George Woodcock, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements, 1962, Postscript 1975.



9 International Endeavours

Humanity is one, subjected to the same condition, and all men are equal. But all men are different, and in his inner heart every man is in fact an island. Anarchists have been especially conscious of this duality of universal man and particular man, and much of their thought has been devoted to seeking a balance between the claims of general human solidarity and those of the free individual. In particular they have sought to reconcile internationalist ideals -- the idea of a world without frontiers or barriers of race -- with a stubborn insistence on local autonomy and personal spontaneity. And even among themselves they have not often been able to achieve this reconciliation. For almost a century they have tried to create an effective world organization of anarchists; their efforts have been frustrated by an intolerance of any form of centralism and a tendency to retreat into the local group, which are both encouraged by the nature of anarchist activity. Since the anarchists do not seek electoral victories, there is no need to create elaborate organizations similar to those of political parties, nor is there any need to frame general programmes of action; most anarchist groups have in fact been dedicated to individually motivated propaganda -- either of the word or the deed -- and in activity of this kind the lightest of contacts between towns and regions and countries is usually sufficient. Significantly, only in the marginal field of anarcho-syndicalism, which is based on mass trade-union formations rather than on small propaganda groups, have local and individual interests been sufficiently subordinated to allow the creation of a durable and relatively efficient form of libertarian international organization.

Since this largely unsuccessful search for an effective international organization raises so clearly the central libertarian problem of a reconciliation of human solidarity with personal freedom, it seems appropriate to consider anarchism as an international movement before discussing its record in [224] individual countries. The approach is further justified by the fact that the anarchist movement made its earliest appearan within the First International and the cosmopolitan brotherhoods founded by Bakunin, and only later separated into national movements in which it was developed.

The history of anarchist internationalism falls into five periods. From the participation of the Proudhon mutualists in the discussions that led to the foundation of the First International, down to the break with the Marxists after the Hague Congress of 1872, the anarchists -- whether they followed Proudhon or Bakunin -- were seeking to fulfil their inter-nationalist aspirations in collaboration with socialists of other kinds. From 1872 to the famous 'Black International' Congress of 1881, they tried to create a purely anarchist International, and this urge continued weakly through a series of abortive congresses during the 1880s and the early 1890s. In the third period, from 1889 to 1896, the anarchists concentrated on an attempt to gain a footing in the Socialist Second International. Their final ejection from the London Socialist Congress of 1896 initiated a further period, reaching its climax at the Amsterdam Congress of 1907, during which an organization restricted to convinced anarchists was once again sought; this period came to an end with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The last period, from 1919 to 1939, was dominated by the relative success of the anarcho-syndicalists who, after several false starts, finally created at Berlin in 1923 their own organization of libertarian trade unions, the International Workingmen's Association, which still survives in Stockholm nearly fifty years after its foundation.

During the 1840s, as I have shown, Proudhon was already speculating on the prospects of an international association of producers, and it is thus appropriate that his followers should have played a decisive part in the negotiations that led to the foundation of the First International. These negotiations began when Napoleon III, as part of his policy of courting the French workers, encouraged a delegation of artisans to visit the London International Exhibition of 1862. Among them were several of the mutualists who later signed the Manifesto of the Sixty, and who on this occasion started conversations with [225] English trade-unionists and with the German expatriates clustered around Karl Marx. In the following year, 1863, three of the same group -- Tolain, Limousin, and Perrachon -- went again to England at the invitation of the London Trades Council. Their ostensible purpose was to take part in a meeting in support of Polish freedom, held at St James's Hall on 22 July, but once again there were conversations on the possibilities of international organization. Finally, in September 1864, a delegation of French socialists arrived in London with the aim of cooperating in the actual foundation of an association. All the delegates were Parisian artisans. Three of them, Tolain, Limousin, and Fribourg, were more or less orthodox Proudhonians; the fourth, Eugene Varlin, was a near-anarchist of another kind, who, while rejecting authoritarian socialism, held collectivist views similar to those of Bakunin. The French delegates attended the great meeting held at St Martin's Hall on 28 September, and it was they who put forward the resolution proposing the foundation of the International Workingmen's Association.

Tolain, Limousin, and Fribourg were chosen as French correspondents for the International, and the bureau they set up in Paris was the real centre of anarchist organization in that country; in this sense it will be discussed more fully when I deal with the movement in France. So far as the International as a whole was concerned, the task of implementing the St Martin's Hall resolution was left to a Central Committee of twenty-one members, entrusted with the task of drawing up rules and a constitution, and, since London seemed the safest place for such a body to operate, the control fell into the hands of English trade-unionists and foreign refugees, including Marx and his German followers, a few French Blanquists, and the Mazzinian Major Wolff. This situation, which continued after the Central Committee was replaced by the General Council at the Geneva Congress of 1866, meant that the anarchists, whether of Proudhonian or Bakuninist persuasion, never had any foothold in the executive centre of the International, and were restricted to deploying their strength at the various congresses, so that they could only influence comparatively general fields of policy. [226]

The consequences of this division of control did not become immediately evident. The Geneva Congress -- the first plenary gathering of the International -- was preceded by an interim conference in London, at which reports of the working-class movements in various countries were exchanged, and a few general resolutions on such uncontroversial subjects as the Polish question and the lamentable influence of the Russian autocracy on European affairs were passed. The general atmosphere of this gathering was cordial, though Marx went out of his way to slander Proudhon privately to Tolain and Fribourg in the hope of leading these two influential delegates into his own camp. He was unsuccessful; the French remained determinedly anti-authoritarian, as did the only Belgian delegate, Caesar de Paepe.

At the Geneva Congress the line of division between libertarians and authoritarians within the International was already beginning to show sharply. The French delegates, who constituted almost a third of the Congress, were mostly Proudhonians, though collectivists like Benoit Malon and Eugene Varlin were present, as also were Albert Richard of Marseilles -- soon to become a devoted Bakuninist -- and, among the Swiss representatives, James Guillaume and Adhemar Schwitzguebel, the later leaders of anarchism in the Jura. But Bakunin was not yet a member of the International, and it was the mutualists who at this point maintained the struggle against the authoritarians in favour of a strictly working-class programme based on association and mutual credit, in the spirit of Proudhon's suggestions in De la capacite politique des classes ouvrieres.

In accordance with this attitude, the mutualists sought to restrict the membership of the International to actual manual workers; they were defeated as a result of strong opposition from the British trade-unionists. They were also defeated when they opposed a Marxist resolution which, under the guise of approving legislation to protect labour, subtly introduced the concept of the 'workers' state', since it claimed that 'by compelling the adoption of such laws, the working class will not consolidate the ruling powers, but, on the contrary, will be turning that power which is at present used against it into its own instrument'. On the other hand, they gained one minor [227] victory by persuading the Congress to pass a resolution for the establishment of a mutual credit bank, as well as securing approval for the promotion of producers' cooperative societies as a vital part of the general struggle for workers' freedom.

A pronounced shift soon became apparent in the balance of power within the International. At Lausanne in 1867 the mutualists were perceptibly weaker, largely because of the spread of the collectivist viewpoint in France. This resulted in Tolain and his followers compromising over resolutions calling for state intervention in education and -- more important -- for the public ownership of the means of transport and exchange. The deliberately ambiguous wording of the latter resolution made it acceptable both to those who wished for state ownership and to those who preferred control by associations of workers. Yet the mutualists once again won a small success by obtaining the postponement of the question of public ownership of the land, to which they preferred peasant possession, until the next congress.

The mutualists were still a force to be reckoned with at the Brussels Congress of September 1868, yet this gathering in the end marked a clear shift toward a policy of economic collectivism. The Proudhonian opposition to socialization of the land was now unavailing, since the Belgian collectivists, led by Caesar de Paepe, controlled more than half the votes, and a resolution calling for public ownership of mines, transport, and land was passed by a large majority. On the other hand, the mutualists gained a last triumph when Belgian support enabled them once again to pass a resolution approving the foundation of mutual credit banks.

The Brussels Congress established a socialized economy as the future aim of the European working-class movement. It did not determine the vital question whether that socialization should be carried out by authoritarian or libertarian means, but it seems clear that the spirit of the gathering tended in the latter direction, and the stage was now set for the second wave of Proudhon's followers, those who accepted collectivism but retained all the Master's hatred of authority, to appear on the scene. They presented themselves at the Basel Congress of 1869 under the leadership of Bakunin. Bakunin, like Proudhon, had [228] long dreamed of an international organization for the emancipation of the working class, and I have traced the attempts he made during the period before he entered the International theoretically as an individual member but really as the leader of movements in Italy, Spain, the Jura, and southern France all of which were formed largely under his influence.

It is unnecessary to repeat the accounts of the Geneva and The Hague Congresses of the International in which the issues between Marx and Bakunin were fought out and the organization itself split apart into the dying Marxist rump centred around the New York General Council and the anti-authoritarian majority centred around the Bakuninist Jura Federation. But it is desirable to consider some of the factors underlying the final emergence of a predominantly anarchist International in 1872.

The conflict between Bakunin and Marx was the dramatic encounter of two historically important individuals, and for this reason one is tempted to interpret events in the epic terms of personal combat. But such an interpretation cannot explain entirely either the considerable following which Bakunin gathered during his struggle with Marx or the fact that such a substantial proportion of the International -- certainly representing the greater part of its actual membership -- finally entered the Bakuninist camp.

In fact, the schism was not merely between convinced Marxists and convinced Bakuninists. When the delegates of the Jura Federation and a few Geneva expatriates met at Sonvillier in November 1871, at the conference that marks the real beginning of the attempt to form an anarchist International, the circular they issued received the support of the Bakuninist federations of Spain and Italy but also of the Belgian followers of Caesar de Paepe, who stood halfway between anarchism and social democracy, while it aroused interest in Holland and England. The appeal it made was not due to the anarchist viewpoint of those who framed it, but to the fact that it echoed a growing discontent, even among Marx's former followers, with the way in which he sought to bring the centralized authority of the General Council under his own control. Whether the threat was regarded as one of personal dictatorship [229] or of organizational rigidity, it was repugnant not only to the anarchists but also to men reared in the democratic traditions of labour movements in Britain and in the Low Countries. This was why they responded favourably to the key paragraph of the Sonvillier Circular, which stated with a moderation rare in nineteenth-century socialist polemics the libertarian ideal of a decentralized working-class organization.

We do not wish to charge the General Council with bad intentions. The persons who compose it are the victims of a fatal necessity. They wanted, in all good faith, and in order that their particular doctrines might triumph, to introduce the authoritarian spirit into the International; circumstances have seemed to favour such a tendency, and we regard it as perfectly natural that this school, whose ideal is the conquest of political power by the working class, should believe that the International, after the recent course of events, must change its erstwhile organization and be transformed into a hierarchical organization guided and governed by an executive. But though we may recognize that such tendencies and facts exist, we must nevertheless fight against them in the name of the social revolution for which we are working, and whose programme is expressed in the words, 'Emancipation of the workers by the workers themselves', independently of all guiding authority, even though such authority should have been consented to and appointed by the workers themselves. We demand that the principle of the autonomy of the sections should be upheld in the International just as it has been heretofore recognized as the basis of our Association; we demand that the General Council, whose functions have been tempered by the administrative resolutions of the Basel Congress, should return to its normal function, which is to act as a correspondence and statistical bureau. . . . The International, that germ of the human society of the future, must be . . . a faithful representation of our principles of freedom and of federation; it must reject any principle which may tend towards authoritarianism and dictatorship.

The men of Sonvillier considered that they were maintaining the original aims of the International, and it was in this spirit that, after the great schism of The Hague, the Saint-Imier Congress came together in 1872. There were delegates from Spain, Italy, and the Jura; they included many of the great names of anarchist history -- Bakunin, Cafiero, Malatesta, [230] Costa, Fanelli, Guillaume, Schwitzguebel. Two Communard refugees, Camet and Pindy, represented France, and another Gustave Lefrancais, represented two sections in the United States. The Saint-Imier Congress was concerned mostly with the establishment of the new International, or rather, as its members contended, with the reformation of the old. For the Bakuninists always regarded their International as the true heir of the organization set up in 1864, and counted their congresses from the First (Geneva) Congress of 1866.

There was some justification for this point of view, since it soon became clear that the Marxist rump, with its headquarters in New York, had retained hardly any support among the rank-and-file membership of the International. Its one attempt at a Congress, at Geneva in 1873, was, as the Bolshevik historian Stekloff admitted, 'a pitiful affair', attended almost entirely by Swiss and German exiles in Switzerland. 'The game was up,' as Marx exclaimed when he heard of it.

The Saint-Imier International, on the other hand, gathered at its 1873 Congress (also in Geneva) a fair number of delegates, not only from Spain, Italy, and the Jura, but also from France, Holland, Belgium, and Britain, including -- the most surprising catch of all -- Marx's former lieutenant Eccarius. How many actual adherents of the International these delegates represented is as hard to suggest as it is to estimate the numerical support of the International at any period of its existence. Stekloff quotes estimates that place the adherents of the united organization in 1870 as high as five or even seven million, but he rightly dismisses these figures as 'pure invention"; fairly reliable estimates of the membership of the Spanish Federation, one of the largest, place it at 60.000 in 1872. and on this basis one can assume that the total membership of the International before the Hague Congress was probably less than a million, and that even at its height in 1873 the Saint-lmier International had considerably fewer adherents, many of whom must have been no more than inactive card-carriers. Nevertheless, one can safely assume that from 1872 to 1877 the Bakuninists commanded a following far greater than the Marxists. The diminished International did not immediately begin to [231] take on a specifically anarchist character. The Congress at Saint-Imier was concerned mostly with questions of organization, and its decisions were acceptable to a range of anti-Marxists as far apart as conservative English trade-unionists and extreme anarchist insurrectionists. It proclaimed the autonomy of sections and federations, and denied the legislative competence of congresses, which should confine themselves to expressing 'the aspirations, the needs, and the ideas of the proletariat in various localities or countries, so that they may be harmonized or unified'. It set up 'a friendly pact for solidarity and mutual defence' directed against the threat of centralism.

Only one resolution at Saint-Imier was specifically anarchist, and that repudiated the emphasis laid on political action at preceding congresses since the Lausanne gathering of 1867. 'The aspirations of the proletariat,' it maintained in characteristically Bakuninist tones, 'can have no other aim than the creation of an absolutely free economic organization and federation based on work and equality and wholly independent of any political government, and ... such an organization can only come into being through the spontaneous action of the proletariat itself, through its trade societies, and through self-governing communes.' And it clearly attacked the Marxist vision of a working-class state by declaring that 'no political organization can be anything but the organization of rule in the interests of a class and to the detriment of the masses, and ... the proletariat, should it seize power, would become a ruling, an exploiting class'. On the basis of these contentions, the Congress passed an anti-political resolution, declaring that 'the destruction of every kind of political power is the first task of the proletariat'.

The anarchist intent of such a resolution is clear, yet there was enough moderation in its expression to make it acceptable both to the Belgian and Dutch collectivists and to the English trade-unionists, who retained the distrust of political methods they had inherited from the Owenite past. The Belgian Federation, which had a considerable mass following in the Walloon mining and weaving towns, declared in favour of the Saint-Imier International in December 1872, and, in January 1873, [232] the Marxist General Council in New York issued a statement suspending the Jura Federation, which provided a convenient excuse for the Italian, Spanish, Belgian, and Dutch federations officially to sever connexions with it. At the end of January the British Federation held its congress, where some of Marx's old supporters in the General Council, notably Hales, Eccarius and Hermann Jung, denounced the dictatorial attempts of their former leader. In the end the delegates resolved that the Hague Congress had been illegally constituted, and that its resolutions conflicted with the rules of the Association. However, with British caution, they did not specifically adhere to the Saint-Imier International, yet sent their delegates to its Geneva Congress in 1873.

This was the largest congress of the anti-authoritarian International, though only thirty-two delegates from seven countries actually attended. Hales and Eccarius came from England, Farga-Pellicer from Spain, Pindy and Brousse from France, Costa from Italy, and Guillaume and Schwitzguebel from Switzerland. It was a controversial gathering, in which the differences between anarchists and non-anarchists were quickly made clear. The first important discussion concerned the question of the General Council. There was no doubt about its abolition; this was voted in enthusiastic unanimity. But when the question arose of establishing some other body for centralized administration, there were sharp divergences of opinion. Ironically, it was Paul Brousse and Andrea Costa, later to become leaders of socialist political parties in France and Italy, who maintained the extreme anarchist attitude of opposing any continuing central organization whatever. The English trade-unionist, John Hales, flatly attacked their point of view, and his comments immediately revealed the wide divergences within the anti-Marxist ranks.

Anarchism [he declared] is tantamount to individualism, and individualism is the foundation of the extant form of society, the form we desire to overthrow. Anarchism is incompatible with collectivism. ... Anarchism is the law of death; collectivism is the law of life.
The Belgian and Jura delegates formed a bridge between the two extremes, and procured a compromise decision to establish [233] a federal bureau which would have no executive authority and would be concerned only with collecting statistics and maintaining an international correspondence. To avoid any chance 0f control being established by a local group, as had happened in the case of the General Council in London, it was decided that the operation of the federal bureau should be shifted each year to the country where the next International Congress would be held. But since the International was proscribed in prance after the Paris Commune and led a stormy life in Spain and Italy during the 1870s, subsequent congresses were in fact held only in Switzerland and Belgium, and this meant that in reality the fate of the anti-authoritarian International was bound up very closely with developments within the Belgian and Jura federations.

Disagreements arose also over the question of the general strike, which the Belgians, anticipating the anarcho-syndicalists of a later decade, defended as the principal means of inaugurating the social revolution. The Dutch and the Italians supported their argument, but the British opposed, on the grounds that the necessary preparation for a general strike would make it impractical in a critical situation. The Jura delegation again followed the middle course, declaring, in the words of James Guillaume, that a general strike was 'the only kind of strike competent to bring about the complete emancipation of the workers', but that the partial strike should not be despised as an effective weapon during the pre-revolutionary stages of the struggle. No effective general view emerged from all this discussion, and the delegates contented themselves with a weak compromise resolution:

The congress, considering that in the present state of the organization of the International no complete solution of the question of the general strike is possible, urgently recommends the workers to undertake international trade-union organization and to engage in active socialist propaganda.

Thus the first two congresses of the Saint-Imier International Were singularly barren in original thought or discussion, and showed a tendency toward middle-of-the-road compromise Which, disappointed the sections of the movement anxious for [234] spectacular action. The results began to appear when the next congress met in Brussels during September 1874. On this occa. sion a German delegation attended for the first time; its two members were Lassalleans, a fact which at least speaks for the lack of partisan rigidity in the reformed International. On the other hand, the Italian anarchists refused to participate. They had formed an Italian Social Revolutionary Committee which having organized the abortive Bologna rising, was now driven underground by governmental persecutions. Their message to the Congress pointed out that since circumstances had forced them into conspiratorial ways of action, it was patently absurd for them to take part in an open congress; in their present mood they understandably seemed to prefer the excitement of insurrectionary dreams to the dull discussions that had occupied the congresses since 1872.

At Brussels it became clear that the only real bond between the national groups was their opposition to the centralizing tactics of Marx and the now defunct General Council, and that the old division between libertarians and authoritarians had in fact been carried over into the new organization. There was no agreement on such important questions as political action, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the destiny of the state, and the possibility of a transitional period before the attainment of a society based on communal organization. The German delegates and Eccarius, representing Britain, stood for state socialism; the delegates from Spain and the Jura, with some of the Belgians, maintained a purist anarchism. De Paepe, the leading figure among the Belgians, took an intermediate position which prefigured his later shift toward state socialism; it was his report on 'the organization of the public services' that brought the issue into the open and occupied most of the discussion during the Brussels Congress.

De Paepe submitted a plan derived largely from Proudhon's federalism; it envisaged a society organized in a network of communes, federations of communes, and finally a worldwide federation of federations. The communes would deal with all matters of local interest, the world federation with general coordination between regional organizations and with suco matters of world interest as scientific exploration and 'the [235] irrigation of the Sahara'. During his report de Paepe used the word 'state' somewhat ambiguously to define his idea of supra-communal organization:

Against the liberal conception of the police state we pose the notion of the state which is not based on armed force, but whose function is to educate the younger members of the population and to centralize such public activities as can be better performed by the state than by the Commune.

Such vagueness of phraseology might have passed unnoticed had not de Paepe at one point expressed a conditional support of the idea of a transitional 'collective dictatorship'. In a passage which the anarchists regarded as particularly offensive he argued :

In view of the political trend of the working class in certain lands, and notably in Britain and Germany, a political trend whose impetus is constitutional today but may be revolutionary tomorrow, one which does not aim at overthrowing the extant state organized from above downwards, but at seizing the state and utilizing its gigantic centralized power for the purpose of emancipating the proletariat... we may well ask ourselves whether the reconstitution of society upon the foundation of the industrial group, the organization of the state from below upwards, instead of being the starting-point and the signal of the social revolution, might not prove to be its more or less remote result. ... We are led to inquire whether, before the grouping of the workers by industry is adequately advanced, circumstances may not compel the proletariat of the large towns to establish a collective dictatorship over the rest of the population, and this for a sufficiently long period to sweep away whatever obstacles there may be to the emancipation of the working class. Should this happen, it seems obvious that one of the first things which such a collective dictatorship would have to do would be to lay hands on all the public services, to expropriate for the Public benefit the railway companies, the great engineering works -'o declare that all their possessions, machinery, buildings, and land, had become state property, had passed into public ownership.

The Jura delegates protested in the name of anarchism, and even some of the Belgians opposed de Paepe; Verrycken in particular maintained that to put the workers in the saddle of authority instead of the bourgeoisie would represent no gain [236] of any kind. But de Paepe stood his ground, and in doing so he underlined what the discussion was making clear in any case: that the schism within the old International had not silenced the basic dialogue on revolutionary strategy. 'The alternatives of workers' state and anarchy still confront one another,' he insisted. It was in tacit recognition of this difference, which the Marxists had left as an apple of discord in the very centre of the Saint-Imier International, that the Congress decided to take no vote at all on the question of public services in a future society. It was referred back for discussion in the following year.

On political action, which again raised its controversial head, there was more unanimity. Only Eccarius and the Lassalleans argued that the workers should engage in constitutional and parliamentary activity. The Belgians united with the Jurassians and the Spaniards in denying completely the usefulness of working-class participation in parliamentary activities. Yet again the decision was based on compromise. 'It must be left to each federation and to the social democratic party in each country to decide upon its own line of political behaviour.' In its fervent attempts to reach decisions that offended nobody the Brussels Congress had merely accentuated the divisions within the International and hastened the decay that was already appearing.

It is true that geographically and in other ways the International still seemed to be growing during 1875 and 1876. Its influence was reviving strongly in France and around Lake Leman, and it claimed new groups of adherents in Latin America, Portugal, Alexandria, and Greece. But it was losing to parliamentary socialism such influential ex-Communards as Jules Guesde and Benoit Malon, while its strength in the countries bordering the North Sea was dwindling sharply. No congress at all met in 1875. There was talk of organizing one in Paris during the spring of 1876, but this did not materialize, and the next plenary gathering took place at Berne toward th end of October 1876, more than two years after the Brussel Congress.

To Berne the Italians returned, with Malatesta and Cafief at their head, while the Spaniards, French and Swiss were [237] reasonably represented; there was even for the first time a German Swiss delegate. But no one came from Britain, and the Belgians and Dutch between them sent only a single delegate, de Paepe, who brought cold comfort to the Congress by stressing the extent to which the workers in the Low Countries were being influenced by German and English examples and retreating into a north European social-democratic pattern which began to differentiate itself sharply from the anarchistic pattern of the Alpine and Mediterranean regions.

The Italians enlivened the proceedings with passionate speeches in favour of 'propaganda by deed', but on the whole the Geneva Congress was a more than usually lifeless gathering. The more aggressive authoritarians had dropped away, while de Paepe was willing to make terminological compromises with the Bakuninists which did not really mean an abandonment of the position on the workers' state he had defended at Brussels.

By now it was becoming apparent that the International as at present constituted had little practical reason for existence, and de Paepe emphasized the situation by proposing that in the following year a Universal Socialist Congress should be called in the hope of reuniting the European labour movement. The Spaniards opposed the proposal, but abstained from voting, as did the Italians, who stood beside them on the extreme anarchist left. De Paepe cast the Belgian and Dutch votes for the proposal and was supported by the French and Jura delegates, who occupied the moderate anarchist centre.

The Universal Socialist Congress actually took place at Ghent from 9 to 16 September 1877. Immediately beforehand the Saint-Imier International held its own Congress, from 6 to 8 September, in the industrial town of Verviers, where the Walloon weavers were strongly anarchist. It was to be the last Congress of the International; it was also the only one that could be called completely anarchist in both composition and decisions.

Many of the important anarchist leaders were present. Kropotkin, under the name Levashov, represented the expatriate Russian groups. Paul Brousse led the French delegation [238] and Gonzales Morago the Spanish. Guillaume represented tb« French-speaking and Werner the German-speaking Swiss, Andrea Costa carried mandates from groups in Greece and Alexandria, as well as from the Italians. And Costa's handsome mistress, Anna Kulichov, later to play an important part in founding the Italian Socialist Party, was present in a somewhat shadowy role as a delegate with a consultative voice. In addi-tion, anarchist groups in Germany, Mexico, Uruguay, and Argentina were represented. The most significant absentee was de Paepe, who after pointedly avoiding the meeting at Verviers took part in the Universal Socialist Congress at Ghent two days later. ,

The decisions of the Verviers Congress were the most unequivocally anarchist the International had ever adopted. Much of the discussion centred around the distribution of the product of labour, and, although no definite conclusion was reached, it was clear that the general feeling was turning toward the anarchist-communist idea of sharing the pool of goods on the basis of need. The task of collectivizing property -- the delegates decided -- must be undertaken by groups of workers without intervention from above. All political parties -- even if they called themselves socialist -- must be combated, since all of them were reactionary in their reliance on power and in their failure to recognize that the true divisions in society run not on political but on economic lines. Finally, on the question of trade unions, the delegates at Verviers adopted a resolution that strikingly anticipated the demands of the anarcho-syndicalists twenty years later. Trade unions were inadequate where they aimed merely at increasing wages or reducing hours; they should work toward the destruction of the wage system and the taking over of the control of production.

The Verviers Congress at least gave a deceptive appearance of vigour and unity. The Ghent Congress, far from producing socialist solidarity, merely betrayed the hopes of its Belgian sponsors by emphasizing the differences between the anarchists and their rivals. Only eleven anarchists went on from Verviers to Ghent, while most of the remaining thirty-one delegate8 were authoritarians, ranging from Wilhelm Liebknecht to A Paepe and his followers. Only one issue brought universe [239] agreement; unanimously -- with Andrea Costa alone abstaining -- the Congress proclaimed the desirability of founding an international federation of trade unions and passed a resolution calling on all workers who had not already done so to organize themselves industrially. But on such issues as state ownership of the means of production and working-class political activity the anarchists voted in a compact minority against the rest of the Congress.

The divisions between the delegates were too deep and obvious to be ignored by the most optimistic advocates of socialist unity, and this was recognized when the key resolution for a pact of solidarity between the participating movements was defeated. There was to be no new comprehensive International, and the irreconcilability of the two factions was underlined when the social democrats held a secret meeting the same evening to which the anarchists were not invited. There a limited solidarity pact was in fact worked out, and arrangements were made for establishing a central headquarters in Ghent.

Before dispersing, the Congress as a whole had second thoughts on the question of solidarity, and decided at least to establish a Correspondence and Statistics Office for Working-class Socialists, to be situated permanently at Verviers. In fact, neither this office nor the social-democratic headquarters in Ghent was established, and the Universal Socialist Congress did little more than establish, in the minds of Continental socialists at least, the idea that it was impossible to work with the anarchists.

Meanwhile, the Saint-Imier International itself disintegrated rapidly, and this happened at a time when the Spanish and Italian movements were vigorous, when the movement in France was reawakening, and when a great extension was being given to anarchist ideas by the establishment of federates in several Latin American countries. The International's collapse stemmed mainly from the fact that since the schism in 1872 it had swung on the axis of Belgium and the Jura, the two regions where political conditions allowed sustained and open activity. The numerically large movements in Spain and Italy and the active nuclei in France all suffered from [240] governmental persecutionswhich made it difficult for them even to maintain their own organizations and which encouraged the kind of separatism shown in the refusal of the Italians to be represented at the Brussels Congress of 1874. Any change in the situation in Belgium or the Jura was therefore bound to affect the International as a whole. And we have seen already how de Paepe with the majority of the Belgian socialists had moved away toward social democracy. By the end of 1876 the Association was dependent on the Jura Federation for its continued existence.

But in the Jura also the situation had been changing from the days of early anarchist enthusiasm which Kropotkin had witnessed in 1872. Economic conditions had worsened, and peasant craftsmen were much more dependent on the watch manufacturers than a few years before. This led to greater caution, and the diminished vitality of the Jura Federation was shown when its Bulletin, which for a period had been the leading anarchist journal, ceased publication in March 1878. Even some of the most active militants fell away from the movement. James Guillaume, the close disciple of Bakunin, who had been the most active inspirer of the Jura Federation and one of the key members of the Saint-Imier International, was disillusioned by the failure of the various congresses to achieve any positive results; he departed to Paris in the spring of 1878 and there retired into political inactivity, to emerge after more than two decades as an advocate of syndicalism. Of the important native leaders only Schwitzguebel remained active, and the last congresses in the Jura, held in 1879 and 1880, were dominated by foreign leaders, Kropotkin, Reclus, and Cafiero, who used the occasion to hammer out their theories away from the danger of hostile police forces. Soon afterward the once influential Jura Federation faded from the scene as an active organization.

Even before then the Saint-Imier International had slipped quietly into inactivity. It was never formally dissolved, but nc congress was called after 1877, However, the idea of international organization was not lost, and in 1880 the Belgiat anarchist groups, which had reorganized themselves after the defection of de Paepe and still maintained some strength [241] among the Walloon miners, held a congress in Brussels where the idea of reconstituting the International was discussed. The Belgians made contact with anarchists in other countries, and gained support for their plan of a congress aimed at constituting a wholly libertarian organization. London was chosen as the place of meeting, and a committee was established there, with Gustave Brocher as chairman and Malatesta as an active member.

When the Congress met on 14 July 1881, in the club rooms 0f a tavern in Charrington Street, some forty-five delegates appeared, claiming to represent sixty federations and fifty-nine individual groups, with a total membership of 50,000. Many of the organizations had only a phantom existence, and it is likely that the estimated membership was exaggerated. Nevertheless, it was a gathering formidable enough to cause alarm in European governmental circles; the British Ambassador in Paris, for instance, reported that the French Minister of Foreign Affairs had expressed concern that the British government should have allowed such a gathering to take place upon its soil. Despite the absence of such stalwarts of former congresses as Guillaume, Cafiero (who was ill in Italy), and Costa and Brousse, who had gone over to parliamentary socialism, its delegates included a fair array of the celebrated names of anarchism. Malatesta and Merlino, Kropotkin and Nicholas Chaikovsky, Louise Michel and Emile Pouget, represented their various countries; among the English delegates were Joseph Lane and Frank Kitz, later to play important parts in the anarchist faction of the Socialist League; Dr Edward Nathan-Ganz represented the Mexican Federation of Workers, and an elderly New England lady, Miss M. P. Le Comte, came on behalf of the Boston Revolutionists. Among the French delegates was at least one police spy, Serreaux, who edited the anarchist' journal La Revolution sociale with money provided by the Paris Prefect of Police, and some of the other delegates were suspected of being agents provocateurs; Kropotkin later claimed that there were at least five of these as well as Ser-reaux, but this seems an exaggeration.

The variety of attitudes that characterized anarchists in the later nineteenth century was already evident at the London [242] Congress. Some thought in terms of conspiratorial activity others, like Kropotkin, held that a revolutionary movement must always spring from a broad upsurge among the people The idea of propaganda by deed, and the various aspects of revolutionary violence, came in for copious discussion. Ther seems to have been agreement on the general inevitability 0f violence (for the pacifist current had not yet entered the anarchist movement), but its more extreme forms aroused con-siderable argument. The terrorist phase of anarchism had not yet begun, but the Congress was held shortly after the assassin-ation of Alexander II by the People's Will, and this event had its influence on the discussions. The advocates of extreme violence were impelled by various motives. Serreaux, the police agent, was naturally among the most voluble on this subject. On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of Dr Nathan-Ganz from Mexico, who was obsessed with the idea of 'chemistry' as a weapon in the class struggle and with the need for para-military organization. He even suggested a 'military academy' for anarchists, and kept on interrupting the proceedings to draw attention to the need for 'education in chemistry'.

Kropotkin sought to bring a more realistic tone to the assembly. In particular, speaking as a scientist, he deprecated the light talk he heard about the use of chemistry. Yet, despite the moderating influence of such men, there is no doubt that increasing governmental hostility in many countries was tempting the anarchists to think in terms of underground organization and spectacular deeds, and in this sense the 1881 Congress opened a period, extending into the 1890s, when anarchists in general turned away from the idea of large working-class movements toward that of secret groups of direct-actionists. In the minds of most of the delegates there was indecision as to whether they wished to create an open organization like the defunct International or a clandestine organization like Bakunin's International Brotherhood. Even Kropotkin, at least in private conversation, advocated paraM public and secret movements.

In the end it was resolved to form a new open International, to set up a permanent Correspondence Bureau, and to call a [243] congress in London the following year, while a blanket policy resolution looked forward to a period of great revolutionary struggles and called for the development of unconstitutional methods, the establishment of widespread secret presses, the encouragement of propaganda by deed (with a friendly nod to 'the technical and chemical sciences'), and agitation among the backward rural workers, where the anarchists rightly realized they could make a more effective appeal than the authoritarian socialists.

In practical terms, the Congress achieved very little. The 'Black International' it founded was long to remain a terrifying spectre in the minds of governments, but it was no more than a spectre, and its phantom presence seems to have influenced the working-class movement only in the United States. As an organization it never functioned; the correspondence bureau did not come into active existence, and the proposed London Congress of 1882 did not meet.

It was not, indeed, until 1907 that the next real international congress of anarchists took place. During the intervening quarter of a century there were a few gatherings that are sometimes mentioned as international congresses, but all of them were either abortive or limited in scope. A congress of the latter kind was held in Geneva in 1882. Apart from a single Italian delegate, those who attended were all either from France or the Jura; great stress was laid on the absolute autonomy of groups 'in the application of the means that seem to us most efficacious', and the spirit of the gathering was indicated when the delegate from Cette drew unanimous applause by ending his speech with the words, 'We are united because we are divided.'

In fact, this was a time when anarchists inclined toward extreme separatism. A proposal to hold an international congress in Barcelona during 1884 failed because it met indifference in most countries and positive hostility in France. In 1887 a similar proposal for a congress in Paris came to nothing, but in 1889, on the occasion of the International Exhibition in 'bat city, a small conference did in fact take place in the Faubourg du Temple, attended by a dozen delegates from England, Germany, Spain, and Italy, together with representatives [244] tives of the French groups. This conference appears to hav been :run on the strictest anarchist principles; no resolution, were passed, no votes were taken, no plans for organization were considered, and the meetings seem to have been devoted merely to a prolix exchange of views on matters of topiCai importance. In 1892 the French police reported that a group of Paris anarchists was planning the establishment of an inter, national correspondence bureau, but no evidence of this appea rs elsewhere, and the whole plan may have been created in the mind of an agent short of interesting facts to report The following year the anarchists of Chicago announced a forthcoming congress, and the editors of La Revolte in Paris called on the European movements to take part in it; however ho delegates crossed the Atlantic, and the congress itself was evidently a very slight affair. According to Emma Goldman, it was banned by the Chicago police and took place secretly in a room of the town hall, into which the dozen delegates were smuggled by a friendly clerk.

These rather pitiful efforts are the only specifically anarchist international congresses I have been able to trace from 1881 to the end of the nineteenth century. Their meagreness is at least in part due to the fact that between 1889 and 1896 there was a persistent effort on the part of the anarchists to infiltrate the congresses of the Second International, which the social democrats were then in the process of establishing.

The Second International came into being in 1889, when two rival socialist congresses were held in Paris. One of them was organized by the followers of Jules Guesde; to this came the Marxists from the rest of Europe. The other was organized by the possibilist followers of Paul Brousse, now striving with his formei fellow anarchist Guesde for control of parliamentary socialism in France. The anarchists, with admirable impartiality, infiltrated both gatherings. To the Guesdists went Sebastien Faure, Domela Nieuwenhuis (leader of the resurrected anarchist movement in Holland), and the Englishman Frank Kitz; to the possibilist gathering went the Italian Saverio Merlino and the French carpenter-orator Joseph Tortelief> celebrated as an advocate of the general strike. In both gatherings tie anarchists vigorously put their point of view; t°e [245] wider rivalry between the two congresses perhaps explains why no concerted attempt was made to expel them.

When the socialists united in the Brussels Congress of 1891, ij0wever, the presence of the anarchists became one of the major issues. They were deliberately not invited, but they appeared, and were dealt with in a very confused manner. Dr jvjerlino, the Italian who had already distinguished himself by spirited interruptions in 1889, rather surprisingly gained admittance, but on the second day was deported by the Belgian police; the anarchists afterward accused the Marxists of informing on him. The Congress itself expelled the Spanish anarchists on the second day, but the Belgian anarchists had been kept out from the beginning. Finally, Domela Nieuwenhuis was allowed to remain, and tried in vain to bring up for discussion such thorny questions as parliamentarism and universal suffrage. Nieuwenhuis, who really began the pacifist trend in the anarchist movement (for Tolstoy and his followers always remained outside organized anarchism and were somewhat hostile to it), also brought forward a strong resolution in favour of a general strike in the event of war, but was defeated by the Marxist majority.

At the Zurich Congress of the Second International in 1893 the anarchists appeared in force, seeking admission on the ground that they too were socialists and heirs of the First International. The German Marxist Bebel led the attack against them. Bebel was addicted to the verbal abuse frequent among the followers of Marx, and he shouted, amid the indignant cries of his opponents: 'They have neither programme nor principles, if it is not the common aim of combating the social democrats whom they consider greater enemies than the bourgeoisie. We can have no relationship with them.' The anarchists were expelled by force, loudly protesting. The old Garibaldian Amilcare Cipriani spoke out against the brutal intolerance of the Marxists and then resigned his mandate. Next a French resolution was passed, declaring that only those socialists who admitted the necessity of political action should be admitted in future to the congresses of the Second International. After their expulsion the anarchists, to the number of sixty, held their own impromptu congress, and later a public meeting [246] attended by a few hundred people, but it was little more than a manifestation of mutual solidarity. La Revolte commented, jn words that might have been used of almost any other anarchist international gathering:

There was much speaking and much peroration, but we do not see that this gathering has produced any practical result. A congress is not improvised in twenty-four hours; and then, what is the good of crying from the rooftops that one will do this, that and the other thing? That kind of expenditure of spittle should be left to the social democrats.

The last battle over admission to the Second International was fought at London in 1896; it was also the bitterest. This time the anarchists were strongly entrenched in the French and Dutch delegations, and many of their leaders had come to London with the intention of holding a parallel congress in the event of their expected expulsion from that of the Second International. They included Kropotkin, Malatesta, Nieuwen-huis, Landauer, Pietro Gori, Louise Michel, Elisee Reclus, and Jean Grave, as well as a strong syndicalist group from France headed by the anarchist leaders of the revolutionary wing of the Confederation Generate du Travail (C.G.T.), such as Pelloutier, Tortelier, Pouget, and Delesalle.

The dispute over the anarchists made the London Congress the most stormy of all the gatherings of the Second International. Apart from the French syndicalists, who were admitted by an inconsistent ruling which exempted trade-union delegates from admitting the need for political action, there were more than thirty anarchist delegates. The German chairman, Paul Singer, tried to close the question of admissions without allowing the anarchists to speak. Keir Hardie, leader of the Independent Labour Party, who was deputy chairman that day, protested that both sides should be given a full hearing before the vote was taken. Gustav Landauer, Malatesta, and Nieuwenhuis all spoke at length, and the last effectively summarized their contentions when he said:

This Congress has been called as a general Socialist Congress. The invitations said nothing about anarchists and social democrats. They spoke only of socialists and trade unions. Nobody can deny [247] that people like Kropotkin and Reclus and the whole anarchist-comrnunist movement stand on the socialist basis. If they are excluded, the purpose of the Congress has been misrepresented.

The decision on the admission of the anarchists was delayed by a quarrel within the French delegation over this very issue, which took most of the Congress's second day. By a majority of fifty-seven to fifty-five the French had voted in private caucus against exclusion of the anarchists. But, rather than accept a majority decision so distasteful to themselves, the French Marxists, led by Millerand, decided to withdraw, and asked Congress to authorize two French delegations, each with ;ts own vote.- Such a proposal was contrary to the general procedure of the Second International, which gave each country a single vote, and was supported by the German Marxists only because it happened to serve their interests. Both Bernard Shaw and the Belgian socialist Vandervelde attacked the motion, and it was only carried because the Germans had the support of a number of tiny delegations such as those of Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.

The anarchists were finally expelled on the second day, on a motion that again specifically exempted trade-union delegates: all the delegations eventually voted for expulsion except the French syndicalist faction and the Dutch. However, many anarchists were left as trade-union delegates to carry on the dispute during the verification of mandates, so that in the end little time was left for debating the issues that the Congress had met to discuss. Despite the exclusion of the anarchists, anarchism had in fact dominated the London Congress of the Second International.

What the anarchists themselves lost in being expelled they gained in publicity and in the sympathy of the more liberal-minded socialists. They had planned an evening meeting in the Holborn Town Hall on 28 July, and their expulsion on that day made the gathering a great success. As well as all the anarchist leaders, Keir Hardie and Tom Mann appeared on the platform to make speeches asserting the rights of minorities, and William Morris, now nearing his death, sent a message to say that only sickness prevented him from adding his own voice to the chorus of protest. But the real triumph of the anarchists remained [248] their success in turning the Congress of the Second International into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only did they effectively present themselves as champions of minority rights; they also provoked the German Marxists into demonstrating a dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labour movement from following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as H. M. Hyndman.

Clearly, after the London Congress, there could be no further question of unity between the two opposing wings of the socialist movement. The social democrats recognized it by passing a resolution which, in directing policy for issuing invitations to future congresses, for the first time specifically stated, 'Anarchists will be excluded.' The anarchists recognized it by making no further attempts to invade the Second International.

Yet it was not until 1907, after plans for a congress in Paris had been frustrated by the police in 1900, that they finally assembled to plan anew their own International. During the intervening period, perhaps in reaction to the organizational complexity of the syndicalist wing of the movement, the purist anarchists had tended to stress the pattern of individual militant groups acting autonomously, to such an extent that in France (admittedly an extreme example) there was not even any kind of national federation during the early years of the twentieth century. This fact did not mean that national and international links were lacking, but they were not of the organizational kind. Anarchist literature passed freely from country to country, and the works of men like Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Malatesta were translated into many languages. In addition to this exchange of ideas and propaganda there was also a constant intercourse between anarchist militants, owing largely to the fact that the life of the dedicated revolutionary often forced him to go into temporary exile or even seek an entirely new home abroad. Errico Malatesta agitated and conspired not only in Italy, but also in France, England, Spain, the Levant, the United States, and Argentina and there were many like him. In this way, anarchist groups frequently had the opportunity to entertain foreign intellectuals [249] and orators and to hear their opinions, while ties of personal friendship or shared experience created a kind of shadow circle of leaders, even less substantial than the mysterious international organization that loomed in the background of Henry James's mind when he wrote The Princess Casamassima, but nerhaps as influential in its own way. Anarchism was international in theory and to a great extent in practice even if it was only sporadically so in organizational terms.

Though the majority of anarchists in 1907 were to be found in the Latin countries, the initiative for the Amsterdam Congress was taken by the Belgian and Dutch groups. It met from 24 to 31 August, and was the largest gathering of its kind ever held, attended by some eighty delegates from almost every European country, as well as from the United States, Latin America, and Japan. Its proceedings were dominated by Malatesta, not merely because of his prestige as an associate of Bakunin and a veteran of insurrection and conspiracy in many lands, but also because of his dynamic personality and flowery eloquence. The other delegates included many younger men and women who had brought fresh vigour into the movement in recent, years, such as Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker, the Italian intellectual Luigi Fabbri, the Russian Alexander Schapiro, Tom Keell (editor of Freedom), the Dutch syndicalist Christian Cornelissen, and Pierre Monatte, a young and capable militant from the revolutionary wing of the French C.G.T.

Owing to the mental calibre of those who attended it, this was one of the liveliest anarchist congresses, and it took place in an atmosphere of confidence, largely because of the impetus given to the spread of anarchistic teachings through the extension of revolutionary syndicalism from France to Spain, Italy, Latin America, and the Germanic countries of the north, where vigorous anarcho-syndicalist minorities existed in Germany, Sweden, and Holland.

The syndicalist issue was dramatized by a great debate between Malatesta and Monatte which emphasized the presence of two clearly identifiable currents of anarchist opinion at this period. Monatte saw the revolutionary trade union as the means and end of revolutionary action. Through [250] unions the workers could carry on their struggle against capitalism and precipitate its final end by the millennial genneral strike; then the unions could become the basic structure of the new society, where the solidarity of the workers would find concrete form through industrial organization.

Despite his idealistic devotion to the anarchist cause, Malatesta had too practical a mind to ignore the weapon which syndicalist forms of action might place in its hands. But he insisted that syndicalism could be regarded only as a means and an imperfect means at that, since it was based on a rigid class conception of society which ignored the fact that the interests of the workers varied so much that 'sometimes workers are economically and morally much nearer to the bourgeoisie than to the proletariat'. Furthermore, immersion in union affairs and a simple faith in the general strike was not only unrealistic; it also led revolutionary militants to neglect other means of struggle, and particularly to ignore the fact that the great revolutionary task would not be for the workers to stop working but, as Kropotkin had pointed out, for them to 'continue working on their own account'. The extreme syndicalists, in Malatesta's view, were seeking an illusory economic solidarity instead of a real moral solidarity; they placed the interests of a single class above the true anarchist ideal of a revolution which sought 'the complete liberation of all humanity, at present enslaved, from the triple economic, political, and moral point of view'.

The two other issues, anti-militarism and the organization of the anarchist movement, occupied the attention of the Congress. Its delegates identified the struggle against war with the struggle against an authoritarian society, and the resolution that eventually emerged combined both concepts.

The anarchists urge their comrades and all men aspiring to liberty, to struggle according to circumstances and their own temperaments, and by all means -- individual revolt, isolated or collective refusal of service, passive and active disobedience and the military strike -- for the radical destruction of the instruments of domination. They express the hope that all the peoples concerned will reply to any declaration of war by insurrection and consider that anarchists should give the example.

It was a bold-sounding but vague resolution, and, as one of the delegates was quick to suggest, it did not provide what was really needed, 'a concrete programme of propaganda and anti- militarist action'. But, given the anarchist emphasis on autonomous action and distrust of any kind of centralized decision that might be interpreted as binding on groups and individuals, a concrete programme was the very thing an International Congress could not provide.

Organization at this time was a crucial issue in the anarchist movement. Many militants, particularly among the French, had stayed away from the Congress because of their opposition to any organization more elaborate than the loose local group, and yet there was still a considerable debate on the question of how far organization should be carried. Eventually the Congress came to the conclusion -- rejected by many critics within the movement -- that 'the ideas of anarchy and organization, far from being incompatible, as has sometimes been pretended, in fact complement and illuminate each other'. As a practical manifestation of this belief, the assembled anarchists decided to establish yet another International, and to set up a bureau, of which Malatesta, Rocker, and Schapiro were members, charged with 'creating international anarchist archives' and maintaining relationships with the anarchists of various countries. The bureau was to work in London, and to arrange a further International Congress in 1909.

In fact a familiar pattern was repeated. The 1909 Congress never took place, and the new International led a brief, sickly existence. Its Bureau started to publish a monthly bulletin of information, but this ceased to appear early in 1909 with the twelfth number, after complaining that 'apathy has overcome all those who clamoured most loudly at the Congress on the need for the Anarchist International'. By 1911 the Bureau -- and the International with it -- had ceased its activities.

By 1914 the pendulum had again swung away from indifference, and a project for a new International Congress in London was set on foot by the Jewish groups of the East End, but war broke out before it could take place. With the war came not only the isolation of national movements by hostile frontiers and their persecution by belligerent governments in the interests [252] of security, but also the schism over the question of supporting the Allies which I have already discussed in relation to Kroptkin. For these various reasons the anarchist movements, except in neutral Spain, emerged from the war greatly weakened, and the Amsterdam Congress remained their last important international meeting until the end of the period I am discussing in the present book.

Yet a moderately successful and, for the first time, a durable anti-authoritarian International did emerge during the early 1920s from the anarcho-syndicalist wing of the movement. In the early period of syndicalism the anarchists, in France and Italy especially, were mingled with reformist trade-unionists in the same federations. These bodies first sought unity within the Trade Union International, founded in Amsterdam in 1905. Here for some years the anarcho-syndicalists formed a perpetually uneasy left wing, and by 1911 the desire to break away from the reformist majority of the Amsterdam International reached the point where they began to consider seriously forming an independent organization. The idea had in fact been circulating since the anarchist Congress of 1907, when Christian Cornelissen founded a Bulletin international du mouvement syndicaliste, which served as a means of exchanging opinions and information between the revolutionary syndicalist factions in the various European and American countries.

At the end of 1913 an International Syndicalist Congress in London was attended by delegates from twelve countries in Europe and South America. The war intervened before the organization it sought to found could get under way, and by 1918 the syndicalist urge toward international organization was temporarily diverted by the Russian Revolution. After October 1917 the Bolsheviks assiduously wooed the anarcho-syndicalists in those countries where they represented a majority of th revolutionary movements, and at the founding congress of th Comintern, in July 1920, there appeared representatives from almost all the anarcho-syndicalist organizations of Europeas well as the American I.W.W.

It was clear from the start of this Congress that the syndicalists were unhappy with the rigidly partisan form which the Bolsheviks intended to impose on the Comintern, and the [253] Russian leaders therefore decided that it might be easier to accommodate them in a separate organization of revolutionary trade unions. With this intent, after a year of preparation, a congress met in Moscow during July 1921 to found the Red Interational of Labour Unions, better known as the Profintern. The anarcho-syndicalists, who had held a brief international meeting in Berlin during December 1920 to discuss their attitude to the Profintern, agreed to take part in it provided it became completely independent of political parties and aimed at reconstructing society by means of the 'economic organization of the producing classes'. This effort to create a syndicali-st policy for a communist body was frustrated by the fact that the Profintern Congress was effectively dominated by the Bolshevik-controlled Central Alliance of Russian Trade Unions.

The immediate result was a split in the anarcho-syndicalist ranks. The smaller organizations of northern Europe - Germany, Sweden, Holland, and Norway -- seceded immediately, but the larger Spanish, Italian, and French organizations remained for a while in the hope of forming an effective minority. On the initiative of the German Freie Arbeiter Union, the seceding groups held a conference in Dusseldorf during October 1921 and decided to call a general Revolutionary Syndicalist Congress in Berlin late in the following year. In the meantime, the Italian and Spanish organizations left the Profintern during 1922, and the anarchist wing of the French C.G.T.U. split away, leaving the larger part of that organization in the Communist camp. Thus, though many individual syndicalists were converted to communism, most of the western European anarcho-syndicalist organizations had broken their links with Moscow by the time the Berlin Congress met on 22 December 1922.

This Congress was attended by delegates from twelve counties, representing organizations claiming rather more than a ninlion members. The most important were the Unione Sindicale Italiana, with 500,000 members; the Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina, with 200,000 members; the Portuguese confederacao General de Trabalho, with 150,000 members; and the German Freie Arbeiter Union, with 120,000 members. [254] There were smaller organizations from Chile, Denmark, Norway, Mexico, Holland, and Sweden, whose Sveriges Arbetares Central, then claiming more than 30,000 members, has remained the most durable of all syndicalist unions. The French Comite de Defense Syndicaliste Revolutionnaire represented 100,000 anarcho-syndicalists who had broken away from the Profintern, and 30,000 Paris building workers sent a separate delegation. Finally, there were the representatives of the exiled Russian anarcho-syndicalists.

The major decision of the Congress was to set up an International of Revolutionary Syndicalists and to emphasize its continuity with the anarchist past by taking the old name of International Workingmen's Association. The delegates also adopted a lengthy document called 'The Principles of Revolutionary Syndicalism', whose ten paragraphs restated succinctly the basic principles of revolutionary unionism, rejected nationalism, militarism, and political activity, and, by stating the goal of syndicalist endeavour to be free communism, at least bowed dutifully to the other current of anarchist thought and its dead leader, Kropotkin.

During the 1920s the new International expanded considerably. The Spanish C.N.T. entered with almost a million members in 1923, and small federations in Poland, Bulgaria, and Japan also joined. In Latin America a Continental Workingmen's Association was founded in 1928, made up of syndicalist unions in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Uruguay, with its headquarters first in Buenos Aires and later in Montevideo. This organization entered the International Workingmen's Association as its American division.

At its height, the International Workingmen's Association counted more than three million members, but it must be remembered that by no means all of them were convinced anarchists, and that the memberships of some of the constituent organizations, such as the Spanish C.N.T., fluctuated greatly according to economic and political circumstances. Furthermore, the spread of dictatorship during the years between the wars soon began to wear away at the syndicalist movement. It was the largest organizations that became the earliest victims. [255] The Unione Sindicale Italiana collapsed with the advent of Fascism; it was followed into extinction by the Portuguese, Argentinian, and German movements, and eventually, in 1939, the largest union of all, the C.N.T., was reduced to a remnant of exiles by Franco's victory in the Civil War,

These political misadventures made the life of the International Workingmen's Association precarious in the extreme. From its foundation in 1922 the centre remained for a decade in Berlin, where the principal organizational work was carried out by Germans, Swedes, and Dutch, led by Rudolf Rocker, for many years the leading figure in the I.W.M.A. When the threat of Nazi dictatorship grew strong in 1932, the International Bureau was moved to Amsterdam and it remained there until 1936. In that year syndicalism assumed a dramatic role with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and the Bureau moved to Madrid, where, at the centre of the conflict, it played an important part in putting the anarchist case to labour movements in other countries. Finally, in 1939, it made its last move to Stockholm, where it has remained ever since, sheltered and supported by the still active Sveriges Arbetares Central.

The reason the anarcho-syndicalist International has survived, even as a shadow of its earlier self, while the international organizations of purist anarchists have all led short, ineffectual lives -- or have even failed to survive the congresses that founded them -- can be found at least partly in the nature of syndicalist organizations. Their most militant members may be devoted libertarians, but most of the rank and file will be workers seeking the best kind of life they can find here and now, and for this reason even the revolutionary syndicate has to share with ordinary trade unions a stability and even -though this may be overtly denied -- a centralization of structure which is never encountered among purely anarchist groups devoted to propaganda by word or deed.

The anarchist purist, whether he is an intellectual, a direct-aetionist, or a secular prophet, is an individualist working with other individualists; the syndicalist militant -- even when he calls himself an anarcho-syndicalist -- is an organizer working with the masses. In his own way he develops an organizational outlook, and this makes him more capable of carrying out [256] fairly elaborate plans and of keeping a complex associate working over a long period. There were men of this kind, as we shall see, in both the French C.G.T. and the Spanish C.N.T. In the case of the International Workingmen's Association, the German, Swedish, and Dutch intellectuals who ran the organization were men who combined libertarian ideals with a respect for efficiency derived from their own Germanic cultures.

Looking back over the history of the anarchist Internationals, it seems evident that logically pure anarchism goes against its own nature when it attempts to create elaborate international or even national organizations, which need a measure of rigidity and centralization to survive. The loose and flexible affinity group is the natural unit of anarchism. Nor does it seem to need anything more elaborate to become international in character, since anarchist ideas were able to spread far over the earth -- in the days when they were historically appropriate -- by an invisible network of personal contacts and intellectual influences. The anarchist Internationals all failed, principally because they were unnecessary.

But syndicalism, even in its revolutionary form, needs relatively stable organizations and succeeds in creating them precisely because it moves in a world that is only partly governed by anarchist ideals, because it has to consider and make compromises with the day-to-day situation of labour, because it has to maintain the allegiance of masses of working men who are only remotely conscious of the final aim of anarchism. The relative success and the eventual durability of the second International Workingmen's Association is therefore no true triumph of anarchism; it is rather a monument to a period when some anarchists learned to compromise deeply with the actualities of a pre-anarchist world.