Segments in this Video

The Passion for Destruction: Part One—Introduction (04:07)


Some anarchists and libertarians turned to criminal activities to convey their thoughts, others established revolutions and caused social change. Henri de Saint-Simon, Joseph Fourier, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Karl Marx, Etienne Cabet, and Robert Owen wanted to identify the juxtaposition of rapid advancement of the industrial age and the misery of factory workers. The proletariat is the wage-earning class whose only possession of material value is their ability to work manual labor.

Advent of Socialism (03:32)

Ideals of freedom and equality needed to be reconciled before socialism could occur. Anarchism's goal is to achieve maximum equality and maximum freedom. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon defined anarchism's political values while writing "What is Property?"

Anarchism Spreads (04:06)

Karl Marx called Proudhon's philosophy the harbinger of the European Labor Movement. Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin added the principle of revolution to the movement and spread ideas throughout the First International organization. After Marx and Bakunin divided the anarchist movement, three new political philosophy schools of thought emerged: Reformism, Marxism, and Anarchism.

Bakunin Wins New Allies (04:26)

Followers of Bakunin include James Guillaume, Elisee Reclus, Anselmo Lorenzo, Errico Malatesta, and Prince Kropotkin. When the Paris Commune uprising occurred in 1871, anarchist theory was a central theme. The French Army suppressed the commune on May 28th 1872 after "The Bloody Week."

Anarchists Suppressed (02:22)

Marxist followers attempted to expel the remaining anarchists from First International. Bakunin created the Anti-Authoritarian International with his disciples; its goal was to start a revolution.

May Day, 1886 (03:52)

In America, anarchists emerged from disillusioned immigrant families who could not find suitable employment. In Chicago, 340,000 workers gathered to demand an eight-hour work day. The Haymarket Affair occurred on May 4th in response to police activity; anarchists threw a bomb at the police officers.

Repercussions of the Haymarket Affair (02:22)

Authorities arrested anarchists they blamed for the bombing; five were sentenced to death. The governor pardoned the anarchists after they were hanged and blamed the police.

Propaganda by the Deed, 1892 (05:27)

Experts discuss the various meanings of "propaganda by the deed." In response to three anarchists being arrested, convicted, and tortured, Ravachol planted bombs in suitcases on two busy Paris streets. After his arrest, Ravachol assumed responsibility and was sentenced to death.

Ravachol's Legacy (03:29)

The Dynamite Press spurned on additional bombings. Auguste Vaillant, Emile Henry, Leon Leuathier, and Amedee Pauwels attacked several prominent buildings in Paris; an anarchist murdered Marie François Sadi Carnot in Lyon. Authorities began to paint the anarchist movement as an international terrorist organization.

International Conference for the Social Defense Against Anarchists (03:17)

Kings, princes, and political figures feared being assassinated. Thomas Edison promoted the cinema and the electric chair by recording the execution of William McKinley's assassin. By the end of the century, many anarchists were starting to reject "propaganda by the deed" and embrace revolutionary syndicalism.

1906: Direct Action! (04:02)

Anarcho-syndicalism emerged from the Bourse du Travail and The General Confederation of Labor. The Bourse du Travail encouraged mutual aid, education, social networks, and self-organization among its members. Emile Pouget became secretary of the CBT.

Encouraging Abstaining (04:03)

Anarchists believed that voting changed nothing; it validated the government's actions. Anarcho-syndicalist delegates advocated killing the capitalist movement by not producing profits. The Courrieres mine disaster killed almost 1,500 workers.

Trade Unions Prosper (05:27)

Anarchists showed they could mobilize the working class and obtained a day of rest each week. The Anarcho-syndicalist movement grew in other countries including Spain, Argentina, and the United States. Sección Femenina was included in each trade union; learn about influential women anarchists.

Credits: No Gods, No Masters—Part One: The Passion for Destruction (1840-1906) (01:02)

Credits: No Gods, No Masters—Part One: The Passion for Destruction (1840-1906)

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Born in France, around the Commune de Paris, and in the wake of the French Revolution, anarchism rapidly disseminated its theories throughout the world. When the brand new International Workers’ Association was created, anarchism even became predominant within the workers’ movement. Yet early on, anarchism instilled fear in people, not only because all over the world it waged the war for an 8-hour working day, founded schools with no God and no master, and promoted free love, but also, and above all, because from time to time it was quick to use violence and to destroy authority in a highly concrete way. From Ravachol to Bonnot, from the assassination of Empress Sisi of Austria to the Battle of Stepney, from bombs to raids, anarchism has become the bête noire of heads of states and royality who, in an attempt to protect themselves from it, created anti-terrorist laws that are still in force today.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL133193

ISBN: 978-1-64023-860-2

Copyright date: ©2016

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