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Posts Tagged ‘Anarchist History’
Work like you don’t need money
Love like you’ve never been hurt
and dance like no-one’s watching
Salud y anarkia
Sacco and Vanzetti – song by Woody Guthrie & David Rovics
Sacco and Vanzetti were immigrants, workers, and anarchists, who were tried and convicted in 1921 for the armed robbery and murder of two payroll guards. After 7 years of legal appeals and international protest, the two men were finally executed on August 23, 1927 in Boston for a crime that many felt they did not commit and by a judicial system that was patently biased and unjust. In his lecture Howard Zinn will indicate the relevance of the Sacco and Vanzetti Case for America today.
The Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society
Preface to Boston: A novel by Upton Sinclair.
The decision to write this novel was taken at nine-thirty p.m. (Pacific Coast time), August 22nd, 1927: the occasion being receipt of a telephone message from a newspaper, to the effect that Sacco and Vanzetti were dead. It seemed to the writer that the world would want to know the truth about this case; nd his judgement proved correct, because there began a flood of cablegrams and letters from five continents, asking him to do the very thing he had decided upon.
A “contemporary historical novel” is an unusual art-form, and may call for explanation. So far as concerns the two individuals, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, this book is not fiction, but an effort at history; everything they are represented as doing they actually did, and their words have been taken from their letters, or from the dictation of friends and enemies. All others who played important parts in this drama likewise appear as they were, and under their own names.
Paralleling the Sacco-Vanzetti case throughout the book is a story of business and high finance which will be recognised as a famous law case recently carried to the United States Supreme Court. I have used the incidents of this case as material for my fiction; but the characters which I have invented to enact this story are wholly fictitious, and bear no relation to the real persons in this case, who are entirely unknown to me. There is one simple rule for guidance in reading the novel: the characters who are real persons bear real names, while those who bear fictitious names are fictitious characters.
The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti by Joan Baez
Awards and festivals: Goya Awards 2008 nomination
There are plenty of anarchists in the world. Many have committed robbery or smuggling for their cause. Fewer have discussed strategies with Che Guevara or saved the skin of Eldridge Cleaver – the leader of the Black Panthers. There is only one who has done all that, and also brought to its knees the most powerful bank on the planet by forging travellers cheques, without missing a single day of work in his construction job. He is Lucio Urtubia, from a tiny village in Navarra in North of Spain. The press called him “the good bandit”, or the “Basque Zorro”. He managed to swindle 25 million dollars from the First National Bank (now Citibank), to later invest the money in causes he believed in. Miraculously, he spent no more than a few months in jail throughout his “career”.
Anarchism Revisited: Voices and Visions
In 1979, Pacific Street Films took off on a rambling cross-country trip, funded, ironically, by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The mission was to search out any evidence of anarchist activity in communities as rural as Atkins Bay, Maine, and as cosmopolitan as San Francisco.
Along the way a strange cast of characters emerged; some calling themselves “anarchist,” others, eschewing the label, but nonetheless calling themselves “anti-authoritarian,” or “individualist.” In fact, the premise of the documentary was that Americans, inherently, embody anarchist principles, an experience far different then their European counterparts. The filmmakers stumbled upon Mildred Loomis, 80-years-old and still advocating back to the land individualism; Kenneth Rexroth, a father of the San Francisco beat scene; and the remarkable Republican-turned-Anarchist, Karl Hess, pursued to the end by the IRS for his refusal to pay taxes.
Growing up with Paul Goodman
Growing Up with Paul Goodman will be the first documentary about Paul Goodman, the late social critic, poet, philosopher of education, or, as he called himself, “man of letters in the old-fashioned sense.” Growing Up with Paul Goodman will follow a biographical through-line and be structured around interviews with family, friends, peers, and activists from the peace, educational reform, and gay movements who today are found in Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, California, West Virginia, New York City, Vermont, Paris, and Catalonia, Spain. The interviews will be interwoven with archival footage of Goodman and major events in which he was involved and photos made available by his 85-year old widow Sally. Off-camera actors will read some of Paul Goodman’s poems and anecdotes written by the late Harold Rosenberg, George Dennison, and Alfred Kazin. Growing Up with Paul Goodman will also include selections from Judith Malina’s journals of 1947-1957 as recorded by Ms. Malina for the film.
A handful of anarchist and other quotes, please add you favourites in the comments.
Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes
The law will punish a man or woman who steals the goose from the hillside, but lets the greater robber loose who steals the hillside from the goose.”
Anonymous poet in the 1700s
Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip.”
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
Workers are like lemons: When the rich have sucked out all the juice, they throw them in the garbage.
Ricardo Flores Magon
For every dollar the boss has and didn’t work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.
Big Bill Haywood
“While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Eugene V. Debs
The State is the altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.
Fighting crime by building more jails is like fighting cancer by building more cemeteries.
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
When the highwayman holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables over to him. You ‘consent’ alright, but you do so because you cannot help yourself, because you are compelled by his gun. Are you not compelled to work for an employer? Your need compels you, just as the highwayman’s gun.Alexander Berkman
The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.
The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow a very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people a sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of debate.”
To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.
Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.
A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished.
We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall. We will know how to accommodate ourselves for a while. For, you must not forget, we also know how to build. It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities, here in Spain and in America, and everywhere.
We, the workers, can build others to take their place, and better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth, there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world, here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.
If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable.
The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one’s self, to be loved and appreciated by one’s fellow-beings, to “make the world better for having lived in it,” will urge him on the nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.
Those who put out the people’s eyes, reproach them for their blindness.
It is not enough for a handful of experts to attempt the solution of a problem,
to solve it and then to apply it. The restriction of knowledge to an elite
group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment.
We be many and they be few. They need us more than we know them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quite day, I can hear her breathing.
I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
Richard Rumbold on the gallows
Society is one vast conspiracy for carving one into the kind of statue it likes, and then placing it in the most convenient niche it has.
Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian.
“It is better to die on your feet than live a lifetime on your knees.”
Is anarchism desirable? Well, who does not seek freedom? What man, unless willing to declare himself in bondage, would care to call any control agreeable? Think about it!
Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit.
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
I never expect men to give us liberty. No, women, we are not worth it until we take it.
Voltairine de Cleyre
I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
The revolution will be the flowering of humanity as love is the flowering of the heart.
Louise Michel – 1830-1905 – Mémoires – 1886 Louise Michel
Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.
“And by anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind…”
The State is a condition, a certain relationship among human beings, a mode of behaviour, we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one and other… We are the State and continue to be the State until we have created the institutions that form a real community…
It is on the basis of the will of the individual that the libertarian teaching can be embodied in real life and clear a path that will help man to banish all spirit of submission from his bosom.
When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.
To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States: Resist much, obey little. Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, . . . no nation, state, city, on this earth ever afterward assumes its liberty.”
Henry David Thoreau
Strike not for a few cents more an hour, because the price of living will be raised faster still, but strike for all you earn, be content with nothing less.
Power operates only destructively, bent always on forcing every manifestation of life into the straitjacket of its laws. Its intellectual form of expression is dead dogma, its physical form brute force. And this unintelligence of its objectives sets its stamp on its supporters also and renders them stupid and brutal, even when they were originally endowed with the best of talents. One who is constantly striving to force everything into a mechanical order at last becomes a machine himself and loses all human feeling.
And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen. And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that ever lived.
Anarchists have a ‘bad name’ in the media, not because they can point to one indiscriminate massacre by anarchists–there have been none–but because the one thing holders of power fear is that they personally should be held responsible for their own actions”
“Anarchism envisions a flexible pluralist society where all the needs of
mankind would be supplied by an infinite variety of voluntary associations. The world is honeycombed with affinity groups from chess clubs to anarchist propaganda groups. They are formed, dissolved, and reconstituted according to the fluctuating needs and fancies of the individual adherents. It is precisely because they reflect *individual preferences* that such groups are the lifeblood of the free society.”
Conservative, n. A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with new ones.
“Society has good reason to fear the Radical. Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.
To lead people, walk beside them… As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate… When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!
If i can’t have two cocks up my arse at the same time it’s not my revolution belladonna
Don’t work yourself too hard. You cannot get rich on wages.
Men with empty stomachs do not fight for freedom. They fight for bread, and as soon as they get the crust, gnawing on it they forget their good intentions to fight for more. I have not spent 18 weeks in missionary work without learning that it is useless to appeal to the overfed, but still less use to appeal to the underfed. To be successful we must reach that class whose brains have not yet been destroyed by starvation.
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
Every prisoner is a political prisoner.
A society is a healthy society only to the degree that it exhibits anarchistic
Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets
in the hands of government.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Oscar Wilde defines a perfect personality as “one who develops under perfect
conditions, who is not wounded, maimed, or in danger.” A perfect personality,
then, is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose
the mode of work, the conditions of work, and the freedom to work. One
to whom the making of a table, the building of a house, or the tilling
of the soil, is what the painting is to the artist and the discovery to
the scientist — the result of inspiration, of intense longing, and deep
interest in work as a creative force.
But he who has no confidence in the creative capacity of the masses and in
their capability to revolt doesn’t belong in the revolutionary movement.
He should go to a monastery and get on his knees and start praying. Because
he is no revolutionist. He is a son of a bitch.
The best story I’ve ever heard about the Communist Manifesto came from Hans Morgenthau, the great theorist of international relations who died in 1980. It was the early seventies at City University of New York, and he was reminiscing about his childhood in Bavaria before World War I. Morgenthau’s father, a doctor in a working-class neighborhood of Coburg, often took his son along on house calls. Many of his patients were dying of TB; a doctor could do nothing to save their lives, but might help them die with dignity. When his father asked about last requests, many workers said they wanted to have a Manifesto buried with them when they died. They implored the doctor to see that the priest didn’t sneak in and plant the Bible on them instead. … As the nineties end, we find ourselves in a dynamic global society ever more unified by downsizing, de-skilling, and dread – just like the old man said. … At the dawn of the twentieth century, there were workers who were ready to die with the Communist Manifesto. At the dawn of the twenty-first, there may be even more who are ready to live with it.”
“The barbarous gold barons do not find the gold, they do not mind the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them.”
Big Bill Haywood
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind….We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they promise us any substantial reform…..They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.
If we do not believe in freedom of expression for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe
Philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point, is to change it.
Will you and your government teach eagles to fly and tigers to hunt? Of course not. No one is so arrogant with nature. But you and your government want to tell me what to buy and how to live, and I am more complex than any eagle or tiger. Give me only the same respect you pay the badger and the blue jay, and leave me alone.
After all, anarchy means nothing more than human ecology.
As a woman I have no country
As a woman I want no country
As a woman my countr is the whole world
Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
One class now owns the tools while another class uses them. One class is small and rich and the other large and poor. One wants more profit and the other more wages. One consists of capitalists and the other of workers. These two class are at war. Every day of truce is at the expense of labor. There can be no peace and good will between these two essentially antagonistic economic classes. Nor can this class conflict be covered up or smoothed over.
Eugene V. Debs
The Anarchy Archives is an online research centre on the history and theory of anarchism which aims to eventually to provide at one site the collected works of the major anarchists and an online history of anarchists and anarchist movements worldwide, including a graphics archive. It includes text from Michael Bakunin, William Godwin, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Max Striner, Murray Bookchin and Noam Chomsky. As well a ‘lesser know light’ such as Alexander Berkman, Voltairine De Cleyre, Buenaventura Durruti, Nestor Makhno, Louise Michel, Johann Most, Lucy Parsons, Sacco and Vanzettti, Leo Tolstoy, Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn, Albert Meltzer, Rudolph Rocker and so on.
The revolution is the creation of new living institutions, new groupings, new social relationships; it is the destruction of privileges and monopolies; it is the new spirit of justice, of brotherhood, of freedom which must renew the whole of social life, raise the moral level and the material conditions of the masses by calling on them to provide, through their direct and conscientious action, for their own futures. Revolution is the organization of all public services by those how work in them in their own interest as well as the public’s; Revolution is the destruction of all coercive ties; it is the autonomy of groups, of communes, of regions; Revolution is the free federation brought about by desire for brotherhood, by individual and collective interests, by the needs of production and defense; Revolution is the constitution of innumerable free groupings based on ideas, wishes, and tastes of all kinds that exist among the people; Revolution is the forming and disbanding of thousands of representative, district, communal, regional, national bodies which, without having any legislative power, serve to make known and to coordinate the desires and interests of people near and far and which act through information, advice and example. Revolution is freedom proved in the crucible of facts—and lasts so long as freedom lasts, that is until others, taking advantage of the weariness that overtakes the masses, of the inevitable disappointments that follow exaggerated hopes, of the probable errors and human faults, succeed in constituting a power, which supported by an army of conscripts or mercenaries, lays down the law, arrests the movement at the point it has reached, and then begins the reaction.
The great majority of anarchists, if I am not mistaken, hold the view that human perfectibility and anarchy would not be achieved even in a few thousand years, if first one did not create by the revolution, made by a conscious majority, the necessary environment for freedom and well being. For this reason we want to make the revolution as soon as possible, and to do so we need to take advantage of all positive forces and every favorable situation which arises.
The task of the conscious minority is to profit from very situation to change the environment in a way that will make possible the education of the whole people.
And since the environment today, which obliges most people to live in misery, is maintained by violence, we advocate and prepare for violence. That is why we are revolutionaries, and not because we are desperate men thirsting for revenge and filled with hate.
We are revolutionaries because we believe that only the revolution, the violent revolution, can solve the ills we face. We believe further-more that the revolution is an act of will—the will of individuals and of the masses; that it needs for its success certain objective conditions, but that does not happen of necessity, inevitably, through the single action of economic and political forces.
Our task is to be revolutionary not only in the philosophical meaning of the word but also in the popular and insurrectionalist sense; and I can say this to clearly distinguish between my views and those of others who call themselves revolutionaries, but who interpret the world so as not to have to bring in the face of violence, the insurrection which must open the way to revolutionary achievements.
Anarchy cannot be achieved until after the revolution which will sweep away the first material obstacles. It is clear then that our efforts must in the first instance be directed to making the revolution and in such a way that it is in the direction of anarchy. We have to provoke the revolution with all the means at our disposal and act in it as anarchists, by opposing the constitution of any authoritarian regime and putting into operation as much as we can of our program. Anarchists will have to take advantage of the increased freedom that we would have won. We will have to be morally and technically prepared to realize within the limits of our numbers, those forms of social life and cooperation which they consider best and most suitable for paving the way for the future.
We do not want to wait for the masses to become anarchist before making the revolution, since we are convinced that they will never become anarchist if the institutions which keep them enslaved are not first destroyed. And since we need the support of the masses to build up a force of sufficient strength and to achieve our specific task of radical change of society by the direct action of the masses, we must get closer to them, accept them as they are, and from within their ranks seek to push them forward as much as possible. That is of course, if we really intend to work for the practical achievement of our ideals, and are not content with preaching in the desert for the simple satisfaction of our intellectual pride.
We don’t take revolution as synonymous with progress, with an historic view of life. I that sense all kinds of people are revolutionary. When one introduced the centuries into the argument, everyone will agree with everything he says. But when we speak of revolution, when the masses speak of revolution, as when one refers to it in history, one simply means the insurrection triumphant. Insurrections will be necessary as long as there are power groups which use their material force to exact obedience from the masses. And it is only too clear that there will be many more insurrections before the people win that minimum of indispensable conditions for free and peaceful development, when humanity will be able to advance towards its noblest objectives without cruel struggles and useless suffering.
By revolution we do not mean jus the insurrection, but we must avoid replacing one state of coercion by another. We must clearly distinguish between the revolutionary act which destroys as much as it can of the old regime and puts in its place new institutions, and government which comes afterwards to halt the revolution and suppress as many of the revolutionary conquests as it can.
History teaches us that all advances that are the result of revolutions were secured in the period of popular enthusiasm, when either a recognized government did not exist or was too weak to make a stand against the revolution. But once the government was formed, so reaction started which served the interest of the old and the new privileged classes and took back from the people all that it could.
Our task then is to make, and to help others make, the revolution by taking advantage of every opportunity and all available forces: advancing the revolution as much as possible in its constructive as well as destructive role, and always remaining opposed to the formation of any government, either ignoring it or combating it to the limits of our capacities.
We will no more recognize as republican constitution than we would a parliamentary monarchy. We cannot stop it if the people want it; we might even occasionally be with them in fighting attempts to bring about a restoration of a monarchy; but we will want and will demand complete freedom for those who think as we do and who wish to live outside the tutelage and oppression of the government; to propagate their ideas by word and deed. Revolutionaries yes, but above all anarchists.
ONE: Destruction of all concentrations of political power is the first duty of oppressed people.
TWO: Any organization of an allegedly provisional revolutionary political power to achieve this destruction cannot be other than one trick more, and would be as dangerous to the people as are all present governments.
THREE: In refusing every compromise for the achievement of the revolution, workers of the world must establish solidarity in revolutionary action outside the framework of bourgeois politicians.
These anarchist principles which were formulated under the inspiration of Bakunin at the Congress of St. Imier, 1872, continue to point a good direction for us today. Those who have tried to act in contradiction to them have disappeared, because however defined, government, dictatorship and parliament can only lead the people back to slavery. All experience so far bears this out. Needless to say, for the delegates of St. Imier as for us and all anarchists, the abolition of political power is not possible without the simultaneous destruction of economic privilege.
There is a need for a revolution to eliminate the material forces which exist to defend privilege and to prevent every real social progress. This conviction has led many to believe that the only important thing is the insurrection, and to overlook what has to be done to prevent an insurrection from remaining a sterile act of violence against which an act of reactionary violence would be the eventual reply. For those who believe this, all fo the practical questions of organization, of how to make provisions for the distribution of food, are idle questions: for them these are matters which will solve themselves, or will be solved by those who come after us. Yet the conclusion we come to is this: Social reorganization is something we must all think about right now, and as the old is destroyed we shall have a more human and just society as well as one more receptive to future advances. The alternative is that “the leaders” will think about these problems, and we shall have a new government, which will do exactly as all previous governments have done, in making the people pay for the scant and poor services they render, by taking away their freedom and allowing them to be oppressed by every kind of parasite and exploiter.
In order to abolish the police and all the harmful social institutions we must know what to put in their place, no in a more or less distant future but immediately, the very day we start demolishing. One only destroys, effectively and permanently, that which one replaces by something else; and to put off to a later date the solution of problems which present themselves with the urgency of necessity, would be to give time to the institutions one is intending to abolish to recover from the shock and reassert themselves, perhaps under other names, but certainly with the same structure.
Our solutions may be accepted by a sufficiently large section of the population and we shall have achieved anarchy, or taken a step towards anarchy; or they may not be understood or accepted and then our efforts will serve as propaganda and place before the public at large the program for a not distant future. But in any case we must have our solutions provisional, subject to correction and revision in the light of practice, but we must have our solutions if we do not wish to submit passively to those solutions imposed by others, and limit ourselves to the unprofitable role of useless and impotent grumblers.
I believe that we anarchists, convinced of the validity of our program, must make special efforts to acquire a predominating influence in order to be able to swing the movement towards the realization of our ideals; but we must acquire this influence by being more active and more effective than the others. Only in this way will it be worth acquiring. Today we must examine thoroughly, develop and propagate our ideas and coordinate our efforts for common action. We must act inside the popular movements to prevent them from limiting themselves to, and being corrupted by, the exclusive demand for the small improvements possible under the capitalist system, and seek to make it seve for the preparation o the complete and radical change of our society. We must work among the mass of unorganized, and possibly unorganizable, people to awaken in them the spirit of revolt and the desire and hope for a free and happy existence, We must initiate and support every possible kind of movement which tends to weaken the power of the government and of the capitalists and to raise the moral level and material conditions of the people. We must get ready and prepare, morally and materially, for the revolutionary act which has to open the way to the future.
And tomorrow, in the revolution, we must play an active part in the necessary physical struggle, seeking to make it as radical as possible, in order to destroy all the repressive forces of the government and to induce the people to take possession of the land, homes, transport, factories, mines, and of all existing goods, and organize themselves so that there is a just distribution immediately of food products. At the same time we must arrange for the exchange of goods between communities and regions and continue to intensify production and all those services which are of use to the people.
We must, in every way possible, and in accord with local conditions and possibilities, encourage action by associations, cooperatives, groups of volunteers—in order to prevent the emergence of new authoritarian groups, new governments, combating them with violence if necessary, but above all by rendering them useless.
And if there were not sufficient support among the people to prevent the reconstitution of government, its authoritarian institutions and its organs of repression, we should refuse to cooperate of recognize it, and rebel against its demands, claiming full autonomy for ourselves and for all dissident minorities. We should remain in a state of open rebellion if possible, and prepare the way to convert present defeat into a future success.
I do no think that what matters is the triumph of our plans, our projects and our utopias, which in any case will need the confirmation of practice and experiment, and may as a result have to be modified, developed or adapted to the true moral and material conditions of time and place. What matters most of all is that the people, all people, should lose their sheep like instincts and habits with which their minds have been inculcated by an age-long slavery, and that they should learn to think and act freely. It is to this task of liberation that anarchists must devote their attention.
Once the government has been overthrown, or at least neutralized, it will be the task of the people, and especially of those among them who have initiative and organizing ability, to provide for the satisfaction of immediate needs and to prepare for the future by destroying privileges and harmful institutions and in the meantime seeing to it that those useful institutions which today serve the ruling class either exclusively or primarily, shall operate in favor of all equally.
Anarchists have the job of being the militant custodians of liberty against all aspirants to power and against the possible tyranny of the majority.
We are agreed in thinking that apart from the problem of assuring victory against the material forces of he adversary there is also the problem of giving life to the revolution after victory.
We are in agreement that a revolution which were to result in chaos would not be a vital revolution.
But one must not exaggerate, it should not be thought that we must, and can find a perfect solution for every possible problem. One should not want to foresee and determine too much, because instead of preparing for anarchy we might find ourselves indulging in unattainable dreams or ever becoming authoritarians, and consciously or otherwise, proposing to act like a government which in the name of freedom and the popular will subject people to its domination. The fact is that one cannot educate the people if they are not in a position, or obliged by necessity, to act for themselves, and that the revolutionary organization the people, useful and necessary as it is, cannot be stretched indefinitely: at a certain point if it does not erupt in revolutionary action, either the government strangles it or the organization itself degenerates and breaks up—and one has to start all over again from the beginning.
I would be unable to accept the view that all past revolutions though they were not anarchist revolutions were useless, nor that future ones which will still not be anarchist revolutions will be useless. I believe that the complete triumph of anarchy will come by evolution, gradually, rather than by violent revolution: when an earlier or several earlier revolutions will have destroyed the major military and economic obstacles which are opposed to the spiritual and material development of the people, and which are opposed to increasing production to the level of needs and desires.
In any case, if we take into account our sparse numbers and the prevalent attitude among most people, and if we do not wish to confuse our wishes with reality, we must expect that the next revolution will not be anarchist one, and therefore what is more pressing, is to think of what we can and must do in a revolution in which we will be a relatively small and badly armed minority. But we must beware of ourselves becoming less anarchist merely because he people are not ready for anarchy. If they want a government, it is unlikely that we will be able to prevent a new government being formed, but this is no reason for our not trying to persuade the people that government is useless and harmful or of preventing the government from also imposing on us and others like us who don’t want it. We will have to exert ourselves to ensure that social life and especially economic standards improve without the intervention of government, and thus we must be as ready as possible to deal with the practical problems of production and distribution, remembering that those most suited to organize work are those who now do it. If we are unable to prevent the constitution of a new government, if we are unable to destroy it immediately, we should in either case refuse to support it in any shape or form. We should reject military conscription and refuse to pay taxes. Disobedience on principle, resistance to the bitter end against every imposition by the authorities, and an absolute refusal to accept any position of command.
If we are unable to overthrow capitalism, we shall have to demand for ourselves and for all who want it, the right of free access to the necessary means of production to maintain an independent existence.
Advise when we have suggestions to offer; teach if we know more than others; set the example for a life based on free agreement between men; defend even with force if necessary and possible, our autonomy against any government provocation…but command, govern or rule—NEVER!
In this way we shall not achieve anarchy, which cannot be imposed against the will of the people, but at least we shall be preparing the way for it. We do not have to wait indefinitely for the state to wither away or for our rulers to become part of the people and to give up their power over us if we can talk them out of their position.