anarchy archives


About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Elisée Reclus
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Anarchist Poets


<--Previous  Up  Next-->

It had enjoyed 800 years of revolution from A.D. 987 to 1789. It was home of Freedom, whereas Germany was the home of authority and reaction. Hegel had converted Bakunin to France and Liberty. Voltaire was not merely avenged. He was excelled.

The completion of Bakunin's mental change is a matter for serious study by the apologists of power. Life is amusing as well as sad. It is never more entertaining and instructive than in its moments of great crisis, when old worlds give place to new. Then we witness the renowned struggle between Little Jack and the Mighty Giant. The Biblical variant is David and Goliath. History has many variants. Jesus against Caesarism, a struggle not yet ended. Luther against Rome. Erasmus against the Dark Ages. Voltaire against the feudal nobility of France. Servetus against Calvin. In terms of struggle and tragedy they relate and illustrate the same magnificent paradox of progress. In the battle between Power and Thought, it is Power and not Thought that is handicapped unmercifully. Yet whenever the contest is renewed sides are taken because men believe that Power is supreme and Thought a hopelessly outclassed challenger. It is as though mankind regularly at the dawn of each new epoch shuts out all knowledge of the past. Were it otherwise there would be no battle, and, perhaps, no true progress. The Apostle intended not error but truth when he defined Faith as the evidence of things unseen. Actually, Faith is the vision of things clearly seen from the beginning of time.

Power moves along the ages heavily, weighed down with its own authority, and armed always with its unwieldy bludgeon. It has no elan. It was wealth and pomp and numbers; perfect machinery, much surrounding circumstances, but withal, no life. Thought is without numbers. Thinkers rarely command a majority. The grave can boast a more compact majority. Thought has no machinery of action. Like Shakespeare's conspirators, thought is lean and dangerous. But it is destiny and ever survives. It dies only when it has ascended from the gutter to the palace and has assumed the rank of fashion. It then returns to the gutter and makes war on its shadow. Hans Andersen has told the story of the man and his shadow in one of his immortal fairy tales. In his story, the shadow, which is Power, triumphs. In our record the man, being Thought, lasts the distance.

Power lumbers awkwardly to its doom, whilst Thought moves gracefully and bravely through suffering, from the gibbet to the throne. This is the great message of Christianity as yet unrevealed to theologians but obvious to the poor. The sword must perish and the world must triumph. This fact explains why Achilles and Hector, old-time deities, are now forgotten. Hector, of course, is remembered in the word "hectoring." It means that humanity reveres him no longer as a god but recalls his memory as that of a braggard and bully. The growth of this idea registered the distance that separates Shakespeare's story of the gods in his little appreciated


[Home]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]