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ARMAND E. "The Anarchism of E. Armand. A collection of writings of E. Armand, a French Individualist anarchist and last of the ’classical’ anarchists" by Larry GAMBONE.
Article published on 2 January 2005
last modification on 26 April 2015

by r-c.
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The life of E. Armand (1872-1963) spanned the history of anarchism. He was influenced by Leo Tolstoy and Benjamin Tucker, and to a lesser extent by Whitman and Emerson. Later in life, Neitzsche and Stirner became important to his way of thinking. Previous to this, Armand had broken with Tucker and Tolstoy over the question of violence and illegalism. At the turn of the century many alleged anarchists were turning to crime and violence, At that time, stealing, counterfeiting, swindling and even pimping were justified in certain anarchist milieus as a means of liberating oneself economically.(1) Although Armand was himself neither criminal or violent, he felt he could not condemn such activities. However, by 1912, he had second thoughts on illegalism and crime. In all his subsequent writings Armand was a declared adversary of all violence. (2)

When he began his long life as an anarchist writer and thinker, anarchism was mainly oriented to the revolutionary future. One had to wait until "after the revolution" to change one’s life. For Armand, echoing the French individualist named Liberdad, one had to live now, not in some the distant future that might not ever come. The point was to live your revolution in daily life and not construct future imaginary utopias. His true libertarian spirit applied to his writings as well. His words and thoughts were never mean to be turned into party lines or dogmas, but to stir the thought processes. The true libertarian education doesn’t consist of leading another to think as you do but to make another capable of thinking and living for THEMSELVES. (3)

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