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de CLEYRE, Voltairine. "The Making of An Anarchist"
Article published on 14 September 2009
last modification on 30 November 2015

by r-c.
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London : Black Bear, 1978.

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Here was one guard, and here was the other at this end; I was here opposite the gate. You know those problems in geometry of the hare and the hounds - they never run straight, but always in a curve, so, see? And the guard was no smarter than the dogs; if he had run straight to the gate he would have caught me."

It was Peter Kropotkin [1] telling of his escape from the Petro-Paulovsky fortress [2]. Three crumbs on the table marked the relative position of the outwitted guards and the fugitive prisoner; the speaker had broken them from the bread on which he was lunching and dropped them on the table with an amused smile. The suggested triangle had been the starting-point of the life-long exile of the greatest man, save Tolstoy (3) [3] alone, that Russia has produced: from that moment began the many foreign wanderings and the taking of the simple, love-given title "Comrade," for which he had abandoned the "Prince," which he despises.

Notes :

[1Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin (1842-1921). Geographer and geologist, became acquainted with the anarchist movement while living for a period in the Swiss Jura, among the watchmakers. He is the main exponent of communitarian anarchism

[2Petro-Paulovsky fortress. Kropotkin was held in the fortress, transformed in a prison, from 1874 to 1876. He made a daring escape from the military hospital were he was recovered. This episode is recounted in Memoirs of a Revolutionist (1899)

[3Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). One of the major Russian writers. His Christian philosophy was based on non-violence and on the anarchist rejection of state power.


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