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This letter is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission.

V., April 6, 1935

Dear C.B., I thank you -- as I thank Mrs. B. for your kind words. As to my birthday, I wish I might live to see it. A few friends seem actually to think that I am a bad joke of April 1rst, being from that day -- whilst I am of April 30 and so, but only about 20 hours missed to be of the respectable May 1st. My health is so impaired by cata**rsh. that I am not at all certain to see April 30. If so, it will be with my friends in Spain who invited me to once more to visit them. At my age, one is living in a condemned's call wherever one goes.

   I am sorry to see you leave Nice which when I was there (Feb. 1870) still had simple old fashioned parts, that beautiful hill of the Castle, the long v**zed lanes on the outskirts, symp**thic mountain ridges and villages higher up and wonderful flowers -- all that quite independent of the useless visitors' crowd in certain places. You were, as you liked, in an old Italian town, in French provincial town, aside of English villas and parks, near Spanish sierras, at some proximity to 4 or 5 entirely deserted villages of the Eye type where, surely, us the inhabitants were all gone, one was not bothered by useless people -- and all that, an immense variety -- and the elegant people quite keeping apart; one need not to see them. At the same time they were additions to the crowd and Nice had aspects of capital, provincial town, village, real nature, all in one and the sea and the sun for all. So I liked it immensely, expect for the overabundance of soldiers. But even these were **tof night the next instant -- so varied are scenery and surroundings -- all like a lively stage in a pleasant Operette. In short, the real life had not been killed by the rich as in places like Caunes which were b**k like the hall and grounds of a large hotel, terrible to me.


   What should the "radical" elements do in another war? So the word (patriotic) really the right word for the situation?

   Granted that this system is rotten etc; -- will these elements refuse to extinguish as a fire, because all is worth to burn? Will they refuse to stop and epidemy, to take hygienic measures, because all my be considered not worth living?

   This kind of reasoning is intellectual totalism and is not better than any of ****lism.

   It is demonstrated now that men cannot stand and do not want a 100 of system -- just as they cannot breathe some unique air, eat some unique food etc.

   The can stand the gg of -- stifling systems with 1 of air or hope or make left, but not total asphyxy which is identical with hanging.

   So they stood balsherism, fascism and all the other mongrel perversions, -- but they will not stand any totalism. If the stu**me*t idiots of our country seem to support it, their spreading abroad as they begin now, their expansion is not wanted. To opposed that: is that "patriotism"?? -- It is, in my opinion,


defense against the 100 of, human death, which even the crippled men of the gg of systems will not tolerate.

   Indifference in rich a situation, means extinction, lapsing into oblivion, into quietism. -- I am thankful for all that may be done, as I am thankful at all time to the firemen, to the doctors, to the sheet cleaners, to the scavengers, to anybody who assures general normal conditions of life and keeps things clean against interference fro baccilli, or rats or men whoever they be. They are not wanted and even the Quaker said: friend, you are not wanted here.

   What we might so is to revise our own minds and expel what there is of totalism written ourselves. I did that for mearly 40 years now, t***ben other prodigen* -- before I was a totalitarian fanatic like all others, believing that comm. U. was right and no coll. and ind. A. were utterly wrong; that Du*e. refuted ****hon and ** A.K. somehow superseded *ak and is now quite right. I was a fool no longer


since about 1896 and then only began to enjoy life in variety and endlessness instead of the narrow fold of the pamphlet reader who gets gospel truth for his penny.

   But I was and considered a freak and so many others are still believers in the allien richtage doctrine. This has so much diminished the attraction of libertarian thought -- it did not develop in the direction of freedom, but kept to alleged unique solutions, be it A.K. or Lynd -- or mutualism.

   Not a few see things now as I do, but very many give no thought to this vital problem and dawdle along.

   On this field our activities ought to spread, n**o that the world sees the impossibility of 100 of hanging and 99 of bolshevism or fascism or other perversions.

   If a war strikes at the 100 of - pes*, it is blessed like the doctor and the scavenger and the firemen. But let us destroy the 100 of within ourselves.

   Bakunin, Tolstoy; Elisee Reclus, Proudhon there 4 were about the best of the best know, the widest and deepest.

     Best wishes for St. Tzopen*

             April 30.


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