This lost classic was first published anonymously in 1902 by the Social Science Club of Philadelphia, whose members included Voltairine de Cleyre, Mary Hansen, Natasha Notkin, and other Mutualists, Individualists, and Communists from the Philadelphia social movement. The “Catechism,” drafted by Hansen and finished by the Club collectively, presents a dialogue on the fundamentals of Anarchistic philosophy; discusses the commonality and the disagreements among Socialist, Individualist, Communist, and Mutualist forms of Anarchism; and offers a pluralistic, experimental vision of the free society, in which free people can try out any peaceful economic arrangement, and in which a wealth of Anarchistic economic systems peacefully co-exist, compete, and flourish side-by-side.
“What is Civil Authority? – That force which interferes with our daily actions, making and punishing criminals, commonly called government. How does Government make Criminals? – By fostering an unjust system of distribution, wherein one man is dependent on another for his subsistence; failing to secure it he is forced to resort to crime, for which, again, the government punishment. . . .
“How would the Abolition of Government effect Economic Justice? – The force which protects the owners of the great natural sources of production and means of exchange being removed, people would be free to experiment and discover what economic arrangement was best, instead of being compelled to accept the decision of the ruling majority or minority. . . .
“Does Anarchism teach Violence? – Anarchism is the negation of violence. By removing the causes, it would make the recurrence of acts of violence almost, and in time wholly, obsolete . . . .