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Happy Tyrannicide Day (observed)!

Just a reminder: today is Tyrannicide Day, the commemorations of the nearby assassinations of Czar Alexander II on March 13th, 1881 (124 years ago Sunday, give or take the relevant calendar adjustments), and Gaius Julius Caesar on March 15th, 44 CE (2,048 years ago today, give or take the relevant calendar adjustments).

It’s worth remembering in these days that the State has always tried to pass off attacks against its own commanding and military forces (Czars, Kings, soldiers in the field, etc.) as being of a piece with terrorism against civilians. This is, in fact, what virtually the entire record of so-called terrorism attributed to 19th century anarchists was: direct attacks on the commanders of the State’s repressive forces. But that just ain’t terrorism. I think there are plenty of reasons–strategic reasons, not moral reasons–to criticize the strategy that lay behind the assassinations of Czars and Princes in the late 19th century, or for that matter the assassination of Julius Caesar, but the fact that the brutal absolute monarch of a monster State lay dead at the end of it is not among them.

The fact that someone puts a crown on his head and wraps himself in the bloody robes of the State does not make him anything more than a person just like you or me, and the same principles of just self-defense apply when it comes to the crowned heads of Europe as apply to some freelance thug on the street. The right to challenge the princes and potentates of the world as fellow human beings, subject to exactly the same moral principles as you and I and anyone else, has been at the core of every movement for human liberation in history. And thank God for it. That’s something worth commemorating a lot more than, say, the births of a couple of jerks who got themselves selected as President.

Beware the State! Celebrate the Ides of March!

Happy Tyrannicide Day (observed)!

Today, March 15th, 2004 CE, is the 2,047th anniversary (give or take the relevant calendar adjustments) of the assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar–the butcher of Gaul, the annihilator of the Republic, the destroyer of the Great Library of Alexandria, the harbinger of five centuries of absolutist tyranny, and the explicit archetype of every brutal prince, absolute monarch, and fascist dictatorship in the ancient, medieval, and modern history of Eastern and Western Europe. At last, as dictator-for-life Caesar increasingly threatened the elevation of his coup d’etat into an explicit monarchy, a group of Senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus rose up, taking the title of Liberatores, and stabbed Caesar 23 times in the Forum.

Today is also only two days after (again, give or take the relevant calendar adjustments) the 123rd anniversary of the assassination of Czar Alexander II of Russia, an autocratic self-styled Caesar who, in spite of making a tremendous step forward for freedom by emancipating the serfs, also fostered the ultra-reactionary Three Emperors League with Austria and Prussia, began his reign with the senseless and devastating Crimean War, continued to pursue vigorous warfare against Turkey and conquests in the East, and imprisoned and murdered hundreds of liberal, socialist, and anarchist students. On March 13, 1881 he was killed by a bomb thrown by an anarchist in an act of Propaganda by the Deed.

In honor of the event, I’d like to suggest a new holiday. Let’s celebrate March 15 as Tyrannicide Day (observed)! Two tyrants’ deaths bundled together into one day of celebration; it’ll be just like President’s Day, except cooler.

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