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By Dynamite, Sabotage, Revolution, and the Pen: Violence in Caribbean Anarchist Fiction, 1890s-1920s

Author(s): Kirwin R. Shaffer

Journal: New West Indian Guide
ISSN 1382-2373

Volume: 83;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Cuba | Puerto Rico | literature | anarchism | violence | social history | cultural history | political history | political ideologies

From the 1890s to the 1920s, anarchist groups and movements emerged in Puerto Rico and Cuba. They promoted the traditional anarchist agenda against governments, militarism, capitalism, and organized religion. While research on anarchists has often focused on their activities in strikes, uprisings, educational experiments, and other counter-cultural activities, this article illustrates how Caribbean-based anarchists used their fiction to promote the anarchist agenda. A central theme in much of the fiction (plays, poetry, novels, and short stories) revolved around violence leveled against society especially by governments. Just as interesting is how this fiction described—even praised—anarchist violence against authority. Thus, even while Caribbean anarchists only rarely resorted to physical violence, anarchist fiction often condemned authoritarian violence while celebrating the violence of revolution, the strike, bombings, and assassination to promote the anarchist cause of universal freedom.
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