On Collective Responsibility

Written in March/April 1930 and published in Studi Sociali, 10th July 1930. Studi sociali was an Italian-language anarchist journal based in Montevideo, Uruguay and founded by the expatriate Luigi Fabbri.

I have seen a statement by the Group of the 18e where, in agreement with the Russians’ “Platform” and with comrade Makhno, it is held that the “principle of collective responsibility” is the basis of every serious organisation.

I have already, in my criticism of the “Platform” and in my reply to the open letter directed to me by Makhno, indicated my opinion on this supposed principle. But as there is some insistence on an idea or at least an expression which would seem to me to be more at home in a military barracks than among anarchist groups, I hope I will be permitted to say another few words on the question.

The comrades of the 18e say that “communist anarchists must work in such a way that their influence has the greatest probabilities for success and that this result will not come about unless their propaganda can develop collectively, permanently and homogeneously”. I agree! But it seems that that is not the case; since those comrades complain that “in the name of the same organisation, in every corner of France, the most diverse, and even contrary theories are spreading”. That is most deplorable, but it simply means that that organisation has no clear and precise programme which is understood and accepted by all its members, and that within the party, confused by a common label, are men who do not have the same ideas and who should group together in separate organisations or remain unattached if they are unable to find others who think as they do. Continue reading “On Collective Responsibility”

Peter Kropotkin: Recollections and Criticisms of an Old Friend

Studi Sociali, April 15, 1931

PETER KROPOTKIN IS WITHOUT DOUBT ONE OF THOSE WHO have contributed perhaps more—perhaps more even than Bakunin and Elisee Reclus—to the elaboration and propagandation of anarchist ideas. And he has therefore well deserved the recognition and the admiration that all anarchists feel for him.

But in homage to the truth and in the greater interest of the cause, one must recognize that his activity has not all been wholly beneficial. It was not his fault; on the contrary, it was the very eminence of his qualities which gave rise to the ills I am proposing to discuss. Continue reading “Peter Kropotkin: Recollections and Criticisms of an Old Friend”