anarchy archives


About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Elisée Reclus
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Poetry and Anarchy
This issue of Freedom appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the International Institute for Social History
Freedom Flagstaff



THE London School Board have for years past been making themselves generally odious to the people whom they nominally exist to serve, the working classes. When a family can barely scrape together enough to buy food and clothes, and too little of those, it seems hard that the bigger children should be carried off forcibly to school just when they could be earning a shilling or two and so getting something better than bread and tea every day for dinner, something more to nourish their bodies. For after all, in these days of machinery and unskilled labour, it is bodies that count more than minds in getting a job-bodily strength, and that sort of sharpness which does not come from book-learning so much as from knocking about at home and in the streets, from having to shift for one's self and go early to work. This is what the poor learn from their experience, and it is hard on them when they are forced not only to act in contradiction to it-to lose the children's earnings and the chance of starting them betimes in life-but to pay school fees as well. It is very hard on them, for, like all compulsion, it outrages their sense of justice.

    "Hard on individuals," admits your social reformer (one of those ,excellent persons who are always doing other people good against their will), "bard, perhaps; but every one must be educated, and as no -other means avail, we must educate them by force."

    Where is the necessity? Knowledge must be free. Yes; who has a right to conceal or forbid it I To know, to understand, is one of the ,deepest and most universal of human cravings; hardly a child is born without it, and in each and all it must be satisfied. Yes; who has a right to thwart the desire I Large numbers of thin era are filled with -an eager longing to impart their Ideas, to explain the facts they have understood, and enjoy the intense pleasure of feeding growing human minds with the great world treasure of the generalised results of human experience; such men and women must be unshackled in their selfchosen social labour. Yes; what better could their fellows demand of their energies? The "must" of all this appeals to no external force; it justifies itself by the immediate response of the inmost sense of what is just and fitting within each one of us. In this sense we must have education; and in the future we shall have it, because it is a pressing need of human nature, a need which we have the means to satisfy when we so choose. We shall necessarily have free education when we choose to be free.

    But what of the "must" of education by force? It is immediately expedient, says the practical man. Parents are too degraded to see that their children ought to be fed with knowledge as well as bread. Employers are too brutal in their chase of cheap labour to withstand the temptation to increase profits by preying upon the life energy of little children. Parents are too selfish and too desperate in their misery not to yield to the capitalists' offers. And so, says our practical man, the great, good, wise government must step in and coerce all these foolish people for their good; must force the capitalists to employ older hands, the parents to send the children to school, the children to go and everybody who has money to pay for the whole process, education and coercion both.

    So the -rest, good, wise government, which knows what every one really needs before he knows himself, and can give it like the fairy godmother in the stories, has interfered. It has interfered, through its local agent the London School Board, a little too much during the last few weeks; and the spirit of the workmen who have any spirit left, has rebelled, and the wire-pullers are beginning to talk about "free" education. Now this talk is at bottom simply a wrangle as to who shall pay the piper, the middle-class people whose representatives passed the Education Act, or that other set of people who are tbeoretically supposed to benefit by it. As the coercers have some money and the coerced have next to none, the first will probably have to pay the cost of their experiment, and quite right too. But in fact the very poor do not pay school fees as it is, and to the well-to-do workman they are the lightest of his many burdens. So what this sort of "Socialism"-and-water has to do with freedom may be left to social reformers to determine.

    Turn we to enquire what it is that stands in the way of the really free education we have spoken of above. What but the great, good, wise government itself, the government whose interference is supposed so necessary?

    The government after all is merely a collection of more or less dunderheaded individuals, guilty of the supreme impertinence of trying to manage other people's business. It is not wholly their own fault,

but we will not here say anything of the wisdom of those who helped to put them in such a position. Well, the government's idea of managing this business is to strictly maintain the right of lucky and clever people to keep for themselves all the social wealth they can extract from other men's labour, so long as they extract it according to rule, and pay the government for making the rules and protecting the right. One of these payments is the education rate.

    The government, representing the interests of property, is forced by the growth of human feeling in society to do something for the children of the poor, or conscientious people would be discontented, and all discontent is dangerous to property. Of course ceasing to protect the monopoly of the few, which is the cause of the misery and degradation of the many, is not to be thought of, though that alone could set the people free with regard to education as well as everything else. No, the monopoly of property must be protected at all costs, even that of levying a tax on the monopolists. And then the money can be used to instruct the children carefully in the sacredness of property and the goodness, wisdom, and might of governments. Fortunately life is educating them energetically in another direction, or our children might grow up more abject than their fathers. As it is, they are crammed in flocks like geese, without any regard to individual capacity, with a mass of useless, isolated facts, which stultify the brains of as many as they develop. Further, children are encouraged to compete with one another until the weak and stupid are overstrained, or crushed mind and body, and the strong and intelligent are made conceited and overbearing, ready to seize every opportunity of climbing to selfish prosperity on the shoulders of their fellows. As for the teachers, the very love of teaching is worried out of them with over-work, red-tape officialism, and inspections, and the children feel the natural consequences. They feel them in the hurried, impatient, perfunctory, dry or inappropriate teaching they get, and still more in the bright, loving, patient, interesting, individually appropriate teaching they lose.

    All this is a heavy price to pay for an imperfect knowledge of the three R.s, which is all the valuable information most children pick up at a Board School. And after all, the vast majority would pick up so much if no Board Schools were in existence. The School Board has failed as yet in reaching the waifs and strays, and it has checked voluntary efforts to do so. No doubt a much larger number of children go to school now than ten years ago, but that cannot be entirely credited to forcible education. The Education Act was merely a concession to the growth of social feeling and the sense of the importance of knowledge. It was effect, not cause; and the same causes, if that outlet had not been found for them, would necessarily have found other and probably more effective channels of operation.

    No; education by force is only a necessity in the eyes of those who consider private property and the economic slavery of the people also a necessity. The government in this matter is like a cruel cab-driver who reins in his horse and flogs him at the same time; it holds the people down in the condition of wage-slaves, and then attempts to whip them into the energy and virtue of free citizens.

    And you, fellow countrymen, how long will you be contented to play the part of cab-horse?


WE said, in our preceding article, that a great revolution is growing up in Europe. We approach a time when the slow evolution which has been going on during the second part of our century, but is still prevented from finding its way into life, will break through the obstacles lying in its path and will try to remodel society according to the new needs and tendencies. Such has been, until now, the law of development in societies; and the present unwillingness of the privileged classes to recognise the justice of the claims of the unprivileged, sufficiently shows that the lessons of the past have not profited them. Evolution will assume its feverish shape-Revolution.

    But what is a revolution?

    If we ask our historians, we shall learn from them that it means much noise in the streets; wild speakers perorating in clubs; mobs breaking windows and wrecking houses; pillage, street warfare, and murders; exasperated struggle between parties; violent overthrow of existing governments, and nomination of new ones as unable to solve the great impendent problems as the former ones; and then, the general discontent, the growth of misery; reaction stepping in under the blood-stained flag of the White Terror; and finally, the reinstalation of

Page 1

    government worse than the former. Such is the picture drawn by most historians.

    Put this is not a revolution. There are in the picture some of the accidental features of revolutions, but their essence is wanting. Window-breaking and street warfare may be as well distinctive of a riot - and a violent change of government may be the result of a simple insurrection. go it was, for instance, all over Europe in 1848.

    A revolution has a much deeper meaning. There may be street warfare, or there may not; there may be house-wrecking, or there may not. But, in a revolution, there must be a rapid modification of outgrown economical and political institutions, an overthrow of the injustices accumulated by centuries past, a displacement of wealth and political power. When we see, for instance, that during. the years 1789 to 1793 the last remnants of feudal institutions were abolished in France; that the peasant who formerly was-economically, if no longer legally-a serf of the landlord, became a free man; that the commons resumed possession of the soil enclosed by the landowners; that the absolute power of the king, or rather of his courtiers, was broken for ever in the course of a few years; and that the political power was transferred from the hands of a few courtiers into those of the middle classes,-tben we say, It was a Revolution. And we know that neither Restoration nor White Terror could reconstitute the feudal rights of the noblesse, nor those of the landed aristocracy, nor the absolute power of the king. It was so much a revolution that, although seemingly defeated, it has compelled Europe at length to follow out its programme-that is, to abolish serfdom and to introduce representative government,

    And to find its like we must not look to the smaller outbreaks of our times; we must revert to the seventeenth century-to the Revolution which took place in this country, with nearly the same programme, the same tendencies and consequences.

    As to street warfare and executions, which so much preoccupy historians, they are incidental to the great struggle. They do not constitute, its essence and probably they would not have occurred at all if the ruling classes had understood at once the new force that had grown up among them, and instead of plotting against it, bad frankly set to work to help the new order of things to make its way into life.

    A revolution is not a mere change of government, because a government, however powerful, cannot overthrow institutions by mere decrees. Its decrees would remain dead letters if in each part of the territory a demolition of decaying institutions, economical and political, were not going on spontaneously.

    Again, it is not the work of one day. It means a whole period, mostly lasting for several years, during which the country is in a state of effervescence; when thousands of formerly indifferent spectators take a lively part in public affairs; when the public mind, throwing off the bonds that restrained it, freely discusses, criticises and repudiates the institutions which are a hindrance to free development; when it boldly enters upon problems which formerly seemed insoluble.

    The chief problem which our century imposes upon us is ail econo ic problem; and economic problems imply so deep a change in all b, ranches of public life that they cannot be solved by laws. The laws made even by revolutionary bodies have mostly sanctioned accomplished facts.

    The working classes all over Europe loudly affirm that the riches produced by the combined efforts of generations past and present must not be appropriated by a few. They look on it as unjust that the millions ready to work must depend for getting work on the good will, or rather on the greediness, of a few. They ask for a complete reorganisation of production; they deny the capitalist the right of pocketing the benefits of production because the State recognizes him as proprietor of the soil, the field, the house, the colliery, or the machinery, without the use of which the millions can do no useful work at all. They loudly require a more equitable organisation of distribution.

    But this immense problem-the reorganisation of production, redistribution of wealth and exchange, according to the new principler, cannot be solved by parliamentary commissions nor by any kind of government. It must be a natural growth resulting from the combined efforts of all interested in it, freed from the bonds of the present institutions. It must grow naturally, proceeding from the simplest up to complex federations; and it cannot be something schemed by a few men and ordered from above. In this last shape it surely would have no chance of living at all.

    But this economical reorganisation means also the recasting of all those institutions which we are now accustomed to call the political organisation of a country. A new economical organisation necessarily calls for a new political organisation. Feudal rights accommodated themselves perfectly to absolute monarchy; free exploitation by the middle classes has prospered under representative government. But new forms of economical life will require also new forms of political life; and these new forms cannot be a reinforcement of the power of the State by giving up in its hands the production and distribution of wealth, and its exchange.

    Human progress is advancing in an opposite direction; it aims at the limitation of the power of the State over the individual. And the revolution cannot but follow the same line. If the times are ripe for some substantial remodelling of life, such remodelling will be the result of the numberless spontaneous actions of millions of individuals; it will go in an anarchist direction, not in a governmental one and it will result in a society giving free play to the individual and the free grouping of individuals, instead of reinforcing submission to the State.

    If the coming Revolution is not doomed to die out before anything has been realised by it, it will be anarchist not authoritative.



A HAGGARD old woman, with a countenance of iron and a dull fixed stare, is striding steadily forward with Ion- steps, driving before her with her withered arm a second female figure.

    This second figure is of majestic stature and well nourished, with herculean muscles and massive head upon her strong neck. But, alas! she is blind. Before her she is driving a lovely maiden.

    The maiden has bright and sparkling eyes. She resists, turns back, raises her delicate hands. Impatience and courage are marked upon her countenance. She hates to obey, hates to go whither the other is driving her; and nevertheless she is compelled to yield, and she goes onward.


    Let him translate who cares to do so.

    Translated from Ivan Tourgenieff Prose Poems.


THE Social Democrats have hit on a brilliant idea in turning the Lord Mayor's Show into a graphic picture of the existing inequality in the condition of Englishmen. It is not only telling but showing, the people their strength and their wrongs. Tens of thousands without even the necessaries of life, a few hundreds with wealth to throw away in costly tomfoolery; and the first waiting on the good pleasure of the second for even the right to labour: that is not a thing to be borne in abject patience once it is seen as well as heard. Realised by the oppressed, it means revolt.

* * *

    Revolt; not half-measures of palliation---Eight-hour Bills, Government relief works and the like. Such measures, if they were brought about, could only give unsatisfactory temporary relief to a certain number, whilst they served to break up the forces of the Revolution.

* * *

    Governments, especially representative governments, give all to fear, nothing to justice. They yield to popular pressure just so far as to weaken and split up the force which threatens their existence. This is the under side of all measures of social reform. They are like provisions thrown out of the sledge by a traveller across Siberian steppes, when the wolves are upon his track. Piece by piece the possessors of power fling their privileges to the wolves of the proletariat, and each morsel temporarily stops the pack, or diverts a portion of it from the chase. Middle-class newspapers, and manipulators of democracy openly preach concession for that very reason; it is the one chance for the maintenance of authority.

* * *

    Probably, however, our Jack o' Lanthorn of Tory Democracy will think the times not yet ripe for "dishing" the Socialists, and so allow his colleagues in office to pursue the congenial Conservative policy of masterly inaction. And the Tories are right. It is not the business of governments to provide work and food for their subjects; only to insist that they starve peaceably.

* * *

    Yet such appeals as this to the fears and compassion of propertyholders might bring present help to the unemployed, help which created no evil greater than it alleviated, if the workers were ready to seize the occasion. After last year's riots the rich realized their monopoly was seriously threatened, and some of the more rational individuals and corporations bethought them of marshes undrained, open spaces in disorder, town improvements waiting for the Greek Kalends-and the rest of the endless things that want doing and am left undone. When the fear and sympathy of these persons (for there is some honest sympathy in the movement too) are freshly stirred, and the owners of capital now idle feel the sting of remorse, why should not the workers be ready to take advantage of the chance and offer to undertake the work on band without the interference of contractors, vestries, guardians, middle-men, local or central government officials, to "organise" them? Why cannot English trades' unions, for instance, offer to undertake any job that may be going, as some of the American unions do, kicking out the contractor, his tyranny and his profits? 'They would get some good practice in organizing themselves for work, ready, for the days when they will have free use of all the capital in the country.

* * *

    No doubt the majority of the unemployed are not union men, and draining marshes and making embankments is mostly unskilled labour. But in improvements and such like the trades-unionists might set the. example of voluntary associations of workmen claiming the right And the capacity to direct their own labour. Associations of unskilled labourers would very quickly grow up in imitation. The work of draining the Roman marshes has lately been undertaken by just such, a voluntary association of labourers, and the English harvest this year was in many places gathered in by free hands of workers. Men given the use of harvesting machinery, paid a Jump sum for the job, and left by the farmers to arrange the work amon at themselves as they PleaseCountry folks say it was never better done. The workers can organise, their own labour, without any government to do it for them.

Page 2



     Seaborn. So here you find me up before the sun, though you have fled from your City of Destruction northwards on the night-bat's wings. Your penny-a-liner calls it the Flying Scotsman: but 1, the modern version of the magic carpet, with the seamy side up. Oh for electric balloons, or the wings of the morning ! But come, let us hasten to plunge into the sea, and to meet the rising sun with worship. See, Ben Gaoth is lifting his cloud-cap to greet his father.

    Citizen. But I'm shivering. No foot-pans, and this late October!

    Sea. What would you I Foot-pans and profits don't rhyme. The London and North-Western joint-stockers know better than that. Their guide to Parnassus is Jevons' I Political Economy Primer'-q. v. But come, no irreligion, pay homage promptly to sea and sun, and I'll warrant your heat. The sunny waves will wash the city-soil out of you, and charm the chill of its inhumanity out of your bones. Then home to breakfast.

    Cit. Lead on, barbarian!

    Sea. Now you're clean, warm, fresb-clad, fed, and in your right mind-if that way yet be, after so long sojourning in the Pandemonium of commerce and fashion-let us lie down here on the grass, where it slopes seaward, light up, and talk over our endless differences, political, social, and economic, And first, your pet necessity of lifetogether, Majority-rule.

    Cit. About that we cannot differ. It is Hobson's choice for us and all. There is no other way; and you have said it in one word, "necessity, answering the question in stating it, and in my sense too" Unlucky fellow, you need must when the devil drives.

    Sea. Quite so; the devil drives, but slaves only, and never the freeborn by the Sea. We are not now choking in a London drawing room or on 'Change. And then there are needs and needs. Your " must" is musty, let it into the fresh air and open anew. So, restated, let our topic be the Ethics of Majority-rule.

    Cit. Shifty and slippery, as usual, you eel. What has Ethic-Morality-to do with practical expediency and need-be?

    Sea. A conger, may be, and too much for you. So this sole and sufficient cure-all of yours, Majority-rule, alias government by palaver and dictation of representative autocrats, for that is what it comes to in every town council as well as at imperial Westminster, is immoral, and perhaps irreligious too; in a word, inhuman! How come you to admit that? 'Tis a fell jump out of your last year's skin.

    Cit. Ah, in Snakeland we are always sloughing. But, seriously, in London we live fast, and quickest when listening only, as I have been for the past year; and there are all sorts of queer folks talking, Fabians, Anarchists, Social Leaguers, Social Democrats, and the like, besides odds and ends on the casual stump in street, park, parlour, or pamphlet, not to speak of the daily eruption of irresponsible papers, and the monthly flutter of dilettanti mags. These two last lots are the delf and china of middle-clasadom, a fine clatter of brittle and broken dishes, truly. 'Tis a mad world scurrying to the edge of something-perdition, you will say. Yet in its madness I have discerned this much method at any rate, a general consent to found politics and economics upon force. As for morals and religions, the best even of the bourgeois are disposed, or constrained, to put them away (for safe keeping, I suppose!) in seen cabinet of their most precious china, or hidden wardrobe of Sunday clothes too good for use. Ornamental these, or even belonging to quite another sphere. But of this busy "practical" life, in mart, street,. factory, workshop, courthouse, quay-side, Parliament, the base and 11 bed-rock " is force-in the last resort and at bottom, physical even, and coercive. Yes, the last issue always must fall to be decided without appeal by the blunt yes or no of the bulk of " the people "-for I am democratic enough now to throw over "the classes "-backed by the baton and the bayonet.

    Sea. Add "brutal" to, blunt."

    Cit. If you like. We have masked and 11 civilized " Darwin, yet still believe in struggle and survival of the fittest.

    Sea. TO survive under Majority-rule

    Cit. So be it, again. There is no other rule possible, as aforesaid.

    Sea. What of unanimity, and humane unity of brothers and sisters In conjoint life?

    Cit. Sheer utopia.

    Sea. The only place of peace and gladness, of well-being and welldoing.

    Cit. The place that never was and never will be. Your ideals and moralities and religions are of too fine and thin air for common breath. And the Anarchist ideal is remotest and most etherial of them all, I Unsubstantial and unattainable as the rainbow. Since we met, cousin, I have been almost persuaded to enter Collectivism. But when there, there I stay. There is no beyond reachable without wings, and we are men, not angels. This State Socialism is the youngest and fairest of tile daughters of our good old English parliamentary father of free Peoples and systems of social and political life free in consistence with " law and order; " yet it too founds on "force majeure " and majorityover-ruling. It can't help itself.

    Sea. And so makes a virtue of necessity I Well, spin on, spin on, Ind you'll soon have rope enough to hang yourself with.

    Cit. Never; for, all I've said notwithstanding, I admit nothing.

    Non-moral and non-religious, if you please, but not immoral and

irreligious will be our new and stable social-state polity, while finding its stability in its establishme upon the one sure foundation-the management, to wit, and government by the most heads in the commune, and the most communes in the state.

    Sea. Think you, my loud-voiced light-fingered coz, to give me the slip with this play of negatives--" im," " ir," " non," and " un "-upon a background of monotonous dogmatism? Let us return upon our conversation-track, and see.

    Cit. By all means, return Your argument ever moves in a false circle.

    Sea. And Plato says the circular is the perfect movement. but, of your -race, call mine, spiral. So, to return and advance, tell me, when the devil drives, who drives the devil?

    Cit. Himself.

    Sea. And what is he?

    Cit. Our nature and circumstance, of course.

    Sea. And whence?

    Cit. I don't know.

    Sea. But free yourself to think, as one can think here in the open. Did man never make a circumstance? Did he never inherit a nature, and pass it down again with increments and variations? Picture the age-long almost beginningless procession of countless generations of men and women that have made and re-made and inherited and passed down, with ever-increasing difference and mass, natures, circumstances, customs, institutions, economical conditions, laws, and orders, and tell me I then, where you will draw the dividing line, in this making of the makers of mankind, between makers and made I Doesn't it rather look like perfect reciprocity and reaction of elements-say wills or powers-co-essential and at root even identical? The driver is driven, and the driven drives. The devil is in us; and if the devil-to keep up your figure-why not God too? And, if so, why not give him a turn? That is what Anarchism means. But how can we, while in our great lone Snakeland, as yourself styled London, we are stumbling and falling over the sloughs, devil-born and self-shed, that entangle and embarrass and even strangle us, and the stench of their slow corruption is so stifling that we have almost lost consciousness of these evils?

    The spring and inmostness of all at least that is human-to say nothing meantime of what is otherwise named-is Will,-ill-will and good-will. The Will is the perpetual source of both bitter and sweet. It is poison and antidote in one-self-wounding, self-healing, at will. Only will all together to open the fountains of sweet waters and good-will.

    Cit. Mysticism, your old game! Your speech outfigures ray figure quite. What mean you by those dead and cast-off skins?

    Sea. What but your laws, rules, overrules, institutes, cerements, orders, and your governments of classes and majorities? All the redtape and hangman's-rope of your existence in general.

    Cit. I see; universal carapace or shell-dead, hard, and cramping; and you go for a burst-up all round! Effacement of civilisation!

    Sea. For refacement, yes; and don't look in dismay; for anything with depth, everything but mere surface, is ineffaceable; and nothing is ever really lost, but loss.

    Cit. There again you are ranting and shaking your fist at me; but you never show your hand.

    Sea. I've surely opened a little finger at least; and your hand is open enough for both of us. Majority-rule, or Democracy, turns its back on whatever is ethical, religious, human, or (the same thing) passes it by on the other side. That's your hand. And here's my fist again: "Not for " is "against," and neglect of the higher needs and need-bes is opposition; and your democracy, an affair of majorities, materials and machinery, kicks against the pricks of real live necessity, and beats in vain against the adamantine fire that walls in the world. But more of this later on. For, see-Ailsa and Arran have drawn up the Atlantic's veil of soft mist-like cloud over them, and have retired from view for siesta.

    Cit. Just what we have been doing all morning without resting ! In the clouds!

    Sea. Say, above them !

    Cit. Yes, astride the cloudlets tilting at the light airs

    Sea. Better that than inside them, fog-bound. I'll grant we've been above them trapping sunbeams!

    Cit. In very misty meshes! And filching untimely bolts from the womb of the thunder!

    Sea. Impossible in a sky so serene. A truce, however, and I promise you we shall come down to earthly concreteness and detail all in good time-to the prudential aspect of majority-rule, if it has any ever so transient and flimsy; to questions of immediacy, expediency, and utility; to particular instances. Oh, I'll sate your gorge for such things ! But these others had first to be. And now let us, following Nature, retire, dine, and rest, to resume our friendly war in the afternoon.

    THE INEVITABLENESS or FREE GROWTH -- The Anarchists believe that society and humanity grow and are not made. Growth, not manufacture is their word. Hence our controversy with our friends of the Collectivist social democracy, in so far as they appear to go for manufacture. As Well talk of manufacturing oaks and elephants. it is a century too late for that; this in not the year 1789. Clear away the hindrances-properties, dominions, laws, governments--and all will go well. Only grow and let grow. The scientist philoso here like Spencer tell us that if there is a tendency evident in history towards the aggregation of greater and ever greater wholes of men and women, there is also and equally a tendency towards what they call segregation and differentiation. These am big words, but not empty. They mean local self-government, communal autonomy, individual freedom. The stars, then, in their courses am with us, and the gulfIstreams and trade-winds of time. These will not be gainsaid. They are our fellow-workers. Let us, then, work with a good and brave will; and still work.

Page 3



THE student of Ireland's history scarcely knows whether to pity her people for their sufferings, or scorn them for having so long endured such shameful wrongs.

    Before the fifth century there is not much authentic Irish history, but up to that time there are misty records of "happier things." The people then enjoyed, if not profound peace, an easeful liberty, dwelling in tribes under the patriarchal sway of chiefs they had themselves elected. Land was held in common, or where it was specifically held, no right of primogeniture barred its redistribution Wives equalled their husbands in dignity, and the most stringent laws were those regarding hospitality to strangers. Contests between the tribes were for the most part mere trials of strength or tests of bravery. It was not until the chiefs encroached upon the people's rights that the feuds became deadly. Up to the time of the Danish invasion, any attempt to maintain a hereditary and despotic rule was successfully resisted. And even after the Danes had, by dint of their unlimited numbers, tyrannised over the Irish of the east and south for two hundred years, the untameable Kelts broke their hateful bonds in a gallant fight on the sands near Dublin in 1014. The Danes accepted this lesson in equality and fraternity, and sank from being the dominant power in the country to be successful traders in Dublin, Wexford, and Waterford-towns that no doubt -owed their commercial prosperity to this infusion of Dane with Kelt. But war had borne its usual evil fruit and given rise to authority. The victorious Irish chiefs attempted to make themselves the despotic rulers of the people. They were met in a gallant spirit of independence, and had the Irish people been left 'to themselves they would probably have speedily won their way to freedom.

    The real work of destruction and desolation remained for the Norman to begin, his Anglicised descendant to continue, and the British government to complete. The first instalment of intruders, the germ of the "English garrison" in Ireland, landed ostensibly to help back to power the dethroned seducer Dermot, tyrant of Leinster. The island was at that time split into the five kingdoms of Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught, and Meath; and of five bad kings Dermot was undoubtedly the worst. Cruel, bloody, and rapacious, he had driven his people into revolt. The large trading towns on the coast closed their gates on Dermot's authority, and chose governors after the manner of the mediaeval German cities. In this state of affairs Dermot might naturally have appealed to his fellow kings to help him crush a rebellion that, as an example, might have been dangerous to themselves; but he had put himself outside the pale of their assistance by a base act of treachery towards O'Rorke, prince of Breffni, a kinsman of the Ulster monarch, who rivalled Dermot in the overlordship of the whole country. O'Rorke had wedded the lovely daughter of the king of Meath, who, like her prototype of Troy, was fated to bring fire and sword among men. The beauty of this princess inflamed the unscrupulous Dermot to such a degree that, despite his middle age and a marriageable daughter, he determined to play the part of Paris to this Irish Helen O'Rorke's character was the direct opposite to Dermot's. Although reputed brave, he shrank from the clang of arms to the seclusion of his castle home in tire valleys of Breffni (now Leitrim), devoting himself to wedded love and the romantic religion of the early Irish Catholic. Alone, and in the guise of a poor hermit, he from time to time made pilgrimages to one of other of the many shrines that bad sprung up throughout Ireland in the early ages of faith. During one of these pilgrimages Dermot carried off the not unwilling Dearbhorghil to share the savage luxury wrung from his groaning subjects. The poets tell of Breffni's return, is eager eye searching in vain for the little lamp, which the faithless wife had promised should shine from the battlements until her pilgrim came back; the agony with which he flew to her chamber, thinking she was dead; the worse than death he found there. To avenge his dishonour 0'Rorke appealed to the king of Connaught, and gathering their forces together they pursued the seducer. Abandoned by his subjects, sod hotly pursued on all sides, Dermot was forced to yield up his prize and to quit the country to save his miserable life. Thirsting for revenge he fled over the sees to Aquitaine, where Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy and Anjou, then held his court. Cravenly Dermot fell at the cold and crafty Henry's feet, entreating aid and swearing the most abject submission in return.

    Now Dermot's appearance fell in wonderfully with Henry's designs upon Ireland. A short while before, Pope Adrian had given Henry a document purporting to make him and his heirs for ever a gift of Ireland and her inhabitants, all for the small charge of " an annual pension of one penny from each house'' But it did not suit him to enter into possession just then. His, English subjects were still chafing under the foreign yoke, and his possessions in France were so vast as to render their administration very difficult. He evaded a direct promise of aid to Dermot, but suggested his seeking recruits amongst some of the unemployed, discontented Normans in England.

    Dermot took the hint and soon collected a fair number of filibusters. Their captains were disreputable nobles of broken fortune-Strangbow, Earl of Pembroke, for one, and a couple of the bastard sons of Henry I., all needy adventurers ready for any fray that promised plunder. The first detachment began operations at Wexford. Here the people, counselled by their priests, opened the gates, hoping to conciliate the invaders by a speedy capitulation. The noble lords, Fitzstephen and Mountmorres, made use of the town as their headquarters, whence they issued to ravage the country round about. The second gang, under Raymond le Gros, made for Waterford, where there were vast pasture-lands. They seized the grazing herds, and were driving them within the encolsure of a hastily constructed fortress when, amazed at this high-handed proceeding, the people came out en masse to demand restitution. With loud shouts and curses the Normans goaded the terrified cattle back upon the unarmed throng, who, t escape being trampled under foot, fled back into the town, leaving many of their number in the hands of the foe. With a fiendishness worthy of Dahomey warriors the Normans flung their captives from a high cliff into the sea, having first broken their limbs. Amidst the smoking ruing of Waterford, Strongbow was married to Dermot's daughter, whose hand had been the promised guerdon of success in his bloody enterprise. Then followed the plundering of Dublin, and of Meath, whose king had esented his daughter's abduction; and Breffni the domain of the luckless 'Rorke, was devastated by fire and sword. Great was the triumph of these chivalrous knights, and loud their paeans of victory. One knight boasted of the hundreds he had slain in battle without once rising in his stirrups. He did not add that those he slew were unarmed peasants, whose linen covered breasts offered but poor resistance to the Norman steel.

    The King of England, watching his opportunity at a distance, now gave orders for the immediate return of the men who had thus thrust in the thin edge of the wedge of English tyranny. Henry's jealousy was aroused by the restored Derinot's attempt to force his unwilling subjects to acknowledge his son-in-law Strongbow as Iris successor. Backing the Papal Bull (since suspected of being forged) by a huge armament, Henry took possession of the Pope's gift, landing at Waterford in the autumn of 1171. Wearied and exhausted by the recent conflicts, and hoping for justice at the hands of so potent a prince, the Dative chieftains flocked to do him homage. Ulster alone stood aloof, secure in his mountain fastnesses. The Normans, who had seized large tracts of land, were obliged to surrender them to Henry-not that they might be restored to the former owners, but that the thieves might receive them at the hands of the king on the conditions of feudal tenure. Henry's scheme was to colonies the island with his own followers, and by degrees to oust the native chiefs from their holdings. To this .end he gave the new landlords almost regal powers. They were to be answerable

     to no native laws. Meath was made over to De Lacy; Ulster to De Courcy, provided he could subdue it; the Fitzgeralds and Mountmorres shared Wexford tween them. Here and there a native chief was allowed to retain his land as tenant-at-will, but the least show of independence was to be accounted treason, and to entail forfeiture of estates.

     Thus opened the first scene in the long and yet unended course of woe which Ireland has suffered and is still suffering at the hands of the English Government.




THE main interest of the struggle for freedom still centres in the content for FREE LAND which is being waged throughout the Keltic provinces of Great Britain. Their inhabitants deserve the gratitude of all of the world for their spirited vindication of the social claims of human beings, in face of the oppression, scorn and violence of the ruling classes. The heroic resistance of the Irish to the exactions of landlords is making visible impression on the enemy. Everywhere proprietors wise in their generation, are reducing their demands, and authorities are declining to give even moral support to the foolish. English papers talk openely o the need of getting rid of Irish landlords, whilst Sir R. Buller is refusing to enforce "unfair" evictions, and an Irish magistrate has decided water on the police is passive resistance, not a breach fails to chronicle the numerous examples of the brave spirit of revolt amongst the ple. One Clanakiltie farmer held the police, armed with guns and bayonets, at bay for twenty-four hours. He cut away the staircase, and drove the evictors out of his house again and again with boiling water, showers of iron bolts, etc., flung from the upper storey. Unfortunately the next day be was arrested, whilst, with the aid of five neighbours, he was bringing some timber and a packet of dynamite to further fortify his domain.

     Last spring Lord Clanricarde, who gets £20,000 a-year from an estate in Galway he never visits or improves, evicted four tenants, with the aid of 100 policemen and 200 soldiers, and at a cost to the taxpayers of £800. Fifty-six men are now lying in Galway jail for resisting this man's violence, and the rest of his tenants have refused to pay any rent until the evicted farmers are reinstated.

     In spite of the man-of-war sent by the English Government, and the severe sentences on their comrades, the crofters are still in revolt against the attempts of Highland proprietors to force them to give up their ancient rights and accept the system of private property in land. Landlords like Lord Lovat can buy the subtilty of lawyers to evade in their leases even such half-hearted measures of protection as were supposed to be afforded to the crofters by the Agricultural Holdings Act, and the Land Commission is a mere farce. The people see and feel that they must act resolutely if they do not mean to be driven from their native soil.

     And they are acting. The attempts of the combined forces of the police, ther. sheriff's officers, and tire marines of H.M.S. " Seahorse " to serve write in Skye have been ignominiously unsuccessful. At Bornas Ritag the women, armed with. pads of water, resolutely planted themselves before the cottage doors and gave the gallant assailants so cold a welcome that they were glad to beat a hasty retreat. In revenge the police arrested six men and dragged them off to gaol at Portree.

     Pity the Irish and Highlanders alike do not carry their demands a little further and refuse once and for all to pay blackmail to land monopolists or recognise their authority under any circumstances whatever. They could cam the larger point as easily as the smaller.

     The London Society of Compositors have adopted Mr. Maddison's suggestion and instituted the boycotting of employers who pay starvat a ges. By requesting the School Board to refuse printing tenders from "unfair houses," they recognised the common cause of workers of all grades. The more fortunate and able must fight the battle for the less fortunate, or all are doomed to a common degradation.

     Not that boycotting can transform our economic system and set free its slaves; but its introduction marks the rising of the tide of social revolt.


    The seven Anarchists, who did NOT throw a bomb at the Chicago police, are to be publicly murdered next month.

    The Richmond General Assembly of the Knights of Labor have appealed for the pardon of our comrades. Nevertheless these worthy trades'-unionists wish it to be understood that they " believe peaceful measures the best for securing reform." Yes; if only the monopolists of the means of existence would allow usto gain our freedom peacefully, But one would imagine that American workers had had enough experience for one year of the sort of peaceful acquiescence they have to expect from their masters, even when they merely demand a little shorter hours or a little higher wages.

    The Manufacturers' Aid Association has lately ordained that when a trade dispute occurs, all mills in the same district are to be stopped until it is settled. The Association pays the owners' losses. Three thousand cotton operatives were locked out at Frankford, Pa., last month in consequenee, and wor kers will know what it means to tire men and women and their children. Is this war or peace? And what peace cam we desire with oppression and wrong?

    The German Communist-Anarchists in London are about to issue a new paper in their own language, " Die Autonomie " will appear fortnightly. The first number is announced for November 4th, price 1d.; or 10d. a quarter, postage included. All communications to be addressed to R. Gunderson, 96 W ardour Street, Soho, W. We wish our comrades success.

N o t i c e s.

Annual Subscription, including postage, is. 6d.
All communications to be addressed to The Editor of FREEDOM, 34 Bouverie
Street, Fleet Street, EC.
FREEDOM can be obtained of W. Reeves, 185 Fleet Street; and the Freethought -
Publishing Company, 63 Fleet Street.

RECEIVED - Commonweal - Socialist - Christian Socialist - Practical Socialist --
To-Day -- Present Day -- Our Corner -- Radical -- Anti-Sweater -- Personal Rights Journal -- Workers' Friend -- Norwich Daylight -- John Swinton's Paper -- Voice of Labor -- Canadian Labor Reformer -- Freiheit -- Révolté- Lutte Sociale- Revolution Cosmopolite.

(For expenses of publication)

RECEIVED.-E. P, £1 13s.; E. R. P., 2a. 6d; S. W, 2s; F. P., Ia. 6d.

Printed and Published by, C. X. WILSON 34 Bouverie Street, London, E.C.

Page 4


[Home]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]