Zo d'Axa

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Zo d'Axa
Zo d'Axa portrait.jpg
Born Alphonse Gallaud de la Pérouse
28 May 1864
Paris, France
Died 30 August 1930 (1930-08-31) (aged 66)
Marseille, France
Cause of death Suicide
Nationality French

Alphonse Gallaud de la Pérouse (28 May 1864 – 30 August 1930), better known as Zo d'Axa (French pronunciation: ​[zo daksa]), was a French adventurer, anti-militarist, satirist, journalist, and founder of two of the most legendary French magazines, L'EnDehors and La Feuille. A descendant of the famous French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, he was one of the most prominent French individualist anarchists at the turn of the 20th century.[1]


He was a sort of Socialist condottieri, a dandy, a rake, and a natural adventurer. Ernest La Jeunesse nicknamed him the Restaurant Recruit.

— Jules Bertaut, Paris 1870-1935, 2007.[2]

D'Axa was a cavalryman but deserted to Belgium and was exiled to Italy in 1889.[2] There he ran an ultra-Catholic newspaper and seduced the native womenfolk.[2] According to popular myth, d'Axa during his time in Italy was hesitating between becoming an anarchist or a religious missionary when he was accused (wrongfully, he contended) of insulting the Empress of Germany, and was made an anarchist by the subsequent legal proceedings against him.[3] He spent the next few years being pursued from one country to the next by the police, before taking advantage of the general amnesty and returning to France.[2]

At this point, having led (in the words of historian Jules Bertaut) "a most disreputable life", and being an agitator by temperament, d'Axa gravitated towards the anarchist movement.[2] He founded the famous anarchist newspaper L'EnDehors in May 1891 in which numerous contributors such as Jean Grave, Louise Michel, Sébastien Faure, Octave Mirbeau, Tristan Bernard and Émile Verhaeren developed libertarian ideas.[2] D'Axa and L'EnDehors rapidly became the target of the authorities after attacks by Ravachol and d'Axa was kept in jail in Mazas Prison. After his release, he wrote numerous pamphlets and met Camille Pissarro and James Whistler in London. He was again arrested in Italy, and transferred at Sainte Pelagie (Paris), where he spent ten years before his release in 1894.[4] He died in 1930.[5]


An individualist and aesthete, d'Axa justified the use of violence as an anarchist, seeing propaganda of the deed as akin to works of art.[6] Anarchists, he wrote, "had no need to hope for distant better futures, they know a sure means of plucking the joy immediately: destroy passionately!"[7] "It is simple enough.", d'Axa proclaimed of his contemporaries, "If our extraordinary flights (nos fugues inattendues) throw people out a little, the reason is that we speak of everyday things as the primitive barbarian would, were he brought across them."[8] D'Axa was a bohemian who "exulted in his outsider status",[6] and praised the anti-capitalist lifestyle of itinerant anarchist bandit precursors of the French illegalists.[9] He expressed contempt for the masses and hatred for their rulers.[10] He was an important anarchist interpreter of the philosophy of individualist anarchist Max Stirner,[11] defender of Alfred Dreyfus and opponent of prisons and penitentiaries. D'Axa remains an influential anarchist theorist for anti-work sentiment.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ S., R. (1900-08-19). "WHAT PARIS THINKS ABOUT; The Shah of Persia Contrasted with His Father. FRENCH ANARCHIST VIEWS Curiosity as to Policy of Italy's New King– Ravages of Yellow Fever in French Senegal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bertaut, Jules (2007). Paris 1870-1935. Vincent Press. p. 131. ISBN 1-4067-4366-6.
  3. ^ Everett, Marshall (2003). Complete Life of William McKinley and Story of His Assassination. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-3229-3.
  4. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events. New York: D. Appleton and company. 1894. p. 290. OCLC 6514833.
  5. ^ Cook, Chris; Pugh, Geoff (1987). Sources in European Political History: The European Left. 1. Macmillan Press. p. 233. ISBN 0-333-23996-2.
  6. ^ a b Weisberg, Gabriel (2001). Montmartre and the Making of Mass Culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-3009-1.
  7. ^ Sonn, Richard (1989). Anarchism and Cultural Politics in Fin-De-Siècle France. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-4175-5.
  8. ^ Grand, Sarah (2000). Sex, Social Purity, and Sarah Grand. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21411-4.
  9. ^ Parry, Richard (1987). The Bonnot Gang. London: Rebel Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-946061-04-1.
  10. ^ Patsouras, Louis (2003). The Anarchism of Jean Grave. Montreal: Black Rose Press. p. 86. ISBN 1-55164-184-4.
  11. ^ Cohn, Jesse (2006). Anarchism and the Crisis of Representation. Selinsgrove Pa.: Susquehanna University Press. ISBN 1-57591-105-1.
  12. ^ Beauzamy, Brigitte. “Danger : Work”. European Consortium for Political Research, 2nd general conference. Marburg, Germany, September 18–21, 2003

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