Call to Socialism : Preface to the First Edition

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(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.)


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Preface to the First Edition

Preface to the First Edition

In my book The Revolution (Frankfurt a.M., 1907) I said:

“Here is where our road leads: that such men as have gained insight and realized that it is impossible to continue living this way, have started uniting in associations and placing their labor in the service of their consumption. They will soon reach the limits set for them by the state; they lack a legal basis. This is the point where the revolution of which we have spoken till now goes further into a revolution of which nothing can be said, because it is still far off. Nor can anything be said here of social regeneration, of which only hints could be given. How one evaluates the beginnings and movements that now exist depends on what one expects in the future. I intend to continue this line of argument in another book and to treat the coming of socialism in context.”

Since I still cannot manage to write the book promised by these lines, let the reader temporarily accept the following lecture without however forgetting that it is a lecture and claims to be nothing else. In such a lecture much must be said briefly and an emotional tone often must replace detailed argumentation; the flow of speech wants to move on. Let the reader take advantage of its being a printed lecture and reflect that many of the sentences in it could require a book for their proof and complete delineation. Let the reader sometimes set aside the lecture in order to reflect for himself on the particular subject, for perhaps then he will discover that what is said quickly need not lack reflection and basis.

I have chosen the form of a lecture because one of the tasks of language will always be to call others to oneself and because that was precisely my intention. Of course I speak differently here than I would before an assembly; I speak before the broad, indeterminate circle which the lonely man sees before his eyes in nocturnal work hours.

When I first gave this lecture — on May 26 and June 14 — I summarized the content at the end of the second session in the “Twelve Articles of the Socialist League,” which are printed at the end of the first edition. This marked the founding of the Socialist League, and its first members were enrolled already at that assembly. Soon the first group was founded; the “Work”-group in Berlin. At this moment there exist in Germany and Switzerland nineteen expressly constituted and a larger number of unnamed groups. Early in 1909 appeared the biweekly periodical The Socialist, in which I and others pursue our ideas further and seek to demonstrate their validity in the conditions and events of the nations, in the life of communities, families, individuals.

In addition we have until now published three pamphlets, which appeared in one volume together with a report on the previous activities of the League.

Hermsdorf, near Berlin, March 1911.

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November 30, 1910 :
Preface to the First Edition -- Publication.

July 13, 2019 17:40:28 :
Preface to the First Edition -- Added to


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