OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
WE are glad to bring the appeal of the Mexican Liberal Junta, urging our friends to a generous response.
The Mexican revolution is of international importance, and no one with a true spirit of liberty would refuse to aid a brave and heroic people fighting for economic emancipation.
Offices of Regeneracion, 5191/2 E. 4th St.,
Los Angeles, Cal., July 21, 1911
To you, as a radical, we make appeal on behalf of this paper and of the Mexican Liberal Party, which is in a life-and-death fight not only with Madero and the world-wide forces of capital, but also with certain Socialist Party leaders.
The Mexican Revolution is in itself an event of incalculable importance and the action taken by these Socialist Party leaders has made it infinitely more so. They have started an international quarrel that MUST be fought out. The labor movement of the world, and the Socialists themselves, MUST learn exactly where they stand; MUST ascertain, once and for all, whether they are to be the plaything of personal ambitions or are to be given the opportunity of working unitedly for economic freedom.
In that fight are you interested most profoundly, and will wish to do your loyal share. The fight is vital and international, and we of Los Angeles should not be required to carry the whole burden.
Six of our most capable writers and speakers are now in jail in Los Angeles, and five are imprisoned n San Diego. They are charged with violating the neutrality laws; for apparently it is a crime not to remain neutral when 14,000,000 of the downtrodden are striking for liberty. Their imprisonment cripples us badly, for the moment.
Twenty-one thousand copies of Regeneracion are issued weekly from this office, and go to all parts of the world, including—despite Madero's rigorous boycott—Mexico. We issue much other educational matter, and our work, especially at this crisis, is vital to the international movement of revolt. But this entails enormous expense, and financial assistance we MUST have.
We ask you to fill out the enclosed slip, writing in the largest sum you possibly can spare, mailing it in the accompanying envelope and doing so AT ONCE.
Ricardo Flores Magon, Anselmo Figueroa,
Enrique Flores Magon, Wm. C. Owen,
Librado Rivera, L. Caminita,
MANUEL G. CARZA,
Treasurer, Mexican Liberal Party Junta,
5191/2 E. 4th St., Los Angeles, Cal., U.S.A.
* * *
FOR the moment, and so far as obtaining sympathy and financial aid in the United States is concerned, the Mexican revolution has been playing in exceptionally hard luck. Two factors of great weight have been thrown into the opposite scale; first being the Los Angeles Times' case, which is absorbing the attention of the labor movement, and the second, the industrially circulated delusion that eh Mexican Revolution ended with the fall of Diaz.
For this delusion, so welcome to the moneyed interests, we have to thank the Socialist press. The Appeal to Reason led off with an infamous article beginning: "the Mexican Revolution is at an end"; Berger backed it up with the widely-heralded declaration that, even if it were not at an end, Socialists should not support it; Debs supplied the finishing touch by writing in the International Socialist Review that, for the sake of humanity and the prevention of bloodshed, it ought to be brought to an end.
These are the three main factors who our Mexican comrades have to thank for what is by far their greatest difficulty—the delusion that the revolution is a thing of the past.
* * *
THE intellectual eunuchs of the capitalist press represent the most wretched human species in society. They are the bravos of our time who, in return for a few paltry dollars, sell their very souls. Servile to the insatiable Moloch of capitalism, these mental hirelings stoop to the lowest depths to seize upon innocent and unsuspecting victims.
The McNamara case furnishes a striking example to what length our journalistic banditti can go. It was a certain Palmer, of Hampton's Magazine, who first helped to prepare the conspiracy against labor and the McNamara brothers. How it is a worthy colleague of his, a certain Harvey O'Higgins, who gives the finishing touch. In the August issue of McClure's this man constitutes himself the mouthpiece and eulogist of William J. Burns. The very title of his article shows the "impartiality" of this Burns' champion: "The Dynamiters, a great case of Detective Burns." Even the law considers the McNamaras innocent, till proven otherwise. Yet Harvey O'Higgins makes himself a party to the cruel, vicious, and deliberate method of manufacturing prejudice against the imprisoned labor leaders in Los Angeles. We are given to understand that Judas Burns is one of the greatest American geniuses.
And, indeed, as an unscrupulous hireling of the murderous capitalist system, Burns is a genius. There are few crimes on the calendar he would hesitate to commit, not anything he would leave undone, to prove his importance to a society that thrives on crime.
The article in question is one of the worst outrages perpetrated by the press in a long while. It's evident purpose is to prejudice the public mind—and thus the jury—against the McNamaras.
* * *
THE capitalist press perpetuates ignorance not merely through the misrepresentation and mutilation of facts, but even more by the complete ignoring of important events. Thus neither the Associated Press nor Laffan's Bureau has had a word to sat about the great peace demonstration of the French Syndicalists and the German trade unionists in Berlin, July 30. Yet it was this concerted solidaric action of the revolutionary proletariat, and not the politicians Kinderlen-Wächter, Asquith, and Caillaux, that prevented the planned massacre on account of Morocco.
This gigantic demonstration of solidarity on the part of labor (which began in Paris, spread to Berlin and London, and terminated in Barcelona) has quite paralyzed the Prussian government. In its helpless imbecility it knew nothing better to do than to expel one of the delegates of the Confederation du Travail, Comrade Georges Yvetät. That, however, did not dampen the spirit of our comrade. In a fiery farewell address he urged the solidarity of the soldiers of Germany and France, calling upon them to direct their efforts against their respective governments instead of against each other.
* * *
IN the face of this revolutionary and uncompromising spirit, how weak and puny us the attitude of the Socialist politicians.
Years ago the veteran leader Bebel went into fatherland spasms, declaring he would don the Kaiser's coal to defend "his" country against invasion of Russian barbarians. And now comes the leader of the English Labor Party, Mr. Ramsey McDonald, proclaiming the solidarity of his part with those of Asquith and Balfour against the invasion of the German barbarians. Nor must we forget Messrs. Blatchford and Hyndman who for years have been rabid German-baiters.
Mr. Hyndman, "Father of the Social Democracy of Great Britain," and one of the editors of the calumnious Justice, may be prompted by economic determinism in his continuous attacks upon Germany. Together with the Earl of Westmoreland, Lt. Gen. Sir Seymour John Blace, Bt. C. B., Admiral Leicester Keppel (friend of the late Kind Edward) and other "proletarians," he was a director of the Colt Gun and Carriage Company, Lt. The company was formed in November, 1899, on the top of the Boer War, by the Lancashire Financial Association, with a capital of 500,000 £I shares—350,000 of which were subscribed and called up—to acquire the patent for Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Austria, of the Colt Machine Gun, and the right, for fourteen years, of manufacturing this patent firearm, as also to acquire the Earl of Dundonald's fifty-two patents for guns and carriage for £500,000, of which £30,000, at least, was to be cash. The Socialist Hyndman joined the Bard of Directors on June 6thm 1904, the minimum qualification being 500 £I shares. At one time he held, and was interested in, a total of not less than 14,850 ordinary and 400 preferential shares. He resigned his position on the Board, but returned and remained (1906-7). Evidently, Hyndman's German menace was regarded as a wild cat, for the company went into voluntary liquidation on Nov. 11th, 1907.
The names of the directors give one to reflect. They are persons interested in war-promotion. Their confederate, H. M. Hyndman, shared their interests. And so he shouts out loudly for an increase in armaments, knowing that he will gain substantially from their increase; his attitude is one of latent and actual crime, unless legal human murder be regarded as deserving of admiration rather than of censure. The phrases that he employs to conceal this hideous truth are pregnant with the social crime he would seem to trade in. Thus, in the Morning Post for Sept. 8, 1910, he wrote:
"The criticism at Copenhagen (International Socialist Congress) and elsewhere will not prevent me continuing to advocate the maintenance of a powerful ocean-going navy, and air-going fleet, as well as the establishment of a genuine citizen army for the protection of the safety and independence of this country."
Quite correctly our London exchange, the Herald of Revolt, comments that "'the safety and independence of this country' is the political clap-trap of the governing class politician in every land where workers starve and idlers thrive. It knows no country, and is restricted to no one language. It is international—as international as the crime that promotes it. Hyndman is but one among its many exponents."
* * *
OUR contention regarding the brutalizing effects of militarism—its inherent tendencies toward degeneracy and disease—is now borne out by the report of the Surgeon-General of the Federal Army. Good patriots and bigoted Puritans will be delighted to learn that the hospital admissions for alcoholism and sexual diseases reach the astonishing proportions of nearly one quarter of the entire Army. The hospital admissions for alcoholism have averaged about 25 in 1,000 for a considerable time, but the admissions for the diseases of vice have lately risen to something like 200 in 1,000, far ahead of the figures for any army in Europe.
"The latter peril, especially, has come to outweigh in importance any other sanitary question which now confronts the Army," declares the Surgeon-General, "and neither our national optimism nor our Anglo-Saxon disposition to ignore everything distasteful can longer excuse a frank and honest confrontation of the problem."
Unfortunately, the Surgeon-General himself is still a victim of "our national optimism and our Anglo-Saxon disposition." He dare not call a spade a spade. He sermonizes about the diseases of dissipation and of "vice". Sex is non-existent to him.
* * *
HOW very different is the attitude of cultured Europeans toward sex. In connection with the International Hygiene Exhibition at Dresden, the Neo-Malthusianism Society will gather for an international conference in September. Men and women foremost in the scientific world and social workers in every movement will participate in the congress, as well as representatives of the government of Saxony. Among the subjects to be discussed are sex hygiene and preventative methods.
With St. Anthony as the guardian of American morals, the delegates to an American Neo-Malthusian congress would run the risk of spending the rest of their lives in the penitentiary. What a provincial and hypocritical nation we are, after all.
* * *
THE deteriorating influence of bad examples on good habits has been most forcibly demonstrated in Arden, Del., the dreamland of American single taxers.
Always, the followers of Henry George have been champions of free speech, even going to prison for it. Yet when a member of the single-tax colony attempts to exercise the right of free speech, and if the offender happens to be an anarchist at that, the law is invoked and the man sent to the workhouse. How inconsistent and foolish of liberty-loving people, but still more foolish that the anarchist, our otherwise staunch comrade, George Brown, should have followed such an inconsistent course.
But most ridiculous of all are the faddistic and sensational Socialist highbrows of the colony, who had nothing to say, when the anarchist was sent to prison and who now make a howl when they had to swallow their own medicine.
The Mexican Revolt
By Voltarine De Cleyre
At last we see a genuine awakening of people, not to political demands alone, but to economic ones, -- fundamentally economic ones. And in the brief period of a few months, some millions of human beings have sprung to a full consciousness of a system of wrong, beginning where all slaveries begin, in the sources of life. They have struck for LAND and LIBERTY. And even if their revolt shall be crushed by the mailed hand of the United States Government (for I do not believe the present nondescript thing calling itself a government, in Mexico, has craft or power to pacify or crush all the seething elements of rebellion), yet it has set a foremost mark upon the record of human demand, from which hereafter there will be no retreat. From now on, when an oppressed people revolt, they will not demand less.
"Events are the true Schoolmasters," I hear the justified voice of my dead comrade Lum calling triumphantly from his grave. For years and years the brothers Magon and their coworkers in and out of Mexico have been voices crying in the wilderness which some few thousands at best have heard. But in the storm-wind of popular revolt, rising, no prophet could have foretold when, nor gazer at the aftermath just why it was the chosen hour, in that strong clean-sweeping of the psychic atmosphere, millions of unlettered and otherwise ignorant people saw, as with lightning sharpness cutting a black night, the foundation of all their wrong, and heard the slogan "Land of Liberty" to which their ears were so long deaf, -- heard it, raised it, acted on it, are acting on it. With that clear and direct perception of the needful thing to do which lettered men, men of complex lives, nearly always lack, being befogged by too many lights, they move straight upon their purpose, hew down the landmarks, burn the records of the title-deeds.
So do the plain people. Temporizing men, sophisticated men, men of books and theories, men made timid with much mind, Hamlets all, -- they devise solemn in-directions; they figure on compensation schemes, on taxation fooleries, on how-to-to and how-not-to-do at the same time. The simple man says, "No: you have told us, an truly, that this land was filched away from us by a paper-title scheme. Its power lay in our admitting its right. Well, we no longer admit it; we destroy it. The land is ours; we take it." And they have driven off the paper-title men, and are working the ground on hundreds of ranches.
It is true there are other millions asleep in the storm; true that many of the awakened have been quieted with political hocus-pocus; true that a hundred and one reactionary forces are battling on the same ground. It is true that the world at large, outside of Mexico, is but little informed as to the real struggle. But that does not alter or diminish the truth that the Slaves of Our Times, in a nation-wide revolt, have smitten the Beast of Property in Land. And once a great human demand is so made, it is never let go again. Future revolts will go on from there; they will never fall behind it.
At present the great press is saying little of the chaos in the Mexican situation, though for the last few days, since as news purveyors they cannot keep entirely silent, small hinting editorials are creeping in, pointing interventionwards, "in case disturbances are not pacified." No doubt the United States Government would prefer to preserve its hypocritical pretense of abstinent impartiality. It hopes its catspaw will safely pull the chestnuts out of the fire. It is comfortable to pose as the disinterested friend of peace in our sister republic, so long as American landlord powers in Mexico are undisturbed, or so long as the Mexican branch of the Capitalistic Defense Association is able to tend to its division. But one this has been pretty plain since the provisional government assumed its functions: "Barkis is willin'," — but not effulgently able. People who have once taken up arms and felt the satisfaction of ridding themselves of one tyrant, of doing rude justice in opening prison doors, or seeing a whole confraternity of office-holders and office-seekers in anxiety to placate them, are not so unready to take up arms again; especially when the whole mass of discontent is leavened with conscious revolutionists who are crying the means of social regeneration in their ears.
It is very plain now that the provisional governors are treading on thin crust, and the elections instead of steadying the human subsoil down to mortuary rigidity, may prove the prelude to more violent eruptions. In that case, the reluctant (?) hand at Washington may be forced to play — clubs! on its own responsibility.
Meanwhile, what have the revolutionary elements of the United States to say about it? I almost sneered as I wrote "revolutionary elements," for candor compels us to inquire where they are. Time was when some people thought the Single Tax was based on a fundamentally revolutionary idea, the final expropriation of the landlord by the people. The Single Tax papers, however, have said as little as possible about the great Land cry of the Mexican revolutionists, have laid all stress upon the political mirage-chasing by which Madero and his coadjutors side-tracked the uprising of May, and have refused to print the Manifestoes and Appeals of the Mexican Liberal Party, to afford the Publicity of their columns to the read demands of the revolutionists, that their readers might give their sympathy and support and the influence of their understanding. They were waiting, they said, for Madero to pronounce himself upon the land in question! I opine they have still quite some wait coming.
From all which, it seriously appears that the expropriation of the landlords by the people, the restoration of the land to the people, is not the object of the single tax movement; on the contrary, the object is the establishment of the single tax itself, -- not as a working means to a great end, the establishment of the equal right of all to the use of natural resources, but at neat sleight-of-hand method for collecting revenue; at best, a way of getting rid of landlords by fooling them into getting rid of themselves, not because they are robbers to be got rid of, but because it's such a clever trick to play! Men are to demand the land, not that they may get the land, but that the demand may serve as an excuse for instituting Single Tax!
If this is not the interpretation we are to put upon it, then how else are we to read the conspicuous silence of the Single Tax press concerning this great agrarian revolt? Millions of people have been demonstrating their appreciation that The Land for All the People is the primary foundation for a better economic structure. They have taken a more direct route than the singe tax. And the land agitators are silent!
Time was when Socialism was a revolutionary word. And there are still some Socialists who are international revolutionists. But the official political Socialist Party, -- bah! If ever the vitiating influence of the marriage of Socialism with Politics (that old Bluebeard husband of so many fine young wives) was demonstrated beyond disputation, it has been in the official attitude of Socialists towards this spontaneous manifestation of the Mexican people.
The utterances of Victor Berger, "the Socialist Congressman" (we receive this information as to his status with painful reiteration at least once a column in every issue of the Chicago Daily Socialist), concerning "the bandits of Mexico" were enough to make the authors of the Communist Manifesto repudiate their name. Those strong souls who asserted that "the communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things," and appealed to "Workingmen of All Countries to unite," — what would they have in common with a smug occupier of a congressional seat, who in a strongly marked German accent makes anti-immigration speeches against Slavs and Italians in the name of protection to American Labor (?) and who directs his secretary to say, "concerning the Mexican revolt, that "the Socialist Party can afford to have no connection with this movement" (?). In the light of this and similar utterances in the Socialist Press (I have even learned on good authority that one Socialist editor really desires United States annexation of Mexico, but dares not advocate it yet, "because it would be unpopular" with Socialist readers) it would appear that the distribution of the Communist Manifesto by the Socialist Party is about of a piece with the distribution of the Christian Gospels by the Christian Church; in both cases, it is traditional literature, which nobody is supposed to take seriously.
Instead of giving even the news of international revolutionary movements (often one looks in vain for any), or the economic ground-plan of Socialism, we have columns of vice-crusading, sporting pages, and veritable hot-air balloons of self-inflation for having assisted in some relatively trivial petition. Only in their correspondence columns is there some occasional evidence of the indignant spirit of a true Socialist, outraged by all this trimming to suit the wind, this flunkeying to the respectable element, this suffocation of revolutionary principle and sentiment under a time-serving mantle of political prudence and cheap catering. Yes; Politics is nicely bluebearding Socialism. How far away is all this from the serious, intent spirit which watches and welcomes the manifestations of the people themselves — no matter what their degree of development or enlightenment — as the real indications of how the race will come into its own! Not according to any men's preconcerted program, not by any carefully selected route, not by anybody's plan of campaign to make an "educated, class-conscious," etc. ad nauseam vote-casting machine; but in their own unforeseen and unforeseeable, unpredetermined, by-the-hour-and-circumstance-decided way, as the peoples always move, -- as Life, which is greater than the peoples, always moves.
And the business of the revolutionist, the seeker for the Changes of Old Forms, the dreamer of Liberty and Plenty, is to be with them in their struggle, in their victory, in their defeat, whenever, wherever, the people rise.
Hail to the Mexican strikers, who likely are too ignorant to pursue a course in the "Evolution of Class-consciousness," but who are apparently very alive to the fact that Now is the hour to strike for better conditions —the hour of governmental weakness and popular strength. Hail to the Mexican Revolution, victorious or defeated. And hail to the next that rises!
C. L. James
By James F. Morton, Jr.
The death of C. L. James, at the age of 65 years, removes from the ranks of Anarchism and from radical propaganda in general one of the most striking figures known to the American movement. His ripe scholarship and immense range of his studies rendered him a powerful protagonist in public discussion; and few who met him in the field of debate have come away unscarred. He was, with good cause, held to be the most profound scholar among American Anarchists; and his name often did yeoman service in confuting the incautious slanderer of the Anarchist movement, who upbraided it as appealing not only to the fanatical an ignorant.
Not many biographical details are at hand, as the life of Comrade James was, at least during the years in which he was best known to American radicals, somewhat that of a recluse. For many years he resided at Eau Claire, Wis., where he seems to have led the quiet life of a scholar, dividing his time between active propaganda with the pen and laborious research and literary activity of a constructive nature. Rarely did he leave his home, to mingle personally with the outside world; and therefore few radicals have known him otherwise than through correspondence. He was born, according to information which has been supplied, In Baden-Baden, Germany, October 23, 1846 and died in Eau Claire, Wis., June 3, 1911. His father, I believe, was G. P. R. James, the famous English novelist of an earlier day. When he came first to this country, or when and how he became interested in radical opinions and a convert to the Anarchist school of philosophy, I am not informed. I trust that the facts regarding his early years may be brought out by application to his surviving relatives. From a rough list of his principal writings, it appears that his earliest published works were a volume of poems and a book on Transcendental Philosophy, both which appeared in 1871. In 1886, he appears as a defender of the Anarchistic proposition, in a pamphlet entitled "Anarchy." From that time on, he is seen in the radical ranks, almost invariably occupying a post in the extreme advance. Among the books and pamphlets issued by him are noted "Law of Marriage," "Degeneracy," "Origin of Religious Systems," "An Appeal to Women," and "History of the French Revolution." Works yet to appear in book form are "Vindication of Anarchism," published serially in Free Society a few years since, and "Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist," now appearing in Mother Earth. With regard to the entire body of his work, he made the following statement, shortly before his death: "All may be considered extracts from the (MS.) 'History of the World,' which is the work of my life." It may be hoped that much valuable manuscripts in relation to his great life-purpose may be secured, and may prove available for posthumous publication.
The bare list of published books and pamphlets tells, in fact, very little of the tremendous output of his ever-active mind. By far the larger portion of his writings may be found in the form of articles and letters, in the files of the more radical periodicals of the past thirty years. Propaganda along general lines could not suffice for his versatile genius. His instinct was to probe every phase of the subject; and nothing escaped his notice. Having a born impulse toward debate, he never refused or overlooked a challenge, direct or implied. No opponent was too insignificant to receive recognition; nor did he fear to confront the most imposing antagonist, even in the field of his foe's strongest specialty. To him, all things, great and small, were closely interrelated; and loose thinking or inaccurate apprehension of fact, even in distinctly minor matters, were held by him to demand emphatic reprobation, as leading to greater and more far-reaching errors. Few will be found to accept all his conclusions; but still fewer will refuse their admiration to his powerful and many-sided mind. Even where his views may have proved in a measure unsound, he contributed immeasurably to the clarification and development of radical thought and of sound methods of thinking among radicals. His insistence on the intellectual side of Anarchism was borne good fruit. In opinions, he was, as practically every reader of Mother Earth is already aware, an uncompromising Anarchist. He never minced words or phrases; nor did he ever seek to disguise his most extreme convictions for respectability's sweet sake. The only department in which his views approximated those current in conservative circles was that of medical science. He held all forms of what he termed "quackery" in utter contempt, and had as a consequence many a sharp tilt with other radical writers, from which even those who differ from him will not claim that he always came out second best. A strict disciple of science, he was sternly impatient of the encroachment of emotionalism or sentiment of the domain of thought and experience. As against a large proportion of radicals, he strenuously defended both vaccination and vivisection, and upheld orthodox Malthusianism (scorning to take refuge behind the bulwark of "Neo-Malthusianism") against all corners. If at times his manner appeared somewhat overbearing, and if he seemed harshly intolerant in little things, these weaknesses may readily be pardoned in one whose whole life was a tireless struggle against the monster of ignorance, and in behalf of the principles of liberty and enlightenment. On the larger issues, he never waivered; and when defenders where needed, he was never found wanting. His death leaves a gap which will not soon be filled; and his memory will not fade.
THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT IN HOLLAND
By F. DOMELA NIEUWENHUIS.
I THINK it of utmost importance that the Anarchists throughout the world should be in close touch with each other and keep informed regarding our movement in every country. I am therefore much pleased at the opportunity to write to you concerning the Anarchist movement in Holland, to give our English-reading comrades a proper conception of the situation in my country.
The Anarchist movement here is making very good progress. I consider it the best in the world, compared with the movement in other countries of Europe with which I am familiar.
My assertion is borne out by the condition of our press. In this country, with a population of less than six millions, the movement supports six weekly papers, all of them doing well financially. (One of these papers is published twice a week.) They are: Vrye Socialist (Free Socialist), Toekomst (The Future), Recht voor Allen (Justice for All), Vryheidsvaan (Banner of Liberty), Arbeider (The Worker), Naar de Vryheid (To Freedom). We also have an anti-militarist monthly magazine, De wapens neder (Down with Weapons). Besides, the independent trade-unions, similar in character to the Industrial Workers of America, publish twelve papers for the different unions.
When we compare our efforts with those of our English comrades who have only Freedom (monthly) and the Yiddish paper Voice of Labour; or with our German comrades who have only Freie Arbeiter (weekly), Der Anarchist (twice a month) and Socialist (twice a month), or with our French comrades who have Les Temps Nouveaux (weekly) and Libertaire (weekly), we have all reason to be content. And every week our propagandists go into the country to preach to the disinherited our evangel of discontent, and to awaken the indifferent masses made stupid by hard and monotonous toil.
And how great is the number aRd might of our adversaries of all sorts I You find the clerical reaction very strong, holding in its hands the government and the majority of Parliament (60 against 40), the liberal reaction, the radicals, and-last not least-the Social Democrats, who hate us more than the others, because we have prevented their calling themselves the labor party of the country. Their name is Sociaal Demokratische Arbeiders Party, commonly called S. D. A. P. Because you find among them many students, clergymen, and advocates, it is said that those letters have this significance: Students-Dominees-Avocates Party. These parties form a great block when it concerns Anarchism, because they are all authoritarians: they want to maintain authority and for them it is only a struggle as to which of them shall have the political power in their hands. I have therefore often said that all these parties, from the Pope of Rome to the Social Democrat, form one great reactionary party, in principle the enemies of the Anarchists. Let us not cherish any false illusions in this matter: when Social Democrats are in power they will persecute us worse than any other party. It is not true, as some Anarchists claim, that you come to Anarchy through Social Democracy. I hold, on the contrary, that those principles are not two lines which will meet each other at some common point, but two lines which, going parallel, can never meet.
We have in this country a great advantage in the fact that there is the quality of Anarchy in the character of the people. Their traditions are with us, and if we cultivate this character we shall bring the population into the fold of Anarchism.
Protestantism is in its essence Anarchistic, and that is the great difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. It cannot be denied that Protestantism is individualistic, because the authority which it accepts is not external, but internal. The Protestant recognizes only the authority of his own conscience, and the internal voice of the conscience of one man is just as good as that of another. Each heretic "has his letter," and therefore Protestantism is the religion of individualism. When a people is Protestant, it has the germ of Anarchism in itself and we, as Anarchists, must say to the people: What you want in religion is freedom of conscience, the liberty to regulate your own affairs; we want the same, in everything; if you can regulate your own affairs with God, why should you not regulate your own affairs in the State? Direct action is a Protestant as well as an Anarchist principle.
In this regard, I think, there is much similarity between the two peoples: the American and the Dutch. Perhaps heredity plays a part, because the Pilgrim fathers were Dutch and English. It is in the blood. America, like Holland, has a certain disposition to be Anarchistic. But there is an antagonistic element; that is the German. True, Germany is also Protestant, but there is a great difference between the Lutheranism of Germany and the Calvinism of Holland and England. Lutheranism is properly a disguised, an inconsequent Protestantism, because Luther made himself the Pope instead of the Pope at Rome, and he was as intolerant as the Catholic Church. That is proven by the war he waged against Carlstadt, Thomas Miinster, and the peasants- and when he was intolerant, he was quite-in his role. On the other hand, when Calvin was intolerant towards Michael Servet and the libertarians of Geneva, he played traitor to his own principles.
That makes a great difference.
I cannot elaborate this theme, but can only briefly indicate the cause why one people has a disposition toward, and another against, Anarchism.
In Holland you will find an exaggerated sense of freedom. An example will illustrate this. When the police issue some order, even though it may be good in itself, the people are inclined to disobey, only because it is ordered by the police. When smoking is not allowed in a railroad car, you will often find persons who purposely go into the no-smoking car to smoke there. This I call an exaggeration of the sense of freedom, mere opposition to authority. I disapprove of this, but I believe that if you direct this disposition into the proper channels, it will be far easier to make Anarchists of such people than if the1 lacked the spirit of rebellion.
At a Social Democratic meeting in Germany, the putting on of his helmet by the police officer-who is ever present-is a sign that the meeting is dissolved. And the people leave without protest. When this happens in Holland (and I must say that it is an exception) it creates a great stir and it requires great efforts to clear the hall.
Such examples are very instructive, because they supply a key to the character of various peoples.
The same discipline which you find in the German army, you also find in the German Socialist party, for it is in the blood of the people. And the same lack of discipline which you find in the Dutch army you will find in all the political parties of the country. The consequence is that you will find almost a hundred different religious sects. The same with Socialism. In Holland we have several parties: I. the Social Democratic Party of Workers; 2. the Social Democratic Party, which has seceded, forming a new party; 3. the Socialist Party (Socialistenbond). We have had here a Communist Party, a Federation of Communist-Anarchists. Certainly, it is very difficult for the toilers to know all these parties and the points of difference between them. These are the phenomena which you can observe in Holland.
Surely we have much to do and the movement isnot as strong as could be wished, but when we consider the comparatively short time that Anarchism has been propagated here, as well as the constant and bitter opposition of the Social Democrats towards us, we can well be satisfied with the results we have achieved and the influence we exert over the masses.
We have a strong anti-militarist movement, and there have been numerous cases in which young men have refused military service. We also have a rationalist school movement, in the spirit of our brave comrade Francisco Ferrer. There is also an abstinence movement, for we believe that no man can be free as long as he is a slave to drink. The Anarchist movement must have an ethical character and therefore the vanguard of human emancipation must set a good example.*
We have very good Anarchist literature in Holland, which finds much circulation, as the workingmen are very eager to read and study. We dispose of great quantities of propaganda leaflets and the works of such leaders of modern thought as Kropotkin and Elisée Reclus are as well known to our people as in any other country. We stand abreast of the international movement, and the voice of the struggling proletariat in any land ever finds an echo here. Thus it was in the case of Ferrer, as well as with Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone; with the Japanese martyrs, as well as in the case of Edward Joris of Constantinople. We cultivate the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, and if we wish for greater results that very circumstance should prove our inspiration to greater and more energetic efforts.
As to the trade-union movement, it comprises several organizations: I. the Christians, which are divided in Catholic and Protestant; 2. the so-called Werkhevenverbond (Federation of Labor) which sympathizes with the radicals; 3. the so-called Nederlandsch Yak Verbond (N. V. V. or Federation of Dutch Trades:Unions), which is Social Democratic; 4. the Independent Trades Unions under the Nationaal Arbeiders Sekretariaat, N. A. S. (National Secretary of Labor). Diversity enough. The last is more or less Anarchistic, but opportunism is beginning to show its influence. When the Federation of Dutch Trades-Unions makes propaganda for a working-day of 10 hours, the Independent Trades Unions begin a movement for a working-day of 8 hours. But the abolition of the wage system is not propagated either by the one or the other. It is a struggle for practical reforms, and one party vies with the other in making promises. Strikes are the order of the day, but neither party seeks the triumph of labor. With their mouths they shout, "Proletarians of all countries, unite I" But secretly they think: we shall not help you and we hope you will lose the fight. It is a pity it is thus; but the truth must be told.
I do not mean to deny that it is a grand motto; but it is incomplete. Marx has not said in what the workers should unite. We can unite for a good as well as for a bad purpose. Therefore I believe we must be far broader if we have the welfare of humanity at heart; and if we really mean well with the people we should say to them: learn to stand on your own feet, learn to see with your own eyes, learn to hear with your own ears, learn, to think with your own brain. Then only, when the workers do so, will they be saved. Not by a savior who will bring you to happiness and prosperity, but by being your own savior, for that is the sole way to triumph.
If you in America and we in Holland and our comrades in other countries faithfully propagate these ideas of independence, self-reliance, and solidarity, and reach each other our hands to facilitate our common task, we shall make speedy progress, there is no doubt.
Many greetings and best wishes to you from your Dutch comrades.
*The abstinence movement does not arouse our enthusiasm, for we in America know too well its narrow, arbitrary and invasive tendencies. One need not necessarily be an abstainer in order not to become a slave to drink. As anarchists we demand the right to regulate our own diet. --M.E.
KOTOKU'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH ALBERT JOHNSON
By HIPPOLYTE HAVEL.
ONE of the pleasant memories of our martyred Japanese comrades must have been their friendship with European and American radicals, among whom were Leopold Fleischmann and Albert Johnson, the veteran Anarchist of California. Thanks to Leopold Fleischmann, Denjiro Kotoku [real name of Shūsui Kōtoku ed], T. Sakai, Sen Katayama, Dr. Kato, and others came in closer touch with the social struggle in America. It was also through Mr. Fleischmann that Denjiro Kotoku met our old friend Albert Johnson, the acquaintance soon ripening into a friendship which continued even after Kotoku returned to Japan. The result of their intimacy now comes to us in the form of an extensive correspondence. I am indebted for these valuable letters to Leonard D. Abbott, of the Current literature; and am very happy indeed to be able to submit them to the readers of MOTHER EARTH.
The letters are reproduced as written, since any attempt to edit them would but detract from their charm and simple grandeur. One can readily see that Denjiro Kotoku had joined the army of the social revolution and that as thinker, fighter and organizer he gave himself unreservedly to the cause of human emancipation.
Of great value is the letter wherein Kotoku speaks of his development to Anarchism and the reasons there for. Evidently the economic and social conditions which act as a leaven in Europe and America operate with the same force in Japan. Even as we, the Japanese are confronted with identical pressing problems demanding solution.
Denjiro Kotoku was a scholar engaged with deep philosophic questions. Like Renan, Strauss, and Bruno Bauer, our Comrade was devoting himself during his last imprisonment to a work containing a severe arraignment of Christianity. What a strange coincidence that at the very moment when Professor Drews' work on Jesus Christ was causing such a furore in Germany, the Japanese Anarchist thinker, in a Japanese prison, with death staring him in the face, was elaborating the same theme.
Tokio, Japan, Nov. 25th, 1904.
I feel very happy to inform you that this picture* was reproduced from that which you sent me, and is published from Heimin Shimbun office, a Socialist weekly. I have been prosecuted on the charge of publishing a treasonable article and sentenced to five months' imprisonment. When this card is in your hand I will be in Sugano Prison of Tokio.
Tokio, Dec. 30th, 1904.
MR. A. JOHNSON.
*Picture of Kropotkin
Dear Comrade :-In replying I thank you very much, for I have received Mr. Kropotkin's address and many valuable literatures which you sent to me.
Both as a source of argument and reference, Mr. Ladd's work, "Commentaries on Hebrew," should be of great value for me, because I am an atheist or agnostic, and always fighting against the dogma of Christian and all other religions.
I regret that I did not have a chance of reading late Mr. Hearn's work, but I think it should be a good authority,as he lived himself a complete Japanese life during many years till his death.
As already informed, 1 was prosecuted by barbarous government on the charge of inciting to the alteration of the Dynastic Institution and sentenced to five months' imprisonment, but I soon appealed and second trial was postponed until January 6th.
Beside this I was sentenced on 20th inst. to a fine of 80 yen on the charge of translating and publishing Marx's "Communist Manifesto." What beautiful Japanese Government is! Is it not quite same to Russian despotism? I ever remain,
Odawara, Japan, Aug. 10th, 1905.
MR. A. JOHNSON
Dear Comrade :-1 have just received your letter of July 16th, and translated it orally with great pleasure for my wife, who listened very attentively with most gratitude for your friendship and kindness.
We could not help shedding tears of sympathy with your youngest daughter having lost her husband recently, and of thankfulness in knowing that you would have had. the dinner in your house to celebrate my release.
August 6th we came to the sea-shore of Odawara, a town about fifty miles south-westernward from Tokio, to restore my health. The building in which we are now staying is a villa owned by Dr. Kato, who is devoted Socialist and is kindly attending my sickness.
Five months' imprisonment not a little injured my health, but it gave me many lessons of the social questions. I have seen and studied great many of so-called "criminals" and became convinced that the governmental institutions----court, law, prison-are only responsible for them-poverty and crime.
Among the many books which I have read in the prison were Draper's "Conflict Between Religion and Science," Haeckel's "The Riddle of the Universe," Renan's "Life of Jesus," and so forth. Besides I repeated again two interesting books which you sent me-Mr. Ladd's "Hebrew and Christian Mythology" and Mr. Kropotkin's "Fields, Factories and Workshops."(By the way, Mr. Ladd often mentions Buddha as a Chinese philosopher. It is true that the greater part of Chinese population is now Buddhist, but Buddha or Gautama is not Chinese. He was born in India. He is Hindu. Several centuries after the death of Buddha his religion was introduced into China.)
Indeed, I had gone.** as a Marxian Socialist and returned as a radical Anarchist. To propagate Anarchism in this country, however, it means the death or lifelong, at least several years', imprisonment. Therefore its movement must be entirely secret, and its progress and success will need long, long time and endurance.
I am now intending to live in America and Europe during several years for the following purpose:
(I) To study foreign conversation and writing which are most important instruments for the. International Movement of Communists or Anarchists. I can only read English literature, but cannot speak. And writing in English, as you see, is very hard for me.
(2) To visit the leaders of many foreign revolutionists and learn something from their movements.
(3) To criticize freely the position of the "His Majesty" and the political, economic and institutions from foreign land where the pernicious hand of "His Majesty" cannot reach.
If my health allows and money, that is to be borrowed from my relations and friends, could be raised I will start in the coming winter or next spring. Although we are now at Odawara, we will return to Tokio at next month.
P. S.-My wife was pleased very much with many pictures enveloped in your letter.
**To Sugano prison in Tokio.
Tokio, Sept. 5th, 1905.
I thank you very much for the present of Kelso's "Government Analyzed," which I received last night. I soon read the preface of the author. I think it is a very valuable book and I will learn many things of the evil of government and the good of Anarchy from it.
My health is recovering day by day, and I am intending to start, for America in the next November. In haste.
Yours fraternally, D. KOTOKU
I have read Mr. Ladd's article, "Japan Leads the World," in Searchlight of July.
Tokio, Sept. 8th, 1905.
Japanese Government is now receiving natural, but dreadful result of the patriotism and jingoism which were stirred up by the hands of themselves. During the last four days the city of Tokio has been drowned by the sea of fire and blood.* The state of siege has been proclaimed, many publications suspended, and to the Postmaster given the right of confiscating any letter.
*Jingo demonstrations following the signing of the peace treaty at Portsmouth.
Tokio, Oct. 1Ith, 1905.
MR. A. JOHNSON.
Dear Comrade :-Our weekly is still suspended and our office has been compelled to dissolve ourselves owing to the barbarous persecution and financial difficulties.
I'm now intending to organize the Japanese laborers in America. There is no other means to get freedom of speech and press than to quit the soil of the state of siege and go to a more civilized country.
October 11th, 1905.
Many thanks for books and literature. We were pleased very much with the pictures of the foreign ladies and children. I have decided to start on the N. Y. K.'s ship November 14th, for Seattle and San Francisco, with my nephew.
How pleasantly and happy it would be to shake hands with you and comrades early in next December!