Propaganda of the deed

Propaganda of the deed

Propaganda of the deed (or "propaganda by the deed", from the French "propagande par le fait") is a concept that promotes physical violence against political enemies as a way of inspiring the masses and catalyzing revolution. It is based on the principles of anarchy and appeared towards the end of the 19th century.

There is no single definition which defines the term 'propaganda of the deed'. Propaganda of the deed may take many forms, but in most cases utilizes violence against people seen as threats to the working class.

Due in particular to this concept of "propaganda of the deed", the anarchist movement has often been represented as violent and terrorist, beginning with several bombings and assassinations at the end of the 19th century. This image has stuck, anarchists are still today often caricatured as wild-eyed fanatics with a .

Anarchist origins

Various definitions of propaganda of the deed

After the bloody suppression of the Paris Commune, and repression in many other parts of the world, notably Tsarist Russia, Anarchism passed into its well-known stage of individual terrorism. It fought back and survived and gave birth to (or was carried forward in) the revolutionary syndicalist movement which began in France. It lost ground after the First World War, because of the revival of patriotic feeling, the growth of reformist socialism, and the rise of fascism; and while it made a contribution to the Russian Revolution, it was suppressed by the Bolshevik government. It was seen in both resistance and in a constructive role in the Spanish Revolution of 1936.

An early proponent of propaganda by the deed was the Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane (1818-1857), who wrote in his "Political Testament" (1857) that "ideas spring from deeds and not the other way around." Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), in his "Letters to a Frenchman on the Present Crisis" (1870) stated that "we must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda." [ [ "Letter to a Frenchman on the Present Crisis" (1870) by Mikhail Bakunin] ]

The phrase "propaganda by the deed" was popularized by the French anarchist Paul Brousse (1844-1912). In his article of that name, published in the August 1877 "Bulletin of the Jura Federation", he cited the 1871 Paris Commune, a workers' demonstration in Berne provocatively using the socialist red flag, and the Benevento uprising in Italy as examples of "propaganda by the deed." [ [ Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas] ]

Some anarchists, such as Johann Most, advocated publicizing violent acts of retaliation against counter-revolutionaries because "we preach not only action in and for itself, but also action as propaganda." [ [ "Action as Propaganda" by Johann Most, July 25, 1885] ] Most was an early influence on American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. Berkman attempted propaganda by the deed when he tried in 1892 to kill industrialist Henry Clay Frick following the shooting deaths of several striking workers. [ [ "Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist" (1912) by Alexander Berkman] ]

By the 1880s, the slogan "propaganda of the deed" had begun to be used both within and outside of the anarchist movement to refer to individual bombings, regicides and tyrannicides. However, as soon as 1887, important figures in the anarchist movement distanced themselves from such individual acts. Peter Kropotkin thus wrote that year in "Le Révolté" that "it is an illusion to believe that a few kilos of dynamite will be enough to win against the coalition of exploiters". [ Dynamite had been invented in 1862 by Nobel, who gave his name to the eponymous prize and... to the Nobel peace prize. ] A variety of anarchists advocated the abandonment of these sorts of tactics in favor of collective revolutionary action, for example through the trade union movement. The anarcho-syndicalist, Fernand Pelloutier, argued in 1895 for renewed anarchist involvement in the labor movement on the basis that anarchism could do very well without "the individual dynamiter." []

State repression (including the infamous 1894 French "lois scélérates") of the anarchist and labor movements following the few successful bombings and assassinations may have contributed to the abandonment of these kinds of tactics, although reciprocally state repression, in the first place, may have played a role in these isolated acts. The destructuration of the French socialist movement, divided into many groups, and, following the suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune, the execution and exile of many "communards" to penal colonies, favored individualist political expression and acts. [ Historian Benedict Anderson thus writes:

"In March 1871 the Commune took power in the abandoned city and held it for two months. Then Versailles seized the moment to attack and, in one horrifying week, executed roughly 20,000 Communards or suspected sympathizers, a number higher than those killed in the recent war or during Robespierre’s ‘Terror’ of 1793–94. More than 7,500 were jailed or deported to places like New Caledonia. Thousands of others fled to Belgium, England, Italy, Spain and the United States. In 1872, stringent laws were passed that ruled out all possibilities of organizing on the left. Not till 1880 was there a general amnesty for exiled and imprisoned Communards. Meantime, the Third Republic found itself strong enough to renew and reinforce Louis Napoleon’s imperialist expansionndash in Indochina, Africa, and Oceania. Many of France’s leading intellectuals and artists had participated in the Commune (Courbet was its quasi-minister of culture, Rimbaud and Pissarro were active propagandists) or were sympathetic to it. The ferocious repression of 1871 and after was probably the key factor in alienating these milieux from the Third Republic and stirring their sympathy for its victims at home and abroad." (in cite news |author=Benedict Anderson |title=In the World-Shadow of Bismarck and Nobel |publisher=New Left Review|date=July -August 2004|url=
According to some analysts, in post-war Germany, the prohibition of the Communist Party (KDP) and thus of institutional far-left political organization may also, in the same manner, have played a role in the creation of the Red Army Faction. ]

Other theorists advocating propaganda of the deed included the Italian anarchists Luigi Galleani and Errico Malatesta. Malatesta described "propaganda by the deed" as violent communal insurrections that were meant to ignite the imminent revolution.

It should be noted that Malatesta denounced such insurrections. Here is some of what he says in his essay:

:"Violence (physical force) used to another's hurt, which is the most brutal form of struggle between men can assume, is eminently corrupting. It tends, by its very nature, to suffocate the best sentiments of man, and to develop all the antisocial qualities, ferocity, hatred, revenge, the spirit of domination and tyranny, contempt of the weak, servility towards the strong. And this harmful tendency arises also when violence is used for a good end. ... Anarchists who rebel against every sort of oppression and struggle for the integral liberty of each and who ought thus to shrink instinctively from all acts of violence which cease to be mere resistance to oppression and become oppressive in their turn are also liable to fall into the abyss of brutal force. ... The excitement caused by some recent explosions and the admiration for the courage with which the bomb-throwers faced death, suffices to cause many anarchists to forget their program, and to enter on a path which is the most absolute negation of all anarchist ideas and sentiments." [ [ "Violence as a Social Factor," (1895) by Malatesta] : ]

For the German anarchist Gustav Landauer "propaganda of the deed" meant the creation of libertarian social forms and communities that would inspire others to transform society. [ Gustav Landauer, "Anarchism in Germany," 1895 [] ] In "Weak Statesmen, Weaker People," he wrote that the state is not something "that one can smash in order to destroy. The state is a relationship between human beings... one destroys it by entering into other relationships" [ [ "Der Sozialist", 1910)] ]

In 1886, French anarchist Clément Duval achieved a form of propaganda of the deed stealing 15 000 francs from the mansion of a Parisian socialite, before accidentally setting the house on fire. Caught two weeks later, he was dragged from the court crying "Long live anarchy!", and condemned to death. His sentence was later commuted to hard labor on Devil's Island, French Guiana. In the anarchist paper "Révolte", Duval famously declared that, "Theft exists only through the exploitation of man by man... when Society refuses you the right to exist, you must take it... the policeman arrested me in the name of the Law, I struck him in the name of Liberty".

Propaganda of the deed is also related to illegalism, an anarchist philosophy that developed primarily in France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland during the early 20th century as an outgrowth of anarchist individualism. The illegalists openly embraced criminality as a lifestyle. Influenced by theorist Max Stirner's concept of "egoism", the illegalists broke from anarchists like Clément Duval and Marius Jacob who justified theft with a theory of la reprise individuelle ("Eng: individual reclamation"). Instead, the illegalists argued that their actions required no moral basis - illegal acts were taken not in the name of a higher ideal, but in pursuit of one's own desires. France's Bonnot Gang was the most famous group to embrace illegalism.

Theorization of propaganda of the deed as a way to accelerate the coming of revolution

Propaganda of the deed thus included stealing (in particular bank robberies - named "expropriations" or "revolutionary expropriations" to finance the organization), rioting and general strikes which aimed at creating the conditions of an insurrection or even a revolution. These acts were justified as the necessary counterpart to state repression. As sociologist Max Weber had argued, the state has the "monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force", or, in Karl Marx's words, the state was only the repressive apparatus of the bourgeois class. Propaganda by the deed, including assassinations (sometimes involving bombs, named in French "machines infernales" - "hellish machines", usually made with bombs, sometimes only several guns assembled together), were thus legitimized by part of the anarchist movement and the First International as a valid means to be used in class struggle. The predictable state responses to these actions were supposed to display to the people the inherently repressive nature of the bourgeois state. This would in turn bolster the revolutionary spirit of the people, leading to the overthrow of the state. This is the basic formula of the cycle protests-repression-protests, which in specific conditions may lead to an effective state of insurrection.

This cycle has been observed during the 1905 Russian Revolution or in Paris in May 1968. However, it failed to achieve its revolutionary objective on the vast majority of occasions, thus leading to the abandonment by the vast majority of the anarchist movement of such bombings. However, the state never failed in its repressive response, enforcing various "lois scélérates" which usually involved tough clampdowns on the whole of the labor movement. These harsh laws, sometimes accompanied by the proclamation of the state of exception, progressively led to increased criticism among the anarchist movement of assassinations. The role of several "agents provocateurs" and the use of deliberate strategies of tension by governments, using false flag terrorist actions, work to discredit this violent tactic in the eyes of most socialist libertarians. John Filiss and Jim Bell are two of the best known modern advocates.

Regicides and other assassinations

Numerous heads of state were assassinated between 1881 and 1914 by members of the libertarian socialist movement. Regicides were for obvious reasons celebrated as popular victory over counter-revolutionary forces, which remained strong a century after the 1789 French Revolution. The first assassinations were carried out by Russian anarchists, which would lead to the creation of the term of "nihilism". For example, U.S. President McKinley's assassin Leon Czolgosz claimed to have been influenced by anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman. This was in spite of Goldman's disavowal of any association with him, his registered membership in the Republican Party, and never having belonged to an anarchist organization. Bombings were associated in the media with anarchists because international terrorism arose during this time period with the widespread distribution of dynamite. This image remains to this day. This perception was enhanced by events such as the 1886 Haymarket Riot, where anarchists were blamed for throwing a bomb at police who came to break up a public meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

List of assassinated important figures and other "propaganda by the deed" acts

* May 11, 1878. Failed assassination attempt of Max Hödel against Kaiser Wilhelm I.
* August 1878. Sergey Kravchinsky stabs to death General Nikolai Mezentsov, head of the Tsar's secret police, in response to the execution of Ivan Kovalsky.
* February 1879. Grigori Goldenberg shoots to death the Governor of Kharkov, Prince Dmitri Kropotkin.
* April 1879. Alexander Soloviev shoots at Alexander II. This second attempt on the royal's life also fails.
* 1880. Stepan Khalturin’s successfully blows up part of the Winter Palace—8 soldiers killed, 45 wounded. Referring to the 1862 invention of dynamite, historian Benedict Anderson observes that "Nobel’s invention had now arrived politically." [ cite news |author=Benedict Anderson|title=In the World-Shadow of Bismarck and Nobel|publisher=New Left Review |date=July -August 2004 |url= ]
* March 1 (Julian calendar) 1881. Tsar Alexander II is killed in a bomb-blast by "Narodnaya Volya".
* July 23 1892. Alexander Berkman tries to kill Henry Clay Frick in retaliation for the killing of workers by Pinkerton detectives during the Homestead Steel Strike.
* December 9, 1893. Auguste Vaillant throws a nail bomb in the French National Assembly, killing nobody and injuring one. He is then sentenced to death and executed by the guillotine on February 4, 1894, shouting "Death to bourgeois society and long live anarchy!" ("A mort la société bourgeoise et vive l'anarchie!"). During his trial, Auguste Vaillant declared that he hadn't intended to kill anybody, but only to injure several deputies in retaliation against the execution of Ravachol, who had engaged himself in four bombings.
* December 11 and 18, 1893. Vote of the French "lois scélérates".
* February 12, 1894. Emile Henry set a bomb in "Café Terminus", killing one and injuring twenty. During his trial, he declares: "There is no innocent bourgeois". This act is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that propaganda of the deed targets only specific powerful individuals.
* June 24, 1894. Italian anarchist Caserio stabs to death French president Sadi Carnot to avenge Auguste Vaillant and Emile Henry. Caserio is then executed by guillotine on August 15.
* 3 November 1896. In Patras, anarchist shoe-maker Dimitris Matsalis attacked with a knife two figures of the city. By his blows the banker Dionysios Fragkopoulos was killed on the spot and the merchant Andreas Kollas wounded seriously.
* August 8, 1897. Michele Angiolillo assassinates Spanish Prime minister Cánovas, who had been a key figure in the 1874 overthrow of the Republic, helping the Bourbon monarchy back to the throne.
* September 10, 1898. Luigi Lucheni stabs to death with a needle file Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress consort of Austria and Queen consort of Hungary due to her marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph.
* July 29, 1900. Gaetano Bresci shoots dead Umberto I of Italy, avenging the Bava-Beccaris massacre in Milan.
* September 6, 1901. Leon Czolgosz shoots at point-blank range on U.S. president William McKinley, killing him. He is then killed by electrocution on October 29 (Czolgosz' anarchist status is a matter of debate. He attended anarchist meetings and read anarchist texts yet was a registered Republican).
* October 1902. Gennaro Rubino attempts to murder Leopold II of Belgium.
* 31 May 1906. Catalan Anarchist Mateu Morral tries to kill Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg after their wedding.
* September 14, 1911. Dmitri Bogrov shoots to death Russian prime minister Pyotr Stolypin.
* November 12, 1912. Anarchist Manuel Pardiñas kills Spanish Prime Minister José Canalejas in Madrid.
* 18 March 1913. Aleksander Schinas assassinates king George I of Greece.
* April to June 1919 - First Red Scare:
** April 28 - Mayor of Seattle Washington receives a homemade bomb (defused)
** April 29 - servant of Senator Thomas W. Hardwick loses hands and burned along with his wife by a bomb
** April 30 - 16 bombs discovered.
** June 2 - Carlo Valdinoci tries to blow up Washington DC Attorney Mitchell Palmer's house and blows himself up
** June 3 - New York City night watchman William Boehner killed by a bomb placed at a judge's house
* September 16, 1920. The Wall Street bombing kills 38 and wounds 400 in Manhattan's Financial District. Anarchists associated with Luigi Galleani are widely believed responsible although the crime remains officially unsolved.
* 8 March 1921. Three anarchists shoot Conservative politician Eduardo Dato Iradier dead from a motorcycle in Puerta de Alcalá, Madrid.
* 1922. Gustave Bouvet attempts to kill French president Alexandre Millerand.
* 1926. Sholom Schwartzbard assassinates Symon Petlura, head of the government-in-exile Ukrainian People's Republic, in Paris. After an eight-day trial, he is acquitted by the jury, who has been convinced of Schwartzbard's just cause: the core of his defence was that he was avenging the deaths of victims of pogroms organized by Symon Petlura.
* 1926-1928. Several bombings in Argentina organized by the Italian anarchist Severino Di Giovanni, in the frame of the international campaign supporting Sacco and Vanzetti and against Fascist Italy's interests in Argentina. Bombings of the US embassy, of the headquarters of the Citybank and Bank of Boston in Buenos Aires, and of the Italian consulate on 23 May, 1928.

Later developments

The abandonment of bombings, and new forms of propaganda of the deed

Propaganda of the deed, as a violent form of direct action involving bombings and targeted assassinations, was abandoned by the vast majority of the anarchist movement after World War I (1914-18) and the 1917 October Revolution. There are various causes for this, but important factors include state repression, the level of organization of the labour movement (in particular the new importance of anarcho-syndicalism in European Latin countries such as France, Italy and Spain) and the influence of the October Revolution. Although the Leninist thesis of an "avant-garde" party composed of professional revolutionaries didn't break that much with the Socialist-Revolutionary organization, it did make completely individual acts of propaganda of the deed less relevant. Despite this abandonment, the concept of propaganda of the deed remained popular in the anarchist movement, and thus influenced various social and cultural movements, including the Underground, during the 20th century.

For example, the concept of direct action itself continued to be central in the socialist libertarian movement, in particular in the anarcho-syndicalism movement through the concept of the "revolutionary strike" inspired by French theorist Georges Sorel's "Reflections on Violence" (1908). In the 1950s, the Situationist International's conception of creating "situations" may be related quite easily to propaganda of the deed (which is not surprising, given the influence of council communism on Guy Debord). The autonomist movement and urban guerrilla group then took on the concept in the 1970s. It is also during this period that the concept of culture jamming, Spaßguerilla, guerrilla communication and other kinds of non-violent and sometimes simultaneously artistic and political acts become popular as a new form of “direct action”. The Living Theater, in the 1970s, for example, mixed direct actions with an artistic intent, mixing, as did before them André Breton and the Surrealist movement, Arthur Rimbaud's "change life" with Karl Marx' XIth These on Feuerbach, "transform the world."

The importance of riots and rebellions in the creation of the conditions of an insurrection has never been abandoned, going through anarcho-syndicalism to autonomism and today's anti-globalization mediatic Black blocs. In the 2000s, a Swedish group called the Invisible Party carried on various direct actions which could be related to the tradition of the propaganda of the deed.

Urban guerrilla groups of the 1970s and the autonomist movement

The concept of "propaganda of the deed" received renewed attention in the 1970s-1980s, especially among "urban guerrilleros" and the Italian autonomist movement, which had a large part in the creation of the squatting and Social Center movement.

Since some of the most radical autonomist or other far-left activists engaged not only in direct action (stealing, squatting, bank robberies - called expropriations - etc.) but also in assassination and bombing, "propaganda of the deed" again became synonymous with terrorism. For example, the German Red Army Faction (RAF) kidnapped and murdered Hanns Martin Schleyer, who was president of the German Employer's Association and a former high-ranking SS member during the Third Reich, and targeted NATO centers.

The appearance in developed countries during the 1970s of militant leftist groups - such as the Red Brigades, the RAF or the less important French "Action Directe" - which (although they did not claim to be specifically anarchist, did engage in “propaganda of the deed”) -, were part of a larger social movements. These included the autonomist movement in Italy, which practiced various types of “direct action” other than assassinations (in Italy, shootings in the legs was more often used). These new groups viewed their actions from a global point of view, in order to link them with “world struggles”, such as the Vietnam War (1965-75) or with South American struggles against military "juntas" (see for example the RAF's actions against NATO and its ideological relations with Uruguayan Tupamaros). In Italy, the concept of a "strategy of tension" ("strategia della tensione") directly carried on by far-right forces linked to the security forces was popular in extra-parliamentary leftist movements; its existence was proved after Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti's 1990 revelations concerning Gladio, a NATO stay-behind anti-communist organization, and the parliamentary inquiries into the bombings carried on during this period (1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, 1980 Bologna massacre, etc.).

Timeline of modern propaganda of the deed acts

* May 1968. Riots in Paris. The New-York based group "Black Mask" becomes Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers and carry out propaganda of the deed, excluding assassinations and bombings.
* October 8, 1969. The U.S. group Weatherman's first event is to blow up a statue in Chicago, Illinois, dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. The "Days of Rage" riots then occur in Chicago during four days. 287 Weatherman members are arrested, and one of them killed.
* December 6, 1969. Several Chicago Police cars parked in a Precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago, are bombed. The Weather Underground Organization (WUO) later stated in their book "Prairie Fire" that they had perpetrated the explosion to protest the shooting deaths of the Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark two days earlier by police officers.
* 1970-1972. The British Angry Brigade group carries out at least 25 bombings (police numbers). Almost all property damage, although one person was slightly injured.
* September 12, 1970. The WUO helps Dr. Timothy Leary, LSD scientist, break out and escape from the California Men’s Colony prison.
* October 8, 1970. Bombing of Marin County Courthouse (US) in retaliation for the killing of Black activists Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, and James McClain.
* October 10, 1970. The Queens Courthouse is bombed to express support for the New York prison riots.
* October 14, 1970. The Harvard Center for International Affairs is bombed to protest the war in Vietnam.
* September 28, 1973. The ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy are bombed in response to ITT's role in the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup.
* November 6, 1973. The U.S. group Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) assassinates Oakland, California superintendent of schools Dr. Marcus Foster and badly wounded his deputy Robert Blackburn.
* September 11, 1974. Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation) in retribution for Anaconda’s involvement in Pinochet's coup exactly a year before.
* December 1975. Greek organization Revolutionary Organization 17 November allegedly responsible of the assassination of CIA station chief in Athens Richard Welch. According to a December 2005 article by Kleanthis Grivas, journalist in "Proto Thema", Sheepskin, Gladio's branch in Greece, was in fact behind the killing. US State Department denied Grivas' allegations in January 2006.
* January 28, 1975. Bombing of the U.S. State Department in response to escalation in Vietnam.
* April 21, 1975. The remaining members of the SLA rob the Crocker National Bank in Carmichael, California and kill Myrna Opsahl, a bank customer, in the process.
* September 1975. Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation in retribution for Kennecott's involvement in the Chilean coup two years prior.
* May 1, 1979. French group "Action Directe" carries out a machine gun attack on the employers' federation headquarters.
* May 30, 1982. The Canadian group Direct Action (aka "Squamish Five") set off a large bomb at an electricity transmission project. Four transformers were wrecked beyond repair, but no one was injured.
* 1984. Bomb-attacks of the Dutch organisation RaRa (Radical Anti-Racist Action) against the Van Heutsz monument (Van Heutzsch was the Dutch commander during the Aceh War).
* 1985-1987: Dutch RaRa is responsible of several bomb-attacks on the Makro wholesale stores, which was active in South Africa.
* 1985. "Action Directe" assassinates René Audran, in charge of the state's arms-dealing.
* 1986. Georges Besse, CEO of Renault but before leader of Eurodif nuclear consortium (in which Iran had a 10% stake), is allegedly assassinated by "Action Directe" (although this thesis would be questioned, in particular by investigative journalist Dominique Lorentz).
* June 28, 1988. US naval and defense attachée in Greece William Nordeen's assassination is reinvidicated by the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.
* September 26, 1989. Assassination of Pavlos Bakoyannis, parliamentary leader of the liberal New Democracy party, by Greek group 17 November.
* 1991. Dutch Rara blow up the house of state secretary of justice Aad Kosto.
* 1993. Dutch Rara are responsible of bomb-attacks on the Dutch ministry of social affairs and employment.
* November 30, 1999. Black blocs destroy the storefronts of GAP, Starbucks, Old Navy, and other multi-nationals with retail locations in downtown Seattle during the anti-WTO demonstrations.
* 'June 8, 2000 Assassination of British military attache Stephen Saunders in Greece. Members of N-17 are arrested. In December 2005, Kleanthis Grivas, journalist in "Proto Thema", claims that Sheepskin, Gladio's branch in Greece, was in fact behind the killing, along with the first violent act of N-17, Richard Welch CIA station chief's assassination in 1975. US State Department denied Grivas' allegations in January 2006.
* 2001. After the July Genoa G8 summit, the Publixtheatre Caravan, part of the No Border network, is accused of being part of a "criminal organization" called "Black blocs", although such "Black blocs" are not organized and only form themselves on a spontaneous manner during demonstrations, as in the older autonomist movement.
* 2006. The Swedish Invisible Party announces its dissolving.

Justifications for the political use of violence

Anarchists and similar radicals often claim that their use of “political violence” is not terrorism, arguing that there is a fundamental difference between bombings carried out against a civilian population and targeted assassinations carried out against people in positions of political, military or economic power. They emphasize that many scholars define terrorism as the attempt to spread terror in the population through indiscriminate bombings, thus excluding anarchist propaganda of the deed from the definition of terrorism.

The use of political violence is understood by its proponents in the frame of a general conception of the state as the control apparatus of the “bourgeoisie”, and of “class struggle” as a form of effective civil war. Thus, as anarchists often put it, "peace without justice isn't peace", but war between exploited and exploiters. In their eyes, this "social war" morally legitimizes the use of violence against broader "social violence." This view, of course, is not shared by pacifist libertarians. Rioting is thus justified as a means to enhance class consciousness and prepares the objective conditions for a popular uprising (Georges Sorel, 1906).

A heated controversy concerning the use of violence continues to take place inside the anarchist movement. Even those who are not opposed to the political use of violence for theoretical reasons (as pacifist anarchists are) may consider it unnecessary or strategically dangerous, in certain conditions. Many note that the events of 1970s showed clearly how terrorism may be used to influence politics in the frame of the "strategy of tension" by a state and its secret services, through agents provocateurs and false flag terrorist attacks. In Italy and other countries, the Years of lead led to reinforced anti-terrorism legislation, criticized by social activists as a new form of "lois scélérates" which were used to repress the whole of the socialist movement, not just militant groups. Many also note that the rare cases in which terrorism has achieved its revolutionary aims are mostly in the context of national liberation struggles, while the urban guerrilla movements have all failed (Gérard Chaliand).



* Hansen, Ann, "", AK Press, 2001
* Christie, Stuart, "", 2002
* Turgenev, Ivan, "Fathers and Sons", 1862, paints the portrait of Russian nihilists.
* Billington, James. "Fire in the Minds of Men", 1999

ee also

* Assassination market
* Autonomism
* Black bloc
* Bonnot Gang
* La Mano Negra
* Civil disobedience
* Direct Action
* Draft dodging and military desertions may also be considered forms of propaganda of the deed
* Endorsement terrorism
* Expropriation
* First International
* Illegalism
* Nihilist movement
* Monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force
* Performance, an art concept which may be related to propaganda of the deed under some aspects
* Regicide
* Tyrannicide
* Strategy of tension
* Urban guerrilla warfare

Advocates of non-violent direct action

* Greenpeace
* Wild Greens
* The Living Theater

External links

* [ Associative Press Agency - information on political prisoners]

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