No Quarter: an Anarchist Zine about Pirates

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Links for No Quarter #2

I didn't include a list of websites in the print zine because if you have the internet (and obviously you do if you are reading this) then its easier to follow the links here than type out long urls.

Doug Imrie wrote an article called The Illegalists for Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #41 Winter 1995. Its online here.
A critical, and only slightly interesting essay by Emile Armand called
Is the Illegalist Anarchist our Comrade? (written in 1911) is posted here.
Here the French movie La Bande a Bonnot is here in its entirety (but without English subtitles) on Brightcove which seems like a youtube clone. Christie Books is the user who posted it.
They also posted newsreel footage about the Bonnot Gang narrated by someone who sounds suspiciously like Stuart Christie.
Here is a french site with nice pictures from newspapers at the time.
If you want a basic introduction to the illegalists keep reading or read the Doug Imrie article. You could also check whatever source you usually check (wiki-whatever etc.).

Here is the short introduction I wrote for the translation of a piece by Octave Garnier in No Quarter #2.

The illegalist milieu developed in French anarchist circles in the first years of the 20th century. France was still reeling from bombings and assassinations committed by anarchist practitioners of propaganda by the deed* such as Ravachol and Emile Henry in the 1890s. Individualist anarchists, despite their critique of syndicalist and worker based anarchist activities were still forced to sell their labour for pennies or starve. A small number sought to remedy this by re-acquiring some of the wealth stolen from them by stealing it back. This developed into the theory of la reprise individuelle*. Anarchists such as Marius Jacob took up burglary rather than wait until after the revolution to live life. Jacob operated one of the most successful burglary rings in Europe prior to his arrest. A portion of the money was funnelled back to the anarchist movement to support prisoners and publish newspapers. In 1905 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in French Guiana. He was released in 1927.

In 1911 a group coalesced around Jules Bonnot and Octave Garnier that would be responsible for some of the most spectacular crimes in French history. The were the first group to use an automobile to flee the scene of a crime. Bonnot had acquired his driving skill while chauffeuring for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Octave Garnier was born near Paris on Christmas Day 1889 and died in a shootout with police on May 14, 1912 at the age of 22. Every attempt has been made to preserve the spirit of his writing here. It is not polished anarchist theory. It is rushed, full of mistakes and run-on sentences. It is defiant and unapologetic. We present it here as a small contribution to the literature on illegalism in the English language which is extremely insufficient. A short (and hopefully incomplete) bibliography of English Language material follows this translation.

*Propaganda by the deed is basically the theory that assassination of politicians, industrialists, or police could be the catalyst of a more general revolt. For instance, the assassination of Czarist officials in Russia by anarchists was hoped to spark a revolutionary uprising.

*La reprise individuelle is the theory that since the bourgeois and the rich obtained their wealth through exploitation of the lower classes, individuals are justified in redistributing wealth on a small scale (i.e. stealing it back) rather than waiting for a general redistribution “after the revolution”.


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