Publication information

Social Democratic Herald
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Anarchist Attempt at Buffalo”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: 11
Pagination: 1

“The Anarchist Attempt at Buffalo.” Social Democratic Herald 14 Sept. 1901 n11: p. 1.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response: socialists); socialism; anarchism (personal response); anarchism (criticism).
Named persons
William Jennings Bryan; William McKinley; Georgi Plekhanov [variant spelling below].
In accordance with the original source, the word anarchist(s) is included below both with and without capitalization.

The Anarchist Attempt at Buffalo

     William McKinley, the president of the United States, has been shot down by an anarchist in the [presence?] of a large crowd on the exposition grounds in Buffalo, while shaking the hand of the assassin.
     We are revolutionary Socialists and will not permit ourselves to be diverted by anything whatever from our goal. We also declare that our aim is the overthrow of the present system and the establishment of a new and higher order, a co-operative commonwealth—in which poverty, prostitution and all the misery emanating therefrom, will be unknown. In order to obtain this we try to convince the majority of the people of the righteousness of our ideas, and also point to the modern economic development which makes a Socialistic commonwealth a necessity, sooner or later, if freedom and civilization are to survive. And we make no secret of the fact that after we have obtained the political power necessary for the [above?] outlined changes that we may use force against such individuals or classes as try to resist the [manifest?] will of the people. This is the programme of the Social Democrats in a nutshell.
     In accordance with this we have always fought McKinley and his party, as we fought Bryan and his party, and all other capitalist parties. But we turn aside with horror and contempt from the despicable deed in Buffalo.
     Horrors of that kind have [less?] excuse in this country than elsewhere. For the first time in the history of the world the oppressed class has the same fundamental right as the ruling class, namely, the right of suffrage. Now, instead of making use of this circumstance, the hare-brained fellows, who call themselves anarchists, everywhere preach against it.
     Any sane man must ask himself, what right has a small minority—and the Anarchists are an infinitesimal minority indeed—to force its views by means of bomb, pistol and dagger, upon a majority, upon a thousand-fold majority? And has not that tremendous majority a right in self-protection to turn around and wipe out a brood of assassins who commit every crime imaginable under the pretext of trying to make this world better?
     The Anarchists have been a stumbling block in the way of the labor movement in this as in every other country. They hinder the progress of the proletariat not only by casting suspicion upon its most energetic (and oftentimes really the best) elements in the political and trades union movement, and blocking their path in every way; but by the insane outbreaks of this or that degenerate, who takes these bloody [phrases?] seriously, they furnish to the reactionaries the wished for pretext to take steps against the labor movement.
     George Plechanow tersely says: “In the name of revolution the Anarchists serve the cause of reaction; in the name of morality they approve of the most immoral acts; in the name of individual liberty they trample under foot all the rights of their fellow men.”
     The Socialists, however, need not fear the Anarchist propaganda. Anarchism is the child of the bourgeoisie—its youngest child, its “enfant terrible,” in a certain sense also its favorite child, of which one easily becomes convinced upon reading the bourgeois fin de siecle authors of the nineteenth century—but for that very reason the Anarchists will never exert any serious influence upon the proletariat.
     Wherever Social Democracy is strong, Anarchism is of no account, as, for instance, in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. Although they did make some headway in Austria and in France, before the rise of Social Democracy there, the Socialist party soon annihilated the Anarchist propaganda and absorbed all their good elements. For, whenever among the Anarchists there are laborers who sincerely desire the welfare of their class and sacrifice themselves for that which they consider the good [cause?], this occurs by reason of misunderstanding and ignorance (when they are not insane or epileptic, as is the case with most “propagandists of the deed”). They know the battle for the emancipation of the proletariat only under the form which the Anarchists seek to give it. When they have become more enlightened they will come to us.
     The same will hold good in the United States—a country where the one-man ballot prevails. All the workingmen need is enlightenment. And this very labor of enlightenment is a duty which we must perform.