The Anarchist Encyclopedia:
A Gallery of Saints & Sinners ...
German-Scottish libertarian anarchist, gay novelist.
A Saint in the Daily Bleed, he has the following entries:
1864 -- Gay individualist anarchist novelist/poet John Henry Mackay lives. As noted in the Encyclopedia Britannica, he is instrumental in making prominent the writings of Max Stirner's anarchism.
Ever reviled, accursed, ne'er understood,
Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
"Wreck of all order," cry the multitude,
"Art thou, & war & murder's endless rage."
0, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven
The 'truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word's right meaning was not given.
They shall continue blind among the blind.
But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so true,
Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future! Thine secure
When each at least unto himself shall waken.
Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill?
I cannot tell - but it the earth shall see!
I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will
Not rule, & also ruled I will not be!
— John Henry Mackay
1933 -- Swiss-German anarchist, gay writer John Henry Mackay dies.
On the evening of Sat. the 20th May we had a little funeral at Wilmersdorf near Berlin. As he had wished, no word was spoken, we were only five persons. But theorgan played pieces of Bach and Händel, a woman sang his "Ich ging an deinem Hausvorüber . . ." with accompaniment of organ and violin after the composition of d'Albert.... The ashes are deposited in a churchyard at Stahnsdorf, a stone with the name will there be laid on the place....
---Letter to Benjamin Tucker
Max Stirner (1806-1856) was a German social philosopher. He supported himself first as a teacher and then as a translator. It was through the anarchist John Henry Mackay that an interest in Stirner's work was stimulated in England & the United States. Mackay presented Stirner to the public as the spiritual forefather of individualistic anarchism.
The impression that Stirner was an anarchist arises from his rejection of all political & moral ties of the individual & his attack on all general concepts, such as right, virtue, duty, etc. The individual himself is the overriding reality, these concepts being mere ghosts. Egotism determines everything. He sets his own tasks against these "ghosts," thereby rising above them by mastering himself. All relations in which the individual enters are now freely chosen, as among possessions, & exist solely for the ego. The ego is not an antimoral force for Stirner. It is merely a fact. Stirner's individualistic egotism was highly democratic. He wrote The Ego & Its Own for proletarians & hoped for everyman to emerge as this liberated individualist. (Irving Horowitz, The Anarchists, 1964, Dell Publishing) Note: Stirner is one of the main inspirations for the concept of egoist communism.
“...To Mackay's labors we owe all we know of a man who was as absolutely swallowed up by the years as if he had never existed. But some advanced spirits had read Stirner's book, the most revolutionary ever written, & had felt its influence. Let us name two: Henrik Ibsen & Friedrich Nietzsche. Though the name of Stirner is not quoted by Nietzsche, he nevertheless recommended Stirner to a favorite pupil of his, Professor Baumgartner at Basel University. This was in 1874.”
(From Max Stirner by James G. Huneker located under Philosophical Egoism.)
John Henry Mackay is cited in Peter Kropotkin's famous article on anarchism for the Encyclopedia Brittannica, online at
Large in-depth piece on Mackay,
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