Of all the social ideas offered to mankind during the last two centuries as a solution to its problems, Anarchism alone has always been the most uncompromising of all. For this very reason, it should not surprise anyone to learn that Anarchism as a social idea has failed to progress, as compared with the social ideas of Karl Marx, but has, to all appearances, even regressed. This superficial appearance of regress cannot be construed as the end of Anarchism as a social idea of liberation. We find in the realm of science that the teacher often meets with momentary defeats and disappointments. In the end, however, truth does not fail to hold its own ground and win the battle.
Therefore, it is in the field of experimentation that the ideas embodied in the anarchist philosophy will meet the test. This will come when mankind realizes the need for making a change from an ORDAINED LIFE to a FREE LIFE.
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How can mankind ever reach the state of mind whereby it should desire sufficiently strong enough to experiment with and put to a test the ideas of Anarchism? Is there any possibility that this stage will ever be reached, in view of the constantly increasing power assumed by the State in human relations everywhere?
In monarchical countries and republics, fascism-through the State-reigns supreme. In democratic countries, it is again the State which is in command. In the land of Marxian socialism-Russia the State is even more powerful than elsewhere.
In view of these realities, can the anarchist still hope and contend that the reign of the State is foredoomed? The answer to this is to be found in a closer examination of the origin, function and growth of the State throughout the world.
Has the State been conceived and brought into life in order to aid mankind to live in contentment and abundance? Has it developed and grown in a natural and healthy way? History gives us an unequivocal answer: It has not. It was born out of brigandage and has so remained. In capitalist countries; it is the legal protector of the wealth it has taken from the producing masses. Even in Russia, under a marxian socialist State, the liberty and life of the individual have been sacrificed for the sake of a promised but not given loaf of bread.
Every war which the State has engineered at the behest of Capitalism was imposed upon the people under fraudulent claims-as are the imposed systems of economic exploitation during times of peace. Even the imposed experimentation carried on in the name of the “proletariat”, with its army, must be classed as a fraud thrust upon the people.
Man can and will reach the stage of true contentment and freedom only when he realizes the imperative need for discarding every form of exploitation and rulership of man over man. Man will ultimately learn to rely upon his own initiative and upon cooperation and experimentation carried on between himself and his fellowman. For the best that lies dormant within man-love for Justice, Equality and Cooperation-can only be awakened with the dawn of a free society: Anarchy.
But how is man to reach the stage of the dawn of a free society?
He will grow tired of the State’s all powerful grip over life and happiness. He will grow tired of being slaughtered in economic wars on the battlefields, in the factories and on the land. He will grow tired, too, of politics and politicians, of saviours who have always proved deceiving, of trade union officials who aid in maintaining the status quo. He will grow tired of all sorts of compromising palliatives.
When this happens, the world will witness a series of social rebellions which will break every chain that has fettered mankind for ages. Governments will crumble to dust upon the very sandy foundations on which they were erected. All institutions which are part of the present system of society which functions by virtue of its exploitation will also fall. A freed mankind will no longer have any use for the policeman and judge, jail and jailer, soldier and gun, thieves and stocks. The monetary system, too, will disappear. Property will be worth no more than the exchange value which neighbor and neighbor will, by voluntary understanding, attach to it.
CENTRALIZATION, the chief prop of Capitalism and marxian socialism, will be replaced by DECENTRALIZATION. Centralization calls for exercise of power. Power denotes rulership. Where rulership prevails someone must be ruled. Thus, where centralization prevails freedom cannot thrive. Decentralization opens up every avenue for the expression and assertion of initiative, self-rule and equal responsibility. It is in the decentralized voluntary cooperation of man and fellowman that the anarchist foresees the future. It is a future with no coercion, no exploitation, no ridership. It is a future guided by and based on the voluntary associations and agreements made between FREE MEN.
The transformation from a society of rulership to an anarchist society cannot be accomplished overnight. It has taken man centuries to change his barbaric conditions to what we can offhand call semi-civilized conditions. The change from the present state to that of a truly emancipated one will undoubtedly take time. The freed man will learn by the test of experimentation what is best suited for his a well- being and happiness. The freed man will learn and at the same time bring about a science of social freedom.
What ground does the anarchist hold for entertaining so optimistic a view and hope?
Against the triumphant march of the State with its coercion in every phase of life, the anarchist points to the expression of freedom as achieved by science in its various physical branches. More than that, he looks toward art, in all its branches, as the effervescent fountain from which he has been drinking of imagination, knowledge and understanding.
By what standards do the critical minds of the world measure the work of the dramatist, novelist, poet, painter, sculptor and musician? The work of these artists is measured by its degree of truthfulness, imagination. beauty, by the imaginary dreams of a better and more beautiful life, by pointing at freedom as the sole guide and hope for the accomplishments of a civilization wherein justice and happiness for every human being will be possible.
Therefore, it is natural that in the realm of art and all its branches the anarchist finds the strongest substantiation for his ideal. In art he finds the embodiment of his dream and hopes: Freedom and justice, Beauty and Happiness for all mankind.