Paris and the Social Revolution

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Descripción editorial

“THERE is nothing new under the sun,” and anarchism is no exception to the truth of this maxim. But the beginnings of anarchistic philosophy and the development of anarchism, however suggestive they may be, do not fall within the province of this volume. Therefore it is not necessary to expound the tenets or to trace the influence of the anarchist or semi-anarchist devotees through the ages: the Taoists of China (whose founder, Lao-Tse (600 B.C.), was a contemporary of Pythagoras and Confucius), the social prophets of Islam from Mazdak in the sixth century to the wonderful Bab in the first half of the nineteenth century, Saint Anthony of Padua and Jean Vicenza in the thirteenth century, Savonarola at the end of the fifteenth, the Anabaptists under Thomas Munzer, Mathiesen, and Jean de Leyde in the sixteenth, Razine the Cossack and the Scottish Covenanters in the seventeenth, Mandrin the brigand in the eighteenth, and the Jesuits of Paraguay in the last half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. I do not pretend to determine whether the Guelph-Ghibelline feud, which rent Europe for more than two hundred years, was or was not a struggle between despotism and religious democracy, or whether Gregory VII., Alexander III., Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Boniface VIII. were or were not revolutionary popes endeavouring to realise the social dreams of the Franciscans and Dominicans. I do not try to discover what there is of truth in the astonishing claims of certain exalted students of occultism, mysticism, and comparative religions, that anarchism found expression in the worship of the Indian Siva, the Persian Mithras, the Chaldean Baal-Moloch, and the Greek Bacchus; in the conspiracy of the Bacchanals (described by Livy) in the first half of the second century before Christ; in the colossal extravagances of the Cæsars; in the bizarreries of the Nicolaites, the Cainites, the Carpocratians, the Ophites, and other Gnostics of Egypt during the first five centuries of the Christian era; in the Consortia under Constantine; and in the fanaticisms of the Inquisitors, the Lollards, Flagellants, Bégards, Patarins, Templars, and Devil-worshippers during the Middle Ages. I do not dwell upon nor so much as collate the anarchistic tendencies and sanctions which anarchist scholars discern in the writings or sayings of Job and the Old Testament prophets, of Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Saint Francis of Assisi, Plato, Jesus, Rabelais, Bourdaloue, and Bossuet, and the pre-Revolutionary Encyclopedists (especially Diderot and Rousseau). I even pass by the far more pertinent teachings, systems, personalities, and careers of the admitted precursors of modern anarchism; of Max Stirner and Fourier, of Proudhon, the father of modern anarchist doctrine, and of “the mysterious Russian,” Bakounine, the father of the modern anarchist party. I also pass by the agrarian revolt of Gracchus Babœuf (guillotined by Barras in 1797); the emergence of the learned Russian Kropotkine, and of the Italians Cafiero and Malatesta; the relations between French anarchism and Russian nihilism; the struggle for Italian liberation; the founding of the Internationale and of the Fédération Jurasienne; the epic struggle for the control of theInternationale between Karl Marx, representing authoritative centralisation, and Bakounine, representing anti-authoritative federalism. I neglect, in a word, the more than interesting history of the slow evolution of modern anarchism, and coming directly, without further ado, to the France of to-day, attack the questions,—What is anarchy? What does the anarchist want? And how does he hope to get it?

19 de noviembre
Didactic Press