Submitted by libcom on October 29, 2005


1. Authoritarian was an epithet used by the libertarian anarchists and denoted those socialists whom they considered less libertarian than themselves and who they therefore presumed were in favour of authority.

2. Jules Guesde (1845-1922) in 1879 introduced Marxist ideas to the French workers' movement. (Translator's note.)

3. The term societaire is used to define a form of anarchism which repudiates individualism and aims at integration into society. (Translator's note. )

4. "Voline" was the pseudonym of V. M. Eichenbaum, author of La Revolution Inconnue 1917-1921, the third volume of which is in English as The Unknown Revolution (1955). Another partial translation is Nineteen-seventeen: The Russian Revolution Betrayed (1954) . (Translator's note. )

4a. Alias of the French terrorist Francois-Claudius Koenigstein (1859-1892) who committed many acts of violent terrorism and was eventually executed. (Translator's note. )

5. In 1883 an active nucleus of revolutionary socialists founded an International Working Men's Association in the United States. They were under the influence of the International Anarchist Congress, held in London in 1881, and also of Johann Most, a social democrat turned anarchist, who reached America in 1882. Albert R. Parsons and Adolph Fischer were the moving spirits in the association, which took the lead in a huge mass movement concentrated on winning an eight-hour day. The campaign for this was launched by the trade unions and the Knights of Labor, and May 1, 1886, was fixed as the deadline for bringing the eight-hour day into force. During the first half of May, a nationwide strike involved 190,000 workers of whom 80,000 were in Chicago. Impressive mass demonstrations occurred in that city on May 1 and for several days thereafter. Panic-stricken and terrified by this wave of rebellion, the bourgeoisie resolved to crush the movement at its source, resorting to bloody provocation if need be. During a street meeting on May 4, 1885, in Haymarket Square, a bomb thrown at the legs of the po]ice in an unexplained manner provided the necessary pretext. Eight leaders of the revolutionary and libertarian socialist movement were arrested, seven of them sentenced to death, and four subsequently hanged (a fifth committed suicide in his cell the day before the execution). Since then the Chicago martyrs - Parsons, Fischer, Enge], Spies, and Lingg - have be]onged to the international proletariat, and the universal celebration of May Day (May 1) still commemorates the atrocious crime committed in the United States.

6. All quotations have been translated into English by the translator.

7. French writer (1830-1905) known principally as a geographer. His brother Elie played an active part during the Commune of 1871. (Translator's note.)

8. Wilhelm Weitling (1808-1871), German utopian communist writer and founder of Communist Workers' Clubs during the 1830's and 1840's. (Translator's note. )

9. Guizot, a minister under Louis Philippe, was known for his extreme conservative views. (Translator's note )

10. Followers of Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881), French socialist and revolutonary' advocate of insurrection by minorities. (Translator's note.)

11. In his book The Ego and His Own.

12. Without direct mention of Stirner, whose work he may not, therefore, have read.

13. Cf. the 1963 decrees by which the Algerian Republic institutionalized the self-management which had been originated spontaneously by the peasants. The apportionment - if not the actual percentages - is very similar, and the last quarter, "to be divided among tile workers," is the same as the "balance" over which there was controversy in Algeria.

14. Alleu is a feudal term for heritable inalienable property. The Germains were a German tribe in which individual freedom was highly developed. (Translator's note.)

15. Cf. a similar discussion in the Critique of the Gotha Programme, drafted by Karl Marx in 1875 though not published until 1891.

16. Cuba is today gropingly and prematurely trying to find the way to integral communism.

17. A state monopoly in France. (Translator's note.)

18. A Swiss branch of the Intemational which had adopted Bakunin's ideas.

19. Pi y Margall was a minister in the period between 1873 and 1874 when a republic was briefly established in Spain. (Translator's note.) When, in January 1937, Fedenca Montseny, a woman anarchist who had become a minister, praised the legionalism of Pi y Margall, Gaston Leval replied that he was far from a faithful follower of Bakunin.

20. La Revolution Proletarienne is a French monthly; Robert Louzon a veteran revolutionary syndicalist. (Translator's note.)

21. Robert Lonzon pointed out to the author that from a dialectic point of view this statement and that of Pelloutier are in no way mutually exclusive: terrorism had contradictory effects on the working-class movement.

22. A Bolshevik historian who later became a Stalinist.


24. Jacquerie was the name given, to the French peasant revolt of 1358 (from racques, the nickname of the French peasant). (Translator's note.)

25. Debate among anarcho-syndicalists on the relative merits of factory councils and trade unions was, moreover, nothing new; it had recently divided the anarchists in Russia and even caused a split in the ranks of the editorial team in charge of the libertarian paper Golos Truda, some members remaining faithful to classical syndicalism while others, including G. P. Maximoff, opted for the councils.

26. In April 1922, the KAPD set up a "Communist Workers International" with Dutch and Belgian opposition groups.

27. The Spanish National Confederation of Labor.

28. In France, for example, the trade unionists who followed Pierre Besnard were expelled from the Confederation Generale du Travail Unitaire (obedient to the Communists) and, in 1924, founded the Confederation Genlrale du Travail Syndicaliste Revolutionnaire.

29. Whereas in Castile and in the Asturias, etc., the social-democratic trade union center, the General Union of Workers (UGT) was predominant.

30. The CNT only agreed to the creation of industrial federations in 1931. In 1919 this had been rejected by the "pure" anarchists as leading toward centralism and bureaucracy; but it had become essential to reply to the concentration of capitalism by the concentration of the unions in a single industry. The large industrial federations were only really stabilized in 1937.


32. Not to be confused with intermediate political forms, which the anarchists, unlike the Marxists, reject.

33. The International Workers' Association to which the CNT was affiliated hdd a special congress in Paris, June 11-13, 1937, at which the anarcho-syndicalist trade-union center was reproached for participating in govemment and for the concessions it had mate in consequence. With this backing, Sebastien Faure decided to publish a series of articles in the July 8, 15, and 22 issues of Le Libertaire, entitled "The Fatal Slope." These were severely critical of the decision of the Spanish anarchists to take part in government. The CNT was enraged and brought about the resignation of the secretary of the International Workers' Association, Pierre Besnard.

34 "In theory," because there was some litigation between villages on this subject.

35. This refers to the time when the POUM (Partido Obrero Unido Marxista) together with rank-and-file anarchists came into armed conflict with the police and were defeated and crushed. (Translator's note.)

36. As of July 1969.

37. James Joll recently wrote to the author that after reading this book he had to some extent revised his views.