Archive for August, 2011

Torture Museum

August 30, 2011

More from the visit to the Torture Museum in Siena, Italy (Museo della Tortura, Siena):

The incorrible card or dice players, as well as smokers of tobacco without special authorization, were led through the streets decked out in collars from which were hung the symbols of his or her crimes: these instruments were, in fact, used more to humiliate than to torture, even if after two days their weight crushed the neck in a very disagreeable way.
The association of cards, dice and the pipe is interesting. In various Germanic principalities and in certain municipalities of the Hapsburg, the tobacco smoker had to have a particular authorization—this lasted through the better part of the 18th century. These authorizations, which were generally rendered to the bearer and without names, could be used to bet and would legally become the property of the winner.


Torture Musuem

August 27, 2011

More from the visit to the Torture Museum in Siena, Italy (Museo della Tortura, Siena):

Torture Museum

August 22, 2011

A visit to the Torture Museum in Siena, Italy (Museo della Tortura, Siena):

Ah, the exquisite humanity of pain…


August 17, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Anastasie: Nickname given to censorship, which caricaturists usually draw as an old hag with a long nose on which glasses are perched. In her hand are huge scissors that she uses to cut out without mercy whatever is not acceptable to the rules and regulations. Symbol of ridicule and decrepitude.


August 13, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Agitator: An agitator is one who, in word or writing, wakes up the popular masses, denounces the iniquities that they are victims of and teaches them conscious revolt. A real agitator must often be like an apostle. He cannot fear poverty or persecution. He has to be ready to be humiliated and bullied at every turn. He cannot be afraid to risk his freedom and life in the service of the oppressed. That is where we see it is a harsh mission. The agitator should know how to spread the good word in the cities and the country, in the workshops and the fields, everywhere where the labor class is struggling. Amidst the anonymous mass of workers, he has to arouse in some of them the desire for freedom and in others stir up their fighting spirit. He has to spend his energy in awakening and developing new consciences. He has to suffer the righteous indignation of the humble and constantly defend the rights of the worker. The action of a true agitator can, in certain situations, be far-reaching because his role does not stop at publicly denouncing the iniquities of the Government, of the Justice System or of the Church, which, openly and hypocritically, are always accomplices of the Powerful Rich and the servants of the Political Masters. When the turmoil, which he has inflamed with his furious outrage, takes a more serious turn, when it breaks out in the form of a strike, a public demonstration, a riot or insurrection, it is his duty to make a personal effort, to set the example, to spur on the faltering energies, to drag the hesitant into the fight, to lift up the weakening courage and be one among the brave even in the heart of the battle.

The agitator who, when the time comes to put into practice his advice to his comrades and brothers in misery, shirks his responsibility, avoids risks and flees from danger disqualifies himself and dishonors himself forever.

Such is the task that revolutionary agitators must take on. Whoever does not feel strong enough to go all the way should not think about becoming an agitator.

There are a large number of anarchists who are powerful agitators; many have had a great influence on the people. A brave heart allied with a cool head, swift in making decisions and a keen eye that quickly recognizes the action that the events and the state of mind of the masses demand are the essential qualities of the agitator during a revolutionary period of action.

The working class has no better friends or more ardent defenders than the anarchist agitators.

—Georges Vidal

Action of Art

August 7, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Action of Art: Selfless and living action, resulting not only in the creation of works of art as such, but in the manifestation of beauty in every act of life for the independence of the individual in every walk of life; action of protest and revolt—useful, not utilitarian, human, not humanitarian. Every sincere action is an action of art (Opp.: political action, military action, religious action, etc.—forms of inaction).

Tortelier’s Campaign poster

August 3, 2011

Joseph Jean-Marie Tortelier’s Campaign poster for the election of Nov. 16, 1890, Quartier Clignancourt.


I am running as a candidate not to satisfy some petty ambition to be become a representative, but to have the opportunity to tell the truth.

Exasperated by the suffering of the people, I will do everything to eliminate them.

If elected, what would I do?

I will propose that we demolish the Church of the Sacred Heart, which is shameful; I will get rid of the funding of Religion; I will make all the ministers give back the goods that have been extorted from us.

ELECTORS: The rich want there to be ministers to preach to us how to be submissive and cowardly. They’ll come to their aide and it’ll be us, always us, who will have to support them indirectly.

ME: I will put all the taxes on the rich.

ELECTORS: They’ll lower our salaries and nothing will change.

ME: I will make a law forcing them to pay you higher wages.

ELECTORS: If they pay workers more, they’ll sell their products for more and the situation will be the same.

ME: I will clean up the neighborhood, build new streets and take care of the subway and do everything that can provide new jobs for you.

ELECTORS: Yes, we know the old song about work—always working for others! Making new roads will raise the value of property, which, for us, will mean higher rents.

ME: I will shout out in the Chamber that they are robbing and betraying the people.

ELECTORS: But we know that! There’s no need to go the Chamber and cry it out for 25 francs a day.

ME: I will be the most revolutionary, the most ardent attacker of abuses.

ELECTORS: You say that before being elected, but you quickly get used to the comforts of the office and then you stop attacking the abuses because you’re profiting from them.

ME: I will call upon the people to Revolt; I will preach the General Strike; I will march at the forefront and bring you Revolution.

ELECTORS: Ah, you want to be chief! They’ve always betrayed us. We don’t want any more. We will make the General Strike and the Revolution without and in spite of any representatives.

ME: I see that it is hard to pull the wool over workers’ eyes today. But if you think that I can’t do anything for you, what about the others?

Also at The Anarchist Library

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