II. The Path of Anarchism

The most significant objection to anarchism as a social ideal is the doubt as to whether such a doctrine of freedom could ever become anything more than an ideal, whether any practicable way whatsoever could be found toward its realization. The purpose of this essay is merely to set out the anarchists’ point of view as well as their challenge to those people who perceive lack of freedom to be an evil. It cannot be predicted how far the anarchist position will be able to assert itself and how far the forces of freedom-loving people will be able to establish themselves against the resistance of authoritarian, centralist, statist views of power. In all of human history, exactly that occurs which the strongest will imposes by the strongest means. It is not important that the strength of the will and the means become apparent by their numbers, rather that the will draws its strength from the firmness, unity and integrity of an idea, and that the means are not directed towards any secondary aims and remain true to the idea in all modes of application.

Communist anarchism is revolutionary in its world view and its objective. Since the principles of social freedom can find no means of realization in the soil of capitalist legal and economic inequality, the complete re-plowing of the soil, the reformation of all human relationships, the total reordering of all organizing institutions for the regulation of labor and consumption, is the precondition for reorganization in the sense of anarchist community. The complete transformation of everyone’s living conditions, however, can never be achieved on the path of slow development, through which at most improvements within a social system are possible. Just as the emergence of mountains and islands occurs in nature, after a long developmental process of subterranean convolutions, through the sudden bursting of the parts of the ocean floor or inner earth which are hindering expansion, just as every birth occurs because a living being, enclosed during its preparatory growth within the womb, now ready for its own existence, wins entrance into the light by force, so too can the coming into being of new social conditions take place only after suitable preparation and prenatal development through outbreak of revolution. Should poor, rotten, unbearable conditions predominate, that is very far from sufficient to clear the road for revolution. The prenatal labor for the new society must be supported to the point that its fertilized seed frees itself from its enclosure and the revolutionaries’ task is discharged in functioning as midwives, to whom later falls the far more difficult task of keeping the revolution alive and ensuring its growth, from which all pathogens of the previous society will be kept distant, and which guarantees the shaping of the imagined ideal into the reality of the living human community.

The path of anarchy is therefore first of all a path of revolutionary preparation. Preparation for revolution occurs in a three-fold way: through propaganda, whereby the essence of the reprehensible conditions is demonstrated and their removal and the creation of desirable conditions encouraged; through self-education, in that the perception of bad institutions arouses the intention to change them; and finally through struggle. The anarchist doctrine contains nothing which would exclude any person from the preparations for revolution who did not exclude himself through his own behavior. Communist anarchists are anyhow in pretty much general agreement that the removal of evil organizations and institutions is not to be demanded from those who have created them or derive benefit from them, but rather that all liberation is a matter for those who bear the bonds of oppression. The struggle against property rights is to be lead by those to whom property is denied, the struggle against exploitation and oppression by those who are exploited and oppressed, the struggle against lordly privilege by slaves and the disenfranchised. Equality, mutuality and self-determination according to the social conscience are to be aggressively prepared by those at whose cost inequality and privilege, authority and anti-social self-interest play themselves out. The liberation of society from the state is thus to be achieved primarily by that class for whose oppression the capitalist system requires the state, whose submissiveness is perpetuated through the authority of church and state, through the power structures of patriarchy and monogamy, through the habituation to centralistic forms of organization for the attainment of hostile divisions within all areas of life, through the fostering of patriotic and racist arrogance, through laws, punishments, taxes, through joblessness, hunger, misery, bad air, paternalism and humiliation. Liberation from the state is liberation from class enslavement; the enslaved class must be the carrier of the struggle for liberation. The struggle for communist anarchy is therefore to be conducted during the period of revolutionary preparation as a class struggle.

The affirmation of class struggle by the communist anarchists results as a necessary consequence from the belief in self-determination and individual responsibility. The class division of society in the state is a tactical measure taken by capital against those who lease their labor power, the proletarians. By the workers taking up the struggle as a class, they emphasize their natural right to determination of their own lives. The insight that the state’s delineation of borders is an expression of the class system, in that the artificial estrangement of the workers of the different nations through the breeding of national prejudice prevents the alliance of the exploited, — this insight was the guiding thought in the understanding reached at the First International. The fundamental motto of the gathered laboring class, however, was the vow of independence of the proletariat in its opinions and conclusions. The liberation of the laboring class must be the work of the laborers themselves! In this assertion is contained the profession of faith in individual responsibility, in equality, in mutual aid and in free will, just as international unity likewise proclaims the negation of the state, and thereby of centralization, supremacy and authoritarian power. Only the infiltration of Marxist doctrine into the class struggle concept brought the dissolution of class unity as well as of the internationalism of the workers. Under the influence of Marxism the workers created for themselves centralistic party and union organizations, mandated officers for the discernment of the workers’ interests, whereby they placed their struggle for liberation into the hands of superior representatives, took part in the state’s parliamentary elections, so that the state with its national borders again attained for them an objective significance, and let themselves be caught up by state-administered socialism. Thus has the worker become citizen, and his struggle against exploitation is wrecked on the contradiction that he supports and strengthens the public apparatus determining the exploitation.

Here is not the place to depict the particular tactics of the anarchists towards the Marxists in every detail, since these pages are supposed to present only a general overview of the essence of anarchism. The conduct of the class struggle from the anarchist point of view, however, requires only the application of the anarchist ethos in order to assure its prospects for liberating the proletariat. For communist anarchists there neither exists an obligation to organizational unity nor is the idea of anarchism irreconcilable with the creation of an organization. Only the formation of centralistic organizations and bureaucratically directed incorporations would be in contradiction to the central doctrine of anarchism, that social living only exists where every individual is free to exercise a conscious influence on all decisions and undertakings. Conducting the class struggle in one’s own labor unions, as in the case of the anarcho-syndicalist movement, is completely unassailable from the point of view of libertarian socialism, and whoever allies himself in economic fighting units with comrades pursuing the same goals is not the one violating anarchist principles, but rather he who attacks federated trade- or factory-based organizations because he himself does not wish to join up, for whatever well considered reasons. Precisely herein resides the power of the federalist concept, that no one is constrained to subordinate himself to a program that he himself has not proposed and to which he does not consent in all points. The Marxists’ favorite attack on the anarchists, that with them there are dozens of differing views and tendencies, is misplaced not only because Marxism itself is splintered into countless factions, but rather above all because a comradely coexistence is first thereby enabled when for every opinion the manner of its representation and its form of struggle remains totally free, without therefore necessarily giving rise to any conflict or claims to preeminence. The central bureaucracies of the Marxist groups must bitterly feud with one another despite their close affinity in all beliefs political and otherwise, because mutual patience is always detrimental to authority, and because every delimitation of areas of authority necessarily means hostile delimitation. Federalist group formations on the other hand promote neighborly harmony, in that they effect amicable separations where there is no agreement, which makes confluence in all other affairs all the more fruitful. If here and there incompatibility and intrigue should arise between neighboring anarchist organizations as well, that is no refutation of federation, it is only proof that the tradition of centralism, lust for power, intolerance has not yet everywhere loosened its claws from the spirits even of such people who have understood intellectually the advantages of federalism.

The organization built from the ground up brings individuals together into associations, often the same individuals into differing sorts of association. One organizes oneself from the perspective of immediate belonging according to mindset, tasks and locality. Those like-minded people, united for a common activity, who are faced with the same conditions in their houses, streets, communities, cities, retain with complete independence in all decision making a positive sentiment for associations of a similar character. Continuous general discussion takes place on workplace and employment issues and matters of world outlook; the principle of mutual support is obligatory for all community action, without doing harm to the personal responsibility of each individual and each group. There arises down to the individual members a web-like network of independent associations of workplaces, outlooks, and neighborhoods, interwoven with one another, whose spheres of influence and physical location reach out from yard to yard, town to town, region to region, province to province, country to country, or as well from workplace to workplace, factory to factory, industry to industry, in short, in every economic and intellectual relationship of man to people and society, and in comradely manner joins the participants to all other participants in a living community. The anarchist organization need always thus appear to demonstrate in miniature the image of the desired libertarian social order.

Just as in shaping the form of organization, so too for the total remainder of the anarchists’ behavior goes the general rule: the path to the proposed goal shall lead straight away, that is, no detour is to be taken by which one can ever lose sight of the goal. Already in the first preparatory step and further without interruption up to the outbreak of social revolution and in all stages of development in construction of the free communist society, for the anarchists the fundamental guiding principles of equal rights, individual responsibility, social justice, federalism and total freedom of will and deed are to determine the manner of action. All action is directed toward the end and the whole; every measure proceeds in the awareness that personality and society are a material and moral unity; the individual anarchist, the anarchist association, the association of anarchist associations, directs in publicity, education, in struggle and behavior its whole striving toward the realization of stateless socialist freedom, dismisses secondary aims and lives in obligatory consciousness of proving by example in the present the possibility of a libertarian and just life for future humanity.

From this general rule is automatically derived the anarchists’ behavior in politics. The claim that anarchists categorically reject political struggle, is a foolish and thoroughly unjustified misrepresentation. Politics is engagement with public affairs. The intention of altering public affairs is, therefore, in and of itself, and especially when in connection with the planned pursuit of this intention, a part of politics. We have here to do with a Marxist suspicion which wishes anarchism to appear non-aggressive or unfit for battle because of its rejection of a politics which wants to bring about socialism by way of participation in the administration of the state. The anarchist recipe for political struggle has always been: rejection of all politics which does not have as its immediate and direct goal the liberation of the working class. It is clearly expressed thereby that precisely the Marxist politics of parliamentary activity within the organs of state power established by capital is viewed by anarchists as a constraint on struggle, as it not only detaches delegates from their class and places them in the upper strata, but furthermore gives the organs of state management the invigorating lift of an opposition, unable to effect anything useful for working people in terms of socialist aid, and nurses the proletarian masses on the illusion that the transfer of their initiatives onto representatives granted wide-reaching powers somehow relieves the necessity of the working class itself taking personal responsibility for the struggle. Not to mention that the delegation of parliamentarians, government organs, city councils, public servants stabilizes the power of every central authority and tremendously strengthens the idea of power among the proletariat. The anarchists deny the state every form of assistance. Their politics exhausts itself in the engagement of every single individual and of all anti-authoritarian organizations in the immediate, goal-oriented struggle against the state, against state institutions and against all central power structures.

Anarchism’s methods of struggle are not limited to this alone; it excludes only those weapons which it has found to be dull. The manner of struggle which from the anarchist world view automatically suggests itself is that of direct intervention. Since the power of capitalism culminates in the manner of production and the property rights of the existing society, anarchist teaching prefers political struggle in economic forms. The united will of the people whose hands move the machines’ levers is capable of silencing the entire capitalist apparatus. The strike, making work impossible (sabotage), passive resistance through exaggeratedly exact observation of factory regulations, through obstruction of strike breakers, through intentionally sloppy work, the embargo (boycott) of certain goods are methods of so-called direct action, all measures which place great demands on the individual’s willingness to sacrifice and power of resolve. Anarchism excludes no means of struggle which presents the individual fighter with the task of directly intervening or of denying his collaboration in generally harmful activities, in anti-social labor, in provocative, unreasonable demands at personal risk. Thus, no anarchist should participate in state wars, which are always fought out by proletarians against one another for capitalist ends and which not only mock all the principles of equal rights, mutual aid and free will, defile the natural feelings of humanity and every moral sensibility, and betray the international unity of the exploited to the national interests of the internationally intermarried exploiters; but more than anything else they contribute to implanting the power concept and thereby the belief in divine and worldly authority, the master and slave instincts of those who are to be ruled, into a degraded humanity.

It is not necessary to enumerate in detail where all the opportunities present themselves to influence the course of public affairs responsibly and in mutual aid, in the spirit of freedom. Refusal to work on the construction of war ships, police munitions, newspaper lies hostile to labor, there are these and a thousand other types of self-help in the political struggle, which can then be applied when the decisiveness of the individual, the unified will, insight and readiness to sacrifice are big enough. In the application of the method of personal intervention, the question as to whether anarchists should take part in the daily struggles over pay and working hours can be completely dismissed. The author of this work shares with a great number of anarchists the view that the worker’s engagement of his own energy for better pay for shorter hours stands in no contradiction to the demand to only engage in struggles which are immediately directed at liberation. The condition of the capitalist economy is not strengthened by demands workers raise merely for the sake of the daily bread, not strengthened like state power is strengthened by the participation of labor parties in parliamentarianism. Every strike by comparison raises the self-esteem of the participants, deepens the feeling of the comrades’ unity in struggle and, in success, lightens the worker’s manner of living, whereby only weaklings become lazy, but free and strong natures are exhilarated. The class struggle is a situation created by capitalism; refusal by the workers to also participate in this struggle under existing conditions when immediate revolutionary successes cannot be achieved would mean showing the enemy one’s back without resisting, letting him alone conduct the class war and thereby sapping one’s strength for the moment where the class war situation could go over into a decisive clash.

The anarchist teaching prescribes no method of struggle and rejects none which is in harmony with self-determination and free will. Thus, in violent uprisings the will of the individual is alone decisive for the manner of his collaboration, also for whether and how far he might incorporate himself into fighting units whose tactics are in many respects reproachable from the libertarian point of view. It is not a part of everyone’s character to stand on the sidelines at great events scrutinizing and moaning when everything does not go according to his wishes and to do nothing at all rather than join a struggle which is not everywhere illuminated by the proper spirit. Consistently, wherever revolutionary battles have been fought anarchists have happily been present almost without exception, at the side of the workers who have been subjugated to centralist influences and been misguided by authority. The feeling of social belonging was here decisive, the consciousness of mutual obligation of all exploited, the untamable fighting spirit which cannot bear to leave others to face the common enemy alone, and above all the wish to breathe free life into the courage, the sacrifice, the passion which, even if with a perhaps displaced objective, accomplishes glorious feats. If with such an intention many an anarchist might be rather far gone from his proper course, he would only have betrayed the anarchist idea should he have hindered the fighters in battle through shouting orders like a schoolmaster. Freedom is not a standardized good with every quality measured and weighed out from every angle. Freedom is a value of spiritual life which can find access wherever strength has been set in motion. The anarchists’ task is to gain access for freedom wherever people are faced with struggle.

The same quarter which believes it must reproach the anarchists for the narrowness of their political engagement, because they attack as contrary to class struggle the squandering of proletarian fighting strength in the heaping up of ballots, also disparages a certain, in the past by anarchists often applied form of direct action. The individual act of violence, the Marxists explain, is reprehensible because it thwarts the planned-out action of the masses in revolutionary struggle and as a result provides the counter-revolutionary forces a welcome pretext for reprisal, so that the entire class thus pays the price for the action of an individual. The reason for this condemnation of individual killings, arsons, expropriations and similar deeds out of political conviction is very transparent. It does not flow from moral scruple, which in Marxist thinking plays a very subordinate roll anyhow; further, these opponents of individual terror expressly condone mass terror as a means of political struggle. This is the enmity of authoritarian centralists towards every stirring of individual responsibility on the part of one acting according to his own considerations, who even disprove of sacrificing one’s own life in service of the revolutionary idea if the deed has not been planned, ordered and supervised by a central authority. Every conspicuous act by an individual person in the struggle signifies from the stand point of lordly, priestly, paternalist or centralist thinking a harmful diminishment of sanctioned power, signifies proof that effective actions can also be carried out when not directed and calculated from above. As stupid as the opinion may be that individual violence is an exclusively anarchist method of advertising — in recent times political murders are carried out almost exclusively by nationalists — , just as stupid is the view that it can have no place in the class struggle else the anarchists would have cause to disassociate themselves from the violent elements in their ranks. Here the individual decides on the deed completely independently, and should the individual out of anarchist conviction resolve to carry it out, then the event is naturally subject to judgment concerning its usefulness and success, but never to condemnation based on one’s attitude toward the class struggle. The anarchist teaching of freedom places far too much value on the right of the individual to then disavow it when an injured party expresses its feelings through retaliation, when a freedom-minded person appears before the world with a terrifying act, whether for the sake of publicity, warning, intimidation, defiance or to give a battle signal. In this emphasis on the individual there lies at the same time a vigorous repudiation of the Marxist notion that violence is justified by being committed through a centralized directive. This is precisely the origin of mechanized force, the hand which carries it out a mere tool, the person who commits it a mere instrument toward its fulfillment. According to anarchist thinking, however, the only morally justifiable act is the one undertaken of free will by the actor, after consideration in his own mind, out of his own seriously examined conviction and at the risk of the life of him who has conceived it, with the awareness of carrying out a work of mutual aid, a work of brotherly obligation, a work in the service of the Idea and the class. Whether it is the act of an individual, a plot by conspirators or a mass undertaking makes no difference when every accomplice remains master of his own actions, only does what he himself has considered and decided upon based on his social conscience, and gives himself entirely to the common cause freely and without servile obedience.

Personal engagement is the anarchist way of revolution, just as later on it is the condition for the triumph of the revolution and finally the means of constructing the stateless society and the content of life in communism. This is the reason behind all direct intervention through strike, sabotage, resistance, refusal, individual or conspiratorial act, that every single person involved must be present body and soul, that everything which occurs happens with the free consent of the actors themselves, that no one obey any central direction, but obey instead the responsible sense of duty of the individual filled by the social spirit. Where masses are set in motion, it must be a mass of united individuals, otherwise their movement cannot lead to freedom. For the cultivation of the individual does not stand for the breeding of leaders, rather on the contrary it is the only safeguard from the danger of being misled by leaders. The centralist workers’ parties, just like all authoritarian organizations and powers in general, in order to ensure their leaders the blind obedience of the led, demand absolutely no nurturing of the individual, and that just as little from the leaders as from the led. Wherever individuality is at work, there is a free spirit, which is incompatible with any centralism. The authoritarian leaders never raise themselves up above the masses through superior character or intellectual value, but always only through their qualities as commanders, which can grow only in underdeveloped personalities. It is therefore also normally the case that the leaders of centralist organizations do not end up on top by their own strength of will and are not even elected but declared leaders, since they have shown an aptitude for uncritically forwarding the commands of an authority higher than themselves downward to their inferiors while shielding it from criticism with authoritarian pronouncements. Yet such leaders are, again by declaration, puffed-up into honorable and infallible personalities, which becomes possible only because the value of the individual person is in general reduced to zero. The less the cultivation of individuality is practiced, so much higher is the regard for the cult of personality. Anarchism despises any cult of personality and works against it through the attentive care for the individual. Wherever each person can unfold freely and unhindered all socially useful qualities which strengthen his will to live, wherever he need not be ashamed of his peculiarities and his passions, so long as no harm is done to the common whole, there the esteem of all for all is guaranteed, there is mutual respect, there power, idolization, groveling, personality cult and power have no place.

With such an attitude anarchism’s fighting movement can only be the movement of individuals united in free will. The question thereby answers itself as to whether the idea of freedom requires a mass organization to care for it and spread it. It requires the joining together of all men and women who have recognized the necessity of anarchy as a fundamental principle of social life and who are determined, in a federated alliance, with the total engagement of each individual person, to bring about its realization under the full equality of all and according to the principle of free will of every action. The more people who ally themselves for this task, the sooner and more assuredly will the liberation of society from the state be achieved. When all people come to be anarchists, then anarchy will be a fact. On the other hand, the gathering together of as many people as possible in an organization, regardless of whether or not they have assimilated its intellectual content, is never in any way the means to win a fight which must base itself on the individual responsibility of each fighter, on shared immersion in libertarian insights and on the freedom of the individual to make his own decisions, if it is to lead to the destruction of power without aiding the ascent of another power. The centralistic parties make appeals to join their ranks, though they are not searching for inwardly inspired adherents of their cause, but rather are glad for every spike in popularity which increases their membership. Since their adherents are destined from the start to be mere followers and the leaders would be finished if independent minded individuals were allowed to scrutinize their instructions before they obeyed them, the increase in numbers means for them increase in power. They gather into their fold numbers pliant to authority, and their recruiting consists of the assurance of privileges in case the led, exactly according to the leaders’ orders, will have obtained for them the command over the entire population. The central party offices calculate their success according to the number of those who follow their call. They place so little worth in conviction that they launch into their recruitment activities mainly among the members of rival organizations who they win over with tempting promises of joining their ranks. A change in outlook is thereby neither demanded nor expected, yet whoever they have lured in with the prospect of gaining some advantage is without further ado numbered among their truly faithful followers: every centralist organization is even ready to make cuts and changes in their program for the sake of winning over the masses, and every revolutionary party so far, since they are dependent on the unrevolutionary masses for increase in their membership, has had to make concessions to anxious spirits and promises which are limited to improvements in the superficial forms of the capitalist state. Every one of them has adapted to prejudices of ecclesiastical and national upbringing, so that of necessity with the maturation of centralist organizations into popular parties the abandonment of the revolutionary and even of the socialist goals gradually sets in.

The composition of anarchist unions or federations cannot and must not be subject to any other consideration than the need for anarchists to work together with other anarchists for anarchy. The federalist character of all anarchist amalgamations can hardly give rise to the notion of organizationally containing masses of participants in one group. The political organizations of anarchists must always be mindful to let every individual comrade come to the fore, equal in rights with all others. Since there is no presence of a central control, no leadership in the sense of superiority, whose power rises in proportion to the number of obedient adherents, no anarchist group need expect any benefit from the admission of wavering, unconvinced persons who stream together in herd-like fashion. Furthermore, since no addiction to domination, no personal ambition and no pushy ladder-climbing are part of the anarchists’ baggage, no material welfare is offered up, nor does there exist any prospect of promotion; the people who want to pull off the ascent to the upper class on the shoulders of the proletariat automatically stay far from the anarchist movement. In non-revolutionary times, therefore, there is no reason for thinking of the growth of anarchist organizations into reservoirs for the masses. The task of these organizations is limited to the fostering of the Idea, camaraderie, the clarification of competing views; to the discussion of all questions which concern the labor force, revolution and the free preparation of the socialist future; and to the exemplary extrapolation of federative organized life. That therein lies the danger of getting bogged down in fruitless club chatter, of becoming content to stew in one’s own juices and of losing touch with the working class which is moved by the questions of the day, must not be underestimated and should not be passed over in silence. However, this danger can easily be avoided through the correct understanding of the anarchist doctrine, if the comrades recognize that the battle for an idea can never play itself out outside of the battlefield. For that, anarchism need not provide the framework for mass processions and mass oaths; but it must seek inroads wherever the masses hold processions and swear oaths. The task of the anarchists is to breathe life into and encourage all mass gatherings without concern for furthering the interests of one’s own organization, to actively influence all commotions in public affairs, to introduce the spirit of freedom into all revolutionary moods. An anarchist is not the type who collects merit badges in some little anarchist club, but one to whom the unity of individual and society, the social consciousness of individual responsibility, of equality of rights, of free mutual obligation, the renunciation of power, capitalism, state and authority have become the content of the Idea and the guide of his behavior.

Whether, in what form and to what extent the anarchists organize themselves into associations of like-minded people, is of secondary significance as long as the general principles are preserved and the rise of authority within their own ranks is prevented. So much the weightier is the question as to which way one can prepare through anarchist activity for the economic transformation of society. The political workers’ parties accuse the anarchists of being trapped in petit-bourgeois thinking, impervious to materialist dialectic — that is, the doctrine of the confluence of contrary phenomena into a higher unity of social history fed only from economic sources — , that they would first like to improve the people and after the purification of all hearts and minds construct the more just economy in socialism and communism out of idealistic building blocks. The opposite of this is true. In stark contrast to the Marxist head offices, it is precisely anarchism which rejects every effort at gathering the labor force other than in economically based organizations. Dialectical thinking may be good or bad; deciding this belongs to the tasks of philosophers.

The use of this or that bit of book learning from the world of conceptual unreality does not help the workers the least bit in their struggles. The demand, that in all actions they should carefully take the historical reactions into account, is better suited to slipping the dialectic as a brake into the spirit of every venture. The participation, as well, in legislation and the attempt to influence the governmental affairs of the capitalist state only give rise to the delusion that the radical transformation of society can be effected by powers other than the entire labor force united from the economic standpoint by class and the correspondingly organized peasants.

The influence of the anarchists on such a union can only be ascertained by getting down to work. Just as the tactics of the anarchists must everywhere be determined by striving to bring to application the moral and practical principles of libertarian teaching, so they must attempt already in the present to create instruments which are to draft plans for the federalist direction of the economy in the social order which is ripening through revolution. If propaganda among the masses essentially serves the purpose of accelerating the coup through the demonstration of the injustice and absurdity of capitalist relations, if the trade unionist and pedagogical work serves the purpose of keeping oneself under the existing conditions economically and spiritually ready for battle, the goal of communist anarchy must not therefore be lost from sight. After carrying out the political revolution, the transition to this goal is the social revolution.

Outrage, revolt, decisive battle against the old power, coup, establishment of revolutionary sections, securing of what has been won, suppression of resistant and counterrevolutionary forces, all this belongs to the political part of the revolution. To which post, with which particular tasks, with what sort of means the anarchists are supposed to join this battle of class against class will for the most part be a matter of conscience for each individual. He will have to make his decision from the point of view that his belonging to the exploited class obliges him to total militant dedication to the class, but that he must simultaneously make every effort to maintain the revolution’s character as an internationally binding affair of the worldwide working class, to defend the self-determination of all forces involved against the claims of ambitious, selfish, imperious and state-minded persons or parties, who lust after governmental power over revolutionaries, and to not allow the explosion of passions fired by ideas, which is the moral impetus of revolutions, to be robbed of its creative passion. The anarchists in the revolution must be the protectors of freedom.

The social revolution is a lengthy process which begins with the toppling of the ruling power and does not end until the order of freedom has permeated all economic and human relations. This requires from the first hour on the securing of the trust of the whole laboring population in the energetic bearers of the revolutionary will. The uninspired attraction of the parliamentary parties during elections is dependent upon changeful circumstances and flows hither and thither between political and economic influences, confounded by capricious moods, blatant flatteries and slander. The occasional winning over of the majority, themselves uninvolved in the real struggle, to support a group at pains to dominate all others, even if this group makes socialist promises, does not mean that the indifferent are being involved in the struggle. All democracy by the numbers means is the rape of the active by the inactive. The claim that the workers are already the acting force of society, that they already have socialist schooling, socialist will, self-confidence and critical judgment enough to correctly measure the effectiveness of their ballot, is a misleading lie. The vast majority of workers and those excluded from all riches have no confidence in themselves whatsoever, but also very little trust in those who they adorn with power because they do not believe they can trust themselves with organizing their own affairs. They are discouraged through authoritarian influence from themselves daring to undertake liberating acts; but they are raised by the same authoritarian powers to reject other’s daring attempts at liberation. For this reason, the enormous number of sections of the population not immediately involved in the revolution poses an extraordinarily great danger for the social triumph of the political revolution. For the ultimate triumph is not possible against the will of this majority. The revolution is dependent upon its at least tentative forbearance. It is therefore necessary to first of all allay the fear of the bystanders that the coup, as with every change so far, will also bring about new burdens for them. Beyond that, however, the approval, then gradually the active support of the inwardly uninvolved must be achieved. They must be brought to the insight that with their vote for the rulers by whom they wish to be governed they proclaim no conviction, but are themselves only presenting their lack of conviction as a foot stool for their oppressors. They must recognize that the liveliness of every individual serves his or her own use in social life. For as long as the more powerful are requested by the powerless to rule them, the revolution has not even created the preconditions for its success.

The power of the exploiters collapses in the political revolution. Its strongest tool, the general strike, brings about the complete standstill of the entire economy, delivers thereby the proof to the masses of bystanders that the capitalist powers cannot give any bread if the hands of the proletariat will not serve them. In the moment that the revolution has triumphed, meaning it has gained control of the public apparatus, it has the duty before the expectant masses to show that the working people are very much in the position to procure all that is necessary for life completely independently of the capitalist forces. Here the task arises for anarchists, be their organizations ever so small, of taking precautionary measures. As soon as the red flag of the revolutionary proletariat appears on state buildings, that is the sign that now the responsibility of supplying the masses belongs to the revolution. For this it must be calculated and arranged in advance that immediately after the end of the general strike bread, meat, vegetables, milk for every table, refreshment and medicine for every child and sick person is at the ready. The delivery of all the necessities of life cannot be delayed for an instant. Only if this succeeds can the revolution win the popular appeal without which it will necessarily succumb to the boot of counterrevolution or to distortion through an office of centralized power. It will succeed if the flat land is won over to the revolutionary cause and agreements are reached with the peasants as to how the supply of the cities by the villages is to be arranged in accord with the prevailing local conditions. Such an understanding with the peasants and the rural proletariat presumes that the rural population is convinced of the revolutionaries’ honesty, need not suspect that the cities consider them a necessary evil with which one must slyly come to terms, that there are proletarian views according to which the fields are not to be taken from but rather entrusted to the peasants, and that they will not in place of the old be betrayed again to the new ruling powers of the state, rather that they themselves independent of central legislative authorities will determine the questions of the division and cultivation of land. Since anarchism in contrast to Marxism considers agrarian revolution to be the precondition for the total industrial and social transformation, furthermore significantly coincides with the peasant mindset in its antipathy toward authoritarian regulations, pretensions of leadership and every manner of centralism, its adherents find here a fertile field of activity. It is for the anarchists to win over the peasants to the revolution and to maintain their dedication to the libertarian cause. The anarchists are faced with the task of ensuring camaraderie between city and countryside, mutual aid for the moment of revolutionary trial, and thereby of doing their best to ensure that trust in the social justice of the revolution presents their victory from the start with the good will and the continuing support of the indifferent masses.

Just as the necessities of feeding the population in the days of revolutionary battle must already now be the object of consideration for people united in will, so the anarchists must set themselves the task of thinking through the economic organization of the future society in detail and of carrying out preparations for the transition of the capitalist to the socialist economy.

The childish notion that the occupation of the factories by the workers and their simple continuation under their own direction will have already effected the transition to socialism is as nonsensical as it is dangerous. The occupation of the factories is certainly an exemplary means of struggle by direct intervention, but a means of struggle before the coup and for the purpose of the coup. After a revolution has already taken place there is need for a complete renovation of the economy. Every kind of factory under capitalist conditions is in setup and organization adapted strictly to the profit calculations of the industrialists. Here no respect for the desires of the people is to be heard, no respect for the requirements of justice, of reason, for the life and health of workers and consumers. Such need is only so far taken into consideration as it determines the sales of goods with assured profit for the capital investment. The manner of production, as well, as far as the procurement of raw materials, mass production of individual parts, handling of unfinished goods, manner of transportation, et cetera, is concerned, is guided by stock market agreements. What becomes of the goods depends not on the desires of the consumer, but on the speculations of the manufacturers, the middlemen and the money lenders. Such an economy, an economy under which the majority of the people never in their whole lives arrive at a sufficiently healthful manner of living, while at the same time the storehouses are collapsing under the weight of unsalable necessary consumer goods, an economy which lets many millions live destitute literally in hunger and simultaneously incinerates, dumps into the ocean, lets rot in the barns or uses for fertilizer the most important foodstuffs, such an economy does not lend itself to simply being taken over and continued. It must be transformed from the ground up. The preparation for this transformation belongs to the practical present work of libertarian revolutionaries.

An example for such preparatory work cannot be given in this general guide to anarchism. One must undertake statistical comparisons in order to determine according to geography and population density the necessary requirements for nutrition, clothing, housing, sanitation and health, transportation and leisure and to accordingly construct an economic plan which supplies the most suitable division of labor forces in city and countryside, the safest and most tolerable labor methods and the most reasonable organization of the distribution of goods to the consumers. It can then be accordingly calculated which operations must remain in existence, be closed, downsized or expanded, which industries are to be newly created or revived, in which manner exchange, procurement of raw materials, the monetary or barter systems are to be organized. Without the most thorough consideration of all these questions, the final solution of which naturally remains left to life itself, the workers despite all revolutionary victories would never emerge from out of the wage system, they would never attain liberation from the conveyor belt and joy in their work, all cheering hands would never find employment and would continue to have overfilled storehouses and destitute people.

Thousands of questions about the future pile up before the trailblazers of the present. While the centralist parties tinker with the legal articles of the capitalist system and stage races with the fascists to the state sinecures, may the anarchist comrades use the time to check the rail lines and the waterways for their suitability for socialist use and to investigate the possibilities of how all the working, old and sick men, how all the children and women can be most quickly transferred into healthy living spaces, what is to be done with the fortresses of state servitude, the princely castles and the prisons, the law courts and government buildings, which institutions of art and knowledge can be transformed into general places of learning, which churches into meeting spaces, into places of true community and into schools of enlightenment against authority and family, or into venues for the promotion of freedom. The ground of socialism can already in the present be made level, but only with voluntary dedication of individuals filled with social spirit, united in camaraderie, committed to revolution.

The anarchist idea would gain the greatest advantage from such provisional work. The example of an accomplishment not commanded from above, in the service of the whole, will awaken the courage to rely in all things on oneself rather than on a superior bureaucracy. For the anarchists do not pass on their thoughtful and carefully calculated recommendations to any sort of government office, but rather to the independent working class as a whole, which must itself check everything, itself improve everything, itself oversee execution through those agencies which it itself determines exclusively for this purpose without thereby even temporarily exempting them from the engaged community of all people. These agencies will signify the social driving force of the revolution, they will take in hand from the hour of triumph onward the economy and management of the polity, they will in the time of transition and during the whole development of the socialist forms of labor and society tend to and ensure the organization of freedom, they will create communist anarchy and in the anarchist community remain the bearers of the federation of labor and human alliances. These agencies are the free councils of the workers and peasants.

The most unclear ideas prevail regarding the nature, purpose and tasks of the council system, and even in the libertarian workers’ associations there are the most contradictory opinions about whether and in what way councils should be created and function. This confusion is taken to extremes with the adoption of the council concept into state laws and capitalist production methods. In order to ostensibly meet the workers’ demand for keeping the factory equipment and the labor procedures under their own supervision, employees’ committees have been permitted in the work places, their members given the name factory councils and thereby the root of a revolutionary society has tapped into the suction pump of capitalist exploitation. At the same time, parliamentarian numerical democracy, a system most antithetical to the nature of councils, has been used by central party offices to guide the composition of, and maintain the dependence of, those supervisory committees endowed with the narrowest authority. Even where the revolution under the slogan “All power to the councils!” had already achieved the victory of the workers and peasants, the councils were made subordinate to state and party and, instead of determining the course of public events and guiding them in a socialist spirit, were reduced to mere tools of authority. Should, as now and then happens, anarchists thence draw the conclusion that the whole council notion now be proven contrary to freedom, they would thereby be committing the same logical error as one who wished to conclude from the conduct of state justice that there could never be a social justice. The distortion of an idea cannot refute the idea itself.

As bearers of the socialist community, councils are the representatives of all people engaged in the general work, through whom the totality of the participants joins with every single individual in the social life process. In a time freed from exploitation every person performs council duties who doesn’t set himself outside of social affairs. Only during the period of revolutionary transition must those people naturally be kept from all council work against whom the revolution is directed. Since it is the primary obligation of the councils to abolish capitalist exploitation and bring about the socialist polity, individuals who don’t even desire socialism cannot be recruited for its construction. In this time the special task falls to the councils of carrying out the compulsory measures of the proletarian class which are required in breaking counterrevolutionary efforts and of preventing that through appeals to threats to the revolution new governmental constructs arise which speak of council power in order that behind it they may solidify their own, and which speak of dictatorship of the proletariat in order that they themselves may play dictator.

The anarchists do well to make as little use as possible of the expression dictatorship of the proletariat, although with correct understanding of the council concept and without deception hardly anything else can be thereby understood than the suppression of resistance against the proletarian revolution through the proletarian class. The compulsory restraint of counterrevolutionary conspiracies through armed combat, revolutionary courts and every other suitable manner of security measures is necessary as long as the defeated class still possesses instruments of power and attacks on the revolutionary rights of workers are to be feared. A revolutionary dictatorship of class against class is imperative in a state of war, but this dictatorship is nothing other than the revolution itself. However, to no revolutionary individual, to no group, to no party and to no revolutionary élite can the right be granted to rule over and persecute socialist proletarians under any pretext whatsoever. The Marxists understand by dictatorship of the proletariat the dictatorship of a Marxist party executive on which they bestow the power of government even over the councils, the right to make law, to levy taxes, and to every form of representation of the revolution, up to declarations of war and treaties with foreign state governments. Supposedly this party clique is to be allowed to ensconce itself as the ruling power only until the complete implementation of socialism. Since, however, every centralist state power means state, consequently forced advancement of authority, special status for the privileged, assault on equality, thus is such dictatorship nothing other than the clearing of a new path for an oppressing class, for new exploitation and for all the damages removed by revolution. The implementation of socialism can thus under such an allegedly proletarian dictatorship never be achieved, and the new power will never abdicate until chased off by a new revolution in favor of the councils.

The council system when purely applied creates, and here can be seen its agreement with anarchist principles, no sort of bureaucracy, no special claim on the part of individuals, no comprehensive absoluteness of power. For, a duty assigned by the whole to the councils in no way changes the equal relationship between those who commission the task and those who accept it. The council organization is the federative union of all working and consuming powers from the narrowest circle of overlapping interests up to the broadest scale of economic connections. Every single individual is drawn into the council system, and the dispatching of this or that representative to see to this or that duty, to discuss this or that plan, to consult on a question with distant council representatives, to carry out or oversee an undertaking deemed necessary or resolved by the totality, to check the basis of an opinion or investigate a plan from a different angle, concedes to the representative no privilege over those who have sent him and relieves none of the delegators of responsibility for the activity of the representative. Every assignment remains bound to the will of those who issue it. Whoever receives it is nothing other than the executive organ of the body which confers the piece of work for which they find him suited; he carries out the will of a particular community to which he himself belongs, carries it out, in fact, only for the specific one-time task which has been conferred to him. The tremendous variety of social life requires countless social services small and large, so that the division of social duties in constant flux makes demand of all the energies, all stand under the constant supervision of all, everyone individually and collectively responsible guarantees the unity of society and individual, whereby the equal rights of all and mutual support in all common affairs are ensured. Every dispatching of a representative occurs under reservation of the right of recall at any point of his service; every acceptance of a duty is voluntary and occurs under reservation of the right to resign in case the representative does not feel himself up to the task or considers another more suited to attending to the common good. Thus are all elections which deliver general powers to individual persons, especially when they take place under a partisan outlook and are influenced by central offices external to the labor group immediately involved, are parliamentary events which have not the least bit to do with the organization of society into councils. There are no councils within the capitalist economic process: councils in the revolution form, from the workplaces outward and under exclusion of ruling officials, out of the will to do, in voluntary mutual agreement of the revolutionaries themselves, what is politically and economically necessary; councils after the triumph of the revolution are the final deliberative and administrative organs of the totality which encompass the whole society and hold together the structure of the whole society.

The construction of the council organization poses no questions at all regarding voting rights or eligibility, regarding direct and indirect or proportional representation. As long as the revolution is still concerned with its own survival, participation in guiding the course of public events is in any case limited to the socialists who are determined under any circumstances to drive the revolution directly onward toward its final objectives of the organization foreseen by the councils of freedom in the classless society. From the factories and residential districts they must come together, having completely put aside all earlier factional disputes and most decisively eliminated all intrusive interference by learned politicians and authoritarian know-it-alls, according to their shared areas of influence and employment, and carry out the consultations and the distribution of duties which serve to nurture the new spirit and the introduction of the new forms of society and economy. This includes the effective collaboration of workers’ and peasants’ councils toward the securing of the general infrastructure, just as everywhere producers and consumers must strive for common procedures in the running of the economy. In the countryside, through explanation and propaganda, but by no means through forceful conversion by the cities, the council concept must be made obvious to such an extent that the conquest of the councils, before socialist equality can be made possible, as a foothold for the economically superior large farm owners will be prevented. Wherever exploitation in any form persists, the council agencies are to be merely the tools of the exploited and disadvantaged, must then, insofar as it concerns peasant councils, above all encompass the small farmers, the agricultural workers and the village poor. In the construction of the council society, the urban workers must be especially mindful that the federalist character of social organization is carefully observed from the very beginning. A council state which undertakes to centrally impose the council agencies within certain regional boundaries abuses the councils for their own disenfranchisement and destruction. A council society, a council republic — this word republic in no way automatically designates a form of state, rather the self-administration of a commonwealth by the people — a council economy is only conceivable as a federative construct and can never be a state or find a place within the whole of a state.

The council republic is created from the bottom up. Its actual center of motion is the local urban and rural councils. According to circumstance and necessity, they can in occasional or regularly scheduled meetings of residents take note of, discuss, criticize, and expand upon the activities of the industrial or regional councils, making them the foundation of their own decisions. They can set up committees for specific purposes which might deal with specialized questions and independently under general vigilant supervision entrust individual persons with the carrying out of contracted duties. They will resolve the technical questions of medicine, construction, and commerce in the city or village, the educational and judicial affairs, the protection of the common institutions, in short they themselves will take care of everything which can be naturally accomplished at the scene by those immediately involved and affected. For example: the judicial system in the state can never create justice because it allows central authorities following central instructions to pass judgment over individual actions. Justice can only play a role in the judicial process where the individual who has become socially guilty is examined and convicted by his peers, people familiar with the spatial and psychological prerequisites of the deed, unbound by any uniform regulations, and if necessary hindered from doing further harm to the common good. In the council republic, equals stand before equals, before neighbors and comrades. From the community outward the council associations extend over the neighboring regions, over provinces and countries and without national limitation around the globe. Regular council congresses might then make the necessary arrangements of the day in provincial parliaments or in national or world-wide gatherings guided by trade or other special endeavors, — the council concept will have thereby become the accepted form of negotiation, where every delegate is nothing other than the bearer of those persons’ will who, bound together locally, professionally or for some common goal, have dispatched him, to whom he remains continually accountable, who at any time may revoke their mandate and call upon another to take his place. In the time of revolutionary transition the local councils and the council congresses will be more compelled than later on to concede a status, not entirely without risk, as ringleaders to the skillful, oratorically and organizationally gifted individuals in order to win over the timid people still bowed down by the state, unpracticed in self-confidence. There it will be the business of anarchists to make sure that from this no authority, no dictatorial leadership, no abuse arise, and that the revolutionary spirit never forgets its mission to be the spirit of freedom.

It would be a senseless beginning, beyond making apparent the proposed overview of a council society, to want to cobble together the whole machinery of its organization from out of all the details. The realization of an idea even in the most exemplary cases never resembles the dreams of its pioneers. It must therefore suffice for the understanding of a libertarian order in communist anarchism to hold present the most important basic conditions of the council system. The assembly of the councils occurs according to the natural working and living relationships. The workers’ council of an industrial facility, which is at first essentially one and the same with the entire staff, arranges in the factory itself the distribution of duties according to the type of activity, taking into consideration, however, in the case of e.g. reaching a conclusion on an expansion project, the wishes and concerns of all the different areas of occupation which are directly or indirectly connected to the enterprise. A factory council, then, would have to form itself, to which representatives of all departments of the plant, of the manual laborers and the bookkeepers, of the doormen and the window and stairwell cleaners, would have to belong, including site engineers and masons, laborers on projects that are in constant connection with the effected enterprise, health inspectors, women and girls who could somehow have a special interest in this or that arrangement, representatives of the community in whose district the structure is to be built, and whoever else might have occasion to champion their people’s cause at the planning or to make their advice available. In the affairs of a hospital, it is proper for doctors and caregivers, nurses and morticians, patients and their families, architects and craftsmen to have their say. The construction of a highway concerns the neighbors, the neighboring communities, all who expect an advantage from its construction and all who fear harm from it, furthermore engineers, laborers, surveyors, electricians and hydrologists, all who are involved in the design and execution, all who can judge the local conditions, all who will walk and ride over the street. Here a council forms itself out of representatives of all these interested parties, only for the particular purpose, working under constant oversight, each individual, whether by group or as a whole, recallable and replaceable at any time by the interested parties. It seems unnecessary to present further examples of such an arrangement of public affairs. Anyone is able to further elaborate for himself this procedure of participation by everyone in all things as applied to all social necessities and to realize that with libertarian will this is in fact the system for maintaining agriculture and the exchange goods, matters of commerce and the nurturing of the mind, in narrow circles as in broader scope, from the agreement of a few neighbors on up to the world federation, and for making each person the guardian of all, everyone the guardian of each individual with full equality of rights, with full freedom of will, without privilege and power.

Once one has grasped as the essence of the councils their embodiment of the living harmony of individual and society, then the question of whether the cry: All power to the councils! should be raised by anarchists loses all meaning. Perhaps it is unfavorable to use the word power in any context whatsoever. Yet this demand arose precisely with the sense that every state power should be broken, that all decisive and executive force should be assumed by the revolution, therefore by the revolutionary class, by the labor force and peasantry, and by their revolutionary agencies, the councils, which in turn embody the entirety of the working people. With the coming to life of socialism the classes fade away, and the revolution’s compelling force against the resistant counter-revolutionaries of the defeated class gradually diminishes until the complete equality of rights for all and their cooperation in the councils are achieved. The power of all those engaged without distinction in the establishment of the stateless communist society (and this would be precisely the power of the councils) is naturally no power any longer, since there is no one over whom it would be exercised. The motto is at any rate better than that of the proletarian dictatorship, although both can be so interpreted as that the proletarian class in the revolutionary struggle will tolerate no influence from capitalist forces on the course of public events. Since the declaration of belief in the dictatorship of the proletariat has become the distinguishing characteristic of all state socialists, however, who have also practically made out of it the ruling force of a party clique, and since the slogan “All power to the councils!” is only invoked by anti-authoritarian socialists, the worry is superfluous that here a toppled power is being replace by a new one. Yet it would be well advised that, in order to exclude every confusing interpretation, the anarchists agreed upon the slogan “All power to the councils!” — or, as well, everything to the councils, everything through the councils, or, which is again the same thing: “Everything for everyone through everyone!”

The path to anarchy leads only over anarchist behavior. For reality grows only out of realization. That goes for the work in thought and action toward preparation of the economy; that goes in greater measure for the preparation of the minds. If councils are to be formed from out of the people, in mutual trust, with equal rights receiving and giving counsel, ready for action and for action united, then the revolution must mature anywhere but in the simple belief that in the long run capitalism will not be able to hold up against the hunger and misery of the people. It will hold up as long as it encounters no resistance directed against its moral foundations, against authority and its embodiments, state, church, law and family. Such a resistance, however, does not come out of agreements of any kind, it does not come from scientific doctrines and not from ever so clever tactics, it can come from nowhere else but from the offended conscience of the socially motivated person. It therefore belongs to the anarchists’ tasks to awaken the feelings of justice and freedom which are innate in all people, but which for the most part lie submerged below consciousness thanks to the authoritarian upbringing by church, school and military and above all by the paternalist family. It is the anarchists’ duty to make clear: the worst of all is not privation, but that it is tolerated! For the acceptance of poverty, when there is wealth, is a failure of the intellect, is insensitivity of the soul toward the insult of having to create things of value in whose enjoyment the creator has no share, and of having to beg, pressed by hunger, from those for whom they are made to be admitted to such fruitless labor at all. The prerequisite for any struggle against the abuse of man through the withholding of the means of production and through state slavery is, to a much greater degree than knowledge of developmental laws and economic interrelations, libertarian pride, which includes the anarchists’ sense of honor. Only when pride, inner freedom and exemplary uprightness reveal themselves in the behavior of anarchists toward one another and in relation to representatives of other viewpoints is there hope that the liberation of society from the state can succeed and lead to the construction of a federalist, authority-free council republic. Anarchy can only be created by anarchists; the current anarchists, may they be many or few, must daily and hourly bring the principles of anarchy favorably to the fore, if the future people’s community is to be anarchy, if the people of the future are to be anarchists. For this reason, in the anarchists’ relationships and agreements toward the preparation of new conditions of life strict rectitude must be observed in behavior toward one another. No individual must ever let himself be led astray by his favored gifts as speaker, teacher, organizer, agitator into wanting to usurp all initiatives for himself. Never must a majority allow itself to diminish the rights of the minority. The goal is a community which knows neither majorities nor minorities, nor dubious compromises between the two by which no one is satisfied; the goal is a community which everywhere enables unanimous resolutions because it allows every individual to fit himself into the common whole at the right place. Voluntary ties through contract and camaraderie allow such agreement of all in desire and action in every union and co-operative, and the comradely spirit which the anarchists cultivate among themselves will show and at the same time smooth the way for the cultural and economic co-operatives and voluntary agreements of the future.

So much the more must anarchists’ behavior in the battle against opposing views be perfectly honorable. Dirty fighting methods, suspicions, slander, crooked paths toward deception of comrades and enemies harm under any circumstances the persuasive force of an idea whose strength is its purity. The authoritarian Marxist parties place no value in morality in the struggle. They hand down from on high guidelines of behavior to their followers, through which they believe themselves best able to secure discipline and obedience. They call adherence to these circumstantially interchangeable regulations proletarian discipline; they revile any individual’s testing of conscience before entering into a battle over basic convictions as bourgeois prejudice. With this manner of distinction between proletarian and bourgeois morality the most dangerous and confusing nonsense is propagated. Bourgeois designates nothing other than the entire ideological content of the form of society determined historically by the capitalist economy. Through the exaggeration of the capitalist modes of exploitation and the cultivation of imperialism (that is, the sucking dry of foreign territories made dependent for the purpose of profiting the capitalists of the conquering state), the intellectual content of the contemporary form of society has in part become so perverted that people’s natural morality, founded on social feeling for justice, demands revolutionary aid. If by proletarian morality is to be understood the morality of equality and mutuality which casts itself with the revolutionary rage of the insulted and disenfranchised against anti-social power, then here is appropriate the moral distinction from a bourgeoisie which claims the right to defend its self-serving methods of enslavement with every form of brutality, treachery and spiritual subjugation. Were the proletarians, however, told that in their struggle against oppression and debasement lies, slander, deceit, deviousness and betrayal were allowed and were even potentially appropriate class tools within their own factional disputes, then it cannot be emphasized clearly enough that the declining morality of the bourgeoisie is here boiling to the surface, precisely that declining morality which makes revolution against the bourgeoisie necessary. In violent disputes the enemy determines the weapons which must be borne against him. But here the weapons are carried in the open, and morality is on the side of the group which is fighting for the more righteous cause. In the battle of ideas, on the other hand, morality is with the group which is free of artifice and which carries before it the flag of pure conviction. Anarchists emphatically reject a morality which denies the original concepts of right and wrong. That is no proletarian morality; that is fraud and treachery, which is also not an essential characteristic of the bourgeoisie per se, but rather an expression of its depravity in simple materialism. If the proletariat is to bring about the renewal of human rights, then it must cultivate and find ready in its moral behavior the right to its mission. The centralist parties, however, gather proletarians about themselves, telling them with pretty words what they want to hear; but behind their words hide aspirations to power, and these aspirations to power cover up lies which drive the workers on in the struggle to completely different goals than they think. These parties declare lies and duplicity to be unobjectionable cunning, and by seducing militants into deception they deceive the militants themselves. They ridicule as bourgeois, on the other hand, the aversion to turning failures into successes through lies. But since there are still many citizens in whom the sense of justice has not yet been entirely killed off, who therefore from out of their natural sensibility could be easily won at the decisive moment for a revolution borne by ideals, the unreliable integrity of the proletarians strengthens the ruling class even morally, repels unsoiled humanity from alliance with the proletariat and splinters the working class through mutual mistrust and bitter sibling rivalry. The lie is the natural means of self-defense of the powerless to hold in check the capabilities of power and to evade authority. Children lie to their parents, married couples lie to one another, students, recruits, subordinates, devotees lie to the teachers, sergeants, superiors, clergymen, because a healthy sense of freedom rebels against the presumption of passing judgment in matters which one must settle for oneself. In which case not the liar but the lied to sins against the truth; for where there is power, freedom finds no room to breathe. But when lies serve the attainment of power, then the lie is an assault on freedom, and the revolution will set socialists the task of not only driving out the rulers of the old system, but of calling the leaders of the proletariat to account and not allowing any one of them to collaborate in the new creation who had ever deceived the people who believed him when he spoke of freedom, who had ever given assurance that he was merely the ancillary organ of his clients while omitting the qualification that he was such in order to become their ruler.

Patience with one another and honesty toward all are the precondition for victory. The organization of freedom depends on the sincerity of all who want to establish freedom. A new world will not arise from lip service. The anarchists who want to create the new world of freedom, equality, mutuality, justice, honesty and the interconnectedness of all people must dress their declarations in deeds. That means they must conduct their own lives as they wish everyone to conduct theirs in the stateless society of communism. The demand is not that any one person should or could break free of capitalist slavery: the yoke of the state can only be broken in common struggle. Violation of the laws of the state is therefore no requirement of everyday life. But there is as little sanctity of the laws as there is sanctity of property. Deep respect for the laws and state powers cannot be demanded of anybody. For the anarchist, the statute book is like a train schedule for making the necessary connections in the society in which, for better or worse, he must live until the revolution, nothing more. But the anarchist does not enter into any voluntary commitments which could compromise his self-determination or subject him to an authority. He has no business with any church and does not occupy any honorary state office. If he is compelled as juror or assessor to play the judge over other people, then he judges according to his social conscience which denies the state’s right to punish unfortunates who have stumbled into the snares laid by capitalism. Should he be compelled to go to war in order to kill his own kind for another’s profit, then he refuses to do it and dies for his own conviction rather than for his tormentors’ benefit. At home he exercises no authority, nor does he tolerate any. In sexual matters he follows the paths which he holds proper without worrying which way others go. No woman belongs to a man, no man to a woman. What two mature people do in private to please one another is nobody else’s business, not the husband’s nor the wife’s, not the neighbor’s nor the comrade’s, not the church’s nor the state’s. Anarchist men and women are not rulers over their children, are rather their companions and helpers. Those who beat their children misuse their physical superiority to create a power relationship, thereby reinforcing the power and authority of state and capital and, by beating the insanity of power into their child, thereby curse future generations. The anarchist does not believe in gods or spirits, nor the words of priests or the claims of scientists which he cannot check for himself. He does not concern himself with street gossip nor with momentary fashions in matters of art and world view. He goes straight ahead down his own path, responsible to himself and his conscience, responsible to humanity which he knows to be one with himself and his conscience. He does what is right, since he knows what right is. For right and freedom are the same, as society and individual are the same. Out of right grows the equality of communism, out of equality the freedom of anarchy!