Communist World News

Anniversary: Anarchism 110 years illegal in USA

In North America on April 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

On the 3rd of April 1902, exactly 110 years ago, the state of New York adopted a new law that would factually ban advocacy of anarchism. For the first time so-called “criminal anarchy” was banned in the United States.[1] Advocating the abolishing or overthrowing of the state by “unlawful means” was banned in the United States for the first time. Since the abolition of the state always requires “unlawful means”, even anarcho-pacifism, it meant that anarchism – a political conviction – was actually banned completely. The law that banned “criminal anarchy” was adopted on April 3, 1902 adopted in the state of New York, but soon spread to other states. In 1925 it was determined that prohibiting adherence of anarchism is constitutional.[2] In 1953 43 U.S. states had declared anarchism illegal already[3] The penalty for adherence to anarchism is 20 years and is still in effect.[3]

The law has seldom been used to imprison anarchists as usually “criminal syndicalism” (which meant being actually involved in groups working to overthrow the state) proved to be more practical.






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