Annual Congress of the Jura Federation of the IWA

Held in Fribourg on August 3, 4 and 5, 1878

“Congrès annuel de la Fédération jurassienne de l’AIT”, L’Avant-garde, 12 August 1878

LEVASCHOV summarises as follows the essential points that should be brought out in the anarchist programme that we propose to draw up: 1st Collectivism compared to the authoritarian Communism of the other schools, that is to say the collective ownership of the land, houses, raw materials, capital and instruments of labour, and distribution of the products of labour according to the method found suitable by communes and associations; 2nd the negation of the State and the free federation of autonomous communes and producer groups; 3rd and this is the point which especially contributed to producing the split between the anarchists and the statists – that a social revolution cannot be produced otherwise than by the spontaneous uprising of the people on a vast scale, and by the violent expropriation of the current holders of capital of all kinds by the communes and the producer groups themselves – an expropriation which can only take place when the country is going through of a few years of complete disorganisation in all the functions of the State; that during this period any legislative assembly having real power can only hinder the progress of the revolution; 4th as an inevitable consequence of the negation of the State and of this way of envisaging the revolution, the anarchists not only refuse to apply any tactic which would lead to the strengthening of the already shaken idea of the State; but moreover they seek to awaken in the people – by theoretical propaganda and above all by insurrectionary acts – grassroots spirit, sentiment and initiative, from the double point of view of the violent expropriation of property and the disorganisation of the State.


LEVASCHOV insists on the importance, for anarchists, of the claim to communal autonomy, from both a theoretical and practical point of view. The historical phase we are going through today is that of the disintegration of States. Formed by violence and by all sorts of inequities, which today have become contradictory or absurd from all points of view that once served to justify their constitution (identity of languages or races, natural borders, economic units, historical agglomerations, European equilibrium,…. etc.), undermined by their expenditure which inevitably always grow by surpassing the financial resources of the people, undermined by wars which are inevitable in bourgeois societies, having reached the impossibility of managing the infinitely varied affairs of human societies, falling into decline by the very decay of the idea of the State in minds, thus becoming more and more an impossibility by the very force of things, States are inevitably heading towards their fall, to make way for free and freely federated communes. It is necessarily under the flag of the independence of the communes, urban and rural, that the next revolutions will take place, it is also within the independent communes that the socialist tendencies of the masses will necessarily manifest themselves: it is there on the basis of collectivism that the first outlines of the new society will be made. So working for the free commune means working for the historic phase through which we shall pass to a better future. This is the theoretical side of the question. As for the practical side, which interests us above all at the moment – it is in the commune and in the immense variety of issues of communal interest that we shall find the most favourable field for theoretical propaganda and for the insurrectional realisation of our collectivist and anarchist ideas. The affairs of the urban and rural commune are of great interest to a large part of the inhabitants; and it is above all by taking an active part in the daily affairs of the communes that we can demonstrate in a way visible and comprehensible to all, the evils of present-day society and the benefits that would result from the application of our economic and political principles. From the economic point of view, the commune presents an excellent terrain for the propaganda of collectivism, and can serve to prepare the ground for economic revolution. From the political point of view, the commune is the powerful weapon of war against the State. Finally – and Levaschov insists above all on this advantage, citing a few facts in support – the affairs that arise in communes, either in times of strikes, or on the subject of taxes, etc., make towns and villages the field where those insurrections best germinate that go before every great revolution and prepare the popular idea and sentiment. Levaschov therefore strongly urges the sections of the Jura to follow communal affairs closely, to take advantage of all the incidents they can provide which can be resolved in one of those insurrections which will certainly not take long to take place on communalist-socialist ground.


LEVASCHOV also emphasises the enormous difference that must be made between being concerned about the details of communal life in order to achieve legally some impotent improvements, or seizing upon these incidents to agitate minds for the benefit of revolutionary socialism. He goes into some considerations drawn from the latest Spanish local uprisings.

End Notes

Levaschov was Peter Kropotkin’s alias at the time.