Revolt Library Anarchism The Liberation of Society from the State: What is Communist Anarchism?
Erich Mühsam (6 April 1878 – 10 July 1934) was a German-Jewish antimilitarist anarchist essayist, poet and playwright. He emerged at the end of World War I as one of the leading agitators for a federated Bavarian Soviet Republic, for which he served 5 years in prison. Also a cabaret performer, he achieved international prominence during the years of the Weimar Republic for works which, before Hitler came to power in 1933, condemned Nazism and satirized the future dictator. Mühsam was murdered in the Oranienburg concentration camp in 1934. (From: Wikipedia.org.)
The Liberation of Society from the State: What is Communist Anarchism?
In July 1931 the Berlin chief of police, the Social Democrat Grzesinski, prohibited the anarchist journal Fanal for a period of four months. That was the month of the bank failures; financial capital was at its wit’s end, the federal government suspended the circulation of currency; the entire industrial economy was so devastated that the heretofore customary political methods of ensuring capitalist hegemony were no longer sufficient; the path toward fascist dictatorship was spread out, smoothed over and commenced upon. The suffering of the masses increased, and with it the helplessness of the public authorities, while the demands of the industrialists and great landholders were simultaneously growing greater; the crisis was fought through heightened pressure on workers and the unemployed, its victims pacified with elections, elections, and elections. In the harm done to their adherents the parties sought their leaders’ benefit. A new government pulled together from the inheritance of bankrupt feudal times brought forth constitutional disputes; a threatening air of civil war descended upon Germany. All attempts to dispel stress and despair, all remedies imploringly suggested by fascists and democrats, ecclesiastics and right-wing as well as left-wing socialists, derived from authority’s apothecary. Each one praised his state, his claim to power, his authoritarian system.
But the fight of the anarchist monthly Fanal against centralism and authority, for freedom and renovation was interrupted. Only occasional circulars could inform the paper’s friends that the blow struck against it after nearly five years of regular publication, though not yet overcome, was nonetheless not fatal. In all of these circular bulletins the general state of affairs could only be mentioned in passing. Otherwise, they were begging letters to raise the necessary funds to keep the dormant from dying. As proof, however, that we never have and never wish to surrender Fanal, the letters announced the appearance of the pamphlet which should in part compensate for the cancellation of the newspaper and which is hereby presented to the public.
This publication appears as a special edition of Fanal in order to declare the continuing existence of our paper; at the same time, it has the style of an independent pamphlet in order to achieve distribution beyond the circle of readers and friends of Fanal. A work which, as a substitute for a newspaper oriented towards daily events and prevented from publication, wishes to outlive the moment, can only concern itself with the philosophy of life and the world which has determined, and will continue to determine, the spirit of the newspaper. The anarchist was thus given the task of outlining the fundamental features of his anarchist doctrine. This I have attempted.
We repeatedly hear the question from those who are unacquainted with the world of anarchist thinking: What do you actually want? How do you imagine a society without state and authority? Does there not lie an internal contradiction in the term “Communist Anarchism”? To these questions I wanted to give a brief, somewhat comprehensive answer in a manner that would be easy to understand. To my own comrades I wanted to simultaneously sketch a picture of the world of anarchist thinking which each may expand or qualify according to his disposition and by the lines of which each can check and strengthen his views.
I have dispensed with historical argumentation and scientific foundation of the thoughts here presented and also refrained from adducing older anarchist writings for support of and comparison with my opinion. No thought is made more correct by someone else having already stated it earlier. I also believe that it is most beneficial to the liveliness of my line of reasoning if I express it entirely in my own words. There will not be found, therefore, a single quote in the present work, except for the Wieland passage placed at the beginning which, written 150 years ago, is to demonstrate how natural anarchist thinking is to the best minds of all periods.
Whoever has already occupied himself with the doctrines of anarchism will hardly find new insights in this pamphlet. At most, I might allow myself claim to an independent contribution to the world of ideas of libertarian socialism for the thus far nowhere else attempted depiction of the nature of councils as the fulfillment of anarchist principles of management. Otherwise, I was concerned with the lucid summary and clarification of the logical unity of the whole anarchist intellectual construct. The extraordinarily rich literature of anarchism has so far lacked such a comprehensive work. It does, however, treat the special questions of history, philosophy, economics, natural rights and militancy in the most diverse manner from the standpoint of anti-authoritarian thinking. The readers who wish to further inform themselves are therefore emphatically referred to the overview of the literature assembled in the appendix at the end of this booklet.
Berlin-Britz, November 1932
“To know nothing of sultans, viziers, governors,
cadis, treasurers, tax farmers, fakirs and bigwigs,
is a blessing of which the greatest portion of
humanity has no concept.”
C. M. Wieland
(The Story of the Wise Danischmend)
Anarchism is the teaching of freedom as the foundation of human society. Anarchy (in English: without rule, without authority, without state) thereby denotes the condition of social order aspired to by the anarchists, namely the freedom of each individual through the general freedom. In this objective, in no other, consist the common bonds of all anarchists with one another, consists the fundamental distinction of anarchism from all other social doctrines and human faiths.
Whoever asserts the freedom of the individual person in demanding the community of all people, and conversely whoever equates the freedom of society with the freedom of all those who are communally bound within it, has the right to call himself an anarchist. Whoever, on the other hand, believes it acceptable to place people for the sake of the social order, or society for the sake of the presumed freedom of people, under external compulsion, has no right to be considered an anarchist. The different views about the paths which humanity must take to arrive at freedom, about the means by which the forces resistant to freedom are to be fought and conquered, about the endless forms and institutions of the libertarian society, comprise differences of opinion among anarchist tendencies within the common world view. Their comparison and evaluation is not the object of this work, which limits itself to expounding and promoting the principles of communist anarchism as considered correct by the author and those anarchists closest to him in conviction and engagement.
The scientific explication of the term communism can here also be omitted, especially as the communist anarchists are not so much concerned with a dogmatic stipulation of the rules of exchange and usage in the society freed from the state and capitalism, as much as they are with the creation of libertarian relationships within socialism in place of the authoritarian, officially directed and centrally managed socialism aspired to by the state socialists, especially by the Marxists. By communism we understand social relations based on community of goods, which allows each to work according to his abilities and to consume according to his needs. We believe the fundamental socialist demand for the equal rights of all members of society to be more safely guaranteed in this form of economy than in collectivism or mutualism, which wish to relate one’s share in the collective produce to work performed. Libertarian socialism grants sufficient latitude to these different possibilities which have all found their defenders among the anarchists. Also, only the attempts and experiences of the future can decide, for example, to what extent the satisfaction of needs demands the private possession of goods for individual use. An emphatic distinction must be made from the merely individualist anarchists, who only in the egoistic intensification and assertion of the individual perceive the means to negation of the state and authority and reject even socialism like every general organization of society as already a suppression of the self-sufficient ego. They close their eyes to the fact of nature that man is a social life-form and humanity a species in which every individual depends upon the totality and the totality is dependent upon each individual. We dispute the possibility and also the desirability of the individual detached from the whole, whose supposed freedom could be nothing other than lonely isolation, resulting in ruin within a social vacuum. We claim: no one can be free as long as everyone is not free. The freedom of everyone, however, and thereby the freedom of each individual, requires community in socialism.
Socialism is, economically speaking, the classless society in which the land and soil as well as all the means of production have been withheld from private disposition, whereby neither rent nor profit nor, as well, compensation for rented labor power through wages or salary can deprive creative hands and brains of the fruits of their efforts. In the place of private or state exploitation stands the planned common management of common property, in the place of the privileged minority of each country’s owners stands the totality united into one people in all countries.
Beyond the economic interpretation of the term, socialism is a moral condition and a spiritual value. For it means not only rational ordering of work, distribution and consumption, and thereby fulfillment and satisfaction of all natural requirements of material life for all; it also means fulfillment of that very moral requirement, disregard for which more severely offends man, and habituation to which more deeply degrades, than hunger and every other bodily privation: the requirement of equality. Poverty, misery of every sort, the burden of utmost strain amid the bleakest of circumstances is bearable when the burden is distributed equally among all, when alive in the communal thinking the individual’s suffering melts into the general suffering and with it the will to dispose of the causes of the misfortune also arises from the feeling of connection of all with all. That poverty, however, which is the expression of unjust conditions, is or at least should be unbearable. A society which lets children suffer hardship, which from the majority of people developing, in the flower of life and in old age withholds sufficient sunlight, clean air to breath, healthy food, relaxation, cleanliness, care for the body and expansion of the mind, in order to ensure wealth and power to a minority; a society in which the overworking of the poor creates the unburdened prosperity of others; a society which is unable to give work to all those capable of and eager for work, even at the most meager wages, and which heaps upon the exploited who are already employed the burden of maintaining the unemployed along with the burden of almost the entire expense of the administrative machinery serving to maintain this insanity, with the sole purpose of perpetuating the social inequality in favor of the beneficiaries of the capitalist economic process; in short, a society like the one in which we live cannot be transformed into a socialist one merely through a change in its material structure. The Marxists err in assuming that man’s intellectual and moral qualities arise mechanically out of the economy’s modes of production, that the religious, legal and scientific knowledge of an era are nothing other than the ideological superstructure of the material realities. There exists here a continual interchange, indistinguishable in order of precedence. Capitalism entails intellectual just as well as material prerequisites in order to attain dominance over the nations; through careful influence upon the upbringing and education of those who have been made obedient it must keep the mind submissive so as to tolerate the injustice of exploitation and inequality as a fateful inevitability. Thus socialism, too, requires intellectual preparation for its realization, and justification not only from its material advantages for the majority of people, but from its intellectual content. This justification, however, is only possible if socialism, beyond its aptitude for developing intellectual values, is itself proven to be and acknowledged as an intellectual value. The reformation of economic relationships under socialism can, in the sense of the equalization of everyone’s rights, only become effective if accompanied by the simultaneous reformation of the intellectual relationships between people, as only reformed intellectual relationships are capable of creating in the economic sphere the socialism of solidarity out of the individualism of inequality.
In so far, then, as communist anarchism agrees with all socialist doctrines regarding the objective of economic equality as the foundation of human interrelations, it regards this social transformation, in contrast to the strictly materialist-oriented doctrines of Marxism, not as the sole content of its ambition, but rather as one of the essential conditions for the far-reaching recreation of society itself, encompassing all of life’s interrelations. The concept of equality should not be understood in the sense of leveling. On the contrary, the demand for equality is nothing other than the demand: equal rights for all! That means: the same conditions for each person to develop his faculties to their utmost potential. Economic equality is essentially the elimination of all disturbances arising from unfavorable circumstances, in particular from want, which hinder the development of the individuality as distinct from all other individualities. Equality, understood as equal rights, does not prohibit, but rather first enables the growth of the personality. While capitalist society swaddles the rich man’s child in silk, raises him according to the most well considered physical and intellectual upbringing, affords him higher education and, without discriminating aptitude or character, obtains for him the careers of the rulers; while it, also without discriminating aptitude or character, abandons the poor man’s child in dismal accommodations, with little light and bad air, in sad, tortured surroundings from early on to the influences and impressions of misery, denies him the instruction that could harm the designs of the powerful, raises him to a servile mentality and forces him into personality-killing work, — the equality of socialism ensures every child light, air, joy and room for all of the seeds to thrive which by nature and consciousness allow him to become a human being in his distinctness and in his connectedness to his companions in time, character and fate. Capitalism accordingly pursues the most tedious leveling in two forms, one intended for the possessing class and one for the exploited class; classless socialism, on the other hand, creates for all people the equality of the preconditions upon which every personality in the full diversity of its unique being, but in harmonious unity with the social whole, creates values according to its ability and takes part in the use of the common property according to its need.
Only when the principle of equality attains intellectual meaning and moral elevation in such a manner, is it socialistically justifiable from the anarchist perspective. What matters is not the balancing of tottering external relations between men, but rather that this balancing is undertaken out of internal necessity; and the inequality itself is not sufficient occasion to create equality, but rather the injustice which in inequality comes to light. Were there only material considerations in deciding on the questions of social life, were morality in fact merely the ideological expression of calculations of tangible utility, then one would have to involve oneself in the foolhardy discussions with the capitalists regarding the expediency of their system. Reference to children going hungry and to all other manifestations of the impoverishment and the decrepitude of the working class could not at all convince of the necessity that their causes must be eliminated, if the mode of production were really everywhere and always the starting point of all human thinking, willing and consciousness. The present mode of production is capitalist. That in material existence a certain behavior results therefrom for capitalists as for proletarians is obvious. The Marxist formulation: being determines consciousness, whereby being is explicitly characterized as an economic condition, is highly debatable. The consciousness of man is determined by, aside from material values, various other impressions as well and receives from the stirrings of the soul sometimes the strongest incitement precisely where an interest is taken in capitalist facts. What is correct is that conditions determine behavior, whereby economic conditions alone are by no means the only consideration (conditions could also arise from character, intellectual peculiarity, connection to other persons, climate, cosmic events), and whereby behavior, totally independent of all modes of production, can be driven by original moral feelings.
Capitalism is admittedly dependent in all its effectiveness upon only materialist modes of thought. To the logical consideration that strata of society living in misery and to a great degree excluded from enjoyment of the social goods represents an injury to the wellbeing of society, that their maintenance is therefore materially inexpedient, it can oppose its own logic, according to which the collection of possessions in the hands of a small number of large consumers allows the most useful employment of the necessary labor power, whereby the material needs of the capitalists, removed from all moral judgment and based upon power relations, are naturally taken as the gauge of usefulness. The economic system of capitalism is not refutable with logic alone and certainly not with the scientifically puffed-up doctrine of historical materialism, still less can it be thus fought off or replaced with a better system. From any impersonal standpoint one cannot do justice to those things which have their effect almost exclusively within the personally human and which precisely through their oppression of those personally affected are perceived to be unbearable. Although the actual changes will consist mainly in the complete reordering of economic social life, the establishment of the socialist society in place of the capitalist is only to be proven necessary from the standpoint of man’s inborn sense of social ethics. Here is one of the decisive differences between anarchist and Marxist socialist teaching. The capitalists have never attempted to raise the principles of their behavior to the level of law for all humanity. They make use of capitalism because it ensures them the power over the proletariat and the privileges of their position. Not even this minority takes seriously the pathetic accounting tricks laying claim to the earth’s carrying capacity, thanks to which always only a select minority may enjoy prosperity and the great majority are to be condemned by nature itself to privation and slavery. Marxism appeared then as a savior in the moment of need, with the bold theory of the ordered regularity of the modes of thought and action, which thus far only capitalism had brought to social life with utmost logical consistency. Materialism, that is to say, the shaping of the world from purely mathematical considerations, the ordering of life strictly from the viewpoint of metabolism, — this mindless denigration of all mankind’s questions to mere affairs of production and distribution, received the blessing of an immutable, eternally valid institution of nature, ordained by fate. We anarchists oppose capitalism because it subordinates the intellectual and moral values of humanity to an unscrupulous materialist-thinking nobility’s desire for profit and power. We believe that the class character of society (as capitalism has developed it, into a divergence of its peoples into two distinct species) only became possible through the overgrowth of all life by materialist thought and ambition; that on the other hand excess of materialist drives must always and under all circumstances lead to class differentiation in society, consequently to the enslavement of the one half and the elite empowerment of the other. We further believe that the decay of capitalist society, its helpless tottering about in its own mismanagement, its resort to wars and increasingly more brutal subjugations of the dispossessed and disenfranchized masses have as their deepest cause the absurdity of purely materialistic feeling, thought and action. Nature in the long run does not allow itself to be abused in such a way that the nourishment and safeguarding of physical being, provision for which is the prerequisite and requirement of life, is made to become life’s content. From this necessarily arise avarice, cheating and power, which in all cases is likewise abuse of power. We want socialism because we recognize in this form of society the guarantee of securing a foundation of the material necessities and comforts for human existence upon which social life can raise itself to the best possibilities of spiritual and intellectual connection. And now the socialists are offered a doctrine which excellently describes the essence of capitalism, explains all of its manifestations and exposes its effects. But from capital’s origin and reign a law is derived, as if the institutions which men have established for themselves were determined by nature; this law is adorned with pearls of philosophical insight and irrefutable science, and those who overthrow capitalism and are to set socialism in its place are told: socialism can only grow and the same foundations as capitalism; materialism, the primordial material of capitalism, must be acknowledged as historical materialism, thusly as the primordial material of every social order. The materialist point of view teaches that capitalism can only become what it is, an expression of modern slavery, of the depersonalization of man, of the subjugation of the will to the mechanism of a purely economic machine, because it, though not theoretically, yet in practice nonetheless makes materialist usefulness the lever of all social forces. But you socialists, the Marxists say, have a further advantage over the capitalists in that you even have theory; go forth and create socialism by making the materialist point of view the foundation of your work as well!
Could a greater favor be rendered to the proprietors of capitalist power than through such a doctrine? Are they not morally justified, if the socialists adopt the world view upon which their cursed system rests as the pedestal of their own? The means of destruction of a poorly founded social structure may be forced from its defenders into the hands of its attackers, just as the struggle against armed men can hardly be otherwise conducted than with weapons; but whoever wishes to use the stones of a demolished society as the building blocks of a new one will at the same time be creating the new entry gates for the old spirit. Socialism has nothing in common with capitalism, neither in the economic structure nor in the ideological content. That socialism should take the place of capitalism is not grounded in the practical logic of utilitarian economy, but rather in the moral conscience of righteous thought. We detest the hunger of the poor precisely for justice sake!
Every explanation of what justice is is superfluous. For the ability to distinguish between right and wrong is an inborn gift of nature, just like the gift of sensing pleasure and pain. Though the senses of pleasure and pain are distinguishable already in the first hour of life, the sense of right and wrong on the other hand must first be developed. But this is no proof against its quality as an instinctual predisposition. Walking, too, the distinction between colors, language, judgment over beautiful and ugly, need to be developed in the person, and yet no one doubts that we are here dealing with purely natural abilities. The knowledge of right and wrong is the social conscience in man, without which the plight of others could not move us as if it were our own affair. But just as pleasure and pain arise from physical or mental causes, which in contrast to feelings succumb to influence and alteration through the human will, so too is the social conscience aroused by human occasions or omissions. The will to justice grounded in our intellectual being is satisfied or offended in so far as certain basic requirements of the social conscience are fulfilled or disappointed. The first basic social requirement is that of equal rights. That means justice through equality. The condition of its realization, however, is the commitment by those with equal rights to mutuality. The struggle of species against one another — all human, animal and plant life is based upon the killing of one species by another and the translation of the substance of the destroyed creature into the life force of the destroyer — , this struggle for the maintenance of species finds its complement in the organized support by members of the same species in the struggle for existence, defense and socialized rearing of the young. To what degree bonds of companionship of different species, or transformations of substance within the same species, are to be found in nature is in this context of no importance. This much is certain, that of all creatures dependent upon social cooperation only humans have methodically extended the struggle to encompass their own kind, and not just as is the case with some animals and with cannibals, in order to alleviate dietary challenges, but in order to create unequal rights within the same race and thereby satisfy cravings for power. Mutual aid is as much a part of equal rights, just as social inequality makes impossible every relationship of mutuality. Capitalist society destroys the social community of mutuality and replaces it with the mutual support of a power-hungry minority in its disenfranchisement and exploitation of the totality of forces, artificially fractured, which create social values. A great portion of the proletariat likely recognizes that its wellbeing can also only be sought in uniting for the rendering of mutual aid, yet its struggle has so far extended to a very limited degree beyond resistance to the worst effects of capitalist depredation, and the goal of its struggle is limited almost everywhere, even where the connection has already occurred under socialist and communist decree, only to the material transformation of life. The assault directs itself exclusively against the manifestations of capitalism, against the effects of the proprietors’ power on the standard of living, health and social standing of the unpropertied class, but, vanishing exceptions aside, nowhere against the moral principles which have made the birth, growth and activity of capitalism possible and whose elimination would result in the immediate collapse of the economic system, were the spirit of equal rights and mutual aid (without which there is no socialism) ever to come alive.
Communist anarchism therefore directs its struggle both against the economic oppression of man by man as well as against the morality which considers discrimination between men acceptable. Capitalism could not exist, could never have come into being, if the renunciation of the control of one’s own labor power had not been preceded by renunciation of man’s personal responsibility. All historical explanations, according to which the communistically organized husbandmen of old, for defense against assault on their land, singled out armed men who gradually thanks to their superiority through use of weapons made themselves lords of the land and as a privileged class transformed the fruit of their employers’ labor into personal fortune, set themselves up as owners of the land and soil and thereby made the laborers subservient to their claims to power — all researches into the origin and development of capitalism and class wars may be accepted as true and accurate. They prove nothing for the Marxist dogma that economic being alone, or at least alone decisively, influences man’s activity, thought and feeling. The surrender of armed service to a select troop must have been preceded by consciousness of no longer being strong enough for defense nor for work in the natural simplicity of total community. This reduction of faith in the social power of solidarity is, however, an emotional-ethical occurrence, only from out of which result the consequences for economic conditions. Consciousness here determines the form of being. No attempt to ascribe economic causes in turn to the dwindling of self-confidence would overcome the objection that every formation of labor output and ordering of relations is a human organization, where action however is necessarily preceded by thought, thought by unconscious stimulation of the nerves, which signify psychological emotion. A shared lifestyle is based on shared responsibility. The division of commonality in social action can only be ascribed to the relaxation of social responsibility. If the whole were to transfer to a part one of the duties whose performance requires the input of all forces, it would thus at the same time eliminate this part from performance of the remaining social duties, thereby relieving it of responsibility for others’ affairs, just as the whole is compromised in its responsibility for the transferred duty. A division of duties within social labor is of course necessary, just as defense against assaults on land and labor assigns different tasks to the fighters. The fundamental principle of community is not thereby violated. But to hand over the labor to one part of the populace, and burden the other with war means tearing apart the conduct of social life, means sacrificing generally binding responsibility, means consequently creating inequality, which necessarily leads to power. Shared responsibility of everyone for everything, that is the real meaning of communism. But shared responsibility of everyone for everything is exactly the same as personal responsibility of each for the whole, and that is the real meaning of anarchism.
This raises the question of the interrelationship between society and individual. Marxism wants to bring about social equality by stretching each person’s lifestyle on the rack of the collectivity’s economically weightable industrial ends. Individualism on the other hand wishes to use the unrestricted living space of the individual as the measure of the mode of social existence, without regard for equality or the common good. Both conceptions, then, assume a conflict between society and individual and reach different conclusions only regarding the question of whose right to life is more important. Communist anarchism rejects the distinction between society and individual. It regards society as the sum of individual persons and the individual as an insoluble part of society. A social equality, which constrains the individual impulse for activity on the part of a person aware of his own value, which contents itself with the removal of surplus and deficit in the distribution of earthly goods, does not by itself create a social equality which fulfills the requirement of justice, an equality which rests upon mutualism in all and not just in material things, and which rests on the feeling of the connected responsibility of all and of the personal responsibility of each individual. The establishment of an equality which truly bears the meaning of equal rights is not the simple solution to an accounting exercise in economics. Realizing that herein lies its weakness, Marxism takes flight to the fields of philosophical consolations and dissuades socialists from thinking of personal responsibility in social affairs with the old temple wisdom about the limitations of the will and the predetermination of all being and behavior, a doctrine whose super-sensory extravagance is made no better by its replacement of divine providence with historical materialism, that is, the dependence of human action upon the prevailing modes of production. Economic conditions naturally influence people’s decisions, but aside from these a wealth of other conditions, arising from peculiarities grounded in geography, biology, tribe, tradition or other qualities, create the spiritual melting pot which we call character. Though the development of consciousness may be therefore subject to many various social conditions, the individual is not thereby affected in his ability to immediately influence social being nor in his freedom of discretion. Within the personality the will is free.
However, to place the individual’s will at the center of all events, to subjugate to it the affairs of the whole in the belief that the meaning of society exhausts itself in the satisfaction of the material and intellectual needs of the personality conscious of its unique ego, also means nothing but the flight from reality into the imaginary world of a socially disjointed humanity. Yet just how indivisible the unity between man and humanity is, and is perceived to be by everyone, can be made clear (to name a single example out of all human endeavors) by transplanting the testimonies of the individual life beyond death into the social life. For the individual being, the world exists only so long as it makes itself noticeable to its senses. Dying, which along with the individual extinguishes his entire consciousness and all personal perception, would for the lone individual be the end of things were it not for the complete interconnection between personal and social life. A relationship of reciprocity between people cannot exist on demand. The urge, grounded in human instinct, to engage creative zeal in the service of humanity, from out of one’s own to multiply the material, intellectual and moral treasures of the whole, would be totally senseless if the individual was a part separable from the whole. All liveliness of the individual receives its impulse from consciousness of mutuality. Society is the origin of life, just as it is the meaning and content of life. Since society, however, is comprised of the living, common being of individuals, its effective qualities are not different from those of the people, animals or plants which together make up the society, are come into existence from it and continue to renew it from out of themselves uninterruptedly.
Society and person are consequently to be conceived of as a unified organism, and every error in the mutual relationship of people to one another must manifest itself as a social injury, every shortcoming of the social order as a symptom of illness in the social machinery and thereby as a disadvantaging of individuals. This inseparability of the whole from its members, this state of entanglement between the parts, each one of which is an organism with the qualities of the whole, this existence of the individual and of the whole with and through one another, is the characteristic of organic existence in the world and of every connection in nature. Just as the forest consists of trees, every one of which has its own separate life, sticks by its own roots in the earthly realm, nourishes itself, lets those branches fall off which have become incapable of life and develops new shoots, gives place to young offspring in the wilting of leaves and the bringing forth of new sprouts, in the dispersal of seed and the gradual use of life force, and just as in this becoming and passing away and in the reciprocal transfer of energy of the individual trees the life of the forest as a union into a whole in turn completely attains the character of a living, dying being, always creating itself anew, so too is every society an organism of organisms, a federation of federations, a multiplicity of unities itself become a unity. Communist anarchism wants to let this natural connection between individual and society, with equal rights, mutual support and personal responsibility of each individual in awareness of the total obligation and common responsibility for the whole, again become the mode of living for humanity as well. For that, however, the complete reformation of the fundamental organizing principles of economic and social interaction is necessary.
Such a union based upon the natural joining of the parts into the whole and upon the power of the whole as the life source for the parts displays the form of organization of federalism in contrast to centralism, which is the artificial form of organization of force and the state as capitalism has elevated it to the point of ceaseless destruction of individuality, equality, self-determination, personal responsibility and reciprocity. Federalism is to centralism as organism is to mechanism, that is, as a grown, nature-born being is to a thing subjugated, thrown together, counterfeited. Federalism is the community of the living parts with the structure of a living whole; centralism is the chaining of parts one to another for the sake of unwilled direction through a soulless mechanism. In federalism, the agreement of individuals brings about the connection of their will, directed without distinction toward their own as toward the common good, with the rational production of necessities, with their rational distribution and usage and with the proper arrangement of all other life-relationships; in centralism the externally derived law of the momentary power is in force, which holds in its hands the tools for suppressing the will of the community. Federalism builds up the communal body from below by allowing the creative forces themselves in direct communication with one another to take the measures on which the wellbeing of the individual and the community depends and which ensure the citizenry that the communal wellbeing contains within itself that of the individual. Centralism moves from on high individuals merely externally bound, yet not familiar with one another out of any internal necessity, by crippling the individual will and forcing upon it direction through a will foreign to community and removed from criticism. Federalism is organization through natural order; centralism is the replacement of order with orders and superordinates. Federalist organization corresponds to the demands of justice, mutuality, equality, shared personal responsibility, community of individuals. Centralist organization corresponds to the needs of power, authority, exploitation, class conflict, the privileged. Federalism is an expression of society; centralism is an expression of the state.
For state and society are two different things. Neither is society an accumulation of all the different organizations and connections within which people order their communal affairs and under which the state exists alongside other institutional forms, nor is the state from among a great many possibilities one of the types of organization in which society can embody itself. It is certainly clear that wherever society exits there is no room for the state, but that wherever the state is it is like a thorn in society’s flesh, it does not permit it to form a people who can socially inhale and exhale, and instead divides them into classes and thereby prevents them from being a society. A centralized construct cannot at the same time be a federalist construct. A system of management organized along authoritarian lines is a government, a bureaucracy, a commanding power, and this is the mark of the state; a community built upon equal rights and mutuality is, when considered within the bounds of their physical proximity, a people, when considered as a general form of human living, a society. State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other.
To speak of the class state is to speak of wooden wood. The state is and can be nothing other than the centralized executor of a class detached from the people, for the subjugation of a people disenfranchized and reduced to a dominated class. The process of state management thus divides human society into social classes by protecting the land along with the man-made means of production as the property of the privileged class, regulating the permission for the use of the property by the unpropertied class, which is nearly everyone, according to the principles of the sanctity of property privilege and of the preservation of the character of labor’s performance as the hiring out of labor power. The state is made exclusively for this purpose; it has never served another purpose; it could never be made useful to another purpose. Only where the rights of masters stand opposed to the rights of slaves does the state make sense, does it find tasks to carry out. The state could and did come into being only with the inception of personal property for the exploitation of people. With the development of capitalism, which makes the principles of material exploitation by the property owners the entire focus of man’s life, the state constantly enlarges and coarsens the network of legal, supervisory and compulsory measures through which the proletariat is to be maintained in obedience to the privileged class. But again it is the Marxist socialists who along with the materialist world view also want to adopt the centralist mode of organization, this essential characteristic of the capitalist state, as the blue print for the construction of society freed from capitalism.
It has been demonstrated that overall conditions condition people’s behavior, but that these conditions arise to a considerable degree from the voluntary initiatives of the people themselves, so that behavior in turn creates the conditions. It can be generally accepted that similar conditions have similar behavior as a consequence, and just as well that similar behavior creates similar conditions. That capitalism has established a centralized state administration for the strengthening of its hegemony over people, which through steady intensification of authoritarian pressure has continually increased the power of capital and retroactively caused a constant expansion of state authority to the detriment of the workers and to the benefit of the privileged, simply means that the state directed from above is the only form of organization suitable for the maintenance and promotion of the capitalist-directed economy; however, it means at the same time that only capitalist conditions can harmonize with state centralism in its intended effect, and further that every centralized state power can develop capitalism and generate it anew wherever it is not or might never have been at all. Therefore, if certain interpretations of Marxist doctrine wish to convince one that the essence of capitalism is determined by private exploiters’ ownership of the means of production, that their management through the state, however, can be interpreted already as a sign of socialism, then one cannot object strong enough against such a twisted falsification of the basic idea of socialism. State capitalism, even where one prefers to call it state socialism, has not the slightest thing in common with true socialism; it is on the contrary the form of capitalist subjugation most hostile to the spirit of community, mutuality and individual responsibility, without which there can be no socialism.
It is thereby completely irrelevant whether the state is conquered by the proletariat, in order to arrange it to socialist living conditions through gradual transformation, or whether in place of the private capitalist state, destroyed through revolution, one creates another in which from the outset state powers assume the duties of beneficiary of the workers’ own labor power, the possession and utilization of which they themselves have been deprived. It is, as well, a worthless concession to the natural insight of socialists who recognize the irreconcilability of social equality with the state, to claim that the state governed with a striving towards socialist economic forms has the characteristic of making itself superfluous with the disappearance of capitalism, of dying off and clearing a path for the accomplishment of socialism by a society of federally allied equals. A state does not die off, but consolidates itself by developing the foundations on which it rests. The foundations of the state are the capitalist class relations, and it makes no difference whether the class contradictions arise from the private ownership by the few of the earth and the means of work or are brought about by the transferal of the same ownership to select state commanders. However much more morally satisfying it may be to know that the right of exploitation does not lie in the hands of personal greed, — what matters is that all exploitation is exterminated, not that it is depersonalized. It is meaningless to the creative person whether his performance benefits a joint-stock company, which passes on in the form of dividends the derived profit to people who have absolutely no contact with the labor itself, often not even aware of what is being produced in the factory of which they are co-owners, — or whether the state confiscates the fruit of his labor. The effect is for him totally the same: the product of his labor does not belong to him, he is deprived of its possession and he finds absolutely no profit in the product itself, but rather in receiving a wage for its production. The wage system is not altered in the slightest by the transferal of private capitalism to state capitalism, yet the wage system is the mark of exploitation.
The claim that the expropriation of labor power on the part of the state, even if the economic form bears the appearance of exploitation, will bring about the socialist order in such a way that the produce of labor will serve the needs of the community, falsifies the principle thought of socialism. Aside from the capitalists’ claim that they too create value which suits the general need, and that they transfer most of the surplus into production which raises demand, here as before is missing the self-determination by the workers of the use of their product. With that at once disappears the justification for the objection that capitalist labor, regardless of whether a private individual or the state is the employer, is ever subordinate to the social good. For wherever the responsibilities of employer and laborer are divided, there can be no talk of social good. It goes for the state to an even greater degree than for the private employer that the principle motive in all its measures, especially in the distribution of job assignments, is the securing of its position as the authority over disposal of the means of production. Supplying the market with the necessities of life is in any manner of capitalist economy only decisive in so far as it contributes to the strengthening of this position of power. Wherever the privilege of possession comes into conflict with the needs of the people, it is in all cases the care for the whole which is disadvantaged, without distinction between private and state capitalism.
The privilege must therefore be eliminated. It can only be eliminated when workers’ self-management takes the place of regulation of labor from above. Self-management is nothing other than the mutual, individual responsibility of equals, nothing other than federated, in the place of centralist, organization. In which manner the federated labor and distribution organizations of communist anarchism are to be realized by means of the council system, the only imaginable form of economic self-management, will be shown in section two. Here suffice it to assert the generally valid proposition: a society in which the relations of labor and consumption, of people with one another and of their whole spiritual and material intercourse, are to be arranged under preservation of equal rights, universal individual responsibility and mutual support, demands federalist management for all institutions, i.e. the direct intercommunication of those involved. Central points of connection only serve the purposes of book-keeping and the relaying of orders, never those of independent execution of an office or those of any superior authority, whose complete eradication is the prerequisite of all self-management.
The attempt to arrive at socialism from capitalism by means of a transition state is condemned to failure by the nature of the state as a central ordering power. The state order rests on the process of transferring public functions to officials separated out from the whole especially to this end. Should socialism after the fall of the capitalist social order wish to arrange its ways of life according to the same procedure, this would result in the repetition of the process which, through the division of social duties into cultivation of the land and defense of the land, brought about the suppression of the laboring men by the armed men, and thereby the stratification of the people into classes, and consequently the dispossession of the entirety by the strengthened minority, exploitation, capitalism. Management dissociated from the whole was destined in a short period of time to become an end in itself, just as the armed men of old made themselves into an independent nobility and forced the people, which had entrusted itself to them, into vassalage. Even under current conditions, where the civil servants are in a state of complete dependence upon the far greater power of the owners of land and the means of production, the state eagerly strives by means of authoritarian interventions to bring the capitalists’ competition within manageable bounds, whereas the capitalists on the other hand federally unite themselves over and beyond national boundaries, accordingly seek to free themselves from the centralist state constraints and, the more authority they equip the legislative and executive agents of the state with for the suppression of the working class, so much more decisively do they insist that they limit themselves to the practice of justice, policing and tax collection as well as ensuring their own dominance over the unpropertied people. The expropriation of private capital for the benefit of the state would of course direct the proceeds of labor into other channels, but would not reduce the dependence of the forces of labor on the exploiting powers; rather it would merely free the state from its dependence on needs other than those of its own power. The administration of the state, the civil service, the machinery of government would swell ever more terribly and, just as any regime has the tendency to develop into a long-term power which cannot be deposed nor dissolved, they will direct all their activity through pedagogy and force toward the goal of making the good of the authorities appear to be the true good of the whole. At the end of this path stands the hereditary bureaucracy which necessarily brings with it the return of exploitation to the benefit of an upper class, thus the total restoration of private capitalism, simply having exchanged groups of owners and with an altered manner of expression to deceive the masses.
Marxism represents in the state and in its own organizations the standpoint of the most rigid centralism. It battles the authority of the current state, not because it deprives the people of their right to self-determination, but because it does not extend the oppression to the ruling class. We see the facts of the matter thusly: capitalism has need of the state for the sole purpose to which it is suited, to prevent independent decisions by working people in their own affairs; to this end capitalism has armed the state with extraordinarily far reaching powers. The laws of the state serve the defense of capitalist institutions and are so contrived that they are for all appearances obligatory for both social classes. With the evolution of individualist capitalism into corporate associations of exploitation growing beyond state borders the provisions of state unity gradually proved to be too narrow for members of the propertied class. For themselves, therefore, they strive for a relaxing of state authorities; for better control of the unpropertied class, which with the perfection of technology becomes ever more distressed, they strive for these authorities’ ever more stringent formation. The state is naturally satisfied with the increasing of its power over the majority, however it protects itself from a reduction of its power through the preservation of the actual privileges of the ruling class, as long as the entire state apparatus is not transformed according to the desire of international, corporate structured capitalism (this transformation represents the fascist state). The centralist socialists, however, place themselves on the side of the state in its efforts to allow nothing of its total power to be taken from it, yet they attack it since — and here, because it has to do with a classic example of capitalist phenomena, economic being really determines consciousness — it nonetheless withdraws step by step before the demands of the propertied class, and they believe that authority’s ruthless display of power toward poverty finds its explanation in the weakness of the state toward wealth, not however in the essence of state authority itself. They oppose authority not because it is authority but because they want a different authority, made of people of their persuasion, of people who as leaders of their parties or unions have accustomed themselves to centralist governing, imposing regulations, demanding discipline and obedience, subordinating people and making them at the same time believe that they are being governed for their own good and not for that of their governor. Accustomed to authority and drilling, central direction and surrender of the will to superiors, raised for belief in the state and trust in a leader, the state socialists will be desirable citizens for state capitalism. Only, this state capitalism will lack all the qualities of socialism: equality and justice, individual responsibility and mutual support, solidarity of people with one another and self-management in social cooperation. An all powerful bureaucracy will suppress from on high every independent stirring of the people and be the expression of a state which has as little similarity to a real society as all earlier forms of state and which contains all the seeds of a class-divided exploitation economy.
For what makes the state a state and what makes one state equal to the next regardless of all other distinctions is retained in any socialist state as well: the replacement of people’s immediate connection with one another by the handing over of power to men for the domination of men. The disavowal of power in the social order is the definitive characteristic of anarchy, or, to give positive form to this negative explanation: instead of fighting for some form of power anarchism fights for the people’s socially organized self-possession and self-determination. By power is to be understood every claim to or concession of sovereign authority through which people are divided into governing and governed groups. In this the form of government plays not the slightest roll. Monarchy, democracy, dictatorship represent as types of state only different possibilities in the process of the centralized domination of people. If democracy makes the appeal that it ensures the participation of the entire population in the public administration with equal voting rights for all, then it must be remembered that equal voting rights has nothing to do with equal justice and that precisely the selection of delegates prevents the participation in administration by the delegators and means their representation through successive rulers. Where there are privileges of ownership, no formal equalization of voices can create real equality, and hardly where people’s self-determination lets itself be replaced by the conferment of power. Power rests always on economic superiority, and the abolition of economic superiority with simultaneous maintenance of power brings about under all circumstances the determination of those in possession of power to secure it through regaining economic superiority. Every even temporary law giver, be he supreme court justice, minister or parliamentarian, feels himself elevated above those for whom he can create regulations, thus becoming, even when he wasn’t before, the agent of an elite divorced from the whole with different, increased needs and life goals, ceasing to belong to the class which must direct itself according to the laws and regulations. That shows itself even in the centralistically organized labor organizations. Here an official leadership is endowed with the privilege of determining the guidelines of behavior and the obligations for the rest of the group; command, authority, power arise. Thereby arises further a fundamental separation of interests with the result that the head of the organization takes on a life independent from the members and the management of the organization becomes an end in itself and always holds its own needs more important than the tasks for the sake of which the organization was created.
It lies in the nature of power not only to defend its continued existence by any means but to make itself materially and spiritually ever stronger, even making its strengthening and expansion the basis of all its actions. The power struggle is not innate to people and social animals. Only thousands of years of habituation to privilege and disenfranchisement has brought humans, and them alone, to the belief that it is fixed in their nature that the competition for a place on the sunny side of life must be conducted in the form of power struggles. But precisely the power struggles, with the separation of the human race into rulers and ruled, first brought it about that there is a sunny and a shadowy side of life. There can be no power where there is powerlessness. Whoever strives for power can only reach his goal by making others powerless. The greatest and most comprehensive power in the course of history to the present day is the power developed by capitalism. The purpose of the endless and boundless accumulation of capital is by no means simply to create a life of luxury for the capitalist. His goal of being rich and living extravagantly can be achieved without the need for billions of dollars, immense estates, mines, the proceeds of entire industries to come into the possession of a single individual. The big capitalist certainly does not pile up his goods in order to create a comfortable life for himself; on the contrary, he expends an extraordinary amount of strenuous labor on maintaining, increasing and reproducing his capital, although he knows that his lifestyle will be in no way altered by the expansion of his property and although every increase in his wealth places greater demand on the strength of his organizational abilities.
The capitalist even knows that under a just and natural management of the earth in socialism, under equal consideration of everyone in the regulation of consumption, no impoverishment in the sense of a shortage of goods and pleasures would occur for anyone, himself included. For the soil, tended in a socialist manner, yields enough to ensure a healthy prosperity for everyone, and we fight for communist anarchy not to dispose of wealth but poverty. The capitalist makes himself rich in order to make others poor. His drive to accumulate capital is not greed, but lust for power. The more people he drives into poverty through his wealth, the more people he makes obedient to himself. The poorer someone is, so much more dependent is he; the more dependent he is, so much more easily can he be ruled. It remains therefore a matter of total indifference for the working man whether his labor power is rented by a private individual or an exploitative corporation or by the state. By denying him the fruit of his labor, power is created on which he is dependent. State power requires his poverty just like the private individual does, in order to exercise power through it. But the power of the state is more dangerous than every other power because it holds out the promise of being the expression of the general will and of allocating for the common good those riches which it has taken from labor. In truth, these riches serve exclusively the maintenance of the state itself, that is, the power of authority, which requires the impotence of the ruled.
In the realization that power contains within itself exploitation, regardless who exercises it, regardless for what pretended or actual purpose it is rationalized, further that state and centralization are institutions of power and thus must practice exploitation, regardless what social goals they have set for themselves, anarchism sets itself the task of destroying power as a form of social life, accordingly of destroying every sort of state from the ground up and in its place constructing a federated community of people with equal rights. The frequently raised objection, that the destruction of power presumes through its means of execution once again the use of power, rests on unclear reasoning. For the words power, compulsion and force denote completely different concepts whose equation and confusion have produced disastrous errors even within the ranks of the anarchists themselves. Force is a means of struggles which is not fundamentally different from other means of struggle such as persuasion, deception, passive resistance, etc. The claim that anarchist thought is distinctly irreconcilable with struggle which requires the use of physical force or its mechanical reinforcement through use of weapons is an arbitrary distortion of anarchist thought. Whoever is uncomfortable with the use of force in the struggle may avoid it; such matters of personal taste have nothing to do with anarchism. Since anarchism affirms the struggle it cannot differentiate among the external forms of struggle and draw a boundary beyond which struggle is disavowed. The use of compulsion also does not stand in general opposition to anarchist conduct. An opponent vanquished in battle must naturally be prevented from continuing the fight. A social parasite must be coerced into conforming itself to the necessity of forging a shared existence. Such prevention and coercion is compulsion. Force and compulsion become only then unacceptable from the anarchist point of view when they serve a commanding authority, and the superficial equation of the three concepts is thereby explained in that the state by virtue of its power lays claim to the exclusive use of force and compulsion. Anarchism is opposed to state force and state compulsion because it is opposed to state power. But for the sake of clarity in thinking distinction must be made: force is an act of struggle, simply a means to accomplish an end; compulsion is a measure taken in struggle and a means of securing the struggle’s already accomplished end; power is a continuing situation of force and compulsion for the suppression of cravings for equality, is the ruler’s monopoly on force and compulsion wielded from on high.
Power thus designates the actual condition which arises out of any centralist, authoritarian, law-bound, state relationship. As a moral basis for its dominion it makes use of the long-instilled belief in the legitimacy and necessity of authority. Authority is the decisiveness of others’ perception for one’s own judgment. The claim to authority thus means the demand that people should refrain from forming their own opinion, to be replaced by the blind recognition of ready made thoughts, rules and principles. Accordingly, to accept authority means the surrendering of one’s power of thought and one’s will, subordination of the personality to externally derived rules and doctrines. It is immediately clear that power would not be endured had the human mind not first been made accessible to the influence of authority. Where authority gains entry, power can there establish itself; where power holds sway, it creates ever new inroads for authority. Ever since people conceded to others power over themselves and the hunger for power thereby developed into the most significant molder of social relations among men — in the lust for power lies the most prominent distinguishing trait of humans in comparison to the animals, for whom natural social existence could nowhere be suppressed by power relations within the same species — , since the beginnings of training in privilege among men the belief in authority has at all times been cultivated in those whom a will to power has destined for domination. For authority is founded on psychological influence, on preparation of the mind in the acceptance of belief and trust at the price of thinking and judgment. Whoever has gone so far as to believe without question even what is impossible and contrary to reason, he will also be ready to obey without dissent, even when the most inappropriate and disadvantageous demands are made of him.
The oldest and to this day best-proven method of arousing belief in authority is the pretense of heavenly divine powers, whose bidding a person must obey, to whose judgment he must be responsible. The original feeling of right and wrong would allow no assault on human self-determination. The awareness that only equality and mutuality make true social justice possible would exclude any use of power by men against men. A feeling for the privilege of authority and obligation of subjects could therefore only be taught to the unspoiled mind of a natural person by means of the illusion that otherworldly, heavenly beings are the creators and guides of all things; to them and not to oneself or one’s kind is a person responsible in everything he does. Whoever had been made to understand heavenly power, he could be won over to belief in human power. This merely required the insinuation that the gods conferred guardianship over human behavior to earthly representatives endowed with greater glories. Thus the authority of the priests was assured, thereby cutting a path into the social conscience for every other authority to follow. With clear insight into the human soul the priests understood that the natural defense against every authority is grounded in self-esteem, which indicates self-determination and agreement based on equal rights. Self-esteem and pride can only be broken by arousing fear. This is why along with belief in the gods fear of them is also poured into the minds. Fear, otherwise generally considered a pitiful state, is with respect to the invisible raised to a virtuous duty. Who has already learned fear of God, however, will also learn fear of priests, fear of kings, fear of the law and fear of property and allow himself to be governed at will.
Aside from self-confidence, the innate sense of justice, which is social in origin, must also be broken in order to found power on authority. Injury of the feeling for social justice occurs through the denial of equal rights or the suspension of mutuality in social life. Since, however, authority has inequality and dependence as conditions for its existence, the concept of injustice had to be twisted from its obvious meaning. The priests therefore devised sin, divorced from the social relationship, defined only in relation to the divinity. Injustice is transgression against the human community; sin is transgression against the divine, consequently the priestly, authority. However, whereas the survival of the social community is threatened by all injustice which disturbs mutuality, the commission of sinful acts is the condition for the existence of the authority of those who wish to reign over human souls. They require the guilt of their faithful, because only the remorseful soul submits to the claims of a heavenly power. Every priesthood lives off of the bad conscience of the people, but only the notion of punishment after death and of the monitoring of even the most secret thoughts and impulses keeps the fear of erring from the divine commandments constantly alive, even with the most upright conduct towards one’s fellow men. For it lies in the nature of every authority to abolish all moral obligations which promote the social conscience — otherwise no authorities could morally justify their own transgression of the idea of equality — and to place the full responsibility in all things under fixed commandments which stand beyond personal appraisal.
Social consciousness distinguishes between lawful and unlawful behaviors; their measure is their regard or disregard for equal rights. Authority on the other hand distinguishes between permitted and forbidden actions; a measure, accessible to the ruled, of their moral difference does not exist. The divinity, the priesthood, consequently the duke, the prince, the nobility, the leadership, order, forbid, convict, penalize, tax, take advantage. The law takes the place of self-determination, belief takes the place of judgment, obedience takes the place of responsibility, humility takes the place of courage, fear of the afterlife takes the place of struggle in the present one. The social community abdicates in favor of sheep-like readiness to heap up guilt, repent and do penance, to worship power and strive for power, to kill the individual along with society and to betray earthly life to a celestial kingdom of heaven. But whoever wishes in death to go to heaven, he wishes in life to be in power, and whoever in life has power, he consoles his victims with the kingdom of heaven after death.
As long as the peoples of the world unselfconsciously felt themselves to be brothers and sisters of nature, created and consumed in social mutuality; for them there was not yet any central divinity with unlimited authority. The childish need for worship gave god-names to the heavenly bodies and the forces of nature, but the heathen religions distributed the beneficent qualities which they attributed to the symbols and spirits among the imagined higher beings, and thus the priests too could in turn only make authority credible in that area in which their gods appeared worthy of being worshiped. First, Judaism centralized the God concept; first, the Judeo-Christian religion established a supreme power over humanity, created the concept of servility to God, subjugated thought, feeling and action to the sacrosanct rules of one unified authority, removed from all doubt or deposition. The priests of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god thereby achieved the unlimited authority over believers’ souls, a power to which they gave the support of the most complete centralization through the establishment of the church.
That anarchism cannot be reconciled with any belief in a conscious and willing power resident outside of the individual requires no special explanation. The concept of religion could only be brought into agreement with anarchist thinking in so far as it were conceived of as the ego devoted to and engrossed in its relationship to humanity and the universe. But when, as now and then occurs, Christian anarchism is spoken of, the suspicion arises that, while admittedly giving expression to the rejection of the state and the earthly authority, the path is yet kept clear for the uncertain soul, not trusting itself, to retreat to an otherworldly creator and guardian authority. Yet every authority real or imagined is the surrender of individual responsibility to a power superior to the individual in the sense of oversight, authority and jurisdiction.
It is only logical that the state authority always and everywhere avails itself of the forms of ecclesiastical commandment as a moral prop for its power; just as well, the church takes advantage at every opportunity of the state’s means of power to protect divine authority. The formal recognition of freedom of religion, wrung from state power in centuries-old struggles by the people rising up ever again against any form of moral constraint, hardly anywhere prevents lawmakers from presuming the actual presence of the Judeo-Christian god and placing him under special protection. The struggle against church doctrines is from the libertarian standpoint, even in countries which are far advanced in science and technology, subject to greater obstacles than even the struggle against the state and its laws and institutions. Attacks by the effective means of ridicule and crude scorn are fended off by God and his terrestrial representatives through deployment of the state’s harshest means of punishment and suppression. For, thanks to its vocation of spiritual care giving, which derives all earthly joy from willing belief, from adherence to certain rules for all feeling and behavior and from the preparation of an eternal conscious life after death, religion supplies the state the moral foundation which allows it to count on obedience toward its regime. It is thus also no contradiction that the state, as the strict materialists claim to be able to demonstrate, orders its laws in total accord with the capitalists’ needs. The exploitation rights of the owners of land, housing and machines hardly depend on maintaining the penalties which for example hang over sexual intercourse outside of marriage, which condemn certain dispositions or which deprive women of the right to choice over their unborn. In these and similar cases the law of the state simply serves to support the church in its task of supervising the movements of people in their most private affairs and preventing the individual from becoming independent of the divine rules.
The state, in securing the power of the church by prohibiting with its instruments of compulsion what the church labels as sin, at the same time expands the reach of its own power over the borders of its originally intended domain of service to the public order. This growth in state power can be only welcome to the church, for two reasons: for one thing, the state with its physical powers enters into its service as an enforcement agent where its own executive powers are unavailable; furthermore, however, no power is capable of keeping itself strong in the long run if it does not combine the lending of power with the exercise of power. The power of the church admits the power of the state into its precincts in order in turn to gain power for its part over things which appear to belong in the worldly business circle of the state. It supplements the power over souls, which it exercises thanks to its religious influencing of people, through gaining political power in the state. It makes itself thereby indispensable to the economic ruling powers who now open the way for the church’s further development of authority. They betray the schools to the church and bring it about that the youth is raised in the spirit of authority, thereby producing useful material for domination, offspring willing to be exploited and early on nurturing the urge to hold power themselves. They know that only the one who enslaves himself or at least wishes to is a good slave, as the church knows that only he can be a passionate master who feels yet another master above himself. Thus: with the awakening of the addiction to power men created for themselves the divinity. They subjugated themselves to its rule in order to be able to subjugate others to their own rule. Every subjugated man was then endowed in turn with power so that he could be ruled that much more easily. Every subjugation and domination lead to material exploitation, every exploitation to authority, centralism, state. God and the state are the two poles of power, which rests on the denial of equal rights, mutuality and individual responsibility.
God and the state with all their organs of expression, church, government, judiciary, military, police, bureaucracy, sultans, viziers, governors, cadis, treasurers, tax farmers, fakirs and bigwigs are the most complete embodiment of centralistic authority. The federative society of anarchy can maintain no component which is not directly opposed to these two basic forms of power. From its roots the structure must look and grow differently than the structure of any authoritarian organization. From its roots: but the root of the state, the germ of authority is the family.
The family, protected by authority and ordered according to uniform principles, is the paragon and symbol of centralization, the complete embodiment of the power concept, the model for church and state within a narrow sphere, the archetype and epitome of exercised and accepted authority. These qualities of the family created, tended and supervised by church and state are ensured through the institution of marriage, certified by the state, endowed by the church with divine glory, and through the fixing of paternal rights as the expression of the relationship of the tribe to the generality, of the relationship of the family members to one another. The foundation of the paternal family takes place in the form of priests or authorities undertaking the marriage ceremony of the two people who have agreed to lead a life together and beget children. The marriage, regardless of whether it involves a church consecration or a civil ceremony, thus signifies the interpolation of public power into the private resolution of two people to engage in sexual intercourse. In order to make such an intrusion of authoritarian force into the very most personal and discreet of voluntary human acts appear bearable and justified, a complete distortion of the natural knowledge of self-determination in affairs of one’s very own life is required. This is achieved through the twisting of morality from a social standard of the value of equal justice and honest mutual behavior into a guideline for the maintenance of the proper distance between the commandment of power and dependence. The relationship of the sexes, this original source of life removed by nature itself from all interference by third parties, in order to become capable of being made serviceable to power, had to be turned in the human conscience into the seat of continual inner distress. With that accomplished, the way was then clear for the pastor to prescribe rules for love; the priesthood, hence the church, the state and every authority could set itself up as a power where for any healthy sensibility the power concept would cease to have any validity. It was achieved through the successful effort to use the sexual urge as a temptation of the soul, sinful from the very beginning, to arouse continual pangs of conscience; for only in this way could the notion be engendered that the satisfaction of sensual desires is impure behavior, as long as external forces have not set out for it official regulations to be followed precisely. Life in its natural course dispenses pain and pleasure in the proportion determined by the individual’s character. Contrasting with the effort and risk required to secure one’s material existence stands the joy in the creation of social values as well as the capacity for pleasure in beholding and breathing in nature, in absorbing artistic creations and in the sensual encounter with the opposite sex. Man’s institutions of power and exploitation have displaced the struggles and hazards in the labor for the production of goods onto the subject class, for whom the joy in creation has been completely spoiled by the forms of the capitalist manner of production, since the proletarian can neither determine what he makes nor, thanks to division of labor, does he see anything useful arise under his hands, nor does he have any sort of advantage from his labor or have any voice in deciding to what ends it will be put. Pleasure in nature is markedly diminished for him as a result of unhealthy living conditions, disenfranchisement from the determination of his free time, insufficient nourishment and generally unpleasant life circumstances; artistic creations of course are hardly accessible to him, since admission to them is almost always dependent upon the expenditure of money and the ruling class has seen to it through different education that the best part of art and poetry is totally suited to their taste and consequently remains closed to the understanding of the working masses. The solitary joy which in experience itself absolutely cannot be shortened for one part of humanity by another (because nature did not furnish any ladder of ability for pleasure according to the distinct measures of human justice) is the happy experience of the senses in love and sexual ecstasy. Here, there first had to occur a persistent influence on men’s souls; here, bad consciousness had to first be created in order to remove self-determination, even in the only sphere of life which still allows the poor the feeling of joy and bliss, to push through official supervision, to develop power and authority.
With the help of the unquestionable and inescapable authority of God the people were informed that satisfaction of their sexual urge can only be freed from branding as a vise if is performed as an obligatory act for the purpose of having children within the bond of the two marriage partners; this bond must be sealed for a lifetime, requires the assent and stamp of the church or state, and every bodily uniting of man and woman outside of authorized marriage is a punishable act, sinful adultery in the event of one of the two being bound by marriage. The guarantee of this bond occurs through the unnatural elevation of fatherhood to a legally protected public right. The public right derived from fatherhood is unnatural because the begetter of a child can always only be known to the mother, never determined by a third party, and similarity and supposed heredity of traits have no value as evidence beyond supposition. Only the conferral upon the man of unconditional command created the possibility of securing the paternal family, by holding the wife and children in servile dependency and forcing upon them an oversight which makes all self-determination into disobedience, the pursuit of one’s own chosen path into a danger. In order, then, to bring sexual activity under the power of the central public offices, the begetter of the children was equipped with central power of authority within the family, and complete supervision by the man over the woman in her sex life and the same supervision by the woman over the man in his sexual behavior was made into a moral obligation, while the children were raised in the spirit of strict subordination from the beginning of life on and in them was awakened, in their drive for imitation, with the model of perfect paternal power, from early on the striving to obtain power themselves.
In no other area has the deadening of life’s natural instincts succeeded to the same degree as in the realm of sexuality. Even among adherents of anti-authoritarian doctrines one frequently encounters the tendency to deny entry to the right of self-determination, individual responsibility and equality within the narrower family circle. It is explained with the claim that jealousy is an inborn and therefore absolutely valid feeling, naturally justified in love, and therefore, as a prop to the reciprocal relationship, morally justifies the spouse’s demand for exclusivity in the sexual partnership. Such a mentality expresses nothing but total entanglement in authoritarian notions such as church, state and school in thousand year-long ardent fervor have infused into the minds chosen for domination. Whoever lays claim to the sexual consent of another person demands the surrender of the other person’s own sovereignty over himself, wishes to become the owner of a second person, is a slave owner; whoever, on the other hand, acknowledges another’s claim to their body necessarily relinquishes their right to themselves in all life relationships and becomes a fellow man’s slave. But whoever can somewhere be a slave master or a slave, he can, and will, be one anywhere. Jealousy is the envy of property directed toward another’s feelings of love. Envy is everywhere declared the most pathetic of human qualities, in so far as it applies to goods which wealth denies to poverty. Envy is thus considered a disgrace when it threatens harm to the inequality in man’s distribution of physical property. The envy, however, which selfishly begrudges the other person independent determination over the very most personal action in the most private affairs, this envy is crowned with the halo of love’s virtue, it is everywhere shown deep respect, to it clings the oppressed, otherwise hopelessly subjugated, with his obsession with rule and his delusions of power.
There have been times when the paternal family was unknown. Before there was a state, before the priesthood and men-at-arms brought privileges and power over the people, maternal rights held sway which allowed the woman the choice as to who would be the father of her children. In those days sexual jealousy apparently did not enjoy the status of a rightful claim of one person to another. Very gradually, in long transitional phases, out of the totally unconstrained community of men and women in which the number of mates and the duration of the bond was left to the discretion of all of those involved, the family arose, at first in the form in which the mother admitted the father of her children into the household community, then in the form of a clan marriage in which men and women within the kinship were available to one another, finally, closely connected with the rise of property privileges, in the form of paternal rule. But only with the spread of the Jewish god belief, in which paternal authority is so clearly epitomized, did the institution of paternal marriage, so well suited to the basic ideas of church and state, attain the consecration of sanctity.
Communist anarchism is utterly inconceivable as a social reality unless the state and every form of centralism and exploitation be denied their basis through the removal, even the proscription of controlling and autocratic relationships within the family. If two people want to share a life together, then that is a matter of their own agreement; as soon as out of this agreement a two-sided or one-sided or even an exclusive right of ownership arises, a power situation is created within the family circle which with inescapable necessity adversely affects other individuals, at first those toward whom the desire of one of the spouses is directed. Power, however, is a plague which spreads throughout its entire surroundings and somehow makes them dependent, consequently creates inequality, which in turn brings authority and exploitation in its wake. The anarchists’ morality must therefore proceed from the unconditional approval of all that occurs in uncoerced agreement between responsible, mature people in the realm of sex. What two people do to give one another pleasure is never immoral; what is always immoral is the interference by a third party in their arrangements.
No person, man or woman, is constituted by nature so that he should feel throughout his whole life physically attracted to only one suitable individual. The sex drive will not let itself be commanded without being perverted, and it will not let itself be forbidden or constrained without becoming twisted. Jealousy ensures exclusivity of fondness of one person toward another only with people utterly enthralled by power; with independent feeling natures, inaccessible to authority, it destroys the uninhibitedness of their behavior and thereby almost always brings about the opposite of that for which it strives. All love affairs rest on mutuality. But the mutuality is not abolished by the party who carries on other affairs, but by the one who demands the other adhere to a commitment of forced exclusivity. General rules and moral laws cannot be derived at all from out of the coming together of two sensually aroused people, be it to keep a common household together, be it to satisfy a fleeting desire in the rush of the moment. Issues of sexuality have not the slightest thing to do with socially oriented morality, as long as force, abuse of economic dependence or seduction of immature children and those deprived of their free will do not reduce intercourse to an act of power, disturb the relationship of equally entitled mutuality and thereby allow the private act to have communally harmful repercussions on society.
The religious commandments and, following in their tracks, the state laws have thoroughly made sexual behavior, which from a social perspective could hardly lend itself to their power purposes, the foundation of public morality; they have accustomed the people to understanding by morality the ordering of the physical needs to the prescribed limitations. Only thus was it possible to make the authoritarian marriage, the lifelong forced commitment to the family, into the undisputed self-evident truth for the organization of private life. Paternal power in the house gave moral consecration to priestly power in the church, governmental power in the state, power of capital in the economy; it could therefore not be safeguarded strictly enough. On this point, there is between the oriental right of men to marry as many women as they please and the Christian and European principle of monogamy no difference in essence, only in degree. Polygamy is only allowed to the man; it is thus the most blatant expression of unlimited paternal authority in the family and protects the man also in his sexual life from any interference within his domain of power. In monogamy the woman admittedly is just as well subjugated to the man’s command — nowadays still the bourgeois law books just as well as cannon law assign the wife the role of the obediently serving subordinate and the husband’s bedmate, obliged to meek devotion — , but through the prohibition against holding herself to be anything more than a slave to marriage the man also stands under watch as regards his sensual life; his god-like aspect in the family is in one respect constrained, and the woman, even more importantly, is in a very limited space permitted to likewise be a ruler, she imbues herself with the pride of also being allowed to stress authority somewhere and so much the more will she dependably raise the children in the authoritarian spirit and subject herself to the authority of husband, church and state.
The renunciation of any official certification for a marriage changes something of the character of the family only when the received morality of relations between the mutually opposed powers does not experience therein any resurrection. Every relationship based upon duty-bound obedience, on denial of self-determination and prohibition of extramarital relationships, carries within itself all the essential characteristics of the centralist authoritarian organizations, the church and the state. The husband, the paterfamilias is possessed of an almost unlimited authority, which is expressly guaranteed to him by the public powers. He has the right of corporal punishment over wife and children, he represents them before the agencies of the state, he oversees the property and determines the place of residence; neither does any law stand in his way when he capitalistically exploits them. Only, he may not extinguish his family members’ lives; to that right the state lays claim, which requires labor forces in order to be able to dominate them. With this ordering of the family rights it is accomplished that the man, everywhere bound, can himself within his own closest sphere of life bind in turn, wherefore the debasement of his character through every sort of oppression does not become conscious. He gains a taste for centralism, since he himself exercises central power. For the never entirely extinguishable longing for individual responsibility and mutuality, there is reserved for him in his home a state-sanctioned space, even if the mutuality consists merely in the authority of the spouses to hold one another under police surveillance. Furthermore, the divinity of the parents in respect to the children is strengthened through the church- and state-ordained moral doctrines and through the conferral of the right of inheritance, made useful also for the influences of capitalist power. Finally, however, through the institution of self-contained families a tribal pride is cultivated which continually drives this miniaturized likeness of the state to consider itself in isolation more worthy than the neighbor’s family, which contains in itself the tendency to enrich itself at their cost. Thus is every federative community from the bottom up already in the social germ cells averted, striving toward general equality of rights prevented through the temptation of competition for dominance, the dividing lines between the common victims of a greater power strengthened, the thought of hostile dissociation (without which there can be no central structure) rooted in the soil of the private power interests of individuals. With this quality, however, of self-righteously and jealously shutting oneself in with one’s group members like an enclosed fortress against the other clans, the authoritarian family fulfills its true task, which is to engraft onto the youth as they mature along with the sense of family the sense of state, the will to power of one’s own state, enmity toward other states, the desire for conquest, suppression, exploitation of the peoples beyond the state borders, nationalism.
A nation is a grouping of peoples, thus a spatially connected community of human beings belonging together by virtue of common living conditions, language and customs. The concepts nation and people are approximately equivalent, insofar as they are simply used for distinguishing the parts of humanity gathered together in different lands. Nationality means belonging to a people. In none of these words is contained anything more than a distinguishing characteristic, none expresses any measurable quality. Only with the splitting of the peoples into classes, with their subjugation to the estates of warriors, priests, landholders and capitalists did the nation take on the sense of a morally based ruling structure, and today nation has long become the solemn label for the raw power concept state. Nationalism is the mindset which holds one’s own state to be distinguished above all others, which thanks to the virtues of the people organized within it holds the moral prerogative to continually expand its borders, to authoritatively impose its laws and moral doctrines upon other peoples and to place the fruit of foreign labor at the disposal of its own rulers. Nationalism is the glorified consecration of the state concept, the transference of the authoritarian family morality onto the peoples.
If in the paternal family, elevated to social institution and legally protected, the power concept hides behind sentimental pretexts such as chastity, love of one’s own, bonds of blood — all things which may or may not be present, but are never dependent upon external legal sanction — , so too nationalism openly declares power to be a moral principle and elevates the command apparatus of the owners of the means of labor, the state, to the lofty bearer of the thusly sanctioned power. For the sake of the state, whether labeled nation or people, the concept of a human species is excised from people’s consciousness; in place of equal rights for all members of the species, privilege for the people centrally governed within one’s own national borders is desired; claim to subordination, domination, enslavement of the other peoples declared; the martial act of violence, the spoliation, even extermination, of populations outside of the national borders is made into obligation; cruelty, malice, slander, arson, betrayal of all inborn social feelings are passed off as bravery and national right, and every power advantage of one’s own state is sanctified thoughtlessly and without distinction.
It is certainly correct that all wars, all expansions of state borders and national claims are aimed at material utility. But it is as true here as everywhere else that the goal of power takes precedence over all material goals, that the dominance of people by people is the leading motive of all oppression, even if economic supremacy remains the indispensable means to the attainment of power. Serving as proof that striving for power predominates over the mere need for enrichment is the always successful appeal to national feeling in case of threatening diminution of power or alleged insult to the national honor, by which nothing else can be understood other than respect, control and authority. The masses ready for national battle practically never have any economic advantages to expect, their enthusiasm is aroused only to a limited extent by the promise of a profitable reward; but the spiritual value of their membership in the nation is made clear to them, that is, the sense of authority familiar to them from church doctrine and family feeling is heightened to a national power frenzy, in that in every individual the pride is swollen to be able feel oneself a part of an authority of world-wide importance. Thus, for the exploited people the lust for power is reduced to an ideal denominator, the spatially demarcated state territory elevated in their imagination to a religious conceptual value, the centralized governmental body given a priestly make-over, as if it were not the regulatory organ of capitalist power relations but instead commanded reverence as the symbol of creative power; and at the same time the exploitive upper stratum has an agreement transcending all national boundaries to together preserve their proprietary sovereignty, reaches accords which consolidate their class standing into a true power, uninfringed by any nationalism, through profit and wealth. The upper class’s power agreement extends over all areas of the economy including the manufacture of the weapons of war which are to serve to keep alive for the peoples in their mutual slaughter their national arrogance of power, to make them therefore through imaginary authority submissive to tangible authority. Nationalism, that is to say the arrogance based on membership in a people and a state, has the same source as every feeling of value which is grounded, not in personal achievement and social behavior, but instead in circumstances which lie beyond the individual’s will: authority, which demands uncritical recognition in order to be able to exercise power and which lends authority and the appearance of power in order to stave off the danger of doubt in the power concept’s justification.
The Jewish doctrine of God the Father, which places over humanity the solitary, omnipotent, totally just, omnipresent God with the darkly threatening appetite, beseeched in endless prayer, marveled at, assured of devoted veneration and of being thanked for everything, even for every torment and humiliation, created for western peoples the prerequisite for acceptance of the paternal family with the godlike position of the master ruling over his own. These authoritarian models have secured also for the state, with its nationalist ideology, the willingness of the people to be subjugated to a centralist governing power, for renunciation of individual responsibility, self-determination and equal rights in matters of common social life. God-father, father, fatherland — the influence on people’s compliance occurs everywhere in the same way, in that it overlooks the mutual social interconnection, which naturally cannot end either at house walls or national borders, and nourishes arrogance through the prohibition of all articles of faith other than its own, through the deification of one’s own family with its ancestors and peculiarities, through the sanctification of one’s own nation and the engendering of enmity towards other peoples out of moral obligation. It is the predicament of the Jews that they, who have brought upon mankind authority in its boldest perfection as the supreme expression of life’s conduct, must feel most bitterly the effects of their doctrines. They have introduced into the world the belief in the only solitary God, God-willed paternal authority and consequently the nationalist formulas of God’s chosen people. Whoever speaks of a fatherland, speaks in a Jewish manner of thinking, for he embraces the glorification of one nation, namely his own, embraces the chosen people. From this confession he derives the right to hate, to despise, to assault other peoples, and the Jews, themselves formerly a nation centrally organized in spatial enclosure, now scattered over all countries, are pursued, insulted, slandered and abused as intruders, enemies and contemptible foreigners by nationalist, obsessed descendants of their spirit, though of different stock. The natural conscience for justice is destroyed by national and racial arrogance. Same descent, same family tree, same place of residence and enslavement to the same master suffices for a community of contempt against descendants of other ancestors and the slaves of other masters.
After everything that has so far been said, there is no need for further justification why anarchism is incompatible with national or racial distinctions of value. Anarchy denotes a human society whose federalist construction determines without further ado the international expansion of all connections, even the emotional ones. The organization of labor and of common living from the bottom up rests on the cultivation of the individual who comes together with other individuals in the same endeavor for camaraderie, community, economic alliance, intellectual exchange in the linguistic community, in the circle of scientific, artistic, technical, athletic, international associations, for world community. The individual, however, derives its values from within itself in order to be judged according to the quality of its character and its work in the social context. The color of the ancestors’ hair, eyes and skin, the question whether someone was born on this or that side of a river, whether his language and manner of living was shaped by these or those historical, geographic, climatic circumstances, can only be used as a standard of judgment for human values by the power-hungry and those obedient to power. For here prevails the urge to create borderlines in order to ensure for all human organizations the pyramidal form, the confluence of all threads to a point, therefore centralization, therefore direction from above downward, with which in turn is connected ill will and hostile competition with the neighbor organization and its central authority.
Naturally, there exists an intimate intellectual-spiritual connection of man with the earth, but only where labor and life grow directly out of the soil. Only the peasant still has this inner contact with the land, which makes it into a piece of him, as he feels himself to be a component of the ground cultivated by him. But the peasant has therefore no state consciousness, but rather a love of home. The convolution of the terms home and fatherland belongs to those arts of obfuscation with which the proponents of centralized power seek to confound all natural thinking. Fatherland is an imagined ideal without conceptual definability, matter-of-factly applied to a precisely demarcated territory, whose cohesion rests solely in shared laws, dictatorially or democratically proclaimed by a central regime, tailored to the power relations and the rights of property. The borders of this territory are changeable, and in order to be able to change them for the sake of expanding power the fatherland idea is instilled into hearts and minds already rendered sufficiently susceptible to authoritarian influences by religious and family tradition. Feeling for the fatherland is an artificially engendered, power-based need for domination not originally founded in the spiritual disposition of man, equivalent to state consciousness, which is nothing other than knowledge of the expedience of state power for the rulers of the state. There can be no feeling for fatherland that does not draw its nourishment from animosity toward other fatherlands. The education of the youth takes place from early on in the spirit of national arrogance, in that on the basis of the history of past power one’s own country is presented as the only fatherland called upon to the exercise of power. The spirit, cultivated by church and family, of subordination to authority is here further directed toward the conceit that belonging to one people, citizenship in one’s own state, entitles one to rule over other peoples. Such citizen arrogance is made into a moral obligation. However, in so far as every state power demands the arrogance for its own nation, as every race makes itself out to be the only one chosen and worthy of privilege and no one is allowed, by comparing for himself their valuable qualities, to decide in favor of any nation other than his own, the most tenable strengthening of the authority concept is attained, along side the enmity between the peoples necessary for the maintenance of every state power; what is recognized by independent judgment is not believed, but rather what the rules say to believe.
Love of one’s home has nothing to do with worship of the fatherland. The fatherland preachers make reference to feelings for home precisely because the person close to nature requires naturalistic cues in order to be able to absorb unnatural valuations into his consciousness. Love of home is had by him whose growth is promoted by scenic and climatic stimuli. Every animal not torn out of its natural environment feels love of home, without ever distorting it into feeling for fatherland, without ever desiring expanded or armed borders around his home. An animal without a home would reasonably also feel no love of home, at most longing for a home. It is no different with people. Can the young person, poorly nourished, growing up in an unhealthy cellar dungeon, let his gloomy childhood environment shine over his life’s way as an alluring picture of home? Can he — and this is very well the distinguishing feature of love of home — be moved from a distance by the yearning to again be embraced by the hazy circle of his origins? He whose youth had no home, whose home held no joy, he had then no home to which a love could bind him. There is no obligation to love, however, and that one raises love of home to an obligation by having been able to convince someone, whose foot has never touched a sunny patch of homeland, of a fatherland which may demand his dedication, his love, his heroism, his blood and his life, this shows to what degree of distortion the delusion of authority can twist the human soul.
The peasant, insofar as he is not already alienated from the peasant’s feeling for nature through being exploited, indebted to large landholders and the state coffers or even reduced to the status of capitalist exploiter, has love of home because he has a real home. A specific piece of land enfolds him, nourishes him, is familiar to him in trouble and joy; his work blends with his entire personal life, his clod of earth is his nest, nature entirely bound to the landscape is his estate, and the prosperity or failure of his existence depends on it. The peasant does not feel himself to be owner of his land but rather its keeper; he keeps it with those who are not so much his own power-subordinated family as his helpers bound together in mutual obligation. The priesthood has likely been able to instill the spirit of authority in the peasantry as well, so that with the steadfastness of peasant thinking in the principles of marital obligation and paternal superiority, especially in their deftly woven convolution with the regulations of family and inheritance rights, the world renovation will have sufficient enough prejudices of power to overcome in the countryside, as well. Nonetheless, here communist anarchism has to recognize not its most deficient but most appreciative future field.
For the peasantry, down to the most recent convulsions due to political manipulation (which, however, had to limit itself to arousing misunderstandings for the sake of winning votes, only reaching relatively narrow masses of the peasant population), has always remained immune to the poisonous intrusion of nationalist influences. Precisely the deep-rootedness in the home entirely excludes in the rural population the fatherland feeling which is expected from it by the pretense that home extends over the entirety of the currently state-governed land which, equal to the domestic fields, is to be loved within the currently accepted state borders, whereby before and after wars the area that is to be embraced with such love must be drawn into the feeling for home in new, narrower or wider borders. The peasant mind knows neither a spiritual connection to people to whom no common paths of life lead at all, be these people nonetheless living within the same state borders, nor does it know hatred and disdain for strangers who do not want to harmfully force their way into their circles, be these strangers dwelling on this or that side of a mountain range, be they of this or that skin color, head shape, sequence of ancestors whatsoever. On the contrary, the peasant’s nature resists most vehemently all that which wishes to diminish his self-determination within his field of labor, which seeks to replace the spirit of mutual understanding in the countryside with authoritarian command, he resists any interference on the part of a central office in his affairs, resists bureaucracy and bureaucrats, resists the state, where the village is in question, resists the law, where contracts are possible. Every peasant is, without knowing it, an anarchist, and communist anarchism has the greatest expectation of someday being realized by peasants, since the thought, that under full equality of rights and exclusion of central command everyone should work according to his abilities, everyone consume according to his needs, contains nature’s will just as it indelibly persists despite all betrayal through human power organizations and just as the peasants in all countries and regions know in their feeling for life. The peasantry has no state consciousness and will not learn any, for it has consciousness of its own power, that is to say, the consciousness of individuality and of the federative, allied community of individuals for the maintenance of social affairs. Anarchy will first find its place in the countryside, because the countryside never entirely stopped living and maintaining itself in anarchy.
To live in anarchy, to maintain oneself economically in anarchy, means, however, creating the order of freedom for life and the economy. For that is the insight of the anarchist doctrine: there is no order without freedom, and state and centralism, authority and power are not only incompatible with freedom, they are also incompatible with all true order in the living processes of society. What was attempted above to be determined as the essential form of federalism can in general as well be considered the organization of libertarian order. By order linguistic usage understands the upholding of a unified viewpoint in social behavior. Where centralism, that is, the arrangement of things according to authoritarian instructions, prevails, the viewpoints of social behavior succumb to the changing needs of power; their unity is therefore not guaranteed. The entanglement of the creative forces, which are the sole distinguishing feature of living order, becomes degraded to a mechanical affair, a servile compulsion of random activities. Randomness, however, is the opposite of order, namely subordination, drill, discipline, bondage, servitude. An ordered society exists through the combined will of the people toward the fulfillment of uniformly recognized, common tasks. It therefore presupposes equality, an obligation to mutuality and a consciousness of social responsibility in each individual. In a word: order in the sense of the anarchist conception can only grow out of the self-determination of those who are to keep order. Order from out of self-determination, however, is synonymous with social freedom.
Freedom is the essence of all anarchist thought and desire. For freedom’s sake we are anarchists, for freedom’s sake socialists and communists, for freedom’s sake we fight for equality, mutuality and individual responsibility, for freedom’s sake we are internationally and federally minded. Yet the word freedom has been thus far scrupulously avoided in sketching this outline of the anarchist world view. That occurred because the will to freedom rests so primal and deep in people’s souls that not even the most authoritarian doctrine can get by without making use of the concept of freedom and the claim that it is the true possessor of the idea of freedom. Even every state, be it democratically, fascistically or bureaucratically governed, appeals to freedom when it promulgates laws, conducts wars and suppresses points of view. All revolutions are undertaken because the lack of freedom has become unbearable, and its animating battle cry is always dedicated to freedom. And yet all revolutions thus far have been lost or at least have strayed from the path that the revolutionaries wished to tread, because the desire for freedom has remained unfulfilled. For no party which places itself at the head of a revolution in order to place itself at the head of the people, in other words, to seize power over men, ever in its freedom propaganda goes beyond the promise that they will eliminate the state of affairs in which the absence of freedom just makes its appearance. Never do the followers precisely and intelligibly learn how the proclaimed freedom is to be overall composed. In the best case, freedoms are promised which in individual points present alleviations from the status quo, but which do not show an overall libertarian social vision.
Freedom is, however, not something which can be granted. Freedom is taken and lived. Furthermore, freedom is not a sum of freedoms, but rather the orderly unity of all life’s circumstances freed from every ruler and every authority. There is no freedom of society when the people live in bondage. The people have no freedom when the society is unfreely organized, centralist, state-like, according to power. The freedom of anarchy is the free confederation of free people in a free society. That person is free who acts voluntarily, who carries out all that he does out of his own recognition of the necessity or desirability of his action. The prerequisite for every person pursuing his affairs only out of voluntary determination is a society which knows no privileges through power or property. All property and all ideal power create dependence, annul thereby every person’s free will in resolution and action, are thus irreconcilable with actual freedom. Therefore, the individualists are wrong when they advance the thesis that every person has a right to freedom, yet this right ends at his neighbor’s freedom. Wherever the right to freedom for the individual finds any sort of limitation there exists no social freedom. For, if the concepts of freedom and free will are fully equated, the freedom of the one can never be impaired by the freedom of the other. Otherwise, the behavior disturbing the freedom of one’s fellow man would amount to laying claim to a privilege, thus would arise the condition of power and subordination. Yet whoever wishes to exercise privilege and power is thereby dependent on the compliance of fellow men, he himself thus no longer acts independently. Hence results again the complete unity of society and individual and the correctness of the above proposed claim that no one can be free unless all are free. There still remains to dispense with the old objection that people’s freedom founders on the facts of experience, which prove a lack of independence on the part of most people and their dependence upon a leader. Aside from the fact that the majority’s lack of independence is the result of education by all the authoritarian powers which have ever exploited the people’s souls and labor power, the undoubted correctness of the truism, that there are various talents, and that for certain requirements direction from suitable experts is necessary, can only be asserted as proof for the natural necessity of social bondage by people who under the influence of authoritarian education have lost every belief in freedom and are themselves striving for power. We anarchists disdain a leadership with the power of command and ensured of extended operation, that is, every state government, bureaucracy and central party, every dictatorship and every croneyist regime. But we deny neither the usefulness of the director in the theater or chairperson at a meeting nor of the captain on a ship. Here personal qualities assign certain tasks to the appropriate persons in certain cases. The same holds true in political struggle and just as well in an uprising or in fending off armed aggression. Just as a wandering herd follows the lead animal, which is not chosen but rather takes the lead because it is confident of the best trail, but when tired can immediately be replaced by any other animal, so it is with people, too. There are spokesmen, there are ringleaders, that is, people who are followed because they bring the will of all most clearly to expression or set themselves into action with the most determination. A leader is one who shows the way, not whoever gives laws or leads followers around behind him on a leash.
Leadership in the moment of action, without claim to extended duration or renunciation by others of their judgment and self-determination, excludes no freedom as long as the voluntary entry into service does not mean voluntary servitude. That it cannot mean, as long as freedom and free will are always conceived of as the comprehensive concepts for all anarchist social values. There is no freedom without equality, just as there are no equal rights without freedom. Complete freedom of will is only possible with the awareness of the most conscious individual responsibility and with lively care for social mutual aid. Mutuality, however, and individual responsibility, self-confidence, self-determination can only thrive where free will is the driving force of all life.
Anarchism is the teaching of freedom. Where there is exploitation, where there is power, where authority holds sway, where centralism exists, where man keeps guard over man, where orders are given and obedience offered there is no freedom. The destruction of all authorities, all privileges, all institutions of property and slavery can come to pass only out of the free communal spirit. The stateless community of free people, — that is communism, the solidarity of equals in freedom, that is anarchy!
The most significant objection to anarchism as a social ideal is the doubt as to whether such a doctrine of freedom could ever become anything more than an ideal, whether any practicable way whatsoever could be found toward its realization. The purpose of this essay is merely to set out the anarchists’ point of view as well as their challenge to those people who perceive lack of freedom to be an evil. It cannot be predicted how far the anarchist position will be able to assert itself and how far the forces of freedom-loving people will be able to establish themselves against the resistance of authoritarian, centralist, statist views of power. In all of human history, exactly that occurs which the strongest will imposes by the strongest means. It is not important that the strength of the will and the means become apparent by their numbers, rather that the will draws its strength from the firmness, unity and integrity of an idea, and that the means are not directed towards any secondary aims and remain true to the idea in all modes of application.
Communist anarchism is revolutionary in its world view and its objective. Since the principles of social freedom can find no means of realization in the soil of capitalist legal and economic inequality, the complete re-plowing of the soil, the reformation of all human relationships, the total reordering of all organizing institutions for the regulation of labor and consumption, is the precondition for reorganization in the sense of anarchist community. The complete transformation of everyone’s living conditions, however, can never be achieved on the path of slow development, through which at most improvements within a social system are possible. Just as the emergence of mountains and islands occurs in nature, after a long developmental process of subterranean convolutions, through the sudden bursting of the parts of the ocean floor or inner earth which are hindering expansion, just as every birth occurs because a living being, enclosed during its preparatory growth within the womb, now ready for its own existence, wins entrance into the light by force, so too can the coming into being of new social conditions take place only after suitable preparation and prenatal development through outbreak of revolution. Should poor, rotten, unbearable conditions predominate, that is very far from sufficient to clear the road for revolution. The prenatal labor for the new society must be supported to the point that its fertilized seed frees itself from its enclosure and the revolutionaries’ task is discharged in functioning as midwives, to whom later falls the far more difficult task of keeping the revolution alive and ensuring its growth, from which all pathogens of the previous society will be kept distant, and which guarantees the shaping of the imagined ideal into the reality of the living human community.
The path of anarchy is therefore first of all a path of revolutionary preparation. Preparation for revolution occurs in a three-fold way: through propaganda, whereby the essence of the reprehensible conditions is demonstrated and their removal and the creation of desirable conditions encouraged; through self-education, in that the perception of bad institutions arouses the intention to change them; and finally through struggle. The anarchist doctrine contains nothing which would exclude any person from the preparations for revolution who did not exclude himself through his own behavior. Communist anarchists are anyhow in pretty much general agreement that the removal of evil organizations and institutions is not to be demanded from those who have created them or derive benefit from them, but rather that all liberation is a matter for those who bear the bonds of oppression. The struggle against property rights is to be lead by those to whom property is denied, the struggle against exploitation and oppression by those who are exploited and oppressed, the struggle against lordly privilege by slaves and the disenfranchized. Equality, mutuality and self-determination according to the social conscience are to be aggressively prepared by those at whose cost inequality and privilege, authority and anti-social self-interest play themselves out. The liberation of society from the state is thus to be achieved primarily by that class for whose oppression the capitalist system requires the state, whose submissiveness is perpetuated through the authority of church and state, through the power structures of patriarchy and monogamy, through the habituation to centralistic forms of organization for the attainment of hostile divisions within all areas of life, through the fostering of patriotic and racist arrogance, through laws, punishments, taxes, through joblessness, hunger, misery, bad air, paternalism and humiliation. Liberation from the state is liberation from class enslavement; the enslaved class must be the carrier of the struggle for liberation. The struggle for communist anarchy is therefore to be conducted during the period of revolutionary preparation as a class struggle.
The affirmation of class struggle by the communist anarchists results as a necessary consequence from the belief in self-determination and individual responsibility. The class division of society in the state is a tactical measure taken by capital against those who lease their labor power, the proletarians. By the workers taking up the struggle as a class, they emphasize their natural right to determination of their own lives. The insight that the state’s delineation of borders is an expression of the class system, in that the artificial estrangement of the workers of the different nations through the breeding of national prejudice prevents the alliance of the exploited, — this insight was the guiding thought in the understanding reached at the First International. The fundamental motto of the gathered laboring class, however, was the vow of independence of the proletariat in its opinions and conclusions. The liberation of the laboring class must be the work of the laborers themselves! In this assertion is contained the profession of faith in individual responsibility, in equality, in mutual aid and in free will, just as international unity likewise proclaims the negation of the state, and thereby of centralization, supremacy and authoritarian power. Only the infiltration of Marxist doctrine into the class struggle concept brought the dissolution of class unity as well as of the internationalism of the workers. Under the influence of Marxism the workers created for themselves centralistic party and union organizations, mandated officers for the discernment of the workers’ interests, whereby they placed their struggle for liberation into the hands of superior representatives, took part in the state’s parliamentary elections, so that the state with its national borders again attained for them an objective significance, and let themselves be caught up by state-administered socialism. Thus has the worker become citizen, and his struggle against exploitation is wrecked on the contradiction that he supports and strengthens the public apparatus determining the exploitation.
Here is not the place to depict the particular tactics of the anarchists towards the Marxists in every detail, since these pages are supposed to present only a general overview of the essence of anarchism. The conduct of the class struggle from the anarchist point of view, however, requires only the application of the anarchist ethos in order to assure its prospects for liberating the proletariat. For communist anarchists there neither exists an obligation to organizational unity nor is the idea of anarchism irreconcilable with the creation of an organization. Only the formation of centralistic organizations and bureaucratically directed incorporations would be in contradiction to the central doctrine of anarchism, that social living only exists where every individual is free to exercise a conscious influence on all decisions and undertakings. Conducting the class struggle in one’s own labor unions, as in the case of the anarcho-syndicalist movement, is completely unassailable from the point of view of libertarian socialism, and whoever allies himself in economic fighting units with comrades pursuing the same goals is not the one violating anarchist principles, but rather he who attacks federated trade- or factory-based organizations because he himself does not wish to join up, for whatever well considered reasons. Precisely herein resides the power of the federalist concept, that no one is constrained to subordinate himself to a program that he himself has not proposed and to which he does not consent in all points. The Marxists’ favorite attack on the anarchists, that with them there are dozens of differing views and tendencies, is misplaced not only because Marxism itself is splintered into countless factions, but rather above all because a comradely coexistence is first thereby enabled when for every opinion the manner of its representation and its form of struggle remains totally free, without therefore necessarily giving rise to any conflict or claims to preeminence. The central bureaucracies of the Marxist groups must bitterly feud with one another despite their close affinity in all beliefs political and otherwise, because mutual patience is always detrimental to authority, and because every delimitation of areas of authority necessarily means hostile delimitation. Federalist group formations on the other hand promote neighborly harmony, in that they effect amicable separations where there is no agreement, which makes confluence in all other affairs all the more fruitful. If here and there incompatibility and intrigue should arise between neighboring anarchist organizations as well, that is no refutation of federation, it is only proof that the tradition of centralism, lust for power, intolerance has not yet everywhere loosened its claws from the spirits even of such people who have understood intellectually the advantages of federalism.
The organization built from the ground up brings individuals together into associations, often the same individuals into differing sorts of association. One organizes oneself from the perspective of immediate belonging according to mindset, tasks and locality. Those like-minded people, united for a common activity, who are faced with the same conditions in their houses, streets, communities, cities, retain with complete independence in all decision making a positive sentiment for associations of a similar character. Continuous general discussion takes place on workplace and employment issues and matters of world outlook; the principle of mutual support is obligatory for all community action, without doing harm to the personal responsibility of each individual and each group. There arises down to the individual members a web-like network of independent associations of workplaces, outlooks, and neighborhoods, interwoven with one another, whose spheres of influence and physical location reach out from yard to yard, town to town, region to region, province to province, country to country, or as well from workplace to workplace, factory to factory, industry to industry, in short, in every economic and intellectual relationship of man to people and society, and in comradely manner joins the participants to all other participants in a living community. The anarchist organization need always thus appear to demonstrate in miniature the image of the desired libertarian social order.
Just as in shaping the form of organization, so too for the total remainder of the anarchists’ behavior goes the general rule: the path to the proposed goal shall lead straight away, that is, no detour is to be taken by which one can ever lose sight of the goal. Already in the first preparatory step and further without interruption up to the outbreak of social revolution and in all stages of development in construction of the free communist society, for the anarchists the fundamental guiding principles of equal rights, individual responsibility, social justice, federalism and total freedom of will and deed are to determine the manner of action. All action is directed toward the end and the whole; every measure proceeds in the awareness that personality and society are a material and moral unity; the individual anarchist, the anarchist association, the association of anarchist associations, directs in publicity, education, in struggle and behavior its whole striving toward the realization of stateless socialist freedom, dismisses secondary aims and lives in obligatory consciousness of proving by example in the present the possibility of a libertarian and just life for future humanity.
From this general rule is automatically derived the anarchists’ behavior in politics. The claim that anarchists categorically reject political struggle, is a foolish and thoroughly unjustified misrepresentation. Politics is engagement with public affairs. The intention of altering public affairs is, therefore, in and of itself, and especially when in connection with the planned pursuit of this intention, a part of politics. We have here to do with a Marxist suspicion which wishes anarchism to appear non-aggressive or unfit for battle because of its rejection of a politics which wants to bring about socialism by way of participation in the administration of the state. The anarchist recipe for political struggle has always been: rejection of all politics which does not have as its immediate and direct goal the liberation of the working class. It is clearly expressed thereby that precisely the Marxist politics of parliamentary activity within the organs of state power established by capital is viewed by anarchists as a constraint on struggle, as it not only detaches delegates from their class and places them in the upper strata, but furthermore gives the organs of state management the invigorating lift of an opposition, unable to effect anything useful for working people in terms of socialist aid, and nurses the proletarian masses on the illusion that the transfer of their initiatives onto representatives granted wide-reaching powers somehow relieves the necessity of the working class itself taking personal responsibility for the struggle. Not to mention that the delegation of parliamentarians, government organs, city councils, public servants stabilizes the power of every central authority and tremendously strengthens the idea of power among the proletariat. The anarchists deny the state every form of assistance. Their politics exhausts itself in the engagement of every single individual and of all anti-authoritarian organizations in the immediate, goal-oriented struggle against the state, against state institutions and against all central power structures.
Anarchism’s methods of struggle are not limited to this alone; it excludes only those weapons which it has found to be dull. The manner of struggle which from the anarchist world view automatically suggests itself is that of direct intervention. Since the power of capitalism culminates in the manner of production and the property rights of the existing society, anarchist teaching prefers political struggle in economic forms. The united will of the people whose hands move the machines’ levers is capable of silencing the entire capitalist apparatus. The strike, making work impossible (sabotage), passive resistance through exaggeratedly exact observation of factory regulations, through obstruction of strike breakers, through intentionally sloppy work, the embargo (boycott) of certain goods are methods of so-called direct action, all measures which place great demands on the individual’s willingness to sacrifice and power of resolve. Anarchism excludes no means of struggle which presents the individual fighter with the task of directly intervening or of denying his collaboration in generally harmful activities, in anti-social labor, in provocative, unreasonable demands at personal risk. Thus, no anarchist should participate in state wars, which are always fought out by proletarians against one another for capitalist ends and which not only mock all the principles of equal rights, mutual aid and free will, defile the natural feelings of humanity and every moral sensibility, and betray the international unity of the exploited to the national interests of the internationally intermarried exploiters; but more than anything else they contribute to implanting the power concept and thereby the belief in divine and worldly authority, the master and slave instincts of those who are to be ruled, into a degraded humanity.
It is not necessary to enumerate in detail where all the opportunities present themselves to influence the course of public affairs responsibly and in mutual aid, in the spirit of freedom. Refusal to work on the construction of war ships, police munitions, newspaper lies hostile to labor, there are these and a thousand other types of self-help in the political struggle, which can then be applied when the decisiveness of the individual, the unified will, insight and readiness to sacrifice are big enough. In the application of the method of personal intervention, the question as to whether anarchists should take part in the daily struggles over pay and working hours can be completely dismissed. The author of this work shares with a great number of anarchists the view that the worker’s engagement of his own energy for better pay for shorter hours stands in no contradiction to the demand to only engage in struggles which are immediately directed at liberation. The condition of the capitalist economy is not strengthened by demands workers raise merely for the sake of the daily bread, not strengthened like state power is strengthened by the participation of labor parties in parliamentarianism. Every strike by comparison raises the self-esteem of the participants, deepens the feeling of the comrades’ unity in struggle and, in success, lightens the worker’s manner of living, whereby only weaklings become lazy, but free and strong natures are exhilarated. The class struggle is a situation created by capitalism; refusal by the workers to also participate in this struggle under existing conditions when immediate revolutionary successes cannot be achieved would mean showing the enemy one’s back without resisting, letting him alone conduct the class war and thereby sapping one’s strength for the moment where the class war situation could go over into a decisive clash.
The anarchist teaching prescribes no method of struggle and rejects none which is in harmony with self-determination and free will. Thus, in violent uprisings the will of the individual is alone decisive for the manner of his collaboration, also for whether and how far he might incorporate himself into fighting units whose tactics are in many respects reproachable from the libertarian point of view. It is not a part of everyone’s character to stand on the sidelines at great events scrutinizing and moaning when everything does not go according to his wishes and to do nothing at all rather than join a struggle which is not everywhere illuminated by the proper spirit. Consistently, wherever revolutionary battles have been fought anarchists have happily been present almost without exception, at the side of the workers who have been subjugated to centralist influences and been misguided by authority. The feeling of social belonging was here decisive, the consciousness of mutual obligation of all exploited, the untamable fighting spirit which cannot bear to leave others to face the common enemy alone, and above all the wish to breathe free life into the courage, the sacrifice, the passion which, even if with a perhaps displaced objective, accomplishes glorious feats. If with such an intention many an anarchist might be rather far gone from his proper course, he would only have betrayed the anarchist idea should he have hindered the fighters in battle through shouting orders like a schoolmaster. Freedom is not a standardized good with every quality measured and weighed out from every angle. Freedom is a value of spiritual life which can find access wherever strength has been set in motion. The anarchists’ task is to gain access for freedom wherever people are faced with struggle.
The same quarter which believes it must reproach the anarchists for the narrowness of their political engagement, because they attack as contrary to class struggle the squandering of proletarian fighting strength in the heaping up of ballots, also disparages a certain, in the past by anarchists often applied form of direct action. The individual act of violence, the Marxists explain, is reprehensible because it thwarts the planned-out action of the masses in revolutionary struggle and as a result provides the counter-revolutionary forces a welcome pretext for reprisal, so that the entire class thus pays the price for the action of an individual. The reason for this condemnation of individual killings, arsons, expropriations and similar deeds out of political conviction is very transparent. It does not flow from moral scruple, which in Marxist thinking plays a very subordinate roll anyhow; further, these opponents of individual terror expressly condone mass terror as a means of political struggle. This is the enmity of authoritarian centralists towards every stirring of individual responsibility on the part of one acting according to his own considerations, who even disprove of sacrificing one’s own life in service of the revolutionary idea if the deed has not been planned, ordered and supervised by a central authority. Every conspicuous act by an individual person in the struggle signifies from the stand point of lordly, priestly, paternalist or centralist thinking a harmful diminishment of sanctioned power, signifies proof that effective actions can also be carried out when not directed and calculated from above. As stupid as the opinion may be that individual violence is an exclusively anarchist method of advertising — in recent times political murders are carried out almost exclusively by nationalists — , just as stupid is the view that it can have no place in the class struggle else the anarchists would have cause to disassociate themselves from the violent elements in their ranks. Here the individual decides on the deed completely independently, and should the individual out of anarchist conviction resolve to carry it out, then the event is naturally subject to judgment concerning its usefulness and success, but never to condemnation based on one’s attitude toward the class struggle. The anarchist teaching of freedom places far too much value on the right of the individual to then disavow it when an injured party expresses its feelings through retaliation, when a freedom-minded person appears before the world with a terrifying act, whether for the sake of publicity, warning, intimidation, defiance or to give a battle signal. In this emphasis on the individual there lies at the same time a vigorous repudiation of the Marxist notion that violence is justified by being committed through a centralized directive. This is precisely the origin of mechanized force, the hand which carries it out a mere tool, the person who commits it a mere instrument toward its fulfillment. According to anarchist thinking, however, the only morally justifiable act is the one undertaken of free will by the actor, after consideration in his own mind, out of his own seriously examined conviction and at the risk of the life of him who has conceived it, with the awareness of carrying out a work of mutual aid, a work of brotherly obligation, a work in the service of the Idea and the class. Whether it is the act of an individual, a plot by conspirators or a mass undertaking makes no difference when every accomplice remains master of his own actions, only does what he himself has considered and decided upon based on his social conscience, and gives himself entirely to the common cause freely and without servile obedience.
Personal engagement is the anarchist way of revolution, just as later on it is the condition for the triumph of the revolution and finally the means of constructing the stateless society and the content of life in communism. This is the reason behind all direct intervention through strike, sabotage, resistance, refusal, individual or conspiratorial act, that every single person involved must be present body and soul, that everything which occurs happens with the free consent of the actors themselves, that no one obey any central direction, but obey instead the responsible sense of duty of the individual filled by the social spirit. Where masses are set in motion, it must be a mass of united individuals, otherwise their movement cannot lead to freedom. For the cultivation of the individual does not stand for the breeding of leaders, rather on the contrary it is the only safeguard from the danger of being misled by leaders. The centralist workers’ parties, just like all authoritarian organizations and powers in general, in order to ensure their leaders the blind obedience of the led, demand absolutely no nurturing of the individual, and that just as little from the leaders as from the led. Wherever individuality is at work, there is a free spirit, which is incompatible with any centralism. The authoritarian leaders never raise themselves up above the masses through superior character or intellectual value, but always only through their qualities as commanders, which can grow only in underdeveloped personalities. It is therefore also normally the case that the leaders of centralist organizations do not end up on top by their own strength of will and are not even elected but declared leaders, since they have shown an aptitude for uncritically forwarding the commands of an authority higher than themselves downward to their inferiors while shielding it from criticism with authoritarian pronouncements. Yet such leaders are, again by declaration, puffed-up into honorable and infallible personalities, which becomes possible only because the value of the individual person is in general reduced to zero. The less the cultivation of individuality is practiced, so much higher is the regard for the cult of personality. Anarchism despises any cult of personality and works against it through the attentive care for the individual. Wherever each person can unfold freely and unhindered all socially useful qualities which strengthen his will to live, wherever he need not be ashamed of his peculiarities and his passions, so long as no harm is done to the common whole, there the esteem of all for all is guaranteed, there is mutual respect, there power, idolization, groveling, personality cult and power have no place.
With such an attitude anarchism’s fighting movement can only be the movement of individuals united in free will. The question thereby answers itself as to whether the idea of freedom requires a mass organization to care for it and spread it. It requires the joining together of all men and women who have recognized the necessity of anarchy as a fundamental principle of social life and who are determined, in a federated alliance, with the total engagement of each individual person, to bring about its realization under the full equality of all and according to the principle of free will of every action. The more people who ally themselves for this task, the sooner and more assuredly will the liberation of society from the state be achieved. When all people come to be anarchists, then anarchy will be a fact. On the other hand, the gathering together of as many people as possible in an organization, regardless of whether or not they have assimilated its intellectual content, is never in any way the means to win a fight which must base itself on the individual responsibility of each fighter, on shared immersion in libertarian insights and on the freedom of the individual to make his own decisions, if it is to lead to the destruction of power without aiding the ascent of another power. The centralistic parties make appeals to join their ranks, though they are not searching for inwardly inspired adherents of their cause, but rather are glad for every spike in popularity which increases their membership. Since their adherents are destined from the start to be mere followers and the leaders would be finished if independent minded individuals were allowed to scrutinize their instructions before they obeyed them, the increase in numbers means for them increase in power. They gather into their fold numbers pliant to authority, and their recruiting consists of the assurance of privileges in case the led, exactly according to the leaders’ orders, will have obtained for them the command over the entire population. The central party offices calculate their success according to the number of those who follow their call. They place so little worth in conviction that they launch into their recruitment activities mainly among the members of rival organizations who they win over with tempting promises of joining their ranks. A change in outlook is thereby neither demanded nor expected, yet whoever they have lured in with the prospect of gaining some advantage is without further ado numbered among their truly faithful followers: every centralist organization is even ready to make cuts and changes in their program for the sake of winning over the masses, and every revolutionary party so far, since they are dependent on the unrevolutionary masses for increase in their membership, has had to make concessions to anxious spirits and promises which are limited to improvements in the superficial forms of the capitalist state. Every one of them has adapted to prejudices of ecclesiastical and national upbringing, so that of necessity with the maturation of centralist organizations into popular parties the abandonment of the revolutionary and even of the socialist goals gradually sets in.
The composition of anarchist unions or federations cannot and must not be subject to any other consideration than the need for anarchists to work together with other anarchists for anarchy. The federalist character of all anarchist amalgamations can hardly give rise to the notion of organizationally containing masses of participants in one group. The political organizations of anarchists must always be mindful to let every individual comrade come to the fore, equal in rights with all others. Since there is no presence of a central control, no leadership in the sense of superiority, whose power rises in proportion to the number of obedient adherents, no anarchist group need expect any benefit from the admission of wavering, unconvinced persons who stream together in herd-like fashion. Furthermore, since no addiction to domination, no personal ambition and no pushy ladder-climbing are part of the anarchists’ baggage, no material welfare is offered up, nor does there exist any prospect of promotion; the people who want to pull off the ascent to the upper class on the shoulders of the proletariat automatically stay far from the anarchist movement. In non-revolutionary times, therefore, there is no reason for thinking of the growth of anarchist organizations into reservoirs for the masses. The task of these organizations is limited to the fostering of the Idea, camaraderie, the clarification of competing views; to the discussion of all questions which concern the labor force, revolution and the free preparation of the socialist future; and to the exemplary extrapolation of federative organized life. That therein lies the danger of getting bogged down in fruitless club chatter, of becoming content to stew in one’s own juices and of losing touch with the working class which is moved by the questions of the day, must not be underestimated and should not be passed over in silence. However, this danger can easily be avoided through the correct understanding of the anarchist doctrine, if the comrades recognize that the battle for an idea can never play itself out outside of the battlefield. For that, anarchism need not provide the framework for mass processions and mass oaths; but it must seek inroads wherever the masses hold processions and swear oaths. The task of the anarchists is to breathe life into and encourage all mass gatherings without concern for furthering the interests of one’s own organization, to actively influence all commotions in public affairs, to introduce the spirit of freedom into all revolutionary moods. An anarchist is not the type who collects merit badges in some little anarchist club, but one to whom the unity of individual and society, the social consciousness of individual responsibility, of equality of rights, of free mutual obligation, the renunciation of power, capitalism, state and authority have become the content of the Idea and the guide of his behavior.
Whether, in what form and to what extent the anarchists organize themselves into associations of like-minded people, is of secondary significance as long as the general principles are preserved and the rise of authority within their own ranks is prevented. So much the weightier is the question as to which way one can prepare through anarchist activity for the economic transformation of society. The political workers’ parties accuse the anarchists of being trapped in petit-bourgeois thinking, impervious to materialist dialectic — that is, the doctrine of the confluence of contrary phenomena into a higher unity of social history fed only from economic sources — , that they would first like to improve the people and after the purification of all hearts and minds construct the more just economy in socialism and communism out of idealistic building blocks. The opposite of this is true. In stark contrast to the Marxist head offices, it is precisely anarchism which rejects every effort at gathering the labor force other than in economically based organizations. Dialectical thinking may be good or bad; deciding this belongs to the tasks of philosophers.
The use of this or that bit of book learning from the world of conceptual unreality does not help the workers the least bit in their struggles. The demand, that in all actions they should carefully take the historical reactions into account, is better suited to slipping the dialectic as a brake into the spirit of every venture. The participation, as well, in legislation and the attempt to influence the governmental affairs of the capitalist state only give rise to the delusion that the radical transformation of society can be effected by powers other than the entire labor force united from the economic standpoint by class and the correspondingly organized peasants.
The influence of the anarchists on such a union can only be ascertained by getting down to work. Just as the tactics of the anarchists must everywhere be determined by striving to bring to application the moral and practical principles of libertarian teaching, so they must attempt already in the present to create instruments which are to draft plans for the federalist direction of the economy in the social order which is ripening through revolution. If propaganda among the masses essentially serves the purpose of accelerating the coup through the demonstration of the injustice and absurdity of capitalist relations, if the trade unionist and pedagogical work serves the purpose of keeping oneself under the existing conditions economically and spiritually ready for battle, the goal of communist anarchy must not therefore be lost from sight. After carrying out the political revolution, the transition to this goal is the social revolution.
Outrage, revolt, decisive battle against the old power, coup, establishment of revolutionary sections, securing of what has been won, suppression of resistant and counterrevolutionary forces, all this belongs to the political part of the revolution. To which post, with which particular tasks, with what sort of means the anarchists are supposed to join this battle of class against class will for the most part be a matter of conscience for each individual. He will have to make his decision from the point of view that his belonging to the exploited class obliges him to total militant dedication to the class, but that he must simultaneously make every effort to maintain the revolution’s character as an internationally binding affair of the worldwide working class, to defend the self-determination of all forces involved against the claims of ambitious, selfish, imperious and state-minded persons or parties, who lust after governmental power over revolutionaries, and to not allow the explosion of passions fired by ideas, which is the moral impetus of revolutions, to be robbed of its creative passion. The anarchists in the revolution must be the protectors of freedom.
The social revolution is a lengthy process which begins with the toppling of the ruling power and does not end until the order of freedom has permeated all economic and human relations. This requires from the first hour on the securing of the trust of the whole laboring population in the energetic bearers of the revolutionary will. The uninspired attraction of the parliamentary parties during elections is dependent upon changeful circumstances and flows hither and thither between political and economic influences, confounded by capricious moods, blatant flatteries and slander. The occasional winning over of the majority, themselves uninvolved in the real struggle, to support a group at pains to dominate all others, even if this group makes socialist promises, does not mean that the indifferent are being involved in the struggle. All democracy by the numbers means is the rape of the active by the inactive. The claim that the workers are already the acting force of society, that they already have socialist schooling, socialist will, self-confidence and critical judgment enough to correctly measure the effectiveness of their ballot, is a misleading lie. The vast majority of workers and those excluded from all riches have no confidence in themselves whatsoever, but also very little trust in those who they adorn with power because they do not believe they can trust themselves with organizing their own affairs. They are discouraged through authoritarian influence from themselves daring to undertake liberating acts; but they are raised by the same authoritarian powers to reject other’s daring attempts at liberation. For this reason, the enormous number of sections of the population not immediately involved in the revolution poses an extraordinarily great danger for the social triumph of the political revolution. For the ultimate triumph is not possible against the will of this majority. The revolution is dependent upon its at least tentative forbearance. It is therefore necessary to first of all allay the fear of the bystanders that the coup, as with every change so far, will also bring about new burdens for them. Beyond that, however, the approval, then gradually the active support of the inwardly uninvolved must be achieved. They must be brought to the insight that with their vote for the rulers by whom they wish to be governed they proclaim no conviction, but are themselves only presenting their lack of conviction as a foot stool for their oppressors. They must recognize that the liveliness of every individual serves his or her own use in social life. For as long as the more powerful are requested by the powerless to rule them, the revolution has not even created the preconditions for its success.
The power of the exploiters collapses in the political revolution. Its strongest tool, the general strike, brings about the complete standstill of the entire economy, delivers thereby the proof to the masses of bystanders that the capitalist powers cannot give any bread if the hands of the proletariat will not serve them. In the moment that the revolution has triumphed, meaning it has gained control of the public apparatus, it has the duty before the expectant masses to show that the working people are very much in the position to procure all that is necessary for life completely independently of the capitalist forces. Here the task arises for anarchists, be their organizations ever so small, of taking precautionary measures. As soon as the red flag of the revolutionary proletariat appears on state buildings, that is the sign that now the responsibility of supplying the masses belongs to the revolution. For this it must be calculated and arranged in advance that immediately after the end of the general strike bread, meat, vegetables, milk for every table, refreshment and medicine for every child and sick person is at the ready. The delivery of all the necessities of life cannot be delayed for an instant. Only if this succeeds can the revolution win the popular appeal without which it will necessarily succumb to the boot of counterrevolution or to distortion through an office of centralized power. It will succeed if the flat land is won over to the revolutionary cause and agreements are reached with the peasants as to how the supply of the cities by the villages is to be arranged in accord with the prevailing local conditions. Such an understanding with the peasants and the rural proletariat presumes that the rural population is convinced of the revolutionaries’ honesty, need not suspect that the cities consider them a necessary evil with which one must slyly come to terms, that there are proletarian views according to which the fields are not to be taken from but rather entrusted to the peasants, and that they will not in place of the old be betrayed again to the new ruling powers of the state, rather that they themselves independent of central legislative authorities will determine the questions of the division and cultivation of land. Since anarchism in contrast to Marxism considers agrarian revolution to be the precondition for the total industrial and social transformation, furthermore significantly coincides with the peasant mindset in its antipathy toward authoritarian regulations, pretensions of leadership and every manner of centralism, its adherents find here a fertile field of activity. It is for the anarchists to win over the peasants to the revolution and to maintain their dedication to the libertarian cause. The anarchists are faced with the task of ensuring camaraderie between city and countryside, mutual aid for the moment of revolutionary trial, and thereby of doing their best to ensure that trust in the social justice of the revolution presents their victory from the start with the good will and the continuing support of the indifferent masses.
Just as the necessities of feeding the population in the days of revolutionary battle must already now be the object of consideration for people united in will, so the anarchists must set themselves the task of thinking through the economic organization of the future society in detail and of carrying out preparations for the transition of the capitalist to the socialist economy.
The childish notion that the occupation of the factories by the workers and their simple continuation under their own direction will have already effected the transition to socialism is as nonsensical as it is dangerous. The occupation of the factories is certainly an exemplary means of struggle by direct intervention, but a means of struggle before the coup and for the purpose of the coup. After a revolution has already taken place there is need for a complete renovation of the economy. Every kind of factory under capitalist conditions is in setup and organization adapted strictly to the profit calculations of the industrialists. Here no respect for the desires of the people is to be heard, no respect for the requirements of justice, of reason, for the life and health of workers and consumers. Such need is only so far taken into consideration as it determines the sales of goods with assured profit for the capital investment. The manner of production, as well, as far as the procurement of raw materials, mass production of individual parts, handling of unfinished goods, manner of transportation, et cetera, is concerned, is guided by stock market agreements. What becomes of the goods depends not on the desires of the consumer, but on the speculations of the manufacturers, the middlemen and the money lenders. Such an economy, an economy under which the majority of the people never in their whole lives arrive at a sufficiently healthful manner of living, while at the same time the storehouses are collapsing under the weight of unsalable necessary consumer goods, an economy which lets many millions live destitute literally in hunger and simultaneously incinerates, dumps into the ocean, lets rot in the barns or uses for fertilizer the most important foodstuffs, such an economy does not lend itself to simply being taken over and continued. It must be transformed from the ground up. The preparation for this transformation belongs to the practical present work of libertarian revolutionaries.
An example for such preparatory work cannot be given in this general guide to anarchism. One must undertake statistical comparisons in order to determine according to geography and population density the necessary requirements for nutrition, clothing, housing, sanitation and health, transportation and leisure and to accordingly construct an economic plan which supplies the most suitable division of labor forces in city and countryside, the safest and most tolerable labor methods and the most reasonable organization of the distribution of goods to the consumers. It can then be accordingly calculated which operations must remain in existence, be closed, downsized or expanded, which industries are to be newly created or revived, in which manner exchange, procurement of raw materials, the monetary or barter systems are to be organized. Without the most thorough consideration of all these questions, the final solution of which naturally remains left to life itself, the workers despite all revolutionary victories would never emerge from out of the wage system, they would never attain liberation from the conveyor belt and joy in their work, all cheering hands would never find employment and would continue to have overfilled storehouses and destitute people.
Thousands of questions about the future pile up before the trailblazers of the present. While the centralist parties tinker with the legal articles of the capitalist system and stage races with the fascists to the state sinecures, may the anarchist comrades use the time to check the rail lines and the waterways for their suitability for socialist use and to investigate the possibilities of how all the working, old and sick men, how all the children and women can be most quickly transferred into healthy living spaces, what is to be done with the fortresses of state servitude, the princely castles and the prisons, the law courts and government buildings, which institutions of art and knowledge can be transformed into general places of learning, which churches into meeting spaces, into places of true community and into schools of enlightenment against authority and family, or into venues for the promotion of freedom. The ground of socialism can already in the present be made level, but only with voluntary dedication of individuals filled with social spirit, united in camaraderie, committed to revolution.
The anarchist idea would gain the greatest advantage from such provisional work. The example of an accomplishment not commanded from above, in the service of the whole, will awaken the courage to rely in all things on oneself rather than on a superior bureaucracy. For the anarchists do not pass on their thoughtful and carefully calculated recommendations to any sort of government office, but rather to the independent working class as a whole, which must itself check everything, itself improve everything, itself oversee execution through those agencies which it itself determines exclusively for this purpose without thereby even temporarily exempting them from the engaged community of all people. These agencies will signify the social driving force of the revolution, they will take in hand from the hour of triumph onward the economy and management of the polity, they will in the time of transition and during the whole development of the socialist forms of labor and society tend to and ensure the organization of freedom, they will create communist anarchy and in the anarchist community remain the bearers of the federation of labor and human alliances. These agencies are the free councils of the workers and peasants.
The most unclear ideas prevail regarding the nature, purpose and tasks of the council system, and even in the libertarian workers’ associations there are the most contradictory opinions about whether and in what way councils should be created and function. This confusion is taken to extremes with the adoption of the council concept into state laws and capitalist production methods. In order to ostensibly meet the workers’ demand for keeping the factory equipment and the labor procedures under their own supervision, employes’ committees have been permitted in the work places, their members given the name factory councils and thereby the root of a revolutionary society has tapped into the suction pump of capitalist exploitation. At the same time, parliamentarian numerical democracy, a system most antithetical to the nature of councils, has been used by central party offices to guide the composition of, and maintain the dependence of, those supervisory committees endowed with the narrowest authority. Even where the revolution under the slogan “All power to the councils!” had already achieved the victory of the workers and peasants, the councils were made subordinate to state and party and, instead of determining the course of public events and guiding them in a socialist spirit, were reduced to mere tools of authority. Should, as now and then happens, anarchists thence draw the conclusion that the whole council notion now be proven contrary to freedom, they would thereby be committing the same logical error as one who wished to conclude from the conduct of state justice that there could never be a social justice. The distortion of an idea cannot refute the idea itself.
As bearers of the socialist community, councils are the representatives of all people engaged in the general work, through whom the totality of the participants joins with every single individual in the social life process. In a time freed from exploitation every person performs council duties who doesn’t set himself outside of social affairs. Only during the period of revolutionary transition must those people naturally be kept from all council work against whom the revolution is directed. Since it is the primary obligation of the councils to abolish capitalist exploitation and bring about the socialist polity, individuals who don’t even desire socialism cannot be recruited for its construction. In this time the special task falls to the councils of carrying out the compulsory measures of the proletarian class which are required in breaking counterrevolutionary efforts and of preventing that through appeals to threats to the revolution new governmental constructs arise which speak of council power in order that behind it they may solidify their own, and which speak of dictatorship of the proletariat in order that they themselves may play dictator.
The anarchists do well to make as little use as possible of the expression dictatorship of the proletariat, although with correct understanding of the council concept and without deception hardly anything else can be thereby understood than the suppression of resistance against the proletarian revolution through the proletarian class. The compulsory restraint of counterrevolutionary conspiracies through armed combat, revolutionary courts and every other suitable manner of security measures is necessary as long as the defeated class still possesses instruments of power and attacks on the revolutionary rights of workers are to be feared. A revolutionary dictatorship of class against class is imperative in a state of war, but this dictatorship is nothing other than the revolution itself. However, to no revolutionary individual, to no group, to no party and to no revolutionary élite can the right be granted to rule over and persecute socialist proletarians under any pretext whatsoever. The Marxists understand by dictatorship of the proletariat the dictatorship of a Marxist party executive on which they bestow the power of government even over the councils, the right to make law, to levy taxes, and to every form of representation of the revolution, up to declarations of war and treaties with foreign state governments. Supposedly this party clique is to be allowed to ensconce itself as the ruling power only until the complete implementation of socialism. Since, however, every centralist state power means state, consequently forced advancement of authority, special status for the privileged, assault on equality, thus is such dictatorship nothing other than the clearing of a new path for an oppressing class, for new exploitation and for all the damages removed by revolution. The implementation of socialism can thus under such an allegedly proletarian dictatorship never be achieved, and the new power will never abdicate until chased off by a new revolution in favor of the councils.
The council system when purely applied creates, and here can be seen its agreement with anarchist principles, no sort of bureaucracy, no special claim on the part of individuals, no comprehensive absoluteness of power. For, a duty assigned by the whole to the councils in no way changes the equal relationship between those who commission the task and those who accept it. The council organization is the federative union of all working and consuming powers from the narrowest circle of overlapping interests up to the broadest scale of economic connections. Every single individual is drawn into the council system, and the dispatching of this or that representative to see to this or that duty, to discuss this or that plan, to consult on a question with distant council representatives, to carry out or oversee an undertaking deemed necessary or resolved by the totality, to check the basis of an opinion or investigate a plan from a different angle, concedes to the representative no privilege over those who have sent him and relieves none of the delegators of responsibility for the activity of the representative. Every assignment remains bound to the will of those who issue it. Whoever receives it is nothing other than the executive organ of the body which confers the piece of work for which they find him suited; he carries out the will of a particular community to which he himself belongs, carries it out, in fact, only for the specific one-time task which has been conferred to him. The tremendous variety of social life requires countless social services small and large, so that the division of social duties in constant flux makes demand of all the energies, all stand under the constant supervision of all, everyone individually and collectively responsible guarantees the unity of society and individual, whereby the equal rights of all and mutual support in all common affairs are ensured. Every dispatching of a representative occurs under reservation of the right of recall at any point of his service; every acceptance of a duty is voluntary and occurs under reservation of the right to resign in case the representative does not feel himself up to the task or considers another more suited to attending to the common good. Thus are all elections which deliver general powers to individual persons, especially when they take place under a partisan outlook and are influenced by central offices external to the labor group immediately involved, are parliamentary events which have not the least bit to do with the organization of society into councils. There are no councils within the capitalist economic process: councils in the revolution form, from the workplaces outward and under exclusion of ruling officials, out of the will to do, in voluntary mutual agreement of the revolutionaries themselves, what is politically and economically necessary; councils after the triumph of the revolution are the final deliberative and administrative organs of the totality which encompass the whole society and hold together the structure of the whole society.
The construction of the council organization poses no questions at all regarding voting rights or eligibility, regarding direct and indirect or proportional representation. As long as the revolution is still concerned with its own survival, participation in guiding the course of public events is in any case limited to the socialists who are determined under any circumstances to drive the revolution directly onward toward its final objectives of the organization foreseen by the councils of freedom in the classless society. From the factories and residential districts they must come together, having completely put aside all earlier factional disputes and most decisively eliminated all intrusive interference by learned politicians and authoritarian know-it-alls, according to their shared areas of influence and employment, and carry out the consultations and the distribution of duties which serve to nurture the new spirit and the introduction of the new forms of society and economy. This includes the effective collaboration of workers’ and peasants’ councils toward the securing of the general infrastructure, just as everywhere producers and consumers must strive for common procedures in the running of the economy. In the countryside, through explanation and propaganda, but by no means through forceful conversion by the cities, the council concept must be made obvious to such an extent that the conquest of the councils, before socialist equality can be made possible, as a foothold for the economically superior large farm owners will be prevented. Wherever exploitation in any form persists, the council agencies are to be merely the tools of the exploited and disadvantaged, must then, insofar as it concerns peasant councils, above all encompass the small farmers, the agricultural workers and the village poor. In the construction of the council society, the urban workers must be especially mindful that the federalist character of social organization is carefully observed from the very beginning. A council state which undertakes to centrally impose the council agencies within certain regional boundaries abuses the councils for their own disenfranchisement and destruction. A council society, a council republic — this word republic in no way automatically designates a form of state, rather the self-administration of a commonwealth by the people — a council economy is only conceivable as a federative construct and can never be a state or find a place within the whole of a state.
The council republic is created from the bottom up. Its actual center of motion is the local urban and rural councils. According to circumstance and necessity, they can in occasional or regularly scheduled meetings of residents take note of, discuss, criticize, and expand upon the activities of the industrial or regional councils, making them the foundation of their own decisions. They can set up committees for specific purposes which might deal with specialized questions and independently under general vigilant supervision entrust individual persons with the carrying out of contracted duties. They will resolve the technical questions of medicine, construction, and commerce in the city or village, the educational and judicial affairs, the protection of the common institutions, in short they themselves will take care of everything which can be naturally accomplished at the scene by those immediately involved and affected. For example: the judicial system in the state can never create justice because it allows central authorities following central instructions to pass judgment over individual actions. Justice can only play a role in the judicial process where the individual who has become socially guilty is examined and convicted by his peers, people familiar with the spatial and psychological prerequisites of the deed, unbound by any uniform regulations, and if necessary hindered from doing further harm to the common good. In the council republic, equals stand before equals, before neighbors and comrades. From the community outward the council associations extend over the neighboring regions, over provinces and countries and without national limitation around the globe. Regular council congresses might then make the necessary arrangements of the day in provincial parliaments or in national or world-wide gatherings guided by trade or other special endeavors, — the council concept will have thereby become the accepted form of negotiation, where every delegate is nothing other than the bearer of those persons’ will who, bound together locally, professionally or for some common goal, have dispatched him, to whom he remains continually accountable, who at any time may revoke their mandate and call upon another to take his place. In the time of revolutionary transition the local councils and the council congresses will be more compelled than later on to concede a status, not entirely without risk, as ringleaders to the skillful, oratorically and organizationally gifted individuals in order to win over the timid people still bowed down by the state, unpracticed in self-confidence. There it will be the business of anarchists to make sure that from this no authority, no dictatorial leadership, no abuse arise, and that the revolutionary spirit never forgets its mission to be the spirit of freedom.
It would be a senseless beginning, beyond making apparent the proposed overview of a council society, to want to cobble together the whole machinery of its organization from out of all the details. The realization of an idea even in the most exemplary cases never resembles the dreams of its pioneers. It must therefore suffice for the understanding of a libertarian order in communist anarchism to hold present the most important basic conditions of the council system. The assembly of the councils occurs according to the natural working and living relationships. The workers’ council of an industrial facility, which is at first essentially one and the same with the entire staff, arranges in the factory itself the distribution of duties according to the type of activity, taking into consideration, however, in the case of e.g. reaching a conclusion on an expansion project, the wishes and concerns of all the different areas of occupation which are directly or indirectly connected to the enterprise. A factory council, then, would have to form itself, to which representatives of all departments of the plant, of the manual laborers and the bookkeepers, of the doormen and the window and stairwell cleaners, would have to belong, including site engineers and masons, laborers on projects that are in constant connection with the effected enterprise, health inspectors, women and girls who could somehow have a special interest in this or that arrangement, representatives of the community in whose district the structure is to be built, and whoever else might have occasion to champion their people’s cause at the planning or to make their advice available. In the affairs of a hospital, it is proper for doctors and caregivers, nurses and morticians, patients and their families, architects and craftsmen to have their say. The construction of a highway concerns the neighbors, the neighboring communities, all who expect an advantage from its construction and all who fear harm from it, furthermore engineers, laborers, surveyors, electricians and hydrologists, all who are involved in the design and execution, all who can judge the local conditions, all who will walk and ride over the street. Here a council forms itself out of representatives of all these interested parties, only for the particular purpose, working under constant oversight, each individual, whether by group or as a whole, recallable and replaceable at any time by the interested parties. It seems unnecessary to present further examples of such an arrangement of public affairs. Anyone is able to further elaborate for himself this procedure of participation by everyone in all things as applied to all social necessities and to realize that with libertarian will this is in fact the system for maintaining agriculture and the exchange goods, matters of commerce and the nurturing of the mind, in narrow circles as in broader scope, from the agreement of a few neighbors on up to the world federation, and for making each person the guardian of all, everyone the guardian of each individual with full equality of rights, with full freedom of will, without privilege and power.
Once one has grasped as the essence of the councils their embodiment of the living harmony of individual and society, then the question of whether the cry: All power to the councils! should be raised by anarchists loses all meaning. Perhaps it is unfavorable to use the word power in any context whatsoever. Yet this demand arose precisely with the sense that every state power should be broken, that all decisive and executive force should be assumed by the revolution, therefore by the revolutionary class, by the labor force and peasantry, and by their revolutionary agencies, the councils, which in turn embody the entirety of the working people. With the coming to life of socialism the classes fade away, and the revolution’s compelling force against the resistant counter-revolutionaries of the defeated class gradually diminishes until the complete equality of rights for all and their cooperation in the councils are achieved. The power of all those engaged without distinction in the establishment of the stateless communist society (and this would be precisely the power of the councils) is naturally no power any longer, since there is no one over whom it would be exercised. The motto is at any rate better than that of the proletarian dictatorship, although both can be so interpreted as that the proletarian class in the revolutionary struggle will tolerate no influence from capitalist forces on the course of public events. Since the declaration of belief in the dictatorship of the proletariat has become the distinguishing characteristic of all state socialists, however, who have also practically made out of it the ruling force of a party clique, and since the slogan “All power to the councils!” is only invoked by anti-authoritarian socialists, the worry is superfluous that here a toppled power is being replace by a new one. Yet it would be well advised that, in order to exclude every confusing interpretation, the anarchists agreed upon the slogan “All power to the councils!” — or, as well, everything to the councils, everything through the councils, or, which is again the same thing: “Everything for everyone through everyone!”
The path to anarchy leads only over anarchist behavior. For reality grows only out of realization. That goes for the work in thought and action toward preparation of the economy; that goes in greater measure for the preparation of the minds. If councils are to be formed from out of the people, in mutual trust, with equal rights receiving and giving counsel, ready for action and for action united, then the revolution must mature anywhere but in the simple belief that in the long run capitalism will not be able to hold up against the hunger and misery of the people. It will hold up as long as it encounters no resistance directed against its moral foundations, against authority and its embodiments, state, church, law and family. Such a resistance, however, does not come out of agreements of any kind, it does not come from scientific doctrines and not from ever so clever tactics, it can come from nowhere else but from the offended conscience of the socially motivated person. It therefore belongs to the anarchists’ tasks to awaken the feelings of justice and freedom which are innate in all people, but which for the most part lie submerged below consciousness thanks to the authoritarian upbringing by church, school and military and above all by the paternalist family. It is the anarchists’ duty to make clear: the worst of all is not privation, but that it is tolerated! For the acceptance of poverty, when there is wealth, is a failure of the intellect, is insensitivity of the soul toward the insult of having to create things of value in whose enjoyment the creator has no share, and of having to beg, pressed by hunger, from those for whom they are made to be admitted to such fruitless labor at all. The prerequisite for any struggle against the abuse of man through the withholding of the means of production and through state slavery is, to a much greater degree than knowledge of developmental laws and economic interrelations, libertarian pride, which includes the anarchists’ sense of honor. Only when pride, inner freedom and exemplary uprightness reveal themselves in the behavior of anarchists toward one another and in relation to representatives of other viewpoints is there hope that the liberation of society from the state can succeed and lead to the construction of a federalist, authority-free council republic. Anarchy can only be created by anarchists; the current anarchists, may they be many or few, must daily and hourly bring the principles of anarchy favorably to the fore, if the future people’s community is to be anarchy, if the people of the future are to be anarchists. For this reason, in the anarchists’ relationships and agreements toward the preparation of new conditions of life strict rectitude must be observed in behavior toward one another. No individual must ever let himself be led astray by his favored gifts as speaker, teacher, organizer, agitator into wanting to usurp all initiatives for himself. Never must a majority allow itself to diminish the rights of the minority. The goal is a community which knows neither majorities nor minorities, nor dubious compromises between the two by which no one is satisfied; the goal is a community which everywhere enables unanimous resolutions because it allows every individual to fit himself into the common whole at the right place. Voluntary ties through contract and camaraderie allow such agreement of all in desire and action in every union and cooperative, and the comradely spirit which the anarchists cultivate among themselves will show and at the same time smooth the way for the cultural and economic co-operatives and voluntary agreements of the future.
So much the more must anarchists’ behavior in the battle against opposing views be perfectly honorable. Dirty fighting methods, suspicions, slander, crooked paths toward deception of comrades and enemies harm under any circumstances the persuasive force of an idea whose strength is its purity. The authoritarian Marxist parties place no value in morality in the struggle. They hand down from on high guidelines of behavior to their followers, through which they believe themselves best able to secure discipline and obedience. They call adherence to these circumstantially interchangeable regulations proletarian discipline; they revile any individual’s testing of conscience before entering into a battle over basic convictions as bourgeois prejudice. With this manner of distinction between proletarian and bourgeois morality the most dangerous and confusing nonsense is propagated. Bourgeois designates nothing other than the entire ideological content of the form of society determined historically by the capitalist economy. Through the exaggeration of the capitalist modes of exploitation and the cultivation of imperialism (that is, the sucking dry of foreign territories made dependent for the purpose of profiting the capitalists of the conquering state), the intellectual content of the contemporary form of society has in part become so perverted that people’s natural morality, founded on social feeling for justice, demands revolutionary aid. If by proletarian morality is to be understood the morality of equality and mutuality which casts itself with the revolutionary rage of the insulted and disenfranchized against anti-social power, then here is appropriate the moral distinction from a bourgeoisie which claims the right to defend its self-serving methods of enslavement with every form of brutality, treachery and spiritual subjugation. Were the proletarians, however, told that in their struggle against oppression and debasement lies, slander, deceit, deviousness and betrayal were allowed and were even potentially appropriate class tools within their own factional disputes, then it cannot be emphasized clearly enough that the declining morality of the bourgeoisie is here boiling to the surface, precisely that declining morality which makes revolution against the bourgeoisie necessary. In violent disputes the enemy determines the weapons which must be borne against him. But here the weapons are carried in the open, and morality is on the side of the group which is fighting for the more righteous cause. In the battle of ideas, on the other hand, morality is with the group which is free of artifice and which carries before it the flag of pure conviction. Anarchists emphatically reject a morality which denies the original concepts of right and wrong. That is no proletarian morality; that is fraud and treachery, which is also not an essential characteristic of the bourgeoisie per se, but rather an expression of its depravity in simple materialism. If the proletariat is to bring about the renewal of human rights, then it must cultivate and find ready in its moral behavior the right to its mission. The centralist parties, however, gather proletarians about themselves, telling them with pretty words what they want to hear; but behind their words hide aspirations to power, and these aspirations to power cover up lies which drive the workers on in the struggle to completely different goals than they think. These parties declare lies and duplicity to be unobjectionable cunning, and by seducing militants into deception they deceive the militants themselves. They ridicule as bourgeois, on the other hand, the aversion to turning failures into successes through lies. But since there are still many citizens in whom the sense of justice has not yet been entirely killed off, who therefore from out of their natural sensibility could be easily won at the decisive moment for a revolution borne by ideals, the unreliable integrity of the proletarians strengthens the ruling class even morally, repels unsoiled humanity from alliance with the proletariat and splinters the working class through mutual mistrust and bitter sibling rivalry. The lie is the natural means of self-defense of the powerless to hold in check the capabilities of power and to evade authority. Children lie to their parents, married couples lie to one another, students, recruits, subordinates, devotees lie to the teachers, sergeants, superiors, clergymen, because a healthy sense of freedom rebels against the presumption of passing judgment in matters which one must settle for oneself. In which case not the liar but the lied to sins against the truth; for where there is power, freedom finds no room to breathe. But when lies serve the attainment of power, then the lie is an assault on freedom, and the revolution will set socialists the task of not only driving out the rulers of the old system, but of calling the leaders of the proletariat to account and not allowing any one of them to collaborate in the new creation who had ever deceived the people who believed him when he spoke of freedom, who had ever given assurance that he was merely the ancillary organ of his clients while omitting the qualification that he was such in order to become their ruler.
Patience with one another and honesty toward all are the precondition for victory. The organization of freedom depends on the sincerity of all who want to establish freedom. A new world will not arise from lip service. The anarchists who want to create the new world of freedom, equality, mutuality, justice, honesty and the interconnectedness of all people must dress their declarations in deeds. That means they must conduct their own lives as they wish everyone to conduct theirs in the stateless society of communism. The demand is not that any one person should or could break free of capitalist slavery: the yoke of the state can only be broken in common struggle. Violation of the laws of the state is therefore no requirement of everyday life. But there is as little sanctity of the laws as there is sanctity of property. Deep respect for the laws and state powers cannot be demanded of anybody. For the anarchist, the statute book is like a train schedule for making the necessary connections in the society in which, for better or worse, he must live until the revolution, nothing more. But the anarchist does not enter into any voluntary commitments which could compromise his self-determination or subject him to an authority. He has no business with any church and does not occupy any honorary state office. If he is compelled as juror or assessor to play the judge over other people, then he judges according to his social conscience which denies the state’s right to punish unfortunates who have stumbled into the snares laid by capitalism. Should he be compelled to go to war in order to kill his own kind for another’s profit, then he refuses to do it and dies for his own conviction rather than for his tormentors’ benefit. At home he exercises no authority, nor does he tolerate any. In sexual matters he follows the paths which he holds proper without worrying which way others go. No woman belongs to a man, no man to a woman. What two mature people do in private to please one another is nobody else’s business, not the husband’s nor the wife’s, not the neighbor’s nor the comrade’s, not the church’s nor the state’s. Anarchist men and women are not rulers over their children, are rather their companions and helpers. Those who beat their children misuse their physical superiority to create a power relationship, thereby reinforcing the power and authority of state and capital and, by beating the insanity of power into their child, thereby curse future generations. The anarchist does not believe in gods or spirits, nor the words of priests or the claims of scientists which he cannot check for himself. He does not concern himself with street gossip nor with momentary fashions in matters of art and world view. He goes straight ahead down his own path, responsible to himself and his conscience, responsible to humanity which he knows to be one with himself and his conscience. He does what is right, since he knows what right is. For right and freedom are the same, as society and individual are the same. Out of right grows the equality of communism, out of equality the freedom of anarchy!
The listing of all anarchist books and essays would fill a pamphlet of its own. Only works which deal directly with the teachings or the history of libertarian socialism and of individualist and syndicalist anarchism could be considered here. And of these only a limited selection could be made. Everything worthless, even should it have achieved multiple editions, remains unmentioned. Those works marked with * are still in print and can be obtained through the offices of “FANAL”. The rest must be acquired from secondhand book stores or checked out from public libraries.
Andrews, Pearl, St.: Die Wissenschaft von der Gesellschaft. [Social Science]
Arschinoff, P. [i.e. Peter]: Die Geschichte der Machno-Bewegung.* [The History of the Machno Movement]
Baginski, Max: Syndicalismus.* [Syndicalism]
Bakunin, Michael: Werke. Band I, Band II, Band III.* [Works Vols. I, II, III]
— Gott und der Staat.* [God and the State]
— Die Pariser Kommune und der Begriff des Staates. [The Paris Commune and the Concept of the State]
— Briefwechsel mit Herzen und Ogarjew. [Correspondence with Herzen and Ogarev]
Bauer, Edgar: Der Streit der Kritik mit Kirche und Staat. [Criticism’s Dispute with Church and State]
Berkman, Alexander: Die Tat.* [The Deed, i.e. Gerda Weyl’s 1927 translation of Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist]
— Die russische Tragödie.* [The Russian Tragedy]
— Die Kronstadt-Rebellion.* [The Kronstadt Rebellion]
Borgius [i.e. Walter Borgius]: Ideenwelt des Anarchismus.* [The Conceptual World of Anarchism]
Brupbacher, Fritz: Marx und Bakunin.* [Marx and Bakunin]
Cahn, Berthold: Sollen sich Anarchisten organisieren?* [Should Anarchists Organize Themselves?]
Diehl, Karl: P. J. Proudhon, sein Leben und seine Werke. [P.-J. Proudhon: His Life and Works]
Domela Nieuwenhuis, F. [i.e. Ferdinand]: Die freie Erziehung. [The Role of Freedom in Childrearing]
Eltzbacher, Paul: Der Anarchismus. [Anarchism]
Engländer, Sigmund: Geschichte der französischen Arbeiter-Assoziationen. [History of the French Workers’ Associations]
Ferrer, Francesco [i.e. Francesc or Francisco]: Die freie Schule.* [The Modern School]
Gesell, Silvio: Die Ausbeutung, ihre Ursachen und ihre Bekämpfung.* [Exploitation: Its Causes and Its Cure]
Godwin, William: Das Eigentum.* [Property]
Grün, Karl: Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien. [The Social Movement in France and Belgium]
Kater, Fritz: Die Entwicklung der deutschen Gewerkschaftsbewegung. [The Development of the German Trade Union Movement]
Kropotkin, Peter: Worte eines Rebellen. [Words of a Rebel]
— Die Eroberung des Brotes.* [The Conquest of Bread]
— Landwirtschaft, Industrie und Handwerk.* [Fields, Factories and Workshops]
— Memoiren eines Revolutionärs.* [Memoirs of a Revolutionist]
— Gegenseitige Hilfe in der Tier- und Menschenwelt.* [Mutual Aid in the Animal and Human Worlds, aka Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution]
— Die historische Rolle des Staates.* [The Historical Role of the State]
— Der moderne Staat.* [The Modern State]
— Der Anarchismus in Russland.* [Anarchism in Russia]
— Der kommunistische Anarchismus.* [Communist Anarchism]
— Anarchismus und Syndicalismus.* [Anarchism and Syndicalism]
— Gerechtigkeit und Sittlichkeit.* [Justice and Morality]
— Die französische Revolution.* [The French Revolution]
— Die Ethik.* [Ethics]
— Der Anarchismus. Seine Philosophie. Sein Ideal.* [Anarchism: Its Philosophy, Its Ideal]
Krischal, August: Zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung in Oesterreich.* [The History of the Labor Movement in Austria]
Landauer, Gustav: Ein Weg zur Befreiung der Arbeiterklasse. [The Path to the Revolution of the Working Class]
— Von Zürich nach London. [From Zürich to London]
— Aufruf zum Sozialismus.* [Call to Socialism]
— Rechenschaft.* [Reckoning]
— Der neue Mensch.* [The New Man]
— Beginnen.* [Beginning]
— Die Revolution. [Revolution]
— Gustav Landauer. Ein Leben in Briefen.* [Gustav Landauer: A Life in Letters]
Liber, B. [i.e. Benzion]: Kind und Elternhaus.* [The Child and the Parental Home]
Light, de [i.e. Bart de Ligt]: Anarchismus und Revolution.* [Anarchism and Revolution]
Luitjes, T. [i.e. Tjerk]: Anarchismus und Generalstreik. [Anarchism and General Strike]
Mackay, J. H. [i.e. John Henry]: Die Anarchisten.* [The Anarchists]
— Der Freiheitsucher.* [The Freedomseeker]
— Max Stirner. Sein Leben und sein Werk. [Max Stirner: His Life and Work]
Malatesta, Errico: Die Anarchie. [Anarchy]
— Unter Landarbeitern.* [Among Rural Workers]
— In Wahlzeiten.* [In Election Time]
Marr, Wilhelm: Das Junge Deutschland in der Schweiz. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der geheimen Verbindungen unserer Tage. [Young Germany in Switzerland: A Contribution to the History of the Secret Connections of Our Time]
— Der Mensch und die Ehe vor dem Richterstuhl der Sittlichkeit. [Man and Marriage in Morality’s Court]
Merlino, Saverio: Die Irrlehren und Irrwege der Sozialdemokratie. [The False Teachings and False Paths of Social Democracy]
— Was wollen die Anarchisten? [What Do the Anarchists Want?]
Meyer-Wichmann, Cl. [i.e. Clara]: Die Grausamkeit der herrschenden Auffassung über Verbrechen und Strafe. [The Brutality of the Dominant Conception of Crime and Punishment]
Most, Johann: Die Gottespest. [The God Plague]
— Die Eigentumsbestie. [The Beast of Property]
— Die freie Gesellschaft. [The Free Society]
— Vive la Commune!
— Der Narrenturm. [The Fools’ Tower]
— Der Stimmkasten. [The Ballot Box]
— Zwischen Galgen und Zuchthaus. [Between Gallows and Prison]
— Der kommunistischer Anarchismus. [Communist Anarchism]
— August Reinsdorf und die Propaganda der Tat. [August Reinsdorf and the Propaganda of the Deed]
— Unsere Stellung zur Arbeiterbewegung. [Our Position on the Labor Movement]
— Acht Jahre hinter Schloss und Riegel. [Eight Years under Lock and Key]
— Revolutionäre Kriegswissenschaft. [The Science of Revolutionary Warfare]
— Memoiren. Vier Bändchen. [Memoires. In four volumes]
Mühsam, Erich: Staatsräson. Ein Denkmal für Sacco und Vanzetti.* [Reasons of State: A Memorial for Sacco and Vanzetti]
— Die Befreiung der Gesellschaft vom Staat. Was ist kommunistischer Anarchismus?* [The Liberation of Society from the State: What is Communist Anarchism?]
Mülberger, Artur: Studien über Proudhon. [Studies on Proudhon]
— Proudhon. Leben und Werke.* [Proudhon: Life and Work]
Müller-Lehning, A. [i.e. Arthur]: Die Sozialdemokratie und der Krieg.* [Social Democracy and the War]
Nettlau, Max: Michael Bakunin.
— Errico Malatesta. Das Leben eines Rebellen.* [Errico Malatesta: The Life of a Revolutionary]
— Vorfrühling der Anarchie.* [Anarchy’s Early Spring]
— Der Anarchismus von Proudhon zu Kropotkin.* [Anarchism from Proudhon to Kropotkin]
— Anarchisten und Sozialrevolutionäre.* [Anarchists and Social Revolutionaries]
— Elisée Reclus, Anarchist und Gelehrter.* [Elisée Reclus, Anarchist and Scholar]
Orobon-Fernandez [i.e. Valeriano Orobón Fernández]: Sturm über Spanien.* [Storm over Spain]
Oerter, Fritz: Die freie Liebe.* [Free Love]
Oerter, Sepp: Acht Jahre im Zuchthaus.* [Eight Years in Prison]
Oestreich, Rudolf: Mann der Arbeit, aufgewacht!* [Man of Labor, Awakened!]
— Das wahre Gesicht der herrschenden Klasse.* [The True Face of the Ruling Class]
Parsons, Albert: Der Anarchismus, seine Philosophie und wissenschaftliche Grundlage. [Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis]
Peukert, Jos. [i.e. Josef]: Gerechtigkeit in der Anarchie. [Justice in Anarchy]
— Erinnerungen eines Proletariers in der revolutionäern Arbeiterbewegung. [Memories of a Proletarian in the Revolutionary Labor Movement]
Pieron, E.: Gibt es Gerechtigkeit? [Is There Justice?]
Proudhon, P. J. [i.e. Pierre-Joseph]: Was ist das Eigentum? [What is Property?]
— Die Widersprüche der Nationalökonomie oder die Philosophie der Not. [The System of Economic Contradictions, or The Philosophy of Poverty]
— Revolutionäre Ideen.* [Revolutionary Ideas]
— Bekenntnisse eines Revolutionärs.* [Confessions of a Revolutionary]
— Die Gerechtigkeit in der Religion und in der Kirche. [Justice in Religion and in the Church]
Ramus, Pierre: William Godwin, der Theoretiker des kommunistischen Anarchismus. [William Godwin: The Theoretician of Communist Anarchism]
Reclus, Elisée: Evolution und Revolution. [Evolution and Revolution]
— Die Anarchie.* [Anarchy]
Rocker, Rudolf: Johann Most. Das Leben eines Rebellen.* [John Most: The Life of a Rebel]
— Anarchismus und Sozialdemokratie.* [Anarchism and Social Democracy]
— Zur Geschichte der parlamentarischen Tätigkeit in der modernen Arbeiterbewegung.* [The History of Parliamentary Activity in the Modern Labor Movement]
— Über das Wesen des Föderalismus im Gegensatz zum Zentralismus.* [On the Nature of Federalism in Contrast to Centralism]
— Der Bankrott des russischen Staatskommunismus. [The Bankruptcy of Russian State Communism]
— Der Kampf ums tägliche Brot.* [The Struggle for One’s Daily Bread]
— Die Rationalisierung der Wirtschaft und die Arbeiterklasse.* [The Working Class and the Rationalization of the Economy]
Roller, Arnold: Der soziale Generalstreik. [The Social General Strike]
— Die direkte Aktion. [Direct Action]
— Miguel Angilillo und die Geschichte der revolutionäern Arbeiterbewegung in Spanien. [Miguel Angilillo and the History of the Revolutionary Labor Movement in Spain]
Ruest, Anselm: Max Stirner. Leben, Weltanschauung, Vermächtnis. [Max Stirner: Life, Worldview, Legacy]
Saitzeff, Helene: William Godwin und die Anfänge des Anarchismus im 18. Jahrhundert [William Godwin and the Beginnings of Anarchism in the 18th Century]
Sanftleben, Alfred: Utopie und Experiment. [Utopia and Experiment]
Simon, Helene: William Godwin und Mary Wollstonecraft. [William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft]
Souchy, Augustin: Wie lebt der Arbeiter und Bauer in Russland?* [How Do the Worker and Peasant Live in Russia?]
Spies, August: Autobiographie. [Autobiography]
Steinle, E. [i.e. Ernst]: Das Endziel des Anarchismus. [The Ultimate Goal of Anarchism]
Stirner, Max: Der Einzige und sein Eigentum.* [The Ego and Its Own]
— Kleinere Schriften. [Minor Works]
Thompson, William: Verteilung des Reichtums.* [The Distribution of Wealth]
Tolstoy, Leo: Die Sklaverei unserer Zeit.* [The Slavery of Our Time]
Tucker, Benjamin: Staatssozialismus und Anarchismus. [State Socialism and Anarchism]
— Sind Anarchisten Mörder? [Are Anarchists Murderers?]
— Der Staat und seine Beziehungen zum Individuum. [The State and Its Connections to the Individual]
Waldecke, St. Ch. [i.e. Ewald Tscheck]: Gedanken über Anarchie.* [Thoughts on Anarchy]
Weidner, Albert: Aus den Tiefen der revolutionäern Berliner Arbeiterbewegung. [From the Depths of Berlin’s Revolutionary Labor Movement]
Yarros, V. [i.e. Victor], and Holmes, E. [i.e. Sarah Elizabeth]: Die Frauenfrage. [The Woman Question]
Zoccoli, H. [i.e. Hector or Ettore]: Die Anarchie. [Anarchy]
From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org
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