Politics in Minutes (2016)

Anarchist revolution

Anarchism is often associated with violent subversion – the image of a masked man with a smoking bomb remains a popular caricature. During the late 19th century a significant development occurred with the emergence of a doctrine known as ‘propaganda of the deed’, following the views of Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta. This led to a period of violent actions, beginning with rural insurrections intended to rouse the masses and leading to individual acts of terrorism.

Between the 1880s and 1914, individual anarchists assassinated several heads of state, including King Umberto I of Italy, French president Sadi Carnot, American president William McKinley, Spanish prime minister Antonio Canovas del Castillo, King Carlos I of Portugal and George I of Greece. By the late 1880s, key anarchists, including Peter Kropotkin, were distancing themselves from these acts. Emma Goldman (pictured) also revised her position, and by 1914 most anarchists had abandoned support for propaganda of the deed.