‘Power Must Be Taken’: Excerpts From ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’

In this day and age, ignorance is not only inexcusable, it is criminal and perhaps fatal. “The Anarchist Cookbook” is not a revolutionary work in itself, just as a gun cannot shoot, but I have a sincere hope that it may stir some stagnant brain cells into action. If the people of the United States do not protect themselves against the fascists, capitalists, and communists, they will not be around much longer. Do I sound like an alarmist? Follow the process of disintegration: from the most immediate capitalist pollution; through the rising inflation, which is creating an atmosphere ripe for communism; to the final repression of the people by the fascists in power.

Maybe I use the term revolution too frequently in this book, without really defining it. I will do so here. I do not particularly like any form of government but, if the majority of the people seem to think that they are incapable of governing themselves and want a government, then I think the principles the United States was born with are about the best there are. So now revolution comes to mean revitalization, bringing America back to where she was two hundred years ago. This is the first time I’ve thought of myself as a reactionary.

I believe that the people in power — not only political power, but also economic and social power — will not non-violently give up that power to the people. Power is not a material possession that can be given, it is the ability to act. Power must be taken, it is never given.

I hope that, by the time the two hundredth anniversary of The First American Revolution rolls around, we will be able to look back at the sixties and early seventies as a dark era in the great history of a free nation.


This is not the age of slender men in black capes lurking in alleyways with round bombs, just as it is not the age of political discussions in a Munich beer hall. This is a truly…

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