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Centennial Tribute to Kropotkin

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keen student of Marx. Unfortunately I had pushed my studies a little too far. To enable me to repy better to the enemy I had been reading up all that I could find in the way of objections to "Marxism. Most of these objections were the objections of the bourgeois, — weak, if not insincere or absurd. But I was startled once or twice. Once when I came r cross a book of Proudhon's and once, again, when I came across the Gevonian Theory of Value. These set me off thinking more seriously, and after a bitter struggle with myself, I had been obliged to recognize that Marxism would not do. In the course of time, I became an Anarchist — the first one in my native Scotland. I was now going back there, after hav-ing spent a year in Paris, after being expelled from France in fact, and I was passing through London, when I called on my warm friend and fellow-Anarchist, James Blackwell.

Blackwell, too, had been a Marxist from the start of the Social Democratic Federation. He had been the compositor and the real editor of Justice the Organ of Social Democracy, and for years, had worked for it both day and night on a starving pittance; but he too, in the long run, had recognized the fallacies of the doctrine; he had developed in an Anarchist direction, until he had to speak out, when, of course, he was instantly dismissed. Later he had become the Editor of Freedom, a little Anarchist Monthly.

I have often quoted him in connection with Marxism and Anarchism. He explained to me: "When you meet a man who has not been a Marxist and who calls himself an Anarchist, well, he may be, he may be. But if you meet a man who has been a Marxist and now calls himself an Anarchist, then you know positively that he is one all right!"

When I wrote him from Paris, when I was there, about the new movement projected (Syndicalism) it had brought him over too; he got a job and both of us had been closely connected with the new development. Now here he was, back in London before me. When I visited him, he proposed that the next evening we should go out to see Kropotkin. I told him that I should be delighted indeed.

But next evening when I called for Blackwell. I found that his cousin, with whom he was very much in love, had come up from Cornwall. Naturally he begged off. "Why shouldn't you go by yourself? It would be all right," he assured me. I should have been too shy to go entirely on my own hook, but I was loathe to give up what I had been look-ing forward to so eagerly. So finally off I went to Bromley.

It was Winter, and by the time I got out, quite dark. When I knocked, the door was opened by Sophie herself (Madame Kropotkin). She looked at me very piercingly, and asked who I was, and what did I want? I suppose I hesitated and stumbled a bit. Any-how for a while she was evidently suspicious and very doubtful about admitting me, and questioned me a good deal. I am quite sure that Sophie's woman's intuition told her from the beginning that I was an undesirable person for her husband to have as a visitor. She was quite right, as you will see! But what she had in her mind that night, of course, was something different. She had two dangers in mind in guarding the door as she did. First of all she feared assassination, yes, assassination! She knew that Kropotkin's life had been in danger while he was in Switzerland. Trotzky was not at all the first to be slain by order from Russia, and in a later article I will tell you of one of my own friends assassinated in America, I feel very sure by an agent of the Russian Government. When Stephaniak, too, was found dead on the railroad tracks near his home, there was a good deal of doubt as to it being an accident, and an investigation was actually made in regard to the matter. Sophie was quite right in being cautious! The other danger was not so serious, but still annoying: it was the danger always present in England from the "Tuft-Hunter." What the devil in a "Tuft-Hunter"? A "Tuft-Hunter" in England was the man seeking to make the acquaintance of some titled person or celebrity so that he Could boast of his high-grade acquaintances. The acquaintance of a Prince was much sought after.

But finally Sophie, against her better judgment, as I say, agreed to take my name to her husband, who was working upstairs. When she took it up, Peter recoRnized it. I had been pretty active for a while. He came downstairs at once. People talk sometimes about the manners of an aristocrat being delightful, and that may be true, but of course it was merely the comradely spirit of the man that made his welcome always seem so genuine and put one so much at one's ease. He shook hands with me warmly and told me that he knew my name. He spoke of an ex-


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