Archive for June, 2011

Octave Mirbeau: “anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything” (1894)

“A mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better than Emile Henry when he hurled his inexplicable bomb in the midst of peaceful anonymous people who had come into a cafe to drink a beer before going to bed…. Emile Henry says, affirms, claims that he is an anarchist. It is possible. But anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything. Today it is a fashion for criminals to claim a connection with it when they have perpetrated a good crime…. Each party has its criminals and its lunatics because each party has its human beings.”

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cited in James Joll, The Anarchists (NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964/1972), p 145-46. Joll’s footnote  says the citation is taken from Jean Maitron, Histoire du mouvement anarchiste en France (1880-1914) (Paris 1951), p. 227, and that Maitron gives his source for the quote as Le Journal, February 19, 1894.

An online version of  the second edition of Joll’s book is available here.