Guy A. Aldred Archive

Pioneers of Anti-Parliamentarism

Written: 1940.
Source: PDF Scans from; OCR'ing and editing from
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source:; 2021

This brochure is incomplete, despite its size. It ought to have included a review of Marx's life and writings, and a study of Proudhon. The latter forecasted the failure of universal suffrage, the liquidation of political and social democracy in reaction and empire, and the successful emergence of libertarian society. He preached the calm, unrelenting optimism of complete democracy and liberty which is so necessary to human endurance today. The essays on Marx and Proudhon are written and will be published in due course.

"Bakunin is note a biography of the immortal Russian Revolutionist. It depicts his force and character. My life of Bakunin is finished also and will appear as funds and conditions permit. As an Anarchist, Bakunin is over-rated. As a man, with a tremendous will towards liberty, and a titanic force of character, he has not received a tithe of appreciation that is his due. Bakunin was thoroughly human. The essay with which this work opens will stimulate interest in the life struggles of this good comrade.

The Chicago studies are comprehensive. When in Leeds in 1934 I saw the wonderful "life" of Parsons, written by his wife. I wanted to keep it for some time to use it but the comrade was jealous of his book. it never occurred to him that, in my hands, it would have a use-value for the movement and for history it would lose, stored away until it fell into Philistine hands. Such is the sense of property as against usefulness.

All these essays are reprinted, revised a little here and there, from the columns of The Spur, The commune, or The New Spur, and cover the years from 1914 to 1934.

The last two essays have been revised and abridges by me from studies by Andre Lorulot and H. Canne Meijer. Lorulot's essay is merely a living picture of Nieuwenhuis and leaves it necessary to write his biography. Meijer's account of Gorter is a biography written by an intimate contemporary. the editing of these essays has been severe and expressions of political opinion are mine and not that of the authors from whom I have abridged and adapted. Some of the essays are written as editorials and use the editorial "we." Others employ the more modest but mot grating first personal singular - "I." To have altered this technically of expression would have entailed too much work. The reader must forgive the resulting literary inconsistency of expression.

The present calamity establishes, in my mind, the justness of my long opposition to Parliamentary Socialism. Parliamentarism has ended in militarism and war, and has wasted the long struggle towards a new social order of the working class of the world. the Labor Leaders have sold their birthright, loyalty to peace and freedom, for a mess of pottage, place and career within the national constitution of capitalism. Claiming that their way was the way of peace, denouncing Anarchists and theories of social revolution, they have committed the working class to a criminal orgy of violence, to plague and pestilence. At such time, in a spirit of calm, and in opposition to surrounding clamor, I recall the pioneers of Utopia - the pioneers of Anti-Parliamentarism.

The world of these pioneers is not so far away. 1886 - the year of Chicago - the year of the author's birth. Malatesta I knew well and he links to-day with Bakunin. yet the distance seems tremendous because so much ahs happened, so many dynasties have fallen, and even nations have collapsed. however viewed, the Labor movement, Left or Right, of those days is an activity that belongs to history. it has no longer a place in living reality.

To my view, these pioneers have failed. I believe in the promise of the principle for which they stood. I believe the genius which inspired them will be reincarnated in another generation and that the struggle will be resumed unto triumph. I believe that this small volume is a record of lights that failed - that failed both gloriously, and may be a little stupidly, the better to illuminate the world.

This tribute to their memory may be taken as an incitement to the further and more complete study of the principles of democracy and anti-Parliamentarism. It reasserts, in opposition to so much contemporary subservience to Nazism and Fascism, the author's undiminished and uncompromising faith in Socialism, the genuine Socialism of the proletariat. To the workers of the world in their struggle, and to the overthrow of the dictators, this book is dedicated.

Glasgow, July 2, 1940.

Guy A. Aldred