# John Henry Maciuy
B Journal for Free Spirits
PUBLISHED OCCASIONALLY BY THE MACKAY SOCIETY BOX 131 ANSONIA STATION, NEW YORK. NY 10023 USA.
ISSUE <16-17 "j°HN HENRY HACKAV FESTSCHRIFT"
Editors: Hakim Bey & Hark A. Sullivan
Associates: Morgan Edwards. Shoshana Edwards. Emma G. , Rick Hill, Jim Kernochan Lysander. Dave Handl, Sharon Presley, Jeffery J. Smith
DEDICATED TO KURT HELMUT ZUBE— who has done more than any other to return to light the life and works of JOHN HENRY MACKAY.
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THE EYE OF THE STORM! (1987) by Mark A. Sullivan......
THE EYE OF THE STORM! (1976) by Mark A. Sullivan......
JOHN HENRY MACKAY (An Obituary) by E. Armand ( 1933).....
FOUR POEMS BY JOHN HENRY MACKAY translated by Hubert Kennedy
"THE VEIL OF SAGITTA" - Letters on the Nameless Love from John Henry Mackay to Benjamin R. Tucker, Introduced and edited by Hakim Bey.......
TWO POETS by John Henry Mackay, translated by Hubert Kennedy .......
THE FREEDOMSEEKER reviewed by Murray N. Rothbard .............
THE ANARCHISTS recalled by Jim Kernochan .................
JOHN HENRY MACKAY ALS MENSCH by Friederich Dobe, reviewed by Hubert Kennedy
THE SWIMMER: The History of a Passion by John Henry Mackay (Part I)
Introduced & translated by Edward Mornln ...............
LOVE POEMS BY JOHN HENRY MACKAY introduced 4 translated by Eric Thorndale.
A MACKAY BIBLIOGRAPHY compiled by Hubert Kennedy .............
STORM!SIGNALS (Listings) .........................
MACKAY SOCIETY: Books for Freedomseekers .................
(c) All copyrights retained, as desired, by the authors & translators. Illustrations from: Der Elgene; L'Unique; Mackay-Cesellschaft.
JOHN HENRY MACKAY is the subject of this very special issue of THE STORM! Mackay has always been an inspiration to me—indeed, this journal is named after his early collection of insui*irecti.onAiry poetry, STURM. Mackay (6 February 1864 to 16 May 1933) was a well-known pdet, fiction-writer, and propagandist for anarchy. Early fame came to him with the publication of THE ANARCHISTS, within a year translated from the German and published in English by Benjamin R. Tucker in 1891. Mackay became Germany's leading voice for individualist anarchism—a lone voice crying in the wilderness of German modernationstatism— predicting the horrible consequences of uniting nationalism with socialism.
We live today, as he did in his day, in a world of reactionary intolerance—perpetrated by those seeking conformity to ideology, religion, social custom, economic system, and political coercion. Mackay's writings under the nom de guerre "Sagitta" were banned by the combined forces of an "offended" clergy and a Prussian state. But Mackay also enjoyed popularity, as evidenced by the "Mackay Evening" in Berlin in 1899 when Richard Strauss played before an audience of 2000 the Mackay poems he had set to music.
Mackay's contemporary relevance lies not only in his elegant defense of individual sovereignty and equal freedom (which is relevant in any age) but also in his emphasis upon the psychology of the free individual: its development and interpersonal manifestation as "radical tolerance," to quote one of his translators, Hubert Kennedy.
I will mention only one of many situations in today's world much in need of radical tolerance: the AIDS crisis. This is a crisis not only of life-and-death for some of us, but also one of fundamental choice: benevolence toward, versus persecution of, fellow human beings. If Mackay were with us today, it is doubtless his voice would be raised in outcry against right-wing intolerance that seeks to possess the ignorant majority in order to infect it with a virus more deadly than AIDS itself: the virus of FEAR (Fanatical Evangelical Anti-minority Reaction).
People with AIDS need not only love and support from family and friends, but the freedom to do what they think • is best—not what preachers, politicians, ideologues, state drug-regulators, would-be concentration-camp wardens, and other opportunists think is "best." "Best for whom?" one need only ask. Mackay's defense of "the nameless love" applies well to what today's media have called "the problem of AIDS" (not, let it be noted, the same thing as the problem one has by having the disease).
This too is a social question, like all the questions of our time—a question of personal freedom, of the freedom of the individual, and can only be solved with and through that freedom .... For it comes down to this, that each person can only understand their own love and every other is alien and incomprehensible .... Here too only an understanding of the right to equal freedom, a tolerance of other ways of life as the final and highest result of civilization, can have a salutary effect.
Mackav championed the freedom to consume and love as one wished <o long as no one is harmed without their consent. We have almost forgotten this freedom in the '80s, the age of AIDS, thanks to efforts of "the reactionary-right. It is never inappropriate to remind ourselves and others.
RADICAL TOLERANCE is not some wishy-washy stance or plea that ve should be "nice" to each other. Rather it is a call to struggle—with the internal and external forces in one's life. it is a call to engage in the paradox of having to struggle with oneself in order to radically accept--tolerate--one's self. In THE FREEDONSEEKER
Mackay's sequel to THE ANARCHISTS and second of his "Books of Freedom," this theme is portrayed. The hero, young Ernst Foerster archetype of the anarch, the true individual, and of Mackay himself^ learns' this lesson. After standing up alone against a tyrannical schoolmaster, and deserted by fellow classmates, Ernst realizes
that life was a battle, a battle in which the choices were either to succeed or to go under, to affirm himself or to lose himself, a battle which started soon after the entry into life and ended only with death ....
In addition he had realized that he was alone in this battle and that he would have to fight it alone against himself and against all others. He had also realized that he that is alone is not abandoned but only he who cannot be alone with himself.
He swore never to abandon himself, come what might!
In the language of Nietzsche, Mackay (Foerster) had to "overcome" himself in order to become himself. The victory over oneself is the triumph over one's smallness: one's fear, hypocrisy and self-condemnation. It is the triumph of loyalty to the best one is and can become. It is "choosing" all that one is, embracing oneself wholly— mdeed, holding oneself "holy." It is Nietzsche's "amor fatin— embracing one's fate, one's entire life from birth to death. It is complete "tolerance" of oneself—radical self-acceptance. It is Max Stirner's call to liberation from self-persecution in The EGO AND HIS OWN:
If religion has set up the proposition that we are sinners altogether, I set over against it the other: we are perfect altogether! For we are, every moment, all that we can be; and we never need be more. Since no defect cleaves to us, sin has no meaning ....
There are strong clues in some of Mackay's other writings that reading Stirner inspired him to overcome society's condemnation (which he internalized as did many others) of his homosexual desires—his "sinful nature." But the struggle against one's self-imposed limitations applies to most areas of life as well, especially the artistic or creative. Radical self-acceptance is as simple and as difficult as getting out of one's own way, as Alan Watts used to say. For Mackay there is no other way to real happiness.
We have no other choice but to set ourselves in harmony with ourselves—this is our one and only goal—and our life runs its course between the demands of this innermost wish (our discontent) and its fulfillment (our satisfaction).
To choose intolerance toward oneself is clearly to choose unhappiness—since we cannot escape ourselves. Self-intolerance leads to intolerance of others—as if to place blame elsewhere—and to a vicious circle of self-reinforcing unsatisfaction, what the Buddha called "samsara." Like the Buddha, Mackay trod a path of self-liberation, and bade others to do likewise. For Mackay, liberation, happiness, and enlightenment evolves or develops as one becomes more and more what one is. This is clearly the theme of THE FREEDOMSEEKER, aptly subtitled "The Psychology of a Development," in which "The Seeker" becomes "The Finder" and "The Victor."
Though Mackay wrote at length on anarchy, or the free society, his message remains one of individual emancipation or "individual anarchy" defined here as a state of consciousness in which there is no internalized overlord laying down rules which must be obeyed. The very principle of "Authority" (that which must be accepted without question, motive, or proof) does not exist in such a mind. In the words of Mackay's Comrade, Tucker: "Consequences are the only god." In THE ANARCHISTS Mackay indicates that this consciousness, or individual anarchy, is "passive" in the sense of not seeking to impose upon reality, but to see things as they are. It is thus not rigid, reactionary, fearful, or aggressive—but rather flowing, creative, joyful, and non-violent.
The process of realizing conscious individual anarchy, or becoming what one is, is clearly expressed through the character of Carrard Auban, again an archetype of Mackay and the self-owning individual:
Ever since Auban began to think, he had struggled—struggled against everything that surrounded him. As a boy and youth, like one in despair, against external fetters, and like a fool, against the inevitable; like a giant against shadows, and like a fanatic against the stronger. As a man he had struggled with himself: the persistent, exhausting, hard struggle with himself, with his own prejudices, his own imaginations, his exaggerated hopes, his childish ideals.
Once he had believed that mankind must radically change before he could be free. Then he saw that he himself must first become free in order to be free.
So he had begun to clear his mind of all the cobwebs which education, error, promiscuous reading, had deposited there.
He felt that there must again be light and clearness in his head, if he did not wish to sink away into night and gloom. The important thing was to find himself, to become mentally free from all fetters.
He again became himself. It again grew light and clear within him; from all sides the sun came flooding in upon him; and happy, like a convalescent, he basked in its rays.
Now he could think without bitterness of his youth; smile over its errors, and no longer mourn over years apparently lost in a struggle which in this age each must fight out who would rise above it. . . .
Clearly, Mackay is critical of losing oneself in social struggles, as he nearly lost himself. Indeed, it was Mackay who coined the term "individualistic anarchism" to make a distinction between his own views (drawing on Stirner and Tucker) and those of the "communistic" anarchists. In fact, this is a major theme of THE ANARCHISTS. But while pointing out the differences between
individualist and communist anarchists, Mackay also recognized goals in common: the abolition of the state as a monopoly of force over society, the consequent abolition of special privileges creating a class of owners of land and capital exploiting the owners of labor (the users of land and capital). Along with socialists in general, Mackay and the individualist anarchists sought a society where each would enjoy the full product of his or her labor. As Mackay saw it: "he stood at the farthest extreme of the left." He was a left-wing individualist. Thus Mackay transcends what today many think of as leftism (monopoly socialism) and as individualism (monopoly capitalism) . . . pointing a way out of the ideological wasteland.
THIS ISSUE OF THE STORM! IS A "FESTSCHRIFT": a "publication celebrating an event or honouring a person." As such it honors the person and writings of John Henry Mackay, and in the spirit of Festschrift, we have gathered some never-before published writings by and about Mackay. And in the spirit of radical tolerance, the editors will not point out where we disagree with the individual contributors—indeed, we thank them for generously taking the time to send us some of the fruits of their labor. Labors of love, we must add. In fact, we not only oppose editorial party lines, we likely could not agree to one anyway! We hope that this Festschrift will further encourage more work on and interest in translating Mackay into English—and getting the work published. In particular, we hope THE ANARCHISTS will be reissued in an inexpensive centenary edition by 1991 (now you can only get a very very expensive library reprint from Revisionist Press). Other Mackay titles worth publishing are THE SWIMMER, THE SYBARITE, and MAX STIRNER: HIS LIFE £, WORK. Publishers take note—generous donors, too—and contact the Mackay Society.
Some interest has already been shown in Mackay. In addition to the Mackay Society's own edition of THE FREEDOMSEEKER, there is the Alyson Publications edition of THE HUSTLER translated by Hubert Kennedy. Hubert has done much good work in translating and promoting interest in Mackay. We expect more of his work on Mackay to be published in the future. Edward Mornin also needs to be acknowledged, being one of the few "Mackay scholars" whose studies have appeared in the academic press. His INNER CONNECTIONS is an excellent study of Mackay, so far published in German by the Mackay-Gesellschaft.
Of course, here it is appropriate to give tribute to Kurt Zube, who knew Mackay in the '30s and reactivated the Mackay-Gesellschaft some 4 0 years later. He has been the one-man movement to get Mackay back into print in Germany—and he has succeeded! Kurt is also responsible for getting THE FREEDOMSEEKER translated and published in English, giving an initial raison d'etre for starting the Mackay Society in late 1982. Our debt to him is expressed in the dedication of this issue of THE STORM!
THE STORM! made its debut over ten years ago—April 1, 1976 to be exact. The poem "Anarchy" from Mackay's STURM appeared on its cover, with its bold declaration to the world: "I am an anarchist, wherefore I will not rule, and also ruled I will not be!" In the course of these ten years THE STORM! has endeavored to live up to these stirring words, and to its own name. It has indeed stirred up a few tempests, generated some heat and—we hope—some light, explored taboos and taken stands. The future is open. This Journal for Free Spirits (and we thank the spirit of Laurance Labadie for this apt title) may choose to explore new vistas and visions—beyond the ken of anarch-ism and individual-ism . . . or go into "a period of silence." The "old truths" are not enough—new Insight is needed. But some "old truths" still inspire. So in Festschrift spirit we include herein our opening editorial/manifesto—The Eye of the Storm!—from our first issue. It still serves as a good introduction to what THE STORM! is all about— and brings the circle to completion.
TO ALL who have worked on this issue, especially David Mandl on keyboard—indeed, to all who have worked on or contributed to issues past—many thanks! And to all our readers, fellow freedomseekers in the global Village, yet one more heartfelt salute—"BE SEEING YOU!"
Fall Equinox 1987
THE STORM! is a journal exploring and advocating anarchy. What is anarchy? Is it not chaos? Is it not, indeed, a raging storra? Yes, anarchy is this and much more! Etymologically, "anarchy" is derived from Greek, and means absence of rule, absence of government. The absence of government does not mean life without association, cooperation, friendship, and free exchange. Anarchy is more than an ideal state of society that has yet to come to pass; if anything, the philosophy of anarchy, that is anarchism, maintains that ideals are only subtle forms of authority which should be examined very carefully before they are accepted, if at all. Anarchy exists in the mind of the individual who denies the authority (or deciding power) of other persons with their ideas and ideals (no matter how universally accepted) over his or her own life. Anarchy is the individual in rebellion against imposed authority over self and others. Anarchy exists in action whenever persons solve the problems of living without recourse to compulsory authority, that is as equals. Direct confrontation, mutual aid, equal exchange, and non-hierarchical association are anarchic mores of social, that is personal, interaction.
Anarchy is not life without conflict. Life does not exist without the conflict of the individual organism with its environment, which includes other organisms. Unable, and unwilling, to do away with individual differences, anarchists would render any resultant conflicts harmless to those not involved by doing away with the privileges and powers of the few over the many, and the many over the few—and especially the fountainhead of institutionalized power and privilege, the State, which exists in various forms on the planet, leaving no surface untouched or unclaimed. The battle against the states is the struggle to implement anarchic modes of interpersonal relationship here and now in the midst of our authority-infested societies.
The individual and not society is the prime locus of anarchy. It is individual consciousness, the human ego, that accepts or rejects patterns of thought and behavior that tend to stifle the will to be one's own sovereign. Pressure to confirm (respect the boss, stand for the national anthem, keep up with the fashions, love only members of the opposite sex) pervade far beyond the visible borders of state power—but they are very real and compelling. In the perpetual struggle of the anarchist against authority, it is the Ego that is the Storm. The forces of the "higher" powers of custom, church, and state surround the individual like whirling winds seeking to bend the individual to serve their own ends. But at the center of the Storra is the Eye, the area of calm reflection and free choice, the realm of self-acceptance and honest desire, a place to stand naked before the sun in the innocent affirmation of "I am!" *8*
REVOLUTION AND INSURRECTION MUST NOT BE LOOKED UPON AS SYNONYMOUS. THE FORMER CONSISTS IN AN OVERTURNING OF CONDITIONS. OF THE ESTABLISHED CONDITION OR STATUS, THE STATE OR SOCIETY, AND IS ACCORDINGLY A POLITICAL OR SOCIAL ACT; THE LATTER HAS INDEED FOR ITS UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCE A TRANSFORMATION OF CIRCUMSTANCES YET DOES NOT START FROM IT BUT FROM MEN'S DISCONTENT WITH THEMSELVES, IS NOT AN ARMED RISING, BUT A RISING OF INDIVIDUALS, A GETTING UP. WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT SPRING FROM IT.
- MAX STIRNER THE EGO AND HIS OWN (THE STORM!#2)
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VOL. I. — Noa. 11-12
JOHN HENRY MACKAY
By E ARMAND
The theoretician of individualist anarchism in Germany—Mackay—U no more.
The author of "The Arurchnti", "The Freedom Seeker'' (Der Freiheitsucher), "The Storm" (Der Sturm), and of many poetic composition*, abort stone*. romances and novel* expired in Berlin, May 16. 1933.
Mackay was not only that He made enormous efforts to rediscover the traces of Max Stirner. To that purpose he sacrificed his wealth. He entered into relations with friends (still living) of the au-thor of "The Ego and its Property". From his researches there resulted a volume that no one who is interested in Stiriwnsm can ignore, namely: "Max Stirner. His Life and His Works". Mackay created a real cult for Stirner.
One may say that it is because of him that Stirner occupies the position that is accorded him in the history of the individualistic philosophy.
The individualist-anarchist movement loses in him one of its finest exponents, one who was too proud and too artistic to allow himaelf to descend to ideological compromises. From what his critics say, his writing places him as a stylist on a level with the best German classicists. Some of his poems appear or have recently appeared in anthologies of poetry from across the Rhine.
The "Berliner Tagblatt", in announcing his death, says that his short stories and novels will live on.
The literary work of Mackay is tinged with melancholy, with resignation, and colored with pessimism. It may be that we have to see in this a consequence of his ascendancy.
Mackay was born February 6, 1864. at Greenock, near Glasgow, of a Scotch father and a mother who was born at Hamburg, Germany; his native tongue was German.
Mackay travelled. He passed through Italy, Swit-zerland, lived in London, in Paris—visited Chicago, the ea«t of the U. S , and finally established himself in Berlin, where for many years the struggle of every day existence tormented him at times beyond endurance. He died at the very doorstep of his doctor.
Benjamin R. Tucker writes me that he has lost in Mackay a friend of fifty years standing.
Pierre Ramus deplores the loss of this indomitable fighter.
I can say that it is not without deep sorrow that I witness the passing of this pioneer of the individualism with which I have been identified for more than a quarter of a century.
PaWiihad Monthly by tb* Cltnm Pobluhlng SUBSCRIPTION HATE: ONE DOLLAR A YEAR Editor, Abba OiHin Treasoirr, Loul» J. Shapiro
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John Henry Mack.ay DEFENSE
Thus before the judges' table
Stood he upright, not in mime.
Spoke so soft, so ready and able, And as if to another time.
"What I did, you want to know? -Ah! - I hardly know, it seems:
I stole a bit, I was hungry so, And I did it as in dreams.
For as I saw it there before me,
Happiness' vanishing feast and fare,
And saw the crumb the table bore me,
I snatched it, I the poorest there ..."
And he whispered (now resuming) - : "All too dismal was my fate,
And my thirst was so consuming,
And my hunger was so great . . .
That's the guilt I can't resist:
That his nearness I did not heed,
That I let myself be kissed,
Did not leave him in his need . . .
That once in my own home and house
I did not defend myself nor flee,
The flame of happiness would not douse, Was open to him, so dear to me . . .
Ah, what do you know, you always-content,
What of our love, its struggle and strife.
What do you know, to whom we are sent . . . Just do what you will with my life!
- I am a victim of the chance
Fate gave me over into your hand!"
Kept silent. And looked with mysterious glance Into a future and brighter land.
Translated from the German by Hubert Kennedy
from Am Fande des Lebens (1909) ; reprint in Die Buecher der na/nenlosen Liebe (Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1979), pp. 419-420. (Original title: "Verteidigung"1
Die Sonne steigt. Es reift die Saat. Die Zeit der grossen Ernte naht.
Wie Alles indie Halme schiesst!
Wie Alles drSngt, und grtlnt, und spriesst!
Jedoch was sieht mein Auge? - Dorn Und Dickicht wuchert durch das Korn. Rings liegt die junge Frucht erstickt -
Gewalt, Gewalt, wohin es blickt!
- Es reift die Saat, doch nicht fQr mich: Denn Freiheit, Freiheit wollte ich!
The sun comes up. The crop appears. The time of harvest beauty nears.
How all blades shoot up hereabouts! How all are forcing up green sprouts!
And yet what sees my eye now? Thorn And weeds that grow amidst the corn. Around lie young and choking plants -
And force, brute force, where e'er we glance!
- The crop is ripe, but not for me: For what I want is liberty!
John Henry Mackay translation by Hubert Kennedy
from Sturm. 7th ed. (1925)
I have such respect for you: only thirteen and already a highschooler's cap covers your boy's brown hair.
You know so much that I learned once—to be sure—but have now forgotten. In Latin and Math I can't compare myself to you at
You conjugate and decline, and the dates of world history— when you rattle them off it's as if you were sitting in judgement over ael
I knew all that once—and crammed it between my ears. In the struggle with life and suffering the whole hoard was lost.
I learned to think, to hear, to see. I am not allowed to tell you what I know . . . but they are not the most foolish of your questions, those I answer only with a delicate silence.
I know you think me terribly stupid, I am not—and that is painful. For I have such great respect for you, and . . . love you so sincerely!
I found you in the dirt of a nighttime alley where I'd lost my way. You seemed so tired and abandoned—I bent and lifted you up, took you to my breast, my heart, to my arms, as no one had ever done.
I softly asked about your joy and pain, and kissed away the words of shame. I gave and gave, gave years and years, and you took everything as if it were nothing.
I taught you to distinguish false from true, I opened wide for you the gates of light. But you . . . never will I say what you did! I do not complain—but since the beginning of the human race no one has done to another what you did!
Then I took your picture and tore it in pieces, turned away from you silently forever . . . The way lost, the bridges destroyed . . . and if you found them again, what good would it do me? For even if you came with bloody bare feet, if you came dying, I would not see you!
You'd remain cast off from my heart, erased from my view! And if you wished to stroke me again with your hands, that which so often deluded me would do so no more. If you came to me again with flattering lies, as so often before, I would not hear them!
Still ... if you came with your smile—that smile—what I would do then ... I don't know!
"THE VEIL OF SAGITTA*
Letters On The Nameless Love from John Henry Mackay to Benjamin R. Tucker introduced & edited by Hakim Bey
Thomas Riley, who wrote the only full-length English biography of John Henry Mackay (1), began his research without realizing that Mackay was also "Sagitta" (Latin for Arrow), author of a series of pamphlets and books discussing and defending homosexuality and boy-love. During Mackay's lifetime this double identity was an "open secret," and was revealed in print at least twice, once in an "infamous communistic paper" and once by a German literary gossip in a book called The Curiosity Cabinet (2). But by the 1940's Mackay and the early German homophile liberation movement had already vanished into Time's dust. Riley only discovered Mackay's secret when he came across a letter from Mackay (to an American anarchist, George Stumm) tucked into the pages of a book by Sagitta.
Riley was not particularly thrilled by this revelation. In his biography he reveals his feelings thus:
While [Mackay] associated with women and enjoyed such association if the women were intelligent . . . the thought of physical contact with them was nauseating. Only once in his life did he, as a young student, experiment with normal sexual relations. Just as repulsive to him was physical contact with adult men, and effeminate men were for him, so he said, monstrous beings. To him any other form of sexual abberation than his own was as perverse as his own seems to the normal person, just as his interest in boys seemed often repugnant and strange to the other type of homosexual. [Op. page 106; italics mine.] (3)
Riley accuses Mackay of believing boy-love superior to other forms of love; but in fact he thought nothing of the sort, and broke with other homophile propagandists on this precise point. Except for Emma Goldman, he was unique among the great anarchists in believing and stating that all forms of love are worthy of freedom, as long as they respect freedom.
When Riley came to examine Mackay's letters in the archives (4) of his life-long friend, the great American Individualist Anarchist Benjamin R. Tucker, the biographer discovered that Tucker had also known about Sagitta in complete detail. Without quoting from the letters, Riley boiled down the story to the following paragraph:
In 1907 Mackay decided to confide to Tucker, on one of Tucker's frequent trips to Europe, the whole story of Sagitta. It was a test of the sincerity of the leading Individualist Anarchist, the man who had written:
Nor does the Anarchist scheme furnish any code of morals to be imposed upon the individual. "Mind your own business" is its only moral law. Interference with another's business is a crime and the only crime, and as such may properly be resisted. In accordance with this view the Anarchists look upon attempts arbitrarily to suppress vice as in themselves crimes. They believe Liberty and the resultant well-being to be a sure cure for all the vices. put they recognize the right of the
drunkard, the gambler, the rake, and the harlot to live their lives until they shall freely choose to abandon them.
Tucker decided not to withdraw his friendship, which had now been extended to Mackay for eighteen years. Nevertheless the affair made him uneasy and he avoided discussion of it, as Mackay's letters to him show. The year before his death in Monte Carlo, thinking probably of posterity's examining his library, h® wrote on the title page of each of the first two Sagitta publications: "My subscription to this work shall not be taken as evidence of sympathy with its contents (. . . 1938)."
This summary scarcely gives the flavor of Mackay's actual words to Tucker. And although Tucker's replies are no longer extant, Riley hardly does credit to Tucker's personality or courage in defying established moralism. If Tucker was as queasy as Riley implies, how did he come to publish editions of Oscar Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol" and Whitman's Leaves of Grass when those works were in trouble with the U.S. censors? Whitman cried, "Tucker did brave things for Leaves of Grass when brave things were rare. I could not forget that ... I love him: he is plucky to the bone . . . ." (5)
Mackay had known Tucker since 1889. The scope of the present article cannot encompass the whole story of this remarkable comradeship, which surmounted Mackay's faulty English and Tucker's poor-to-nonexistent German, and resulted in an intense and long-lived collaboration. By quoting direct from a few of the hundreds of letters, however, we can hope to restore some human complexity to this relationship which Riley, in his prejudice, reduced to a false simplicity.
Riley states that Mackay decided to open the "Sagitta" question with Tucker in 1907, and refers without quoting to a letter dated July 7 of that year. The Tucker Archive contains no letter of that date; perhaps it is lost, or perhaps Riley misread a handwritten "1" for "7" (European orthography often misleads Americans on this point), for in a letter dated July 1, 1907, Mackay writes
... to think that I shall have the pleasure to spend a part of (your later years] here with you, gives me a feeling of intense delight, now, where I have to [hide] nothing more before you ....
Early the next year, Mackay obliquely mentions the subject again, complaining to Tucker that homophiles are no more open to the idea of liberty than are human beings in general:
. . . then the other cause, of which you know, has taken very much [? i.e. trouble?] in the last years. For "these" people are quite [as] lazy and stupid as the "others" are.
That year Tucker planned to arrive in Europe with his companion Pearl Johnson and their "little Anarchist" love-child Oriole. Mackay wrote:
Berlin-Charlottenburg, Berlinerstrasse 166; May 11, 1908 Dear Tucker!
I am very glad to hear that I can hope to see you here even sooner as I dared to dream. The aspect, to see you
every year from now [on] is a great joy to me. Tell your sweetheart too, that I shall be glad to see her here, and the little Anarchist she will bring with her.
But I wish that you tell her, before you come, exactly what I am. I have decided now to break off all old acquaintances, who don't care so much to me, that they do not learn to understand my love as I try to understand theirs; and I will not make any new ones (more intimates, of course) who join the common judgement without judging for themselves.
You have not acknowledged the receipt of the pamphlet I sent you, and I know you don't like to hear from these things. But being my friend, and before the fact, that this love and my battle for it, influences my personal life to the highest degree, I can't avoid to tell you, that this pamphlet as well as Sagitta's two books are suppressed by the police, that two accusations are brought against us, and that we can't forsee how these affairs end and how much they will influence my personal liberty, and at the same time our forthcoming plans, so dear to me. 1 could not leave Berlin the whole winter, being in an endless stream of unexpected and despiteful events. (I shall never give up this battle.) . . .
As ever yours,
Mackay was now engulfed in his single most horrendous conflict with authority, the Sagitta trial, and Tucker was to be kept informed of the entire story. Even the threat of scandal however could not induce Tucker to betray his friend. His reply to Mackay's letter can be deduced on the basis of Mackay's immediate response:
BCB, June 22, 1908 Dear Tucker,
I will answer your pleasing letter of June 12 at once. First: will you tell Pearl (if I am allowed to call her so in my letters to you) that I expect with great pleasure the day when I shall see her at Paris ....
You must not take Sagitta's first book as anything less [than] a short preface. If I don't find time to go over the pamphlet with Schumm I hope to be able to give you an English translation by and by. Nothing better, and almost all in short words, I can say about this love I have said in this pamphlet.
The facts are these in regard to the authorities: there are two accusations made against Zack (they don't know yet who Sagitta is).
1) for having offended a clergyman (by) having sent him the pamphlet;
2) for publishing "immoral" books. The first is settled; he [Zack] was freed [i.e., not convicted). The second we still await. The books and the pamphlet are forbidden and suppressed.
If Zack is sentenced for prison then I will say that I am Sagitta. Till then it is absolutely useless. This winter was the hardest time we ever had. The people here are absolutely mad after the proceedings in the trials (of) Brand and Moltke [vs.] Harden. In the meantime I finish the III and IV book. The waiting time is a very tiresome one,
as you will understand, and we hope it may come soon to a decision.
If we fail then Zack goes to Switzerland and we will publish the books there. If we are the victors then I will distribute the pamphlet in many thousands of copies ....
This morning is a sad one: I learn that Benedikt FriedlSnder, whose name is not a strange one to you, has killed himself after two years of severe illness and without any hope of recovery. He was a quite uncommon man ....
This letter needs some explanation. "Schumm" was George Schumm the translator of Mackay's most popular early work, The Anai^jc^' Mackay hoped he would translate the Sagitta books as well, but nothing came of this. (Their correspondence provided Riley's first clue to Mackay's secret identity.) "Zack" is Bernhard Zack, who published the first Sagitta books under his own imprint, and Mackay's anarchist works as well. Harden and Brand were two men whose trials, involving libel and charges of homosexuality, were then causes celebres; Mackay imagined that the publicity surrounding the trials would create an interested public for Sagitta. Maximillian Harden was on trial for libel, having accused a public figure, Graf Kuno von Moltke, of homosexuality. Adolf Brand was a friend of Mackay's and editor of the homophile-movement journal Der Eigene, which had begun publication as an anarchist-Stirnerite organ, and had published some Sagitta texts. Benedikt FriedlSnder was another homophile activist, "wealthy private scholar, author of Renaissance des Eros Uranos (Berlin, 1904)" (6), i.e., "the rebirth of the boy-love god." In his will FriedlMnder left money to Wilhelm Jensen (dismissed from leadership of the Wandervogel movement for pederasty), with the intention that Mackay should share the bequest. The Wandervogel has been called one of the cradles of Fascism, so perhaps it's not surprising that Jensen tried to block all funds from reaching Mackay the Anarchist. Jensen also refused to lend Mackay his mailing-list for the Sagitta pamphlets. But Mackay does seem to have acquired at least some of the FriedlHnder money, and used it to re-print Sagitta texts (7).
On October 12, 1909, Mackay wrote again to Tucker: Dear Tucker,
As you asked in some of your last letters for the end of the trial, I tell you today that on Oct. 8 the jury declared the books as well as the pamphlet of Sagitta for "immoral" and should be destroyed. Zack was sentenced for "offense" to 600 mark[s] and the costs of about 1000 marks. If they had known who Sagitta was, they had to sentence me logically for prison, for they said that Zack only escaped that as [result?] of his education.
That means that everything I did as Sagitta is absolutely destroyed and stamped out. The work of years is lost, and besides, it costs me about 6300 marks loss [at least $30,000 in today's U.S. currency].
What I have to say I will say in a circular in about 2-3 weeks. Then this thing has ended.
This total defeat did indeed end Mackay's actual campaign for repeal of sexual laws, but it did not finish his career as Sagitta. Over the years he managed to keep the works sporadically in print, and attracted a small and scattered group of supporters called "The Hundred Arrows."
Next year the Tuckers appear to have been upset by someone gossiping about Mackay1s "aberration," and Tucker wrote to ask if Zack had somehow betrayed the Sagitta secret. Mackay replied:
BOB, Sept. 26, 1910 Dear Tucker,
I have seen Zack last niqht. He remembers, that he had a talk with Meulen (Henry Meulen(7A)) on Anarchy, but he does not remember that he talked with him on the question of "Homosexualism" at all! In any case he has given Meulen not the least opportunity and possibility, to think that I am the author of books regarding to this subject. in this respect I trust in Zack absolutely. So it is sheer phantasy and [ illegible J of Meulen, when he bases his opinions on what Zack has told him.
Of course, I can't help if people clash [?] and speak against (?] me, as little as I can help it, that they admire or despise me for what I have done. But I should think that all those who call themselves Anarchists should have an higher appreciation of personal liberty [than] they show, in going around and talk[ing] from one house to the other about that what they call "sexual life," and of what they do not know anything at all!
But I have no respect for those people, and I do not want to have anything to do with them, even then, if they call themselves "Anarchists."
Coming back to our special case, I can't see why Pearl could not say, if ever the question would be put to her, that 6he was bound by promise, not to tell the truth. But as you ask me, and because I can hardly say "No" when you ask me something, I will free you and Pearl of the promise given to me in respect to Mrs. Johnson.
I will add one word more. This question, which people call "homosexuality" will never be understood, if they insist not to talk freely and without prejudices on it, and always behave as if this was a mysterious and dreadful thing, which ought to be covered by silence and night. And they will never understand it as long as they continue to see only sexualisro in it, instead of love, like phantasy, they would be able to talk about this question, as they ought to do, as a question of love, and leave out "sexualism," leave it there, where it belongs: in the most private life of the Individuals, which Anarchists should respect higher than all other men, because they defend it in all other regions of life!
As ever, my dear Tucker, your old friend,
("Mrs. Johnson" refers to Pearl's mother, who was often with them in Europe. I interpret the rather confusing paragraph about her thus: Tucker must have written something like, "What if Mrs. Johnson were to hear such gossip and ask Pearl about you? We promised you we would asy nothing to her about the subject, but it would bother us greatly to have to lie to someone so close to us.")
Four months later Tucker must have responded to Mackay's appeal about "silence and night," and the demand that anarchism open itself to the free discussion of such subjects. Tucker must have written asking Mackay to do precisely that at their next meeting. But Mackay
vu too pleased by this generosity to wait, and dashed off a letter once:
bCb, Feb. 4, 1911 Dear Tucker!
. . . As for the other content* of your last letter, dear Tucker, I think it the best, we talk the matter over! if we are together again. I always thought you did not like to talk at all about the subject. But as I see out of your letter—much to my surprise—that you want to hear fron ae •ore and more particular details of this question, I will be only too glad to give them to you, to show you that this love is precisely a love like your love, sexual of course, but not only sexual, and not a vice or an illness or a crime ....
This frank and open discussion, when it occurred, must have answered all Tucker's questions and resolved his doubts, for their friendship continued unabated, and their correspondence makes no more mention of Tucker's hesitations or objections. It seems to me this silence now indicates Tucker's acceptance of Mackay's point of vie." at least philosophically. In writing that he did not "sympathize with the contents" of the Sagitta books Tucker may simply have meant to reassure future biographers of hi6 own heterosexuality.
In correspondence with Kurt Zube, head of the Mackay Gesellschaft in Germany, I learned that Tucker is supposed to have 6aid privatel' that Mackay*s secret identity as Sagitta was "the greatest blow to anarchism" (8)—but I take this to mean that Mackay*s efforts and fortune were wasted on the homophile movement (Mackay himself sometimes seemed to believe this) and thus lost to the anarchist struggle—not that Tucker disapproved of Mackay's 6ex-life and thought it a "disgrace to anarchism" or something of the sort.
Riley says that Mackay, "although afraid of becoming identified in public with Sagitta, . . . was so full of his subject that he apparently talked freely about it to people who could not keep his secrets. A German visiting the Tuckers in France in 1910 [the illegible Menlen or Menler] knew the whole story of Sagitta, much to their surprise." As we've just read, however, Mackay certainly never "talked freely" to this man.. This distortion of fact is typical of Riley's attempts to belittle Mackay-the-homosexual^
Mackay may however have been mistaken about Zack's ability to resist shooting his mouth off. Mackay remained loyal to Zack for another ten years, but on February 21, 1920, he wrote sadly to Tucker:
It pains me, to speak about Zack. But it must be, that you understand. He ha6 despised my confidences, not in one case but in many, and one day everything broke down. We are still on not unfriendly terms, but he is away from Berlin and I am doing the whole business, regarding my books, alone.
Finally, thirteen years later, in 1933, Tucker must once again have heard some nasty gossip and mentioned it to Mackay. Oppressed by old age, sickness and the rise of Nazism, Mackay answered him:
[no date; pencilled note "1933"] Dear Tucker,
I did not lift the veil of Stagittaj. one of the.* infamous communistic papers did it, some years ago to hurt
and now it is an open secret ....
This is the penultimate letter from Mackay in the Tucker Archive One more short sad note—and then Mackay died on May 16, 1933. Tucker corresponded briefly with one of the men responsible for carrying out Mackay's lest wishes; this was none other than Walther Heinrich, to whom Tucker i6 supposed to have made the remark about "the worst blow to Anarchism." Heinrich—who somehow managed to reconcile attachment to Mackay with trendy anti-semitic sentiments—had been ordered by Mackay to destroy all papers and correspondence "to the last slip." Heinrich wrote Tucker that this demand would be met, despite the difficulties it would cause for any future biographers (9). Undoubtedly it was at thi6 point that Tucker's letters to Mackay disappeared.
If and when an adequate and sympathetic biography of Mackay is published in English, Riley's misleading picture of the Mackay-Tucker friendship will need correction (10). I hope thi6 article will then prove useful. Meanwhile however it may throw light on the vexing question of the relation between boy-love and anarchism.
Mackay felt he had failed almost completely to open homophiles to the need for psychological liberation, and thus to anarchism—and he felt he'd failed to convince anarchists to overcome their superstitious repugnance for non-ordinary sexuality and see that all love deserves the open and active support of true libertarians. Tucker, who was not only a libertarian but a "liberated soul," was one of the few who ever understood Mackay completely. Whatever doubts he may have felt, in any case, were rendered insignificant by the warmth of his friendship for Mackay—an exemplary friendship, beautiful to contemplate as it unfolds in the yellowed and crumbling pages of the Archive:
As ever, my dear Tucker, your old friend,
(1) Thomas A. Riley, Germany's Poet-Anarchist John Henry Mackay (New York, Revisionist, Press, 1972; a revised version of his PhD. dissertation, Harvard University, 1946). See also "New England Anarchism in Germany", New England Quarterly 18 (1945) 25-38.
(2) Emil Szittya, Das Kuriositaten-Kabinett (Konstanz, See Verlag, 1923), p. 155; reference in Edward Mornin, Art and Anarchism—Inner Connections; Technique, imagery and the <3l ggPfllgt In th? writings of John Henry Mackav (unpublished manuscript), p. 23, n. 57.
Or see the German version, Kunst unri Anarchismus;- inpe re
ZusammenhHnqe" in d*n Schriften J KM (Freiburg/Br.: Verlag der Mackay Gesellschaft, 1983), p. 31, n. 54.
Szittya's book is also mentioned in Hubert Kennedy's 9t
(NYC, Mackay Society, 1983). Kennedy also writes (in a letter to the author, 15 July 1985), "Regarding the 'open secret* of . . • Sagitta,
I found the following as a 'filler' in a Berlin gay magazine, Die Fanfare, Vol. 2 (1925), No. 4, p. 7:
Namenlose Liebe von Sagitta Ihr kannt das Wort verbieten— Ihr tOtet nicht den Geiat . . .
John Henry Mackay
How, the curious thing here is that the lines are not from a Sagitta poem, but from one of the later editions of Sturm [Mackay's popular collection of anarchist poems]. (The two lines translate: You can forbid the word—/ You do not kill the spirit.)" Kennedy adds in a
later letter (12 August 1985) that _Fanfare could not be the
"infamous communistic paper" Mackay mentioned, since it was strictly a gay publication. So this makes at least three open violations of Mackay's security.
(3) Mackay had a life-long woman-friend in Dresden, mentioned and named several times in his letters to Tucker (as noted by Riley), but so far unidentified in any Mackay biography. H. Kennedy (in the first letter mentioned above) reveals for the first time that she was Luise Firle (1865-1942), active on the Dresden stage from 1898 to her retirement in 1931, two years before Mackay's death.
(4) How in the Hew York Public Library; and my thanks to the staff of the Rare Books Collection for their cooperation in making the archives available.
(5) Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (1908), I, 56(8), 350.
(6) Riley, Q&. ci£., p. 107.
(7A) According to Hubert Kennedy, Riley Identified this gossip as Henry Meulen of England (ca. 1884-1979), a correspondent and In later years a personal friend of Benjamin Tucker. Author of Free Banking (1917), Chairman of the Personal Rights Association and editor of Its Journal The Individualist, and friend of Ulrich von Beckerath (the libertarian monetary theorist who problably also knew Mackay). According to Robert Sage-horn (Western Review Institute Newsletter. 17, December 1987), who corresponded with Meulen extensively, "he knew personally or knew of about everyone of importance... from the last half of the last century through most of this."
(8) Zube's exact words: "Tucker, having discovered Mackay=Sagitta: 'the hardest blow ever met anarchism.'" Herr Zube learned this from a nephew of Walter Heinrich ("Unus"), one of Mackay's best friends. (Letter to the author, 30 April, 1985.)
(9) Two letters from Heinrich to Tucker, dated Charlottenburg, Suarezstr, 17, 19 May 1933; in the HYPL Tucker Archive.
(10) There does exist a sympathetic biography in German by K.H.Z. Solneman, Per Bflhnbrecher John Henrv Mackav: Sein Leben und seln WerK (Freiburg/Br., Verlag der Mackay-Gesellschaft, 1979). This work has been translated roughly into English, but has yet to find a publisher here.
^ 3<>(>n £eitro Sttatfat)
Walking to the dunes, as he did every afternoon to indulge his dreams, he heard beside him again the short steps that so often in these weeks accompanied him on his way, and he let stumble along beside him the little chap who had the longing eyes of a poet, and who never disturbed him with his few, unobtrusive questions. The boy's parents were seated near the band music of the resort, chattering.
Where the low, 6tunted brush, which thrust itself in a strip between the brightly lit beach and the high, black forest of beech trees, cast a curious shadow on the sand overgrown with reeds, there they sat down—the little one at the feet of the larger, like a faithful dog at the feet of hi6 master.
Here they no longer heard the discordant music and the confused din of voices, but rather only the 6oft murmur of the sea, the rustle of wind in the brush, and that mysterious whisper with which, beneath her surface appearances, nature unceasingly creates and gives birth to new life. Under the firm cover of pine needles and crumbled wood, which lay like a thick coat of fur over the white sand, there fermented and quivered the hidden crowd of uncounted, invisible living beings. And all around industrious ants were busy at work.
The boy played with a dried out pine cone, whose scales were opened wide on all sides, allowing one to look deep into its seedless interior; the man, however, quietly gazed over the hilly inlets of the dunes with their dark straw and silver-gray slender grasses, and the bizarre forms of the conifers, which bravely resisted in the constant battle with wind and weather, and still were stunted by them here on the border between land and sea, at the farthest outpost, while behind them, as the shield of their faithful vassals, their masters raised their crowns lofty and proud toward the heavens.
There was a softness and sweetness in the air that drugged the eyes; and at the same time a freshness that always opened them again.
There the poet told his little friend the fairy tales of longing that his eyes demanded: the one about the mermaid who lived with her sisters in the depths of the sea, but who climbed out to win the love of a human being, and suffered and perished for it; and the one about the ugly duckling, who, stepped on and shoved out of the chicken yard, swam away, cast off its gray coat, and became a proud, regal swan; and one of his own about a little sea horse, who also no longer wanted to live in the still, cool, and phosphorescent depths, but wanted to feel warmth, and who died when the first rays of the sun struck it.
A lost, dreamy expression lay in the eyes of the child as the man ended: a fear of life and at the same time a longing for it.
Then the irresistible desire gripped the poet to pour into this pure and innocent soul, which no one understood, as Into a clear precious glass from which no one had drunk, the first drops of imperishable beauty, the elixir of his own life, and to see how it would be reflected there. His desire became overwhelming, and the thought of freely choosing to be the first delighted him.
All of a sudden there came from his lips those verses he loved, the verses of his adored great poets, which were thoroughly familiar to him for he knew their meaning and sound down to their last secret. And as they swelled and resounded they were sometimes like the roar of the sea and sometimes like the complaint of the wind in the dunes.
He recited them without pause, just as they came, without connection, but they were all bathed in splendor, like the gleam of a trembling light.
He well knew that the little boy could not understand them. They had to be dark and mysterious to him, just as the sea and the night and his life were. But he was not expected to understand them, he had only to hear them.
And just as the man would not have been afraid to entice unknown sounds from the mute strings of an instrument before the ears of the child, so too he did not shy away from the unfolding before them the sounds of words in all their unheard splendor, words whose inner soul was music and could not be comprehended by the understanding.
He spoke on and on, in the way that he spoke on his lonely walks along the shore and in the forest, or in the solitude of his room when he felt the thrill of beauty ripple over him like a warm wave. He spoke on and on, and forgot to whom he spoke and why.
Then, as his glance met the eyes of the boy, he stopped short. They were directed at his lips with an unutterable expression of expectation and anxiety, almost of fright and yet eager. Then he knew that he had awakened a soul to eternal longing for beauty, and he ceased. The cup should not be filled all at once in reckless haste. Mow that its base was covered with the pure stuff of unconquerable strength, life could pour into it what it wished: he would be able to absorb and crystallize out the added impurities. And whatever might becomo of this child~-he was a poet. His would be all the sorrows and all the glories of life, and he had to bear them as well as he could.
They stood up and walked back as they had come, hand in hand and without speaking. The closer they came to the houses of the seaside r»9ort, the clearer became the trivial melodies that were being played there, along with loud and 6hrill words of the people—the noise with which these people deafened the silence of their souls so as not to hear it.
Translation copyright Hubert Kennedy 1985.
In contrast to his earlier The Anarch}^ f John Henry Mackay's Ihfi._Z£fledoiBSfigiftr has never before beer, translated into English. Written three decades later, in the early 1920's, is
less novelistic and more ideological than the earlier work. Focussing on one character, Ernst Foerster, the book is essentially a prose-poem development of Mackay's individualist anarchist position. The increased emphasis on ideology and the lesser interest in social milieu is heralded by Mackay's frank dedication to his friend and guide Benjamin R. Tucker, the outstanding individualist anarchist of the era.
There are some marvellous, singing passages in The Freedomseeker. and the romantic surging lines form a worthy complement to the austerely logical prose of Benjamin Tucker. As Mackay's hero finds his way toawrd a completed ideological position, the pages ring out with a paean to the individual and his free development, and with bitter denunciation of the great enemy of the individual, the master criminal and aggressor, The State.
But there is not only poetry but also cogent and sound doctrine. Mackay sees with crystal clarity that the key to individualist anarchist thought, the fulcrum on which the entire system depends, is the crucial distinction between crime and voluntary action, between aggression and non-aggression (or, as Mackay terms it, "passivity"). Aggression against another's person or property is a crime and impermissible; all peaceful actions, on the other hand, are legitimate, and any attempts to outlaw them (e.g. gun control) are themselves aggression and therefore criminal.
This means, as Mackay points out, that any and all voluntary associations among men are legitimate, whereas the State is impermissible precisely because its cooperation is compulsory. If an association calling itself "the State" wishes to continue in existence, without the power to tax or compel tribute, or to grant itself a coercive monopoly of protection or of other functions, then it is no longer a State but a peaceful association. The implications for political theory of the crime/voluntary association distinction are spelled out in far more detail than in his earlier work, and in some respects Mackay even carries the discussion beyond Tucker.
Following Tucker, for example, Mackay believes that the only sound strategic way for getting rid of the State is through nonviolent, or "passive" resistance to State commands, especially the paying of taxes. From La Bo6tie onward, many libertarians, seeing that the force and exploitation of the State rests on majority consent, conclude that if the majority should withhold tribute from government, that parasitic entity would necessarily collapse. Mackay agrees, but goes into more detail than his mentor. His strategy seems to be twofold: (a) every individual should, as far as possible, withhold his sanction from the state,not participate in State mechanisms or employment or pay taxes; and (b) groups should get together and, in gradual phased escalation, engage in non-violent tax rebellions. The example set by these joint refusals would spread the cause, and lead to progressive victories, and ultimately to the withering away of the State for lack of funds or of respect of its commands.
But there is an anomaly here--betwoun tho brilliant and illuminating political philosophy of Tucker/Mackay and tho romantic mode of Mackay's writing on the one hand, and the culminating strategy of individual eelf-reformation and occasional exemplary tax rebollion on the other. Mackay begins and continues like a lion, but ends more like a lamb. Surely, the individual's seeking and finding wisdom, and than trying his best to avoid and even needle the State, is scarcely sufficient as a strategy for arriving at the anarchist goal I One or the reasons the Marxists have been far more successful than libertarians is that they have spent a groat deal more time thinking, writing, and arguing strategy. Individualist libertarians and anarchists have devoted considerable time and energy to setting forth and refining their goals and principles, but little or none in contemplating the strategy of how to arrive at our common goals. Surely, individual regeneration and avoiding tho toils of the State, while admirable on the individual or "micro"-levol, will scarcely begin the mighty and vital task of rolling back, let alono abolishing the State. This, I'm afraid, is a gradualism so gradual as to scarcely get off the starting line.
In an interesting but undeveloped hint, Mackay mentions tho one difference between the heroes of his two books: tho earlier Auban, while a staunch Individualist, always believed in an organized movement for achieving anarchism, while the later Poerster was interested only in the regeneration of each individual. If the difference is autobiographical, then Mackay himself, while becoming even more radical in his anarchist principles over the years, was also getting more passive or quietist in strategy. This quietism is, I believe, a blind alley for anarchists or libertarians. If individuals wish to improve or redeem themselves, they should, so to speak, do so on their own time, and not bother the rest of us. Trying to achieve social goals, such as total freedom and private property, by this route is a task for Sisyphus. It gets nowhere. Attaining a free society, like any other goal, requires organization. Anarchists must organize themselves to spread the message and to work toward their goals in the real social world. Contact must be made with the masses of fellow-citizens, and alliances made on the basis of issues of common agreement with those who have not achieved the full libertarian position, but are willing to collaborate on more specific goals. In short, it is incumbent on individual anarchists to leave their self-imposed sectarian holes and to forge out into the real world. They should seek to move the world, conscoiusly and as rapidly as possible, toward their cherished goals. Somewhere in the prose poem, as Poerster grew up, forged out into the world, struggled, discovered and elaborated his principles, somewhere he gave up strategically and sank back into quietism. I don't think this needs to happen;
individualists do not have to leave the task of organizing, of influencing the world in a coherent manner, to religious cults or socialists.
But I should not cavil; The Freedomseeker is a precious work for us to enjoy at last: a singing, romantic testament to man's freedom and individuality; a lucid essay in anarchist political philosophy; and one of the last emanations of the great Tuckerite individual anarchist creed.
A PICTURE OF CIVILIZATION AT THE CLOSE OK
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY HV »«*«■•."»
BY JIM KEKMOCHAN
"In no other field of social life doeu there exist to-day a more lamentable confusion, a more naive superficiality, a mora portentous ignorance than in that of Anarchism. The very utterance of tho word is like the flourish of a rod flag; in blind wrath the majority dash against it without taking time for calm examination and consideration They will tear into tatters thii; work, too, without having understood it. Me their blows will not strike.
—John Henry Mackay
I first read John Henry Mackay's THE ANARCHISTS while on an Amtrak train heading to Boston from New york. It was almost ten years ago: a knee pointed out of the hole of my faded blue jeans, long dirty-blonde hair had not been washed, a ragged fatigue backpack was tossed on tho overhead luggage compartment. In spite of the attire, I was even then not much into the mindless rebellion and violence that was symbolized by my '60s imago. Instead I saw myself as a thinking person's rebel; an Individualist.
Of all anarchists I knew about, I most admired Emma Coldmani her gutsy confrontations with tho State; her taking issue with those In her own ranks who succumbed to narrowmindedness and conformity. Active in the gay movement, I, too, had no desire to indulge the puritanical sexism and homophobia of the Loft; and did not cowtow to agendas made up by steering committees comprised of "functionaries of tho revolution" representing "the people" or whatever buzzwords were in fascion.
While Emma Goldman was an emotional attraction, it was not until zipping through New England reading THE ANARCHISTS that I saw the various arguments clanging in my head (about the rights of the individual and tho repressive nature of the collective) so coherently and intellectually prosented. Up to then I was ill-prepared to defend my firebrand egoism--and when expressing such ideas, would sound like a cascade of falling silverware instead of a porson with a well thought-out philosophy.
The aspiring writer in me was overwhelmed by Mackay's eloguence. I rapturously looked at each word as a cat observes a mouse through a pane of glass. A work of "fiction," THE ANARCHISTS is the polemicist's answer to tho cultural snob's maligning of the "political novel." A more stunning advocacy of anarchism is still hard to flndl
THE ANARCHIST opens in 19th century London on a "wet, cold October evening" as "a man coming from the direction of Waterloo Station was wending his way to the railroad bridge of Charing Cross through labyrinthine, narrow, and almost deserted Btreots." The man is Carrard Auban: an individualist and freethinker—who detests the State, its privileges, its terrorism, its mere existence.
It is 1887—the year the British Empire is touting the jubilee of Queen Victoria, and the American Empire is flexing its muscles in Chicago with the impending execution of "the Haymarket Martyrs." Radicals in London, as elsewhere, gather to protest this indecent charade called "justice." As happens in every meeting where the various strains of the Left come together, there is much savoring the prospect of exploiting the tragedy, and much clucking over the proper function of the collective.
And then there is Auban, former revolutionist, deeply torn by his admiration of the Martyrs' courage, and disdain for their "folly" in refusing clemency:
My fate would have been theirs .... However, I was not happy. I do not believe that self-sacrifice can make us truly happy.—And I should not have liked to die so—I felt it again today. No, I want to battle and conquer without receiving a wound!
My background was working class, but an education has separated me from it, leading to a certain alienation from the poor. Yet, I identify with Auban's compassion for the downtrodden and their situation, and his opposition to those who would use them as fodder to further a political cause. Yet further, I also share his anger that many victims allow themselves to be blindly led and governed—and his hatred for a world never lacking for horrifying subservience to authority. Mackay, through Auban, plays the contrarian, the wet blanket smouldering the hot coals of leftist collective/state action, which he sees as one more source of working class oppression. His solution: the self-emancipation of the individual.
For it is this and nothing else that Anarchism wants: the removal of all artificial obstructions which past centuries have piled up between man and his liberty, between man and his intercourse with his fellow-man, always and everywhere in the forms of Communism, and always and everywhere on the basis of that colossal lie, designed by some in shrewd and yet so stupid self-infatuation, and accepted by others in equally stupid self-abasement: that the individual does not live for himself, but for mankind!
My visit to Boston ended with me getting to know someone much like myself, making me feel less strange and more assertive about my less-than-popular ideas: Carrard Auban.
I recently removed THE ANARCHISTS from its prominent place on my bookshelf: now my hair is clipped and my clothes are often seen as "conservative." It is now the reserved '80s. Reading Auban's tale after ten years' absence finds me struck by how much Ed Koch's late 20th Century New York has come to resemble Victoria's late 19th Century London. Like the former "World Metropolis," New York is two worlds at war with each other: the rich living in glitzy, garish areas—versus the poor living in stark, staggering poverty. The "Big Apple" has become a rotten haven for Yuppie invaders: baby-booming professionals pushing the poor out of their neighborhoods, out to the margins of the City—or out onto the street itself.
This strict class division reveals that, despite heroic efforts of liberal and radical reformers, government participation in the economy ends up benefitting a select few—real estate magnates like Donald Trump, and those who can afford to pay their rents. Hackay's call for economic emancipation still rings true: just walk the streets of New York as he walked the streets of London.
In my shaggi er hippie days, my only disagreement with Hackay's Auban was with his cynical view of the effectiveness of social morements in general, and those who dominate these movements in particular. After all, in less than a decade the gay movement of the '60s had made great strides in slaying bigotry and winning a rightful niche in society. The activists he described were my friends, people I respected.
Reacquainting myself with Auban has surprised me because the passage of time finds me closer to Mackay's critique of social movements—they are authoritarian. In other words, after years of rabble-rousing, gay freedom fighters, with an incremental element of success, became gay bureaucrats, and have thus sought to maintain their positions (in the Democratic Party) by silencing the "riffraff" in their own communities. Friends in the movement have told me how a gay man should act, have sex, and even vote; such is the zealous homage they expect paid to each insipid word that flies from their lips.
Don't misunderstand me. I believe social movements are
necessary—but necessary evils, repressive little clusters which make demands upon the State, resulting in some much-needed reforms. But, after being scorched by enough comrades (demanding loyalty oaths, marching orders, and ideological purity) I, like Auban, have quietly departed from movement agitation. And as if tiptoeing out of church during the middle of mass, I have left the pious to follow the leader. It is a decision I feel comfortable with, and one Auban would have liked; one I made on my own.
"Did you ever contribute anything to the happiness of Mankind?"
"Yes, I have myself been happy!"
Hence, I leave Mackay's Auban for a second time, feeling even closer to the character than the first visit, as if he were a hoary old uncle offering tidbits of advice I know to be right. (My political ideas have received a fine tuning.) Meanwhile, should you ever be faced with an overwhelming tendency to submit to organized—or unorganized—authority, read THE ANARCHISTS and discover that, like all bad habits, deference to authority CAN be overcome! It is like lighting a cigarette, thinking better of it, and leaving it to burn out on its own.
Deadly impulses . . . reduced to ashes.
John Henry Mackay als Mensch
by Friedrich Dobe Koblenz: Edition Plato, 1987 paperbound, 94 pp., DM 17.80
Several years before his death in 1908, independently wealthy scholar, initiated resembling Plato's "Symposium." Poetry discussions, and men who had young friends could bring them along. At first these were held in Friedlander's house, but with his failing health the men gathered elsewhere—a few times at Mackay's house— finally meeting in the rented room of a small tavern near Mackay's house. It was at one of those evenings that Friedrich Dobe met Mackay in April 1905. Mackay was forty-one years old; Dobe twenty years his junior. They became close friends, however, only in 1914, after Mackay revealed himself as Sagitta in response to a "fan letter" from Dobe. But they already had a common friend nearer Dobe' s age named Hartwig, a boy-lover who had read that April evening in 1905 a poem that was inspired by an unhappy love affair. Dobe had then become Hartwig's confidant and was later to share Mackay's confidence. He remained a close friend of both until Mackay, late in life, began withdrawing from his friends, and Hartwig in 1933, following Mackay's death and the Nazi assumption of power, emigrated to South America.
John Henry Mackay als Mensch (John Henry Mackay—the Man) was written in 1944. Only recently having come to light, the typewritten manuscript is now in the German State Library, Berlin (East Germany). It has been published by Edition Plato, Koblenz, in arrangement with the Mackay Gesellschaft; there is no mention of the fate of its author.
Based on his reading of Mackay's works and especially on his long personal acquaintance, Dobe presents a picture of Mackay's personality in fascinating detail. The book is in three parts: Mackay as poet, as anarchist and Stirner researcher, and--in by far the longest section— Mackay as Sagitta. A brief afterword by Kurt Zube, secretary of the Mackay Gesellschaft, shows that Dobe must be read cautiously in places, but the general impression is that Dobe's presentation is honest and sympathetic, and his memory excellent.
Although Dobe's memoir contains no startling revelations, there
is much that will be of interest to students of Mackay. Not everything can be reported here; I mention just a few items I found personally interesting:
1) Dobe answers the question of when Mackay became a German citizen: "around 1900." He says only that, after having decided to settle permanently in Berlin, Mackay thought it "practical" to become naturalized. In fact, Mackay had written in an open letter to Rudolf Steiner 1898: "It has been brought to my attention that I run the danger, in case of the international measure of internment of 'Anarchists,' of being expelled from Germany as a foreigner."
Benedict Friedlander, an a series of evenings was read, there were
2) Dobe notes that Mackay came into possession of the skull of Max Stirner in 1892, when he had a tombstone placed on his grave. He showed it to only a few people, however, presumably because he acquired it by bribing the mason. According to Dobe, the skull was later sold to Rolf Engert, who had published several pamphlets on Stirner.
3) We learn from Dobe that Mackay occasionally attended meetings of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, which was founded by Magnus Hirschfeld in 1897 with the goal of reforming the law against homosexual acts. Dobe was present at the meeting of the executive committee in 1907 when a resolution in opposition to Benedict Friedlaender was passed and it was Mackay who led the walkout in protest. The effort of Mackay's friends Friedlaender and Herbert Stegemann to organize a "Secession of the S.H.C." ended with the death of Friedlaender the following year.
4) During the trials of the Sagitta books on charges of obscenity in 1908-1909, Mackay kept his identity as their author secret. Dobe explains that he was able to do this despite several house searches by the police, since, although the Sagitta material was in his house, it was kept in a room with an entrance separate from the apartment in which he lived. Mackay was probably suspected because the publisher of the Sagitta books was also the publisher of the series of pamphlets he brought out on individualist anarchism; and such a discovery would, no doubt, have delighted the police!
5) Mackay's autobiographical novel Fannv Skaller tells of his early struggles against his sexual orientation. He told Dobe later: "Because of them I had to miss out on a lot of love in ray younger years—I'm catching up on that now!" And Dobe quotes from several letters of Mackay to Hartwig in which he talks about his love for "Atti," whom he met during the boy's Easter holiday from school in 1916. Mackay was then fifty-two years old.
6) Finally may be mentioned an example that shows how conseguent in his anarchist philosophy Mackay was: The first president of the Weimar Republic, Friedrich Ebert, offered Mackay a "state's gift" of 100,000 marks. Mackay showed Dobe his reply, in which he rejected any gift from the State, an institution he regarded as his greatest enemy.
Dobe's memoir is a welcome addition to the scarce information available on Mackay—a scarcity due in part, it must be said, to Mackay himself, who insisted that all his personal papers be destroyed on his death. We now have a closer view of the "human" side of John Henry Mackay, who, in his self-described (in English!) "splendid isolation," led a remarkable life indeed.
John Henry Mackay's novel Per Schwimmer first appeared in the prestigious S. Fischer press in Berlin in 1901. Though never at any time a best-seller, it has been one of Mackay's most consistently admired books. It was republished in its entirety in 1982 (Berlin: Foerster), as well as in part in 1980 (Wiebaden: Steiner) . Unfortunately, no translation of the entire novel has yet appeared in English, or in any other language.
Per Schwimmer is a remarkably original work—and in more ways than one. It was original, first, in its subject matter; for it appears to be the earliest example of a sports novel written in German. How engaging and exciting this story is of the young swimmer Franz Felder—from his first falling accidentally into the waters of the River Spree until he becomes world-champion. The milieu and some of the scenes described provide valuable documentation for the early history of swimming clubs in Germany. Mackay himself was a passionate swimmer (he dedicated the work to his "beloved art—of swimming"), though he never joined a club or entered a competition.
Per Schwimmer goes far beyond most sports novels, however, for it also adds an important social dimension. Franz Felder is a working-class lad from the East End of Berlin who, on account of his enormous talent as a swimmer, is recruited, at little expense to himself, into the city's most renowned swimming club. All is sweetness and harmony in his life until, having won every national and international competition to be won, he loses his self-effacing modesty and begins to assart himself in his club. Censured for his egoism, Franz resigns his membership, then competes (still successfully) as an unattached swimmer. He had for so long lived only for his club, however, that he cannot now survive without its approval. His old team-mates refuse to accept him again, however, and Franz, in despair, cuts his arteries and enters the waters of a lake, to disappear in its depths forever. Through this novel, then, Mackay the individualist-anarchist makes observations on the complex and often hostile relationship between the individual and groups or society. Per Schwimmer is that work of Mackay's which most successfully combines esthetic appeal with social ideas.
The Swimmer The History of a Passion Part I
When did he learn to swim, did you ask?—You might just as well have asked him how and when he learned to walk.
He no longer knew when he had entered the water for the first time; but his earliest childhood memories were linked with water, which was his element and in which he was buoyed up as he walked on earth.
He was a born swimmer.
Franz Felder was his name and he was the son of very respectable and very poor parents in the east-end of Berlin, the fifth of eight children. They were all robust fellows, with dark hair and clear eyes, and both parents had their hands full from morning to night filling their hungry mouths, at least one of which was always gaping open for a slice of bread and butter. They did this unstintingly and with a good will, and no one needed to go hungry. Yet they also considered that to be the limit of their parental responsibilities, and as soon as possible the children were left to fend for themselves and had to help each other through life, for better or ill, as best they could.
The oldest boy was just finishing his apprenticeship when little Franz was born, and after him came another three, who were then entrusted to Franz's care as soon as he could stand on his own two feet—just as he earlier had been entrusted to the brother older than bin. Good fellowship always prevailed among them, though with few words spoken and with no show of tenderness. In the main, it nanifested itself in sound thrashings as much as in solidarity and support in all the hardships, great and small, of their altogether arduous, but not unhappy youth.
He had never actually "learned" to swim; at least, he could swim for as long as he could remember, which meant from about his fourth year onward. It happened when they were on an excursion to the country. During a boat trip, which was the high-point of the day, he fell into the water. The women shrieked and the men cursed while he was hauled out; but he found it all most entertaining and laughed delightedly, so that someone said: "Watch out, or he'll jump right back in again, just for the fun of it ... ," which caused his terrified mother to keep Franz by her side for the rest of that day at least.
Yet that was one of those incidents which seem so deeply inprinted on our memories only because other people keep telling the story, so reinforcing and keeping it alive.
In fact, Franz's first memory was of himself as a little boy of five on endlessly long warm Burnser afternoons on the banks of the
Spree near Treptov. At that period, his parents occupied two airless little rooms looking onto a back courtyard in the Fruchtstrasse, but to the exultation of the whole family his father had managed to rent for the summer one of those many allotment gardens, commonly known as "bowers," in a field by the Treptow railway station. So they now had a tiny plot of land on which to grow cabbages and to which they could troop out with a proud feeling of ownership.
His father, and one or another of the older boys who were already working, would not come out until evening; but his mother, who was in poor health, would often spend entire days with the youngest children on the dreary spot, where she was at least in the fresh air.
As often as he possibly could, Franz would make his escape. At first his mother reproached and scolded him, but then she let him run, since it did no good trying to hold him back anyway.
He was especially drawn to a large lumber-yard by the Spree. Ever since he had fetched a bottle of pale-ale for the foreman when he happened to be hanging around the place, he was allowed to enter as he pleased in return for the performance of the same or similar errands, and he was free to climb around among the boards and tree-trunks to his heart's content.
So the lumber-yard became home for that summer. He would never tire of building little boats of wood shavings, loading them with a cargo of a button or some such thing, and entrusting them to the great river, to see it carry them off and swallow them up. Or he would excavate canals and bays and let the water in, to splash and mess around in it until evening put an end to all his games for that day.
It was always a special cause for celebration when he was taken along for a short trip in one of the real, full-size boats which had come over from the other side and tied up, or when he was allowed to manage an oar for himself.
Yet most of all it was the water itself which attracted him; and on hot summer days he would throw off his shirt and trousers at least six times, leave them lying on the sand, and plunge into the tepid, 6low-moving, brown flood. Already he could swim like a fish. He would dive to the bottom and bring up stones from the mud. Or he would glide through the water under the log rafts, disappearing here and reappearing there. And he learned his first dive, the simple front dive.
First from the edge of the raft, then from the skiff and finally from the big Spree barge, he would plump—head first and legs outspread—like a frog onto the water.
Ah, and how delightful it was to throw his wet body into the hot sawdust, to roll around in it, front and back, and then with one dive to wash the white fleece off again! . . . And to lie for hours on end in the sun, watching the barges and steamers with merry-makers in holiday attire passing on the Spree, while the red walls of the factories and the white walls of the villas stood out bright against the green of the banks in the clear summer day, and the blue sky extended its vault over everything, and the suburban trains thundered over the nearby railway bridge, and under the bridge the steamers blew their whistles and rang their bells . . .
Those were the hours for which he lived, of which he never ceased to think during the day and of which he dreamed at night—his greatest happiness and his incomparable delight.
It went without saying that in the summer he had to go bathing at least once a day, and the day was wasted on which he could not manage. Yet he did not bathe as other people did: out of their clothes and into the water and back into their clothes again. Ho: in and out he went, and into the sun, and into the water again and again, and preferably all afternoon spent like that. And swimming and diving and ducking under and frolicking in the water like a seal—that is what he called bathing. When he was a little fellow, people could still dive stark naked into the water anywhere along the Spree, provided they took care that there was no policeman in the vicinity. But as he grew older it was no longer 60 easy to bathe outside a swimming pool and without trunks.
Just outside the Silesian Gate an extensive section of the Spree and its adjoining bank was partitioned off by a high fence. Inside, a walkway and benches ran along all four sides, and above the benches nails were driven in for hanging up clothes. Besides this, there was a rickety springboard on a kind of diving tower, from which, once you had placed your foot on it, you were required to dive "Under Penalty of Law," and in the water there floated a crosslike structure of beams for the diversion of the bathers.
This was the great "Eastern," the biggest swimming and bathing establishment in Berlin. Its beams and boards were black and rotten with age, and its nails were rusty. Hever was a new nail driven in, for that would have cost money and effort. Everything was run-down, but at least there was unlimited space here, and on any hot summer day the walkways were crammed full of hundreds of naked, sweating bodies. And there was no end to the noise both in and out of the water, whether it was afternoon and the bare-foot youngsters of east Berlin had taken it over, or evening and it was occupied by workers, black from their day's toil. The pool cost ten pfennigs, and you could bathe there all summer long for three marks. But what attracted Franz Felder most was that people were never, or scarcely ever, thrown out, even when they had vastly exceeded the officially prescribed bathing period of one hour. Given the enormous crowd of bathers, it was quite impossible for the lifeguards to exercise any control, and it was all the same to them whether the bodies, in the water or out of it, bumped and shoved one another, and whether clothes and boots were thrown around in total confusion. As long as people did not fight and no one was drowning and had to be hauled out of the water, not one lifeguard stirred from his spot.
Franz decided to transfer his summer activities to this place, and for that purpose he needed the three marks. That was a great deal of money all at once, but it did not seem altogether impossible for him to save it up on his own without his mother noticing; for she, of course, would have said that is was enough to go swimming once a week—that was all she understood of such matters!—and would have taken the money from him. In March he began to save, pfennig by pfennig, and he had a wonderful hiding place in an old stocking in a corner of the attic where no one went, since no one else in the house was supple enough to squirm his way through between beams, planks and old junk. But in May his father fell ill, and one evening Franz, full of noble-mindedness, though not without a certain bitterness, crept to his treasure and took it to the pharmacy.
Tt was a qreat summer for the young fellow. The workers in the v*rd who hardly ever went into the water, and then only when the heat was excessive, marvel led at him as if he were some fabulous little ania^T calling him their "otter" when to the delight of them all he would suddenly lie back in the water and display his first little
Bv the fall of that year, he was as brown as a gypsy, in glowing health and always as hungry as a shark, and he was beginning to feel quite proud of his early accomplishments.
When he was six he entered school like any other Berlin boy, and he was to remain there until he was fourteen, the year of confirmation. During these years, he learned writing, arithmetic and readinq and some odds and ends of general knowledge—which is to say, he learned only the rudiments. His writing never lost its childish awkwardness, and it plainly showed what an effort it was for him to handle a pen; his arithmetic was just sufficient to enable him to calculate his scanty expenses and earnings; and his reading—ah, in his short life Franz Felder scarcely ever read more than an occasional "Local Advertiser" or a placard on an advertisement column, for it remained an eternal mystery to him what books were good for other than to while away an excess of time.
With great effort, he managed to work his way through the eight grades of school. Twice he was held back, and three times his "good behaviour" helped him through. Even the good pupils could go no further than grade eight, however, for they all had to remain in the same school until their fourteenth year. Then life began in earnest: and life meant work.
Franz was by no stretch of the imagination a good student, but he was not exactly a bad one either. There were much stupider than Franz. The little that he had to grasp, he did grasp, though with difficulty; and there were some things that he did not understand at all. Yet what he had once absorbed, became a part of him.
In general, he remained totally indifferent to school, going simply because he had to.
His time was not taken up by school alone, however, but also by the necessity of earning money at an early age, and the older he became the more this was so.
To be sure, that first carefree and boisterous summer was followed by others no less glorious, but more and more frequently he was to hear: "You must do this" or "You must run and get that"—and every such command ruled out the realization of some wish. Every pfennig that could be earned was of the utmost importance, and furthermore his younger brothers required supervision and attention, just as he had previously enjoyed the same benefits from his older brothers.
Nevertheless, there were still many hours of unqualified enjoyment for the boy when he managed to get out into the fresh air to go swimming.
How he would have to start all over again, and start again he did; in the mornings he delivered rolls before going to school, and in the afternoons he would hang around the Silesia Railway Station to carry an occasional piece of luggage for passengers. And so, by the time June arrived with its glorious and long-anticipated summer sunshine following a cold spring, he was in the water again swimming in grand style. These summer afternoons were still his own—in these and in the following years—as long as he was in school. He let nothing encroach on them. After his midday meal he would sally forth and not return again until evening, regardless of what might be said at home. Between these four walls of black and ugly boards, shutting out everything except the sky, he spent the long hours of innumerable afternoons. Here was his own private world. Here he learned his first proper dives, and here through ceaseless practice he developed in his little body that strength which was later to make his victories
Until the time of his confirmation he managed to save up his three marks every summer, and these summers passed for him almost like one long warm sunny day spent—swimming.
Yet even the winters of these early childhood years were not altogether comfortless. After long delays, the city of Berlin had constructed in the east-end a great red building: public baths, equipped in exemplary fashion and, in addition to tub-baths and showers, possessing as their focal point a large indoor pool, which was open both summer and winter and made swimming possible all year round.
This was the second municipal establishment for swimming. Until this juncture, only two or three private institutions had managed to maintain indoor pools in Berlin, and that with difficulty, since scarcely anyone had even the slightest notion of being able to "swim in winter," so that the existence of such pools was simply unknown and incomprehensible to most people.
These private establishments had been out of the question for Franz Felder, for one thing because they were too far from his home, and for another because bathing in them was prohibitively expensive. So the new municipal establishment was, as it were, built to order for him, and even though he passed by the fancy building with contempt in summer on his way to the big wooden box on the Spree, his undivided attention was turned to it at the end of the season. Then, until the following summer, the "Eastern" would close its doors behind him as the last bather, and the old lifeguard would finally throw him out for good, saying, half grumbling and half in jest: "Well, . . . you made more out of us than we did out of you for sure!"
Franz managed to obtain entry to this new goal of his desires, too. There could be no thought of a season-ticket for the whole winter, of course. This cost an unobtainable sum, which he could neither have saved up nor would have dared to use for the purpose even if he had had time for swimming daily in winter. Even individual sessions were expensive. Yet they were nevertheless within his means from time to time, and furthermore the younger pupils in the parish school were taken there by their teachers once or twice a week, on which occasions Franz received a first inkling of the purpose and usefulness of school. These free swims reconciled him with many another boring and tedious hour.
munnaad to spoil these tree swims for him in The only thing that jnanag- cribod tlmo which tho children
winter was the •hor*n"% h_ DOOl. Even though his teacher, himself a were allowed to sp«nd in tne^ ^ hU boys turned B blind eye when
keen swimmer and a Kinu f>w t,xtra moments in his beloved water
Franz managed to capcur ^ ^^ hlm8olf into his clothes, it
through the speed witn w BCarcoly had time to duck under once.
always seemed to him •» ^ reserved for this kind of idiotic
in the depths ot: ni« nmm whlch hQ wQuld GXproBS wlth. „lt,B
swimming the profound*at coi» ho nelthor could nor would havo
nothing but a waste of time. ^^ tQ hlm so fleotl fof
missed even these Bom.nts.tnougn y visiting this wonderful warm
ho had f«w«-'rt or alI that was generous and fine, and of employing
hall, the •Pit°n*oCa11 „ long asy possible in it. Harder and harder all his cunning to ap.nd as i g v ^^ ^ ^ wqq e pfennlg
that°he Mi/S ^Jt^^li^^W ^
b t r e e t ° a t* °C h rT^tmas, and ^>y SJSnffy keeping an eye open for any other chance of making money.
At an early age his young life became hard and difficult. Yet he
* .mhlinv for ho could after all swim—swim summer and winter, was not unhappy, for ho couio a totally deprived of
Si.0?" »o\» pleasure? But^one thought ol doing that, .or no one understood how it could give him such immense joy.
In this way, Franz reached his fourteenth year.
from THK ANARCHISTS (1891)
/ 2 ///
13 LOVE POEMS
by john iiknky mackay Introduced and t rans 1 uted by Krlc Thorndale
| I wuu nil uf seventeen; lie, nearly I
A chapter heading In brackets. The words oru not from John Henry Mackay's writing- 1 have thruHt them, editorially, Into my translation of the (ollowing staves, which . . .
"Which wan a ruthlessly uel f thlnklriK thing to do," says the Peoples' Klected Pootrlclun; "the Public knows that seventeen-year-olds are too old to have sexual leellngs. There are, ol course, count les*i cases of extreme and unrelenting satyriasis In boys of seven. Not aevunteen, but seven. However, to resolve ull doubts upon this subject, we have taken, for protection of the Public, a moderate or middle roud, and have accordingly ask'd all twelve year-olds to vote democratically upon this matter - how else Is truth dutermln'd? - und when the electorul results are analysed, It biicomcs evident, by a vote of 51Z of thoia who have voted, that the writer must huvu been relerrlng to a time when he was already - .is the more verbal ol these twelve-year-olds have said - an old man of sixteen. True, he may have been writing 111 the era of Pjjj-Progress 1 ve Poetics, when poets atrociously presumed, on their own, to take certain licenses which nowdays can be Issued only through democratlea 11y-autlior1 zed channels.
"Which Jiuve, by the way, voted to allow the llcei.se you have presumptiously taken with lour words:
grUssten (It seems that your expanded translation Is In accord with the usuge of high school students In Germany In the IHHOs; It seems that many students did gruet each other by cl Inching fc hugging -no doubt for reasons of colluctlve solidarity);
kannten (It seems that your expunded translation Is In accord with
turn-of-thc-contury code-language ol the (Jurman llomoscule subculture) ;
1 labten (It seems that this word can cover so many shades of me.mlriK
that we have reluctantly nllow'd you to Judge from the context);
s trail ten (It seems that tills word did, according to the larger 19th
century dictionaries, mean, among other things, 'make Inroads').
"Wo warn you, howover, that hencelorth we may not be so lenient. After all, everything In the cosmos, even Mackay and Ills translalors, musl be subordinate to the collective consciousness, which Is fully prepared lor the unthinkable ..."
Highlights from John Henry Mackay's FORGOTTEN SEVER
■lurch ernes ZufalLs sinnloses Wallen
Wie wir nns irafcu lief irn Gewuhle Urmcnder Menschen
sprachlos, Itelrolfen, ploUlich iu Hndcn wis durcb ein Lehen wir uns ersehnlen) —:
GniUlen und kannlen,
liebten wir uns!
it was by a mad stroke of chance,
the way I met him, headlong amid the shoving crowds
(I, speechless, wonderstruck at finding, out of nowhere, this match to my life's longing) ( I was all of seventeen he, nearly ]: we clinch'd, greeting in
armfuls; fathoming each other by sharp-set body senses; and love-lit - lusted;
and amid the
our hands made inroads our breathing made inroads upon each other;
words were needless, worthless, in the reeling rush , the steaming high
of that star-high hour;
Und im Gewuhle
Urmcnder Menschen Ureiften die Handc. strata der Aihem Ernes den Anderen.
Aber tm Taumel seligster Stunde waren ujii Worte
wertlilos und SnnlicK.
Sichcr des Gluckes, iicher einander wahnlen wir Beide nua uns lerbunden fur alle Zultunfl
misgivings: none; it was clear that we were link'd at least for lifehold.
How I found him - it was by mad chance again, how I
lost him: amid the crowds
Wie wir uns fanden lieflen wir wieder uns im Gewuhlf
Niehl Deinen Namen, >ieht Deine Heimath. Nirbl Deine WohnsUlt WeiB ich - -
ich weifl nur. Oat) ich Dich suchen mtifl, Im ich Dicb finds!
with not a clew to
follow, not his name, his home, nor his town's name
of this I know only that I roust seek
until 1 find him;
for since that day
my life is a fill of longing, seeking . . .
1 can choose no way
but to wander down and up streets and towns to find that one among millions.
( the opening words are:
F.INUAL e»ehn nur Seen but once,
und menial) »crr,e»e«i. forgotten never. J
A hhmmff of progressive authorities:
"isn't that like the blasted ego—anarchist - caring about one instead of the Public, and the lack of coherence; as though we weren't all one."
"he obviously has had no johndewey training, much less any johnwi11iamburgess/woodrowvilson/bfskinner training."
"he hasn't learned to adjust to the group."
"not the slightest concern for Social Welfare."
"sounds like a typical fourteen year old with too much male hormone."
"and with so many millions of others who, by Need, are Entitled to Equal
affection, he doesn't even say why it had to be that particular one."
it 1 ii. 1 *
"that one among millions".
seil dem T»Re nur noth mein Lelwn Suchen und Sehnsuchl! . . .
Slnflen und Stidte
wjndrrc ich w.ihllos aufwarts und nirdfr: Unlcr Millionen
Kincn in linden!
THF DOOR I
The door - It's this one. Forth he stepp'd that evening;
out through this door here,
and no one else's - when, so many times he'd ask for one more kiss,
his arms swlft-clasplng me yet one more time,
his mouth still smiling as he'd say: "Until tomorrow
and no one else's - when, so many times,
a little wistful but still flying high,
high from his heated loving,
I'd step hack in, back to my quiet work,
and smiling to myself I'd say: "Until
tomorrow? How short a time - and yet how long."
The door - It's this one. Forth he stepped.
The door - it's this one. Forth he stepp'd,
and after It shut soundlessly behind him, I saw and heard of him no more.
I didn't look for him - the clews were scant. I didn't weep - I don't know how to weep for him. I lived on, since I had to, and waited day by day.
1 waited. As I'm waiting still.
For when the next day didn't bring him back, a third day came and went, and then 1 knew:
it happen'd as It had to happen; no sickness bound him to his bed, no death-fetch stole him to a far-off land -his own world held him fast, its depths had swallow'd him again
the days' deep dregs which had thrown him up no me his homesickness for the grime of the gutter . . .
and knowing this, I live and wait for him, for homesickness will bring him back,
The door - It's this one. Forth he stepp'd;
through this same door lie shall come hack again.
IHJIICII diesc Thllr hisi Du hinnu<i;ei;;ini;cn An jenem Ahend —
lucr durcli ilicie Tliiir.
Und Anders nichl, als ticle Mali- ichnn, Mill Du die Li|i|icn mir cum KuD fjcliolen, Mil mich Di-uv Arm noch cinmnl tchncll umfanRen, I'nd Ittchellc Drin Mund und ljirodi: „Allf Morfjen!"
Und Aitdert nichl, oil tide Male schon,
Ein wenii; iraunp, alicr iloeh lieielif.l
In Deiner Lielie, dieier ivarmen Lei2,
Ginfr ieh (unick an mcinc slille \rlteil
Und Mgle Uchelnd iu mir scllisl: „Auf \lur|;en<
Wic bald ichon — ach, und wie io lanp.e noch!" . . .
Durch dieie TliUr List Du hinausijeganfien.
Dureh diesc ThUr liisl Dii hin»ui|;eR«nf;en, Und leil tie hinler Dir »ich laulloi schlol). Sah ieh und hdrte ich Niclils inehr von Dir.
Icli suclilo me lit — wo tnlllc ich Dich suchenf Ich weinle nicht — ich kanu um Dicli nichl weineu. Ich lelile, wcil ich wcilerlelicn niullle. Und wartele, win einem Tap ium nnilern.
Ich wnrlele, Wie icli Ins heule warle.
Denn uli drr nlicliMe Tap, Dicli mir nichl hrachlc, Kin andcrer kam und nhne Dicli termini;, Da wuflle ich:
Jeltl koin, >vni knmmen muftle! Nichl lial Dicli Krnnkhcil an Dem Hell ijefrssell, Kein Tod fieraulil Dich in ein fernei l^anil — Du niiif,sl dnrthui, »nn wn Du iu inir kainsl: Dein \lip,nind hal Dirh winder cm|;eifhlun^en, Der Schlarnm iler Tnp.c, der Dich iu inir huh, Die llcimalhsehniuchl narh drin Schmuli der Gone . . .
Und darum lebe ich und worte Deiner —' Denn lleimalhsehnsucht wird lurllrk Dich Ireihen
Durch diese ThUr lull Du l|i(ii|iii;«f]inflfln -Durch dieje llillro vviril Du wieilorkehren!
Through this same door he shall come back again. One day in early fall.
Early Che evenshine, Che seeding shadows. The redden'd wild vine crails here ac Che window. The brighc air is sofc and warm. 1 look out. soundlessly.
1 an alone.
As always, since he lefc, I am alone.
And Chen: che shrill ringing cf Che bell, a quick jolc. I hear words. Foocsceps. His foocsceps.
The door opens - and, shyly, he walks in.
His look: a licde paler Chan before.
Some mud from che lanes is clinging Co his feeC.
From his cloches: Che sceam of lusc3 and need reeks forch
he's scill che same. Ic's he.
He's one of chose who never age; chey
go chrough life and noching couches chem;
from each one's brow a love-spell ever shines;
cheir never-failing gifc is chis:
cheir look is brazen, shameless,
yec - wich a smile, beguiling everyone;
Cheir words are homely, roughcasc, earchy
an always-healchy sound - and son-like.
And Cherefor, happy scamp, chy loC is Chis: whoever lov'd chee once shall love chee ever; whoever loved chee noc - scill shan'c forgec Chee.
Here Chen Chou walkesc in by yonder door,
and scandsc, and lingeresc - screcch forch Chy
The door - ic's chis one. Forch he sCepp'd.
Through Chis same door he shall come back agair,.
One day in early fall.
Durch Hiese Tltliro wirsi Du wirHerkeliren.
An eineni Tag im llrrhstc wird ej tein. Fruh senken sich ties ALenils Schallen nieder, Rolh hangt Her wilde Wein herein turn Fensler, Doch weich und warm ist noch Hie hello l.ufi. Ich hlickc still hinaus.
Ich liin allcin. Dcnn innner, seil Du gingsl, hin ich allein.
Da schrcckl mich auf der schrille Klang der Glocke. Ich horc Worte, Schnllc — Deine Schrille! —, Die Thur gehl auf — und Du trillst seheu herein ...
Nocli blusscr isl Dein AnlliU, als es war, An Deinen FliBen klebl der Scbniuli der Gasse, Aui Deinen Kleidern Hampfcn Moth und Lasler — Und dennoch hist <?s unieriindert — Du!
Gehorsl Du niuhl iu Jenen, die nie allemf
Sic /ichcn durch das Lclien unlieriihrt — Von ihrer Slirne Icuchlei c wigcr Lielircu. Und memals schwindel. was ihr Erblheil isl Isl frech und schamlos audi ihr Blick ceworden, So wird *oin Licheln Jeden noch heihnron: Und sind geniein die Worle ihres Mundes — Ihr Kiting wird imincr rein und kindlich scin . . .
Weil Kincr Du ion diescn Seligcn hill,
l.irhl cwig Dicli, wer einmal Dicli gelichl . . .
I nd wrr Dicli nichl geiiehl, vergifll Dirh nie' —
So — Irillsl Du dorl tu jener Thur herein I nd Mchsl und laudersl — slrecke nur Hie Hand
Durch dicsr Thur liisl Du liinausgegangen — Durch diese Tliure wirsi Du wioderkchrcn'
An ninem Tag ini llerhsle wird r< <ein.
Love - Four Insights
"His Only Answer" was written perhaps between 1906 and 1909. It may be a foretoken of the romantic twenty-two year-old Hermann Graff in Mackay's novel THE HUSTLER -not the Hermann at whose droll sentimentality we smile and chuckle through more than two-thirds of the book, but the being of inner strength he later becomes. This short poem rings with the triumphant selfdom that gives meaning to the words "I love":
HIS ONLY ANSWER
And when they ask'd him:
If he'd own to being guilty of his "sinful" love -
EUSZIGli ANTWORT UND aJs «e thn fragten:
Ob er iich jcbuJdii; liekonne seiner iiindigen Liebe —
Da Mgte win Sehweigen. setn Schweigen nur:
Then said he ( proudly ] naught; only his wordless hush spoke:
(Jod ila Me terdimml ibn tu Tod und zu Kerker, ru jlUndlieher Qual und mr ewigen Sehande —
Da jagte Jem Lachdn
nur wieder und wieder:
leh liehle ihn — ja!
And when they damn'd him
unto death and to a jail
and lasting grief ( they hoped ]
and scorn unending
Then spoke [ in scorn of them, and in his pride his smile only, again, again:
I loved him - yes!
The next insight, more biting and worldly-wise, shows that the words "I love him" (or her) are reft of meaning when he (or she) feels nothing, cares nothing, gives nothing, and has therefor earn'd - nothing:
MIT WELCHEM WORT NOCH ? . . .
\m MAYS T
Mrr welchem Wort der Liebe soil ich noch
Dich rufen, der Du keine Anlvrort giebst? Mil vrelehem Wort nochf . . .
1st tor Dir ja Jocb Ein« wie alle, weil — Du mich nicht liebsL
Vergeblich alle! . . .
Sinnloj — ungehort tind sie verschv\enden»cli dabingcslreut: Keinj hat geruhrt Dich. keins Dich auFgeslon. gelroffen keim Dich, keines Dich rrfreul!
WITH YF.T WHAT WORD?
(anent Hans T.)
With yet what word of love am I to call him, what word of love to which he answers not?
With yet what word?
To him, yes, after all, one word's like all,
so much he loves me - not.
In vain all
reft of ireaning - all unheard are they [my words), all wasted, strewn about;
not one had stirr'd him, roused him, not a one, nor caught his eye,
nor gladden'd him, not one!
D«r Uebe ungeuhlle: alle, um
Dich iu erwSrmen, nahm ieb, schrie sie leer — jfUl »lehe >or Dir icli, verarml und slumm,
unil rufe Dich mil keincin — keinem mehr!
Of love unstinted, all (my words of love, yes, all] I took to warm him,
cried them empty -before him now I stand, bereft and mum; with nothing, nothing, nothing more I call him.
As for the third insight, it is understood by those who choose to understand it: HATH REDE
DU ktnnst dis scbvrindende Liebe nur hallen,
sie nur enetten vor dem Erkilten, Wenn Du lur Freund»ch«ft sie werden laBL
Doch Frtundschaft, aus Liebe geborrn, ball fwl!
When love begins to wane, you can hold on to it
keep it from going cold -only if you let it become friendship.
After all, friendship born of love is steadfast.
The fourth insight - likely the earliest of the four - was written perhaps in 1880 or '81. It makes clear that the hope of love fulfill'd is not a burden, but rather: the more intense, the more joyous and beguiling - so much so that one may well ask love's leave to drink of it, unslaked, until one drowns in it:
Durfta mln» Lippon pr»aa»n Elnaal loh auT d«ln»n Itmd, KlX»n Sohan wtfrd loh r»rg«B«en, Alle ffonna rard' m±r iimdl
Dfirft1 Ln deLaen Am lch slnton Und geliebt von dir ad.ah ««hat VuErd* 3ellgk»lt leh trlnken, Trlnkan — und dAim untargehnJ
HAD I THY LEAVE . . .
Had I thy leave, but once, to set
my lips upon thy mouth, I vow: every grief I should forget, every joy I then should know!
Had I thy leave in thine arms to sink
and see myself belov'd of thee of utter bliss I then should drink, and drink —
and drown, full happily!
Compiled by Hubert Kennedy
WORKS BY JOHN HENRY MACKAY IN ENCLISH
[Letter to Benj. R. Tucker, 19 January 1891, announcing completion of Die Anarchlsten.1 Liberty, Whole number 178 (21 February 1891): 3.
The Anarchists. A picture of civilization at the close of the nineteenth century. Translated by George Schumm. Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, 1891.
"The Anarchists" [comments on the reception of his book). Liberty, 0281 (24 Feb 1894): 11-12.
[Letter to Benj. R. Tucker, 6 December 1897, announcing completion of his biography of Stirner.) Liberty. #357 (December 1897): 8.
[Letter to Rudolf Steiner, 15 September 1898, regarding 'propaganda by deed'.) Liberty, # 358 (November 1898): 4.
The Freedomseeker. The Psychology of a Development. Translated by Charles and Nora Alexander. Freiburg/Br.: Mackay-Cesellschaft, 1983. Originally published as Der Frelheltsucher. Psychologle elner Entuicklung, Bei lin-Charlottenburg, 1920.
The Huscler. Translated by Hubert Kennedy. Boston: Alyson, 1985. Originally published as Per Puppenjunge, Berlin, 1926.
WORKS ABOUT JOHN HENRY MACKAY IN ENCLISH
Anon. Review of Der Schwimmer (1901). Literature 9 (1901): 320.
Barnouw, Dagmar. Review of John Henry Mackay. Ein Auswahl aus selnem Werk (1980). The German Quarterly 54 (1891): 518-519.
Kennedy, Hubert. "John Henry Mackay, anarchist of love." Alternate (San Francisco), #18 (March 1981): 27-31.
Kennedy, Hubert. Review of Die Buecher der namenlosen Liebe von Sagitta. Gay Books Bulletin, #6 (Fall 1981): 12-14.
Kennedy, Hubert. Anarchist of Love: The secret life of John Henry Mackay. New York: Mackay Society, 1983. 24 pp.
Momin, Edward. "Taking games seriously: Observations on the Cerman sports-novel." The Germanic Review 51 (1976): 278-295.
Mornin, Edward. Review of John Henry Mackay. Ein Auswahl aus seinem Werk (1980). Colloquia Germanica 14 (1981): 283-284.
Mornin. Edward. "From propaganda to literature: Remarks on the writings of John Henry Mackay." Seminar; a journal of Germanic studies 18 (1982): 184-195.
Reuter, Gabriele. "John Henry Mackay." Appendix to The Anarchists by John Henry
Mackay. Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, 1891. Pp. 295-305. Translated by George Schumm. Originally published in German, 1891.
Riley. Thomas A. "New England anarchism in Germany." New England Quarterly 18 (1945)-25-38.
Riley. Thomas A. "Anti-Statism in German literature, as exemplified by the work of John Henry Mackay." PMLA 62 (1947): 828-843. An abbreviated version was translated into French by E. Armand, 1950.
Riley, Thomas A. Germany's Poet-Anarchist John Henry Mackay. New York: The Revisionist Press, 1972.
Ritchie, J. M. "John Henry Mt.ckay's London." New German Studies 8 (1980): 203-219.
Schumm, Emma Heller. Review of Menschen der Ehe (1892). Liberty, <255 (21 Jan 1893):2-3.
Schumm, George. Review of Sturm (1888). Liberty, 0154 (25 Jan 1890): 4-5.
Solneman, K. H. Z. John Henry Mackay - The Unique. Freiburg/Br.: Mackay-Cesellschaft, 1978. 16 pp. Originally published in German, 1975.
Sullivan, Mark A. "The life and ideas of John Henry Mackay. Part One: Sagitta." The Storm! 06 (Winter 1978): 8-11.
In addition to the above, Mackay has been written about and translated in ot'<er issues of The Storm!; #6, poems translated by Eric Thorndale, most notably. Mackay also appears (or is commented upon) in several other issues of Liberty, notably: #178:3, i'197: 1, 0216:1 (the poem "Anarchy"), 0217:1 (the poem "The Poetry oi the Future"), ''218:1 (the poem "World-Citizenship"), 0233:3, #236:2-3, 281:11 (the poem "To Max Stir-ner..."), 360:3-5, 395:52. Several of the poems were translated by Harry Lyman Koop-man. Wendy McElroy's Index to Liberty, published by Michael E. Coughlin, 1985 Selby Ave., St. Paul, should be consulted for further information. Coughlin also sells the Liberty microfiche produced by John Zube in Australia. As this is being prepared, and by the time it goes to press, it is possible that more material by or about Mackay will be published in English. In any case, we do not claim that this bibliography is complete, but that what is most important has been Included.
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17 contemporary authors examine the legacy of Tucker and the individualist anarchist sovenent launched by his Journal LIBERTY In 1881. (224 pgs; qpb $8.oo; he $15.oo)
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1 * *
A Tale With A Spell
This next tale of Mackay's is meant to be understood as having been written in three parts, each on a separate day. The first part may be in early summer; the next in later summer (these are only guesses); the third does seem to be most likely in early fall. At some point it becomes clear that a spell is at work, although not an uncanny one. A true spell cannot be of the "supernatural", as the latter does not and cannot exist. For readers who delight in a true - a natural - spell, wrought with stark grace, here is Mackay's tale of . . .
2 t, 3*
3 Mackay's word - l.ascer - means "criminal vice; criminal lusc." 'rthecher he's being sardonic (abouC Che hypocrisy of scacuces) is moot.