% WMiam Sxwvvu
IS IT POSSIBLE?
Anarchism—as a philosophy and condition of society has been misrepresented and derided, its exponents harried and persecuted for generations. Very few dictionaries contain its correct definition, mankind's rulers and would-be rulers fearing Anarchism to such an extent that they try to suppress entirely any true explanation of it being given.
It is therefore not surprising that the majority of dictionaries define Anarchism as " Want of authority," " A state of disorder," etc.; leaving the enquirer no further enlightened if he relies upon these definitions being correct. For, since childhood, he has had constantly reiterated to him the doctrine that " Law and Authority " is a natural part of human society and that were it absent utter chaos would result. He is also instructed as to what this chaos is, viz.:— murder, robbery, looting, violence and destruction in general.
Now, the vast majority of mankind have a natural aversion to engage in any of these activities, but, unfortunately, they do not stop to consider that if this be the case with themselves as individuals, logically, it should also apply to the rest of their fellow-men and, therefore, who is going to cause this threatened orgy of destruction?
The process of reasoning would eventually lead -them to the conclusion that there must be something fundamentally wrong with this thesis, but reasoning is an attribute which the rulers take great pains to see is not encouraged. For a reasoning man is a dangerous man—to them and to all that they hold dear!
Vast institutions, ranging from the Church to the Cinema, have been designed by the rulere for the sole purpose of preventing their millions of dupes from exercisiug their reasoning faculties. By these and other methods they have been able to convince the great majority that the absolute chaos which exists to-day is 44 natural." At the same time they have been able to delude them into believing that the condition of society which would result from Anarchism is " unnatural " and would lead to the unsocial order I mentioned previously.
The iact is, however, that society to-day is in a condition of complete chaos and it is also self-evident that this chaos is not a result of Anarchism.
" Ah," say the rulers, " we admit that conditions today are not as perfect as they might be, but that is no fault of ours, it is the fault of man himself, for man is naturally wicked; but fortunately we know this is so and have thus been able to take precautions and institute safeguards such as armies and police forces. By these methods we have been able to ensure that these unsocial instincts inherent in man will be kept in check even though we cannot abolish them."
Now, society to-day is, as it has been for some thousands of years, based on Property, and, notwithstanding the fact-that the overwhelming majority do not possess any Property whatsoever, yet they must of necessity be subject to the environment and influences which have their being in the very fact that Property exists. It is this which enables the rulers to convince the majority of mankind that the statement I have given above is true. Let us, therefore, briefly examine this question of Property.
The usual dictionary definition of Property is " Something which is owned"; "A possession," etc.; which, whilst superficially true, is far from being a correct definition. Were dictionaries concerned with the truth they would say " Property is robbery," and they would then be correct. For Property is a means of exploitation of man by man, and when a person is exploited he is being robbed. This is the plain fact, and it does not require a long explanation to prove it so. A brief illustration will suffice.
A man working in a shoe factory, with the aid of machinery, can produce say, one hundred pairs of shoes in a week. (It may be more or less than this quantity, but the exact amount is not important to the question). At the end of the week, however, what he receives in wages will not be sufficient, after he has allowed for the primary necessities of food, clothing and shelter, to purchase even one pair of those shoes he has been so busy producing; whilst the factory owner, although he has taken no part whatsoever in production, is able to live luxuriously on the proceeds realised by the sale of these shoes.
Clearly this is robbery, but it is only a part of the robbery which has taken place and still takes place in connection with Property. For the factory itself, the materials used in its construction, the machinery used in the production of the shoes, the prepared leather and so on, are all the result of other countless wage-earners' energy. Yet, by being able to say that he " owns " this factory, one man is in a position to dictate the conditions under which he will allow the worker to produce shoes. These conditions being that the worker hands over his entire production every week in exchange for a wage which just enables him to exist until the following week. And these conditions are applied to every branch of commodity production.
Now the Property owner has a constant fear that his willing slaves of the moment will one day realise they have been and are being robbed of what is rightfully theirs, and will then demand that these «onditions shall end. Hence, a vast and intricate organisation has been erected to protect property. This takes two form6, one being sheer physical force, the other being bluff, lies and trickery. Both of these are consolidated in the State, i.e., an instrument of repression.
The second, and in reality more important method, is utilised in various ways. For instance, the Church teaches that all wrongs committed here will not only have to be accounted for here, but after death lias occurred as well. Whilst for those who respect 14 law and authority " their " reward in heaven will be exceedingly great." Of course, it is carefully pointed out that the things their dupes must not interfere with are the sacred rights oi Property. However, whilst it still remains a powerful institution, the Church, as such, has lost a great deal of its direct influence, and so other methods have had to be adopted.
Thus, we get the PreBS which, day and night, is engaged in formulating scares and rumours and pointing out what dire consequences await those who dare to rebel against authority. Whenever a judge or magistrate uses some such phrase as " A danger to society " when passing sentence of imprisonment upon a victim of Property who has dared to rebel, one can be sure that the Press will give full publicity to his words as a means of impressing with fear those who may, consciously or sub-oonsciously, be trying to seek a sane way out of their misery.
Not only this, but news of things which are of real importance to mankind are either never mentioned by the Press or else briefly and disparagingly. Whilst things which are of no real importance, such as how a " film star " eats, sleeps and dresses, or the death of a jockey, is given the widest publicity with appropriate " trimmings."
There is also the Cinema, which is a very important and necessary adjunct of Property, for the Cinema is a dream-world where the wage-slave can temporarily forget his misery in watching visions of places and people who are perfect in every detail. The sordid aspect of Property's rule is never allowed to appear on the " silver screen."
There are also the countless other distractions which are provided such as football, cricket, horse racing, greyhound racing, speedway racing and the various forms of gambling which are encouraged by these methods.
We get the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of people who are content to watch a small number who either throw, hit or kick a ball, or else to watch a few dogs chase a mechanical hare, etc., and who are also enoouraged to gamble on the results of these affairs. In neither case do they stop to consider how ridiculous all this is, and it is true, unfortunately, that they have yet to realise what causes them to do these things.
I have mentioned just a few of what might be termed the " peaceful persuasion " methods the rulers use. There are many more, but it is time that I dealt with the other method, that of physical force.
These consist of the armed forces and the police forces, together with their necessary adjuncts, the prisons and the gaolers, the law courts and the judges and magistrates, the lawyers and solicitors, and so on. And this vast bureaucracy of parasites have a vested interest in seeing that thingB remain as they are.
Were there no wars then there would be no need for armies, navies or air forces, and in this case there would be no need for generals or admirals, etc., with all their high honours, and, more important, the pecuniary benefits attached thereto. So it is to these people's interest to have war preparations always being made.
Were there no so-called " criminals " to hunt and catch there would be no necessity for the police force, and another large body of men who perform no useful function in society would be redundant. Thus wc find that, in spite of the police force, so-called " crime " flourishes, not that it could be otherwise whilst Property remains.
The same applies to the judges and magistrates and the lawyers and solicitors, for were there nobody to put on trial or to take to court to argue technicalities on the innumerable questions which Property gives rise to, such as libel, slander, etc., etc., then these people would also be redundant.
Then again were nobody incarcerated in prisons for either long or short periods there would be no necessity for gaolers. And so the cancer eats its way right down through society even to the question of the Poor Law ; for were there nobody in need of Poor Relief another huge body of officials would be unnecessary.
This is only a fraction of the chaos in society which Property has caused, but be it noted that the rulers say that all this is " natural," whilst condemning those who point out that these awful conditions could be abolished for ever in favour of a society whose keynote would be freedom and happiness for all, as " dangerous enemies oi mankind." Let us, therefore, examine the Anarchist theory.
The Anarchist contends that Property, Authority and the ruling of Man by Man are oontrary to the law of nature
and should, therefore, be fought against until overthrown.
This contention is unassailable, and it is precisely because of
this that all rulers and also those who desire to become rulers
themselves, whether they be property owners or proletarians,
are united in their condemnation and persecution of
Their calumny and abuse ranges from labelling the Anarchists as terrorists to that of saying that Anarchism is impracticable, 44 (Mankind being what it is."
To the first charge the Anarchist replies that he claims only the right of defence which is inherent in all nature. Should he be attacked then he will retaliate, but the weapon of offence without cause is no part of Anarchist theory. On the contrary it is used solely by the rulers, for who is responsible for war with all the bloodshed, murder, misery and degradation which this involves?
The Anarchists? Nol
The Common People? No!
The answer is—the rulers are responsible in every case.
To the second charge the Anarchist replies that it ie precisely because " Mankind is what it is," which makes Anarchism so vitally necessary. For mankind is conditioned by a society of slavery which affect® not only the slaves but also the slave-owners, and it can not be otherwise whilst Property remains.
The Property owners, haunted by the constant fear that their millions of slaves will one day rise in their wrath and sweep them away, have erected this huge edifice of State and Government in order to subdue the workers. Whilst fco a large extent they may succeed in doing this, yet at the same time, by their very nature, they are sowing the seed of revolt in the workers, although this may not be so immediately apparent. For strive as they may, the Property owners cannot control the law of economics.
Now economics teach the lesson that the first law of nature is that of sustenance, and there arise periods when the Property owners cannot afford to provide the miserable pittance which their slaves have become accustomed to. When this occurs those slaves are driven by sheer economic necessity to the brink of revolt, and it is on these occasions that they remember all that they have had to endure for so long from the minions of the Property owners. Consequently these become the first people to bear the brunt of the workers' rage.
There is also the fact that these minions, being slaves themselves, can also become affccted and eventually turn against the rulers, and to try and prevent this the rulers are forced to the expedient of setting up fresh institutions and appointing more officials to watch over the existing one6 in case these should prove unreliable. This becomes a never-ending succession.
And we are asked to believe that because of these conditions " Anarchism is impracticable." But these conditions are the result of a Property, and, therefore, slave society, and that on the contrary the abolition of these will have the most astounding effect that mankind has ever witnessed.
One has only to reflcct a little to realise that were all the grinding poverty, the nerve-racking distraction, the mental and physical exhaustion, the constant fear, hatred, greed, malice and chicanery, and the other countless effecte of Property's rule on mankind to be removed and a society and environment of Freedom to be introduced in its place, that mankind's future possibilities for creative happiness and beauty would be almost unlimited.
No longer would worker be at enmity with worker as he is to-day because of economic, political and religious pressure. No longer should we read of alleged " crimes committed by alleged " criminals." No longer would the majority of mankind consider it normal that a large number of their fellow-men should be shut away for indefinite periods in vast prisons because they were " a menace to society." Never again would war be allowed to wreak havoc and destruction across the earth's surface.
In brief, a Free Society would mean a regenerated and re-invigorated mankind which, for the first time in centuries, would really have something to live and work for. They would then be working for the benefit of themselves as individuals and thus for society as a whole, instead of being compelled as they are to-day to work for the benefit of a select few who claim all privileges by the right of power or birth or both.
For generations the Anarchists have maintained that these conditions were ccrtain if mankind would bestir itself and inaugurate a Free Society; and they were laughed at, scorned or persecuted for proclaiming these truths. But on 19th July, 1936, an event occurred which has proved once and for ever that the Anarchists are right.
On this date the workers of Spain and those of Catalonia, Aragon and the Levante in particular, rose in their countless thousands against the military rebellion of Franco. In Barcelona they crushed in two days, almost with their bare hands, those whose object it was to instal once again the shadow of the Inquisition. Within less than a week
Barcelona and the surrounding districts were back to normal with the fundamental difference that the workers now con-trolled everything, for the majority of the Property owners had fled.
" Libertario Communismo "—Free Communism was the slogan to be seen and heard on every hand, and the workers rapidly turned to the task of making this a reality. In district after district the ideal of Anarchism was put into practical effect even to the abolition of money. The peasants immediately began to collectivise the land whilst the collectivisation and socialisation of industry began to make rapid strides. Observers who were on the spot testified to the marvellous energy and happiness which was everywhere being made manifest.
It is true that some of these glorious achievements have been temporarily checked of recent months through reasons I have not space to enter into, but the basic accomplishments remain, and the date of 19th July, 1936, -will yet be a landmark in the history of mankind. For, come what may, the Anarchists can at last point to something which has actually occurred to prove their oft-repeated contention that Anarchism is the only way by which mankind can attain to Freedom.
The rulers can continue to try to suppress and distort the truth of Anarchism. The Marxists, with their soulless theory that mankind must be reduced to automato via the so-called " Dictatorship of the Proletariat " before they can achieve Freedom, can continue to point the finger of scorn and dismiss Anarchism as a " pipe-dream," but the example of what the workers of Spain accomplished through the teachings of Anarchism remains, and as time goes on will become known to an ever increasing number of people.
The task before the Anarchists still remains a hard and difficult one to accomplish, but this does not necessarily mean that it need be such a long one as some people imagine
it must be.
If a few score people can become imbued with the ideal of " What can I do? " instead of " What can I get? the influence they will be able to exert by their example upon others will start an ever increasing momentum in favour of Anarchism.
Forward then I
In writing this pamphlet I have attempted to make clear some of the effects of rulership as it affects present day society. The reader has only to add to my lew examples to discover for himself (if he still requires convincing) that, far from being " natural," a more unnatural condition of society would be difficult to envisage.
In this connection the reader would learn something if ho would compare Man with the other specie of this earth. There is no single specie of either animal or bird which has found it necessary to institute Authority or Government over itself. Furthermore, Man is the only specie which deliberately destroys itself through warring upon itself.
The Church has taught for centuries that Man is far above all other species, but present day society proves that Man has a long way to advance before he can claim that this is so.
About the actual interpretation of Anarchism I have written little, for space did not permit of my doing so. Also, others have given their interpretation, and the reader who desires to proceed further in his studies is advised to consult
the list of pamphlets advertised elsewhere in this pamphlet.
The message of Anarchism should become as widely known as possible, ifor amidst the welter of the apparently conflicting theories of Fascism and the various schools of Marxism, too many are apt to become either apathetic, taking no further interest in striving for a better world or else succumbing to either of these theories which, whilst apparently poles apart, have proved in practice that they both end in the same result—the complete regimentation of the individual by the State.
It is my sincere desire that this pamphlet, brief though it is, will be the means af awakening interest in the ideal of Anarchism, and that it will be the fore-runner of more pamphlets or even a regular periodical dealing with current events and the principles of Anarchism at the same time. The printed word is remembered even when the spoken word may have been forgotten, and one can reach far more by this method.
To accomplish this object several factors are important and necessary, the principle ones being a sufficient number of interested people and, most important, finance. This pamphlet itself would never have been published had it not been for the unstinted aid and enthusiasm of a very good friend.
Will all those who are interested and can help in any way kindly communicate with me at address given below. I shall also be pleased to answer any query arising from this pamphlet.
Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for reply.
W. FARRER, 22 Sale Street, London, W.2.
By PETER KROPOTKIN.
ANARCHIST COMMUNISM: Its Basis and
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THE 'STATE: Its Historic Role, ............
LAW AND AUTHORITY, ................................8Jd
THE PLACE OF ANARCHISM IN SOCIALISTIC EVOLUTION..................................ajd
REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT, ................2J4
AN APPEAL TO THE YOUNG..........................2Jd
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