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A prefatory note on Anarchism today

by P. M. Bergman

We live in an age of anarchy both abroad and

at home.
-President Richard M. Nixon

Confronted with a choice, the American people

would choose the policeman's truncheon aver
the Anarchist's bomb.
-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew

The revolutionary reaches beyond dissent to

nihilism and anarchy.
-Mayor John V. Lindsay

This is a bruta! book-sensual, rude, coarse, and cruel. I believe it to be very characteristic that such a book
However, it is timely and well-written, even witty. Profes- appeared only in this country. The same is true of the pres-
sionally and painstakingly, ali possible informative instruc- ent "Cookbook." One might think this is because of the
tions for individuai actions of destruction having a pre- American constitutional "freedom of speech." But in other
sumably social effect are detailed bere. countries even the clandestine Iiterature does not, so far as
There is no politica! merit in publishing this book; it is I know, show any similarities to such a "Cookbook." Blan-
not a cali to action. For the real Hippy and Yippy, espe- qui's famous "Instructions far Insurrection" concentrates
cially for the rebellious student, it hardly contains anything on mass actions ( even if initiated by élites) like the build-
basic that he does not already know. I believe that it is ing of barricades-something which neither Most's Science
usually the "square guy" who wants to know what is going nor the present "Cookbook" gives any attention to. And this,
on, though (or because) shocked and even tantalized by in fact, expresses the basic difference-1 think the only dif-
such subjects. More often than not it is the subscriber to ference, even-between what is usually called Anarchism
Reader's Digest and Time who constitutes the literary mar- and revolutionary Marxism. I would like to go further and
ket for such boring commodities as, for example, Games emphasize the specific nature of American Anarchism with-
People Play. out denying that this Iocal form stili is Anarchism.
Stili, the present book is an importànt reftection of The word "Anarchism" as used in the present book
American Anarchism. It has its historical precedent in a might be somewhat misleading, even a misnomer. As often
sìmilar "Cookbook" which was published in many editions happens, it is confused with "Nihilism"-a word which
and sold openly around the turn of the century (by the Wendell Phillips favorably used after it was introduced by
Anarchist headquarters, at the time in New York City, Turgenjev in Fathers and Sons. It frequented Russian Iiter-
167 William Street). Its title was Science of Revolutionary ature until the time of Artzybashev. The chapter on nar-
Warfare-A Handbook of Instruction regarding the Use cotics, therefore, belongs to the present book. "Free Lave"
and Manufacture of Nitroglycerine, Dynamite, Gun-Cot-
ton, Fulminating Mercury, Bombs, Arsons, Poisons, etc. and in 1878 had to ftee Germany. In England, because of bis
The book was written by the Anarchist J. H. Most, who extreme Anarchist views, Most broke with Marx and, after serving
eighteen months at hard labor for advocating regicide, he emigrated
was the teacher of Emma Goldman. * in 1882 to the United States. Here he was, at the time of the Hay-
market Square riot, considered the inspiration of radicalism through-
* Johann Joseph Most (1846-1906), a bookbinder by trade, was out the country, but later, during the Homestead strike, Most spoke
one of the first Marxist deputies to the German Reichstag. He wrote out against Berkman's assault on Henry Clay Frick. He was im-
the first popularization of Capitai. For bis very radica! publications prisoned for alleged sedition after the assassination of President
against religion and patriotism, he was severa! times imprisoned, McKinley.