Contr'un

Anarchist History: No End of Beginnings

After a couple of decades in the wilderness of history, in search of the elusive headwaters of the anarchist tradition, you stop beside some particularly active mountain spring and think that, while no serious seeker would every claim a single source for that tradition, you’ve probably been in the right neighborhood for some time now. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about the return trip. […]

Contr'un

Anarchist History: The Metaphor of the Main Stream

As tools for historical and cultural understanding, metaphors are obviously in the “use with great care” category and, as often as not, reveal more about our interpretive preconceptions than they do about the material we seek to interpret. But sometimes that’s just what is called for, as what needs to be more closely examined is at least as much the lens through which we are looking as it is the object of our scrutiny. […]

Featured articles

E. Armand, “Plan for an Epitaph” (1923)

f someone asked me what inscription I should like to see appear on my grave marker—if ever the luxury of resting in a tomb was given to me—I would first respond that I desire to sleep my last sleep in the nearest hole in the ground. If my friends insisted, this is the epitaph that I would be pleased to have them place on the slab recalling my memory: He lived. He gave of himself. He died unsatisfied. […]

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Joseph Déjacque, “Essay on Religion” (1861)

What is Religion today? It is the immutable synthesis of all errors, ancient and modern, the affirmation of absolutist arbitrariness, the negation of attractional anarchism, it is the principle and consecration of every inertism in humanity and universality, the petrification of the past, its permanent  immobilization. […]

drama

Sylvain Maréchal, “The Last Judgment of Kings” (1793)

No, no, no! we want no more prayers from a priest: the God of the sans-culottes is liberty, it is equality, it is fraternity! You do not know and you have never known those gods. Go instead and exorcise the volcano which must soon punish you and avenge us. Crowned monsters! You should each have died a thousand deaths on the scaffold: but where could we have found the executions who would consent to soil their hands with your vile, corrupted blood? We abandon you to your remorse, or rather to your helpless rage. […]

Contr'un

Anarchist History: A Mutualist’s-Eye-View

My understanding of anarchist history is clearly—and quite consciously—the product of certain trajectories through the field of anarchist studies and through the sectarian landscape of the anarchist milieus. It is perhaps important to underline this fact, particular as it is such a central point of my analysis that the dominant narratives regarding anarchist history have a similar character—and that “anarchist history” might, through relatively small changes in the times and places where it was told, have looked very different and perhaps gone by different names. […]