A work by Italian Insurrectionary anarchist-communist Luigi Galleani against organization.
The Principal of Organization to the Light of Anarchism
Saverio Merlino sees, according to us, the decomposition and agony of the anarchist movement in the conflict between the individualist and the organizers on the ground of immediate action and in the intimate contradiction particular to the two streams of thought: those, the organizers “are not able to find a compatible organization with the anarchist principles”: those, the individualists, “miss the concept of retaliation which was the spirit of anarchist action. They can’t find a better way to act and they are not able to sustain an organization that they deny.”
That these organizers can’t find some form of organization compatible with the anarchist principles is perfectly natural and logical: and this, its argument, we are fully in accordance with Merlino not comprehending more because the individualists are not able to sustain themselves without the organization, in the same opinion of Merlino, if it is not able to rout out a compatible organization with the anarchist principles.
It seems to us, however, around this denomination of anarchist organizers, a distinction is necessary over repeated declarations and constant attitudes that they express and assume.
They are anarchy organizers, if we do not do things equally, for them which they believe benefit to the necessity and to the possibility that the anarchists organize themselves methodically, by a stable consensual program, in one political party that can distinguish from other proletarian parties’ nature and that would be able, if necessary, to steady the characteristic distinctions, to make one be worth in the compromises, in the alliances, in the coalitions that are in the needs of the moment and in the fortunes of the struggle against the dominant class, some that they are against are intolerable, while others they would be able to advise.
Other anarchists call themselves instead, organizers, not only because they want the specific organization of the anarchists in a political party, but also because they maintain that the base of the anarchist movement would have to be the organizations existing of factory workers and if they were accompanied with omens, stimulation and the open revolutionary character, they would have to rise.
At these two streams of thoughts, which differentiate themselves only in degrees, and that action would always need to have the collective character, Merlino opposes — if we do not interpret his thought badly — the anarchist who prefers individual propaganda prefers the individual act of the affirmation and of rebellion.
We profess ourselves modestly, but precisely to oppose the anarchists that call themselves organizers, those that want to organize the anarchist party would be conforming it. They want to assist the anarchist party on its actual economic organization, which they think they’d be able to create better programs which in the end would be for their own characters and ends.
The party, any party, has its program that is its own constitution, has its assembly of delegates groups or sections of its parliament; its government has in the direct body, in or the executive panels has its government, so it is a gradual superimposition of the bodies for which how long a real and true hierarchy succeeds between the various levels of those bonded groups: the discipline, violations, or the contradictions they discount themselves with congruent punishments which can either be censure or expulsion.
The anarchist party is not able to be like any other; worse, a government like any other; a slave like every other of its constitution which all the constitutions and codes would be promulgated, passed from the events, the needs, and the persisting and mutable need of fighting; the absurd and illegitimate government like every other which represents itself based on delegation, while it is good, clean and present, in the experience of the anarchists above all, that every delegate will only be able to represent their own ideas and statements, those which are infinitely various and different around any argument of actual legislations and representations: the government like every other obtrusive and arbitrary invader will be preoccupied with direct responsibilities so they’ll be carried away, or every level of hierarchy always contended with more generous and nobler ends — to adopt measures, decisions, limits which the card-carrying need, obeying discipline, contrary to their views and interests; the government absorbs like every other because it wants and has for every function a body (though it may do little or nothing), and all the original initiatives become hidden and subversive.
Does propaganda need to do this or something else? There is a planning committee appointed and he (Merlino) will think about it. Do you have to do this or do you have to do something for solidarity? And would the analogous panel be here to think and to provide for us? Is there an initiative of affirmation or of action? And is there not a committee expressly appointed from this that one needs to pass under the penalty of disorderliness, confession and blame?
How many have lived or passed through the organization who would defend the rights and the aspirations of the proletariat and who would rise to defend its prerogatives can say we exaggerate?
Nor that would be worth the while to oppose who drew themselves form anarchy, of the selected individuals who know that they want and have the measure to choose their own way, and have the stomach to climb it (an anarchist government). The anarchists are, like the outgoing of all the preceding parties, the sons of the Borghese society and they carry the stigma from it, and the crowd that accompanies it is not better or perfectly natural in its majority the ways and the means that collect the minimal amount of exertion in order to attain the greatest results. In the hour of inevitable compromises, we have too many because we have to elect some volunteers. Accepting a salary, paying the rent of the house, with all of our revolutionary pretenses, with all of our anarchistic aspirations, we recognize and we legitimize in a manner most tangible and painful to the capital, the interests, the revenue, the profit, and the size so that the parasites are taking advantage of our fatigue and our sweat.
From compromise, business transaction and betrayal our hands and neck are tied.
But, where it is possible, the compromise, we need to avoid, to refuse and to exclude the transaction; we need to be “us” in the rigid character outlined from our beliefs, from our faith, and these are not drawn from omens of good wishes for an anarchist — if we do not know to advance without guiding hands, without prosecutors, without guardians who are inseparable from the concept of organization, she (the organization) would be the politics of the anarchist party, she would be the organization of the various arts and the crafts of the workers.
Are the workers against the organization, also? It is not a question of for or against: the anarchist movement and the worker movement beats the parallel ways and the geometrically consisted of parallel lines that are not made to meet or to coincide ever.
The anarchist, assumes himself/herself at least, to have reached (under the whip of experience, or cross the enquiry, the study, the meditation) the belief that social unease in nature and misery is in servitude, the involuntary and obligated ignorance from which the work and the produce — all the produce from which the fullness and the splendor of life is made of which one will never get to enjoy, of which they enjoy and they will enjoy only if they don’t ever curve their backs on the plough, nor ever callous their hands, nor they don’t tire the brain on a problem or on a book — they descend from a primeval monopoly, fundamentally: from the cornering, to the work of a greedy minority, of the ground, the fields and minerals, those products of the ground are modified in the elements of life, of security, of joy; of the railways and shops that these products spread for all the latitudes in exchange of other products, or against the gold of the realm that is the tool of wealth, of power, of tyranny that the privileged with the lucky unpunished exercise over the rest of humanity; like that church that consecrates this usurpation like a particular benediction of god, like the state that is legitimate in the parliaments, in the codes, in the tribunals, and defends it with its rules, with its army; which the morale, the hypocrite and dewy moral flow, the thief merges this camp into a circus of religious devotion.
The anarchist challenges this monopoly, and as nude negation is not useful, the pick ax thrusts the roots of the bad plant and forces itself to cut those off, sentencing the copper (money) and the fruit with the damned tree that they proceed from: all of all; not more individual property of means of production and of exchange, nor any of the other institutes that foster unfairness and inequality that arises fatally from this original privileged class.
And as our good bourgeois — also those that the usury they demand to buy back with philanthropic glue — to give to their resignations from the parasites, they dream to return the ill-gotten gains, nor they will they ever determine themselves, the anarchists (also those who abhor from the violence and from blood) required to end the expropriation of the dominant class would not be able to happen violently but in the work of social revolution, and do this by arranging themselves and they look to arrange the proletariat with every means by education, by propaganda, by action.
In the final hour, do not forget it and do not delude yourselves! It is the mass not the class! If it was the class, if it had polished and full conscience of its prerogative, of its function, of its strength, the revolutionary bulldozer would be completed in great time, exempting ourselves from these melancholic unripe elucubrations [long and intensive literary efforts].
The great mass is the middle class not by the nation, but by the dying; not from its origin, which is in its own cradle that has neither found a blanket or a shirt; but of its customs, of superstitions, of prejudices, also of its interests, since its own laws judge, depending from the development of its luck of its interests of its own masters, those who become great so that Providence gives work, a salary, bread and the life for the master himself and the children; and from the work of life and of security the owner recognizes that the institutions, the laws, the gendarmes (battle axes) that defend and protect it are blessed.
In other words while the anarchist party with an acute, rigorous, positive diagnosis sinks the knives to the first cause of social unease — in order to not cover the difficulties, the long and hard duration of the care — the great mass remains empirical, its propriety not argued, also it denies less; the chin that was only greedy, the master does not disown, but demands only that it would be better; the master does not repudiate the state, the laws, the tribunals, the gendarmes, the paternal state only wants beer, impartial rules, just tribunals, battleaxes and more humane beer.
We did not decide the question of greedy or temperate propriety, of good masters or of pawnbrokers, of the paternal or unjust state, of impartial or unjust laws, of impartial or biased tribunals, of battleaxes or of charitable or beastly beer; we did not decide the question of propriety, of the state, of the master, of the government, of the laws and of the tribunals, of the battleaxes and of beer and we don’t want any of this kind; we believe with fervor, with tenacity, with faith that a society would be incompatible with such monsters; and in the anticipation, we challenge and contrast, with all the means of our disposition — and we discount the protest often times with the sacrifice of liberty, of tranquility, of affections more dear for many years or for always — the arbitrary and awful function.
You see that the different ways fight themselves, and it is difficult for power to meet itself.
* * *
But the worker organizations meanwhile are a cause, they exist; and the same cause and their gouty and blind conservatism establish an obstacle, many times a danger, they are noteworthy of our consideration and attention.
If we find ourselves in front of a baby who ignores, or in front of a lady who believes, or in front of a nitwit (mentally challenged person) who does not see, or does not want to see, we don’t respond to the immaturity of one, to the ingenuity of the other, to the blindness of the greater number with sneering and contempt.
We bow ourselves to all with equal affection, we assist it with more aware care and with interests more alive, because we are proud to discover, below the rough and bitter gang, the lucid metal that she wraps and covers, and to make the troglodyte [caveman] a useful individual of social valor; because above all we know how severe the task is that we are putting on ourselves for to abandon any force that would be able to conscript and unite at the triumph of our ideal; and finally because we know that our liberty, our security, our individual well-being would also be problematic and ephemeral in the egalitarian society, whereas they would not find the foundation and guarantee already in the liberty and in the well-being of how many there are around; and if liberty itself is knowledge, if well-being is solidarity, the work of education absolves itself from the proletariat, which would be organized less, appears not only a superior need, but from urgency that cannot be delayed.
And so would you enter the organizations? Because to stay there on the outside would prevent you from every possibility of influence and of action.
Sure! We would enter the worker organizations where the utility of the battle coaxes some of us, that would always be possible with commitments and certain good reserve.
First commitment: we are anarchists outside the organization, we remain anarchists so when we do enter a part; first reserve: we are not ever part of the managerial organism. We never put on some responsibility of the government, contrary to the opposition.
In homage to a criterion of elemental consistency.
Remaining that worker organizations remain steady and peaceful, would be those from the conservatism of those red brotherhoods known as revolutionary — which recognized and contained the actual economic state in all its manifestations, in all its relationships, limit themselves to demand immediate improvements: raises of salary, reduction of hours, pensions for the elderly, allowance for unemployment, insurance against injuries, protective laws for work for women and boys, inspection of factories...etc. it is clear that no anarchist is able to put patronage on himself as such aspirations and measures entail; and since they are the fundamental basis, the end for that organization establishes itself and since he (the anarchist) knows that every conquest of such improvements is false and inconsistent, since its quality of consumer power and workers serves usury, with the raises of the price of bread, of rent, of clothing, of all the costs of living, the better the quality that the producer should have obtained, so none of our partners would be able, without repudiation of all the anarchist and revolutionary convictions, to put on the government of the association or any other charge that implies a solidarity whatsoever with a program that he shows, with the action that he carries out.
To the opposition with the fervent vigilance and with the inexorable criticism, constantly showing the vanity of half, uselessness of efforts, the delusion of results, without granting a truce and hinting, in comparison, to the substantial and integral emancipation that for other ways, with other spirit and with other means would be able to draw on itself without the fruits of overflowing efforts.
The outcome for all the agitators of all the struggles of organization would come to confirm the acumen and equity of our criticism; and if hope is not easy and imminent the organization follows the way from our outline; however, for if our adept ones believe that the more watchful, more intelligent, more unprejudiced would be approached by us, tomorrow would be the center, at the first signs of any agitation they would throw themselves away in the fight to the lost body, dragging the bag (body bag) with every probability so the others, passed preservation, breaching the dominion of bad pastors.
— If you enter in the organization with such propositions and you count of to remain on remaining faithful, you would be smothering the first heresy, and dismiss the first scandal like provoking agents. It is something that has been shown recently and you have had the field of ascertain.
For this the partners that put on themselves such an arduous commitment, need to have to absolve such attitudes so they buy in with the seriousness, with consistency, with a lot of self-abnegation and with much patience for first popularity, following regard, from the last faith of the better part of the organizations: in the first line, everywhere would be a risk, last always, where an ambition or an advantage they flatter; unripe dissidents show themselves incompatible with transactions compromise our faith and out dignity of workers and of revolutionaries.
And if they don’t arrive to you, if they have not had to handle the first bag (body bag), than they won’t have to hurt themselves too much: they would have thrown away the good seed of independence of conscience and of courage; their work will be remembered, recalled every time that delusion will end by squalors and of sadness renewed the heartless and vain mass; every such time the chance of struggle comes by disaster because bravery or self-abnegation will be missed of which they would always have given constant example.
The popularity and the faith that go, beyond the person, the action and idea that inspires it and holds it; the popularity and the faith in the revolutionary action and in the anarchist ideal, popularity and faith that would end for change itself in ardent and continual cooperation, is that not all that we are able to ask to our modest and hard work of the apostolate, of education, and of renovation?
We don’t have some dogmatic claim; we express around to a controversial question out most modest thought, with conscience however that it obtains assent of a considerable number of partners and we have expressed with the usual outspokenness “for true to say, for I do not hate for someone else, nor for despite.” This alludes to a worker strike in Barre, (in the state of Vermont) in which the Italian workers — the greater majority of all the other workers — had created such an energy, like the energy that the owners were fearful of described in the American Federation of Labor. And since this was assisting the reform of the establishment, an amendment was introduced and adopted, in force, from those in the assembly of the sections that were not able to speak English.
The amendment remained a dead letter where the foreigners knew themselves to impose, impeding the head of the English language by speaking of the organizers of other nations that were not granted to use their own language respectively.