REVOLUTIONARY unrest is not new.  Every age has had
its discontented dreamers preaching utopia, its fervid
agitators urging the overthrow of the existing social
order, and its restless rabble stirred by false hopes to
ugly moods and violent action. Utopian literature is
very extensive, going back to Plato; revolutionary agi-
tators have run true to type since Spartacus;  while
"proletarian" risings have varied little in basic character
from the servile revolts of antiquity and the "jacqueries"
of the Middle Ages down to the mob upheavals of Paris
and Petrograd.
  In all these social revolutionary phenomena there is
nothing essentially novel.  There is always the same
violent revolt of the unadaptable, inferior, and degen-
erate elements against civilized society, in atavistic
reaction to lower planes; the same hatred of superiors
and fierce desire for absolute equality; finally, the same
tendency of revolutionary leaders to become tyrants and
to transform anarchy into barbarous despotism.
  As Harold Cox justly remarks; "Jack Cade, as described
by Shakespeare,  is the perfect type of revolutionary,
and his ideas coincide closely with those of the modern
school of Socialism.  He tells his followers that 'all the
realm shall be in common,' that 'there shall be no money;


all shall eat and drink on my score and I will apparel
them all in one livery that they may agree like brothers.
A little later a member of the bourgeoisie is brought
before him -- a clerk who confesses that he can read
and write.  Jack Cade orders him at once to be hanged
'with his pen and inkhorn about his neck.'  Possibly
the intellectual Socialists of Great Britain might hesi-
tate at this point; the danger would be getting uncom-
fortably near to themselves.  But the Russian Bolshe-
viks have followed Jack Cade's example on a colossal
scale.  In another direction Jack Cade was a prototype
of present-day revolutionists; for while preaching equal-
ity he practised autocracy.  'Away,' he cries to the mob.
'Burn all the records of the realm.  My mouth shall be
the Parliament of England.'" (1)
 Nevertheless, despite its lack of basic originality the
revolutionary unrest of modern times is very different
from, and infinitely more formidable than, the kindred
movements of the past.  There is to-day a close alliance
between the theoretical and the practical elements, a
clever fitting of means to ends, a consistent elaboration
of plausible doctrines and persuasive propaganda, and
a syndication of power, such as was never known before.
In former times revolutionary theorists and men of ac-
tion were unable or unwilling to get together.  The early
utopian philosophers did not write for the proletariat,
which in turn quite ignored their existence.  Further-
more, most of the utopians, however revolutionary in
theory, were not revolutionary in practice. They sel-
(1) H. Cox, Economic Liberty, pp. 191-192 (London, 1920).


dom believed in violent methods.  It is rather difficult
to imagine Plato or Sir Thomas More planning the mas-
sacre of the bourgeoisie or heading a dictatorship of the
proletariat.  In fact, so convinced were these utopian
idealists of the truth of their theories that they believed
that if their theories were actually put in practice on
even a small scale they would be a prodigious success
and would thus lead to the rapid transformation of so-
ciety without any necessity of violent coercion.  Such
was the temper of the "idealistic Socialists and Com-
munists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,
like Robert Owen, who founded various "model com-
munities" believing implicitly that these would soon
convert the whole world by the mere force of their ex-
  Thus, down to comparatively recent times, the cause
of violent social revolution lacked the support of leaders
combining in themselves the qualities of moral earnest-
ness, intelligence, and forcefulness -- in other words per-
sons most of whom belong to the type which I have
previously described as the "misguided superior."  De-
prived of such leadership, revolutionary unrest  was
mainly guided by unbalanced fanatics or designing
scoundrels and it is obvious that such leaders, whatever
their zeal or cleverness, were so lacking in intellectual
poise or moral soundness that they invariably led their
followers to speedy disaster.
    The modern social revolutionary movement dates
from about the middle of the eighteenth century.  Ever
since that time there has been flowing a continuous stream


of subversive agitation, assuming many forms but essen-
tially the same, and ever broadening and deepening
until it has become the veritable flood which has sub-
merged Russia and which threatens to engulf our entire
civilization.  Its most noteworthy achievement has been
the working out of a revolutionary philosophy and propa-
ganda so insidiously persuasive as to wield together many
innately diverse elements into a common league of dis-
content inspired by a fierce resolve to overthrow by vio-
lence the existing social order and to construct a whole
new "proletarian" order upon its ruins.
   Let us trace the stream of social revolt from its eigh-
teenth-century source to the present day.  Its first nota-
ble spokesman was Rousseau, (1) with his denunciation of
civilized society and his call for a reform to what he con-
sidered to be the communistic "state of nature."  The
tide set flowing by Rousseau and his ilk presently foamed
into the French Revolution.  This cataclysmic event
was, to be sure, by no means a simon-pure social revolt.
At the start it was mainly a political struggle by an
aspiring bourgeoisie to wrest power and privilege from
the feeble hands of a decrepit monarchy and an effete
aristocracy.  But in the struggle the bourgeoisie called
upon the proletariat, the flood-gates of anarchy were
opened and there followed that blood-smeared debauch
of atavistic savagery, "The Reign of Terror."  During
(1) As already remarked, Rousseau was only one of many 
writers and agitators. For the role of others, particularly 
those belonging to the revolutionary secret societies of the 
eighteenth century, such as the "Illuminati," see N.H. Webster,
World Revolution, chaps. I and II (London and Boston, 1921).


the Terror all the symptoms of social revolution appeared 
in their most horrid form: up-surge of bestiality, sense- 
less destruction, hatred of superiors, ruthless enforce- 
ment of levelling "equality," etc.  The most extrava- 
gant political and social doctrines were proclaimed. 
Brissot urged communism and announced that "prop- 
erty is theft."  Robespierre showed his hatred of genius 
and learning by sending the great chemist Lavoisier to 
the guillotine with the remark: "Science is aristocratic: 
the Republic has no need of savants."  As for Ana- 
rchists Clootz, Hebert, and other demagogues, they 
preached doctrines which would have reduced society to 
a cross between chaos and bedlam.  
   After a few years the Terror was broken. The French 
race was too fundamentally sound to tolerate for long 
such a hideous dictatorship of its worst elements.  The 
destruction wrought by the Revolution was, however, 
appalling.  Not merely was France dealt wounds from 
which she has never wholly recovered, but also spirits 
of 'unrest were liberated which have never since been 
laid.  The "apostolic succession" of revolt has remained 
unbroken. Marat and Robespierre are to-day reincarnate 
in Trotzky and Lenin.
   The final eruption of the waning Terror was the well-
known conspiracy of Babeuf in the year 1796. This con- 
spiracy, together with the personality of its leader and 
namesake, is of more than passing interest.  Babeuf, like 
so many other revolutionary leaders of all periods, was a
man whose undoubted talents of intellect and energy 
were perverted by a taint of insanity. His intermittent


fits of frenzy were so acute that at times he was little 
better than a raving homicidal maniac.  Nevertheless, 
his revolutionary activities were so striking and his 
doctrines so "advanced" that subsequent revolutionists 
have hailed him as a man "ahead of his times."  The 
Bolshevik "Third International," for example, in its first 
manifesto, paid tribute to Babeuf as one of its spiritual 
   That this Bolshevik compliment was not undeserved 
is proved by a study of his famous conspiracy.  Therein 
Babeuf planned nothing less than the entire destruction 
of the existing social order, a general massacre of the
"possessing classes," and the erection of a radically new 
"proletarian" order founded on the most rigid and level- 
ling  equality.  Not merely were differences of wealth 
and social station to be prohibited, but even intellectual 
differences were to be discouraged, because it was feared 
that "men might devote themselves to sciences, and 
thereby grow vain and averse to manual labor."
   Babeuf's incendiary spirit is well revealed in the fol-
lowing lines, taken from his organ, Le Tribun du Peuple:
"Why does one speak of laws and property?  Property 
is the share of usurpers and laws are the work of the
strongest.  The sun shines for every one, and the earth
belongs to no one.  Go, then, my friends, and disturb,
overthrow, and upset this society which does not suit
you.  Take everywhere all that you like.  Superfluity
belongs by right to him who has nothing.  This is not
all, friends and brothers.  If constitutional barriers are 
opposed to your generous efforts, overthrow without


scruple barriers and constitutions.  Butcher without
mercy tyrants, patricians, and the gilded million, all those
immoral beings who would oppose your common happi-
ness.  You are the people, the true people, the only people
worthy to enjoy the good things of this world! The jus-
tice of the people is great and majestic as the people it-
self; all that it does is legitimate, all that it orders is
   Babeuf's plans can be judged by the following extracts
from his "Manifesto of the Equals," which he drew up
on the eve of his projected insurrection:
   People of France, for fifteen centuries you have lived
in slavery and consequent unhappiness.  For six years (1)
you have hardly drawn breath, waiting for independence,
happiness, and equality.  Equality! the first desire of
nature, the first need of man, the principal bond of all
legal association!
   "Well! We intend henceforth to live and die equal
as we were born; we wish for real equality or death; that
is what we must have.  And we will have this real equal-
ity no matter at what price.  Woe to those who inter-
pose themselves between it and us! . . .
 "The French Revolution is only the forerunner of
another revolution, very much greater, very much more
solemn, which will be the last. . . .  Equality!  We will
consent to anything for that, to make a clean sweep so
as to hold to that only.  Perish, if necessary, all the arts,
provided that real equality is left to us! . . .  Com-
munitv of Goods!   No more private property in land,
(1) I.e., during the years of the French Revolution since 1789.


the land belongs to no one.  We claim, we wish for the
communal enjoyment of the fruits of the earth: the fruits
of the earth belong to every one . . . .
  "Vanish at last, revolting distinctions of rich and poor,
of great and small, of masters and servants, of governors
and governed.  Let there be no other difference between
men than those of age and sex.  Since all have the same
needs and the same faculties, let there be only one edu-
cation, one kind of food.  They content themselves with
one sun and air for all; why should not the same portion
and the same quality of food suffice for each of them?
   "People of France, Open your eyes and hearts to the
plenitude of happiness; recognize and proclaim with us
   Such was the plot of Babeuf.  The plot completely
miscarried, for it was discovered before it was ripe, Ba-
beuf and his lieutenants were arrested and executed, and
his disorganized hoodlum followers were easily repressed.
Nevertheless, though Babeuf was dead, "Babouvism"
lived on, inspired the revolutionary conspiracies of the
early nineteenth century, contributed to the growth of
Anarchism, and is incorporated in the "Syndicalist" and
Bolshevist movements of to-day -- as we shall presently
see. The modern literature of revolt is full of striking
parallels to the lines penned by Babeuf nearly one hun-
dred and thirty years ago.
   Despite the existence of some extreme revolutionary
factions, the first half of the nineteenth century saw com-
paratively little violent unrest.  It was the period of the
"idealistic" Socialists, already mentioned,  when men


like Robert Owen, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and others were
elaborating their utopian philosophies and were founding
"model communities" which were expected to convert
the world peaceably by the mere contagion of their suc-
cessful example. The speedy failure of all these Social-
istic experiments discouraged the idealists and led the
discontented to turn to "men of action" who promised
speedier results by the use of force.  At the same time
the numbers of the discontented were rapidly increasing.
The opening decades of the nineteenth century witnessed
the triumph of machine industry and "capitalism."  As
in all times of transition, these changes bore hard on
multitudes of people.  Economic abuses were rife, and
precipitated into the social depths many persons who
did not really belong there, thus swelling the "prole-
tariat" to unprecedented proportions while also giving 
it new leaders of genuine ability.
   The cumulation of all this was the revolutionary wave
of 1848.  To be sure, 1848, like the French Revolution,
was not wholly a social revolutionary upheaval; it was
largely due to political (especially nationalistic) causes
with which this book is not concerned.  But, as in 1789,
so in 1848, the political malcontents welcomed the aid
of the social malcontents, and gave the latter their oppor-
tunity.  Furthermore, in 1848, as in 1789, Paris was the
storm-centre.  A galaxy of forceful demagogues like
Blanqui, Louis Blanc, and Proudhon roused the Paris
mob, attempted to establish a Communistic Republic,
and were foiled only after a bloody struggle with the
more conservative social elements.


   Unlike 1789, however, the social revolutionary move-
ment of 1848 was by no means confined to France.  In
1848 organized social revolutionary forces existed in
most European countries, and all over Europe these
forces promptly drew together and attempted to effect
a general social revolution.  At this moment appears
the notable figure of Karl Marx, chief author of the
famous "Comminist Manifesto," with its ringing pero-
ration: "Let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic
revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but
their chains.  They have a world to win.  Working men
of all countries, unite!"
  The rise of Karl Marx typifies a new influence which
had appeared in the revolutionary movement -- the in-
fluence of the Jews.  Before the nineteenth century the
Jews had been so segregated from the general popula-
tion that they had exerted almost no influence upon
popular thought or action.  By the year 1848, however,
the  Jews  of  western Europe  had been emancipated
from most of their civil disabilities, had emerged from
their ghettos, and were beginning to take an active part
in community life.  Many Jews promptly adopted rev-
olutionary ideas and soon acquired great influence in
the revolutionary movement.  For this there were sev-
eral reasons.  In the first place, the Jewish mind, in-
stinctively analytical, and sharpened by the dialectic
subtleties of the Talmud, takes naturally to dissective
criticism.  Again, the Jews, feeling themselves more or
less apart from the nations in which they live, tended
to welcome the distinctly international spirit of social


revolutionary doctrines.  Lastly, the Jewish intellec-
tuals, with their quick, clever intelligence, made excellent
revolutionary leaders and could look forward to attain-
ing high posts in the "officers' corps" of the armies of
revolt.  For all these reasons, then, Jews have played
an important part in all social revolutionary movements,
from the time of Marx and Engels down to the largely
Jewish Bolshevist regime in Soviet Russia to-day.
   The revolutionary wave of 1848 soon broke in com-
plete defeat.  There followed a period during which
radical ideas were generally discredited.  Both idealistic
and violent methods had been tried and had signally
failed.  Out of this period of eclipse there gradually
emerged two schools of social revolutionary thought:
one known as "State Socialism," under the leadership of
Marx and Engels; the other, "Anarchism," dominated
by Proudhon and Michael Bakunin.  These two schools
were animated by quite different ideas, drew increasingly
apart, and became increasingly hostile to one another.
Of course, both schools were opposed to the existing
social order and proposed its overthrow, but they differed
radically as to the new type of society which was to take
its place.  Marx and his followers believed in an organ-
ized Communism, where land, wealth, and property
should be taken out of private hands and placed under
the control of the state.  The Anarchists, on the other
hand, urged the complete abolition of the state, the
spontaneous seizure of wealth by the masses, and the
freedom of every one to do as he liked, unhampered by
any organized social control.


   In their actual development, likewise, the two move-
ments followed divergent lines.  Anarchism remained an
essentially violent creed, relying chiefly upon force and
terrorism. (1)  Marxian Socialism, as time went on, tended
to rely less upon revolutionary violence and more upon
economic processes and parliamentary methods.  This
is shown by the career of Marx himself.  Marx started
out in life as a violent revolutionist.  His "Communist
Manifesto" (already cited) reads precisely like a Bolshe-
vik pronunciamento of to-day; and it is, in fact, on
Marx's earlier writings that the Bolsheviks largely rely.
But, as time passed, Marx modified his attitude.  After
the failure of '48, he devoted himself to study, the chief
fruit of his intellectual labors being his monumental
work, Capital.  Now, in his researches Marx became
saturated with the utopian philosophers of the  past, and
he presently evolved a utopia of his own.  Just as the
"idealistic" Socialists of the early nineteenth century
believed they had discovered truths which, if applied
on even a small scale in "model communities," would
inevitably transform society, so Marx came to believe
that modern society was bound to work itself out into
the Socialist order of his dreams with little or no neces-
sity for violent compulsion except, perhaps, in its last
   The core of Marx's doctrine was that modern indus-

(1) Of course, there are the "philosophical" Anarchists like Prince 
Kropokin, who do not openly advocate violence.  They have, however, 
remained isolated idealists, with little practical influence upon 
Anarchism as a movement, whose driving force has always come from 
apostles of violence and terrorism like Bakunin.


trialism, by its very being, was bound rapidly to concen-
trate all wealth in a very few hands, wiping out the
middle classes and reducing both bourgeois and working
man to a poverty-stricken proletariat.  In other words,
he predicted a society of billionaires and beggars. This
was to happen within a couple of generations.  When
it did happen the "wage-slaves" were to revolt, dis-
possess the capitalists, and establish the Socialist com-
monwealth.  Thus would come to pass the social revolu-
tion.  But note: this revolution, according to Marx,
was (1) sure, (2) soon, (3) easy.  In Marx's last stage of
capitalism the billionaires would be so few and the beg-
gars so many that the "revolution" might be a mere
holiday, perhaps effected without shedding a drop of
blood.  Indeed, it might conceivably be effected accord-
ing to existing political procedure; for, once have uni-
versal suffrage, and the overwhelming majority of pro-
letarian wage-earners could simply vote the whole new
order in.
   From all this it is quite obvious that Marxian Socialism,
however revolutionary in theory, was largely evolutionary
in practice.  And this evolutionary trend, already visi-
ble in Marx, became even stronger with Marx's suc-
cessors.  Marx himself, despite the sobering effect of
his intellectual development, remained emotionally a
revolutionist -- as shown by his temporary relapse into
youthful fervors at the time of the Paris Commune of
1871.  This was less true of his colleague Engels, and
still less true of later Socialist leaders -- men like Lasalle
and Kautsky of Germany, Hyndman of England, and


Spargo of America.  Such men were "reformist" rather
than "revolutionary" Socialists; they were willing to
bide their time, and were apt to pin their faith on ballots
rather than on barricades.  Furthermore, Reformist
Socialism did not assail the whole idealistic and insti-
tutional fabric of our civilization.  For example, it
might preach the "class-war," but, according to the
Marxian hypothesis, the "working class" was, or soon
would be, virtually the entire community.  Only a few
great capitalists and their hirelings were left without the
pale.  Again, the "revolution," as seen by the Reform-
ists, was more a taking-over than a tearing-down, since
existing institutions, both state and private, were largely
to be preserved.  As a matter of fact, Reformist Social-
ism, as embodied in the "Social-Democratic" political
parties of Continental Europe, showed itself everywhere
a predominantly evolutionary movement, ready to
achieve its objectives by instalments and becoming
steadily more conservative.  This was so not merely
because of the influence of the leaders but also because
of the changing complexion of their following.  As
Marxian Socialism became less revolutionary and more
reformist, it attracted to its membership multitudes of
"liberals" -- persons who desired to reform rather than
to destroy the existing social order, and who saw in the
Social-Democratic parties the best political instruments
for bringing reforms about.
   In fact, Reformist Socialism might have entirely lost
its revolutionary character and have become an evolu-
tionary liberal movement, had it not been for two handi-


caps: the spiritual blight of its revolutionary origin and
the numbing weight of Marx's intellectual authority.
Socialism had started out to smash modern society by a
violent revolution. Its ethics were those of the "class
war"; its goal was the "dictatorship of the proletariat";
and its philosophy was the narrow materialistic concept
of "economic determinism" -- the notion that men are
moved solely by economic self-interest.  All this had
been laid down as fundamental truth by Marx in his
Capital, which became the infallible bible of Social-
   Now this was most unfortunate, because Marx had
taken the special conditions of his day and had pictured
them as the whole of world history.  We now know that
the middle decades of the nineteenth century were a
very exceptional, transition period, in which society was
only beginning to adjust itself to the sweeping economic
and social changes which the "Industrial Revolution"
had brought about.  To-day, most of the abuses against
which Marx inveighed have been distinctly ameliorated,
while the short-sighted philosophy of immediate self-
interest regardless of ultimate social or racial con-
sequences which then prevailed has been profoundly
modified by experience and deeper knowledge.  We must
not forget that when Marx sat down to write Capital, (1)
modern sociology and biology were virtually unknown, so
that Marx believed implicitly in fallacies like the omnip-
otence of environment and "natural equality" -- which,

(1) The first volume of Capital was published in 1867, after many 
years of research and composition.

of course, form the philosophic bases of his "economic
   Marx's short-sightedness was soon revealed by the
actual course of events, which quickly gave the lie to his
confident prophecies.  All wealth did not concentrate in
a few hands; it remained widely distributed.  The mid-
dle classes did not perish; they survived and prospered.
Lastly, the working classes did not sink into a common
hell of poverty and squalor; on the contrary, they be-
came more differentiated, the skilled workers, especially,
rising into a sort of aristocracy of labor, with wages and
living standards about as high as those of the lesser mid-
dle classes -- whom the skilled workers came more and
more to resemble.  In other words, the world showed no
signs of getting into the mess which Marx had announced
as the prologue to his revolution.
   To all this, however, the Socialists were blind.  Heed-
less of reality, they continued to see the world through
Marx's spectacles, to quote Capital, and to talk in terms
of the "class war" and "economic determinism."   For
the Reformist leaders this was not merely fatuous, it
was dangerous as well.  Sooner or later their dissatisfied
followers would demand the fulfilment of Marx's prom-
ises; if not by evolution, then by revolution.  That was
just what was to happen in the "Syndicalist" movement
at the beginning of the present century.  In fact, through-
out the later decades of the nineteenth century, Marxian
Socialism was a house divided against itself: its Reformist
leaders and their liberal followers counselling time and
patience; its revolutionary, "proletarian" elements grow-


ing increasingly restive and straining their eyes for the
Red dawn.
   Before discussing Syndicalism, however, let us turn
back to examine that other revolutionary movement,
Anarchism, which, as we have already seen, arose simul-
taneously with Marxian Socialism in the middle of the
nineteenth century.  Of course, the Anarchist idea was
not new.  Anarchist notions had appeared prominently
in the French Revolution, the wilder Jacobin dema-
gogues like Hebert and Clootz preaching doctrines which
were Anarchist in everything but name.  The launching
of Anarchism as a self-conscious movement, however,
dates from the middle of the nineteenth century, its
founder being the Frenchman Proudhon.  Proudhon took
up the name "Anarchy" (which had previously been a
term of opprobrium even in revolutionary circles) and
adopted it as a profession of faith to mark himself off
from the believers in State Communism, whom he de-
tested and despised.  Proudhon was frankly an apostle
of chaos.  "I shall arm myself to the teeth against civi-
lization!" he cried.  "I shall begin a war that will end
only with my life!"  Institutions and ideals were alike
assailed with implacable fury.  Reviving Brissot's dic-
tum, "Property is theft," Proudhon went on to assail
religion in the following terms: "God -- that is folly and
cowardice; God is tyranny and misery; God is evil.  To
me, then, Lucifer, Satan ! whoever you may be, the demon
that the faith of my fathers opposed to God and the
   While Proudhon founded Anarchism, he had neither


the organizing skill nor the proselyting ability to accom-
plish important tangible results.  His disciples were few,
but among them was one who possessed the talents to
succeed where his master had failed.  This was the cele-
brated Michael Bakunin.  Bakunin is another example
of the "tainted genius."  Sprung from a Russian noble
family, Bakunin early displayed great intellectual bril-
liancy, but his talents were perverted by his idle and tur-
bulent disposition, so that he was soon at hopeless outs
with society and plunged into the stream of revolution,
which presently bore him to the congenial comradeship
of Proudhon.  As stated in the previous chapter, Ba-
kunin was truly at home only in the company of social
rebels, especially criminals and vagabonds, his favorite
toast being: "To the destruction of all law and order
and the unchaining of evil passions."
  In the period after the storm of 1848, Bakunin was
busy forming his party.  His programme of action can
be judged by the following excerpts from his Revolution-
ary Catechism, drawn up for the guidance of his followers.
"The revolutionary," states Bakunin, "must let nothing
stand between him and the work of destruction."  For
him exists only one single pleasure, one single consolation,
one reward, one satisfaction -- the success of the revolu-
tion.  Night and day he must have but one thought, but
one aim -- implacable destruction. . . .   If he continues
to live in this world, it is only to annihilate it all the more
surely."  For this reason no reforms are to be advocated;
on the contrary, "every effort is to be made to heighten
and increase the evil and sorrows which will at length


wear out the patience of the people and encourage an in-
surrection en masse"
   It is easy to see how Anarchism, with its measure-
less violence and hatred of any organized social control,
should have clashed fiercely with Marxian Socialism,
becoming steadily more reformist and evolutionist in
character.  As a matter of fact, the entire second half of
the nineteenth century is filled with the struggle between
the two rival movements.  In this struggle Socialism was
the more successful.  The Anarchists made a frantic bid
for victory in the Paris Commune of 1871, but the bloody
failure of the Commune discredited Anarchism and tight-
ened the Socialist grip over most of Europe.  Only in
Italy, Spain, and Russia (where Anarchy flourished as
"Nihilism") did Anarchism gain anything like prepon-
derance in revolutionary circles.
   Nevertheless, Anarchism lived on as a forceful minor-
ity movement, displaying its activity chiefly by bomb-
throwings and by assassinations of crowned heads or
other eminent personages.  These outrages were termed
by Anarchists the "Propaganda of the Deed," and were
intended to terrorize organized society and arouse the
proletariat to emulation at one and the same time.  The
ultimate aim of the Anarchists was, of course, a general
massacre of the "possessing classes."  As the Anarchist
Johann Most declared in his organ, Freiheit, in 1880:
"It is no longer aristocracy and royalty that the people
intend to destroy.  Here, perhaps, but a coup de grace or
two are yet needed.   No; in the coming onslaught the
object is to smite the entire middle class with annihila-


tion."  A little later the same writer urged: "Extirmi-
nate all the contemptible brood!  Science now puts means
into our hands which make it possible to arrange for the
wholesale destruction of the brutes in a perfectly quiet
and businesslike fashion."  In 1881, an International
Anarchist Congress was held at London, attended by
all the shining lights of Anarchy, including "philosoph-
ical" Anarchists like Prince Kropotkin, and the resolu-
tions then passed throw a somewhat sinister doubt on
the "non-violence" assertions of the "philosophical"
faction.  The resolutions of the Congress stated that the
social revolution was to be facilitated by close interna-
tional action, "The committees of each country to keep
up regular correspondence  among themselves and with
the chief committee for the sake of giving continuous
information; and it is their duty to collect money for
the purchase of poison and arms, as well as to discover
places suitable for the construction of mines, etc.  To
attain the proposed end, the annihilation of all rulers,
ministers of state, nobility, the clergy, the most promi-
nent capitalists, and other exploiters, any means are
permissible, and therefore great attention should be given
specially to the study of chemistry and the preparation
of explosives, as being the most important weapons."
   Certain peculiarities in the Anarchist "Propaganda of
the Deed," should be specially noted, as they well illus-
trate the fundamental nature of Anarchist thought.
Bakunin taught that every act of destruction or violence
is good, either directly by destroying a person or thing
which is objectionable, or indirectly by making an al-


ready intolerable world worse than before and thus has-
tening the social revolution.  But, in the business of as-
sassination, it is often better to murder good persons and
to spare wicked ones; because, as Bakunin expressed it
in his Revolutionary Catechism, wicked oppressors are
"people to whom we concede life provisionally, in order,
that, by a series of monstrous acts, they may drive the
people into inevitable revolt."  The killing of wicked
people implies no really valuable criticism of the exist-
ing social order.  "If you kill an unjust judge, you may
be understood to mean merely that you think judges
ought to be just; but if you go out of your way to kill
a just judge, it is clear that you object to judges al-
together.  If a son kills a bad father, the act, though
meritorious in its humble way, does not take us much
further.  But if he kills a good father, it cuts at the root
of all that pestilent system of family affection and loving-
kindness and gratitude on which the present system is
largely based." (1)
   Such is the spirit of Anarchism.  Now Anarchism is
noteworthy, not only in itself but also as one of the prime
motive forces in that much more important "Syndical-
ist" movement which we will now consider.  The signif-
icance of Syndicalism and its outgrowth Bolshevism can
hardly be overestimated.  It is no exaggeration to say
that it is the most terrible social phenomenon that the
world has ever seen.  In Syndicalism we have for the
first time in human history a full-fledged philosophy of
(1) Professor Gilbert Murray, "Satanism and the World Order," 
The Century, July, 1920.


the Under-Man -- the prologue of that vast revolt against
civilization which, with Russian Bolshevism, has ac-
tually begun.
   If we examine Syndicalism in its mere technical eco-
nomic aspect, its full significance is not apparent.  Syn-
dicalism takes its name from the French word Syndicat
or "Trades Union," and, in its restricted sense, means
the transfer of the instruments of production from private
or state ownership into the full control of the organized
workers in the respective trades.  Economically speak-
ing, Syndicalism is thus a cross between State Socialism
and Anarchism.  The state is to be abolished, yet a fed-
eration of trades-unions, and not anarchy, is to take its
   Viewed in this abstract, technical sense, Syndicalism
does not seem to present any specially startling innova-
tions.  It is when we examine the Syndicalists' animating
spirit, their general philosophy of life, and the manner
in which they propose to attain their ends, that we realize
that we are in the presence of an ominous novelty -- the
mature philosophy of the Under-Man.  This philosophy
of the Under-Man is to-day called Bolshevism.  Before
the Russian Revolution it was known as Syndicalism.
But Bolshevism and Syndicalism are basically one and
the same thing.  Soviet Russia has really invented noth-
ing.  It is merely practising what others had been preach-
ing for years -- with such adaptations as normally attend
the putting of a theory into practice.
   Syndicalism, as an organized movement, is primarily
the work of two Frenchmen, Femand Pelloutier and


Georges Sorel.  Of course, just as there were Socialists
before Marx, so there were Syndicalists before Sorel.
Syndicalism's intellectual progenitor was Proudhon, who,
in his writings had clearly sketched out the Syndicalist
theory. (1) As for Syndicalism's savage, violent, uncom-
promising spirit, it is clearly Anarchist in origin, drawing
its inspiration not merely from Proudhon but also from
Bakunin, Most, and all the rest of that furious company
of revolt.
   "Revolt!"  There is the essence of Syndicalism: a
revolt, not merely against modern society but against
Marxian Socialism as well.  And the revolt was
timed.  When, at the very end of the nineteenth century,
Georges Sorel lifted the rebel banner of Syndicalism, the
hour awaited the man.  The proletarian world was full
of discontent and disillusionment at the long-dominant
Marxian philosophy.  Half a century had passed since
Marx first preached his gospel, and the revolutionary
millenium was nowhere in sight.  Society had not be-
come a world of billionaires and beggars.  The great
capitalists had not swallowed all.  The middle classes
still survived and prospered.  Worst of all, from the revo-
lutionary view-point, the upper grades of the working
classes had prospered, too.  The skilled workers were,
in fact, becoming an aristocracy of labor.  They were
(1) About the year 1860, Proudhon wrote: "According to my idea, 
railways, a mine, a manufactory, a ship, etc., are to the workers 
whom they occupy what the hive is to the bees; that is, at the 
same time their instrument and their dwelling, their country, 
their territory, their property."  For this reason Proudhon 
opposed "the exploitation of the railways, whether by companies 
of capitalists or by the state."  The modern Syndicalist idea is 
here perfectly epitomized.


acquiring property and thus growing capitalistic; they
were raising their living standards and thus growing
bourgeois.  Society seemed endowed with a strange vital-
ity!  It was even reforming many of the abuses which
Marx had pronounced incurable.  When, then, was the 
proletariat to inherit the earth?
   The Proletariat!  That was the key-word.  The van,
and even the main body of society, might be fairly on
the march, but behind lagged a ragged rear-guard.  Here
were, first of all, the lower working-class strata -- the
"manual" laborers in the narrower sense, relatively ill-
paid and often grievously exploited.  Behind these again
came a motley crew, the rejects and misfits of society.
"Casuals" and "unemployables," "down-and-outs" and
declasses, victims of social evils, victims of bad heredity
and their own vices, paupers, defectives, degenerates,
and criminals -- they were all there.  They were there
for many reasons, but they were all miserable, and they
were all bound together by a certain solidarity -- a sullen
hatred of the civilization from which they had so little
to hope.  To these people evolutionary, "reformist"
Socialism was cold comfort.  Then came the Syndicalist,
promising, not evolution but revolution; not in the dim
future but in the here and now; not a bloodless "taking
over" by "the workers," hypothetically stretched to in-
clude virtually the whole community, but the bloody
"dictatorship" of The Proletariat in its narrow, revolu-
tionary sense.
   Here, at last, was living hope -- hope, and the prospect
of revenge!  Is it, then, strange that a few short years


should have seen revolutionary Socialists, Anarchists, all
the antisocial forces of the whole world, grouped under
the banner of Georges Sorel?  For a time they went under
different names:  Syndicalists in France, Bolshevists in
Russia, "I. W. W.'s" in America; but in reality they
formed one army, enlisted for a single war.
   Now what was this war? It was, first of all, a war for
the conquest of Socialism as a preliminary to the con-
quest of society.  Everywhere the orthodox Socialist
parties were fiercely assailed.  And these Syndicalist
assaults were very formidable, because the orthodox
Socialists possessed no moral lines of defense.  Their
arms were palsied by the virus of their revolutionary
tradition.  For, however evolutionary and non-militant
the Socialists might have become in practice, in theory
they had remained revolutionary, their ethics continuing
to be those of the "class war," the destruction of the
"possessing classes," and the "dictatorship of the prole-
   The American economist, Carver, well describes the
ethics of Socialism in the following lines: "Marxian So-
cialism has nothing in common with idealistic Socialism.
It rests, not on persuasion, but on force.  It does not
profess to believe, as did the old idealists, that if Social-
ism be lifted up it will draw all men unto it.  In fact,
it has no ideals; it is materialistic and militant.  Being
materialistic and atheistic, it makes no use of such terms
as right and justice, unless it be to quiet the consciences
of those who still harbor such superstitions.  It insists
that these terms are mere conventionalities; the con-


cepts mere bugaboos invented by the ruling caste to keep
the masses under control.  Except in a conventional
sense, from this crude materialistic point of view there is
neither right nor wrong, justice nor injustice, good nor
bad.  Until people who still believe in such silly notions
divest their minds of them, they will never understand
the first principles of Marxian Socialism.
   "Who creates our ideas of right and wrong?' asks the
Socialist.  'The ruling class.  Why?  To insure their
domination over the masses by depriving them of the
power to think for themselves.  We, the proletarians,
when we get into power, will dominate the situation; we
shall be the ruling caste, and, naturally, shall do what
the ruling castes have always done; that is, we shall
determine what is right and wrong.  Do you ask us if
what we propose is just?  What do you mean by jus-
tice?  Do you ask if it is right?  What do you mean
by right?  It will be good for us. That is all that right
and justice ever did or ever can mean.'" (1)
   As Harold Cox remarks: "The Socialist is out to de-
stroy Capitalism, and for that end he encourages or con-
dones conduct which the world has hitherto condemned
as criminal. . . .  The real ethics of Socialism are the
ethics of war.  What the Socialists want is, not progress
in the world as we know it, but destruction of that world
as a prelude to the creation of a new world of their own
imagining.  In order to win that end they have to seek
the support of every force that makes for disorder, and
(1) Professor T. N. Carver, in his Introduction to Boris Brasol's 
Socialism vs. Civilization (New York, 1920).


to appeal to every motive that stimulates class hatred.
Their ethical outlook is the direct reverse of that which
has inspired all the great religions of the world.  Instead
of seeking to attain peace upon earth and good-will
among men, they have chosen for their goal universal
warfare, and they deliberately make their appeal to the
passions of envy, hatred, and malice." (1)
   Such are the moral bases of Socialism.  To be sure,
Marxian Socialism had tended to soft-pedal all this,
and had become by the close of the nineteenth century
a predominantly pacific, "reformist" movement -- in
practice.  But this peaceful pose had been assumed, not
from any ethical change, but because of two practical
reasons.  In the first place, Marx had taught that so-
ciety would soon break down through its own defects;
that the "possessing classes" would rapidly destroy each
other; and that Socialists might thus wait for society's
decrepitude before giving it the death-stroke, instead of
risking a doubtful battle while it was still strong.  In
the second place, Socialism, as a proselyting faith, wel-
comed "liberal" converts, yet realized that these would
not "come over" in any great numbers unless it could
present a "reformist" face to them.
   Reformist Socialism, as it stood at the close of the
nineteenth century, thus rested upon equivocal moral
foundations. Its policy was based, not upon principle,
but upon mere expediency.  The Syndicalists saw this,
and used it with deadly effect.  When the reformist
leaders reprobated the Syndicalists' savage violence, the
        (1) Cox, Economic Liberty, pp. 27 and 42.


Syndicalists laughed at them, taunted them with lack
of courage, and pointed out that morally they were all
in the same boat.  The Syndicalists demanded that
questions of principle be excluded as irrelevant and that
the debate should be confined to questions of policy.
   And here, again, the Syndicalists had the Socialists
on the hip.  The Syndicalists argued (justly enough)
that Marx's automatic social revolution was nowhere in
sight; that society was not on its death-bed; and that,
if it was to die soon, it must be killed -- by the violent
methods of social revolution.  In fact, the Syndicalists
invoked Marx himself to this effect, citing his youthful
revolutionary exhortations, uttered before he had evolved
the utopian fallacies of Capital.
   These fallacies, together with all subsequent "reform-
ist" accretions, the Syndicalists contemptuously dis-
carded.  The ethics of the "class war" were proclaimed
in all their naked brutality.  "Compromise" and "evolu-
tion" were alike scathingly repudiated.  The Syndi-
calists taught that the first steps toward the social revolu-
must be the destruction of all friendship, sympathy,
or co-operation between classes; the systematic cultiva-
tion of implacable class hatred; the deepening of un-
bridgeable class cleavages.  All hopes of social better-
ment by peaceful political methods were to be resolutely
abandoned, attention being henceforth concentrated
upon the grim business of the class war.
   This war was not to be postponed till some favorable
moment; it was to begin now, and was to be waged with
ever-increasing fury until complete and final victory.


According to Georges Sorel: "Violence, class struggles
without quarter, the state of war en permanence," were
to be the birthmarks of the social revolution.  As
another French Syndicalist, Pouget, expressed it: "Revo-
lution is a work of all moments, of to-day as well as of
to-morrow: it is a continuous action, an every-day fight
without truce or delay against the powers of extortion."
   The methods of the class war were summed up under
the term "direct action."  These methods were numer-
ous, the most important being the strike and "sabotage."
Strikes were to be continually called, for any or no reason;
if they failed, so much the better, since the defeated
workers would be left in a sullen and vengeful mood.
Agreements with employers were to be made only to
be broken, because all lies, deceit, and trickery were jus-
tifiable -- nay, imperative -- against the "enemy." Even
while on the job, the Syndicalist was never to do good
work, was always to do as little work as possible ("ca'
canny"), and was to practise "sabotage" - i.e., spoil
goods and damage machinery, if possible without detec-
tion.  The objects of all this were to ruin employers,
demoralise industry, decrease production, and thus make
living conditions so hard that the masses would be roused
to hotter discontent and become riper for "mass action."
   Meanwhile, everything must be done to envenom the
class struggle.  Hatred must be deliberately fanned,
not only among the masses but among the "possessing
classes" as well.  Every attempt at conciliation or under-
standing between combatants weary of mutual injury
must be nipped in the bud. Says Sorel: "To repay with


black ingratitude the benevolence of those who would
protect the worker) to meet with insults the speeches of
those who advocate human fraternity, to reply by blows
at the advocates of those who would propagate social
peace -- all this is assuredly not in conformity with the
rules of fashionable Socialism, but it is a very practical
method of showing the bourgeois that they must mind
their own business. . . .  Proletarian violence appears
on the stage at the very time when attempts are being
made to mitigate conflicts by social peace.  Violence
gives back to the proletariat their natural weapon of
the class struggle, by means of frightening the bourgeoisie
and profiting by the bourgeois dastardliness in order to
impose on them the will of the proletariat."
   The uncompromising, fighting spirit of Syndicalism
comes out vividly in the following lines by the American
Syndicalist, Jack London:
   "There has never been anything like this revolution
in the history of the world.  There is nothing analogous
between it and the American Revolution or the French
Revolution.  It is unique, colossal.  Other revolutions
compare with it as asteroids compare with the sun.  It
is alone of its kind; the first world revolution in a world
whose history is replete with revolutions.  And not
only this, for it is the first organized movement of men
to become a world movement, limited only by the limits
of the planet.
   "This revolution is unlike all other revolutions in
many respects.  It is not sporadic.  It is not a flame of
popular discontent, arising in a day and dying down in


a day.  Here are 7,000,000 comrades in an organized,
international, world-wide, revolutionary army.
The cry of this army is, 'No quarter!'  We want all
that you possess.  We will be content with nothing less
than all you possess. We want in our hands the reins
of power and the destiny of mankind.  Here are our
hands.  They are strong hands.  We are going to take
your governments, your palaces, and all your purpled
ease away from you. . . .  The revolution is here, now.
Stop it who can.'" (1)
   Syndicalism's defiant repudiation of traditional moral-
ity is well stated in the following quotations from two
leaders of the "I. W. W." ("Industrial Workers of the
World"), the chief Syndicalist group in America.  The
first of these quotations is from the pen of Vincent St.
John, and is taken from his booklet, The I. W. W.,
Its History, Structure, and Methods.  As Mr. St. John is
regarded by Syndicalists everywhere as one of their
ablest thinkers, his words may be taken as an authori-
tative expression of Syndicalist philosophy.  Says Mr.
St. John: "As a revolutionary organization, the Indus-
trial Workers of the World aim to use any and all tactics
that will get the results sought with the least expendi-
ture of time and energy. The tactics used are determined
solely by the power of the organization to make good
in their use. The question of 'right' or 'wrong' does not
concern us."
   In similar vein, another I. W. W. leader, Arturo
Giovannitti, writes: "It is the avowed intention of both
(1) Jack London, Revolution and Other Essays, pp. 4-85 (New York, 


Socialists and Industrial Unionists (1) alike to expropriate
the bourgeoisie of all its property, to make it social
property.  Now may we ask if this is right?  Is it moral
and just?  Of course, if it is true that labor produces
everything, it is both moral and just that it should own
everything.  But this is only an affirmation -- it must
be proven.  We Industrial Unionists care nothing about
proving it.  We are going to take over the industries
some day, for three very good reasons:  Because we need
them, because we want them, and because we have the
power to get them.  Whether we are 'ethically' justified
or not is not our concern.  We will lose no time proving
title to them beforehand; but we may, if it is necessary,
after the thing is done, hire a couple of lawyers and
judges to fix up the deed and make the transfer perfectly
legal and respectable.  Such things can always be fixed -- 
anything that is powerful becomes in due course of time
righteous.  Therefore we Industrial Unionists claim
that the social revolution is not a matter of necessity
plus justice, but simply necessity plus strength."
   The climax of the class war, as conceived by the Syn-
dicalists, is the "general strike."  Having sufficiently
demoralized industry by a long process of "direct ac-
tion" and having converted enough of the workers for
their purpose, the Syndicalists will call the general strike.
Before leaving the factories the workers will destroy the
machinery by wholesale sabotage; the railways and
other forms of transport will likewise be ruined; and
economic life will thus be completely paralyzed.  The
        (1) Another name for Syndicalists.


result will be chaos, which will give the Syndicalists their
opportunity.  In that hour the organized Syndicalist
minority, leading the frenzied, starving masses, and
aided by criminals and other antisocial elements, will
overthrow the social order, seize all property, crush the
bourgeoisie, and establish the social revolution.
   This social revolution is to be for the benefit of the
Proletariat in its most literal sense.  Syndicalism hates,
not merely capitalists and bourgeois, but also the "in-
tellectuals" and even the skilled workers -- "the aris-
tocracy of labor."  Syndicalism is instinctively hostile
to intelligence.  It pins its faith to instinct -- that "deeper
knowledge" of the undifferentiated human mass; that
proletarian quantity so much more precious than indi-
vidualistic quality.  Both the intellectual elite and their
works must make room for the "proletarian culture" of
the morrow.  Intellectuals are a "useless, privileged
class"; art is "a mere residuum bequeathed to us by an
aristocratic society." (1)  Science is likewise condemned.
Cries the French Syndicalist, Edouard Berth, in his
pamphlet significantly entitled, The Misdeeds of the
Intellectuals: "Oh, the little science -- la petite science --
which feigns to attain the truth by attaining lucidity
of exposition, and shirks the obscurities.  Let us go back
to the subconscious, the psychological source of every
   Here we see the full frightfulness of Syndicalism-
Bolshevism!  This new social revolt, prepared a genera-
tion ago and launched in Soviet Russia, is not merely a


war against a social system, not merely a war against
our civilization; it is a war of the hand against the brain.
For the first time since man was man there has been a
definite schism between the hand and the head.  Every
progressive principle which mankind has thus far evolved:
the solidarity of civilization and culture; community of
interest; the harmonious synthesis of muscle, intellect
and spirit -- all these the new heresy of the Under-Man
howls down and tramples in the mud.  Up from the
dark purlieus of the underworld strange battle-shouts
come winging.  The underworld is to become the world,
the only world.  As for our world, it is to be destroyed;
as for us, we are to be killed.  A clean sweep!  Not
even the most beautiful products of our intellects and
souls interest these Under-Men.  Why should they care
when they are fashioning a world of their own?  A 
hand-world, not a head-world.  The Under-Men despise
thought itself, save as an instrument of invention and
production.  Their guide is, not reason, but the "prole-
tarian truth" of instinct and passion  -- the deeper self
below the reason, whose sublimation is -- the mob.  Spake
Georges Sorel: "Man has genius only in the measure that
he does not think."
   The citizens of the upper world are to be extirpated
along with their institutions and ideals.  The doomed
classes are numerous.  They comprise not merely the
billionaires of Marx, but also the whole of the upper
and middle classes, the landowning countryfolk, even
the skilled working men; in short, all except those who
work with their untutored hands, plus the elect few who


philosophize for those who work with their untutored
hands.  The elimination of so many classes is, perhaps,
unfortunate.  However, it is necessary, because these
classes are so hopelessly capitalist and bourgeois that,
unless eliminated, they would surely infect at its very
birth the gestating underworld civilization.
   Now note one important point.  All that I have just
said applies to Syndicalism as it stood prior to the
Russian Revolution of 1917.  Every point that I have
treated has been drawn from Syndicalist pronounce-
ments made before the appearance of "Bolshevism."
We must recognize once and for all that Bolshevism is
not a peculiar Russian phenomenon, but that it is merely
the Muscovite manifestation of a movement which had
formulated its philosophy and infected the whole civi-
lized world before the beginning of the late war.  Thus,
when in the next chapter we come to contemplate Rus-
sian Bolshevism in action, we shall view it, not as a
purely Russian problem, but as a local phase of some-
thing which must be faced, fought, and mastered in
every quarter of the earth.


Back to Book Index
or to Patrick Henry On-Line?

Over to New World Disorder?