Talk:Manifesto of the Sixteen

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Good article Manifesto of the Sixteen has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 3, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
March 21, 2009 WikiProject A-class review Not approved
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on November 13, 2008.
Current status: Good article
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Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : Create an Anarchism in Europe sub-section for Background section. What was the state of anarchy in the Great Powers? Compare with other worker movements. K.I.S.S.
  • Infobox : Find an image for infobox


Greetings! I'm relatively new, but I'm trying to get this Manifesto of the Sixteen article up. I'm having a little trouble figuring out the markup for the inline citations, so be warned that it might be incorrect. Potemkin01 (talk) 21:17, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Welcome to the team. If you need any help, feel free to ask. You can introduce yourself to more members of the Task Force at the ATF talk page, but please understand if responses are slow in coming. The group seems to be largely in an inactive period.--Cast (talk) 00:40, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for all your work. I'll try to add more to this myself - I haven't abandoned it, I've just been pretty busy the last few days. There are some letters and editorials about Kropotkin's stance on the war that could probably be used for this entry, including "War!" and "Wars and Capitalism" (both 1914), "What the Attitude of a Radical Should Be Toward the War" (c1917), and "Russian Point of View as Set Forth by Kropotkin" (c1915). Potemkin01 (talk) 00:03, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, after several months, all of the initial online sources have finally been exhausted. I also worked in "A Letter to Steffen". I think this is ready to be taken live.--Cast (talk) 04:36, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

It's certainly deletion-proof, but I think it could use reworking and a thorough proof-read, as we have patched together paragraphs from different sources with different emphases (e.g. Kropotkin's article in Freedom is brought up twice without a link). If we are careful about it, we could get this to WP:GA, so I think a little time longer sheltered in the sandbox might be of benefit. the skomorokh 04:44, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Alright, finished the copyediting, let's fire this sucker up! the skomorokh 20:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)


Any chance of an image of the initial publication? If one exists, it should be old enough for it's copyright to have expired. the skomorokh 02:57, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't know where to find it, but I've been looking. A last effort might be made of contacting Freedom Press and asking them if they have archives. Anarchy has a few in HTML format, and you've got to figure they got theirs from somewhere. If anarchists can't be counted on to protect their history, I don't know who else will.--Cast (talk) 04:15, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. I'll see if I can contact Freedom Press tomorrow. It seems galling that such a pivotal document has vanished from human access. the skomorokh 04:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Okay, update on the source document: I have it on good authority [sic] from the head honcho of Freedom Press that they only have back issues of Freedom from 1923 on (warehoused with vague intentions of digitising). Apparently the Socialist Party of Great Britain have copies from earlier, but I'm not sure I care to go toe-to-toe with those muchachos. Is there any chance of a scan of La Bataille Syndicaliste? the skomorokh 18:34, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I would have absolutely no idea where to get a copy of La Bataille Syndicaliste. I'll ask around if anyone else knows of any anarchist historical societies which might have archives for Freedom. The only one that comes to mind would be the Kate Sharpley Library. If Freedom Press doesn't have archives, I don't know who would, but the KSL would be worth a shot. --Cast (talk) 19:02, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll try the KSL. I don't suppose the Library of Congress (or similar British institution) would archive these sorts of things? In my fruitless search yesterday I did manage to get a copy of the 1986 Freedom centenary, which reprints in full a International Anarchist Manifesto (presumably under the auspices of the Anarchist Central Committee), which I think is the Nieuwenhuis/Goldman/Berkman doc mentioned in our "Anarchist response to WWI and Kropotkin" section, as well as other enticing rarities. the skomorokh 19:12, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Now hold on this instant! Research isn't supposed to be this interesting! You start being bored out of your mind immediately! And no, I doubt we can entrust certain institutions to care about the infighting among the intolerable rabble on the streets. There are a few national archives of this sort which carry anarchist literature, but usually they come across the media when a rare researcher decides to donate their collections to such groups. To think! Delivering our beloved anarchist propaganda into the hands of our enemies! Disgusting! --Cast (talk) 19:25, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed! I had quite the interesting hunt today, utterly fruitless but intriguing nonetheless. How is this document so shrouded in mystery? A shifty looking anarcho-bookseller took me aside and counselled that this cadre of counter-revolutionaries might have in their bloodstained hands a copy of that which we seek, but then again who can be trusted in these troubled times? the skomorokh 21:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)


Avrich, who I would usually consider the pre-eminent anarchist historian, mentions James Guillaume in passing as a signatory, which Woodcock appears to dispute. Our list of signatories here does not include Guillaume. What is the source of our list of signatories? And should we simply consider Avrich's mention a minor error or put it in a footnote? the skomorokh 04:24, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

The source for our list is the online french html version provided in the external links section. Understand, several weeks after the initial publication of the manifesto, more signatories appeared. The manifesto is therefore named only after the initial fifteen signatures. I'm not sure how many people eventually aligned themselves with it, and who all of them where. Indeed, the exact total may be lost to history, leaving us oly with knowledge of a few of the big names who suffered from the fallout in the following years, giving us glimpses into their activity as a result of an oral tradition. Given that Avrich's research mostly came from oral sources, he might be the more accurate source to go by Now that he's passed, we'll certainly suffer for all of the details he didn't write down.--Cast (talk) 04:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Right, so we can say without fear of contradiction that Guillame was not an initial signatory (trusting the french source as an accurate reproduction). The best move then would be to list a few of the notalbe subsequent signatories, Guillaume included, at the end of the section? the skomorokh 04:46, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea. Note, however, that this section should probably be called "sympathizers" or such, because it may be impossible to confirm that some figures actually signed follow-up copies of the Manifesto. However, these poor souls are usually stated to have "aligned" themselves to it, and to have suffered the wrath of the Anarchist Central Committee as a result. One case already noted in the article is Jean Wintsch. He was not an initial signatory, but is stated to have aligned himself with it and suffered as a consequence. It may be no small coincidence that the manifesto was republished in Libre Federation with an additional 100 signatories two weeks after its initial publication, and that Libre Federation is published in the same city Jean Wintsch opened his Modern School. I don't think it would be imprudent to speculate that his was among the new 100 signatures. It's just a shame we may never know. Like wise, this may be the case of Dave Victor, who is stated in this Libcom article to have signed the manifesto – and yet we know he was not among the initial signatories. However, I do feel it very important to note here that I've not yet identified the initial figure who signed the first copy of the manifesto as "Richard." Throughout all of the books I've read on the subject, no researcher has ever identified this mysterious, pro-war "Dick". --Cast (talk) 05:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, I wish we had a source for the Wintsch and Victor Dave links; how is this such an obscure topic that our eminent historians haven't hunted down all the signatories? I blame Richard, personally. the skomorokh 21:28, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Jean Maitron gives the name as "Ph. Richard", but I wasn't able to find out the first name.--Koroesu (talk) 22:23, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
That's a start, very helpful, thanks! We need all the help with non-English sources we can get, so if you find anything relevant, please don't hesitate to add it. the skomorokh 22:54, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Reactions and Legacy sections[edit]

There seems to be an unfortunate division of topics between these two sections; the Bolshevik material, though very important, is somewhat distinct from the main thrust of the article (the international anarchist movement), and it is disjointing to see it appear in two separate sections. Similarly, two isolated discussions of the Swiss anarchist movement seeems like a less than ideal distribution. Perhaps a "Reactions and legacy"/"Reception and impact" section, with regional/topical subsections (e.g. Russia) would be a more organic structure? I understand the desire to analyse the immediate responses and the long-term effects separately, but the sources don't seem to divide neatly that way. the skomorokh 04:36, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm fully in agreement with you. I wrote most of this on the fly, and fully expected it to be improved by other editors with a secondary perspective. Be Bold, good sir.--Cast (talk) 04:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Cool, I'll get to it sometime in the next 24 hours when I have access to a proper monitor. the skomorokh 04:48, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Fame and glory[edit]

Any suggestions for a DYK hook? There's always the boring "...that the Manifesto of the Sixteen was a controversial declaration of support for the Allied cause in World War I from a group of prominent anarchists?"

I'm also considering nominating this article for GA status...any reservations? the skomorokh 21:24, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

This article looks really good. I'm really glad you guys put the energy into it. And Skomorokh, you definitely should nominate it for GA. Murderbike (talk) 22:04, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
The DYK hook seems easily verifiable and easy to nominate. Go with it. I agree that this is GA ready, and if a reviewing editor has any problems with it, it should be a few edits away from excellence. If you don't nominate it, I will. --Cast (talk) 01:46, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Looks like no one beat me to it. --Cast (talk) 02:58, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks stranger! Alright, the DYK is in and approved, the GA nom'ed, so I guess we sit tight and wait for a reviewer to show up. the skomorokh 19:05, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Date of initial publication[edit]

The following source gives the date of publication in La Bataille Syndicaliste as April 14, 1916:

Préposiet, Jean (2006). Storia dell'anarchismo, Edizioni Delado ISBN 8822005635 (a translation by R. Tomadin of Préposiet's Histoire de l'anarchisme), p.300 link

Do we have a ref for the February 28 date?

In other news, we're going to need page numbers for all the book references. Small page ranges (as in the three pages of the Avrich ref) are generally ok, but the Nettlau and From Prince to Rebel give no guidance at present. the skomorokh 22:49, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I understand you have problems accessing some google books. I'll handle the Woodcock book soon. I also just checked it and could not find the note within it that specifies what date it was published on. Why I cited it as taking place in February, I do not know. Go with April. --Cast (talk) 23:30, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
April it is. The page numbers are not for my benefit (though they would of course be useful!) but for that of the readers; the article won't get far without them. the skomorokh 00:12, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
No, no, rest assured I understand. I'm merely pointing out that I understand why I should undertake this effort. Besides, I've been citing that book the most. I should take responsibility for not having cited the page numbers sooner. --Cast (talk) 02:11, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

So it turns out I am having trouble with google books, but only when they're written in Italian; the manifesto was published on February 28, 1916 in Syndicaliste, and the April 14 date refers to the Freedom reprint. Apologies for my illiteracy! the skomorokh 00:18, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Ok, I've got some news:
  • the manifesto was published in La Bataille (The publication was renamed from La Bataille Syndicaliste to La Bataille on September 3, 1915).
  • The manifesto was written on February 28 and published (in La Bataille) on march 14 (according to Maitron)
  • I've been searching for La Bataille in the CIRA, they've got only La Bataille Syndicaliste... BUT the Bibliothèque nationale de France has it! Next week I'll try to get a copy...
  • Richard remains mysterious. He wrote several articles for La Révolte and Les Temps Nouveaux signed „P. Richard“. I didn't want to give up, so I tried to find him in the autobiography of Jean Grave. A lot of people are mentioned there, but no Richard (could be a pseudonym..?) --Koroesu (talk) 23:15, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for all of the great work you've done so far, and good luck with that which is to come. Each point you list is wonderful news, and very, very welcome. --Cast (talk) 05:17, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, thank you both for writing this great article! It's pretty hard to find information on the subject which makes this article all the more important. A translation for the German Wikipedia is now on its way.
Despite the fact that the Bibliothèque nationale de France has a good reproduction service, they couldn't send me a copy and handed me over to another Institution. It would be possible to make a copy on location in Paris. So in the end, I think it could be a longer battle to get La Bataille...--Koroesu (talk) 13:29, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Nettlau ref[edit]

The references all seem in order with the exception of the Nettlau book, which lacks info on which edition of the work is cited (e.g. an ISBN or OCLC) and a page number for the specific section cited. It was added in this edit; can this information be retrieved? Worldcat doesn't seem to have it in English [1]. Skomorokh 05:24, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Please pardon this late response. I was apparently the editor who added this information, but I didn't remember doing so. Anyway, my source was an online transcription of the work on Anarchy Archives. For this reason, I couldn't confirm any page number. However, the edition would seem to be the first, as the web page includes an image of the cover, which appears to be a first edition from 1924. --Cast (talk) 07:40, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
No worries. The link makes up for the page number in terms of satisfying referencing requirements; the reader can find the information easily enough from either. Since this article takes its info from the webpage, which presents itself as a "A Condensed Sketch of Malatesta from the book" rather than the book itself, the information we are using might not be exactly the same as that of the book, so I think it is best to cite the webpage rather than the book. I don't think there are reliability issues with citing the website, as Anarchy Archives has editorial oversight from Dana Ward and is "published" in a sense by Pitzer College. I think we are ready for a peer review. Skomorokh 17:31, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
On second thoughts I've cited the original publication details, as it is after all a book rather than a webpage, and more easily referenced as such. Skomorokh 00:14, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Dubious claim about "larger half" of Russian movement[edit]

Where is the evidence? In all other countries a majority of the anarchist movement was opposed to WWI, please can someone add a reference to this claim, . Apologies for not adding the dubious talk link properly, don't know how to do so Oblivioid (talk) 03:20, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

No worries Oblivoid; the lead section is just a summary of the article, so does not contain any unique content. The material about the Russian anarchist movements response is in the Impact and legacy#Russia section, and is cited to this reference, Paul Avrich's The Russian Anarchists. I have the book in front of me and can confirm that it supports the claim; if you like I can quote the relevant part for you. Thanks for your interest!  Skomorokh, barbarian  03:29, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Hi Skomorokh, thanks for explaining. However, it's still not clear from the article that a majority of Russian anarchists supported Kropotkin's position: Avrich states the larger faction of the Muscovites did; Lenin claims the vast majority of Russian anarchists did (but this claim can't be taken seriously); and then Woodcock seems to claim that only a few Russian anarchists supported the war. He appears to be contradicting Lenin rather than Avrich. So, to clarify, does Avrich actually say that a majority of Russian (rather than just Muscovite) anarchists supported Kropotkin, and if he does, why is this more reliable than Woodcock's opposite claim?Oblivioid (talk) 04:00, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Here's a transcription of the Avrich, see the second to last paragraph; I haven't got the Woodcock to hand but I'll see if I can dig something up online. I see your point and we may need to revise the wording of the summary.  Skomorokh, barbarian  04:08, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
And here's the Woodcock, page 380 from the edition cited in the article. He does not seem to provide any support or context for the claim that the Russians were at one with the rest of the anarchist world, but only pours some cold water on the opposing position.  Skomorokh, barbarian  04:26, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for providing those links. Avrich only mentions that the majority of the Moscow anarchists supported the war, he says nothing about the rest of Russia. Therefore I think it is invalid to say that "the larger section" supported Kropotkin's position in the summary - there is no evidence to suggest that, except for the Bolsheviks, who have a motivation to present themselves as the only group opposing the war regardless of the truth (and who routinely misrepresent the positions of their opponents). I have changed "the larger section" to "a faction" - feel free to rephrase if you can find a better way of putting it.Oblivioid (talk) 01:50, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That's a reasonable placeholder for now until we get around to overhauling the Russia part. Thanks again for your interest and patience, and sorry about the initial reverts! If you're amenable to helping out further on anarchism-related content, please do join us at the Anarchism Task Force. Regards,  Skomorokh, barbarian  02:03, 24 November 2009 (UTC)