Call to Socialism : Part 1: For Socialism - Chapter 1
(1870 - 1919) ~ German Social Anarchist, Pacifist, and Leader of the Bavarian Soviet Republic : He dies "In a prison courtyard an officer stepped up and struck him across the face, the signal for a savage massacre. Set upon by the troops, Landauer was beaten with trutcheons and rifle butts, kicked, stomped and trampled upon. 'Kill me, then!' he exclaimed, 'to think that you are human beings!" At that he was shot to death. (From : Anarchist Portraits, Arvich.)
• "Leaving allegories aside, what we need is the following: associations of humankind in affairs that concern the interests of humankind; associations of a particular people in affairs that concern the interests of a particular people; associations of particular social groups in affairs that concern particular social groups; associations of two people in affairs that concern the interests of two people; individualization in affairs that concern the interests of the individual." (From : "Anarchism -- Socialism," by Gustav Landauer.)
• "True cooperative labor and true community can only exist where individuals are free, and free individuals can only exist where our needs are met by brotherly solidarity." (From : "Anarchism -- Socialism," by Gustav Landauer.)
• "Anarchism is the goal that we pursue: the absence of domination and of the state; the freedom of the individual. Socialism is the means by which we want to reach and secure this freedom: solidarity, sharing, and cooperative labor." (From : "Anarchism -- Socialism," by Gustav Landauer.)
Part 1: For Socialism - Chapter 1
Whoever calls for socialism must be of the opinion that socialism is something that is either almost or fully absent, that is either not yet or no longer existent. One could object: “Of course, socialism, the socialist society, does not exist. It is not yet here, but efforts are being made to achieve it — insights, knowledge, teachings as to how it will come.” No, the socialism I am calling for here is not meant so. Rather, by socialism I mean a tendency of the human will and an insight into conditions and ways that lead to its accomplishment. Yet this socialism hardly exists, and as miserably as ever. Therefore I speak to each one who wants to hear me, and I hope that my voice will finally reach very many who do not want to hear me; I call for socialism.
What is socialism? What do men mean by the word? And what is it that goes by the name of socialism today? Under what conditions, at what moment of society — of development, as is generally said — can it become reality?
Socialism is a striving, with the help of an ideal, to create a new reality. This first attempt is necessary even though the word “ideal” has fallen into disrepute due to pitiful hypocrites and base weaklings who like to go by the name of idealists and to uncultured drudges of science who like to call themselves realists. In unspiritual times of decline, un-culture, un-spirit, and misery, men who suffer not only externally but also internally under this general condition which seeks to engulf them fully — in their life, thought, feeling and will — men who resist this engulfment must have an ideal. They have an insight into the oppressive depravity and debasement of their situation. They are unspeakably disgusted with the misery that surrounds them like a swamp. They have energy that presses forward and longs for something better, and thus arises in them, an image of a pure, salutary, joyous mode of human communality in lofty beauty and perfection. They see in broad, general lines how it could be if a group, no matter how big or small, wanted and acted accordingly; if an entire country or countries ardently grasped this new idea and exerted their influence to bring it about. And now they no longer say: it can be so. Instead, they say: it should, and must come about. Once they grasp the prior history of human generations, they do not say: this ideal must become reality, as plainly and explicitly, as it stands on paper. They know well: the ideal is the ultimate in beauty and joy of life, the best thing their mind and spirit can imagine. It is a portion of spirit, reason and thought. However reality is never identical with the thinking of individual men. It would be boring if it were so, and we, consequently, had a duplicated world: first, in the anticipatory idea, second, in exact facsimile in the external world. It has never been so, and it will never be so. The ideal does not become reality; but our reality is realized in our time through the ideal, only through the ideal. We envisage something beyond which we see no better possibility. We perceive the ultimate and say: “That is what I want!” — and then we do everything to achieve it. The individual, overcome as if by illumination, seeks companions and finds them. There are others, into whose minds and hearts the idea has come like a flash of lightning and a storm. It is something in the air for the likes of them. Furthermore he finds others who were only sleeping lightly, whose understanding was covered only by a thin membrane and whose energy lay only under a mild anesthetic. They are now together. They seek ways together. They hold discussions in small groups and with the masses, in the big cities, in smaller cities, and in the country. External distress awakens internal distress. Sacred dissatisfaction is aroused and stimulated; something like a spirit — spirit is communal spirit, spirit is union and freedom, spirit is an association of men, soon we will see it even more clearly — a spirit is coming over men; and where the spirit is present stands the people, and where the people are, there is a forward-driving wedge, a will. Where there is a will, there is a way. This word is true; but the way is only there. And the light becomes ever clearer, penetrates ever deeper. The veil, net, dull swampy mist is raised ever higher. A people unites, awakens. Actions are done. Supposed obstacles are recognized as insignificant and easily surmounted. Other obstacles are removed with united strength, for spirit is joy, power, movement, which nothing on earth can impede. This is the point I am trying to make! This voice and this uncontrollable longing burst forth out of the hearts of the individuals in an equal and unified way; and so this new reality is created. It will, of course, be different from the ideal, similar to it, but not identical. It will be better, for it is no longer a dream of intuitive, desirous and pained men, but rather a life, a communality, a social life of living men. It will be a people; it will be culture, joy. Who knows today what joy is? The lover when he contemplates his beloved with the feeling, indistinct or clear, that she is the quintessence of all that is life and creates life; the creative artist in a rare hour alone with a friend of like mind, or when in his mind and in his work he anticipates the beauty and fullness which will one day become alive in the people; the prophetic spirit; who hastens ahead of centuries and is sure of eternity. Who else knows joy today, who knows what complete, great, rapturous joy is? Nobody today; nobody, for a long time. In some eras entire peoples were seized and motivated by a spirit of joy. They were so in the times of revolution, but there was not sufficient clarity in their exhilaration. There was too much dark smoldering in their ardor. They wanted something but they did not know what. And the ambitious politicians, advocates, representatives of special interests ruined everything again, while mindless greed and ambition swept away what sought to prepare the ground for the spirit to grow into a people. We have such advocates today, even if they do not go by that name. We have them and they have a hold on us. We have been warned, warned by history.
From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org
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