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Anarchism (from Greek ἀν (without) + ἄρχειν (to rule) + ισμός (from stem -ιζειν), "without archons", "without rulers") is often defined as a political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. Some anarchists have argued that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism. This traditional notion of anarchism entails opposition to all authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system. In particular, it includes opposition to religion and capital, resulting in the famous anarchist proclamations "Property is theft!" and "No gods, no masters!" Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

Anarchism as a mass social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon (which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents, including the participation of individualists in large anarchist organizations). Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism), while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.

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Pável Dimítrievich Turchanínov (died September 21, 1921), known by the pseudonym Lev Chernyi, was a Russian anarchist theorist, activist and poet, and a leading figure of the Third Russian Revolution. His early thought was individualist, rejecting anarcho-communism as a threat to individual liberty. In 1917, Chernyi was released from his political imprisonment by the Imperial Russian regime, and swiftly became one of the leading figures in Russian anarchism. After strongly denouncing the new Bolshevik government in various anarchist publications and joining several underground resistance movements, Chernyi was arrested by the Cheka on a charge of counterfeiting and in 1921 was executed without trial. (read more...)

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Radicals in Ellis Island awaiting deportation
Credit: Corbis Images for Education database

Anarchists and other radicals awaiting deportation from Ellis Island on January 3, 1920, after being rounded up in raids the previous night in New York City. The passage of Anarchist Exclusion Acts by the United States Congress resulted in the deportation of dozens of illegal immigrants from the United States as a result of their political beliefs.

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Amilcare Cipriani

Anniversaries for February 24

  • 1848 - France: Michael Bakunin returns to Paris this month after the February Revolution (demonstrations in Paris lead to overthrow of Louis Phillippe & declaration of the Second Republic (22-24)) & he publishes several letters in the press. Bakunin was expelled from France in December & had moved to Brussels (where he met his arch-nemesis Karl Marx again; they meet up yet again in March, where a split begins over Marx's denunciation of Bakunin's friend Herwegh, who had led an ill-fated expedition of German exiles to Baden in the hope of instigating an uprising).
  • 1849 - France: Nicolas Thomassin lives (1849-1919), Ardennes. A weaver, socialist, anarchist, participant in "Sans patrie" (formed October 18, 1891) with Gustave Bouillard, Pierre Leroux, Paulin Mailfait, etc.
  • 1886 - Maurice Vandamme, (aka Mauricius) (d.1974) lives. French néo-Malthusien, free-love advocate, anti-militarist, medical research doctor. One-time companion of Rirette Maitrejean. Involved in numerous papers, including Libertad's L'Anarchie, Sebastien Faure's Ce Qu'il Faut Dire (What Must Be Said) & Émile's la Mêlée.
  • 1895 - José Marti, Cuban revolutionary begins liberation struggle against Spain.
“The spectators in the orchestra of the theater fix their view on the scaffold — a sign, a noise, the trap door gives way, now they die, in a horrible dance, twisting in the air.
“José Martí wrote the story of the execution of the anarchists in Chicago. The working class of the world will bring them back to life every first of May. That was still unknown, but Martí always writes as if he is listening for the cry of a newborn where it is least expected.”
— Eduardo Galeano, “A Terrible Drama” Memories of Fire, Vol. II)
  • 1907 - Brazil: Inauguration of the libertarian "Social School of the Campinas League of Workers." The anarchist militant Adelino de Pinho begins teaching here in 1908.
  • 1924 - Uruguay: On the rue Monte Caseros, Montevideo Chief of Police Luis Pardeiro & his chauffeur are killed in a hail of bullets. An attentat against the renowned torturer of many anarchists (Miguel Arcangel Roscigno, et al), the attack is attributed to the anarchists Armando Guidot, Bruno Antonelli Dellabella & Francisco Sapia.
  • 1933 - England: Emma Goldman lectures in London on "Constructive Revolution."
  • 1939 - The CNT-FAI announced it will end activities abroad, thanked international community for its support.
  • 1951 - The French Groupes anarchistes d’action prolétarienne (Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action) was formed in Italy by former members of the FAI excluded at the congress of Ancône.
  • 1966 - US: Barry Bondhus dumps 10 pounds of his own shit on draft files (or 22nd?) On being found suitable for military service, 20-year-old Barry Bondhus dumps two buckets of human shit into the files of the Sherburne County draft board at Elk River, MN. Chicago anarchists applaud his action in a solidarity leaflet: Along with wheelbarrows of desire, buckets of shit will stop the war in Vietnam.
  • 1982 - Lucien Tronchet (1902-1982), dies. Anarchist & Swiss trade unionist whose antifascist activities landed him in prison. As a youngster, he joined FOBB (Federation of Wood & Building Workers) with Clovis Abel Pignat.

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Anselme Bellegarrigue, Anarchy is Order (1850) 58

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