The Anarchist Encyclopedia:
Initially a social democrat (in 1870), Most was sentenced to five years prison in Austria for one of his famously fiery speeches.
Amnestied on 9 February 1871, then expelled, Most re-entered Germany & continued as an agitator & journalist. Elected to the Reichstag in 1874, nevertheless he was sent to jail many times for his speeches.
In 1878, Most exiled himself to England, publishing the newspaper "Freiheit" (Freedom). An article glorifying an attack against Tsar Alexander II landed him in jail for 16 months hard labor. Upon release Most went to the United States in 1882.
Under the influence of Peter Kropotkin's ideas, Johann Most now became an anarchist, along with his advocacy of propaganda by the deed (Most published a small how-to guide for making bombs, after having worked in a dynamite factory).
After 1886, he shifted from his advocay of violence towards anarcho-syndicalism & the journal "Freiheit" remained the focus for the rest of his life. He remained a famed orator for his "incendiary speeches".
Daily Bleed Saint February 5:
Most's most famous speech is "The Beast of Property":
-- The German anarchist Johann Neve, was Johann Most's best comrade in the 1880s (Most was in an English prison (1881); Neve himself died ten years later in a German penitentiary). September 29, 1883 -- English language publication of anarchist Johann Most's song The Hymn of the Proletariat. November 17, 1887 -- Johann Most, "anarchist," is arrested for "incendiary language," & sentenced to one year in prison in the land of free speech. March 17, 1906 -- Johann Most (1846-1906) dies, Cincinnati, Ohio. German-American anarchist, propagandist, bookbinder, publisher of "Freiheit."
"Anarchism was a movement of poor immigrants," observes a French anarchist who lived at the Mohegan Colony in Westchester. "As soon as the children made money, they lost anarchism" (p. 260).
John J. Most, Jr., a Boston dentist & son of the famous German-American anarchist Johann Most, points out that his son, the legendary Boston Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most, "has no interest in anarchism whatever" (p. 19).
In his introductions, Avrich himself notes the passing of anarchism from "movement" to "sect" to distant memory.
— excerpt from a review of Paul Avrich's book, Anarchist Voices
Johann Most -- German Social-Democrat. In 1880, at the Baden Congress, he was expelled from the Party on account of his disorganising behaviour. In the eighties he became an adherent of anarchism (see Marx & Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 375-76).
Johann Most was the model for the protagonist Yundt in Joseph Conrad's unsympathetic novel, The Secret Agent. Conrad portrayed Most as a degenerate & a cheat (because Most, often imprisoned, never actually used dynamite — he just talked about it).
Johann Most Links
Best English language site is the Johann Most Archives at http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/most/most.html Background on, "Propaganda by the Deed". The Beast of Property by Johann Most Johann Most mentioned in Mahkno's The ABC of the Revolutionary Anarchist, from AK Press' online page in the Spunk Archives. Spartacus School page,
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmost.htm http://www.chicagohs.org/dramas/act1/bombTalking/bombTalking.htm The inimitable Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Most In French see Ephéméride anarchiste
- Differences in the European Labour Movement at http://www.cruzio.com/~marx2mao/Lenin/DELM10.html
(Page created in 1999; updated Feb 2002, Sept 2002, January 2008)
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