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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.

Wien, IX/2, Lanarethgasse (sic) 32 III/22

August 11, '31

Dear Comrade A.B.,

     I had your note dated August 2, So Dr. M.A.E. has gave it once more, but that was the last time; for I hear from him that he has now discovered the Oist (sic) Office facilities. So you will be no more troubled.
     (All this does not reach the perfectioners of real notes in registered letters, the cheapest way in every way, on both sides, and quite safe here now. Banks we middlewen (sic), the money order office also, and both have high charges).
     As to Mooney I thank for your careful details, but I feel not at all up to writing on him. I want the more solid foundation, the real milieu, which no one can give me. I believe to have a little of that knowledge about European historical matters in various countries, but I know that I do not possess it about American labour matters. As these were so separate from Anarchism, mostly hostile to it, I had no interest in that milieu: it was terrorism (sic) in the special union interest and no revolutionary


     Principle involved – and outside these matters they had no general interests, not 1887, not 1892, not in the 1921-28 tragedy. But some might have been different and I might do wrong to them by general criticism. I know of the persons of the International, of the Commune, of early Anarchism to some extent who had any personal value (was in austradizer (sic) leansch (sic)) and who had no value, however decorative he (sic) was – and it took a long time to get at this by much intimate information, - now about all these labour leaders in America I know nothing whatever as to who has any value and who has not – I do not even know about Billings who acts different from Mooney – is he a Arimmer (sic) or what?
     So I should put my fingers into a pie and look rather ridiculous – somewhat the way Mark Twain edited on agricultural paper (one of his early sketches). I cannot do this and must not do it.
     I fear every effort is lost on men whom they make governors there has never been another Altgold (sic) – they take good care of this.
     Now what is this governor of Oklahoma who is no notorious just now – is he genuine or a usurper or a humbug? You see, one absolutely never knows, and so about these crafty labour leaders. I looked over part of Haywoods reaffections, the German translation, and then Kelly talked to me about him – but what to think of such a man, I have no idea of this. I am not of their kin and they are far too deep for me. As opposed to the capitalist sketches, the sharpest of the sharp, they have developed about similar qualities and had to – and are of other and harder structure than are poor idealist anarchists.
     So this subject must be left to you and local friends.-
     This is absolutely different with you who would draw every line in the sight, form, colour, intensity – and just therefore you might to speak up, as only your word can have value – whatever people may say, do it.

     The American Mercury or Harper's Magazine ought to publish it, if you avoid The Nation as philo-communist.
     I read to-day a few words on the terrible Wicbersham Prison Commission report just published (Washington). There is some stirring about that – and you might use that right moment.
     Is the Survey or Survey Graphic out of question? The Civil Liberties Union ought to endorse and place in a paper or review what you write.
     I am jealous on what Kelly may have told you on his visit to Malasta (sic). He wrote to me very graphically. That if anything striking is in your union (sic) org, kindly mention it to me occasionally.
     Kelly's visit here did me good. I hope that your other anxieties are relieved. I supposed Kelly told you how he almost settled that or set things moving on meeting an acquaintance near the American Express Company here.
     American Life in Europe really crashes round these Offices. Americans do not seem to be happy here when they have not got to go – one living more, and once over again – to the American Express Company!
     Best wishes to Mrs. L-y (sic) and yourself and at St. Tropez,

M. Nettlau


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