A German revolutionary secret society of the 1830s, the Bund der Geächteten or League of Outlaws was founded in Paris in 1834 by a group of German exiles. Its founder, Theodor Schuster, drew most of his ideas from earlier secret societies such as the Carbonari and the Philadelphes, and from the writings of Filippo Buonarroti, the most influential revolutionist of the time. The League had a hierarchical structure derived from that of Buonarroti’s Universal Democratic Carbonari, with local “tents” answering to provincial “camps” that received orders from a central “focus.” See Buonarroti, Filippo; Carbonari; Philadelphes.
While it borrowed organizational elements from these older sources, the League was among the first European revolutionary groups to push for a social revolution to abolish class barriers and eliminate exploitation of workers by capitalists. Schuster argued that the major divides in the Europe of his time were between classes, not nations, and proclaimed a future “cooperative republic” in which peasant cooperatives and government intervention would keep the influence of wealthy capitalists in check. The League thus pioneered the ideologies later claimed by Communist secret societies and regimes. See Communism.
At its peak, the League had perhaps 200 members, half in Paris and the rest in the westernmost states of Germany. It never achieved a coherent plan for revolution, and broke up in a series of internal disputes beginning in 1836. In early 1838, most of its remaining members left it to join a new secret society structured along the same lines, the League of the Just. See League of the Just.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006