peter kropotkin

reader on politics

Principles, Propositions & Discussions
for Land & Freedom

An introductory word to the ‘anarchive’

“Anarchy is Order!”

‘I must Create a System or be enslav’d by

another Man’s.

I will not Reason & Compare: my business

is to Create’

(William Blake)

During the 19th century, anarchism has develloped as a result of a social current which aims for freedom and happiness. A number of factors since World War I have made this movement, and its ideas, dissapear little by little under the dust of history.

After the classical anarchism – of which the Spanish Revolution was one of the last representatives–a ‘new’ kind of resistance was founded in the sixties which claimed to be based (at least partly) on this anarchism. However this resistance is often limited to a few (and even then partly misunderstood) slogans such as ‘Anarchy is order’, ‘Property is theft’,...

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Table ofcontents

An introductory word to the ‘anarchive’ 2

Chronology of Peter Kropotkin's Life 7

Anarchism and Revolution(s.d.) 33

Modern Science and Anarchism(s.d.) 40

Communism and Anarchy(s.d.) 118

The Spirit of Revolt 167

Law and Authority (1882) 185

Revolutionary Government(1882) 212

Finland: A Rising Nationality.(1885) 228

The place of anarchism in socialistic evolution (1886) 260

PART I 260

PART II. 267


Anarchist Morality (1891) 282

Revolutionary Studies 326

Anarchism: Its Philosophy and ldeal (1901) 372

Anarchist communism 423

"Anarchism" (1910), 458

The Coming War (1913) 477

War! (1916) 492

The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Government 500

-Letter to the Workers of Western Europe- (1919) 500

The wage system (1920) 510





Prisons and Their Moral Influence on Prisoners(1927) 532

Kropotkin Bibliography 552



Chronology of Peter Kropotkin's Life


1842: Peter Kropotkin is born on December 9 to Aleksei Petrovich Kropotkin and Yekaterina Nikolaevna Sulima. Aleksei was a relatively wealthy army officer and came from a noble lineage (Peter was in fact a prince). Although he maintained strict military discipline at home, Aleksei's military career was not terribly successful. Aleksi met Yekaterina during a military campaign in 1831. The couple had four children: Nikolai (1834), Yelena (1835), Alexander (1841), and Peter (1842). Yekaterina, the daughter of a Cossack army officer, was an artistically gifted person who enjoyed reading, writing and painting. Peter remained close to Alexander and Yelena throughout his life.

1846: Peter's mother died of consumption. This left Peter and his siblings care to their rather strict father. While both Peter and Alexander were too young to remember many experiences with their mother they both felt a strong feeling of devotion to her throughout their lives.

1848: Peter's father married (at the request of his commanding officer) Yelizaveta Mar'kovna Korandino. Yelizaveta caused a great deal of tension in the house. An aggressive, domineering woman, she attempted to erase all traces of the children's departed mother rather than offering them comfort. These actions caused further resentment between the children and their father.

1853: Nikolai leaves the family home for military service in the Crimean War. He left just before Peter began to become impressionable. As a result, he did not have a tremendous amount of impact on Peter's life. According to Peter, he left at the first opportunity available because, of all the children, he had the worst relationship with their father. Even after he won the Cross of St. George for Bravery, and was subsequently promoted to officer, he was unable to win the favor of their father. After the war, he developed a drinking problem, which eventually led to his removal from military service and installation in a monastery. In 1864 he escaped and was never heard from again.

1856: Alexander left home to live at the Moscow Cadet Corps. Peter and Alexander had spent a great deal of their early lives together. The void that Alexander's absence created was filled by Nikolai Pavlovich Smirnov, Peter's Russian tutor. While Peter had other tutors, he and Smirnov were able to forge a friendship. Much of Peter's early intellectual development was inspired by Smirnov.

Around this time Peter also entered the First Moscow Gymnasium. He was not terribly impressed with the school, feeling that "all the subjects were taught in the most senseless manner." Part of the problem was that this was Peter's first exposure to a group learning experience. Despite his dislike for the school, he managed to receive an excellent grade in geometry and found pleasure in history and geography.

1857: In August of 1857, Peter began a new phase in his life when he entered the Corps of Pages. Perhaps because of his resentment towards his father Peter openly rebelled against the various forms of authority at the Corps. Due to a difference in interests, Peter also found it extremely difficult to relate to his classmates. Rather than merge with the group, Peter spent his time reading books, writing letters and publishing a journal. During this time, Peter and Alexander grew very close through their written correspondence.

1858: Peter's writings suggest that at this time he became intensely interested in the fields of political economy and statistics. He even did significant research at the Nikol'skoe trade fair in order to develop a statistical analysis of all products bought and sold and their prices. While his intentions had been to develop a better understanding of statistics, this experience provided him with something much more important. This was his first real contact with peasants.

1861: This is perhaps one of the most important years in Russian history. At this time, all Russians peasants became emancipated. This action greatly effected many of the social and economic conditions of Russia for decades to come. Peter strongly supported this move and felt awe for Tsar Alexander II because he thought this proved that the Tsar was a great reformer.

In this same year, Peter first experienced what it was like to lose one's liberty. The Corps received a new assistant director who removed many of the benefits granted to upperclassmen. For his part in the resulting protest, Peter spent several weeks in the Cropspi prison. This was really Peter's first experience acting with revolutionary behavior.

Despite this run-in with authority, Peter still entered his final year as first in his class. Because of this, he was appointed to be page de chambre of the Emperor during his final year of classes. This was an important step toward a distinguished career in the military. In this position, Peter spent a great deal of time in the court's social functions. Due to this exposure, Peter lost much of his confidence in Tsar. He saw the wasteful extravagance of the court. When he compared this to the peasant's working and living conditions that he had witnessed at the Nikol'skoe trade fair, Peter could no longer respect the Tsar.

1862: As Peter's graduation neared, he began to consider his future. Because of his rank in his class, he knew that he would have his choice of commissions. Because of his interest in math, he strongly considered attending the Artillery Academy. However, due to his developing disillusionment with the government, he decided not to attend the academy. Instead he sough a position in which he could change social conditions, and, in doing so, help the lower classes of Russian society.

The one place that he felt that he could do this was Siberia. Unfortunately, both his father and his schoolmasters were reluctant to support this career choice. It was only because of Peter's heroics during a fire at the Apraksin Palace that he was finally allowed to join the Siberian service. This marked the beginning of a decade of wandering for Peter. When he arrived in Siberia, in October, Peter was placed under the command of General Kukel. His projects were exactly what Peter had hoped for. To Peter, Kukel represented a liberal reformer who could begin to make significant changes in Russia.

One of Peter's first projects in Siberia was to serve as secretary of a prison reform committee. On scheduled visits to the prisons, the committee witnessed the deplorable conditions first hand. A set of proposed reforms was drawn up and sent to St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the recommendations were largely ignored. Peter was, however, deeply affected by the inhumanity that he saw in the prisons.

In November of 1862, Peter was sent to investigate the activities of an official named Markovich. There had been reports that Markovich had been abusing his power by robbing and beating peasants. By talking to the peasants governed by Markovich, Peter was able to gather enough evidence to have Markovich removed from his post. Peter became bitterly disappointed in the events that followed this dismissal. Markovich was related to the governor of Irkutsk, Ye. M. Zhukovskii. He used his power to have Markovich appointed to a higher position in another province shortly after the dismissal. This furthered Peter's disillusionment with government.

1863: This disillusionment only increased as time passed in Siberia. In February, Kukel was ordered by Zhukovskii to report to Irkutsk. Apparently Kukel had been implicated in Michael Bakunin's escape from Siberia. In addition to this charge, Zhukovskii did not agree with the sympathetic manner in which Kukel treated many of the exiles. As a result of these accusations, Kukel was removed from his post. It was conceivable to Peter that the system allowed men like Markovich and Zhukovskii to remain in power, while Kukel was relieved of his duties.

In order to get away from his post temporarily, Peter volunteered to lead a string of barges down the Amur River. The supplies carried on the barges were essential to the survival of several villages along the river. This trip allowed Peter to escape the disappointments and strains that he had experienced thus far in Siberia. During the trip, his diary shows that he was quite happy being surrounded by nature. Unfortunately, nature took a turn for the worse. During a storm, all 43 barges were lost.

As he traveled back, he did have a chance to see what the peasant's lives were really liked. He also saw the results of the government's grand plan: the exiles in Siberia were put to work and with luck they would turn into excellent laborers. In reality these people had merely been forced into a life a slavery. Peter realized that the government's plan would never work.

Due to the value of the lost barges, Peter was required to personally report to St. Petersburg in November. He hoped that he could persuade the official to improve the ships used on the Amur to avoid future accidents. He made little progress when faced with the St. Petersburg bureaucracy, however. After much effort, the minister of war, Miliutin, finally seemed to take Peter seriously. He requested that Peter develop a formal report of the accident and the proposal for improved ships for the ministry. Peter would find out much later that his suggestions had not been implemented.

1864: In January, Peter returned to Siberia thinking that he had finally begun to make progress. Before his departure, he had been appointed official of special missions in Eastern Siberia. He brought with him a copy of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. When arrived in Irkutsk in February, he began to criticize the government through articles in various publications. He called for studies of the Amur region so that the government's decisions would no longer harm the residents of the region. Although this criticism attracted the attention of many officials in the Siberian administration, no disciplinary action was taken.

By May, Peter had become so dissatisfied with his work that he considered quitting. However, he did not know which area he would chose to go into if he did quit. As he was becoming more withdrawn from the government's activities, another opportunity came along. He was offered the chance to participate in a geographical survey of Manchuria. Geography had always been an interest for Peter, so he gladly accepted the offer. He prepared for the expedition by reading all material available for the area to be studied. Peter's diary for June and July (the period of time that he spent in Manchuria) shows that he thoroughly enjoyed the geographical work.

1865: Peter dedicated himself entirely to geographical work during this year. This work would eventually gain him fame among the geographic community. It also served to help him forget the many troubles that many of the people in his country faced.

1866: In this year, Peter finally realized that he had to leave the military. This decision stemmed from two events. The first took place when Peter visited the Lena gold mines on an expedition. The conditions here were even worse than those that Peter had experienced in other towns in the Amur region were. A series of letters to his brother conveys Peter's shock at the manner in which workers were treated. He suggested that the only way to remedy the situation would be to drastically alter the existing economic system.

The second event occurred in June. A group of Polish exiles staged an uprising with the hope of escaping to China. The Siberian administration quickly took care of the situation by sending in the army. The army restored order, and the five leaders of the uprising were shot. Given, the conditions that he had just witnessed at the Lena gold mines, Peter understood why the Poles would want to escape. Furthermore, he could not justify to himself the use of the army when the revolt posed no real threat to anybody. In the next few months Peter immersed himself in reading, studying works by J.S. Mill, Renan, Heine, Herzen, and Proudhon.

1867: In April, Peter finally left Irkutsk and returned to St. Petersburg. Although he had left military service, Peter could not bring himself to leave government service. He became a member of the Central Statistical Committee. This position required very little work and allowed Peter to concentrate on work for the Geographic Society. He also enrolled in the university, but did not complete the requirements for graduation due to financial concerns.

1868-1870: Peter concentrated on geographic work.

1871: In the fall, Peter's father died. His father had maintained a great deal of control over Peter's life. When he finally passed away, Peter finally had control over his own life. At this point, he quit his civil service position. The Imperial Geographic Society offered him the position of secretary (a great honor for a man of his age). Peter viewed a career in the Society as wasteful and declined the offer. Peter had become interested in the worker's movement during the Franco-Prussian War due to the newspaper coverage of the Paris Commune. In this period of transition within his life, Peter planned to travel abroad to learn more about the worker's movement.

1872: In February Peter left Russia to travel to Switzerland. Upon arriving in Zurich Peter immediately joined the local chapter of the International. He was given socialist literature unavailable in Russia. After reading numerous works on socialism, Peter continued his vigorous study of the subject by traveling throughout Switzerland to question various socialist leaders. At this time, he began to attend the worker's meetings of the International (rather than the leader's meetings). In March, a friend suggested that Peter visit the centers of the Jura Federation in Neuchatel.

In Neuchatel, Peter met Guillaume, one of Bakunin's closest associates. Peter received a positive impression of both Guillaume and the Jura Federation. Fascinated by the lack of organization in the federation, he wished to see it in action. To see the Jura workers themselves, Peter traveled to Sonvilier, where he met another Federation leader, Adhemar Schwitzguebel. He introduced Peter to the workers in the region, most of which were watchmakers. The isolated and self-sufficient nature of the workers impressed Peter. He saw a community of workers that succeeded when permitted to work according to their own interests. It is at this exact point in his life where he felt that he became an anarchist. He even considered staying in Switzerland as a permanent fixture in the Jura Federation. Guillaume convinced him that this was impractical. One of the great ironies of this trip was that despite being separated by only a small distance, Peter never met Bakunin. This was probably their best chance, but for various reasons, Peter did not travel to Locarno to meet Bakunin. As a result, the two most prominent Russian anarchists never met.

When he returned to Russia in May, Peter brought with him a large collection of socialist literature which were "unconditionally prohibited by the censor." This was his first subversive act against the state. He took this tremendous risk so that he could share these works with his brother. Encouraged partially by this literature, Alexander traveled to Switzerland to meet with the socialists himself. As a result of this trip, he sided with Lavrov's forces. This side was rival to Peter's side. Luckily, this did not cause much friction between brothers. The choice of sides reflected the personality of each brother.

Upon his return, Peter was anxious to share his findings with others. The subject matter, however, made this type of activity very risky. Peter had to find a group of people that he could trust. He found this trust in the Chaikovskii Circle, a group formed to spread revolutionary consciousness throughout Russia. He did have some difficult in joining this group. He possessed different ideological views than several leaders in the Circle, and he was seven to ten years older than most members of the Circle. Some felt that he would be unable or unwilling to fully contribute to the Circle's cause.

1873: Peter proved his critics wrong with his work on the committee heading the knizhnoe delo. This committee was formed to change the type of socialist literature available to the peasants. At this time, only intellectual approaches had been taken. The Chaikovskii Circle felt that this type of literature would not encourage the peasants to revolt. Instead, they needed to be provided with stories of successful revolts by the masses. The actual writing of these pamphlets would also have to be extremely simple, due to the lack of education among the working class. These pamphlets were well received by the peasants, and eventually the government deemed them to be "extremely harmful" and outlawed them. While Peter was only solely responsible for writing one of the pamphlets, he did have an important influence on the development of the committee.

By the summer, Peter began to become involved in other projects within the Circle. However, when he sold one of his family estates, he refused to give any money to the Circle, an action that angered many. There was further tension as the Circle questioned whether they should take sides in the battle for power between Bakunin and Lavrov. Peter felt that siding with Lavrov (as many in the Circle wanted to) would negate much of their progress in planting the seeds of revolt in the workers.

Peter had become very involved with the workers themselves through the rabochee delo activities of the Circle. Involvement in this committee required Peter to give lectures to worker groups. Often, he would disguise himself as a peasant named Borodin to both through off the police and to better relate to the peasants (his target audience). Because of this and his exposure to the working class throughout his early life, Peter experienced much more success than other lectures. Furthermore, he greatly enjoyed being directly involved with the workers and witnessing the impact that his words had on them. They hoped that the lectures would eventually allow the workers to unite and overthrow the existing system of government.

1874: Before the Chaikovskii Circle could complete their goals, they experienced a significant set back. In March, the apartment of a student was raided by the police. Inside, the police found copies of a revolutionary manifesto authored by P. A. Kropotkin. Although this manifesto was Peter's first major political statement, the police concluded that he was the leader of the entire khozhdenie v narod (movement to the people). When Kropotkin found out about the discovery, he immediately planned to leave the country. However, before leaving, Peter wanted to present a paper to the Geographic Society. He had all of his belongings packed so that he could leave after his presentation. The paper was well received and it looked as though Peter would be able to escape. As he entered a cab, he was approached by another cab filled with workers. Peter, thinking that the workers had escaped arrest and may need his assistance, got out of the cab to talk to the workers. As soon as he was out of the cab, a group of police officers emerged from the workers cab and arrested Peter, not as Prince Peter Kropotkin, but as Bordoin, anarchist peasant.

As Peter had been delivering his paper, the police had searched his apartment. Inside they found Peter's diary, many of his books and writings that he and others had done, all of which was incriminating evidence. Peter was questioned at great length, but refused to give any information. The police eventually bribed workers to testify against Peter. Given that information, he was moved to the infamous Peter and Paul Fortress in April.

The conditions in this fortress were extremely harsh. The cells were damp and often kept uncomfortably warm. The prisoners were separated, so Peter would go for weeks at a time with no human contact. Writing was not allowed in the prison, a great punishment for an intellectual like Peter. There were only two activities that allowed Peter to keep his sanity, reading and exercise. Most of what Peter read involved science and history and was provided to him by his sister and brother. Each day he was allowed to stroll on the prison grounds. This short time did not satisfy Peter. He spent many additional hours pacing in his cell.

Peter's academic and family contacts eventually started to affect his treatment. In September, the Geographic Society was able to convince the prison officials to give Peter special permission to write and work on several geographic papers for several hours each day. The result was a large study on glacial periods that was published in 1876.

1875: By the middle of this year, more political prisoners had been arrested and the fortress was becoming filled. The silence that had existed when Peter first arrived at the prison was now broken. The prisoners eventually worked out a system of communication through knocking. About this time Peter received an unexpected visitor. One afternoon Grand Prince Nikolai Nikolaevich, the brother of the czar, entered Peter's cell totally unannounced. This was an unprecedented action. The Grand Prince had come to meet Peter in an attempt to understand why a man of such noble status would become involved in a revolutionary movement. The meeting did not go well as each man disliked the other, and felt the other was a danger to society. The Grand Prince left the cell without further understanding of Peter's reasoning.

By the end of this year, Peter was beginning to lose hope. The interrogations had continued, and the police resorted to all sorts of means to attempt to get Peter to confess. At this time, his health was beginning to deteriorate. The damp, warm conditions of his cell had led to Peter contracting rheumatism. In December, the Ministry of Justice ordered that Peter be moved to the St. Petersburg House of Detention since his trial was nearing. Peter had spent 21 months in the Peter and Paul Fortress.

1876: After Peter was moved to the Detention House, his living conditions improved. This was because the House was, in Peter's words, "a huge showplace for foreign visitors." Peter was allowed to openly interact with friends and relatives now. Despite the improved living conditions, Peter's health continued to deteriorate. His new cell was much smaller than the one in the Peter and Paul Fortress (four feet wide), and Peter would get dizzy when he tried to continue his walking routine. After a short time, he began to suffer from claustrophobia.

His sister became extremely worried about his health. She managed to convince a physician to suggest that Peter be transferred to a military hospital until his health improved. In May, he was finally transferred to the St. Petersburg Military Hospital. This was significant for several reasons. First, Peter finally got the necessary treatment to improve his mental and physical health. Almost immediately, he began to feel better. However, he did not let this be known to his doctors. This brings us to second reason why Peter's transfer to the hospital is of importance; the security was much more lax at this institution than any other. Peter immediately began working on a plan for escape.

By the end of June, Peter had come with an elaborate plan to escape during one of his daily walks on the hospital grounds. Many other people were to be involved in distracting the guards, signaling that the coast was clear for the escape, and to drive Peter away in a carriage. When the day of the escape arrived, disaster struck. His accomplices could not find any red balloons, which was to be the sign that the coast was clear. The escape did not happen on that day, and for that Peter was lucky. A line of peasant carts had been blocking the escape route. If Peter had tried to escape, he surely would have been recaptured.

During the next 24 hours, Peter's friends worked frantically to come up with a new plan. After much work, they made the necessary changes to Peter's original plan. One problem remained, they had to let Peter know what the changes were. This was accomplished by hiding a written summary of the plan inside a watch. Then, one of Peter's close friends, visited him, giving him the watch as a gift. Peter was told to examine the watch carefully. When he did, he found the note. He now knew of the new plan. The next day everything went as planned. Peter escaped from the prison, and none of his accomplices were apprehended. That night, the group celebrated in one of St. Petersburgpis finest restaurants. They guessed (correctly) that the police would never look for them here. The next day Peter left Russia at the Finnish border. From Finland he took a ship to England.

Peter's first few month's in England were spent establishing contacts. His main objective was to let Guillaume know that he wanted to work for the Jura Federation again. Guillaume was delighted to hear this and asked Peter to begin writing articles for the Bulletin de la Federation Jurassienne. He also spent some time writing for the Imperial Geographic Society. However, his primary interests laid with the worker's movement.

1877: In January, Peter left England to live in the Neuchatel region, in Switzerland, so that he could devote all of his time to the Jura Federation. When he returned to the federation, he found that it had lost much of its energy that he had seen in 1872. Much of the problems stemmed from the lack of leadership in the federation. This seemed to cause a lack of direction, and Peter felt that they had very little effect on the worker's movement. One person in the group that Peter was attracted to was Paul Brousse. Peter and Brousse organized a demonstration in Bern on March 18 to commemorate the Paris Commune. Peter helped that this bit of unrest would help stir the workers. Some members of the Federation feared that there would be clashes with the polices at the demonstration. This is actually what Peter hoped for. He knew that police intervention would make great propaganda.

The clash with the police did occur. The group carried the red flag in honor of the commune. Switzerland law outlawed the public display of the flag. The police attempted to seize the flags from the protesters through force. Six or seven of the police officers were injured along with several protesters. The police failed, however, in seizing all of the flags. The flags were carried to a hall where speeches were given. Overall the day was a huge success. The police brutality had a tremendous effect on the workers. The size of the federation nearly doubled after the demonstration. Guillaume disagreed with Peter's assessment that the demonstration had been a success. Guillaume disapproved of the violent tactics that had been used which caused a division to begin between Peter and him.

During the next few years, Peter became very involved in social congresses. In September, he attended the last meeting of the International. The organization had become doomed when Marx moved the headquarters to New York. As the International was falling apart, Peter saw problems developing between the North and South sections of the Jura Federation. These divisions undermined many of the resolutions passed at this meeting.

The week after the International meeting, Peter attended the Universal Socialist Congress in Ghent. Although he had been named one of the two secretaries of the session, Peter was forced to leave the Congress early when he learned that the police were looking for him. Fearing that the Belgium authorities would extradite him back to Russia, he left the country, traveling to England. After a short time, he returned to Switzerland.

1878: Peter spent much of this year working with to strengthen the Jura Federation. By August, he had developed his first major political program. This program was presented at the annual Jura congress. There were some major figures from the Federation present, however, Guillaume and Bakunin were not present (Guillaume because he was no longer active and Bakunin because he was no longer alive). Their absence left a void, which Peter sought to fill. His program was composed of four parts:

1. collectivism

2. the negation of the state

3. acceptance of the social revolution and the end of capitalism

4. propaganda of the deed (violence) as a means to end the state

Peter hoped for a society influenced by the Paris Commune. He hoped that by improving the living conditions of the working class that their work initiative would also improve. This would be the beginning of the social revolution.

1879: Peter realized that the Jura Federation was not in a condition from which it could properly organize a revolution. Therefore during most of this year, Peter worked with Brousse to reorganize the Federation. Their efforts peaked at the Federation congress in October. Most of the old leadership was no longer involved with the Federation, so Peter saw this as an opportunity to move its efforts in a new direction. He gave a speech entitled "The Anarchist Idea from the Viewpoint of Its Practical Realization." This speech laid out Peter's plans for the future. While much of the argument is similar to the views expressed at the previous congress, Peter also argued that the anarchists should not become a political party. These ideas were generally well accepted at the congress.

Sometime during this year, Peter was quietly married.

1880: Peter was the leading force at the Federation congress in this year. While he did not formulate any major new stances here, he did work to refine many of the views that the Jura Federation held. At this point, the Federation began to move away from its traditional views, which had been developed by Bakunin, and towards the views expressed by Peter. The primary differences arose in the question of wages. Bakunin had supported a system in which wages were based on the type and amount of work performed. Peter preferred the idea that the means of production and survival could be evenly divided among all those in a society. His speeches at this time formed an important basis for the socialist movement.

1881: In July of this year, Peter attended the International Anarchist Congress in London. The records of this congress show that Peter played an important role in its leadership. This is significant because it shows that Peter is beginning to gain acceptance in revolutionary circles outside the Jura Federation. At this congress Peter also clarifies his views on violence as a means of encouraging revolution. Although he still has problems justifying all types of violence, he states that an explosion is far more effective than a vote. However, it should be the terrorist act of the people rather than an individual.

Throughout these years, Peter was also very active in journalism. Besides writing for the Jura Bulletin, he did work for the Arbeitter Zeitung, L'Avant-Garde, La Justice, and started his own paper LeRevolte. The topics of these articles ranged from ideological positions on economics to the debate over the propaganda of deed.

He wrote several articles on the subject of propaganda of deed after Czar Alexander II was assassinated in March of this year. Peter saw this event as a sign that social revolution was near. The assassination resulted in numerous executions in Russia. Peter called for public protests of these actions. These calls for protests, along with Peter's support for the Czar's execution, led to his expulsion from Switzerland in August.

At about the same time, the new Czar of Russia, Alexander III, formed the Holy Brotherhood. This was a secret organization formed to start a counteroffensive against revolutionaries. One of the Brotherhood's first actions was to issue two death warrants. One was for Lev Gartman, a member of the Narodnaia Volia and the other was for Peter Kropotkin. Luckily Peter found out about this plot and exposed it in his own paper and in the London Times and Newcastle Chronicle. The Russian government was deeply embarrassed by the exposure and recalled the agents. This event did convince Peter that he should not return to Russia. Instead, he traveled throughout England giving lectures and writing articles for various publications.

1882: For most of this year, Peter busied himself with writing articles about Russia for the Newcastle Chronicle. The subject of most of these articles regarded the treatment of the working class in Russia and corruption of the government. Despite earning an impressive reputation, Peter was not happy in England. He felt that there was no worker's movement in England nor were there any major social organizations for him to become involved with. In October, moved to the French town of Thonon. Unfortunately, his reputation as an anarchist preceded him. He was in France only two months before he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the International (which no longer existed).

1883-1886: Peter spent these three years in a French prison, despite a strong international effort to free him. The conditions in the French prison, while not good, were much better than those of the Russian prisons. Peter was allowed to see his wife, read non-political works and write on a limited basis. One of Peter's strongest supporters during this time was Elisée Reclus. Reclus supplied Peter with scientific works and worked continually to improve Peter's living conditions. Finally in January of 1886, the French government decided that Peter would be less of a threat if he was out of the country. He was released under the conditions that he would leave as soon as possible.

1886: Several weeks after his release from prison, Peter returned to England. The time in prison had clearly taken its role on him though. He had very little energy to engage in revolutionary activities. Later in the year Peter experienced two personal hardships. First, his wife became seriously ill with typhus. She did eventually recover. Second, Peter's brother Alexander committed suicide while exiled in Siberia for a political offence. This was especially hard on Peter since they had been so close to each other. Alexander's wife came to live with Peter until she recovered from the tragedy.

When Peter found the time and energy over the next few years, he did give several lectures around England and attempted to establish an anarchist newspaper in England.

1890's: During this decade Peter's popularity in England peaked. He was a friend with many notable scholars in England at the time. Due to illness, however, he stopped lecturing almost completely. In the spring of 1896 Peter was invited to France to help raise funds to restart La Revolte. The French authorities met him just as he was about to leave England and stopped him. In 1897, he was invited to visit Canada for the British Association for the Advancement of Science. After visiting Canada, Peter, traveled through the United States, giving several lectures. He was disappointed that his lectures were so poorly attended in places such as Boston and New York. He was pleased though that the Atlantic Monthly agreed to publish his memoirs.

Much of Peter's time was taken up by writing. Aside from continually writing articles for various revolutionary publications, we also continued work on three separate books: Fields, Factories, and Workshops, Mutual Aid, and Ethics. In these books and articles, Peter attempted to develop an anarchist-communism view of society.

1901: Peter again visited America. The trip was especially hard on him, and during this year he told Guillaume that he did not have long to live.

1901-1909: Peter began to become more involved in Russian politics again, perhaps sensing that a social revolution was near. He helped start a Russian anarchist paper, the Khleb i volia, in 1903. This anarchist paper was different than others Peter had wrote for before. Previously, he had enjoyed a great deal of control over the content of the papers. Now, because of his position within the paper, he could only hope to control the content through his influence. This became a problem in 1904 when he disagreed with the paper's treatment of terrorism. He felt that promoting violence in Russia from abroad was irresponsible and could possibly turn away potential supporters for the revolutionary movement. The paper ended in 1905.

In 1905, there was a social uprising in Russia that gave Peter hope that perhaps a new social order was near. A series of meetings were held between 1905 and 1907 among anarchists to discuss how to handle to the Russian revolution. Peter even considered travelling to Russia to help the anarchist cause. The Russian State was eventually able to put down the revolution. This deeply disappointed Peter. He began to see possible weaknesses in the revolutionary effort. As a result of these reflections, he totally renounced radical journalism and devoted himself to books.

In the time that followed the Russian revolt, radical groups experienced problems as police and government agents attempted to infiltrate their ranks. In 1908, Peter acted as a judge in a tribunal where a gentleman was accused of being a double agent. Peter did not feel comfortable in the role of judge, and felt that the whole trial accomplished very little.

During this time Peter also published books on Russian literature and the French Revolution, demonstrating the breadth of his scholarly ability.

1909-1914: His health continued to worsen during this time. He tried moving to Brighton, which was warmer than London. In 1908, he began to spend his winters in Italy and Switzerland to escape to damp English winters. In 1913, he convinced the Swiss authorities to allow him to permanently reside in Switzerland. They allowed him on the condition that he refrain from all anarchist activities.

In February of 1912, the workers at one of the Lena gold mines (which Peter had visited earlier in his life) went on strike demanding better working conditions. In an attempt to break up the strike, soldiers fired into a crowd of people, killing 270 and wounding 240. Peter immediately tried to publicize this event, hoping that it would lead to further worker revolts. Other gold mines went on strike to protest this event. However, before a revolution could begin, World War I distracted everyone.

1914-1917: Peter's stance on World War I was very clear. He encouraged every country to rise in arms against Germany. He told everyone that was important that France be protected from the Germans. This was because he felt that France would be the country, which would inspire the world to social equality and liberty. He also considered the Germans "an army of Huns," who had no respect for the rules of humanity. Whenever his health permitted he spoke to rally support against Germany.

Peter's excitement stemmed from the possibilities that could occur if Germany was defeated. He realized that the rebuilding process that would follow this type of war could provide the ideal conditions for social change. To Peter, the war against Germany was a war against the state.

1917: The events of February 1917 took almost everyone by surprise. The Russian Revolution was the spontaneous revolution that Peter and others had written about for decades. When it became clear that the revolution was a success, Peter began packing to return to Russia. He did warn people that it was still important to continue the fight against Germany. Only after the war ended would the new Russian society be safe.

Peter arrived in Petrograd on May 30, 1917. Although many revolutionaries were returning at this time, Peter's notoriety caused a large crowd to gather to greet him. The new government even sent representatives to meet with him. He took this opportunity to deliver a rather long speech in which he praised the revolutionaries and urged the defense of Russia against Germany. He was ecstatic that Russia had become the first country in history to guarantee equality to all citizens and nationalities

During the rest of this year, Peter participated in the formation of government policy. He encouraged the adoption of a system similar to that of the United States, where local autonomy was encouraged. His ideas met some resistance though due to the war. Once the Bolsheviks came to power, Peter ended much of his activity with the government.

1918-1921: In 1918, there were some rumors that Peter had been imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, however he remained free. He was extremely unhappy due both to the uncomfortable living conditions that the civil war had caused and because the he saw the rise of the Bolsheviks as a sign that the revolution had failed.

In the remaining years of his life, Peter used the time to finished some of his unfinished works, including Ethics. He was offered several positions at various universities, but had to turn them down due to his failing health. He continued to write articles for various publications throughout Europe.

By 1920, his health had deteriorated so much, that he was unable to sustain conversations with his friends. Several people encouraged Peter to move out of Russia to a healthier climate. Peter was content with where he was though. On February 8, 1921, Peter Kropotkin died. With Lenin's personal approval, a huge funeral was arranged by the anarchists. This was the last mass gathering of anarchists in Russia.

Anarchism and Revolution(s.D.)

Peter Kropotkin

If each member of society is to have the opportunity of earning his living by his own labor - without as a result enslaving himself to anyone else, either to a private individual, or to a company, or to a union - he must obviously always have the opportunity of acquiring that spade with which he wishes to dig, that cotton from which he wishes to spin thread or weave cloth, that bread, those clothes, that room to live in, that place to work in, before he can manufacture anything having an exchange value for society. It is apparent that in previous times production was so simple that an this did not require a vast accumulation of the initial products of personal labor, that anyone, though working only with the instruments of labor available in his family, only on those raw materials which he took free of charge from nature, could produce useful exchange values. But now - and the progress of society consists of this - the preliminary accumulation of the products of labor for the creating of instruments of labor and the storing of raw material must be so great that it can no longer be the business of a private individual or a group of individuals.

It is therefore clear that if it is desirable that a person setting to work should not enslave himself, should not give up part of his labor, his strength, his independence, either temporarily or permanently, to private individuals whose arbitary power will always determine how great that part shall be, then it is necessary that private individuals should control neither the instruments of labor (tools, machines, factories), nor the places of cultivation of raw materials (the earth), nor the raw materials previously stored up, nor the means of storing and transporting them to particular places (the means of communication, warehouses, and so on), nor the means of existence during work (the supplies of the means of subsistence and housing).

So we arrive at the elimination in that future system whose realization we desire, of any property of individuals, of any property of an incorporated company, a union, and so on.

Those writers of previous times who came to this conclusion saw no other way out than the transfer of all the capital of society to the state - that is, to a powerful organization representing in itself the interests of society and managing all affairs which concern the whole of society.

It was left to it to guarantee each member of society the opportunity of obtaining the necessary instruments of labor, and so on; it was also left to it to distribute among the members of society those goods made by them. But precisely because of this, the brilliant dreams of the followers of these thinkers did not find enough adherents among those people who would have to put these dreams into practice. In the ideal of these thinkers only one aspect of life is considered - the economic. Those who were used to thinking in a concrete way understood very well that no matter what combination of conditions was worked out so that this government should express the views of the majority, that no matter how mobile, flexible and susceptible to change its composition might be, the group of individuals to whom society gives up its rights would always be a power separate from society, trying to widen its influence, its interference in the affairs of each separate individual. And the wider the sphere of activity of this government, the greater the danger of the enslavement of society, the greater the probability that the government would stop being: the expression of the interests and desires of the majority.

So both the masses and many individual thinkers long ago realized that the transfer of this most essential element of the life of society into the hands of any elected government at all would be the source of the most crucial inconvenience, if not the actual suicide of society. ...

Social Revolution

In our opinion the realization of our ideal must be brought about through a social revolution. Here we do not flatter ourselves at all with the hope that the ideal will be put completely into effect in the first revolution; indeed we are convinced that for the realization of the equality we have sketched, many years are still needed, and so many limited - perhaps even general - outbursts. But we are also convinced that the more completely, the more widely the demands of the masses are set out from the very first revolution: the more clearly and concretely these demands are expressed - then the more the first step will destroy those cultural forms which hinder the realization of the socialist system, the more disorganized those forces and attitudes which present social and state life cling to; then the successive upheavals will be more peaceful and successively large-scale improvements in the attitude of the people will follow.

So our goals must be to apply our strength to hastening this outburst, so as to illuminate those hopes and aspirations which exist in the great majority in vague forms, so that in time we shall be able to take advantage of the circumstances in which an outburst may have the most favorable outcome, so that in take end the outburst itself will occur in the name of clearly expressed demands, and exactly in the name of those we have stated....

Prepare the way

We are profoundly convinced that no revolution is possible if the need for it is not felt among the people themselves. No handful of individuals, however energetic and talented, can arouse a popular insurrection if the people themselves through their best representatives do not come to the realization that they have no other way out of the situation they are dissatisfied with except insurrection. Therefore the task of any revolutionary party is not to call for insurrection but only to prepare the way for the success of the approaching insurrection - that is, to unite the dissatisfied elements, to increase the knowledge of individual units or groups about the aspirations and actions of other such groups, to help the people in defining more clearly the real causes of dissatisfaction, to help them in identifying more clearly their real enemies, stripping the mask from enemies who hide behind some respectable disguise, and, finally, to contribute to the illumination of both the immediate practical ends and the means of putting them into practice. ...

Peasants and workers

Where should our activity be directed, where should we mainly spread our ideas and look for like-minded people - among the student youth and upper classes, or among the peasants and workers?

We can answer this question categorically, and we consider this answer to be the fundamental position in our practical programme: undoubtedly among the peasants and workers. Here we must spread our ideas, here we must look for comrades who will help in the further dissemination of these ideas; with these comrades we must enter into a friendly and closely united organization. We do not wish to break off relations with the educated section of society, and especially not with the section of student youth; but refusing to take on the permanent role of instructing this youth in a given direction, we shall enter into close relations only with those groups or individuals who immediately inspire the confidence or the almost certain hope that they will direct their future activity among the peasants and workers. For the mass of educated youth we are prepared to do only one thing: to disseminate, and --`if the cause cannot be spread without our assistance, and also if we have enough energy to spare - to prepare those books which directly assist the explanation of our ideals and our ends, which make available those facts which show the complete inevitability of the social upheaval and the necessity to unite, to organize the awakened strength of the people.

Demands of the people

The insurrection must take place among the peasants and workers themselves. Only then can it count on success. But no less necessary for the success of the insurrection is the existence among the insurrectionists themselves of a strong, friendly, active group of people who, acting as a link between the various areas, and having dearly worked out how to express the demands of the people, how to avoid the various traps, how to bring about their victory, are agreed on the means of action. It is moreover clear that such a party must not stand outside the people, but among them, but act not as the champion of outside ideas elaborated in isolation, but merely as a more distinct, more complete expression of the demands of the people themselves; in short, it is clear that such a party cannot be a group of people outside the peasants and workers, but must be the focus of the most conscious and decisive forces of the peasants and workers. Any party standing outside the people - especially one that come from the upper class - however much it is inspired with a wish for the welfare of the people, however well it expresses the demands of the people, will inevitably be doomed to failure, like all the rest, as soon as the insurgent people with their first actions open up the gulf between the upper and lower classes. And we can see in this a completely deserved retribution for the fact that the members of this party were previously unable to become the comrades of the people, but instead remained superior leaders. Only those whose previous way of life and previous actions are entirely of a kind which deserves the faith of the peasants and workers will be listened to; and these will be only the activists among the peasants themselves, and those who wholeheartedly give themselves up to the people's cause, and prove themselves not with heroic deeds in a moment of enthusiasm but with the whole previous ordinary life; those who, discarding any tinge of the upper class, enter into dose relations with the peasants and workers, linked by personal friendship and confidence....

Words and deeds

We consider it to be a crucial mistake to set up as an end the creation of agitators among the people who keep themselves at a distance from the people and move in the sphere of their colleagues of the intelligentsia. It is impossible suddenly to cross at a given moment from the sphere of the intelligentsia to the environment of the people, just as one pleases. The sphere of the intelligentsia permanently leaves a characteristic stamp on those who have moved in it, and it is necessary to renounce this first to have success among the people. It is impossible to become a populist agitator in a few days; it is necessary to be trained in this work. For this reason, We consider that the best means for the achievement of our aim is to proceed immediately to activity among the people, no matter how small the circle of individuals who have come to this conclusion. We are also convinced that it is impossible to ;ally the people in the name of future activity, or at least extremely difficult, and that it is much easier to rally the people in the name of an activity whose feasibility and appropriateness everyone can believe in now, and in which one can engage immediately. By showing results which have been achieved, and by acting on people not only through words, but through both words and deeds, it is considerably easier to convert them of the things one is oneself convinced of....

Modern Science and Anarchism

Peter Kropotkin

From: Anarchy Archives ""


I. Two fundamental tendencies in Society: the popular and the governmental.--The Kinship of Anarchism and the Popular-creative tendency.

II. The Intellectual movement of the XVIII century: its fundamental traits: the investigation of all phenomena by the scientific method.--The Stagnation of Thought at the Beginning of the XIX century.--The Awakening of Socialism: its influence upon the development of science.--The Fifties.

III. Auguste Comte's Attempt to build up a Synthetic Philosophy.--The causes of his failure: the religious explanation of the moral sense in man.

IV. The flowering of the Exact Sciences in 1856-62.--The Development of the Mechanical World-Conception, embracing the Development of Human Ideas and Institutions.--A Theory of Evolution.

V. The Possibility of a New Synthetic Philosophy.--Herbert Spencer's attempt: why it failed.--The Method not sustained.--A False Conception of "The Struggle for Existence."

VI. The Causes of this Mistake.--The Teaching of the Church: "the World is steeped in Sin."--The Government's Inculcation of the same view of "Man's Radical Perversity."--The Views of Modern Anthropology upon this subject.--The Development of forms of life by the "Masses," and the LAw.--Its Two-fold Character.

VII. The Place of Anarchism in Science.--Its Endeavor to Formulate a Synthetic Conception of the World.--Its Object.

VIII. Its origin.--How Its Ideal is Developed by the Natural-Scientific Method.

IX. A Brief Summary of the Conclusions Reached by Anarchism: Law.--Morality.--Economic Ideas.--The Government.

X. Continuation:--Methods of Action.--The Understanding of Revolutions and their Birth.--The Creative Ingenuity of the People.--Conclusion.

Modern Science and Anarchism

This text was taken from my copy translated from the Russian original by David A. Modell and published by The Social Science Club of Philadelphia in 1903.


Anarchism, like Socialism in general, and like every other social movement, has not, of course, developed out of science or out of some philosophical school. The social sciences are still very far removed from the time when they shall be as exact as are physics and chemistry. Even in meteorology we cannot yet predict the weather a month, or even one week, in advance. It would be unreasonable, therefore, to expect of the young social sciences, which are concerned with phenomena much more complex than winds and rain, that they should foretell social events with any approach to certainty. Besides, it must not be forgotten that men of science, too, are but human, and that most of them either belong by descent to the possessing classes, and are steeped in the prejudices of their class, or else are in the actual service of the government. Not out of the universities, therefore, does Anarchism come.

As Socialism in general, Anarchism was born among the people; and it will continue to be full of life and creative power only as long as it remains a thing of the people.

At all times two tendencies were continually at war in human society. On the one hand, the masses were developing, in the form of customs, a number of institutions which were necessary to make social life at all possible--to insure peace amongst men, to settle any disputes that might arise, and to help one another in everything requiring cooperative effort. The savage clan at its earliest stage, the village community, the hunters', and, later on, the industrial guilds, the free town-republics of the middle ages, the beginnings of international law which were worked out in those early periods, and many other institutions,--were elaborated, not by legislators, but by the creative power of the people.

And at all times, too, there appeared sorcerers, prophets, priests, and heads of military organizations, who endeavored to establish and to strengthen their authority over the people. They supported one another, concluded alliances, in order that they might reign over the people, hold them in subjection, and compel them to work for the masters.

Anarchism is obviously the representative of the first tendency--that is, of the creative, constructive power of the people themselves, which aimed at developing institutions of common law in order to protect them from the power-seeking minority. By means of the same popular creative power and constructive activity, based upon modern science and technics, Anarchism tries now as well to develop institutions which would insure a free evolution of society. In this sense, therefore, Anarchists and Governmentalists have existed through all historic times.

Then, again, it always happened also that institutions--even the most excellent so far as their original purpose was concerned, and established originally with the object of securing equality, peace and mutual aid--in the course of time became petrified, lost their original meaning, came under the control of the ruling minority, and became in the end a constraint upon the individual in his endeavors for further development. Then men would rise against these institutions. But, while some of these discontented endeavored to throw off the yoke of the old institutions--of caste, commune or guild--only in order that they themselves might rise over the rest and enrich themselves at their expense; others aimed at a modification of the institutions in the interest of all, and especially in order to shake off the authority which had fixed its hold upon society. All reformers--political, religious, and economic--have belonged to this class. And among them there always appeared persons who, without abiding the time when all their fellow-countrymen, or even a majority of them, shall have become imbued with the same views, moved onward in the struggle against oppression, in mass where it was possible, and single-handed where it could not be done otherwise. These were the revolutionists, and them, too, we meet at all times.

But the revolutionists themselves generally appeared under two different aspects. Some of them, in rising against the established authority, endeavored, not to abolish it, but to take it in their own hands. In place of the authority which had become oppressive, these reformers sought to create a new one, promising that if they exercised it they would have the interests of the people dearly at heart, and would ever represent the people themselves. In this way, however, the authority of the Cæsars was established in Imperial Rome, the power of the Church rose in the first centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the tyranny of dictators grew up in the mediaeval communes at the time of their decay. Of the same tendency, too, the kings and the tsars availed themselves to constitute their power at the end of the feudal period. The belief in a popular emperor, that is, Cæsarism, has not died out even yet.

But all the while another tendency was ever manifest. At all times beginning with Ancient Greece, there were persons and popular movements that aimed, not at the substitution of one government for another, but at the abolition of authority altogether. They proclaimed the supreme rights of the individual and the people, and endeavored to free popular institutions from forces which were foreign and harmful to them, in order that the unhampered creative genius of the people might remould these institutions in accordance with the new requirements. In the history of the ancient Greek republics, and especially in that of the mediæval commonwealths, we find numerous examples of this struggle (Florence and Pskov are especially interesting in this connection). In this sense, therefore, Jacobinists and Anarchists have existed at all times among reformers and revolutionists.

In past ages there were even great popular movements of this latter (Anarchist) character. Many thousands of people then rose against authority--its tools, its courts and its laws--and proclaimed the supreme rights of man. Discarding all written laws, the promoters of these movements endeavored to establish a new society based on equality and labor and on the government of each by his own conscience. In the Christian movement against Roman law, Roman government, and Roman morality (or, rather, Roman immorality), which began in Judea in the reign of Augustus, there undoubtedly existed much that was essentially Anarchistic. Only by degrees it degenerated into an ecclesiastical movement, modeled upon the ancient Hebrew church and upon Imperial Rome itself, which killed the Anarchistic germ, assumed Roman governmental forms, and became in time the chief bulwark of government authority, slavery, and oppression.

Likewise, in the Anabaptist movement (which really laid the foundation for the Reformation) there was a considerable element of Anarchism. But, stifled as it was by those of the reformers who, under Luther's leadership, joined the princes against the revolting peasants, it died out after wholesale massacres of the peasants had been carried out in Holland and Germany. Thereupon the moderate reformers degenerated by degrees into those compromisers between conscience and government who exist to-day under the name of Protestants.

Anarchism, consequently, owes its origin to the constructive, creative activity of the people, by which all institutions of communal life were developed in the past, and to a protest--a revolt against the external force which had thrust itself upon these institutions; the aim of this protest being to give new scope to the creative activity of the people, in order that it might work out the necessary institutions with fresh vigor.

In our own time Anarchism arose from the same critical and revolutionary protest that called forth Socialism in general. Only that some of the socialists, having reached the negation of Capital and of our social organization based upon the exploitation of labor, went no further. They did not denounce what, in our opinion, constitutes the chief bulwark of Capital; namely, Government and its chief supports: centralization, law (always written by a minority in the interest of that minority), and Courts of justice (established mainly for the defence of Authority and Capital).

Anarchism does not exclude these institutions from its criticism. It attacks not only Capital, but also the main sources of the power of Capitalism.


But, though Anarchism, like all other revolutionary movements, was born among the people--in the struggles of real life, and not in the philosopher's studio,--it is none the less important to know what place it occupies among the various scientific and philosophic streams of thought now prevalent: what is its relation to them; upon which of them principally does it rest; what method it employs in its researches---in other words, to which school of philosophy of law it belongs, and to which of the now existing tendencies in science it has the greatest affinity.

We have heard of late so much about economic metaphysics that this question naturally presents a certain interest; and I shall endeavor to answer it as plainly as possible, avoiding difficult phraseology wherever it can be avoided.

The intellectual movement of our own times originated in the writings of the Scotch and the French philosophers of the middle and end of the eighteenth century. The universal awakening of thought which began at that time stimulated these thinkers to desire to embody all human knowledge in one general system. Casting aside mediæval scholasticism and metaphysics, till then supreme, they decided to look upon the whole of Nature--the world of the stars, the life of the solar system and of our planet, the development of the animal world and of human societies--as upon phenomena open to scientific investigation and constituting so many branches of natural science.

Freely availing themselves of the truly scientfic, inductive-deductive method they approached the study of every group of phenomena--whether of the starry realm, of the animal world, or of the world of human beliefs and institutions--just as the naturalist approaches the study of any physical problem. They carefully investigated the phenomena, and attained their generalizations by means of induction. Deduction helped them in framing certain hypotheses; but these they considered as no more final than, for instance Darwin regarded his hypothesis concerning the origin of new species by means of the struggle for existence, or Mendeléeff his "periodic law." They saw in these hypotheses suppositions that were very convenient for the classification of facts and their further study, but which were subject to verification by inductive means, and which would become laws--that is, verified generalizations--only after they have stood this test, and after an explanation of cause and effect had been given.

When the centre of the philosophic movement had shifted from Scotland and England to France, the French philosophers, with their natural sense of harmony, betook themselves to a systematic rebuilding of all the human sciences--the natural and the humanitarian sciences--on the same principles. From this resulted their attempt to construct a generalization of all knowledge, that is, a philosophy of the whole world and all its life. To this they endeavored to give a harmonious, scientific form. discarding all metaphysical constructions and explaining all phenomena by the action of the same mechanical forces which had proved adequate to the explanation of the origin and the development of the earth.

It is said that, in answer to Napoleon's remark to Laplace that in his "System of the World" God was nowhere mentioned, Laplace replied, "I had no need of this hypothesis." But Laplace not only succeeded in writing his work without this supposition: he nowhere in this work resorted to metaphysical entities; to words which conceal a very vague understanding of phenomena and the inability to represent them in concrete material forms--in terms of measurable quantities. He constructed this system without metaphysics. And although in his "System of the World" there are no mathematical calculations, and it is written in so simple a style as to be accessible to every intelligent reader, yet the mathematicians were able subsequently to express every separate thought of this book in the form of an exact mathematical equation---in terms, that is, of measurable quantities. So rigorously did Laplace reason and so lucidly did he express himself.

The French eighteenth-century philosophers did exactly the same with regard to the phenomena of the spiritual world. In their writings one never meets with such metaphysical statements as are found, say, in Kant. Kant, as is well known, explained the moral sense of man by a "categorical imperative" which might at the same time be considered desirable as a universal law. 1 But in this dictum every word ("imperative," "categorical," "law," "universal") is a vague verbal substitute for the material fact which is to be explained. The French encyclopædists, on the contrary, endeavored to explain, just as their English predecessors had done, whence came the ideas of good and evil to man, without substituting "a word for the missing conception," as Goethe put it. They took the living man as he is. They studied him and found, as did Hutcheson (in I725) and, after him, Adam Smith in his best work, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments,"--that the moral sentiments have developed in man from the feeling of pity (sympathy), through his ability to put himself in another's place; from the fact that we almost feel pain and grow indignant when a child is beaten in our presence. From simple observations of common facts like these, they gradually attained to the broadest generalizations. In this manner they actually did explain the complex moral sense by facts more simple, and did not substitute for moral facts well known to and understood by us, obscure terms like "the categorical imperative," or "universal law," which do not explain anything. The merit of such a treatment is self-evident. Instead of the "inspiration from above " and a superhuman, miraculous origin of the moral sense, they dealt with the feeling of pity, of sympathy--derived by man through experience and inheritance, and subsequently perfected by further observation of social life.

When the thinkers of the eighteenth century turned from the realm of stars and physical phenomena to the world of chemical changes, or from physics and chemistry to the study of plants and animals, or from botany and zoology to the development of economical and political forms of social life and to religions among men,---they never thought of changing their method of investigation. To all branches of knowledge they applied that same inductive method. And nowhere, not even in the domain of moral concepts, did they come upon any point where this method proved inadequate. Even in the sphere of moral concepts they felt no need of resorting again either to metaphysical suppositions ("God," "immortal soul," "vital force," "a categorical imperative" decreed from above, and the like), or of exchanging the inductive method for some other, scholastic method. They thus endeavored to explain the whole world --all its phenomena --in the same natural-scientific way. The encyclopædists compiled their monumental encyclopædia, Laplace wrote his "System of the World," and Holbach "The System of Nature;" Lavoisier brought forward the theory of the indestructibility of matter, and therefore also of energy or motion (Lomonósoff was at the same time outlining the mechanical theory of heat2 ); Lamarck undertook to explain the formation of new species through the accumulation of variations due to environment; Diderot was furnishing an explanation of morality, customs, and religions requiring no inspiration from without; Rousseau was attempting to explain the origin of political institutions by means of a social contract--that is, an act of man's free will.... In short, there was no branch of science which the thinkers of the eighteenth century had not begun to treat on the basis of material phenomena--and all by that same inductive method.

Of course, some palpable blunders were made in this daring attempt. Where knowledge was lacking, hypotheses--often very bold, but sometimes entirely erroneous--were put forth. But a new method was being applied to the development of all branches of science, and, thanks to it, these very mistakes were subsequently readily detected and pointed out. And at the same time a means of investigation was handed down to our nineteenth century which has enabled us to build up our entire conception of the world upon scientific bases, having freed it alike from the superstitions bequeathed to us and from the habit of disposing of scientific questions by resorting to mere verbiage.

However, after the defeat of the French Revolution, a general reaction set in--in politics, in science and in philosophy. Of course the fundamental principles of the great Revolution did not die out. The emancipation of the peasants and townspeople, from feudal servitude, equality before the law, and representative (constitutional) government, proclaimed by the Revolution, slowly gained ground in and out of France. After the Revolution, which had proclaimed the great principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, a slow evolution began--that is, a gradual reorganization which introduced into life and law the principles marked out, but only partly realized, by the Revolution. (Such a realization through evolution of principles proclaimed by the preceding revolution, may even be regarded as a general law of social development). Although the Church, the State, and even Science trampled on the banner upon which the Revolution had inscribed the words "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity"; although to be reconciled to the existing state of things became for a time a universal watch-word; still the principles of freedom were slowly entering-- into the affairs of life. It is true that the feudal obligations abolished by the republican armies of Italy and Spain were again restored in these countries, and that even the inquisition itself was revived. But a mortal blow had already been dealt them--and their doom was sealed. The wave of emancipation from the feudal yoke reached, first, Western, and then Eastern Germany, and spread over the peninsulas. Slowly moving eastward, it reached Prussia in 1848, Russia in 1861, and the Balkans in 1878. Slavery disappeared in America in 1863. At the same time the ideas of the equality of all citizens before the law, and of representative government were also spreading from west to east, and by the end of the century Russia alone remained under the yoke of autocracy, already much impaired.

On the other hand, on the threshold of the nineteenth century, the ideas of economic emancipation had already been proclaimed. In England, Godwin published in 1793 his remarkable work, "An Enquiry into Political Justice," in which he was the first to establish the theory of non-governmental socialism, that is, Anarchism; and Babeuf--especially influenced, as it seems, by Buonarotti--came forward in 1796 as the first theorist of centralized State-socialism.

Then, developing the principles already laid down in the eighteenth century, Fourier, Saint-Simon, and Robert Owen came forward as the three founders of modern socialism in its three chief schools; and in the forties Proudhon, unacquainted with the work of Godwin, laid down anew the bases of Anarchism.

The scientific foundations of both governmental and non-governmental socialism were thus laid down at the beginning of the nineteenth century with a thoroughness wholly unappreciated by our contemporaries. Only in two respects, doubtless very important ones, has modern socialism materially advanced. It has become revolutionary, and has severed all connection with the Christian religion. It realized that for the attainment of its ideals a Social Revolution is necessary--not in the sense in which people sometimes speak of an "industrial revolution" or of "a revolution in science," but in the real , material sense of the word "Revolution"--in the sense of rapidly changing the fundamental principles of present society by means which, in the usual run of events, are considered illegal. And it ceased to confuse its views with the optimist reforming tendencies of the Christian religion. But this latter step had already been taken by Godwin and R. Owen. As regards the admiration of centralized authority and the preaching of discipline, for which man is histori-cally indebted chiefly to the mediæval church and to church rule generally-these survivals have been retained among the mass of the State socialists, who have thus failed to rise to the level of their two English forerunners.

Of the influence which the reaction that set in after the Great Revolution has had upon the development of the sciences, it would be difficult to speak in this essay.3 Suffice it to say, that by far the greater part of what modern science prides itself on was already marked out, and more than marked out--sometimes even ex-pressed in a definite scientific form--at the end of the eighteenth century. The mechanical theory of heat and the indestructibility of motion (the conservation of energy); the modification of species by the action of environment; physiological psychology; the anthropological view of history, religion, and legislation; the laws of development of thought--in short, the whole mechanical conception of the world and all the elements of a synthetic philosophy (a philosophy which embraces all physical, chemical living and social phenomena),--were already outlined and partly formulated in the preceding century.

But, owning to the reaction which set in, these discoveries were kept in the background during a full half-century. Men of science suppressed them or else declared them "unscientific." Under the pretext of "studying facts" and "gathering scientific material," even such exact measurements as the determination of the mechanical power necessary for obtaining a given amount of heat (the determination by Séguin and Joule of the mechanical equivalent of heat) were set aside by the scientists. The English Royal Society even declined to publish the results of Joule's investigations into this subject on the ground that they were "unscientific." And the excellent work of Grove upon the unity of physical forces, written in 1843, remained up to 1856 in complete obscurity. Only on consulting the history of the exact sciences can one fully understand the forces of reaction which then swept over Europe.

The curtain was suddenly rent at the end of the fifties, when that liberal, intellectual movement began in Western Europe which led in Russia to the abolition of serfdom, and deposed Schelling and Hegel in philosophy, while in life it called forth the bold negation of intellectual slavery and submission to habit and authority, which is known under the name of Nihilism.

It is interesting to note in this connection the extent to which the socialist teachings of the thirties and forties, and also the revolution of 1848, have helped science to throw off the fetters placed upon it by the post-revolutionary reaction. Without entering here into detail, it is sufficient to say that the above-mentioned Séguin and Augustin Thierry (the historian who laid the foundations for the study of the folkmote regime and of federalism) were Saint-Simonists, that Darwin's fellow-worker, A. R. Wallace, was in his younger days an enthusi-astic follower of Robert Owen; that Auguste Comte was a Saint-Simonist, and Ricardo and Bentham were Owenists; and that the materialists Charles Vogt and George Lewis, as well as Grove, Mill, Spencer, and many others, had lived under the influence of the radical socialistic movement of the thirties and forties. It was to this very influence that they owed their scientific boldness.

The simultaneous appearance of the works of Grove, Joule, Berthollet and Helmholtz; of Darwin, Claude Bernard, Moleschott and Vogt; of Lyell, Bain, Mill and Burnouf --all in the brief space of five or six years (1856-1862),--radically changed the most fundamental views of science. Science suddenly started upon a new path. Entirely new fields of investigation were opened with amazing rapidity. The science of life (Biology), of human institutions (Anthropology), of reason, will and emotions (Psychology), of the history of rights and religions, and so on--grew up under our very eyes, staggering the mind with the boldness of their generalizations and the audacity of their deductions. What in the preceding century was only an ingenious guess, now came forth proved by the scales and the microscope, verified by thousands of applications. The very manner of writing changed, and science returned to the clearness, the precision, and the beauty of exposition which are peculiar to the inductive method and which characterized those of the thinkers of the eighteenth century who had broken away from metaphysics.

To predict what direction science will take in its further development is, evidently, impossible. As long as men of science depend upon the rich and the governments, so long will they of necessity remain subject to influence from this quarter; and this, of course, can again arrest for a time the development of science. But one thing is certain: in the form that science is now assuming there is no longer any need of the hypothesis which Laplace considered useless, or of the metaphysical "words" which Goethe ridiculed. The book of nature, the book of organic life, and that of human development, can already be read without resorting to the power of a creator, a mystical "vital force," an immortal soul, Hegel's trilogy, or the endowment of abstract symbols with real life. Mechanical phenomena, in their ever-increasing complexity, suffice for the explanation of nature and the whole of organic and social life.

There is much, very much, in the world that is still unknown to us--much that is dark and incomprehensible; and of such unexplained gaps new ones will always be disclosed as soon as the old ones have been filled up. But we do not know of, and do not see the possibility of discovering, any domain in which the phenomena observed in the fall of a stone, or in the impact of two billiard balls, or in a chemical reaction--that is, mechanical phenomena-should prove inadequate to the necessary explanations.


1Kant's version of the ethical maxim, "Do to others as you would have them do to you," reads: "Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law."--Translator.

2Readers of Russian literature to whom Lomonósoff is known only by his literary work, may be surprised as much as I was to find his name mentioned in connection with the theory of heat. On seeing the name in the original, I promptly consulted the library--so sure was I that I was confronted with a typographical error. There was no mistake, however. For, Mikhail Vassilievich Lomonósoff (1712-1765), by far the most broadly sifted Russian of his time, was--I have thus been led to discover--even more ardently devoted to science than to the muses. His accomplishments in the physical sciences alone, in which he experimented and upon which he wrote and lectured extensively, would have won for him lasting fame in the history of Russian culture and first mention among its devotees.-- Translator.

2Something in this line is set forth in my lecture "On the Scientific Development in the XIX Century."


It was natural that, as soon as science had attained such generalizations, the need of a synthetic philosophy should be felt; a philosophy which, no longer discussing "the essence of things," first causes," the " aim of life," and similar symbolic expressions, and repudiating all sorts of anthropomorphism (the endowment of natural phenomena with human characteristics), should be a digest and unification of all our knowledge; a philosophy which, proceeding from the simple to the complex, would furnish a key to the understanding of all nature, in its entirety, and, through that, indicate to us the lines of further research and the means of discovering new, yet unknown, correlations (so-called laws), while at the same time it would inspire us with confidence in the correctness of our conclusions, however much they may differ from current superstitions.

Such attempts at a constructive synthetic philosophy were made several times during the nineteenth century, the chief of them being those of Auguste Comte and of Herbert Spencer. On these two we shall have to dwell.

The need of such a philosophy as this was admitted already in the eighteenth century-by the philosopher and economist Turgot and, subsequently, even more clearly by Saint-Simon. As has been stated above, the encyclopædists, and likewise Voltaire in his "Philosophical Dictionary," had already begun to construct it. In a more rigorous, scientific form which would satisfy the requirements of the exact sciences, it was now undertaken by Auguste Comte.

It is well known that Comte acquitted himself very ably of his task so far as the exact sciences were concerned. He was quite right in including the science of life (Biology) and that of human societies (Sociology) in the circle of sciences compassed by his positive philosophy; and his philosophy has had a great influence upon all scientists and philosophers of the nineteenth century.

But why was it that this great philosopher proved so weak the moment he took up, in his "Positive Politics," the study of social institutions, especially those of modern times? This is the question which most admirers of Comte have asked themselves. How could such a broad and strong mind come to the religion which Comte preached in the closing years of his life? Littré and Mill, it is well known, refused even to recognize Comte's "Politics" as part of his philosophy; they considered it the product of a weakened mind; while others utterly failed in their endeavors to discover a unity of method in the two works.1

And yet the contradiction between the two parts of Comte's philosophy is in the highest degree characteristic and throws a bright light upon the problems of our own time.

When Comte had finished his "Course of Positive Philosophy," he undoubtedly must have perceived that he had not yet touched upon the most important point--namely, the origin in man of the moral principle and the influence of this principle upon human life. He was bound to account for the origin of this principle, to explain it by the same phenomena by which he had explained life in general, and to show why man feels the necessity of obeying his moral sense, or, at least, of reckoning with it. But for this he was lacking in knowledge (at the time he wrote this was quite natural) as well as in boldness. So, in lieu of the God of all religions, whom man must worship and to whom he must appeal in order to be virtuous, he placed Humanity, writ large. To this new idol he ordered us to pray that we might develop in ourselves the moral concept. But once this step had been taken--once it was found necessary to pay homage to something standing outside of and higher than the individual in order to retain man on the moral path--all the rest followed naturally. Even the ritualism of Comte's religion moulded itself very naturally upon the model of all the preceding positive religions.

Once Comte would not admit that everything that is moral in man grew out of observation of nature and from the very conditions of men living in societies,--this step was necessary. He did not see that the moral sentiment in man is as deeply rooted as all the rest of his physical constitution inherited by him from his slow evolution; that the moral concept in man had made its first appearance in the animal societies which existed long before man had appeared upon earth; and that, consequently, whatever may be the inclinations of separate individuals, this concept must persist in mankind as long as the human species does not begin to deteriorate,---the anti-moral activity of separate men inevitably calling forth a counter-activity on the part of those who surround them, just as action causes reaction in the physical world. Comte did not understand this, and therefore he was compelled to invent a new idol--Humanity--in order that it should constantly recall man to the moral path.

Like Saint-Simon, Fourier, and almost all his other contemporaries, Comte thus paid his tribute to the Christian education he had received. Without a struggle of the evil principles with the good--in which the two should be equally matched--and without man's application in prayer to the good principle and its apostles on earth for maintaining him in the virtuous path, Christianty cannot be conceived. And Comte, dominated from childhood by this Christian idea, reverted to it as soon as he found himself face to face with the question of morality and the means of fortifying it in the heart of man.


1 None that know the author's fairness of mind will be likely to accuse him of partiality in the scathing criticism he here makes of the Apostle of Positivism. Lest any reader be inclined to do so, however, it may not be amiss to cite on this point the opinion of a critic unquestionably conservative and, presumably, impartial--an opinion I came upon by mere chance while engaged on this translation. Scattered through pages 560 to 563 of Falckenberg's "History of Modern Philosophy" (Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1893), I find the following estimate of Comte and his uneven work: "The extraordinary character of which [Comte's philosophy] has given occasion to his critics to make a complete di-vision between the second, 'subjective or sentimental,' period of his thinking, in which the philosopher is said to be transformed into the high priest of a new religion, and the first, the positivistic period....Beneath the surface of the most sober inquiry mystical and dictatorial tendencies pulsate in Comte from the beginning....The historical influence exercised by Comte through his later writings is extremely small in comparison with that of his chief work....Comte's school divided into two groups--the apostates, who reject the subjective phase and hold fast to the earlier doctrine, and the faithful."--Translator.


But it must not be forgotten that Comte wrote his Positivist Philosophy long before the years 1856-1862,which, as stated above, suddenly widened the horizon of science and the world-concept of every educated man.

The works which appeared in these five or six years have wrought so complete a change in the views on nature, on life in general, and on the life of human societies, that it has no parallel in the whole history of science for the past two thousand years. That which had been but vaguely understood--sometimes only guessed at by the encyclopædists, and that which the best minds in the first half of the nineteenth century had so much difficulty in explaining, appeared now in the full armor of science; and it presented itself so thoroughly investigated through the inductive-deductive method that every other method was at once adjudged imperfect, false and--unnecessary.

Let us, then, dwell a little longer upon the results obtained in these years, that we may better appreciate the next attempt at a synthetic philosophy, which was made by Herbert Spencer.

Grove, Clausius, Helmholtz, joule, and a whole group of physicists and astronomers, as also Kirchhoff, who discovered the spectroscopic analysis and gave us the means of determining the composition of the most distant stars,--these, in rapid succession at the end of the fifties, proved the unity of nature throughout the inorganic world To talk of certain mysterious, imponderable fluids--calorific, magnetic, electrical--at once became impossible. It was shown that the mechanical motion of molecules which takes place in the waves of the sea or in the vibrations of a bell or a tuning fork, was adequate to the explanation of all the phenomena of heat, light, electricity and magnetism; that we can measure them and weigh their energy. More than this: that in the heavenly bodies most remote from us the same vibration of molecules takes place, with the same effects. Nay, the mass movements of the heavenly bodies themselves, which run through space according to the laws of universal gravitation, represent, in all likelihood, nothing else than the resultants of these vibrations of light and electricity, transmitted for billions and trillions of miles through interstellar space.

The same calorific and electrical vibrations of molecules of matter proved also adequate to explain all chemical phenomena. And then, the very life of plants and animals, in its infinitely varied manifestations, has been found to be nothing else than a continually going on exchange of molecules in that wide range of very complex, and hence unstable and easily decomposed, chemical compounds from which are built the tissues of every living being.

Then, already during those years it was understood--and for the past ten years it has been still more firmly established--that the life of the cells of the nervous system and their property of transmitting vibrations from one to the other, afforded a mechanical explanation of the nervous life of animals. Owing to these investigations, we can now understand, without leaving the domain of purely physiological observations, how impressions and images are produced and retained in the brain, how their mutual effects result in the association of ideas (every new impression awakening impressions previously stored up), and hence also--in thought.

Of course, very much still remains to be done and to be discovered in this vast domain; science, scarcely freed yet from the metaphysics which so long hampered it, is only now beginning to explore the wide field of physical psychology. But the start has already been made, and a solid foundation is laid for further labors. The old-fashioned classification of phenomena into two sets, which the German philosopher Kant endeavored to establish,--one concerned with investigations "in time and space" (the world of physical Phenomena) and the other "in time only" (the world of spiritual phenomena),--now falls of itself. And to the question once asked by the Russian physiologist, Setchenov: "By whom and how should psychology be studied?" science has already given the answer: "By physiologists, and by the physiological method." And, indeed, the recent labors of the physiologists have already succeeded in shedding incomparably more light than all the intricate discussions of the metaphysicists, upon the mechanism of thought; the awakening of impressions, their retention and transmission.

In this, its chief stronghold, metaphysics was thus worsted. The field in which it considered itself invincible has now been taken possession of by natural science and materialist philosophy, and these two are promoting the growth of knowledge in this direction faster than centuries of metaphysical speculation have done.

In these same years another important step was made. Darwin's book on "The Origin of Species" appeared and eclipsed all the rest.

Already in the last century Buffon (apparently even Linnæus), and on the threshold of the nineteenth century Lamarck, had ventured to maintain that the existing species of plants and animals are not fixed forms; that they are variable and vary continually even now. The very fact of family likeness which exists between groups of forms--Lamarck pointed out--is a proof of their common descent from a common ancestry. Thus, for example, the various forms of meadow buttercups, water buttercups, and all other buttercups which we see on our meadows and swamps, must have been produced by the action of environment upon descendants from one common type of ancestors. Likewise, the present species of wolves, dogs, jackals and foxes did not exist in a remote past, but there was in their stead one kind of animals out of which, under various conditions, the wolves, the dogs, the jackals and the foxes have gradually evolved.

But in the eighteenth century such heresies as these had to be uttered with great circumspection. The Church was still very powerful then, and for such heretical views the naturalist had to reckon with prison, torture, or the lunatic's asylum. The "heretics" consequently were cautious in their expressions. Now, however, Darwin and A. R. Wallace could boldly maintain so great a heresy. Darwin even ventured to declare that man, too, had originated, in the same way of slow physiological evolution, from some lower forms of ape-like animals; that his "immortal spirit" and his "moral soul" are as much a product of evolution as the mind and the moral habits of the ant or of the chimpanzee.

We know what storms then broke out upon Darwin and, especially, upon his bold and gifted disciple, Huxley, who sharply emphasized just those conclusions from Darwin's work which were most dreaded by the clergy. It was a fierce battle, but, owing to the support of the masses of the public, the victory was won, nevertheless, by the Darwinians; and the result was that an entirely new and extremely important science--Biology, the science of life in all its manifestations--has grown up under our very eyes during the last forty years.

At the same time Darwin's work furnished a new key to the understanding of all sorts of phenomena--physical, vitals and social. It opened up a new road for their investigation. The idea of a continuous development (evolution) and of a continual adaptation to changing environment, found a much wider application than the origin of species. It was applied to the study of all nature, as well as to men and their social institutions, and it disclosed in these branches entirely unknown horizons, giving explanations of facts which hitherto had seemed quite inexplicable.

Owing to the impulse given by Darwin's work to all natural sciences, Biology was created, which, in Herbert Spencer's hands, soon explained to us how the countless forms of living beings inhabiting the earth may have developed, and enabled Haeckel to make the first attempt at formulating a genealogy of all animals, man included. In the same way a solid foundation for the history of the development of man's customs, manners, beliefs and institutions was laid down--a history the want of which was strongly felt by the eighteenth century philosophers and by Auguste Comte. At the present time this history can be written without resorting to either the formulæ of Hegelean metapysics or to "innate ideas" and "inspiration from without"--without any of those dead formulæ behind which, concealed bywords as by clouds, was always hidden the same ancient ignorance and the same superstition. Owing, on the one hand, to the labors of the naturalists, and, on the other, to those of Henry Maine and his followers, who applied the same inductive method to the study of primitive customs and laws that have grown out of them, it became possible in recent years to place the history of the origin and development of human institutions upon as firm a basis as that of the development of any form of plants or animals.

It would, of course, be extremely unfair to forget the enormous work that was done earlier--already in the thirties--towards the working out of the history of institutions by the school of Augustin Thierry in France, by that of Maurer and the "Germanists" in Germany, and in Russia, somewhat later, by Kostomárov, Belyáev and others. In fact, the principle of evolution had been applied to the study of manners and institutions, and also to languages, from the time of the encyclopædists. But to obtain correct, scientific deductions from all this mass of work became possible only when the scientists could look upon the established facts in the same way as the naturalist regards the continuous development of the organs of a plant or of a new species.

The metaphysical formulæ have helped, in their time, to make certain approximate generalizations. Especially did they stimulate the slumbering thought, disturbing it by their vague hints as to the unity of life in nature. At a time when the inductive generalizations of the encyclopædists and their English predecessors were almost forgotten (in the first half of the nineteenth century), and when it required some civic courage to speak of the unity of physical and spiritual nature--the obscure metaphysics still upheld the tendency toward generalization. But those generalizations were established either by means of the dialectic method or by means of a semi-conscious induction, and, therefore, were always characterized by a hopeless indefiniteness. The former kind of generalizations was deduced by means of really fallacious syllogisms--similar to those by which in ancient times certain Greeks used to prove that the planets must move in circles "because the circle is the most perfect curve;" and the meagerness of the premises would then be concealed by misty words, and, worse still, by an obscure and clumsy exposition. As to the semi-conscious inductions which were made here and there, they were based upon a very limited circle of observations--similar to the broad but unwarranted generalization of Weissmann, which have recently created some sensation. Then, as the induction was unconscious the generalizations were put forth in the shape of hard and fast laws, while in reality they were but simple suppositions--hypotheses, or beginnings only of generalizations, which, far from being "laws," required yet the very first verification by observation. Finally, all these broad deductions, expressed as they were in most abstract forms--as, for instance, the Hegelean "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis,"--left full play for the individual to come to the most varied and often opposite practical conclusions; so that they could give birth, for instance, to Bakunin's revolutionary enthusiasm and to the Dresden Revolution, to the revolutionary Jacobinism of Marx and to the recognition of the "reasonableness of what exists," which reconciled so many Germans to the reaction then existing--to say nothing of the recent vagaries of the so-called Russian Marxists.


Since Anthropology--the history of man's physiological development and of his religious, political ideals, and economic institutions--came to be studied exactly as all other natural sciences are studied, it was found possible, not only to shed a new light upon this history, but to divest it for ever of the metaphysics which had hindered this study in exactly the same way as the Biblical teachings had hindered the study of Geology.

It would seem, therefore, that when the construction of a synthetic philosophy was undertaken by Herbert Spencer, he should have been able, armed as he was with all the latest conquests of science, to build it without falling into the errors made by Comte in his "Positive Politics." And yet Spencer's synthetic philosophy, though it undoubtedly represents an enormous step in advance (complete as it is without religion and religious rites), still contains in its sociological part mistakes as gross as are found in the former work.

The fact is that, having reached in his analysis the psychology of societies, Spencer did not remain true to his rigorously scientific method, and failed to accept all the conclusions to which it had led him. Thus, for example, Spencer admits that the land ought not to become the property of individuals, who, in consequence of their right to raise rents, would hinder others from extracting from the soil all that could be extracted from it under improved methods of cultivation; or would even simply keep it out of use in the expectation that its market price will be raised by the labor of others. An arrangement such as this he considers inexpedient and full of dangers for society. But, while admitting this in the case of land, he did not venture to extend this conclusion to all other forms of accumulated wealth--for example, to mines, harbors, and factories.

Or, again, while protesting against the interference of government in the life of society, and giving to one of his books a title which is equivalent to a revolutionary programme, "The Individual vs. The State," he, little by little, under the pretext of the defensive activity of the State in its entirety,--such as it is to-day, only slightly limiting its attributes.

These and other inconsistencies are probably accounted for by the fact that the sociological part of Spencer's philosophy was formulated in his mind (under the influence of the English radical movement) much earlier than its natural-scientific part--namely, before 1851, when the anthropological investigation of human institutions was still in its rudimentary stage. In consequence of this, Spencer, like Comte, did not take up the investigation of these institutions by themselves, without preconceived conclusions. Moreover, as soon as he came in his work to social philosophy--to Sociology--he began to make use of a new method, a most unreliable one--the method of analogies--which he, of course, never resorted to in the study of physical phenomena. This new method permitted him to justify a whole series of preconceived theories. Consequently, we do not possess as yet a philosophy constructed in both its parts--natural sciences and sociology--with the aid of the same scientific method.

Then, Spencer, it must also be added, is the man least suited for the study of primitive institutions. In this respect he is distinguished even among the English, who generally do not enter readily into foreign modes of life and thought. "We are a people of Roman law, and the Irish are common-law people: therefore we do not understand each other," a very intelligent Englishman once remarked to me. The history of the Englishmen's relations with the "lower races" is full of like misunderstandings. And we see them in Spencer's writings at every step. He is quite incapable of understanding the customs and ways of thinking of the savage, the "bloody revenge" of the Icelandic saga, or the stormy life, filled with struggles, of the mediæval cities. The moral ideas of these stages of civilization are absolutely strange to him; and he sees in them only "savagery," "despotism," and "cruelty."

Finally--what is still more important--Spencer, like Huxley and many others, utterly misunderstood the meaning of "the struggle for existence." He saw in it, not only a struggle between different species of animals (wolves devouring rabbits, birds feeding on insects, etc.), but also a desperate struggle for food, for living-room, among the different members within every species--a struggle which, in reality, does not assume anything like the proportions he imagined.

How far Darwin himself was to blame for this misunderstanding of the real meaning of the struggle for existence, we cannot discuss here. But certain it is that when, twelve years after "The Origin of Species," Darwin published his "Descent of Man" he already understood struggle for life in a different sense. "Those communities," he wrote in the latter work, "which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring." The chapter devoted by Darwin to this subject could have formed the basis of an entirely different and most wholesome view of nature and of the development of human societies (the significance of which Goethe had already foreseen). But it passed unnoticed. Only in 1879 do we find, in a lecture by the Russian zoologist Kessler, a clear understanding of mutual aid and the struggle for life. "For the progressive development of a species," Kessler pointed out, citing several examples, "the law of mutual aid is of far greater importance than the law of mutual struggle." Soon after this Louis Buchner published his book "Love," in which he showed the importance of sympathy among animals for the development of moral concepts; but in introducing the idea of love and sympathy instead of simple sociability, he needlessly limited the sphere of his investigations.

To prove and further to develop Kessler's excellent idea, extending it to man, was an easy step. If we turn our minds to a close observation of nature and to an unprejudiced history of human institutions, we soon discover that Mutual Aid really appears, not only as the most powerful weapon in the struggle for existence against the hostile forces of nature and all other enemies, but also as the chief factor of progressive evolution. To the weakest animals it assures longevity (and hence an accumulation of mental experience), the possibility of rearing its progeny, and intellectual progress. And those animal species among which Mutual Aid is practiced most, not only succeed best in getting their livelihood, but also stand at the head of their respective class (of insects, birds, mammals) as regards the superiority of their physical and mental development.

This fundamental fact of nature Spencer did not perceive. The struggle for existence within every species, the "free fight" for every morsel of food, Tennyson's "Nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine"--he accepted as a fact requiring no proof, as an axiom. Only in recent years did he begin in some degree to understand the meaning of mutual aid in the animal world, and to collect notes and make experiments in this direction. But even then he still thought of primitive man as of a beast who lived only by snatching, with tooth and claw, the last morsel of food from the mouth of his fellowmen.

Of course, having based the sociological part of his philosophy on so false a premise, Spencer was no longer able to build up the sociological part of his synthetic philosophy without falling into a series of errors.


In these erroneous views, however, Spencer does not stand alone. Following Hobbes, all the philosophy of the nineteenth century continues to look upon the savages as upon bands of wild beasts which lived an isolated life and fought among themselves over food and wives, until some benevolent authority appeared among them and forced them to keep the peace. Even such a naturalist as Huxley advocated the same views as Hobbes, who maintained that in the beginning people lived in a state of war, fighting "each against all,"1 till, at last, owing to a few advanced persons of the time, the "first society" was created (see his article "The Struggle for Existence--a Law of Nature.") Even Huxley, therefore, failed to realize that it was not Man who created society, but that social life existed among animals much earlier than the advent of man. Such is the power of deep-rooted prejudice.

Were we, however, to trace the history of this prejudice, it would not be difficult to convince ourselves that it originated chiefly in religions and among their representatives. The secret leagues of sorcerers, rain-makers, and so on, among primitive clans, and later on, the Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, Hebrew and other priesthoods, and later still the Christian priests, have always been endeavoring to persuade men that they lay deep in sin, and that only the intercession of the shaman, the magician, and the priest can keep the evil spirit from assuming control over man, or can prevail with a revengeful God not to visit upon man his retribution for sin. Primitive Christianity, it is true, faintly attempted to break up this prejudice; but the Christian Church, adhering to the very language of the gospels concerning "eternal fire" and "the wrath of God," intensified it still more. The very conception of a son of God who had come to die for "the redemption of sin," served as a basis for this view. No wonder that later on "the Holy Inquisition" subjected people to the most cruel tortures and burned them slowly at the stake in order to afford them an opportunity of repenting and of saving themselves thereby from eternal torment. And not the Catholic Church alone, but all other Christian Churches vied with one another in investing all kinds of tortures in order to better people "steeped in sin." Up to the present time, nine hundred and ninety-nine persons in a thousand still believe that natural calamities--droughts, floods, earthquakes, and epidemic diseases--are sent by a Divine Being for the purpose of recalling sinful mankind to the right path. In this belief an enormous majority of our children are being brought up to this very day.

At the same time the State, in its schools and universities, countenances the same belief in the innate perversity of man. To prove the necessity of some power that stands above society and inculcates in it the moral principles (with the aid of punishments inflicted for violations of "moral law," for which, by means of a clever trick, the written law is easily substituted),--to keep people in this belief is a matter of life or death to the State. Because, the moment people come to doubt the necessity and possibility of such an inoculation of morality, they will begin to doubt the higher mission of their rulers as well.

In this way everything--our religious, our historical, our legal, and our social education--is imbued with the idea that man, left to himself, would soon turn into a beast. If it were not for the authority exercised over them, people would devour one another; nothing but brutality and war of each against all can be expected from "the mob." It would perish, if the policeman, the sheriff and the hangman--the chosen few, the salt of the earth--did not tower above it and interpose to prevent the universal free-fight, to educate the people to respect the sanctity of law and discipline, and with a wise hand lead them onward to those times when better ideas shall find a nesting place in the "uncouth hearts of men" and render the rod, the prison, and the gallows less necessary than they are at present.

We laugh at a certain king who, on going into exile in 1848, said: "My poor subjects; now they will perish without me!" We smile at the English clerk who believes that the English are the lost tribe of Israel, appointed by God himself to administer good government to "all other, lower races." But does not the great majority of fairly educated people among all the nations entertain the same exalted opinion with regard to itself?

And yet, a scientific study of the development of human society and institutions leads to an entirely different conclusion. It shows that the habits and customs for mutual aid, common defence, and the preservation of peace, which were established since the very first stages of human pre-historic times--and which alone made it possible for man, under very trying natural conditions, to survive in the struggle for existence,--that these social conventions have been worked out precisely by this anonymous "mob." As to the so-called "leaders" of humanity, they have not contributed anything useful that was not developed previously in customary law; they may have emphasized (they nearly always vitiated) some useful existing customs, but they have not invented them; while they always strove, on their side, to turn to their own advantage the common-law institutions that had been worked out by the masses for their mutual protection, or, failing in this, endeavored to destroy them.

Even in the remotest antiquity, which is lost in the darkness of the stone age, men already lived in societies. In these societies was already developed a whole network of customs and sacred, religiously-respected institutions of the communal regime or of the clan which rendered social life possible. And through all the subsequent stages of development we find it was exactly this constructive force of the "uninformed mob" that worked out new modes of life and new means for mutual support and the maintenance of peace, as new conditions arose.

On the other hand, modern science has proved conclusively that Law--whether proclaimed as the voice of a divine being or proceeding from the wisdom of a lawgiver--never did anything else than prescribe already existing, useful habits and customs, and thereby hardened them into unchangeable, crystallized forms. And in doing this it always added to the "useful customs," generally recognized as such, a few new rules--in the interest of the rich, warlike and armed minority. "Thou shalt not kill," said the Mosaic law, "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not bear false witness," and then it added to these excellent injunctions: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, his slave, nor his ass," which injunction legalized slavery for all time and put woman on the same level as a slave and a beast of burden.

"Love your neighbor," said Christianity later on, but straightway added, in the words of Paul the Apostle: "Slaves, be subject to your masters," and "There is no authority but from God,"--thereby emphasizing the division of society into slaves and masters and sanctifying the authority of the scoundrels who reigned at Rome. The Gospels, though teaching the sublime idea of "no punishment for offences," which is, of course, the essence of Christianity--the token which differentiates it and Buddhism from all other positive religions--speak at the same time all the while about an avenging God who takes his revenge even upon children, thus necessarily impressing upon mankind the opposite idea of vengeance.

We see the same things in the laws of the so-called "Barbarians," that is, of the Gauls, the Lombards, the Allemains, and the Saxons, when these people lived in their communities, free from the Roman yoke. The Barbarian codes converted into law an undoubtedly excellent custom which was then in the process of formation: the custom of paying a penalty for wounds and killing, instead of practicing the law of retaliation (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, wound for wound, and death for death). But at the same time they also legalized and perpetuated the division of freemen into classes--a division which only then began to appear. They exacted from the offender varying compensations, according as the person killed or wounded was a freeman, a military man, or a king (the penalty in the last case being equivalent to life-long servitude). The original idea of this scale of compensations to be paid to the wronged family according to its social position, was evidently that a king's family of an ordinary freeman by being deprived of its head, was entitled to receive a greater compensation. But the law, by restating the custom, legalized for all time the division of people into classes--and so legalized it that up to the present, a thousand years since, we have not got rid of it.

And this happened with the legislation of every age, down to our own time. The oppression of the preceding epoch was thus transmitted by law from the old society to the new, which grew upon the ruins of the old. The oppression of the Persian empire passed on to Greece; the oppression of the Macedonian empire, to Rome; the oppression and cruelty of the Roman empire, to the mediæval European States then just arising.

Every social safeguard, all forms of social life in the tribe, the commune, and the early medæval town-republics; all forms of inter-tribal, and later on inter-provincial, relations, out of which international law was subsequently evolved; all forms of mutual support and all institutions for the preservation of peace--including the jury,--were developed by the creative genius of the anonymous masses. While all the laws of every age, down to our own, always consisted of the same two elements: one which fixed and crystallized certain forms of life that were universally recognized as useful; the other which was a superstructure--sometimes even nothing but a cunning clause adroitly smuggled in in order to establish and strengthen the growing power of the nobles, the king, and the priest--to give it sanction.

So, at any rate, we are led to conclude by the scientific study of the development of human society, upon which for the last thirty years not a few conscientious men of science have labored. They themselves, it is true, seldom venture to express such heretical conclusions as those stated above. But the thoughtful reader inevitably comes to them on reading their works.


1 Hobbes' exact words are: "Bellum omnium contra omnes." (The war of everyone against everybody). --Translator


What position, then, does Anarchism occupy in the great intellectual movement of the nineteenth century?

The answer to this question has already been partly formulated in the preceding pages. Anarchism is a world-concept based upon a mechanical explanation of all phenomena, 1 embracing the whole of Nature--that is, including in it the life of human societies and their economic, political, and moral problems. Its method of investigation is that of the exact natural sciences, by which every scientific conclusion must be verified. Its aim is to construct a synthetic philosophy comprehending in one generalization all the phenomena of Nature--and therefore also the life of societies,--avoiding, however, the errors mentioned above into which, for the reasons there given, Comte and Spencer had fallen.

It is therefore natural that to most of the questions of modern life Anarchism should give new answers, and hold with regard to them a position differing from those of all political and, to a certain extent, of all socialistic parties, which have not yet freed themselves from the metaphysical fictions of old.

Of course, the elaboration of a complete mechanical world-conception has hardly been begun in its sociological part--in that part, that is, which deals with the life and the evolution of societies. But the little that has been done undoubtedly bears a marked--though often not fully conscious--character. In the domain of philosophy of law, in the theory of morality, in political economy, in history, (both of nations and institutions), Anarchism has already shown that it will not content itself with metaphysical conclusions, but will seek, in every case a natural-scientific basis. It rejects the metaphysics of Hegel, of Schelling, and of Kant; it disowns the commentators of Roman and Canon Law, together with the learned apologists of the State; it does not consider metaphysical political economy a science; and it endeavors to gain a clear comprehension of every question raised in these branches of knowledge, basing its investigations upon the numerous researches that have been made during the last thirty or forty years from a naturalist point of view.

In the same way as the metaphysical conceptions of a Universal Spirit, or of a Creative Force in Nature, the Incarnation of the Idea, Nature's Goal, the Aim of Existence, the Unknowable, Mankind (conceived as having a separate spiritualized existence), and so on--in the same way as all these have been brushed aside by the materialist philosophy of to-day, while the embryos of generalizations concealed beneath these misty terms are being translated into the concrete language of natural sciences,--so we proceed in dealing with the facts of social life. Here also we try to sweep away the metaphysical cobwebs, and to see what embryos of generalizations--if any--may have been concealed beneath all sorts of misty words.

When the metaphysicians try to convince the naturalist that the mental and moral life of man develops in accordance with certain "Immanent (in-dwelling) Laws of the Spirit," the latter shrugs his shoulders and continues his physiological study of the mental and moral phenomena of life, with a view to showing that they can all be resolved into chemical and physical phenomena. He endeavors to discover the natural laws on which they are based. Similarly, when the Anarchists are told, for instance, that--as Hegel says--every development consists of a Thesis, an Antithesis, and a Synthesis; or that "the object of Law is the establishment of Justice, which represents the realization of the Highest Idea;" or, again, when they are asked,--What, in their opinion, is "the Object of Life?" they, too, simply shrug their shoulders and wonder how, at the present state of development of natural science, old fashioned people can still be found who believe in "words" like these and still express themselves in the language of primitive anthromorphism (the conception of nature as of a thing governed by a being endowed with human attributes). High-flown words do not scare the Anarchists, because they know that these words simply conceal ignorance--that is, uncompleted investigation--or, what is much worse, mere superstition. They therefore pass on and continue their study of past and present social ideas and institutions according to the scientific method of induction. And in doing so they find, of course, that the development of a social life is incomparably more complicated--and incomparably more interesting for practical purposes--than it would appear from such formulæ.

We have heard much of late about "the dialectic method," which was recommended for formulating the socialist ideal. Such a method we do not recognize, neither would the modern natural sciences have anything to do with it. "The dialectic method" reminds the modern naturalist of something long since passed--of something outlived and now happily forgotten by science. The discoveries of the nineteenth century in mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, physical psychology, anthropology, psychology of nations, etc., were made--not by the dialectic method, but by the natural-scientific method, the method of induction and deduction. And since man is part of nature, and since the life of his "spirit"--personal as well as social--is just as much a phenomenon of nature as is the growth of a flower or the evolution of social life amongst the ants and the bees,--there is no cause for suddenly changing our method of investigation when we pass from the flower to man, or from a settlement of beavers to a human town.

The inductive-deductive method has proved its merits so well, in that the nineteenth century, which has applied it, has caused science to advance more in a hundred years than it had advanced during the two thousand years that went before. And when, in the second half of this century, this method began to be applied to the investigation of human society, no point was ever reached where it was found necessary to abandon it and again adopt mediæval scholasticism--as revised by Hegel. Besides, when, for example, philistine naturalists, seemingly basing their arguments on "Darwinism," began to teach, "Crush everyone weaker than yourself; such is the law of nature," it was easy for us to prove by the same scientific method that no such law exists: that the life of animals teaches us something entirely different, and that the conclusions of the philistines were absolutely unscientific. They were just as unscientific as, for instance, the assertion that the inequality of wealth is a law of nature, or that capitalism is the most convenient form of social life calculated to promote progress. Precisely this natural-scientific method, applied to economic facts, enables us to prove that the so-called "laws" of middle-class sociology, including also their political economy, are not laws at all, but simply guesses, or mere assertions which have never been verified at all. Moreover, every investigation only bears fruit when it has a definite aim--when it is undertaken for the purpose of obtaining an answer to a definite and clearly worded question. And it is the more fruitful the more clearly the observer sees the connect that exists between his problem and his general concept of the universe--the place which the former occupies in the latter. The better he understands the importance of the problem in the general concept, the easier will the answer be. The question, then, which Anarchism puts to itself may be stated thus: "What forms of social life assure to a given society, and then to mankind generally, the greatest amount of happiness, and hence also of vitality?" "What forms of social life allow this amount of happiness to grow and to develop, quantitatively as well as qualitatively,--that is, to become more complete and more varied?" (from which, let us note in passing, a definition of progress is derived). The desire to promote evolution in this direction determines the scientific as well as the social and artistic activity of the Anarchist.


1 It were more correct to say, a kinetic explanation, but this word is not so commonly known.


Anarchism originated, as has already been said, from the demands of practical life.

At the time of the great French Revolution of 1789-1793, Godwin had the opportunity of himself seeing how the governmental authority created during the revolution itself acted as a retarding force upon the revolutionary

movement. And he knew, too, what was then taking place in England, under the cover of Parliament (the confiscation of public lands, the kidnapping of poor workhouse children by factory agents and their deportation to weavers' mills, where they perished wholesale, and so on). He understood that the government of the "One and Undivided" Jacobinist Republic would not bring about the necessary revolution; that the revolutionary government itself, from the very fact of its being a guardian of the State, was an obstacle to emancipation; that to insure the success of the revolution, people ought to part, first of all, with their belief in Law, Authority, Uniformity, Order, Property, and other superstitions inherited by us from our servile past. And with this purpose in view he wrote "Political Justice. "

The theorist of Anarchism who followed Godwin, Proudhon, had himself lived through the Revolution of 1848 and had seen with his own eyes the crime perpetrated by the revolutionary republican government, and the inapplicability of the state socialism of Louis Blanc. Fresh from the impressions of what he had witnessed, Proudhon penned his admirable works, "A General Idea of the Social Revolution" and "Confessions of a Revolutionist," in which he boldly advocated the abolition of the State and proclaimed Anarchy.

And finally, the idea of Anarchism reappeared again in the International Working Men's Association, after the revolution that was attempted in the Paris Commune of 1871. The complete failure of the Council of the Commune and its capacity to act as a revolutionary body--although it consisted, in due proportion, of representatives of every revolutionary faction of the time (Jacobinists, the followers of Louis Blanc, and members of the International Working Men's Association), and, on the other hand, the incapacity of the London General Council of the International and its ludicrous and even harmful pretension to direct the Paris insurrection by orders sent from England,--opened the eyes of many. They forced many members of the International, including Bakunin, to reflect upon the harmfulness of all sorts of government--even such as had been freely elected in the Commune and in the International Working Men's Association. A few months later, the resolution passed by the same general Council of the Association, at a secret conference held in London in 1871 instead of an annual congress, proved still more the inconvenience of having a government in the International. By this dire resolution they decided to turn the entire labor movement into another channel and convert it from an economic revolutionary movement--into an elective parliamentary and political movement. This decision led to open revolt on the part of the Italian, Spanish, Swiss, and partly also of the Belgian, Federations against the London General Council, out of which movement modern Anarchism subsequently developed.

Every time, then, the anarchist movement sprang up in response to the lessons of actual life and originated from the practical tendencies of events. And, under the impulse thus given it, Anarchism set to work out its theoretic, scientific basis.

No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim. No destruction of the existing order is possible, if at the time of the overthrow, or of the struggle leading to the overthrow, the idea of what is to take place of what is to be destroyed is not always present in the mind. Even the theoretical criticism of the existing conditions is impossible, unless the critic has in his mind a more or less distinct picture of what he would have in place of the existing state. Consciously or unconsciously, the ideal of something better is forming in the mind of every one who criticizes social institutions.

This is even more the case with a man of action. To tell people, "First let us abolish autocracy or capitalism, and then we will discuss what to put in its place," means simply to deceive oneself and others. And power is never created by deception. The very man who speaks thus surely has some idea of what will take the place of the institutions destroyed. Among those who work for the abolition--let us say, of autocracy--some inevitably think of a constitution like that of England or Germany, while others think of a republic, either placed under the powerful dictatorship of their own party or modeled after the French empire-republic, or, again, of a federal republic like that of the United States or Switzerland; while others again strive to achieve a still greater limitation of government authority; a still greater independence of the towns, the communes, the working men's associations, and all other groups united among themselves by free agreements.

Every party thus has its ideal of the future, which serves it as a criterion in all events of political and economic life, as well as a basis for determining its proper modes of action. Anarchism, too, has conceived its own ideal; and this very ideal has led it to find its own immediate aims and its own methods of action different from those of the socialist parties, which have retained the old Roman and ecclesiastic ideals of governmental organization.


This is not the place to enter into an exposition of Anarchism. The present sketch has its own definite aim--that of indicating the relation of Anarchism to modern science,--while the fundamental views of Anarchism may be found stated in a number of other works. But two or three illustrations will help us to define the exact relation of our views to modern science and the modern social movement.

When, for instance, we are told that Law (written large) "is the objectification of Truth;" or that "the principles underlying the development of Law are the same as those underlying the development of the human spirit;" or that "Law and Morality are identical and differ only formally;" we feel as little respect for these assertions as does Mephistopheles in Goethe's "Faust." We are aware that those who make such seemingly profound statements as these have expended much thought upon these questions. But they have taken a wrong path; and hence we see in these high-flown sentences mere attempts at unconscious generalization, based upon inadequate foundations and confused, moreover, by words of hypnotic power. In olden times they tried to give "Law" a divine origin; later they began to seek a metaphysical basis for it; now, however, we are able to study its anthropological origin. And, availing ourselves of the results obtained by the anthropological school, we take up the study of social customs, beginning with those of the primitive savages, and trace the origin and the development of laws at different epochs.

In this way we come to the conclusion already expressed on a preceding page--namely, that all laws have a two-fold origin, and in this very respect differ from those institutions established by custom which are generally recognized as the moral code of a given society. Law confirms and crystallizes these customs, but, while doing so, it takes advantage of this fact to establish (for the most part in a disguised form) the germs of slavery and class distinction, the authority of priest and warrior, serfdom and various other institutions, in the interest of the armed and would be ruling minority. In this way a yoke has imperceptibly been placed upon man, of which he could only rid himself by means of subsequent bloody revolutions. And this is the course of events down to the present moment--even in contemporary "labor legislation" which, along with "protection of labor," covertly introduces the idea of compulsory State arbitration in the case of strikes,1 a compulsory eight-hour day for the workingman (no less than eight hours), military exploitation of the railroads during strikes, legal sanction for the dispossession of peasants in Ireland, and so on. And this will continue to be so as long as one portion of society goes on framing laws for all society, and thereby strengthens the power of the State, which forms the chief support of Capitalism.

It is plain, therefore, why Anarchism--which aspires to Justice (a term synonymous with equality) more than any other lawgiver in the world--has from the time of Godwin rejected all written laws.

When, however, we are told that by rejecting Law we reject all morality--since we deny the "categoric imperative" of Kant,--we answer that the very wording of this objection is to us strange and incomprehenesible.2 It is as strange and incomprehensible to us as it would be to every naturalist engaged in the study of the phenomena of morality. In answer to this argument, we ask: "What do you really mean? Can you not translate your statements into comprehensible language--for instance, as Laplace translated the formulæ of higher mathematics into a language accessible to all, and as all great men of science did and do express themselves?"

Now, what does a man who takes his stand on "universal law" or "the categorical imperative" really mean? Does he mean that there is in all men the conception that one ought not to do to another what he would not have done to himself--that it would be better even to return good for evil? If so, well and good. Let us, then, study (as Adam Smith and Hutcheson have already studied) the origin of these moral ideas in man, and their course of development. Let us extend our studies to pre-human times (a thing Smith and Hutcheson could not do). Then, we may analyze the extent to which the idea of Justice implies that of Equailty. The question is an important one, because only those who regard others as their equals can accept the rule, "Do not to others what you would not have done to yourself." The landlord and the slave-owner, who did not look upon "the serf" and the negro as their equals, did not recognize the "categorical imperative" and the "universal law" as applicable to these unhappy members of the human family. And then, if this observation of ours be correct, we shall wee whether it is at all possible to inculcate morality while teaching the doctrine of inequality.

We shall finally analyze, as Mark Guyau did, the facts of self-sacrifice. And then we shall consider what has promoted the development in man of moral feelings--first, of those which are intimately connected with the idea of equality, and then of the others; and after this consideration we should be able to deduce from our study exactly what social conditions and what institutions promise the best results for the future. Is this development promoted by religion, and to what extent? Is it promoted by inequality--economic and political--and by a division into classes? Is it promoted by law? By punishment? By prisons? By the judge? The jailer? The hangman?

Let us study all this in detail, and then only may we speak again of Morality and moralization by means of laws, law courts, jailers, spies, and police. But we had better give up using the sonorous words which only conceal the superficiality of our semi-learning. In their time the use of these words was, perhaps, unavoidable--their application could never have been useful; but now we are able to approach the study of burning social questions in exactly the same manner as the gardener and the physiologist take up the study of the conditions most favorable for the growth of a plant--let us do so!

Likewise, when certain economists tell us that "in a perfectly free market the price of commodities is measured by the amount of labor socially necessary for their production," we do not take this assertion on faith because it is made by certain authorities or because it may seem to us "tremendously socialistic." It may be so, we say. But do you not notice that by this very statement you maintain that value and the necessary labor are proportional to each other--just as the speed of a falling body is proportional to the number of seconds it has been falling? Thus you maintain a quantitative relation between these two magnitudes; whereas a quantitative relation can be proved only by quantitative measurements. To confine yourself to the remark that the exchange-value of commodities "generally" increases when a greater expenditure of labor is required, and then to assert that therefore the two quantities are proportional to each other, is to make as great a mistake as the man who would assert that the quantity of rainfall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height. He who first observed that, generally speaking, when the barometer is falling a greater amount of rain falls than when it is rising; or, that there is a certain relation between the speed of a falling stone and the height from which it fell--that man surely made a scientific discovery. But the person who would come after him and assert that the amount of rain fall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height, or that the space through which a falling body has passed is proportional to the time of fall and is measured by it,--that person would not only talk nonsense, but would prove by his very words that the method of scientific research is absolutely strange to him; that his work is unscientific, full as it may be of scientific expressions. The absence of data is, clearly, no excuse. Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar relationships are known to science in which we see the dependence of one magnitude upon another--for example, the recoil of a cannon depending upon the quantity of powder in the charge, or the growth of a plant depending upon the amount of heat or light received by it; but no scientific man will presume to affirm the proportionality of these magnitudes without having investigated their relations quantitatively, and still less would he represent this proportionality as a scientific law. In most instances the dependence is very complex--as it is, indeed, in the theory of value. The necessary amount of labor and value are by no means proportional.

The same remark refers to almost every economic doctrine that is current to-day in certain circles and is being presented with wonderful naivety as an invariable law. We not only find most of these so-called laws grossly erroneous, but maintain also that those who believe in them will themselves become convinced of their error as soon as they come to see the necessity of verifying their quantitative deductions by quantitative investigation.

Moreover, the whole of political economy appears to us in a different light from that in which it is seen by modern economists of both the middle-class and the social-democratic camps. The scientific method (the method of natural scientific induction) being utterly unknown to them, they fail to give themselves any definite account of what constitutes "a law of nature," although they delight in using the term. They do not know--or if they know they continually forget--that every law of nature has a conditional character. It is always expressed thus: "If certain conditions in nature meet, certain things will happen." "If one line intersects another, forming right angles on both sides of it, the consequences will be these or those." If two bodies are acted upon by such movements only as exist in interstellar space, and there is no third body within measurable distance of them, then their centres of gravity will approach each other at a certain speed (the law of gravitation)." And so on. In every case there is an "if"--a condition.

In consequence of this, all the so-called laws and theories of political economy are in reality no more than statements of the following nature: "Granting that there are always in a country a considerable number of people who cannot subsist a month, or even a fortnight, without accepting the conditions of work imposed upon them by the State, or offered to them by those whom the State recognizes as owners of land, factories, railways, etc., then the results will be so and so."

So far middle-class political economy has been only an enumeration of what happens under the just-mentioned conditions--without distinctly stating the conditions themselves. And then, having described the facts which arise in our society under these conditions, they represent to us these facts as rigid, inevitable economic laws. As to socialist political economy, although it criticises some of these deductions, or explains others somewhat differently,--it has not yet been original enough to find a path of its own. It still follows in the old grooves, and in most cases repeats the very same mistakes.

And yet, in our opinion, political economy must have an entirely different problem in view. It ought to occupy with respect to human societies a place in science similar to that held by physiology in relation to plants and animals. It must become the physiology of society. It should aim at studying the needs of society and the various means, both hitherto used and available under the present state of scientific knowledge, for their satisfaction. It should try to analyze how far the present means are expedient and satisfactory, economic or wasteful and then, since the ultimate end of every science (as Bacon had already stated) is obviously its practical application to life, it should concern itself with the discovery of means for the satisfaction of these needs with the smallest possible waste of labor and with the greatest benefit to mankind in general. Such means would be, in fact, mere corollaries from the relative investigation mentioned above, provided this last had been made on scientific lines.

It will be clear, even from the hasty hints given already, why it is that we come to conclusions so different from those of the majority of economists, both of the middle class and the social-democratic schools; why we do not regard as "laws" certain of the temporary relations pointed out by them; why we expound socialism entirely differently; and why, after studying the tendencies and developments in the economic life of different nations, we come to such radically different conclusions as regards that which is desirable and possible; why we come to Free Communism, while the majority of socialists arrive at State-capitalism and Collectivism.

Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science.3

Pursuing the same method, Anarchism arrives also at its own conclusions concerning the State. It could not rest content with current metaphysical assertions like the following:

"The State is the affirmation of the idea of the highest Justice in Society;" or "The State is the instigation and the instrument of progress;" or, "without the State, Society is impossible." Anarchism has approached the study of the State exactly in the manner the naturalist approaches the study of social life among bees and ants, or among the migratory birds which hatch their young on the shores of sub-arctic lakes. It would be useless to repeat here the conclusions to which this study has brought us with reference to the history of the different political forms (and to their desirable or probable evolution in the future); if I were to do so, I should have to repeat what has been written by Anarchists from the time of Godwin, and what may be found, with all necessary explanations, in a whole series of books and pamphlets.

I will say only that the State is a form of social life which has developed in our European civilization, under the influence of a series of causes,4 only since the end of the sixteenth century. Before the sixteenth century the State, in its Roman form, did not exist--or, more exactly, it existed only in the minds of the historians who trace the genealogy of Russian autocracy to Rurik and that of France to the Merovingian kings.

Furthermore, the State (State-Justice, State-Church, State-Army) and Capitalism are, in our opinion, inseparable concepts. In history these institutions developed side by side, mutually supporting and reenforcing each other. They are bound together, not by a mere coincidence of contemporaneous development, but by the bond of cause and effect, effect and cause. Thus, the State appears to us as a society for the mutual insurance of the landlord, the warrior, the judge, and the priest, constituted in order to enable every one of them to assert his respective authority over the people and to exploit the poor. To contemplate the destruction of Capitalism without the abolition of the State--though the latter was created solely for the purpose of fostering Capitalism and has grown up alongside of it--is just as absurd, in our opinion, as it is to hope that the emancipation of the laborer will be accomplished through the action of the Christian church or of Caesarism. Many socialists of the thirties and forties, and even the fifties, hoped for this; but for us, who have entered upon the twentieth century, it is ridiculous to cherish such hopes as this!


1 "Compulsory arbitration"--What a glaring contradiction!

2I am not quoting an imaginery example, but one taken from a correspondence which I have recently carried on with a German doctor of law.

3A few extracts from a letter written by a renowned Belgian biologist and received when these lines were in print, will help me to make my meaning clearer by a living illustration. The letter was not intended for publication, and therefore I do not name its author: "The further I read [such and such a work]--he writes--the surer I become that nowadays only those are capable of studying economic and social questions who have studied the natural sciences and have become imbued with their spirit. Those who have received only a so-called classical education are no longer able to understand the present intellectual movement and are equally incapable of studying a mass of social questions. . . . . The idea of the integration of labor and of division of labor in time only [the idea that it would be expedient for society to have every person cultivating the land and following industrial and intellectual pursuits in turn, thus varying his labor and becoming a variously-developed individual] will become in time one of the cornerstones of economic science. A number of biological facts are in harmony with the thought just underlined, which shows that we are here dealing with a law of nature [that in nature, in other words, an economy of forces may frequently result in this way]. If we examine the vital functions of any living being at different periods of its life, and even at different times of the year, and sometimes at different moments of the day, we find the application of the division of labor in time, which is inseparably connected with the division of labor among the different organs (the law of Adam Smith).

"Scientific people unacquainted with the natural sciences,are frequently unable to understand the true meaning of a law of nature; the word law blinds them, and they imagine that laws, like that of Adam Smith, have a fatalistic power from which it is impossible to rid oneself. When they are shown the reverse side of this last--the sad results of individualism, from the point of view of development and personal happiness,--they answer: this is an inexorable law, and sometimes they give this answer so off-handedly that they thereby betray their belief in a kind of infallibility. The naturalist, however, knows that science can paralyze the harmful consequences of a law; that frequently he who goes against nature wins the victory.

"The force of gravity compels bodies to fall, but it also compels the balloon to rise. To us this seems so clear; but the economists of the classical school appear to find it difficult to understand the full meaning of this observation.

"The law of the division of labor in time will counter-balance the law of Adam Smith, and will permit the integration of labor to be reached by every individual."

4An analysis of which may be found--say--in the pamphlet, " The State and its Historic Role " (Freedom pamphlets).


It is obvious that, since Anarchism differs so widely in its method of investigation and in its fundamental principles, alike from the academical sociologists and from its social-democratic fraternity, it must of necessity differ from them all in its means of action.

Understanding Law, Right, and the State as we do, we cannot see any guarantee of progress, still less of a social revolution, in the submission of the Individual to the State. We are therefore no longer able to say, as do the superficial interpreters of social phenomena, that modern Capitalism has come into being through "the anarchy of exploitation," through "the theory of non-interference," which we are told the States have carried out by practicing the formula of "let them do as they like" (laissez faire, laissez passer). We know that this is not true. While giving the capitalist any degree of free scope to amass his wealth at the expense of the helpless laborers, the government has NOWHERE and NEVER during the whole nineteenth century afforded the laborers the opportunity "to do as they pleased." The terrible revolutionary, that is, Jacobinist, convention legislated: "For strikes, for forming a State within the State--death!" In 1813 people were hanged in England for going out on strike, and in 1831 they were deported to Australia for forming the Great Trades' Union (Union of all Trades) of Robert Owen; in the sixties people were still condemned to hard labor for participating in strikes, and even now, in 1902, trade unions are prosecuted for damages amounting to half a million dollars for picketing--for having dissuaded laborers from working in times of strike. What is one to say, then, of France, Belgium, Switzerland (remember the massacre at Airolo!), and especially of Germany and Russia? It is needless, also, to tell how, by means of taxes, the State brings laborers to the verge of poverty which puts them body and soul in the power of the factory boss; how the communal lands have been robbed from the people, and are still robbed from them in England by means of the Enclosure Acts. Or, must we remind the reader how, even at the present moment, all the States, without exception, are creating directly (what is the use of talking of "the original accumulation" when it is continued at the present time!) all kinds of monopolies--in railroads, tramways, telephones, gasworks, waterworks, electric works, schools, etc., etc. In short, the system of non-interference--the laissez faire--has never been applied for one single hour by any government. And therefore, if it is permissible for middle-class economists to affirm that the system of "non-interference" is practiced (since they endeavor to prove that poverty is a law of nature), it is simply shameful that socialists should speak thus to the workers. Freedom to oppose exploitation has so far never and nowhere existed. Everywhere it had to be taken by force, step by step, at the cost of countless sacrifices. "Non-interference," and more than non- interference--direct support; help and protection--existed only in the interests of the exploiters. Nor could it be overwise. The mission of the Church has been to hold the people in intellectual slavery; the mission of the State was to hold them, half starved, in economic slavery.

Knowing this, we cannot see a guarantee of progress in a still greater submission of all to the State. We seek progress in the fullest emancipation of the Individual from the authority of the State; in the greatest development of individual initiative and in the limitation of all the governmental functions, but surely not in the extension thereof. The march forward in political institutions appears to us to consist in abolishing, in the first place, the State authority which has fixed itself upon society (especially since the sixteenth century), and which now tries to extend its functions more and more; and, in the second place, in allowing the broadest possible development for the principle of free agreement, and in acknowledging the independence of all possible associations formed for definite ends, embracing in their federations the whole of society. The life of society itself we understand, not as something complete and rigid, but as something never perfect--something ever striving for new forms, and ever changing these forms in accordance with the needs of the time. This is what life is in Nature.

Such a conception of human progress and of what we think desirable in the future (what, in our opinion, can increase the sum of happiness) leads us inevitably to our own special tactics in the struggle. It induces us to strive for the greatest possible development of personal initiative in every individual and group, and to secure unity of action, not through discipline, but through the unity of aims and the mutual confidence which never fail to develop when a area number of persons have consciously embraced some common idea. This tendency manifest; itself in all the tactics and in all the internal life of every Anarchist group, and so far we have never had the opportunity of seeing these tactics fail.

Then, we assert and endeavor to prove that it devolves upon every new economic form of social life to develop its own new form of political relations. It has been so in the past, and so it undoubtedly will be in the future. New forms are already germinating all round.

Feudal right and autocracy, or, at least, the almost unlimited power of a tsar or a king, have moved hand in hand in history. They depended on each other in this development. Exactly in the same way the rule of the capitalists has evolved its own characteristic political order-- representative government--both in strictly centralized monarchies and in republics.

Socialism, whatever may be the form in which it will appear, and in whatever degree it may approach to its unavoidable goal--Communism,--will also have to choose its own form of political structure. Of the old form it cannot make use, no more than it could avail itself of the hierarchy of the Church or of autocracy. The State bureaucracy and centralization are as irreconcilable with Socialism as was autocracy with capitalist rule. One way or another, Socialism must become more popular, more communalistic, and less dependent upon indirect government through elected representatives. It must become more self- governing. Besides, when we closely observe the modern life of France, Spain England, and the United States, we notice in these countries the evident tendency to form into groups of entirely independent communes, towns and villages, which would combine by means of free federation, in order to satisfy innumerable needs and attain certain immediate ends. Of course, neither the Russian Minister Witte nor the German William II, nor even the Jacobinists who to-day rule Switzerland, are making for this goal. All these work upon the old model for capitalist and governmental centralization in the hands of the State; but the above-mentioned dismemberment of the State, both territorial and functional, is undoubtedly aimed at by the progressive part of West European society and of the American people. In actual life this tendency manifests itself in thousands of attempts at organization outside the State, fully independent of it; as well as in attempts to take hold of various functions which had been previously usurped by the State and which,of course, it has never properly performed. And then, as a great social phenomenon of universal import, this tendency found expression in the Paris Commune of 1871 and in a whole series of similar uprisings in France and Spain; while in the domain of thought--of ideas spreading through society--this view has already acquired the force of an extremely important factor of future history. The future revolutions in France and in Spain will be communalist--not centralist.

On the strength of all this, we are convinced that to work in favor of a centralized State-capitalism and to see in it a desideratum, means to work against the tendency of progress already manifest. We see in such work as this a gross misunderstanding of the historic mission of Socialism itself--a great historical mistake, and we make war upon it. To assure the laborers that they will be able to establish Socialism, or even to take the first steps on the road to Socialism, by retaining the entire government machinery, and changing only the persons who manage it; not to promote, but even to retard the day on which the working people's minds shall be bent upon discovering their own, new forms of political life,--this is in our eyes a colossal historical blunder which borders upon crime.

Finally, since we represent a revolutionary party, we try to study the history of the origin and development of past revolutions. We endeavor, first of all, to free the histories of revolutions written up till now from the partisan, and for the most part false, governmental coloring that has been given them. In the histories hitherto written we do not yet see the people; nor do we see how revolutions began. The stereotyped phrases about the desperate condition of people previous to revolutions, fail to explain whence, amid this desperation, came the hope of something better--whence came the revolutionary spirit. And therefore, after reading these histories, we put them aside, and, going back to first sources, try to learn from them what caused the people to rise and what was its part in revolutions.

Thus, we understand the Great French Revolution not at all as it is pictured by Louis Blanc, who presents it chiefly as a great political movement directed by the Jacobin Club. We see in it, first of all, a chaotic popular movement, chiefly of the peasant folk ("Every village had its Robespierre," as the Abbe Gregoire, who knew the people's revolt, remarked to the historian Schlosser). This movement aimed chiefly at the destruction of every vestige of feudal rights and of the redemptions that had been imposed for the abolition of some of them, as well as at the recovery of the lands which had been seized from the village communes by vultures of various kinds. And in so far the peasant movement was successful. Then, upon this foundation of revolutionary tumult, of increased pulsation of life, and of disorganization of all the powers of the State, we find, on the one hand, developing amongst the town laborers a tendency towards a vaguely understood socialist equality; and, on the other hand, the middle classes working hard, and successfully, in order to establish their own authority upon the ruins of that of royalty and nobility. To this end the middle classes fought stubbornly and desperately that they might create a powerful, all inclusive, centralized government, which would preserve and assure to them their right of property (gained partly by plunder before and during the Revolution) and afford them the full opportunity of exploiting the poor without any legal restrictions. This power, this right to exploit, the middle classes really obtained; and in the State centralization which was created by the revolutionary Jacobinists, Napoleon found an excellent soil for establishing his empire. From this centralized authority, which kills all local life, France is suffering even to this very day, and the first attempt to throw off its yoke--an attempt which opened a new era in history--was made by the proletariat of Paris only in 1871.

Without entering here upon an analysis of other revolutionary movements, it is sufficient to say that we understand the coming social revolution, not at all as a Jacobinist dictatorship--not at all as a reform of the social institutions by means of laws issued by a Convention or a Senate or a Dictator. Such revolutions have never occurred, and a movement which should take this form would be doomed to inevitable death. We understand the revolution as a widespread popular movement, during which, in every town and village within the region of the revolt, the masses will have to take upon themselves the task of rebuilding society--will have to take up themselves the work of construction upon communistic bases, without awaiting any orders and directions from above; that is, first of all, they will have to organize, one way or another, the means of supplying food to everyone and of providing dwellings for all, and then produce whatever will be found necessary for feeding, clothing, and sheltering everybody.

As to the representative government, whether self-appointed or elected--be it "the dictatorship of the proletariat," as they said in the forties in France and are still saying in Germany, or an elected "temporary government," or, again, a Jacobinist "convention,"--we place in it no hopes whatever. Not because we personally do not like it, but because nowhere and never in history do we find that people, carried into government by a revolutionary wave, have proved equal to the occasion; always and everywhere they have fallen below the revolutionary requirements of the moment; always and everywhere they became an obstacle to the revolution. We place no hope in this representation because, in the work of rebuiding society upon new communist principles, separate individuals, however wise and devoted to the cause, are and must be powerless. They can only find a legal expression for such a destruction as is already being accomplished--at most they can but widen and extend that destruction so as to suggest it to regions which have not yet begun it. But that is all. The destruction must be wrought from below in every portion of the territory; otherwise it will not be done. To impose it by law is impossible, as, indeed, the revolt of the Vendée has proved. As for any new bases of life which are only growing as yet,--no government can ever find an expression for them before they become defined by the constructive activity of the masses themselves, at thousands of points at once.

Looking upon the problems of the revolution in this light, Anarchism, obviously, cannot take a sympathetic attitude toward the programme which aims at "the conquest of power in present society"--la conquête des pouvoirs as it is expressed in France. We know that by peaceful, parliamentary means, in the present State such a conquest as this is impossible. In proportion as the socialists become a power in the present bourgeois society and State, their Socialism must die out; otherwise the middle classes, which are much more powerful both intellectually and numerically than is admitted in the socialist press, will not recognize them as their rulers. And we know also that, were a revolution to give France or England or Germany a socialist government, the respective government would be absolutely powerless without the activity of the people themselves, and that, necessarily, it would soon begin to act fatally as a bridle upon the revolution.

Finally, our studies of the preparatory stages of all revolutions bring us to the conclusion that not a single revolution has originated in parliaments or in any other representative assembly. All began with the people. And no revolution has appeared in full armor--born, like Minerva out of the head of Jupiter, in a day. They all had their periods of incubation, during which the masses were very slowly becoming imbued with the revolutionary spirit, grew bolder, commenced to hope, and step by step emerged from their former indifference and resignation. And the awakening of the revolutionary spirit always took place in such a manner that, at first, single individuals, deeply moved by the existing state of things, protested against it, one by one. Many perished--"uselessly," the arm-chair critic would say; but the indifference of society was shaken by these progenitors. The dullest and most narrow-minded people were compelled to reflect,--Why should men, young, sincere, and full of strength, sacrifice their lives in this way? It was impossible to remain indifferent--it was necessary to take a stand, for or against: thought was awakening. Then, little by little, small groups came to be imbued with the same spirit of revolt; they also rebelled--sometimes in the hope of local success--in strikes or in small revolts against some official whom they disliked, or in order to get food for their hungry children, but frequently also without any hope of success: simply because the conditions grew unbearable. Not one, or two, or tens, but hundreds of similar revolts have preceded and must precede every revolution. Without these no revolution was ever wrought; not a single concession was ever made by the ruling classes. Even the famous "peaceful" abolition of serfdom in Russia, of which Tolstoy often speaks as of a peaceful conquest, was forced upon the government by a series of peasant uprisings, beginning with the early fifties (perpaps as an echo of the European revolution of 1848), spreading from year to year, and gaining in importance so as to attain proportions hitherto unknown, until 1857. Alexander Herzen's words, "Better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait until the abolition comes from below,"--repeated by Alexder II before the serf-owners of Moscow--were not mere phrases, but answered to the real state of affairs. This was all the more true as to the eve of every revolution. Hundreds of partial revolts preceded every one of them. And it maybe stated as a general rule that the character of every revolution is determined by the character and the aim of the uprisings by which it is preceded.

To wait, therefore, for a social revolution to come as a birthday present, without a whole series of protests on the part of the individual conscience, and without hundreds of preliminary revolts, by which the very nature of the revolution is determined, is, to say the least, absurd. But to assure the working people that they will gain all the benefits of a socialist revolution by confining themselves to electoral agitation, and to attack vehemently every act of individual revolt and all minor preliminary mass-revolts--even when they appear among nations historically far more revolutionary than the Germans--means to become as great an obstacle to the development of the revolutionary spirit and to all progress as was and is the Christian Church.

Whithout entering into further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action, enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences.

Anarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society.

It is the inevitable result of that natural-scientific, intellectual movement which began at the close of the eighteenth century, was hampered for half a century by the reaction that set in throughout Europe after the French Revolution, and has been appearing again in full vigor ever since the end of the fifties. Its roots lie in the natural-scientific philosophy of the century mentioned. Its complete scientific basis, however, it could receive only after that awakening of naturalism which, about forty years ago, brought into being the natural-scientific study of human social institutions.

In Anarchism there is no room for those pseudo-scientific laws with which the German metaphysicians of the twenties and thirties had to consent themselves. Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific. This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it, Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases which have served for the revision of all natural sciences. Its object is to form a scientific concept of the universe embracing the whole of Nature and including Man.

This world-concept determines the position Anarchism has taken in practical life. In the struggle between the Individual and the State, Anarchism, like its predecessors of the eighteenth century, takes the side of the Individual as against the State, of Society as against the Authority which oppresses it. And, availing itself of the historical data collected by modern science, it has shown that the State--whose sphere of authority there is now a tendency among its admirers to increase, and a tendency to limit in actual life--is, in reality, a superstructure,--as harmful as it is unnecessary, and, for us Europeans, of a comparatively recent origin; a superstructure in the interests of Capitalism--agrarian, industrial, and financial--which in ancient history caused the decay (relatively speaking) of poIitically-free Rome and Greece, and which caused the death of all other despotic centers of civilization of the East and of Egypt. The power which was created for the purpose of welding together the interests of the landlord, the judge, the warrior, and the priest, and has been opposed throughout history to every attempt of mankind to create for themselves a more assured and freer mode of life,--this power cannot become an instrument for emancipation, any more than Cæsarism (Imperialism) or the Church can become the instrument for a social revolution.

In the economic field, Anarchism has come to the conclusion that the root of modern evil lies, not in the fact that the capitalist appropriates the profits or the surplus-value, but in the very possibility of these profits, which accrue only because millions of people have literally nothing to subsist upon without selling their labor-power at a price which makes profits and the creation of "surplus values" possible. Anarchism understands, therefore, that in political economy attention must be directed first of all to so-called "consumption," and that the first concern of the revolution must be to reorganize that so as to provide food, clothing and shelter for all. "Production," on the other hand, must be so adapted as to satisfy this primary, fundamental need of society. Therefore, Anarchism cannot see in the next coming revolution a mere exchange of monetary symbols for labor-checks, or an exchange of present Capitalism for State-capitalism. It sees in it the first step on the road to No-government Communism.

Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases and by the practical life of the future. But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific investigations; has forever parted company with metaphysics; and makes use of the method by which modern natural science and modern material philosophy were developed. Owing to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every scientific concept of the universe is created.


Communism and Anarchy(s.d.)

Peter Kropotkin

Many Anarchists and thinkers in general, whilst recognising the immense advantages which Communism may offer to society, yet consider this form of social organisation a danger to the liberty and free development of the individual. This danger is also recognised by many Communists, and, taken as a whole, the question is merged in that other vast problem which our century has laid bare to its fullest extent: the relation of the individual to society. The importance of this question need hardly be insisted upon.

The problem became obscured in various ways. When speaking of Communism, most people think of the more or less Christian and monastic and always authoritarian Communism advocated in the first half of this century and practised in certain communities. These communities took the family as a model and tried to constitute "the great Communist family" to "reform man,". To this end, in addition to working in common, they imposed the living closely together like a family, as well as the isolation or separation of the colony from present civilisation. This amounted to nothing less than the total interference of all 'brothers" and "sisters" with the entire private life of each member.

In addition to this, the difference was not sufficiently noted as between isolated communities, founded on various occasions during the last three or four centuries, and the numerous federated communes which are likely to spring up in a society about to inaugurate the social revolution. Five aspects of the subject thus require to be considered separately:

[1] Production and consumption in common,

[2] Domestic life in common (cohabitation: is it necessary to arrange it after the model of the present family?),

[3] The isolated communities of our times,

[4] The federated communes of the future, and

[5] Does Communism necessarily lessen individuality? In other words, the Individual in a Communist society.

An immense movement of ideas took place during this century under the name of Socialism in general, beginning with Babeuf, St. Simon, Fourier, Robert Owen and Proudhon who formulated the predominating currents of Socialism, and continued by their numerous successors (French) Considerant, Pierre Lerous, Louis Blanc; (German) Marx, Engels; (Russian) Chernychevski, Bakunin; etc, who worked either at popularising the ideas of the founders of modern Socialism or at establishing them on a scientific basis.

These ideas, on taking precise shape, gave birth to two principal currents: Authoritarian Communism and Anarchist Communism; also to a number of intermediary schools bent on finding a way between, such as State Capitalism, Collectivism, Co-operation; among the working masses they created a formidable workers' movement which strives to organise the whole mass of the workers by trades for the struggle against Capital, and which becomes more international with the frequent intercourse between workers of different nationalities. The following three essential points were gained by this immense movement of ideas and of action, and these have already widely penetrated the public conscience:

[1] The abolition of the wage system, the modern form of ancient serfdom,

[2] The abolition of individual property in the means of production, and

[3] The emancipation of the individual and of society from the political machinery, the State, which helps to maintain economic slavery.

On these three points all are agreed, and even those who advocate "labour notes" or who, like Brousse, wish all "to be functionaries," that is employees of the State or the commune, admit that if they advocate either of these proposals it is only because they do not see an immediate possibility for Communism. They accept this compromise as an expedient, but their aim always remains Communism. And, as to the State, even the bitterest partisans of the State, of authority, even of dictatorship, recognise that with the disappearance of the classes of today the State will also cease to exist.

Hence we may say without exaggerating the importance of our section of the Socialist movement - the Anarchist section - that in spite of all differences between the various sections of Socialism (which differences are, before all, based upon the more or less revolutionary character of the means of action of each section), we may affirm that all sections, by the voice of their thinkers, recognise the evolution towards Free Communism as the aim of Socialist evolution. All the rest, as they themselves confess, are only stepping-stones towards this end.

It would be idle to discuss these stepping-stones without an examination of the tendencies of development of modern society.

Of these different tendencies two, before all, merit our attention. One is the increasing difficulty of determining the share of each individual in modern production. Industry and agriculture have become so complicated, so riveted together, all industries are so dependent one upon the other that payment to the producer by results becomes impossible the more industry is developed, the more we see payment by piece replaced by wages. Wages, on the other hand, become more equal. The division of modern bourgeois society in classes certainly remains and there is a whole class of bourgeois who earn the more, the less they do. The working class itself is divided into four great divisions:

[1] women,

[2] agricultural labourers,

[3] unskilled workers, and

[4] skilled workers.

These divisions represent four degrees of exploitation and are but the result of bourgeois organisation.

In a society of equals, where all can learn a trade and where the exploitation of woman by man, of the peasant by the manufacturer, will cease, these classes will disappear. But, even today, wages within each of these classes tend to become more equal. This led to the statement: "that a navvy's day's work is worth that of a jeweller", and made Robert Owen conceive his "labour notes", paid to all who worked so many hours in the production of necessary commodities.

But if we look back on all attempts made in this direction, we find that with the exception of a few thousand farmers in the United States, labour notes have not spread since the end of the first quarter of the century when Owen tried to issue them. The reasons for this have been discussed elsewhere (see the chapter: The Wage System, in my book "The Conquest of Bread").

On the other hand, we see a great number of attempts at partial socialisation, tending in the direction of Communism. Hundreds of Communist communities have been founded during this century almost everywhere and at this very moment we are aware of more than a hundred of them, all being more or less Communistic. It is in the same direction of Communism - partial Communism, we mean to say - that nearly all the numerous attempts at socialisation we see in bourgeois society tend to be made, either between individuals or with regard to the socialisation of municipal matters.

Hotels, steamers, boarding houses, are all experiments in this direction undertaken by the bourgeois. For so much per day you have the choice between ten or fifty dishes placed at your disposal at the hotel or on the steamer, with nobody controlling the amount you have eaten of them. This organisation is even international and before leaving Paris or London you may buy bons (coupons for 10 francs a day) which enable you to stay at will in hundreds of hotels in France, Germany, Switzerland, etc., all belonging to an international society of hotels.

The bourgeois thoroughly understood the advantages of partial Communism combined with the almost unlimited freedom of the individual in respect to consumption, and in all these institutions for a fixed price per month you will be lodged and fed, with the single exception of costly extras (wine, special apartments) which are charged separately.

Fire, theft and accident insurance (especially in villages where equality of conditions permits the charge of an equal premium for all inhabitants), the arrangement by which great English stores will supply for 1s. per week all the fish which a small family may consume, clubs, the innumerable societies of insurance against sickness, etc., etc.. This mass of institutions, created during the 19th century, are an approach towards Communism with regard to part of our total consumption.

Finally, there exists a vast series of municipal institutions - water, gas, electricity, workmen's dwellings, trains with uniform fares, baths, washing houses, etc. - where similar attempts at socialising consumption are being made on an ever increasing scale.

All this is certainly not yet Communism. Far from it. But the principle of these institutions contains a part of the principle of Communism: for so much per day (in money today, in labour tomorrow) you are entitled to satisfy - luxury excepted - this or the other of your wants.

These forays into Communism differ from real Communism in many ways; and essentially in the two following; [1] payment in money instead of payment by labour; [2] the consumers have no voice in the administration of the business. If, however, the idea, the tendency of these institutions were well understood, it would not be difficult even today to start by private or public initiative a community carrying out the first principle mentioned. Let us suppose a territory of 500 hectares on which are built 200 cottages, each surrounded by a garden or an orchard of a quarter hectare. The management allows each family occupying a cottage, to choose out of fifty dishes per day what is desired, or it supplies bread, vegetables, meat, coffee as demanded for preparation at home. In return they demand either so much per annum in money or a certain number of hours of work given, at the consumers' choice, to one of the departments of the establishment: agriculture, cattle raising, cooking, cleaning. This may be put in practice tomorrow if required, and we must wonder that such a farm/hotel/garden has not yet been founded by an enterprising hotel proprietor.

It will be objected, no doubt, that it is just here, the introduction of labour in common, that Communists have generally experienced failure. Yet this objection cannot stand. The causes of failure have always to be sought elsewhere.

Firstly, nearly all communities were founded by an almost religious wave of enthusiasm. People were asked to become "pioneers of humanity;" to submit to the dictates of a punctilious morality, to become quite regenerated by Communist life, to give all their time, hours of work and of leisure, to the community, to live entirely for the community.

This meant acting simply like monks and to demand - without any necessity - men to be what they are not. It is only in quite recent days that communities have been founded by Anarchist working men without any such pretensions, for purely economic purposes - to free themselves from capitalist exploitation.

The second mistake lay in the desire to manage the community after the model of a family, to make it "the great family" They lived all in the same house and were thus forced to continuously meet the same "brethren and sisters." It is already difficult often for two real brothers to live together in the same house, and family life is not always harmonious; so it was a fundamental error to impose on all the "great family" instead of trying, on the contrary, to guarantee as much freedom and home life to each individual.

Besides, a small community cannot live long; "brethren and sisters" forced to meet continuously, amid a scarcity of new impressions, end by detesting each other. And if two persons through becoming rivals or simply not liking each other are able by their disagreement to bring about the dissolution of a community, the prolonged life of such communities would be a strange thing, especially since all communities founded up to now have isolated themselves. It is a foregone conclusion that a close association of 10, 20, or 100 persons cannot last longer than three or four years. It would be even regrettable if it lasted longer, because this would only prove either that all were brought under the influence of a single individual or that all lost their individuality. Well, since it is certain that in three, four or five years part of the members of a community would wish to leave, there ought to exist at least a dozen or more federated communities in order that those who, for one reason or other, wish to leave a community may enter another community, being replaced by new comers from other places. Otherwise, the Communist beehive must necessarily perish or (which nearly always happens) fall into the hands of one individual - generally the most cunning of the "brethren".

Finally, all communities founded up till now isolated themselves from society; but struggle, a life of struggle, is far more urgently needed by an active man than a well supplied table. This desire to see the world, to mix with its currents, to fight its battles is the imperative call to the young generation. Hence it comes (as Chaikovski remarked from his experience) that young people, at the age of 18 or 20, necessarily leave a community which does not comprehend the whole of society

We need not add that governments of all descriptions have always been the most serious stumbling blocks for all communities. Those which have seen least of this or none at all (like Young Icaria) succeed best. This is easily understood Political hatred is one of the most violent in character. We can live in the same town with our political adversaries if we are not forced to see them every moment. But how is life possible in a small community where we meet each other at every turn. Political dissent enters the study, the workshop, the place of rest, and life becomes impossible.

On the other hand, it has been proved to conviction that work in common, Communist production, succeeds marvellously. In no commercial enterprise has so much value been added to land by labor as in each of the communities founded in America and in Europe. faults of calculation may occur everywhere as they occur in all capitalist undertakings, but since it is known that during the first five years after their institution four out of every commercial undertakings become bankrupt, it must be admitted that nothing similar or even coming near to this has occurred in Communist communities. So, when the bourgeois press, wanting to be ingenious, speaks of offering an island to Anarchists on which to establish their community, relying on our experience we are ready to accept this proposal, provided only that this island be, for instance, the Isle de France (Paris) and that upon the valuation of the social wealth we receive our share of it. Only, since we know that neither Paris nor our share of social wealth will be given to us, we shall some day take one and the other ourselves by means of the Social Revolution. Paris and Barcelona in 1871 were not very far from doing so - and ideas have made headway since that time.

Progress permits us to see above all, that an isolated town, proclaiming the Commune, would have great difficulty to subsist. The experiment ought, therefore, to be made on a territory - eg, one of the Western States, Idaho or Ohio - as American Socialists suggest, and they are right. On a sufficiently large territory, not within the bounds of a single town we must someday begin to put in practice the Communism of the future.

We have so often demonstrated that State Communism is impossible, that it is useless to dwell on this subject. A proof of this, furthermore, lies in the fad that the believers in the State, the upholders of a Socialist State do not themselves believe in State Communism. A portion of them occupy themselves with the conquest of a share of the power in the State of today - the bourgeois State - and do not trouble themselves at all to explain that their idea of a Socialist State is different from a system of State capitalism under which everybody would be a functionary of the State. If we tell them that it is this they aim at, they are annoyed; yet they do not explain what other system of society they wish to establish. As they do not believe in the possibility of a social revolution in the near future, their aim is to become part of the government in the bourgeois State of today and they leave it to the future to decide where this will end.

As to those who have tried to sketch the outlines of a future Socialist State, they met our criticism by asserting that all they want are bureaus of statistics. But this is mere juggling with words. Besides, it is averred today that the only statistics of value are those recorded by each individual himself, giving age, occupation, social position, or the lists of what he sold or bought, produced and consumed.

The questions to be put are usually of voluntary elaboration (by scientists, statistical societies), and the work of statistical bureaus consists today in Distributing the questions, in arranging and mechanically summing up the replies. To reduce the State, the governments to this function and to say that, by "government", only this will be understood, means nothing else (if said sincerely) but an honourable retreat. And me must indeed admit that the Jacobins of thirty years ago have immensely gone back from their ideals of dictatorship and Socialist centralisation. No one would dare to say today that the production or consumption of potatoes or rice must be regulated by the parliament of the German People's State (Volksstaat) at Berlin. These insipid things are no longer said.

The Communist state is an Utopia given up already by its own adherents and it is time to proceed further. A far more important question to be examined, indeed, is this: whether Anarchist or Free Communism does not also imply a diminution of individual freedom?

As a matter of fact, in all discussions on freedom our ideas are obscured by the surviving influence of past centuries of serfdom and religious oppression.

Economists represented the enforced contract (under the threat of hunger) between master and workingman as a state of freedom. Politicians, again, so called the present state of the citizen who has become a serf and a taxpayer of the State. The most advanced moralists, like Mill and his numerous disciples, defined liberty as the right to do everything with the exception of encroachments on the equal liberty of all others. Apart from the fact that the word "right" is a very confused term handed down from past ages, meaning nothing at all or too much, the definition of Mill enabled the philosopher Spencer, numerous authors and even some Individualist Anarchists to reconstruct tribunals and legal punishments, even to the penalty of death - that is, to reintroduce, necessarily, in the end the State itself which they had admirably criticised themselves. The idea of free will is also hidden behind all these reasonings.

If we put aside all unconscious actions and consider only premeditated actions (being those which the law, religious and penal systems alone try to influence) we find that each action of this kind is preceded by some discussion in the human brain; for instance, "I shall go out and take a walk," somebody thinks, "No, I have an appointment with a friend," or "I promised to finish some work" or "My wife and children will I be sorry to remain at home," or "I shall lose my employment if I do not go to work."

The last reflection implies the fear of punishment. In the first three instances this man has to face only himself, his habit of loyalty, his sympathies. And there lies all the difference. We say that a man forced to reason that he must give up such and such an engagement from fear of punishment, is not a free man. And we affirm that humanity can and must free itself from the fear of punishment, and that it can constitute an Anarchist society in which the fear of punishment and even the unwillingness to be blamed shall disappear. Towards this ideal we march. But we know that we can free ourselves neither from our habit of loyalty (keeping our word) nor from our sympathies (fear of giving pain to those whom we love and whom we do not wish to afflict on or even to disappoint). In this last respect man is never free. Crusoe, on his island, was not free. The moment he began to construct his ship, to cultivate his garden or to lay in provisions for the winter, he was already captured, absorbed by his work. If he felt lazy and would have preferred to remain lying at ease in his cave, he hesitated for a moment and nevertheless went forth to his work. The moment he had the company of a dog, of two or three goats and, above all, after he had met with Friday, he was no longer absolutely free in the sense in which these words are sometimes used in discussions. He had obligations, he had to think of the interests of others, he was no longer the perfect individualist whom we are sometimes expected to see in him. The moment he has a wife or children, educated by himself or confided to others (society), the moment he has a domestic animal, or even only an orchard which requires to be watered at certain hours - from that moment he is no longer the "care for nothing," the "egoist", the individualist" who is sometimes represented as the type of a free man. Neither on Crusoe's island, far less in society of whatever kind it be, does this type exist. Man takes, and will always take into consideration the interests of other men in proportion to the establishment of relations of mutual interest between them, and the more so the more these others affirm their own sentiments and desires.

Thus we find no other definition of liberty than the following one: the possibility of action without being influenced in those actions by the fear of punishment by society (bodily constraint, the threat of hunger or even censure, except when it comes from a friend).

Understanding liberty in this sense - and we doubt whether a larger and at the same time a more real definition of it can be found - we may say that Communism can diminish, even annihilate, all individual liberty and in many Communist communities this was attempted; but it can also enhance this liberty to its utmost limits.

All depends on the fundamental ideas on which the association is based. It is not the form of an association which involves slavery; it is the ideas of individual liberty which we bring with us to an association which determine the more or less libertarian character of that association.

This applies to all forms of association. Cohabitation of two individuals under the same roof may lead to the enslavement of one by the will of the other, as it may also lead to liberty for both. The same applies to the family or to the co-operation of two persons in gardening or in bringing out a paper. The same with regard to large or small associations, to each social institution. Thus, in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries, we find communes of equals, men equally free - and four centuries later we see the same commune calling for the dictatorship of a priest. Judges and laws had remained; the idea of the Roman law, of the State had become dominant, whilst those of freedom, of settling disputes by arbitration and of applying federalism to its fullest extent had disappeared; hence arose slavery. Well, of all institutions or forms of social organisation that have been tried until this day, Communism is the one which guarantees the greatest amount of individual liberty - provided that the idea that begets the community be Liberty, Anarchy.

Communism is capable of assuming all forms of freedom or of oppression which other institutions are unable to do. It may produce a monastery where all implicitly obey the orders of their superior, and it may produce an absolutely free organisation, leaving his full freedom to the individual, existing only as long as the associates wish to remain together, imposing nothing on anybody, being anxious rather to defend, enlarge, extend in all directions the liberty of the individual. Communism may be authoritarian (in which case the community will soon decay) or it may be Anarchist. The State, on the contrary, cannot be this. It is authoritarian or it ceases to be the State.

Communism guarantees economic freedom better than any other form of association, because it can guarantee wellbeing, even luxury, in return for a few hours of work instead of a day's work. Now, to give ten or eleven hours of leisure per day out of the sixteen during which we lead a conscious life (sleeping eight hours), means to enlarge individual liberty to a point which for thousands of years has been one of the ideals of humanity.

This can be done today in a Communist society man can dispose of at least ten hours of leisure. This means emancipation from one of the heaviest burdens of slavery on man. It is an increase of liberty.

To recognise all men as equal and to renounce government of man by man is another increase of individual liberty in a degree which no other form of association has ever admitted even as a dream. It becomes possible only after the first step has been taken: when man has his means of existence guaranteed and is not forced to sell his muscle and his brain to those who condescend to exploit him.

Lastly, to recognise a variety of occupations as the basis of all progress and to organise in such a way that man may be absolutely free during his leisure time, whilst he may also vary his work, a change for which his early education and instruction will have prepared him - this can easily be put in practice in a Communist society - this, again, means the emancipation of the individual, who will find doors open in every direction for his complete development.

As for the rest, all depends upon the ideas on which the community is founded. We know a religious community in which members who felt unhappy, and showed signs of this on their faces, used to be addressed by a "brother": "You are sad. Nevertheless, put on a happy look, otherwise you will afflict our brethren and sisters." And we know of communities of seven members, one of whom moved the nomination of four committees: gardening, ways and means, housekeeping, and exportation, with absolute rights for the chairman of each committee. There certainly existed communities founded or invaded by "criminals of authority" (a special type recommended to the attention of Mr. Lombrose) and quite a number of communities were founded by mad upholders of the absorption of the individual by society. But these men were not the product of Communism, but of Christianity (eminently authoritarian in its essence) and of Roman law, the State.

The fundamental idea of these men who hold that society cannot exist without police and judges, the idea of the State, is a permanent danger to all liberty, and not the fundamental idea of Communism - which consists in consuming and producing without calculating the exact share of each individual. This idea, on the contrary, is an idea of freedom, of emancipation.

Thus we have arrived at the following conclusions: Attempts at Communism have hitherto failed because:

[1] They were based on an impetus of a religious character instead of considering a community simply as a means of economic consumption and production,

[2] They isolated themselves from society,

[3] They were imbued with an authoritarian spirit,

[41 They were isolated instead of federated,

[5] They required of their members so much labour as to leave them no leisure time, and

[6] They were modelled on the form of the patriarchal family instead of having for an aim the fullest possible emancipation of the individual.

Communism, being an eminently economic institution, does not in any way prejudice the amount of liberty guaranteed to the individual, the initiator, the rebel against crystallising customs. It may be authoritarian, which necessarily leads to the death of the community, and it may be libertarian, which in the twelfth century even under the partial communism of the young cities of that age, led to the creation of a young civilisation full of vigour, a new springtide of Europe.

The only durable form of Communism, however, is one under which, seeing the close contact between fellow men it brings about, every effort would be made to extend the liberty of the individual in all directions.

Under such conditions, under the influence of this idea, the liberty of the individual, increased already by the amount of leisure secured to him, will be curtailed in no other way than occurs today by municipal gas, the house to house delivery of food by great stores, modern hotels, or by the fact that during working hours we work side by side with thousands of fellow labourers.

With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible. Without it, it necessarily becomes slavery and cannot exist.

An Appeal to the Young (1880)

Peter Kropotkin, 1842-1921

"Peter Kropotkin...was recognized by friend and foe as one of the greatest minds...of the nineteenth century...The lucidity and brilliance of his mind combined with his warm-heartedness into the harmonious whole of a fascinating and gracious personality. " -Emma Goldman


Addressed to young men and women preparing to enter the professions, An Appeal to the Young was first published in 1880 in Kropotkin's paper, La Revolte, and was soon thereafter issued as a pamphlet. An American edition was brought out by Charles H. Kerr in 1899, in the wake of the great Anarchist's first U.S. speaking tour; his Memoirs of a Revolutionist was also published (by Houghton-Mifflin) that year. A new edition in Kerr's "Pocket Library of Socialism" appeared in 1901; just after Kropotkin's second U.S. tour. (In Chicago, he had been introduced to a large audience by Clarence Darrow, a close associate of the Kerr Company.) Yet another Kerr edition in the 1910s went through many printings, and was still on the Kerr list well into the 1930s.

Long unavailable in any U.S. edition, it is reprinted here in the standard English translation by pioneer British socialist H.M. Hyndman, whose lush Victorian prose ably captures the eloquence, fervor and charm of this celebrated revolutionary classic.

This work and others available from:

Revolutionary Classics

Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company

Established 1886

It is to the young that I wish to address myself today. Let the old - I mean of course the old in heart and mind - lay the pamphlet down therefore without tiring their eyes in reading what will tell them nothing.

I assume that you are about eighteen or twenty years of age; that you have finished your apprenticeship or your studies; that you are just entering into life. I take it for granted that you have a mind free from the superstition which your teachers have sought to force upon you; that you don't fear the devil, and that you do not go to hear parsons and ministers rant. More, that you are not one of the fops, sad products of a society in decay, who display their well-cut trousers and their monkey faces in the park, and who even at their early age have only an insatiable longing for pleasure at any price...I assume on the contrary that you have a warm heart, and for this reason I talk to you.

A first question, I know, occurs to you - you have often asked yourself: "What am I going to be?" In fact when a man is young he understands that after having studied a trade or a science for several years - at the cost of society, mark - he has not done this in order that he should make use of his acquirements as instruments of plunder for his own gain, and he must be depraved indeed and utterly cankered by vice who has not dreamed that one day he would apply his intelligence, his abilities, his knowledge to help on the enfranchisement of those who today grovel in misery and in ignorance.

You are one of those who has had such a vision, are you not? Very well, let us see what you must do to make your dream a reality.

I do not know in what rank you were born. Perhaps, favored by fortune, you have turned your attention to the study of science; you are to be a doctor, a barrister, a man of letters, or a scientific man; a wide field opens up before you; you enter upon life with extensive knowledge, with a trained intelligence. Or, on the other hand, you are perhaps only an honest artisan whose knowledge of science is limited by the little that you have learnt at school; but you have had the advantage of learning at first hand what a life of exhausting toil is the lot of the worker of our time.

I stop at the first supposition, to return afterward to the second; I assume then that you have received a scientific education. Let us suppose you intend to be - a doctor. Tomorrow a man in corduroys will come to fetch you to see a sick woman. He will lead you into one of those alleys where the opposite neighbors can almost shake hands over the heads of the passersby; you ascend into a foul atmosphere by the flickering light of a little illtrimmed lamp; you climb two, three, four, five flights of filthy stairs, and in a dark, cold room you find the sick woman, lying on a pallet covered with dirty rags. Pale, livid children, shivering under their scanty garments, gaze at you with their big eyes wide open. The husband has worked all this life twelve or thirteen hours a day at, no matter what; now he has been out of work for three months. To be out of employ is not rare in his trade; it happens every year, periodically. But, formerly, when he was out of work his wife went out a charwoman - perhaps to wash your shirts - at the rate of fifteen pence a day; now she has been bedridden for two months, and misery glares upon the family in all its squalid hideousness.

What will you prescribe for the sick woman, doctor - you who have seen at a glance that the cause of her illness is general anemia, want of good food, lack of fresh air? Say, a good beefsteak every day? a little exercise in the country? a dry and well-ventilated bedroom? What irony! If she could have afforded it this would have been done long since without waiting for your advice.

If you have a good heart, a frank address, an honest face, the family will tell you many things. They will tell you that the woman on the other side of the partition, who coughs a cough which tears your heart, is a poor ironer; that a flight of stairs lower down all the children have the fever; that the washerwoman who occupies the ground floor will not live to see the spring; and that in the house next door things are still worse.

What will you say to all these sick people? Recommend them generous diet, change of air, less exhausting toil...You only wish you could but you daren't and you go out heartbroken, with a curse upon your lips.

The next day, as you still brood over the fate of the dwellers in this dog-hutch, your partner tells you that yesterday a footman came to fetch him, this time in a carriage. It was for the owner of a fine house, for a lady worn out with sleepless nights, who devotes all her life to dressing, visits, balls, and squabbles with a stupid husband. Your friend has prescribed for her a less preposterous habit of life, a less heating diet, walks in the fresh air, an even temperament, and, in order to make up in some measure for the want of useful work, a little gymnastic exercise in her bedroom.

The one is dying because she has never had enough food nor enough rest in her whole life; the other pines because she has never known what work is since she was born.

If you are one of those miserable natures who adapt themselves to anything, who at the sight of the most revolting spectacles console themselves with a gentle sigh and a glass of sherry, then you wilt gradually become used to these contrasts, and the nature of the beast favoring your endeavors, your sole idea will be to lift yourself into the ranks of the pleasure-seekers, so that you may never again find yourself among the wretched. But if you are a Man, if every sentiment is translated in your case into an action of the will; if, in you, the beast has not crushed the intelligent being, then you will return home one day saying to yourself, "No, it is unjust; this must not go on any longer. It is not enough to cure diseases; we must prevent them. A little good living and intellectual development would score off our lists half the patients and half the diseases. Throw physic to the dogs! Air, good diet, less crushing toil - that is how we must begin. Without this, the whole profession of a doctor is nothing but trickery and humbug."

That very day you will understand Socialism. You will wish to know it thoroughly, and if altruism is not a word devoid of significance for you, if you apply to the study of the social question the rigid induction of the natural philosopher, you will end by finding yourself in our ranks, and you will work as we work, to bring about the Social Revolution.

But perhaps you will say, "Mere practical business may go to the devil! I will devote myself to pure science: I will be an astronomer, a physiologist, a chemist. Such work as that always bears fruit, if only for future generations."

Let us first try to understand what you seek in devoting yourself to science. Is it only the pleasure - doubtless immense - which we derive from the study of nature and the exercise of our intellectual faculties? In that case I ask you in what respect does the philosopher, who pursues science in order that he may pass life pleasantly to himself, differ from that drunkard there, who only seeks the immediate gratification that gin affords him? The philosopher has, past all question, chosen his enjoyment more wisely, since it affords him a pleasure far deeper and more lasting than that of the toper. But that is all! Both one and the other have the same selfish end in view, personal gratification.

But no, you have no wish to lead this selfish life. By working at science you mean to work for humanity, and that is the idea which will guide you in your investigations.

A charming illusion! Which of us has not hugged it for a moment when giving himself up for the first time to science?

But then, if you are really thinking about humanity, if you look to the good of mankind in your studies, a formidable question arises before you; for, however little you may have of the critical spirit, you must at once note that in our society of today science is only an appendage to luxury, which serves to render life pleasanter for the few, but remains absolutely inaccessible to the bulk of mankind.

More than a century has passed since science laid down sound propositions as to the origins of the universe, but how many have mastered them or possess the really scientific spirit of criticism? A few thousands at the outside, who are lost in the midst of hundreds of millions still steeped in prejudices and superstitions worthy of savages, who are consequently ever ready to serve as puppets for religious impostors.

Or, to go a step further, let us glance at what science has done to establish rational foundations for physical and moral health. Science tells us how we ought to live in order to preserve the health of our own bodies, how to maintain in good conditions of existence the crowded masses of our population. But does not all the vast amount of work done in these two directions remain a dead letter in our books? We know it does. And why? Because science today exists only for a handful of privileged persons, because social inequality which divides society into two classes - the wage-slaves and the grabbers of capital-renders all its teachings as to the conditions of a rational existence only the bitterest irony to nine-tenths of mankind.

I could give plenty more examples, but I stop short: only go outside Faust's closet, whose windows, darkened by dust, scarce let the light of heaven glimmer on its shelves full of books; look round, and at each step you will find fresh proof in support of this view.

It is now no longer a question of accumulating scientific truths and discoveries. We need above everything to spread the truths already mastered by science, to make them part of our daily life, to render them common property. We have to order things so that all, so that the mass of mankind, may be capable of understanding and applying them; we have to make science no longer a luxury but the foundation of every man's life. This is what justice demands.

I go further: I say that the interests of science itself lie in the same direction. Science only makes real progress when a new truth finds a soil already prepared to receive it. The theory of the mechanical origin of heat, though enunciated in the last century in the same terms that Hirn and Clausius formulate it today, remained for eighty years buried in the academical records until such time as knowledge of physics had spread widely enough to create a public capable of accepting it. Three generations had to go by before the ideas of Erasmus Darwin on the variations of species could be favorably received from his grandson and admitted by academical philosophers, and not without pressure from public opinion even then. The philosopher, like the poet or artist, is always the product of the society in which he moves and teaches.

But, if you are imbued with these ideas, you will understand that it is above all important to bring about a radical change in this state of affairs which today condemns the philosopher to be crammed with scientific truths, and almost the whole of the rest of human beings to remain what they were five, ten centuries ago - that is to say, in the state of slaves and machines, incapable of mastering established truths. And the day when you are imbued with wide, deep, humane, and profoundly scientific truth, that day you will lose your taste for pure science. You will set to work to find out the means to effect this transformation, and if you bring to your investigations the impartiality which has guided you in your scientific researches you will of necessity adopt the cause of Socialism; you .make an end of sophisms and you will come amongst us. Weary of working to procure pleasures for this small group, which already has a large share of them, you will place your information and devotion at the service of the oppressed.

And be sure that, the feeling of duty accomplished and of a real accord established between your sentiments and your actions, you will then find powers in yourself of whose existence you never even dreamed. When, too, one day - it is not far distant in any case, saving the presence of our professors - when one day, I say, the change for which you are working shall have been brought about, then, deriving new forces from collective scientific work, and from the powerful help of armies of laborers who will come to place their energies at its service, science will take a new bound forward, in comparison with which the slow progress of today will appear the simple exercises of tyros.

Then you will enjoy science; that pleasure will be a pleasure for all.

If you have finished reading law and are about to be called to the bar, perhaps you, too, have some illusions as to your future activity - I assume that you are one of the nobler spirits, that you know what altruism means. Perhaps you think, "To devote my life to an unceasing and vigorous struggle against all injustice! To apply my whole faculties to bringing about the triumph of law, the public expression of supreme justice - can any career be nobler?" You begin the real work of life confident in yourself and in the profession you have chosen.

Very well: let us turn to any page of the Law Reports and see what actual life will tell you.

Here we have a rich landowner; he demands the eviction of a cotter tenant who has not paid his rent. From a legal point of view the case is beyond dispute; since the poor farmer can't pay, out he must go. But if we look into the facts we shall learn something like this: The landlord has squandered his rents persistently in rollicking pleasure; the tenant has worked hard all day and every day. The landlord has done nothing to improve his estate. Nevertheless its value has trebled in fifty years owing to rise in price of land due to the construction of a railway, to the making of new highroads, to the draining of a marsh, to the enclosure and cultivation of wastelands. But the tenant, who has contributed largely towards this increase, has ruined himself; he fell into the hands of usurers, and, head over ears in debts, he can no longer pay the landlord. The law, always on the side of property, is quite clear: the landlord is in the right. But you, whose feeling of justice has not yet been stifled by legal fictions, what will you do? Will you contend that the farmer ought to be turned out upon the high road? - for that is what the law ordains - or will you urge that the landlord should pay back to the farmer the whole of the increase of value in his property which is due to the farmer's labor? - that is what equity decrees. Which side will you take? For the law and against justice, or for justice and against the law?

Or when workmen have gone out on strike against a master without notice, which side will you take then? The side of the law, that is to say, the part of the master who, taking advantage of a period of crisis, has made outrageous profits? or against the law, but on the side of the workers who received during the whole time only 2s. A day as wages, and saw their wives and children fade away before their eyes? Will you stand up for that piece of chicanery which consists in affirming "freedom of contract"? Or will you uphold equity, according to which a contract entered into between a man who has dined well and the man who sells his labor for bare subsistence, between the strong and the weak, is not a contract at all?

Take another case. Here in London a man was loitering near a butcher's shop. He stole a beefsteak and ran off with it. Arrested and questioned, it turns out that he is an artisan out of work, and that he and his family have had nothing to eat for four days. The butcher is asked to let the man off, but he is all for the triumph of justice! He prosecutes, and the man is sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Blind Themis so wills it! Does not your conscience revolt against the law and against society when you hear similar judgments pronounced every day?

Or again, will you call for the enforcement of the law against this man who, badly brought up and ill-used from his childhood, has arrived at man's estate without having heard one sympathetic word, and completes his career by murdering his neighbor in order to rob him of a shilling? Will you demand his execution, or - worse still - that he should be imprisoned for twenty years, when you know very well that he is rather a madman than a criminal, and in any case, that his crime is the fault of our entire society?

Will you claim that these weavers should be thrown into prison who in a moment of desperation have set fire to a mill; that this man who shot at a crowned murderer should be imprisoned for life; that these insurgents should be shot down who plant the flag of the future on the barricades? No, a thousand times no!

If you reason instead of repeating what is taught you; if you analyze the law and strip off those cloudy fictions with which it has been draped in order to conceal its real origin, which is the right of the stronger, and its substance, which has ever been the consecration of all the tyrannies handed down to mankind through its long and bloody history; when you have comprehended this, your contempt for the law will be profound indeed. You will understand that to remain the servant of the written law is to place yourself every day in opposition to the law of conscience, and to make a bargain on the wrong side; and, since this struggle cannot go on forever, you will either silence your conscience and become a scoundrel, or you will break with tradition, and you will work with us for the utter destruction of all this injustice, economic, social and political.

But then you will be a Socialist, you will be a Revolutionist.

And you, young engineer, you who dream of improving the lot of the workers by the application of science to industry - what a sad disappointment, what terrible disillusions await you! You devote the useful energy of your mind to working out the scheme of a railway which, running along the brink of precipices and burrowing into the very heart of mountains of granite, will bind together two countries which nature has separated. But once at work, you see whole regiments of workers decimated by privations and sickness in this dark tunnel - you see others of them returning home carrying with them, maybe, a few pence, and the undoubted seeds of consumption; you see human corpses - the results of a groveling greed - as landmarks along each yard of your road; and, when the railroad is finished, you see, lastly, that it becomes the highway for the artillery of an invading army...

You have given up the prime of your youth to perfect an invention which will facilitate production and, after many experiments, many sleepless nights, you are at length master of this valuable discovery. You make use of it and the result surpasses your expectations. Ten, twenty thousand "hands" are thrown out upon the streets! Those who remain, most of them children, will be reduced to mere machines! Three, four, ten masters will make their fortunes and will drink deep on the strength of it...Is this your dream?

Finally, you study recent industrial advances, and you see that the seamstress has gained nothing, absolutely nothing, by the invention of the sewing machine; that the laborer in St. Gothard tunnel dies of ankylosis, not - withstanding diamond drills; that the mason and the day-laborer are out of work, just as before, at the foot of the Giffard lifts. If you discuss social problems with the same independence of spirit which has guided you in your mechanical investigations, you necessarily come to the conclusion that under the domination of private property and wage-slavery, every new invention only makes his slavery heavier, his labor more degrading, the periods of slack work more frequent, the crisis sharper, and that the man who already has every conceivable pleasure for himself is the only one who profits by it.

What will you do when you have once come to this conclusion? Either you will begin by silencing your conscience by sophisms; then one fine day you will bid farewell to the honest dreams of your youth and you will try to obtain, for yourself, what commands pleasure and enjoyment - you will then go over to the camp of the exploiters. Of, if you have a tender heart, you will say to yourself: "No, this is not the time for inventions. Let us work first to transform the domain of production. When private property is put to an end, then each new advance in industry will be made for the benefit of all mankind; and this mass of workers, mere machines as they are today, will then become thinking beings who apply to industry their intelligence, strengthened by study and skilled in manual labor, and thus mechanical progress will take a bound forward which will carry out in fifty years what nowadays we cannot even dream of."

And what shall t say to the schoolmaster - not to the man who looks upon his profession as a wearisome business, but to him who, when surrounded by a joyous band of young pickles, feels exhilarated by their cheery looks and in the midst of their happy laughter - to him who tries to plant in their little heads those ideas of humanity which he cherished himself when he was young?

Often I see that you are sad, and I know what it is that makes you knit your brows. This very day, your favorite pupil who is not very well up in Latin, it is true, but who has nonetheless an excellent heart, recited the story of William Tell with so much vigor! His eyes sparkled; he seemed to wish to stab all tyrants there and then; he gave with such fire the passionate lines of Schiller:

Before the slave when he breaks his chain,

Before the free man tremble not.

But when he returned home, his mother, his father, his uncle sharply rebuked him for want of respect to the minister or the rural policeman; they held forth to him by the hour on "prudence, respect of authority, submission to his betters," till he put Schiller aside in order to read "Self-Help."

And then, only yesterday, you were told that your best pupils have all turned out badly. One does nothing but dream of becoming an officer; another in league with his master robs the workers of their slender wages; and you, who brood over the sad contrast between your ideal, and life as it is.

You still brood over it! Then I foresee that in two years, at the outside, after having suffered disappointment after disappointment, you will lay your favorite authors on the shelf, and you will end by saying that Tell was no doubt a very honest fellow, but after all a trifle cracked; that poetry is a first-rate thing for the fireside, especially whan a man has been teaching the rule-of-three all day long, but still poets are always in the clouds and their views have nothing to do with the life of today, nor with the next visit of the Inspector of Schools...

Or, on the other hand, the dreams of your youth will become the firm convictions of your mature age. You will wish to have wide, human education for all, in school and out of school; and seeing that this is impossible in existing conditions, you will attack the very foundations of bourgeois society. Then, discharged as you will be by the Education Department, you will leave your school and come among us and be of us; you will tell men of riper years but of smaller attainments than yourself how enticing knowledge is, what mankind ought to be - nay, what we could be. You will come and work with Socialists for the complete transformation of the existing system, will strive side by side with us to attain true equality, real fraternity, never-ending liberty for the world.

Lastly, you, young artist, sculptor, painter, poet, musician, do you not observe that the sacred fire which inspired your predecessors is wanting in the men of today? that art is commonplace and mediocrity reigns supreme?

Could it be otherwise? The delight of having rediscovered the ancient world, of having bathed afresh in the springs of nature which created the masterpieces of the Renaissance no longer exists for the art of our time; the revolutionary ideal has left it cold until now, and, failing an ideal, our art fancies that it has found one in realism when it painfully photographs in colors the dewdrop on the leaf of a plant, imitates the muscles in the leg of a cow, or describes minutely in prose and verse the suffocating filth of a sewer, the boudoir of a whore of high degree.

"But, if this is so, what is to be done?" you say. If, I reply, the sacred fire that you say you possess is nothing better than a smoldering wick, then you will go on doing as you have done, and your art will speedily degenerate into the trade of decorator of tradesmen's shops, of a purveyor of librettos to third-rate operettas, and tales for Christmas Annuals - most of you are already running down that grade with a head of steam on...

But, if your heart really beats in unison with that of humanity, if like a true poet you have an ear for Life, then gazing out upon this sea of sorrow whose tide sweeps up around you, face to face with these people dying of hunger, in the presence of these corpses piled up in the mines, and these mutilated bodies lying in heaps on the barricades, looking on these long lines of exiles who are going to bury themselves in the snows of Siberia and in the marshes of tropical islands; in full view of this desperate battle which is being fought, amid the cries of pain from the conquered and the orgies of the victors, of heroism in conflict with cowardice, of noble determination face to face with contemptible cunning - you cannot remain neutral; you will come and take the side of the oppressed because you know that the beautiful, the sublime, the spirit of life itself are on the side of those who fight for light, for humanity, for justice!

You stop me at last!

"What the devil!" you say. "But if abstract science is a luxury and practice of medicine mere chicane; if law spells injustice, and mechanical invention is but the means of robbery; if the school, at variance with the wisdom of the `practical man,' is sure to be overcome; and art without the revolutionary idea can only degenerate, what remains for me to do?"

Well, I will tell you.

A vast and most enthralling task; a work in which your actions will be in complete harmony with your conscience, an undertaking capable of rousing the noblest and most vigorous natures.

What work? - I will now tell you.

It rests with you either to palter continually with your conscience, and in the end to say, one fine day: "Perish humanity, provided I can have plenty of pleasures and enjoy them to the full, so long as the people are foolish enough to let me." Or, once more the inevitable alternative, to take part with the Socialists and work with them for the complete transformation of society. Such is the irrefragable consequence of the analysis we have gone through. That is the logical conclusion which every intelligent man must perforce arrive at, provided that he reasons honestly about what passes around him, and discards the sophisms which his bourgeois education and the interested views of those about him whisper in his ear.

This conclusion once arrived at, the question "What is to be done?" is naturally put.

The answer is easy.

Leave this environment in which you are placed and where it is the fashion to say that the people are nothing but a lot of brutes; come among these people - and the answer will come of itself.

You will see that everywhere, in England as well as in France, in Germany as well as in Italy, in Russia as welt as in the United States, everywhere where there is a privileged and an oppressed class, there is a tremendous work going on in the midst of the working class, whose object is to break down forever the slavery enforced by the capitalist feudality and to lay the foundation of a society established on the basis of justice and equality. It is no longer enough for the man of the people today to pour forth his complaints in one of those songs whose melody breaks your heart, such as were sung by the serfs of the eleventh century, and are still sung by the Slav peasant; he labors with his fellow toilers for the enfranchisement, with the knowledge of what he is doing, and against every obstacle put in his way.

His thoughts are constantly exercised in considering what should be done in order that life, instead of being a curse for three-fourths of mankind, may be a real enjoyment for all. He takes up the hardest problems of sociology and tries to solve them by his good sense, his spirit of observation, his hard experience. In order to come to an understanding with others as miserable as himself, he seeks to form groups, to organize. He forms societies, maintained with difficulty by small contributions; he tries to make terms with his fellows beyond the frontier; and he prepares the days when wars between peoples shall be impossible, far better than the frothy philanthropists who now potter with the fad of universal peace. In order to know what his brothers are doing, to have a closer connection with them, to elaborate his ideas and pass them around, he maintains - but at the price of what privations, what ceaseless efforts! - his working press. At length, when the hour has come, he rises, reddening the pavements and the barricades with his blood, he bounds forward to conquer those liberties which the rich and powerful will afterward know how to corrupt and to turn against him again.

What an unending series of efforts! What an incessant struggle! What toil perpetually begun afresh; sometimes to fill up the gaps occasioned by desertion - the results of weariness, corruption, prosecutions; sometimes to rally the broken forces decimated by the fusillades and cold-blooded butchery! At another time to recommence the studies sternly broken off by wholesale slaughter.

The newspapers are set on foot by men who have been obliged to force from society scraps of knowledge by depriving themselves of sleep and food; the agitation is kept up by halfpence deducted from the amount needed to get the barest necessaries of life; and all this under the constant dread of seeing his family reduced to the most fearful misery, as soon as the master learns that "his workman, his slave, is tainted with Socialism."

This is what you will see if you go among the people.

And in this endless struggle how often has not the toiler vainly asked, as he stumbled under the weight of his burden:

"Where, then, are these young people who have been taught at our expense? These youths whom we fed and clothed while they studied? Where are those for Whom, our backs bent double beneath our burdens and our bellies empty, we have built these houses, these colleges, these lecture-rooms, these museums? Where are the men for whose benefit we, with our pale, worn faces, have printed these fine books, most of which we cannot even read? Where are they, these professors who claim to possess the science of mankind, and for whom humanity itself is not worth a rare caterpillar? Where are the men who are ever speaking in praise of liberty, and never think to champion our freedom, trampled as it is each day beneath their feet? Where are they, these writers and poets, these painters and sculptors? Where, in a word, is the whole gang of hypocrites who speak of the people with tears in their eyes, but who never, by any chance, find themselves among us, helping us in our laborious work?"

Where are they, indeed?

Why, some are taking their ease with the most cowardly indifference; others, the majority, despise the "dirty mob," are ready to pounce upon them if they dare touch one of their privileges.

Now and then, it is true, a young man comes among us who dreams of drums and barricades and seeks sensational scenes, but he deserts the cause of the people as soon as he perceives that the road to the barricade is long, that the work is heavy, and that the crowns of laurel to be won in the campaign are intermingled with thorns. Generally these are ambitious schemers, out of work, who, having failed in their first efforts, try in this way to cajole people out of their votes, but who a little later will be the first to denounce them when the people wish to apply the principles which they themselves have professed; perhaps will even be ready to turn artillery and Gatlings upon them if they dare to move before they, the heads of the movement, give the signal.

Add mean insult, haughty contempt, cowardly calumny from the great majority, and you know what the people may expect nowadays from most of the youth of the upper and middle classes in the way of help towards the social evolution.

But then, you ask, "What shall we do?" When there is everything to be done! When a whole army of young people would find plenty to employ the entire vigor of their youthful energy, the full force of their intelligence and their talent to help the people in the vast enterprise they have untertaken!

What shall we do? Listen.

You lovers of pure science, if you are imbued with the principles of Socialism, if you have understood the real meaning of the revolution which is even now knocking at the door, don't you see that all science has to be recast in order to place it in harmony with the new principles; that it is your business to accomplish in this field a revolution far greater than that which was accomplished in every branch of science during the eighteenth century? Don't you understand that history - which today is an old wives' tale about great kings, great statesmen and great parliaments - that history itself has to be written from the point of view of the people, from the point of view of work done by the masses in the long evolution of mankind? That social economy - which today is merely the sanctification of capitalist robbery - has to be worked out afresh in its fundamental principles as well as in its innumerable applications? That anthropology, sociology, ethics, must be completely recast, and that the very natural sciences themselves, regarded from another point of view, must undergo a profound modification, alike in regard to the conception of natural phenomena and with respect to the method of exposition.

Very well, then, set to work! Place your abilities at the command of the good cause. Especially help us with your clear logic to combat prejudice and to lay, by your synthesis, the foundations of a better organization; yet more, teach us to apply in our daily arguments the fearlessness of true scientific investigation and show us, as your predecessors did, how men dare sacrifice even life itself for the triumph of the truth.

You, doctors, who have learnt Socialism by a bitter experience, never weary of telling us today, tomorrow, onward to decay if men remain in the present conditions of existence and work; that all your medicaments must be powerless against disease while the majority of mankind vegetate in conditions absolutely contrary to those which science tells us are healthful; convince the people that it is the causes of disease which must be uprooted, and show us all what is necessary to remove them.

Come with your scalpel and dissect for us, with an unerring hand, this society of ours, hastening to putrefaction. Tell us what a rational existence should and might be. Insist, as true surgeons, that a gangrenous limb must be amputated when it may poison the whole body.

You, who have worked at the application of science to industry, come and tell us frankly what has been the outcome of your discoveries. Convince those who dare not march boldly toward the future what new inventions the knowledge we have acquired carried in its womb, what industry could do under better conditions, what man might easily produce if he produced always with a view to enhance his own productions.

You poets, painters, sculptors, musicians, if you understand your true mission and the very interests of art itself, come with us. Place your pen, your pencil, your chisel, your ideas at the service of the revolution. Figure forth to us, in your eloquent style, or your impressive pictures, the heroic struggles of the people against their oppressors; fire the hearts of our youth with that revolutionary enthusiasm which inflamed the souls of our ancestors; tell women what a noble career is that of a husband who devotes his life to the great cause of social emancipation! Show the people how hideous is their actual life, and place your hand on the causes of its ugliness; tell us what a rational life would be if it did not encounter at every step the follies and the ignominies of our present social order.

Lastly, all of you who possess knowledge, talent, capacity, industry, if you have a spark of sympathy in your nature, come, you and your companions, come and and place your services at the disposal of those who most need them. And remember, if you do come, that you come not as masters, but as comrades in the struggle; that you come not to govern but to gain strength for yourselves in a new life which sweeps upward to the conquest of the future; that you come less to teach than to grasp the aspirations of the many; to divine them, to give them shape, and then to work, without rest and without haste, with all the fire of youth and all the judgment of age, to realize them in actual life. Then and then only will you lead a complete, a noble, a rational existence. Then you will see that your every effort on this path bears with it fruit in abundance, and this sublime harmony once established between your actions and the dictates of your conscience will give you powers you never dreamt lay dormant in yourselves.

The never-ceasing struggle for truth, justice and equality among the people, whose gratitude you will earn - what nobler career can the youth of all nations desire than this?

It has taken me long to show you, of the well-to-do classes, that in view of the dilemma which life presents to you, you will be forced, if courageous and sincere, to come and work side by side with the Socialists, and champion in their ranks the cause of the social revolution. And yet how simple this truth is after all! But when one is speaking to those who have suffered from the effects of bourgeois surroundings, how many sophisms must be combated, how many prejudices overcome, how many interested objections put aside!

It is easy to be brief today in addressing you, the youth of the people. The very pressure of events impels you to become Socialists, however little you may have the courage to reason and to act.

To rise from the ranks of the working people, and not to devote oneself to bringing about the triumph of Socialism, is to misconceive the real interests at stake, to give up the cause and the true historic mission.

Do you remember the time, when still a mere lad, you went down one winter's day to play in your dark court? The cold nipped your shoulders through your thin clothes, and the mud worked into your worn-out shoes. Even then when you saw chubby children richly clad pass in the distance, looking at you with an air of contempt, you knew right well that these imps, dressed up to the nines, were not the equals of yourself and your comrades, either in intelligence, common sense, or energy. But, later, when you were forced to shut yourself up in a filthy factory from five or süc o'clock in the morning, to remain twelve hours on end close to a whirling machine, and, a machine yourself, were forced to follow, day after day, for whole years in succession, its movement with relentless throbbing - during all this time they, the others, were going quietly to be taught at fine schools, at academies, at the universities. And now these same children, less intelligent, but better taught than you, have become your masters, are enjoying all the pleasures of life and all the advantages of civilization. And you? What sort of lot awaits you?

You return to little, dark, damp lodgings where five or six human beings pig together within a few square feet; where your mother, sick of life, aged by care rather than years, offers you dry bread and potatoes as your only food, washed down by blackish fluid called, in irony, tea; and to distract your thoughts, you have ever the same never-ending question, "How shall I be able to pay the baker tomorrow, and the landlord the day after?"

What! Must you drag on the same weary existence as your father and mother for thirty and forty years? Must you toil your life long to procure for others all the pleasures of well-being, of knowledge, of art, and keep for yourself only the eternal anxiety as to whether you can get a bit of bread? Will you wear yourself out with toil and have in return only trouble, if not misery, when hard times - the fearful hard times - come upon you? Is this what you long for in life?

Perhaps you will give up. Seeing no way out of your condition whatever, maybe you say to yourself, "Whole generations have undergone the same lot, and I, who can alter nothing in the matter, I must submit also. Let us work on, then, and endeavor to live as well as we can!"

Very well. In that case life itself will take pains to enlighten you.

One day a crisis comes, one of those crises which are no longer mere passing phenomena, as they were a while ago, but a crisis which destroys a whole industry, which plunges thousands of workers into misery, which crushes whole families. You struggle like the rest against the calamity. But you will soon see how your wife, your child your friend, little by little succumb to privations and fade away under your very eyes. For sheer want of food for lack of care and of medical assistance, they end their days on the pauper's stretcher, while the life of the rich sweeps past in joyous crowds through the streets of the great city gleaming in the sunlight - utterly careless and indifferent to the dying cries of those who perish.

Then you will understand how utterly revolting this society is; you will reflect upon the causes of this crisis and your examination will go to the very depths of this abomination which puts millions of human beings at the mercy of the brutal greed of a handful of useless triflers; then you will understand that Socialists are right when they say that our present society can be, that it must be reorganized from top to bottom.

To pass from general crises to your particular case. One day when your master tires by a new reduction of wages to squeeze out of you a few more pence in order to increase his fortune still further, you will protest; but he will haughtily answer, "Go and eat grass, if you will not work at the price I offer." Then you will understand that your master not only tries to shear you like a sheep, but that looks upon you as an inferior kind of animal altogether; that, not content with holding you in his relentless grip by means of the wage-system, he is further anxious to make you a slave in every respect. Then you will either bow down before him, you will give up the feeling of human dignity, and you will end by suffering every possible humiliation; or the blood will rush to your head, you shudder at the hideous slope on which you are slipping down, you will retort, and, turned out workless on the street, you will understand how right Socialists are when they say, "Revolt! Rise against this economical slavery!" Then you will come and take your place in the ranks of the Socialists and you will work with them for the complete destruction of all slavery - economic, social and political.

Some day, again, you will learn the story of that charming young girl whose brisk gait, frank manners, and cheerful conversation you so lovingly admired. After having struggled for years and years against misery, she left her native village for the metropolis. There she knew right well that the struggle for existence must be hard, but she hoped at least to be able to gain her living honestly. Well, now you know what has been her fate. Courted by the son of some capitalist, she allowed herself to be enticed by his fine words, she gave herself up to him with all the passion of youth, only to see herself abandoned with a baby in her arms. Ever courageous, she never ceased to struggle on; but she broke down in this unequal strife against cold and hunger, and she ended her days in one of the hospitals, no one knows which...

What will you do? Once more there are two courses open to you. Either you will push aside the whole unpleasant reminiscence with some stupid phrase. "She wasn't the first and won't be the last," you will say. Perhaps, some evening, you will be heard in a public room, in company with other beasts like yourself, outraging the young girl's memory by some dirty stories; or, on the other hand, your remembrances of the past will touch your heart; you will try to meet the seducer to denounce him to his face; you will reflect upon the causes of these events which recur every day, and you will comprehend that they will never cease so long as society is divided into two camps; on one side the wretched and on the other the lazy - the jugglers with fine phrases and bestial lusts. You will understand that it is high time to bridge over this gulf of separation, and you will rush to place, yourself among the Socialists.

And you, woman of the people, has this left you cold and unmoved? While caressing the pretty head of that child who nestles close to you, do you never think about the lot that awaits him, if the present social conditions are not changed? Do you never reflect on the future awaiting your young sister, and all your own children? Do you wish that your sons, they too, should vegetate as your father vegetated, with no other care than how to get his daily bread, with no other pleasure than that of the gin-palace? Do you want your husband, your lads, to be ever at the mercy of the first comer who has inherited from his father a capital to exploit them with? Are you anxious that they should remain slaves for master, food for powder, mere dung wherewith to manure the pasture lands of the rich exproprietor?

Nay, never; a thousand times no! t know right well that your blood has boiled when you have heard that your husbands, after they entered on a strike, full of fire and determination, have ended by accepting, cap in hand, the conditions dictated by the bloated bourgeois in a tone of haughty contempt! I know that you have admired those Spanish women who in a popular rising presented their breasts to the bayonets of the soldiery, in the front ranks of the insurrectionists. I am certain that you mention with reverence the name of the woman who lodged a bullet in the chest of that ruffianly official who dared to outrage a Socialist prisoner in his cell. And I am confident that your heart beats faster when you read how the women of the people in Paris gathered under a rain of shells to encourage "their men" to heroic action.

Every one of you, then, honest young folks, men and women, peasants, laborers, artisans and soldiers, you will understand what are your rights and you will come along with us; you will come in order to work with your brethren in the preparation of that Revolution which, sweeping away every vestige of slavery, tearing the fetters asunder, breaking with the old worn-out traditions, and opening to all mankind a new and wider scope of joyous existence, shall at length establish true Liberty, real Equality, ungrudging Fraternity throughout human society: work with all, work for all - the full enjoyment of the fruits of their labor, the complete development of all their faculties; a rational, human and happy life!

Don't let anyone tell us that we - but a small band - are too weak to attain unto the magnificent end at which we aim.

Count and see how many of us there are who suffer this injustice.

We peasants who work for others and who mumble the straw while our masters eat the wheat, we by ourselves are millions of men.

We workers who weave silks and velvets in order that we may be clothed in rags, we, too, are a great multitude; and when the clang of the factories permits us a moment's repose, we overflow the streets and squares like the sea in a spring tide.

We soldiers who are driven along to the word of command, or by blows, we who receive the bullets for which our officers get crosses and pensions, we, too, poor fools who have hitherto known no better than to shoot our brothers, why, we have only to make a right-about-face towards these plumed and decorated personages who are so good as to command us, to see a ghastly pallor overspread their faces.

Ay, all of us together, we who suffer and are insulted daily, we are a multitude whom no man can number, we are the ocean that can embrace and swallow up all else.

When we have but the will to do it, that very moment will Justice be done: that very instant the tyrants of the Earth shall bite the dust.

The Spirit of Revolt


Peter Kropotkin

There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions. The accepted ideas of the constitution of the State, of the laws of social equilibrium, of the political and economic interrelations of citizens, can hold out no longer against the implacable criticism which is daily undermining them whenever occasion arises,--in drawing room as in cabaret, in the writings of philosophers as in daily conversation. Political, economic, and social institutions are crumbling; the social structure, having become uninhabitable, is hindering, even preventing the development of the seeds which are being propagated within its damaged walls and being brought forth around them.

The need for a new life becomes apparent. The code of established morality, that which governs the greater number of people in their daily life, no longer seems sufficient. What formerly seemed just is now felt to be a crying injustice. The morality of yesterday is today recognized as revolting immorality. The conflict between new ideas and old traditions flames up in every class of society, in every possible environment, in the very bosom of the family. The son struggles against his father, he finds revolting what his father has all his life found natural; the daughter rebels against the principles which her mother has handed down to her as the result of long experience. Daily, the popular conscience rises up against the scandals which breed amidst the privileged and the leisured, against the crimes committed in the name of the law of the stronger, or in order to maintain these privileges. Those who long for the triumph of justice, those who would put new ideas into practice, are soon forced to recognize that the realization of their generous, humanitarian and regenerating ideas cannot take place in a society thus constituted; they perceive the necessity of a revolutionary whirlwind which will sweep away all this rottenness, revive sluggish hearts with its breath, and bring to mankind that spirit of devotion, self-denial, and heroism, without which society sinks through degradation and vileness into complete disintegration.

In periods of frenzied haste toward wealth, of feverish speculation and of crisis, of the sudden downfall of great industries and the ephemeral expansion of other branches of production, of scandalous fortunes amassed in a few years and dissipated as quickly, it becomes evident that the economic institutions which control production and exchange are far from giving to society the prosperity which they are supposed to guarantee; they produce precisely the opposite result. Instead of order they bring forth chaos; instead of prosperity, poverty and insecurity; instead of reconciled interests, war; a perpetual war of the exploiter against the worker, of exploiters and of workers among themselves. Human society is seen to be splitting more and more into two hostile camps, and at the same time to be subdividing into thousands of small groups waging merciless war against each other. Weary of these wars, weary of the miseries which they cause, society rushes to seek a new organization; it clamors loudly for a complete remodeling of the system of property ownership, of production, of exchange and all economic relations which spring from it.

The machinery of government, entrusted with the maintenance of the existing order, continues to function, but at every turn of its deteriorated gears it slips and stops. Its working becomes more and more difficult, and the dissatisfaction caused by its defects grows continuously. Every day gives rise to a new demand. "Reform this," "reform that," is heard from all sides. "War, finance, taxes, courts. police, everything must be remodeled, reorganized, established on a new basis," say the reformers. And vet all know that it is impossible to make things over, to remodel anything at all because everything is interrelated; everything would have to be remade at once; and how can society be remodeled when it is divided into two openly hostile camps? To satisfy the discontented would be only to create new malcontents.

Incapable of undertaking reforms, since this would mean paving the way for revolution, and at the same time too impotent to be frankly reactionary, the governing bodies apply themselves to halfmeasures which can satisfy nobody, and only cause new dissatisfaction. The mediocrities who, in such transition periods, undertake to steer the ship of State, think of but one thing: to enrich then.selves against the coming debacle. Attacked from all sides they defend themselves awkwardly, they evade, they commit blunder upon blunder, and they soon succeed in cutting the last rope of salvation; they drown the prestige of the government in ridicule, caused by their own incapacity.

Such periods demand revolution. It becomes a social necessity; the situation itself is revolutionary.

When we study in the works of our greatest historians the genesis and development of vast revolutionary convulsions, we generally find under the heading, "The Cause of the Revolution," a gripping picture of the situation on the eve of events. The misery of the people, the general insecurity, the vexatious measures of the government, the odious scandals laying bare the immense vices of society, the new ideas struggling to come to the surface and repulsed by the incapacity of the supporters of the former regime,-- nothing is omitted. Examining this picture, one arrives at the conviction that the revolution was indeed inevitable, and that there was no other way out than by the road of insurrection.

Take, for example, the situation before 1789 as the historians picture it. You can almost hear the peasant complaining of the salt tax, of the tithe, of the feudal payments, and vowing in his heart an implacable hatred towards the feudal baron, the monk, the monopolist, the bailiff. You can almost see the citizen bewailing the loss of his municipal liberties, and showering maledictions upon the king. The people censure the queen; they are revolted by the reports of ministerial action, and they cry out continually that the taxes are intolerable and revenue payments exorbitant, that crops are bad and winters hard, that provisions are too dear and the monopolists too grasping, that the village lawyer devours the peasant's crops and the village constable tries to play the role of a petty king, that even the mail service is badly organized and the employees too lazy. In short, nothing works well, everybody complains. "It can last no longer, it will come to a bad end," they cry everywhere.

But, between this pacific arguing and insurrection or revolt, there is a wide abyss,--that abyss which, for the greatest part of humanity, lies between reasoning and action, thought and will,--the urge to act. How has this abyss been bridged? How is it that men who only yesterday were complaining quietly of their lot as they smoked their pipes, and the next moment were humbly saluting the local guard and gendarme whom they had just been abusing,--how is it that these same men a few days later were capable of seizing their scythes and their iron-shod pikes and attacking in his castle the lord who only yesterday was so formidable? By what miracle were these men, whose wives justly called them cowards, transformed in a day into heroes, marching through bullets and cannon balls to the conquest of their rights? How was it that words, so often spoken and lost in the air like the empty chiming of bells, were changed into actions?

The answer is easy.

Action, the continuous action, ceaselessly renewed, of minorities brings about this transformation. Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.

What forms will this action take? All forms,--indeed, the most varied forms, dictated by circumstances, temperament, and the means at disposal. Sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, but always daring; sometimes collective, sometimes purely individual, this policy of action will neglect none of the means at hand, no event of public life, in order to keep the spirit alive, to propagate and find expression for dissatisfaction, to excite hatred against exploiters, to ridicule the government and expose its weakness, and above all and always, by actual example, to awaken courage and fan the spirit of revolt.

When a revolutionary situation arises in a country, before the spirit of revolt is sufficiently awakened in the masses to express itself in violent demonstrations in the streets or by rebellions and uprisings, it is through action that minorities succeed in awakening that feeling of independence and that spirit of audacity without which no revolution can come to a head.

Men of courage, not satisfied with words, but ever searching for the means to transform them into action,--men of integrity for whom the act is one with the idea, for whom prison, exile, and death are preferable to a life contrary to their principles,--intrepid souls who know that it is necessary to dare in order to succeed,-- these are the lonely sentinels who enter the battle long before the masses are sufficiently roused to raise openly the banner of insurrection and to march, arms in hand, to the conquest of their rights.

In the midst of discontent, talk, theoretical discussions, an individual or collective act of revolt supervenes, symbolizing the dominant aspirations. It is possible that at the beginning the masses will remain indifferent. It is possible that while admiring the courage of the individual or the group which takes the initiative, the masses will at first follow those who are prudent and cautious, who will immediately describe this act as "insanity" and say that "those madmen, those fanatics will endanger everything."

They have calculated so well, those prudent and cautious men, that their party, slowly pursuing its work would, in a hundred years, two hundred years, three hundred years perhaps, succeed in conquering the whole world,--and now the unexpected intrudes! The unexpected, of course, is whatever has not been expected by them,--those prudent and cautious ones! Whoever has a slight knowledge of history and a fairly clear head knows perfectly well from the beginning that theoretical propaganda for revolution will necessarily express itself in action long before the theoreticians have decided that the moment to act has come. Nevertheless, the cautious theoreticians are angry at these madmen, they excommunicate them, they anathematize them. But the madmen win sympathy, the mass of the people secretly applaud their courage, and they find imitators. In proportion as the pioneers go to fill the jails and the penal colonies, others continue their work; acts of illegal protest, of revolt, of vengeance, multiply.

Indifference from this point on is impossible. Those who at the beginning never so much as asked what the "madmen" wanted, are compelled to think about them, to discuss their ideas, to take sides for or against. By actions which compel general attention, the new idea seeps into people's minds and wins converts. One such act may, in a few days, make more propaganda than thousands of pamphlets.

Above all, it awakens the spirit of revolt: it breeds daring. The old order, supported by the police, the magistrates, the gendarmes and the soldiers, appeared unshakable, like the old fortress of the Bastille, which also appeared impregnable to the eyes of the unarmed people gathered beneath its high walls equipped with loaded cannon. But soon it became apparent that the established order has not the force one had supposed. One courageous act has sufficed to upset in a few days the entire governmental machinery, to make the colossus tremble; another revolt has stirred a whole province into turmoil, and the army, till now always so imposing, has retreated before a handful of peasants armed with sticks and stones. The people observe that the monster is not so terrible as they thought they begin dimly to perceive that a few energetic efforts will be sufficient to throw it down. Hope is born in their hearts, and let us remember that if exasperation often drives men to revolt, it is always hope, the hope of victory, which makes revolutions.

The government resists; it is savage in its repressions. But, though formerly persecution killed the energy of the oppressed, now, in periods of excitement, it produces the opposite result. It provokes new acts of revolt, individual and collective, it drives the rebels to heroism; and in rapid succession these acts spread, become general, develop. The revolutionary party is strengthened by elements which up to this time were hostile or indifferent to it. The general disintegration penetrates into the government, the ruling classes, the privileged; some of them advocate resistance to the limit; others are in favor of concessions; others, again, go so far as to declare themselves ready to renounce their privileges for the moment, in order to appease the spirit of revolt, hoping to dominate again later on. The unity of the government and the privileged class is broken.

The ruling classes may also try to find safety in savage reaction. But it is now too late; the battle only becomes more bitter, more terrible, and the revolution which is looming will only be more bloody. On the other hand, the smallest concession of the governing classes, since it comes too late, since it has been snatched in struggle, only awakes the revolutionary spirit still more. The common people, who formerly would have been satisfied with the smallest concession, observe now that the enemy is wavering; they foresee victory, they feel their courage growing, and the same men who were formerly crushed by misery and were content to sigh in secret, now lift their heads and march proudly to the conquest of a better future.

Finally the revolution breaks out, the more terrible as the preceding struggles were bitter.

The direction which the revolution will take depends, no doubt, upon the sum total of the various circumstances that determine the coming of the cataclysm. But it can be predicted in advance, according to the vigor of revolutionary action displayed in the preparatory period by the different progressive parties.

One party may have developed more clearly the theories which it defines and the program which it desires to realize; it may have made propaganda actively, by speech and in print. But it may not have sufficiently expressed its aspirations in the open, on the street, by actions which embody the thought it represents; it has done little, or it has done nothing against those who are its principal enemies; it has not attacked the institutions which it wants to demolish; its strength has been in theory, not in action; it has contributed little to awaken the spirit of revolt, or it has neglected to direct that spirit against conditions which it particularly desires to attack at the time of the revolution. As a result, this party is less known; its aspirations have not been daily and continuously affirmed by actions, the glamor of which could reach even the remotest hut; they have not sufficiently penetrated into the consciousness of the people; they have not identified themselves with the crowd and the street; they have never found simple expression in a popular slogan.

The most active writers of such a party are known by their readers as thinkers of great merit, but they have neither the reputation nor the capacities of men of action; and on the day when the mobs pour through the streets they will prefer to follow the advice of those who have less precise theoretical ideas and not such great aspirations, but whom they know better because they have seen them act.

The party which has made most revolutionary propaganda and which has shown most spirit and daring will be listened to on the day when it is necessary to act, to march in front in order to realize the revolution. But that party which has not had the daring to affirm itself by revolutionary acts in the preparatory periods nor had a driving force strong enough to inspire men and groups to the sentiment of abnegation, to the irresistible desire to put their ideas into practice,--(if this desire had existed it would have expressed itself in action long before the mass of the people had joined the revolt)--and which did not know how to make its flag popular and its aspirations tangible and comprehensive,--that party will have only a small chance of realizing even the least part of its program. It will be pushed aside by the parties of action.

These things we learn from the history of the periods which precede great revolutions. The revolutionary bourgeoisie understood this perfectly,--it neglected no means of agitation to awaken the spirit of revolt when it tried to demolish the monarchical order. The French peasant of the eighteenth century understood it instinctively when it was a question of abolishing feudal rights; and the International acted in accordance with the same principles when it tried to awaken the spirit of revolt among the workers of the cities and to direct it against the natural enemy of the wage earner--the monopolizer of the means of production and of raw materials

On Order

Peter Kropotkin

We are often reproached for accepting as a label this word *anarchy*, which frightens many people so much. "Your ideas are excellent", we are told, "but you must admit that the name of your party is an unfortunate choice. Anarchy in common language is synonymous with disorder and chaos; the word brings to mind the idea of interests clashing, of individuals struggling, which cannot lead to the establishment of harmony".

Let us begin by pointing out that a party devoted to action, a party representing a new tendancy, seldom has the opportunity of choosing a name for itself. It was not the *Beggars* of Brabant who made up their name, which later came to be popular. But, beginning as a nickname - and a well-chosen one - it was taken up by the party, accepted generally, and soon became its proud title. It will also be seen that this word summed up a whole idea.

And the *Sans-culottes* of 1793? It was the enemies of the popular revolution who coined this name; but it too summed up a whole idea - that of the rebellion of the people, dressed in rage, tired of poverty, opposed to all those royalists, the so-called patriots and Jacobins, the well-dressed and the smart, those who, despite their pompous speeches and the homage paid to them by bourgeois historians, were the real enemies of the people, profoundly despising them for their poverty, for their libertarian and egalitarian spirit, and for their revolutionary enthusiasm.

It was the same with the name of the *Nihilists*, which puzzles journalists so much and let to so much playing with words, good and bad, until it was understood to refer not to a peculier - almost religious - sect, but to a real revolutionary force. Coined my Turgenev in his novel *Fathers and Sons*, it was adopted by the "fathers", who used the nickname to take revenge for the disobedience of the "sons". But the sons accepted it and, when they later realised that it gave rise to misunderstanding and tried to get rid of it, this was impossible. The press and the public would not describe the Russian revolutionaries by any other name. Anyway the name was by no means badly chosen, for again it sums up an idea; it expresses the negation of the whole of activity of present civilisation, based on the opression of one class by another - the negation of the present economic system. the negation of government and power, of bourgeois morality, of art for the sake of the exploiters, of fashions and manners which are grotesque or revoltingly hypocritical, of all that present society has inherited from past centuries: in a word, the negation of everything which bourgeois civilisation today treats with reverence.

It was the same with the anarchists. When a party emerged within the International which denied authority to the Association and also rebelled against authority in all its forms, this party at first called itself *federalist*, then *anti-statist* or *anti-authoritarian*. At that period they actually avoided using the name *anarchist*. The word *an-archy* (that is how it was written then) seemed to identify the party too closely with the Proudhonists, whose ideas about economic reform were at that time opposed by the International. But it is precisely because of this - to cause confusion - that its enemies decided to make use of the name; after all, it made it possible to say that the very name of the anarchist proved that their only ambition was to create disorder and chaos without caring about the result.

The anarchist party quickly accepted the name it has been given. At first it insisted on the hyphen between *an* and *archy*, explaining that in this form the work *an-archy* - which comes from the Greek - means "no authority" and not "disordeR"; but it soon accepted the word as it was, and stopped giving extra work to proof readers and Greek lessons to the public.

So the word returned to its basic, normal, common meaning, as expressed in 1816 by the English philosopher Bentham, in the following terms: "The philosopher who wished to reform a bad law", he said, "does not preach an insurrection against it.... The character of the anarchist is quite different. He denies the existence of the law, he rejects its validity, he incites men to refuse to recognise it as law and to rise up against its execution". The sense of the word has become wider today; the anarchist denies not just existing laws, but all established power, all authority; however its essense has remained the same: it rebels - and this is what it starts from - against power and authority in any form.

But, we are told, this word brings to mind the negation of order, and consequently the idea of disorder, or chaos.

Let us however make sure we understand one another - what order are we talking about? Is it the harmony which we anarchists dream of, the harmony in human relations which will be established freely when humanity ceases to be divided into two classes, one of which is sacrificed for the benefit of the other, the harmony which will emerge spontaneously from the unity of interests when all men belong to one and the same family, when each works for the good of all and all for the good of each? Obviously not! Those who accuse anarchy of being the negation of order are not talking about this harmony of the future; they are talking about order as it is thought of in our present society. So let us see what this order in which anarchy wishes to destroy.

Order today - what *they* mean by order - is nine-tenths of mankind working to provide luxury, pleasure and the satisfaction of the most disgusting passions for a handful of idlers.

Order is nine-tenths being deprived of everything which is a necessary condition for a decent life, for the reasonable development of intellectual faculties. To reduce nine-tenths of mankind to the state of beast of burden living from day to day, without ever daring to think of the pleasures provided for man by scientific study and artistic creation - that is order!

Order is poverty and famine become the normal state of society. it is the Irish peasant dying of starvation; it is the peasants of a third of Russia dying of diptheria and typhus, and of hunger following scarcity - at a time when stored grain is being sent abroad. It is the people of Italy reduced to abandoning their fertile countryside and wandering across Europe looking for tunnels to dig, where they risk being buried after existing only a few months or so. It is the land taken away from the peasant to raise animals to feed the rich; it is the land left fallow rather than being restored to those who ask nothing more than to cultivate it.

Order is the woman selling herself to feed her children, it is the child reduced to being shut up in a factory or to dying of starvation, it is the worker reduced to the state of a machine. It is the spectre of the worker rising up against the rich, the spectre of the people rising against the government.

Order is an infinitesimal minority raised to positions of power, which for this reason imposes itself on the majority and which raises children to occupy the same positions later so as to maintain the same privileges by trickery, corruption, violence and butchery.

Order is the continuous warfare of man against man, trade against trade, class against class, country against country. It is the cannon whose roar never ceases in Europe, it is the countryside laid waste, the sacrifice of whole generations on the battlefield, the destruction in a single year of the wealth built up by centuries of hard work.

Order is slavery, thought in chains, the degradation of the human race maintained by sword and lash. It is the sudden death by explosion or the slow death by suffocation of hundreds of miners who are blown up or buried every year by the greed of the bosses - and are shot or bayoneted as soon as they dare complain.

Finally, order is the Paris Commune, drowned in blood. It is the death of thirty thousand men, women and children, cut to pieces by shells, shot down, buried in quicklime beneath the streets of Paris. It is the face of the youth of Russia, locked in the prisons, buried in the snows of Siberia, and - in the case of the best, the purest, and the most devoted - strangled in the hangman's noose.

*That is order!*

And disorder - what *they* call disorder?

It is the rising of the people against this shameful order, bursting their bonds, shattering their fetters and moving towards a better future. It is the most glorious deeds in the history of humanity.

It is the rebellion of thought on the eve of revolution; it is the upsetting of hypotheses sanctioned by unchanging centuries; it is the breaking of a flood of new ideas, or daring inventions, it is the solution of scientific problems. Disorder is the abolition of ancient slavery, it is the rise of the communes, the abolition of feudal serfdom, the attempts at the abolition of economic serfdom.

Disorder is peasant revolts against priests and landowners, burning castles to make room for cottages, leaving the hovels to take their place in the sun. It is France abolishing the monarchy and dealing a mortal blow at serfdom in the whole of Western Europe.

Disorder is 1848 making kings tremble, and proclaiming the right to work. It is the people of Paris fighting for a new idea and, when they die in the massacres, leaving to humanity the idea of the free commune, and opening the way towards this revolution which we can feel approaching and which will be the Social Revolution.

Disorder - what *they* call disorder - is periods during which whole generations keep up a ceaseless struggle and sacrifice themselves to prepare humanity for a better existence, in getting rid of past slavery. It is periods during which the popular genius takes free flight and in a few years makes gigantic advances without which man would have remained in the state of an ancient slave, a creeping thing, degraded by poverty.

Disorder is the breaking out of the finest passions and the greatest sacrifices, it is the epic of the supreme love of humanity!

The word *anarchy*, implying the negation of this order and invoking the memory of the finest moments in the lives of peoples - is it not well chosen for a party which is moving towards the conquest of a better future?

Law and Authority (1882)

Peter Kropotkin


"When ignorance reigns in society and disorder in the minds of men, laws are multiplied, legislation is expected to do everything, and each fresh law being a fresh miscalculation, men are continually led to demand from it what can proceed only from themselves, from their own education and their own morality." It is no revolutionist who says this, not even a reformer. It is the jurist, Dalloy, author of the collection of French law known as Repertoire de la Legislation. And yet, though these lines were written by a man who was himself a maker and admirer of law, they perfectly represent the abnormal condition of our society.

In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, "There should be a law about parish roads." If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile observance and insults one of them, the insulted man says, "There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon park-keepers." If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or com speculator argues, "It is protective legislation that we require." Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo exclaims, "We must have a law to put all that to rights." In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice.

We are so perverted by an education which from infancy seeks to kill in us the spirit of revolt, and to develop that of submission to authority; we are so perverted by this existence under the ferrule of a law, which regulates every event in life--our birth, our education, our development, our love, our friendship--that, if this state of things continues, we shall lose all initiative, all habit of thinking for ourselves. Our society seems no longer able to understand that it is possible to exist otherwise than under the reign of law, elaborated by a representative government and administered by a handful of rulers. And even when it has gone so far as to emancipate itself from the thralldom, its first care has been to reconstitute it immediately. "The Year I of Liberty" has never lasted more than a day, for after proclaiming it men put themselves the very next morning under the yoke of law and authority.

Indeed, for some thousands of years, those who govern us have done nothing but ring the changes upon "Respect for law, obedience to authority." This is the moral atmosphere in which parents bring up their children, and school only serves to confirm the impression Cleverly assorted scraps of spurious science are inculcated upon the children to prove necessity of law; obedience to the law is made a religion; moral goodness and the law of the masters are fused into one and the same divinity. The historical hero of the schoolroom is the man who obeys the law, and defends it against rebels.

Later when we enter upon public life, society and literature, impressing us day by day and hour by hour as the water-drop hollows the stone, continue to inculcate the same prejudice. Books of history, of political science, of social economy, are stuffed with this respect for law. Even the physical sciences have been pressed into the service by introducing artificial modes of expression, borrowed from theology and arbitrary power, into knowledge which is purely the result of observation. Thus our intelligence is successfully befogged, and always to maintain our respect for law. The same work is done by newspapers. They have not an article which does not preach respect for law, even where the third page proves every day the imbecility of that law, and shows how it is dragged through every variety of mud and filth by those charged with its administration. Servility before the law has become a virtue, and I doubt if there was ever even a revolutionist who did not begin in his youth as the defender of law against what are generally called "abuses," although these last are inevitable consequences of the law itself.

Art pipes in unison with would-be science. The hero of the sculptor, the painter, the musician, shields Law beneath his buckler, and with flashing eyes and distended nostrils stands ever ready to strike down the man who would lay hands upon her. Temples are raised to her; revolutionists themselves hesitate to touch the high priests consecrated to her service, and when revolution is about to sweep away some ancient institution, it is still by law that it endeavors to sanctify the deed.

The confused mass of rules of conduct called law, which has been bequeathed to us by slavery, serfdom, feudalism, and royalty, has taken the place of those stone monsters, before whom human victims used to be immolated, and whom slavish savages dared not even touch lest they should be slain by the thunderbolts of heaven.

This new worship has been established with especial success since the rise to supreme power of the middle class--since the great French Revolution. Under the ancient regime, men spoke little of laws; unless, indeed, it were, with Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire, to oppose them to royal caprice. Obedience to the good pleasure of the king and his lackeys was compulsory on pain of hanging or imprisonment. But during and after the revolutions, when the lawyers rose to power, they did their best to strengthen the principle upon which their ascendancy depended. The middle class at once accepted it as a dyke to dam up the popular torrent. The priestly crew hastened to sanctify it, to save their bark from foundering amid the breakers. Finally the people received it as an improvement upon the arbitrary authority and violence of the past.

To understand this, we must transport ourselves in imagination into the eighteenth century. Our hearts must have ached at the story of the atrocities committed by the all-powerful nobles of that time upon the men and women of the people before we can understand what must have been the magic influence upon the peasant's mind of the words, "Equality before the law, obedience to the law without distinction of birth or fortune." He who until then had been treated more cruelly than a beast, he who had never had any rights, he who had never obtained justice against the most revolting actions on the part of a noble, unless in revenge he killed him and was hanged--he saw himself recognized by this maxim, at least in theory, at least with regard to his personal rights, as the equal of his lord. Whatever this law might be, it promised to affect lord and peasant alike, it proclaimed the equality of rich and poor before the judge. The promise was a lie, and today we know it; but at that period it was an advance, a homage to justice, as hypocrisy is a homage rendered to truth. This is the reason that when the saviors of the menaced middle class (the Robespierres and the Dantons) took their stand upon the writings of the Rousseaus and the Voltaires, and proclaimed "respect for law, the same for every man," the people accepted the compromise; for their revolutionary impetus had already spent its force in the contest with a foe whose ranks drew closer day by day; they bowed their neck beneath the yoke of law to save themselves from the arbitrary power of their lords.

The middle class has ever since continued to make the most of this maxim, which with another principle, that of representative government, sums up the whole philosophy of the bourgeois age, the nineteenth century. It has preached this doctrine in its schools, it has propagated it in its writings, it has moulded its art and science to the same purpose, it has thrust its beliefs into every hole and corner--like a pious Englishwoman, who slips tracts under the door--and it has done all this so successfully that today we behold the issue in the detestable fact that men who long for freedom begin the attempt to obtain it by entreating their masters to be kind enough to protect them by modifying the laws which these masters themselves have created!

But times and tempers are changed. Rebels are everywhere to be found who no longer wish to obey the law without knowing whence it comes, what are its uses, and whither arises the obligation to submit to it, and the reverence with which it is encompassed. The rebels of our day are criticizing the very foundations of society which have hitherto been held sacred, and first and foremost amongst them that fetish, law.

The critics analyze the sources of law, and find there either a god, product of the terrors of the savage, and stupid, paltry, and malicious as the priests who vouch for its supernatural origin, or else, bloodshed, conquest by fire and sword. They study the characteristics of law, and instead of perpetual growth corresponding to that of the human race, they find its distinctive trait to be immobility, a tendency to crystallize what should be modified and developed day by day. They ask how law has been maintained, and in its service they see the atrocities of Byzantinism, the cruelties of the Inquisition, the tortures of the middle ages, living flesh torn by the lash of the executioner, chains, clubs, axes, the gloomy dungeons of Prisons, agony, curses, and tears. In our own days they see, as before, the axe, the cord, the rifle, the prison; on the one hand, the brutalized prisoner, reduced to the condition of a caged beast by the debasement of his whole moral being, and on the other, the judge, stripped of every feeling which does honor to human nature living like a visionary in a world of legal fictions, reveling in the infliction of imprisonment and death, without even suspecting, in the cold malignity of his madness, the abyss of degradation into which he has himself fallen before the eyes of those whom he condemns.

They see a race of law-makers legislating without knowing what their laws are about; today voting a law on the sanitation of towns, without the faintest notion of hygiene, tomorrow making regulations for the armament of troops, without so much as understanding a gun; making laws about teaching and education without ever having given a lesson of any sort, or even an honest education to their own children; legislating at random in all directions, but never forgetting the penalties to be meted out to ragamufffins, the prison and the galleys, which are to be the portion of men a thousand times less immoral than these legislators themselves.

Finally, they see the jailer on the way to lose all human feeling, the detective trained as a blood-hound, the police spy despising himself; "informing," metamorphosed into a virtue; corruption, Erected into a system; all the vices, all the evil qualities of mankind Countenanced and cultivated to insure the triumph of law.

All this we see, and, therefore, instead of inanely repeating the old formula, "Respect the law," we say, "Despise law and all its Attributes!" In place of the cowardly phrase, "Obey the law," our cry, is "Revolt against all laws!"

Only compare the misdeeds accomplished in the name of each law with the good it has been able to effect, and weigh carefully both good and evil, and you will see if we are right.


Relatively speaking, law is a product of modern times. For ages and ages mankind lived without any written law, even that graved in symbols upon the entrance stones of a temple. During that period, human relations were simply regulated by customs, habits, and usages, made sacred by constant repetition, and acquired by each person in childhood, exactly as he learned how to obtain his food by hunting, cattle-rearing, or agriculture.

All human societies have passed through this primitive phase, and to this day a large proportion of mankind have no written law. Every tribe has its own manners and customs; customary, law, as the jurists say. It has social habits, and that suffices to maintain cordial relations between the inhabitants of the village, the members of the tribe or community. Even amongst ourselves--the "civilized" nations--when we leave large towns, and go into the country, we see that there the mutual relations of the inhabitants are still regulated according to ancient and generally accepted customs, and not according to the written law of the legislators. The peasants of Russia, Italy, and Spain, and even of a large part of France and England, have no conception of written law. It only meddles wit! their lives to regulate their relations with the State. As to relation. between themselves, though these are sometimes yew, complex, the, are simply regulated according to ancient was the case with mankind in general.

Two distinctly marked currents of custom are revealed by analysis of the usages of primitive people.

As man does not live in a solitary state, habits and feeling develop within him which are useful for the preservation of society and the propagation of the race. Without social feelings and usage' life in common would have been absolutely impossible. It is not la, which has established them; they are anterior to all law. Neither is it religion which has ordained teem; they are anterior to all religions. They are found amongst all animals living in society. They are spontaneously developed by the new nature of things, like those habits in animals which men call instinct. They spring from a process of evolution, which is useful, and, indeed, necessary, to keep society together in the struggle it is forced to maintain for existence.

Savages end by no longer eating one another because they find it in the long run more advantageous to devote themselves to some sort of cultivation than to enjoy the pleasure of feasting upon the flesh of an aged relative once a year. Many travelers have depicted the manners of absolutely independent tribes, where laws and chiefs are unknown, but where the members of the tribe have given up stabbing one another in every dispute, because the habit of living in society has ended by developing certain feelings of fraternity and oneness of interest, and they prefer appealing to a third person to settle their differences. The hospitality of primitive peoples, respect for human life, the sense of reciprocal obligation, compassion for the weak, courage, extending even to the sacrifice of self for others which is first learnt for the sake of children and friends, and later for that of members of the same community--all these qualities are developed in man anterior to all law, independently of all religion, as in the case of the social animals. Such feelings and practices are the inevitable results of social life. Without being, as say priests and metaphysicans, inherent in man, such qualities are the consequence of life in common.

But side by side with these customs, necessary to the life of societies and the preservation of the race, other desires, other passions, and therefore other habits and customs, are evolved in human association. The desire to dominate others and impose one's own will upon them; the desire to seize upon the products of the labor of a neighboring tribe; the desire to surround oneself with comforts without producing anything, while slaves provide their master with the means of procuring every sort of pleasure and luxury--these selfish, personal desires give rise to another current of habits and customs. The priest and the warrior, the charlatan who makes a profit out of superstition, and after freeing himself from the fear of the devil cultivates it in others; and the bully, who procures the invasion and pillage of his neighbors that he may return laden with booty and followed by slaves. These two, hand in hand, have succeeded in imposing upon primitive society customs advantageous to both of them, but tending to perpetuate their domination of the masses. Profiting by the indolence, the fears, the inertia of the crowd, and thanks to the continual repetition of the same acts, they have permanently established customs which have become a solid basis for their own domination.

For this purpose, they would have made use, in the first place, of that tendency to run in a groove, so highly developed in mankind. In children and all savages it attains striking proportions, and it may also be observed in animals. Man, when he is at all superstitious, is always afraid to introduce any sort of change into existing conditions; he generally venerates what is ancient. "Our fathers did so and so; they got on pretty well; they brought you up; they were not unhappy; do the same!" the old say to the young every time the latter wish to alter things. The unknown frightens them, they prefer to cling to the past even when that past represents poverty, oppression, and slavery.

It may even be said that the more miserable a man is, the more he dreads every sort of change, lest it may make him more wretched still. Some ray of hope, a few scraps of comfort, must penetrate his gloomy abode before he can begin to desire better things, to criticize the old ways of living, and prepare to imperil them for the sake of bringing about a change. So long as he is not imbued with hope, so long as he is not freed from the tutelage of those who utilize his superstition and his fears, he prefers remaining in his former position. If the young desire any change, the old raise a cry of alarm against the innovators. Some savages would rather die than transgress the customs of their country because they have been told from childhood that the least infraction of established routine would bring ill- luck and ruin the whole tribe. Even in the present day, what numbers of politicians, economists, and would-be revolutionists act under the same impression, and cling to a vanishing past. How many care only to seek for precedents. How many fiery innovators are mere copyists of bygone revolutions.

The spirit of routine, originating in superstition, indolence, and cowardice, has in all times been the mainstay of oppression. In primitive human societies it was cleverly turned to account by priests and military chiefs. They perpetuated customs useful only to themselves, and succeeded in imposing them on the whole tribe. So long as this conservative spirit could be exploited so as to assure the chief in his encroachments upon individual liberty, so long as the only inequalities between men were the work of nature, and these were not increased a hundred-fold by the concentration of power and wealth, there was no need for law and the formidable paraphernalia of tribunals and ever- augmenting penalties to enforce it.

But as society became more and more divided into two hostile classes, one seeking to establish its domination, the other struggling to escape, the strife began. Now the conqueror was in a hurry to secure the results of his actions in a permanent form, he tried to place them beyond question, to make them holy and venerable by every means in his power. Law made its appearance under the sanction of the priest, and the warrior's club was placed at its service. Its office was to render immutable such customs as were to the advantage of the dominant minority. Military authority undertook to ensure obedience. This new function was a fresh guarantee to the power of the warrior; now he had not only mere brute force at his service; he was the defender of law.

If law, however, presented nothing but a collection of prescriptions serviceable to rulers, it would find some difficulty in insuring acceptance and obedience. Well, the legislators confounded in one code the two currents of custom of which we have just been speaking, the maxims which represent principles of morality and social union wrought out as a result of life in common, and the mandates which are meant to ensure external existence to inequality. Customs, absolutely essential to the very being of society, are, in the code, cleverly intermingled with usages imposed by the ruling caste, and both claim equal respect from the crowd. "Do not kill," says the code, and hastens to add, "And pay tithes to the priest." "Do not steal," says the code, and immediately after, "He who refuses to pay taxes, shall have his hand struck off."

Such was law; and it has maintained its two-fold character to this day. Its origin is the desire of the ruling class to give permanence to customs imposed by themselves for their own advantage. Its character is the skillful commingling of customs useful to society, customs which have no need of law to insure respect, with other customs useful only to rulers, injurious to the mass of the people, and maintained only by the fear of punishment.

Like individual capital, which was born of fraud and violence, and developed under the auspices of authority, law has no title to the respect of men. Born of violence and superstition, and established in the interests of consumer, priest, and rich exploiter, it must be utterly destroyed on the day when the people desire to break their chains.

We shall be still better convinced of this when, later, we shall have analyzed the ulterior development of laws under the auspices of religion, authority, and the existing parliamentary system.


We have seen how law originated in established usage and custom, and how from the beginning it has represented a skillful mixture of social habits, necessary to the preservation of the human race, with other customs imposed by those who used popular superstition as well as the right of the strongest for their own advantage. This double character of law has determined its own later development during the growth of political organization. While in the course of ages the nucleus of social custom inscribed in law has been subjected to but slight and gradual modifications, the other portion has been largely developed in directions indicated by the interests of the dominant classes, and to the injury of the classes they oppress.

From time to time these dominant classes have allowed a law to be extorted from them which presented, or appeared to present, some guarantee for the disinherited. But then such laws have but repealed a previous law, made for the advantage of the ruling caste. "The best laws," says Buckle, "were those which repealed the preceding ones." But what terrible efforts have been needed, what rivers of blood have been spilt, every time there has been a question of the repeal of one of these fundamental enactments serving to hold the people in fetters. Before she could abolish the last vestiges of serfdom and feudal rights, and break up the power of the royal court, France was forced to pass through four years of revolution and twenty years of war. Decades of conflict are needful to repeal the least of the iniquitous laws, bequeathed us by the past, and even then they scarcely disappear except in periods of revolution.

The history of the genesis of capital has already been told by socialists many times. They have described how it was born of war and pillage, of slavery and serfdom, of modem fraud and exploitation. They have shown how it is nourished by the blood of the worker, and how little by little it has conquered the whole world. The same story, concerning the genesis and development of law has yet to be told. As usual, the popular intelligence has stolen a march upon men of books. It has already put together the philosophy of\ this history, and is busy laying down its essential landmarks.

Law, in its quality of guarantee of the results of pillage, slavery\: and exploitation, has followed the same phases of development as capital. Twin brother and sister, they have advanced hand in hand, sustaining one another with the suffering of mankind. In every country in Europe their history is approximately the same. It has differed only in detail; the main facts are alike; and to glance at the development of law in France or Germany is to know its essential traits and its phases of development in most of the European nations.

In the first instance, law was a national pact or contract. It is true that this contract was not always freely accepted. Even in the early days the rich and strong were imposing their will upon the rest. But at all events they encountered an obstacle to their encroachments in the mass of the people, who often made them feel their power in return.

But as the church on one side and the nobles on the other succeeded in enthralling the people, the right of law-making escaped from the hands of the nation and passed into those of the privileged orders. Fortified by the wealth accumulating in her coffers, the church extended her authority. She tampered more and more with private life, and under pretext of saving souls, seized upon the labor of her serfs, she gathered taxes from every class, she increased her jurisdiction, she multiplied penalties, and enriched herself in proportion to the number of offenses committed, for the produce of every fine poured into her coffers. Laws had no longer any connection with the interest of the nation. "They might have been supposed to emanate rather from a council of religious fanatics than from legislators," observes an historian of French Law.

At the same time, as the baron likewise extended his authority over laborers in the fields and artisans in the towns, he, too, became legislator and judge. The few relics of national law dating from the tenth century are merely agreements regulating service, statute-labor, and tribute due from serfs and vassals to their lord. The legislators of that period were a handful of brigands organized for the plunder of a people daily becoming more peaceful as they applied themselves to agricultural pursuits. These robbers exploited the feelings for justice inherent in the people, they posed as the administrators of that justice, made a source of revenue for themselves out of its fundamental principles and concocted laws to maintain their own domination.

Later on, these laws collected and classified by jurists formed the foundation of our modern codes. And are we to talk about respecting these codes, the legacy of baron and priest?

The first revolution, the revolt of the townships, was successful in abolishing only a portion of these laws; the charters of enfranchised towns are, for the most part, a mere compromise between baronial and episcopal legislation, and the new relations created within the free borough itself. Yet what a difference between these laws and the laws we have now! The town did not take upon itself to imprison and execute citizens for reasons of State; it was content to expel anyone who plotted with the enemies of the city, and to raze his house to the ground. It confined itself to imposing fines for so-called "crimes and misdemeanors" and in the townships of the twelfth century may even be discerned the just principle today forgotten which holds the whole community responsible for the misdoing of each of its members. The societies of that time looked upon crime as an accident or misfortune; a conception common among the Russian peasantry at this moment. Therefore they did not admit of the principle of personal vengeance as preached by the Bible, but considered that the blame for each misdeed reverted to the whole society. It needed all the influence of the Byzantine church, which imported into the West the refined cruelties of Eastern despotism, to introduce into the manners of Gauls and Germans the penalty of death, and the horrible tortures afterwards inflicted on those regarded as criminals. Just in the same way, it needed all the influence of the Roman code, the product of the corruption of imperial Rome, to introduce the notions as to absolute property in land, which have overthrown the communistic customs of primitive people.

As we know, the free townships were not able to hold their own. Torn by internal dissensions between rich and poor, burgher and serf, they fell an easy prey to royalty. And as royalty acquired fresh strength, the right of legislation passed more and more into the hands of a clique of courtiers. Appeal to the nation was made only to sanction the taxes demanded by the king. Parliament summoned at intervals of two centuries, according to the good pleasure or caprice of the court, "Councils Extraordinary," assemblies of notables, ministers, scarce heeding the "grievances of the king's subjects"--these are the legislators of France. Later still, when all power is concentrated in a single man, who can say "I am the State," edicts are concocted in the "secret counsels of the prince," according to the whim of a minister, or of an imbecile king; and subjects must obey on pain of death. All judicial guarantees are abolished; the nation is the serf of royalty, and of a handful of courtiers. And at this period the most horrible penalties startle our gaze--the wheel, the stake, flaying alive, tortures of every description, invented by the sick fancy of monks and madmen, seeking delight in the sufferings of executed criminals.

The great Revolution began the demolition of this framework of law, bequeathed to us by feudalism and royalty. But after having demolished some portions of the ancient edifice, the Revolution delivered over the power of law-making to the bourgeoisie, who, in their turn, began to raise a fresh framework of laws intended to maintain and perpetuate middle-class domination among the masses. Their parliament makes laws right and left, and mountains of law accumulate with frightful rapidity. But what are all these laws at bottom?

The major portion have but one object--to protect private property, i.e., wealth acquired by the exploitation of man by mane Their aim is to open out to capital fresh fields for exploitation, and to sanction the new forms which that exploitation continually assumes, as capital swallows up another branch of human activity, railways, telegraphs, electric light, chemical industries, the expression of man's thought in literature and science, etc. The object of the rest of these laws is fundamentally the same. They exist to keep up the machinery of government which serves to secure to capital the exploitation and monopoly of the wealth produced. Magistrature, police, army, public instruction, finance, all serve one God-- capital; all have but one object--to facilitate the exploitation of the worker by the capitalist. Analyze all the laws passed and you will find nothing but this.

The protection of the person, which is put forward as the true mission of law, occupies an imperceptible space among them, for, in existing society, assaults upon the person directly dictated by hatred and brutality tend to disappear. Nowadays, if anyone is murdered, it is generally for the sake of robbing him; rarely because of personal vengeance. But if this class of crimes and misdemeanors is continually diminishing, we certainly do not owe the change to legislation. It is due to the growth of humanitarianism in our societies, to our increasingly social habits rather than to the prescriptions of our laws. Repeal tomorrow every law dealing with the protection of the person, and tomorrow stop all proceedings for assault, and the number of attempts dictated by personal vengeance and by brutality would not be augmented by one single instance.

It will perhaps be objected that during the last fifty years, a good many liberal laws have been enacted. But, if these laws are analyzed, it will be discovered that this liberal legislation consists in the repeal of the laws bequeathed to us by the barbarism of preceding centuries. Every liberal law, every radical program, may be summed up in these words,--abolition of laws grown irksome to the middle-class itself, and return and extension to all citizens of liberties enjoyed by the townships of the twelfth century. The abolition of capital punishment, trial by jury for all "crimes" (there was a more liberal jury in the twelfth century), the election of magistrates, the right of bringing public officials to trial, the abolition of standing armies, free instruction, etc., everything that is pointed out as an invention of modem liberalism, is but a return to the freedom which existed before church and king had laid hands upon every manifestation of human life.

Thus the protection of exploitation directly by laws on property, and indirectly by the maintenance of the State is both the spirit and the substance of our modem codes, and the one function of our costly legislative machinery. But it is time we gave up being satisfied with mere phrases, and reamed to appreciate their real significance. The law, which on its first appearance presented itself as a compendium of customs useful for the preservation of society, is now perceived to be nothing but an instrument for the maintenance of exploitation and the domination of the toiling masses by rich idlers. At the present day its civilizing mission is nil; it has but one object,--to bolster up exploitation.

This is what is told us by history as to the development of law. Is it in virtue of this history that we are called upon to respect it? Certainly not. It has no more title to respect than capital, the fruit of pillage. And the first duty of the revolution will be to make a bonfire of all existing laws as it will of all titles to property.


The millions of laws which exist for the regulation of humanity appear upon investigation to be divided into three principal categories: protection of property, protection of persons, protection of government. And by analyzing each of these three categories, we arrive at the same logical and necessary conclusion: the uselessness and hurtfulness of law.

Socialists know what is meant by protection of property. Laws on property are not made to guarantee either to the individual or to society the enjoyment of the produce of their own labor. On the contrary, they are made to rob the producer of a part of what he has created, and to secure to certain other people that portion of the produce which they have stolen either from the producer or from society as a whole. When, for example, the law establishes Mr. So-and-So's right to a house, it is not establishing his right to a cottage he has built for himself, or to a house he has erected with the help of some of his friends. In that case no one would have disputed his right. On the contrary, the law is establishing his right to a house which is not the product of his labor; first of all because he has had it built for him by others to whom he has not paid the full value of their work, and next because that house represents a social value which he could not have produced for himself. The law is establishing his right to what belongs to everybody in general and to nobody in particular. The same house built in the midst of Siberia would not have the value it possesses in a large town, and, as we know, that value arises from the labor of something like fifty generations of men who have built the town, beautified it, supplied it with water and gas, fine promenades, colleges, theatres, shops, railways, and roads leading in all directions. Thus, by recognizing the right of Mr. So-and-So to a particular house in Paris, London, or Rouen, the law is unjustly appropriating to him a certain portion of the produce of the labor of mankind in general. And it is precisely because this appropriation and all other forms of property bearing the same character are a crying injustice, that a whole arsenal of laws and a whole army of soldiers, policemen, and judges are needed to maintain it against the good sense and just feeling inherent in humanity.

Half our laws,the civil code in each country,serves no other purpose than to maintain this appropriation, this monopoly for the benefit of certain individuals against the whole of mankind. Three-fourths of the causes decided by the tribunals are nothing but quarrels between monopolists--two robbers disputing over their booty. And a great many of our criminal laws have the same object in view, their end being to keep the workman in a subordinate position towards his employer, and thus afford security for exploitation.

As for guaranteeing the product of his labor to the producer, there are no laws which even attempt such a thing. It is so simple and natural, so much a part of the manners and customs of mankind, that law has not given it so much as a thought. Open brigandage, sword in hand, is no feature of our age. Neither does one workman ever come and dispute the produce of his labor with another. If they have a misunderstanding they settle it by calling in a third person, without having recourse to law. The only person who exacts from another what that other has produced, is the proprietor, who comes in and deducts the lion's share. As for humanity in general, it everywhere respects the right of each to what he has created, without the interposition of any special laws.

As all the laws about property which make up thick volumes of codes and are the delight of our lawyers have no other object than to protect the unjust appropriation of human labor by certain monopolists, there is no reason for their existence, and, on the day of the revolution, social revolutionists are thoroughly determined to put an end to them. Indeed, a bonfire might be made with perfect justice of all laws bearing upon the so-called "rights of property." All title-deeds, all registers, in a word, of all that is in any way connected with an institution which will soon be looked upon as a blot in the history of humanity, as humiliating as the slavery and serfdom of past ages.

The remarks just made upon laws concerning property are quite as applicable to the second category of laws; those for the maintenance of government, i.e., constitutional law.

It again is a complete arsenal of laws, decrees, ordinances, orders in council, and what not, all serving to protect the diverse forms of representative government, delegated or usurped, beneath which humanity is writhing. We know very well--anarchists have often enough pointed out in their perpetual criticism of the various forms of government--that the mission of all governments, monarchical, constitutional, or republican, is to protect and maintain by force the privileges of the classes in possession, the aristocracy, clergy, and traders. A good third of our laws--and each country possesses some tens of thousands of them--the fundamental laws on taxes, excise duties, the organization of ministerial departments and their offices, of the army, the police, the church, etc., have no other end than to maintain, patch up, and develop the administrative machine. And this machine in its turn serves almost entirely to protect the privileges of the possessing classes. Analyze all these laws, observe them in action day by day, and you will discover that not one is worth preserving.

About such laws there can be no two opinions. Not only anarchists, but more or less revolutionary radicals also, are agreed that the only use to be made of laws concerning the organization of government is to fling them into the fire.

The third category of law still remains to be considered; that relating to the protection of the person and the detection and prevention of "crime." This is the most important because most prejudices attach to it; because, if law enjoys a certain amount of consideration, it is in consequence of the belief that this species of law is absolutely indispensable to the maintenance of security in our societies. These are laws developed from the nucleus of customs useful to human communities, which have been fumed to account by rulers to sanctify their own domination. The authority of the chiefs of tribes, of rich families in towns, and of the king, depended upon their judicial functions, and even down to the present day, whenever the necessity of government is spoken of, its function as supreme judge is the thing implied. "Without a government men would tear one another to pieces," argues the village orator. "The ultimate end of all government is to secure twelve honest jurymen to every accused person," said Burke.

Well, in spite of all the prejudices existing on this subject, it is quite time that anarchists should boldly declare this category of laws as useless and injurious as the preceding ones.

First of all, as to so-called "crimes"--assaults upon persons--it is well known that two-thirds, and often as many as three-fourths, of such "crimes" are instigated by the desire to obtain possession of someone's wealth. This immense class of so-called "crimes and misdemeanors" will disappear on the day on which private property ceases to exist. "But," it will be said, "there will always be brutes who will attempt the lives of their fellow citizens, who will lay their hands to a knife in every quarrel, and revenge the slightest offense by murder, if there are no laws to restrain and punishments to withhold them." This refrain is repeated every time the right of society to punish is called in question.

Yet there is one fact concerning this head which at the present time is thoroughly established; the severity of punishment does not diminish the amount of crime Hang, and, if you like, quarter murderers, and the number of murders will not decrease by one. On the other hand, abolish the penalty of death, and there will not be one murder more; there will be fewer. Statistics prove it. But if the harvest is good, and bread cheap, and weather fine, the number of murders immediately decreases. This again is proved by statistics. The amount of crime always augments and diminishes in proportion to the price of provisions and the state of the weather. Not that all murderers are actuated by hunger. That is not the case. But when the harvest is good, and provisions are at an obtainable price, and when the sun shines, men, lighter-hearted and less miserable than usual, do not give way to gloomy passions, do not from trivial motives plunge a knife into the bosom of a fellow creature.

Moreover, it is also a well known fact that the fear of punishment has never stopped a single murderer. He who kills his neighbor from revenge or misery does not reason much about consequences; and there have been few murderers who were not firmly convinced that they should escape prosecution.

Without speaking of a society in which a man will receive a better education, in which the development of all his faculties, and the possibility of exercising them, will procure him so many enjoyments that he will not seek to poison them by remorse--even in our society, even with those sad products of misery whom we see today in the public houses of great cities--on the day when no punishment is inflicted upon murderers, the number of murders will not be augmented by a single case. And it is extremely probable that it will be, on the contrary, diminished by all those cases which are due at present to habitual criminals, who have been brutalized in prisons.

We are continually being told of the benefits conferred by law, and the beneficial effect of penalties, but have the speakers ever attempted to strike a balance between the benefits attributed to laws and penalties, and the degrading effect of these penalties upon humanity? Only calculate all the evil passions awakened in mankind by the atrocious punishments formerly inflicted in our streets! Man is the cruelest animal upon earth. And who has pampered and developed the cruel instincts unknown, even among monkeys, if it is not the king, the judge, and the priests, armed with law, who caused flesh to be tom off in strips, boiling pitch to be poured into wounds, limbs to be dislocated, bones to be crushed, men to be sawn asunder to maintain their authority? Only estimate the torrent of depravity let loose in human society by the "informing" which is countenanced by judges, and paid in hard cash by governments, under pretext of assisting in the discovery of "crime." Only go into the jails and study what man becomes when he is deprived of freedom and shut up with other depraved beings, steeped in the vice and corruption which oozes from the very walls of our existing prisons. Only remember that the more these prisons are reformed, the more detestable they become. Our model modern penitentiaries are a hundred-fold more abominable than the dungeons of the middle ages. Finally, consider what corruption, what depravity of mind is kept up among men by the idea of obedience, the very essence of law; of chastisement; of authority having the right to punish, to judge irrespective of our conscience and the esteem of our friends; of the necessity for executioners, jailers, and informers --in a word, by all the attributes of law and authority. Consider all this, and you will assuredly agree with us in saying that a law inflicting penalties is an abomination which should cease to exist.

People without political organization, and therefore less depraved than ourselves, have perfectly understood that the man who is called "criminal" is simply unfortunate; that the remedy is not to flog him, to chain him up, or to kill him on the scaffold or in prison, but to help him by the most brotherly care, by treatment/ based on equality, by the usages of life among honest men. In the next revolution we hope that this cry will go forth:

"Burn the guillotines; demolish the prisons; drive away the judges, policemen and informers--the impurest race upon the face of the earth; treat as a brother the man who has been led by passion to do ill to his fellow; above all, take from the ignoble products of middle-class idleness the possibility of displaying their vices in attractive colors; and be sure that but few crimes will mar our society."

The main supports of crime are idleness, law and authority; laws about property, laws about government, laws about penalties and misdemeanors; and authority, which takes upon itself to manufacture these laws and to apply them.

No more laws! No more judges! Liberty, equality, and practice: human sympathy are the only effectual barriers we can oppose to the anti-social instincts of certain among us.

Revolutionary Government(1882)

Peter Kropotkin


That the governments existing at present ought to be abolished, so that liberty, equality, and fraternity should no longer be empty words but become living realities, and that all forms of government as yet tried have only been so many forms of oppression and ought to be replaced by a new form of grouping will be agreed by all who have a brain and a temperament ever so revolutionary. One does not need to be much of an innovator to arrive at this conclusion. The vices of the governments today and the impossibility of reforming them are too evident to be hidden from overturning governments, it is well known that al certain epochs that can without much difficulty. There are times when governments crumble to pieces almost of themselves like a house of cards, before the breath of the people in revolt.

To overturn a government-is for a revolutionary middle-class man everything; for us it is only the beginning of the social revolution. The machine of the state once out of gear, the hierarchy of functionaries disorganized and not knowing in what direction to take a step, the soldiers having lost confidence in their officers-in a word, the whole army of defenders of the capital once routed-then it is that the grand work of destruction of all the institutions which serve to perpetuate economic and political slavery will become ours. The possibility of acting freely being attained, what will revolutionists do next?

To this question the anarchists alone give the proper answer: “ No Government!" All the others say "A Revolutionary Government!" and they differ only as to the form to be given to that government. Some decide for a government elected by universal suffrage in the state or in the commune; others decide on a revolutionary dictatorship.

A revolutionary government! There are two words which sound very strange in the ears of those who really understand what the social revolution means, and what government means. The words contradict each other, destroy each other. We have seen, of course, many despotic governments, -it is the essence of all government to take the side of the reaction against the revolution, and we have a tendency towards despotism. But such a thing as a revolutionary government has never been seen, and the reason is that the revolution-meaning the demolition by violence of the established forms of property, the destruction of castes, the rapid transformation of received ideas about morality, is precisely the opposite, the very negation of government, this being the synonym of "established order", of conservatism, of the maintenance of existing institutions, the negation of free initiative and individual action. And yet we continually this white black bird spoken of as ifs "revolutionary government" were the simplest thing in the world, as common and as well known to all as royalty, the empire, and the papacy!

That the so-called revolutionists of the middle class should preach this idea is nothing strange. We know well what they understand by revolution. They understand by it a bolstering up of their republic, the taking possession by the so-called republicans of the lucrative employments reserved today for the royalists. It means at the most of a divorce of church and state, replaced by the concubine of the two, the sequestration of goods for the clergy for the benefit of the state, and above all for that of the future administrators of these goods. Perhaps it may mean the referendum, or some other political machinery. But that revolutionary socialists should themselves the apostles of such in idea can only be explained by supposing one of two things. Either they are imbued with prejudices which they have imbedded without knowing it from literature, an above all from history written to suit the middle-class ideas; or else they do not really desire this revolution which they have always on their lips. They would be content with the simple plastering up of the present institutions, provided that they would secure power for themselves, leaving to the future to decide what they should do to satisfied "the beast" called "the people". They only go against the governors of the present time in order to take their places. With these people we do not care to argue. We will therefore only speak to those who honestly deceive themselves.

Let us begin with the first of The forms of "revolutionary government" which is advocated, the elected government.

The power of the royalty we will suppose has just been overturned, the army of defenders of capital is routed; everywhere there is fermentation, discussion of public affairs, everywhere a desire to march onward. New ideas arise, the necessity of important changes is perceived. It is necessary to act, it is necessary to begin without pity the work of demolition in order to prepare the ground for new life. But what do they propose to us to do To convoke the people to elections, to elect at once a government and confide to it the work which all of us, and each of us, should undertake of our own initiative.

This is what Paris did after the 18th of March 1871. "I will never forget," said a friend to us, those delightful moments of deliverance. I came down from my upper chamber in the Latin quarter to join that immense open-air club which filled the boulevards from one end of Paris to the other. Everyone talked about public affairs; ail mere personnel preoccupations were forgotten; no more was thought of buying or selling; all felt ready, body and soul, to advance towards the future, men of middle-class even, carried away by the general enthusiasm, saw with joy a new world open up. If it is necessary to make a social revolution, "they said make it then". Put all things in common; we are ready for it. All the elements of revolution were there, it was only necessary to set them to work. When I returned to my lodging at night I said to myself, "How fine is humanity after all", but no one knew it; it has always been calumniated. Then came the elections, the members of the commune were named and then little by little the ardor of devotion and the desire for action were extinguished. Everyone returned to his usual task, saying to himself, " Mow we have an honest government, let it act for us," what followed everyone knows.

Instead of acting for themselves, instead of marching forward, instead of advancing in the direction of the new order of things, the people confiding in their governors, entrusted to them the charge of taking initiative. This was the first consequence of the inevitable result of · elections. Let us set now what these governors did who were invested with the confidence fan.

Never were elections more fierce than those of March, 1871. The opponents of the commune admit it themselves. Never was the great mass of electors more influenced with the desire to place in power the best men, men of the future,, true revolutionists. And so they did. All well know revolutionists were elected by immense majorities: Jacobins, Blanqfuists, Internationalists, all three revolutionary divisions were represented in the council of the commune. No election could give a better government.

But what was the result? Shut up in the city hall, charged to proceed after the forms established by the preceding governments, these ardent revolutionists, these reformers found themselves smitten with incapacity and sterility. With all their good will and their courage they did not even Know how to organize a defense of Paris. Of course people now blame the men, the individuals for this; but it was not the men who were the cause for this failure-it was the system.

In fact, universal suffrage, when it is quite free, can only produce, at best, an assembly which represents the average of the opinions which at the time a re held by the mass of the people. And this average at the outbreak of the revolution has only a vague idea of the work to be accomplished, without understanding at all how they ought to undertake it. Ah,. if the bulk of the nation, of the commune, could only understand before the movement what is necessary to be done as soon as the government is overturned! If this dream of the utopians of the chair could be realized, we would have had bloody revolutions.

The will of the bulk of the nation once expressed, the rest would submit to it with a good grace, but this is not how things are dent. The revolution bursts out long before a general understanding has come, and those who have a clear idea of what should be done the next day are only a very small minority. The. great mass of the people have as yet only a general idea of the end which they wish realized, without knowing much how to advance towards that end, and without having much confidence in the direction to follow. The practical solution will not be found, will not be made clear until the change will have already begun. It will be the product of the revolution itself, of the people in action, or else it will be nothing, incapable of finding solutions which can only spring from the life of the people.

This is the situation which is reflected in the body elected by universal suffrage, even if it had not the vices inherent in representative governments in general. the few men who represent the revolutionary idea of the epoch find themselves swamped among the representatives of the revolutionary schools of the past, and the existing order of things. These men who would be so necessary among the people, particularly in the days of the revolution to sow broadcast their ideas, to put mass in movement, to demolish the institutions of the past, find themselves shut up in a hall, vainly discussing how to wrest concessions from the moderates, and how to convert their enemies, while there is really only one way of inducing them to accept the new idea-namely, to put it into execution. the government becomes a parliament with all the vices ofa middle-class parliament. Far from being a "revolutionary government it becomes the greatest obstacle to the revolution and at last the people find themselves compelled to put it out of the way, to dismiss those that but yesterday they acclaimed as their children.

But it is not so easy to do so. The new government which has hastened to organize a new administration in order to extend it's domination and make itself obeyed does not understand giving up so easily. Jealous of maintaining it's power, it clings to it with all the energy of an institution which has yet had time to fall into senile decay. It decides to oppose force with force, and there is only one means then to dislodge it, namely, to take up arms, to make another revolution in order to dismiss those in whom the people had placed all their hopes.

There you see the revolution divided against itself! After losing precious time in delays, it now loses it's strength in internecine divisions between friends of the new government and those who see necessity of dissolving it. And all this happens because it has not been understood that a new life requires new forms, that is not by clinging to ancient forms; that a revolution can be carried out! Al this for not having understood the incompatibility of revolution and government, for not having seen that one is, under whatever form it presents itself, the negation of the other, and that outside of anarchism there is no such thing as revolution.

It is just the same with regard to that other form of "revolutionary government" so often extolled, a revolutionary dictatorship.


The dangers to which the revolution is exposed when it allows itself to be controlled by an elected government are so evident that a whole school of revolutionists entirely renounces the idea of it. They understand that it is impossible for a people in insurrection to give themselves, by means of elections, any government but the one that represents the past, and which must be like leaden shoes on the feet of the people, above all when it is necessary to accomplish that immense regeneration, economic, political, and moral, which we understand by the social revolution. They renounce then the idea of "legal" government at least during the period which is a revolt against legality, and they advocate "revolutionary dictatorship".

"The party", say they, Which will have overturn the government will take the place of it, of course. It will seize upon power and proceed in a revolutionary manner. It will take the measures necessary to secure the success of the insurrection. It will demolish the old institutions; it will organize the defense of the country. As for those who will not recognize it's authority, why the guillotine will settle them, whether they belong to the people or the middle-class, if they refuse to obey the orders necessary for the advance of the revolution." The guillotine still in action ? See how these budding Robespierres argue, who know nothing of the grand epic of the century but it's period of decline, men who have never learned anything about it except from speeches of hangers-on of the republic.

For us anarchists the dictatorship of an individual or ofa party (at bottom the very same thing) has been finally condemned. We know that revolution and government are incompatible. One must destroy the other no matter what name is given to government, whether dictatorship, royalty, or parliament. we know that what makes the strength and the truth of our party is contained in this formula-"Nothing good or durable can be done except by the free initiative of the people, and every government tends to destroy it." And so the very best among us, if they should become masters of that formidable machine, the government, would become, in a week, first only for the gallows, if their ideas had not to pass through the crucible of the popular mind before being put into execution. We know whether every dictatorship leads, even the best intentioned,-namely, to the death of the revolutionary movement. We know also, that this idea of dictatorship is never anything more than a sickly product of governmental fetish worship, which, like religious fetish-worship, has always served to perpetuate slavery.

But we do not address ourselves to anarchists. we speak to those governmental revolutionists who, led astray by prejudices of their education, honestly deceive themselves, and ask nothing We therefore speak to them from their own point of view.

To begin with one general observation: those who preach dictatorship do not in general perceive that in sustaining this prejudice they only prepare the was for those who later on will cut their throats. There is, however, on word of Robespierres which his admirers would do well to remember. He did not deny the dictatorship in principle; but "have good cafe about it," he answered abruptly to Mandar when he spoke to him of it, "Brissot would be the dictator!" Yes, Brissot, the crafty Girondin, deadly enemy of the leveling tendencies of the people, furious defender of property (although he called it theft), Brissot, who would coolly have consigned to the abbaye prison, Herbert, Marat, and all the moderate Jacobins!

This was said in 1792! At that time France had already been three years in revolution! In fact royalty no longer existed, it only awaited it's death stroke. The feudal regime was actually abolished. And yet even at this time when the revolution rolled it's waves untrammeled, it was still the counter-revolutionist Brissot who had the best chance to be made dictator! And who would it have been previously, in 1789? Mirabeau is the man who would have been acknowledged as the head of government! The man who made a bargain with the king to sell him his eloquence, this is the man who would have been thrust into power at this time, if the insurgent people had not imposed it's sovereignty, sustained by ifs pikes, and if it had not provided by the accomplished facts of Jacquerie, in making illusory every government constituted at Paris or in the departments.

But governmental prejudice so thoroughly blinds those who speak of dictatorship ofa new Brissot or Napoleon to abandoning the idea of giving another master to men who are breaking the chains of slavery.

The secret societies of the time of the restoration and the Louis-Philippe contributed powerfully to maintain this prejudice of dictatorship.

The middle-class republicans of the time, aided by workers, made a long series of conspiracies, with the object of overturning royalty and proclaiming the republic. Not understanding the profound change that would have to be effected in France before even a republican regime · could be established, they imagined that by means of vast conspiracy they would someday overturn royalty, take possession of power and proclaim the republic. Fm more than thirty years those secret societies. never ceased to work with an unlimited devotion and heroic courses and perseverance. If the republic resulted from the insurrection of 1 848, it was thanks to these societies. and thanks to the propaganda by deed made by them for thirty years. Without their noble efforts the republic would have been impossible.

The end they had in view was to get possession of power themselves and to install a republican dictatorship. But of course they never succeeded. As ever, from the nature of things, a conspiracy could not overturn royalty. The conspirators had indeed prepared the way for it's fall. They had spread widely the republican idea; their martyrs had made it the ideal of the people. But the final effort which definitely overturned the king of the bourgeoisie was much greater and stronger than any that could come from a secret society; it came from the mass of the people.

The result is known. The party which had prepared the way for the fall of royalty found itself thrust aside from the steps of the government house. Others, too prudent to run the risk of conspiracy, but better known, more moderate also, lying in wait for the opportunity of grasping power, took the place which the conspirators hoped to conquer at the point of the bayonet. Journalists, lawyers, good talkers who worked hard to make a name for themselves while the true republicans forged weapons or expired in prison, took possession of power. Some of them, already well known, were acclaimed by the people; others pushed themselves forward and were accepted because their name represented nothing more than a program of agreement with everybody.

It is useless to tell us that this happened because of a want of practical spirit in the party of action, and that others will be able to do better in the future. No, a thousand times no! It is a law as immutable as that which governs the movement of the stars, that the party of action must be thrown aside, and the intriguers and the talkers seize upon power. They are always better known to the great mass that makes the final effort. They get more votes, because with or without voting papers, by acclamation or by the ballot box, at the bottom it is always a kind of tacit election which is made in such cases by acclamation. They are acclaimed by everybody and above all by the enemies of the revolution, who prefer to put forward nobodies, and thus by acclamation those men are accepted as rulers who are really either enemies of the movement or indifferent toward it.

The man who more than any other was the incarnation of this system of conspiracy, the man who by a life spent in prison paid for his devotion to this system on the eve of his death uttered these words, which of themselves make an entire program-"Neither god nor master"


To imagine that a government can be overturned by a secret society, and that secret society can take it's place, is an error into which have fallen all the revolutionary organizations which sprang to life in the bosom of the republican middle-class since 1820. And yet facts abound which prove what an error it is. What devotion, what abnegation, what perseverance was not displayed by the republican secret societies of the young Italy party! And yet all this immense work, all these sacrifices made by the youth of Italy, before which even those of the Russian revolutionary youth pale, all the corpses piled up in the casemates of Austrian fortresses, and under knife and bullets of the executioner-ail this only brought into power the crafty, robbing middle class and royalty!

It is inevitable, it cannot be otherwise. For it is not secret societies nor even revolutionary organizations that can give the finishing blow governments. Their function, their historic mission is to prepare men's minds for the revolution, and then when men's minds are prepared and external circumstances are favorable)e, the final rush is made, not by the group that initiated the movement, but y the mass of the people altogether outside of the society. On the 3 1st of August Paris was deaf to the appeals of Blanqui. For days later he proclaimed the fall of the government; but then the blanquists were no longer the initiators of the movement. It was the people, the millions who dethrowned the man of December and proclaimed the humbugs whose names for two years had resounded in their ears. When a revolution is ready to burst out, when a movement is felt in the air, when it's success is already certain, then a thousand new men, on whom the organization has never exercised any direct influence, come and join the movement like birds of prey coming to the fields of battle to feed on the victims.. These help to make the final effort, but it is not in the ranks of sincere irreconcilable conspirators, it is among the men on the fence that they look for their leaders. The conspirators who still are possessed with the prejudice ofa dictatorship then unconsciously work to put into power their own enemies.

But if all this that we have just said is true with regard to political revolutions or rather outbreaks, it is much more true with regard to the revolution we desire-the social revolution, to allow any government to be established, a strong and recognized power, is to paralyze the work of the revolution at once. the good that this government would do is nil, and the evil immense.

What do we understand by revolution? It is not a simple change of governors. It is the taking possession by the people of all social wealth. It is the abolition of all forces which have so long hampered the development of humanity. But is it by decrees emanating from a government that this immense economic revolution be accomplished? We have seen in the past century the polish revolutionary dictator Kosciusko decree the abolition of personal senitude, yet the servitude continued to exist for thirty years after this decree. We have seen the convention, the omnipotent convention, the terrible convention as it's admirers call it, decree the equal division per head of all communal lands taking back from the nobles. Like so many others, this decree remained a dead letter because in order to carry it out it was necessary that the proletarians of the rural districts should make an entirely new revolution, and revolutions are not made by the force of decrees. In order that the taking possession of social wealth should become an accomplished fact it is necessary that the people should have their hands free, that they should shake off slavery to which they are too much habituated, that they ad according to their own will, and march forward without waiting for orders from anyone. And it is this very thin which a dictatorship would prevent how well intentioned it might be, while it would be incapable of advancing in the slightest degree the march of the revolution.

But if govemment, were it even an ideal revolutionary government, creates no new force and is of no use whatever in work of demolition which we have to accomplish, still less can we count on it for the work of reorganization which must follow that of demolition. The economic change will result from the social revolution will be so immense and so profound, it must change all the relations based today on property and exchange, that it is impossible for one or any individual to elaborate the different social forms which must spring up in the society of the future. this elaboration of new social forms can only be made by the collective work of the masses. To satisfy the immense variety of conditions and needs which will spring up as soon as private property shall be abolished, it is necessary to have the collective suppleness of mind of the whole people. Any external to it will only be an obstacle, and beside that a source of discord and hatred.

But it is full time to give up this issue, so often proved false and for ail, this political axiom that a government cannot be revolutionary. People talk of the convention, but let us not forget that a few measures taken by the convention, little revolutionary though they were, were only the sanction of action accomplished by the people who at the time trampled under foot all governments. As Victor Hugo had said, Danton pushed forward Robespierre, Marat watched end pushed on Dalton, and Marat himself was pushed on by cimourdain-this personification of the clubs of wild enthusiasts and rebels. Like all governments that preceded it and followed it, the convention was only a drag on the action of the people.

The facts which history teach us are so conclusive in this respect, the impossibility of a revolutionary government and the injurious effect of that which is called by the name are so evident, that it would seem difficult to explain the determination with which a certain school calling itself socialist maintains the idea of governnent. But the explanation is very simple. It is that socialist though they say they are followers of this school. have an entirely different conception from ours of the revolution which we have to accomplish. For them as for all middle-class radicals. the social revolution is rather an affair of the future about which we have not to think much at present. What they dream of in their inmost thoughts, though they don't dare to confess it, is something entirely different. It is the installation of government like that of Switzerland or the United States, making some attempts at expropriation, in favor of the State, of what they call "public service". It is a compromise made in advance between the socialistic aspirations of the masses and the desires of the middle-class They would, indeed, wish the expropriation to be complete, but they have not the courage to attempt it; so they put it off to the next century, and before the battle they enter into negotiation with the enemy

Finland: A Rising Nationality.(1885)

By Peter Kropotkin

National questions are not in vogue now in Europe. After having so much exercised the generation of '48, they seem to be now in neglect. The poor results of a movement which caused so many illusions; the new problems that are coming to the front -- the social problem taking the precedence of all; the prominence recently given to the ideas of unification and centralisation above those of territorial independence and federalism, by the sudden growth of a powerful military State in middle Europe, -- all these have helped to repel into the background those questions of national independence which seemed to constitute the very essence of the history of Europe during the first half of our century. Faith in national programmes, formerly so firm, has been much shaken by the events of the last few years. Italian unity has not improved the lot of the lower classes of the Peninsula, and they have now to bear the burden of a State endeavouring to conquer a place among tile great Powers. The formerly oppressed Hungary is oppressing in her turn the Selavonic populations order her rule. The last Polish insurrection was crushed rather by the agrarian measures of the Russian Government than by its armics and scaffolds; and the heroic uprisings of the small nationalities of the Balkan Peninsula have merely made them tools in the hands of the diplomacy of their powerful neighbors. Moreover, the nationalist movements which are still in progress in Europe, are mostly confined to the remoter borders of the Continent, to populations which are almost unknown to old Europe call which cannot be realised by the general public otherwise than in the shape of loose agglomerations of shepherds, or robbers, unused to political organisation. They cannot therefore excite the same interest nor awake tile, same sympathies as the former uprisings of Greece, of Italy, of Hungary.

Notwithstanding all this, national questions are as real in Europe as ever, and it would be as unwise to shut our eyes to them as to deny their importance. Of course we know now that I national problems are not identical with the 'people's problems;' that the acquisition of political independence still leaves unachieved the economical independence of the labouring and wealth-producing classes. We can even say that a national movement, which does not include in its platform the demand for an economical change advantageous tothe masses bag no chance of success unless supported by foreign aid. But both these problems are so closely connected with one another that we are bound to recognise that no serious economical progress can be won, nor is any progressive development possible, until the awakened aspirations for autonomy have been satisfied. Though relegated now from the centre to the periphery, Europe has still to reckon with national movements. Irish 'Home Rule,' the Schleswig 'difficulty,' and Norwegian 'separatism' are problems which must be resolved; as also the national agitation that is steadily undermining Eastern Europe. There is no doubt that (to use the words of a recent English writer) I not only a thorough discontent, but a chronic insurrectionary agitation' is going on among the Serbo-Croats, who are endeavouring to shake off the yoke of Hungary. The Czechs, the Slovaks, the Poles of Austria are struggling, too, for self-goverment ; as also, to some extent, the Slowens, or Wends, and the Little Russians of Eastern Galicia ; while neither peace nor regular development is possible on the Balkan Peninsula until the Bosnians, the Herzegovinians, the Serbs, the Bulgarians, and others, have freed themselves from Turkish rule, Russian 'protection,' and Austrian 'occupation,' and have succeeded in constituting a free South-Slavonian Federation. The Russian Empire, too, has to reckon with the autonomist tendencies of several of its parts. However feeble now, the Ukrainian autonomist movement cannot but take a further development. As to Poland, she cannot much longer submit to the denationalising policy of her Russian masters; the old Poland of the szlachta is broken down ; but a new Poland-that of the peasants and working men-is growing up, with all the strength it has drawn from the abolition of serfdom. It will resume the struggle, and in the interests of her own progressive development Russia will be compelled, one day or the other, to abandon the reputedly rather than really strong 'defensive line of the Vistula.' Finally, in the North-east we have Finland, where, one of the most interesting autonomist movements of our time has been steadily going on for more than sixty years.

One hardly bears of it in Western Europe. With the perseverance, however, that characterises the men of the North, and particularly those of Finland, this small yet rising nationality has within a short time achieved results so remarkable that it has ceased to be a Swedish or a Russian province more or less differing from its neighbours: it is a nation. Discussing once this question, 'What is a nation?' Ernest Renan get forth in his vivid and graphic style that a nation is not an agglomeration of people speaking the same language-a language may disappear; not even an aggregation with distinct anthropological features, all nations being products of heterogeneous assimilations; still less a union of economical interests which may he a Zollverein. National unity, he said, is the common inheritance of traditions, of hopes and regrets, of common aspirations and common conceptions, which make of a nation a true organism instead of a loose aggregation. The naturalist would add to these essential features of a nation the necessary differentiation from other surrounding organisms, and the geographer, a kind of union between the people and the territory it occupies, from which territory it receives its national character and on which it impresses its own stamp, so as to make an indivisible whole both of men and territory.

None of these features is missing in Finland. Its people have their own language, their own anthropological features, their own economical interests; they are strongly differentiated from their neighbours; men and territory cannot be separated one from another. And for the last sixty years the best men of Finland have been working with great success in spreading that precious inheritance of common hopes and regrets, of common aspirations and conceptions, of which Renan spoke. 'Yksi kieli, yksi mieli ' ('One language, one spirit'):- such is precisely the watchword of the 'Fennomanes.' Comparative philology and anthropology may tell us that the Finns have but lately occupied the country they inhabit, and that during their long migrations from the Altaic Steppes they have undergone much admixture with other races. None the less do the present inhabitants of Finland appear as a quite separate world, having their own sharply defined anthropological and ethnical characters, which distinguish them from the populations by whom they are surrounded. Their nearest kinsfolk are found only on the other shore of the Gulf of Finland, among the Esthonians, on whom they already exercise a kind of attraction. Their southern brethren, the Magyars, are too distant, too separated, and too distinct ever to exercise any influence on Finland. As to the other members of the same family scattered through Eastern Russia, the Voguls, the Permians, the Mordovians, and so on, science may prove their common origin ; but their national characters are being obliterated every day by contact with Russians, and nearly all of them have already lost any chance they may ever have had of constituting separate nationalities. Finland has thus no need to care about these scattered members of her family. It is true that even the ordinary traveller soon discovers in Finland two different types-the Tawastes in the west, and the Karelians in the east; the square face of the former, their pale eyes and yellow hair, their heavy gait, strongly contrasting with the taller and more slender Karelians, with their elongated faces and darker hair, their animated and darker eyes. But the inhabitants of Central Finland, the Sawos, partaking of the physical features of both neighbours, are an intermediate link between the two; and all three-Karelians, Sawos, and Tawastes-speaking the same language, living the same manner of life, and having so much in common as to their national characteristics-melt together into one ethnical type-the Finnish. Even religion does not separate them, the nearly 50,000 Orthodox Karelians being as good 'Finnish' as their Protestant kinsfolk.

Exceedingly laborious they are all throughout the country: they could not lie otherwise in their Suomenman-the country of marshes-where the arable soil must be won from the forests, moors, and even likes, which stretch over nine-tenths of the land. The perseverance and tenacity that characterise all Northern Finnish stems are the natural outcome of these conditions, together with a gravity and a kind of melancholy which are so striking in the features of the people and form one of the most marked peculiarities of their folklore. The disasters, the wars, the bad crops, the famines, from which the Finnish peasant has so often had to suffer, have created his capacity of grave and uncomplaining submission to fate; but the relative liberty be has always enjoyed has prevented him from developing that sad spirit of resignation, that deep sorrow which too often characterises his Russian brother. Never having been a personal serf, he is not servile ; he always maintains his personal dignity and speaks with the same grave intonation and self-respect to a Russian Tsar as to his neighbour. A lymphatic temperament, slowness of movement and of thought, and sullen indifference have often been imputed to him. In fact, when I have entered on a Sunday a peasanthouse in Eastern Finland, and found several men sitting on the beaches rental the wall, dropping only a few words at long intervals, plunged in a mute reverie as they enjoyed their inseparable pipes, I could not help remembering, this reproach addressed to the Finnish peasant. But I soon perceived that though the Finn is always very deliberate in his movement, slowness of thought and indifference are peculiar only to those, unhappily too numerous, village paupers whom long-continued want and the struggle for life without hope of improvement have rendered callous. Still, a Finnish peasant family must be reduced to very great destitution before the wife loses her habits of cleanliness, which are not devoid of a certain aesthetical tint. The thrift of the Finn is striking; not only among those who have no choice, for they are compelled to live upon rye-bread, baked four times a year and containing an admixture 'of the bark of our black Pines,' as Runeberg says. Simplicity of life is the rule in all classes of society; the unhealthy luxury of the European cities is yet unknown to the Finns; and the Russian tchinovnik cannot but wonder how the Finnish official lives, without stealing, on the scanty allowance granted him by the State.

Contemplativeness-if I am permitted to use this ugly word-is another distinctive feature of the Finns: Tawastes, Samos, and Karelians ire alike prone to it. Contemplation of nature, a meditative mute contemplation, which finds its expression rather in a sang than in words, or incites to the reflection about natures mysteries rather than about the facts, is characteristic as well of the peasant as of the savant. It may be akin to, without being identical with, mystical reverie. It may, in certain circumstances, give rise to mysticism, as it did at the beginning of our century; it produced that tendency towards sorcery and witchcraft toy which the Finns were, and are still, renowned among and tested by their Russian neighbours; but actually it gives rise among the instructed classes to a tendency towards a philosophic and pantheistic conception of nature, instead of the childish wonder with which others are satisfied. It also orients the Finnish folk-lore with an idealism which makes it so strongly contrast with the sensualism of the folk-lore of so many other nationalities. In science it causes savants to devote themselves rather to abstract mathematics, to astronomy, to the great problems of the physics of the earth, than to the merely descriptive sciences, these last being, as it seems, rather inherited from the science of Sweden.

Everybody loves his own country: with the Finns this love becomes a passion, as powerful as the passion of the Scottish Highlander for his 'land of mountain and of flood;' and it has the same source. We can easily understand the nostalgy of the Highlander who yearns for a glimpse of the rocks 'where the snowflake reposes,' for the 'dark frowning beauties' of his native mountains, which, in their ever-changing aspects, reflect the moods and phases of the human mind-of life itself. The same is trite of dwellers by the sea; it is true again of the inhabitant of lake regions like Finland, where water and soil are inextricably interwoven each with the other; they live for him, and are ever and always assuming new moods and expressions. Finland is a poor country, but it is a fine country, and has a stamp of originality. Its like may be sought for in vain even in the lake district of England or among the inland seas of Canada. Where else, indeed, can the Finns find this network of land and water, this tangled skein of lake, and sea, and shore, so fall of contrasts, and yet forming an inseparable and enchanting whole? Where find these millions of islands-of lovely rocks giving footing to a few pines and birches which seem to grow from beneath the water; these thousands and thousands of ever-varying tints spreading over the lakes as the sun slowly moves almost in the horizon, unwilling to go down, or leaving behind it the shining twilight which meets in the north with the aurora of the morning? Nowhere else will the Finn find a country which breathes the same mild and sweet harmony, grave and melancholy, which matches so well with the dreamy pensiveness of his character.

Finland has not, it is true, an exclusively Finnish population.1 The coasts of file two gulfs which entangle it are peopled with nearly 300,000 Swedes: thus one-seventh of its population belongs to the once dominant race. In Osterbotten, on the islands of Aland, the Swedes make 90 per cent. of the population, and the labouring classes consist of both nationalities. On the coast of the Gulf of Finland the Swedes number from 50 per cent, of the population in the west to 5 per cent, in the east. But elsewhere, in the interior of the country, they constitute only the population of the towns, the land-owning class, and the personnel of the Administration. The inconveniences, however, which arise from this double character of the population are much less ethnographic than political. The fishermen of Osterbotten are not on bad terms with their Finnish countrymen, and are as much attached to their country as these last; so also are the inhabitants of the south-western corner of Finland. As to those Swedish farmers who are scattered in the interior, and even on the south coast, they really are more Finnish than Swede: one must be born in the country itself to distinguish them from the Finns, with whom they might be confounded by a stranger. They speak Swedish of course, but nevertheless you soon find them to be passionate 'Finland patriots,' who scorn your attempts to distinguish between Swedes and Finns in their little country. It is not so with the Swedish nobility, Swedish tradesmen and Swedish officials, until now they have constituted the dominant element in Finland's political and economical life; they are still landholders in a larger proportion than the Finns; and, by maintaining Swedish as the official language in the Administration, they have systematically eliminated from it the Finnish element, which they still regard with contempt.

Hence, all Finland is divided into two great parties, the Svekomanes and the Fennomanes, continually struggling against one another in the national representation, in all questions of legislation, and in literature. The Fennomanes struggle for the recognition of their language as the equal of Swedish, and strive to introduce it into the Administration of all Finnish-speaking Finland, and that the higher and secondary instruction be given in Finnish; the Svekomanes, in their turn, strive to maintain Swedish as the official language of the country, of the university, and of the secondary school, foreseeing that they will be eliminated from the Administration, which is now in their hands, so soon as Finnish shall be rendered obligatory for the officials, and Finnish youths have the possibility of receiving higher instruction in their own language. Thus the struggle is not one between two races, it is for the maintenance of class privileges inherited from the Swedish domination. Its issue cannot be doubtful. The Fennomanes obtained last year the recognition by law of the equality of both languages; and they will not fail to expel the Swedes from the Administration so soon as the Constitution is modified in a democratic sense. It is also most significant that the majority of young men, even many of those who are born of Swedish parents, associate themselves rather with the Fennomanic than the Svekomanic party. They speak only Finnish, and take an active part in the crusade of the Finnish against the Swedish tongue. Of course there are still plenty of Swedish noblemen who sigh after the past military grandeur of Sweden; plenty of tradesmen who look across the Baltic for better business; and enough Swedish officials who are wroth at the idea of 'those Finnish peasants' performing the functions once performed by their forefathers. But those Swedes who do not care for retaining a privileged position--and they are numerous--fully recognise the rights of the Firms. They join the Finnish national movement, and all the Swedes of whose names Finland is proud have been, and are, ardent Finnish patriots.

As to the nearly 11,200 Russians who live in the country, the 7,000 military of course need not lie taken into account; if their stay in Finland is short-and it mostly is, for only Finnish citizens are permitted to occupy official positions in the country-they remain Russians. But the tradesmen, or farmers, or peasants, who are staying in Finland for a longer time, are quickly 'Fennicized.' In a few years they conform to Finnish customs; and as you see one of them slowly smoking a pipe and rocking in the rocking-chair (an inevitable piece of furniture in a Finnish household), you would hardly guess that he is a Russian immigrant. He speaks little, he has become reserved and contemplative. Under the regime of a liberty be never knew at home, he feels interested in Finland and her prosperity. Nay, even his face has changed. As to big children, their fair heads can hardly be distinguished from the yellow-haired heads of the same Tchoukhnys whom their father formerly regarded with so great contempt. His most interesting that, according to a remark of Herr Max Buch, even the Germans, who so seldom lose their national features, are rapidly 'Swedicized' when they stay for some time in Finland.

Finland has thus the ethnographic cohesion which is the first condition for constituting a nation. Its inhabitants possess also the historic inheritance of common struggles, common glory, and common misfortunes, and they have a common board of folk-lore and literature. Moreover, they have so marked an individuality that they can neither be assimilated by their Scandinavian neighbours on the one hand, nor by the Russian Empire on the other. Even at the time when Finland was under Swedish dominion, and Sweden regarded the 'Ostlande' as a mere stronghold against Russia, she always looked upon the Firms as a separate 'Finnish nation.' And during the nearly seventy years which have elapsed since their separation, Finland has done so much for the development of her own national individuality that she can never again be a mere Swedish province. Besides, Swedish rule has left such a heritage of unpleasant memories, especially among the peasants, that a union of both States has been rendered most improbable. Those who suppose otherwise ought to read Mr. Yrio Koskinen's History of Finland. They will then learn the dislike entertained by the lower classes of Finland for Swedish rule, and how that rule is regarded by the best men of Finland. There is no doubt that, united with the Sweden of our times, Finland would enjoy much more liberty and probably would be happier than under Russian rule. But historical sympathies and dislike are not easily dealt with, and Finland now cherishes the hope of becoming an independent Slate herself.

Of course, in the circumstances under which Finland had to develop at the dawn of her history, Swedish domination brought it several advantages. Assailed as they were on one side by the Germans, and on the other by the Russians, the Finnish stems could not remain free, and would have had to share the fate either of the Esthonians conquered by Germans, or of the Karelians conquered by Novgorod, and later on by Moscow. It was under Swedish rule that the Suomis formed themselves into a political body. Swedish rule again saved Finland from serfdom--at least from the disgrace of personal servitude, and it accustomed the peasant to the sound of his own voice in the State's representation. Finally, the Reformation, by translating the Bible into Finnish, saved the language of the country from oblivion.

These were great advantages; but they do not set off the inconvenience and ruin which resulted from the domination of the aristocracy. Finland was not only, as Soren Norby said, 'the best part of the land for levying taxes,' it became the province most coveted by the Swedish aristocracy. When there were not enough rich estates in Sweden to satisfy all the Swedish and Finnish nobles who gathered at Court, they were sent to Finland. Free peasants were assigned in thousands to Swedish noblemen, who treated them as a lower conquered race. Two-thirds of the country, one-third of the taxes, became the property of noblemen who exacted from the ruined peasantry such sums, enormous for that time, as 20,000 thalers in annual revenue raised by Count Brahe, or 18,000 thalers raised by Wasaborg. Finland was becoming a possession of the Swedish aristocracy, and Finnish trade a monopoly of the Stockholm trading companies. The great 'reduction' which began about the end of the seventeenth century certainly put a stop to the further depredations of the aristocracy. It created that class of discontented nobles whom we bee later intriguing for Russia against Sweden. But the peasant gained little thereby, if anything. The State appropriated the incomes of the nobles and inaugurated the long series of wars which reduced Finland to starvation; while the establishment of autocratic power in Sweden introduced the tendency to centralisation caused the Finns to be considered 'like serfs, not partners as before,' and manifested itself in the absurd attempt 'to abolish the Finnish language.' Famines, formerly unknown, and a complete ruin of the population-such were the natural consequences of this policy.

Though brought thus to a state which rendered successful resistance to Russian conquest quite impossible, Finland did not throw herself into the arms of her powerful Eastern neighbour. She straggled desperately against the invasion, and thus conquered the right of imposing conditions on her conqueror. Decimated by famine and pestilence, the Finnish peasants fought like lions in 1721 against the Russian Empire. And later on, in 1799-90, when the discontented Finnish nobles of the Anjala Convention surrendered Southern Finland to Russia, the peasants of Sawolaks fought the desperate battles of Porassalmi And Uttis. Even in 1808, when the struggle had become hopeless, when the Finnish troops, badly commanded, were melting away like snow, when Sveaborg, with a flotilla of 110 boats, surrendered without discharging one of its 2,000 guns, even then the Sawolaks peasants raised the banner of the national and popular war, and thus saved their country from political slavery. Alexander I., whose generals had already began to treat Finland as a conquered province, was compelled to grant several liberties, to proclaim the 'union' of Finland with Russia, instead of merely requiring unconditional submission.

Much bloodshed was prevented and many disturbances avoided by the happy circumstance of Finland falling under the Russian dominion at a time when Alexander I. had not yet abandoned the Liberal principles of his youth. Neglecting the counsels of his courtiers, he followed the advice of Speransky, who understood that 'Finland was a State and not a Russian province which might be administered in common with other provinces.' While uniting the formerly conquered Eastern Provinces with the newly annexed Western Finland, he granted at least a limited autonomy to the young State. He abolished the dreadful recruiting for twenty-five years' military service, already introduced in the province of Viborg by Paul I., and granted to Finland bey own separate army and system of finances. He granted that only Finnish citizens should be permitted to occupy official positions in the Administration of the country; and he did still better in putting an end to the so-called 'donations' of estates in Eastern Finland to Russian officials-a practice which had endured since the first conquest, and was especially rife during the reign of Catherine II.; the enforcement of serfdom on Finland was thus hindered. And yet Russian rule did not become popular in Finland. Alexander I. was then, as throughout his life, full of contradictions and tergiversations; thus, while the representatives or the so-called representatives of the country were elaborating the Constitution at Borga, no discussion of it was permitted outside ; the single paper of the time, M. Koskinen says, though free to fill its columns with news about the Indians of America and 'the Island of Sirenes,' was not allowed to publish one word of the debates on the Seim of Borga: they have not been published even yet. Besides, though Alexander I. did much to win over the nobility and tradesmen, the people were quite forgotten. It is even doubtful whether he, or even Speransky, remembered that behind the nobles who gathered round him at St. Petersburg, loudly protesting their loyalty, there was a starving multitude of ruined peasants on the moors and in the woods. Nothing was done for the revision of the land laws or the lightening of the taxes that oppressed the labourer; the people were forgotten amidst the balls and soirees, and of this oblivion the cost is now being paid. While the nobility two really loyal to the Crown-far more than might be expected from men who have some feeling of self-respect--the people retain the hatred for the Russian Empire which their forefathers learnt on the field of battle.

Moreover, the liberties granted to Finland were considered as a more expression of the good-will of the ruler, which, together with all his liberal ideas, vanished with increasing age. The Seim was not again convoked after it elaborated the Constitution of 1810, and for fifty-three years the country was governed from St. Petersburg by a 'Finnish Committee.' The Finnish Senate, nominated by the Emperor had but little power under Alexander I., and still less under Nicholas I. It could not oppose the fancies of the military autocrat; and every attempt at self-government or even at national revival denounced by the gendarmes was ruthlessly repressed. To speak of Finnish nationality was considered a crime. Only in 1843 was it permitted to reach Finnish in schools; but some years a later an Imperial decree prohibited the publication in Finnish language of anything but prayer-books and economical works. The circulating libraries were shut up; men like A. E. Nordenskjold were compelled to seek a refuge in Sweden. Even so inoffensive a chair as that of comparative philology at the University of Helsingfors was abolished. The cost, of fortifying Bomarsund compelled the young State to contract its first national debt; and though the conversion of corvees into money-rents in 1840 was, in principle, a benefit to the peasant, it was so made as to become a new burden to him; while in the formerly Russian Finland, (Viborg) the peasants were expelled from their homes if they could not prove that they had built them before 1706-measure whose evil effects may be seen still, as well in the impoverishment of the peasantry as in their discontent with Russian rule.

Since 1863 the Finnish representatives have been regularly called together every four or five years, and the rights received under the Constitution of 1910 have not since been violated, They were even somewhat increased in 1882, and on the whole Alexander II's Government did not meddle over much with the affairs of Finland. All the laws voted by the Senate were sanctioned by the Emperor, and Finland acquired the fall right of administering her own finances and of coining her own money, thereby escaping the disorder that reigns in the fiscal affairs of Russia. She was to maintain her own army, and was allowed freely to build her own railways, to spread instruction, to open seminaries for teachers, to adopt the Finnish language for official purposes, and to develop a popular literature without being greatly troubled by the Russian censorship--as long as the writers speak in high terms of the 'innumerable benefits of the union with Russia." But what guarantee is there for the continuance of these liberties, in reality, so limited?--such is the question which the Finnish patriots are asking themselves. The most insignificant event-a fiery speech pronounced by somebody-may any day change everything for the worse. Where is the force, moral and material, to oppose the attempt to reduce Finland to the rank of a Russian province, which is quite possible, and which a certain party of Russian Chauvinists never cease to advocate? The force necessary to resist such an enterprise could be derived only from a spirit of national independence pervading all classes of the people, from the mansion to the hovel, and penetrating into the minds of all those whose affections and inclinations were still turned in the direction either of Sweden or of Russia. It was necessary to prove to the indifferent that the watchword, 'Finland for the Finns,' is not an empty dream, but may become yet a reality. Such was the immense task undertaken first by a few men, so soon as they saw into what an abyss they had nearly been drawn by the dream of making the Finland of the first years of our century an independent State under a Russian protectorate.

It is at the end of the last century that the first germs of the nationalist movement, in Finland must be sought. The awakening of the labouring classes in Western Europe found an echo in the North, and manifested itself by a fermentation both in the lower and upper classes of society. It was generally understood that something ought be done to ameliorate the lot of the masses; and while Communistic ideas spread among the peasants, finding later on (1804-1808) an expression in the propaganda of Elias Hanninen, the upper classes endeavoured to raise the economical condition of Finland by the extension of agricultural knowledge, the increase of industry, by the study of their own country, kind by the development at national conscience Porthan, Professor of Roman Antiquities at the Academy of Abo, was the man who did the most to promote this actual yet vague, uncertain national revival. By big vast erudition, and still more by big large-minded teaching and paternal relations with his students, he exercised a potent influence over his pupils and friends. He created a whole school of young men who devoted themselves to the study of Finnish geography, Finnish history, Finnish antiquities and language.

War, more than Porthan's death, which occurred in 1804, checked the further development of this movement. But when the impossibility of constituting a free State under Russia's protection was duly demonstrated even to the few who cherished this dream; when the national feeling was raised by the last wars, undoubtedly glorious for so small a nationality as Finland, and it became obvious that even the few vestiges of autonomy obtained from the Russian Emperor were due to the resistance opposed to the conquest by the lower classes of the Finnish peasantry; when, finally, both parts of Finland, Western and Eastern, separated by former wars, were again united together, the national movement took a new life. The, desire to build up a Finnish nation, in the true meaning of this word, spread widely over the land; and it was in a pamphlet published in 1810 that the word 'Fennomany,' already popular with the Abo students, made its first appearance. To have its own language-that of the great mass of the inhabitants of Finland-was obviously the first step towards success.

It was doubted, however, at that time whether the Finnish language-'a language of labourers and fishermen '-would be sufficient for the expression of all the complex conceptions developed by the variety of social relations of European life; and surely much boldness was necessary in the son of a Finnish peasant, Jacob Juden (who died in 1856), to champion the literary rights of 'the language of the plebeians' by making it a vehicle for poetry. His attempts proved so successful that a series of Finnish poets (those of the earlier epoch) followed in his footsteps. A stranger, the Danish philologue Rasmus Rask, took up the defence of the popular tongue and showed how readily it lent itself to scientific elaboration, The first Finnish grammar and the great dictionary of Renvall soon followed (in 1824 and 1826); while Sjogren, also a peasant's son, undertook the immense task, the accomplishment of which is one of the glories of our century, the comparative philology of the Altaic languages, so magnificently crowned a few years ago by the great work of M. Donner, which sums up the long labours of Sjogren, Lonnrot, Schlott, Budenz, Ahlqvist, Ujfalvi, and so many others.

The discovery of the Kalevala-the great Finnish epic poem was a mighty aid in the further development of the nationalist movement: it gave to it a solid basis. When Doctor Lonnrot (whose loss Finland so sincerely deplored last year) discovered during his journeys in Karelia the fragments of a great epic poem in the runes that are sung in the villages on Lake Ladoga; when he published them together, and thus reconstituted one of the finest epic poems known, a general cry of admiration went up from literary Europe. Any literature, however rich, might well be proud of a poem so grand in its cosmogonic conception, inspired with so pure an ideal (the word, the sung word, dominating throughout the poem over brutal force), so deeply penetrated with best human feelings, so beautiful in its simplicity. For Finland it was a revelation. Dr. Lonnrot had opened new and bright horizons, and a pleiad of young men made it their work to hunt up the hoards of poetry concealed for so many centuries in the memory of the Finnish people. Afore and more treasures were discovered. The Kalevala was followed by the Kanteletar-tbe epic poetry by the more accessible lyric songs, so fine that many of them would be a gem in the greatest poet's crown. Indeed, one cannot read these Kauteletar without being struck by the always ideal purity of the conception, the fine poetic rendering of even the plain circumstances of life, the artistic finish of the image, the deep insight into the salient emotions of the soul and the workings of nature. A language which proved to be so admirably appropriate to the finest analysis of human feelings and so aesthetic a representation of nature-the language of the Kalevala and thet Kanteletar-who would dare to say that it was fit only to express the rough feelings of the lowest beings? It was unanimously admitted to be a literary language.

The discovery of the Kalevala had another advantage: it awakened the national spirit of the Esthonians. On the other side of the Gulf of Finland like treasures of popular poetry were brought to light, sung also by the runoiat in a language most akin to that of the Kalevala, and so suggestive of the common origin of both stems, now separated by politics, but once united by their common civilisation. In fact, since Dr. Kreuzwald (son of an Esthonian peasant, of a serf) had discovered the Kalevi-poeg, an epic poem celebrating the exploits of Kaleva's son, the first germs of 'Pan-Fennism' were brought to life; while Castren's scientific researches into Finnish mythology extended still more widely the limits of the Finnish fatherland and showed the Finns and Esthonians that they are members of a race which played an important part in in remote times and may play it again-not by warfare, but by lending to Aryan civilisation their own ideals and philosophical tendencies.

The ground was thus prepared for the development of poetry and fine arts in Finland. Swedes born in Finland and Finns joined together in their work of raising the national feeling and of developing the national literature. When Nicholas I. prohibited writing in Finnish, the conquest of nationality was continued in Swedish. It was in Swedish that Runeberg, Nervander, Topelius, Cygnaeus, sang the beauties of their country, the exploits of her children, and preached the love of Finland and its people. All Swedish-speaking Finland knows by heart the beautiful patriotic hymn of Runeberg, Vart Land and would tell you the effect it produced when it was first sung at the 'May-gathering' of 1848. Thousands of men and women shed tears of happiness; people who had never met before, overcome by patriotic emtion, fell into each other's arms as the conception of a fatherland awakened in their hearts. Though writing in Sedish, this great connoisseur of the human heart and lover of beauty has pictured the Finnish people in their forests, their homes, and their struggles, as vividly as if he were a true Finn. And his ballad, The Brother of the Cloud, whose hero understood 'more than life-love, and more than love, for he knew how to die' for his country, is surely one of the best patriotic pieces ever written in Finland. So also with the verses of J. J. Wecksell, who used to write also in Swedish even such pieces as Swedish and Finnish, where the young, strong Finn provokes his former ruler in these words:-

Young I am, and I am proud of that; always young, wandering through forsts and fields, I sand my dreams and the wonders of past times, waiting till my hour would come. It is come now, and I defy thee! And see, not withstanding all thy fury, thou blanchest under thy visor....I stand in the heart of the country; as a young pine I was once forgotten amidst the snow, still full of growth on the barren tract. It is spring now! The hearts of my people feel full of love, hope, and light. Thou sinkest thy crown, mine will not bend.

Common love for the mother-country concludes this line piece, which expresses in poetry the feelings of at least the best Swedes in Finland.

None of these poets dared, however, to rise the Finnish language, so sonorous and so supple, for writing in verse. But they opened the way, and soon a young poet, who concealed under the pseudonym of Oksanen a name which later became widely known for philological research-M. Ahlqvist-tried to sing in his own tongue. He did so with a very great success, and his poetry faithfully reflects the feelings of his countrymen. Other poets, all peasants-Olaf Kymalainen, Peter Makkonen, Andreas Pulahka-followed M. Ahlqvist, and now Finland possesses some of the finest modern poetry written in the language of its people.3

Finnish art is still very young, but it is going in the right direction. It will not wander among distastefully modernised Greek or Roman antiquities: it seeks its inspiration in Finnish folk-lore, in Finnish nature; and thus Europe will find in it a new and fruitfull source of inspiration-austere but not ascetic, severe yet highly idealistic, and sometimes good-naturedly witty. The pictures of Eckman and Magnus Wright (both recently dead) are in good style, as also those of Ferdinand Wright, who continues the work of his brother. But it is especially in music that Finnish art promises to be rich in new elements. The Russian composer Glinka has already shown in Ruslan, and Ludmila what an inspiration may be drawn frona Finnish songs, and of what a rich musical elaboration they are susceptible. Glinka did not, however, knew the finest songs of the interior parts of Finland. To really appreciate them you must have heard them occasionally during a walk in the forests, or on the shores of a sylvan lake, sung by some peasant as lie contemplates the wide scene before him. He begins, then, in a high and full tenor, one of those vigorous and beloved adagios which lift the hearer higher and higher up to some unknown sphere, like one of the best musical phrases of Richard Wagner. We have recently learnt from M. Melgounoff what a richness of quite new and beautiful harmonisation (in Sebastian Bach's style) is to be learned from Russian popular music; the same also from the Finnish, especially with regard to melody.

As to Finnish science, each time I peruse its scientific collections I admire the amount of work performed, and this the more as I know the modest means the Finnish savants leave at their disposal. I have already mentioned the work done in philology, which has so wide a repute: the same is true of natural science. Finland is undoubtedly one of the best explored countries of Eastern Europe. Not that there are no blanks to be filled: large tracts remain still unexplored; but all explorations have been performed in the true spirit of modern science, and are imbued with a fervent love of the mother-country. In scientific research Finland has much profited, of course, by the experience of Sweden, and imitated it, and nearly all Finnish scientific works have been written in Sweden. But already Lonnrot had begun to cultivate Finnish so as to render it suitable for the philosophical and scientific needs of our time, he translated works of law and science, and discovered that his language offers remarkable facilities for creating new scientific and technical terms. His bulky Swedish and Finnish dictionary became a powerful aid in the further development of scientific terminology; and the tendency is now towards writing scientific works in Finnish. Of course, the savants of Western Europe will object, but the resulting inconvenience will be easily obviated by the growing custom in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, of giving French or German resumes of the most important papers; while the growth of a Finnish scientific literature will undoubtedly Le an immense gain for the people. European science must recognise once for all that every decade will bring within it, cycle more and more important works, written in an ever increasing variety of languages. The true scientific man can no more ignore Scandinavian, Russian, Polish, Czechian, Hungarian, and Finnish scientific literature; and we must devise the means; of systematically bringing all works of importance, written in any language, to the knowledge, of the whole of the scientific world. Be this as it may, Finnish scientific literature is growing every day, so also Finnish historic science. Thus, after the preparatory works of J. J. Tengstrom, W. G. Lagus, F. W. Pipping, Gabriel Rein, and M, Akiander, who all wrote in Swedish, and after a first attempt, made in 1846 by J. F. Kajan, to write Finnish history for the Finnish, we had to greet a few years ago the appearance of the remarkable History of Finland, by Yrio Koskinen, which is a serious attempt to write a history of the nation, and not alone of its rulers. It was immediately translated into Swedish and German.

The periodical press does not lag behind, and offers a warm support to the national movement. The first paper published in Finnish in the last century failed for political reasons. So also several ulterior attempts, all killed in the bud by Nicholas I's censorship. It was only in 1863 that the Finnish Press took a new start, the Russian Government Ending it useful to favour Fennomanes against Svekomanes. It has rapidly developed since, and now supplies the most remote pitaya (farm) in the woods with plain and useful reading in Finnish at a very low price.4 But even yet the Russian Government pursues with regard to Me Finnish Press its unwise traditional policy. It is tolerated on the condition of never criticising the proceedings of the Government; and when, last year, some young Fennomanes, whose aim is closer union of the Finnish people with the Russian, proposed to start a paper in both languages, the Censorship refused permission. It could not allow a discussion of constitutional rights to be printed in the Russian language.

From all that precedes it is easy to see that Europe has only to gain from the admission of Finland into its family. But to this end liberty and independence are before all things needful-not the ephemeral liberty which is bestowed on the people by the rule of the richer classes, whatever be their nationality, but that fall liberty which would result from the people being their own rulers. Finland is in a fair way to accomplish this. Its national movement does not ask a return to the past, as has been the case with Poland; it aspires after a quite new, autonomous Finland. It is true that for the present the national question overshadows all others, and even the extremely important land question (for Finland has also its agrarian question) is nearly quite forgotten. The very existence of their nationality being menaced from St. Petersburg, will the Finnish nationalists repeat the error so often committed of forgetting that under the actual conditions of landed property, the peasant being overwhelmed with rents, taxes, and personal services, no national independence is possible, and if political autonomy be eventually realised under some exceptional circumstances it will be but a new burden on the labouring classes? The eminently popular character of Fennomanism leads to the belief that this mistake will not be repeated. But it must be acknowledged that until now Fennomanism his remained a merely literary movement-a movement for a language, and not a movement for social redemption. No more than the Svekomanes have the Fennamones a distinct social programme; and if Fennomanism is, on the whole, more democratic than its Svekomane rival, it comprises at the same time, together with the peasant's son who longs after the free possession of soil, the son of the landowner who holds sacred the rights acquired by his forefathers under Swedish or Russian rule over the produce of the peasant's labour. Both unite for the awakening of a national feeling end the conquering for the Finnish language of equal rights with the Swedish; but the day will come when it will be asked whether the landowner's rights are really so sacred as they have been considered, and what will then become of the union?

It is obvious that so long as all administrative procedure is conducted in a larguage which is foreign to five-sixths of the population, and so long as Finnish children cannot receive instruction in their mother-tongue, the language question will be a burning question ; and all the more so, as to take the administration from the bonds of the Swedish-speaking officials means to take it out of the hands of the Swedish nobility, landowners, and bankers. This first step was partially realised lat year, the equality of both languages in the administration having been recognized by law. As to Finnish schools, they have still to be created almost entirely. At the University of Helsingfors lectures are still mostly delivered in Swedish, though the students generally speak Finnish. So also at the Polytechnic School and in twelve lyceums out of teenty-two. As to primary instruction, the great mass of the people are still deprived of permanent schools. Out of 300,000 children of school age in I881, only 26,900 received instruction in 576 permanent schools, of which 134 were Swedish. The remainder were taught in ambulatory schools, a typical feature of the Scandinavian north. When Nicholas I. forbade Finnish schools, ambulatory schools, like those of Norway and Sweden, were introduced. Once a year the teacher comes into the village, stays there for some time, and teaches the children. Such schools even yet are not the exception, they are the rule; and while less than 27,000 children were taught in permanent schools, the remainder received primary instruction either from ambulatory wasters (116,201 children) or at home (177,925), so that only 6,983 children, mostly feeble or ill, remained without instruction. (I take these figures from the well-informed pamphlet, by Max Buch, Finland und seine Nationaliitatenfrage.) But instruction thus given is obviously quite insufficient, for only eight per cent. of the Finns can wlite, the remainder are only able to read.

Finnish schools, Finnish administration-such is the platform of the Fennomanes. They do not neglect, however, at the same time tofreethe soilof Finland as much as possible from foreign landholders, and to develop their industry so as to render their country economically independent of its neighbours. A few years ago Russiam monasteries had still large estates and fishing grounds on the western shore of Lake Ladoga. But arable soil, forests, lakes, all have now been purchased by Finns, and are sold in small parcels to Finnish peasants, so that the 'Russianisers' of tile worsthart of the Russian Press are, loudly crying out against 'the prodigiously rapid Fermisation' of Kexholm, Serdobol, and even of the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg.

As to the economical development of the country, it has really made a material progress during the last five-and-twenty years. Notwithstanding the loss of as much as 180,000 people during the famine of 1872, the population of Finland has increased by more than one-fifth during the last quarter of a century, reaching 2,060,800 during the last census of 1881. The population of its towns has doubled during the same period, and the agricultural produce increased in the ratio of 3 to 2. The horned cattle have increased by 400,000 head in twenty-five years, and the making of butter, with more perfect methods, has so extended as to produce from Russia an annual tribute of 1,200,000 roubles (120,0001.) The production of iron has trebled at the same time, reaching the figure of 351,000 cwts. in 1879; and the aggregate produce of manufactures has decupled: it is estimated at 49,000,000 roubles, against only 5,000,000 in 1854. No less than 550 miles of railway and fifty miles of counts have been built; and the exports reached in 1880 123,000,000 Finnish marks, or francs, against 23,000,000; while the imports were 138,000,000 marks, instead of 46,000,000. Navigation has experienced such a development that the commercial fleet of Finland in the same year numbered 1,857 ships, 288,300 tons; 9,744 ships, 1,504,200 tons, entered its parts; and a considerable part of the foreign maritime commerce of the Russian Empire is conducted under the Finnish flag. As to the roads, they are mostly in so good a state as to be comparable to those of Switzerland; and the journeys on post-horses, by roads provided with plain but clean hotels, are a true pleasure. The lakes are literally furrowed by steamers, which penetrate into the remotest inlets; and, thanks to a masterly system of canalisation, in which Finns excel, the smallest hamlets and saw-mills are within easy reach of the great lake-basins, which, in their turn, communicate with the Bea by the monumental Saima canal. All this has been done at surprisingly moderate expense, each mile of the Finnish railways having cost, on the average, only one-third of the average cost in Russia. As to finances, though supporting the heavy burden of obligatory military service recently imposed on the country, they are in an excellent state. When Russia finds it impossible to raise money at less than 6 per cent., Finland easily obtains loans at 4.5 per cent., and its paper money circulates at par, while the Russian paper rouble is worth no more than sixtenths of its nominal value.

It is obvious that the more national consciousness is raised in Finland, and the more education is spread among its people, the more will it feel the weight of Russian sovereignty; and, while the Russian peasant is always welcomed by his Finnish brother, every Russian suspected of being an official finds only coolness, and often hatred, among the people. Finnish nobles in Russian service may protest their loyalty as much as they please; they are not the people. They may refer also to the gallant behaviour of Finnish troops in the last Balkan way: it proves nothing; the Finns were ever a gallant race, and it is not their balut to recaoil before danger, But sorely the last war hav not increased their attachment to the Russian Empire; they have. seen what Russian administration is, and the war is costing Finland too dear. True, there are plenty of men in Finland ready to Bay that their country is already quite independent, being only 'united' with Russia in the person of the Emperor; butthe masses understand pretty well what a union means of which the weaker party is unprotected against the caprices of the stronger. If they should forget it, the Reactionists now in power in Russia do not fail to remember it in the most brutal way. These people do not understand how wise Speransky was when he pointed out the dangers of having a hostile population at the very doors of the Russian capital; they seem to have set their hearts on rendering it hostile. The small dose of liberty enjoyed by Finland irritates them. A country where people travel without passports, and the dvorniks (porters) do not listen at the doors of lodgers, appears to them a hotbed of revolution. Even the industrial development of this small country renders them uneasy. They would like to shut the doors of Russia against the little merchandise that enters theirin. For it is most remarkable that even Finland, poor as she is, imports from Russia the food which is taken from the mouth of the Russian peasant, and exports thither mannufactured ware; since 1882 it begun even to export more than to import. The editors of the reactionary St. Petersburg papers would rather double the price of the paper on which they print their cheap ideas than to have it from Finland. And the Moscow Protectionists, after having attracted, by almost prohibitory duties, German capital, German enterprise, German manufacturers, and German workmen into Poland, demand now the erection of it Chinese wall against Poland, and even against little Finland. They have succeeded in preventing the entrance of Finnish cattle into Russia, thus raising the already high price of meat at St. Petersburg; and they would like now to impose still more their own dear produce on Finland, and not their produce alone, but also the disorder of their coin finances. Returning to Nicholas I's time, they long to introduce into Finland the obligatory circulation of Russian paper roubles. They are not satisfied with imposing on her the burden of a 70,000-men-strong army in war time; they would like to grasp in their own bonds her poor revenues, and to conduct them, to pillage them, as they have conducted and pillaged the finances of the Empire.

'Is union possible on such conditions?' Such is the question which the Russian Reactionists are more and more impressing on the minds of even the most I loyal' Finnish subjects; and nobody can tell whither this blind policy may lead. Only one thing is certain: that the ardour of Finnish patriots for awakening among their people national feeling and the longing for a complete independence will be redoubled by the attempts, recently renewed, against Finland's autonomy. The map of Europe has already undergone many changes, and it is not improbable that the social and political complications which accumulate on Old Europe's head may result, among other things, in the restoration of Finland to the Finns.


1Population of Finland on the 31st of December 1880 (Suomenman Virallinen Tilasto, sixth series, fasc. 9):- In towns, 173,401; in the country, 1,887,381 Of these: Finns, 1,756,381 (100,300 in towns); 294,876 (65,725 in towns); 4,195 (821 in towns); Germans 1,720, mostly in towns; other nationalities, 3,610 of whom 961 are Laponians. Of the above population, 14,052 were born in other than Finland; namely, 3,693 in Sweden, 7,947 in Russia, 522 in Germany, and so on. Emigration in 1879, 34,812

2The Constitution of Finland, framed in 1810 and slightly modified in 1869 and 1882, is very indefinite, and leaves the Crown a wide field for interfering with the affairs of the country. The national representation, consisting of four chambers--nobility, clergy, towns, and peasants--is convoked by the Emperor every four or five years, but only for four months. Each chamber discusses all affairs separately. They can discuss only those schemes of laws which are proposed by the Emperor, to whom belongs also the right of veto. He has, moreover, the right of issuing decrees, the limits of which are not well defined. The chambers consist now of 121 nobles (this number varying with the number of separate noble families); 35 deputies of the clergy, university, and primary schools; 44 representatives of towns; and 59 ofr the peasants, elected in two degrees. The unanimous assent of all four chamberes is necessary for the ratification of changes in the Consitution and for new taxes. If unanimity cannot be arrived at for new taxes, a committee of sixty members elected in equal parts by each chamber decides. If new taxes cannot be levied thus without the approbation of the Seim, the expenditure is apportioned by the Emperor-that is to say, by the Finnish Committee, which sits at St. Petersburg, and consists of the State's Secretary and four members nominated by the Crown (two of them being proposed by the Senate). The Senate is nominated also by the Crown, and meets under the presidency of the Governor-General, who is usually a Russian subject. It is the superior administrative power of Finland, and consists of two departments, Justice and Finance (Economical), which have under them the administration of medicine, posts, railways, canals, custom-houses, and the tribunals. Their powers were slightly increased in 1882, but they are still limited, several important branches remaining under the contorl of the Emperorl thus,he decides as to the customs duties and many other questions of great importance (educational, Church, and so on). The military department is in the hands of the Russian Minister of War, and the Foreign Affairs in those of the Russian Chancellor. Military service has been obligatory since 1879, and Finland has to keep on foot, in time of peace, nine battalions of infantry, and from 70,000 to 80,000 men in time of war. The Governor-General is the chief commander of the Finnish army. Happily the communal and municipal affairs are little interfered with by the Central Government; and the chief safeguard against Russian interlopers is, first, that Finnish citizens alone can enter the service of the State, and that Finland coins its own money and raises its own loans (with the assent of the Emperor). The higher officials, however, are nominated by the Crown; it has also the right of dismissing the remainder, who are nominated by the Crown; it has also the right of dismissing the remainder, who are nominated by the Senate. It will be seen from the above that, if Finland has obtained a certain measure of autonomy, it is more by carefully avoiding any contest witht he Russian Government, and by steadily working for the enlargement of its rights, than by virtue of the scanty guarantees of the fundamental law.

3I do not venture , of course, to translate into English any of their poetry, and can only recommend to those who know neither Swedish nor Finnish the excellent small collection Aus dem Norden, by Hermann Paul, which contains German translations from M.M. Ahlqvist, Cygnaeus, Runeberg, Topelius, and Weeksell; and still more, the same author's German translations of many Kanteletar, which appeared at Helsingfors in 1882.

4In 1881 Finland had sixty-eight papers, out of which forty-two were Finnish and twenty-six Swedish; of the latter, seventeen appeared at Helsingfors. Such small towns as Jywaskyla and Uleaborg have six Finnish papers each; and even Kuopio Tammerfors, and Wasa have each three papers.

The place of anarchism in socialistic evolution (1886)

Peter Kropotkin


You must often have asked yourselves what is the cause of Anarchism, and why, since there are already so many Socialist schools, it is necessary to found an additional one -- that of Anarchism. In order to answer this question I will go back to the close of last century.

You all know the characteristics which marked that epoch: there was all expansion of intelligence a prodigious development of the natural sciences, a pitiless examination of accepted prejudices, the formation of a theory of Nature based on a truly scientific foundation, observation and reasoning. In addition to these there was criticism of the political institutions bequeathed to Humanity by preceding ages, and a movement towards that ideal of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity which has in all times been the ideal of the popular masses. Fettered in its free development by despotism and by the narrow selfishness of the privileged classes, this movement being at the same time favored by an explosion of popular indignation engendered the Great Revolution which had to force its way through tile midst of a thousand obstacles both without and within.

The Revolution was vanquished, but its ideas remained. Though at first persecuted and derided, they became the watchword for a whole century of slow evolution. The history of the nineteenth century is summed up in an effort to put in practice the principles elaborated at the end of last century: this is the lot of revolutions: though vanquished they establish the course of the evolution which follows them. In the domain of politics these ideas are abolition of aristocratic privileges, abolition of personal government, and equality before the law. In the economic order the Revolution proclaimed freedom of business transactions; it said -- "Sell and buy freely." Sell, all of you, your products, if you can produce, and if you do not possess the implements necessary for that purpose but have only your arms to sell, sell them, sell your labor to the highest bidder, the State will not interfere! Compete among yourselves, contractors! No favour shall be shown, the law of naturnl selection will take upon itself the function of killing off those who do not keep pace with the progress of industry, and will reward those who take the lead.

The above is at least the theory of the Revolution of 1789, and if the State intervenes in the struggle to favour some to the detriment of others, as we have lately seen when the monopolies of mining and railway companies have been under discussion, such action is regarded by the liberal school as a lamentable deviation from the grand principles of the Revolution.

What has been the result? You know only too well, both women and men, idle opulence for a few and uncertainty for the morrow and misery for the greater number; crises, and wars for the conquest of markets, and a lavish expenditure of public money to find openings for industrial speculators. All this is because in proclaiming liberty of contract an essential point was neglected by our fathers. Not but what some of them caught sight of it, the best of them earnestly desired but did not dare to realise it, While liberty of transactions that is to say a conflict between tile members of society, was proclaimed, the contending parties were not equally matched, and the powerful armed for the contest by the means inherited from their fathers, have gained the upper hand over the weak. Under such conditions the millions of poor ranged against a few rich could not could not do otherwise than give in.

Comrades! you have often asked yourselves -- "Whence comes the wealth of the rich? Is it from their labor?" It would be a mockery to say that it was so. Let us suppose that M. Rothschild has worked all his life: well, you also, every one of you working men have also labored: then why should the fortune of M. Rothschild be measured by hundreds of millions while your possessions are so small? The reason is simple: you have exerted yourselves to produce by your own labor, while M. Rothschild has devoted himself to accumulating the product of the labor of others -- the whole matter lies in that.

But some one may say to me; -- "How comes it that millions of men thus allow the Rothschilds and the Mackays to appropriate the fruit of their labor?" Alas, they cannot help themselves under the existing social system! But let us picture to our minds a city all of whose inhabitants find their lodging, clothing, food and occupation secured to them, on condition of producing things useful to the community, and let us suppose a Rothschild to enter this city bringing with him a cask full of gold. If he spends his gold it will diminish rapidly; if he locks it up it will not increase, because gold does not grow like seed, and after the lapse of a twelvemonth he will not find £110 in his drawer if he only put £100 into it. If he sets up a factory and proposes to the inhabitants of the town that they should work in it for four shillings a day while producing to the value of eight shillings a day they will reply --

Among us you'll find no one willing to work on those terms. Go elsewhere and settle in some town where the unfortunate people have neither clothing, bread, nor work assured to them, and where they will consent to give up to you the lion's share of the result of their labor in return for the barest necessaries of life. Go where men starve! there you will make your fortune!

The origin of the wealth of the rich is your misery. Let there be no poor, then we shall have no millionaires.

The facts I have just stated were such as the Revolution of last century did not comprehend or else could not act upon. That Revolution placed face to face two opposing ranks, the one consisting of a hungry, ill-clad army of former serfs, the other of men well provided with means. It then said to these two arrays -- "Fight out your battle." The unfortunate were vanquished. They possessed no fortunes, but they had something more precious than all the gold in the world--their arms; and these arms, the source of all wealth, were monopolised by the wealthy. Thus we have seen those immense fortunes which are the characteristic feature of our age spring up on all sides. A king of the last century, "the great Louis the Fourteenth" of mercenary historians, would never have dreamed of possessing a fortune such as are held by those kings of the nineteenth century, the Vanderbilts and the Mackays.

On the other hand we have seen the poor reduced still more and more to toil for others, and while those who produced on their own account have rapidly disappeared, we find ourselves compelled under an over increasing pressure to labor more and more to enrich the rich. Attempts have been made to remove these evils. Some have said -- "Let us give equal instruction to all," and forth with education has been spread abroad. Better human machines have turned out, but these educated machines still labor to enrich others. This illustrious scientist, that renowned novellist, despite their education are still beasts of burden to the capitalist. Instruction improves the cattle to be exploited but the exploitation remains. Next, there was great talk about association, but the workers soon learned that they could not get the better of capital by associating their miseries, and those who cherished this illusion most earnestly were compelled to turn to Socialism.

Timid at the outset, Socialism spoke at first in the name of Christian sentiment and morality: men profoundly imbued with the moral principles of Christianity --principles which it possesses in common with all other religions -- came forward and said -- "A Christian has no right to exploit his brethren!" But the ruling classes laughed in their faces with the reply -- "Teach the people Christian resignation, tell them in the name of Christ that they should offer their left cheek to whosoever smites them on the right, then you will be welcome; as for the dreams of equality which you find in Christianity, go and meditate on your discoveries in prison."

Later on Socialism spoke in the name of Governmentalism; it said -- "Since it is the special mission of the State to protect the weak against the strong, it is its duty to aid working men's associations; the State alone can enable working men to fight against capital and to oppose to capitalistic exploitation the free workshop of workers pocketing the entire value of the produce of their labor." To this the Bourgeoisie replied with grapeshot in 1848.

It was not until between twenty to thirty years later, at a time when the popular masses were invited to express their mind in the International Working Men's Association, that Socialism spoke in the name of the people, and formulating itself little little in the Congresses of the great Association and later on among its successors, arrived at some such conclusion as the following:

All accumulated wealth is the product of the labor of all -- of the present and of all preceding generations. This hall ill which we are now assembled derives its value from the fact that it is situated in Paris -- this magnificent city built by the labors of twenty successive generations. If this same hall were conveyed amid the snows of Siberia its value would be next to nothing. The machinery which you have invented and patented bears within itself the intelligence of five or six generations and is only possessed of value because it forms part of that immense whole that we call the progress of the nineteenth century. If you send your lace-making machine among the natives of New Guinea it will become valueless. We defy any mall of genius of our times to tell us what share his intellect has had in the magnificent deductions of the book, the work of talent which he has produced! Generations have toiled to accumulate facts for him, his ideas have perhaps been suggested to him by a locomotive crossing the plains, as for elegance of design he has grasped it while admiring the Venus of Milo or the work of Murillo, and finally, if his book exercises any influence over us, it does so thanks to all the circumstances of our civilization.

Everything belongs to all! We defy anyone soever to tell us what share of the general wealth is due to each individual. See the enormous mass of appliances which the nineteenth century has created; behold those millions of iron slaves which we call machines and which plane and saw, weave and spin for us, separate and combine the raw materials, anti work the miracles of our times. No one has tile right to monopolise any one of these machines and to say to others -- "This is mine. If you wish to make of it you must pay me a tax on each article you produce," any more than the feudal lord of the middle ages had the right to say to the cultivator -- "This hill and this meadow are mine and you must pay me tribute for every sheaf of barley you bind, and on each haycock you heap up."

All belongs to everyone! And provided each man and woman contributes his and her share of labor for the production of necessary objects, they have a right to share in all that is produced by everybody.


ALL things belong to all, and provided that men and women contribute their share of labour for the production of necessary objects, they are entitled to their share of all that is produced by the community at large. "But this is Communism," you may say. Yes, it is Communism, but it is the Communism which no longer speaks in the name of religion or of the state, but in the name of the people. During the past fifty years a great awakening of the working-class has taken place: the prejudice in favour of private property is passing away. The worker grows mere and more accustomed to regard the factory, the railway, or the mine, not as a feudal castle belonging to a lord, but as an institution of public utility which the public has the right to control. The idea of possession in common has not been worked out from the slow deductions of some thinker buried in his private study, it is a thought which is germinating in the brains of the working masses, and when the revolution, which the close of this century has in store for us, shall have hurled confusion into the camp of our exploiters, you will see that the mass of the people will demand Expropriation, and will proclaim its right to the factory, the locomotive, and the steamship.

Just as the sentiment of the inviolability of the home has developed during the latter half of our century, so also the sentiment of collective right to all that serves for the production of wealth has developed among the masses. It is a fact, and he who, like ourselves. wishes to share the popular life and follow its development, must acknowledge that this affirmation is a faithful summary of the people's aspirations. The tendency of this closing century is towards Communism, not the monastic or barrack-room Communism formerly advocated, but the free Communism which places the products reaped or manufactured in common at the disposal of all, leaving to each the liberty to consume them as he pleases in his own home.

This is the solution of which the mass of the people can most readily take hold, and it is the solution which the people demands at the most solemn epochs. In 1848 the formula "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" was the one which went straight to the heart of the masses, and if they acclaimed the Republic and universal suffrage, it was because they hoped to attain to Communism through them. In I87I, also, when the people besieged m Paris desired to make a supreme effort to resist the invader, what was their demand? -- That free rations should be served out to everyone. Let all articles be put into one common stock and let them be distributed according to the requirements of each. Let each one take freely of all that is abundant and let those objects which are less plentiful be distributed more sparingly and in due proportions -- this is the solution which the mass of the workers understand best. This is also the system which is commonly practiced in the rural districts (of France). So long as the common lands afford abundant pasture, what Commune seeks to restrict their use? When brushwood and chestnuts are plentiful, what Commune forbids its members to take as much as they want? And when the larger wood begins to grow scarce, what course does the peasant adopt? -- The allowancing of individuals.

Let us take from the common stock the articles which are abundant, and let those objects whose production is more restricted be served out in allowances according to requirements, giving preference to children and old persons, that is to say, to the weak. And, moreover, let all be consumed, not in public, but at home, according to individual tastes and in company with one's family and Friends. This is the ideal of the masses.

But it is not enough to argue about, "Communism" and "Expropriation;" it is furthermore necessary to know who should have the management of the common patrimony, and it is especially on this question that different schools of Socialists are opposed to one another, some desiring authoritarian Communism, and others, like ourselves, declaring unreservedly in favour of anarchist Communism. In order to judge between these two, let us return once again to our starting point, the Revolution of last century.

In overturning royalty the Revolution proclaimed the sovereignty of the people; but, by an inconsistency which was very natural at that time, it proclaimed, not a permanent sovereignty, but an intermittent one, to be exercised at certain intervals only, for the nomination of deputies supposed to represent the people. In reality it copied its institutions from the representative government of England. The Revolution was drowned in blood, and, nevertheless, representative government became the watchword of Europe. All Europe, with the exception of Russia, has tried it, under all possible forms, from government based on a property qualification to the direct government of the little Swiss republics. But, strange to say, just in proportion as we have approached nearer to the ideal of a representative government, elected by a perfectly free universal suffrage, in that same proportion have its essential vices become manifest to us, till we have clearly seen that this mode of government is radically defective. Is it not indeed absurd to take a certain number of men from out the mass, and to entrust them with the management of all public-affairs, saying to them, "Attend to these matters, we exonerate ourselves from the task by laying it upon you: it is for you to make laws on all manner of subjects -- armaments and mad dogs, observatories and chimneys, instruction and street-sweeping: arrange these things as you please and make laws about them, since you are the chosen ones whom the people has voted capable of doing everything! "It appears to me that if a thoughtful and honest man were offered such a post, he would answer somewhat in this fashion: --

"You entrust me with a task which I am unable to fulfil. I am unacquainted with most of the questions upon which I shall be called on to legislate. I shall either have to work to some extent in the dark, which will not be to your advantage, or I shall appeal to you and summon meetings in which you will yourselves seek to come to an understanding on the questions at issue, in which case my office will be unnecessary. If you have formed an. opinion and have formulated it, and if you are anxious to come to an understanding with others who have also formed an-opinion on the same subject, then all you need do is to communicate with your neighbours and send a delegate to come to an understanding with other delegates on this specific question; but you will certainly reserve to yourselves the right of taking an ultimate decision; you will not entrust your delegate with the making of laws for you. This is how scientists and business men act each time that they have to come to an agreement."

But the above reply would be a repudiation of the representative system, and nevertheless it is a faithful expression of the idea which is growing everywhere since the vices of representative government have been exposed in all their nakedness. Our age, however, has gone still further, for it has begun to discuss the rights of the State and of Society in relation to the individual; people now ask to what point the interference of the State is necessary in the multitudinous functions of society.

Do we require a government to educate our children? Only let the worker have leisure to instruct himself, and you will see that, through the free initiative of parents and of persons fond of tuition, thousands of educational societies and schools of all Kinds will spring up, rivalling one another in the excellence of their teaching. If we were not crushed by taxation and exploited by employers, as we now are, could we not ourselves do much better than is now done for us? The great centres would initiate progress and se the example, and you may be sure that the progress realised would be incomparably superior to what we now attain through our ministeries. -- Is the State even necessary for the defence of a territory? If armed brigands attack a people, is not that same people, armed with good weapons, the surest rampart to oppose to the foreign aggressor? Standing armies are always beaten by invaders, and history teaches that the latter are to be repulsed by a popular rising alone. -- While Government is an excellent machine to protect monopoly, has it ever been able to protect us against ill-disposed persons? Does it not, by creating misery, increase the number of crimes instead of diminishing them? In establishing prisons into which multitudes of men, women, and children are thrown for a time in order to come forth infinitely worse than when they went in, does not the State maintain nurseries of vice at the expense of the tax-payers? In obliging us to commit to others the care of our affairs, does it not create the most terrible vice of societies -- indifference to public matters?

On the other hand, if we analyse all the great advances made in this century -- our international traffic, our industrial discoveries, our means of communication -- do we find that we owe them to the State or to private enterprise? Look at the network of railways which cover Europe. At Madrid, for example, you take a ticket for St. Petersburg direct. You travel along railroads which have been constructed by millions of workers, set in motion by dozens of companies; your carriage is attached in turn to Spanish, French, Bavarian, and Russian locomotives: you travel without losing twenty minutes anywhere, and the two hundred francs which you paid in Madrid will be divided to a nicety among the companies which have combined to forward you to your destination. This line from Madrid to St. Petersburg has been constructed in small isolated branches which have been gradually connected, and direct trains are the result of an understanding which has been arrived at between twenty different companies. Of course there has been considerable friction at the outset, and at times some companies, influenced by an unenlightened egotism have been unwilling to come to terms with the others; but, I ask, was it better to put up with this occasional friction, or to wait until some Bismarck, Napoleon, or Zengis Khan should have conquered Europe, traced the lines with a pair of compasses, and regulated the despatch of the trains? If the latter course had been adopted, we should still be in the days of stage-coaches.

The network of railways is the work of the human mind proceeding from the simple to the complex by the spontaneous efforts of the parties interested, and it is thus that all the great enterprises of our age have been undertaken. It is quite true, indeed, that we pay too much to the managers of these enterprises; this is an additional reason for suppressing their incomes, but not for confiding the management of European railways to a central European government.

What thousands of examples one could cite in support of this same idea! Take all great enterprises such as the Suez Canal, the lines of Atlantic steamers, the telegraph which connects us with North and South America. Consider also that commercial organisation which enables you on rising in the morning to find bread at the baker's -- that is, if you have the money to pay for it, which is not always the case now-a-days -- meat at the butcher's, and all other things that you want at other shops Is this the work of the State? It is true that we pay abominably dearly for middlemen; this is, however, an additional reason for suppressing, them, but not for believing that we must entrust government with the care of providing for our feeding and clothing. If we closely scan the development of the human mind in our times we are struck by the number of associations which spring up to meet the varied requirement of the individual of our age -- societies for study, for commerce, for pleasure and recreation; some of them, very small, for the propagation of a universal language or a certain method of short-hand writing; others with large arms, such as that which has recently been established for the defence of the English coast, or for the avoidance of lawsuits, and so on. To make a list of the associations which exist in Europe, volumes would be necessary, and it would be seen that there is not a single branch of human activity with which one or other does not concern itself. The State itself appeals to them in the discharge of its most important function -- war; it says," We undertake to slaughter, but we cannot take care of our victims; form a Red Cross Society to gather up the wounded on the battle. field and to take care of them."

Let others, if they will, advocate industrial barrack: or the monastery of Authoritarian Communism, we declare that the tendency of society is in an opposite direction. We foresee millions and millions of groups freely constituting themselves for the satisfaction of all the varied needs of human beings -- some of these groups organised by quarter, street, and house; others extending hands across the walls of cities, over frontiers and oceans. All of these will be composed of human beings who will combine freely, and after having performed their share of productive labour will meet together, either for the purpose of consumption, or to produce objects of art or luxury, or to advance science in a new direction. This is the tendency of the nineteenth century, and we follow it; we only ask to develop it freely, without any governmental interference. Individual liberty!" Take pebbles," said Fourrier, "put them into a box and shake them, and they will arrange themselves in a mosaic that you could never get by entrusting to anyone the work of arranging them harmoniously."


NOW let me pass to the third part of my subject -- the most important with respect to the future.

There is no more room for doubting that religions are going, the nineteenth century has given them their death blow. But religions -- all religions -- have a double composition. They contain in the first place a primitive cosmogony, a rude attempt at explaining nature, and they furthermore contain a statement of the public morality born and developed within the mass of the people. But when we throw religions overboard or store them among our public records as historical curiosities, shall we also relegate to museums the moral principles which they contain 7 This has sometimes been done, and we have seen people declare that as they no longer believed in the various religions so they despised morality and boldly proclaimed the maxim of bourgeois selfishness," Everyone for himself." But a Society, human or animal, cannot exist without certain rules and moral habits springing up within it; religion may go, morality remains. If we were to come to consider that a man did well in lying, deceiving his neighbours, or plundering them when possible (this is the middle-class business morality), we; should come to such a pass that we could no longer live together. You might assure me of your friendship, but perhaps you might only do so in order to rob me more easily; you might promise to do a certain thing for me, only to deceive me; you might promise to forward a letter for me, and you might steal it just like an ordinary governor of a jail. Under such conditions society would become impossible, and this is so generally understood that the repudiation of religions in no way prevents public morality from being maintained, developed, and raised to a higher and ever higher standard. This fact is so striking that philosophers seek to explain it by the principles of utilitarianism, and recently Spencer sought to base the morality which exists among us upon physiological causes and the needs connected with the preservation of the race.

Let me give you an example in order to explain to you what we think on the matter.

A child is drowning, and four men who stand upon the bank see it struggling in the water, One of them does not stir, he is a partisan of " Each one for -himself," the maxim of the commercial middle-class; this one is a brute and we need not speak of him further The next one reasons thus: "If I save the child, a good report of my action will be made to the ruler of heaven, and the Creator will reward me by increasing my flocks and my serfs," and thereupon he plunges into the water. Is he therefore a moral man? Clearly not! He is a shrewd calculator, that is all. The third, who is an utilitarian, reflects thus (or at least utilitarian philosophers represent him as so reasoning): " Pleasures can be classed in two categories, inferior pleasures and higher ones, To save the life of anyone is a superior pleasure infinitely more intense and more durable than others; therefore I will save the child." Admitting that any man ever reasoned thus, would he not be a terrible egotist? and, moreover, could we ever be sure that his sophistical brain would not at some given moment cause his will to incline towards an inferior pleasure, that is to say, towards refraining from troubling himself? There remains the fourth individual. This man has been brought up from his childhood to feel himself one with the rest of humanity: from his childhood he has always regarded men as possessing interests in common: he has accustomed himself to suffer when his neighbours suffer, and to feel happy when everyone around him is happy. Directly he hears the heart. rending cry of the mother, he leaps into the water, not through reflection but by instinct, and when she thanks him for saving her child, he says, "What have I done to deserve thanks, my good woman? I am happy to see you happy; I have acted from natural impulse and could not do otherwise!"

You recognise in this case the truly moral man, and feel that the others are only egotists in comparison with him. The whole anarchist morality is represented in this example. It is the morality of a people which does not look for the sun at midnight -- a morality without compulsion or authority, a morality of habit. Let us create circumstances in which man shall not be led to deceive nor exploit others, and then by the very force of things the moral level of humanity will rise to. a height hitherto unknown. Men are certainly not to be moralised by teaching them a moral catechism: tribunals and prisons do not diminish vice; they pour it over society in Hoods. Men are to be moralised only by placing them in a position which shall contribute to develop in them those habits which are social, and to weaken those which are not so. A morality which has become instinctive is the true morality, the only morality which endures while religions and systems of philosophy pass away.

Let us now combine the three preceding elements, and we shall have Anarchy and its place in Socialistic Evolution.

Emancipation of the producer from the yoke of capital; production in common and free consumption of all the products of the common labour.

Emancipation from the governmental yoke; free development of individuals in groups and federations) free organisation ascending from the simple to the complex, according to mutual needs and tendencies.

Emancipation from religious morality; free morality, without compulsion or authority, developing itself from social life and becoming habitual.

The above is no dream of students, it is a conclusion which results from an analysis of the tendencies of modern society: Anarchist Communism is the union of the two fundamental tendencies of our society -- a tendency towards economic equality, and a tendency towards political liberty. So long as Communism presented itself under an authoritarian form, which necessarily implies government, armed with much greater power than that which it possesses to-day, inasmuch as it implies economic in addition to political power -- so long as this was the case, Communism met with no sufficient response. Before 1848 it could, indeed, sometimes excite for a moment the enthusiasm of the worker who was prepared to submit to any all-powerful government, provided it would release him from the terrible situation in which he was placed, but it left the true friends of liberty indifferent.

Anarchist Communism maintains that most valuable of all conquests -- individual liberty -- and moreover extends it and gives it a solid basis -- economic liberty -without which political liberty is delusive; it does not ask the individual who has rejected god, the universal tyrant, god the king, and god the parliament, to give unto himself a god more terrible than any of the preceding -- god the Community, or to abdicate upon its altar his independence, his will, his tastes, and to renew the vow of asceticism which he formerly made before the crucified god. It says to him, on the contrary, " No society is free so long as the individual is not so I Do not seek to modify society by imposing upon it an authority which shall make everything right; if you do, you will fail as popes and emperors have failed. Modify society so that your fellows may not be any longer your enemies by the force of circumstances: abolish the conditions which allow some to monopolise the fruit of the labour of others; and instead of attempting to construct society from top to bottom, or from the centre to the circumference, let it develop itself freely from the simple to the composite by the free union of free groups. This course, which is so much obstructed at present, is the true forward march of society: do not seek to hinder it, do not turn your back on progress, but march along with it I Then the sentiment of sociability which is common to human beings, as it is to all animals living in society, will be able to develop itself freely, because our fellows will no longer be our enemies, and we shall thus arrive at a state of things in which each individual will be able to give free rein to his inclinations, and even to his passions, without any other restraint than the love and respect of those who surround him."

This is our ideal, and it is the ideal which lies deep in the hearts of peoples -- of all peoples. We know full well that this ideal will not be attained without violent shocks; the close of this century has a formidable revolution in store for us: whether it begins in France, Germany, Spain, or Russia, it will be a European one, and spreading with the same rapidity as that of our fathers, the heroes of 1848, it will set all Europe in a blaze. This coming Revolution will not aim at a mere change of government, but will have a social character; the work of expropriation will commence, and exploiters will be driven out. Whether we like it or not, this will be done independently of the will of individuals, and when hands are laid on private property we shall arrive at Communism, because we shall be forced to do so. Communism, however, cannot be either authoritarian or parliamentary, it must either be anarchist or nonexistent; the mass of the people does not desire to trust itself again to any saviour, but will seek to organise itself by itself.

We do not advocate Communism and Anarchy because we imagine men to be better than they really are; if we had angels among us we might be tempted to entrust to them the task of organising us, though doubtless even they would show the cloven foot very soon. But it is just because we take men as they are that we say: "Do not entrust them with the governing of you. This or that despicable minister might have been an excellent man if power had not been given to him. The only way of arriving at harmony of interests is by a society without exploiters and without rulers." It is precisely because men are not angels that we say, "Let us arrange matters so that each man may see his interest bound up with the interests of others, thin you will no longer have to fear his evil passions."

Anarchist Communism being the inevitable result of existing tendencies, it is towards this ideal that we must direct our steps, instead of saying, " Yes; Anarchy is an excellent ideal," and then turning our backs upon it. Should the approaching revolution not succeed in realising the whole of this ideal, still all that shall have been effected in the direction of it will remain; but all that shall have been done in a contrary direction will be doomed to disappear. It is a general rule that a popular revolution may be vanquished, but that, nevertheless, it furnishes a motto for the evolution of the succeeding century.! France expired under the heel of the allies in 1815, and yet the action of France had rendered serfdom impossible of continuance, all over Europe and representative government inevitable; universal suffrage was drowned in blood, and yet universal suffrage is the watchword of the century. In 1871 the Commune expired under volleys of grapeshot, and yet the watchword in France to-day is "the Free Commune." I And if Anarchist Communism is vanquished in the coming revolution, after having asserted itself in the light of day, not only will it leave behind it the abolition of private property not only will the working man have learned his true place in society, not only will the landed and mercantile aristocracy have received a mortal blow, but Communist Anarchism will be the goal of the evolution of the twentieth century.

Anarchist Communism sums up all that is most beautiful and most durable in the progress of humanity; the sentiment of justice, the sentiment of liberty, and solidarity or community of interest. It guarantees the free evolution, both of the individual and of society. Therefore, it will triumph.

Anarchist Morality (1891)

Peter Kropotkin

Note For "Anarchist Morality"

This study of the origin and function of what we call "morality" was written for pamphlet publication as a result of an amusing situation. An anarchist who ran a store in England found that his comrades in the movement regarded it as perfectly right to take his goods without paying for them. "To each according to his need" seemed to them to justify letting those who were best able foot the bills. Kropotkin was appealed to, with the result that he not only condemned such doctrine, but was moved to write the comrades this sermon.

Its conception of morality is based on the ideas set forth in _Mutual Aid_ and later developed in his _Ethics_. Here they are given special application to "right and wrong" in the business of social living. The job is done with fine feeling and with acute shafts at the shams of current morality.

Kropotkin sees the source of all so-called moral ideas in primitive superstitions. The real moral sense which guides our social behavior is instinctive, based on the sympathy and unity inherent in group life. Mutual aid is the condition of successful social living. The moral base is therefore the good old golden rule "Do to others as you would have others do to you in the same circumstances," --which disposed of the ethics of the shopkeeper's anarchist customers.

This natural moral sense was perverted, Kropotkin says, by the superstitions surrounding law, religion and authority, deliberately cultivated by conquerors, exploiters and priests for their own benefit. Morality has therefore become the instrument of ruling classes to protect their privileges.

He defends the morality of killing for the benefit of mankind --as in the assassination of tyrants--- but never for self. Love and hate he regards as greater social forces for controlling wrong-doing than punishment, which he rejects as useless and evil. Account-book morality –doing right only to receive a benefit-- he scores roundly, urging instead the satisfactions and joy of "sowing life around you" by giving yourself to the uttermost to your fellow-men. Not of course to do them good, in the spirit of philanthropy, but to be one with them, equal and sharing.


The history of human thought recalls the swinging of a pendulum which takes centuries to swing. After a long period of slumber comes a moment of awakening. Then thought frees herself from the chains with which those interested --rulers, lawyers, clerics-- have carefully enwound her.

She shatters the chains. She subjects to severe criticism all that has been taught her, and lays bare the emptiness of the religious political, legal, and social prejudices amid which she has vegetated. She starts research in new paths, enriches our knowledge with new discoveries, creates new sciences.

But the inveterate enemies of thought --the government, the lawgiver, and the priest-- soon recover from their defeat. By degrees they gather together their scattered forces, and remodel their faith and their code of laws to adapt them to the new needs. Then, profiting by the servility of thought and of character, which they themselves have so effectually cultivated; profiting, too, by the momentary disorganization of society, taking advantage of the laziness of some, the greed of others, the best hopes of many, they softly creep back to their work by first of all taking possession of childhood through education.

A child's spirit is weak. It is so easy to coerce it by fear. This they do. They make the child timid, and then they talk to him of the torments of hell. They conjure up before him the sufferings of the condemned, the vengeance of an implacable god. The next minute they will be chattering of the horrors of revolution, and using some excess of the revolutionists to make the child "a friend of order." The priest accustoms the child to the idea of law, to make it obey better what he calls the "divine law," and the lawyer prates of divine law, that the civil law may be the better obeyed.

And by that habit of submission, with which we are only too familiar, the thought of the next generation retains this religious twist, which is at once servile and authoritative, for authority and servility walk ever hand in hand. During these slumbrous interludes, morals are rarely discussed. Religious practices and judicial hypocrisy take their place. People do not criticize, they let themselves be drawn by habit, or indifference.They do not put themselves out for or against the established morality. They do their best to make their actions appear to accord with their professions.

All that was good, great, generous or independent in man, little by little becomes moss-grown; rusts like a disused knife. A lie becomes a virtue, a platitude a duty. To enrich oneself, to seize one's opportunities, to exhaust one's intelligence, zeal and energy, no matter how, become the watchwords of the comfortable classes, as well as of the crowd of poor folk whose ideal is to appear bourgeois. Then the degradation of the ruler and of the judge, of the clergy and of the more or less comfortable classes becomes so revolting that the pendulum begins to swing the other way.

Little by little, youth frees itself. It flings overboard its prejudices, and it begins to criticize. Thought reawakens, at first among the few; but insensibly the awakening reaches the majority. The impulse is given, the revolution follows. And each time the question of morality comes up again. "Why should I follow the principles of this hypocritical morality?" asks the brain, released from religious terrors. Why should any morality be obligatory?"

Then people try to account for the moral sentiment that they meet at every turn without having explained it to themselves. And they will never explain it so long as they believe it a privilege of human nature, so long as they do not descend to animals, plants and rocks to understand it. They seek the answer, however, in the science of the hour.

And, if we may venture to say so, the more the basis of conventional morality, or rather of the hypocrisy that fills its place is sapped, the more the moral plane of society is raised. It is above all at such times precisely when folks are criticizing and denying it, that moral sentiment makes the most progress. It is then that it grows, that it is raised and refined.

Years ago the youth of Russia were passionately agitated by this very question. "I will be immoral!" a young nihilist came and said to his friend, thus translating into action the thoughts that gave him no rest. "I will be immoral, and why should I not? Because the Bible wills it? But the Bible is only a collection of Babylonian and Hebrew traditions, traditions collected and put together like the Homeric poems, or as is being done still with Basque poems and Mongolian legends. Must I then go back to the state of mind of the half-civilized peoples of the East?

"Must I be moral because Kant tells me of a categoric imperative, of a mysterious command which comes to me from the depths of my own being and bids me be moral? But why should this 'categoric imperative' exercise a greater authority over my actions than that other imperative, which at times may command me to get drunk. A word, nothing but a word, like the words 'Providence,' or 'Destiny,' invented to conceal our ignorance.

"Or perhaps I am to be moral to oblige Bentham, who wants me to believe that I shall be happier if I drown to save a passerby who has fallen into the river than if I watched him drown?

"Or perhaps because such has been my education? Because my mother taught me morality? Shall I then go and kneel down in a church, honor the Queen, bow before the judge I know for a scoundrel, simply because our mothers, our good ignorant mothers, have taught us such a pack of nonsense ?

"I am prejudiced, --like everyone else. I will try to rid myself of prejudice! Even though immorality be distasteful, I will yet force myself to be immoral, as when I was a boy I forced myself to give up fearing the dark, the churchyard, ghosts and dead people --all of which I had been taught to fear.

"It will be immoral to snap a weapon abused by religion; I will do it, were it only to protect against the hypocrisy imposed on us in the name of a word to which the name morality has been given!"

Such was the way in which the youth of Russia reasoned when they broke with old-world prejudices, and unfurled this banner of nihilist or rather of anarchist philosophy: to bend the knee to no authority whatsoever, however respected; to accept no principle so long as it is unestablished by reason.

Need we add, that after pitching into the waste-paper basket the teachings of their fathers, and burning all systems of morality, the nihilist youth developed in their midst a nucleus of moral customs, infinitely superior to anything that their fathers had practiced under the control of the "Gospel," of the "Conscience," of the "Categoric Imperative," or of the "Recognized Advantage" of the utilitarian. But before answering the question, "Why am I to be moral ?" let us see if the question is well put; let us analyze the motives of human action.


When our ancestors wished to account for what led men to act in one way or another, they did so in a very simple fashion. Down to the present day, certain catholic images may be seen that represent this explanation. A man is going on his way, and without being in the least aware of it, carries a devil on his left shoulder and an angel on his right. The devil prompts him to do evil, the angel tries to keep him back. And if the angel gets the best of it and the man remains virtuous, three other angels catch him up and carry him to heaven. In this way everything is explained wondrously well.

Old Russian nurses full of such lore will tell you never to put a child to bed without unbuttoning the collar of its shirt. A warm spot at the bottom of the neck should be left bare, where the guardian angel may nestle. Otherwise the devil will worry the child even in its sleep.

These artless conceptions are passing away. But though the old words disappear, the essential idea remains the same.

Well brought up folks no longer believe in the devil, but as their ideas are no more rational than those of our nurses, they do but disguise devil and angel under a pedantic wordiness honored with the name of philosophy. They do not say "devil" nowadays, but "the flesh," or "the passions." The"angel" is replaced by the words "conscience" or "soul," by "reflection of the thought of a divine creator" or "the Great Architect," as the Free-Masons say. But man's action is still represented as the result of a struggle between two hostile elements. And a man is always considered virtuous just in the degree to which one of these two elements --the soul or conscience-- is victorious over the other --the flesh or passions.

It is easy to understand the astonishment of our great-grandfathers when the English philosophers, and later the Encyclopedists, began to affirm in opposition to these primitive ideas that the devil and the angel had nothing to do with human action, but that all acts of man, good or bad, useful or baneful, arise from a single motive: the lust for pleasure.

The whole religious confraternity, and, above all, the numerous sects of the pharisees shouted "immorality." They covered the thinkers with insult, they excommunicated them. And when later on in the course of the century the same ideas were again taken up by Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Tchernischevsky, and a host of others, and when these thinkers began to affirm and prove that egoism, or the lust for pleasure, is the true motive of all our actions, the maledictions redoubled. The books were banned by a conspiracy of silence; the authors were treated as dunces.

And yet what can be more true than the assertion they made?

Here is a man who snatches its last mouthful of bread from a child. Every one agrees in saying that he is a horrible egoist, that he is guided solely by self-love.

But now here is another man, whom every one agrees to recognize as virtuous. He shares his last bit of bread with the hungry, and strips off his coat to clothe the naked. And the moralists, sticking to their religious jargon, hasten to say that this man carries the love of his neighbor to the point of self-abnegation, that he obeys a wholly different passion from that of the egoist. And yet with a little reflection we soon discover that however great the difference between the two actions in their result for humanity, the motive has still been the same. It is the quest of pleasure.

If the man who gives away his last shirt found no pleasure in doing so, he would not do it. If he found pleasure in taking bread from a child, he would do that but this is distasteful to him. He finds pleasure in giving, and so he gives. If it were not inconvenient to cause confusion by employing in a new sense words that have a recognized meaning, it might be said that in both cases the men acted under the impulse of their egoism. Some have actually said this, to give prominence to the thought and precision to the idea by presenting it in a form that strikes the imagination, and at the same time to destroy the myth which asserts that these two acts have two different motives. They have the same motive, the quest of pleasure, or the avoidance of pain, which comes to the same thing.

Take for example the worst of scoundrels: a Thiers, who massacres thirty-five thousand Parisians, or an assassin who butchers a whole family in order that he may wallow in debauchery. They do it because for the moment the desire of glory or of money gains in their minds the upper hand of every other desire. Even pity and compassion are extinguished for the moment by this other desire, this other thirst. They act almost automatically to satisfy a craving of their nature. Or again, putting aside the stronger passions, take the petty man who deceives his friends, who lies at every step to get out of somebody the price of a pot of beer, or from sheer love of brag, or from cunning. Take the employer who cheats his workmen to buy jewels for his wife or his mistress. Take any petty scoundrel you like. He again only obeys an impulse. He seeks the satisfaction of a craving, or he seeks to escape what would give him trouble.

We are almost ashamed to compare such petty scoundrels with one who sacrifices his whole existence to free the oppressed, and like a Russian nihilist mounts the scaffold. So vastly different for humanity are the results of these two lives; so much do we feel ourselves drawn towards the one and repelled by the other.

And yet were you to talk to such a martyr, to the woman who is about to be hanged, even just as she nears the gallows, she would tell you that she would not exchange either her life or her death for the life of the petty scoundrel who lives on the money stolen from his work-people. In her life, in the struggle against monstrous might, she finds her highest joys. Everything else outside the struggle, all the little joys of the bourgeois and his little troubles seem to her so contemptible, so tiresome, so pitiable! "You do not live, you vegetate," she would reply; "I have lived."

We are speaking of course of the deliberate, conscious acts of men, reserving for the present what we have to say about that immense series of unconscious, all but echanical acts, which occupy so large a portion of our life. In his deliberate, conscious acts man always seeks what will give him pleasure.

One man gets drunk, and every day lowers himself to the condition of a brute because he seeks in liquor the nervous excitement that he cannot obtain from his own nervous system. Another does not get drunk; he takes no liquor, even though he finds it pleasant, because he wants to keep the freshness of his thoughts and the plentitude of his powers, that he may be able to taste other pleasures which he prefers to drink. But how does he act if not like the judge of good living who, after glancing at the menu of an elaborate dinner rejects one dish that he likes very well to eat his fill of another that he likes better.

When a woman deprives herself of her last piece of bread to give it to the first comer, when she takes off her own scanty rags to cover another woman who is cold, while she herself shivers on the deck of a vessel, she does so because she would suffer infinitely more in seeing a hungry man, or a woman starved with cold, than in shivering or feeling hungry herself. She escapes a pain of which only those who have felt it know the intensity.

When the Australian, quoted by Guyau, wasted away beneath the idea that he has not yet revenged his kinsman's death; when he grows thin and pale, a prey to the consciousness of his cowardice, and does not return to life till he has done the deed of vengeance, he performs this action, a heroic one sometimes, to free himself of a feeling which possesses him, to regain that inward peace which is the highest of pleasures.

When a troupe of monkeys has seen one of its members fall in consequence of a hunter's shot, and comes to besiege his tent and claim the body despite the threatening gun; when at length the Elder of the band goes right in, first threatens the hunter, then implores him, and finally by his lamentations induces him to give up the corpse, which the groaning troupe carry off into the forest, these monkeys obey a feeling of compassion stronger than all considerations of personal security. This feeling in them exceeds all others. Life itself loses its attraction for them while they are not sure whether they can restore life to their comrade or not. This feeling becomes so oppressive that the poor brutes do everything to get rid of it.

When the ants rush by thousands into the flames of the burning ant-hill, which that evil beast, man, has set on fire, and perish by hundreds to rescue their larvae, they again obey a craving to save their offspring. They risk everything for the sake of bringing away the larvae that they have brought up with more care than many women bestow on their children.

To seek pleasure, to avoid pain, is the general line of action (some would say law) of the organic world.

Without this quest of the agreeable, life itself would be impossible. Organisms would disintegrate, life cease.

Thus whatever a man's actions and line of conduct may be, he does what he does in obedience to a craving of his nature. The most repulsive actions, no less than actions which are indifferent or most attractive, are all equally dictated by a need of the individual who performs them. Let him act as he may, the individual acts as he does because he finds a pleasure in it, or avoids, or thinks he avoids, a pain.

Here we have a well-established fact. Here we have the essence of what has been called the egoistic theory.

Very well, are we any better off for having reached this general conclusion?

Yes, certainly we are. We have conquered a truth and destroyed a prejudice which lies at the root of all prejudices. All materialist philosophy in its relation to man is implied in this conclusion. But does it follow that all the actions of the individual are indifferent, as some have hastened to conclude? This is what we have now to see.


We have seen that men's actions (their deliberate and conscious actions, for we will speak afterwards of unconscious habits) all have the same origin. Those that are called virtuous and those that are designated as vicious, great devotions and petty knaveries, acts that attract and acts that repel, all spring from a common source. All are performed in answer to some need of the individual's nature. all have for their end the quest of pleasure, the desire to avoid pain.

We have seen this in the last section, which is but a very succinct summary of a mass of facts that might be brought forward in support of this view. It is easy to understand how this explanation makes those still imbued with religious principles cry out. It leaves no room for the supernatural. It throws over the idea of an immortal soul. If man only acts in obedience to the needs of his nature, if he is, so to say, but a "conscious automaton," what becomes of the immortal soul? What of immortality, that last refuge of those who have known too few pleasures and too many sufferings, and who dream of finding some compensation in another world?

It is easy to understand how people who have grown up in prejudice and with but little confidence in science, which has so often deceived them, people who are led by feeling rather than thought, reject an explanation which takes from them their last hope.


Mosaic, Buddhist, Christian and Mussulman theologians have had recourse to divine inspiration to distinguish between good and evil. They have seen that man, be he savage or civilized, ignorant or learned, perverse or kindly and honest, always knows if he is acting well or ill, especially always knows if he is acting ill. And as they have found no explanation of this general fact, they have put it down to divine inspiration. Metaphysical philosophers, on their side, have told us of conscience, of a mystic "imperative," and, after all, have changed nothing but the phrases.

But neither have known how to estimate the very simple and very striking fact that animals living in societies are also able to distinguish between good and evil, just as man does. Moreover, their conceptions of good and evil are of the same nature as those of man. Among the best developed representatives of each separate class, --fish, insects, birds, mammals,-- they are even identical.

Forel, that inimitable observer of ants, has shown by a mass of observations and facts that when an ant who has her crop well filled with honey meets other ants with empty stomachs, the latter immediately ask her for food. And amongst these little insects it is the duty of the satisfied ant to disgorge the honey that her hungry friends may also be satisfied. Ask the ants if it would be right to refuse food to other ants of the same anthill when one has had oneUs share. They will answer, by actions impossible to mistake, that it would be extremely wrong. So selfish an ant would be more harshly treated than enemies of another species. If such a thing happens during a battle between two different species, the ants would stop fighting to fall upon their selfish comrade. This fact has been proved by experiments which exclude all doubt.

Or again, ask the sparrows living in your garden if it is right not to give notice to all the little society when some crumbs are thrown out, so that all may come and share in the meal. Ask them if that hedge sparrow has done right in stealing from his neighbor's nest those straws he had picked up, straws which the thief was too lazy to go and collect himself. The sparrows will answer that he is very wrong, by flying at the robber and pecking him.

Or ask the marmots if it is right for one to refuse access to his underground storehouse to other marmots of the same colony. they will answer that it is very wrong, by quarrelling in all sorts of ways with the miser.

Finally, ask primitive man if it is right to take food in the tent of a member of the tribe during his absence. He will answer that, if the man could get his food for himself, it was very wrong. On the other hand, if he was weary or in want, he ought to take food where he finds it; but in such a case, he will do well to leave his cap or his knife, or even a bit of knotted string, so that the absent hunter may know on his return that a friend has been there, not a robber. Such a precaution will save him the anxiety caused by the possible presence of a marauder near his tent.

Thousands of similar facts might be quoted, whole books might be written, to show how identical are the conceptions of good and evil amongst men and the other animals. The ant, the bird, the marmot, the savage have read neither Kant nor the fathers of the Church nor even Moses. And yet all have the same idea of good and evil. And if you reflect for a moment on what lies at the bottom of this idea, you will see directly that what is considered good among ants, marmots, and Christian or atheist moralists is that which is useful for the preservation of the race; and that which is considered evil is that which is hurtful for race preservation. Not for the individual, as Bentham and Mill put it, but fair and good for the whole race.

The idea of good and evil has thus nothing to do with religion or a mystic conscience. It is a natural need of animal races. And when founders of religions, philosophers, and moralists tell us of divine or metaphysical entities, they are only recasting what each ant, each sparrow practices in its little society.

Is this useful to society? Then it is good. Is this hurtful? Then it is bad.

This idea may be extremely restricted among inferior animals, it may be enlarged among the more advanced animals; but its essence always remains the same.

Among ants it does not extend beyond the anthill. All sociable customs, all rules of good behavior are applicable only to the individuals in that one anthill, not to any others. One anthill will not consider another as belonging to the same family, unless under some exceptional circumstances, such as a common distress falling upon both. In the same way the sparrows in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, though they will mutually aid one another in a striking manner, will fight to the death with another sparrow from the Monge Square who may dare to venture into the Luxembourg. And the savage will look upon a savage of another tribe as a person to whom the usages of his own tribe do not apply. It is even allowable to sell to him, and to sell is always to rob the buyer more or less; buyer or seller, one or other is always "sold." A Tchoutche would think it a crime to sell to the members of his tribe: to them he gives without any reckoning. And civilized man, when at last he understands the relations between himself Ind the simplest Papuan, close relations, though imperceptible at the first glance, will extend his principles of solidarity to the whole human race, and even to the animals. The idea enlarges, but its foundation remains the same.

On the other hand, the conception of good or evil varies according to the degree of intelligence or of knowledge acquired. There is nothing unchangeable about it. Primitive man may have thought it very right --that is, useful to the race-- to eat his aged parents when they became a charge upon the community-- a very heavy charge in the main. He may have also thought it useful to the community to kill his new-born children, and only keep two or three in each family, so that the mother could suckle them until they were three years old and lavish more of her tenderness upon them.

In our days ideas have changed, but the means of subsistence are no longer what they were in the Stone Age. Civilized man is not in the position of the savage family who have to choose between two evils: either to eat the aged parents or else all to get insufficient nourishment and soon find themselves unable to feed both the aged parents and the young children. We must transport ourselves into those ages, which we can scarcely call up in our mind, before we can understand that in the circumstances then existing, half-savage man may have reasoned rightly enough.

Ways of thinking may change. The estimate of what is useful or hurtful to the race changes, but the foundation remains the same. And if we wished to sum up the whole philosophy of the animal kingdom in a single phrase, we should see that ants, birds, marmots, and men are agreed on one point.

The morality which emerges from the observation of the whole animal kingdom may be summed up in the words: "Do to others what you would have them do to you in the same circumstances.

And it adds: "Take note that this is merely a piece of advice; but this advice is the fruit of the long experience of animals in society. And among the great mass of social animals, man included, it has become habitual to act on this principle. Indeed without this no society could exist, no race could have vanquished the natural obstacles against which it must struggle."

Is it really this very simple principle which emerges from the observation of social animals and human societies? Is it applicable? And how does this principle pass into a habit and continually develop? This is what we are now going to see.


The idea of good and evil exists within humanity itself. Man, whatever degree of intellectual development he may have attained, however his ideas may be obscured by prejudices and personal interest in general, considers as good that which is useful to the society wherein he lives, and as evil that which is hurtful to it.

But whence comes this conception, often so vague that it can scarcely be distinguished from a feeling? There are millions and millions of human beings who have never reflected about the human race. They know for the most part only the clan or family, rarely the nation, still more rarely mankind. How can it be that they should consider what is useful for the human race as good, or even attain a feeling of solidarity with their clan, in spite of all their narrow, selfish interests?

This fact has greatly occupied thinkers at all times, and it continues to occupy them still. We are going in our turn to give our view of the matter. But let us remark in passing that though the explanations of the fact may vary, the fact itself remains none the less incontestable. And should our explanation not be the true one, or should it be incomplete, the fact with its consequences to humanity will still remain. We may not be able fully to explain the origin of the planets revolving round the sun, but the planets revolve none the less, and one of them carries us with it in space.

We have already spoken of the religious explanation. If man distinguishes between good and evil, say theologians, it is God who has inspired him with this idea. Useful or hurtful is not for him to inquire; he must merely obey the fiat of his creator. We will not stop at this explanation, fruit of the ignorance and terrors of the savage. We pass on.

Others have tried to explain the fact by law. It must have been law that developed in man the sense of just and unjust, right and wrong. Our readers may judge of this explanation for themselves. They know that law has merely utilized the social feelings of man, to slip in, among the moral precepts he accepts, various mandates useful to an exploiting minority, to which his nature refuses obedience. Law has perverted the feeling of justice instead of developing it. Again let us pass on.

Neither let us pause at the explanation of the Utilitarians. They will have it that man acts morally from self-interest, and they forget his feelings of solidarity with the whole race, which exist, whatever be their origin. There is some truth in the Utilitarian explanation. But it is not the whole truth. Therefore, let us go further.

It is again to the thinkers of the eighteenth century that we are indebted for having guessed, in part at all events, the origin of the moral sentiment.

In a fine work, The Theory of Moral Sentiment, left to slumber in silence by religious prejudice, and indeed but little known even among anti-religious thinkers, Adam Smith has laid his finger on the true origin of the moral sentiment. He does not seek it in mystic religious feelings; he finds it simply in the feeling of sympathy.

You see a man beat a child. You know that the beaten child suffers. Your imagination causes you yourself to suffer the pain inflicted upon the child; or perhaps its tears, its little suffering face tell you. And if you are not a coward, you rush at the brute who is beating it and rescue it from him.

This example by itself explains almost all the moral sentiments. The more powerful your imagination, the better you can picture to yourself what any being feels when it is made to suffer, and the more intense and delicate will your moral sense be. The more you are drawn to put yourself in the place of the other person, the more you feel the pain inflicted upon him, the insult offered him, the injustice of which he is a victim, the more will you be urged to act so that you may prevent the pain, insult, or injustice. And the more you are accustomed by circumstances, by those surrounding you, or by the intensity of your own thought and your own imagination, to act as your thought and imagination urge, the more will the moral sentiment grow in you, the more will it become habitual.

This is what Adam Smith develops with a wealth of examples. He was young when he wrote this book which is far superior to the work of his old age upon political economy. Free from religious prejudice, he sought the explanation of morality in a physical fact of human nature, and this is why official and non-official theological prejudice has put the treatise on the Black List for a century.

Adam Smith's only mistake was not to have understood that this same feeling of sympathy in its habitual stage exists among animals as well as among men.

The feeling of solidarity is the leading characteristic of all animals living in society. The eagle devours the sparrow, the wolf devours the marmot. But the eagles and the wolves respectively aid each other in hunting, the sparrow and the marmot unite among themselves against the beasts and birds of prey so effectually that only the very clumsy ones are caught. In all animal societies solidarity is a natural law of far greater importance than that struggle for existence, the virtue of which is sung by the ruling classes in every strain that may best serve to stultify us.

When we study the animal world and try to explain to ourselves that struggle for existence maintained by each living being against adverse circumstances and against its enemies, we realize that the more the principles of solidarity and equality are developed in an animal society and have become habitual to it, the more chance has it of surviving and coming triumphantly out of the struggle against hardships and foes. The more thoroughly each member of the society feels his solidarity with each other member of the society, the more completely are developed in all of them those two qualities which are the main factors of all progress: courage on the one hand, and on the other, free individual initiative. And on the contrary, the more any animal society or little group of animals loses this feeling of solidarity --which may chance as the result of exceptional scarcity or else of exceptional plenty-- the more do the two other factors of progress courage and individual initiative, diminish. In the end they disappear, and the society falls into decay and sinks before its foes. Without mutual confidence no struggle is possible; there is no courage, no initiative, no solidarity-- and no victory! Defeat is certain.

We can prove with a wealth of examples how in the animal and human worlds the law of mutual aid is the law of progress, and how mutual aid with the courage and individual initiative which follow from it secures victory to the species most capable of practicing it. Now let us imagine this feeling of solidarity acting during the millions of ages which have succeeded one another since the first beginnings of animal life appeared upon the globe. Let us imagine how this feeling little by little became a habit, and was transmitted by heredity from the simplest microscopic organism to its descendants -- insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, man-- and we shall comprehend the origin of the moral sentiment, which is a necessity to the animal like food or the organ for digesting it.

Without going further back and speaking of complex animals springing from colonies of extremely simple little beings, here is the origin of the moral sentiment. We have been obliged to be extremely brief in order to compress this great question within the limits of a few pages, but enough has already been said to show that there is nothing mysterious or sentimental about it. Without this solidarity of the individual with the species, the animal kingdom would never have developed or reached its present perfection. The most advanced being upon the earth would still be one of those tiny specks swimming in the water and scarcely perceptible under a microscope. Would even this exist? For are not the earliest aggregations of cellules themselves an instance of association in the struggle?


Thus by an unprejudiced observation of the animal kingdom, we reach the conclusion that wherever society exists at all, this principle may be found: Treat others as you would like them to treat you under similar circumstances.

And when we study closely the evolution of the animal world, we discover that the aforesaid principle, translated by the one word Solidarity, has played an infinitely larger part in the development of the animal kingdom than all the adaptations that have resulted from a struggle between individuals to acquire personal advantages.

It is evident that in human societies a still greater degree of solidarity is to be met with. Even the societies of monkeys highest in the animal scale offer a striking example of practical solidarity, and man has taken a step further in the same direction. This and this alone has enabled him to preserve his puny race amid the obstacles cast by nature in his way, and to develop his intelligence.

A careful observation of those primitive societies still remaining at the level of the Stone Age shows to what a great extent the members of the same community practice solidarity among themselves.

This is the reason why practical solidarity never ceases; not even during the worst periods of history. Even when temporary circumstances of domination, servitude, exploitation cause the principle to be disowned, it still lives deep in the thoughts of the many, ready to bring about a strong recoil against evil institutions, a revolution. If it were otherwise society would perish. For the vast majority of animals and men this feeling remains, and must remain an acquired habit, a principle always present to the mind even when it is continually ignored in action.

It is the whole evolution of the animal kingdom speaking in us. And this evolution has lasted long, very long. It counts by hundreds of millions of years.

Even if we wished to get rid of it we could not. It would be easier for a man to accustom himself to walk on fours than to get rid of the moral sentiment. It is anterior in-- animal evolution to the upright posture of man.

The moral sense is a natural faculty in us like the sense of smell or of touch.

As for law and religion, which also have preached this principle, they have simply filched it to cloak their own wares, their injunctions for the benefit of the conqueror, the exploiter, the priest. Without this principle of solidarity, the justice of which is so generally recognized, how could they have laid hold on men's minds? Each of them covered themselves with it as with a garment; like authority which made good its position by posing as the protector of the weak against the strong. By flinging overboard law, religion and authority, mankind can regain possession of the moral principle which has been taken from them. Regain that they may criticize it, and purge it from the adulterations wherewith priest, judge and ruler have poisoned it and are poisoning it yet.

Besides this principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an anarchist unless he practices it?

We do not wish to be ruled. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody? We do not wish to be deceived, we wish always to be told nothing but the truth. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to always tell the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth? We do not wish to have the fruits of our labor stolen from us. And by that very fact, do we not declare that we respect the fruits of others' labor?

By what right indeed can we demand that we should be treated in one fashion, reserving it to ourselves to treat others in a fashion entirely different? Our sense of equality revolts at such an idea.

Equality in mutual relations with the solidarity arising from it, this is the most powerful weapon of the animal world in the struggle for existence. And equality is equity.

By proclaiming ourselves anarchists, we proclaim before-hand that we disavow any way of treating others in which we should not like them to treat us; that we will no longer tolerate the inequality that has allowed some among us to use their strength, their cunning or their ability after a fashion in which it would annoy us to have such qualities used against ourselves. Equality in all things, the synonym of equity, this is anarchism in very deed. It is not only against the abstract trinity of law, religion, and authority that we declare war. By becoming anarchists we declare war against all this wave of deceit, cunning, exploitation, depravity, vice --in a word, inequality-- which they have poured into all our hearts. We declare war against their way of acting, against their way of thinking. The governed, the deceived, the exploited, the prostitute, wound above all else our sense of equality. It is in the name of equality that we are determined to have no more prostituted, exploited, deceived and governed men and women.

Perhaps it may be said --it has been said sometimes "But if you think that you must always treat others as you would be treated yourself, what right have you to use force under any circumstances whatever? What right have you to level a cannon at any barbarous or civilized invaders of your country? What right have you to dispossess the exploiter? What right to kill not only a tyrant but a mere viper?"

What right? What do you mean by that singular word, borrowed from the law? Do you wish to know if I shall feel conscious of having acted well in doing this ? If those I esteem will think I have done well? Is this what you ask? If so the answer is simple.

Yes, certainly! Because we ourselves should ask to be killed like venomous beasts if we went to invade Burmese or Zulus who have done us no harm. We should say to our son or our friend: "Kill me, if I ever take part in the invasion!"

Yes, certainly! Because we ourselves should ask to be dispossessed, if giving the lie to our principles, we seized upon an inheritance, did it fall from on high, to use it for the exploitation of others.

Yes, certainly! Because any man with a heart asks beforehand that he may be slain if ever he becomes venomous; that a dagger may be plunged into his heart if ever he should take the place of a dethroned tyrant.

Ninety-nine men out of a hundred who have a wife and children would try to commit suicide for fear they should do harm to those they love, if they felt themselves going mad. Whenever a good-hearted man feels himself becoming dangerous to those he loves, he wishes to die before he is so.

Perovskaya and her comrades killed the Russian Czar. And all mankind, despite the repugnance to the spilling of blood, despite the sympathy for one who had allowed the serfs to be liberated, recognized their right to do as they did. Why? Not because the act was generally recognized as useful; two out of three still doubt if it were so. But because it was felt that not for all the gold in the world would Perovskaya and her comrades have consented to become tyrants themselves. Even those who know nothing of the drama are certain that it was no youthful bravado, no palace conspiracy, no attempt to gain power. It was hatred of tyranny, even to the scorn of self, even to the death.

"These men and women," it was said, "had conquered the right to kill"; as it was said of Louise Michel, "She had the right to rob." Or again, "They have the right to steal," in speaking of those terrorists who lived on dry bread, and stole a million or two of the Kishineff treasure.

Mankind has never refused the right to use force on those who have conquered that right, be it exercised upon the barricades or in the shadow of a cross-way. But if such an act is to produce a deep impression upon men's minds, the right must be conquered. Without this, such an act whether useful or not will remain merely a brutal fact, of no importance in the progress of ideas. People will see in it nothing but a displacement of force, simply the substitution of one exploiter for another.


We have hitherto been speaking of the conscious, deliberate actions of man, those performed intentionally. But side by side with our conscious life we have an unconscious life which is very much wider. Yet we have only to notice how we dress in the morning, trying to fasten a button that we know we lost last night, or stretching out our hand to take something that we ourselves have moved away, to obtain an idea of this unconscious life and realize the enormous part it plays in our existence.

It makes up three-fourths of our relations with others. Our ways of speaking, smiling, frowning, getting heated or keeping cool in a discussion, are unintentional, the result of habits, inherited from our human or pre-human ancestors (only notice the likeness in expression between an angry man and an angry beast), or else consciously or unconsciously acquired.

Our manner of acting towards others thus tends to become habitual. To treat others as he would wish to be treated himself becomes with man and all sociable animals, simply a habit. So much so that a person does not generally even ask himself how he must act under such and such circumstances. It is only when the circumstances are exceptional, in some complex case or under the impulse of strong passion that he hesitates, and a struggle takes place between the various portions of his brain --for the brain is a very complex organ, the various portions of which act to a certain degree independently. When this happens, the man substitutes himself in imagination for the person opposed to him; he asks himself if he would like to be treated in such a way, and the better he has identified himself with the person whose dignity or interests he has been on the point of injuring, the more moral will his decision be. Or maybe a friend steps in and says to him: "Fancy yourself in his place; should you have suffered from being treated by him as he has been treated by you? And this is enough.

Thus we only appeal to the principle of equality in moments of hesitation, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred act morally from habit. It must have been obvious that in all we have hitherto said, we have not attempted to enjoin anything,we have only set forth the manner in which things happen in the animal world and amongst mankind.

Formerly the church threatened men with hell to moralize them, and she succeeded in demoralizing them instead. The judge threatens with imprisonment, flogging, the gallows, in the name of those social principles he has filched from society; and he demoralizes them. And yet the very idea that the judge may disappear from the earth at the same time as the priest causes authoritarians of every shade to cry out about peril to society.

But we are not afraid to forego judges and their sentences. We forego sanctions of all kinds, even obligations to morality. We are not afraid to say: "Do what you will; act as you will"; because we are persuaded that the great majority of mankind, in proportion to their degree of enlightenment and the completeness with which they free themselves from existing fetters will behave and act always in a direction useful to society just as we are persuaded beforehand that a child will one day walk on its two feet and not on all fours simply because it is born of parents belonging to the genus Homo.

All we can do is to give advice. And again while giving it we add: "This advice will be valueless if your own experience and observation do not lead you to recognize that it is worth following." When we see a youth stooping and so contracting his chest and lungs we advise him to straighten himself, hold up his head and open his chest. We advise him to fill his lungs and take long breaths, because this will be his best safeguard against consumption. But at the same time we teach him physiology that he may understand the functions of his lungs, and himself choose the posture he knows to be the best.

And this is all we can do in the case of morals. And this is all we can do in the case of morals. We have only a right to give advice, to which we add: "Follow it if it seems good to you."

But while leaving to each the right to act as he thinks best; while utterly denying the right of society to punish one in any way for any anti-social act he may have committed, we do not forego our own capacity to love what seems to us good and to hate what seems to us bad. Love and hate; for only those who know how to hate know how to love. We keep this capacity; and as this alone serves to maintain and develop the moral sentiments in every animal society, so much the more will it be enough for the human race.

We only ask one thing, to eliminate all that impedes the free development of these two feelings in the present society, all that perverts our judgment: --the State, the church, exploitation; judges, priests, governments, exploiters.

Today when we see a Jack the Ripper murder one after another some of the poorest and most miserable of women, our first feeling is one of hatred.

If we had met him the day when he murdered that woman who asked him to pay her for her slum lodging, we should have put a bullet through his head, without reflecting that the bullet might have been better bestowed in the brain of the owner of that wretched den.

But when we recall to mind all the infamies which have brought him to this; when we think of the darkness in which he prowls haunted by images drawn from indecent books or thoughts suggested by stupid books, our feeling is divided. And if some day we hear that Jack is in the hands of some judge who has slain in cold blood a far greater number of men, women and children than all the Jacks together; if we see him in the hands of one of those deliberate maniacs then all our hatred of Jack the Ripper will vanish. It will be transformed into hatred of a cowardly and hypocritical society and its recognized representatives. All the infamies of a Ripper disappear before that long series of infamies committed in the name of law. It is these we hate.

At the present day our feelings are continually thus divided. We feel that all of us are more or less, voluntarily or involuntarily, abettors of this society. We do not dare to hate. Do we even dare to love? In a society based on exploitation and servitude human nature is degraded.

But as servitude disappears we shall regain our rights. We shall feel within ourselves strength to hate and to love, even in such complicated cases as that we have just cited.

In our daily life we do already give free scope to our feelings of sympathy or antipathy; we are doing so every moment. We all love moral strength we all despise moral weakness and cowardice. Every moment our words, looks, smiles express our joy in seeing actions useful to the human race, those which we think good. Every moment our looks and words show the repugnance we feel towards cowardice, deceit, intrigue, want of moral courage. We betray our disgust, even when under the influence of a worldly education we try to hide our contempt beneath those lying appearances which will vanish as equal relations are established among us.

This alone is enough to keep the conception of good and ill at a certain level and to communicate it one to another.

It will be still more efficient when there is no longer judge or priest in society, when moral principles have lost their obligatory character and are considered merely as relations between equals.

Moreover, in proportion to the establishment of these relations, a loftier moral conception will arise in society. It is this conception which we are about to analyze.


Thus far our analysis has only set forth the simple principles of equality. We have revolted and invited others to revolt against those who assume the right to treat their fellows otherwise than they would be treated themselves; against those who, not themselves wishing to be deceived, exploited, prostituted or ill-used, yet behave thus to others. Lying, and brutality are repulsive, we have said, not because they are disapproved by codes of morality, but because such conduct revolts the sense of equality in everyone to whom equality is not an empty word. And above all does it revolt him who is a true anarchist in his way of thinking and acting.

If nothing but this simple, natural, obvious principle were generally applied in life, a very lofty morality would be the result; a morality comprising all that moralists have taught.

The principle of equality sums up the teachings of moralists. But it also contains something more. This something more is respect for the individual. By proclaiming our morality of equality, or anarchism, we refuse to assume a right which moralists have always taken upon themselves to claim, that of mutilating the individual in the name of some ideal. We do not recognize this right at all, for ourselves or anyone else.

We recognize the full and complete liberty of the individual; we desire for him plentitude of existence, the free development of all his faculties. We wish to impose nothing upon him; thus returning to the principle which Fourier placed in opposition to religious morality when he said:

"Leave men absolutely free. Do not mutilate them as religions have done enough and to spare. Do not fear even their passions. In a free society these are not dangerous."

Provided that you yourself do not abdicate your freedom, provided that you yourself do not allow others to enslave you; and provided that to the violent and anti- social passions of this or that person you oppose your equally vigorous social passions, you have nothing to fear from liberty.

We renounce the idea of mutilating the individual in the name of any ideal whatsoever. All we reserve to ourselves is the frank expression of our sympathies and antipathies towards what seems to us good or bad. A man deceives his friends. It is his bent, his character to do so. Very well, it is our character, our bent to despise liars. And as this is our character, let us be frank. Do not let us rush and press him to our bosom or cordially shake hands with him, as is sometimes done today. Let us vigorously oppose our active passion to his.

This is all we have the right to do, this is all the duty we have to perform to keep up the principle of equality in society. It is the principle of equality in practice. But what of the murderer, the man who debauches children? The murderer who kills from sheer thirst for blood is excessively rare. He is a madman to be cured or avoided. As for the debauchee, let us first of all look to it that society does not pervert our children's feelings, then we shall have little to fear from rakes. All this it must be understood is not completely applicable until the great sources of moral depravity-- capitalism, religion, justice, government--shall have ceased to exist. But the greater part of it may be put in practice from this day forth. It is in practice already.

And yet if societies knew only this principle of equality; if each man practiced merely the equity of a trader, taking care all day long not to give others anything more than he was receiving from them, society would die of it. The very principle of equality itself would disappear from our relations. For, if it is to be maintained, something grander, more lovely, more vigorous than mere equity must perpetually find a place in life.

And this greater than justice is here.

Until now humanity has never been without large natures overflowing with tenderness, with intelligence, with goodwill, and using their feeling, their intellect, their active force in the service of the human race without asking anything in return.

This fertility of mind, of feeling or of goodwill takes all possible forms. It is in the passionate seeker after truth, who renounces all other pleasures to throw his energy into the search for what he believes true and right contrary to the affirmations of the ignoramuses around him. It is in the inventor who lives from day to day forgetting even his food, scarcely touching the bread with which perhaps some woman devoted to him feeds him like a child, while he follows out the intention he thinks destined to change the face of the world. It is in the ardent revolutionist to whom the joys of art, of science, even of family life, seem bitter, so long as they cannot be shared by all, and who works despite misery and persecution for the regeneration of the world. It is in the youth who, hearing of the atrocities of invasion, and taking literally the heroic legends of patriotism, inscribes himself in a volunteer corps and marches bravely through snow and hunger until he falls beneath the bullets. It was in the Paris street arab, with his quick intelligence and bright choice of aversions and sympathies, who ran to the ramparts with his little brother, stood steady amid the rain of shells, and died murmuring: "Long live the Commune!" It is in the man who is revolted at the sight of a wrong without waiting to ask what will be its result to himself, and when all backs are bent stands up to unmask the iniquity and brand the exploiter, the petty despot of a factory or great tyrant of an empire. Finally it is in all those numberless acts of devotion less striking and therefore unknown and almost always misprized, which may be continually observed, especially among women, if we will take the trouble to open our eyes and notice what lies at the very foundation of human life, and enables it to enfold itself one way or another in spite of the exploitation and oppression it undergoes.

Such men and women as these, some in obscurity, some within a larger arena, creates the progress of mankind. And mankind is aware of it. This is why it encompasses such lives with reverence, with myths. It adorns them, makes them the subject of its stories, songs, romances. It adores in them the courage, goodness, love and devotion which are lacking in most of us. It transmits their memory to the young. It recalls even those who have acted only in the narrow circle of home and friends, and reveres their memory in family tradition.

Such men and women as these make true morality, the only morality worthy the name. All the rest is merely equality in relations. Without their courage, their devotion, humanity would remain besotted in the mire of petty calculations. It is such men and women as these who prepare the morality of the future, that which will come when our children have ceased to reckon, and have grown up to the idea that the best use for all energy, courage and love is to expend it where the need of such a force is most strongly felt.

Such courage, such devotion has existed in every age. It is to be met with among sociable animals. It is to be found among men, even during the most degraded epochs.

And religions have always sought to appropriate it, to turn it into current coin for their own benefit. In fact if religions are still alive, it is because--ignorance apart-- they have always appealed to this very devotion and courage. And it is to this that revolutionists appeal.

The moral sentiment of duty which each man has felt in his life, and which it has been attempted to explain by every sort of mysticism, the unconsciously anarchist Guyau says, "is nothing but a superabundance of life, which demands to be exercised, to give itself; at the same time, it is the consciousness of a power."

All accumulated force creates a pressure upon the obstacles placed before it. Power to act is duty to act. And moral "obligation" of which so much has been said or written is reduced to the conception: the condition of the maintenance of life is its expansion.

"The plant cannot prevent itself from flowering. Sometimes to flower means to die. Never mind, the sap mounts the same," concludes the young anarchist philosopher.

It is the same with the human being when he is full of force and energy. Force accumulates in him. He expands his life. He gives without calculation, otherwise he could not live. If he must die like the flower when it blooms, never mind. The sap rises, if sap there be.

Be strong. Overflow with emotional and intellectual energy, and you will spread your intelligence, your love, your energy of action broadcast among others! This is what all moral teaching comes to.


That which mankind admires in a truly moral man is his energy, the exuberance of life which urges him to give his intelligence, his feeling, his action, asking nothing in return.

The strong thinker, the man overflowing with intellectual life, naturally seeks to diffuse his ideas. There is no pleasure in thinking unless the thought is communicated to others. It is only the mentally poverty-stricken man, who after he has painfully hunted up some idea, carefully hides it that later on he may label it with his own name. The man of powerful intellect runs over with ideas; he scatters them by the handful. He is wretched if he cannot share them with others, cannot scatter them to the four winds, for in this is his life.

The same with regard to feeling. "We are not enough for ourselves: we have more tears than our own sufferings claim, more capacity for joy than our own existence can justify," says Guyau, thus summing up the whole question of morality in a few admirable lines, caught from nature. The solitary being is wretched, restless, because he cannot share his thoughts and feelings with others. When we feel some great pleasure, we wish to let others know that we exist, we feel, we love, we live, we struggle, we fight.

At the same time, we feel the need to exercise our will, our active energy. To act, to work has become a need for the vast majority of mankind. So much so that when absurd conditions divorce a man or woman from useful work, they invent something to do, some futile and senseless obligations whereby to open out a field for their active energy. They invent a theory, a religion, a "social duty"-- to persuade themselves that they are doing something useful. When they dance, it is for a charity. When they ruin themselves with expensive dresses, it is to keep up the position of the aristocracy. When they do nothing, it is on principle.

"We need to help our fellows, to lend a hand to the coach laboriously dragged along by humanity; in any case, we buzz round it," says Guyau. This need of lending a hand is so great that it is found among all sociable animals, however low in the scale. What is all the enormous amount of activity spent uselessly in politics every day but an expression of the need to lend a hand to the coach of humanity, or at least to buzz around it .

Of course this "fecundity of will," this thirst for action, when accompanied by poverty of feeling and an intellect incapable of creation, will produce nothing but a Napoleon I or a Bismarck, wiseacres who try to force the world to progress backwards. While on the other hand, mental fertility destitute of well developed sensibility will bring forth such barren fruits as literary and scientific pedants who only hinder the advance of knowledge. Finally, sensibility unguided by large intelligence will produce such persons as the woman ready to sacrifice everything for some brute of a man, upon whom she pours forth all her love.

If life to be really fruitful, it must be so at once in intelligence, in feeling and in will. This fertility in every direction is life; the only thing worthy the name. For one moment of this life, those who have obtained a glimpse of it give years of vegetative existence. Without this overflowing life, a man is old before his time, an impotent being, a plant that withers before it has ever flowered.

"Let us leave to latter-day corruption this life that is no life," cries youth, the true youth full of sap that longs to live and scatter life around. Every time a society falls into decay, a thrust from such youth as this shatters ancient economic, and political and moral forms to make room for the up-springing of a new life. What matter if one or another fall in the struggle! Still the sap rises. For youth to live is to blossom whatever the consequences! It does not regret them.

But without speaking of the heroic periods of mankind, taking every-day existence, is it life to live in disagreement with one's ideal ?

Now-a-days it is often said that men scoff at the ideal. And it is easy to understand why. The word has so often been used to cheat the simple-hearted that a reaction is inevitable and healthy. We too should like to replace the word "ideal," so often blotted and stained, by a new word more in conformity with new ideas. But whatever the word, the fact remains; every human being has his ideal. Bismarck had his--however strange--; a government of blood and iron. Even every philistine has his ideal, however low. But besides these, there is the human being who has conceived a loftier ideal. The life of a beast cannot satisfy him. Servility, lying, bad faith, intrigue, inequality in human relations fill him with loathing. How can he in his turn become servile, be a liar, and intriguer, lord it over others? He catches a glimpse of how lovely life might be if better relations existed among men; he feels in himself the power to succeed in establishing these better relations with those he may meet on his way. He conceives what is called an ideal.

Whence comes this ideal? How is it fashioned by heredity on one side and the impressions of life on the other? We know not. At most we could tell the story of it more or less truly in our own biographies. But it is an actual fact -- variable, progressive, open to outside influences but always living. It is a largely unconscious feeling of what would give the greatest amount of vitality, of the joy of life.

Life is vigorous, fertile. rich in sensation only on condition of answering to this feeling of the ideal. Act against this feeling, and you feel your life bent back on itself. It is no longer at one, it loses its vigor. Be untrue often to your ideal and you will end by paralyzing your will, your active energy. Soon you will no longer regain the vigor, the spontaneity of decision you formerly knew. You are a broken man.

Nothing mysterious in all this, once you look upon a human being as a compound of nervous and cerebral centers acting independently. Waver between the various feelings striving within you, and you will soon end by breaking the harmony of the organism; you will be a sick person without will. The intensity of your life will decrease. In vain will you seek for compromises. Never more will you be the complete, strong, vigorous being you were when your acts were in accordance with the ideal conceptions of your brain.

There are epochs in which the moral conception changes entirely. A man perceives that what he had considered moral is the deepest immorality. In some instances it is a custom, a venerated tradition, that is fundamentally immoral. In others we find a moral system framed in the interests of a single class. We cast them overboard and raise the cry "Down with morality!" It becomes a duty to act "immorally."

Let us welcome such epochs for they are epochs of criticism. They are an infallible sign that thought is working in society. A higher morality has begun to be wrought out.

What this morality will be we have sought to formulate, taking as our basis the study of man and animal.

We have seen the kind of morality which is even now shaping itself in the ideas of the masses and of the thinkers. This morality will issue no commands. It will refuse once and for all to model individuals according to an abstract idea, as it will refuse to mutilate them by religion, law or government. It will leave to the individual man full and perfect liberty. It will be but a simple record of facts, a science. And this science will say to man: "If you are not conscious of strength within you, if your energies are only just sufficient to maintain a colorless, monotonous life, without strong impressions, without deep joys, but also without deep sorrows, well then, keep to the simple principles of a just equality. In relations of equality you will find probably the maximum of happiness possible to your feeble energies.

"But if you feel within you the strength of youth, if you wish to live, if you wish to enjoy a perfect, full and overflowing life --that is, know the highest pleasure which a living being can desire-- be strong, be great, be vigorous in all you do.

"Sow life around you. Take heed that if you deceive, lie, intrigue, cheat, you thereby demean yourself. belittle yourself, confess your own weakness beforehand, play the part of the slave of the harem who feels himself the inferior of his master. Do this if it so pleases you, but know that humanity will regard you as petty, contemptible and feeble, and treat you as such. Having no evidence of your strength, it will act towards you as one worthy of pity-- and pity only. Do not blame humanity if of your own accord you thus paralyze your energies. Be strong on the other hand, and once you have seen unrighteousness and recognized it as such --inequity in life, a lie in science, or suffering inflicted by another—rise in revolt against the iniquity, the lie or the injustice.

"Struggle! To struggle is to live, and the fiercer the struggle the intenser the life. Then you will have lived; and a few hours of such life are worth years spent vegetating.

"Struggle so that all may live this rich, overflowing life. And be sure that in this struggle you will find a joy greater than anything else can give."

This is all that the science of morality can tell you. Yours is the choice.


Peter Kropotkin


The word Revolution is upon all lips and one feels its first vibrations. And, as always, at the approach of great commotions and great changes, all who are dissatisfied with the actual regime-how small may be their discontent-hasten to adopt the title of revolutionaries, hitherto so dangerous, now so simple. They do not cling to the actual regime; they are ready to try a new one; that suffices for them.

This affluence, to the ranks of the revolutionaries, of a mass of malcontents of all shades, creates the force of revolutions and renders them inevitable. A simple conspiracy in the palace, or of Parliament, more or less supported by what is called public opinion suffices to change the men in power, and sometimes the form of government. But a Revolution, to effect any change whatever in economic .order, requires the agreement of an immense number of wills. Without the agreement, more or less active of millions, no revolution is possible. It is necessary that everywhere, in each hamlet even, there should be men to act in the destruction of the past; also that other millions remain.. inactive in the hope of seeing something arise to improve their future condition.

And it is precisely this vague, undecided, discontent, which is very often inconscient, surging in the minds of men at the eve of great events, and that loss of confidence in the existing order, which permits true revolutionists to accomplish their immense task-the Titanic task of reconstructing in a few years institutions venerated for centuries.

But this is also the rock upon which most revolutions split and become exhausted.

When a revolution takes place, overturning the established outlines of daily life; when all good and bad passions flash out freely and are seen on the housetops; when weakness and great devotion are side by side, poltroonery here, heroism there,-shabby antipathies and personal intrigues alongside of great self-sacrifice; when in fact the institutions of the past fall, and new ones are designed with difficulty in the midst of continual changes, -when the immense majority of those who yesterday gloried in the name of revolutionaries hasten to pass into the ranks of the defenders of order: the general commotion, the instability of struggling institutions, the insecurity of the morrow, fatigues them soon. They fear, on the one hand, that the slight alterations that have been affected should sink in the tempest; and they do not perceive that the smallest change in economic institutions implies already a profound modification in all conceptions of society and that this can only be brought about after much larger changes. And seeing the counter-revolution approach they hasten to conform to it. Popular passions, sometimes coarsely expressed, cause them aversion; still more so the shabby passions of leaders. Soon they have had enough of the revolution and run to join those who call for rest and peace.

Among such the past recruits its most ardent defenders, all the more so if they have sustained slight losses. They bate those who endeavour to go further, and they are so much the more dangerous for being able to seize upon previous revolutionists, and to put them to the service of the past.. They dare in a manner in which the reaction would not dare without them, and they strike precisely those who sap more deeply the foundations of the ancient institutions and desire to advance afresh towards the future.

These persons become the Robespierres and the Saint Justs -who guillotine the 11 mad ones " under pretext of saving the revolution, but in reality to check it.

Friends of revolution cannot be 'distinguished from its enemies during a period of struggle. But it is necessary to note that the historians of the past have done their utmost to throw into chaos all ideas of these facts.

To consider only the great French revolution. The ideal of some is' Mirabeau, perfectly satisfied holding a portfolio in the constitutional ministry of Louis XVI. Of others it is Danton the patriot with daring against Germans but without a trace of daring in economic questions the tribune who to resist the invasion, made use of a constitutional king, of peasants serving bourgeois proprietors, and of stock-jobbing under landed proprietors, all wonderfully mixed -with revolutionary talk. For others it is Robespierre the just, who guillotined revolutionists, who talked of equality of fortunes and published their atheism, the man who in the summer of 1793, at the moment the people of Paris suffered famine, insisted that jacobins should discuss the advantages of the English constitution! For others, finally, it is Marat who one day demanded the heads of two hundred thousand aristocrats but who had not a single word upon the subject which impassioned two thirds of France namely the question, to whom should belong the land cultivated by the peasants. And for several tricksters, last by all, the ideal is the attorney of the republic who furiously demanded the heads of the duchesses and their servants-particularly the servants, because the duchesses were at Coblentz- while black dens of traders pillaged France, starving the workmen and making from what they had stolen from the duchesses the scandalous fortunes which were seen to appear under the "Directoire."

As for the great number of revolutionists, they unhappily know only of the theatrical side of former revolutions as related with forced effect by historians, and they scarcely suspected the immense work accomplished in France during the years 1789-93 by millions of obscure persons-work which caused France to be in 1793 quite a different nation from what she was four years previously.

It is to assist actual revolutionists in guiding themselves somewhat in this chaos that we undertake these studies. We wish to demonstrate the necessity of distinguishing well beforehand those who call themselves our friends and who will soon be our enemies. We shall try to show to revolutionists the immense task they have to accomplish, to inform them of the troubles which will overtake them if they picture to themselves the next revolution on the model of what historians have told us of past revolutions. We wish finally to show them what display of energy, what boldness of thought, what intensely energetic work the revolution will require from those of its children who desire to give to it from day to day their life and their strength, much more important for its success than the rifle shots exchanged at the critical moment.


BOLDNESS of thought and example to induce the masses to put into execution what they dare think-this is what has been wanting in the actors in past revolutions. It is still what is likely to be wanting in the next.

Who has not asked with grief, when studying the revolutions of the past, " why such effort, such sublime devotion, so much bloodshed and families in mourning, so much destruction, for such poor results?" This question constantly turns up in literature, in conservation and in revolutionary propaganda.

It is partly because we do not make allowance for the immense obstacles experienced in every revolution from blind or conscient partisans. Their power is overlooked, as is their stubbornness in becoming turn-coats to save their privileges; we forget their conspiracies and intrigues when we are no longer face to face with them. We for get, in fine, that revolutions are made by minorities.

And we forget also that if the revolutionists have generally exhibited courage and formidable rashness in their acts, they have always failed in boldness of thought, aim, and conception of the future. They dreamed of that future as assuming the form of that past against which they revolted. The past even held them bound in their enthusiasm for their future.

They dared not strike the decisive blow and kill the ancient regime in that which created its true strength : its religion, its fortune, its obedience to law, its centralisation, its army, its police, its prisons and all that sort of thing. They dared not destroy enough to open the wide gates of a new life, and of that new life their conceptions were so vague and cosequently [sic] so timid, so narrow, that they dared not, even in their dreams, touch the fetishes which they had adored in their past slavery.

Could we expect great results from a timid brain, even when associated with an heroic heart?

When we reflect upon the events of the great revolution we cannot avoid being struck-as Quinet has so well said-with the rashness of the acts of our grandfathers and the timidity of their thoughts. Proceedings, ultra-revolutionary; thoughts, timid and conservative. Prodigies. of bravery and energy, supreme conception of life and its joys -and incredible timidity in the conception of the near future. Months and years elapsed before the people dare touch one of the chimeras which they surrounded with respect, before they compel their leaders-the men whom they venerate and obey-to make the sacrifice of a single one of the institutions of the past. This is the distinctive feature of the revolution. It is the image of the soldier who proves courage and invincible rashness in capturing a battery from the enemy without daring to consider beyond the battery, without daring to cast a general glance at the war.

The unarmed people attack the thick walls and cannon of the Bastille; the women run to Versailles and bring back a prisoner; everywhere, in each little town men armed with the clubs seize the municipalities without caring if they are banged the next day by the municipality or "returned to legality." A crowd of people over-run the Tuileries and capture the king and crown him -with cap of liberty, and two months later, defying the Swiss guard and the national bourgeois guard, they take the Tuileries by assault ignoring the convention the obscure people take upon themselves the massacres of September. The republic, without armies, undermined by the royalists at home, resist the allied - powers. Danton demands boldness as the supreme means of saving the revolution. The scaffolds of the convention, the drownings in the Vendee, the death-carts even, do not stop these revolutionists in their revolutionary proceedings, yet throughout this grandiose drama it is timidity of thought, not boldness of conception, which hovers over all Mediocrity of thought destroys noble efforts, grand passions, and immense devotions.

Then when royalty became nothing more than a memory and was obeyed only by a few Swiss-Danton, Robespierre and even the Cordeliers, feared the republic more than they feared the king. Not until France was invaded by foreigners, managed and commanded in point of fact from the Tuileries, did they. dart to think that France could dispense with a crowned sham.

When the clergy covered the whole of France with its vast conspiracy against the new regime, when that conspiracy included two thirds of the population, the revolutionists surrounded the church with their respect; they took it under the protection of the revolution, and shortly they guillotine the Anarchists " who dare to insult the Catholic worship.

It is evident that in regard to economic questions their timidity is greater still said even more odious. The feudal system had ceased, the lord of the manor, hunted by the peasants, had gone over the frontier; the seignoral forests had been pillaged and the game exterminated; feudal quit-rents were no longer paid. But the leaders of the revolution, even in the convention, struggled to preserve the last wreck of the feudal rule to transmit it to the next century. And when the brilliant Girondins or the austere Robespierre heard the Words equality of fortune, they trembled at the simple idea that private property would no longer be respected by the people. Because-(they had owned some in the past)-the state is based upon private ownership of property

The leaders it is true are more backward than the People. The people are ahead of them in respect of emancipation from the past-they go further than the leaders. But their vision is go vague, so obscure, so wavering! In the heart of the people, even, ideas are so 'divided that this vagueness and hesitation spreads to the chiefs of the revolution. The butcher Legendre who led the people in the attack upon the Tuileries on 20. June dare not even dream of dethroning the king- tightly the people might hold the king under their pikes they dare not push the ponit a little further and have done with royalty.

And later when the Baboeuf conspiracy was discovered the Montagnards are taken, by surprise. They have beard of vague popular aspirations towards Socialist equality, but they are quite thunderstruck at finding a program. Their thought bad never dared go so far. But the people, none the more, did not know how to put their hopes into form.

The same happens in 1848.

After all the Socialist Propaganda of 15 years, after Fourier and Cabet, after all that was said at a thousand meetings and printed in hundreds of pamphlets in favour of Communism-of the right to life and happiness-the revolutionists, that is to say those who believed themselves to be and passed for such, and even the most advanced of these, are ready to shoot anyone who should speak of Communism. 'All they dare think is Republican Democracy, that is association up-, held by the. State; and they leave to a Bonaparte exploiter the vague aspirations of the people, from which he makes himself a throne.

Repetition of the scene in 1871. These revolutionary heroes who are not stopped in their revolt by a hundred thousand men have not one single revolutionary thought. They know nothing but previous revolutions-they believe only in. turning against the old government the same weapons which it had used against its adversaries. But they could not bring forth any true Revolutionary Idea. They did. not even know how to dispense with the policemen of the empire, its courts martial, and its tinsel. They dreamed of the Commune, reproducing in miniature the State which they overthrew; and while ideas of equality worked confusedly in. the minds of the people they. only dreamed of equality in submitting to their dictation. Had not Marat dreamed, before them, and Marx the modern God of the Socialists, had he not also preached popular dictation!

In short, no new idea, none of the thoughts which revolutionise the. Old world, sprang up in these minds, so revolutionary in their acts, so timid in their ideas, kneaded as they are into the models of the past, against which they declared war.

Are we better placed to-day, at the eve of the next revolution! Have we the boldness of thought and the force of the initiative which make revolutions I In face of this past against which we rebel, in face of its submissiveness, of its authoritative organisation, its hypocrisy, its lies, have we the revolutionary thought which will know how to disown this past, not alone in its entirety, but in all its daily manifestations. Shall we know how to take the axe, not only to actual institutions but to the ideas even. which preside in their development I Are we Revolutionists in word, in our thoughts as much. as in our methods and, our acts I Will our revolutionary energy come to the service of a revolutionary ideal

We will enquire into this in the next article.


ARE we prepared to face the Revolution which approbes? Shall we have the audacity of thought which our fathers lacked, to frankly decide the immense economic, politic, and moral problems in- face of which history has placed us?-These were the questions which we put at the close of the preceding article.

It is certain that many things contribute to give to the men of our century a boldness of thought which was wanting in our grandfathers.

The great discoveries of natural science in which our generation has assisted or taken part is a fact to give thought a daring without precedent. Entire sciences created but yesterday have just opened to us immense horizons which our fathers could not perceive. The unity of physical force explaining the whole of the phenomena of nature including the physical life of animals and man, is a fact to permit us. to have bold conceptions of the whole of natural phenomena.

The criticism of religions is made with a depth and sometimes a boldness hitherto unknown and impossible. All the scaffolding Of venerated prejudices concerning the divine origin of human institutions and the so-called laws of providence which served to explain and to perpetuate slavery-all that scaffolding has fallen, under the criticism of science. And that criticism has already penetrated to the depths of the masses.

Man has been able to understand his place in nature. He has been able to perceive that he, himself, has made his institutions and that he alone can re-make them.

Besides which, the idea of stability which was hitherto attached to everything which man saw in nature, is broken down, destroyed and put to naught! Everything changes in nature, everything is incessantly modified: systems, wages, planets, climates, varieties of plants and animals, the human species.-Why should human institutions perpetuate themselves I

Nothing remains, everything modifies itself, from the rock which appears to us immovable and the continent which we call "terra firms," to the inhabitants, their manners, their customs, their ideas.

What we see around us is only a passing phenomenon which ought to modify itself, because immobility would be death. These are the. conceptions to which modern science accustoms us.

But this conception dates almost from yesterday. Arago is almost our contemporary. And yet when he spoke one day of continents which sometimes arose out of the seas and were sometimes submerged by the waves, a learned friend made this remark "But your continents spring, up then like mushrooms," so much was the idea of immobility, of stability in nature, rooted in the mind at this epoch, to-day continual change, evolution, is one of the most popular terms.

And we now begin to understand, however vaguely, that revolution is only an essential part of evolution, that no evolution is accomplished in nature without revolutions. Periods of -very slow changes are succeeded by periods of violent changes. Revolutions are as necessary for evolution as the slow, changes which prepare them and succeed them.

Life is a continual development, and the plant, the animal, the individual, the society which sticks fast, and remains in the same state, will parish and die. This is the mother-idea of modern philosophy, and we may judge from it how much encouragement we have for daring sufficient to change everything.

And beside all this, consider the rapidity of the conquests of the human mind during this century, behold in it-Boldness!

"DARE!" Such is the order of the day in modern mechanical art. Dare to conceive an arch of 650 yards span, thrown across an arm- of the sea at a height of 110 yards-and you will succeed, as they have succeeded on the Firth of Forth, Dare to conceive a tower 325 yards high and you will have it. Dare to cut through Suez or Panama, to unite France and England by a tunnel, to bore the Alps. Dare to start a " cockle-shell " of 200 tons with a wide expanse of sail and you will cross the Atlantic in a fortnight by no other force than the wind. Dare to compress steam fourfold, dare to put an explosive under the piston of your motor; fear nothing. Dare to throw the human voice from Paris to London and you will transmit the feeble vibrations of the human voice across the: twenty miles of the Channel.

All the history of modern mechanism is only a series of variations of the words of Danton De Vaudace et encore de Vaudace (Dare and always dare.)

And this daring has already invaded literature, art, the drama and music. Dare to speak, to write, to paint, to compose, as the heart bids you; and if you have thought knowledge and talent, you will be listened to and understood, whatever be the novelty of style.

All this gives to our century and its revolution immense advantages. All this stimulates audacity of thought in the revolutionist.

But unfortunately the same daring has failed, up to now, in the domain of politics and social economy. Here, in ideas as in application, timidity reigns supreme.

It is true that in all the course of the century, political history has -had to record defeats only. Victories, gained here and there, have even all the character of defeats.

When one remembers all the heroism displayed before 1848 by Italian, Hungarian, Polish and Irish patriots to acquire national in independence, and that it is proved that it all ended in defeat-one finds, nothing of encouragement.

When one sees how the independence of Italy and Hungary was finally acquired one blushes for the patriots for concessions to imperialism, shameless speculation, and retrograde movements by which their ideal was realised.

Hecatombs of victims in June 1848 and in May 1871, Militarism in Germany, Reaction in France under the Empire, fruitless efforts of the Russian youth-all these are not facts to arouse and sustain audacity.

The century does not count one single fact like the Independence of the United States, which gave to the French revolutionist the example of a revolution crowned with success, and increased by distance.

And when we dream of the grandiose promises made by the International at its commencement, of the hopes which it aroused in the hearts of the workers-and that it resulted in the debasement of the Partis Ouvriers (Labor parties) who are proud of being its successors -we can understand the despair that reaches the workman's heart that he loses faith in the future, that he ends by demanding some trifling ameliorations instead of taking his freedom.

And yet, nothing is more erroneous than that manner of view spread and maintained by those disgusted by politics.. For as soon as we think of the causes of the want of success and the defeats of our century we perceive at once that what has led to defeat is that no one dared advance; they always had their eyes turned backwards.

Even at the time the revolutionary fever seized the people. They did not seek their ideal in the future. They sought it in the past.

Instead of dreaming or a new revolution they sighed for those of the past. In 1793 they dreamed of establishing a Rome or an ancient Sparta. In 1848 they wished to re-commence at 1792. In 1848 they admired in secret the Jacobins of 1793. 'The German revolutionist of our days dreams of reproducing 1848, and the executive committee of Petersburg take Blanqui and Barbes for their ideal.

Even in constructing an Utopia of future life, none dare break through the laws of antiquity. Ancient Rome presses with all its weight on our century

While the engineer, the scholar and the artist boldly throw the past overboard-the politician and the economist seek their inspirations in the past.

Where, in fact, would be the engineer's art if he sought his elements in ancient art. Should we have surpassed the bridges and aqueducts of the Romans if engineers had not availed themselves of new forces and new materials placed at their service to arrive at new conceptions. Without availing themselves of new forces the engineers of the Forth bridge would only have conceived a Cyclopean masonry to block up an arm of the sea and to produce an arch which would have surpassed the Roman arches only in its dimensions. Without daring they would not have opened a new era of architecture by devising to throw across an -arm of the sea two Eiffel towers, 300 metres each, laid horizontally, each fixed at its base and joining at their summits.

And what would the science of the evolution of plants and animals have done if Wallace and Darwin had not insisted on overturning the facts and ideas of old books. These pioneers understood that a new science required new observations, and they went to Nature to question her and draw out her secrets; they went to find new bases for new deductions.

Now, this is not what is done in the domain of politics and economics it is this which explains the timidity of conceptions and consequently the defeats of our century.

We shall not construct a new society by looking backwards. We shall only do so by studying, as Proudhon, has already advised, the tendencies of society to-day and so forecasting the society of tomorrow.

The only basis upon which it is possible to construct the society of the future is the new conceptions which germinate in men's minds. And these alone can give the revolutionist, aided by his revolutionary fire, the boldness of thought necessary for the success of the Revolution.


WHEN we glance at the mass of Revolutionists, Marxists, Possibilists, Blanquist, or even bourgeois-because everyone partakes in the revolution which is now growing; when we see that the same parties (who answer, each, to certain manners of thinking, and not to personal differences, as is sometimes said) are found in each nation, under other names, but with the same distinctive characteristics; and when we analyse their principles, their aims and their methods-we find with dismay that they are all looking backward; that none dare face the future, and that each of these parties has but. one idea --to, reproduce Louis Blanc or Blanqui, Robespierre or Marat; they are all strong on the question of government, but equally powerless to bring forth a single idea capable of revolutionising the world.

All dream of dictatorship: the dictatorship of the Proletariat, said Marx,-that is to say "of Tribunes, of ourselves," say the majority of the Blanquists and Possibilists, which comes to the same thing.

All dream of the revolution as the legal massacre of their enemies; of the revolutionary tribunal, the public prosecutor, the guillotine, and their own employees-the hangman and the jailor.

All dream of acquiring power in an omnipotent, omniscient State, treating the nation as its subjects, governing the subjects, by thousands and millions of functionaries who have received the authority of the State. Louis the sixteenth and Robespierre, Napoleon and Gambetta dreamed of nothing more than Government.

All dream of representative government as 11 crowning the edifice which is to succeed the revolution after a period of dictatorship.

All preach obedience to the law made by dictators.

All have only one dream, that of Robespierre: to massacre whosoever dare think otherwise than the chiefs of power. The Anarchist revolutionist and the reactionary -would have to perish if he dare think and act contrary to their wishes.

All wish, under one form or another the maintenance of property, whether private or administered by the State, and the right of using and abusing it; of payment by results; of charity organised by the State. All dream, in fine, of killing all initiative of individuals and the people. "To think," they say, "is a science, an art which is not made for the people." If, at a later stage, it should be permitted for the people to express themselves and try solutions which have not been discussed by our high priests. Marx and Blanqui have thought enough for our century as Rousseau did for the eighteenth, and' that 'Which has not been foreseen by a schoolmaster will not have any reason to exist.

This is the dream of 99 per cent of those who usurp the name of revolutionists. The Jacobin tradition stifles them, as the monarchial tradition stifled the Jacobins of 1793.

Likewise, if you attend a meeting of workmen who have received a so-called revolutionary education, but who have no idea of Anarchist propaganda, and if you ask them " What is to be done during the revolution? "-How many replies will you receive some what as follows: "To take possession of the houses of the wealthy; to burn the waste paper of the banks, the ministers and the counting houses of the bourgeois ; to destroy the prisons; to distribute food and to hand over a spade to every policeman and banker, and so forth."

How many so-called revolutionists dare publish these ideas without -first referring to their leaders! There will be only one thing upon which all will speak at the first onset. This will be the massacre of the "enemies of the revolution " and he who promises to massacre most will be acknowledged on the spot as a true revolutionist none the less for being as timid as a babe in speaking of the smallest measures. which make revolutions. Food for powder yesterday, food for powder tomorrow-the people need not go beyond this, all the rest will be thought out in high places.

We have previously said that when a people avenge themselves upon those who have oppressed them so long no one has the right to intervene and say what they should do. He alone, who himself has suffered All that the people have suffered has the right to intercede with them on such an occasion.

He alone who has heard his children cry from hunger and seen them die of starvation, he who has slept under bridges and submitted to all the pangs, all the humiliation of misery, who has tramped the roads with out lodgings or food or rambled hungry in the snow during a Bourbaki retreat, while gentlemen slept in hotels-such a one, alone, has the right of pitying popular vengeance and interceding therein,-he the outcast of yesterday,-in favour with his oppressors-and then 1

Have not the people been taught vengeance for thousands of years? Has it not been made a sacred right, blessed by religion, and imposed by law-a goddess who in mutilating the body of the malefactor "reestablishes justice by outraging him." Has not everyone approved vengeance by legal assassination, and paid the hangman and the jailor.

Again, he alone would have full right to speak who has the courage, under the present system, to smash the head of the executioner and the judge in broad daylight on the scene of execution. More who have not done so have simply to keep silence, it is as much do they ought to dare to speak of pity. Because in their fearful days-like the. days of September, those days of massacre-it is their education which speaks, .it is their principle of legal vengeance which is but in practice, it is their contempt of human life that bears fruit.

It is a thousand years of Christian and Roman teaching, a thousand years of misery-the whole period of history-which speaks in these days. The rebel against all history has alone the right to protest against these terrible days.

But quite otherwise is the +error which denies its vindictive character, which sets itself up as a State principle strutting in revolutionary garments. It is that done which is dear to the Jacobin. Because he knows that popular fury will subside with the first victims and soon gives place to pity. He also requires pity to fill the gap of revolutionary thought, legal terror, as incarnation of the revolution.

To massacre the bourgeois is always easier said than done.

Because, alas, they are the majority of the nation-without offence to the boobys who expect to see such a concentration of capital that, according to their opinion, it will belong to none other than the proletarian masses governed by half a dozen bourgeois. How many are there in France, bourgeois and wage receivers?

In counting all the wage receivers including the salaried functionaries and lackeys, the salaried swells of the large warehouses and banks, the uniformed. swells of the railways-all the clique in fact of salaried persons. more Bourgeois than the most arrant bourgeois-the census of 1881 only finds, all told, seven millions but of 37 millions of inhabitants. With their families they make less than 10 millions. And the remainder, perhaps 17 millions, are bourgeois with their families, those who possess, those who live by the work of others. If we deduct five millions of peasant proprietors, there will still remain twelve millions of bourgeois without counting their valets who live upon the labour of others.

Twelve millions in France, about fifteen millions in England- the Jacobins intend to massacre the lot ?

Marat demanded two hundred thousands aristocrat's heads; later it appears he spoke of half a million. But he was then only taking account of the past, he did not wish to strike at more than the aristocrats. How many heads do the modern Jacobins demand? And yet Tbiers who set himself up for the massacre of the masses on principle only succeeded in destroying 30,000 Parisians!

Thus it is seen Jacobinism reduces itself to absurdity.

"But we need not kill all the bourgeois," it is customary to reply. "A few hundred thousand will suffice to reduce the others to inactivity. Terror will drive them into the earth."

Well, this reasoning proves one thing, it is that, thanks to the fables set up by the Jacobins, the people have learned nothing of their own history.

In the first place, it is when the Jacobin revolution was already dead for want of daring to go further, then, when it drove the people, that the reign of Terror was inaugurated, and it was precisely under the Terror that the disappointed little dandies took up the methods of brute force to proclaim the counter revolution which has already established in three fourths of France.

Edgar Quinet has explained it. It was because democracy did not wish to work by Terror. In order to learn how to use Terror with such results as the Catholic church and kings have obtained, democracy would have to learn from Louis the Ninth, John the Terrible and the Czars of Russia. Democracy thought this a trifle too much; the people remained harmless even while they danced the Carmagnole round heads fixed upon pikes.

Kings and Czars do not in the least think it too much. They strike a blow and make others tremble for fear of worse... They do not pro-. menade, their victims in the street; they stifle them in prisons. Ale' Alexander the third, when ascending the throne, chose five victims, one a woman, and had them hanged. And then he regretted having had them banged in a public place, which has enabled Vereschaguine to immortalise them under a curtain. The remainder ate imprisoned at Schlusselbourg and so well imprisoned that for ten years no word or sign of life has Come from them. He knows that the terror of the unknown acts more strongly upon minds than death in broad clay-light in a public place.

Well, Quinet is a thousand times right when he says the people will never know how to manage such terror as this. It disgusts the people. And yet it is asserted that the people terrorise -They have pity on the victims, they are too sincere not to become soon. disgusted. The public prosecutor, the death-cart filled with victims, the guillotine, .soon inspire disgust. It is soon perceived that this terror prepares what it should prepare-Dictatorship-and the guillotine is abandoned.

The people do not reign by terror. Invented to forge chains, terror covered by legality forges chains for the people.

The Jacobin programme reduces itself to this :-Extermination im possible, uslessness [sic] of legal terror.

In order to conquer, something more than guillotines are required. It is the revolutionary idea, the truly wide revolutionary conception, which reduces its enemies to impotence by paralysing all the instruments by which they have governed hitherto.

Very sad would be the future of the revolution if it could only triumph by terror. Happily it has other means otherwise powerful, and we will state them.


We have already said that the massacre of the bourgeois as a means to secure the triumph of the Revolution is a senseless dream. Their number even is opposed to it-; because, over and above. the millions who ought to disappear according to the hypothesis of modern Marats, there would still be millions of half-bourgeois 'Workmen who would fain succeed them. In effect these only ask to be allowed to become capitalists in their turn, and would aim to become such if class interests. were attacked in their results and not in their causes, And as for organised and legalised Terror, it serves no other end, we have said, than to forge chains for the people. It kills individual initiative, which is the soul of revolutions; it perpetuates the idea of obedience to a strong government. It prepares the dictatorship which throttles the revolutionary tribunal and knows how. to manage it with craft and prudence, in its own interest.

Terror, the arm of government serves, above all, the governing, classes; it prepares the ground for the less scrupulous of them.

The Terror of Robespierre necessarily ended-in that of Tallien, and this in the dictatorship of Bonaparte. Robespierre hatched Napoleon.

To overcome the bourgeoisie something totally different from brute force is, required, other elements than those which it has so well learned to manage. This is why it -is necessary first to see what creates its force. and to oppose to it a superior force.

What is it that has allowed the middle classes, in effect, to juggle all the revolutions since the fifteenth century to profit by them to enslave and enlarge their domination on a solid bases other than the respect for religious superstition- or of the rights- of birth of the aristocracy ?

-It is the State. It is the continual growth and enlargement of the functions of the State, based upon that foundation much more solid than religion and birth-right- the Law. And so long as the state lasts, so long as the law remains 'sacred in the eyes of the people, so long as future revolution s work for the maintenance and enlargement of the functions of the state and the law-the bourgeois will be sure to conserve power and dominate the masses.

Lawyers make the State omnipotent, it is the origin of the middle -classes, and further, it is the omnipotent State which constitutes the actual strength of the bourgeoisie. By the Law and the State they have become possesed of Capital, and have constituted their authority. By the Law and the State they maintain it. By the Law and the State they even promise to cure the evils which make society blush.

In fact, so long as the affairs of the country are entrusted to a few persons, and these affairs have the inextricable complexity which they have today- the bourgeois can sleep in peace. It is they who, adopting the Roman tradition of the omnipotent state, have created, constituted and elaborated this mechanism: it is they who were its support throughout history. They study it in their colleges and universities; they maintain it in their courts of law, they teach it at school, they propagate and inculcate it -by speech and pen.

Their minds are so much accustomed to State tradition that they never give it up in their dreams of the future. Their utopias even bear its seal. They cannot conceive anything beyond the principles of Roman law concerning the State and property; and if they meet with institutions developed beyond these conceptions, whether in the life of French peasants or elsewhere, they destroy them rather than acknowledge them. Thus the Jacobins continued Turgot's work of destruction concerning the popular institutions of France.. Turgot abolished village councils finding them too tumultuous and "disorderly," the Jacobins abolished communities of families-the "compound families " which had escaped the Roman- axe-they gave the death blow. to communal possession of the land; they made Draconian laws against coalitions of workmen and their strikes; they preferred to drown the Vendeeans by thousands rather than give themselves the trouble to -understand their popular institutions. And the modern Jacobins, on finding the commune and federation of tribes among the Kabyles, preferred to destroy these institutions by their tribunals rather than forfeit their conceptions of property and Roman hierarchy.

The English bourgeois have done the same in India.

Also from the day when the great Revolution of the last century embraced in its turn the Roman doctrine of the omnipotent State, sentimentalised by Rousseau and represented by him with the label of Roman Catholic Equality and Fraternity, from the day when it took for its base of Social organisation, property and electoral government, -it was to the grandsons of the lawyers of the 17th century, to the middle classes, that the task fell of organising and governing France according to its principles. The people had nothing to do with it, creative force was in quite another direction.

And if, unhappily, at the time of the next revolution, the people once more, do not understand that its historic mission is to break up the State, created by the codes of Justinian and the edict of the Pope; if they allow themselves once more to be dazzled by- conceptions of Roman law, of state and property (that for which the State-Socialists labour so hard)-then they may again abandon the care of that organisation to those who are its true historical representatives-the bourgeois.

If people do not understand that the true work of a popular revolution is to destroy the State, which is necessarily hierarchical, to endeavour to replace it by the free understanding of individuals and of groups in free and temporary federation (always with a determined aim), if they do not understand the necessity of abolishing property and the right to acquire property, to sweep away elected government which has substituted itself for the free consent of all; if the people renounce the traditions of the liberty of the individual, of voluntary groupment and of voluntary rules of conduct; if they remain passive if not consenting to the abandonment of these traditions which have been the essence of all preceding popular movements and of all the institutions of popular creation; if they give up all these traditions and adopt that of imperial and universal Rome, then they will do no more for the Revolution; they should leave everything to the middle classes, ending by asking for a few concessions. Because the conception of a State is absolutely foreign to revolution; happily revolution understands nothing of state-craft, it does not know how to use it. It remains the people; it remains imbued with conceptions of what is called the common right-conceptions based upon ideas of reciprocal justice between individuals, upon real facts, while the right of the State is based sometimes upon metaphysics, sometimes on fictions, sometimes on interpretation of words created at Rome and at Byzantium during a period of decomposition, to justify the exploitation and suppression of popular rights.

The people have tried at different times to become an influence in the State, to control it, to be served by it. They have never succeeded.

It always ended in the abandonment of this mechanism of hierarchy and laws to others than the people: to the sovereign after the revolutions of the sixteenth century; to the bourgeois after those of the seventeenth in England and eighteenth in France.

The middle classes, on the contrary, are absolutely identified with the right of States. It is the State that gives it its power. It is the State that gives it that unity of thought which strikes us at every moment.

In practice, a Ferry may detest a Clemenceau; a Floquet a Freycinet, a Ferry may meditate schemes to snatch the presidency from Grevy or Carnot; the pope and his clergy may bate the whole set and cut the ground from under their 'feet; the Boulangist may include in his hatreds the clergy, the pope, Ferry and Clemenceau. All this may be, and is. But something superior to these enmities unites all, from the rattle-brain of the Boulevards to the honeyed Carnot, from the minister to the last teacher in secular or religious school. This is the worship of authority..

They cannot conceive society without a strong and acknowledged government. Without centralisation, without a hierarchy radiating from Paris or from Berlin as far as the most remote game-keeper, and ruling the most distant hamlet by orders from the capital, they would think everything was dropping to pieces. Without a code-the creation alike of the Montagnards of the Convention and of the princes of the Empire-they can see nothing but assassins, incendiaries, cut-throats in the streets. Without property guaranteed by the code they see nothing but deserted fields and ruined cities.. Without an army, brutalised, to the point of blindly obeying its officers, they imagine the country the prey of invaders; and without judges, surrounded with the respect of the cog-pus dei, the stay of the middle ages, they perceive only the war of each against all. The minister and the pope, the gamekeeper and sebool-master are absolutely agreed on these points, and it is this which makes their common power.

They do not in the least ignore the perpetual robbery of civil and military officials. But it matters little, they say, these are only personal accidents, and so long as ministers exist, the stock-exchange and the country will not be in danger. They know that elections are managed with money, glasses of beer, and free festivities, and that in Parliament votes are bought by places and concessions of plunder. What matters? -The law passed by the chosen of the people will be treated by them as sacred. They will elude it, they will violate it if it galls them, but they will make impassioned speeches on its "divine character"

The chief of the executive power and the chief of the opposition can mutually insult each other in Parliament, but, the battle of words over they surround each other with respect; they are two chiefs, two necessary functionaries in the State.-And if the public prosecutor and the advocate insult each other in the presence of the accused, and in moderate language, treat each other as liars and cheats-when the speeches are over they shake hands and compliment each other on their exciting perorations. This is not hypocrisy, it is business.

In the botton [sic] of his heart the prosecutor admires the advocate; they see in each other something superior to their personalities: two functionaries, two representatives of Justice, of Government, of the State. All their education has prepared them for these views which permit the stifling of their humane sentiments under -legal formulas. The people will never reach this perfection, and it were better they should never wish to try.

A common adoration, a common worship unites all the middle classes, all the exploiters. The chief of the State and the leader of the opposition, the pope and the bourgeois atheist adore equally the same god, and this god of authority resides in the inmost recesses of their brain. This is why they remain united in spite of their differences. The head of the State does not separates himself from the leader of the opposition, nor the prosecutor from the counsel until the one puts into doubt the institution of parliament or the other treats the tribunal as a true Nihilist would, that is to say, to deny its right of existence. Then, but then only they are implacable. And if the bourgeois throughout Europe have so cordially bated the workmen of the Commune of Paris- it is because they believed they saw in them true revolutionists ready to throw overboard the State, property, and representative government

It is easy to understand what a power this common worship of govern ment gives to the bourgeoisie. Although may be decayed in three quarters of its representatives, yet it has a good quarter of persons who hold firmly the flag of State. Second only to business, they address themselves to the task, as well by their religion as by desire for power, and work without ceasing to affirm and propagate this worship. Quite an immense literature, all the schools without exception, all the press, are at their service and in their youth above all they work without relapse to combat all attempts to break up the conception of State Legality. And when trouble arises-all, the feeble as well as the strong, rally to this flag. They know that they will reign go long as that flag waves. They understand also bow absurd it would be to place the revolution under this flag, to try to lead the people against all tradition to accept this same principle, which is that of domination and exploitation. Authority is their. flag, and so long as the people have not another flag which shall be the expression of" its tendencies to Anarchist Communism, opposed to laws and State-craft,-anti Imperial in a word,- shall be compelled to allow ourselves to be led and dominated by others.

It is here above all that the revolutionist should have boldness of thought. He ought to have audacity to break entirely from the universal imperial tradition, he needs the courage to tell himself that the People must elaborate all organisation of communities upon bases of real justice, such as the comprehension of common popular rights.


The abolition of the State is, we say, the task imposed upon the revolutionist-to him, at least, who has boldness of thought, without which no revolution can be made. In this task he has opposed to him, all the traditions of the middle classes. But he has with him all the evolution of humanity -which imposes upon us at the historic moment the business of setting ourselves free from a form of association rendered, perhaps, necessary by the ignorance of times past but become hostile henceforth to all ulterior progress.

Yet, the abolition. of the State would remain a vain expression if the causes which to-day tend to produce misery continue to operate; these causes are, the wealth of powerful persons, the capital of exploitation. The State is created by the impoverishment of the masses. It has always been necessary that one part of society should fall into, misery in consequence of migrations, invasions, plagues,. or famines, so that others may become rich and acquire authority which henceforth increases and renders the means of existence of the masses more and more precarious.

Political domination cannot therefore be abolished without abolishing the causes of the impoverishment and misery of the masses.

For this-we have many times said-we see only one means.

It is, in the first place, to assure the existence and even the comfort of all, and to organise a method of producing which will insure comfort. With our present means of production it is more, than possible, it is easy. It is to accept what results from all modern economic evolution; that is to say to conceive our entire society as a whole which produces wealth without it being possible to determine the proportion which accrues to each in that production. It is to organise a communistic society-not for the consideration of absolute justice, but because it has become impossible to determine the share of the individual in that which is no longer an individual work.

Thus we see that the problem which presents itself before the revolutionist is immense. It will not be worked out by simple negations, the abolition of serfdom for example or renouncing the supremacy of the pope. It requires the opening of a new page of universal history, the elaboration of an entirely new order of things-based no longer on the solidarity of the tribe or of the village community or the city but on the solidarity and equality of all. The attempts of limited solidarity whether by the ties of parentage or by territorial limitations having failed we are led to work at the building up of a society widely different from that which served to maintain the societies of the middle ages and of antiquity.

The problem to be resolved has certainly not the simplicity under which it has so often been presented. To change the men in power and for each man to return to his workshop to resume the work of yesterday, to put into circulation manufactures and to exchange them against other manufactures-that would not suffice; it would not be final, since the present system of production is quite as false in the aims which it pursues, as in the means which it employs.

Created to maintain poverty it would not know how to assure plenty -and it is Plenty that the masses demand since they have understood their productive power. Elaborated with intent to hold the masses in a state bordering on misery, with the spectre of hunger always ready to compel man to sell his strength to the holders of land, capital and power-how could the present organisation of production give well being ?

Constructed with the view of enslaving the workers, made to exploit the peasant for the benefit of the factory employee, the miner for the profit of the engineer, the artisan for the profit of the artist and so forth, while the civilised countries exploit the countries backward in civilisation-how could agriculture and industry such as they are to-day assure equality.

The whole character of agriculture, industry, and work need to be entirely changed. when society shall have arrived at the conclusion that the land, the machine and the warehouse should be the fields of application of work having for its object the well-being of all. -Before returning to the daily routine it would be necessary to know if the factory were necessary, to know if the field ought to be sub-divided or not, if its cultivation ought to be done as by barbarians fifteen hundred years ago or if it ought to be done with view of obtaining the greatest quantity of produce necessary for man!

This is quite a period of transformations to traverse; a revolution to extend to the warehouse, the field, the cottage, the town house; to small tools as to fixed machinery; in the groupment of cultivators as in the groupment of workers in manufactures and the economic produce among all who work.

And it is necessary that everyone should live during this period of transformation, that everyone should feel more at ease than in the past.

When the inhabitants of the communes of the twelfth century undertook to found, in the revolted cities, a new society, free from the lord of the manor, they began by entering into a pact of solidarity extending to all the inhabitants. The rebels of the communes swore mutual. support; they made what were called agreements of the communes.

It is by a pact of the same kind that the social revolution should commence. A pact for life in common-not for death. A pact of solidarity to consider all the inheritance of the past as a common possession, a pact to divide according to principles of equality all that could serve to get over the crisis; food-stores-habitations, tools, machines, knowledge and power-a pact of solidarity for the consumption of products, as well as for the use of the means of production.

Strong in their conjurations, the bourgeois of the twelfth century set themselves to organise their societies of crafts-guilds and succeeded in guaranteeing a certain well-being to the citizens. Strong in this pact of solidarity which will have bound the entire society to got over happy times--or difficult-to share in victories or defeats, the revolution could then undertake in full assurance the immense work of the reorganisation of production which it would have before it. But it would have to conclude this pact if it meant to live.

And in its new work, which ought to be a constructive work, the masses of the people ought to depend first of all on their own strength, on their initiative and their genius, because all the education of the classes is done in the absolutely opposite way.

The problem is immense; but it is not in seeking to lessen it in advance that the people will find the necessary strength to settle it. It is on the contrary, by regarding it in all its greatness, it is carrying one's inspiration to the difficulties of the situation that one will find the genius necessary to conquer.

All the really great progress of humanity, all the truly great actions of the people are done in this way, and it is in the conception of an the grandeur of its task that the revolution will use its strength.

Is it not then imperative that the revolutionist should be alive to the task which confronts him? Should he shut his eyes to its difficulties. Should he not seek to confront them?


IT was by making a compact against all masters, a compact to guarantee liberty to all and a certain well-being, that the revolted citizens commenced in the twelfth century, It will also be by a compact to guarantee food and liberty to all that the Social Revolution should begin. Because all, without any exception, seeking how to gain the revolution, will give their first thoughts to providing food, shelter, and clothing for the inhabitants of the city or the open country,-and in this single fact of general solidarity, the Revolution will find forces which have been wanting in preceding revolutions.

But for this end it is necessary to renounce the errors of the old political. economy of the bourgeois. It will be necessary to be rid forever of wages under all possible forms and to regard society as a grand total, organised to produce the greatest possible result of well-being, with the smallest loss of human strength. It will be necessary to accustom oneself to consider personal remuneration of services as an impossibility, as an attempt which failed in the past, as an encumbrance in the future, if it should continue to exist.

And it will be necessary to be rid of the principle of authority, of the concentration of functions which are the essence of the present society, and this not only in principle but even in the smallest application.

Such being the problem it will be very, unfortunate if the revolted workmen have illusions as to its simplicity or if they do not seek forthwith to take account of the. methods by which they intend to resolve it.

The " upper classes " are a force not only because they possess wealth but above all because they have profited by the leisure which gives them opportunity to instruct themselves in the art of governing and to elaborate a science which serves to justify domination. They know what they want, they know what is necessary to maintain their ideal of society; and so long as the workman himself does not know what he should know and does not understand bow to gain this knowledge, it is likely that he will remain the slave of such as know.

It would certainly be absurd to wish to elaborate, in imagination, a society such as would result from a revolution. It would be Bysantinism to wrangle about the means of providing for the needs of future society, or to organise certain details of public life. The novels which are produced concerning the future are only destined to direct ideas somewhat, to demonstrate the possibility of a society without masters, to ascertain if the ideal can be applied without striking against insurmountable obstacles. Fiction remains fiction. But there are always certain great principles upon which it is necessary to come to agreement, before constructing anything whatever.

The bourgeois of 1789 knew perfectly well bow vain it would be to. discuss the details of the parliamentary government of which they dreamed; but they dreamed of a government, and this government necessarily became representative. More than that, it necessarily became very much centralised, having for its organs in the provinces a hierarchy of functionaries equally with quite a series of little governments in the municipalities, also elected. They knew perfectly well that in their idea of society private property would of necessity be beyond discussion, and that the so-called liberty of contract would be proclaimed as a fundamental principle of organisation. And what is more,, the better disposed of them believed in fact that this principle would really result in a regeneration of society and become a source of betterment for all.

They were the more accommodating as to details, as to be firm, upon essential principles, that they could in one or two years totally reorganize France according to their ideal and give her a civil code (usurpated later by Napoleon), 'a code which was afterwards copied everywhere by the European middle classes when they came to power.

They worked at this with a marvellous unanimity. And if afterwards terrible struggles arose in the Convention it was because the people, seeing themselves deceived in their aspirations, came with fresh demands which their leaders did not even understand, or sought in vain to reconcile with, the middle class revolution.

The middle classes knew what they wanted; they had contemplated it for a long time past. For long years they bad fostered an ideal of government, and when the people protested they caused them to work out the realisation of their ideal in conceding several secondary considerations upon certain points, such as the abolition of feudal rights and equality before the law.

Without confusing themselves with details, the bourgeois had established, long before the revolution the principal lines of the future. Can we say as much of the workers?

Unfortunately no. In all modern Socialism, and above all in its moderate section, we see a pronounced tendency not to search into the principles of society which they desire to redeem from the revolution. This explains itself. For "moderates" to speak of revolution is to compromise themselves, and they foresee that if they trace for workmen a simple plan of reforms they will lose their most ardent partisans. Also they prefer to treat with scom those who speak of a future society or seek to define the work of the revolution. This will be seen hereafter, they will choose the best men and these will do everything for the best! This is their reply.

And as for the Anarchists, the fear of seeing themselves divided upon questions of future society, and of paralysing the revolutionary enthusiasm, 'Operates in a similar way; they prefer generally, among workers, to defer to some future time discussions which they -wrongly call theoretical, and forget that perhaps in one or two years they may be called upon to give their. advice upon all questions of organisation of society, from the working of baker's ovens, to those of the schools 'in' which the defence of territory is considered,-and of which they have not even. the knowledge of the ancient models which inspired the bourgeois revolutionists of the last century.

We are asked to consider revolution as a great holiday in -which everything will arrange itself for the best. But in reality the day when the ancient institutions crash, the day in which. all that immense machine-which, for good or evil,. supplies all the daily wants of such great numbers--shall cease to act, it will be most necessary that the people themselves charge themselves with reorganising the broken-down machine. It will be different from 1848, when the Republican leaders in' Paris had "Nothing more to do than issue orders, copies of the old republican stereotyped orders, known by heart 'for years-Lamartine and Ledru Rollin working 24 hours with the pen."

But what say these orders ?-They only repent sonorous phrases invented in the time of the republican clubs, and they do not all treat of the essence of the daily life of the nation. Since the provisional government of 1848 touched neither property, wages, nor exploitation, it could very well end with sounding phrases, giving orders to do, in a word, what bad been done in the state departments. It need only change the phraseology. And yet nothing but such work-, almost mechanical, absorbed all the strength of the new-cowers.

For us, revolutionists, 'who understand that the people will have to eat and to sustain their children first of all, the task will be entirely different and otherwise difficult one.-Is there enough flour I Will it come to the baker's ovens! And how shall we secure the due arrival of meat and vegetables? Has everyone a lodging ? Does clothing fail-and so on. This is what will preoccupy us.

But all this requires immense work-ferocious work, that is the word-for those who have the success of the revolution at heart. "Others have had the fever a week, or six weeks," said an old Conventioner in his inemoirs-" We have had it for four years without interruption." Arid it is undermined by this fever, in the midst of hostility and trouble-for there will be these also-that the revolutionist will have to work. He will have to act. But bow shall he act if be knows not from long time past what idea shall guide him, what great principles of organisation, according with him, answer to the requirements of the people, its vague desires, its undecided will.

And will they still dare to say that there is no need of all this, that everything will arrange itself left alone! More intelligent than this, the bourgeois already study the means of managing the revolution, of juggling it, of turning it into a direction in which it will miscarry.

The Revolution will not be a holiday, then will be work for the en-franchisement of all; but in order to accomplish that enfranchisement the revolutionist will have to employ a boldness of thought, an energy of action, an eagerness for work of which people have given no proof in previous revolutions, but of which the forerunners began to be delineated in the last days of the Commune of Paris and in the first days of the Great Strike at the London Docks.


BUT where shall we take this boldness of thought, this energy in work of organisation when the people have it not 7 Dou [sic] you not admit yourselves-they will say to us-that if the force of attack does not fail the people, boldness of thought and eagerness for reconstruction have too often failed them?

We admit it entirely. But we do not forget the part of the men of initiative that we shall now speak in closing our studies.

Initiative, free individual initiative, and the possibility of each making use of that force at the time of popular uprisings, that is what has always made the irresistible power of revelations. It is this power which has made their grandeur, which has enabled them to march to the front, and which historians, always supporting authority, have taken great care to misrepresent. And upon this force we still count to undertake and accomplish the immense work of the social revolution.

If revolutions have accomplished something in the past, it is entirely due to men and women of initiative, to the obscure persons springing out of the crowd not fearing to assume, face to face with their brethren and the future, the responsibility of acts considered madly rash by the timid.

The great mass decides with difficulty to undertake anything which has not had a precedent in the past. We see this every day. If routine encrusts us with its mould at every step, it is because men fail to break with the traditions of the past and to boldly advance into the unknown. But if an idea start in some brain, although vague, confused., yet incapable of translating itself into reality, and if a man of initiative arises and sets himself resolutely to work, be is immediately followed if his work responds to these vague aspirations. And even when worn out by fatigue, he retires, his work, understood and approved is continued by thousands of imitators of whom he dared not even suppose the existence. This is the history of all the life of humanity -which everyone can prove for himself by his own experiences. And it is only those who have acted in opposition to the wishes and needs of humanity who have found themselves despised and abandoned by their contemporaries. Unhappily the men of initiative are rare in every day-life. But they 'arise in numbers at revolutionary epochs and it is they, in reality, who do the enduring work of revolutions. In these are our hope and confidence in the next revolution. If only they have, a just and therefore wide conception of the future, if they have audacity of thought, and do not seek to revive a dead past, if a sublime ideal inspires them they will be followed. Never, at any epoch of its existence, has humanity felt the need of a grand inspiration so much as at this moment after having experienced a century of bourgeois corruption.

In these conditions, there is no need to fear for their work from enemies paralysed by the decomposition which surrounds them.

But the envy of the oppressed themselves? Has it not often been remarked, and rightly, that envy is the stumbling block of democracies I That if the worker submits patiently to the arrogance of a masters in a frock coat, he regards with an envious eye the personal influence of a fellow workman.-We do not deny the fact; nor do we shirk the conclusion of the argument, otherwise very correct, that envy always born in the conscience of a fellow workman, once having acquired influence, he will employ it to betray his fellow-workmen of yesterday, and that the sole means of paralyzing envy and treachery would be to forbid a comrade, as a bourgeois, the possibility of increasing the authority so as to become masters.

All that is right; but there is more. We all, with our authoritative education, when we see an influence arise, we only think of reducing it by annihilating it, and we forget that there are other means, infinitely more efficacious of paralysing influences which are harmful or tend to become so. It is that of finding a better way of acting.

In a servile society this course is impossible and, children of a servile society, we do not even think of it. A king becomes unbearable; what means have we of getting rid of him if not by killing him! A minister who oppresses us, what is to be done, if not to seek a candidate to replace him and when a chosen of the people " disgusts us we seek another to compete against him. This goes thus; but should it always be so?

What could the Conventionist do in the presence of king who disputed their power if not guillotine him, and what could the representatives of "La Montagne" do in the presence of other representatives invested with equal power, if it was not to send them in their turn. to the executioner.

Well, this situation of the past remains with us still, while the only truly effications means of paralysing a harmful initiative is to take, oneself, the initiative of acting in a better direction.

Thus when we hear revolutionists concur with the idea of stabbing or shooting the governors who could take authority during the revolution we are seized with terror in thinking that the forces of true revolutionists could waste themselves in struggles which would be, in effect, only struggles for or against the individuals who assumed authority. To make war upon them is to recognise the necessity of having other men possessing the same authority.

In 1871 one sees already in Paris a vague presentiment of a better means of agitating. The revolutionists amongst the people appeared to understand that the Council of the Commune ought to be considered a useless show, a tribute paid to the traditions of the past; that the people not only should not disarm, but that they should maintain concurrently with the Council, their intimate Organisation, their federated groups, and that from these groups and not from the Hotel de- Ville should spring the necessary measures for the triumph of the revolution.

Unhappily a certain modesty of the popular revolutionists supported by authoritative prejudices, still very much persisted in at this period, prevented these federated groups from totally ignoring the Council and acting as if it had not existed at all.

We shall not be able to prevent the return of these attempts at revolutionary government at the time of the next revolution. Let us understand, at least, that the most efficacious method of annulling their authority is not to plot " Coups d'Etat " which would only bring back power under another form ending in dictatorship, but to constitute in the people themselves a force powerful in its action and in the revolutionary deeds which it will have accomplished, ignoring power, under whatever name, and increasing always by its revolutionary initiative its revolutionary ardour, and its work of demolition and of reorganisation.

A people who know how to organise the accumulation of wealth and its reproduction in the interest of the whole of society, no longer need to be governed. A people who will itself be the armed force of the country, and who will know how to give to armed citizens the necessary cohesion and unity of action will no longer need to be commanded. A people who will organise their railways, their commerce, their schools, can no longer be administered. Finally a people who know how to organise arbitraters to settle little disputes and of -which each individual will consider. it his duty to prevent a schemer from oppressing a weak citizen without waiting for the providential interference of the policeman will have no need for galley-sergeants, nor judges, nor jailors.

In the revolutions of the past the people took upon themselves the work of demolition; as for that of reorganisation, they left it to the bourgeois.- Better versed than we in the art of governing, come sirs, organise us, order our work, so that we do not die of hunger, prevent us from devouring each other, punish and pardon according to the laws which you have made for us poor spirited persons."-And the middle classes knew how to profit by the invitation.

Well, the task which will present itself at the next upraising of the people will be to seize upon this function which has formerly been abandoned to the bourgeois. It will be to destroy, to organise at the same time as to destroy. To accomplish this task we shall need all the initiative power of all men of courage; of all their audacity of thought freed from the nightmares of the past, of all their energy; and we will take care not to parlyse the initiative of the most resolute among us-we will simply redouble initiative if that of others fails, if it becomes dull, if it takes a wrong direction. Boldness of thought a distinct and wide conception of all that is desired, constructive force arising from the people in proportion as the negation of authority dawns; and finally-the initiative of all in the work of reconstruction- this will give to the revolution the Power required to conquer.

It is precisely these forces which the active propaganda of Anarchists as well as the philosophy of Anarchy tend to develop. Against discipline- the anchor of the safety of authority they oppose the full initiative of one and all. Against the weak conceptions of little reforms, extolled by the bourgeoisie they oppose the large and grand conception of revolution which alone can give the necessary inspiration. And to those who would like to see the people end in the policy of a pack of hounds attacking the government of the day, but always held back at times by the whip, we say: The part of the people in the revolution ought to be positive at the same time that it is destructive. Because this alone can succeed in organising society on the bases of equality and liberty for all. To remit this care to others would be to betray the cause of the Revolution.

*We know little of France, but in England at least the working classes according to the census of 1881 number about four fifths of the population. We don't believe in massacring the bourgeois, it is not necessary, but their is no need to exaggerate their numbers.

Anarchism: Its Philosophy and ldeal (1901)


Written: July, 1901

First Published: Freedom: July (p30)/August (p38) 1901

Source: Anarchy Archives,


from the publication of the same name by San Francisco: Free Society, 1898.

Translated: From the German by Harry Lyman Koopman.

Transcription/Markup: Dana Ward/Brian Basgen

Online Version: Peter Kropotkin Reference Archive ( 2001; typos corrected and section headers have been inserted in brackets: the original does not have any section headers. These have been introduced to make reading/referencing the document easier.

Ever reviled, accursed,-n'er understood,

Thou art the grisly terror of our age.

"Wreck of all order," cry the multitude,

"Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage."

O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven,

The truth that lies behind a word to find,

To them the word's right meaning was not given.

They shall continue blind among the blind.

But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,

That sayest all which I for goal have taken.

I give thee to the future! -Thine secure

When each at last unto himself shall waken.

Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill?

I cannot tell......but it the earth shall see!

I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will

Not rule, and also ruled I will not be!

-John Henry Mackay.

It is not without a certain hesitation that I have decided to take the philosophy and ideal of Anarchy as the subject of this lecture.

Those who are persuaded that Anarchy is a collection of visions relating to the future, and an unconscious striving toward the destruction of all present civilization, are still very numerous; and to clear the ground of such prejudices of our education as maintain this view we should have, perhaps, to enter into many details which it would be difficult to embody in a single lecture. Did not the Parisian press, only two or three years ago, maintain that the whole philosophy of Anarchy consisted in destruction, and that its only argument was violence?

Nevertheless Anarchists have been spoken of so much lately, that part of the public has at last taken to reading and discussing our doctrines. Sometimes men have even given themselves trouble to reflect, and at the present moment we have at least gained a point: it is willingly admitted that Anarchists have an ideal. Their ideal is even found too beautiful, too lofty for a society not composed of superior beings.

But is it not pretentious on my part to speak of a philosophy, when, according to our critics, our ideas are but dim visions of a distant future? Can Anarchy pretend to possess a philosophy, when it is denied that Socialism has one?

This is what I am about to answer with all possible precision and clearness, only asking you to excuse me beforehand if I repeat an example or two which I have already given at a London lecture, and which seem to be best fitted to explain what is meant by the philosophy of Anarchism.

You will not bear me any ill-will if I begin by taking a few elementary illustrations borrowed from natural sciences. Not for the purpose of deducing our social ideas from them-far from it; but simply the better to set off certain relations, which are easier grasped in phenomena verified by the exact sciences than in examples only taken from the complex facts of human societies.

Well, then, what especially strikes us at present in exact sciences, is the profound modification which they are undergoing now, in the whole of their conceptions and interpretations of the facts of the universe.

[In the Whole of Natural Sciences]

There was a time, you know, when man imagined the earth placed in the center of the universe. Sun, moon, planets and stars seemed to roll round our globe; and this globe, inhabited by man, represented for him the center of creation. He himself-the superior being on his planet-was the elected of his Creator. The sun, the moon, the stars were but made for him; toward him was directed all the attention of a God, who watched the least of his actions, arrested the sun's course for him, wafted in the clouds, launching his showers or his thunder-bolts on fields and cities, to recompense the virtue or punish the crimes of mankind. For thousands of years man thus conceived the universe.

You know also what an immense change was produced in the sixteenth century in all conceptions of the civilized part of mankind, when it was demonstrated that, far from being the centre of the universe, the earth was only a grain of sand in the solar system-a ball, much smaller even than the other planets; that the sun itself-though immense in comparison to our little earth, was but a star among many other countless stars which we see shining in the skies and swarming in the milky-way. How small man appeared in comparison to this immensity without limits, how ridiculous his pretensions! All the philosophy of that epoch, all social and religious conceptions, felt the effects of this transformation in cosmogony. Natural science, whose present development we are so proud of, only dates from that time.

But a change, much more profound, and with far wider reaching results, is being effected at the present time in the whole of the sciences, and Anarchy, you will see, is but one of the many manifestations of this evolution.

Take any work on astronomy of the last century, or the beginning of ours. You will no longer find in it, it goes without saying, our tiny planet placed in the center of the universe. But you will meet at every step the idea of a central luminary-the sun-which by its powerful attraction governs our planetary world. From this central body radiates a force guiding the course of the planets, and maintaining the harmony of the system. Issued from a central agglomeration, planets have, so to say, budded from it; they owe their birth to this agglomeration; they owe everything to the radiant star that represents it still: the rhythm of their movements, their orbits set at wisely regulated distances, the life that animates them and adorns their surfaces. And when any perturbation disturbs their course and makes them deviate from their orbits, the central body re-establishes order in the system; it assures and perpetuates its existence.

This conception, however, is also disappearing as the other one did. After having fixed all their attention on the sun and the large planets, astronomers are beginning to study now the infinitely small ones that people the universe. And they discover that the interplanetary and interstellar spaces are peopled and crossed in all imaginable directions by little swarms of matter, invisible, infinitely small when taken separately, but all-powerful in their numbers. Among those masses, some, like the bolide that fell in Spain some time ago, are still rather big; others weigh but a few ounces or grains, while around them is wafted dust, almost microscopic, filling up the spaces.

It is to this dust, to these infinitely tiny bodies that dash through space in all directions with giddy swiftness, that clash with one another, agglomerate, disintegrate, everywhere and always, it is to them that today astronomers look for an explanation of the origin of our solar system, the movements that animate its parts, and the harmony of their whole. Yet another step, and soon universal gravitation itself will be but the result of all the disordered and incoherent movements of these infinitely small bodies-of oscillations of atoms that manifest themselves in all possible directions. Thus the center, the origin of force, formerly transfered from the earth to the sun, now turns out to be scattered and disseminated: it is everywhere and nowhere. With the astronomer, we perceive that solar systems are the work of infinitely small bodies; that the power which was supposed to govern the system is itself but the result of the collisions among those infinitely tiny clusters of matter, that the harmony of stellar systems is harmony only because it is an adaptation, a resultant of all these numberless movements uniting, completing, equilibrating one another.

The whole aspect of the universe changes with this new conception. The idea of force governing the world, of pre- established law, preconceived harmony, disappears to make room for the harmony that Fourier had caught a glimpse of: the one which results from the disorderly and incoherent movements of numberless hosts of matter, each of which goes its own way and all of which hold each other in equilibrium.

If it were only astronomy that were undergoing this change! But no; the same modification takes place in the philosophy of all sciences without exception; those which study nature as well as those which study human relations.

In physical sciences, the entities of heat, magnetism, and electricity disappear. When a physicist speaks today of a heated or electrified body, he no longer sees an inanimate mass, to which an unknown force should be added. He strives to recognize in this body and in the surrounding space, the course, the vibrations of infinitely small atoms which dash in all directions, vibrate, move, live, and by their vibrations, their shocks, their life, produce the phenomena of heat, light, magnetism or electricity.

In sciences that treat of organic life, the notion of species and its variations is being substituted by a notion of the variations of the individual. The botanist and zoologist study the individual-his life, his adaptations to his surroundings. Changes produced in him by the action of drought or damp, heat or cold, abundance or poverty of nourishment, of his more or less sensitiveness to the action of exterior surroundings will originate species; and the variations of species are now for the biologist but resultants-a given sum of variations that have been produced in each individual separately. A species will be what the individuals are, each undergoing numberless influences from the surroundings in which they live, and to which they correspond each in his own way.

And when a physiologist speaks now of the life of a plant or of an animal, he sees rather an agglomeration, a colony of millions of separate individuals than a personality one and indivisible. He speaks of a federation of digestive, sensual, nervous organs, all very intimately connected with one another, each feeling the consequence of the well-being or indisposition of each, but each living its own life. Each organ, each part of an organ in its turn is composed of independent cellules which associate to struggle against conditions unfavorable to their existence. The individual is quite a world of federations, a whole universe in himself.

And in this world of aggregated beings the physiologist sees the autonomous cells of blood, of the tissues, of the nerve-centers; he recognizes the millions of white corpuscles-the phagocytes-who wend their way to the parts of the body infected by microbes in order to give battle to the invaders. More than that: in each microscopic cell he discovers today a world of autonomous organisms, each of which lives its own life, looks for well-being for itself and attains it by grouping and associating itself with others. In short, each individual is a cosmos of organs, each organ is a cosmos of cells, each cell is a cosmos of infinitely small ones; and in this complex world, the well-being of the whole depends entirely on the sum of well-being enjoyed by each of the least microscopic particles of organized matter. A whole revolution is thus produced in the philosophy of life.

But it is especially in psychology that this revolution leads to consequences of great importance.

Quite recently the psychologist spoke of man as an entire being, one and indivisible. Remaining faithful to religious tradition, he used to class men as good and bad, intelligent and stupid, egotists and altruists. Even with materialists of the eighteenth century, the idea of a soul, of an indivisible entity, was still upheld.

But what would we think today of a psychologist who would still speak like this! The modern psychologist sees in man a multitude of separate faculties, autonomous tendencies, equal among themselves, performing their functions independently, balancing, opposing one another continually. Taken as a whole, man is nothing but a resultant, always changeable, of all his diverse faculties, of all his autonomous tendencies, of brain cells and nerve centers. All are related so closely to one another that they each react on all the others, but they lead their own life without being subordinated to a central organ-the soul.

Without entering into further details you thus see that a profound modification is being produced at this moment in the whole of natural sciences. Not that this analysis is extended to details formerly neglected. No! the facts are not new, but the way of looking at them is in course of evolution; and if we had to characterize this tendency in a few words, we might say that if formerly science strove to study the results and the great sums (integrals, as mathematicians say), today it strives to study the infinitely small ones-the individuals of which those sums are composed and in which it now recognizes independence and individuality at the same time as this intimate aggregation.

As to the harmony that the human mind discovers in Nature, and which harmony is, on the whole, but the verification of a certain stability of phenomena, the modern man of science no doubt recognizes it more than ever. But he no longer tries to explain it by the action of laws conceived according to a certain plan preestablished by an intelligent will.

What used to be called "natural law" is nothing but a certain relation among phenomena which we dimly see, and each "law" takes a temporary character of causality; that is to say: If such a phenomenon is produced under such conditions, such another phenomenon will follow. No law placed outside the phenomena: each phenomenon governs that which follows it-not law.

Nothing is preconceived in what we call harmony in Nature. The chance of collisions and encounters has sufficed to establish it. Such a phenomenon will last for centuries because the adaption, the equilibrium it represents has taken centuries to be established; while such another will last but an instant if that form of momentary equilibrium was born in an instant. If the planets of our solar system do not collide with one another and do not destroy one another every day, if they last millions of years, it is because they represent an equilibrium that has taken millions of centuries to establish as a resultant of millions of blind forces. If continents are not continually destroyed by volcanic shocks, it is because they have taken thousands and thousands of centuries to build up, molecule by molecule, and to take their present shape. But lightning will only last an instant; because it represents a momentary rupture of the equilibrium, a sudden redistribution of force.

Harmony thus appears as a temporary adjustment, established among all forces acting upon a given spot-a provisory adaptation; and that adjustment will only last under one condition: that of being continually modified; of representing every moment the resultant of all conflicting actions. Let but one of those forces be hampered in its action for some time and harmony disappears. Force will accumulate its effect; it must come to light, it must exercise its action, and if other forces hinder its manifestation it will not be annihilated by that, but will end by upsetting the present adjustment, by destroying harmony, in order to find a new form of equilibrium and to work to form a new adaptation. Such is the eruption of a volcano, whose imprisoned force ends by breaking the petrified lavas which hindered them to pour forth the gases, the molten lavas, and the incandescent ashes. Such, also, are the revolutions of mankind.

An analogous transformation is being produced at the same time in the sciences that treat of man. Thus we see that history, after having been the history of kingdoms, tends to become the history of nations and then the study of individuals. The historian wants to know how the members, of which such a nation was composed, lived at such a time, what their beliefs were, their means of existence, what ideal of society was visible to them, and what means they possessed to march toward this ideal. And by the action of all those forces, formerly neglected, he interprets the great historical phenomena.

So the man of science who studies jurisprudence is no longer content with such or such a code. Like the ethnologist he wants to know the genesis of the institution that succeed one another; he follows their evolution through ages, and in this study he applies himself far less to written law than to local customs-to the "customary law" in which the constructive genius of the unknown masses has found expression in all times. A wholly new science is being elaborated in this direction and promises to upset established conceptions we learned at school, succeeding in interpreting history in the same manner as natural sciences interpret the phenomena of Nature.

And, finally, political economy, which was at the beginning a study of the wealth of nations, becomes today a study of the wealth of individuals. It cares less to know if such a nation has or has not a large foreign trade; it wants to be assured that bread is not wanting in the peasant's or worker's cottage. It knocks at all doors-at that of the palace as well as that of the hovel-and asks the rich as well as the poor: Up to what point are your needs satisfied both for necessaries and luxuries?

And as it discovers that the most pressing needs of nine-tenths of each nation are not satisfied, it asks itself the question that a physiologist would ask himself about a plant or an animal:-" Which are the means to satisfy the needs of all with the least loss of power? How can a society guarantee to each, and consequently to all, the greatest sum of satisfaction?" It is in this direction that economic science is being transformed; and after having been so long a simple statement of phenomena interpreted in the interest of a rich minority, it tends to become (or rather it elaborates the elements to become) a science in the true sense of the word — a physiology of human societies.

[The Rise of Anarchist Philosophy]

While a new philosophy — a new view of knowledge taken as a whole — is thus being worked out, we may observe that a different conception of society, very different from that which now prevails, is in process of formation. Under the name of Anarchy, a new interpretation of the past and present life of society arises, giving at the same time a forecast as regards its future, both conceived in the same spirit as the above-mentioned interpretation in natural sciences. Anarchy, therefore, appears as a constituent part of the new philosophy, and that is why Anarchists come in contact, on so many points, with the greatest thinkers and poets of the present day.

In fact, it is certain that in proportion as the human mind frees itself from ideas inculcated by minorities of priests, military chiefs and judges, all striving to establish their domination, and of scientists paid to perpetuate it, a conception of society arises, in which conception there is no longer room for those dominating minorities. A society entering into possession of the social capital accumulated by the labor of preceding generations, organizing itself so as to make use of this capital in the interests of all, and constituting itself without reconstituting the power of the ruling minorities. It comprises in its midst an infinite variety of capacities, temperaments and individual energies: it excludes none. It even calls for struggles and contentions; because we know that periods of contests, so long as they were freely fought out, without the weight of constituted authority being thrown on the one side of the balance, were periods when human genius took its mightiest flight and achieved the greatest aims. Acknowledging, as a fact, the equal rights of all its members to the treasures accumulated in the past, it no longer recognizes a division between exploited and exploiters, governed and governors, dominated and dominators, and it seeks to establish a certain harmonious compatibility in its midst-not by subjecting all its members to an -authority that is fictitiously supposed to represent society, not by trying to establish uniformity, but by urging all men to develop free initiative, free action, free association.

It seeks the most complete development of individuality combined with the highest development of voluntary association in all its aspects, in all possible degrees, for all imaginable aims; ever changing, ever modified associations which carry in themselves the elements of their durability and constantly assume new forms, which answer best to the multiple aspirations of all.

A society to which preestablished forms, crytalized by law, are repugnant; which looks for harmony in an ever-changing and fugitive equilibrium between a multitude of varied forces and influences of every kind, following their own course,-these forces promoting themselves the energies which are favorable to their march toward progress, toward the liberty of developing in broad daylight and counter-balancing one another.

This conception and ideal of society is certainly not new. On the contrary, when we analyze the history of popular institutions-the clan, the village community, the guild and even the urban commune of the Middle Ages in their first stages,-we find the same popular tendency to constitute a society according to this idea; a tendency, however, always trammelled by domineering minorities. All popular movements bore this stamp more or less, and with the Anabaptists and their forerunners in the ninth century we already find the same ideas clearly expressed in the religious language which was in use at that time. Unfortunately, till the end of the last century, this ideal was always tainted by a theocratic spirit; and it is only nowadays that the conception of society deduced from the observation of social phenomena is rid of its swaddling-clothes.

It is only today that the ideal of a society where each governs himself according to his own will (which is evidently a result of the social influences borne by each) is affirmed in its economic, political and moral aspects at one and the same time, and that this ideal presents itself based on the necessity of Communism, imposed on our modern societies by the eminently social character of our present production.

In fact, we know full well today that it is futile to speak of liberty as long as economic slavery exists.

"Speak not of liberty-poverty is slavery!" is not a vain formula; it has penetrated into the ideas of the great working-class masses; it filters through all the present literature; it even carries those along who live on the poverty of others, and takes from them the arrogance with which they formerly asserted their rights to exploitation.

Millions of Socialists of both hemispheres already agree that the present form of capitalistic appropriation cannot last much longer. Capitalists themselves feel that it must go and dare not defend it with their former assurance. Their only argument is reduced to saying to us: "You have invented nothing better!" But as to denying the fatal consequences of the present forms of property, as to justifying their right to property, they cannot do it. They will practice this right as long as freedom of action is left to them, but without trying to base it on an idea. This is easily understood.

For instance, take the town of Paris-a creation of so many centuries, a product of the genius of a whole nation, a result of the labor of twenty or thirty generations. How could one maintain to an inhabitant of that town who works every day to embellish it, to purify it, to nourish it, to make it a centre of thought and art-how could one assert before one who produces this wealth that the palaces adorning the streets of Paris belong in all justice to those who are the legal proprietors today, when we are all creating their value, which would be nil without us?

Such a fiction can be kept up for some time by the skill of the people's educators. The great battalions Of workers may not even reflect about it; but from the moment a minority of thinking men agitate the question and submit it to all, there can be no doubt of the result. Popular opinion answers: "It is by spoliation that they hold these riches!"

Likewise, how can the peasant be made to believe that the bourgeois or manorial land belongs to the proprietor who has a legal claim, when a peasant can tell us the history of each bit of land for ten leagues around? Above all, how make him believe that it is useful for the nation that Mr. So-and-So keeps a piece of land for his park when so many neighboring peasants would be only too glad to cultivate it ?

And, lastly, how make the worker in a factory, or the miner in a mine, believe that factory and mine equitably belong to their present masters, when worker and even miner are beginning to see clearly through Panama scandals, bribery, French, Turkish or other railways, pillage of the State and legal theft, from which great commercial and industrial property are derived ?

In fact the masses have never believed in sophisms taught by economists, uttered more to confirm exploiters in their rights than to convert exploited! Peasants and workers, crushed by misery and finding no support in the well-to-do classes, have let things go, save from time to time when they have affirmed their rights by insurrection. And if workers ever thought that the day would come when personal appropriation of capital would profit all by turning it into a stock of wealth to be shared by all, this illusion is vanishing like so many others. The worker perceives that he has been disinherited, and that disinherited he will remain, unless he has recourse to strikes or revolts to tear from his masters the smallest part of riches built up by his own efforts; that is to say, in order to get that little, he already must impose on himself the pangs of hunger and face imprisonment, if not exposure to Imperial, Royal, or Republican fusillades.

[The Failure of Capitalism: Continuous Under Production]

But a greater evil of the present system becomes more and more marked; namely, that in a system based on private appropriation, all that is necessary to life and to production-land, housing, food and tools-having once passed into the hands of a few, the production of necessities that would give well-being to all is continually hampered. The worker feels vaguely that our present technical power could give abundance to all, but he also perceives how the capitalistic system and the State hinder the conquest of this well-being in every way.

Far from producing more than is needed to assure material riches, we do not produce enough. When a peasant covets the parks and gardens of industrial filibusters and Panamists, round which judges and police mount guard-when he dreams of covering them with crops which, he knows, would carry abundance to the villages whose inhabitants feed on bread hardly washed down with sloe wine-he understands this.

The miner, forced to be idle three days a week, thinks of the tons of coal he might extract, and which are sorely needed in poor households.

The worker whose factory is closed, and who tramps the streets in search of work, sees bricklayers out of work like himself, while one-fifth of the population of Paris live in insanitary hovels; he hears shoe-makers complain of want of work, while so many people need shoes-and so on.

In short, if certain economists delight in writing treatises on over-production, and in explaining each industrial crisis by this cause, they would be much at a loss if called upon to name a single article produced by France in greater quantities than are necessary to satisfy the needs of the whole population. It is certainly not corn: the country is obliged to import it. It is not wine either: peasants drink but little wine, and substitute sloe wine in its stead, and the inhabitants of towns have to be content with adulterated stuff. It is evidently not houses: millions still live in cottages of the most wretched description, with one or two apertures. It is not even good or bad books, for they are still objects of luxury in the villages. Only one thing is produced in quantities greater than needed,-it is the budget-devouring individual; but such merchandise is not mentioned in lectures by political economists, although those individuals possess all the attributes of merchandise, being ever ready to sell themselves to the highest bidder.

What economists call over-production is but a production that is above the purchasing power of the worker, who is reduced to poverty by Capital and State. Now, this sort of over-production remains fatally characteristic of the present capitalist production, because-Proudhon has already shown it-workers cannot buy with their salaries what they have produced and at the same time copiously nourish the swarm of idlers who live upon their work.

The very essence of the present economic system is, that the worker can never enjoy the well-being he has produced, and that the number of those who live at his expense will always augment. The more a country is advanced in industry, the more this number grows. Inevitably, industry is directed, and will have to be directed, not towards what is needed to satisfy the needs of all, but towards that which, at a given moment, brings in the greatest temporary profit to a few. Of necessity, the abundance of some will be based on the poverty of others, and the straitened circumstances of the greater number will have to be maintained at all costs, that there may be hands to sell themselves for a part only of that which they are capable of producing; without which, private accumulation of capital is impossible!

These characteristics of our economical system are its very essence. Without them, it cannot exist; for, who would sell his labor power for less than it is capable of bringing in, if he were not forced thereto by the threat of hunger?

And those essential traits of the system are also its most crushing condemnation.

As long as England and France were pioneers of industry, in the midst of nations backward in their technical development, and as long as neighbors purchased their wools, their cotton goods, their silks, their iron and machines, as well as a whole range of articles of luxury, at a price that allowed them to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients,- the worker could be buoyed up by hope that he, too, would be called upon to appropriate an ever and ever larger share of the booty to himself. But these conditions are disappearing. In their turn, the backward nations of thirty years ago have become great producers of cotton goods, wools, silks, machines and articles of luxury. In certain branches of industry they have even taken the lead, and not only do they struggle with the pioneers of industry and commerce in distant lands, but they even compete with those pioneers in their own countries. In a few years Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the United States, Russia and Japan have become great industrial countries. Mexico, the Indies, even Serbia, are on the march-and what will it be when China begins to imitate Japan in manufacturing for the world's market?

[The Inevitable Workers Revolution]

The result is, that industrial crises, the frequency and duration of which are always augmenting, have passed into a chronic state in many industries. Likewise, wars for Oriental and African markets have become the order of the day since several years; it is now twenty-five years that the sword of war has been suspended over European states. And if war has not burst forth, it is especially due to influential financiers who find it advantageous that States should become more and more indebted. But the day on which Money will find its interest in fomenting war, human flocks will be driven against other human flocks, and will butcher one another to settle the affairs of the world's master-financiers.

All is linked, all holds together under the present economic system, and all tends to make the fall of the industrial and mercantile system under which we live inevitable. Its duration is but a question of time that may already be counted by years and no longer by centuries. A question of time-and energetic attack on our part! Idlers do not make history: they suffer it!

That is why such powerful minorities constitute themselves in the midst of civilized nations, and loudly ask for the return to the community of all riches accumulated by the work of preceding generations. The holding in common of land, mines, factories, inhabited houses, and means of transport is already the watch-word of these imposing fractions, and repression-the favorite weapon of the rich and powerful-can no longer do anything to arrest the triumphal march of the spirit of revolt. And if millions of workers do not rise to seize the land and factories from the monopolists by force, be sure it is not for want of desire. They but wait for a favorable opportunity-a chance, such as presented itself in 1848, when they will be able to start the destruction of the present economic system, with the hope of being supported by an International movement.

That time cannot be long in coming; for since the International was crushed by governments in 1872-especially since then-it has made immense progress of which its most ardent partisans are hardly aware. It is, in fact, constituted-in ideas, in sentiments, in the establishment of constant intercommunication. It is true the French, English, Italian and German plutocrats are so many rivals, and at any moment can even cause nations to war with one another. Nevertheless, be sure when the Communist and Social Revolution does take place in France, France will find the same sympathies as formerly among the nations of the world, including Germans, Italians and English. And when Germany, which, by the way, is nearer a revolution than is thought, will plant the flag-unfortunately a Jacobin one-of this revolution, when it will throw itself into the revolution with all the ardor of youth in an ascendant period, such as it is traversing today, it will find on this side of the Rhine all the sympathies and all the support of a nation that loves the audacity of revolutionists and hates the arrogance of plutocracy.

Diverse causes have up till now delayed the bursting forth of this inevitable revolution. The possibility of a great European war is no doubt partly answerable for it. But there is, it seems to me, another cause, a deeper-rooted one, to which I would call your attention. There is going on just now among the Socialists-many tokens lead us to believe it-a great transformation in ideas, like the one I sketched at the beginning of this lecture in speaking of general sciences. And the uncertainty of Socialists themselves concerning the organization of the society they are wishing for, paralyses their energy up to a certain point.

[The history of working-class solutions for socialism]

At the beginning, in the forties, Socialism presented itself as Communism, as a republic one and indivisible, as a governmental and Jacobin dictatorship, in its application to economics. Such was the ideal of that time. Religious and freethinking Socialists were equally ready to submit to any strong government, even an imperial one, if that government would only remodel economic relations to the worker's advantage.

A profound revolution has since been accomplished, especially among Latin and English peoples. Governmental Communism, like theocratic Communism, is repugnant to the worker. And this repugnance gave rise to a new conception or doctrine-that of Collectivism-in the International. This doctrine at first signified the collective possession of the instruments of production (not including what is necessary to live), and the right of each group to accept such method of remuneration, whether communistic or individualistic, as pleased its members. Little by little, however, this system was transformed into a sort of compromise between communistic and individualistic wage remuneration. Today the Collectivist wants all that belongs to production to become common property, but that each should be individually remunerated by labor checks, according to the number of hours he has spent in production. These checks would serve to buy all merchandise in the Socialist stores at cost price, which price would also be estimated in hours of labor.

But if you analyze this idea you will own that its essence, as summed up by one of our friends, is reduced to this:

Partial Communism in the possession of instruments of production and education. Competition among individuals and groups for bread, housing and clothing. Individualism for works of art and thought. The Socialistic State's aid for children, invalids and old people.

In a word-a struggle for the means of existence mitigated by charity. Always the Christian maxim: "Wound to heal afterwards!" And always the door open to inquisition, in order to know if you are a man who must be left to struggle, or a man the State must succor.

The idea of labor checks, you know, is old. It dates from Robert Owen; Proudhon commended it in 1848; Marxists have made "Scientific Socialism" of it today.

[Working class Consciousness]

We must say, however, that this system seems to have little hold on the minds of the masses; it would seem they foresaw its drawbacks, not to say its impossibility. Firstly, the duration of time given to any work does not give the measure of social utility of the work accomplished, and the theories of value that economists have endeavored to base, from Adam Smith to Marx, only on the cost of production, valued in labor time, have not solved the question of value. As soon as there is exchange, the value of an article becomes a complex quantity, and depends also on the degree of satisfaction which it brings to the needs-not of the individual, as certain economists stated formerly, but of the whole of society, taken in its entirety. Value is a social fact. Being the result of an exchange, it has a double aspect: that of labor, and that of satisfaction of needs, both evidently conceived in their social and not individual aspect.

On the other hand, when we analyze the evils of the present economic system, we see-and the worker knows it full well-that their essence lies in the forced necessity of the worker to sell his labor power. Not having the wherewithal to live for the next fortnight, and being prevented by the State from using his labor power without selling it to someone, the worker sells himself to the one who undertakes to give him work; he renounces the benefits his labor might bring him in; he abandons the lion's share of what he produces to his employer; he even abdicates his liberty; he renounces his right to make his opinion heard on the utility of what he is about to produce and on the way of producing it.

Thus results the accumulation of capital, not in its faculty of absorbing surplus-value but in the forced position the worker is placed to sell his labor power: -the seller being sure in advance that he will not receive all that his strength can produce, of being wounded in his interests, and of becoming the inferior of the buyer. Without this the capitalist would never have tried to buy him; which proves that to change the system it must be attacked in its essence: in its cause-sale and purchase,-not in its effect-Capitalism.

Workers themselves have a vague intuition of this, and we hear them say oftener and oftener that nothing will be done if the Social Revolution does not begin with the distribution of products, if it does not guarantee the necessities of life to all-that is to say, housing, food and clothing. And we know that to do this is quite impossible, with the powerful means of production at our disposal.

[Why State Socialism Fails in the minds of Workers]

If the worker continues to be paid in wages, he necessarily will remain the slave or the subordinate of the one to whom he is forced to sell his labor force-be the buyer a private individual or the State. In the popular mind-in that sum total of thousands of opinions crossing the human brain-it is felt that if the State were to be substituted for the employer, in his role of buyer and overseer of labor, it would still be an odious tyranny. A man of the people does not reason about abstractions, he thinks in concrete terms, and that is why he feels that the abstraction, the State, would for him assume the form of numberless functionaries, taken from among his factory and workshop comrades, and he knows what importance he can attach to their virtues: excellent comrades today, they become unbearable foremen tomorrow. And he looks for a social constitution that will eliminate the present evils without creating new ones.

That is why Collectivism has never taken hold of the masses, who always come back to Communism-but a Communism more and more stripped of the Jacobin theocracy and authoritarianism of the forties - to Free Communism - Anarchy.

Nay more: in calling to mind all we have seen during this quarter of a century in the European Socialist movement, I cannot help believing that modern Socialism is forced to make a step towards Free Communism; and that so long as that step is not taken, the incertitude in the popular mind that I have just pointed out will paralyze the efforts of Socialist propaganda.

Socialists seem to me to be brought, by force of circumstances, to recognize that the material guarantee of existence of all the members of the community shall be the first act of the Social Revolution.

But they are also driven to take another step. They are obliged to recognize that this guarantee must come, not from the State, but independently of the State, and without its intervention.

We have already obtained the unanimous assent of those who have studied the subject, that a society, having recovered the possession of all riches accumulated in its midst, can liberally assure abundance to all in return for four or five hours effective and manual work a day, as far as regards production. If everybody, from childhood, learned whence came the bread he eats, the house he dwells in, the book he studies, and so on; and if each one accustomed himself to complete mental work by manual labor in some branch of manufacture,-society could easily perform this task, to say nothing of the further simplification of production which a more or less near future has in store for us.

In fact, it suffices to recall for a moment the present terrible waste, to conceive what a civilized society can produce with but a small quantity of labor if all share in it, and what grand works might be undertaken that are out of the question today. Unfortunately, the metaphysics called political economy has never troubled about that which should have been its essence-economy of labor.

There is no longer any doubt as regards the possibility of wealth in a Communist society, armed with our present machinery and tools. Doubts only arise when the question at issue is, whether a society can exist in which man's actions are not subject to State control; whether, to reach well-being, it is not necessary for European communities to sacrifice the little personal liberty they have reconquered at the cost of so many sacrifices during this century? A section of Socialists believe that it is impossible to attain such a result without sacrificing personal liberty on the altar of the State. Another section, to which we belong, believes, on the contrary, that it is only by the abolition of the State, by the conquest of perfect liberty by the individual, by free agreement, association, and absolute free federation that we can reach Communism-the possession in common of our social inheritance, and the production in common of all riches.

That is the question outweighing all others at present, and Socialism must solve it, on pain of seeing all its efforts endangered and all its ulterior development paralysed.

Let us, therefore, analyse it with all the attention it deserves.

[Why the State must be abolished]

If every Socialist will carry his thoughts back to an earlier date, he will no doubt remember the host of prejudices aroused in him when, for the first time, he came to the idea that abolishing the capitalist system and private appropriation of land and capital had become an historical necessity.

The same feelings are today produced in the man who for the first time hears that the abolition of the State, its laws, its entire system of management, governmentalism and centralization, also becomes an historical necessity: that the abolition of the one without the abolition of the other is materially impossible. Our whole education-made, be it noted, by Church and State, in the interests of both-revolts at this conception.

Is it less true for that? And shall we allow our belief in the State to survive the host of prejudices we have already sacrificed for our emancipation?

It is not my intention to criticise tonight the State. That has been done and redone so often, and I am obliged to put off to another lecture the analysis of the historical part played by the State. A few general remarks will suffice.

To begin with, if man, since his origin, has always lived in societies, the State is but one of the forms of social life, quite recent as far as regards European societies. Men lived thousands of years before the first States were constituted; Greece and Rome existed for centuries before the Macedonian and Roman Empires were built up, and for us modern Europeans the centralized States date but from the sixteenth century. It was only then, after the defeat of the free mediæval Communes had been completed that the mutual insurance company between military, judicial, landlord, and capitalist authority which we call "State," could be fully established.

It was only in the sixteenth century that a mortal blow was dealt to ideas of local independence, to free union and organization, to federation of all degrees among sovereign groups, possessing all functions now seized upon by the State. It was only then that the alliance between Church and the nascent power of Royalty put an end to an organization, based on the principle of federation, which had existed from the ninth to the fifteenth century, and which had produced in Europe the great period of free cities of the middle ages, whose character has been so well understood in France by Sismondi and Augustin Thierry-two historians unfortunately too little read now-a-days.

We know well the means by which this association of the lord, priest, merchant, judge, soldier, and king founded its domination. It was by the annihilation of all free unions: of village communities, guilds, trades unions, fraternities, and mediæval cities. It was by confiscating the land of the communes and the riches of the guilds; it was by the absolute and ferocious prohibition of all kinds of free agreement between men; it was by massacre, the wheel, the gibbet, the sword, and the fire that Church and State established their domination, and that they succeeded henceforth to reign over an incoherent agglomeration of subjects, who had no direct union more among themselves.

It is now hardly thirty or forty years ago that we began to reconquer, by struggle, by revolt, the first steps of the right of association, that was freely practised by the artisans and the tillers of the soil through the whole of the middle ages.

And, already now, Europe is covered by thousands of voluntary associations for study and teaching, for industry, commerce, science, art, literature, exploitation, resistance to exploitation, amusement, serious work, gratification and self-denial, for all that makes up the life of an active and thinking being. We see these societies rising in all nooks and corners of all domains: political, economic, artistic, intellectual. Some are as shortlived as roses, some hold their own since several decades, and all strive-while maintaining the independence of each group, circle, branch, or section-to federate, to unite, across frontiers as well as among each nation; to cover all the life of civilized men with a net, meshes of which are intersected and interwoven. Their numbers can already be reckoned by tens of thousands, they comprise millions of adherents-although less than fifty years have elapsed since Church and State began to tolerate a few of them-very few, indeed.

These societies already begin to encroach everywhere on the functions of the State, and strive to substitute free action of volunteers for that of a centralized State. In England we see arise insurance companies against theft; societies for coast defense, volunteer societies for land defense, which the State endeavors to get under its thumb, thereby making them instruments of domination, although their original aim was to do without the State. Were it not for Church and State, free societies would have already conquered the whole of the immense domain of education. And, in spite of all difficulties, they begin to invade this domain as well, and make their influence already felt.

And when we mark the progress already accomplished in that direction, in spite of and against the State, which tries by all means to maintain its supremacy of recent origin; when we see how voluntary societies invade everything and are only impeded in their development by the State, we are forced to recognize a powerful tendency, a latent force in modern society. And we ask ourselves this question: If, five, ten, or twenty years hence-it matters little-the workers succeed by revolt in destroying the said mutual insurance society of landlords, bankers, priests, judges, and soldiers; if the people become masters of their destiny for a few months, and lay hands on the riches they have created, and which belong to them by right-will they really begin to reconstitute that blood-sucker, the State? Or will they not rather try to organize from the simple to the complex, according to mutual agreement and to the infinitely varied, ever-changing needs of each locality, in order to secure the possession of those riches for themselves, to mutually guarantee one another's life, and to produce what will be found necessary for life?

[Can anarchistic society survive?]

Will they follow the dominant tendency of the century, towards decentralization, home rule and free agreement; or will they march contrary to this tendency and strive to reconstitute demolished authority?

Educated men-"civilized," as Fourier used to say with disdain-tremble at the idea that society might some day be without judges, police, or gaolers.

But, frankly, do you need them as much as you have been told in musty books ? Books written, be it noted, by scientists who generally know well what has been written before them, but, for the most part, absolutely ignore the people and their every-day life.

If we can wander, without fear, not only in the streets of Paris, which bristle with police, but especially in rustic walks where you rarely meet passers by, is it to the police that we owe this security? or rather to the absence of people who care to rob or murder us? I am evidently not speaking of the one who carries millions about him. That one-a recent trial tells us-is soon robbed, by preference in places where there are as many policemen as lamp posts. No, I speak of the man who fears for his life and not for his purse filled with ill-gotten sovereigns. Are his fears real?

Besides, has not experience demonstrated quite recently that Jack the Ripper performed hie exploits under the eye of the London police-a most active force-and that he only left off killing when the population of Whitechapel itself began to give chase to him?

And in our every-day relations with our fellow-citizens, do you think that it is really judges, gaolers, and police that hinder anti-social acts from multiplying? The judge, ever ferocious, because he is a maniac of law, the accuser, the informer, the police spy, all those interlopers that live from hand to mouth around the Law Courts, do they not scatter demoralization far and wide into society? Read the trials, glance behind the scenes, push your analysis further than the exterior facade of law courts, and you will come out sickened.

Have not prisons-which kill all will and force of character in man, which enclose within their walls more vices than are met with on any other spot of the globe-always been universities of crime? Is not the court of a tribunal a school of ferocity? And so on.

When we ask for the abolition of the State and its organs we are always told that we dream of a society composed of men better than they are in reality. But no; a thousand times, no. All we ask is that men should not be made worse than they are, by such institutions!

Once a German jurist of great renown, Ihering, wanted to sum up the scientific work of his life and write a treatise, in which he proposed to analyze the factors that preserve social life in society. "Purpose in Law" (Der Zweck im Rechte), such is the title of that book, which enjoys a well-deserved reputation.

He made an elaborate plan of his treatise, and, with much erudition, discussed both coercive factors which are used to maintain society: wagedom and the different forms of coercion which are sanctioned by law. At the end of his work he reserved two paragraphs only to mention the two non-coercive factors-the feeling of duty and the feeling of mutual sympathy-to which lie attached little importance, as might be expected from a writer in law.

But what happened? As he went on analyzing the coercive factors he realized their insufficiency. He consecrated a whole volume to their analysis, and the result was to lessen their importance! When he began the last two paragraphs, when he began to reflect upon the non-coercive factors of society, he perceived, on the contrary, their immense, outweighing importance; and instead of two paragraphs, he found himself obliged to write a second volume, twice as large as the first, on these two factors: voluntary restraint and mutual help; and yet, he analyzed but an infinitesimal part of these latter-those which result from personal sympathy-and hardly touched free agreement, which results from social institutions.

Well, then, leave off repeating the formulæ which you have learned at school; meditate on this subject; and the same thing that happened to Ihering will happen to you: you will recognize the infinitesimal importance of coersion, as compared to the voluntary assent, in society.

On the other hand, if by following the very old advice given by Bentham you begin to think of the fatal consequences-direct, and especially indirect-of legal coersion, like Tolstoy, like us, you will begin to hate use of coersion, and you will begin to say that society possesses a thousand other means for preventing antisocial acts. If it neglects those means today, it is because, being educated by Church and State, our cowardice and apathy of spirit hinder us seeing clearly on this point. When a child has committed a fault, it is so easy to hang a man-especially when there is an executioner who is paid so much for each execution-and it dispenses us from thinking of the cause of crimes.

[On Utopias]

It is often said that Anarchists live in a world of dreams to come, and do not see the things which happen today. We do see them only too well, and in their true colors, and that is what makes us carry the hatchet into the forest of prejudice that besets us.

Far from living in a world of visions and imagining men better than they are, we see them as they are; and that is why we affirm that the best of men is made essentially bad by the exercise of authority, and that the theory of the "balancing of powers" and "control of authorities" is a hypocritical formula, invented by those who have seized power, to make the "sovereign people," whom they despise, believe that the people themselves are governing. It is because we know men that we say to those who imagine that men would devour one another without those governors: "You reason like the king, who, being sent across the frontier, called out, 'What will become of my poor subjects without me?'"

Ah, if men were those superior beings that the utopians of authority like to speak to us of, if we could close our eyes to reality, and live, like them, in a world of dreams and illusions as to the superiority of those who think themselves called to power, perhaps we also should do like them; perhaps we also should believe in the virtues of those who govern.

With virtuous masters, what dangers could slavery offer? Do you remember the Slave-owner of whom we heard so often, hardly thirty years ago? Was he not supposed to take paternal care of his slaves? "He alone," we were told, "could hinder these lazy, indolent, improvident children dying of hunger. How could he crush his slaves through hard labor, or mutilate them by blows, when his own interest lay in feeding them well, in taking care of them as much as of his own children! And then, did not 'the law' see to it that the least swerving of a slave-owner from the path of duty was punished?" How many times have we not been told so! But the reality was such that, having returned from a voyage to Brazil, Darwin was haunted all his life by the cries of agony of mutilated slaves, by the sobs of moaning women whose fingers were crushed in thumbserews!

If the gentlemen in power were really so intelligent and so devoted to the public cause, as panegyrists of authority love to represent, what a pretty government and paternal utopia we should be able to construct! The employer would never be the tyrant of the worker; he would be the father! The factory would be a palace of delight, and never would masses of workers be doomed to physical deterioration. The State would not poison its workers by making matches with white phosphorus, for which it is so easy to substitute red phosphorus.[The making of matches was a State monopoly in France.] A judge would not have the ferocity to condemn the wife and children of the one whom he sends to prison to suffer years of hunger and misery and to die some day of anemia; never would a public prosecutor ask for the head of the accused for the unique pleasure of showing off his oratorical talent; and nowhere would we find a gaoler or an executioner to do the bidding of judges, who have not the courage to carry out their sentences themselves. What do I say! We should never have enough Plutarchs to praise the virtues of Members of Parliament who would all hold Panama checks in horror! Biribi would become an austere nursery of virtue, and permanent armies would be the joy of citizens, as soldiers would only take up arms to parade before nursemaids, and to carry nosegays on the point of their bayonets!

Oh, the beautiful utopia, the lovely Christmas dream we can make as soon as we admit that those who govern represent a superior caste, and have hardly any or no knowledge of simple mortals' weaknesses! It would then suffice to make them control one another in hierarchical fashion, to let them exchange fifty papers, at most, among different administrators, when the wind blows down a tree on the national road. Or, if need be, they would have only to be valued at their proper worth, during elections, by those same masses of mortals which are supposed to be endowed with all stupidity in their mutual relations but become wisdom itself when they have to elect their masters.

All the science of government, imagined by those who govern, is imbibed with these utopias. But we know men too well to dream such dreams. We have not two measures for the virtues of the governed and those of the governors; we know that we ourselves are not without faults and that the best of us would soon be corrupted by the exercise of power. We take men for what they are worth-and that is why we hate the government of man by man, and that we work with all our might-perhaps not strong enough-to put an end to it.

[Constructive Anarchism]

But it is not enough to destroy. We must also know how to build, and it is owing to not having thought about it that the masses have always been led astray in all their revolutions. After having demolished they abandoned the care of reconstruction to the middle class people, who possessed a more or less precise conception of what they wished to realize, and who consequently reconstituted authority to their own advantage.

That is why Anarchy, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement-at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist. Only, instead of demanding that those social customs should be maintained through the authority of a few, it demands it from the continued action of all.

Communist customs and institutions are of absolute necessity for society, not only to solve economic difficulties, but also to maintain and develop social customs that bring men in contact with one another; they must be looked to for establishing such relations between men that the interest of each should be the interest of all; and this alone can unite men instead of dividing them.

In fact, when we ask ourselves by what means a certain moral level can be maintained in a human or animal society, we find only three such means: the repression of anti-social acts; moral teaching; and the practice of mutual help itself. And as all three have already been put to the test of practice, we can judge them by their effects.

As to the impotence of repression-it is sufficiently demonstrated by the disorder of present society and by the necessity of a revolution that we all desire or feel inevitable. In the domain of economy, coercion has led us to industrial servitude; in the domain of politics-to the State, that is to say, to the destruction of all ties that formerly existed among citizens, and to the nation becoming nothing but an incoherent mass of obedient subjects of a central authority.

Not only has a coercive system contributed and powerfully aided to create all the present economical, political and social evils, but it has given proof of its absolute impotence to raise the moral level of societies; it has not been even able to maintain it at the level it had already reached. If a benevolent fairy could only reveal to our eyes all the crimes that are committed every day, every minute, in a civilized society under cover of the unknown, or the protection of law itself,-society would shudder at that terrible state of affairs. The authors of the greatest political crimes, like those of Napoleon III. coup d'etat, or the bloody week in May after the fall of the Commune of 1871, never are arraigned ; and as a poet said; "the small miscreants are punished for the satisfaction of the great ones." More than that, when authority takes the moralization of society in hand, by "punishing criminals" it only heaps up now crimes!

Practised for centuries, repression has so badly succeeded that it has but led us into a blind alley from which we can only issue by carrying torch and hatchet into the institutions of our authoritarian past.

Far be it from us not to recognize the importance of the second factor, moral teaching-especially that which is unconsciously transmitted in society and results from the whole of the ideas and comments emitted by each of us on facts and events of every-day life. But this force can only act on society under one condition, that of not being crossed by a mass of contradictory immoral teachings resulting from the practice of insitutions.

In that case its influence is nil or baneful. Take Christian morality: what other teaching could have had more hold on minds than that spoken in the name of a crucified God, and could have acted with all its mystical force, all its poetry of martyrdom, its grandeur in forgiving executioners? And yet the institution was more powerful than the religion: soon Christianity-a revolt against imperial Rome-was conquered by that same Rome; it accepted its maxims, customs, and language. The Chriatian church accepted the Roman law as its own, and as such-allied to the State-it became in history the most furious enemy of all semi-communist institutions, to which Christianity appealed at Its origin.

Can we for a moment believe that moral teaching, patronized by circulars from ministers of public instruction, would have the creative force that Christianity has not had? And what could the verbal teaching of truly social men do, if it were counteracted by the whole teaching derived from institutions based, as our present institutions of property and State are, upon unsocial principles?

The third element alone remains-the institution itself, acting in such a way as to make social acts a state of habit and instinct. This element-history proves it-has never missed its aim, never has it acted as a double-bladed sword; and its influence has only been weakened when custom strove to become immovable, crystallized, to become in its turn a religion not to be questioned when it endeavored to absorb the individual, taking all freedom of action from him and compelling him to revolt against that which had become, through its crystallization, an enemy to progress.

In fact, all that was an element of progress in the past or an instrument of moral and intellectual improvement of the human race is due to the practice of mutual aid, to the customs that recognized the equality of men and brought them to ally, to unite, to associate for the purpose of producing and consuming, to unite for purpose of defence to federate and to recognize no other judges in fighting out their differences than the arbitrators they took from their own midst.

Each time these institutions, issued from popular genius, when it had reconquered its liberty for a moment,-each time these institutions developed in a new direction, the moral level of society, its material well-being, its liberty, its intellectual progress, and the affirmation of individual originality made a step in advance. And, on the contrary, each time that in the course of history, whether following upon a foreign conquest, or whether by developing authoritarian prejudices men become more and more divided into governors and governed, exploiters and exploited, the moral level fell, the well-being of the masses decreased in order to insure riches to a few, and the spirit of the age declined.

History teaches us this, and from this lesson we have learned to have confidence in free Communist institutions to raise the moral level of societies, debased by the practice of authority.

Today we live side by side without knowing one another. We come together at meetings on an election day: we listen to the lying or fanciful professions of faith of a candidate, and we return home. The State has the care of all questions of public interest; the State alone has the function of seeing that we do not harm the interests of our neighbor, and, if it fails in this, of punishing us in order to repair the evil.

Our neighbor may die of hunger or murder his children,-it is no business of ours; it is the business of the policeman. You hardly know one another, nothing unites you, everything tends to alienate you from one another, and finding no better way, you ask the Almighty (formerly it was a God, now it is the State) to do all that lies within his power to stop anti-social passions from reaching their highest climax.

In a Communist society such estrangement, such confidence in an outside force could not exist. Communist organization cannot be left to be constructed by legislative bodies called parliaments, municipal or communal council. It must be the work of all, a natural growth, a product of the constructive genius of the great mass. Communism cannot be imposed from above; it could not live even for a few months if the constant and daily co-operation of all did not uphold it. It must be free.

It cannot exist without creating a continual contact between all for the thousands and thousands of common transactions; it cannot exist without creating local life, independent in the smallest unities-the block of houses, the street, the district, the commune. It would not answer its purpose if it did not cover society with a network of thousands of associations to satisfy its thousand needs: the necessaries of life, articles of luxury, of study, enjoyment, amusements. And such associations cannot remain narrow and local; they must necessarily tend (as is already the case with learned societies, cyclist clubs, humanitarian societies and the like) to become international.

And the sociable customs that Communism-were it only partial at its origin-must inevitably engender in life, would already be a force incomparably more powerful to maintain and develop the kernel of sociable customs than all repressive machinery.

This, then, is the form-sociable institution-of which we ask the development of the spirit of harmony that Church and State had undertaken to impose on us-with the sad result we know only too well. And these remarks contain our answer to those who affirm that Communism and Anarchy cannot go together. They are, you see, a necessary complement to one another. The most powerful development of individuality, or individual originality-as one of our comrades has so well said,- can only be produced when the first needs of food and shelter are satisfied; when the struggle for existence against the forces of nature has been simplified; when man's time is no longer taken up entirely by the meaner side of daily subsistence,-then only, his intelligence, his artistic taste, his inventive spirit, his genius, can develop freely and ever strive to greater achievements.

Communism is the best basis for individual development and freedom; not that individualism which drives man to the war of each against all-this is the only one known up till now,-but that which represents the full expansion of man's faculties, the superior development of what is original in him, the greatest fruitfulness of intelligence, feeling and will.

Such being our ideal, what does it matter to us that it cannot be realized at once!

Our first duty is to find out, by an analysis of society, its characteristic tendencies at a given moment of evolution and to state them clearly. Then, to act according to those tendencies in our relations with all those who think as we do. And, finally, from to-day and especially daring a revolutionary period, work for the destruction of the institutions, as, weII as the prejudices, that impede the development of such tendencies.

That is all we can do by peaceable or revolutionary methods, and we know that by favoring those tendencies we contribute to progress, while who resist them impede the march of progress.

[On the stages to reach Communism]

Nevertheless, men often speak of stages to be travelled through, and they propose to work to reach what they consider to be the nearest station and only then to take the high road leading to what they recognize to be a still higher ideal.

But reasoning like this seems to me to misunderstand the true character of human progress and to make use of a badly chosen military comparison. Humanity is not a rolling ball, nor even a marching column. It is a whole that evolves simultaneously in the mulitude of millions of which it Is composed; and if you wish for a comparison, you must rather take it in the laws of organic evolution than In those of an inorganic moving body.

The fact is that each phase of development of a society is a resultant of all the activities of the Intellects which compose that society; it bears the imprint of all those millions of wills. Consequently, whatever may be the stage of development that the twentieth century is preparing for us, this future state of society will show the effects of the awakening of libertarian ideas which is now taking place. And the depth with which this movement will be impressed upon the coming twentieth century institutions will depend upon the number of men who will have broken to-day with authoritarian prejudices, on the energy they will have used in attacking old institutions, on the impression they will make on the masses, on the clearness with which the ideal of a free society will have been impressed on the minds of the masses. But, to-day, we can say in full confidence, that in France the awakening of libertarian ideas had already put its stamp on society; and that the next revolution will not be the Jacobin revolution which it would have been had it buret out twenty years ago.

And as these ideas are neither the invention of a man nor a group, but result from the whole of the movement of ideas of the time, we can be sure that, whatever comes out of the next revolution, it will not be the dictatorial and centralized Communism which was so much in vogue forty years ago, nor the authoritarian Collectivism to which we were quite recently invited to ally ourselves, and which its advocates dare only defend very feebly at present.[In fact, this is exactly what came about in the next revolution, and nearly all the following workers revolutions of the twentieth century]

The "first stage," it is certain, will then be quite different from what was described under that name hardly twenty years ago. The latest developments of the libertarian ideas have already modified it beforehand in an Anarchist sense.

I have already mentioned that the great all-dominating question now is for the Socialist party, taken as a whole, to harmonize its ideal of society with the libertarian movement that germinates, in the spirit of the masses, in literature, in science, in philosophy. It is also, it is especially so, to rouse the spirit of popular initiative.

Now, it is precisely the workers' and peasants' initiative that all parties-the Socialist authoritarian party included-have always stifled, wittingly or not, by party discipline. Committees, centers, ordering everything; local organs having but to obey, "so as not to put the unity of the organization in danger." A whole teaching, in a word; a whole false history, written to serve that purpose, a whole incomprehensible pseudo-science of economics, elaborated to this end.

Well, then, those who will work to break up these superannuated tactics, those who will know how to rouse the spirit of initiative in individuals and in groups, those who will be able to create in their mutual relations a movement and a life based on the principles of free understanding-those that will understand that variety, conflict even, is life, and that uniformity is death,-they will work, not for future centuries, but in good earnest for the next revolution, for our own times.

We need not fear the dangers and "abuses" of liberty. It is only those who do nothing who make no mistakes. As to those who only know how to obey, they make just as many, and more, mistakes than those who strike out their own path in trying to act in the direction their intelligence and their social education suggest to them. The ideal of liberty of the individual-if it is incorrectly understood owing to surroundings where the notion of solidarity is insufficiently accentuated by institutions-can certainly lead isolated men to acts that are repugnant to the social sentiments of humanity. Let us admit that it does happen: is it, however, a reason for throwing the principle of liberty overboard? Is it a reason for accepting the teaching of those masters who, in order to prevent "digressions," reestablish the censure of an enfranchised press and guillotine advanced parties to maintain uniformity and discipline-that which, when all is said, was in 1793 the best means of insuring the triumph of reaction?

The only thing to be done when we see anti-social acts committed in the name of liberty of the individual, is to repudiate the principle of "each for himself and God for all," and to have the courage to say aloud in any one's presence what we think of such acts. This can perhaps bring about a conflict; but conflict is life itself. And from the conflict will arise an appreciation of those acts far more just than all those appreciations which could have been produced under the influence of old-established ideas.

When the moral level of a society descends to the point it has reached today we must expect beforehand that a revolt against such a society will sometimes assume forms that will make us shudder. No doubt, heads paraded on pikes disgust us; but the high and low gibbets of the old regime in France, and the iron cages Victor Hugo has told us of, were they not the origin of this bloody exhibition? Let us hope that the coldblooded massacre of thirty-five thousand Parisians in May, 1871, after the fall of the Commune, and the bombardment of, Paris by Thiers will have passed over the French nation without leaving too great a fund of ferocity. Let us hope that. Let us also hope that the corruption of the swell mob, which is continually brought to light in recent trials, will not yet have ruined the heart of the nation. Let us hope it! Let us help that it be so! But if our hopes are not fulfilled-you, young Socialists, will you then turn your backs on the people in revolt, because the ferocity of the rulers of today will have left its furrow in the people's minds; because the mud from above has splashed far and wide?

It is evident that so profound a revolution producing itself in people's minds cannot be confined to the domain of ideas without expanding to the sphere of action. As was so well expressed by the sympathetic young philosopher, too early snatched by death from our midst, Mark Guyau, in one of the most beautiful books published for thirty years [La morale sans obligation ni sanction, par M. Guyau.], there is no abyss between thought and action, at least for those who are not used to modern sophistry. Conception is already a beginning of action.

Consequently, the new ideas have provoked a multitude of acts of revolt in all countries, under all possible conditions: first, individual revolt against Capital and State; then collective revolt-strikes and working class insurrections-both preparing, in men's minds as in actions, a revolt of the masses, a revolution. In this, Socialism and Anarchism have only followed the course of evolution, which is always accomplished by force-ideas at the approach of great popular risings.

That is why it would be wrong to attribute the monopoly of acts of revolt to Anarchism. And, in fact, when we pass in review the acts of revolt of the last quarter of a century, we see them proceeding from all parties.

In all Europe we see a multitude of risings of working masses and peasants. Strikes, which were once "a war of folded arms," today easily turning to revolt, and sometimes taking-in the United States, in Belgium, in Andalusia-the proportions of vast insurrections. In the new and old worlds it is by the dozen that we count the risings of strikers having turned to revolts.

On the other hand, the individual act of revolt takes all possible characters, and all advanced parties contribute to it. We pass before us the rebel young woman Vera Zassulitch shooting a satrap of Alexander II.; the Social Democrat Hœdel and the Republican Nobiling shooting at the Emperor of Germany; the cooper Otero shooting at the King of Spain, and the religious Mazzmian, Passanante, striking at the King of Italy. We see agrarian murders in Ireland and explosions in London, organized by Irish Nationalists who have a horror of Socialism and Anarchism. We see a whole generation of young Russians-Socialists, Constitutionalists and Jacobins- declare war to the knife against Alexander II., and pay for that revolt against autocracy by thirty-five executions and swarms of exiles. Numerous acts of personal revenge take place among Belgian, English and American miners; and it is only at the end of this long series that we see the Anarchists appear with their acts of revolt in Spain and France.

And, during this same period, massacres, wholesale and retail, organized by governments, follow their regular course. To the applause of the European bourgeoisie, the Versailles Assembly causes thirty-five thousand Parisian workmen to be butchered-for the most part prisoners of the vanquished Commune. "Pinkerton thugs"-that private army of the rich American capitalists-massacre strikers according to the rules of that art. Priests incite an idiot to shoot at Louise Michel, who-as a true Anarchist-snatches her would-be murderer from his judges by pleading for him. Outside Europe the Indians of Canada are massacred and Riel is strangled, the Matabele are exterminated, Alexandria is bombarded, without saying more of the butcheries in Madagascar, in Tonkin , in Turkoman's land everywhere, to which is given the name of war. And, finally, each year hundreds and even thousands of years of imprisonment are distributed among the rebellious workers of the two continents, and the wives and children, who are thus condemned to expiate the so-called crimes of their fathers, are doomed to the darkest misery.-The rebels are transported to Siberia, to Biribi, to Noumea and to Guiana; and in those places of exile the convicts are shot down like dogs for the least act of insubordination. What a terrible indictment the balance sheet of the sufferings endured by workers and their friends, during this last quarter of a century, would be! What a multitude of horrible details that are unknown to the public at large and that would haunt you like a nightmare if I ventured to tell you them tonight! What a fit of passion each page would provoke if the martyrology of the modern forerunners of the great Social Revolution were written!-Well, then, we have lived through such a history, and each one of us has read whole pages from that book of blood and misery.

And, in the face of those sufferings, those executions, those Guianas, Siberias, Noumeas and Biribis, they have the insolence to reproach the rebel worker with want of respect for human life!!!

But the whole of our present life extinguishes the respect for human life! The judge who sentences to death, and his lieutenant, the executioner, who garrots in broad daylight in Madrid, or guillotines in the mists of Paris amid the jeers of the degraded members of high and low society; the general who massacres at Bac-leh, and the newspaper correspondent who strives to cover the assassins with glory; the employer who poisons his workmen with white lead, because-he answers-"it would cost so much more to substitute oxide of zinc for it;" the so-called English geographer who kills an old women lest she should awake a hostile village by her sobs, and the German geographer who causes the girl he had taken as a mistress to be hanged with her lover, the court-martial that is content with fifteen days arrest for the Biribi gaoler convicted of murder....all, all, all in the present society teaches absolute contempt for human life-for that flesh that costs so little in the market! And those who garrot, assassinate, who kill depreciated human merchandise, they who have made a religion of the maxim that for the safety of the public you must garrot, shoot and kill, they complain that human life is not sufficiently respected!!!

No, citizens, as long as society accepts the law of retaliation, as long as religion and law, the barrack and the law-courts, the prison and industrial penal servitude, the press and the school continue to teach supreme contempt for the life of the individual,-do not ask the rebels against that society to respect it. It would be exacting a degree of gentleness and magnanimity from them, infinitely superior to that of the whole society.

If you wish, like us, that the entire liberty of the individual and, consequently, his life be respected, you are necessarily brought to repudiate the government of man by man, whatever shape it assumes; you are forced to accept the principles of Anarchy that you have spurned so long. You must then search with us the forms of society that can best realize that ideal and put an end to all the violence that rouses your indignation.



Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they maintain that the ideal of the political organization of society is a condition of things where the functions of government are reduced to a minimum, and the individual recovers his full liberty of initiative and action for satisfying, by means of free groups and federations--freely constituted--all the infinitely varied needs of the human being.

As regards socialism, most of the anarchists arrive at its ultimate conclusion, that is, at a complete negation of the wage-system and at communism. And with reference to political organization, by giving a further development to the above-mentioned part of the radical program, they arrive at the conclusion that the ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government to nil--that is, to a society without government, to anarchy. The anarchists maintain, moreover, that such being the ideal of social and political organization, they must not remit it to future centuries. but that only those changes in our social organization which are in accordance with the above double ideal, and constitute an approach to it, will have a chance of life and be beneficial for the commonwealth.

As to the method followed by the anarchist thinker, it entirely differs from that followed by the utopists. The anarchist thinker does not resort to metaphysical conceptions (like "natural rights," the "duties of the State," and so on) to establish what are, in his opinion, the best conditions for realizing the greatest happiness of humanity. He follows, on the contrary, the course traced by the modern philosophy of evolution. He studies human society as it is now and was in the past; and without either endowing humanity as a whole, or separate individuals, with superior qualities which they do not possess, he merely considers society as an aggregation of organisms trying to find out the best ways of combining the wants of the individual with those of cooperation for the welfare of the species. He studies society and tries to discover its tendencies past and present, its growing needs, intellectual and economic, and in his ideal he merely points out in which direction evolution goes. He distinguishes between the real wants and tendencies of human aggregations and the accidents (want of knowledge, migrations, wars, conquests) which have prevented these tendencies from being satisfied. And he concludes that the two most prominent, although often unconscious, tendencies throughout our history have been: first, a tendency towards integrating labor for the production of all riches in common, so as finally to render it impossible to discriminate the part of the common production due to the separate individual; and second, a tendency towards the fullest freedom of the individual in the prosecution of all aims, beneficial both for himself and for society at large. The ideal of the anarchist is thus a mere summing up of what he considers to be the next phase of evolution. It is no longer a matter of faith; it is a matter for scientific discussion.

In fact, one of the leading features of this century is the growth of socialism and the rapid spreading of socialist views among the working-classes. How could it be otherwise? We have witnessed an unparalleled sudden increase of our powers of production, resulting in an accumulation of wealth which has outstripped the most sanguine expectations. But owing to our wage system, this increase of wealth--due to the combined efforts of 'men of science, of managers, and workmen as well--has resulted only in an unprecedented accumulation of wealth in the hands of the owners of capital; while an increase of misery for great numbers, and an insecurity of life for all, have been the lot of the workmen The unskilled laborers, in continuous search for labor, are falling into an unheard-of destitution. And even the best paid artisans and skilled workmen labor under the permanent menace of being thrown, in their turn, into the same conditions as the unskilled paupers, in consequence of some of the continuous and unavoidable fluctuations of industry and caprices of capital.

The chasm between the modern millionaire who squanders the produce of human labor in a gorgeous and vain luxury, and the pauper reduced to a miserable and insecure existence, is thus growing wider and wider, so as to break the very unity of society--the harmony of its life--and to endanger the progress of its further development.

At the same time, workingmen are less and less inclined to patiently endure this division of society into two classes, as they themselves become more and more conscious of the wealth-producing power of modern industry, of the part played by labor in the production of wealth, and of their own capacities of organization. In proportion as all classes of the community take a more lively part in public affairs, and knowledge spreads among the masses, their longing for equality becomes stronger, and their demands for social reorganization become louder and louder. They can be ignored no more. The worker claims his share in the riches he produces; he claims his share in the management of production; and he claims not only some additional well-being, but also his full rights in the higher enjoyments of science and art. These claims, which formerly were uttered only by the social reformer, begin now to be made by a daily growing minority of those who work in the factory or till the acre. And they so conform to our feelings of justice that they find support in a daily growing minority among the privileged classes themselves. Socialism becomes thus the idea of the nineteenth century; and neither coercion nor pseudo-reforms can stop its further growth.

Much hope of improvement was placed, of course, in the extension of political rights to the working classes. But these concessions, unsupported as they were by corresponding changes in economic relations, proved delusions. They did not materially improve the conditions of the great bulk of the workmen. Therefore, the watchword of socialism is: "Economic freedom as the only secure basis for political freedom." And as long as the present wage system, with all its bad consequences, remains unaltered, the socialist watchword will continue to inspire the workmen. Socialism will continue to grow until it has realized its program.

Side by side with this great movement of thought in economic matters, a like movement has been going on with regard to political rights, political organization, and the functions of government. Government has been submitted to the same criticism as capital. While most of the radicals saw in universal suffrage and republican institutions the last word of political wisdom, a further step was made by the few. The very functions of government and the State, as also their relations to the individual, were submitted to a sharper and deeper criticism. Representative government having been tried by experiment on a wide field, its defects became more and more prominent. It became obvious that these defects are not merely accidental but inherent in the system itself. Parliament and its executive proved to be unable to attend to all the numberless affairs of the community and to conciliate the varied and often opposite interests of the separate parts of a State. Election proved unable to find out the men who might represent a nation, and manage, otherwise than in a party spirit, the affairs they are compelled to legislate upon. These defects become so striking that the very principles of the representative system were criticized and their justness doubted.

Again, the dangers of a centralized government became still more conspicuous when the socialists came to the front and asked for a further increase of the powers of government by entrusting it with the management of the immense field covered now by the economic relations between individuals. The question was asked whether a government entrusted with the management of industry and trade would not become a permanent danger for liberty and peace, and whether it even would be able to be a good manager?

The socialists of the earlier part of this century did not fully realize the immense difficulties of the problem. Convinced as they were of the necessity of economic reforms, most of them took no notice of the need of freedom for the individual. And we have had social reformers ready to submit society to any kind of theocracy, or dictatorship in order to obtain reforms in a socialist sense. Therefore we have seen in England and also on the Continent the division of men of advanced opinions into political radicals and socialists--the former looking with distrust on the latter, as they saw in them a danger for the political liberties which have been won by the civilized nations after a long series of struggles. And even now, when the socialists all over Europe have become political parties, and profess the democratic faith, there remains among most impartial men a well-founded fear of the Volksstaat or "popular State" being as great a danger to liberty as any form of autocracy if its government be entrusted with the management of all the social organization including the production and distribution of wealth.

Recent evolution, however, has prepared the way for showing the necessity and possibility of a higher form of social organization which may guarantee economic freedom without reducing the individual to the role of a slave to the State. The origins of government have been carefully studied, and all metaphysical conceptions as to its divine or "social contract" derivation having been laid aside, it appears that it is among us of a relatively modern origin, and that its powers have grown precisely in proportion as the division of society into the privileged and unprivileged classes was growing in the course of ages. Representative government has also been reduced to its real value--that of an instrument which has rendered services in the struggle against autocracy, but not an ideal of free political organization. As to the system of philosophy which saw in the State a leader of progress, it was more and more shaken as it became evident thee progress is the most effective when it is not checked by State interference. It has thus become obvious that a further advance in social life does not lie in the direction of a further concentration of power and regulative functions in the hands of a governing body, but in the direction of decentralization, both territorial and functional--in a subdivision of public functions with respect both to their sphere of action and to the character of the functions; it is in the abandonment to the initiative of freely constituted groups of all those functions which are now considered as the functions of government.

This current of thought has found its expression not merely in literature, but also to a limited extent in life. The uprise of the Paris Commune, followed by that of the Commune of Cartagena--a movement of which the historical bearing seems to have been quite overlooked--opened a new page of history. If we analyze not only this movement in itself, but also the impression it left in the minds and the tendencies manifested during the communal revolution, we must recognize in it an indication showing that in the future human agglomerations which are more advanced in their social development will try to start an independent life; and that they will endeavor to convert thew more backward pares of a nation by example, instead of imposing their opinions by law and force, or submitting themselves to the majority-rule, which always is a mediocrity-rule. At the same time the failure of representative government within the Commune itself proved that self-government and self-administration muse be carried further than in a merely territorial sense. To be effective they must also be carried into the various functions of life within the free community. A merely territorial limitation of the sphere of action of government will not do--representative government being as deficient in a city as it is in a nation. Life gave thus a further point in favor of the no-government theory, and a new impulse to anarchist thought.

Anarchists recognize the justice of both the just-mentioned tendencies towards economic and political freedom, and see in them two different manifestations of the very same need of equality which constitutes the very essence of all struggles mentioned by history. Therefore, in common with all socialists, the anarchist says to the political reformer: "No substantial reform in the sense of political equality and no limitation of the powers of government can be made as long as society is divided into two hostile camps, and the laborer remains, economically speaking, a slave to his employer." But to the state socialist we say also: "You cannot modify the existing conditions of property without deeply modifying at the same time the political organization. You must limit the powers of government and renounce parliamentary rule. To each new economic phase of life corresponds a new political phase. absolute monarchy corresponded to the system of serfdom. Representative government corresponds to capital rule. Both, however, are class-rule. But in a society where the distinction between capitalist and laborer has disappeared, there is no need of such a government; it would be an anachronism, a nuisance. Free workers would require a free organization, and this cannot have any other basis than free agreement and free cooperation, without sacrificing the autonomy of the individual to the all-pervading interference of the State. The no-capitalist system implies the no-government system."

Meaning thus the emancipation of man from the oppressive powers of capitalism and government as well, the system of anarchism becomes a synthesis of the two powerful currents of thought which characterize our century.

In arriving at these conclusions anarchism proves to be in accordance with the conclusions arrived at by the philosophy of evolution. By bringing to light the plasticity of organization, the philosophy of evolution has shown the admirable adaptability of organisms to their conditions of life, and the ensuing development of such faculties as render more complete both the adaptations of the aggregates to their surroundings and those of each of the constituent parts of the aggregate to the needs of free cooperation. It has familiarized us with the circumstance that throughout organic nature the capacities for life in common grow in proportion as the integration of organisms into compound aggregates becomes more and more complete; and it has enforced thus the opinion already expressed by social moralists as to the perfectibility of human nature It has shown us thee, in the long run of the struggle for existence, "the fittest" will prove to be those who combine intellectual knowledge with the knowledge necessary for the production of wealth, and not those who are now the richest because they, or their ancestors, have been momentarily the strongest.

By showing that the "struggle for existence" must be conceived not merely in its restricted sense of a struggle between individuals for the means of subsistence but in its wider sense of adaptation of all individuals of the species to the best conditions for the survival of the species, as well as for the greatest possible sum of life and happiness for each and all, is has permitted us to deduce the laws of moral science from the social needs and habits of mankind. It has shown us the infinitesimal pare played by positive law in moral evolution, and the immense pare played by the natural growth of altruistic feelings, which develop as soon as the conditions of life favor their growth. It has thus enforced the opinion of social reformers as to the necessity of modifying the conditions of life for improving man, instead of trying to improve human nature by moral teachings while life works in an opposite direction. Finally, by studying human society from the biological point of view, it has come to the conclusions arrived at by anarchists from the study of history and present tendencies as to further progress being in the line of socialization of wealth and integrated labor combined with the fullest possible freedom of the individual.

It has happened in the long run of ages that everything which permits men to increase their production, or even to continue it, has been appropriated by the few. The land, which derives its value precisely from its being necessary for an ever-increasing population, belongs to the few, who may prevent the community from cultivating it. The coal pits, which represent the labor of generations, and which also derive their value from the wants of the manufacturers and railroads, from the immense trade carried on and the density of population, belong again to the few, who have even the right of stopping the extraction of coal if they choose to give another use to their capital. The lace-weaving machine, which represents, in its present state of perfection, the work of three generations of Lancashire weavers, belongs also to the few; and if the grandsons of the very same weaver who invented the first lace-weaving machine claim their right to bring one of these machines into motion, they will be told "Hands off! this machine does not belong to you!" The railroads, which mostly would be useless heaps of iron if not for the present dense population, its industry, trade, and traffic, belong again to the few--to a few shareholders who may not even know where the railway is situated which brings them a yearly income larger than eat of a medieval king. And if the children of those people who died by thousands in digging the tunnels should gather and go--a ragged and starving crowd--to ask bread or work from the shareholders, they would be met with bayonets and bullets.

Who is the sophist who will dare to say that such an organization is just? But what is unjust cannot be beneficial to mankind; and it is not. In consequence of this monstrous organization, the son of a workman, when he is able to work, finds no acre to till, no machine to set in motion, unless he agrees to sell his labor for a sum inferior to its real value. His father and grandfather have contributed to drain the field, or erect the factory, to the full extent of their capacities--and nobody can do more than that--but he comes into the world more destitute than a savage. If he resorts to agriculture, he will be permitted to cultivate a plot of land, but on the condition that he gives up part of his product to the landlord. If he resorts to industry, he will be permitted to work, but on the condition that out of the thirty shillings he has produced, ten shillings or more will be pocketed by the owner of the machine. We cry out against the feudal barons who did not permit anyone to settle on the land otherwise than on payment of one quarter of the crops to the lord of the manor; but we continue to do as they did --we extend their system. The forms have changed, but the essence has remained the same. And the workman is compelled to accept the feudal conditions which we call "free contract," because nowhere will he find better conditions. Everything has been appropriated by somebody; he must accept the bargain, or starve.

Owing to this circumstance our production takes a wrong turn. It takes no care of the needs of the community; its only aim is to increase the profits of the capitalist. And we have, therefore,--the continuous fluctuations of industry, the crisis coming periodically nearly every ten years, and throwing out of employment several hundred thousand men who are brought to complete misery, whose children grow up in the gutter, ready to become inmates of the prison and workhouse. The workmen being unable to purchase with their wages the riches they are producing, industry must search for markets elsewhere, amidst the middle classes of other nations. It must find markets, in the East, in Africa, anywhere; it must increase, by trade, the number of its serfs in Egypt, in India, on the Congo. But everywhere it finds competitors in other nations which rapidly enter into the same line of industrial development. And wars, continuous wars, muse be fought for the supremacy in the world-market--wars for the possession of the East, wars for getting possession of the seas, wars for the right of imposing heavy duties on foreign merchandise. The thunder of European guns never ceases; whole generations are slaughtered from time to time; and we spend in armaments the third of the revenue of our States--a revenue raised, the poor know with what difficulties.

And finally, the injustice of our partition of wealth exercises the most deplorable effect on our morality. Our principles of morality say: "Love your neighbour as yourself"; but let a child follow this principle and take off his coat to give it to the shivering pauper, and his mother will tell him that he must never understand moral principles in their direct sense. If he lives according to them, he will go barefoot, without alleviating the misery around him! Morality is good on the lips, not in deeds. Our preachers say, "Who works, prays," and everyone endeavors to make others work for him. They say, "Never lie!" and politics are a big lie. And we accustom ourselves and our children to live under this double-faced morality, which is hypocrisy, and to conciliate our double-facedness by sophistry. Hypocrisy and sophistry become the very basis of our life. But society cannot live under such a morality. It cannot last so: it must, it will, be changed.

The question is thus no more a mere question of bread. It covers the whole field of human activity. But it has at its bottom a question of social economy, and we conclude: The means of production and of satisfaction of all needs of society, having been created by the common efforts of all, must be at the disposal of all. The private appropriation of requisites for production is neither just nor beneficial. All muse be placed on the same footing as producers and consumers of wealth. That will be the only way for society to seep out of the bad conditions which have been created by centuries of wars and oppression. That will be the only guarantee for further progress in a direction of equality and freedom, which have always been the real, although unspoken goal of humanity.


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The views taken in the above as to the combination of efforts being the chief source of our wealth explain why most anarchists see in communism the only equitable solution as to the adequate remuneration of individual efforts. There was a time when a family engaged in agriculture supplemented by a few domestic trades could consider the corn they raised and the plain woolen cloth they wove as productions of their own and nobody else's labor. Even then such a view was not quite correct: there were forests cleared and roads built by common efforts; and even then the family had continually to apply for communal help, as is still the case in so many village communities. But now, in the extremely interwoven state of industry of which each branch supports all others, such an individualistic view can be held no more. If the iron trade and the cotton industry of this country have reached so high a degree of development, they have done so owing to the parallel growth of thousands of other industries, great and small; to the extension of the railway system; to an increase of knowledge among both the skilled engineers and the mass of the workmen; to a certain training in organization slowly developed among producers; and, above all, to the world-trade which has itself grown up, thanks to works executed thousands of miles away. The Italians who died from cholera in digging the Suez Canal or from "tunnel-disease" in the St. Gothard Tunnel have contributed as much towards the enrichment of this country as the British girl who is prematurely growing old in serving a machine at Manchester; and this girl as much as the engineer who made a labor-saving improvement in our machinery. How can we pretend to estimate the exact part of each of them in the riches accumulated around us?

We may admire the inventive genius or the organizing capacities of an iron lord; but we must recognize that all his genius and energy would not realize one-tenth of what they realize here if they were spent in dealing with Mongolian shepherds or Siberian peasants instead of British workmen, British engineers, and trustworthy managers. An English millionaire who succeeded in giving a powerful impulse to a branch of home industry was asked the other day what were, in his opinion, the real causes of his success? His answer was:-- "I always sought out the right man for a given branch of the concern, and I left him full independence--maintaining, of course, for myself the general supervision." "Did you never fail to find such men?" was the next question. "Never." "But in the new branches which you introduced you wanted a number of new inventions." "No doubt; we spent thousands in buying patents." This little colloquy sums up, in my opinion, the real case of those industrial undertakings which are quoted by the advocates of "an adequate remuneration of individual efforts" in the shape of millions bestowed on the managers of prosperous industries. It shows in how far the efforts are really "individual." Leaving aside the thousand conditions which sometimes permit a man to show, and sometimes prevent him from showing, his capacities to their full extent, it might be asked in how far the same capacities could bring out the same results, if the very same employer could find no trustworthy managers and no skilled workmen, and if hundreds of inventions were not stimulated by the mechanical turn of mind of so many inhabitants of this country.

The anarchists cannot consider, like the collectivists, that a remuneration which would be proportionate to the hours of labor spent by each person in the production of riches may be an ideal, or even an approach to an ideal, society. Without entering here into a discussion as to how far the exchange value of each merchandise is really measured now by the amount of labor necessary for its production--a separate study must be devoted to the subject--we must say that the collectivist ideal seems to us merely unrealizable in a society which has been brought to consider the necessaries for production as a common property. Such a society would be compelled to abandon the wage-system altogether. It appears impossible that the mitigated individualism of the collectivist school could co-exist with the partial communism implied by holding land and machinery in common- unless imposed by a powerful government, much more powerful than all those of our own times. The present wage--system has grown up from the appropriation of the necessaries for production by the few; it was a necessary condition for the growth of the present capitalist production,, and it cannot outlive it, even if an attempt be made to pay to the worker the full value of his produce, and hours-of labor-checks be substituted for money. Common possession of the necessaries for production implies the common enjoyment of the fruits of the common production; and we consider that an equitable organization of society can only arise when every wage-system is abandoned, and when everybody, contributing for the common well-being to the full extent, of his capacities, shall enjoy also from the common stock of society to the fullest possible extent of his needs.

We maintain, moreover, not only that communism is a desirable state of society, but that the growing tendency of modern society is precisely towards communism--free communism--notwithstanding the seemingly contradictory growth of individualism. In the growth of individualism (especially during the last three centuries) we see merely the endeavors of the individual towards emancipating himself from the steadily growing powers of capital and the State. But side by side with this growth we see also, throughout history up to our own times, the latent struggle of the producers of wealth to maintain the partial communism of old, as well as to reintroduce communist principles in a new shape, as soon as favorable conditions permit it. As soon as the communes of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries were enabled to start their own independent life, they gave a wide extension to work in common, to trade in common, and to a partial consumption in common. All this has disappeared. But the rural commune fights a hard struggle to maintain its old features, and it succeeds in maintaining them in many places of Eastern Europe, Switzerland, and even France and Germany; while new organizations, based on the same principles, never fail to grow up wherever it is possible.

Notwithstanding the egotistic turn given to the public mind by the merchant-production of our century, the communist tendency is continually reasserting itself and trying to make its way into public life. The penny bridge disappears before the public bridge; and the turnpike road before the free road. The same spirit pervades thousands of other institutions. Museums, free libraries, and free public schools; parks and pleasure grounds; paved and lighted streets, free for everybody's use; water supplied to private dwellings, with a growing tendency towards disregarding the exact amount of it used by the individual; tramways and railways which have already begun to introduce the season ticket or the uniform tax, and will surely go much further in this line when they are no longer private property: all these are tokens showing in what direction further progress is to be expected.

It is in the direction of putting the wants of the individual above the valuation of the service he has rendered, or might render, to society; in considering society as a whole, so intimately connected together that a service rendered to any individual is a service rendered to the whole society. The librarian of the British Museum does not ask the reader what have been his previous services to society, he simply gives him the books he requires; and for a uniform fee, a scientific society leaves its gardens and museums at the free disposal of each member. The crew of a lifeboat do not ask whether the men of a distressed ship are entitled to be rescued at a risk of life; and the Prisoners' Aid Society does not inquire what a released prisoner is worth. Here are men in need of a service; they are fellow men, and no further rights are required.

And if this very city, so egotistic to-day, be visited by a public calamity--let it be besieged, for example, like Paris in I87I, and experience during the siege a want of food--this very same city would be unanimous in proclaiming that the first needs to be satisfied are those of the children and old, no matter what services they may render or have rendered to society. And it would take care of the active defenders of the city, whatever the degrees of gallantry displayed by each of them. But, this tendency already existing, nobody will deny, I suppose, that, in proportion as humanity is relieved from its hard struggle for life, the same tendency will grow stronger. If our productive powers were fully applied to increasing the stock of the staple necessities for life; if a modification of the present conditions of property increased the number of producers by all those who are not producers of wealth now; and if manual labor reconquered its place of honor in society, the communist tendencies already existing would immediately enlarge their sphere of application.

Taking all this into account, and still more the practical aspects of the question as to how private property might become common property, most of the anarchists maintain that the very next step to be made by society, as soon as the present regime of property undergoes a modification, will be in a communist sense. We are communists. But our communism is not that of the authoritarian school: it is anarchist communism, communism without government, free communism. It is a synthesis of the two chief aims pursued by humanity since the dawn of its history--economic freedom and political freedom.

I have already said that anarchism means no-government. We know well that the word "anarchy" is also used in current phraseology as synonymous with disorder. But that meaning of "anarchy," being a derived one, implies at least two suppositions. It implies, first, that wherever there is no government there is disorder; and it implies, moreover, that order, due to a strong government and a strong police, is always beneficial. Both implications, however, are anything but proved. There is plenty of order--we should say, of harmony--in many branches of human activity where the government, happily, does not interfere. As to the beneficial effects of order, the kind of order that reigned at Naples under the Bourbons surely was not preferable to some disorder started by Garibaldi; while the Protestants of this country will probably say that the good deal of disorder made by Luther was preferable, at any rate, to the order which reigned under the Pope. While all agree that harmony is always desirable, there is no such unanimity about order, and still less about the "order" which is supposed to reign in our modern societies. So that we have no objection whatever to the use of the word "anarchy" as a negation of what has been often described as order.

By taking for our watchword anarchy in its sense of no government, we intend to express a pronounced tendency of human society. In history we see that precisely those epochs when small parts of humanity broke down the power of their rulers and reassumed their freedom were epochs of the greatest progress, economic and intellectual. Be it the growth of the free cities, whose unrivalled monuments--free work of free associations of workers--still testify to the revival of mind and of the well-being of the citizen; be it the great movement which gave birth to the Reformation- those epochs when the individual recovered some part of his freedom witnessed the greatest progress. And if we carefully watch the present development of civilized nations, we cannot fail to discover in it a marked and ever-growing movement towards limiting more and more the sphere of action of government, so as to leave more and more liberty to the initiative of the individual. After having tried all kinds of government, and endeavored to solve the insoluble problem of having a government "which might compel the individual to obedience, without escaping itself from obedience to collectivity," humanity is trying now to free itself from the bonds of any government whatever, and to respond to its needs of organization by the free understanding between individuals pursuing the same common aims.

Home Rule, even for the smallest territorial unit or group, becomes a growing need. Free agreement is becoming a substitute for law. And free cooperation a substitute for governmental guardianship. One after the other those activities which were considered as the functions of government during the last two centuries are disputed; society moves better the less it is governed. And the more we study the advance made in this direction, as well as the inadequacy of governments to fulfill the expectations placed in them, the more we are bound to conclude that humanity, by steadily limiting the functions of government, is marching towards reducing them finally to nil. We already foresee a state of society where the liberty of the individual will be limited by no laws, no bonds-by nothing else but his own social habits and the necessity, which everyone feels, of finding cooperation, support, and sympathy among his neighbors.

Of course the no-government ethics will meet with at least as many objections as the no-capital economics. Our minds have been so nurtured in prejudices as to the providential functions of government that anarchist ideas must be received with distrust. Our whole education, from childhood to the grave, nurtures the belief in the necessity of a government and its beneficial effects. Systems of philosophy have been elaborated to support this view; history has been written from this standpoint; theories of law have been circulated and taught for the same purpose. All politics are based on the same principle, each politician saying to people he wants to support him: "Give me the governmental power; I will, I can, relieve you from the hardships of your present life." All our education is permeated with the same teachings. We may open any book of sociology, history, law, or ethics: everywhere we find government, its organization, its deeds, playing so prominent a part that we grow accustomed to suppose that the State and the political men are everything; that there is nothing behind the big statesmen. The same teachings are daily repeated in the Press. Whole columns are filled up with minutest records of parliamentary debates, of movements of political persons. And, while reading these columns, we too often forget that besides those few men whose importance has been so swollen up as to overshadow humanity, there is an immense body of men- mankind, in fact-growing and dying, living in happiness or sorrow, laboring and consuming, thinking and creating.

And yet, if we revert from the printed matter to our real life, and cast a broad glance on society as it is, we are struck with the infinitesimal part played by government in our life. Millions of human beings live and die without having had anything to do with government. Every day millions of transactions are made without the slightest interference of government; and those who enter into agreements have not the slightest intention of breaking bargains. Nay, those agreements which are not protected by government (those of the exchange, or card debts) are perhaps better kept than any others. The simple habit of keeping one's word, the desire of not losing confidence, are quite sufficient in an overwhelming majority of cases to enforce the keeping of agreements. Of course it may be said that there is still the government which might enforce them if necessary. But without speaking of the numberless cases which could not even be brought before a court, everyone who has the slightest acquaintance with trade will undoubtedly confirm the assertion that, if there were not so strong a feeling of honor in keeping agreements, trade itself would become utterly impossible. Even those merchants and manufacturers who feel not the slightest remorse when poisoning their customers with all kinds of abominable drugs, duly labelled, even they also keep their commercial agreements. But if such a relative morality as commercial honesty exists now under the present conditions, when enrichment is the chief motive, the same feeling will further develop very quickly as soon as robbing someone of the fruits of his labor is no longer the economic basis of our life.

Another striking feature of our century tells in favor of the same no-government tendency. It is the steady enlargement of the field covered by private initiative, and the recent growth of large organizations resulting merely and simply from free agreement. The railway net of Europe-a confederation of so many scores of separate societies-and the direct transport of passengers and merchandise over so many lines which were built independently and federated together, without even so much as a Central Board of European Railways, is a most striking instance of what is already done by mere agreement. If fifty years ago somebody had predicted that railways built by so many separate companies finally would constitute so perfect a net as they do today, he surely would have been treated as a fool. It would have been urged that so many companies, prosecuting their own interests, would never agree without an International Board of Railways, supported by an International Convention of the European States, and endowed with governmental powers. But no such board was resorted to, and the agreement came nevertheless. The Dutch associations of ship and boat owners are now extending their organizations over the rivers of Germany and even to the shipping trade of the Baltic. The numberless amalgamated manufacturers' associations, and the syndicates of France, are so many instances in point. If it be argued that many of these organizations are organizations for exploitation, that proves nothing, because, if men pursuing their own egotistic, often very narrow, interests can agree together, better inspired men, compelled to be more closely connected with other groups, will necessarily agree still more easily and still better.

But there also is no lack of free organizations for nobler pursuits. One of the noblest achievements of our century is undoubtedly the Lifeboat Association. Since its first humble start, it has saved no less than thirty-two thousand human lives. It makes appeal to the noblest instincts of man; its activity is entirely dependent upon devotion to the common cause, while its internal organization is entirely based upon the independence of the local committees. The Hospitals Association and hundreds of like organizations, operating on a large scale and covering each a wide field, may also be mentioned under this head. But, while we know everything about governments and their deeds, what do we know about the results achieved by free cooperation? Thousands of volume' have been written to record the acts of governments; the most trifling amelioration due to law has been recorded; it' good effects have been exaggerated, its bad effects passed by in silence. But where is the book recording what has been achieved by free cooperation of well-inspired men? At the same time, hundreds of societies are constituted every day for the satisfaction of some of the infinitely varied needs of civilized man. We have societies for all possible kinds of studies-some of them embracing the whole field of natural science, others limited to a small special branch; societies for gymnastics, for shorthand-writing, for the study of a separate author, for games and all kinds of sports, for forwarding the science of maintaining life, and for favoring the art of destroying it; philosophical and industrial, artistic and anti-artistic; for serious work and for mere amusement-in short, there is not a single direction in which men exercise their faculties without combining together for the accomplishment of some common aim. Every day new societies are formed, while every year the old ones aggregate together into larger units, federate across the national frontiers, and cooperate in some common work.

The most striking feature of these numberless free growths is that they continually encroach on what was formerly the domain of the State or the Municipality. A householder in a Swiss village on the banks of Lake Leman belongs now to at least a dozen different societies which supply him with what is considered elsewhere as a function of the municipal government. Free federation of independent communes for temporary or permanent purposes lies at the very bottom of Swiss life, and to these federations many a part of Switzerland is indebted for its roads and fountains, its rich vineyards, well-kept forests, and meadows which the foreigner admires. And besides these small societies, substituting themselves for the State within some limited sphere, do we not see other societies doing the same on a much wider scale?

One of the most remarkable societies which has recently arisen is undoubtedly the Red Cross Society. To slaughter men on the battle-fields, that remains the duty of the State; but these very States recognize their inability to take care of their own wounded: they abandon the task, to a great extent, to private initiative. What a deluge of mockeries would not have been cast over the poor "Utopist" who should have dared to say twenty-five years ago that the care of the wounded might be left to private societies! "Nobody would go into the dangerous places! Hospitals would all gather where there was no need of them! National rivalries would result in the poor soldiers dying without any help, and so on,"--such would have been the outcry. The war of I87I has shown how perspicacious those prophets are who never believe in human intelligence, devotion, and good sense.

These facts--so numerous and so customary that we pass by without even noticing them--are in our opinion one of the most prominent features of the second half of the nineteenth century. The just-mentioned organisms grew up so naturally, they so rapidly extended and so easily aggregated together, they are such unavoidable outgrowths of the multiplication of needs of the civilized man, and they so well replace State interference, that we must recognize in them a growing factor of our life. Modern progress is really towards the free aggregation of free individuals so as to supplant government in all those functions which formerly were entrusted to it, and which it mostly performed so badly.

As to parliamentary rule and representative government altogether, they are rapidly falling into decay. The few philosophers who already have shown their defects have only timidly summed up the growing public discontent. It is becoming evident that it is merely stupid to elect a few men and to entrust them with the task of making laws on all possible subjects, of which subjects most of them are utterly ignorant. It is becoming understood that majority rule is as defective as any other kind of rule; and humanity searches and finds new channels for resolving the pending questions. The Postal Union did not elect an international postal parliament in order to make laws for all postal organizations adherent to the Union. The railways of Europe did not elect an international railway parliament in order to regulate the running of the trains and the partition of the income of international traffic. And the Meteorological and Geological Societies of Europe did not elect either meteorological or geological parliaments to plan polar stations, or to establish a uniform subdivision of geological formations and a uniform coloration of geological maps. They proceeded by means of agreement. To agree together they resorted to congresses; but, while sending delegates to their congresses they did not say to them, "Vote about everything you like-we shall obey." They put foreward questions and discussed them first themselves; then they sent delegates acquainted with the special question to be discussed at the congress, and they sent delegates-not rulers. Their delegates returned from the congress with no laws in their pockets, but with proposals of agreements. Such is the way assumed now (the very old way, too) for dealing with questions of public interest-not the way of law-making by means of a representative government.

Representative government has accomplished its historical mission; it has given a mortal blow to court-rule; and by its debates it has awakened public interest in public questions. But to see in it the government of the future socialist society is to commit a gross error. Each economic phase of life implies its own political phase; and it is impossible to touch the very basis of the present economic life-private property -without a corresponding change in the very basis of the political organization. Life already shows in which direction the change will be made. Not in increasing the powers of the State, but in resorting to free organization and free federation in all those branches which are now considered as attributes of the State.

The objections to the above may be easily forseen. It will be said of course: "But what is to be done with those who do not keep their agreements? What with those who are not inclined to work? What with those who would prefer breaking the written laws of society, or--on the anarchist hypothesis--its unwritten customs? Anarchism may be good for a higher humanity,--not for the men of our own times."

First of all, there are two kinds of agreements: there is the free one which is entered upon humanity,--not by free consent, as a free choice between different courses equally open to each of the agreeing parties. And there is the enforced agreement, imposed by one party upon the other, and accepted by the latter from sheer necessity; in fact, it is no agreement at all-, it is a mere submission to necessity. Unhappily, the great bulk of what are now described as agreements belong to the latter category. When a workman sells his labor to an employer and knows perfectly well that some part of the value of his produce will be unjustly taken by the employer; when he sells it without even the slightest guarantee of being employed so much as six consecutive months, it is a sad mockery to call that a free contract. Modern economists may call it free, but the father of poltical economy--Adam Smith-was never guilty of such a misrepresentation. As long as three-quarters of humanity are compelled to enter into agreements of that description, force is of course necessary, both to enforce the supposed agreements and to maintain such a state of things. Force--and a great deal of force--is necessary to prevent the laborers from taking possession of what they consider unjustly appropriated by the few; and force is necessary to continually bring new "uncivilized nations" under the same conditions.

But we do not see the necessity of force for enforcing agreements freely entered upon. We, never heard of a penalty imposed on a man who belonged to the crew of a lifeboat and at a given moment preferred to abandon the association. All that his comrades would do with him, if he were guilty of a gross neglect, would probably be to refuse to have anything further to do with him. Nor did we hear of fines imposed on a contributor to the dictionary for a delay in his work, or of gendarmes driving the volunteers of Garibaldi to the battlefield. Free agreements need not be enforced.

As to the so-often repeated objection that no one would labor if he were not compelled to do so by sheer necessity, we heard enough of it before the emancipation of slaves in America, as well as before the emancipation of serfs in Russia. And we have had the opportunity of appreciating it at its just value. So we shall not try to convince those who can be convinced only by accomplished facts. As to those who reason, they ought to know that, if it really was so with some parts of humanity at its lowest stages, or if it is so with some small communities, or separate individuals, brought to sheer despair by ill success in their struggle against unfavorable conditions, it is not so with the bulk of the civilized nations. With us, work is a habit, and idleness an artificial growth. Of course when to be a manual worker means to be compelled to work all one's life long for ten hours a day, and often more, at producing some part of something--a pin's head, for instance; when it means to be paid wages on which a family can live only on the condition of the strictest limitation of all its needs; when it means to be always under the menace of being thrown tomorrow out of employmcnt--and we know how frequent are the industrial crises, and what misery they imply; when it means, in a very great number of cases, premature death in a paupers infirmary, if not in the workhouse; when to be a manual worker signifies to wear a life-long stamp of inferiority in the eyes of those very people who live on the work of these "hands;" when it always means the renunciation of all those higher enjoyments that science and art give to man--oh, then there is no wonder that everybody--the manual workers as well--has but one dream: that of rising to a condition where others would work for him.

Overwork is repulsive to human nature--not work. Overwork for supplying the few with luxury--not work for the well being of all. Work is a physiological necessity, a necessity of spending accumulated bodily energy, a necessity which is health and life itself. If so many branches of useful work are so reluctantly done now, it is merely because they mean overwork, or they are improperly organized. But we know--old Franklin knew it--that four hours of useful work every day would be more than sufficient for supplying everybody with the comfort of a moderately well-to-do middle-class house, if we all gave ourselves to productive work, and if we did not waste our productive powers as we do waste them now.

As to the childish question, repeated for fifty years: "Who would do disagreeable work?" frankly I regret that none of our savants has ever been brought to do it, be it for only one day in his life. If there is still work which is really disagreeable in itself, it is only because our scientific men have never cared to consider the means of rendering it less so. They have always known that there were plenty of starving men who would do it for a few cents a day.

As to the third--the chief--objection, which maintains the necessity of a government for punishing those who break the law of society, there is so much to say about it that it hardly can be touched incidentally. The more we study the question, the more we are brought to the conclusion thatsociety is responsible for the anti-social deeds perpetrated in its midst, and that no punishment, no prisons, and no hangmen can diminish the numbers of such deeds; nothing short of a reorganization of society itself.

Three quarters of all the acts which are brought before our courts every year have their origin, either directly or indirectly in the present disorganized state of society with regard to the production and distribution of wealth--not in perversity of human nature. As to the relatively few anti-social deeds which result from anti-social inclinations opf serperate individuals, it is not by the prisonss, nor even by the resorting to the hangmen, that we can diminish their numbers. By our prisons, we merely multiply them render them worse. By our detectives, our "price of blood," our executions, and our jails, we spread in society such a terrible flow of basest passions and habits, that he who should realize the effects of these institutions to their full extent would be frightened by what society is doing under the pretext of maintaining morality. We must search for other remedies, and the remedies have been indicated long since.

Of course now, when a mother in search of food and shelter for her children must pass by shops filled with the most refined delicacies of refined gluttony; when gorgeous and insolent luxury is displayed side by side wsith the most execrable misery; when the dog and the horse of a rich man are far better cared for than millions of children whose mothers earn a pitiful salary in the pit or manufactory; when each "modest" evening dress of a lady represents eight months, or one year, of human labor; when enrichment at somebody else's expense is the avowed aim of the "upper classes," and no distinct boundary can be traced between honest and dishonest means of making money--then force is the only means of maintaining such a state of things. Then an army of policemen, judges, and hangmen becomes a necessary institution.

But if all our children-- all children are our children-- received a sound instruction and education-- and we have the means of giving it; if every family lived in decent home-- and they could at the present high pitch of our production; if every boy and girl were taught a handicraft at the same time as he or she receives scientific instruction, and not to be a manual producer of wealth were considered as a token of inferiority; if men lived in closer contact with one another, and had continually to come into contact on those public affairs which now are vested in the few; and if, in consequence of a closer contact, we were brought to take as lively an interest in our neighbors' difficulties and pains as we formerly took in those of our kinsfolk--then we should sort to policemen and judges, to prisons and executions. Anti-social deeds would be nipped in the bud, not punished. The few contests which would arise would be easily settled arbitrators and no more force would be necessary to impose decisions than is required now for enforcing the decisions of the family tribunals of China.

And here we are brought to consider a great question: would become of morality in a society which recognized laws and proclaimed the full freedom of the individual, answer is plain. Public morality is independent from, anterior to, law and religion. Until now, the teachings of morality have been associated with religious teachings. But influence which religious teachings formerly exercised on mind has faded of late, and the sanction which morality derived from religion has no longer the power it formerly Millions and millions grow in our cities who have the old faith. Is it a reason for throwing morality overand for treating it with the same sarcasm as primitive cosmogony

Obviously not. No society is possible without certain of morality generally recognized. If everyone grew, accustomed to deceiving his fellow-men; if we never could rely on each other's promise and words; if everyone treated his fellow as an enemy, against whom every means of wars justifiable--no society could exist. And we see, in that notwithstanding the decay of religious beliefs, the principles of morality remain unshaken. We even see irreligious people trying to raise the current standard of morality. The fact is that moral principles are independent of religious beliefs: they are anterior to them. The primitive Tchuktchis have no religion: they have only superstitions and fear of the forces of nature; and nevertheless we find with them the very same principles of morality which are taught by Christians and Buddhists, Mussulmans and Hebrews. Nay, some of their practices imply a much higher standard of tribal morality than that which appears in our civilized society. In fact, each new religion takes its moral principles from the only real stock of morality--the moral habits which grow with men as soon as they unite to live together in tribes, cities, or nations. No animal society is possible without resulting in a growth of certain moral habits of mutual support and even self-sacrifice for the common well-being. These habits are a necessary condition for the welfare of the species in its struggle for life--cooperation of individuals being a much more important factor in the struggle for the preservation of the species than the so-much-spoken-of physical struggle between individuals for the means of existence. The "fittest" in the organic world are those who grow accustomed to life in society; and life in society necessarily implies moral habits. As to mankind, it has during its long existence developed in its midst a nucleus of social habits, of moral habits, which cannot disappear as long as human societies exist. And therefore, notwithstanding the influences to the contrary which are now at work in consequence of our present economic relations, the nucleus of our moral habits continues to exist. Law and religion only formulate them and endeavor to enforce them by their sanction.

Whatever the variety of theories of morality, all can be brought under three chief catagories: the morality of religion; the utilitarian morality; the theory of moral habits resulting from the very needs of life in society. Each religious morality sanctifies its prescriptions by making them originate from revelation; and it tries to impress its teachings on the mind by a promise of reward, or punishment, either in this or in a future life. The utilitarian morality maintains the idea of reward, but it finds it in man himself. It invites men to analyze their pleasures, to classify them, and to give preference to those which are most intense and most durable. We must recognize, however, that, although it has exercised some influence, this system has been judged too artificial by the great mass of human beings. And finally--whatever its varieties--there is the third system of morality which sees in moral actions-in those actions which are most powerful in rendering men best fitted for life in society--a mere necessity of the individual to enjoy the joys of his brethren, to suffer when some of his brethren are suffering; a habit and a second nature, slowly elaborated and perfected by life in society. That is the morality of mankind; and that is also the morality of anarchism.

Such are, in a very brief summary, the leading principles of anarchism. Each of them hurts many a prejudice, and yet each of them results from an analysis of the very tendencies displayed by human society. Each of them is rich in consequences and implies a thorough revision of many a current opinion. And anarchism is not a mere insight into a remote future. Already now, whatever the sphere of action of the individual, he can act, either in accordance with anarchist principles or on an opposite line. And all that may be done in that direction will be done in the direction to which further development goes. All that may be done in the opposite way will be an attempt to force humanity to go where it will not go.

Additional Note to "Anarchist Communism"

Kropotkin's earlier writings as to the methods of organizing production and distribution after a revolutionary seizure of property were based on the assumption that there would be sufficiency of goods for each to take what he needed and to work as much as he felt able. After his experience with the Russian Revolution he came to a quite contrary conclusion. He recognized the obstacles to production on a new basis as well as the poverty of the capitalist world and expressed his changed opinion in a postscript to the Russian edition of Words of a Rebel, published in 1919. His method for organizing production follows his previous teaching, but his statement of it after the Russian Revolution adds interest to it. (R.N.B.)

"Anarchism" (1910),

Peter Kropotkin

from The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910.

ANARCHISM (from the Gr. an and archos, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent - for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary - as is seen in organic life at large - harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

If, it is contended, society were organized on these principles, man would not be limited in the free exercise of his powers in productive work by a capitalist monopoly, maintained by the state; nor would he be limited in the exercise of his will by a fear of punishment, or by obedience towards individuals or metaphysical entities, which both lead to depression of initiative and servility of mind. He would be guided in his actions by his own understanding, which necessarily would bear the impression of a free action and reaction between his own self and the ethical conceptions of his surroundings. Man would thus be enabled to obtain the full development of all his faculties, intellectual, artistic and moral, without being hampered by overwork for the monopolists, or by the servility and inertia of mind of the great number. He would thus be able to reach full individualization, which is not possible either under the present system of individualism, or under any system of state socialism in the so-called Volkstaat (popular state).

The anarchist writers consider, moreover, that their conception is not a utopia, constructed on the a priori method, after a few desiderata have been taken as postulates. It is derived, they maintain, from an analysis of tendencies that are at work already, even though state socialism may find a temporary favour with the reformers. The progress of modern technics, which wonderfully simplifies the production of all the necessaries of life; the growing spirit of independence, and the rapid spread of free initiative and free understanding in all branches of activity - including those which formerly were considered as the proper attribution of church and state - are steadily reinforcing the no-government tendency.

As to their economical conceptions, the anarchists, in common with all socialists, of whom they constitute the left wing, maintain that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land, and our capitalist production for the sake of profits, represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility. They are the main obstacle which prevents the successes of modern technics from being brought into the service of all, so as to produce general well-being. The anarchists consider the wage-system and capitalist production altogether as an obstacle to progress. But they point out also that the state was, and continues to be, the chief instrument for permitting the few to monopolize the land, and the capitalists to appropriate for themselves a quite disproportionate share of the yearly accumulated surplus of production. Consequently, while combating the present monopolization of land, and capitalism altogether, the anarchists combat with the same energy the state, as the main support of that system. Not this or that special form, but the state altogether, whether it be a monarchy or even a republic governed by means of the referendum.

The state organization, having always been, both in ancient and modern history (Macedonian Empire, Roman Empire, modern European states grown up on the ruins of the autonomous cities), the instrument for establishing monopolies in favour of the ruling minorities, cannot be made to work for the destruction of these monopolies. The anarchists consider, therefore, that to hand over to the state all the main sources of economical life - the land, the mines, the railways, banking, insurance, and so on - as also the management of all the main branches of industry, in addition to all the functions already accumulated in its hands (education, state-supported religions, defence of the territory, etc.), would mean to create a new instrument of tyranny. State capitalism would only increase the powers of bureaucracy and capitalism. True progress lies in the direction of decentralization, both territorial and functional, in the development of the spirit of local and personal initiative, and of free federation from the simple to the compound, in lieu of the present hierarchy from the centre to the periphery.

In common with most socialists, the anarchists recognize that, like all evolution in nature, the slow evolution of society is followed from time to time by periods of accelerated evolution which are called revolutions; and they think that the era of revolutions is not yet closed. Periods of rapid changes will follow the periods of slow evolution, and these periods must be taken advantage of - not for increasing and widening the powers of the state, but for reducing them, through the organization in every township or commune of the local groups of producers and consumers, as also the regional, and eventually the international, federations of these groups.

In virtue of the above principles the anarchists refuse to be party to the present state organization and to support it by infusing fresh blood into it. They do not seek to constitute, and invite the working men not to constitute, political parties in the parliaments. Accordingly, since the foundation of the International Working Men's Association in 1864-1866, they have endeavoured to promote their ideas directly amongst the labour organizations and to induce those unions to a direct struggle against capital, without placing their faith in parliamentary legislation.

The historical development of anarchism

The conception of society just sketched, and the tendency which is its dynamic expression, have always existed in mankind, in opposition to the governing hierarchic conception and tendency - now the one and now the other taking the upper hand at different periods of history. To the former tendency we owe the evolution, by the masses themselves, of those institutions - the clan, the village community, the guild, the free medieval city - by means of which the masses resisted the encroachments of the conquerors and the power-seeking minorities. The same tendency asserted itself with great energy in the great religious movements of medieval times, especially in the early movements of the reform and its forerunners. At the same time it evidently found its expression in the writings of some thinkers, since the times of Lao-tsze, although, owing to its non-scholastic and popular origin, it obviously found less sympathy among the scholars than the opposed tendency.

As has been pointed out by Prof. Adler in his Geschichte des Sozialismus und Kommunismus, Aristippus (b. c. 430 BC), one of the founders of the Cyrenaic school, already taught that the wise must not give up their liberty to the state, and in reply to a question by Socrates he said that he did not desire to belong either to the governing or the governed class. Such an attitude, however, seems to have been dictated merely by an Epicurean attitude towards the life of the masses.

The best exponent of anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece was Zeno (342-267 or 270 BC), from Crete, the founder of the Stoic philosophy, who distinctly opposed his conception of a free community without government to the state-utopia of Plato. He repudiated the omnipotence of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the moral law of the individual - remarking already that, while the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads man to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct - that of sociability. When men are reasonable enough to follow their natural instincts, they will unite across the frontiers and constitute the cosmos. They will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money - free gifts taking the place of the exchanges. Unfortunately, the writings of Zeno have not reached us and are only known through fragmentary quotations. However, the fact that his very wording is similar to the wording now in use, shows how deeply is laid the tendency of human nature of which he was the mouthpiece.

In medieval times we find the same views on the state expressed by the illustrious bishop of Alba, Marco Girolamo Vida, in his first dialogue De dignitate reipublicae (Ferd. Cavalli, in Mem. dell'Istituto Veneto, xiii.; Dr E. Nys, Researches in the History of Economics). But it is especially in several early Christian movements, beginning with the ninth century in Armenia, and in the preachings of the early Hussites, particularly Chojecki, and the early Anabaptists, especially Hans Denk (cf. Keller, Ein Apostel der Wiedertaufer), that one finds the same ideas forcibly expressed - special stress being laid of course on their moral aspects.

Rabelais and Fenelon, in their utopias, have also expressed similar ideas, and they were also current in the eighteenth century amongst the French Encyclopaedists, as may be concluded from separate expressions occasionally met with in the writings of Rousseau, from Diderot's Preface to the Voyage of Bougainville, and so on. However, in all probability such ideas could not be developed then, owing to the rigorous censorship of the Roman Catholic Church.

These ideas found their expression later during the great French Revolution. While the Jacobins did all in their power to centralize everything in the hands of the government, it appears now, from recently published documents, that the masses of the people, in their municipalities and 'sections', accomplished a considerable constructive work. They appropriated for themselves the election of the judges, the organization of supplies and equipment for the army, as also for the large cities, work for the unemployed, the management of charities, and so on. They even tried to establish a direct correspondence between the 36,000 communes of France through the intermediary of a special board, outside the National Assembly (cf. Sigismund Lacroix, Actes de la commune de Paris).

It was Godwin, in his Enquiry concerning Political Justice (2 vols., 1793), who was the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his remarkable work. Laws, he wrote, are not a product of the wisdom of our ancestors: they are the product of their passions, their timidity, their jealousies and their ambition. The remedy they offer is worse than the evils they pretend to cure. If and only if all laws and courts were abolished, and the decisions in the arising contests were left to reasonable men chosen for that purpose, real justice would gradually be evolved. As to the state, Godwin frankly claimed its abolition. A society, he wrote, can perfectly well exist without any government: only the communities should be small and perfectly autonomous. Speaking of property, he stated that the rights of every one 'to every substance capable of contributing to the benefit of a human being' must be regulated by justice alone: the substance must go 'to him who most wants it'. His conclusion was communism. Godwin, however, had not the courage to maintain his opinions. He entirely rewrote later on his chapter on property and mitigated his communist views in the second edition of Political Justice (8vo, 1796).

Proudhon was the first to use, in 1840 (Qu'est-ce que la propriete? first memoir), the name of anarchy with application to the no government state of society. The name of 'anarchists' had been freely applied during the French Revolution by the Girondists to those revolutionaries who did not consider that the task of the Revolution was accomplished with the overthrow of Louis XVI, and insisted upon a series of economical measures being taken (the abolition of feudal rights without redemption, the return to the village communities of the communal lands enclosed since 1669, the limitation of landed property to 120 acres, progressive income-tax, the national organization of exchanges on a just value basis, which already received a beginning of practical realization, and so on).

Now Proudhon advocated a society without government, and used the word anarchy to describe it. Proudhon repudiated, as is known, all schemes of communism, according to which mankind would be driven into communistic monasteries or barracks, as also all the schemes of state or state-aided socialism which were advocated by Louis Blanc and the collectivists. When he proclaimed in his first memoir on property that 'Property is theft', he meant only property in its present, Roman-law, sense of 'right of use and abuse'; in property-rights, on the other hand, understood in the limited sense of possession, he saw the best protection against the encroachments of the state. At the same time he did not want violently to dispossess the present owners of land, dwelling-houses, mines, factories and so on. He preferred to attain the same end by rendering capital incapable of earning interest; and this he proposed to obtain by means of a national bank, based on the mutual confidence of all those who are engaged in production, who would agree to exchange among themselves their produces at cost-value, by means of labour cheques representing the hours of labour required to produce every given commodity. Under such a system, which Proudhon described as 'Mutuellisme', all the exchanges of services would be strictly equivalent. Besides, such a bank would be enabled to lend money without interest, levying only something like I per cent, or even less, for covering the cost of administration. Everyone being thus enabled to borrow the money that would be required to buy a house, nobody would agree to pay any more a yearly rent for the use of it. A general 'social liquidation' would thus be rendered easy, without violent expropriation. The same applied to mines, railways, factories and so on.

In a society of this type the state would be useless. The chief relations between citizens would be based on free agreement and regulated by mere account keeping. The contests might be settled by arbitration. A penetrating criticism of the state and all possible forms of government, and a deep insight into all economic problems, were well-known characteristics of Proudhon's work.

It is worth noticing that French mutualism had its precursor in England, in William Thompson, who began by mutualism before he became a communist, and in his followers John Gray (A Lecture on Human Happiness, 1825; The Social System, 1831) and J. F. Bray (Labour's Wrongs and Labour's Remedy, 1839). It had also its precursor in America. Josiah Warren, who was born in 1798 (cf. W. Bailie, Josiah Warren, the First American Anarchist, Boston, 1900), and belonged to Owen's 'New Harmony', considered that the failure of this enterprise was chiefly due to the suppression of individuality and the lack of initiative and responsibility. These defects, he taught, were inherent to every scheme based upon authority and the community of goods. He advocated, therefore, complete individual liberty. In 1827 he opened in Cincinnati a little country store which was the first 'equity store', and which the people called 'time store', because it was based on labour being exchanged hour for hour in all sorts of produce. 'Cost - the limit of price', and consequently 'no interest', was the motto of his store, and later on of his 'equity village', near New York, which was still in existence in 1865. Mr Keith's 'House of Equity' at Boston, founded in 1855, is also worthy of notice.

While the economical, and especially the mutual-banking, ideas of Proudhon found supporters and even a practical application in the United States, his political conception of anarchy found but little echo in France, where the Christian socialism of Lamennais and the Fourierists, and the state socialism of Louis Blanc and the followers of Saint-Simon, were dominating. These ideas found, however, some temporary support among the left-wing Hegelians in Germany, Moses Hess in 1843, and Karl Grün in 1845, who advocated anarchism. Besides, the authoritarian communism of Wilhelm Weitling having given origin to opposition amongst the Swiss working men, Wilhelm Marr gave expression to it in the forties.

On the other side, individualist anarchism found, also in Germany, its fullest expression in Max Stirner (Kaspar Schmidt), whose remarkable works (Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum and articles contributed to the Rheinische Zeitung) remained quite overlooked until they were brought into prominence by John Henry Mackay.

Prof. V. Basch, in a very able introduction to his interesting book, L'lndividualisme anarchiste: Max Stirner (1904), has shown how the development of the German philosophy from Kant to Hegel, and 'the absolute' of Schelling and the Geist of Hegel, necessarily provoked, when the anti-Hegelian revolt began, the preaching of the same 'absolute' in the camp of the rebels. This was done by Stirner, who advocated, not only a complete revolt against the state and against the servitude which authoritarian communism would impose upon men, but also the full liberation of the individual from all social and moral bonds - the rehabilitation of the 'I', the supremacy of the individual, complete 'amoralism', and the 'association of the egotists'. The final conclusion of that sort of individual anarchism has been indicated by Prof. Basch. It maintains that the aim of all superior civilization is, not to permit all members of the community to develop in a normal way, but to permit certain better endowed individuals 'fully to develop', even at the cost of the happiness and the very existence of the mass of mankind. It is thus a return towards the most common individual ism, advocated by all the would-be superior minorities, to which indeed man owes in his history precisely the state and the rest, which these individualists combat. Their individualism goes so far as to end in a negation of their own starting-point - to say nothing of the impossibility for the individual to attain a really full development in the conditions of oppression of the masses by the 'beautiful aristocracies'. His development would remain unilateral. This is why this direction of thought, notwithstanding its undoubtedly correct and useful advocacy of the full development of each individuality, finds a hearing only in limited artistic and literary circles.

Anarchism in the International Working Men’s Association

A general depression in the propaganda of all fractions of socialism followed, as is known, after the defeat of the uprising of the Paris working men in June 1848 and the fall of the Republic. All the socialist press was gagged during the reaction period, which lasted fully twenty years. Nevertheless, even anarchist thought began to make some progress, namely in the writings of Bellegarrique (Caeurderoy), and especially Joseph Déjacque (Les Lazareacute'ennes, L 'Humanisphère, an anarchist-communist utopia, lately discovered and reprinted). The socialist movement revived only after 1864, when some French working men, all 'mutualists', meeting in London during the Universal Exhibition with English followers of Robert Owen, founded the International Working Men's Association. This association developed very rapidly and adopted a policy of direct economical struggle against capitalism, without interfering in the political parliamentary agitation, and this policy was followed until 1871. However, after the Franco-German War, when the International Association was prohibited in France after the uprising of the Commune, the German working men, who had received manhood suffrage for elections to the newly constituted imperial parliament, insisted upon modifying the tactics of the International, and began to build up a Social Democratic political party. This soon led to a division in the Working Men's Association, and the Latin federations, Spanish, Italian, Belgian and Jurassic (France could not be represented), constituted among themselves a Federal union which broke entirely with the Marxist general council of the International. Within these federations developed now what may be described as modern anarchism. After the names of 'Federalists' and 'Anti-authoritarians' had been used for some time by these federations the name of 'anarchists', which their adversaries insisted upon applying to them, prevailed, and finally it was revindicated.

Bakunin (q.v.) soon became the leading spirit among these Latin federations for the development of the principles of anarchism, which he did in a number of writings, pamphlets and letters. He demanded the complete abolition of the state, which -- he wrote -- is a product of religion, belongs to a lower state of civilization, represents the negation of liberty, and spoils even that which it undertakes to do for the sake of general well-being. The state was an historically necessary evil, but its complete extinction will be, sooner or later, equally necessary. Repudiating all legislation, even when issuing from universal suffrage, Bakunin claimed for each nation, each region and each commune, full autonomy, so long as it is not a menace to its neighbours, and full independence for the individual, adding that one becomes really free only when, and in proportion as, all others are free. Free federations of the communes would constitute free nations.

As to his economical conceptions, Bakunin described himself, in common with his Federalist comrades of the International (César De Paepe, James Guillaume, Schwitzguébel), a 'collectivist anarchist' - not in the sense of Vidal and Pecqueur in the 1840s, or of their modern Social Democratic followers, but to express a state of things in which all necessaries for production are owned in common by the labour groups and the free communes, while the ways of retribution of labour, communist or otherwise, would be settled by each group for itself. Social revolution, the near approach of which was foretold at that time by all socialists, would be the means of bringing into life the new conditions.

The Jurassic, the Spanish and the Italian federations and sections of the International Working Men's Association, as also the French, the German and the American anarchist groups, were for the next years the chief centres of anarchist thought and propaganda. They refrained from any participation in parliamentary politics, and always kept in close contact with the labour organizations. However, in the second half of the 'eighties and the early 'nineties of the nineteenth century, when the influence of the anarchists began to be felt in strikes, in the 1st of May demonstrations, where they promoted the idea of a general strike for an eight hours' day, and in the anti-militarist propaganda in the army, violent prosecutions were directed against them, especially in the Latin countries (including physical torture in the Barcelona Castle) and the United States (the execution of five Chicago anarchists in 1887). Against these prosecutions the anarchists retaliated by acts of violence which in their turn were followed by more executions from above, and new acts of revenge from below. This created in the general public the impression that violence is the substance of anarchism, a view repudiated by its supporters, who hold that in reality violence is resorted to by all parties in proportion as their open action is obstructed by repression, and exceptional laws render them outlaws. (Cf. Anarchism and Outrage, by C. M. Wilson, and Report of the Spanish Atrocities Committee, in 'Freedom Pamphlets'; A Concise History of the Great Trial of the Chicago Anarchists, by Dyer Lum (New York, 1886); The Chicago Martyrs: Speeches, etc.).

Anarchism continued to develop, partly in the direction of Proudhonian 'mutuellisme', but chiefly as communist-anarchism, to which a third direction, Christian-anarchism, was added by Leo Tolstoy, and a fourth, which might be ascribed as literary-anarchism, began amongst some prominent modern writers.

The ideas of Proudhon, especially as regards mutual banking, corresponding with those of Josiah Warren, found a considerable following in the United States, creating quite a school, of which the main writers are Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Grene, Lysander Spooner (who began to write in 1850, and whose unfinished work, Natural Law, was full of promise), and several others, whose names will be found in Dr Nettlau's Bibliographie de l'anarchie.

A prominent position among the individualist anarchists in America has been occupied by Benjamin R. Tucker, whose journal Liberty was started in 1881 and whose conceptions are a combination of those of Proudhon with those of Herbert Spencer. Starting from the statement that anarchists are egotists, strictly speaking, and that every group of individuals, be it a secret league of a few persons, or the Congress of the United States, has the right to oppress all mankind, provided it has the power to do so, that equal liberty for all and absolute equality ought to be the law, and 'mind every one your own business' is the unique moral law of anarchism, Tucker goes on to prove that a general and thorough application of these principles would be beneficial and would offer no danger, because the powers of every individual would be limited by the exercise of the equal rights of all others. He further indicated (following H. Spencer) the difference which exists between the encroachment on somebody's rights and resistance to such an encroachment; between domination and defence: the former being equally condemnable, whether it be encroachment of a criminal upon an individual, or the encroachment of one upon all others, or of all others upon one; while resistance to encroachment is defensible and necessary. For their self-defence, both the citizen and the group have the right to any violence, including capital punishment. Violence is also justified for enforcing the duty of keeping an agreement. Tucker thus follows Spencer, and, like him, opens (in the present writer's opinion) the way for reconstituting under the heading of 'defence' all the functions of the state. His criticism of the present state is very searching, and his defence of the rights of the individual very powerful. As regards his economical views B. R. Tucker follows Proudhon.

The individualist anarchism of the American Proudhonians finds, however, but little sympathy amongst the working masses. Those who profess it - they are chiefly 'intellectuals' - soon realize that the individualization they so highly praise is not attainable by individual efforts, and either abandon the ranks of the anarchists, and are driven into the liberal individualism of the classical economist or they retire into a sort of Epicurean amoralism, or superman theory, similar to that of Stirner and Nietzsche. The great bulk of the anarchist working men prefer the anarchist-communist ideas which have gradually evolved out of the anarchist collectivism of the International Working Men's Association. To this direction belong - to name only the better known exponents of anarchism Elisée Reclus, Jean Grave, Sebastien Faure, Emile Pouget in France; Errico Malatesta and Covelli in Italy; R. Mella, A. Lorenzo, and the mostly unknown authors of many excellent manifestos in Spain; John Most amongst the Germans; Spies, Parsons and their followers in the United States, and so on; while Domela Nieuwenhuis occupies an intermediate position in Holland. The chief anarchist papers which have been published since 1880 also belong to that direction; while a number of anarchists of this direction have joined the so-called syndicalist movement- the French name for the non-political labour movement, devoted to direct struggle with capitalism, which has lately become so prominent in Europe.

As one of the anarchist-communist direction, the present writer for many years endeavoured to develop the following ideas: to show the intimate, logical connection which exists between the modern philosophy of natural sciences and anarchism; to put anarchism on a scientific basis by the study of the tendencies that are apparent now in society and may indicate its further evolution; and to work out the basis of anarchist ethics. As regards the substance of anarchism itself, it was Kropotkin's aim to prove that communism at least partial - has more chances of being established than collectivism, especially in communes taking the lead, and that free, or anarchist-communism is the only form of communism that has any chance of being accepted in civilized societies; communism and anarchy are therefore two terms of evolution which complete each other, the one rendering the other possible and acceptable. He has tried, moreover, to indicate how, during a revolutionary period, a large city - if its inhabitants have accepted the idea could organize itself on the lines of free communism; the city guaranteeing to every inhabitant dwelling, food and clothing to an extent corresponding to the comfort now available to the middle classes only, in exchange for a half-day's, or five-hours' work; and how all those things which would be considered as luxuries might be obtained by everyone if he joins for the other half of the day all sorts of free associations pursuing all possible aims - educational, literary, scientific, artistic, sports and so on. In order to prove the first of these assertions he has analysed the possibilities of agriculture and industrial work, both being combined with brain work. And in order to elucidate the main factors of human evolution, he has analysed the part played in history by the popular constructive agencies of mutual aid and the historical role of the state.

Without naming himself an anarchist, Leo Tolstoy, like his predecessors in the popular religious movements of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Chojecki, Denk and many others, took the anarchist position as regards the state and property rights, deducing his conclusions from the general spirit of the teachings of the Christ and from the necessary dictates of reason. With all the might of his talent he made (especially in The Kingdom of God in Yourselves) a powerful criticism of the church, the state and law altogether, and especially of the present property laws. He describes the state as the domination of the wicked ones, supported by brutal force. Robbers, he says, are far less dangerous than a well-organized government. He makes a searching criticism of the prejudices which are current now concerning the benefits conferred upon men by the church, the state and the existing distribution of property, and from the teachings of the Christ he deduces the rule of non-resistance and the absolute condemnation of all wars. His religious arguments are, however, so well combined with arguments borrowed from a dispassionate observation of the present evils, that the anarchist portions of his works appeal to the religious and the non-religious reader alike.

It would be impossible to represent here, in a short sketch, the penetration, on the one hand, of anarchist ideas into modern literature, and the influence, on the other hand, which the libertarian ideas of the best contemporary writers have exercised upon the development of anarchism. One ought to consult the ten big volumes of the Supplément Littéraire to the paper La Révolte and later the Temps Nouveaux, which contain reproductions from the works of hundreds of modern authors expressing anarchist ideas, in order to realize how closely anarchism is connected with all the intellectual movement of our own times. J. S. Mill's Liberty, Spencer's Individual versus the State, Marc Guyau's Morality without Obligation or Sanction, and Fouillée's La Morale, I'art et la religion, the works of Multatuli (E. Douwes Dekker), Richard Wagner's Art and Revolution, the works of Nietzsche, Emerson, W. Lloyd Garrison, Thoreau, Alexander Herzen, Edward Carpenter and so on; and in the domain of fiction, the dramas of Ibsen, the poetry of Walt Whitman, Tolstoy's War and Peace, Zola's Paris and Le Travail, the latest works of Merezhkovsky, and an infinity of works of less known authors, are full of ideas which show how closely anarchism is interwoven with the work that is going on in modern thought in the same direction of enfranchisement of man from the bonds of the state as well as from those of capitalism.

The Coming War (1913)

Kropotkin, Peter.

If I were asked to give my opinion, as a geographer, on the pending conflict on the Afghan frontier, I should merely open the volume of Elisée Reclus's Geographie Universelle L'Asie, Russe, and show the pages he has consecrated under this head to the description of the Afghan Turkistan Summing up the result of his extensive careful and highly impartial studies of Central Asia, Reclus has not hesitated to recognise that, geographically, the upper Oxus and all the northern slope of the Iran and Afghan plateaux belong to the Ural-Caspian region, and that the growing influence of the Slavonian might cannot fail to unite, sooner or later, into one political group, the various parts of this immense basin. And, surely, nobody who has studied these countries -without being influenced by political or patriotic preoccupations will deny that the Afghan Turkistan cannot be separated from the remainder of the Ural-Caspian region. Afghanistan proper may remain for some time the bone of contention between England and Russia; and if it be divided, one (lay or the other, into two parts by the two rivals-no geographical or physical reasons could be alleged for the partition; but the vassal Khanates of Maimene, Khulm Kunduz, and even the Badakshan and Wahkran certainly belong geographically and ethnographically to the same aggregation of tribes and small nations which occupies the remainder of the basin of the Amu-daria I Arrangemerits concluded by diplomatists may provisorily settle other frontiers: these frontiers will be, however, but provisory ones; the natural delimitation is along the Hindoo-Kush and the Paropamisus; Afghan Turkistan must rejoin the now Russian Turkistan.

The necessity, in Central Asia, of holding the upper courses of rivers which alone bring life to deserts, and the impossibility of leaving them in the hands of populations which to-morrow may become the enemies of the valleys; the necessities of traffic and commerce; the incapacity of the population,, settled on the left bank of the Upper Amu to defend themselves against raids after they have lost in servility their former virile virtues; nay, even the national feelings of the Uzbeg population, however feeble--all these and several other reasons well known to the explorers and students of those regions contribute to connect the whole of the basin of theAmn and the Murghab into one body. To divide it for political purposes would be to struggle against physical, ethnographical and historical necessities. As to the Wakhran, the Shugnan the Badakshan and even the small khanates west of the Pamir, perhaps they could struggle some time for their independence if they were able to rise in arms like the Circassians; but they would necessarily succumb before the power which already holds the high pasture-grounds of the Pamir, since it has taken a footing on the Trans-Alay and about Lake Kara-hul. The fact is, that the Roof of the World already belongs to the generals of the Russian Tsar. As soon as the Russian Empire bad stepped into the delta of the Amu, the conquest of the whole of the, basin of the Oxus with its thinly scattered oases, with its populations which have not yet succeeded in constituting themselves into national units, became a said necessity. The march oil Khiva already implied the occupation of Merv; an(], as soon a,; a footing was taken on the eastern coast of the Caspian, the conquest of Geok-Tepe, of Merv, and of the last refuges of the Saryks at Penj-deh were unavoidable. The advance no longer depended on the will of the rulers: it became one of those natural phenomena which must be fulfilled sooner or later. Notwithstanding its seeming incoherence its floating population its small tribes now at war with one another and to-morrow allied together for a common raid; notwithstanding the continuous wars between the desert which besieges the oasis-the whole of the Steppe is one organism. The separate parts are perhaps still more closely united together than the settled populations of valleys separated by low ranges of hills. Owing to the impressionability of its populations, the Steppe may remain for years together as quiet, is an English village; but suddenly it will be set on fire, be shattered in its farthest unapproachable Parts, be covered with outbreaks stopping all intercourse for thousands of miles. African travellers know well how rapidly the physiognomy of the desert changes: the same is true with the Central Asian Steppe. Its internal cohesion cannot be destroyed by frontiers coloured on our maps. Those who have entered the Steppe with their military forces have no choice; either they must retire immediately, or they will be compelled to advance until they have met with the natural limits of the desert. This is the case with England in the Soudan, and so it is with Russia. She cannot stop before she has reached the utmost limits of the Steppe in the Indian Caucasus and the Hindoo-Kush.

Such is the opinion which a geographer, whatever his nationality, ought to give, and which I should give, but with sadness of heart. For, during the years I spent in Eastern Siberia I was enabled closely to appreciate what the anomalous, monstrous extension of the frontiers of the Russian Empire means for the Russian people. One must have stayed in one of our colonies to see, to feel, and to touch the burden, and the loss of strength which the population of Russia in Europe have to support in maintaining it military organisation on the absurdly extended frontiers of the Empire; to reckon the heavy costs of the yearly extension of the limits of the Empire; the demoralisation which repeated conquests steadily throw into the life. (if our country; the expense of forces for assimilating ever new regions the loss resulting from emigration, as the best elements abandon their mother-country instead of helping her to conquer a better future. The expansion of the Russian Empire is a curse to the metropolis We must recognise that. But life in our Asiatic colonies teaches us also that this continual growth is taking the character of a fatality: it cannot be avoided; and even if the rulers of Russia (lid nothing to accelerate it, it still would go oil until the whole of the process is fulfilled.

Of course the expansion might have been slower; it, ought to have been slower. When the St. Petersburg Geographical Society was besieged in 1870-73 with schemes of exploration of the Amu basin, it was in the power of Government either to lavour them or to abandon them to their proper destiny. Abandoned to itself, private initiative would have done but very little; and none of the scientific expeditions which used to be the precursors of military advance, would have started at all were they not literally, very literally, supported and patronised by Government. While geologists, botanists engineers, and astronomers came to us every day to offer themselves for penetrating further and further into the Transcaspian region; while we naively interested ourselves in discussions about the testimonies of Greek and Persian writers as to the old ]led of the Amudaria and planned detailed explorations, the Government took advantage of this scientific glow for planning its advance into the Turcoman Steppes. never refusing either money or Cossacks and soldiers to escort the geographers who dreamed of resolving the long debated question as to the Uzbegs. While the Irkutsk geographers and geologists were compelled to start with a few hundred roubles and a broken barometer for the exploration of the great unknown Siberia, thousands of roubles were immediately voted by all possible Ministries for pushing forward the learned pioneers into the Transcaspian. This willingness to support scientific exploration, precisely in that direction, wag obviously the result of a scheme long ago elaborated at the Foreign Office for opening a new route towards the Indian frontier. Far from checking the advance-as it does on the Mongolian frontier- the Government favoured it by all means.

Recently, we have been told by the enfant terrible what was the real meaning of this advance, I via I lei-at, to Constantinople '-such, we are told, is the watchword of a group of Russian politicians; and when we consider the energy and consciousness displayed by Government in that matter, instead of the formerly quite unsystematical advance in Central Asia we cannot but recognise that the advance in the Transcaspian region has been really made with a determined aim-the seizure of Herat. But in this case, the Afghan frontier question is no more a, geographical or ethnographical question. It is not a question of more or less rapidly aggregating into one political body the loose populations scattered north of the 'Indian Caucasus' and the Hindoo-Kush: it becomes a political question, and, as such, an economical one.

There was a time when so-called national jealousies were nothing more than personal jealousies between rulers. Nations were moved to war and thousands were massacred to revenge a personal offence, -or to satisfy the ambition of an omnipotent ruler. But, manners have changed now. The omnipotent despots are disappearing, and even the autocrats are mere toys in the hands of their camarillas which camarillas however personal their aims, still submit to some influence of the opinions prevailing among the ruling classes. Wars are no longer due to personal caprices, and still they are as, numerous as, and much more cruel than, they formerly were. The Republican faith which said, Suppress personal power, and you will have no wars,' proved to be false. Thus, for instance, in the pending Conflict between England and Russia no personal causes are at work. The Russian Tsar entertains personally quite friendly relations with English rulers, and surely he dreads war much more than any of his soldiers who would he massacred on the battle-fields. As to the English Premier, it is a secret to nobody that be tenderly, much too tenderly, looks on the 'Tsar of All the Russias,' and still both countries are ready to fight. Not, that the eighty millions of our peasants sing very warlike songs just now, as they are asking themselves how they will manage to keep body and Sold together until the next harvest, the last handful of flour already having been swept tip and eaten, together with dust and straw. Not that the English miners or weavers, who also ask themselves how to go through the industrial crisis, are inspired with much hatred towards the famine-struck Russian peasants. But it is so: gunpowder smells in the air, and a few weeks ago we were so near fighting that if we escape from war, it surely will be. a very narrow escape. The reason is very plain. Wars are no more fought, for personal reasons, still less are they occasioned by national idiosyncrasies: they are fought for markets

What is, in fact, the chief, the leading principle of our production? Are we producing in order to satisfy the needs of the millions of our own countries? When launching a new enterprise, when creating a new branch of industry, when increasing an old one, and introducing therein the I iron slaves' we are so proud of-does the manufacturer ask himself whether his produce is needed by the people of his country? Sometimes he does; but, as he produces merchandise only for selling, only to realise certain benefits oil selling, he seldom cares about the needs of his own country-he merely asks himself whether he will find customers in any quarter of the earthball or not . The English people need some less cottons, and want some cheaper shoes-for instance, for the 110,585 boys and girls under thirteen years of age employedi n Great Britain's texthe industries - less velveteen and some More cheap clothing for the inhabitants of Whitechapel; less fine cutlery, and some more bread. His only preoccupation is to know whether the Indian, the CentralAsian, the Chinese markets will absorb the cottons, the velveteen, and the cutlery which lie will manufacture; whether new markets will be opened in Africa or New Guinea. And the producers themselves the labourers being reduced to live on twenty, on fifteen, and even twelve and ten shillings a week for a whole family' are no customers for the riches produced in England; so dial English produce goes in search of customers everywhere: amoung Russian landlords and Indian rajahs, amoung Papuans and Patagonians, but not amoung the paupers of Whitechapel, of Manchester, of Birmingham And all nations of Europe, imitating England, cherish the same ambition.

To produce for exportation-such is the last word of our economical progress, the watchword of our pseudo-economical science. the more a nation exports of manufactured ware, the richer it is; so were we taught in school, so are we told still by economists. All this, however, was very well with regard to England as long as England's manufacturing development was by a whole fifty years in advance of that of other countries of' Europe, and all markets were open to her produce. But now, all other civilised countries are entering the same line of development; they endeavour, too, to produce their merchandise for selling throughout the world; they also produce for exportation; and, therefore, all our recent history becomes nothing but a steeple-chase for markets, a struggle for customers on whom each European nation may impose the produce which her own producers are rendered unable to purchase. The ' colonial polities' of late years mean nothing more. England has in India a colony to which she can export 20,000,000l. of cottons, and whence she can export 11,000,0001. of opium, realising on both some twentymillions of profits. No wonder that the ruling classes of France, of Germany, and of Russia try in their turn to find anywhere advantageous customers, that they endeavour to their own manufactures, also for exporting-no matter that their own, people may go barefoot, or starve for want of a Mehlsuppe or of black bread. Russia is now beginning to enter on the same road. Per manufacturess being Dot yet sufficiently developed, site exports the corn taken from the months of her peasants. When the tax-gatherer comes, our peasant is compelled to sell so much of his harvest that the remainder hardly do to give him a scanty allowance of black bread for nine months out, of twelve. Ile will mix grass, straw, and bark with his flour; each spring one-third of our provinces will be on the verge of starvation; -Nit the exports will rise, and the economists will applaud the rapid economical development (if the Northern I Empire '; they will foretell the time When the peasants, I having been liberated from the burden of land,' will gather in towns and feed the ever-growing manufactures; when Russian merchants also will send their steamers on the oceans in search of customer-, and good profits. A new mighty runner joins thus the steeple-chase for markets and colonies.

Of course we may foresee that this anomalous organisation of industry, being not a physical necessity, but the result of a wrong direction taken by production, cannot last for ever. Already we bear voices raised against this anomaly. We begin to perceive that, not to speak of countries so thinly peopled as Russia is, even the, United Kingdom with its 300 inhabitants per square mile, Could yield for the whole of its population the necessary agricultural produce, and give them, together with a healthy occupation, a wealth not to bo compared with the actual poverty of the millions. Already Belgium nearly nourishes her 197 inhabitants per square mile with her own produce, and needs to add to her own yearly crops but onetwentieth of their amount, imported from other countries. Yet Belgian agriculture is still very far from the pitch which might be reached, even under the present conditions of agricultural knowledge, not to speak of further improvements. Those are surely not far from the truth who say that, if all Great Britain were so cultivated as some of her estates are, if all ameliorations of her machinery were employed, not for weaving cottons for the earthball, but in producing what is necessary to her own people, she would give to all her children wealth such as only the few may Dow dream of. The time will come when it will be understood that a nation which lives on her colonies and on foreign trade is subject to decline, like Spain and Holland, and when applying their experience, their industry, their genius to the benefit of their own people, the civilised nations of Europe will no more consider the Far East and West as I markets,' but as fields for diffusing the trite principles of humanity and civilisation.

But we are still in that period when manufacturing for exportation is considered the only means of giving wealth to a country, and Russia's rising industry follows the example it has in its predecessors. Her manufactures are rapidly developing, and, notwithstanding many obstacles, her exports are steadily increasing. A free issue to the ocean becomes a necessity under these conditions; but this outlet in precisely what fails to the young competitor. The outlet of the Baltic may be shut up at a moment's notice, and that of the Black Sea depends on the good-will of those who will rule at Constantinople' At the same time Southern Russia is daily acquiring more and more importance, not only in consequence of the richness of the soil and the, rapid growth of population, but, also on account of the development of industry. The commercial and industrial centre of' gravity of Russia slowly move, towards the south; but this south has no outlet to the ocean. Under more normal conditions the circumstance would be of' no moment, though in foreign hands the Bosphorus still would remain open to pacific navigators. But with the actual nonsensical competition for markets the want of a free issue becomes a real danger. And it is obvious that the Russian Empire will never cease to struggle to conquer the outlet it is in need of. It will recoil before no sacrifices, no difficulties. It is already planning to reach this issue through Asia Minor, perhaps through the valley Of the Tigris and Euphrates,; it will bleed itself nigh to death, but it will still endeavor to reach its aim: and there will be no peace in Europe and Asia until the problem has been solved it) One way Or another.

Three times during our century in 1828, 1853, and 1877 Russian statesmen have tried the direct, way --that of conquering the Balkan Peninsula. Happily enough for civilisation, they have not yet succeeded; but it must be acknowledged that, if they failed, it was not on account of the obstacles put in their way by English diplomatists. These last, to speak frankly, have been very awkward. Lord Beaconsfield found nothing better to oppose to Russian advance than the disintegrating body of the Turkish Empire, or so fantastic a scheme-at least it is attributed to him-as that Of initing Turkey, Persia, and Afghanistan into a common action ! As to the Liberal Ministry, they patronised the Russian Tsar during the war and Opposed him only when his decimated armies were unable to move farther. The Liberal Ministry came into power, to some extent, in consequence of the sympathies with the revolted and massacred Selavonians which were awakened in the people of England. But the Selavonians were forgotten as soon as Mr. Gladstone was in office. Obeying the influences which represented to him the Russian Tsar as a liberator, lie confounded the cause of the Selavonians with that of the Moscow manufacturers and St. Petersburg diplomatists; as to the Servians, the Bulgarians, the Bosnians, and the herzegovinians they were banded over, manacled, to Russian despotism and Austro-Hungarian Militarism. Neither Conservatives nor Liberals perceived the only right way of preventing once for all any further attempt of Russia, and of Austria too, on the Balkan Peninsula: that of recognising the rights of the South Selavonians to independence, that of helping them to conquer it, that of opposing to Russian autocrats-a South Selavonic Federation. Neither France nor England understood at that time that a South Selavonic Federation would be the best darn against Russian and Austrian encroachments; that if the Servians and the Bulgarians accepted Russian intervention surely it was not from mere sympathy: they would have sold themselves to the devil himself, provided lie would promise to free them from the Turkish yoke. Once free, they -would care is little about Russian protection ' as about Turkish rule. But apart from a, few war correspondents, who eared in England about Selavonians?

Therefore, even the partial success of the Russian Empire during the last war brought about such sad consequences that several generations will hardly repair the evil already done. The Russian people gave the lives of their best children to help the oppressed Bulgarians,and they succeeded only in giving them new oppressors Worse. than the former. 'file intervention of the Russian autocracy in Servia, its rule in Bulgaria, have killed in the bull all the excellent germs of healthy development which were growing up in Servia, and even in Bulgaria, before the war. It has lighted up internal war, it has opened an era of internal discords, which will not be pacified for twenty or fifty years. The heart bleeds when one learns what it; now going )it in Servia, since Russian generals, inspire the Court and diplomatists struggle for 'influence.' Will it then Dever lie understood in Europe that the Only Wily Of resolving 'the Eastern question ' is to guarentee a South Selavonic Federation a free life? As to the question of a free issue for Russian merchants, It is quit,-, different front Chat of keeping Constantinople, and the former can be, resolved without endangering anybody's liberty in Europe.

And now, to return to Afghanistan. After having said so Much about European interests, is it not time to say a few words, at least, about the interests of the Mohammedan population of Central Asia and of the 250,000,000 inhabitants of British India, for the possession of whom we are -so ready to fight? Surely the loose aggregations of Central Asia will finally fall tinder The influence or the rule, of some. European Power. But, at the risk of shocking some of my readers, I must avow that it seems to me most desirable to see them remain as they are, free of that influence, as long as possible-until the Europeans, more civilised themselves, will be able to come to them, not as conquerors, but as elder brethren, more instructed and ready to help them by word and deed to ameliorate their condition. Two years ago the benefits of Russian 'civilisation' were ably enumerated before the London Geographical Society, and the fact was dwelt upon that Russia had liberated slaves wherever they were found. The statement is quite true, and we have good reason to believe M. Petrusevitch when he says that the slaves in the Turcoman Steppes immediately left their masters -as soon as a Russian traveller made his appearance, Surely the liberation of slaves is a great progress, but all is not yet done by saying to a slave, IYou are free; go away;' for the thus liberated prisoner will return to his former or to another master if lie has nothing to eat. Let any one read the elaborate work published by

the TiflisGeographical Society on the liberation of slaves in the Caucasus, and he will see how the Russian Government has accomplished it; and we have no reason to suppose that it has been accomplished better in Central Asia.

As to the agrarian relations, perhaps nowhere in Europe have they the same importance as in Central Asia, on account, of the necessities of co-operative work and common agreement for the digging out and utilisation Of irrigation-canals In such countries, theslightest error of the administration in agrarian contests may Lave, and often has had on the Caucasus and in Russian Turkistan, countless consequences; a simple error, a counfirmation of supposed rights, turns t rich garden into a desert. All European administrations are liable to such errors as soon as they come into contact with the Mohammedan agrarian law, and their consequences are too well known with regard to India to dwell upon. True that, as a rule, the Russian Administration, familiarised ,it home with village communities, does not interfere much with agrarian questions 'UnOng (lie Mohammedan population which falls under its rule. But the direction prevailing at St. Petersburg with regard to agrarian questions is continually changing. For tell years the St. Petersburg rulers may favour self-government in villages, they may take the village communities under their protection; but for the next twenty years they wilt abandon the peasants; they will rely in the newly-conquered region, upon an aristocracy they will try to create at the expense of the labourer. The history Of the Caucasus is nothing but, a series of such oscillations, which resulted in the growth of the Kabardian feudal system and file servitude of the Ossetians.

In Russian Turkistan, too, the reckless confirmation of imaginary Tight,; in land which was carried on on a great scale at the beginning (we do not know if it, continues) endangered the very existence of the Uzbeg villages. And one cannot, but remember, when speaking on this subject the scandalous robbery of Bashkir lands which was carried oil for years at Orenburg and became known only when the Bashkir people were deprived of their means of existence. Of course, the cruelties of a khan at Khiva, or of a Persian shah, will. Dot ,be repeated under Russian rule; but the creation of a Turcoman, a Khivan, and a Bokharian aristocracy, adding the temptations of European luxury to Asiatic pomp, surely will be a much greater evil for the Central-Asian labourers than the atrocities of a khan. With regard to Russian administration itself itself, we must certainly admit, that during the first years after a conquest the choice of administrators is not very bad; but as time goes oil and all enters into smooth water one will be perplexed to make his choice between them; and the officials of a khan. Finally, the time is not far off when Russia will send to Central Asia her merchants, who will ruin whole populations, of which we may see plenty of proofs in Siberia, and not only in Siberia, but also everywhere else where Europeans have made their appearance.

And what, on the other side, could England give? It is time, quite time, to cease repeating load words about civilisation and progress, and closely to examine what British rule has done in India. Progress is not measured by the lengths of railways and the bushels of corn exported. It is time to examine what the creation of the class of zamindars, followed by the sub-infeudation and subdivision of rights, which is so well described by Sir John Phear, has produced in Bengal. It is time to ask ourselves whether the millions of Bengal have, each of them, even the handful of rice they need to live, upon. It is not enough to admire at the Indian Museum in London the ivory chairs and chess-boards brought from India by Mr. A. and Mr. B., and each piece of which represents a human life. It is time that the English people should consider and meditate over the model of an Indian bazaar exhibited at the same Museum, and ask themselves how it, happens that, the incredible riches exhibited in the rooms were brought about by the same naked and starving people who are represented in the bazaar around a woman whose whole trading-stock consists of a few handfuls of rice in a bowl. Perhaps they will discover that the very origin of the above riches must lie sought for in the nakedness of the starving human figures whose portraits were exhibited in 1877 at the doors of the Mansion House. And perhaps they will agree then that, before carrying our present civilisation to Central Asia and India, we might do better to carry it to the savages who inhabit the den-holes of Moscow and Whitechapel.

War! (1916)

Peter Kropotkin

Printed by The New Temple Press, Norbury Crescent, S.W.

THE spectacle presented at this moment by Europe is deplorable enough but withal particularly instructive. On the one hand, diplomatists and courtiers hurrying hither and thither with the increased activity which displays itself whenever the air of our old continent begins to smell of powder. Alliances are being made and unmade, with much chaffering over the amount of human cattle that shall form the price of the bargain. "So many million head on condition of your house supporting ours; so many acres to feed them, such and such seaports for the export of their wool." Each plotting to overreach his rivals in the market. That is what in political jargon is known as diplomacy.

[NOTE.-While it will be understood that the political situation of Europe has changed since these lines were written, the same arguments are entirely applicable to the present time.]

On the other hand, endless development of armed force. Every day we hear of fresh inventions for the more effectual destruction of our fellow-men, fresh expenditure, fresh loans, fresh taxation. Clamorous patriotism, reckless jingoism; the stirring up of international jealousy have become the most lucrative line in politics and journalism. Childhood itself has not been spared; schoolboys are swept into the ranks, to be trained up in hatred of the Prussian, the English or the Slav; drilled in blind obedience to the government of the moment, whatever the colour of its flag, and when they come to the years of manhood to be laden like pack-horses with cartridges, provisions and the rest of it; to have a rifle thrust into their hands and be taught to charge at the bugle call and slaughter one another right and left like wild beasts, without asking themselves why or for what purpose. Whether they have before them starvelings out of Germany or Italy, or their own brothers roused to revolt by famine-the bugle sounds, the killing must commence.

This is the outcome of all the wisdom of our governors and teachers! This is all they have found to give us an ideal; this at a time when the wretched of all countries are joining hands across the frontiers.

"You would not have Socialism? Well then you will have War-war for thirty, for fifty years." So said Herzen after 1848. And war we have. If the thunder of the cannon is silent for a moment through out the world, it is but for a breathing space, it is but to begin afresh more fiercely somewhere else, while European war-a general melee of the western nations-has been threatening for years, though not one knows what the fight will be about, with what allies, or against which foe, in the name of what principles, or in whose interest.

In former times when there was war, men knew at least in what cause they were killing one another.

"Such and such a king has insulted ours-come and slaughter his subjects." "Such and such an emperor wishes to pilfer provinces from us-let us keep them, at the cost of our lives, for His Most Christian Majesty." Men fought in the quarrels of their kings. It was foolish, but then these kings could only enlist for such purposes a few thousand men. But why, nowadays, should we have whole peoples flying at each other's throats.

Kings count for nothing now in questions of war. Victoria did not send protests about M. Rochefort's rhodomontades; the English are not going to exact vengeance for her, and yet can you prophecy that in two years' time France and England will not be at war for supremacy in Egypt? Similarly in the East. Autocrat and ugly despot as he is, great power as he thinks himself, the Czar of all the Russias will swallow all the affronts of Andrassy and Salisbury without stirring a finger, so long as the stockjobbers of Petersburg and the manufacturers of Moscow-the gang who nowadays style themselves "patriots"- have not given him the word to set his armies on the move.

In Russia as in England, in Germany as in France, men fight no longer for the good pleasure of kings; they fight to guarantee the incomes and augment the possessions of their Financial Highnesses, Messrs. Rothschild, Schneider and Co., and to fatten the lords of the money market and the factory. The rivalries of kings have been supplanted by the rivalries of bourgeois cliques.

No doubt we shall still hear talk of "disturbance of the Balance of Power." But translate this metaphysical concept into material facts, examine, for instance, how the "undue political preponderance " of Germany is manifesting itself at this moment, and you will see that the pith of the matter is simply an economic "preponderance" on the international markets. What Germany, France, Russia, England and Austria are struggling for at this moment, is not military supremacy but economic supremacy, the right to impose their manufactures, their custom duties, upon their neighbours; the right to develop the resources of peoples backward in industry; the privilege of making railways through countries that have none, and under that pretext to get demand of their markets, the right, in a word, to filch every now and then from a neighbour a seaport that would stimulate their trade or a province that would absorb the surplus of their production.

When we fight nowadays it is to ensure our Factory Kings a bonus of thirty per cent, to strengthen the "Barons" of finance in their hold on the money market, and to keep up the rate of interest for shareholders in mines and railways. If we were only consistent, we should replace the lion on our standard with a golden calf, their other emblems by money bags, and the names of our regiments, borrowed formerly from royalty, by the titles of the Kings of Industry and Finance- Third Rothschild," " Tent Baring," etc. We should at least know whom we were killing for.

The opening of new markets, the forcing of products, good and bad, upon the foreigner, is the principle underlying all the politics of the present day throughout our continent, and the real cause of the wars of the nineteenth century.

In the eighteenth century England was the first nation to introduce the system of extensive production for export. The proletariat was huddled into the towns, harnessed to improved machinery, and set to fill the warehouses with mourtains of cotton and woollen goods. But these goods were not intended for the threadbare artisan that wove them. Receiving just enough to keep themselves and their families alive, what could those who were spinning the cotton and the cloth purchase? So the merchant fleets of England set out to plough the ocean in search of consumers on the continent of Europe, in Asia, in America, in the certainty of finding no competitors. Misery-the blackest misery-was rife in the manufacturing districts, but the manufacturer and the merchant grew rich by leaps and bounds, the wealth extracted from the foreigner accumulated in the hands of a small number, amid the applause of continental economists and their exhortations to their countrymen to go and do the like.

But as early as the end of the eighteenth century France was entering on the same phase of development. There also production was organising itself on a large scale with a view to exportation. The Revolution, by transferring the centre of power, by crowding the towns with country folk, by enriching the middle-class, gave a fresh impulse to this economic evolution. Then the English middle-class took fright, much more at this evolution than at the proclamation of the Republic and the blood spilt in Paris, and joining with the aristocracy, declared war to the death with the French bourgeoisie who were threatening to close the markets of Europe to English products.

Everyone knows how the war ended. France was beaten, but she had won her place upon the markets. The two bourgeoisies, the English and the French even made for a moment a touching alliance; they recognised each other as sisters.

But before long France begins to go too fast. As one result of this production for export, she finds herself compelled to find markets by fair means or foul, without taking account of the progress of industry which was spreading from West to East, and quickening other nations. The French middle-class seeks to enlarge the circle of its beneficence. It submits for eighteen years to be ridden by the third Napoleon, in the continual hope that that usurper will find means to force Europe into accord with his economic policy, and only throws him over when it sees that he cannot serve that purpose.

A new nation, Germany, adopts the same economic system. Here again we have the country drained of its inhabitants, and the towns crammed with starvelings, doubling the urban population in a few years. Here again we have production organised on a large scale. A gigantic industrial organisation, equipped with perfected machinery and backed up by the free diffusion of technical and scientific instruction, here again piles up its products, destined, not for the use of the producers but for exportation, for the enrichment of the masters. Capital accumulates, and seeks profitable investment in Asia, in Africa, in Turkey, in Russia; the Bourse at Berlin rises into rivalry with the Bourse at Paris-it aims at outrivalling it.

Then rises a cry from the heart of the German bourgeoisie. Unity, under any flag, no matter which, even were it that of Prussia, so long as the power so accruing will ensure to that class the means of forcing on neighbouring states its products and its custom tariffs, of grabbing a good harbour on the Baltic, and, if possible, on the Adriatic; of breaking the military power of France which has been threatening for twenty years past to lay down mercantile law, and to dictate commercial treaties for all Europe.

The war of 1870 was the result. France is no longer mistress of the markets; it is Germany who is aiming at supremacy there. She, too, in her thirst for gain, is engaged in the unending endeavour to extend her area of exploitation, with utter disregard of the industrial crisis, the financial failures, the uncertainty and misery that are gnawing at the foundations of her economic edifice. The coasts of Africa, the harvests of Corsica, the plains of Poland, the arid steppes of Russia, the "pusztas" of Hungary, the rose-tangled valleys of Bulgaria, the steaming forests of the neglected heritage of Spain--all are raising the avarice of the German bourgeoisie. So often as the German merchant traverses these ill-cultured plains, these towns that have not risen to the glories of the "grande industrie," these rivers still unfouled by mill refuse, his heart bleeds within him at the spectacle. His fancy paints to him how well he could find means to reap rich harvests of gold from these fallow plains, how he could grind these profitless beings in the mill of Capital. He registers an oath that he will one day find for "civilisation," that is "exploitation," a new home in the East. Meanwhile he will do his best to force his commodities and his railways on Italy, Austria and Russia.

But these, too, are emancipating themselves in their turn from the economic tutelage of their neighbours. These, too, are creeping by degrees into the circle of the "industrial" countries; and those infant bourgeoisies ask no better than the means to enrich themselses {sic} in their turn by exportation. In the last few years Russia and Italy have made enormous strides in the extension of their industries, and since the peasant can buy nothing-reduced as he is to the blackest misery-here also it is for exportation that the manufacturers are endeavouring to produce.

Consequently Russia, Italy and Austria also must find markets, and those of Europe being already occupied, they are forced to fall back on Asia, or on Africa, with the certainty of some day coming to blows over the appropriation of the choice morsels.

What alliances can be binding in such a situation as this, created of necessity by the character impressed upon industry by those who have the direction of it? The alliance between Germany and Russia is a matter purely of temporary convenience. Alexander and William may kiss each other as often as they like--the bourgeoisie that is growing up in Russia will cordially detest the German bourgeoisie, which repays it in the same coin. Everyone remembers the furious outcry raised by the whole German press when the Russian Government raised its import duties by one-third. " War with Russia "-ever the cry of the German middle-class and the workmen dependent thereon- "would be even more popular with us than the war of 1870."

Assuredly--you would not have Socialism, and you will have war. You could have wars to last you thirty years or more, if the Revolution were not on its way to put an end to this preposterous and contemptible situation. But let us, too, clearly recognise the position. Arbitration, the "balance of power," reduction of standing armies, disarmament --all these are fine ideas, but practical bearing they have none. The Revolution alone, when it has restored the machinery and raw material of production and all the wealth of Society to the hands of the producers, and organised production in a manner that will provide for the needs of those on whom all production depends, can put an end to these conflicts for markets.

Each one labouring for all and all for each--that is the only talisman that can bring peace to the hearts of the nations that cry for peace with earnest entreaty but cannot win it, for the hurrying of the vultures that prey on the wealth of the world.

The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Government

-Letter to the Workers of Western Europe- (1919)

Peter Kropotkin

Written: Dmitrov, Russia, April 28, 1919

First Published in English: Labour Leader of July 22, 1920, later in the Temps Nouveaux from which this is translated.

Source: Anarchy Archives

( from

Peter Kropotkin, Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets. Roger N. Baldwin, editor. Vangaurd Press, Inc. 1927

Transcription/Markup: Dana Ward/Brian Basgen

Online Version: Peter Kropotkin Reference Archive ( 2001, transcription errors corrected.

I have been asked if I did not have a message for the workers of the western world. Certainly there is plenty to say an learn of the actual events in Russia. As the message would have to be long to cover all, I will indicate only the principal points.

First, the workers of the civilized world and their friend in other classes ought to prevail on their governments to abandon entirely the idea of armed intervention in Russia whether openly or secretly. Russia is undergoing now a revolution of the same extent and importance as England under went in 1639 to '48, and France in 1789 to '94. Every nation should refuse to play the shameful role played by England, Prussia, Austria and Russia during the French Revolution.

Further, it must be borne in mind that the Russian Revolution — which is trying to build a society in which al productive work, technical ability and scientific knowledge will be entirely communal — is not a mere accident in the struggle of contending parties. It was prepared by almost a century of socialist and communist propaganda, since the days of Robert Owen, Saint Simon and Fourier. And although the effort to introduce the new social system by means of a party dictatorship is apparently condemned to failure, it must be recognized that already the revolution has introduced into our daily lives new conceptions of the rights of labor, its rightful place in society and the duties of each citizen, — and that they will endure.

Not only the workers, but all the progressive forces in the civilized world should put an end to the support given until now to the enemies of the revolution. Not that there is nothing to oppose in the methods of the Bolshevik government. Far from it! But all foreign armed intervention necessarily strengthens the dictatorial tendencies of the government, and paralyzes the efforts of those Russians who are ready to aid Russia, independently of the government, in the restoration of its life.

The evils inherent in a party dictatorship have been accentuated by the conditions of war in which this party maintains its power. This state of war has been the pretext for strengthening dictatorial methods which centralize the control of every detail of life in the hands of the government, with the effect of stopping an immense part of the ordinary activities of the country. The evils natural to state communism have been increased ten-fold under the pretext that all our misery is due to foreign intervention.

I should also point out that if Allied military intervention continues, it will certainly develop in Russia a bitter feeling toward the western nations, a feeling which will be used some day in future conflicts. That bitterness is always developing.

In short, it is high time that the nations of Europe enter into direct relations with the Russian nation. And from this point of view, you — the working class and the progressive elements of all nations — should have your word to say.

A word more on the general question. The re-establishment of relations between the European and American nations and Russia does not mean the supremacy of the Russian nation over the nationalities that composed the Czarist Empire. Imperialist Russia is dead and will not be revived. The future of these different provinces lies in a great federation. The natural territories of the various parts of this federation are quite distinct, as those of us familiar with Russian history and ethnography well know. All efforts to reunite under a central control the naturally separate parts of the Russian Empire are predestined to failure. It is therefore fitting that the western nations should recognize the right of independence of each part of the old Russian Empire.

My opinion is that this development will continue. I see the time coming when each part of this federation will be itself a federation of rural communes and free cities. And I believe also that certain parts of western Europe will soon follow the same course.

As to our present economic and political situation, the Russian revolution, being a continuation of the great revolutions of England and France, is trying to reach the point where the French revolution stopped before it succeeded in creating what they called "equality in fact," that is, economic equality.

Unhappily, this effort has been made in Russia under a strongly centralized party dictatorship. This effort was made in the same way as the extremely centralized and Jacobin endeavor of Baboeuf. I owe it to you to say frankly that, according to my view, this effort to build a communist republic on the basis of a strongly centralized state communism under the iron law of party dictatorship is bound to end in failure. We are learning to know in Russia how not to introduce communism, even with a people tired of the old regime and opposing no active resistance to the experiments of the new rulers.

The idea of soviets, that is to say, of councils of workers and peasants, conceived first at the time of the revolutionary attempt in 1905, and immediately realized by the revolution of February, 1917, as soon as Czarism was overthrown, — the idea of such councils controlling the economic and political life of the country is a great idea. All the more so, since it necessarily follows that these councils should be composed of all who take a real part in the production of national wealth by their own efforts.

But as long as the country is governed by a party dictatorship, the workers' and peasants' councils evidently lose their entire significance. They are reduced to the passive role formerly played by the "States General," when they were convoked by the king and had to combat an all-powerful royal council.

A council of workers ceases to be free and of any use when liberty of the press no longer exists, and we have been in that condition for two years, — under a pretext that we are in a state of war. But more still. The workers' and peasants' councils lose their significance when the elections are not preceded by a free electoral campaign, and when the elections are conducted under pressure by a party dictatorship. Naturally, the usual excuse is that a dictatorship is inevitable in order to combat the old regime. But such a state of affairs is evidently a step backwards, since the revolution is committed to the construction of a new society on a new economic base. It means the death-knell of the new system.

The methods of overthrowing an already enfeebled government are well known to ancient and modern history. But when it is necessary to create new forms of life, especially new forms of production and exchange, without having examples to imitate; when everything must be constructed anew; when a government which undertakes to furnish every citizen with a lamp and even the match to light it, and then cannot do it even with a limitless number of officials, — that government becomes a nuisance. It develops a bureaucracy so formidable that the French bureaucracy, which requires the help of forty officials to sell a tree broken down by a storm on the national highway, is a mere bagatelle in comparison. That is what we are learning in Russia. And that is what you workers of the west should avoid by every means, since you have at heart the success of a real social reconstruction. Send your delegates here to see how a social revolution is working in real life.

The immense constructive work demanded by a social revolution cannot be accomplished by a central government, even if it had to guide it something more substantial than a few socialist and anarchist hand-books. It has need of knowledge, of brains and of the voluntary collaboration of a host of local and specialized forces which alone can attack the diversity of economic problems in their local aspects. To reject this collaboration and to turn everything over to the genius of party dictators is to destroy the independent center of our life, the trade unions and the local cooperative organizations, by changing them into bureaucratic organs of the party, as is the case at this time. That is the way not to accomplish the revolution, to make its realization impossible And that is why I consider it my duty to put you on guard against borrowing any such methods . . .

The late war has brought about new conditions of life for the whole civilized world. Socialism will certainly make considerable progress, and new forms of more independent life will be created based on local autonomy and free initiative. They will be created either peacefully, or by revolutionary means.

But the success of this reconstruction will depend in great part on the possibility of direct cooperation between the different peoples. To achieve that, it is necessary that the working classes of all nations should be directly united and that the idea of a great international of all the workers of the world should be taken up again, but not in the form of a union directed by a single political party, as in the case of the Second and Third Internationals. Such unions have of course plenty of reason to exist, but outside of them, and uniting all, there should be a union of all the workers' organizations of the world, federated to deliver world production from its present subjection to capitalism.


The revolution we have gone through is the sum total, not of the efforts of separate individuals, but a natural phenomenon, independent of the human will, a natural phenomenon similar to a typhoon such as rises suddenly on the coasts of Eastern Asia.

Thousands of causes, in which the work of separate individuals and even of parties has been only a grain of sand, one of the minute local whirlwinds, have contributed to form the great natural phenomenon, the great catastrophe which shall either renew, or destroy; or perhaps both destroy and renew.

All of us prepared this great inevitable change. But it was also prepared by all the previous revolutions of 1793, 1848- 1871; by all the writings of the Jacobins, socialists; by all the achievements of science, industry, art and so on. In a word, millions of natural causes have contributed just in the same way as millions of movements of particles of air or water cause the sudden storm which sinks hundreds of ships or destroys thousands of houses — as the trembling of the earth in an earthquake is caused by thousands of small tremors and by the preparatory movements of separate particles.

In general, people do not see events concretely, solidly. They think more in words than in clearly-imagined pictures, and they have absolutely no idea what a revolution is, — of those many millions of causes which have gone to give it its present form, — and they are therefore inclined to exaggerate the importance in the progress of the revolution of their personality and of that attitude which they, their friends and co-thinkers will take up in this enormous upheaval. And of course they are absolutely incapable of understanding how powerless is any individual, whatever his intelligence and experience, in this whirlpool of hundreds of thousands of forces which have been put into motion by the upheaval.

They do not understand that once such a great natural phenomenon has begun, such as an earthquake, or, rather, such as a typhoon, separate individuals are powerless to exercise any kind of influence on the course of events. A party perhaps can do something, — far less than is usually thought, — and on the surface of the oncoming waves, its influence may, perhaps, be very slightly noticeable. But separate small aggregations not forming a fairly large mass are undoubtedly powerless — their Powers are certainly nil

It is in this position that I, an anarchist, find myself. But even parties of far greater numbers in Russia at the present moment are in a very similar position.

I will even go farther; the governing party itself is in the some position. It no longer governs, it is being carried along by the current which it helped to create but which is now already a thousand times stronger than the party itself . . .

What is then to be done?

We are experiencing a revolution which has advanced not at all along those ways which we had prepared for it, but which we had no time to prepare sufficiently. What is to be done now?

To prevent the revolution? Absurd!

Too late. The revolution will advance in its own way, in the direction of the least resistance, without paying the least attention to our efforts.

At the present moment the Russian revolution is in the following position. It is perpetrating horrors. It is ruining the whole country. In its mad fury it is annihilating human lives. That is why it is a revolution and not a peaceful progress, because it is destroying without regarding what it destroys and whither it goes.

And we are powerless for the present to direct it into another channel, until such time as it will have played itself out. It must wear itself out.

And then? Then — inevitably will come a reaction. Such is the law of history, and it is easy to understand why this cannot be otherwise. People imagine that we can change the form of development of a revolution. That is a childish illusion. A revolution is such a force that its growth cannot be changed. And a reaction is absolutely inevitable, just as a hollow in the water is inevitable after every wave, as weakness is inevitable in a human being after a period of feverish activity.

Therefore the only thing we can do is to use our energy to lessen the fury and force of the oncoming reaction.

But of what can our efforts consist?

To modify the passions — on one as on the other side? Who is likely to listen to us? Even if there exist such diplomats as can do anything in this role, the time for their debut has not yet come; neither the one nor the other side is as yet disposed to listen to them. I see one thing; we must gather together people who will be capable of undertaking constructive work in each and every party after the revolution has worn itself out.




(New Edition. 1920.)


In their plan for the reconstruction of society, the Collectivists commit, in our opinion, a double error. Whilst speaking of the abolition of the rule of capital, they wish, nevertheless, to maintain two institutions which form the very basis of that rule, namely, representative government and the wage system.

As for representative government, it remains absolutely incomprehensible to us how intelligent men (and they are not wanting amongst the Collectivists) can continue to be the partisans of national and municipal parliaments, after all the lessons on this subject bestowed on us by history, whether in England or in France, in Germany, Switzerland or the United States. Whilst parliamentary rule is seen to be everywhere falling to pieces; whilst its principles in themselves--and no longer merely their applications--are being criticized in every direction, how can intelligent men calling themselves Revolutionary Socialists, seek to maintain a system already condemned to death?

Representative government is a system which was elaborated by the middle class to make head against royalty and, at the same time, to maintain and augment their domination of the workers. It is the characteristic form of middle-class rule. But even its most ardent admirers have never seriously contended that a parliament or municipal body does actually represent a nation or a city; the more intelligent are aware that this is impossible. By upholding parliamentary rule the middle class have been simply seeking to oppose a dam between themselves and royalty, or between themselves and the territorial aristocracy, without giving liberty to the people. It is moreover plain that, as the people become conscious of their interests, and as the variety of those interests increases, the system becomes unworkable. And this is why the democrats of all countries are seeking for different palliatives or correctives and cannot find them. They are trying the Referendum, and discovering that it is worthless; they prate of proportional representation, of the representation of minorities, and other parliamentary utopias. In a word, they are striving to discover the undiscoverable; that is to say, a method of delegation which shall represent the myriad varied interests of the nation; but they are being forced to recognize that they are upon a false track, and confidence in government by delegation is passing away.

It is only the Social Democrats and Collectivists who are not losing this confidence, who are attempting to maintain so-called national representation; and this is what we cannot understand.

If our Anarchist principles do not suit them, if they think them inapplicable, they ought, at least, as it seems to us, to try to discover what other system of organization could well correspond to a society without capitalists or landlords. But to take the middle class system--a system already in its decadence, a vicious system if ever there was one--and to proclaim this system (with a few innocent corrections, such as the imperative mandate, or the Referendum the uselessness of which has been demonstrated already) good for a society that has passed through the Social Revolution, is what seems to us absolutely incomprehensible, unless under the name of Social Revolution they understand something very different from Revolution, some petty botching of existing, middle-class rule.

The same with regard to the wage system. After having pro-claimed the abolition of private property and the possession in common of the instruments of production, how can they sanction the maintenance of the wage system under any form? And yet this is what the Collectivists are doing when they praise the efficiency of labor notes.

That the English Socialists of the early part of this century should invent labor notes is comprehensible. They were simply trying to reconcile Capital and Labor. They repudiated all idea of laying violent hands upon the property of the capitalists. They were so little of revolutionaries that they declared themselves ready to submit even to imperial rule, if that rule would favor their co-operative societies. They remained middle class men at bottom, if charitable ones; and this is why (Engels has said so in his preface to the Communist Manifesto of 1848) the Socialists of that period were to be found amongst the middle class, whilst the advanced workmen were Communists.

If later Proudhon took up this same idea, that again is easy to understand. What was he seeking in his Mutualist system, if not to render capital less offensive, despite the maintenance of private property, which he detested to the bottom of his heart, but which he believed necessary to guarantee the individual against the state? Further, if economists, belonging more or less to the middle class, also admit labor notes, it is not surprising. It matters little to them whether the worker be paid in labor notes or in coin stamped with the effigy of king or republic. They want to save, in the coming overthrow, private property in inhabited houses, the soil, the mills; or, at least, in inhabited houses and the capital necessary for the production of manufactures. And to maintain this property, labor notes will answer very well.

If the labor note can be exchanged for jewels and carriages, the owner of house property will willingly accept it as rent. And as long as the inhabited house, the field and the mill belong to individual owners, so long will it be requisite to pay them in some way before they will allow you to work in their fields or their mills, or to lodge in their houses. And it will also be requisite to pay wages to the worker, either in gold or in paper money or in labor notes exchangeable for all sorts of commodities.

But how can this new form of wages, the labor note, be sanctioned by those who admit that houses, fields, mills are no longer private property, that they belong to the commune or the nation?


Let us examine more closely this system for the remuneration of labor, as set forth by the English, French, German and Italian Collectivists.*

It comes very much to this: Every one works, be it in fields, in factories, in schools, in hospitals or what not. The working day is regulated by the state, to which belong the soil, factories, means of communication and all the rest. Each worker, having done a day's work, receives a labor note, stamped, let us say, with these words: eight hours of labor. With this note he can procure any sort of goods in the shops of the state or the various corporations. The note is divisible in such a way that one hour's worth of meat, ten minutes' worth of matches, or half-an-hour's worth of tobacco can be purchased. Instead of saying: "two pennyworth of soap," after the Collectivist Revolution they will say: " five minutes' worth of soap."

Most Collectivists, faithful to the distinction established by the middle-class economists (and Marx also) between qualified (skilled) and simple (unskilled) labor, tell us that qualified or professional toil should be paid a certain number of times more than simple toil. Thus, one hour of the doctor's work should be considered as equivalent to two or three hours of the work of the nurse, or three hours of that of the navvy. "Professional or qualified labor will be a multiple of simple labor," says the Collectivist Grönlund, because this sort of labor demands a longer or shorter apprenticeship.

Other Collectivists, the French Marxists for example, do not make this distinction. They proclaim "equality of wages." The doctor, the schoolmaster and the professor will be paid (in labor notes) at the same rate as the navvy. Eight hours spent in walking the hospitals will be worth the same as eight hours spent in navvies' work or in the mine or the factory.

Some make a further concession; they admit that disagreeable, or unhealthy labor, such as that in the sewers, should be paid at a higher rate than work which is agreeable. One hour of service in the sewers may count, they say, for two hours of the labor of the professor. Let us add that certain Collectivists advocate the wholesale remuneration of trade societies. Thus, one society may say: "Here are a hundred tons of steel. To produce them one hundred workers of our society have taken ten days; as our day consisted of eight hours, that makes eight thousand hours of labor for one hundred tons of steel; eighty hours a ton." Upon which the State will pay them eight thousand labor notes of one hour each, and these eight thousand notes will be distributed amongst the fellow-workers in the foundry as seems best to themselves.

Or again, if one hundred miners have spent twenty days inhewing eight thousand tons of coal, the coal will be worth two hours a ton, and the sixteen thousand labor notes for one hour each received by the miners' union will be divided amongst them as they think fair.

If there be disputes: if the miners protest and say that a ton of steel ought to cost six hours of labor instead of eight; or if the professor rate his day twice as high as the nurse; then the State must step in and regulate their differences.

Such, in a few words, is the organization which the Collectivists desire to see arising from the Social Revolution. As we have seen, their principles are: collective property in the instruments of labor and remuneration of each worker according to the time spent in productive toil, taking into account the productiveness of his work. As for their political system, it would be parliamentary rule, ameliorated by the change of men in power, the imperative mandate, and the referendum--i.e., the general vote of Yes or No upon questions submitted to the popular decision.

Now, we must at once say that this system seems to us absolutely incapable of realization.

The Collectivists begin by proclaiming a revolutionary principle--the abolition of private property--and, as soon as proclaimed, they deny it, by maintaining an organization of production and consumption springing from private property.

They proclaim a revolutionary principle and ignore the consequences it must necessarily bring about. They forget that the very fact of abolishing individual property in the instruments of production (land, factories, means of communication, capital) must cause society to set out in a new direction; that it must change production from top to bottom, change not only its methods but its ends; that all the everyday relations between individuals must be modified as soon as land, machinery and the rest are considered as common possessions.

They say: "No private property"; and immediately they hasten to maintain private property in its everyday forms. "For productive purposes you are a commune," they say; "the fields, the tools, the machinery, all that has been made up to this day--manufactures, railways, wharves, mines to all of you in common. Not the slightest distinction will be made concerning the share of each one in this collective property.

"But from tomorrow you are minutely to discuss the part that each one of you is to take in making the new machines, digging the new mines. From tomorrow you are to endeavor to weigh exactly the portion which will accrue to each one from the new produce. You are to count your minutes of work, you are to be on the watch lest one moment of your neighbor's toil may purchase more than yours.

"You are to calculate your hours and your minutes of labor, and since the hour measures nothing,--since in one factory a workman can watch four looms at once, whilst in another he only watches two, you are to weigh the muscular force, the energy of brain, the energy of nerve expended. You are scrupulously to count up the years of apprenticeship, that you may value precisely the share of each one amongst you in the production of the future. And all this, after you have declared that you leave entirely out of your reckoning the share he has taken in the past."

Well, it is evident to us that a society cannot organize itself upon two absolutely opposing principles, two principles which contradict one another at every step. And the nation or the commune which should give to itself such an organization would be forced either to return to private property or else to transform itself immediately into a communist society.


We have said that most Collectivist writers demand that in Socialist society remuneration should be based upon a distinction between qualified or professional labor and simple labor. They assert that an hour of the engineer's, the architect's or the doctor's work should be counted as two or three hours' work from the blacksmith, the mason or the nurse. And the same distinction, say they, ought to be established between workers whose trades require a longer or shorter apprenticeship and those who are mere day laborers.

Yes, but to establish this distinction is to maintain all the in- equalities of our existing society. It is to trace out beforehand a demarcation between the worker and those who claim to rule him. It is still to divide society into two clearly defined classes: an aristocracy of knowledge above, a horny-handed democracy below; one class devoted to the service of the other; one class toiling with its hands to nourish and clothe the other, whilst that other profits by its leisure to learn how to dominate those who toil for it.

This is to take the distinctive features of middle-class society and sanction them by a social revolution. It is to erect into a principle an abuse which to-day is condemned in the society that is breaking up.

We know very well what will be said in answer. We shall be told about "Scientific Socialism." The middle-class economists, and Marx: too, will be cited to prove that there a good reason for a scale of wages, for the "labor force" of the engineer costs society more than the "labor force" of the navvy. And, indeed, have not the economists striven to prove that, if the engineer is paid twenty times more than the navvy, it is because the cost necessary to produce an engineer is more considerable than that necessary to produce a navvy? And has not Marx maintained that the like distinction between various sorts of manual labor is of equal logical necessity? He could come to no other conclusion, since he took up Ricardo's theory of value and insisted that products exchange in proportion to the quantity of the work socially necessary to produce them.

But we know also how much of all this to believe. We know that if the engineer, the scientist and the doctor are paid today ten or a hundred times more than the laborer, and the weaver earns three times as much as the toiler in the fields and ten times as much as a match girl, it is not because what they receive is in proportion to their various costs of production. Rather it is in proportion to the extent of monopoly in education and in industry. The engineer, the scientist and the doctor simply draw their profits from their own sort of capital--their degree, their certificates--just as the manufacturer draws a profit from a mill, or as a nobleman used to do from his birth and title.

When the employer pays the engineer twenty times more than the workman, he makes this very simple calculation: if an engineer can save him £4,000 a year in cost of production, he will pay him £800 a year to do it. And if he sees a foreman is a clever sweater and can save him £400 in handicraft, he at once offers him £80 or £90 a year. He expends £100 where he counts upon gaining £1,000; that is the essence of the capitalist system. And the like holds good of the differences in various trades.

Where then is the sense of talking of the cost of production of labor force, and saying that a student who passes a merry youth at the University, has a right to ten times higher wages than the son of a miner who has pined in a pit since he was eleven? Or that a weaver has a right to wages three or four times higher than those of an agricultural laborer? The expenditure needed to produce a weaver is not four times as great as the necessary cost of producing a field worker. The weaver simply benefits by the advantageous position which industry enjoys in Europe as compared with parts of the world where at present there is no industrial development.

No one has ever estimated the real cost of production of labor force. And if an idler costs society much more than an honest workman, it still remains to be known if, when all is told (infant mortality amongst the workers, the ravages of anoemia the premature deaths) a sturdy day laborer does not cost society more than an artisan.

Are we to be told that, for example, the ls. a day of a London workwoman and the 3d. a day of the Auvergne peasant who blinds herself over lace-making, represent the cost of production of these women? We are perfectly aware that they often work for even less, but we know also that they do it entirely because, thanks to to our splendid social organization, they would die of hunger without these ridiculous wages.

The existing scale of wages seems to us a highly complex product of taxation, government interference, monopoly and capitalistic greed--in a word, of the State and the capitalist system. In our opinion all the theories made by economists about the scale of wages have been invented after the event to justify existing injustices. It is needless to regard them.

We are, however, certain to be informed that the Collectivist wage scale will, at all events, be an improvement. "You must admit," we shall be told, "that it will, at least, be better to have a class of workers paid at twice or three times the ordinary rate than to have Rothschilds, who put into their pockets in one day more than a workman can in a year. It will be a step towards equality."

To us it seems a step away from it. To introduce into a Socialist society the distinction between ordinary and professional labor would be to sanction by the Revolution and erect into a principle a brutal fact, to which we merely submit today, considering it all the while as unjust. It would be acting after the manner of those gentlemen of the Fourth of August, 1789, who proclaimed, in high sounding phraseology, the abolition of feudal rights, and on the Eight of August sanctioned those very rights by imposing upon the peasants the dues by which they were to be redeemed from the nobles. Or again, like the Russian government at the time of the emancipation of the serfs when it proclaimed that the land henceforth belonged to the nobility, whereas previously it was considered an abuse that the land which belonged to the peasants should be bought and sold by private persons.

Or, to take a better known example, when the Commune of 1871 decided to pay the members of the Communa1 Council 12s. 6d. a day, whilst the National Guards on the rampart a had only ls. 3d., certain persons applauded this decision as an act of grand democratic equality. But, in reality, the Commune did nothing thereby but sanction the ancient inequality between officials and soldiers, governors and governed. For an Opportunist parliament such a decision might have seemed splendid, but for the Commune it was a negation of its own principles. The Commune was false to its own revolutionary principle, and by that very fact condemned it.

In the present state of society when we see Cabinet Ministers paying themselves thousands a year, whilst the workman has to content himself with less than a hundred; when we see the foreman paid twice or three times as much as the ordinary hand, and when amongst workers themselves there are all sorts of gradations from 7s. or 8s. a day down to the 3d. of the sempstress, we disapprove the large salary of the minister, and also the difference between the artisans eight-shillings and the sempstress' three-pence. And we say, "Let us have done with privileges of education as well as of birth." We are Anarchists just because such privileges disgust us.

How can we then raise these privileges into a principle? How can we proclaim that privileges of education are to be the basis of an equal society, without striking a blow at that very Society. What is submitted today, will be submitted to no longer in society based on equality. The general above the soldier, the rich engineer above the workman, the doctor above the nurse, already disgust us. Can we suffer them in a society which starts by proclaiming equality?

Evidently not. The popular conscience, inspired by the idea of equality, will revolt against such an injustice, it will not tolerate it. It is not worth while to make the attempt.

That is why certain Collectivists, understanding the impossibility of maintaining a scale of wages in a society inspired by the influences the Revolution, zealously advocate equality in wages. But they only stumble against fresh difficulties, and their equality of wages becomes a Utopia as incapable of realization as the wage scale of the others. A society that has seized upon all social wealth, and has plainly announced that all have a right to this wealth, whatever may be the part they have taken in creating it in the past, will be obliged to give up all idea of wages, either in money or in labor notes.


"To each according to his deeds," say the Collectivists, or rather according to his share of service rendered to society. And this is the principle they recommend as the basis of economic organization, after the Revolution shall have made all the instruments of labor and all that is necessary for production common property!

Well, if the Social Revolution should be so unfortunate as to proclaim this principle, it would be stemming the tide of human progress, it would be leaving unsolved the huge social problem cast by past centuries upon our shoulders.

It is true that in such a society as ours, where the more a man works the less he is paid, this principle may seem, at first sight, all aspiration towards justice. But at bottom it is but the consecration of past injustice. It is with this principle that the wage system started, to end where it is today, in crying inequalities and all the abominations of the present state of things. And it has ended thus because, from the day on which society began to value services in the money or any other sort of wages, from the day on which it was said that each should have only what he could succeed in getting paid for his work, the whole history of Capitalism (the State aiding therein) was written beforehand; its germ was enclosed in this principle.

Must we then return to our point of departure and pass once more through the same process of capitalist evolution? These theorists seem to desire it; but happily it is impossible; the Revolution will be Communistic; or it will be drowned in blood, and must be begun all over again.

Service rendered to society, be it labor in factory or field, or moral service, cannot be valued in monetary units. There cannot be an exact measure of its value, either of what has been improperly called its "value in exchange" or of its value in use. If we see two individuals, both working for years, for five hours daily, for the community, at two different occupations equally pleasing to them, we can say that, taken all in all, their labors are roughly equivalent. But their work could not be broken up into fractions, so that the product of each day, each hour or each minute of the labor of one should be worth the produce of each minute and each hour of that of the other.

Broadly speaking, we can say that a man who during his whole life deprives himself of leisure for ten hours daily has given much more to society than he who has deprived himself of but five hours a day, or has not deprived himself of any leisure at all. But we cannot take what one man has done during any two hours and say that this produce is worth exactly twice as much as the produce of one hour's work from another individual, and reward each proportionately. To do this would be to ignore all that is complex in the industry, the agriculture, the entire life of society as it is; it would be to ignore the extent to which all individual work is the outcome of the former and present labors of society as a whole. It would be to fancy oneself in the Stone Age, when we are living in the Age of Steel.

Go into a coal mine and see that man stationed at the huge machine that hoists and lowers the cage. In his hand he holds a lever whereby to check or reverse the action of the machinery. He lowers the handle, and in a second the cage changes the direction of its giddy rush up or down the shaft. His eyes are attentively fixed upon an indicator in front of him which shows exactly the point the cage has reached; no sooner does it touch the given level than at his gentlest pressure it stops dead short, not a foot above or below the required place. And scarcely are the full trucks discharged or the empties loaded before, at a touch to the handle, the cage is again swinging up or down the shaft.

For eight or ten hours at a time he thus concentrates his attention. Let his brain relax but for an instant, and the cage would fly up and shatter the wheels, break the rope, crush the men, bring all the work of the mine to a stand-still. Let him lose three seconds upon each reverse of the lever and, in a mine with all the modern improvements, the output will be reduced by from twenty to fifty tons a day.

Well, is it he who renders the greatest service in the mine? Or is it, perhaps, that boy who rings from below the signal for the mounting of the cage? Or is it the miner who risks his life every moment in the depths of the mine and will end one day by being killed by fire-damp? Or, again, the engineer who would lose the coal seam and set men hewing bare rock, if he merely made a mistake in the addition of his calculations? Or, finally, is it the owner, who has put all his patrimony into the concern, and who perhaps has said, in opposition to all previous anticipations: "Dig there, you will find excellent coal"?

All the workers engaged in the mine contribute to the raising of coal in proportion to their strength, their energy, their knowledge their intelligence and their skill. And we can say that all have the right to live, to satisfy their needs, and even gratify their whims, after the more imperious needs of every one are satisfied. But how can we exactly value what they have each done?

Further, is the coal that they have extracted entirely the result of their work? Is it not also the outcome of the work of the men who constructed the railway leading to the mine, and the roads branching off on all sides from the stations? And what of the work of those who have tilled and sown the fields which supply the miners with food, smelted the iron, cut the wood in the forest, made the machines which will consume the coal, and so on?

No hard and fast line can be drawn between the work of one and the work of another. To measure them by results leads to absurdity. To divide them into fractions and measure them by hours of labor leads to absurdity also. One course remains: not to measure them at all, but to recognize the right of all who take part in productive labor first of all to live, and then to enjoy the comforts of life.

Take any other branch of human activity, take our existence as a whole, and say which of us can claim the highest reward for his deeds ?

The doctor who has divined the disease or the nurse who has assured its cure by her sanitary cares? The inventor of the first steam engine or the boy who one day, tired of pulling the cord which formerly served to open the valve admitting the steam beneath the piston, tied his cord to the lever of the machine, and went to play with his companions, without imagining that he had invented the mechanism essential to all modern machinery--the automatic valve? The inventor of the locomotive or that Newcastle workman who suggested that wooden sleepers should take the place of the stones which were formerly put under the rails and threw trains off the line by their want of elasticity? The driver of the locomotive or the signalman who stops the train or opens the way for it? To whom do we owe the trans-Atlantic cable? To the engineer who persisted in declaring that the cable would transmit telegrams, whilst the learned electricians declared that it was impossible? To Maury, the scientist, who advised the disuse of thick cables and the substitution of one no bigger than a walking stick? Or, after all, is it to those volunteers, from no one knows where, who spent day and night on the deck of the Great Eastern, minutely examining every yard of cable and taking out the nails that the shareholders of the maritime companies had stupidly caused to be driven through the isolating coat of the cable to render it useless?

And, in a still wider field, the vast tract of human life, with its joys, its sorrows, and its varied incidents, cannot each of us mention some one who during his life has rendered him some service so great, so important, that if it were proposed to value it in money he would be filled with indignation? This service may have been a word, nothing but a word in season, or it may have been months or years of devotion. Are you going to estimate these, the most important of all services, in labor notes? "The deeds of each"! But human societies could not live for two successive generations, they would disappear in fifty years, if each one did not give infinitely more than will be returned to him in money, in "notes" or in civic rewards. It would be the extinction of the race if the mother did not expend her life to preserve her children, if every man did not give some things without counting the cost, if human beings did not give most where they look for no reward.

If middle-class society is going to ruin; if we are today in a blind alley from which there is no escape without applying axe and torch to the institutions of the past, that is just because we have calculated too much. It is just because we have allowed ourselves to be drawn into giving that we may receive; because we have desired to make society into a commercial company based upon debit and credit.

Moreover, the Collectivists know it. They vaguely comprehend that a society cannot exist if it logically carries out the principle, "To each according to his deeds." They suspect that the needs (we are not speaking of the whims) of the individual do not always correspond to his deeds. Accordingly, De Paepe tells us:

"This eminently individualistic principle will be tempered by social inter- vention for the purpose of the education of children and young people (including their maintenance and nurture) and by social organizations for the assistance of the sick and infirm, asylums for aged workers, etc."

Even Collectivists suspect that a man of forty, the father of three children, has greater needs than a youth of twenty. They suspect that a woman who is suckling her child and spends sleepless nights by its cot, cannot get through so much work as a man who has enjoyed tranquil slumber.

They seem to understand that a man or woman worn out by having perhaps, worked over hard for society in general may find themselves incapable of performing so many " deeds" as those who take their hours of labor quietly and pocket their "notes" in the privileged offices of State statisticians.

And they hasten to temper their principle. Oh, certainly, they say, society will feed and bring up its children. Oh, certainly it will assist the old and infirm. Oh, certainly needs not deeds will be the measure of the cost which society will impose on itself to temper the principle of deeds.

What, Charity? Yes, our old friend, "Christian Charity," organized by the State.

Improve the foundling hospital, organize insurance against age and sickness, and the principle of deeds will be "tempered." "Wound that they may heal," they can get no further.

Thus, then, after having forsworn Communism, after having sneered at their ease at the formula, "To each according to his needs," is it not obvious that they, the great economists, also perceive that they have forgotten something, i.e., the needs of the producers? And thereupon they hasten to recognize these needs. Only it is to be the State by which they are to be estimated, it is to be the State which will undertake to find out if needs are disproportionate to deeds.

It is to be the State that will give alms to him who is willing to recognize his inferiority. From thence to the Poor Law and the Workhouse is but a stone's throw.

There is but a stone's throw for even this step-mother of a society against which we are in revolt, has found it necessary to temper its individualistic principle. It too has had to make concessions in a Communistic sense, and in this same form of charity.

It also distributes halfpenny dinners to prevent the pillage of its shops. It also builds hospitals, often bad enough, but sometimes splendid, to prevent the ravages of contagious disease. It also after having paid for nothing but the hours of labor, receives the children of those whom it has itself reduced to the extremity of distress. It also takes account of needs--as a charity.

Poverty, the existence of the poor, was the first cause of riches. This it was which created the earliest capitalist. For, before the surplus value, about which people are so fond of talking, could begin to be accumulated it was necesary that there should be poverty-stricken wretches who would consent to sell their labor force rather than die of hunger. It is poverty that has made the rich. And if poverty had advanced by such rapid strides by the end of the Middle Ages, it was chiefly because the invasions and wars, the creation of States and the development of their authority, the wealth gained by exploitation in the East and many other causes of a like nature, broke the bonds which once united agrarian and urban communities, and led them, in place of the solidarity which they once practised, to adopt the principle of the wage-system. Is this principle to be the outcome of the Revolution? Dare we dignify by the name of a Social Revolution that name so dear to the hungry, the suffering and the oppressed--the triumph of such a principle as this?

It cannot be so. For, on the day when ancient institutions splinter into fragments before the axe of the proletariat, voices will be heard shouting: Bread for all! Lodging for all! Right for all to the comforts of life!

And these voices will be heeded. The people will say to themselves: Let us begin by satisfying our thirst for the life, the joy the liberty we have never known. And when all have tasted happiness, we will set to work; the work of demolishing the last vestiges of middle-class rule, with its account-book morality, its philosophy of debit and credit, its institutions of mine and shine. "While we throw down we shall be building," as Proudhon said; we shall build in the name of Communism and of Anarchy

The Spanish Anarchists, who continue to call themselves Collectivists, understand by this term common posession of the instruments of labor and "liberty for each group to share the produce of labor as they think fit"; on Communist principles or in any other way.

Prisons and Their Moral Influence on Prisoners(1927)

AFTER the economic problem and after the problem of the State, perhaps the most important of all is that concerning the control of anti-social acts. The meting out of justice was always the principal instrument for creating rights and privilege, since it was based on solid foundations of constituted rights; the problem of what is to be done with those who commit anti-social acts therefore contains within itself the great problem of government and the State.

It is time to ask if condemnation to death or to prison is just. Does it attain the dual end it has as its goal--that of preventing the repetition of the anti-social deed, and (as regards prisons) that of reforming the offender?

They are grave questions. On their answers depend not only the happiness of thousands of prisoners, not only the fate of miserable women and children, whose husbands and fathers are helpless to aid them from behind their bars, but also the happiness of humanity. Every injustice committed against one individual is, in the end, experienced by humanity as a whole.

Having had occasion to become acquainted with two prisons in France and several in Russia, having been led by various circumstances in my life to return to the study of penal questions, I think it is my duty to state openly what prisons are,--to relate my observations and my beliefs as a result of these observations.

The Prison as a School of Crime

Once a man has been in prison, he will return. It is inevitable, and statistics prove it. The annual reports of the administration of criminal justice in France show that one-half of all those tried by juries and two-fifths of all those who yearly get into the police courts for minor offenses received their education in prisons. Nearly half of all those tried for murder and three-fourths of those tried for burglary are repeaters. As for the central prisons, more than one-third of the prisoners released from these supposedly correctional institutions are reimprisoned in the course of twelve months after their liberation.

Another significant angle is that the offense for which a man returns to prison is always more serious than his first. If, before, it was petty thieving, he returns now for some daring burglary, if he was imprisoned for the first time for some act of violence, often he will return as a murderer. All writers on criminology are in accord with this observation. Former offenders have become a great problem in Europe. And you know how France has solved it; she ordains their wholesale destruction by the fevers of Cayenne, an extermination which begins on the voyage.

The Futility of Prisons

In spite of all the reforms made up to the present,--in spite of all the experiments of different prison systems, the results are always the same. On the one hand, the number of offenses against existing laws neither increases nor diminishes, no matter what the system of punishments is--the knout has been abolished in Russia and the death penalty in Italy, and the number of murders there has remained the same. The cruelty of the judges grows or lessens, the cruelty of the Jesuitical penal system changes, but the number of acts designated as crimes remains constant. It is affected only by other causes which I shall shortly mention. On the other hand, no matter what changes are introduced in the prison régime, the problem of second offenders does not decrease. That is inevitable;--it must be so;--the prison kills all the qualities in a man which make him best adapted to community life. It makes him the kind of a person who will inevitably return to prison to end his days in one of those stone tombs over which is engraved--"House of Detention and Correction." There is only one answer to the question, "What can be done to better this penal system?" Nothing. A prison cannot be improved. With the exception of a few unimportant little improvements, there is absolutely nothing to do but demolish it.

I might propose that a Pestalozzi be placed at the head of each prison. I refer to the great Swiss pedagogue who used to take in abandoned children and make good citizens of them. I might also propose that in the place of the present guards, ex-soldiers and expolicemen, sixty Pestalozzis be substituted. But, you will ask, "Where are we to find them?"--a pertinent question. The great Swiss teacher would certainly refuse to be a prison guard, for, basically, the principle of all prisons is wrong because it deprives man of liberty. So long as you deprive a man of his liberty, you will not make him better. You will cultivate habitual criminals: that is what I shall now prove.

The Criminals in Prison and Outside

To begin with, there is the fact that none of the prisoners recognize the justice of the punishment inflicted on them. This is in itself a condemnation of our whole judicial system. Speak to an imprisoned man or to some great swindler. He will say. "The little swindlers are here but the big ones are free and enjoy public respect." What can you answer, knowing the existence of great financial companies expressly designed to take the last pennies of the savings of the poor, with the founders retiring in time to make good legal hauls out of these small fortunes? We all know these great stock issuing companies with their Iying circulars and their huge swindles. What can we answer the prisoner except that he is right?

Or this man, imprisoned for robbing a till, will tell you, "I simply wasn't clever enough; that's all." And what can you answer, knowing what goes on in important places, and how, following terrible scandals, the verdict "not guilty" is handed out to these great robbers? How many times have you heard prisoners say, "It's the big thieves who are holding us here; we are the little ones." Who can dispute this when he knows the incredible swindles perpetrated in the realm of high finance and commerce; when he knows that the thirst for riches, acquired by every possible means, is the very essence of bourgeois society. When he has examined this immense quantity of suspicious transactions divided between the honest man (according to bourgeois standards) and the criminal, when he has seen all this, he must be convinced that jails are made for the unskillful, not for criminals. This is the standard on the outside. As for the standard in the prison itself, it is needless to dwell on it long. We know well enough what it is. Whether in regard to food or the distribution of favors, in the words of the prisoners, from San Francisco to Kamchatka, "The biggest thieves are those who hold us here, not ourselves."

Prison Labor

Everyone knows the evil influence of laziness. Work relieves a man. But there is work and work. There is the work of the free individual which makes him feel a part of the immense whole. And there is that of the slave which degrades. Convict labor is unwillingly done, done only through fear of worse punishment. The work, which has no attraction in itself because it does not exercise any of the mental faculties of the worker, is so badly paid that it is looked upon as a punishment.

When my anarchist friends at Clairvaux made corsets or mother of pearl buttons and received twelve cents for ten hours labor, of which four cents were retained by the State, we can understand very well the disgust which this work aroused in a man condemned to it. When he receives thirty-six cents at the end of a week, he is right to say, "Those who keep us here are thieves, not we."

The Effect of Cutting Off Social Contacts

And what inspiration can a prisoner get to work for the common good, deprived as he is of all connections with life outside? By a refinement of cruelty, those who planned our prisons did everything they could to break all relationships of the prisoner with society. In England the prisoner's wife and children can see him only once every three months, and the letters he is allowed to write are really preposterous. The philanthropists have even at times carried defiance of human nature so far as to restrict a prisoner from writing anything but his signature on a printed circular. The best influence to which a prisoner could be subjected, the only one which could bring him a ray of light, a softer element in his life,--the relationship with his kin,--is systematically prevented.

In the sombre life of the prisoner which flows by without passion or emotion, all the finer sentiments rapidly become atrophied. The skilled workers who loved their trade lose their taste for work. Bodily energy slowly disappears. The mind no longer has the energy for sustained attention; thought is less rapid, and in any case less persistent. It loses depth. It seems to me that the lowering of nervous energy in prisons is due, above all, to the lack of varied impressions. In ordinary life a thousand sounds and colors strike our senses daily, a thousand little facts come to our consciousness and stimulate the activity of our brains. No such things strike the prisoners' senses. Their impressions are few and always the same.

The Theory of Will Power

There is another important cause of demoralization in prisons. All transgressions of accepted moral standards may be ascribed to lack of a strong will. The majority of the inmates of prisons are people who did not have sufficient strength to resist the temptations surrounding them or to control a passion which momentarily carried them away. In prisons as in monasteries, everything is done to kill a man's will. He generally has no choice between one of two acts. The rare occasions on which he can exercise his will are very brief. His whole life is regulated and ordered in advance. He has only to swim with the current, to obey under pain of severe punishment.

Under these conditions all the will power that he may have had on entering disappears. And where will he find the strength with which to resist the temptations which will arise before him, as if by magic, when he is free-of the prison walls? Where will he find the strength to resist the first impulse to a passionate outbreak, if during several years everything was done to kill this inner strength, to make him a docile tool in the hands of those who control him? This fact is, according to my mind, the most terrible condemnation of the whole penal system based on the deprivation of individual liberty.

The origin of this suppression of individual will, which is the essence of all prisons, is easy to see. It springs from the desire of guarding the greatest number of prisoners with the fewest possible guards. The ideal of prison officials would be thousands of automatons, arising, working, eating and going to sleep by means of electric currents switched on by one of the guards. Economies might then be made in the budget, but no astonishment should be expressed that men, reduced to machines, are not, on their release, the type which society wants. As soon as a prisoner is released, his old companions await him. He is fraternally received and once again engulfed by the current which once swept him to prison. Protective organizations can do nothing. All that they can do to combat the evil influence of the prison is to counterbalance some of those results in the liberated men.

And what a contrast between the reception by his old companions and that of the people in philanthropic work for released prisoners" Who of them will invite him to his home and say to him simply, "Here is a room, here is work, sit down at this table, and become part of the family"? The released man is only looking for the outstretched hand of warm friendship. But society, after having done everything it could to make an enemy of him, having inoculated him with the vices of the prison, rejects him. He is condemned to become a "repeater."

The Effect of Prison Clothes and Discipline

Everyone knows the influence of decent clothing. Even an animal is ashamed to appear before his fellow creatures if something makes him look ridiculous. A cat whom somebody has painted black and yellow will not dare mingle with other cats. But men begin by giving the clothes of a lunatic to those whom they profess to want to reform.

During all his prison life the prisoner is subjected to treatment which shows the greatest contempt of his feelings. A prisoner is not accorded the single respect due a human being. He is a thing, a number, and he is treated like a numbered thing. If he yields to the most human of all desires, that of communicating with a comrade, he is guilty of a breach of discipline. Before entering prison he may not have lied or deceived, but in prison he will learn to lie and deceive so that it will become second nature to him.

And it goes hard with those who do not submit. If being searched is humiliating, if a man finds the food distasteful, if he shows disgust in the keeper's trafficking in tobacco, if he divides his bread with his neighbor, if he still has enough dignity to be irritated by an insult, if he is honest enough to be revolted by the petty intrigues, prison will be a hell for him. He will be overburdened with work unless he is sent to rot in solitary confinement. The slightest infraction of discipline will bring down the severest punishment. And each punishment will lead to another. He will be driven to madness through persecution. He can consider himself lucky to leave prison otherwise than in a coffin.

Prison Guards

It is easy to write in the newspapers that the guards must be carefully watched, that the wardens must be chosen from good men. Nothing is easier than to build administrative utopias. But man will remain man--guard as well as prisoner. And when these guards are condemned to spend the rest of their lives in these false positions, they suffer the consequences. They become fussy. Nowhere, save in monasteries or convents, does such a spirit of petty intrigue reign. Nowhere are scandal and tale-bearing so well developed as among prison guards.

You cannot give an individual any authority without corrupting him. He will abuse it. He will be less scrupulous and feel his authority even more when his sphere of action is limited. Forced to live in any enemy's camp, the guards cannot become models of kindness. To the league of prisoners there is opposed the league of jailers. It is the institution which makes them what they are--petty, mean persecutors. Put a Pestalozzi in their place and he will soon become a prison guard.

Quickly rancor against society gets into the prisoner's heart. He becomes accustomed to detesting those who oppress him. He divides the world into two parts,--one in which he and his comrades belong, the other, the external world, represented by the guards and their superiors. A league is formed by the prisoners against all those who do not wear prison garb. These are their enemies and everything that can be done to deceive them is right.

As soon as he is freed, the prisoner puts this code into practice. Before going to prison he could commit his offenses unthinkingly. Now he has a philosophy, which can be summed up in the words of Zola, "What rascals these honest men are."

If we take into consideration all the different influences of the prison on the prisoner, we will be convinced that they make a man less and less fitted for life in society. On the other hand, none of these influences raises the intellectual and moral faculties of the prisoner, or leads him to a higher conception of life. Prison does not improve the prisoner. And furthermore, we have seen that it does not prevent him from committing other crimes. It does not then achieve any of the ends which it has set itself.

How Shall We Deal with Offenders?

That is why the question must be asked, "What should be done with those who break the laws?" I do not mean the written laws-- they are a sad heritage of a sad past--but the principles of morality which are engraved on the hearts of each one of us.

There was a time when medicine was the art of administering some drugs, gropingly discovered through experiment. But our times have attacked the medical problem from a new angle. Instead of curing diseases medicine now seeks primarily to prevent them. Hygiene is the best of all medicines.

We have yet to do the same thing for this great social phenomenon which we still call "crime" but which our children will call a "social disease." To prevent this illness will be the best of cures. And this conclusion has already become the watchword of a whole school of modern thinkers concerned with "crime." In the works published by these innovators we have all the elements necessary for taking a new stand towards those whom society, until now, has in cowardly fashion decapitated, hanged, or imprisoned.

Causes of Crime

Three great categories of causes produce these anti-social acts called crimes. They are social, physiological, and physical. I shall begin with the last-named causes. They are less well known, but their influence is indisputable.

Physical Causes

When one sees a friend mail a letter which he has forgotten to address, one says this is an accident--it is unforeseen. These accidents, these unexpected events, occur in human societies with the same regularity as those which can be foreseen. The number of unaddressed letters which will be mailed continues from year to year with astounding regularity. Their number may vary slightly each year, but only slightly. Here we have so capricious a factor as absentmindedness. However, this factor is subject to laws that are just as rigorous as those governing the movements of the planets.

The same is true for the number of murders committed from year to year. With the statistics for previous years in hand, anyone can predict in advance, with striking exactitude, the approximate number of murders that will be committed in the course of the year in every country of Europe.

The influence of physical causes on our actions is still far from being completely analyzed. It is, however, known that acts of violence predominate in summer whereas in winter acts against property take the lead. When one examines the curves traced by Prof. Enrico Ferri and when one observes the curve for acts of violence rise and fall with the curve for temperature, one is vividly impressed by the similarity of the two curves and one understands how much of a machine man is. Man who boasts of his free will is as dependent on the temperature, the winds, and the rain as any other organism. Who will doubt these influences? When the weather is fine and the harvest good, and when the villagers feel at their ease, certainly they will be less likely to end their petty squabbles with knife thrusts. When the weather is bad and the harvest poor, the villagers become morose and their quarrels will take on a more violent character.

Physiological Causes

The physiological causes, those which depend on the brain structure, the digestive organs, and the nervous system, are certainly more important than the physical causes. The influence of inherited capacities as well as of physical organization on our acts has been the object of such searching investigation that we can form a fairly correct idea of its importance. When Cesare Lombroso maintains that the majority of our prison inmates have some defect of their brain structure, we can accept this declaration on condition that we compare the brains of those who died in prison with those who died outside under generally bad living conditions. When he demonstrates that the most brutal murders are perpetrated by individuals who have some serious mental defect, we agree because this statement has been confirmed by observation. But when Lombroso declares that society has the right to take measures against the defectives, we refuse to follow him. Society has no right to exterminate those who have diseased brains. We admit that many of those who commit these atrocious acts are almost idiots. But not all idiots become murderers.

In many families, in palaces as well as insane asylums, idiots were found with the same traits which Lombroso considers characteristic of "criminal insanity." The only difference between them and those sent to the gallows is the environment in which they lived. Cerebral diseases can certainly stimulate the development of an inclination to murder, but it is not inevitable. Everything depends on the circumstances in which the individual suffering from a mental disease is placed.

Every intelligent person can see from the accumulated facts that the majority of those now treated as criminals are people suffering from some malady, and that, consequently, it is necessary to cure them by the best of care instead of sending them to prison where the disease will only be aggravated.

If each one of us subjects himself to a severe analysis, he will see that at times there pass through his mind the germs of ideas, quick as a flash, which constitute the foundations for evil deeds. We repudiated these ideas, but if they had found a favorable response in our circumstances, or, if other sentiments, such as love, pity and the sense of brotherhood had not counteracted these flashes of egoistic and brutal thoughts, they would have ended by leading to an evil act. In brief, the physiological causes play an important part in leading men to prison, but they are not the causes of "criminality" properly speaking. These affections of the mind, the cerebrospinal system, etc., might be found in their incipience among us all. The great majority of us have some one of these maladies. But they do not lead a person to commit an anti-social act unless external circumstances give them a morbid turn.

The Social Causes

But if physical causes have so strong an influence on our actions, if our physiology so often becomes the cause of the anti-social deeds we commit, how much more potent are the social causes. The most forward-looking and intelligent minds of our time proclaim that society as a whole is responsible for every anti-social act committed. We have our part in the glory of our heroes and geniuses; we also share in the acts of our assassins. It is we who have made them what they are,--the one as well as the other.

Year in and year out thousands of children grow up in the midst of the moral and material filth of our great cities, in the midst of a population demoralized by hand to mouth living. These children do not know a real home. Their home is a wretched lodging today, the streets tomorrow. They grow up without any decent outlets for their young energies. When we see the child population of large cities grow up in this fashion, we can only be astonished that so few of them become highwaymen and murderers. What surprises me is the depth of the social sentiments among humanity, the warm friendliness of even the worst neighborhoods. Without it, the number of these that would declare open warfare on society would be even greater. Without this friendliness, this aversion to violence, not a stone would be left of our sumptuous city palaces.

And at the other end of the ladder, what does the child growing up on the streets see? Luxury, stupid and insensate, smart shops, reading matter devoted to exhibiting wealth, a money-worshipping cult developing a thirst for riches, a passion for living at the expense of others. The watchword is: "Get rich. Destroy everything that stands in your way, and do it by any means save those that will land you in jail." Manual labor is despised to a point where our ruling classes prefer to indulge in gymnastics than handle a spade or a saw. A calloused hand is considered a sign of inferiority and a silk dress of superiority.

Society itself daily creates these people incapable of leading a life of honest labor, and filled with anti-social desires. She glorifies them when their crimes are crowned with financial success. She sends them to prison when they have not "succeeded." We will no longer have any use for prisons, executioners, or judges when the social revolution will have wholly changed the relations between capital and labor, when there are no more idlers, when each can work according to his inclination for the common good, when every child will be taught to work with his hands at the same time that his mind and soul get normal development.

Man is the result of the environment in which he grows up and spends his life. If he is accustomed to work from childhood, to being considered as a part of society as a whole, to understanding that he cannot injure anyone without finally feeling the effects himself, then there will be found few cases of violation of moral laws.

Two-thirds of the acts condemned as crimes today are acts against property. They will disappear along with private property. As for acts of violence against people, they already decrease in proportion to the growth of the social sense and they will disappear when we attack the causes instead of the effects.

How Shall Offenders Be Cured?

Until now, penal institutions, so dear to the lawyers, were a compromise between the Biblical idea of vengeance, the belief of the middle ages in the devil, the modern lawyers' idea of terrorization, and the idea of the prevention of crime by punishment.

It is not insane asylums that must be built instead of prisons. Such an execrable idea is far from my mind. The insane asylum is always a prison. Far from my mind also is the idea, launched from time to time by the philanthropists, that the prison be kept but entrusted to physicians ana teachers. What prisoners have not found today in society is a helping hand, simple and friendly, which would aid them from childhood to develop the higher faculties of their minds and souls;--faculties whose natural development has been impeded either by an organic defect or by the evil social conditions which society itself creates for millions of people. But these superior faculties of the mind and heart cannot be exercised by a person deprived of his liberty, if he never has choice of action. The physicians' prison, the insane asylum, would be much worse than our present jails. Human fraternity and liberty are the only correctives to apply to those diseases of the human organism which lead to so-called crime.

Of course in every society, no matter how well organized, people will be found with easily aroused passions, who may, from time to time, commit anti-social deeds. But what is necessary to prevent this is to give their passions a healthy direction, another outlet.

Today we live too isolated. Private property has led us to an egoistic individualism in all our mutual relations. We know one another only slightly; our points of contact are too rare. But we have seen in history examples of a communal life which is more intimately bound together,--the "composite family" in China, the agrarian communes, for example These people really know one another. By force of circumstances they must aid one another materially and morally.

Family life, based on the original community, has disappeared. A new family, based on community of aspirations, will take its place. In this family people will be obliged to know one another, to aid one another and to lean on one another for moral support on every occasion. And this mutual prop will prevent the great number of anti-social acts which we see today.

It will be said, however, there will always remain some people, the sick, if you wish to call them that, who constitute a danger to society. Will it not be necessary somehow to rid ourselves of them, or at least prevent their harming others?

No society, no matter how little intelligent, will need such an absurd solution, and this is why. Formerly the insane were looked upon as possessed by demons and were treated accordingly. They were kept in chains in places like stables, riveted to the walls like wild beasts. But along came Pinel, a man of the Great Revolution, who dared to remove their chains and tried treating them as brothers. "You will be devoured by them," cried the keepers. But Pinel dared. Those who were believed to be wild beasts gathered around Pinel and proved by their attitude that he was right in believing in the better side of human nature even when the intelligence is clouded by disease. Then the cause was won. They stopped chaining the insane.

Then the peasants of the little Belgian village, Gheel, found something better. They said: "Send us your insane. We will give them absolute freedom." They adopted them into their families, they gave them places at their tables, chance alongside them to cultivate their fields and a place among their young people at their country balls. "Eat, drink, and dance with us. Work, run about the fields, and be free." That was the system, that was all the science the Belgian peasant had. (I am speaking of the early days. Today the treatment of the insane at Gheel has become a profession and where it is a profession for profit, what signficance can there be in it? ) And liberty worked a miracle. The insane became cured. Even those who had incurable, organic lesions became sweet, tractable members of the family like the rest. The diseased mind would always work in an abnormal fashion but the heart was in the right place. They cried that it was a miracle. The cures were attributed to a saint and a virgin. But this virgin was liberty and the saint was work in the fields and fraternal treatment.

At one of the extremes of the immense "space between mental disease and crime" of which Maudsley speaks, liberty and fraternal treatment have worked their miracle. They will do the same at the other extreme.

To Sum Up

The prison does not prevent anti-social acts from taking place. It increases their numbers. It does not improve those who enter its walls. However it is reformed it will always remain a place of restraint, an artficial environment, like a monastery, which will make the prisoner less and less fit for life in the community. It does not achieve its end. It degrades society. It must disappear. It is a survival of barbarism mixed with Jesuitical philanthropy.

The first duty of the revolution will be to abolish prisons,--those monuments of human hyprocrisy and cowardice. Anti-social acts need not be feared in a society of equals, in the midst of a free people, all of whom have acquired a healthy education and the habit of mutually aiding one another. The greater number of These acts will no longer have any raison d'être. The others will be nipped in the bud.

As for those individuals with evil tendencies whom existing society will pass on to us after the revolution, it will be our task to prevent their exercising these tendencies. This is already accomplished quite efficiently by the solidarity of all the members of the community against such aggressors. If we do not succeed in all cases, the only practical corrective still will be fraternal treatment and moral support.

This is not Utopia. It is already done by isolated individuals and it will become the general practice. And such means will be far more powerful to protect society from anti-social acts than the existing system of punishment which is an ever-fertile source of new crimes.



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