The New Testament, or the Holy Book of the Christian Religion, contains an interesting story. The leader of the Nazarenes, Jesus Christ, during his Sermon on the Mount, warns his disciples about the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing.’ Apparently, even those days, there were abundant ‘self-proclaimed leaders’ among the brotherhood of believers. That leader, the Christ, cautioned his disciples that they must remain wary of the dangers in the evil world, (the Roman Empire), as they went out and proclaimed the power of the Christ. He later admonishes them again during his last days in Jerusalem, before his future Passion and Death, about the many false prophets and deceivers that would try to lure them away from the Truth.
It is quite ironic that Christianity, and which has represented the most powerful, sophisticated and extremist of the monotheist religious ideologies, has always maintained a humongous list of such wolves in sheep’s clothing. The historical record of its own gross hypocrites, pathological liars, hierarchical leaders, ego maniacs, madmen cultists, lunatic sects, arch-criminals, rapists and murderers, has been quite outstanding. No other world religion in human history has developed nor cultivated such a torrid and perverted catalogue of monsters and deceivers. Still to this actual day, spiritual degenerates across the globe have parasited off the unwary, naive and desperate believers.
We should not just point the finger at the spiritual ones in regards to the parasite-leaders and hucksters that have abused their faithful followers. We Anarchists have also fallen under the disease ridden gazes of cults of personalities, bogus leaders, radical salesmen, super revolutionaries, pseudo-authentic cool rebels – and even egotistical fanatics. Again, we have human history that has exposed such sordid truths.
There was the infamous story of the Russian revolutionist, Sergei Nechayev. Sergei actually came from a working class Russian background, unlike many other fellow revolutionaries, such as the Anarchist, Pyotr Kropotkin, who was born upper class. Sergei first worked with the Anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin. They collaborated together on writing revolutionary pamphlets, and then in the 1870s, Sergei branched out to form his own political cult, ‘The People’s Retribution,’ or ‘The Society of the Axe.’ Their holy book was his previously written pamphlet, ‘The Catechism of a Revolutionary.’
Like most cult leaders or cults of personalities, Nechayev was a sloppy reader of political and philosophical texts. He either didn’t have the time, or more than likely, was simply too lazy to read as a historian, meaning reading most of the author’s general works, and then interpreting between the text lines for the overall historical contexts.
Sergei read parts of Machiavelli’s The Prince, and St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, and then decided to plagiarize from them for his holy book, ‘The Catechism.’ Most spiritual and political ‘leaders’ have used identical methods, and will continue to use similar pilfering – without footnotes of course.
This super Russian revolutionist transformed into an ego maniac who controlled ‘his group’ through deceit, divide and conquer techniques, and psycho-manipulation. While the arch hypocrite fulminated against the evil, despotic Czar Emperors of Russia, this madman was constructing a little monstrous state of about 50 followers. When one of ‘his followers’ questioned his leadership, he formed a secretive group to murder him, which the leader exactly performed. A hundred years earlier, before there was Jim Jones and his Poison Acid-Kool Aid mass suicide at the People’s Temple in the jungles of Guyana, there was this maniac.
Thankfully, Bakunin alerted the other Anarchist revolutionaries of Europe about the danger of Nechayev, and that other radicals had to watch out for such a crooked individual.
Eventually, the Russian authorities captured the deceiver and sent him to die in a Czarist prison. Some years later, the Third Section Intelligence Service tried to recruit the lowlife as an informer and spy, but Nechayev’s madness had already diseased both his body and mind. The lunatic died wretchedly in his cell a few years later.
Unfortunately, the sinister influence of such a ‘revolutionary martyr,’ has led to other control freaks and political monsters in copying such nefarious methods. One such leader was the Russian Communist revolutionary-dictator, Vladimir Lenin, who formed his own death squad to imprison and murder his political enemies, called Cheka. After Lenin, there emerged the infamous Josef Stalin, who formed a more perfect union of the intelligence-death squads, later renamed NKVD. Such are the fruits from one prophetic so-called leader seeping out of the radical vanguard.
Anarchists have also fallen for the traps and snares of such master manipulators. During the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, many Catalan Anarchists dived into the spell of the Anarchist leader-bank robber-outlaw-revolutionist, Buenaventura Durruti. Durruti was a great Anarchist leader, but he was not the only warrior to fight Fascists in battle. The regular fighting men of his military column performed great acts of valor too. As Anarchists we must always praise the common work and basic struggles of all honorable fighters. And as Anarchist historians, we fully reject the cult of all leaders, or the ‘great men of history’ trope. The human condition under civilization has always created its own history of everyday heroes. And this has always been the truth.
But within our own troubling, contemporary times, there are still self-proclaimed, ”radical’ leaders and political cultists that fight for our affections. They rant, hog the conversations, interrupt us, bully the weak, write unreadable and tiresome books and other useless pamphlets, and they even send their minions to our events and struggles. They do this – not to further the resistance – but instead, to recruit more slaves into their organization.
How can we spot the wolves in sheep’s clothing? Their literature and words always point at and mention one particular leader, one specific ego, one self-adulating buffoon who seems to have most of the answers for all the horrors found in our evil world.
How do we deal with them? We must reject them completely. The moment they begin their propaganda diarrhea, or ‘spiel,’ we can stop them verbally and admonish them to think for their own selves. A few might threaten violence against us, but reaching for our firearms ready for use will shut up the true believers quite quickly. Remember this too: a cult follower is also a coward.
We Anarchists are not cowards, nor are we slaves; we follow no leaders, no personalities, no cults, no sects, no ideologies and no states. We bow to no strange ‘gods,’ nor to any human rulers or leaders. We are free warriors fighting for our daily dignity and honor. This simple code maintains our freedom, while it shields us from the political cultist pests.