By AKSEL BORA ÇORLU
This dissertation explores the connections of anarchism and violence, especially in the form of propaganda by the deed. The existing scholarship on this subject either focuses on national/ethnic units, or subsumes it under the dubious heading of “terrorism.” I aim to present an inclusive, transnational account and analysis of anarchist violence in proper context, and I argue that the people who were/are involved in propaganda by the deed cannot be simply classified as terrorists, irrational murderers, or nihilistic vandals. From ageographic perspective, anarchist violence deeply influenced a vast sociopolitical landscape; from the U.S. and Argentina to Western Europe, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, anarchists left an indelible mark on the development of social movements as well as the coercive state apparatus. Another limitation of existing scholarship is temporal; most studies of anarchism and violence focus on the late 19th – early 20th century period when dozens of assassinations and bombings marked the anarchist response to state suppression. This study includes the early period of anarchist violence, as well as its current, global revival. This is a study of firsts, in many ways. It is the first comprehensive study specializing on propaganda by the deed that incorporates elements of historical, sociological, and philosophical analysis at the same time; the first study that attempts to explain the anarchist experience against the state apparatus in the United States, Italy, and the Ottoman empire in a comparative perspective; it is also the first analytical study that suggests a historical and philosophical bond between propaganda by the deed anarchists of the late 19thand early 20th century to their descendants in the 21st century, both in action and in theory. Some of the primary sources used in this study, such as the material on the Ottoman Empire, have never been published before, and see the light of day for the first time. Ultimately, the aim of this study is to move forward the discussion on the complex relationship of violence and individual freedom through an analysis of anarchist violence, past and present.