Frédéric Tuefferd, Letter to Albert Parsons from an Anticrat (1886)

Eufaula, April 13, 1886

Dear Comrade Parsons:—I have received your papers and am very much obliged for them. Glad that you like my article. I am writing now for To-Day, of London, and for the Alarm, and am going to write for La Tribune du Peuple de Paris. Situated as I am now, I can be of no good but by writing, and I intend to avail myself of it. You may be astonished if I tell you that I never use the word “Anarchy.” I stick to the old word “Socialism.” It can be understood and does not require any knowledge of Greek to make out its meaning. If I was to seek in the Greek language for a word to express where I stand, I would call myself an Anticrat, opposed to any kind of crazy notions, democracy as well as aristocracy. I am for individual responsibility and social action. I am for liberty, but within society, not above it, and, first of all, I am for equality of conditions. I want organization first, revolution second, social economy re-organization third, and abolition of governmental action last of all. If you could confiscate the government to-morrow, I would have no objection to use it for a while.

Anarchism has a very dangerous drift toward individualism, as you may perceive by reading Liberty, of Boston, and individualism is bound to generate some kind of a crazy notion and end in despotism. Beware of individualistic Anarchism and stick to the socialistic.

We are in a state of warfare with all the crazes and must use all the weapons of warfare within our reach. Our present weapons — strikes and boycotting — are dangerous, and expulsive if we were to use the ballot. The workers are the many; the masters the few. Before upsetting the government, let us try to use it. Mayors, councilmen, aldermen governors, and so forth, have a good deal to say about how the police and militia shall be used, and judges have a good deal to say when workingmen are prosecuted for claiming their rights. Could not the workers organize to conquer these offices? What do you think of that? What do you think of that? Salute and Fraternity.

Frederic Tafferd.

Michael J. Schaack, Anarchy and Anarchists (Chicago: F.J. Schulte, 1889): 228.

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Independent scholar, translator and archivist.