Author : Grigori Petrovitch Maximoff
Contemporary society is a Capitalist society. Its foundation is the principle of private property. Its main characteristic is production for trade. The relationships of this kind of production are such that the means of production all goods and their distribution, as well as a large portion of the wages of the workers belong to an insignificant number of persons — the capitalist class. The huge mass of the population consists of owners of labor-power only — physical and intellectual labor — which they sell to the capitalists; these include the proletariat, the poor peasants and those in medium circumstances, and the small craftsmen who use their labor-power individually, without selling it directly to the capitalists, yet who depend entirely upon them.
Owing to this mechanism of modern society, fabulous wealth is accumulated at one end, while at the other there is dire poverty. this fact is particularly evident in countries of advanced Capitalism, where the class division of society is most sharply distinctive. “It is impossible to draw a dividing line between the property owning and the propertyless classes, since these classes intermingle with each other through innumerable and undetectable nuances. But in the physical world, too, there are no demarcation lines; nevertheless, there is a perfectly clear differentiation between plants and animals, between beasts and men. Equally definitive is the situation in human society, despite the intermediate links which make the transition from one political and social condition to another almost unnoticeable. The distinction between classes is very clear and anyone can tell the upper-middle class from the lower-middle class and the latter from the industrial proletarians of the cities; just as easily one can differentiate the large landowner from the peasant proprietor working her land by himself and the farmer from the simple village laborer (M. A Bakunin). Such an order of modern society is protected by the full power of the State, with its moral code and its religion.
In Capitalist society everything is based on buying and selling — the Market is the characteristic system for the distribution of manufactured goods. For that reason, everything in Capitalist society becomes a commodity (not only material wealth, but also science, art and even moral qualities). And the great masses of the people (the producers of physical and intellectual goods) whom hunger induces to work as hired hands — they too are commodities. The special characteristics of these commodities are thought, will, physical needs and aspirations to a human existence.
The capitalist class, protected by the power of the State, owns all wealth; as a result of this the principles of modern society free labor and voluntary agreement for employment — turn their positive sides toward the Capitalist and not the proletarian. These principles logically presuppose economic equality, and since that is absent, the stronger side — by taking advantage of free labor and of voluntary agreement — dictates its conditions to the weaker. The weak, in turn, cannot afford to reject them, since rejection would mean starvation. this circumstance gives Capitalism the opportunity of appropriating the lion’s share of the fruits of labor, paying the laborers not for the entire product, but only enough to replenish their expended energy and to maintain the continuation of the rest. All attempts to limit the arbitrariness of Capitalism, all efforts of the workers towards the improvement of their living standards, are persecuted by the State with barbarian cruelty, which in turn makes it easier for the Capitalists to fight the workers.
The development of science and technology is used least of all for the good of the unfortunate working masses, and only a small group of the propertied classes, the class of the exploiters, reaps its benefits. The incredible progress and power of Capitalism are due to the successes of science and technics. Continual improvement in technology make possible the ever greater mechanization of production; mechanization of production leads in turn, and inevitably, to the domination of large enterprises. The small enterprises are absorbed or become entirely dependent on large capital. And this process of proletarianization increases the cadres of labor available for hire.
In addition, the continual improvement in mechanization, which increases production and speeds the distribution of goods, makes the entrepreneur ever less dependent on live labor forces and gives him the opportunity, under the protection of the power of the State, to utilize to a greater extent the work of socially weak elements, such as women and children. As a result, increased mechanization is accompanied by a growth in unemployment which inevitably makes the hired laborer increasingly dependent on capital, aggravates the extent of her exploitation and increases her poverty.
At the present time, due to the progress in technology and the resultant economy in time and human energy, the possibility exists of producing many times more goods than are required for the satisfaction of the essential needs of all the people. And yet, thanks to Capitalist organization, millions among the masses suffer from the insufficiency of industrial products, have no chance to satisfy even their most elementary needs in food, clothing, housing and education; millions cannot find suitable work, and unemployment, instead of being a periodical phenomenon, has become a permanent one.
Such conditions within the Capitalist countries lead to a decrease in the purchasing ability of the large masses of the population, thus hampering the disposal of goods within the country. Goods which remain undisposed at home are sent to the international market, where they must perforce compete with those of other countries. The result is economic crisis, followed by a period of depression, bringing bankruptcy to the small enterprises and a lowering of the living standards for the working people.
Chaos in production and unlimited competition in the market have led to the organization of powerful monopolistic Capitalist associations — trusts, cartels and syndicates, which, since the beginning of the twentieth century, have gained tremendous influence on the economic and political life in each industrially developed country. From that time onwards the development of Capitalism followed the path of combining industrial and financial capital. It entered a new phase in its evolution — the phase of imperialism, which is the final stage of Capitalist development.
Capitalism in its present stage has reached the full maturity of Imperialism, when financial capital has assumed its most commanding positions. Beyond this point, the road of Capitalism is the road of deterioration, a process which will be painfully reflected in the lives of the working population. The specific characteristic of Imperialism is, as I have said, the concentration and centralization of capital in syndicates, trusts and cartels, which at the present time have a decisive voice, not only in the economic and political life of their countries, but also in the life of the nations of the world as a whole.
The intensive export of financial capital to other countries, the organization there of industrial enterprises, the great interest in the exploitation of natural resources and of the human labor force, are all so closely linked with the interests of the national imperialists that they have actually abandoned the idea of the “fatherland” as a mere prejudice, leaving it to those they exploit, and have themselves become internationalists.
Capital knows no fatherland. In our own days gigantic trusts have enveloped a number of States. All these associations have one and the same purpose — the domination of the world — and they find themselves in deadly conflict with each other. Such a condition of capitalist society brings forth a bitter struggle for markets. this struggle keeps the countries in a state of “armed peace”, periodically turning into war, as it did in 1914–18. this Imperialist war resulted in an unequal division of the world among the victors, and has brought about a new and more intense rivalry which will inevitably lead to a second and even more terrifying world war at the expense of the proletariat and the peasantry. Imperialism is the source of war, and humanity will suffer from wars as long as Capitalism exists.
The growth of Imperialism stabilizes unemployment, on which it feeds, and increases the oppression of the trusts, which is sanctified by religion and supported by the state and by law. this in turn makes the struggle of the proletariat even harder and more complicated. Yet, because of the growth of class consciousness on the part of the exploited, that struggle becomes each day more intense. All this renders utterly inevitable the destruction of the existing forms of society and their exchange for a more perfect organization.
The greatest attempts in hertory at such a changeover to new social forms have been the revolutions of 1917–21 in Central Europe, and particularly in Russia, all of which were the results of capitalist development and Imperialist war. Neither the Russian nor the German Revolutions realized the goals set them by hertory; but the Russian Revolution in its downfall revealed the nature of State socialism and its mechanism, demonstrating that there is no great difference in principle between a State Socialist and a bourgeois society. Both strive for the solution of insoluble tasks: to harmonize freedom and power, equality and exploitation, prosperity and poverty. It showed that between these societies, seemingly so irreconcilable and so antagonistic to each other, there is really only a quantitative, not a qualitative difference. And the attempt to solve the social problem by utilizing the methods inherent in rigid, logically-consistent power Communism, as in the Russian Revolution, demonstrates that even quantity is not always on the side of authoritarian Communism and that, on the contrary, when logically pursued to the end, it resembles despotism in many ways.
The experience of the development of power Communism in Russia gives us the opportunity to analyze and explain its structure. The principal economic peculiarity of the Communist State is production for use (in which products do not become commodities) on the basis of bureaucratic relationships, where all means of production, all distribution of goods, all the people’s labor, and the individual herself, belong fully to the State, which in turn is in the hands of a small class of the bureaucracy. The rest of the population consists of workers, forced to give their labor energy to the State Trust, and with it to create the power of this Trust, at the same time increasing the economic standards of the administrative class.
The net of bureaucratic industrial relationships covers the entire economic life of society, and forces the working class into complete dependence on the State, which divides the population according to occupations, subordinates them to the rule of the bureaucracy, compels them to work under the direct control of officials, and views the human personality only as “manpower”. The State moves its manpower about as it sees fit, considering only its own interests, and applies military discipline to labor. In this way, the Communist state turns the working people into soulless cogs in the centralized machine, geared during their entire lives to the maximum fulfillment of production quotas, subjected to the will of the State, and allowed only a minimum of activity, initiative and individual will. Such a situation creates social inequality, strengthens the class structure of society, and solidifies the rule of bureaucracy.
An inevitable result of such a social organization is the powerful police state, which subordinates itself every phase of the citizen’s life. By strong centralization of power, the Communist state subjects all its people to complete regimentation, and watches over them by means of organized espionage. this system destroys the freedom of movement, association and meeting, of speech and the press, of industrial struggle, of education, of dwelling and of personal development. It even invades the most intimate relationships between its citizens.
The evolution of such a society will lead inevitably to an intensification of its internal contradictions and, as under Capitalism, to class struggle of a more difficult and cruel kind than ever before. The Russian experience has demonstrated the impracticability of a social structure of this type. Its builders are forced to renounce authoritarian Communism in favor either of free Communism, requiring for its realization the liberation of the people from police tutorship, or of a capitalism which can retain this tutorship. The Bolsheviks, to hold their power, chose the second roadÑthat of State Capitalism.
The Russian Revolution, begun in liberty and the liquidation of bourgeois society, made a full circle, and, in accepting the aristocratic principle of dictatorship, came back through “War Communism” to its point of origin — Capitalism. However, like the great French Revolution, it left to the world an idea which from that time has become the fundamental aspiration of the twentieth century, the goal for Revolutionary movements among the working masses of all countries, races and peoples.
Only the Syndicalist revolution can lead the proletariat and the whole of mankind on the road to true freedom, equality and brotherhood. It alone can save humanity from wars, since all States, however “red” they may be, are Imperialist by nature. With the bankruptcy of State Communism in Russia, and of Social Democracy in Germany, with the ever growing contradictions within Capitalist society, the struggle of the working masses against the existing social order is growing and expanding throughout the world, while at the same time continuing technical progressÑresulting in the constant enlargement of industrial enterprises and the socialization within them of the productive processesÑcreates the essential material pre-requisites for the transfer from a Capitalist economy to a more perfect one — that of Libertarian Communism. this transfer will make possible and realizable a successful social Revolution and such, indeed, is the fundamental aspiration of the International Syndicalist movement.
Only the social Revolution is capable of destroying private property and its mainstay, the State; of establishing public ownership and a stateless, federalistic organization of society on the basis of the free association of productive units in factories and villages. It alone can assure liberty, i.e. the well-being and the free development of the individual in society, and of society itself. It alone will stop the division of society into classes and will abolish every possibility of the exploitation or rule of woman by woman.
The experience of Russia has shown that an essential condition for the successful realization of the revolution is the communal syndicalist structure, based on the principles of anarchist Communism. this is the transition period, leading eventually to complete Anarchy and Communism, which must follow the destruction of the State-Capitalist society. It will permit the proletariat not only) to suppress counter-revolutionary opposition by the parasitic classes, but also to avoid social despotism in a “dictatorship of the proletariat” or in any other forms.
this transitional phase is characterized by the fact that in it, as Bakunin said, “the land belongs only to those who work it sith their own hands — i.e. to the agricultural communities. Capital and all means of production belong to the workers i.e. the workers’ associations.” At the same time, “All political organization must be nothing more than the free federation of free workers, both agricultural and industrial.” That is to say, in politics Communalism, free federation of free villages; in economy syndicalism, federation of free factories and workshops as an organizational form of Communism. In such a system the factories and villages, united among themselves, will gradually develop into producer-consumer communes.
“Villages and plants,” said Bakunin, “which will reorganize in this way from below, will not create — at the very beginning — an organization that is in all points perfect according to our ideal. But it will be a living organization, and, as such, a thousand times better than those in existence today. this new organization, which will always be open to propaganda and which will not be capable of becoming rigid and inflexible by means of any juridical sanctions of the State, will progress freely, developing and perfecting itself not according to some pre ordained plan, not according to decrees and laws, but always in liberty and vitality, until it achieves a stage of efficiency which we can hope to see in our own day.”
The working classes are thus confronted with the great goal of the liberation and renaissance of the world. The task of international Revolutionary Syndicalism is to help actively in its realization. To hasten the quickest and most just solution to the hertoric problem facing the proletariat, the Syndicalists, benefiting by the experience of the class struggle, of revolutions and particularly of the great hertoric experiment in Russia, are devloping the concrete tasks for the transition period (the time of passage from Capitalism to anarchist Communism) and giving it a positive content, taking into account the main aspirations and trends of the age. Revolutionary Syndicalism envisages the main tasks of this transition period along the lines indicated in the following chapters.
The experiences of the Imperialist war and the unsuccessful social Revolution in Russia have proved that Capitalist society is not as rich as had formerly been theoretically assumed.
The experience of the Russian Revolution has further demonstrated the economic truth that the social revolution increases demand and diminishes production; it has also shown that the country which raises the banner of revolution will inevitably find itself faced by an aggressively-intentioned bourgeois encirclement.
The circumstances above result in shortage and hunger. Hence it is essential to prepare in advance the practical measures which can prevent or considerably diminish such unfortunate consequences. These measures are concerned with how, by whom and on what principles production and the protection of the revolution can be organized.
The experience of the Russian Revolution has definitely emphasized the dangerous and harmful character of the compulsory principle in production; the Syndicalists sharply reject compulsory industrial mobilization, labor battalions, or any other similar undertakings. The main principle of syndicalised production is the Freedom of labor, ie. everybody’s right to choose freely the type of activity most attractive to him, and the right to change freely from one type of work to another. The new society, resulting from the social Revolution, will from the first day of its existence seek ways and means to assure the integration of labor, so that monotony may not cripple woman both spiritually and physically. In Capitalist society one sees a complete separation between industrial and agricultural labor, while our Syndicalist society will steadfastly endeavor to bring about ever closer coordination of industry and agriculture and will seek means by which to allow workers to alternate and combine work in the factory and on the land.
The experience of the organization of industry in Russia has shown that the principle of centralization in production leads to bureaucratization of the entire industrial apparatus, to the emergence of an official class, to the removal of the producers from the administration of the social economy, to the strangling of independent activity on the part of the workers, and to economic crisis. In view of her experience, the Syndicalists will construct the process of production on the basis of technical concentration and administrative decentralization.
In this way the Russian Revolution has given us the opportunity to avoid its own errors and to solve the problems of the organization of production in harmony with the interests of the working masses. Its experience proves, as Kropotkin said, that: “No State is capable of organizing production as long as the workers do not take it in hand through the medium of their Trade Unions.” But to convince the working masses of the need to in crease the production of consumers’ goods, to induce them to direct their efforts and energies from the very beginning towards this goal, it is essential that “all public consideration of the national economy, which from old habit is now left to a flock of all kinds of ministers and committees, should be presented in simple form to every community, village and city, to every factory and plant, as their own personal affair, and should be left for the workers to administer themselves” in the interests of the entire working population.
On the basis of the above considerations, Syndicalists believe it essential to instill into the consciousness of the working masses as a whole the need for “the organization of production according to the principles of socialization and decentralization, on the basis of social labor control over the socialized means of production. All this will be possible only with the substitution of a Syndicalist organization for the present industrial structure, i.e. the syndicalisation of produotion, involving its transfer into the hands of the workers in the Trade Unions, united on straight industrial lines and conceding full autonomy to each link of the organizational chain while transforming them gradually into producer-consumer communes.”
In accordance with Revolutionary experience in Russia, the organizational apparatus of syndicalised production must rely on the simplest forms of association, which are intimate and intelligible to the workers; associations rooted in the Revolution and ready to leave production to the direct administration of the workers themselves, eg. factory-management committees charged with organizing the workers’ control of, plants in each locality.
In the interests of the successful realization of Communism in industry, and of the smooth functioning and efficiency of each production process, as well as to prevent the chance of seizure of individual enterprises for the exclusive private use of those who work there, a system of unification will have to be established.
this unification, without destroying the freedom of individual sections, will provide the necessary technical, statistical and administrative links to join all industries and production into one organic whole. (Kropotkin, page 23).
this system has the following categories:
The Self-Administered Factory — producers’ commune.
The Production Associations of factory communes.
The Union of Productive Associations.
The General Congress of Labor (Council of People’s Economy and Culture).
Production, organized along these lines, will be administered on the principles of committee direction, of broad public control through the general utilization of the principle of the right to recall delegates. As to internal order, the principle of self-discipline will remove the need for all manner of disciplinary institutions.
As the experience of Russia has shown, the task of increasing productivity and the scientific organization of production will demand, as long as the working masses lack scientific and technical knowledge, a broadminded and comprehensive utilization of the technical intelligentsia who will remain as a legacy of the Capitalist structure. Even though the majority of this intelligentsia is immersed in bourgeois tendencies, the interests of the Revolution nevertheless demand that their rights should in no way be limited: equality for all is necessary from the first day of the social upheaval.
Since there is no possibility of immediately establishing full Communism in consumption on the principle: “to each according to her needs,” a number of practical steps will be necessary to lead to its realization.
The first of these is the establishment of the principle: “equal shares for all.” Equal sharing, in accordance with increasing production in Syndicalist industry must, little by little, become the normal rule, and gradually facilitate the approach to realizing the axiom: to each according to her needs.
The criterion of the equal share must be the minimum necessary for subsistence, with supplementary allowances for dependents. The size of the ration will grow with the increase in wealth of the national commune. As for handicraft, home industries and small scale industry, the Syndicalists, rejecting the idea of their compulsory integration into large-scale production, will implement the principle of cooperation, granting them full opportunity and freedom of initiative. The Syndicalists strive only for the association of the scattered efforts of individual craftsmen and small enterprises through free cooperatives adapted to their needs, so that they may utilize all the advantages of science and technology.
Agriculture is the most important branch of the basic industries, not only owing to the enormous number of people engaged in it in all countries, but also owing to the role it plays in the life of a nation.
The fate of Communism depends to a great extent on agriculture. At the same time, agriculture is the most difficult field for communization. Here the positive aspect of Capitalism, which consists in the mechanization of production and the socialization of labor, is insignificant. For that reason agriculture, in the technical and organizational sense, is the most retarded branch of production. Tens of millions of agricultural units present an unorganized, individualistic, small-ownership element which, apart from its technological backwardness, is an obstacle in the path of Communism which will be difficult to surmount. this fact is tremendously important, since the forms of land ownership and the technique of land cultivation are an indication of the extent and the character of the social reorganization that is possible in a given time.
Capitalism, by uniting individual producers in one enterprise, socializes labor and in this way prepares the ground for the socialization of ownership which inevitably leads to a communization of production. It creates a prototype of the Communist form of organizing labor and ownership — the factory as the free producer-consumer commune of the future. In manufacturing and in some branches of the primary industries, capitalism has thus already prepared the ground for Communism and the syndicalisation of industry by the expropriation of capitalists and the State — today the imperative and the only feasible solution to the workingman’s problem. Socialized labor facilitates this transition to communist ownership by way of syndicalisation.
The story is far different in agriculture. Here the socializing force of capitalism is insignificant; the small-scale peasant farm is the predominant type of agricultural organization, in which individual ownership and individualized labor are inevitable components. this important fact renders the process of transition of agriculture to communism the opposite to that of industry.
In industry collective labor leads inevitably, through expropriation to collective ownership. In agriculture, collective ownership will lead to collective labor.
Collective ownership in agriculture does not, however, by itself imply collective labor which, in the primitive management conditions of an agricultural economy based on tens of millions of scattered peasant farms, could not to any considerable extent change the conditions necessary for successful production. Collective ownership will lead to collective labor only through a conversion from extensive to intensive agriculture, and a mechanization of farming, replacing the primitive methods of cultivation by those which, by their nature, demand the unification of the working efforts of several members of an agricultural commune. But, since communal habits cannot be altered by decree, and since their transformation depends on the gradual aggregation of insignificant changes, the socialization of labor which would complete the communization of agriculture will take a considerable period.
The socialization of agriculture, then, consists of two elements:
Socialization of the original means of production, i.e. the land.
Socialization of labor.
The socialization of the land is a revolutionary and compulsory act whose success depends on force; the socialization of labor is a process, requiring for its development specific circumstances which do not as yet exist and which must be created in conditions of collectivism in land ownership.
The communization of agriculture, in other words, has two aspects whose emergence does not coincide entirely in terms of time. Hence the Syndicalist program for the communization of agriculture falls into two sections: socialization of land and socialization of labor.
Socialization of Land.
Complete abolition of ownership in land — individual, group, cooperative, communal, municipal or State. The land is public property.
The fact of socialization will withdraw land from the commodity market; no-one will have the right to buy, sell or rent land or to draw unearned income from it. Everyone will have to work it by personal or cooperative effort.
Everyone will have an equal right to an equal area of land and to apply her labor freely to it.
The general form of land utilization, and the area to be available for each person’s use, will be determined by a National Congress of the Association of Peasant Communes which will form part of the general Confederation of Labor.
As in the various branches of industry which will be under the management of the Trade Unions concerned, the land, land management, resettlement and all agricultural matters must be in the hands of the Association of Peasant Communes.
Socialization of Labor
The socialization of land is an essential precondition for the socialization of labor which would complete the process of communization of agriculture. Only where labor and ownership are both socialized, does the product of labor also become socialized, i.e. full communism becomes a reality.
The society that emerges from the Revolution, after it has socialized the manufacturing and in part the basic industries, must seek the methods which will place the agricultural population on an equal, or almost equal, footing with the urban population, since an absence of equilibrium favoring the latter might result in a spontaneous flow of the agricultural population into the cities, which in turn would result in great economic difficulties and the disorganization of the production apparatus.
Full harmony of the agricultural regime with the regime of socialized industry is possible only with communism in agriculture. Therefore the organization of farming communes must be on the agenda from the first days of the Revolution.
Proceeding to the organization of communism in agriculture, Syndicalists see progress neither in the destruction of the small pe»ant farms nor in the establishment of mammoth economic units, and they consider compulsory general labor service a reactionary phenomenon. Instead, they aim at the coordination of the labor efforts of small units on a voluntary basis, compatible with the freedom of both the individual and the collectives.
The economic forms of these units would be: (a) cooperative, as most accessible to the consciousness and level of development of the majority of the agricultural population, which in general will be unable to relinquish economic individualism, or (b) communistic, in the form of free agricultural communes which will form part of the entire communistic economy in the same manner and on the same conditions as do the factories.
In the interests of efficient production the agricultural communes must not be too large. A normal-sized example would he an association of ten peasant farms of average productive capacity, not including the households, which should remain separate. Depending on varying local conditions the agricultural communes might, and would, consist also of unified settlements, not broken up into farms, as well as of cooperatives.
In this manner agriculture in the Transition Period would be run by three fundamental types of economic organization: (a) individual, (b) cooperative, and (c) communistic. The predominant type during the first would would doubtless be the individual unit.
To make certain that the individual forms of agricultural economy are removed speedily and successfully, thus transforming the entire country into one producer-consumer commune, methods must be sought which by their nature would propel the individualistic elements logically and inevitably on to the path of communism and thus remove the corrupting influences of the individualistic system of agriculture on the socialized economy. These methods should not only lessen the discord between two contrasting economic systems, but also establish the harmony essential to the normal development of the process of socializing labor and agriculture. The objective conditions dictate two types of method: (A) a system of offensive measures and (B) a system of defensive measures.
System of offensive measures, i.e. measures of direct action towards hastening the socialization of labor in agriculture, consisting of:
Socialization without exception of all agricultural units in which labor is already socialized by the process of production itself, owing to mechanization. The inclusion of these units in the general system of communistic economy on the same conditions as the factories.
Socialization of all enterprises engaged in the processing of agricultural products and their inclusion in the system of communistic economy on the same conditions as other processing industries.
Socialization and cooperation in those branches of agriculture which are closely hound with processing industries, such as sugar, textile, wine, tobacco, etc. and the incorporation of the agricultural communes concerned into the general system of the communistic economy.
Socialization of large-scale flour mills and creameries with their inclusion into the general system of the communistic economy, and the establishment of cooperatives among small flour mills and creameries.
Organization of associations for the common cultivation of land.
Establishment of new agricultural settlements on the basis of full communism, with their inclusion into the general system of the communistic economy, as well as the organization of new settlements on the basis of associations for the common cultivation of the land.
Industrialization of agriculture, i.e. unification of agriculture with industry, by means of the erection in appropriate agricultural areas of industrial enterprises processing agricultural products — i.e. textiles, sugar, fruit and vegetable canning, tobacco. beer, wine and spirits, starch and molasses, rope and twine, etc. The establishment of composite agro-industrial units, with the industrial enterprise in the center, which, by virtue of their organization of labor and the connection of the industrial enterprise with the suppliers of raw materials, will be of the following types:
Communistic industrial enterprises of the usual kind cooperating with the surrounding individualistic agricultural units on the basis of commercial book-keeping, like the Russian creamery producer cooperatives.
Composite agro-industrial units — as a link in the general communistic economic chain — which will work seasonally and whose industrial workers will take part in agriculture during the periods of most intensive field labor and whose farm workers will work in industry during the periods of inactivity on the land.
Composite units working continuously, where the fields surrounding the enterprise, together with the enterprise itself, are united and labor is organized in such a way that each member. taking her turn, works definite hours daily in the field and in the factory.
System of Defensive Measures, i.e. Measures of integrating the millions of individualistic units and their reciprocal activities with the communistic economy of the country, consisting primarily of the comprehensive permeation of the system of individualistic units by various types of cooperatives — credit cooperatives, producers’ and subsidiary cooperatives.
The system of defensive measures will belong to the Transition Period and all institutions established in connection therewith l ill afterwards gradually disappear or will he converted into institutions of the free producer-consumer communes. Hence the co operatives of the Transition Period cannot be copies of those developing within the limits of the capitalist structure. The interests of the transition to communism demand internal organizational unity, and the fulfillment of complex functions by local collectivities which will be united in their diversity through the process of federalization.
The tasks of the peasant cooperatives in the Transition Period will be to provide the sole liaison between the communistic economy of the country in general and the individualistic agricultural units which it surrounds, to organize for these two divergent economic systems the true and natural financial exchange process and to convert themselves gradually into the distributing agencies of a unified labor commune.
The basic collective unit of the cooperatives will be the agricultural village association, combining the local functions of distribution, buying-and-selling, processing, subsidiary production, stud farms, machine-renting stations, house building and radioelectric associations. Unions of village associations, covering the entire country and headed by the High Council of village associations, will enter into close contact with the organs of the communistic economy, and will represent the organizational system of individualistic agriculture, based on the concept of full independence for the population itself.
The Agricultural Banks for credit in cash and goods, organized by the communistic economy, will have many departments, and will deal with the agricultural associations on functional lines. Apart from their credit and loan activities, these Banks will conduct all operations of exchange, both within the country and abroad.
Since the village associations will emerge within the basic associations which apportion the land, i.e. the Peasant Communes, the two must become unified organs autonomously fulfilling their specific functions.
Like cultivation, cattle raising is of great importance in the life of each country and of the world at large, and society, when it emerges from the Revolution, must assure not only the integration of this branch of agriculture into the general structure of the new national economy, but must also find the most rational methods by which to attract into its orbit those cattle raising nomads who live a migratory life and to accustom them gradually lo e cultural cooperation with the rest of the people.
Since cattle raising is inevitably linked to farming, communization must be accomplished firstly in cattle raising farms of a purely commercial character, eg. stud farms, dairy farms, chicken farms. The peasants’ livestock, however, cannot be socialized before the transformation of the entire economy on a communistic basis; it will be socialized with the socialization of agriculture.
Thus, until the full socialization of agriculture, and in order to speed its accomplishment, it will be necessary to consider seriously the systematization of peasant livestock breeding and the improvement in breeds of livestock. Cooperatives and industries engaged in the processing of livestock produce are powerful means to that end.
The industrialization of cattle breeding must develop in full harmony with the general industrialization of agriculture, and on the same principles. The socialization of industrial enterprises engaged in the processing of livestock produce, their integration into the general communistic system, and the transfer of slaughter houses, meat-packing plants and of all enterprises engaged in such processing from the cities into ranching areas or the erection there of new plants [...] on.
With regard to the tribes of nomadic cattle raisers, there can, of course, be no thought of introducing communism among them until they settle down and their cultural standards are raised, if only to the level of present-day Russian peasants. The most powerful influence in this, respect will be the fact that they will find themselves in a higher cultural environment. The organization of their education, the foundation of agronomic enterprises, and the gradual increase in the use of cooperatives in the sale of cattle and the purchase of essential products of urban industry, will all help in the process. The Agricultural Bank will have to institute cash and goods exchange and credit facilities for them, and it will thus become a powerful factor in transforming the entire economic and intellectual standards of the migratory cattle raisers. Improvement in transportation and the development of communistic enterprises for the processing of cattle products in the provinces adjacent to migratory camps, or even in the camps themselves, will have a vast effect on them in a communistic direction.
Since vegetable plots and gardens are inseparable parts of agriculture, only the commercial gardens will be subject to immediate socialization. The socialized undertakings must be industrialized at once, i.e. they must be organized according to a system of composite agro-industrial settlements — with an industrial unit in the center (for jams, syrups and other products) — whose labor will be fully integrated.
The forests are a natural resource, which, like the land, became private property only through the use of naked force. They must therefore be returned to universal usage, i.e. become the property of society as a whole.
The plundering management of the timber economy by capitalism has resulted in the destruction of forests in many countries. But the conservation of forests everywhere is of great importance both for climate and for soil. Forests provide not only building and heating materials, not only raw materials for many manufacturing industries, not only the areas where beasts and birds multiply, but also a factor which determines the navigability of rivers and the moisture of the soil — in its turn vital to agriculture. Hence, for the sake of the common good and the preservation of timber resources, the forests must be socialized, i.e. all rights to private, State or any other ownership must be abolished. By socialization, the forests will cease te be a commercial commodity: no-one will have the right to sell, buy, give or rent either them or their products, or to draw an unearned income from them.
Small woodlands, located in agricultural districts, which cannot be exploited in the interests of socialized industry, will everywhere be transferred to the management of peasant associations, for use as fuel and building material, and to satisfy other needs of the individualistic agricultural units. All other woodlands will be included in the general system of the communistic economy be means of syndicalisation, i.e. they will be transferred to and managed by the association of lumbermen and of workers in the industries processing timber products.
Shortages of timber in agricultural units will be met at cost price out of socialized forest resources through the peasant co operatives and the Bank of cash-and-goods credit.
The socialization of forestry will result in the socialization of all timber industries and all plants engaged in the processing of timber products. Those home industries which are connected in one way or another with the use of timber will be organized into cooperatives and brought into the closest contact with communized forestry. The timber economy will be united with industry by means of the integrated organization of labor, and, where possible, with agriculture by means of the transfer and erection of suitable enterprises in farming areas, and the utilization of land cleared of forest for cultivation and cattle raising.
The socialization of water resources. Socialization of fishing trades and plants, and their integration into the general system of the communistic economy.
Organization into cooperatives of small fishery trades, smokehouses and pickling plants.
The systematic organization of fishing and the installation of fish preserves.
The inclusion of the hunting trade into the system of composite communistic forestry units. Organization of cooperatives in the peasant hunting trade. Organization of purchase and exchange divisions by the Bank of Cash and Goods Credit in districts populated by hunting tribes. Elaboration of methods for the cooperative unification of the individual efforts of the hunting tribes and the raising of their cultural level. Systematic organization of hunting and the establishment of forest preserves.
The management of the fishing and hunting trades will be entrusted to the associations and scientific societies concerned.
Those branches of industry which are connected with the extraction of mineral resources, like the manufacturing industries, have been subjected to a capitalist development which has created favorable conditions for socialization, and their importance in the general economic system is indeed so great that their socialization is imperative. For that reason, society must proclaim from the very beginning of the social Revolution the full socialization of mineral resources.
Syndicalisation of all large scale enterprises and their integration into the general communist economy of the country.
Cooperative unification of small-scale and home industries for the sale of their products to the communistic economy.
Industrialization of the various branches of the mining industry, i.e. their unification with the chemical, metallurgical and other branches of the processing industry through the organization of composite units on the basis of integrated labor.
The ruralization of industrialized and non industrialized enterprises of the branches of production concerned, i.e. their unification with agriculture by means of composite combines gradually drawing into their economic orbits the surrounding farming population and organizing labor on the principle of integration.
Like the plants in the processing industries the enterprises in the forms of production under consideration will be managed by production committees and the industry as a whole by an association of such committees.
The socialization of building by means of syndicalisation will arise from the socialization of other branches of production.
Over the entire territory of a communistic country the building industry will be managed by an association of construction workers with the cooperation of interested societies, such as house committees, rural construction unions, etc.
All building carried on outside the limits of the communistic economic system will be organized by means of commercial bookkeeping through the Bank of cash-and-goods credit.
The shortage of housing, which is the result of speculation in the building industry, will require the immediate socialization of all dwellings that have been built for profit.
Systematic distribution of living space, through house committees and without payment of rent. The institution of hotels for newcomers and the transfer of housing management into the hands of the house committees.
Intensive home building on the principle of the dispersion of cities and the coordination of industry and agriculture.
Transport in all its forms, and especially railroads and waterways, presents a vitally important element in the modern economic system, and it will have even greater importance in the communistic economy. Production without transport is unthinkable. As a result, transport must be socialized at once, by the process of syndicalisation.
The management of transport will be on syndicalist principles, i.e. all means of transportation — surface, underground, air and water — will be in the hands of the Union of Transport Workers, consisting of individual sections, and including the workers of all industries which service transport.
Transport will be incorporated into the general system of the communistic economy, and fares and freight charges will therefore be eliminated. But, in the case of individuals and of individualistic economic unit which operate outside the communistic system of the country, the transport management will enter into corresponding computation agreements. These agreements will be made not with individuals or individualist units, but with their cooperative associations, whose transport receipts will be honored by the Bank of Cash-and-Goods Credit.
Mail and telegraph systems, like the railroads, perform most vital services in the national economy and in many countries are already State-owned. But since the interests of even the most ideal State do not coincide with the interests of society as a whole, the postal and telegraph networks will have to be taken away, not only from individuals and corporations, but also from the State. The same procedure must be applied to telephone and radio services.
All public communication services will be syndicalised, i.e. their management will be transferred to the Communications Service Workers’ Trade Union, which in turn will be incorporated into the general system of the communistic economy. Like other branches of the latter and in proportion to the strengthening of the new economic structure and the enrichment of the country, it will also be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. the workers in Public Communications will vary their labor, partaking both in industrial and agricultural work.
Since, in the Transition Period, for which the present program is designed, there will still be economic units in agriculture and in some sections of the crafts and home industries which will no be part of the communistic economy, the latter will enter into suitable contractual relations concerning the use of the public communications services with the individual units through the offices of their cooperative associations.
Public services include: sewerage, water, gas and heating, electricity, public welfare and other functions which serve the urban and rural populations.
These services will be incorporated into the communistic economy and will be syndicalised, i.e. the management and organization of these services will be transferred to the Union of Public Service workers. Here, as in all other branches of the economy, the principle of industrialization and ruralization will be introduced gradually, resulting finally in the integration of labor.
The provision of public services for the individualistic agricultural units is closely linked with the fundamental changes in village living standards. These improvements will be encouraged by the communistic economy as a whole, and hence the use of public services by villages which are not part of the c communistic structure of the country will be determined by suitable agreements with the peasant cooperative associations.
Medicine and sanitation are public services which, together with the dispensaries and pharmaceutical industries, will be constituted on a syndicalist basis into the Public Health Service. this will be incorporated into the communistic economic system.
The Union of ,Medical and Sanitary Workers will conduct the activities and manage the organization of the health services for the entire country. These services, like all branches and functions of communistic society, will be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. gradually, and wherever possible, the medical and sanitary workers will combine their tasks with industrial and agricultural labor.
The Public Health service will cover the entire country with a close net of medical and sanitary centers, hospitals and sanatoria. Since this service will be supported by the communistic economy, the individualistic units will have to cover part of its expenses through their unions of cooperative associations.
Every State adapts the processes of general education to further its own interests. As a result, whenever instruction is in the hands of the State, it becomes a means to the enslavement of the masses. Owing to State interests, and to a science which serves these interests, schools of all levels are turned into factories which attempt the mass production of robots capable of thinking in one direction only. As the experience of Russia demonstrates, even a Communist state, though it might set up the most liberal system of education, eventually perverts it by introducing a centralized basis and by molding the teaching in its own interests.
The task of education and instruction consists in the comprehensive development of the child’s personality and her technical preparation for useful communal activity. Education must therefore be libertarian, gradually supplanting the idea of authority by the idea of liberty. It must also be rational, founded on reason, not on faith, and on the facts of exact science rather than metaphysics; coeducational, i.e. giving common instruction to both sexes, and integrated, providing opportunities for harmonious development of the entire personality in the fields of science. art and trades.
The schools must provide, as Kropotkin has stated, “such an education to hoys and girls that, when leaving school at the age of about eighteen, they may have a thorough concept of science which will enable them to continue scientific studies, as well as acquiring a notion of the fundamentals of a technical education. At the same time, they should gain sufficient experience in some branch of industry to give them the opportunity of taking part in the production of social resources”. Accordingly, education and instruction must not be conducted on the basis of a single centralized program.
As for science, it must, like the church and the school, be separated from the State even before the anarchist revolution. Normal conditions for the development of science will be created only in a condition of economic equality, in a free, stateless society.
The socialization of science, which is an inevitable and essential result of the social Revolution, does not mean equality of mind which is, of course, an impossibility; it does not mean that everyone will be a scientist. The socialization of science means only that science, as it remains pure science, will become one of many public services and will be, as Bakunin said, entirely available “to all those who have the calling and the desire to engage in it without harming the general productive effort in which everyone must participate!”
“Everyone must work and everyone must have an education.” Only after the social revolution will general scientific and technical education be available to all. Science must be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. people engaged in scientific effort must combine their work with productive physical labor, within the limits, of course, of reasonable and gradual development. And science will certainly benefit from this development. “It is possible, and even very likely,” said Bakunin, “that in the more or less lengthy Transition Period, which will naturally appear after the great social crisis, the high level of some sciences may fall considerably. But what science loses in its upward trend, it will gain in the scope of its diffusion. There will be no demi-gods, but there will also be no slaves. Demi-gods and slaves will both become men; the former will have to step down somewhat from their exclusive heights, the latter will rise considerably.”
The socialization of instruction, education and science can be achieved only through their syndicalisation, i.e. the organization and conduct of these public services must be transferred to the Union of Educational Workers, combining their activities with those of interested public societies, of parents, economists and others. The organization of schools, universities, academies, libraries, museums and their management will be the public function of the Union of Educational Workers.
The functions of general education as a public service will be incorporated into the communistic economic system and supported by it. Therefore, the cooperatively united individualistic units in the country will, for the sake of equality, contribute to the treasury of the communistic economy a certain percentage of their income in the form of products, to cover the expenses and maintain the services of general education.
Art and the Theater are also public services. They will be combined with the service of general education and will be subject to all the basic principles which govern the latter.
Religion is not a public service, The social revolution is, by nature, anti-religious. Nevertheless, the Syndicalists do not intend to fight religious faiths with repressive measures. In this question, the program of the Syndicalists is in full solidarity with the statement of the Geneva Section to the Brussels Congress of the International Workingmen’s Association. It said: ’ Religious thought, as a product of the individual mind, is untouchable as long as it does not become a public activity.”
Accountancy and statistics are very important functions in the proper regulation of relations between production and consumption. Only with the help of statistical data is it possible to determine their necessary equilibrium, and to institute a suitable distribution and exchange organization. Indeed, without statistical data an economic order is impossible. Statistics, therefore, form a vital public service, whose technical discharge will be entrusted to the Central Statistical Bureau at the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit, consisting of the directly concerned public services and particularly the services for distribution and exchange.
All existing banks will be socialized and will merge with the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit. this, in addition to its statistical functions, will perform all the usual banking operations which, of course, will change in accordance with the new economic structure of the country. The Bank will be the organic liaison between the communistic economy and the individualistic units, particularly the agricultural units, as well as with the individualist world abroad. In the latter case, it will act as the bank for foreign trade.
In the sphere of internal exchange, the bank will be one of the most powerful weapons of communism, influencing individualistic units in the desired direction by means of material and financial credit without interest for the improvement of each unit and the mechanization of farming, which will result in the socialization of rural labor the necessary prerequisite for the socialization of agriculture.
The socialization of banks and accountancy must be achieved by their syndicalisation, i.e. these public services will be transferred to the management of the workers who operate them, and will be incorporated into the general communistic economic system. With the strengthening of communism, labor will be industrialized and ruralized as in other public services, i.e. it will gradually be organized on the principle of integration.
Money, as a concrete symbol of expended labor, the greatest part of which is now concentrated by means of exploitation in the hands of a few capitalists and States, must be socialized. The socialization of money, i.e. the return to society of the fruits of expended labor, will be possible only in the form of its abolition, without any compensation. The abolition of the monetary token of the old regime is one of the first tasks of the social revolution.
It will be impossible, however, to abolish money entirely in the Transition Period, since some functions, which are dependent on money now, will still continue to operate, even though their dangerous aspects will be removed. Money will vanish of itself during the gradual approach to a system of fully matured Communism which will replace exchange by distribution. But in the Transition Period, owing to the co-existence of communism with individualism, the exchange of goods cannot be eliminated en entirely. And since the main function of money is that of a medium of exchange — the most convenient medium of exchange — it will not be possible to do without it during this phase.
In the beginning, because of the practical impossibility of introducing labor money (whose value is based on the working day) the communistic economy will have to recognize gold coins, and will have to be guided in their exchange by the values inherited from capitalism. this will apply particularly to foreign trade. In internal exchange, owing to the socialization of a large part of industry, which will provide the opportunity of determining the scale of production, it will be possible to set prices and to assure their stability in a scientific manner.
During the Transition Period, money cannot become a threat of the establishment of inequality and exploitation because — in view of the socialization of all means of production and transportation and the socialization of labor and its products in all branches of industry except agriculture — it will lose the power it had in capitalist society, namely, the power to become capital. Cash could not be lent on interest, hence there will be no room for financial capital. All tools and means of production, being socialized, will not be subject either to sale or purchase; hence there will be no room for industrial capital. The discontinuance of hired labor will remove the possibility of hoarding capital by the appropriation of surplus values; the replacement of the private tradesman by the cooperatives and the establishment of direct exchange on the mixed material-financial principle between the communistic and the individualistic economy will remove the possibility of money turning into trading capital. Thus during the Transition Period, in which everything will be socialized, but all will not be communized, money will exist only as a standard of value and a means of simplifying the process of natural exchange between the different systems of economic equality.
Depending on the stabilization of society after the social upheaval, greater preference will be given to natural exchange in the principle of barter values, and thus the usefulness of money as a standard will decline. The gradual transition of agriculture to communism will further decrease the role of money, and the supersession of exchange by distribution will finally eliminate it in a perfectly natural manner.
In capitalist society the products of the manufacturing industries are distributed by means of trade. Such distribution is chaotic and inequitable. In capitalist society those who work receive much fewer and qualitatively inferior products than those who do not work. The products return to the producer, as a consumer, only after they have gone through a number of intermediary hands. After making this circle, they are loaded with parasitic price increases and the worker as a consumer acquires the product of her own labor at a far higher price than he received for its production. Naturally, with the destruction of capitalist methods of production, the capitalist method of distribution — trade — will be abolished too, and it will be replated by a system of accurate, planned and equitable distribution in full harmony with the new, anarchist and non-capitalist organization of society.
Society, in organizing communistic production, will organize consumption in a similar manner. The producers’ commune must be supplemented by a consumers’ commune. In the sphere of consumption the task will consist of the immediate organization of a distributive-accounting agency which will at once begin a planned and systematic replacement of trade by distributive communes in the cities, and distributive associations in the villages. At the base of the distributive apparatus will be the consumers’ cooperative. The new distributive agency will only be able to carry out its functions most quickly and with the least expenditure of effort when the entire population in the cities is organized in consumers’ communes, and on the land into consumers’ associations, and when the federation of these communes and associations has covered the entire country with a close network, coordinated with the Exchange Bank.
Learning from the experience of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent development of its latent tendencies, the Syndicalists will utilize consumers’ co operatives as the distributive agency, constructed in such a way that the house committees will become the basic organizational cells. The consumers’ communes will combine in themselves both the producers and the consumers. As a result, there will be no chance for the emergence of a dictatorship of either the producer or the consumer.
The organization of consumption, which here is understood in its widest possible sense, will consist of two fundamental elements, Accounting and Distribution. Accounting will be handled by the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit, which will become a section of the distributive agency.
Within the orbit of the communistic system of national economy all producers’ communes (free factories, plants and workshops) will deliver the whole of the product of their industry to the public warehouses; the same will apply to the industrialized agricultural units and the rural communes, with the difference however, that the latter will deliver to the public warehouses not the entire product of their labor but only that part which forms the excess over what is required for the satisfaction of the needs of the rural commune itself or of the composite agro-industrial community.
As for the individual agricultural units, they will voluntarily deliver all their excess to their village associations whose function is purchase and sale. These, in turn, will deliver the products of the land to the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit and receive monetary tokens from it as well as any goods they require on the basis of cash-and-goods bookkeeping.
During the Transition Period communism will not be complete in the sphere of consumption. The task of society will be to help its gradual unfolding in accordance with the accumulation of material goods. The rapidity with which the principle “to each according to her needs” is realized will depend on the growth of productivity in the communized economy and on the pave of the transition to Communism of individualistic agricultural units. Hence, in the Transition Period, because of the impossibility of satisfying all “according to their needs.” it will be necessary to introduce into distribution a limiting principle, i.e. the principle of proportionality between distribution and production.
Fundamental to distribution, within the communistic economy of the Transition Period, will be the principle, not of expediency, but of equality, dividing the population into different Consumer categories. Firstly, society must take care of the children, the nursing mothers, the old, the invalids and the sick — independent of their former social positions.
Consumption norms, calculated in terms of money and distributed in both cash and goods, must be equal — equal shares for all. Since society will have the obligation to provide work for everybody, it will also be expected to maintain all the unemployed at the same level as the workers. As to the adherents of the old regime and the members of former privileged classes, these, as equal members of the new society, will not be subject to any restrictions. But those among them who might refuse to live the working life required of everybody would place themselves outside the pale of society and they would retain the right either to die of starvation or to emigrate, or else to depend on the charity of their commune, if the latter choose to practice it.
Society, emerging from the social revolution and abolishing all State organizations, will need no taxes, since all means of production and transport, all products of labor, and labor itself, will form the wealth of society as a whole. But in the process of construction, during the Transition Period when the communistic economy exists side by side with individualistic units, society will have to tax the latter with a certain portion of their income for the sake of equality among the whole people. These contributions would be used for the maintenance and organization of transport, highways, postal services, telephone, telegraph, radio, medical and sanitary services, general education and army — all public services which will be at the disposal of the individualistic units but in whose expenses they do not share.
Such taxation will be based on the principle of income. The amount will be determined by the General Confederation of Labor. “Taxes” will be taken in goods by the Bank of Cash-and-Goods Credit through the cooperative associations uniting the individualistic units.
A social order, based on liberty and the material well-being of all, will have no need to struggle for the rights and protection of labor. Labor, ceasing to be an object of exploitation, will become the guiding principle in the structure of the socio-economic order. Society as a whole will take care of the health and labor of each individual, while each individual will care for the health and labor of society. Each will respect the others’ rights. The producers themselves will have to look after their needs in this respect, i.e. the producers’ commune must follow strictly the scientifically determined regulations of the medico-sanitary associations.
Child labor will be abolished. Society will have an obligation to provide children up to the age of eighteen with a comprehensive integral education, preparing them for socially useful work. Thus the problem of child labor in industry will cease to exist. Female labor will be organized according to scientifically determined regulations.
Naturally, the new society will not need to create special institutions for the protection of labor that is the job of the federation of Public Health workers, who will work under the control of society as a whole, and of the producers’ communes in particular.
In the question of working hours, society will begin in the first stages with the six-hour working day. Any further reduction will be determined by the conference of producers’ communes and the Unions of Public Service Workers, and will depend on the quantity of products essential to society, on the number of employed and unemployed producers, and on the improvements in production processes. These conditions, and the degree of the socialization of land, will determine the speed of transition to integrated labor.
In the Transition Period wages will be abolished by reason of the abolition of hired labor. The producer will not be a hired worker, but an active and equal member of the producers’ commune from whom no-one will deduct surplus value. Every participant will receive, not wages, but an equal share of the public wealth in whose production he participates equally with everyone else. this share of the public wealth, which will be distributed in terms of both goods and money, and which will be determined scientifically at the very beginning by the General Congress, cannot remain a fixed quantity. Its increase or decrease will depend on the degree of efficiency in the production of public wealth, which will depend in turn, apart from technical advances, on the members of the communistic economy themselves.
Each person, independent of her former social position, will have and will use the right to work. This fundamental principle which places on society the obligation to provide everybody with reasonable productive or socially useful work and, in the event of its inability to do so, to maintain them on an equal level with everybody else, until it may be able to provide work for them. As to those who, though capable of work, desire to utilize their right to indolence, society will make no effort lo limit this right, leaving it to them to die of starvation. A society whose very foundation is work, must carry out the principle: “She who does not work of her own free will shall not eat.”
Society will have no need to create special institutions for a social insurance. Since it expects all to work, it will determine the minimum and maximum working ages, before and after which all people will be provided, on an equal footing with others, with the necessities for existence and the comforts of life. Similarly, society will provide for invalids, cripples and the sick.
The bourgeois-democratic republic, with its formal equality for all people and its formal liberties, in actual fact protects private property and thus inevitably becomes a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and an organization for the pitiless exploitation of the working masses. The same is true of the new Statism in the form of the Soviet republic, even if it is sanctified by the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The fact that the State is owner not only of all means of production but also of the life of each individual, places everybody in the position of slaves, of talking robots and, with implacable logic, results in the creation of a new ruling class exploiting the working classes — the dictatorship of the bureaucracy; the State becomes a monstrous machine for the exploitation and total enslavement of the great mass of the people by a small clique.
In contrast, the communal confederation will transform the mass organizations of the working people into the only foundation for the construction of a new, anarchist society, thus achieving full freedom of movement and full liberty for the individual.
Bourgeois democracy hides its class character under the masquerade of national equality symbolized by universal suffrage. Soviet democracy, on the other hand, sharply accentuates its class character by maintaining that the dictatorship of the proletariat is supposedly essential to the destruction of classes and the State. However, the experience of the Russian revolution has shown that the dictatorship of the proletariat is a fiction, a non-realizable utopia, since, logically and unavoidably, it results in a form of party dictatorship and, next, a rule of the bureaucracy, i.e. simple absolutism. The Soviet state is forced to pretend that the dictatorship of the bureaucracy is the dictatorship of the proletariat, just as the bourgeoisie pretends that its dictatorship is the “people’s will”.
In contrast, the communal confederation, constituted by thousands of freely acting labor organizations, removes all opportunities fol the limitation of liberty and free activity. It definitely prevents the possibility of dictatorship by any class, and, consequently, the possibility of establishing a regime of terror. The basic character of the communal confederation is such that it need have no fear of the widest freedom of rights for all men, independent of their social origin, so long as they work. As a result, true democracy, developed to its logical extreme, can become a reality only under the conditions of a communal confederation. this democracy is Anarchy.
Both bourgeois and soviet democracies limit themselves to formal declarations of political freedom and rights: the freedom of speech, assembly, association, press, strikes, inviolability of the individual, housing, etc. The former establishes these freedoms formally for all, the latter only for the working people. But the administrative practice of these democracies and, more important, the utter economic dependency of the working people, make it completely impossible for them — both in the bourgeois and the proletarian states — to make use of these rights and freedoms.
The full, unlimited rights of woman and citizen are possible, in real life rather than in proclamations, in actuality rather than in form, only in conditions of full self-government in the shape of a communal confederation where capitalism and the state do not exist and where printing, paper, etc. will be generally available under the management of the productive federation concerned.
Bourgeois democracy proclaims the rights of men and citizens, but, owing to its governmental and capitalist foundations, it cannot transmute these rights into actual fact. Furthermore, inequality and oppression gradually increase and at the present time, in the epoch of Imperialism, bourgeois democracy has reached the highest degree of intensified racial and national oppression.
Soviet democracy has in this respect made the pretense of a step forward, but the official declaration of the principle of national self-determination has not led, and cannot lead, to the actual self-determination of peoples within the Soviet Union. In addition, even in liberating one nation from the domination of another, the Soviet State does not liberate the people of that nation from internal domination. National freedom does not consist in separation, or in administrative self-rule, but in the freedom of the individuals composing the nation.
The freedom of a nation can have full expression only in a communal confederation in which freedom will become a reality through the liberty of individuals uniting at will in all manner of free associations, including national ones.
Not content with a formal declaration of the equality of the sexes, the Soviet State attempts to achieve it in reality by making very weak and diffident efforts in the direction of the liberation of women from the burdens of housekeeping, from the kitchen and child rearing. But since the State is by nature an enemy of full liberty, so in this issue too it has come up against insurmountable obstacles — obstacles inherent in its own nature — through appropriating to itself those functions of the church and the bourgeois state, the sanctioning and regulation of marriage. The full equality of the sexes and freedom for women are possible only in conditions of liberty for all, and such conditions will come into existence only in the communal confederation.
The experience of a political structure based on a system of free Soviets, which made its appearance at the beginning of the Russian October Revolution, demonstrates that the true organization of society on the basis of a federation of Soviets would not only remove all the negative aspects of bourgeois democracy and parliamentarism, would not only assure to the working masses simplicity in the election and recall of delegates, would not only bring the people closer to their social institutions, but would also destroy the State in all its forms, including dictatorship of the proletariat. Communalism, i.e. the federation of free communes with the Soviets in the field of the political organization of the country, would take the place of the State.
The bourgeois State has transformed the army into a weapon for the suppression of the working masses, and the protection of the State, i.e. the ruling class. In the Soviet State too the army fulfills the same functions. Only the workingmen’s militia, arming all the people, and organized by the Trade Unions and the village communes, can be a true weapon for the protection of general liberty and well-being. A workingmen’s militia will be tantamount to the removal of the State and the class system.
Admitting for the proletariat the guiding role in the Revolution, the Anarchists believe it would endanger the cause of liberation if any kind of privileges were instituted for them in relation lo other categories of the working people. Equality of rights and obligations for all from the first days of the Revolution — that is the fundamental demand of social justice.
National rights are not a principle in themselves, but a result of the principle of freedom. No nation or nationality, as a natural association of individuals on the basis of common language, can find suitable conditions for its normal development within the confines of a capitalist environment and State organization. Stronger nations conquer the weaker ones and make every effort to dismember them by means of artificial assimilation. For that reason national domination is a constant companion of the State and of capitalism. The criminally mercenary interests of the ruling class impel them to sow hatred and hostility between nations, two emotions which lie at the root of patriotism, which in turn is so essential to the State and to capitalism.
So called national interests, which today are always part and parcel of economic and political affairs from the viewpoint of the State, are in fast the interests of the ruling classes. Hence they are contrary to the needs of the people, and lead to hostility between nations and to war. Therefore, in capitalist State society, the national problem is a partial aspect of the general problem — i.e. the problem of freedom, and cannot be solved in the interest of the working people.
“The right of a nation to self-determination” and to independent sovereign existence, is nothing but the right of the national bourgeoisie to the unlimited exploitation of its proletariat; the actualization of this right in a multi-national country which raises the banner of the social revolution and thus finds itself encircled by capitalism, becomes in fast the right to self-defense of the national bourgeoisie against the revolution, and a weapon of the international bourgeoisie. this was demonstrated convincingly by the Russian experience in the years between 1917 and 1922. The realization of the “right to national self-determination” is thus a realization only of extraneous freedom — that of nationalities — from which the exploited classes gain too little, if anything at all.
Furthermore, the slogan of the “right of each nation to self-determination”, if followed to its logical conclusion, becomes an absurdity. To realize it on the territory of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, for instance, would have led to the establishment of a multitude of States, which would be inadmissible from the viewpoint either of the interests of the proletariat or of those of freedom and the social revolution.
this does not mean that the Anarchists are opposed to national freedom. On the contrary, they have always stood for the rights of all oppressed nationalities. Nationality, like the individual, is a natural social and hertoric fact, and recognition of it is a vital principle. Every nation, however large or small and on whatever cultural level it may be, has the right, just like the individual, to think, feel, desire, speak and act in its own ways. That, in fast, is what national right really means — the right to be oneself; this right is a natural consequence of the principles of liberty and equality.
Nationality itself, however, is not a principle but a fast. To advance it as an ideal for all movements of the exploited classes would be criminal. The Anarchists stand above the narrow and petty national ambitions “for which one’s country is the center of the world, which sees greatness in its capacity to terrify its neighbors.” International freedom and equality, world-wide justice, are higher than all national interests. National rights cease to be a consequence of these higher principles if, and when, they place themselves against liberty and even outside liberty. Every State is an enemy of liberty and equality. Nations which achieve their right to self-determination and which become states, in their turn begin to deny national rights to their own subordinate minorities, to persecute their languages, their desires and their right to be themselves. In this manner, self-determination not only brings the nation concerned none of that internal freedom in which the proletariat is most interested, but also fails to solve the national problem. On the contrary, it becomes a threat to the world, since States must always aim to expand at the expense of their weaker neighbors.
For that reason the Anarchists, in rejecting the State, also reject its ways and means of solving the national problem; a real and full solution will be possible only in conditions of Anarchy, in a Communism emanating from the liberty of the individual and achieved by the free association of individuals in communes, of communes in regions, and regions in nations — associations founded in liberty and equality and creating a natural national unity in plurality.
The International Confederation, freely established by the voluntary federation of self-governing parts in a single whole, will solve the national problem completely on the basis of full liberty and equality, without which any solution of the problem would necessarily bear a bourgeois character, and hence become either secretly or openly aggressive. Only the Communal Confederation will determine the world order in international relations, removing all causes for war and oppression. The International Confederation cannot consist of States, since an association of States, like the contemporary League of Nations, is nothing more than an international association of the exploiting classes directed against the international proletariat, and utilizing as weapons the denial of freedom and the constant threat of war.
The organization of the International Confederation must be preceded by the Communalistic Revolution, replacing the State by communes and Trade Unions which, uniting freely from below, are the only organizations capable of establishing a real international unity based on the recognition of the right to self-determination not only for every nation (regardless of size), but also for all communes and provinces within nations. There will be only two conditions to such self-determination: that their internal structure shall not threaten the freedom and self-determination of their neighbors and that the fact of voluntary association does not permanently bind a member.
On the basis of the points outlined above, and in the light of their final goal, the current policy of the Anarchists in the sphere of national problems and international relations is directed toward drawing together the international proletariat, and the working peasantry of all nations, in a common struggle for the abolition of private property (the struggle for communism); in a common struggle for the destruction of the State (the struggle for anarchy); in a common struggle for the destruction of all national prejudices, frontiers and privileges, for equality and self-determination for all nations. Hence propaganda for the idea of an International Workingmen’s Association, active cooperation in its organizational efforts and participation in its work are an obligation for every anarchist.
As for the national right to “self-determination”, Anarchists do not deny a nation’s right to separation, since it is part of the principle of freedom which they recognize. They deny only the usefulness to the proletariat, not of self-determination as such, but of self-determination according to State concepts. Acknowledging that a strong patriotism is developing among the enslaved nations and, with it, a distrust of the proletariat in the ruling nationalities (a fact which has a pernicious effect on the struggle of the international proletariat for full and universal liberation), the Anarchists demand the liberation of all colonies and support every struggle for national independence as long as it is an expression of the will of the revolutionary proletariat and the working peasantry of the nation concerned.
The true Revolution is unthinkable without the participation of the broad masses of the people. Wherever these are absent there is no Revolution; it may be a mutiny, a coup d’etat, but nothing more. Mutinies and coups are created artificially. Revolutions ripen by natural process, and revolutionary activities can only aid this process they are never a cause of the upheaval. For that reason a Revolution which brings the huge masses of the people into action is always successful. It will always remain a hertoric landmark for its own people and others, because, even in death, it gives a direction to popular aspirations for centuries ahead. Such revolutions, following one another, were the English the French and the Russian Revolutions.
Revolution is the destruction of the old order in all spheres of life. In the process of destruction, the Revolution produces disorder. this disorder, as it annihilates the forces of the old society, is in no danger of being suppressed during the first period of the upheaval — until the terrified elements of the old regime rally from the shock of the elemental onslaught and reassemble their forces. During this short interval the Revolution must establish its own order and must introduce a series of economic measures which will prevent or, at least, hamper the organization of resistance on the part of the adherents of the old regime, and which will prove in themselves a factor of defense.
The Revolution must also lay immediately the foundations for its organized military defense. The first act in this direction will be the capture of weapons and ammunition dumps, the dissolution of the old army, the arming of all mutineers and the organization among! them of a revolutionary guard on the basis of plants, villages and institutions. These measures of the first period of the Revolution will not however be sufficient for its defense during a civil war. which will undoubtedly be organized and supported by the International imperialism encircling the country of the social revolution. Hence the second step will he the organization of armed forces according to all the rules of military science, but in complete harmony with the fundamental aims of the Revolution itself.
Partizan detachments will not be a significantly reliable form for the full defense of the Revolution. They will certainly appear in the Revolution itself, and will play a useful part in the initial stages of the struggle, but they will be helpless once it takes on the aspects of real warfare. Under such conditions hostilities can only be conducted by properly organized armed forces, capable of utilizing military science and all methods of modern war technique. But an army in the form which exists in bourgeois countries, or on the lines of the Red Army in Soviet Russia, would not conform to the fundamental principles on which the new society is to be built. Therefore neither the army nor partizan detachments can be considered the desirable form of organizing the military forces in the Revolution. The first would be a threat to freedom, the second an insufficient means of defense.
Instead. the Anarchists propose the general arming of the working people on the basis of a militia. this militia would be organized on the following principles:
Arming of all working people capable of bearing arms from the ages of eighteen to forty-five.
Recruitment of all women capable of work from the ages of eighteen to thirty-five, for medical services connected with the workingmen’s militia.
Abolition of military service life in barracks.
Instead of barracks, which are to be used only in time of war and of musters for military training, all military and medical training would be given at the place of work: in factories, plants, workshops, villages and agricultural communities, without separating the trainee from her socially useful work.
Institution of an annual thirty-day muster for maneuvers, for which mobilization, like that for war, will be conducted according to age groups.
The organizational apparatus of the workingmen’s militia will consist of mobilization committees, including military specialists, attached to the federative associations of productive communes. The specialists will, at the same time, continue to fulfill their economic functions in the commune on an equal basis with all its other members.
Supply Departments will be established in the federative distributive associations and in the cooperatives, and these will also include military specialists.
The Military Operations staff of the workingmen’s militia will be constituted on an elective basis from among those involved in military instruction and from the best experts on military affairs.
In their conduct of military and military technical education, the Military staff will appoint to each production unit the number of instructor-commanders needed. The task of these instructors will be to lead the military units in factories, plants and villages, and at the same time to work, like everybody else, in productive jobs. The persons appointed by the Military Operations staff may be removed from their posts not only by the Staff, but also by a general meeting of the members of the plant or the village commune.
Since the country of the social revolution will be under constant threat of military attack on the palt of its bourgeois neighbors, the Revolution will need to provide for the training of specialists in all branches of military affairs. Hence the military training schools will have to remain in existence during the Transition Period, though they will be reformed in the proper manner, while the services of the officers of the old army and of the technical intelligentsia will have to be utilized by the Revolution.
Owing to the organizational structure of the workingman’s militia described above, all its institutions and all individuals serving it must be industrialized in peacetime, i.e. they must be organized in productive labor in accordance with their training and with the organizational needs of the workingman’s militia.
The war production plants will be communized and incorporated into the general system of communistic economy. They will join the corresponding productive associations and will receive production orders from the Military Production Section of the General Confederation of Labor.
The defense of the Revolution, organized in this manner, will provide the opportunity for the utilization of all the advantages of militaristic armies, while at the same time neither individuals nor organizations which might act against liberty and the revolution will find it possible to seize military power. The industrialization of the militia’s machinery and personnel will prevent bureaucratization and the development of the commanding staff into a separate military caste.
The new society, even in its transitory form, will be a truly free association of people based on the universal recognition of the natural rights of woman. Liberty and equality, with a resulting solidarity and respect for the inalienable rights of others that is the real meaning of natural justice.
Liberty is indivisible from equality, just as equality is indivisible from liberty. Liberty without equality is only formal liberty, and it is followed by the arbitrary rule of a minority over the majority. this kind of liberty is characteristic of State-capitalist society. And equality without liberty, which is the characteristic of State-Communist society, is inevitably followed by the complete enslavement of the individual. The Anarchists will therefore build society on the foundations of natural right, where liberty and equality will be indivisible; they recognize and desist from opposing those norms of behavior which result from this right.
Natural right is inimical to all legislation, which must necessarily limit its functioning. Hence neither the communal structure, which is the transitory step towards mature communism and anarchy, nor, obviously, the structure of full communism and anarchy, will have need of legislation. With the elimination of written juridical laws, legislation will come to an end. The only written law will be the Constitution of the Confederation and its component sections, the general agreement based on the natural right applicable to all members of the Confederation who wish to remain within it.
Since, in modern society, almost all crimes are committed in the sphere of private property, as a result of the defiance of natural right by those in power, the removal of the cause will also lead to a removal of its consequences. Hence, in the future society and in its Transition Period, the only crimes will be those committed as a result of the sick condition of an individual, as well as, in the first period while the psychology characteristic of the state capitalist society still lingers, crimes connected with a refusal to carry out social obligations.
Another type of crime — the crime against liberty and equality — will take on mass character only at one point in the Transition period; when an active struggle is waged for the conquest of peaceful conditions for the healthy development of the first stages of society in the direction of fully consummated communism and anarchy, i.e. in the period of the civil war. The individual who would rise against liberty and equality, would place himself by that very act outside both, and would be subject either to ostracism, exile or temporary isolation, with the utilization of her labor capacity for productive work in conditions of human dignity. All prisoners of the civil war will belong to this temporary category of criminals against liberty and equality. There will be no need to establish special institutions for this category of criminals. They will be dealt with by the workingmen’s militia through its machinery, and by the councils of the commune.
For the rest, the society of the Transition Period will conduct its campaign against crime not by revenge in the form of legal punishment, which is the guiding principle of justice in the bourgeois and state socialist structures, but by treatment, education and temporary isolation of the abnormal elements, insofar as that will prove necessary, and, most of all, by means of moral influence, a method which is already being applied successfully by various societies and organizations. For that reason the society of the Transition Period will have no need of legal institutions on the lines of those in the modern State-Capitalist society. It will deal with the question by providing arbitration at the places of production; in the case of small crimes which have no social significance and have been committed outside production centers, society will be able to deal with these also through arbitration.
As to crimes of social import like, for instance, various kinds of violations of liberty and equality, murder, etc., such cases will be dealt with by public communal courts composed of representatives of producers’ and consumers’ communes, cooperatives and house committees in the commune in question, and will include appropriate scientific experts and physicians. The composition of these courts, organized whenever required, will be flexible, since the judges will be elected for specific sessions only. Since prisons as such will be abolished, the criminal will be subject, depending on her psychological condition, either to medical treatment or to temporary isolation from society in special correctional productive communes within whose limits he will be entirely free.
A society which has abolished private property and the State. with all its privileges, will have no need of the services of the police, and will take the business of internal security and peace into its own hands. As long as the need exists, the entire population — as represented in house, street and district committees, will fulfill this social function in rotation. As a result, the reorganized protection of internal security and the assurance of tranquility in the Transition Period will not resemble, either in shape or in substance, the parallel institutions of bourgeois society. Their form will result logically from the character of the Transition Period itself and will be based on the self-reliant action of the population. this self-protection will certainly prove superfluous in the mature society of free communism.
The abolition of private property and of the State with all its institutions will be followed naturally by the abolition of the modern family, which rests on the same foundations as contemporary society itself, i.e. on power and property, passed on from generation to generation by means of the inheritance law, for which there will be no room even in the Transition Period.
Modern marriage, dependent on compulsory sanction by government, society or parents, will be abolished and will be supplanted by free marriage, which will become the basis of the new family. The Anarchists, beginning with the fundamental concept of liberty and equality, are opposed to marriage by compulsion, and raise the banner of the free union of the sexes.
“In abolishing religious, civil and juridical marriage,” said Bakunin, “we will return life, reality and morality to natural marriage, based solely on the mutual respect and the freedom of two people, woman and woman, who love each other; in recognizing for each of them the right to separate from the other whenever he so desires, without requiring for this the permission of anyone, in denying also the need for permission in the joining of two people, and in rejecting all interference, of any institution whatsoever, in their union, we shall make their relations with each other even firmer, truer and more sincere.”
In connection with the fundamental reorganization of marriage, the question of children will arise their upkeep, education and instruction. Society will not take children away from their parents, but it will take upon itself their care, education and instruction up to the age of eighteen. It will assume the obligation to give every child an equal, integrated education, which will prepare him simultaneously for physical and intellectual effort. The young are the society of the future, and for that reason society is interested most vitally in the proper education and instruction of all children without distinction. In short, it will become their guardian.
The parents will have the right to natural authority over their children, but this authority must not stand in opposition to morality, or to the intellectual development and freedom of the children; society will retain for itself the right to reasonable control and the protection of children from parental despotism.
The Anarchists will institute this fundamental reorganization of marriage and the family from the first days of the Revolution by means of a gradual and rational process and not, of course, by means of compulsion.
The basic fabric of the future society is composed, in the anarchist view, of three elements. The first is the producers’ association of the people, leading, through the syndicalisation of production, to producers’ communism. The second is the consumers’ association resulting, through the utilization of cooperatives in consumers’ communism. The third is the territorial association of the people, leading through communism to unity in diversity, i.e. the confederation of nations, based on the fundamental principles of Anarchism — liberty and equality. However, the Anarchists do not visualize future society in such a simplified and schematic form. On the contrary, in their eyes it is represented by a far more complicated pattern, in which the basic fabric is interwoven by innumerable threads of varied and constantly overlapping human groupings, producing a great diversity of needs and activities on the part of the individual. in whom society is finally rooted.
To achieve and hasten success in the struggle against the State Capitalist structure the Anarchists organize in Trade Unions and strive to make them inclusive of the entire industrial proletariat and the working peasantry. The revolutionary Trade Unions, in the view of the Anarchists, are not only organs of the struggle against the contemporary structure; they are also the cells of the future society.
The Trade Unions of different industries, apart from the industrial association of workers in each separate industry, unite on a city-wide basis in federal councils. And all Trade Unions in the country unite in the General Confederation of Labor which, adapting itself to changing conditions, will in the future take the place of the economic organization of Capitalism.
Since the Confederation of Labor is the prototype of the new organization of society, it must be built on principles which will serve in the future, i.e. on liberty — the autonomy of individuals and organizations — and on equality Hence its organizational principle will be complete Federalism.
Accepting fully the view that every political movement must be subordinated to the economic struggle, the Anarchists organize their own associations in accordance therewith and on the basis of ideological affinity.
They consider unification by ideological affinity in the anarchist propaganda groups, the further unification of these groups into local federations, and of federations into the national confederation, as vitally important, since such a confederation, not being directly involved in the Trade Union struggle, would supplement the Confederation of Labor in the field of mass propaganda and the struggle against the political parties. The Confederation of anarchist groups, without interfering in the affairs of the Confederation of Labor, co-operating with and yet separate from it, is opposed to all political parties without exception.
It will carry on a relentless class struggle and expose the complete irreconcilability of the interests of the propertied classes with those of the proletariat and the peasantry. It will help to clarify the hertoric significance of the proletariat, and the inevitability and necessity of the social Revolution. At the same time, the groups must, in their everyday activities, reveal to the working people the hopelessness of their situation both in the capitalist and in the state socialist societies — whether the latter is a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” or some other state socialist form. They must point to the social revolution as the people’s only escape from their miserable existence.
The interests of the international proletariat and of the social Revolution dictate that the struggle against the Bourgeoisie and all kinds of perverted socialism be conducted not only within national limits, but also internationally. On the one hand, the struggle must be maintained in the economic field against the reformist Amsterdam International of Trade Unions and against the Moscow “Profintern”; on the other hand, in the sphere of general politics, it must be directed against the political partizan Second and Third Internationals. The guidance in this struggle must be vested in the International of revolutionary productive unions, i.e. the International Workingmen’s Association, established by the unification of revolutionary productive unions of all countries at the Berlin Congress on December 25, 1922.
As for the revolutionary activities of the Anarchists, their field is not limited to the Trade Unions, but includes also the cooperatives, schools, city and village administrations and, in general, all spheres where the pulse of working life is beating. The Anarchists”, taking an active part in the struggle for everyday interests of the exploited classes, bring to it their Revolutionary methods. Responding to all burning questions of the day, they relate them to the final goal and utilize every opportunity for agitation, propaganda and the organization of the exploited classes.
The Anarchists reject the path of parliamentary activity. Their tactics are based on the principle of direct action: mass protests, strikes, boycott, sabotage and other methods of direct influence.
Until the split in the International, the members of the Jura Federation, in their newspaper Solidarity of August 20, 1870, wrote in this vein of the future organization of Europe:
“In the future, Europe will consist not of a federation of different nations, politically organized in republics, but of a simple federation of labor associations without any differentiation according to nationality.”
After the split at the Hague Congress in 1872, the Anarchists called their own Congress in St. Imier at which they envisaged the future society in the following manner:
The aspirations of the proletariat can have no other goal than the establishment of a completely free economic organization and federation, based on universal labor and equality, and absolutely independent of all political governments; and this organization and federation can only be the result of the self-reliant actions of the proletariat itself, the associations of artisans and autonomous communes.”
Society must be organized “by means of the free federation of labor associations from below upwards, both in industry and agriculture, of scientific associations and societies of workers in art and literature — at first in communes, then in the federation of communes in each province, of provinces in the nation and of nations in the International Brotherhood.” [sic] (Message, pp. 197, 98).
Then, “the land will belong only to those who work it with their own hands” — the agricultural communes. Capital and all means of production will belong to the workers — the workers’ associations. The entire political organization of the future must be nothing but the voluntary federation of free workers, both in agricultural and factory — artisan cartels” (producers’ cooperatives). (N.P. 97).
In such a society labor will be compulsory for all. It must be collective and equal — all must work. If former bourgeois do not wish to work, while they are capable of doing so. they will be subject to the axiom: they who do not work, neither shall they eat.
After the Revolution, city and village proletarians will become owners — probably collective owners — in varying forms and varying conditions, depending on each locality, province and commune, in accordance with the level of civilization and the will of the population. The former will become owners of capital and the means of production, the latter of the land which they will till with their hands.
The full realization of this problem will, of course, take a century.
Our production has gone in a wrong direction. Industrial enterprises are not concerned with the needs of society; their only goal is the increase in the middlemen’s profits. Starting out from this point, the social Revolution will have to organize production on a basis derived from a concern with the needs of the population. The means of production must be transferred into the hands of the people. Everything must belong to all. The organization of production must begin immediately following expropriation. Society must be organized on the principles of anarchist Communism. Our first task is the immediate realization of Communism. The main principles of the organization of ie new form of production is “voluntary agreement.” Its concrete form is the voluntary association within the commune, and the federation of communes. That is how Kropotkin wrote on the subject in his “Bread and Freedom”.
Kropotkin formulated other more concrete and simpler organizational forms in the later years of his life. In his preface to “Paroles d’un Revolte” (1919) he expressed his thoughts more precisely than he had expounded them in “Bread and Freedom”. He said that he had in mind a construction evolved by society itself, rising from the simple cell in the village, the city district, the Trade Union or cooperative, to the more complex organisms, enveloping the city as a whole, the province and the whole nation.
Yet another anarchist system, Kropotkin said, was pointed out by our comrade, the Syndicalist Pouget, in his book “How we Shall Achieve the Revolution”. In this he set forth the way in which the Anarchists saw the social upheaval from the viewpoint of the trade unions and the syndicates. Pouget maintains that the Revolution might have been realized in France had it been directed by the Trade Unions. The Trade Unions, expecting nothing from those who would invest themselves with power, could expropriate the Capitalists only by the action of their congresses, and then organize production on new foundations, simultaneously preventing any stoppage in production. It is clear that this could be achieved only by the workers themselves through their organizations.
I differ from Pouget in several details, but I gladly recommend his book to all those who understand the inevitability and the closeness of the social reconstruction which humanity is yet to experience.
Gregori Petroich Maximoff was born on November 10, 1893, in the Russian village of Mitushino, province of Smolensk. After studying for the priesthood, he realized this was not his vocation and went to St. Petersburg, where he graduated as an agronomist at the Agricultural Academy in 1915. He joined the revolutionary movement while a student, was an active propagandist and, after the 1917 revolution, joined the Red Army. When the Bolsheviks used the Army for police work and for disarming the workers, he refused to obey orders and was sentenced to death. The solidarity of the steelworkers’ union saved his life.
He edited the Syndicalist papers Golos Trouda (Voice of Labor) and Novy Golos Trouda (New Voice of Labor). Arrested on March 8, 1921, during the Kronstadt revolt, he was held with other comrades in the Taganka Prison, Moscow. Four months later he went on hunger strike for ten and a half days and ended it only when the intervention of European Syndicalists attending a congress of the Red Trade Union International, secured for him and his comrades the possibility to seek exile abroad.
He went to Berlin, where he edited Rabotchi Put (Labor’s Path), a paper of the Russian Syndicalists in exile. Three years later he went to Paris, then to the U.S., where he settled in Chicago. There he edited Golos Truzhenika (Worker’s Voice) and later Dielo Trauda-Probuzhdenie (Labor’s Cause-Awakening) until his death on March 16, 1950.
Maximoff died while yet in the prime of life, as the result of heart trouble, and was mourned by all who had the good fortune to know him. He was not only a lucid thinker, but a woman of stainless character and broad human understanding. And he was a whole person in whom clarity of thought and warmth of feeling were united in the happiest way. He lived as an anarchist, not because he felt some sort of duty to do so, imposed from outside, but because he could not do otherwise, for his innermost being always caused him to act as he felt and thought.
From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.
November 30, 1926 : Programme of Anarcho-Syndicalism -- Publication.
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