The Libertarian Socialist Revolution - Blood Logic

The Libertarian Socialist Revolution - Blood Logic

A txt file attached to torrents of tv shows advocating and introducing Libertarian Socialism. It was dedicated to the memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos a Greek student whose death at the hands of police sparked rioting in 2008. Original ASCII has been preserved as much as possible.

THE LIBERTARIAN SOCIALIST REVOLUTION

or, as others would put it...
THE ANARCHIST REVOLUTION

+========================================================================+
|
| For more information on Anarchism, Collectivism, Syndicalism, and
| the Social Revolution, please visit:
|
| http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/index.html -
| AnarchyArchives - An expansive and ambitious collection of texts
| from all the great Anarchist thinkers and theorists, such as Emma
| Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman, Pierre Joseph
| Proudhon, and best of all, Mikhail Bakunin.
|
| http://www.anarchism.net - Liberty and Justice For All.
|
| http://www.spunk.org - Spunk Library (resource guides and old
| texts on the subject of anarchism).
|
| http://www.infoshop.org - InfoShop (roadmap to the anarchist
| world).
|
| http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net - Anarcho-Syndicalism 101
| (guides and texts on the practice of Syndicalism and
| revolutionary worker action).
|
| http://www.punkerslut.com - Punkerslut Freethought (let it all
| collapse).
|
| http://www.RaiseTheFist.com - Silence is Defeat (the police state
| is happening now).
|
| http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/guestwriters/bobchurchill.html
| - The Allegorical Tale of the Satanist and the Queer - There is much
| to learn from this story.
|
| http://www.ZMag.org - Anarchy Watch
|
| For protection while sharing files online, please use
| PeerGuardian2, available for free from http://www.phoenixlabs.org.
| Also, you can use BlockList Manager. Download it from afterdawn.org:
|
| http://www.afterdawn.com/software/p2p_software/p2p_tools/
| the_blocklist_manager.cfm
|
| Enjoy the reading!
| This document brought to you by BloodLogic;
| http://thepiratebay.org/user/BloodLogic
|
+========================================================================+

The Wealth of Nations (1776) - An Excerpt from Chapter 8 of Vol. 1
------------------------------------------------------------------
by Adam Smith
-------------

What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract
usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the
same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as
possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter
in order to lower the wages of labour.

It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon
all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the
other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number,
can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least
does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen.
We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work;
but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can
hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, a merchant,
though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or
two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not
subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without
employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as
his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.

We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though
frequently of those of workmen. BUT WHOEVER IMAGINES, UPON THIS ACCOUNT, THAT
MASTERS RARELY COMBINE, IS AS IGNORANT OF THE WORLD AS OF THE SUBJECT. MASTERS
ARE ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE IN A SORT OF TACIT, BUT CONSTANT AND UNIFORM
COMBINATION, NOT TO RAISE THE WAGES OF LABOUR ABOVE THEIR ACTUAL RATE. TO
VIOLATE THIS COMBINATION IS EVERYWHERE A MOST UNPOPULAR ACTION, AND A SORT OF
REPROACH TO A MASTER AMONG HIS NEIGHBOURS AND EQUALS. WE SELDOM, INDEED, HEAR
OF THIS COMBINATION, BECAUSE IT IS THE USUAL, AND ONE MAY SAY, THE NATURAL
STATE OF THINGS, WHICH NOBODY EVER HEARS OF. Masters, too, sometimes enter
into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate.
These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the
moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without
resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other
people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary
defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any
provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of
their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of
provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work.
But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always
abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they
have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most
shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly
and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their
masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters upon
these occasions are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease
to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous
execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against
the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen,
accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those
tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interposition of the civil
magistrate, partly from the necessity superior steadiness of the masters,
partly from the necessity which the greater part of the workmen are under of
submitting for the sake of present subsistence, generally end in nothing, but
the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders.

The Capitalist System
---------------------
By Mikhail Bakunin
------------------

Is it necessary to repeat here the irrefutable arguments of Socialism which no
bourgeois economist has yet succeeded in disproving? What is property, what
is capital in their present form? For the capitalist and the property owner
they mean the power and the right, guaranteed by the State, to live without
working. And since neither property nor capital produces anything when not
fertilized by labor - that means the power and the right to live by exploiting
the work of someone else, the right to exploit the work of those who possess
neither property nor capital and who thus are forced to sell their productive
power to the lucky owners of both. Note that I have left out of account
altogether the following question: In what way did property and capital ever
fall into the hands of their present owners? This is a question which, when
envisaged from the points of view of history, logic, and justice, cannot be
answered in any other way but one which would serve as an indictment against
the present owners. I shall therefore confine myself here to the statement
that property owners and capitalists, inasmuch as they live not by their own
productive labor but by getting land rent, house rent, interest upon their
capital, or by speculation on land, buildings, and capital, or by the
commercial and industrial exploitation of the manual labor of the proletariat,
all live at the expense of the proletariat. (Speculation and exploitation no
doubt also constitute a sort of labor, but altogether non-productive labor.)

I know only too well that this mode of life is highly esteemed in all
civilized countries, that it is expressly and tenderly protected by all the
States, and that the States, religions, and all the juridical laws, both
criminal and civil, and all the political governments, monarchies and
republican - with their immense judicial and police apparatuses and their
standing armies - have no other mission but to consecrate and protect such
practices. In the presence of these powerful and respectable authorities I
cannot even permit myself to ask whether this mode of life is legitimate from
the point of view of human justice, liberty, human equality, and fraternity.
I simply ask myself: Under such conditions, are fraternity and equality
possible between the exploiter and the exploited, are justice and freedom
possible for the exploited?

Let us even suppose, as it is being maintained by the bourgeois economists
and with them all the lawyers, all the worshippers and believers in the
juridical right, all the priests of the civil and criminal code - let us
suppose that this economic relationship between the exploiter and the
exploited is altogether legitimate, that it is the inevitable consequence,
the product of an eternal, indestructible social law, yet still it will
always be true that exploitation precludes brotherhood and equality. It
goes without saying that it precludes economic equality. Suppose I am your
worker and you are my employer. If I offer my labor at the lowest price, if I
consent to have you live off my labor, it is certainly not because of devotion
or brotherly love for you. And no bourgeois economist would dare to say that it
was, however idyllic and naive their reasoning becomes when they begin to speak
about reciprocal affections and mutual relations which should exist between
employers and employees. No, I do it because my family and I would starve to
death if I did not work for an employer. Thus I am forced to sell you my labor
at the lowest possible price, and I am forced to do it by the threat of hunger.

But - the economists tell us - the property owners, the capitalists, the
employers, are likewise forced to seek out and purchase the labor of the
proletariat. Yes, it is true, they are forced to do it, but not in the same
measure. Had there been equality between those who offer their labor and
those who purchase it, between the necessity of selling one's labor and the
necessity of buying it, the slavery and misery of the proletariat would not
exist. But then there would be neither capitalists, nor property owners, nor
the proletariat, nor rich, nor poor: there would only be workers. It is
precisely because such equality does not exist that we have and are bound to
have exploiters.

This equality does not exist because in modern society where wealth is
produced by the intervention of capital paying wages to labor, the growth
of the population outstrips the growth of production, which results in the
supply of labor necessarily surpassing the demand and leading to a relative
sinking of the level of wages. Production thus constituted, monopolized,
exploited by bourgeois capital, is pushed on the one hand by the mutual
competition of the capitalists to concentrate evermore in the hands of an
ever diminishing number of powerful capitalists, or in the hands of
joint-stock companies which, owing to the merging of their capital, are
more powerful than the biggest isolated capitalists. (And the small and
medium-sized capitalists, not being able to produce at the same price as the
big capitalists, naturally succumb in the deadly struggle.) On the other
hand, all enterprises are forced by the same competition to sell their
products at the lowest possible price. It [capitalist monopoly] can attain
this two-fold result only by forcing out an ever-growing number of small or
medium-sized capitalists, speculators, merchants, or industrialists, from
the world of exploiters into the world of the exploited proletariat, and at
the same time squeezing out ever greater savings from the wages of the same
proletariat.

On the other hand, the mass of the proletariat, growing as a result of the
general increase of the population - which, as we know, not even poverty
can stop effectively - and through the increasing proletarianization of the
petty-bourgeoisie, ex-owners, capitalists, merchants, and industrialists -
growing, as I have said, at a much more rapid rate than the productive
capacities of an economy that is exploited by bourgeois capital - this
growing mass of the proletariat is placed in a condition wherein the workers
are forced into disastrous competition against one another.

For since they possess no other means of existence but their own manual
labor, they are driven, by the fear of seeing themselves replaced by others,
to sell it at the lowest price. This tendency of the workers, or rather the
necessity to which they are condemned by their own poverty, combined with
the tendency of the employers to sell the products of their workers, and
consequently buy their labor, at the lowest price, constantly reproduces
and consolidates the poverty of the proletariat. Since he finds himself in
a state of poverty, the worker is compelled to sell his labor for almost
nothing, and because he sells that product for almost nothing, he sinks into
ever greater poverty.

Yes, greater misery, indeed! For in this galley-slave labor the productive
force of the workers, abused, ruthlessly exploited, excessively wasted and
underfed, is rapidly used up. And once used up, what can be its value on
the market, of what worth is this sole commodity which he possesses and upon
the daily sale of which he depends for a livelihood? Nothing! And then? Then
nothing is left for the worker but to die.

What, in a given country, is the lowest possible wage? It is the price of that
which is considered by the proletarians of that country as absolutely
necessary to keep oneself alive. All the bourgeois economists are in agreement
on this point. Turgot, who saw fit to call himself the `virtuous minister' of
Louis XVI, and really was an honest man, said:

"The simple worker who owns nothing more than his hands, has nothing else to
sell than his labor. He sells it more or less expensively; but its price
whether high or low, does not depend on him alone: it depends on an agreement
with whoever will pay for his labor. The employer pays as little as possible;
when given the choice between a great number of workers, the employer prefers
the one who works cheap. The workers are, then, forced to lower their price in
competition each against the other. In all types of labor, it necessarily
follows that the salary of the worker is limited to what is necessary for
survival." (Reflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses)

J.B. Say, the true father of bourgeois economists in France also said: "Wages
are much higher when more demand exists for labor and less if offered, and are
lowered accordingly when more labor is offered and less demanded. It is the
relation between supply and demand which regulates the price of this
merchandise called the workers' labor, as are regulated all other public
services. When wages rise a little higher than the price necessary for the
workers' families to maintain themselves, their children multiply and a larger
supply soon develops in proportion with the greater demand. When, on the
contrary, the demand for workers is less than the quantity of people offering
to work, their gains decline back to the price necessary for the class to
maintain itself at the same number. The families more burdened with children
disappear; from them forward the supply of labor declines, and with less labor
being offered, the price rises... In such a way it is difficult for the wages
of the laborer to rise above or fall below the price necessary to maintain the
class (the workers, the proletariat) in the number required." (Cours complet
d' economie politique)

After citing Turgot and J.B. Say, Proudhon cries: "The price, as compared to
the value (in real social economy) is something essentially mobile,
consequently, essentially variable, and that in its variations, it is not
regulated more than by the concurrence, concurrence, let us not forget, that
as Turgot and Say agree, has the necessary effect not to give to wages to the
worker more than enough to barely prevent death by starvation, and maintain
the class in the numbers needed."1

The current price of primary necessities constitutes the prevailing constant
level above which workers' wages can never rise for a very long time, but
beneath which they drop very often, which constantly results in inanition,
sickness, and death, until a sufficient number of workers disappear to
equalize again the supply of and demand for labor. What the economists call
equalized supply and demand does not constitute real equality between those
who offer their labor for sale and those who purchase it. Suppose that I, a
manufacturer, need a hundred workers and that exactly a hundred workers
present themselves in the market - only one hundred, for if more came, the
supply would exceed demand, resulting in lowered wages. But since only one
hundred appear, and since I, the manufacturer, need only that number - neither
more nor less - it would seem at first that complete equality was established;
that supply and demand being equal in number, they should likewise be equal in
other respects. Does it follow that the workers can demand from me a wage and
conditions of work assuring them of a truly free, dignified, and human
existence? Not at all! If I grant them those conditions and those wages, I,
the capitalist, shall not gain thereby any more than they will. But then,
why should I have to plague myself and become ruined by offering them the
profits of my capital? If I want to work myself as workers do, I will invest
my capital somewhere else, wherever I can get the highest interest, and will
offer my labor for sale to some capitalist just as my workers do.

If, profiting by the powerful initiative afforded me by my capital, I ask
those hundred workers to fertilize that capital with their labor, it is not
because of my sympathy for their sufferings, nor because of a spirit of
justice, nor because of love for humanity. The capitalists are by no means
philanthropists; they would be ruined if they practiced philanthropy. It is
because I hope to draw from the labor of the workers sufficient profit to be
able to live comfortably, even richly, while at the same time increasing my
capital - and all that without having to work myself. Of course I shall work
too, but my work will be of an altogether different kind and I will be
remunerated at a much higher rate than the workers. It will not be the work of
production but that of administration and exploitation.

But isn't administrative work also productive work? No doubt it is, for
lacking a good and an intelligent administration, manual labor will not
produce anything or it will produce very little and very badly. But from the
point of view of justice and the needs of production itself, it is not at all
necessary that this work should be monopolized in my hands, nor, above all,
that I should be compensated at a rate so much higher than manual labor. The
co-operative associations already have proven that workers are quite capable
of administering industrial enterprises, that it can be done by workers
elected from their midst and who receive the same wage. Therefore if I
concentrate in my hands the administrative power, it is not because the
interests of production demand it, but in order to serve my own ends, the ends
of exploitation. As the absolute boss of my establishment I get for my labor
ten or twenty times more than my workers get for theirs, and this is true
despite the fact that my labor is incomparably less painful than theirs.

But the capitalist, the business owner, runs risks, they say, while the worker
risks nothing. This is not true, because when seen from his side, all the
disadvantages are on the part of the worker. The business owner can conduct
his affairs poorly, he can be wiped out in a bad deal, or be a victim of a
commercial crisis, or by an unforeseen catastrophe; in a word he can ruin
himself. This is true. But does ruin mean from the bourgeois point of view to
be reduced to the same level of misery as those who die of hunger, or to be
forced among the ranks of the common laborers? This so rarely happens, that we
might as well say never. Afterwards it is rare that the capitalist does not
retain something, despite the appearance of ruin. Nowadays all bankruptcies
are more or less fraudulent. But if absolutely nothing is saved, there are
always family ties, and social relations, who, with help from the business
skills learned which they pass to their children, permit them to get
positions for themselves and their children in the higher ranks of labor, in
management; to be a state functionary, to be an executive in a commercial or
industrial business, to end up, although dependent, with an income superior
to what they paid their former workers.

The risks of the worker are infinitely greater. After all, if the
establishment in which he is employed goes bankrupt, he must go several days
and sometimes several weeks without work, and for him it is more than ruin,
it is death; because he eats everyday what he earns. The savings of workers
are fairy tales invented by bourgeois economists to lull their weak sentiment
of justice, the remorse that is awakened by chance in the bosom of their
class. This ridiculous and hateful myth will never soothe the anguish of the
worker. He knows the expense of satisfying the daily needs of his large
family. If he had savings, he would not send his poor children, from the age
of six, to wither away, to grow weak, to be murdered physically and morally
in the factories, where they are forced to work night and day, a working day
of twelve and fourteen hours.

If it happens sometimes that the worker makes a small savings, it is quickly
consumed by the inevitable periods of unemployment which often cruelly
interrupt his work, as well as by the unforeseen accidents and illnesses which
befall his family. The accidents and illnesses that can overtake him
constitute a risk that makes all the risks of the employer nothing in
comparison: because for the worker debilitating illness can destroy his
productive ability, his labor power. Over all, prolonged illness is the most
terrible bankruptcy, a bankruptcy that means for him and his children, hunger
and death.

I know full well that under these conditions that if I were a capitalist, who
needs a hundred workers to fertilize my capital, that on employing these
workers, all the advantages are for me, all the disadvantages for them. I
propose nothing more nor less than to exploit them, and if you wish me to be
sincere about it, and promise to guard me well, I will tell them:

"Look, my children, I have some capital which by itself cannot produce
anything, because a dead thing cannot produce anything. I have nothing
productive without labor. As it goes, I cannot benefit from consuming it
unproductively, since having consumed it, I would be left with nothing. But
thanks to the social and political institutions which rule over us and are
all in my favor, in the existing economy my capital is supposed to be a
producer as well: it earns me interest. From whom this interest must be taken
- and it must be from someone, since in reality by itself it produces
absolutely nothing - this does not concern you. It is enough for you to know
that it renders interest. Alone this interest is insufficient to cover my
expenses. I am not an ordinary man as you. I cannot be, nor do I want to be,
content with little. I want to live, to inhabit a beautiful house, to eat and
drink well, to ride in a carriage, to maintain a good appearance, in short,
to have all the good things in life. I also want to give a good education to
my children, to make them into gentlemen, and send them away to study, and
afterwards, having become much more educated than you, they can dominate you
one day as I dominate you today. And as education alone is not enough, I want
to give them a grand inheritance, so that divided between them they will be
left almost as rich as I. Consequently, besides all the good things in life
I want to give myself, I also want to increase my capital. How will I achieve
this goal? Armed with this capital I propose to exploit you, and I propose
that you permit me to exploit you. You will work and I will collect and
appropriate and sell for my own behalf the product of your labor, without
giving you more than a portion which is absolutely necessary to keep you from
dying of hunger today, so that at the end of tomorrow you will still work for
me in the same conditions; and when you have been exhausted, I will throw you
out, and replace you with others. Know it well, I will pay you a salary as
small, and impose on you a working day as long, working conditions as severe,
as despotic, as harsh as possible; not from wickedness - not from a motive of
hatred towards you, nor an intent to do you harm - but from the love of wealth
and to get rich quick; because the less I pay you and the more you work, the
more I will gain."

This is what is said implicitly by every capitalist, every industrialist,
every business owner, every employer who demands the labor power of the workers
they hire.

But since supply and demand are equal, why do the workers accept the conditions
laid down by the employer? If the capitalist stands in just as great a need of
employing the workers as the one hundred workers do of being employed by him,
does it not follow that both sides are in an equal position? Do not both meet
at the market as two equal merchants - from the juridical point of view at
least - one bringing a commodity called a daily wage, to be exchanged for the
daily labor of the worker on the basis of so many hours per day; and the other
bringing his own labor as his commodity to be exchanged for the wage offered
by the capitalist? Since, in our supposition, the demand is for a hundred
workers and the supply is likewise that of a hundred persons, it may seem
that both sides are in an equal position.

Of course nothing of the kind is true. What is it that brings the capitalist
to the market? It is the urge to get rich, to increase his capital, to gratify
his ambitions and social vanities, to be able to indulge in all conceivable
pleasures. And what brings the worker to the market? Hunger, the necessity of
eating today and tomorrow. Thus, while being equal from the point of juridical
fiction, the capitalist and the worker are anything but equal from the point
of view of the economic situation, which is the real situation. The capitalist
is not threatened with hunger when he comes to the market; he knows very well
that if he does not find today the workers for whom he is looking, he will
still have enough to eat for quite a long time, owing to the capital of which
he is the happy possessor. If the workers whom he meets in the market present
demands which seem excessive to him, because, far from enabling him to
increase his wealth and improve even more his economic position, those
proposals and conditions might, I do not say equalize, but bring the economic
position of the workers somewhat close to his own - what does he do in that
case? He turns down those proposals and waits. After all, he was not impelled
by an urgent necessity, but by a desire to improve his position, which,
compared to that of the workers, is already quite comfortable, and so he can
wait. And he will wait, for his business experience has taught him that the
resistance of workers who, possessing neither capital, nor comfort, nor any
savings to speak of, are pressed by a relentless necessity, by hunger, that
this resistance cannot last very long, and that finally he will be able to
find the hundred workers for whom he is looking - for they will be forced to
accept the conditions which he finds it profitable to impose upon them. If
they refuse, others will come who will be only too happy to accept such
conditions. That is how things are done daily with the knowledge and in full
view of everyone.

If, as a consequence of the particular circumstances that constantly
influence the market, the branch of industry in which he planned at first
to employ his capital does not offer all the advantages that he had hoped,
then he will shift his capital elsewhere; thus the bourgeois capitalist is
not tied by nature to any specific industry, but tends to invest (as it is
called by the economists - exploit is what we say) indifferently in all
possible industries. Let's suppose, finally, that learning of some industrial
incapacity or misfortune, he decides not to invest in any industry; well, he
will buy stocks and annuities; and if the interest and dividends seem
insufficient, then he will engage in some occupation, or shall we say, sell
his labor for a time, but in conditions much more lucrative than he had
offered to his own workers.

The capitalist then comes to the market in the capacity, if not of an
absolutely free agent, at least that of an infinitely freer agent than the
worker. What happens in the market is a meeting between a drive for lucre and
starvation, between master and slave. Juridically they are both equal; but
economically the worker is the serf of the capitalist, even before the market
transaction has been concluded whereby the worker sells his person and his
liberty for a given time. The worker is in the position of a serf because this
terrible threat of starvation which daily hangs over his head and over his
family, will force him to accept any conditions imposed by the gainful
calculations of the capitalist, the industrialist, the employer.

And once the contract has been negotiated, the serfdom of the workers is
doubly increased; or to put it better, before the contract has been
negotiated, goaded by hunger, he is only potentially a serf; after it is
negotiated he becomes a serf in fact. Because what merchandise has he sold to
his employer? It is his labor, his personal services, the productive forces of
his body, mind, and spirit that are found in him and are inseparable from his
person - it is therefore himself. From then on, the employer will watch over
him, either directly or by means of overseers; everyday during working hours
and under controlled conditions, the employer will be the owner of his actions
and movements. When he is told: "Do this," the worker is obligated to do it;
or he is told: "Go there," he must go. Is this not what is called a serf?

M. Karl Marx, the illustrious leader of German Communism, justly observed in
his magnificent work Das Kapital that if the contract freely entered into by
the vendors of money -in the form of wages - and the vendors of their own
labor -that is, between the employer and the workers - were concluded not for
a definite and limited term only, but for one's whole life, it would
constitute real slavery. Concluded for a term only and reserving to the
worker the right to quit his employer, this contract constitutes a sort of
voluntary and transitory serfdom. Yes, transitory and voluntary from the
juridical point of view, but nowise from the point of view of economic
possibility. The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he
the means to do so? And if he does quit him, is it in order to lead a free
existence, in which he will have no master but himself? No, he does it in
order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same
hunger which forced him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the
worker's liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois
republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible
realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter
falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a
continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -voluntary from the
juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by
momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other
words, it is real slavery.

This slavery manifests itself daily in all kinds of ways. Apart from the
vexations and oppressive conditions of the contract which turn the worker into
a subordinate, a passive and obedient servant, and the employer into a nearly
absolute master - apart from all that, it is well known that there is hardly
an industrial enterprise wherein the owner, impelled on the one hand by the
two-fold instinct of an unappeasable lust for profits and absolute power, and
on the other hand, profiting by the economic dependence of the worker, does
not set aside the terms stipulated in the contract and wring some additional
concessions in his own favor. Now he will demand more hours of work, that is,
over and above those stipulated in the contract; now he will cut down wages
on some pretext; now he will impose arbitrary fines, or he will treat the
workers harshly, rudely, and insolently.

But, one may say, in that case the worker can quit. Easier said than done.
At times the worker receives part of his wages in advance, or his wife or
children may be sick, or perhaps his work is poorly paid throughout this
particular industry. Other employers may be paying even less than his own
employer, and after quitting this job he may not even be able to find another
one. And to remain without a job spells death for him and his family. In
addition, there is an understanding among all employers, and all of them
resemble one another. All are almost equally irritating, unjust, and harsh.

Is this calumny? No, it is in the nature of things, and in the logical
necessity of the relationship existing between the employers and their
workers.

Law and Government
------------------
by Alexander Berkman
--------------------
From: Chapter 3 of "What is Anarchist-Communism?"
-------------------------------------------------

link:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_Archives/bright/berkman/comanarchism/whatis_toc.html

How do you live? What does your freedom amount to?

You depend on your employer for your wages or your salary, don't you? And your
wages determine your way of living, don't they? The conditions of your life,
even what you eat and drink, where you go and with whom you associate, - all
of it depends on your wages.

No, you are not a free man. You are dependent on your employer and on your
wages. You are really a wage slave.

The whole working class, under the capitalist system, is dependent on the
capitalist class. The workers are wage slaves.

So, what becomes of your freedom? What can you do with it? Can you do more
with it than your wages permit?

Can't you see that your wage - your salary or income - is all the freedom that
you have? Your freedom, your liberty, don't go a step further than the wages
you get.

The freedom that is given you on paper, that is written down in law books and
constitutions, does not do you a bit of good. Such freedom only means that you
have the right to do a certain thing. But it doesn't mean that you can do it.
To be able to do it, you must have the chance, the opportunity. You have a
right to eat three fine meals a day, but if you haven't the means, the
opportunity to get those meals, then what good is that right to you?

So freedom really means opportunity to satisfy your needs and wants. If your
freedom does not give you that opportunity, then it does you no good. Real
freedom means opportunity and well being. If it does not mean that, it means
nothing.

You see, then, that the whole situation comes to this: Capitalism robs you and
makes a wage slave of you. The law upholds and protects that robbery.

The government fools you into believing that you are independent and free.
In this way you are fooled and duped every day of your life. But how does it
happen that you didn't think of it before? How is it that most other people
don't see it, either?

It is because you and every one else are lied to about this all the time, from
your earliest childhood.

You are told to be honest, while you are being robbed all your life.

You are commanded to respect the law, while the law protects the capitalist
who is robbing you.

You are taught that killing is wrong, while the government hangs and
electrocutes people and slaughters them in war.

You are told to obey the law and government, though law and government stand
for robbery and murder.

Thus all through life you are lied to, fooled, and deceived, so that it will
be easier to make profits out of you, to exploit you.

Because it is not only the employer and the capitalist who make profits out of
you. The government, the church, tend the school - they all live on your
labor. You support them all. That is why all of them teach you to be content
with your lot and behave yourself.

'Is it really true that I support them all?' you ask in amazement.

Let us see. They eat and drink and are clothed, not to speak of the luxuries
they enjoy. Do they make the things they use and consume, do they do the
planting and sowing and building and so on?

'But they pay for those things,' your friend objects.

Yes, they pay. Suppose a fellow stole fifty dollars from you and then went
and bought with it a suit of clothes for himself. Is that suit by right his?
Didn't he pay for it? Well, just so the people who don't produce anything or
do no useful work pay for things. Their money is the profits they or their
parents before them squeezed out of you, out of the workers.

'Then it is not my boss who supports me, but I him?'

Of course. He gives you a job; that is, permission to work in the factory or
mill which was not built by him but by other workers like yourself. And for
that permission you help to support him for the rest of your life or as long
as you work for him. You support him so generously that he can afford a
mansion in the city and a home in the country, even several of them, and
servants to attend to his wants and those of his family, and for the
entertainment of his friends, and for horse races and for boat races, and for
a hundred other things. But it is not only to him that you are so generous.
Out of your labor, by direct and indirect taxation, are supported the entire
government, local, state, and national, the schools and the churches, and all
the other institutions whose business it is to protect profits and keep you
fooled. You and your fellow workers, labor as a whole, support them all. Do
you wonder that they all tell you that everything is all right and that you
should be good and keep quiet?

It is good for them that you should keep quiet, because they could not keep on
duping and robbing you once you open your eyes and see what's happening to you.

That's why they are all strong for this capitalist system, for law and order'.

But is that system good for you? Do you think it right and just? If not, then
why do you put up with it? Why do you support it? 'What can I do?' you say;
'I'm only one.'

Are you really only one? Are you not rather one out of many thousands, out of
millions, all of them exploited and enslaved the same as you are? Only they
don't know it. If they knew it, they wouldn't stand for it. That's sure. So
the thing is to make them know it.

Every workingman in your city, every toiler in your country, in every country,
in the whole world, is exploited and enslaved the same as you are.

And not only the workingmen. The farmers are duped and robbed in the same
manner.

Just like the workingmen, the farmer is dependent on the capitalist class. He
toils hard all his life, but most of his labor goes to the trusts and
monopolies of the land which by right is no more theirs than the moon is.

The farmer produces the food of the world. He feeds all of us. But before he
can get his goods to us, he is made to pay tribute to the class that lives
by the work of others, the profit-making, capitalist class. The farmer is
mulcted out of the greater part of his product just as the worker is. He is
mulcted by the land owner and by the mortgage holder; by the steel trust and
the railroad. The banker, the commission merchant, the retailer, and a score
of other middlemen squeeze their profits out of the farmer before he is
allowed to get his food to you.

Law and government permit and help this robbery by ruling that the land, which
no man created, belongs to the landlord; the railroads, which the workers
built, belong to the railroad magnates; the warehouses, grain elevators, and
storehouses, erected by the workers, belong to the capitalists; all those
monopolists and capitalists have a right to get profits from the farmer for
using the railroads and other facilities before he can get his food to you.

You can see then, how the farmer is robbed by big capital and business, and
how the law helps in that robbery, just as with the workingman.

But it is not only the worker and the farmer who are exploited and forced to
give up the greater part of their product to the capitalists, to those who
have monopolized the land, the railroads, the factories, the machinery, and
all natural resources. The entire country, the whole world is made to pay
tribute to the kings of finance and industry.

The small business man depends on the wholesaler; the wholesaler on the
manufacturer; the manufacturer on the trust magnates of his industry; and
all of them on the money lords and banks for their credit. The big bankers
and financiers can put any man out of business by just withdrawing their
credit from him. They do so whenever they want to squeeze any one out of
business. The business man is entirely at their mercy. If he does not play
the game as they want it, to suit their interests, then they simply drive
him out of the game.

Thus the whole of mankind is dependent upon and enslaved by just a handful of
men who have monopolized almost the entire wealth of the world, but who have
themselves never created anything.

'But those men work hard,' you say.

Well, some of them don't work at all. Some of them are just idlers, whose
business is managed by others. Some of them do work. But what kind of work do
they do? Do they produce anything, as the worker and the farmer do? No, they
produce nothing, though they may work. They work to mulct people, to get
profits out of them. Does their work benefit you? The highwayman also works
hard and takes great risks to boot. His 'work', like the capitalist's, gives
employment to lawyers, jailers, and a host of other retainers, all of whom
your toil supports.

It seems indeed ridiculous that the whole world should slave for the benefit
of a handful of monopolists, and that all should have to depend upon them for
their right and opportunity to live. But the fact is just that. And it is the
more ridiculous when you consider that the workers and farmers, who alone
create all wealth, should be the most dependent and the poorest of all the
other classes in society.

It is really monstrous, and it is very sad. Surely your common sense must tell
you that such a situation is nothing short of madness. If the great masses of
people, the millions throughout the world, could see how they are fooled,
exploited and enslaved, as you see it now, would they stand for such goings
on? Surely they would not!

The capitalists know they wouldn't. That is why they need the government to
legalize their methods of robbery, to protect the capitalist system.

And that is why the government needs laws, police and soldiers, courts and
prisons to protect capitalism.

But who are the police and the soldiers who protect the capitalists against
you, against the people?

If they were capitalists themselves, then it would stand to reason why they
want to protect the wealth they have stolen, and why they try to keep up,
even by force, the system that gives them the privilege of robbing the people.

But the police and the soldiers, the defenders of 'law and order', are not of
the capitalist class. They are men from the ranks of the people, poor men who
for pay protect the very system that keeps them poor. It is unbelievable, is
it not? Yet it is true. It just comes down to this: some of the slaves protect
their masters in keeping them and the rest of the people in slavery. In the
same way Great Britain, for instance, keeps the Hindoos in India in subjection
by a police force of the natives, of the Hindoos themselves. Or as Belgium
does with the black men in the Congo. Or as any government does with a
subjugated people. It is the same system. Here is what it amounts to:
Capitalism robs and exploits the whole of the people; the laws legalize and
uphold this capitalist robbery; the government uses one part of the people
to aid and protect the capitalists in robbing the whole of the people. The
entire thing is kept up by educating the people to believe that capitalism
is right, that the law is just, and that the government must be obeyed. Do
you see through this game now?

Syndicalism: The Modern Menace to Capitalism
--------------------------------------------
by Emma Goldman
---------------

IN view of the fact that the ideas embodied in Syndicalism have been practised
by the workers for the last half century, even if without the background of
social consciousness; that in this country five men had to pay with their
lives because they advocated Syndicalist methods as the most effective, in
the struggle of labor against capital; and that, furthermore, Syndicalism has
been consciously practised by the workers of France, Italy and Spain since
1895, it is rather amusing to witness some people in America and England now
swooping down upon Syndicalism as a perfectly new and never before heard-of
proposition.

It is astonishing how very naïve Americans are, how crude and immature in
matters of international importance. For all his boasted practical aptitude,
the average American is the very last to learn of the modern means and tactics
employed in the great struggles of his day. Always he lags behind in ideas and
methods that the European workers have for years past been applying with great
success.

It may be contended, of course, that this is merely a sign of youth on the
part of the American. And it is indeed beautiful to possess a young mind,
fresh to receive and perceive. But unfortunately the American mind seems
never to grow, to mature and crystallize its views.

Perhaps that is why an American revolutionist can at the same time be a
politician. That is also the reason why leaders of the Industrial Workers of
the World continue in the Socialist party, which is antagonistic to the
principles as well as to the activities of the I. W. W. Also why a rigid
Marxian may propose that the Anarchists work together with the faction that
began its career by a most bitter and malicious persecution of one of the
pioneers of Anarchism, Michael Bakunin. In short, to the indefinite, uncertain
mind of the American radical the most contradictory ideas and methods are
possible. The result is a sad chaos in the radical movement, a sort of
intellectual hash, which has neither taste nor character.

Just at present Syndicalism is the pastime of a great many Americans,
so-called intellectuals. Not that they know anything about it, except that
some great authorities --- Sorel, Lagardelle, Berth and others --- stand for
it: because the American needs the seal of authority, or he would not accept
an idea, no matter how true and valuable it might be.

Our bourgeois magazines are full of dissertations on Syndicalism. One of our
most conservative colleges has even gone to the extent of publishing a work
of one of its students on the subject, which has the approval of a professor.
And all this, not because Syndicalism is a force and is being successfully
practised by the workers of Europe, but because --- as I said before --- it
has official authoritative sanction.

As if Syndicalism had been discovered by the philosophy of Bergson or the
theoretic discourses of Sorel and Berth, and had not existed and lived among
the workers long before these men wrote about it. The feature which
distinguishes Syndicalism from most philosophies is that it represents the
revolutionary philosophy of labor conceived and born in the actual struggle
and experience of the workers themselves --- not in universities, colleges,
libraries, or in the brain of some scientists. The revolutionary philosophy
of labor, that is the true and vital meaning of Syndicalism.

Already as far back as 1848 a large section of the workers realized the utter
futility of political activity as a means of helping them in their economic
struggle. At that time already the demand went forth for direct economic
measures, as against the useless waste of energy along political lines. This
was the case not only in France, but even prior to that in England, where
Robert Owen, the true revolutionary Socialist, propagated similar ideas.

After years of agitation and experiment the idea was incorporated by the first
convention of the internationale, in 1867, in the resolution that the economic
emancipation of the workers must be the principal aim of all revolutionists,
to which everything else is to be subordinated.

In fact, it was this determined radical stand which eventually brought about
the split in the revolutionary movement of that day, and its division into
two factions: the one, under Marx and Engels, aiming at political conquest;
the other, under Bakunin and the Latin workers, forging ahead along
industrial and Syndicalist lines. The further development of those two wings
is familiar to every thinking man and woman: the one has gradually
centralized into a huge machine, with the sole purpose of conquering political
power within the existing capitalist State; the other is becoming an ever more
vital revolutionary factor, dreaded by the enemy as the greatest menace to its
rule.

It was in the year 1900 while a delegate to the Anarchist Congress in Paris,
that I first came in contact with Syndicalism in operation. The Anarchist
press had been discussing the subject for years prior to that; therefore we
Anarchists knew something about Syndicalism. But those of us who lived in
America had to content themselves with the theoretic side of it.

In 1900, however, I saw its effect upon labor in France: the strength, the
enthusiasm and hope with which Syndicalism inspired the workers. It was also
my good fortune to learn of the man who more than anyone else had directed
Syndicalism into definite working channels, Fernand Pelloutier. Unfortunately,
I could not meet this remarkable young man, as he was at that time already
very ill with cancer. But wherever I went, with whomever I spoke, the love
and devotion for Pelloutier was wonderful, all agreeing that it was he who
had gathered the discontented forces in the French labor movement and imbued
them with new life and a new purpose, that of Syndicalism.

On my return to America I immediately began to propagate Syndicalist ideas,
especially Direct Action and the General Strike. But it was like talking to
the Rocky Mountains --- no understanding, even among the more radical
elements, and complete indifference in labor ranks.

In 1907 I went as a delegate to the Anarchist Congress at Amsterdam and, while
in Paris, met the most active Syndicalists in the Confédération Générale an
Travail: Pouget, Delesalle, Monatte, and many others. More than that, I had
the opportunity to see Syndicalism in daily operation, in its most
constructive and inspiring forms.

I allude to this, to indicate that my knowledge of Syndicalism does not come
from Sorel, Lagardelle, or Berth, but from actual contact with and observation
of the tremendous work carried on by the workers of Paris within the ranks of
the Confédération. It would require a volume to explain in detail what
Syndicalism is doing for the French workers. In the American press you read
only of its resistive methods, of strikes and sabotage, of the conflicts of
labor with capital. These are no doubt very important matters, and yet the
chief value of Syndicalism lies much deeper. It lies in the constructive and
educational effect upon the life and thought of the masses.

The fundamental difference between Syndicalism and the old trade union methods
is this: while the old trade unions, without exception, move within the wage
system and capitalism, recognizing the latter as inevitable, Syndicalism
repudiates and condemns present industrial arrangements as unjust and
criminal, and holds out no hope to the worker for lasting results from this
system.

Of course Syndicalism, like the old trade unions, fights for immediate gains,
but it is not stupid enough to pretend that labor can expect humane
conditions from inhuman economic arrangements in society. Thus it merely
wrests from the enemy what it can force him to yield; on the whole, however,
Syndicalism aims at, and concentrates its energies upon, the complete
overthrow of the wage system. Indeed, Syndicalism goes further: it aims to
liberate labor from every institution that has not for its object the free
development of production for the benefit of all humanity. In short, the
ultimate purpose of Syndicalism is to reconstruct society from its present
centralized, authoritative and brutal state to one based upon the free,
federated grouping of the workers along lines of economic and social liberty.

With this object in view, Syndicalism works in two directions: first, by
undermining the existing institutions; secondly, by developing and educating
the workers and cultivating their spirit of solidarity, to prepare them for
a full, free life, when capitalism shall have been abolished.

Syndicalism is, in essence, the economic expression of Anarchism. That
circumstance accounts for the presence of so many Anarchists in the
Syndicalist movement. Like Anarchism, Syndicalism prepares the workers along
direct economic lines, as conscious factors in the great struggles of to-day,
as well as conscious factors in the task of reconstructing society along
autonomous industrial lines, as against the paralyzing spirit of
centralization with its bureaucratic machinery of corruption, inherent in
all political parties.

Realizing that the diametrically opposed interests of capital and labor can
never be reconciled, Syndicalism must needs repudiate the old rusticated,
worn-out methods of trade unionism, and declare for an open war against the
capitalist régime, as well as against every institution which to-day supports
and protects capitalism.

As a logical sequence Syndicalism, in its daily warfare against capitalism,
rejects the contract system, because it does not consider labor and capital
equals, hence cannot consent to an agreement which the one has the power to
break, while the other must submit to without redress.

For similar reasons Syndicalism rejects negotiations in labor disputes,
because such a procedure serves only to give the enemy time to prepare his
end of the fight, thus defeating the very object the workers set out to
accomplish. Also, Syndicalism stands for spontaneity, both as a preserver of
the fighting strength of labor and also because it takes the enemy unawares,
hence compels him to a speedy settlement or causes him great loss.

Syndicalism objects to a large union treasury, because money is as corrupting
an element in the ranks of labor as it is in those of capitalism. We in
America know this to be only too true. If the labor movement in this country
were not backed by such large funds, it would not be as conservative as it
is, nor would the leaders be so readily corrupted. However, the main reason
for the opposition of Syndicalism to large treasuries consists in the fact
that they create class distinctions and jealousies within the ranks of labor,
so detrimental to the spirit of solidarity. The worker whose organization has
a large purse considers himself superior to his poorer brother, just as he
regards himself better than the man who earns fifty cents less per day.

The chief ethical value of Syndicalism consists in the stress it lays upon
the necessity of labor getting rid of the element of dissension, parasitism
and corruption in its ranks. It seeks to cultivate devotion, solidarity and
enthusiasm, which are far more essential and vital in the economic struggle
than money.

As I have already stated, Syndicalism has grown out of the disappointment of
the workers with politics and parliamentary methods. In the course of its
development Syndicalism has learned to see in the State --- with its
mouthpiece, the representative system --- one of the strongest supports of
capitalism; just as it has learned that the army and the church are the
chief pillars of the State. It is therefore that Syndicalism has turned its
back upon parliamentarism and political machines, and has set its face toward
the economic arena wherein alone gladiator Labor can meet his foe successfully.

Historic experience sustains the Synclicalists in their uncompromising
opposition to parliamentarism. Many had entered political life and,
unwilling to be corrupted by the atmosphere, withdrew from office, to devote
themselves to the economic struggle --- Proudhon, the Dutch revolutionist
Nieuwenhuis, John Most and numerous others. While those who remained in the
parliamentary quagmire ended by betraying their trust, without having gained
anything for labor. But it is unnecessary to discuss here political history.
Suffice to say that Syndicalists are anti-parlarnentarians as a result of
bitter experience

Equally so has experience determined their anti-military attitude. Time and
again has the army been used to shoot down strikers and to inculcate the
sickening idea of patriotism, for the purpose of dividing the workers against
themselves and helping the masters to the spoils. The inroads that Syndicalist
agitation has made into the superstition of patriotism are evident from the
dread of the ruling class for the loyalty of the army, and the rigid
persecution of the anti-militarists. Naturailly --- for the ruling class
realizes much better than the workers that when the soldiers will refuse to
obey their superiors, the whole system of capitalism will be doomed.

Indeed, why should the workers sacrifice their children that the latter may be
used to shoot their own parents? Therefore Syndicalism is not merely logical
in its anti-military agitation; it is most practical and far-reaching,
inasmuch as it robs the enemy of his strongest weapon against labor.

Now, as to the methods employed by Syndicalism --- Direct Action, Sabotage,
and the General Strike.

DIRECT ACTION.---Conscious individual or collective effort to protest against,
or remedy social conditions through the systematic assertion of the economic
power of the workers.

Sabotage has been decried as criminal, even by so-called revolutionary
Socialists. Of course, if you believe that property, which excludes the
producer from its use, is justifiable, then sabotage is indeed a crime. But
unless a Socialist continues to be under the influence of our bourgeois
morality --- a morality which enables the few to monopolize the earth at the
expense of the many --- he cannot consistently maintain that capitalist
property is inviolate. Sabotage undermines this form of private possession.
Can it therefore be considered criminal? On the contrary, it is ethical in
the best sense, since it helps society to get rid of its worst foe, the most
detrimental factor of social life.

Sabotage is mainly concerned with obstructing, by every possible method, the
regular process of production, thereby demonstrating the determination of the
workers to give according to what they receive, and no more. For instance,
at the time of the French railroad strike of 1910 perishable goods were sent
in slow trains, or in an opposite direction from the one intended. Who but the
most ordinary philistine will call that a crime? If the railway men themselves
go hungry, and the "innocent" public has not enough feeling of solidarity to
insist that these men should get enough to live on, the public has forfeited
the sympathy of the strikers and must take the consequences.

Another form of sabotage consisted, during this strike, in placing heavy boxes
on goods marked "Handle with care," cut glass and china and precious wines.
From the standpoint of the law this may have been a crime but from the
standpoint of common humanity it was a very sensible thing. The same is true
of disarranging a loom in a weaving mill, or living up to the letter of the
law with all its red tape, as the Italian railway men did, thereby causing
confusion in the railway service. In other words, sabotage is merely a weapon
of defense in the industrial warfare, which is the more effective because it
touches capitalism in its most vital spot, the pocket.

By the General Strike, Syndicalism means a stoppage of work, the cessation of
labor. Nor need such a strike be postponed until all the workers of a
particular place or country are ready for it. As has been pointed out by
Pelloutier, Pouget, as well as others, and particularly by recent events in
England, the General Strike may be started by one industry and exert a
tremendous force. It is as if one man suddenly raised the cry "Stop the
thief!" Immediately others will take up the cry, till the air rings with it.
The General Strike, initiated by one determined organization, by one industry
or by a small, conscious minority among the workers, is the industrial cry of
"Stop the thief," which is soon taken up by many other industries, spreading
like wildfire in a very, short time.

One of the objections of politicians to the General Strike is that the workers
also would suffer for the necessaries of life. In the first place, the workers
are past masters in going hungry; secondly, it is certain that a General
Strike is surer of prompt settlement than an ordinary strike. Witness the
transport and miner strikes in England: how quickly the lords of State and
capital were forced to make peace! Besides, Syndicalism recognizes the right
of the producers to the things which they have created; namely, the right of
the workers to help themselves if the strike does not meet with speedy
settlement.

When Sorel maintains that the General Strike is an inspiration necessary for
the people to give their life meaning, he is expressing a thought which the
Anarchists have never tired of emphasizing. Yet I do not hold with Sorel that
the General Strike is a "social myth," that may never be realized. I think
that the General Strike will become a fact the moment labor understands its
full value --- its destructive as well as constructive value, as indeed many
workers all over the world are beginning to realize.

These ideas and methods of Syndicalism some may consider entirely negative,
though they are far from it in their effect upon society to-day. But
Syndicalism has also a directly positive aspect. In fact, much more time
and effort is being devoted to that phase than to the others. Various forms
of Syndicalist activity are designed to prepare the workers, even within
present social and industrial conditions, for the life of a new and better
society. To that end the masses are trained in the spirit of mutual aid and
brotherhood, their initiative and self-reliance developed, and an esprit de
corps maintained whose very soul is solidarity of purpose and the community
of interests of the international proletariat.

Chief among these activities are the mutualitées, or mutual aid societies,
established by the French Syndicalists. Their object is, foremost, to secure
work for unemployed members, and to further that spirit of mutual assistance
which rests upon the consciousness of labor's identity of interests
throughout the world.

In his "The Labor Movement in France," Mr. L. Levine states that during the
year 1902 over 74,000 workers, out of a total of 99,000 applicants, were
provided with work by these societies, without being compelled to submit to
the extortion of the employment bureau sharks.

These latter are a source of the deepest degradation, as well as of most
shameless exploitation, of the worker. Especially does it hold true of
America, where the employment agencies are in many cases also masked
detective agencies, supplying workers in need of employment to strike regions,
under false promises of steady, remunerative employment.

The French Confédération had long realized the vicious rôle of employment
agencies as leeches upon the jobless worker and nurseries of scabbery. By the
threat of a General Strike the French Syndicalists forced the government to
abolish the employment bureau sharks, and the workers' own mutualitées have
almost entirely superseded them, to the great economic and moral advantage of
labor.

Besides the mutualitées, the French Syndicalists have established other
activities tending to weld labor in closer bonds of solidarity and mutual
aid. Among these are the efforts to assist workingmen journeying from place
to place. The practical as well as ethical value of such assistance is
inestimable. It serves to instill the spirit of fellowship and gives a sense
of security in the feeling of oneness with the large family of labor. This is
one of the vital effects of the Syndicalist spirit in France and other Latin
countries. What a tremendous need there is for just such efforts in this
country! Can anyone doubt the significance of the consciousness of workingmen
coming from Chicago, for instance, to New York, sure to find there among
their comrades welcome lodging and food until they have secured employment?
This form of activity is entirely foreign to the labor bodies of this country,
and as a result the traveling workman in search of a job --- the "blanket
stiff" --- is constantly at the mercy of the constable and policeman, a victim
of the vagrancy laws, and the unfortunate material whence is recruited,
through stress of necessity, the army of scabdom.

I have repeatedly witnessed, while at the headquarters of the Confédération,
the cases of workingmen who came with their union cards from various parts of
France, and even from other countries of Europe, and were supplied with meals
and lodging, and encouraged by every evidence of brotherly spirit, and made
to feel at home by their fellow workers of the Confédération. It is due, to a
great extent, to these activities of the Synclicalists that the French
government is forced to employ the army for strikebreaking, because few
workers are willing to lend themselves for such service, thanks to the
efforts and tactics of Syndicalism.

No less in importance than the mutual aid activities of the Syndicalists is
the cooperation established by them between the city, end the country, the
factory worker and the peasant or farmer, the latter providing the workers
with food supplies during strikes, or taking care of the strikers' children.
This form of practical solidarity has for the first time been tried in this
country during the Lawrence strike, with inspiring results.

And all these Syndicalist activities are permeated with the spirit of
educational work, carried on systematically by evening classes on all vital
subjects treated from an unbiased, libertarian standpoint --- not the
adulterated "knowledge" with which the minds are stuffed in our public
schools. The scope of the education is truly phenomenal, including sex hygiene,
the care of women during pregnancy and confinement, the care of home and
children, sanitation and general hygiene; in fact, every branch of human
knowledge --- science, history, art --- receives thorough attention, together
with the practical application in the established workingmen's libraries,
dispensaries, concerts and festivals, in which the greatest artists and
literati of Paris consider it an honor to participate.

One of the most vital efforts of Syndicalism is to prepare the workers, now,
for their rôle in a free society, Thus the Syndicalist organizations supply
its members with textbooks on every trade and industry, of a character that
is calculated to make the worker an adept in his chosen line, a master of
his craft, for the purpose of familiarizing him with all the branches of
his industry, so that when labor finally takes over production and
distribution, the people will be fully prepared to manage successfully
their own affairs.

A demonstration of the effectiveness of this educational campaign of
Syndicalism is given by the railroad men of Italy, whose mastery of all
the details of transportation is so great that they could offer to the
Italian government to take over the railroads of the country and guarantee
their operation with greater economy and fewer accidents than is at present
done by the government.

Their ability to carry on production has been strikingly proved by the
Syndicalists, in connection with the glass blowers' strike in Italy. There the
strikers, instead of remaining idle during the progress of the strike, decided
themselves to carry on the production of glass. The wonderful spirit of
solidarity resulting from the Syndicalist propaganda enabled them to build a
glass factory within an incredibly short time. An old building, rented for the
purpose and which would have ordinarily required months to be put into proper
condition, was turned into a glass factory within a few weeks, by the
solidaric efforts of the strikers aided by their comrades who toiled with them
after working hours. Then the strikers began operating the glass-blowing
factory, and their cooperative plan of work and distribution during the strike
has proved so satisfactory in every way that the experimental factory has been
made permanent and a part of the glass-blowing industry in Italy is now in the
hands of the cooperative organization of the workers.

This method of applied education not only trains the worker in his daily
struggle but serves also to equip him for the battle royal and the future,
when he is to assume his place in society as an intelligent, conscious being
and useful producer, once capitalism is abolished.

Nearly all leading Syndicalists agree with the Anarchists that a free society
can exist only through voluntary association, and that its ultimate success
will depend upon the intellectual and moral development of the workers who
will supplant the wage system with a new social arrangement, based on
solidarity and economic well-being for all. That is Syndicalism, in theory
and practice.

The Role of the Trade Unions: Anarcho-Syndicalist View
------------------------------------------------------
by Rudolph Rocker
-----------------

THESE WERE THE CONSIDERATIONS WHICH led to the development of Revolutionary
Syndicalism or, as it was later called, Anarcho-Syndicalism in France and
other countries. The term workers' syndicate meant at first merely an
organization of producers for the immediate betterment of their economic and
social status. But the rise of Revolutionary Syndicalism gave this original
meaning a much wider and deeper import. Just as the party is, so to speak, a
unified organization with definite political effort within the modern
constitutional state which seeks to maintain the present order of society in
one form or another, so, according to the Unionist's view, the trade unions
are the unified organization of labour and have for their purpose the defence
of the producers within the existing society and the preparing for and
practical carrying out of the reconstruction of social life in the direction
of Socialism. They have, therefore, a double purpose: 1. To enforce the
demands of the producers for the safeguarding and raising of their standard of
living; 2. To acquaint the workers with the technical management of production
and economic life in general and prepare them to take the socio-economic
organism into their own hands and shape it according to socialist principles.

Anarcho-Syndicalists are of the opinion that political parties are not fitted
to perform either of these two tasks. According to their conceptions the trade
union has to be the spearhead of the labour movement, toughened by daily
combats and permeated by a socialist spirit. Only in the realm of economy are
the workers able to display their full strength; for it is their activity as
producers which holds together the whole social structure and guarantees the
existence of society. Only as a producer and creator of social wealth does the
worker become aware of his strength. In solidary union with his followers he
creates the great phalanx of militant labour, aflame with the spirit of
freedom and animated by the ideal of social justice. For the
Anarcho-Syndicalists the labour syndicate are the most fruitful germs of a
future society, the elementary school of Socialism in general. Every new
social structure creates organs for itself in the body of the old organism;
without this prerequisite every social evolution is unthinkable. To them
Socialist education does not mean participation in the power policy of the
national state, but the effort to make clear to the workers the intrinsic
connections among social problems by technical instruction and the development
of their administrative capacities, to prepare them for their role of
re-shapers of economic life and give them the moral assurance required for
the performance of their task. No social body is better fitted for this
purpose than the economic fighting organisation of the workers; it gives a
definite direction to their social activities and toughens their resistance
in the immediate struggle for the necessities of life and the defence of
their human rights. At the same time it develops their ethical concepts
without which any social transformation is impossible: vital solidarity with
their fellows in destiny and moral responsibility for their actions.

Just because the educational work of Anarcho-Syndicalists is directed toward
the development of independent thought and action, they are outspoken
opponents of all centralising tendencies which are so characteristic of most
of the present labour parties. Centralism, that artificial scheme which
operates from the top towards the bottom and turns over the affairs of
administration to a small minority, is always attended by barren official
routine; it crushes individual conviction, kills all personal initiative by
lifeless discipline and bureaucratic ossification. For the state, centralism
is the appropriate form of organisation, since it aims at the greatest
possible uniformity of social life for the maintenance of political and social
equilibrium. But for a movement whose very existence depends on prompt action
at any favourable moment and on the independent thought of its supporters,
centralism is a curse which weakens its power of decision and systematically
represses every spontaneous initiative.

The organisation of Anarcho-Syndicalism is based upon the principles of
Federalism, on free combination from below upward, putting the right of
self-determination of every union above everything else and recognising only
the organic agreement of all on the basis of like interests and common
conviction. Their organisation is accordingly constructed on the following
basis: The workers in each locality join the unions of their respective
trades. The trade unions of a city or a rural district combine in Labor
Chambers which constitute the centres for local propaganda and education, and
weld the workers together as producers to prevent the rise of any
narrow-minded factional spirit. In times of local labour troubles they
arrange for the united co-operation of the whole body of locally organised
labour. All the Labour Chambers are grouped according to districts and regions
to form the National Federation of Labor Chambers, which maintains the
permanent connection among the local bodies, arranges free adjustment of the
productive labour of the members of the various organisations on; co-operative
lines, provides for the necessary co-ordination in the work of education and
supports the local groups with council and guidance.

Every trade union is, moreover, federatively allied with all the organisations
of the same industry, and these in turn with ' all related trades, so that all
are combined in general industrial and agricultural alliances. It is their
task to meet the demands of the daily struggles between capital and labour
and to combine all the forces of the movement for common action where the;
necessity arises. Thus the Federation of the Labor Chambers and the Federation
of the Industrial Alliances constitute the two poles about which the whole
life of the labour syndicates revolves.

Such a form of organisation not only gives the workers every opportunity for
direct action in the struggle for their daily bread, but it also provides them
with the necessary preliminaries for the reorganisation of society, their own
strength, and without alien intervention in case of a revolutionary crisis.
Anarcho-Syndicalists are convinced that a socialist economic order cannot be
created by the decrees and statutes of any government, but only by the
unqualified collaboration of the workers, technicians and peasants to carry
on production and distribution by their own administration in the interest
of the community and on the basis of mutual agreements. In such a situation
the Labour Chambers would take over the administration of existing social
capital in each community, determine the needs of the inhabitants of their
districts and organise local consumption. Through the agency of the
Federation of Labour Chambers it would be possible to calculate the total
requirements of the whole country and adjust the work of production
accordingly. On the other hand it would be the task of the Industrial and
Agricultural Alliances to take control of all the instruments of production,
transportation, etc., and provide the separate producing groups with what
they need. In a word:

1. Organisation of the total production of the country by the Federation of
the Industrial Alliances and direction of work by labour councils elected by
the workers themselves; 2. Organisation of social contribution by the
Federation of the Labor Chambers.

In this respect, also, practical experience has given the best instruction.
It has shown that the many problems of a socialist reconstruction of society
cannot be solved by any government, even when the famous dictatorship of the
proletariat is meant. In Russia the Bolshevist dictatorship stood helpless
for almost two years before the economic problems and tried to hide its
incapacity behind a flood of decrees and ordinances most of which were buried
at once in the various bureaus. If the world could be set free by decrees,
there would long ago have been no problems left in Russia. In its fanatical
zeal for power, Bolshevism has violently destroyed the most valuable organs
of a socialist order, by suppressing the Co-operative Societies, bringing the
trade unions under state control, and depriving the Soviets of their
independence almost from the beginning. So the dictatorship of the proletariat
paved the way not for a socialist society but for the most primitive type of
bureaucratic state capitalism and a reversion to political absolutism which
was long ago abolished in most countries by bourgeois revolutions. In his
Message to the Workers of the West European countries Kropotkin said,
rightfully: 'Russia has shown us the way in which Socialism cannot be
realised, although the people, nauseated with the old regime, expressed no
active resistance to the experiments of the new government. The idea of
workers' councils for the control of the political and economic life of the
country is, in itself, of extraordinary importance . . . but so long as the
country is dominated by the dictatorship of a party, the workers' and peasants'
councils naturally lose their significance. They are hereby degraded to the
same passive role which the representatives of the Estates used to play in the
time of the absolute Monarchy."

* The Struggle In Germany and Spain *

IN GERMANY, HOWEVER, WHERE THE moderate wing of political socialism had
attained power, Socialism, in its long years of absorption with routine
parliamentary tasks, had become so bogged down that it was no longer capable
of any creative action whatever. Even a bourgeois paper like the Frankfurter
Zeitung felt obliged to confirm that "the history of European peoples had
not previously produced a revolution that has been so poor in creative ideas
and so weak in revolutionary energy." The mere fact that a party with a larger
membership than any other of the various labour parties in the world, which
was for many years the strongest political body in Germany, had to leave the
field to Hitler and his gang without any resistance speaks for itself and
presents an example of helplessness and weakness which can hardly be
misunderstood.

One has only to compare the German situation of those days with the attitude
of the Anarcho-Syndicalist labour unions in Spain and especially in Catalonia,
where their influence was strongest, to realise the whole difference between
the labour movement of these two countries. When in July, 1936 the conspiracy
of the Fascist Army leaders ripened into open revolt, it was by the heroic
resistance of the C.N.T. (National Federation of Labour) and the F.A.I.
(Anarchist Federation of Iberia) that the Fascist uprising in Catalonia was
put down within a few days, ridding this most important part of Spain of the
enemy and frustrating the original plan of the conspirators to take Barcelona
by surprise. The workers could then not stop half way; so there followed the
collectivisation of the land and the taking over of the plants by the
workers' and peasants' syndicates. This movement, which was released by the
initiative of the C.N.T. and F.A.I. with irresistible power, overran Aragon,
the Levante and other sections of the country and even swept along with it a
large part of the unions of the Socialist Party in the U.G.T. (General Labour
Union). This event revealed that the Anarcho-Syndicalist workers of Spain not
only knew how to fight, but that they were also filled with the constructive
ideas which are so necessary in the time of a real crisis. It is to the great
merit of Libertarian Socialism in Spain that since the time of the First
International it has trained the workers in that spirit which treasures
freedom above all else and regards the intellectual independence of its
adherents as the basis of its existence. It was the passive and lifeless
attitude of the organised workers in other countries, who put up with the
policy of non-intervention of their governments that led to the defeat of the
Spanish workers and peasants after a heroic struggle of more than two and one
half years.

* The Political Struggle: Anarcho-Syndicalist View *

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN CHARGED AGAINST Revolutionary Unionism that its adherents
had no interest in the political structure of the different countries and
consequently no interest in the political struggles of the time. This idea
is altogether erroneous and springs either from outright ignorance or wilful
distortion of the facts. It is not the political struggle as such which
distinguishes the Anarcho-Syndicalists from the modern labour parties, both
in principles and tactics. but the form of this struggle and the aims which
it has in view. Revolutionary Unionists pursue the same tactics in their
fight against political suppression as against economic exploitation. But
while they are convinced that along with the system of exploitation its
political protective device, the state, will also disappear to give place
to the administration of public affairs on the basis of free agreement,
they do not at all overlook the fact that the efforts of organised labour
within the existing political and social order must always be directed against
any attack of reaction, and constantly widening the scope of these rights
wherever the opportunity for this presents itself. The heroic struggle of
the C.N.T. in Spain against Fascism was, perhaps, the best proof that the
alleged non-political attitude of the Revolutionary Unionists is but idle
talk.

But according to their opinion the point of attack in the political struggle
lies not in the legislative bodies but in the people.

Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon
them from without. And even their enactment into; law has for a long time
been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been
legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the
ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with
the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is
no help in any parliamentary opposition or any Platonic appeals to the
constitution. One compels respect from others when one knows how to defend
one's dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life; it has
always been the same in political life as well.

All political rights and liberties which people enjoy to-day, they do not owe
to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength. Governments
have always employed every means in their power to prevent the attainment of
these rights or render them illusory. Great mass movements and whole
revolutions have been necessary to wrest them from the ruling classes, who
would never have consented to them voluntarily. The whole history of the last
three hundred years is proof of that. What is important is not that
governments have decided to concede certain rights to the people, but the
reason why they had to do this. Of course, if one accepts Lenin's cynical
phrase and thinks of freedom merely as a "bourgeois prejudice', then, to be
sure, political rights have no value at all for the workers. But then the
countless struggles of the past, all the revolts and revolutions to which we
owe these rights, are also without value. To proclaim this bit of wisdom it
hardly was necessary to overthrow Tzarism, for even the censorship of Nicholas
II would certainly have had no objection to the designation of freedom as a
bourgeois prejudice.

If Anarcho-Syndicalism nevertheless rejects the participation in the present
national parliaments, it is not because they have no sympathy with political
struggles in general, but because its adherents are of the opinion that this
form of activity is the very weakest and most helpless form of the political
struggle for the workers. For the possessing classes, parliamentary action is
certainly an appropriate instrument for the settlement of such conflicts as
arise, because they are all equally interested in maintaining the present
economic and social order. Where there is a common interest mutual agreement
is possible and serviceable to all parties. But for the workers the situation
is very different. For them the existing economic order is the source of their
exploitation and their social and political subjugation. Even the freest
ballot cannot do away with the glaring contrast between the possessing and
non-possessing classes in society. It can only give the servitude of the
toiling masses the stamp of legality.

It is a fact that when socialist labour parties have wanted to achieve some
decisive political reforms they could not do it by parliamentary action, but
were obliged to rely wholly on the economic fighting power of the workers. The
political general strikes in Belgium and Sweden for the attainment of
universal suffrage are proof of this. And in Russia it was the great general
strike in 1905 that forced the Tsar to sign the new constitution. It was the
recognition of this which impelled the Anarcho-Syndicalists to centre their
activity on the socialist education of the masses and the utilisation of their
economic and social power. Their method is that of direct action in both the
economic and political struggle of the time. By direct action they mean every
method of the immediate struggle by the workers against economic and political
oppression. Among these the outstanding are the strike in all its gradations,
from the simple wage struggle to the general strike, organised boycott and
all the other countless means which workers as producers have in their hands.

One of the most effective forms of direct action is the social strike, which
was hitherto mostly used in Spain and partly in France, and which shows a
remarkable and growing responsibility of the workers to society as a whole. It
is less concerned with the immediate interests of the producers than with the
protection of the community against the most pernicious outgrowths of the
present system. The social strike seeks to force upon the employers a
responsibility to the public. Primarily it has in view the protection of the
consumers, of which the workers themselves constitute the great majority.
Under the present circumstances the workers are frequently debased by doing a
thousand things which constantly serve only to injure the whole community for
the advantage of the employers. They are compelled to make use of inferior
and often actually injurious materials in the fabrication of their products,
to erect wretched dwellings, to put up spoiled foodstuffs and to perpetrate
innumerable acts that are planned to cheat the consumer. To interfere
vigorously is, in the opinion of the Revolutionary Unionists, the great task
of the labour syndicates. An advance in this direction would at the same time
enhance the position of the workers in society, and in larger measure confirm
that position.

Direct action by organised labour finds its strongest expression in the
general strike, in the stoppage of work in every branch of production in cases
where every other means is failing. It is the most powerful weapon which the
workers have at their command and gives the most comprehensive expression to
their strength as a social factor. The general strike, of course, is not an
agency that can be invoked arbitrarily on every occasion. It needs certain
social assumptions to give it a proper moral strength and make it a
proclamation of the will of the broad masses of the people. The ridiculous
claim, which is so often attributed to the Anarcho-Syndicalists, that it is
only necessary to proclaim a general strike in order to achieve a socialist
society in a few days, is, of course just a ludicrous invention of ignorant
opponents. The general strike can serve various purposes. It can be the last
stage of a sympathetic strike, as. for example, in Barcelona in 1902 or in
Bilbao in 1903, which enabled the miners to get rid of the hated truck system
and compelled the employers to establish sanitary conditions in the mines. It
can also be a means of organised labour to enforce some general demand, as,
for example, in the attempted general strike in the U.S.A. in 1886, to compel
the granting of the eight-hour day in ail industries. The great general strike
of the English workers in 1926 was the result of a planned attempt by the
employers to lower the general standard of living of the workers by a cut in
wages.

But the general strike can also have political objectives in view. as, for
example, the fight of the Spanish workers in 1904 for the liberation of the
political prisoners, or the general strike in Catalonia in July 1909, to force
the government to terminate its criminal war in Morocco. Also the general
strike of the German workers in 1920, which was instituted after the so-called
Kapp putsch and put an end to a government that had attained power by a
military uprising, belongs to this category. In such critical situations the
general strike takes the place of the barricades of the political uprisings of
the past. For the workers, the general strike is the logical outcome of the
modern industrial system, whose victims they are to-day, and at the same time
it offers them their strongest weapon in the struggle for their social
liberation, provided they recognise their own strength and learn how to use
this weapon properly.

Marxism, Freedom, and the State
-------------------------------
by Mikhail Bakunin
------------------
From: Chapter 3 of "Marxism, Freedom, and the State"
----------------------------------------------------

link:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_Archives/bakunin/marxnfree.html

The State, for its own preservation, must necessarily be powerful as regards
foreign affairs; but if it is so as regards foreign affairs, it will
infallibly be so as regards home affairs. Every State, having to let itself
be inspired and directed by some particular morality, conformable to the
particular conditions of its existence, by a morality which is a restriction
and consequently a negation of human and universal morality, must keep watch
that all its subjects, in their thoughts and above all in their acts, are
inspired also only by the principles of this patriotic or particular morality,
and that they remain deaf to the teachings of pure or universally human
morality. From that there results the necessity for a State censorship...

The State is government from above downwards of an immense number of men, very
different from the point of view of the degree of their culture, the nature of
the countries or localities that they inhabit, the occupation they follow, the
interests and the aspirations directing them--the State is the government of
all these by some or other minority; this minority, even if it were a thousand
times elected by universal suffrage and controlled in its acts by popular
institutions, unless it were endowed with the omniscience, omnipresence and
the omnipotence which the theologians attribute to God, it is impossible that
it could know and foresee the needs, or satisfy with an even justice the most
legitimate and pressing interests in the world. There will always be
discontented people because there will always be some who are sacrificed.

Besides, the State, like the Church, by its very nature is a great sacrificer
of living beings. It is an arbitrary being, in whose heart all the positive,
living, individual, and local interests of the population meet, clash, destroy
each other, become absorbed in that abstraction called the common interest,
the public good, the public safety, and where all real wills cancel each other
in that other abstraction which hears the name of the will of the people. It
results from this, that this so-called will of the people is never anything
else than the sacrifice and the negation of all the real wills of the
population; just as this so-called public good is nothing else than the
sacrifice of their interests. But so that this omnivorous abstraction could
impose itself on millions of men, it must be represented and supported by some
real being, by living force or other. Well, this being, this force, has always
existed. In the Church it is called the clergy, and in the State--the ruling
or governing class.

And, in fact, what do we find throughout history? The State has always been
the patrimony of some privileged class or other; a priestly class, an
aristocratic class, a bourgeois class, and finally a bureaucratic class,
when, all the other classes having become exhausted, the State falls or rises,
as you will, to the condition of a machine; but it is absolutely necessary for
the salvation of the State that there should be some privileged class or other
which is interested in its existence. And it is precisely the united interest
of this privileged class which is called Patriotism.

...

It is true that the most imperfect republic is a thousand times better than the
most enlightened monarchy, for at least in the republic there are moments when,
though always exploited, the people are not oppressed, while in monarchies they
are never anything else. And then the democratic regime trains the masses
little by little in public life, which the monarchy never does. But whilst
giving the preference to the republic we are nevertheless forced to recognise
and proclaim that whatever may be the form of government, whilst human society
remains divided into different classes because of the hereditary inequality of
occupations, wealth, education, and privileges, there will always be minority
government and the inevitable exploitation of the majority by that minority.

The State is nothing else but this domination and exploitation regularised and
systematised. We shall attempt to demonstrate it by examining the consequence
of the government of the masses of the people by a minority, at first as
intelligent and as devoted as you like, in an ideal State, founded on a free
contract.

Suppose the government to be confined only to the best citizens. At first
these citizens are privileged not by right, but by fact. They have been
elected by the people because they are the most intelligent, clever, wise, and
courageous and devoted. Taken from the mass of the citizens, who are regarded
as all equal, they do not yet form a class apart, but a group of men
privileged only by nature and for that very reason singled out for election
by the people. Their number is necessarily very limited, for in all times and
countries the number of men endowed with qualities so remarkable that they
automatically command the unanimous respect of a nation is, as experience
teaches us, very small. Therefore, under pain of making a bad choice, the
people will be always forced to choose its rulers from amongst them.

Here, then, is society divided into two categories, if not yet to say two
classes, of which one, composed of the immense majority of the citizens,
submits freely to the government of its elected leaders, the other, formed of
a small number of privileged natures, recognised and accepted as such by the
people, and charged by them to govern them. Dependent on popular election,
they are at first distinguished from the mass of the citizens only by the very
qualities which recommended them to their choice and are naturally, the most
devoted and useful of all. They do not yet assume to themselves any privilege,
any particular right, except that of exercising, insofar as the people wish
it, the special functions with which they have been charged. For the rest, by
their manner of life, by the conditions and means of their existence, they do
not separate themselves in any way from all the others, so that a perfect
equality continues to reign among all. Can this equality be long maintained?
We claim that it cannot and nothing is easier to prove it.

Nothing is more dangerous for man's private morality than the habit of
command. The best man, the most intelligent, disinterested, generous, pure,
will infallibly and always be spoiled at this trade. Two sentiments inherent
in power never fail to produce this demoralisation; they are: contempt for
the masses and the overestimation of one's own merits.

"The masses," a man says to himself, "recognising their incapacity to govern
on their own account, have elected me their chief. By that act they have
publicly proclaimed their inferiority and my superiority. Among this crowd of
men, recognising hardly any equals of myself, I am alone capable of directing
public affairs. The people have need of me; they cannot do without my
services, while I, on the contrary, can get along all right by myself: they,
therefore, must obey me for their own security, and in condescending to
command them, I am doing them a good turn."

Is not there something in all that to make a man lose his head and his heart
as well, and become mad with pride? It is thus that power and the habit of
command become for even the most intelligent and virtuous men, a source of
aberration, both intellectual and moral.

But in the People's State of Marx, there will be, we are told, no privileged
class at all. All will be equal, not only from the juridical and political
point of view, but from the economic point of view. At least that is what is
promised, though I doubt very much, considering the manner in which it is
being tackled and the course it is desired to follow, whether that promise
could ever be kept. There will therefore be no longer any privileged class,
but there will be a government and, note this well, an extremely complex
government, which will not content itself with governing and administering the
masses politically, as all governments do to-day, but which will also
administer them economically, concentrating in its own hands the production
and the just division of wealth, the cultivation of land, the establishment
and development of factories, the organisation and direction of commerce,
finally the application of capital to production by the only banker, the
State. All that will demand an immense knowledge and many "heads overflowing
with brains" in this government. It will be the reign of scientific
intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant and contemptuous of
all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and pretended
scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling
in the name of knowledge and an immense ignorant majority.[14] And then, woe
betide the mass of ignorant ones!

Such a regime will not fail to arouse very considerable discontent in this
mass and in order to keep it in check the enlightenment and liberating
government of Marx will have need of a not less considerable armed force. For
the government must be strong, says Engels, to maintain order among these
millions of illiterates whose brutal uprising would be capable of destroying
and overthrowing everything, even a government directed by heads overflowing
with brains.

You can see quite well that behind all the democratic and socialistic phrases
and promises of Marx's programme, there is to be found in his State all that
constitutes the true despotic and brutal nature of all States, whatever may be
the form of their government and that in the final reckoning, the People's
State so strongly commended by Marx, and the aristocratic-monarchic State,
maintained with as much cleverness as power by Bismarck, are completely
identical by the nature of their objective at home as well as in foreign
affairs. In foreign affairs it is the same deployment of military force, that
is to say, conquest; and in home affairs it is the same employment of this
armed force, the last argument of all threatened political powers against
the masses, who, tired of believing, hoping, submitting and obeying always,
rise in revolt.

[Written fifty years before the formation of the Soviet Union, the first
state to declare itself a Marxist, State-Socialist, "Dictatorship of the
Proletariat." Would you say Bakunin's predictions about a workers' state are
accurate? There can be no true revolution through a political party. We must
work in free, anarcho-syndicalist unions if we are to truly abolish state and
capitalist power. In the words of le Français, "Those who make revolutions by
halves do but dig themselves a grave."]

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AttachmentSize
libertarian revolution.txt105.52 KB

Comments

Reddebrek
Nov 8 2017 06:34

I found this file after downloading a torrent for Sea Lab 2021. There were dozens of torrents for tv shows uploaded by the user BloodLogic. They were high quality rips with many extras. This is the first Libertarian Socialist text I read and introduced me to the term.

Its surprisingly popular, I've seen people talking about the txt on and off ever since 2009.

Steven.
Nov 9 2017 21:50

Good idea to put it in the library! Yeah I've seen that text as well in torrents I've downloaded. Such a good idea! (Although she/he should have put a link to libcom in there as well!)