Publication information
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Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “Philosophic Anarchists and Reds”
Author(s): Addis, Henry
Date of publication: 16 November 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 46
Pagination: 730

Addis, Henry. “Philosophic Anarchists and Reds.” Truth Seeker 16 Nov. 1901 v28n46: p. 730.
full text
Named persons
Henry Addis; Francis B. Livesey; William Morris.
Click here to view George E. Macdonald’s response to the letter below.

Click here to view the letter to the editor by Francis B. Livesey referenced below.


Philosophic Anarchists and Reds

To the Editor of The Truth Seeker.
     Francis B. Livesey contributes quite a lengthy article to Truth Seeker in which he tries to draw the line between Philosophic Anarchists and Red Anarchists, or “Reds.”
     There is no such distinction, nor can any such line be drawn. There is a philosophy of Anarchy, based upon the idea of absolute personal liberty, which is in itself a negation of organized interference with individual freedom, or, in other words, no government.
     All Anarchists are a unit on that point, but many of them differ on theories of reconstruction or the best form of association in a condition of freedom; but they all agree that whatever form society may take, all association should be on a purely voluntary basis. They cannot be truly classed as Anarchists unless that is their ideal.
     They differ as to methods of bringing about a cessation of coercive government and the establishment of voluntary association, and that seems to be Mr. Livesey’s line of demarcation, but no such line can be drawn; for, sitting at home in an easy chair, I may smile and talk of the good time coming, as William Morris used to, when all forms of violence will be no more, but, like him, in time of crisis, I may find myself acting quite contrary to my beautiful theories, driven on to such action by the force of the crisis at hand.
     A person thoroughly imbued with Anarchist ideals and inspired by the spirit that pervades the writings of all the notable Anarchist authors will not use violence except under powerful stress. That some who have adopted enough of the Anarchistic theories to think themselves and call themselves Anarchists are still imbued with many of the old authoritarian ideas and swayed by the same old emotions as when they attended church and believed in blood atonement is undeniable, but what has that to do with Philosophic or Red Anarchists? It might properly be called developed and undeveloped, but no one can judge of another as to just how well developed or undeveloped he may be.
     Let us have done with all the raving and rot about Anarchists. If the philosophy of Anarchy is in accord with natural development and amenable to reason, then we may well give its advocates a fair and candid hearing regardless of whether some one who is said to be an Anarchist commits an act of violence or not.
     Why try to draw lines of distinction between persons holding the same theories simply because one occasionally acts in accord, not with the theories held, but with present conditions? Nonsense.
     Let us quit discussing Anarchists and discuss Anarchy. If any one cares to discuss Anarchy I will accommodate him.




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