About Us

The Alexander Berkman Social Club is a group of anarchists who want to talk about what anarchism is, how anarchists see things and what anarchy could look like. Named after the editor of San Francisco’s mighty The Blast, we hope to have continual monthly meetings that are open to all. If you come you’ll get a membership card, the chance to win thousands of dollars (alright – the odd book or two) and hopefully something to think about and act on. You failed the audition for “So You Think You Can Dance,” and you just don’t seem with it. Don’t worry. The ABSC will have you. See you there!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Berkman: Confessions of a Convict

"Who is the real criminal, Ladies and Gentlemen? Is it the starveling who occasionally steals a loaf of bread or burglarizes my house or is it he who is the eternal vampire on the body of labor, forever feeding on the bone and marrow of the worker, exploiting and oppressing him, always keeping him on the verge of starvation that he may exercise his benevolent charity upon him, and ultimately degrading him to the lowest depths..."

"...Everyone even slightly familiar with conditions in our penal institutions is aware that the whole system is built on the principle of revenge, of brutal humiliation and barbarous punishment. I need only refer to the blackjack, the dungeon, the bullring, the water cure, to give you an idea of the spirit dominant in those insitutions. And no wonder. For the prison in the last analysis is the mirror of society at large, the perfect mmodel of our social arrangement whose cornerstone is hypocrisy, deceit, oppression and injustice. Punishment is degrading, even more to the one wielding the whip than to his victim. The history of crime clearly demonstrates that the more punishment is inflicted, the more crime is produced. And after you have tortured the poor convict for several years, degraded him to the lowest, broken him in body and spirit, you turn him out into a cold world without money or friends, and with the stigma of "convict" burned into his very soul. Having embittered and demoralized him to the verge of desperation, you demand that he become a good and useful citizen."

--Alexander Berkman, Confession of a Convict, 1913
Read the entire essay at the Anarchy Archives

No comments: