In 1892, after the Homestead Strike battle between strikers and the Pinkerton thugs, an Anarchist living in NYC decided to seek revenge and honor the deaths of workers with an attentat, or a Propaganda of the Deed, against the top executive of Homestead, a Mr. Frick. The Anarchist Alexander Berkman, bought a nice suit, shaved and bathed – and purchased a gun. He traveled to the executive offices, made an appointment to meet with Mr. Frick, and then calmly entered his office. He took a shot at him, wounded him even, but it was a bad shot. Berkman next tried to stab him, got a cut in, but some of Frick’s aides quickly entered the office, subdued the assassin, and beat him to unconsciousness. Berkman had to do 14 years of hard time in prison due to the attempted shooting.

In 1901, a NYC Anarchist traveled up to Buffalo to attend the Pan American Exposition. He was not there as a visitor to check out the different booths. He attended the event because the warmonger, anti-worker president of the US was also going to visit the exposition, President McKinley. The Anarchist Leon Czolgosz bought a gun, a nice suit, and then plotted his act of justice in order to take out the man that started the genocidal Spanish-American War in 1898 against the Filipinos, and his imperialist annexation of Hawaii. Czolgosz stood at the front of the crowd, and when McKinley came towards him, the assassin answered with two final shots. McKinley died some days later, and the police and military men present subdued the assassin, and beat him up pretty bad. The police beat him again in prison, and eventually the state murdered the Anarchist in the electric chair.

These two hidden stories from official American history have explained the dual role of Anarchism about one hundred and twenty years ago: propaganda of both the word and the deed. Anarchists became violent because honor and justice demanded it. If the authorities murdered a bunch of workers or revolutionaries, so they had the right to defend themselves and kill the enemy too. Vengeance always follows honor publicly disgraced.

Honor has been violent and cruel, but it has also demanded respect and fear. Many radicals find Honor distasteful because it has had ties with Monotheistic dogma and religions. But a lack of honor is what has killed radical movements, and especially the cowardly Left in general. The ghosts of honor still breathe their voices upon the men and women that demand justice across the globe. Honor is a natural defense to the human soul that must fight to survive in an unjust world.

During that same period in history, there were other propagandas of the deed and attentats in the industrial capitalist countries of the world, such as Russia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and Argentina. Sometimes the deeds got their victim, and other times the deeds failed miserably. Almost all of the assassins or would be assassins ended up captured, tortured badly, and executed mercilessly by the state. They became martyrs to the cause – and did the attentats change the system? They did not, except for criminal politicians passing even more repressive laws.

The wars and injustices continued: WWI, WWII, imperial invasions and genocides in Asia, Africa, and in the Americas. The working classes still slaved for pittance wages, while hunger and diseases of the poor continued to afflict most of the children subjected to such miserable living. At the same time, the great industrialists, capitalists and banking magnates lavished themselves within private lairs of luxury not known since the caliphs of ancient history. Absurdly, the one cultural value that both the slovenly Anarchist and the respectable banking magnate shared was honor.

Most contemporary Anarchists do not respect, nor understand the original concept of honor. The concept comes from the Roman ‘dignitas’. Roman dignity, or honor, represented the respected public name of a patron, or upper class dignitary, through public service to the polis, or to one’s own city or town. Lower class Roman Plebeians could also attain dignitas through some exemplary service to their land or to their family’s name. Ancient honor meant connections to illustrious ancestors, meritorious works and decent connections towards ritual and service to the local gods. Other ancient societies such as Assyria, Mexica-Aztec, Persia, Egypt, Ghana, Classic Maya, Benin, China, Champa, (Vietnam), and Japan had similar cultural values and practices.

Monotheistic religion appropriated honor and it then became a vehicle of oppression against women. Before, a woman’s honor was public grandeur, natural beauty and intelligent speech. But with the introduction of monotheistic ideology, a woman’s honor moved into sexual chastity, modesty and submissiveness to a male authority. In Catholic Europe, the woman either had to marry and become property of the husband, or become a prisoner inside of a convent. Honor was shamed. With men, honor transformed itself into a terrible passion. Men had to check their own honor, and the honor of their women, their families, their names and their reputations. Honor and extreme violence fused together. The Anarchists also inherited this cultural baggage from the marches and manacles of history.

The Anarchists of about one hundred and twenty years ago thought nothing of giving up their lives in order to defend the honor of their revolutionary brethren and the weaker classes. They were the modern knights against the tyrants and despots of the industrial world. So where did this honor go? Some contemporary Anarchists safely remain in their urban subcultures of class privilege and racial privileges. Many wonder why they attract so few people and why they represent just another urban tribe of black clothes and stale beer. The problem is a tactical one.

Their radical message is on a permanent disconnect with the other interested, potential revolutionaries that are out there. There still exist many working class guys and women that think about honor, such as the great deeds of their ancestors and deceased family members, the hard life that their families went through just to eat, and they yearn to stand up to the abusive donut cops, judges, bureaucrats, and state thugs that harass them without ceasing. The people that publicly do stand up seem to burst forth as lone wolves, the crazies and the desperate. Young, Marxist, urban guerrilla groups mobilized honor and vengeance stretching from the sixties to the eighties. Mafioso wise guys have kept the illusion of the honor code, and this is the reason Hollywood still admires them.

The sociopathic state waits anxiously for the next rounds of revolutionary groups that refuse to surrender, sell-out, coopt, buy into, compromise or adopt cowardice, and that would choose death over dishonor. It is easy to proclaim that one does not fear death. In order to embrace the good death however, the revolutionary must also embrace honor. The laws of history always demand such a sacrifice.



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