Excerpts from L'humanisphere. Utopie Anarchique, 1857.
[Note by humanaesfera: Excerpts from L'humanisphere. Utopie Anarchique, 1857. Joseph Déjacque was the inventor of the word libertarian [libertaire], a word that for 150 years meant anarchist communist. Unfortunately, this word is now being pillaged, falsified, and distorted by private and state millionaires and bureaucrats who invented "libertarianism" to try to impose on us the absurd belief that "freedom" is the totalitarian tyranny called enterprise and market.
Whilst staying in New Orleans from 1856 to 1858, he wrote his famous anarchist utopia but could not find a publisher. Returning to New York he was able to serialise his book in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement social, published in 27 issues from June 9, 1858 to February 4, 1861.
1- EXCERPTS FROM THE INTRODUCTION:
“What is this book?
This book is not a literary work, it is an infernal work, the cry of a rebellious slave. […]
This book is not written with ink; its pages are not paper sheets.
This book is made of steel folded in octavo and charged with fulminate of ideas. It is an authoricidal projectile that I throw in a thousand copies upon the pavement of the civilized. Capable of hurling its fragments across the distance to mortally pierce the ranks of the prejudiced. Able to crack the old society down to its very foundations!
Privileged! – for those who sowed the seeds of slavery, the time has come to reap rebellion. There is not a single worker who, under the paneling of his brain, has not clandestinely manufactured a few thoughts of destruction. You have the bayonet and the Penal Code, the catechism and the guillotine; we have the barricade and the utopia, the sarcasm and the bomb. You are the compression; we are the explosive: a single spark will be enough to blow you up!
This book is not a writing, it is an act. It was not traced by the gloved hand of a fantasist; it is formed of heart and logic, blood and fever. It is a cry of insurrection, a ringing of the alarm bell sounded with the hammer of the idea in the ear of popular passions. It is, moreover, a song of victory, a triumphal salvo, the proclamation of individual sovereignty, the advent of universal freedom; It is the full and total amnesty of authoritarian penalties of the past by the anarchic decree of the humanitarian future.
This is a book of rage, it is a book of love!…” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°1: June 9, 1858)
2- EXCERPTS ABOUT FUTURE COMMUNISM:
REASONS FOR THIS UTOPIA
“The absence of orders is the true order. The order with the dagger or the gun, the gallows or the guillotine; […] the order personified in the trinity homicide: iron, gold, holy water; the order with blows of rifle, blows of bibles, banknote blows [...] is only the order of the gangsters, the code of robbery and murder that governs the division of the spoils, the massacre of the victims. It is on this bloody axis that the civilized world pivots.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°12: April 7, 1859)
“To invalidate authority and criticize its acts is not enough. A negation, to be absolute, needs to be supplemented by an assertion. This is why I affirm freedom, this is why I deduce from it its consequences. ” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°1: June 9, 1858)
“For me, the question is not to make disciples, but to make men, and one is a man only on condition of being oneself. We incorporate the ideas of the others and incarnate our ideas in others; let us mix our thoughts, nothing better; but let us make of this mixture a conception which is henceforth ours. Let us be an original work and not a copy. The slave models himself on the master, he imitates. The free man produces only after his own style. He creates.
My plan is to paint a picture of society such as society appears to me in the future: personal freedom flowing anarchically through the social community and producing harmony.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°1: June 9, 1858)
“The researchers of ideal happiness like the philosopher stone researchers will perhaps never carry out their Utopia in an absolute way, but their Utopia will be the cause of humane progress.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°6: September 21, 1858)
“I have only one face, but this face is mobile, like the face of the wave; to the least breath, it passes from one expression to another, calming from storm and anger to tenderness. This is why, as a multiple passionality, I hope to treat human society with some chance of success, considering that to treat it adequately depends as much on the knowledge that one has of one’s own passions as on the knowledge that one has of others’ passions.”(LE LIBERTAIRE n°1: June 9, 1858)
PASSIONS, ATTRACTIONS AND INCLINATIONS: HUMAN BEINGS, COSMOS, ANARCHY
“Man is an essentially revolutionary being. He cannot immobilize himself in one place. He does not live the life of boundaries, but the life of the stars.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°6: September 21, 1858)
“[The] spheres circulate freely in ether, attracted tenderly by those, pushed back gently by these, obeying all only their passion, and finding in their passion the law of their mobile and perpetual harmony […] [and] show by an argumentation without counterpart […] that the anarchist order is the universal order. […] Just as the spheres circulate anarchically in universality, in the same way, men must circulate anarchically in humanity, under the sole impulse of reciprocal sympathies and antipathies, attractions and repulsions. Harmony can exist only through anarchy.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°4: August 2, 1858)
AND IN THE YEAR 2858 …
“Ten centuries have passed over the face of Humanity. We are in year 2858.” (n°6: September 21, 1858)
“The anarchist Utopia is to civilization what civilization is to savagery.” (n°6: September 21, 1858)
“The air, fire, and water, all the elements with destroying instincts were overcome […]. The man throne on his machines of ploughing, it does not fertilize any more the field with the vapor of its body, but with the sweat of the locomotive. […] The railroads, the bridges thrown on the straits, underwater tunnels and constructions and the aerostats, driven by electricity, made of the whole sphere a single city which one can make the turn in less than one day. The continents are the neighborhoods or the districts of the universal city.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°7: October 25, 1858)
“Science destroyed what is repugnant in the production, and the machines with vapor or electricity take care of all the coarse works.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°10: February 5, 1859)
“From now on, I will call this place or phalanstery the Humanisphere, because of the analogy of this human constellation with the grouping and the movement of the stars, gravitational organization, passion and harmonic anarchy. […] One hundred simple humanispheres […] form the first link of the serial chain and take the name of “Communal Humanisphere.” All the Communal Humanispheres of the same continent form the first link of this chain and take the name of “Continental Humanisphere.” The meeting of all Continental Humanispheres forms the complement of the serial chain and take the name of “Universal Humanisphere.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°9: January 10, 1859)
“They are aware that the harmony can exist only by the concourse of the individual wills, that the natural law of attractions is the law of both the infinitely small and the infinitely great, that nothing that is sociable can move without it, that it is the universal thought, the unit units, the sphere of the spheres, which it is immanente and permanent in the eternal movement.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°7: October 25, 1858)
“In the Humanisphere, there is no government. A attractive organization takes the place of legislation. Sovereignly individual freedom presides over all collective decisions. The authority of anarchy, the absence of any dictatorship of number or force, replaces the arbitrariness of authority, the despotism of the sword and the despotism of law. Faith in themselves is all the religion of the Humanisphereans. The gods, the priests, the religious superstitions raise among them a universal reprobation. They recognize neither theocracy nor aristocracy of any kind, but individual autonomy. It is by its own laws that each one is controlled, and it is on this government of each one by oneself that is formed the social order.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°12: April 7, 1859 )
“Nowadays still, the crowd of people, – even those who are partisans of broad reforms, – incline to think that nothing can be obtained other than by authority, while the opposite alone is true. It is authority which is an obstacle to everything. Progress in ideas is not imposed by decrees, it results from the free and spontaneous teaching of men and things. Obligatory education is an oxymoron. […] Anarchists want freedom of instruction in order to have the instruction of freedom. The ignorance is the most antithetical to human nature. Man, at all times of his life, and especially the child, wants nothing more than to learn; this is requested by all their aspirations. But civilized society, like barbarian society, like savage society, far from facilitating the development of his aptitudes, knows only how to repress him. The manifestation of his faculties is charged as a crime: for the child, by paternal authority; for man, by governmental authority.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°9: January 10, 1859)
“The coercion is the mother of all the vices. Therefore, it is banned by reason of the territory of the humanisphere. Selfishness, of course, intelligent selfishness is too developed for anyone to think about forcing another person. It is out of selfishness that they exchange good deeds.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°11: March 6, 1859)
COMMUNISM - FREE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
“There in this anarchist society, the legal family and the property are died institutions, hieroglyphics whose meaning has been lost. […] All that is work of arm and intelligence, all that is object of production and consumption, common capital, collective property, BELONGS TO ALL AND EACH. All that is work of the soul, all that of intimate essence, sensation and feeling individual, particular capital, body property, all that is man, finally, in its own meaning, whatever its age or its sex, BELONGS TO HIMSELF. Producers and consumers produce and consume as they please, when it pleases them and where it pleases them. “Freedom is free.” No one asks them: Why this? why that?“ (LE LIBERTAIRE n°8: November 20, 1858)
“In anarchy, consumption feeds from itself by the production. A Humanispherean does not understand that a man can be forced to work just as he does not understand that a man can be forced to feed himself. […]
Humanisphereans naturally satisfy the need to exercise the arm as well as the need to exercise the belly. It is no longer possible to ration the appetite for production, just as it is no longer possible to ration the appetite for consumption. Each one consumes and produces according to his capacities, according to his needs. If all men bowed under uniform retribution, it would cause some to starve and others to die of indigestion. Only the individual is able to know the amount of work that his belly, his brain and his hands can digest. When a horse is fed in a stable, the master gives the animal one or the other food. But in freedom, the animal rations itself, and instinct tells him better than the master what suits his temperament. The untamed animals hardly know disease. Having everything in profusion, they no longer quarrel among themselves to pluck a bud of grass. They know that the wild prairie produces more grass than they can eat, and they eat in peace alongside each other. Why would men quarrel to consume when production, by mechanical forces, supplies beyond their needs?” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°12: April 7, 1859)
“Man's greatest enjoyment, work, has become a series of attractions for its freedom and diversity, and reverberate one with the other in an immense and incessant harmony.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°10: February 5, 1859)
“The variety of pleasures excludes satiety. For them, happiness is at all times.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°11: March 6, 1859)
“Man proposes and man disposes. From the diversity of desires comes harmony.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°11: March 6, 1859)
“In one corner of Europe it lacks the products of another continent? The newspapers of Humanisphere mention it, it is inserted into the bulletin of publicity, this monitor of anarchist universality; and Humanispheres of Asia, of Africa, of America or Oceania dispatch the required product. It is, on the contrary, a European product which is missing in Asia, in Africa, in America or Oceania, Humanispheres of Europe dispatch it. The exchange takes place naturally and not arbitrarily. So, if such Humanisphere donates more in a day and receives less, what is the problem?, Tomorrow it will undoubtedly receive more and give less. All pertaining to all and each one being able to change Humanisphere as it does change apartment, if in universal circulation a thing is here or over there, why stingy/littleness? Isn’t each one free to make it transport where it seems best to him just as each one is free to transport himself where he thinks best to him?” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°12: April 7, 1859)
“The humanispherean not only thinks and acts at the same time, but also exercises different activities in the same day. […] Inferior workman in this, he is a superior workman in that. He has his speciality where he excels. And it is precisely this inferiority and this superiority of the ones towards the others and vice versa that produces harmony. It costs nothing to submit to such a superiority, which is not official, but recognized in a activity, when at another instant of production, this superiority becomes your inferiority. That creates a salutary emulation, a benevolent reciprocity, destructive of the jealous competitions. Then, by this various works, the man acquires the possession of, no objects of comparison, but rather of his intelligence which multiplies along with his abilities; it is a perpetual and diversified study that develops in them all the physical and intellectual faculties, and from which they benefit by perfecting themselves in their favorite activity.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°13: May 12, 1859)
“[...] the social body, like the human body, is not an inert slave of thought; quite the contrary, it is a kind of animated alembic, whose free function of the organs produces thought; thought is nothing more than the quintessence of this anarchy of evolution whose unity is caused only by its attractive forces.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°4: August 2, 1858)
“For them, all matter is animated; they do not believe in the duality of soul and body, they recognize only the unity of substance; simply this substance acquires thousand and one forms, more or less coarse, more or less purified, more or less solid or more or less volatile foms. Even if it is admitted, they say, that the soul is something distinct from the body, – what all denies, – yet it is absurd to believe in its individual immortality, with its eternally compact personality, its indestructible immobilization. The law of composition and decomposition that governs bodies, and which is the universal law, is also the law of souls.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°15: July 27, 1859)
“Contrary to Gall and in Lavater, who took the effect for the cause, they [the Humanisphereans] do not believe that the man is born with absolutely marked aptitudes. […]
We all are born with the germ of all faculties (with rare exceptions: there are mentally as well as physically disabled persons, but monstrosities will have to disappear in Harmony), the external circumstances act directly upon us. As our faculties are or have been exposed to their influence, they acquire a greater or lesser development and are formed in one way or another. The aspect of the man reflects his inclinations, but this aspect is generally quite different from the one he had as a child. […]
The medium in which we live and the diversity of the points of view where men are placed, and that makes it impossible for anyone to see things in the same way, explain [...] the diversity of their passions and aptitudes.“ (LE LIBERTAIRE n°13: May 12, 1859)
“There is no being who is not a toy of circumstances, and man is like other beings. He is dependent on his nature and the nature of the objects around him, or rather, on the beings around him, for all these objects have voices that speak and constantly change their education. All of man’s freedom consists in satisfying his nature, yielding to its attractions.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°3: July 16, 1858)
“The child is a rough diamond. She is polished by friction with her peers, who carved him and shaped him like a social jewel. She is, at all ages, a gem whose polishing stone is society and whose selfishness is the lapidary. The more she is in contact with others, the more she receives impressions that multiply in her face and in her heart the facets of passion, from which spout sparks of feeling and intelligence.“ (LE LIBERTAIRE nº9 January 10, 1859)
BUT HOW DO THEY ASSOCIATE AND ORGANIZE THEMSELVES?
“Finally, there is the place where they meet to deal with social organization. It is the small Cyclodéon, club or forum peculiar to Humanisphere. In this parliament of anarchy, each one is the representative of oneself and the par of the others. Oh! It is very different from what it is among the civilized; there nobody perorate, there is no one to dispute, no one votes, no one legislates, but everyone, young or old, men or women, confer needs for Humanisphere jointly. Individual initiative agrees or refuses its own word, as it deems useful or does not speak. In this place, there is an office, of course. With the difference that in this office there is no authority except the statistics book. The Humanisphereans think that this is an eminently impartial president and of an extremely eloquent laconism. That's why they do not want any other. ” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°9: January 10, 1859)
“Man proposes and man disposes. Harmony results from the diversity of desires.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°11: March 6, 1859)
“More or less every week, if necessary, there is a meeting in the conference room, that is, in the small internal cyclideon. By reason of the great works to carry out. Those which are most versed in the knowledge especially in question, take the initiative of the word. Statistics, projects, plans had already appeared on printed sheets, in the newspapers; and have been commented on in small groups; the urgency had already been generally recognized or refused by each individual. Often there is only one voice, unanimous voice, of acclamation or rejection. No one votes; neither the majority nor the minority ever makes the law. If a proposition can gather enough workers to put it into operation, whether they be in the majority or the minority, it is carried out, so long as it accords with the will of those who adhere to it. And generally it happens that the majority joins the minority, or the minority joins the majority. As in an outing in the country, some propose to go to Saint-Germain, others to Meudon, those to Sceaux and these to Fontainebleau, the opinions are divided; then in the final analysis each one yields to the attraction to be joined together with the others. And all together take the same road by mutual agreement, without no authority other than that of the pleasure controlling them. Attraction is all the law of their harmony. But both in the departure and in the journey, each one is free to abandon himself at his whim and leave the group if it suits him, or stop on the journey if he is tired, or return if he is bored. The coercion is the mother of all the vices. Therefore, it is banned by reason of the territory of the humanisphere. Selfishness, of course, intelligent selfishness is too developed for anyone to think about forcing another person. It is out of selfishness that they exchange good deeds.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°11: March 6, 1859)
LONG LIVE THE SELFISHNESS!
“Man is egoism; without egoism, man would not exist. It is egoism which is the mobile of all its actions, the engine of all its thoughts. […] it is to grow himself, it is to widen the circle of his influence that the man carries high the face and far its glance; it is in the sight of personal satisfactions that it goes to the conquest of collective satisfactions. It is for oneself, individual, that he wants to take part in the sharp effervescence of general happiness; it is for oneself that he is afflicted by the suffering of others. [...] His selfishness, unceasingly urged on by the instinct of his progressive conservation and by the feeling of solidarity which binds he to his fellow men, – His selfishness solicits the perpetual emanations of its existence in the existence of the others. This is what the old society wrongly calls devotion and is nothing more than mirroring [spéculation], mirroring all the more humane the more intelligent, and the more humanicide the more stupid.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°12: April 7, 1859)
AND THE MOST UNPLEASANT WORKS?
“Although in the Humanisphere the machines do all the rougher works, I think that there are still more unpleasant jobs than others, it seems to me that there are some that are not to the taste of anybody. However, these works are executed without any law nor regulation to force who does it. How so?, I ask, I who still sees things with my eyes civilized. However it is quite simple. What makes work attractive? It is not always the nature of work but the condition under which it is exerted and the condition of the result to obtain.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°14: June 15, 1859)
“In Humanisphere, some works that by their nature seem repugnant to me find workers to execute them with pleasure. And the cause of this is the condition in which they are performed. The various series of workers are voluntarily recruited, as men are recruited men to a barricade, and are totally free to remain as long as they wish or to move to another series or to another barricade. There is no appointed nor titled head. Those who have more knowledge or aptitude in this work naturally guide others. Each one takes the initiative mutually, as his capacities are recognized. On the other hand, each gives his opinion and receives the opinion of the other. There is friendly understanding, not authority. In addition, it is rare that there is no mixture of men and women among the workers of a series. And the work takes place in very attractive conditions so that, even if it were repugnant by itself, one finds a certain charm in fulfilling it. Then there is the nature of the result to be obtained. If a work is indeed indispensable, those to whom it disgusts and abstains will be delighted that others take charge of it, and will return in affability to the latter, with great consideration, which is the compensation of the service which the others have returned to it. It is not to be thought that the cruder works belong to the lower intelligences among the humanisphereans, on the contrary, the summits in the sciences and the arts are usually those who enjoy doing this painful work. The more delicacy is refined among men, the more it makes them fit, at certain times, to rough and difficult labors, especially when they are a sacrifice offered in love to humanity. […] Selfishness is the source of all the virtues.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°14: June 15, 1859)
“I traversed every continent: Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania. I saw many different physiognomy, but I saw everywhere a single race. The universal crossing of the Asian, European, African and American (Red-Skin) populations, the multiplication of all by all has levelled all asperity of color and language. Humankind is one. There is in the glance of every humanispherean a mixture of gentleness and pride which has a strange charm. Something like a cloud of magnetic fluid surrounds all her person and illuminates her face with a phosphorescent aureole. There is a penchant for them thanks to an irresistible attraction. Also the grace of his movements joins the beauty of his forms. The word that comes out of your lips, every mark of your soft thoughts, is like a perfume that emanates from them. The sculptor would be powerless to sculpt the lively contours of her body and her face, which borrow ever-renewed charms from this liveliness.”
AN ANARCHIC COMMUNIST CONTEST
“This day, there was an universal exhibition of the products of the human genius. […] In this circle of poetic works of the hand and the intelligence was exposed a whole museum of wonders. Agriculture had brought there its sheaves, the horticulture its flowers and its fruit, the industry its fabrics, its pieces of furniture, its ornaments, the science all its gears, its mechanisms, its statistics, its theories. The architecture had brought there its plans, the painting its pictures, the sculpture and the statuary its ornaments and its statues, the music and the poetry the purest of their songs. The arts, like the sciences, had put their richest jewels into this jewel-box.
It was not a contest like our contests. There was neither Entrance Board neither juries of rewards sorted by the voice of the fate or the poll, neither award granted by official judges, neither crowns, neither patents, neither laureates, nor medals. The free and great public voice is the sole sovereign judge. It is to take pleasure in this power of the opinion that each one exposes his works to it, and it is it which, while passing before the products of one and other, rewards them according to their special aptitudes, not with plaudit of distinction, but with admirations more or less lively, more or less attentive exams, more or less contemptuous. Thus, his judgments are always fair, always condemning the less brave, always praising the bravest, always encouraging emulation, both for the fragile and the strong. It is the great rectifier of errors; it shows all individually whether they have followed more or less the path of their vocation, whether they are more or less set aside; and the future is in charge of confirming his maternal observations. And all its lines grow to surpass themselves in this mutual education, because all have the proud ambition to distinguish equally in their diverse works.” (LE LIBERTAIRE n°7: October 25, 1858)
“[In] the humanisphere (...) there are only workshops of pleasure and expositions of work, warehouses of science and of art and museums of all the productions: after to have admired these machines of iron whose only motive is the steam or the electricity, multitudes of laborious gears which are to the humanispherians what the multitudes of proletarians or slaves are to the civilized; after having observed the no less admirable movement of that human gear, of this multitude of free workers, a serial mechanism whose only motive is attraction; after having seen the wonders of this egalitarian organization whose anarchic evolution produces harmony; […] [after all this] how could one, say I, return to the civilized, how could one live again under the Law, this whip of authority, when anarchy, this law of freedom, has such pure and sweet customs? How could such an intelligent fraternity be considered such an unusual thing, and consider this fratricidal imbecility as normal?” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°14: June 15, 1859)
3- EXCERPTS ABOUT THE REVOLUTIONARY TRANSITION
“How to achieve progress? What means will prevail? What will be the route chosen? This is what is difficult to determine in an absolute way.[...]
Everything that became big and strong initially was small and fragile. (...) Whatever that begins with monstrous dimensions is not a viable birth. Fossil enormities preceded the birth of man in the same way as civilized societies precede the creation of harmonious societies.” (LIBERTAIRE n°16: August 18, 1859)
“Ernest Coeurderoy and Octave Vauthier [...] prophesy the regeneration of society by the invasion of the cossacks. They formulate this judgement based on the analogy which they see existing between our decadent society and the Roman decadence. […] But no. The conditions are no longer the same. […] It is from the furrowed fields, it is from the depths of the factories, it is carrying, in its floods of men and women, the pitchfork and the torch, the hammer and the rifle; it is wearing the peasant’s blouse and the workman’s shirt; it is with hunger in the belly and fever in the heart, but led by the Idea, this Attila of the modern invasion; it is under the generic name of proletariat, rolling its avid masses towards the luminous centers of the utopian City; it is in Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Naples, that, raising its enormous waves stimulated by their insurrectional growth, will erupt with the devastating torrent. It is amid the noise of this social storm, it is in the current of this flood regenerative that Civilization will collapse in decay. […] What these barbarians will bring to the world this time is the light, not the darkness. […] Where they are able to find a piece of social land, they will plant there the tree of freedom. There they will set up their tents, the rising tribe of free men. […] They will invade, step by step, idea with idea, all of Europe, from the Caucasus to the Hekla volcano and from Gilbratar to the Urals. Tyrants will fight in vain. The oligarchic civilization must give way to Social Anarchy. With Europe being conquered and freely organized, America, in turn, will have to socialize. […] Then the Social Republic of the United States of Europe will cross Oceania and take possession of this new conquest. Blacks and whites, creoles and skin-reds will then fraternize and form one and the same race. The negricids and the proletaricides, the amphibians of liberalism and the carnivores of privilege will retreat like crocodiles and bears before the progress of social freedom.” ( LIBERTAIRE n°16: August 18, 1859)
4- EXCERPT WHERE DÉJACQUE EXPLAINS WHAT INFLUENCED HIM
In the following excerpt, Déjacque exposes the influences he received:
“Astronomy, physics, chemistry, all the sciences had progressed. Only social science had remained stationary. Since Socrates, who drank the hemlock, and Jesus who was crucified, it had had no great light. Then, in the more debased sectors of society, in something far more contemptible than a cattle shed, in a shop, was born a great reformer. Fourier had just discovered a new world in which all individualities have a value necessary to collective harmony. Passions are the instruments in this living concert which has, for a bow, the fibers of attractions. It was hardly possible for Fourier to reject the frock entirely; in spite of himself, he preserved from his commercial education the bourgeois tradition of prejudice in favor of authority and servitude that made him deviate from absolute freedom and equality, from anarchy. Nevertheless, it is before this bourgeois that I discover myself, and I salute in him an innovator, a revolutionary. Whilst other bourgeois are dwarves, he is a giant. His name will remain inscribed in the memory of humanity.
1848 arrived, and the revolutionary Europe caught fire like a powder trail. June, this jacquerie of the nineteenth century, protested against the modern abuses of the new lord. The rape of the right to work and the right to love, the exploitation of man and woman by gold, aroused and armed proletariat. The feudality of capital shook upon its foundations. The high barons of usury and the baronets of petty commerce cowered behind their counters, and from the top of their platform hurled upon the insurrection enormous military detachments, sweltering floods of mobile guards. By jesuitic tactics, they managed to crush the revolt. More than thirty thousand rebels, men, women and children, were thrown into the oubliettes of prison vaults. Countless prisoners were shot, thanks to the deception of a poster placarded in every corner of the streets, posts inviting the insurgents to lay down their arms and declaring that there would be neither victors nor defeated, but brothers - enemy brothers, they wanted to say! The streets were strewn with dashed-out brains. The disarmed proletarians were piled up in the cellars of the Tuileries, in the Hôtel de Ville, in the École Militaire, in the stables of the barracks, the quarry of Ivry, in the gullies of the Champ de Mars, all the sewers of the capital of the civilized world, and there massacred with all the refinements of cruelty! The shots rained in every window of the street, lead fell into the ditches where - among the moans of the dying, the shards of laughter of madness - the proletarians were stuck in urine and blood, suffocated by lack of air and tortured by thirst and hunger. The suburbs were treated as in the middle ages, a place taken by storm. The archers of civilization went up in the houses, went down in the cellars, excavated in all the corners and recesses, passing to the wire of the bayonet all that appeared suspect to them. Between the dismantled barricades and in the place of each paving stone one could have put a head of corpse… Never before, since the world was a world, has such a carnage been seen. […]
They thought to have drowned Socialism in blood. On the contrary, it just been given the baptism of life! Crushed in the public square, it took refuge in the clubs, in the factories, like Christianity in the catacombs, recruiting everywhere proselytes. […]
1848 also had Proudhon, another rebellious spirit, who in his book spat the mortal conclusion on the face of the bourgeoisie: “Property is theft!” Without 1848, this truth would have remained for a long time ignored in the bottom of some privileged library. 1848 clarified it, and gave him as a frame the publicity of the daily press, the multitude of clubs in full wind: it was engraved in the thought of each worker. The great merit of Proudhon it is not to have been always logical, far from it, but to have caused the others to seek logic. But the man who also said: "God is evil, slavery is murder, charity is a mystification" and so on; the man who has so strongly claimed the freedom of man; this same man, alas!, also attacked women's freedom: he placed her outside of society, he decreed her to be outside of humankind. Proudhon is yet only a fraction of revolutionary genius; half his being is paralysed, and it is unfortunately the side of the heart. Proudhon has anarchist tendencies, but he is not an anarchist; he is not humanity, he is masculinity. Despite this, if as a reformer there are flaws in his diamond, as a agitator he has dazzling sparks. In fact, it's something. And the Mirabeau of the Proletariat has nothing to envy the Mirabeau of the Bourgeoisie; the former exceeds the latter by all the height of his innovative intelligence. The one had just a dash of rebellion, a flash, a spark quickly extinguished in the darkness of corruption. The other made thunderclaps resound upon thunderclaps. He not only threatened, he struck down the old social order. No man has ever pulverized in his wake so many centuries of abuse, so many superstitions popularly supposed legitimate.” ( LE LIBERTAIRE n°5: August 31, 1858)