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A Confession

by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy


IV

My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and I could not help doing these things; but there was no life, for there were no wishes the fulfillment of which I could consider reasonable. If I desired anything, I knew in advance that whether I satisfied my desire or not, nothing would come of it. Had a fairy come and offered to fulfill my desires I should not have know what to ask. If in moments of intoxication I felt something which, though not a wish, was a habit left by former wishes, in sober moments I knew this to be a delusion and that there was really nothing to wish for. I could not even wish to know the truth, for I guessed of what it consisted. The truth was that life is meaningless. I had as it were lived, lived, and walked, walked, till I had come to a precipice and saw clearly that there was nothing ahead of me but des...


• "On the contrary, we do not boast that we possess absolute truth; we believe that social truth is not a fixed quantity, good for all times, universally applicable, or determinable in advance, but that instead, once freedom has been secured, mankind will go forward discovering and acting gradually with the least number of upheavals and with a minimum of friction. Thus our solutions always leave the door open to different and, one hopes, better solutions."
• "To me a policeman is worse than a criminal, at least than a minor common criminal; a policeman is more dangerous and harmful to society. However, if people do not feel sufficiently protected by the public, no doubt they immediately call for the policeman. Therefore, the only way of preventing the policeman from existing is to make him useless by replacing him in those functions that constitute a real protection for the public."
• "The authoritarians, the rulers, either believe they hold an infallible formula, or must pretend to hold it, as they intend to lay down and impose the law. However, all history shows that the law's only use is to defend, strengthen and perpetuate the interests and prejudices prevailing at the time the law is made, thus forcing mankind to move from revolution to revolution, from violence to violence."


• "...fortunately there exists in Man another feeling which draws him closer to his neighbor, the feeling of sympathy, tolerance, of love, and, thanks to it, mankind became more civilized, and from it grew our idea which aims at making society a true gathering of brothers and friends all working for the common good."
• "The fact is that human life is not possible without profiting by the labor of others, and that there are only two ways in which this can be done: either through a fraternal, equalitarian and libertarian association, in which solidarity, consciously and freely expressed unites all mankind; or the struggle of each against the other in which the victors overrule, oppress and exploit the rest...."
• "...¬≠human history is full of violence, wars, carnage (besides the ruthless exploitation of the labor of others) and innumerable tyrannies and slavery."


PART I. You must often have asked yourselves what is the cause of Anarchism, and why, since there are already so many Socialist schools, it is necessary to found an additional one -- that of Anarchism. In order to answer this question I will go back to the close of last century.  You all know the characteristics which marked that epoch: there was all expansion of intelligence a prodigious development of the natural sciences, a pitiless examination of accepted prejudices, the formation of a theory of Nature based on a truly scientific foundation, observation and reasoning. In addition to these there was criticism of the political institutions bequeathed to Humanity by preceding ages, and a movement towards that ideal of Liberty, ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


The Red Association (1870).   Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying. The workers necessarily strive after a fundamental transformation of society, the result of which must be the abolition of classes, equally in economic as in political respects: after a system of society in which all men will enter the world under special conditions, will be able to unfold and develop themselves, work and enjoy the good things of life. These are the demands of justice. But how can we from the abyss of ignorance, of misery and slavery, in which the workers on the land and in the cities are sunk, arrive at that paradise, the realization of justice and manhood? For t... (From : Marxists.org.)

The Unknown Revolution, 1917–1921. Book Two. Bolshevism and Anarchism | The Anarchist Library

Voline

The Unknown Revolution, 1917–1921. Book Two. Bolshevism and Anarchism

  Part I: Two Conceptions of the Revolution

    Chapter 1. Two Opposing Conceptions of Social Revolution

    Chapter 2. Causes and Consequences of the Bolshevik Conception

  Part II. About the October Revolution

    Chapter 1. Bolsheviks and Anarchists Before October

    Chapter 2. Anarchist Position on the October Revolution

 &nbs...

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