"Hurrah for Anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life!"
Adolf Fischer, Haymarket Martyr, his last words as he stood in the gallows with a rope around his neck, hooded and in chains.
“Can any one feel any respect for a government that accords rights only to the privileged classes, and none to the workers? We have seen but recently how the coal barons combined to form a conspiracy to raise the price of coal, while at the same time reducing the already low wages of their men. Are they accused of conspiracy on that account? But when working men dare ask an increase in their wages, the militia and the police are sent out to shoot then down.
For such a government as this I can feel no respect, and will combat them, despite their power, despite their police, despite their spies.”
George Engel, Haymarket Martyr, speaking in his own defense at his trial, 1886
”They killed the poor wretches because they, like you, had the courage to disobey the supreme will of your bosses. They killed them to show you ‘Free American Citizens’ that you must be satisfied with whatever your bosses condescend to allow you, or you will get killed. If you are men, if you are the sons of your grand sires, who have shed their blood to free you, then you will rise in your might, Hercules, and destroy the hideous monster that seeks to destroy you. To arms we call you, to arms.”
August Spies, Haymarkey Martyr, Revenge! Workingmen to Arms! 1886.
Maria Nikiforova, affectionately thought of as the “anarchist Joan of Arc,” widely known as Marusya.
She was born in the Ukraine in 1885 and by age 16 she was a self described terrorist, staging bombings and expropriation missions. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in Siberia in 1910 but broke out after possibly organizing a prison riot. She traveled to Japan to the US to Paris, meeting many fellow anarchists and anarchist-communists along the way and served in the Macedonian front. When the Russian revolution broke out she organized and spoke at anarchist rallies in Kronstadt.
In 1917 she escaped back to her home in Alexandrovsk and organized a force of Black Guards to terrorize city authorities, especially army officers and landlords. Marusya played an important role in overthrowing Ukrainian nationalists in her city. Throughout the time Free Territory was secured she worked very closely with leader Nestor Makhno, and in fact was far more famous than him when they first met. She was also appointed assistant deputy to the revolutionary committee of her city, though this tie was broken when in August of 1917 she robbed a military storehouse (executing all captured officers) and passing the spoils to Makhno’s Black Guards rather than the Red Army.
In 1919, she was put on trial for pillaging and insubordination by the Bolsheviks (although she had sometimes allied with them, she had expropriated from Red storage at some points because she didn’t think Soviet state banks were actually the peoples’). She was banned from holding any political position afterwards, though she still gave speeches alongside Makhno.
Finally, in June 1919, anarchist armies were outlawed. The Reds had essentially thought they were useful while still fighting the Whites and other anti-revolutionary groups, but were now a threat to soviet State power. Marusya then intended to form terrorist cells (rather than traditional fighting) and took part in a sabotage mission against the Whites, where she was recognized, arrested, and sentenced to death on September 16, 1919.
Despite the impact she held in the revolution, Nikiforova is widely ignored by Soviet historians.
· Atamansha: the Story of Maria Nikiforova, the Anarchist Joan of Arc
· Kontrrazvedka: the Story of the Makhnovist Intelligence Service
A French postcard shows the siege of Jules Bonnot’s hideout by law enforcement and citizenry, April 28, 1912.
Armed with only three Brownings and a Bayard pistol, Bonnot briefly succeeded in holding off 500 armed police, soldiers, firemen, military engineers and a lynch mob of local citizens.
By noon, after sporadic firing failed to extract Bonnot from the house, Paris Police Chief Louis Lepine ordered the building bombed, using a dynamite charge. The explosion demolished the front of the building. Barely conscious, lying underneath a mattress, Bonnot was shot ten times in the upper-body before Lépine shot him non-fatally in the head. Afterwards police had to prevent the spectators from lynching Bonnot. They simply told the crowd that Bonnot was already dead.
He succumbed to his wounds later the same day.
Alexandre “Marius” Jacob (September 29, 1879–August 28, 1954), an illegalist anarchist and founding member of the Night Workers. Jacob operated with a principled criminality and refused to associate with anarchists in the worker’s movement, preferring to surround himself with criminals and like-minded illegalists. Between 1900 and 1903, operating with groups of two to four people, Jacob was responsible for over 150 burglaries in Paris, surrounding provinces and even abroad. During a botched robbery on April 21, 1903, Jacob shot and killed a police officer in order to escape. However, Jacob and two accomplices were arrested and he was later sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor in Cayenne.
While in Cayenne, Jacob attempted to escape 17 times, each time failing. However, following the country wide ban on forced labor (c. 1924), he was able to relocate and attempt to reintegrate himself into French society as best he could. Until his Death Jacob remained forever an anarchist.