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(en) Czech, AFFED: Education for anarchy - Review of the collection of texts by Glory Herlas "The Social Question and Other Essays" [machine translation]

Date Wed, 5 Jan 2022 10:47:04 +0200

In its work on mapping the figures of the Czech anarchist movement at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Zádruha Historical Society this year focused, among other things, on the Glory of Herlas (1890-1915) and published a pamphlet with his texts, which were collected from the then Zádruha magazines and A young pioneer. ---- Herlas belonged to a pre-war generation of young anarchist activists. As a university student (he eventually became a mechanical engineer), he became involved in founding a student group of the Czech Anarchist Federation, worked in the Youth Club for Karlín and the surrounding area, and became involved in anti-militaristic activities. Thanks to this activity, he quickly came under the search of the police, was arrested in 1910 and the following year was sentenced to 6 months for the crime of "incomplete incitement to violate military service". He ended his career at the age of twenty-five - in 1915 he fell on the Balkan front, the details of his death are unknown.

In the introduction, the pamphlet deals with both his short life and what he managed to find out about him, as well as the aforementioned process in which several anarchists were convicted. Its core is then a brief work "Social Question", the individual chapters of which were based on the continuation of the then Zádruz. But nowhere did I find any mention of what numbers were involved and in what year. In his text, Herlas abandons the faith of earlier generations in the social revolution, which is certainly already on the horizon. He criticizes Marxism and the approach that enjoys the worse the better. He puts himself in parliamentarism and considers syndicalist direct action to be a kind of reformism, and he holds the promised climax - a global general strike and a union takeover - only as a promise that cannot be fulfilled without the necessary conditions. "The revolutionary enthusiasm of the anarchists is beginning to cool and to give way to a more sober assessment. You can't live by believing that our descendants will jump into the realm of freedom, and each of us also wants to live more bearable and not be a martyr of an idea. "He realizes that people must first want to live a better life and be able to live it. Subsequently, this state of mind can turn into action. And the anarchists should help in this - to prepare the ground for a future society. The path is: "enlightenment and freedom to harmonize relations between people." In practice, it is a moral and economic education, where people are partners and not mentors and listeners. The cooperating platforms for these two areas of activity can then be the anarchist federation of propaganda and, on the other hand, the trade union.

The other two articles also turn inside the movement. "Two goals" appeal, perhaps too zealously, to the need for self-education and self-initiative, and "About us" addresses with youthful passion who is the right anarchist and warns against "romantics", because instead of working for an idea repressive effects on the movement. In the text of " Essay ", he states that the worker should not consider himself a worker in the first place, but a human being. Then he can open the gates of his emancipation.

The publication is undoubtedly an interesting probe into the thinking of young anarchists before the advent of World War II.

Glory to Herlas: The Social Question and Other Essays. Historical Association Zádruha, 2021. 48 pages A5, price 50 CZK. It can be ordered at spolekzadruha[a]riseup.net.

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