of the nihilist, and he disapproves of Goncarov's analysis of nihilism.

Kropotkin forms a low estimate of Saltykov, finding him too undecided in politics. The poet Ogarev, on the other hand, is one of Kropotkin's favourites, and he is likewise fond or Gor'kii and Cehov. Concerning Gogol, Kropotkin agrees [388] with Belinskii's later judgment. "Gogol was not a deep thinker, but was a great artist. . . . Art in Gogol's conception is a torch-bearer. . . . Gogol was the first to introduce the social element into Russian literature."

Among the writers on philosophy and politics, those who, besides Cernysevskii, exercised most influence upon Kropotkin were Belinskii, Dobroljubov, and above all Pisarev. Kropotkin speaks of Belinskii as "a teacher and an educator of Russian society, not only in art, . . . but also in politics, in social questions, and in humanitarian aspirations." Mihailovskii was congenial to Kropotkin as adversary of Darwin and as critic.

Kropotkin is a narodnik in his high esteem for the Russian folk. Herein he agrees with the more progressive among the Slavophils. In the mir, he discerns the social principle of federation. Prior to the Tatar dominion, Russia was not an absolutist state but a federation of distinct folk-communes. After the introduction of Mongolian tsarism, and after the establishment of the official church, these folk-communes remained the asylum of popular rights (in contradistinction to the right of the state and to the laws imposed by the state) and of the federative idea.

Therewith is connected, too, Kropotkin's aversion to the intellectuals. He extols Cehov and Hvoscinskaja because these two writers have depicted and analysed the complete mental and moral bankruptcy of the intellectuals. He sympathises with Gor'kii's rebel tramp, looking upon this figure, not as a Nietzschean superman, but as a strong and unselfish hero of the people, who is in revolt against society.

When we turn to the European influences that have affected Kropotkin, we have in the first place to speak of positivism. If Kropotkin be especially inclined to adopt Guyau's formulations, this is merely because Kropotkin has already directly and indirectly assimilated Comte's positivism from his Russian teachers. Kropotkin learned much from English thinkers, and notably from Bentham, Mill, and Spencer; Darwin's views underwent modification at his hands; in conformity with Marx, he definitely rejected the doctrines of Malthus. Kropotkin has spent the greater part of his life in England, and the English influence upon his mind is especially marked. German philosophy had little direct effect upon Kropotkin. Nietzsche was akin to him as an evolutionist; he shared with [389] Nietzsche the device "be strong," but gave it a humanitarian significance. The idea of the superman did not attract him.

The French socialists, finally, were familiar to Kropotkin, but, he has had less acquaintance with Marx and Engels. He has diligently collaborated with other modern anarchists (Reclus, etc.) in the work of anarchist organisation, and upon the various party organs.

It is needless to attempt a more detailed appreciation of Kropotkin. His is a most congenial personality, but he does not shine as a thinker. For example, he advocates the abolition of the division of labour; but it will suffice him that the author shall do his own typesetting -- though assuredly a consistent abolition of the division of labour would not call a halt at the compositor's case. The manner in which he gives his approval to luxury in modern society, his explanation of the categorical imperative (the habitual drinker, too, has an irresistible impulse), and so on -- in all these things his thought is weak.

Nor is Kropotkin always accurate in his statements of facts ; his literary work and his book on the French revolution offer more than one proof of the truth of this assertion.



In view of the great importance of anarchism for the understanding of Russia, the nature of the movement demands fuller consideration.

In the first place we must note that anarchism has recently gained ground both in the theoretical field and as a practical movement, above all as a mass movement, and that this development is noticeable both in Russia and in Europe. In Russia, since about 1901, the growth of anarchism has been so considerable as to lead to the organisation of declared anarchist groups, not only among Russian refugees, but actually within Russia, though these latter are of course secret societies.

In the programs of these groups we find indications of the revolutionary excitement of the epoch, and we note their affinity to the program of the radical parties. We must not forget that simultaneously with this growth of anarchism [390] occurred the strengthening of the social revolutionaries, and that at the same time the social democrats exhibited a more radical trend, which culminated in the formation of a distinct radical faction, that of the bolseviki -- the members of the left wing of the bolseviki are actually called anarchising socialists. The maximalists severed themselves from the social revolutionaries, and although the maximalists cannot be classified as anarchists, the influence of European anarchism is unquestionably traceable in their views; but both the social revolutionaries and the bolseviki have publicly and repeatedly protested in the strongest terms against anarchistic campaigning methods (individual acts of assassination, expropriation applied to private persons, and the like). Under anarchist influence the so-called Mahaevcy have broken away from the social democracy. Volskii (the pseudonym of a Pole named Machajski), the founder of this trend, offers an agglomeration of syndicalism, anarchism, and Marxism, in conjunction with a fierce polemic against the intellectuals.3

In the growth of anarchism since 1901 I discern a manifestation of the radical mood which led in 1905 to the revolution, and which after the counter-revolution impelled to the revival of the revolution. Beyond question the latest Russian revolutionary movement is characterised by an anarchistic mood. After Bakunin, the only notable advocates of anarchism for a time were Kropotkin and Prince Cerkezov. Since 1901 anarchism has assumed a more moderate form.4 [391]

The strengthening of anarchism as a manifestation of the revolutionary mood is partly traceable to foreign influences. In Europe, too, during the last years of the nineteenth century the growth of anarchism was manifest. We see this in Spain, in France (syndicalism), in Italy, in Germany (the "Jungen" and the "Localists"); even in England and the United States the anarchist movement gains ground. The growth of anarchism is witnessed by the organisation of the anarchist Libertarian Communist International, with its international correspondence bureau (Amsterdam, 1907).

It is noteworthy that this movement is not confined to the intellectuals, but has likewise affected the working classes. It is therefore predominantly communistic, and adopts the well-tried methods of agitation and organisation that have long been practised by the social democrats.

Discontent with parliamentarism and revisionism is an obvious spur to apolitism and revolution, and it is easy to understand how the idea of syndicalist "direct action" must [892] flourish in an epoch when industrial strikes are of almost incessant occurrence.

Simultaneously there has taken place a growth in anarchist literature. There are now more theorists of anarchism than hitherto, and above all the problem of astatism and of the definitive revolution is discussed more directly and more exhaustively than of old. In this connection I may refer to Reclus, Grave, Cornelissen, Nieuwenhuis, Cafiero, Fabbri, Landauer, Friedeberg, Tucker, and also to the theorists of syndicalism, Sorel, Lagardelle, etc.

It may further be noted that, in recent days, many learned works have been devoted to anarchism and to the history of anarchism. Numerous theorists and historians have dealt with Nietzsche, Stirner, Bakunin, and the International.

An associated development is the way in which, during the same epoch, those philosophers and poets who may be designated anarchists have gained a wider influence. The already great vogue of Nietzsche, Stirner, and Ibsen continually increases; and before all of these in importance comes Tolstoi. In addition must be mentioned the names of certain younger writers such as Mackay and Tailhade. Of course the ideas and ideals of such men are not always accepted in their true significance in the wider circles of the proletariat. To adapt Heine's mot concerning atheism, anarchism begins to smell of cheese and beer.

This theoretical and political movement, too, has exercised an influence upon Russia.

The first anarchist journals in the Russian tongue were published abroad, and were directly inspired by foreign anarchism. Simultaneously the literature of anarchism was made known to wider circles, and especially to the working classes, by translations (Eltzbacher, etc.). French syndicalism, too, was eagerly studied.

Especially influential in Russia have been, in addition to the works of Tolstoi, those of Nietzsche, Stirner, and Ibsen. A number of recent writers have adopted anarchist views under the influence of these and other European exemplars. I may refer to F. Sologub with his solipsist paroxysms; and to L. Sestov, an imitator of Stirner and Nietzsche, following the latter in style as well as in ideas.

Dostoevskii must be mentioned in this connection, in so far as the conceptions of individualistic anarchism incorporated [393] by him in the figure of Ivan Karamazov are given a positive turn by the anarchists and are accepted by them.


If we wish to grasp the significance of anarchism in general and of Russian anarchism in particular, we must endeavour to define the concept with more precision, and this will be easier now that we have made acquaintance with certain anarchist systems.

From the methodological point of view, we must be careful to avoid being influenced by the suggestions attaching to the name and by the prejudice that is so widely felt against anarchism. Anarchism has to-day become a catchword for all the more radical types of opposition to the existing order, so that to many persons the word has such a ring as was formerly associated with the words communism and socialism. Even "revolution," bogey as it is, seems less alarming, although for a very large section of society all these designations (revolutionary, communist, socialist, and anarchist) are employed quite indifferently to denote the Evil One in his sociopolitical manifestations. Of late the ill repute of anarchism has been accentuated by the vehement hostility of the Marxists and of the Marxist wing of the social democracy. It is natural for people to say that anarchism must be a terrible thing when even the social democrats condemn it.

We must further take into account the differences between the various anarchist systems, for we must distinguish between these as regards their principles, just as we had to distinguish between the different systems of socialism. The meaning and importance of the specific programs can only be grasped in relation to the whole system to which they belong. If we consider, for example, Eltzbacher's classification, we find that he presents to us empirically the teaching of seven representatives of anarchism (Godwin, Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker, and Tolstoi), but fails to throw an adequate light upon the connection between their ideas, in respect either of the historical development or of the actual nature of these. Though he gives us a juristic exposition of their views upon law, state, property, and tactics, he does not succeed by this method of examination in elucidating the differences between the anarchist systems. He tells us, for [394] example, that both Stirner and Tolstoi are opposed to law, the state, and property -- but these two thinkers base their respective views of such questions upon foundations so utterly divergent that it is quite impossible to regard them as representatives of a single undifferentiated anarchism. Again, when Most and Tolstoi "anarchistically" defending the same thesis, both protest against patriotism, it is by a purely verbal identification that we apply the term "anarchism" to their respective doctrines.

Anarchism signifies the negation of archism (if the neologism may be permitted). An-archism (Bakunin) discloses itself as opposition to archism, and there will therefore be as many anarchisms as there are archisms. The most usual interpretation of anarchism in the political sphere is to conceive it as astatism, when we are told that society should exist without the state. But we need a definition of the term state before we can have any clear idea as to what is meant by astatism. In many cases the concept "state" is used in an extremely abstract way, and when this is done the term anarchism, conceived as astatism, likewise remains abstract. We have to ask whether the anarchism we are considering is solely directed against the absolutist state, or whether it is equally hostile to a constitutionalist state, or to a republic. Further, we have to analyse the idea of the state, distinguishing between dynasty, government, parliament, militarism, law, the dministration (central and local). In our examination of the doctrines of individual anarchists, we must attempt to ascertain precisely what each one of them means by the state, and which elements of the state they wish to abolish. It is further necessary to ascertain to what extent and in what way the state does actually exercise over the various social organisations (the church, the nation, etc.) the primacy of which the anarchists complain; we have to ask whether the state is really as important as the anarchists contend.

Not merely do anarchists reject the state, but they repudiate political methods in their entirety. The term apolitism is often used to denote this repudiation of political activities, the predominant objection of the anarchists being to participation in parliamentarism.

Going yet further, anarchists oppose authority in all its forms, refusing to recognise anything as valid beyond logic and the individual reason. Of late, however, there has been [395] a tendency to subordinate reason to feeling, will, and instinct. The anarchists have advanced as philosophy has progressed, and have turned away from rationalism towards voluntarism. To authority, the anarchists counterpose a demand for liberty, upon which they lay more stress than upon equality or even fraternity.

As against the state and authority, anarchists proclaim individualism, and anarchism is often defined as individualism. The term is extremely ambiguous, and it is above all necessary to distinguish between individualism and subjectivism, for these two words are often encountered in association. Individualism is mainly an ethical and socio-political concept, whereas subjectivism belongs chiefly to the spheres of psychology and epistemology. Individualism concerns the relationship of the individual to the social whole or to the entire universe, and deals therefore with an ethical, sociopolitical, and metaphysical relationship; but when we think of subjectivism we are thinking of the subject as contrasted with the object, and our attention centres upon what we mean by the subject psychologically and epistemologically (and, of course, metaphysically as well).

We must distinguish, further, different degrees and kinds of individualism and of subjectivism. These terms are ordinarily used in their extremer sense.

Extreme individualism (unless the term be employed to denote nothing more than a well-developed and vigorous personality) often signifies a neglect of the social whole. Otherwise expressed, the individual is set in opposition to the social whole and is considered superior to that whole. Individualism then manifests itself as aristocracy.

Extreme subjectivism or solipsism is at the same time extreme individualism; but the converse of this is not true, for extreme individualism need not necessarily be subjectivism. Solipsism is necessarily aristocratic.

If individualism be opposed on principle to the state and to its organisation of society, the question arises how anarchism conceives of the organisation of society, whether it recognises organisation of any kind, and if so how that organisation is to be carried on. Since as an actual fact a number of individuals exist side by side (for the absurdity of solipsism is self-evident) the anarchist cannot ignore the fact. Logically, the relationship of the individual to the organised social whole [896] cannot be assumed apriori to be one of opposition, of anarchistic opposition, and we find as a historical fact that anarchism originated in the later stages of political and social organisation. A non-organised whole may more readily be conceived as an opposition to the organised whole. But we must not without further ado identify the concept "organised" with the concept authoritative. On the other hand, a non-organised whole must doubtless be conceived as anarchistic in the sense in which the term is used by most anarchists.

As a rule the advocates of anarchism admit that social organisation is essential; but they detest every kind of organisation, and above all every kind of political organisation, that implies the use of compulsion or of coercive methods. What anarchists regard as permissible, what they desire to achieve, is a kind of social spontaneity, a spontaneous organisation; and in connection with this idea we have to enquire whether the anarchistic organisation will be derivable from natural affection (sympathy, humanitarianism), from egoism, or finally from some other motive.

Nor must we be misled by anarchist terminology. We have to ask whether the organisation regarded as admissible by anarchists be not itself in ultimate analysis something of the nature of a state. When, for example, Proudhon advocates a federative organisation of society, has what he suggests nothing in common with the state? If there be but a minimum of state, if there be but a minimum of political centralisation, we have, after all, a state. Autonomy and federation are simply inconceivable without some appropriate type of centralisation. Organisation is essential; and organisation, however free, remains the organisation of individuals, and therefore produces a social whole.

Anarchists do not as a rule accept the doctrine of economic materialism, and they differ from the Marxists in that they refuse to regard classes and the class struggle as the driving force of social evolution. Many anarchists think of organisation as subject to repeated or continuous change. The concept is by no means clear, but what they seem to have in mind is the existence of mutable and transient associations of individuals or groups; they think of free agreements entered into ad hoc for the fulfilment of certain social functions and for the satisfaction of certain social needs.

It is often admitted that during the period of transition [397] there will have to be some sort of coercive organisation controlled by anarchistic parties and leagues such as will be determined by the extant type of social organisation. We must distinguish between the ultimate condition of anarchism, the ideal which the anarchists aspire to attain, on the one hand, and the means proposed by anarchists to enable them to advance towards that ideal.

The ultimate aim of anarchism is not difficult to specify. It is that there should be secured an absolutely free union of individuals, enabling them to satisfy their economic, biological, and mental needs in the absence of any kind of state and of any form of coercion. It is, however, less easy to classify the means recommended by anarchists, for this is a matter upon which far less unity prevails. There is much less agreement among anarchists than there is among socialists concerning the means by which they hope to attain the goal. Anarchism demands the disorganisation of the extant social order, founded upon coercion. Anarchism is revolutionary on principle, is the negation on principle of the old order. The anarchist conceives of revolution as mass revolution, and he regards the definitive revolution as an immediate practical possibility.

By a minority of anarchists this revolution is conceived as involving neither bloodshed nor the use of force. Certain anarchists, in fact, reject force, on principle. They desire a revolution, but it must come without constraint; disorganisation is to be reorganisation ; they advocate education, reform. Anarchists of this type, of whom Tolstoi is a typical example, are termed "ethical anarchists."

Some, of course, advocate reform in addition to revolution. Bakunin aimed solely at disorganisation, and never troubled his head about reorganisation; and even to-day most anarchists think and feel as he thought and felt. Anarchism is therefore negative. Anarchists of this complexion approve of terrorist guerrilla warfare, of individual outrages. Anarchism is still looked upon as propaganda on behalf of outrage, although its advocates now incline above all to favour strikes, and notably the general strike, as the instrument of anarchist revolution. The more consistent among the anarchists favour individual outrage in the most rigid sense of the term, contending that the deed must not be planned by the anarchist group, but must be the purely spontaneous act of an individual. [398] We are not informed to what extent it is possible to apply this principle in all its strictness.

Anarchism approves all means of disorganisation whereby revolutionary enthusiasm and the revolutionary spirit can be maintained and strengthened. Anarchism is revolutionism elevated into a principle.

Anarchists reject national organisation as well as the state. They are likewise opposed to patriotism, be this conceived in the narrower political or in the wider nationalistic sense. Nationality is the enemy no less than the state. Similarly, ecclesiastical organisation, the church, and above all the state church, are repudiated. So-called ethical anarchism, however, frequently admits the permissibility of a sort of church, but this must be no more than an ethical union, not properly speaking religious. Certain anarchists, again, are astatists merely, and have no objection to other associations than those which partake of the nature of the state, or at least do not object to them on principle.

The question of economic organisation remiains to be considered. The newer anarchists are communists or collectivists. In this domain the anarchists have to face the same problems as the socialists -- the division of labour, the organisation of labour, the distribution of the product of labour, and so on.

The anarchist demands the renovation of society; he demands a new man and a new humanity; this involves the problem of the "new ethic." It was thus that Bakunin envisaged the task. Pisarev and Nietzsche might demand a revaluation of the old values, might look for the coming of the superman, or might formulate their wishes as they pleased; but they could not escape the inevitable ethical implication.

For the anarchists the problem of problems is this. Can the existing unjust social order, established and maintained by force, be forcibly swept away, so that the new order, in which force will be unknown, may take its place? Will the physical-force anarchist, the forcible expropriator, of to-day, be the peaceful brother of to-morrow? Anarchism is opposed on principle to the use of force; is it then permissible for the anarchist to slay and to expropriate; can Beelzebub cast out devils? The philosophic theorists of anarchism do their utmost to establish the right to kill. But they cannot get [399] beyond the ancient utterance, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Universally the anarchist formula is. All things are lawful.

But the very anarchists make a distinction between anarchist outrage and ordinary crime. The bomb outrage of Emile Henry (1894) was condemned by Elysee Reclus as an ordinary crime, and even Most considered the assassination of the empress Elizabeth useless. On the other hand we must not forget that anarchism is a menace to the very anarchists themselves, that Kropotkin and Reclus were threatened with death by anarchists.

Many anarchists attack monogamic marriage, demanding free marriage and free love (a species of communism), but this doctrine can no longer be regarded as exclusively characteristic of socio-political anarchism.

Impelled by Stirner and Feuerbach, the new ethic, that which would annihilate the state and political action, deposes God. Atheism is taken as a matter of course. Ni Dieu ni maitre! To the anarchist this seems to follow necessarily upon a recognition of the nature of theocracy. Anarchistic atheism is not satisfied simply with amonarchism, but goes on to demand that astatism shall be universalised. At most, if he be a solipsist, he may proclaim himself God and tsar.

Anarchism readily degenerates into the anarchism of anarchism. The anarchist conception of liberty leads Bakunin to proclaim chaos. The metaphysic of anarchism becomes indeterminist; miracle plays its ancient role in the anarchist chaos; anarchist philosophers become poets; anarchist politicians develop into utopians.

There are striking relationships between anarchism and the so-called decadent movement. We see this in Nietzsche and in such poets as Tailhade. It is natural that anarchist ideals and methods, crime above all, should serve as a stimulant to weary souls.5

Even a very incomplete knowledge of anarchist literature will teach us that we must not take decadent grandiloquence at its face value. There is for example a booklet entitled The Right to Sin; its frontispiece is a titan bearing a rock; [400] but the contents of the volume are utterly tame, and all that is demanded is the right to subvert the old order.


Our ideas will be clarified by a closer examination of the relationship between socialism and anarchism.

We have learned from the comparison between Bakunin and Marx ( 94) that there are numerous points of contact between anarchism and socialism, so that we are forced to doubt whether the contrast between the two doctrines is as far reaching as Marx and the Marxists believe. We must not be led astray by the enmity between the anarchists and the Marxists, for hostiUty is often most intense between the parties and trends that are most closely akin. We cannot without further examination accept Marx's campaign against Bakunin, Proudhon, and Stirner, or Liebknecht's polemic against Most, as proof that socialism and anarchism are essential opposites. In practice, it is only during recent years that the opposition has been so strongly emphasised by the Marxists (exclusion of anarchists from socialist congresses, antisocialist congresses held by anarchists).

The history of anarchism and socialism shows that these two systerns were not at first sharply distinguished. The two trends did not diverge until after the exclusion of Bakunin from the International in 1872, when there was a severance of socialist Marxism from anarchist Bakuninism. At first, moreover, the quarrel was more personal than one of principle. The development of Marx and Stirner was contemporary, and we can point to similar parallels at an earlier day, as between Godwin and Babeuf. Notwithstanding the official exclusion of anarchists from the international congress in London (1896), in the various political and other organisations of France, Italy, and Russia, the anarchists and the socialists did not invariably become segregated; they continued to work together without being fully aware of their differences. Many anarchist publicists have endeavoured of late to annul the distinction between anarchism and socialism. They admit that at the outset, and so long as anarchism was advocated mainly by philosophers and poets, anarchism differed from socialism, especially as concerns questions of organisation and economic policy; but to-day, they contend, the difference [401] is disappearing, for the anarchists, hke the socialists, are organising the working masses, and are themselves members of the working class. Such are the arguments of the Dutchman Cornelissen, the Italian Fabbri, and many others. While admitting that earlier, and even to-day, anarchism has often got upon the wrong track, the aim of these writers is to conceive of anarchism as a trend or section of socialism.

On the socialist side, on the other hand, can be heard the voices of those who endeavour to mitigate the official condemnation of anarchism. Current terminology indicates that the relationship between anarchism and socialism is intimate. For a considerable period the terms "anarchist," "socialist," and "revolutionary" were employed quite promiscuously, and even to-day there are sociologists and political writers who use the names and concepts as interchangeable. The anarchists speak of themselves as revolutionary socialists, revolutionary anarchists, anarchising socialists, libertarian socialists, and "Jungen." Anarchist periodicals pass by such names as, "The Revolutionist," "Poor Conrad," "ThePoor Devil," "Knowledge," and so on -- all names which might just as well be used for socialist papers.

In a closer examination it would be necessary to compare specific socialist systems with specific anarchist systems, and to make a detailed analysis of the developmental history of these. For our present concern it will suffice to compare the extant definitions of anarchism and socialism, meaning by socialism in this connection the doctrine of the social democracy, Marxism in its latest phase.

Both sides are agreed in considering that the main distinction between socialism and anarchism is that the latter is more individualist than socialism, and in fact the opposition between extreme individualism and socialism is especially important.

Originally the word sociahsm was minted quite distinctively in the sociological sense of socialisation, and it still retains that signification to-day. Marxism is the declared enemy of extreme individuahsm, especially of individualism in its subjectivist and solipsist form.

Metaphysically considered, solipsism bluntly declares, "I am God, I am the Lord and creator of the universe." Naturally this autoapothesis is limited by practical possibilities, by power, which is small. This is why Nietzsche craves for [402] power! The solipsist, if he be in earnest, cannot fail to be aware of his weakness, cannot fail to recognise the absurdity of his epistemological and metaphysical isolation.

For the ethical and social appraisement of subjectivism, of extremist subjectivism or solipsism, Stirner and his absolute egoism are still adduced by some as a model and by others as an awful example. Even if Stirner's identification of solipsism and egoism be regarded as sound, this does not provide an ethical criterion for the characterisation of subjectivism in all its form. The solipsist is not perforce an egoist and nothing more. Schopenhauer, for instance, despite his solipsism and nihilism, declares that sympathy is the foundation of all true morality. Nietzsche, in like manner, by no means rejected morality when he preached "the revaluation of values" and "beyond good and evil." But, in his view, sympathy degraded the superman to man.

Moreover, there is egoism and egoism; there are varying degrees and qualities of egoism. The egoist and egoistic subjectivist, unless he be an absolute solipsist (and in truth there can be no such being), may, for all his absolutism, egoism, and sense of the sovereignty of his own personality, nevertheless recognise that others have rights; he may become, let us say, a constitutionalist and even a parliamentarist.

Subjectivist German philosophy has in truth laid much stress on ethics. All subjectivists are incurable moralists and preachers of morality -- witness Fichte, Schopenhauer, Stirner, and Nietzsche. Here we have a fingerpost whose legend . cannot be mistaken!

But if solipsism and solipsistic individualism be absurd, the extreme objectivism of Marx and Engels is no less absurd. There is simply no such thing as a mass consciousness or a class consciousness, no folk-spirit, no sensus communis, no general will, if the term consciousness is to be understood in a psychological sense; what exist are class views, mass views, or what we may term collective judgments and views generated by the mutual interactions of individuals.

I have previously pointed out ( 44) that Fichte's "ego" is less alarming than it may seem. Nevertheless, it was against Fichte's solipsism that Schelling formulated his nature pantheism; in Hegel's hands this pantheism became historical, and in those of Marx it became social as well. But social pantheism is a psychological and logical absurdity. Society [408] is not a unified organism and there is no unified social consciousness.

Marx formulated his extreme social objectivism in opposition to the extreme subjectivism and individualism of Stirner; but Marx, no less than Stirner, preached egoism and annulled ethics, though rather from an amoral than from an antimoral outlook.

Psychologically no less than epistemologically and metaphysically, ethically no less than socially, we reject individualist solipsism and socialist solomnism (I really must ask pardon of the philologists!).

For anarchism just as for socialism, the fundamental problem is the relationship of the individual to society. What is the individual? What is society? I and the world, I and society, subject and object -- this is the problem which, since the days of Hume and Kant, philosophy has been endeavouring to solve.

I and thou, we and you? We and you -- some, many, the majority, all?

Society is a peculiar organisation of organisations, comprising the separate organisations of state, church, and school, the organisation of the nation and of the economic unit, the lesser organisations of parties and classes, and so on. The social whole is made up out of the socialisation of organised individuals, and therefore the problem cannot be formulated "aut individual aut society," but must necessarily be formulated, "individual and society." There is no individual without society and no society without the individual. Extreme individualism, individualism in the solipsist sense, is absurd; but no less absurd is extreme socialism, the socialism which in its pronounced objectivism solomnistically negates the individual. The individual must not and cannot be sacrificed to society, and society must not and cannot be sacrificed to the individual. It is not individualism and socialism that are mutually exclusive, but solipsism and solomnism, or, in the concrete, Stirner and Marx, for both are wrong.

I need not now fear that I am using empty words when I declare that individualism, as an endeavour to secure the utmost possible development and perfectionment of one's own personality within society, is justifiable, and must be made possible and regarded as desirable in every political [404] system, the socialist system not excepted. In this sense we accept individuahsm and its aspiration for liberty. With sovereign pride and contempt many individuahsts enunciate the " odi profanum." The pubhcity, the community, which socialism demands, do not touch the innermost recesses, the holy of holies, of the individual soul ; all that democracy requires is. that everyone should work in, with, and for the community ; it puts no hindrance in the way of this work being purely individual. Democracy does not hamper men of genius, does not restrict the activities of poets, writers, and artists. Society and socialisation endure in space and time, so that it is" impossible for the individual to enter into a brief and experimental union with society. Nolens volens the individual is permanently associated with the social whole, and an ephemeral treaty such as some individualists desire is impossible in practice. The solitude, the isolation of the intellectual forces, essential to every individual, is something utterly different. [405]

Marxism is more distinctively an economic theory than is anarchism. Not merely do we find that the socialists as students pay far more attention to economics than do the anarchists, but we note further that in practical work in the social and economic fields the Marxists lead the way. Bakunin and Kropotkin are both weak as political economists. Kropotkin, for example, fails to note that the free groups of workers which he counterposes to the socialistic centralisation of larger social bodies must inevitably lead to a sort of middle-class economy.

Marxism is declared communism. Bakunin, like Proudhon, was opposed to communism, and aspired to a federative collectivism. To-day many anarchists are communists and detest collectivism, which many socialists, on the other hand (the revisionists), demand as a mitigation of the original communism. In any case, there are now two notable trends in anarchism, respectively individualist and communist.

Socialism, too, is astatism. According to Engels-Marx, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a primary aim, but only in order to secure the abolition of the state. Marxism, however, has grown more and more political, and to-day parliamentarism is the most powerful weapon in its armoury.

Socialism, like anarchism, is opposed to nationalism, though quite recently it has here and there assumed nationalist forms.

Socialism is likewise revolutionary, preaching the class struggle and a definitive social revolution, using the strike as a revolutionary instrument, and cultivating the revolutionary mood. Anarchism, however, is more revolutionary than socialism, for anarchism endorses the revolution in all its forms, individual terrorism not excepted, whereas socialism rejects individual terrorism on principle.

The Marxists contend that anarchism is utopian, in so far as the anarchists believe the definitive social revolution to be already a practical possibility; and they consider that many of the means recommended by anarchists are less effective than these contend. Originally, and for a considerable time, Marx and Engels were likewise utopians, but their pupils tend more and more to the adoption of evolutionist tactics, seeing that historical development has failed to verify Marx's teaching of the intolerable contrast between the capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and the proletariat -- has failed to verify the theories of the collapse of capitaHsm, of increasing misery, [406] and of crises. The anarchists, on the other hand, defend themselves by appealing to the (unanarchistic!) authority of Marx.

As a philosophic system, Marxism, with its materialism, positivism, and evolutionism, can hardly be distinguished in point of principle from anarchism; but Marxism contains a more notable element of historism. Anarchism is philosophical rather than historical, and the anarchist programs pay less attention to positive science.

Marxism is peculiarly characterised by its amoralism, which is dependent upon solomnism. Anarchism is moralistic.

Very few anarchists accept historical materialism in its strict Marxist form. Moreover, the anarchist philosophy of history differs from the Marxist, and the ultimate aim is differently conceived. The class struggle and its final abolition are for the anarchists mere means to an end, an end which lies quite beyond any class aims, an end which comprises the complete economic and mental enfranchisement of the individuality. The goal is, a condition where authority shall be unknown.

In respect of religion and metaphysics, both trends alike are atheistic and materialistic. Socialism is definitely determinist, anarchism undeterminist rather. For both systems the problem of necessity and free will is one of great importance.


If we are to define the relationship of Marx himself to anarchism, it is necessary to insist once again that Marx developed. The thought of Marx and Engels in the first phase differed from that in the second phase, and this applies especially to their outlook on revolutionism.

To put the matter briefly, the Marx of the Communist Manifesto and of the period that elapsed until the publication of the first volume of Capital, was more anarchistic than the later Marx. In the earlier phase, Marx was strongly revolutionary, and preached a more decisive astatism; his earlier writings contain stronger expressions against militarism, parliamentarism, and patriotism. It is doubtless open to dispute whether revolutionism is in fact stronger because it finds stronger and more emotional expression. But this much is certain, that in 1848 and for a great many years afterwards. [407] Marx felt as a forty-eighter, and that he gave free expression to these feelings. Marx and Engels continued for a very long time to regard the definitive social revolution as an immediate possibility; and in truth at the bottom of their hearts they remained in this respect utopians to the last. In this sense, let me repeat, Marx was more anarchist early than late. It is noteworthy that as late as 1872, when he succeeded in bringing about Bakunin's exclusion from the International, Marx did not shrink from the designation anarchist.6

To this extent, therefore, the French syndicalists who are so fond of appealing to Marx have right on their side. Indeed not only the syndicalists, but many declared anarchists as well, are convinced Marxists.

In any case, the Marxists cannot fight against anarchist revolutionism on principle; the only questions at issue between the socialists and the anarchists are those concerning tactics, concerning the value of particular methods in a particular place and at a particular time. Such, as we have seen, were the differences dividing socialists and anarchists during the Russian revolution.

The revisionists, too, approximate in certain respects to anarchism, for they abandon Marxist solomnism, emphasise the importance of individuahsm and subjectivism (proclaiming the return to Kant), and insist upon the validity of ethics as against historism in its extreme form. Certain revisionists, therefore, have at times advocated an understanding with the anarchists.

But by their insistence upon politism and by their watering down of revolutionism into reformism, the revisionists come into conflict with anarchism -- though even here the conflict is only with those anarchists who preach a forcible revolution. Tolstoi, Tucker, Friedeberg, and not a few other anarchists, are opposed to the attempt to bring about revolution by force, [408]


I may sum up my view of the relationship between anarchism and socialism by saying that communist anarchism is a system of socialism, whereas individualist anarchism, especially in its extreme form, is unsocialistic. The individualist anarchists are at one with the Marxists in holding that anarchism (individualist anarchism) and communism are essential contradictories. Such is the view taken, for example, by Tucker and by Plehanov. Both these writers contend that Kropotkin is not an anarchist, for, they say, he desires the socialisation of the means of production. This demand, contends Plehanov, cannot be reahsed without some sort of legislative authority.7

The newer and more practical anarchism has obviously originated from socialism, and in particular from Marxism.

It is noteworthy that many anarchists have been Marxists and members of the social democracy (Sorel and other syndicalists). Consequently socialism appears to them to be a transitional stage towards anarchism, or they consider anarchism to be one of the socialist systems, a variety of socialism, and so on.

We can in fact note the existence of numerous transitions between practical anarchism and socialism, and conversely; and there are also combinations and syntheses of both systems.

Frequently anarchism is distinguished from socialism as more radical and revolutionary. But we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by a name. For example, anarchists protest against the way in which socialists overestimate the importance of parliamentarism, but we find that many within the socialist camp likewise detest this overvaluation. Where socialism undergoes decay or disorganisation, a more radical and revolutionary type of socialism becomes apparent; but a similar development may be manifest in the early days of a socialist movement, before it has gained strength. Conversely, where socialism assumes a comparatively revolutionary form, the anarchist movement is apt to be weak.

The differences that have been enumerated are not in truth [409] differences of principle. Moreover, there are different types and degrees of radicalism and of revolutionism. Often enough radicalism is blind, and we cannot consider every revolution a step towards the goal. Marxist socialism has an advantage over anarchist radicalism in that the former has devoted more scientific attention to the philosophy of history and to economics, and takes the revolution more in earnest. But this must not be held to imply that venturesome and blind radicalism may not often prove more successful in choosing the right moment for action. When the need for action comes, daring and caution will always choose separate paths.

Finally, it is necessary to insist once more upon the fact that anarchism has developed as well as socialism, and that anarchism has to-day become more socialistic and communistic than of old. But the anarchist systems, when we examine their scientific content and their foundation, are seen to be more inchoate and more utopian than socialism.

In the camp of anarchism, considered theoretically, ethically, and politically, we find far too many advocates of negation and chaos. I am thinking here especially of Bakuninism, of the anarchism of anarchism.

In the literary and artistic fields, socialism, Marxist socialism at any rate, is on principle opposed to decadence.


It is generally recognised that anarchism prevails more widely in Latin than in Teuton lands. Spain, Italy, and France are anarchist countries, whereas in Germany, England, and the United States anarchism of native origin is rarer and less revolutionary. England, the United States, and to some extent Switzerland, are bold enough to give harbourage to foreign anarchists. We shall enquire later whether there are material causes for these territorial differences.

Russia, too, is widely regarded as peculiarly anarchist.

Many authors, Russians among them, believe that they can explain Russian anarchism by saying that the Slavs in general and the Russians in particular are quahfied by nature to play an anarchist part. By anarchism these authors mean an inborn incapacity for the activities of state life. Some Russians, too, contend that Russians have no faculty for understanding legal ideas. Certain authors, however, when [410] they talk of anarchism in this connection, are thinking rather of an inborn tendency towards democracy and liberty.

In support of such a view, people point to Bakunin as the founder of the new anarchism, and they point also to Tolstoi.

Let us first enquire into the facts. I touched upon the matter in my account of Old Russia ( 1, v). If we examine the more recent socio-political trends, we observe that the Slavophils incline to minimise the importance of the state, but the same thing is done in the west by all those who desire to fortify the church as against the state. Belinskii and Herzen both had revolutionary inclinations. Herzen was for a time a declared anarchist, though his views moderated later. Bakunin was a most outspoken anarchist, and even more anarchist was his adept Necaev; moreover Bakunin's anarchism was strongly revolutionary. Cernysevskii and the nihilists were revolutionists, and the same may be said yet more definitely of the declared terrorists, but these last must not be described as anarchists merely because they espoused terrorism as a practical method.

Mihailovskii in earlier years was in theoretical matters an adherent of Proudhon, and was therefore an anarchist. On the other hand, there was little of the anarchist in Lavrov.

The Marxists and the social revolutionaries are revolutionists and terrorists. Within these two camps, anarchism undergoes subdivision into distinct trends. But only since 1901 has anarchism exhibited any notable development in Russia. Other recent Russian writers besides Kropotkin have been theorists of anarchism.

Finally we have to remember the existence of Tolstoi and his ethical anarchism.

To sum up, we may say that Russia does not appear to be more anarchistic than France or Italy. It must not be forgotten that Bakunin and Kropotkin learned their doctrines from Proudhon and the other western anarchists; that Stirner, Nietzsche, and Ibsen are Teutons; that the English and the Americans have respectively Godwin and Tucker. New England and new America are just as much products of revolution as is new France.

As regards Russia, we must not forget the liberals and the westernisers, who endorsed the existence of the state (cf. the opinion recorded in 72, of the jurist and historian Gradovskii). [411]

Russian anarchism, taking the form of astatism and apolitism, is the revolutionary struggle against absolutism.

Tsarist absolutism works injury to the state. The political refugee is in practice forced to adopt an astatist outlook, for the foreign state in which he dwells, even though it grants him asylum, remains foreign, and is not felt by him to be his state and recognised as such. Absolutism enforces apolitism upon the subject who is granted no rights, upon the man for whom public activity and initiative are rendered impossible. Moreover, in rural districts and in small provincial towns the Russian state is almost out of sight. Political life is concentrated in large towns and in western Russia. In eastern Russia, and still more in Asiatic Russia, the state seems to be non-existent, and in practice an official anarchism prevails, which is explicable by the deficiency in state servants and soldiers. The main forces of the state are concentrated in western Russia. Again, the Russian state differs from the western state because the former in many places does not possess the requisite number of officials.

Finally, the revolutionary lives in his own narrow circle, which becomes for him a model of the social institutions of the future. Owing to the inadequacy of communications in Russia, there is forced upon the individual autonomous organisations a kind of free federation by tacit consent. These concrete conditions largely explain why, as has been shown, the Russian lamb has grown to become a tiger. The inadequacy of the Russian state church has given rise to the so-called ethical anarchism, which is in fact anti-ecclesiastical anarchism. Here, of course, we think of Tolstoi.

But the opponents of religion in general, the atheists, those who contrast most strongly with the ethical anarchists, must likewise be classed as anarchists in so far as for them atheism is the metaphysical basis of anarchism.

Anarchism has recently come into contact with certain religious and above all mystical currents, so that there now exists a "mystical anarchism."8


1 Prince Petr Kropotkin sprang from the family of Rjurik, and was born in the year 1842. From 1857 to 1862 he was in the pages' corps at St. Petersburg, and from 1863 to 1867 was in the army as aide-de-camp to the viceroy of Transbaikalia. Retiring from military service, from 1868 to 1872 he studied geography, geology, and the natural sciences in general, making a name for himself as geographer by his observations upon Asiatic orography. In 1872 he visited Europe and came into contact with the International Working-Men's Association. In 1874 he was arrested as a member of the Caikovcy; and in 1876, having escaped from the infirmary of the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul, he took refuge in Europe. Here he entered into close association with the Bakuninist wing of the International, and laboured to promote the organisation of anarchism. In 1883, having been arrested by the French government for his participation in the second anarchist congress at Geneva, he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment after a trial wherein much irrelevant matter was introduced as evidence. Pardoned in 1886, he removed to London. A well-known book is his Memoirs of a Revolutionist, 1900. He has given numerous expositions of anarchist doctrines, briefly in the Scientific Basis of Anarchy ("Nineteenth Century," 1887), and in fuller detail in La morale anarchiste, 1891. See also his Paroles d'un revolte, ouvrage publie, annote et accompagne d'une preface par Elysee Reclus. In Russian Literature, Ideals and Realities, 1905, Kropotkin deals with the leading figures of the Russian literary world. In The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793, Kropotkin describes the revolution from his own outlook. Consult also: Mutual Aid, a Factor of Evolution ; Fields, Factories, and Workshops; The Conquest of Bread.

2 The bread question is occasionally described as the matter of most essential importance, but this does not involve for Kropotkin an acceptance of historical materialism. In his work on the French revolution we read: "Two great currents prepared and mado the Great French Revolution. One of them, the current of ideas, concerning the political reorganisation of states, came from the middle classes; the other, the current of action, came from the people, both peasants and workers in towns, who wanted to obtain immediate and definite improvements in their economic condition. And when these two currents met and joined in the endeavour to realise an aim which for some time was common to both, when they had helped each other for a certain time, the result was the Revolution. ... To arrive at a result of this importance, and for a movement to assume the proportions of a revolution, as happened in England between 1648 and 1688, and in France between 1789 and 1793, it is not enough that a movement of ideas, no matter how profound it may be, should manifest itself among the educated classes; it is not enough that disturbances, however many or great, should take place in the very heart of the people. The revolutionary action coming from the people must coincide with a movement of revolutionary thought coming from the educated classes. There must be a union of the two." Note the vagueness of the concepts. Ideal current= revolutionary thought= bourgeoises cultured classes; and again, activity= the masses= peasants and proletarians= the people=the economic situation. The concurrence of activity and thought seems to be ascribed by Kropotkin to a mere happy chance. The whole conception is inaccurate and obscure. The cultured classes participate in revolutionary action as well as the people. Obviously more precise elucidation is requisite; we want to know when and how revolutionary ideas originate, how revolutionary activities come to be supersadded to these ideas, what phases are displayed by revolutionary activities, and so on. Nor is Kropotkin right in representing Marxism as a rechauffe of the state collectivism of Pecqueur and Vidal. Similar erroneous contentions are frequent in Kropotkin's writings.

3 Volskii was at first a Marxist. His book, The Mental Worker, was published in Geneva in 1904. In this he attacks social democracy and the anarchism of Kropotkin as unduly bourgeois.

4 Prince Cerkezov is one of the ablest theorists of Bakuninist "federalistic communism," and was a supporter of the older Narodnaja Volja and its terrorism. As participator in Karakozov's attempt he was sent to Siberia in 1866, and escaped in 1876. Consult his criticism of Marxism, W. Tscherkesoff, Pages of Socialist History, Doctrines and Acts of the Social Democracy, 1902. In 1903 began the publication of the anarchist periodical "Hleb i Voja" (bread and freedom, a modification of the old formula Zemlja i Volja, land and freedom); on the whole this paper represented the ideas of Kropotkin. The journal "Beznacalie" (anarchy) which appeared in 1906, was more radical and more individualistic. The periodicals "Novyi Mir" (the new world) and "Burevestnik" (the stormy petrel, the title is that of a well-known poem by Gor'kii), originating in 1907, were syndicalist. In the same year there came into existence an organisation entitled Russian Federation of Revolutionary Anarchists. The principal items in the program of "Hleb i Volja" run as follows: anarchism is opposed to government of every kind, and is therefore opposed to attempts to establish a Russian constitution; it consequently rejects, in addition, the organisation of the party in central committees; it recognises nothing but free groups, whose unity is secured by a community of principles and aims and by joint revolutionary endeavours. The grouping of the anarchists and of their party is effected solely by voluntary agreement of the individuals within the groups and of the groups one with anothe)'. Consequently cooperation with other parties is excluded. The aim of all the free associations is merely this, to promote among the people a vigorous development of the revolutionary spirit, the spirit of revolt; the other requisites, conspiracy and revolution, will come in due time. The ultimate aim of anarchism is to bring about the social revolution, through which the state and capitalism will be replaced by anarchist communism. The social revolution must be a folk revolution. Anarchism rejects social democracy and the social revolutionary movement. It is true that the social revolutionaries demand the socialisation of the land; but the anarchists will have nothing to do with land nationalisation, for they consider that the land must be owned by the peasants, not by the nation. With regard to terrorism, "Hleb i Volja" insists that this must subserve economic as well as political ends. The terror, therefore, must be directed, not solely against the government, but also against the capitalists, the great landlords, etc. But the terror must likewise be anarchistic, viz. free; it must not be controlled by the party; the decision whether a terrorist deed is to be performed is a matter for the individuals who undertake it. The terror as conducted by a central committee is a duel between two governments, whereas the terror ought to be a struggle carried on by the people against the government. Novomirskii (a pseudonym, meaning "man of the new world") has played a prominent part as representative of individuahst anarchism. Starting from French syndicalism, he conceives communism as a stage of transition, and for him anarchist communism in particular is merely a phase in the evolution towards anarchism. In philosophy Novomirskii is a voluntarist, an opponent of Marxist rationalism. He follows Kropotkin in regarding the duty of revolution as a natural sacrifice. He considers a fine death to be of greater value than a fine life; death is for him no more than a higher stage of a strong and intensive life.

5 In Brussels there was at one time an anarchist Cafe au Tombeau, where the tables were shaped like coffins and the utensils like skulls and sepulchral urns.

6 "Tous les socialistes entendent par anarchie ceci: le but du mouvement proletaire, l'abolition des classes, une fois atteint, le pouvoir de l'etat, qui sert a maintenir la grande majorite productrice sous le joug d'une minorite exploitante peu nombreuse, disparait et les fonctions gouvernementales se transforment en de simples fonctions administratives." -- Marx, Les pretendues scissions de l'Internarionale, 1872.

7 The relationship between anarchism and socialism, as he sees it, is indicated by the Russian Marxist Tugan-Baranovskii in his classification of socialist systems, which is as follows: (1) centralist socialism; (2) federalist socialism; (3) corporative socialism; (4) anarchism.

8 Some reference must be made to attempts at the practical realisation of religious and ethical anarchism. There have been many colonies established by the adherents of Tolstoi, but they have been shortlived. An interesting attempt of the kind was one initiated in 1886 by certain intellectuals, who founded the colony of Krinica on the Black Sea. The founders wished to allow individuality to develope without any coercion either religious or political, and also in freedom from the pressure of any philosophic system. An account of this experiment has recently been published by one of the participators, and the book has already run into a second edition (G. Vasilevskii, The Colony of Intellectuals at Krinica, 1912). The book reveals that the attempt has been a fiasco. The principle of unrestricted individuality had to yield before the corporative and communal spirit, and the colony is at the point of dissolution. Still, it persisted for two decades. (Krinica was the continuation of an earlier experiment in the administrative district of Ufa.) No very clear account of the philosophical views of the colonists seems possible. We trace the influence of Rousseau, of Tolstoi, and of primitive Christianity.