Anarchists and Fellow Travellers

“I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate.”

Thomas Jefferson
philosopher, statesman, slave-boffer

Anarchism is the belief that no government is just and that no government is therefore exactly what we ought to strive for. I don’t have the energy to put into a page dedicated to anarchism in all of its historical complexity. Luckily, there are a number of great resources on-line. This page lists a few of these resources, as well as links to writings by some of history’s more eloquent spokespersons for freedom.

I’ve included some non-anarchist thinkers (e.g. Thomas Paine) whose radical critiques of (then) established governments are worth a look, as well as some future-primitivist and luddite theorists (e.g. Zerzan) and others (e.g. Bey, Black) whose critique of modern society and whose programs for change reach further than the organization and dissolution of government.

Anarchism (when it’s not just a fashion statement) is often thought of as a dramatic battle of mad bombers (Kaczynski) and assassination (Czolgosz, Berkman) — but the con-game of government has never been more powerful or more jealous of power, and thanks to the Stockholm Syndrome it’s never been more popular. Today anarchism is a battle of inches — individuals insisting on reclaiming individual sovereignty one decision and one moment at a time (e.g. Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zones).

You can’t assassinate tyrants very often anymore and expect anything meaningful to change. Taking casualties from “their side” may have a deterrent effect but may just as easily make things worse. If you want to kill the tyrant today you’re talking about oceans of blood, probably including your own. The tyrant today is the body politic as an evolved organism, parasitic where it is tangent to our lives.

So if assassinating tyrants is out, what’s left for the freedom-fighter? Wouldn’t you know it: Revolution can be fun! Exercise your creativity and exorcise the busybodies and sadists at the same time by checking out the rest of

Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876)

Mikhail Bakunin

“A tacit contract! That is to say, a wordless, and consequently a thoughtless and will-less contract: a revolting nonsense! An absurd fiction, and what is more, a wicked fiction! An unworthy hoax! For it assumes that while I was in a state of not being able to will, to think, to speak, I bound myself and all my descendents — only by virtue of having let myself be victimized without raising any protest — into perpetual slavery“

Alexander Berkman (1870-1936)

Alexander Berkman

“Tyranny must be opposed at the start. Autocracy, once secured in the saddle, is difficult to dislodge. You should know that a republic is not synonymous with democracy, and that America has never been a real democracy, but that it is the vilest plutocracy on the face of the globe.”

Hakim Bey

“The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.”

Bob Black

“There is more freedom in any moderately deStalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace.”

Murray Bookchin

“Anarchism [has] developed in the tension between two basically contradictory tendencies: a personalistic commitment to individual autonomy and a collectivist commitment to social freedom.”

Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912)

Voltairine de Cleyre

“Of the essence of government... it is a thing apart, developing its own interests at the expense of what opposes it; all attempts to make it anything else fail.”

Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Emma Goldman

“Real wealth consists in things of utility and beauty, in things that help to create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in. But if man is doomed to wind cotton around a spool, or dig coal, or build roads for thirty years of his life, there can be no talk of wealth. What he gives to the world is only gray and hideous things, reflecting a dull and hideous existence — too weak to live, too cowardly to die. Strange to say, there are people who extol this deadening method of centralized production as the proudest achievement of our age. They fail utterly to realize that if we are to continue in machine subserviency, our slavery is more complete than was our bondage to the King. They do not want to know that centralization is not only the death-knell of liberty, but also of health and beauty, of art and science, all these being impossible in a clock-like, mechanical atmosphere.”

Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921)

Peter Kropotkin

“If you reason instead of repeating what is taught you; if you analyze the law and strip off those cloudy fictions with which it has been draped in order to conceal its real origin, which is the right of the stronger, and its substance, which has ever been the consecration of all the tyrannies handed down to mankind through its long and bloody history; when you have comprehended this, your contempt for the law will be profound indeed.”

Errico Malatesta (1853-1932)

Errico Malatesta

“In all times and in all places, whatever may be the name of that the government takes, whatever has been its origin, or its organization, its essential function is always that of oppressing and exploiting the masses, and of defending the oppressors and exploiters. Its principal characteristic and indispensable instruments are the policeman and the tax collector, the soldier and the prison.”

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Thomas Paine

“Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.”

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

Lysander Spooner

“A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”

Henry David Thoreau (1816-1862)

Henry David Thoreau

“I have not so surely forseen that any Cossack or Chippeway would come to disturb the honest and simple commonwealth, as that some monster institution would at length embrace and crush its free members in its scaly folds; for it is not to be forgotten, that while the law holds fast the thief and murderer, it lets itself go loose. When I have not paid the tax which the State demanded for that protection which I did not want, itself has robbed me; when I have asserted the liberty it presumed to declare, itself has imprisoned me... Thus it has happened, that not the Arch Fiend himself has been in my way, but these toils which tradition says were originally spun to obstruct him.”

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker (1854-1939)

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker

“The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that ‘the best government is that which governs least,’ and that that which governs least is no government at all.”

John Zerzan

“Many say that millions would die if the present techno-global fealty to work and the commodity were scrapped. But this overlooks many potentialities. For example, consider the vast numbers of people who would be freed from manipulative, parasitic, destructive pursuits for those of creativity, health and liberty.”

assorted authors

miscellaneous resources

Home Home email email

On This Day in SniggleryJuly 13, 2001: John Hargrave gets an answer from Kellogg’s: “…we can tell you that we put raisins in our packages and not “pregnant ticks” as you have been told.” (Sounds like Commerce Jamming to me)