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Towards Anarchism by Errico Malatesta

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://www.egroups.com/group/smygo Anarchism is the abolition of exploitation and oppression of man by man, that is, the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2001
      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://www.egroups.com/group/smygo

      Anarchism is the abolition of exploitation and oppression of
      man by man, that is, the abolition of private property and
      government; Anarchism is the destruction of misery, of
      superstitions, of hatred. Therefore, every blow given to the
      institutions of private property and to the government,
      every exaltation of the conscience of man, every disruption
      of the present conditions, every lie unmasked, every part of
      human activity taken away from the control of the
      authorities, every augmentation of the spirit of solidarity
      and initiative, is a step towards Anarchism.

      Towards Anarchism

      by Errico Malatesta (1853-1932)

      "Towards Anarchism" first appeared in English in the
      Depression era periodical MAN! This little essay was highly
      regarded by the revolutionary anarchist prisoner Carl Harp
      (1949-1981) who suggested reprinting it in this form. First
      printing, 1982 by Black Cat Press, Canada.

      It is a general opinion that we, because we call ourselves
      revolutionists, expect Anarchism to come with one stroke --
      as the immediate result of an insurrection which violently
      attacks all that which exists and which replaces all with
      institutions that are really new. And to tell the truth this
      idea is not lacking among some comrades who also conceive
      the revolution in such a manner.

      This prejudice explains why so many honest opponents believe
      Anarchism a thing impossible; and it also explains why some
      comrades, disgusted with the present moral condition of the
      people and seeing that Anarchism cannot come about soon,
      waver between an extreme dogmatism which blinds them to the
      realities of life and an opportunism which practically makes
      them forget that they are Anarchists and that for Anarchism
      they should struggle.

      If we should want to substitute one government for another,
      that is, impose our desires upon others, it would only be
      necessary to combine the material forces needed to resist
      the actual oppressors and put ourselves in their place.

      But we do not want this; we want Anarchism which is a
      society based on free and voluntary accord – a society in
      which no one can force his wishes on another and in which
      everyone can do as he pleases and together all will
      voluntarily contribute to the well-being of the community.
      But because of this Anarchism will not have definitively and
      universally triumphed until all men will not only not want
      to be commanded but will not want to command; nor will
      Anarchism have succeeded unless they will have understood
      the advantage of solidarity and know how to organise a plan
      of social life wherein there will no longer be traces of
      violence and imposition.

      And as the conscience, determination, and capacity of men
      continuously develop and find means of expression in the
      gradual modification of the new environment and in the
      realisation of the desires in proportion to their being
      formed and becoming imperious, so it is with Anarchism;
      Anarchism cannot come but little by little -– slowly, but
      surely, growing in intensity and extension.

      Therefore, the subject is not whether we accomplish
      Anarchism today, tomorrow, or within ten centuries, but that
      we walk towards Anarchism today, tomorrow, and always.

      Anarchism is the abolition of exploitation and oppression of
      man by man, that is, the abolition of private property and
      government; Anarchism is the destruction of misery, of
      superstitions, of hatred. Therefore, every blow given to the
      institutions of private property and to the government,
      every exaltation of the conscience of man, every disruption
      of the present conditions, every lie unmasked, every part of
      human activity taken away from the control of the
      authorities, every augmentation of the spirit of solidarity
      and initiative, is a step towards Anarchism.

      The problem lies in knowing how to choose the road that
      really approaches the realisation of the ideal and in not
      confusing the real progress with hypocritical reforms. For
      with the pretext of obtaining immediate ameliorations these
      false reforms tend to distract the masses from the struggle
      against authority and capitalism; they serve to paralyse
      their actions and make them hope that something can be
      attained through the kindness of the exploiters and
      governments. The problem lies in knowing how to use the
      little power we have – that we go on achieving, in the most
      economical way, more prestige for our goal.

      There is in every country a government which, with brutal
      force, imposes its laws on all; it compels all to be
      subjected to exploitation and to maintain, whether they like
      it or not, the existing institutions. It forbids the
      minority groups to actuate their ideas, and prevents the
      social organisations in general from modifying themselves
      according to, and with, the modifications of public opinion.
      The normal peaceful course of evolution is arrested by
      violence, and thus with violence it is necessary to reopen
      that course. It is for this reason that we want a violent
      revolution today; and we shall want it always – so long as
      man is subject to the imposition of things contrary to his
      natural desires. Take away the governmental violence and
      ours would have no reason to exist.

      We cannot as yet overthrow the prevailing government;
      perhaps tomorrow from the ruins of the present government we
      cannot prevent the arising of another similar one. But this
      does not hinder us, nor will it tomorrow, from resisting
      whatever form of authority -– refusing always to submit to
      its laws whenever possible, and constantly using force to
      oppose force.

      Every weakening of whatever kind of authority, each
      accession of liberty will be a progress towards Anarchism;
      always it should be conquered -– never asked for; always it
      should serve to give us greater strength in the struggle;
      always it should make us consider the state as an enemy with
      whom we should never make peace; always it should make us
      remember well that the decrease of the ills produced by the
      government consists in the decrease of its attributions and
      powers, and the resulting terms should be determined not by
      those who governed but by those who were governed. By
      government we mean any person or group of persons in the
      state, country, community, or association who has the right
      to make laws and inflict them upon those who do not want
      them.

      We cannot as yet abolish private property; we cannot
      regulate the means of production which is necessary to work
      freely; perhaps we shall not be able to do so in the next
      insurrectional movement. But this does not prevent us now,
      or will it in the future, from continually opposing
      capitalism or any other form of despotism. And each victory,
      however small, gained by the workers against their
      exploiters, each decrease of profit, every bit of wealth
      taken from the individual owners and put at the disposal of
      all, shall be a progress – a forward step towards Anarchism.
      Always it should serve to enlarge the claims of the workers
      and to intensify the struggle; always it should be accepted
      as a victory over an enemy and not as a concession for which
      we should be thankful; always we should remain firm in our
      resolution to take with force, as soon as it will be
      possible, those means which the private owners, protected by
      the government, have stolen from the workers.

      The right of force having disappeared, the means of
      production being placed under the management of whoever
      wants to produce, the result must be the fruit of a peaceful
      evolution.

      Anarchism could not be, nor would it ever be if not for
      these few who want it and want it only in those things they
      can accomplish without the co-operation of the
      non-anarchists. This does not necessarily mean that the
      ideal of Anarchism will make little or no progress, for
      little by little its ideas will extend to more men and more
      things until it will have embraced all mankind and all
      life's manifestations.

      Having overthrown the government and all the existing
      dangerous institutions which with force it defends, having
      conquered complete freedom for all and with it the means of
      regulating labour without which liberty would be a lie, and
      while we are struggling to arrive at this point, we do not
      intend to destroy those things which we little by little
      will reconstruct.

      For example, there functions in the present society the
      service of supplying food. This is being done badly,
      chaotically, with great waste of energy and material and
      with capitalist interests in view; but after all, one way or
      another we must eat. It would be absurd to want to
      disorganise the system of producing and distributing food
      unless we could substitute for it something better and more
      just.

      There exists a postal service. We have thousands of
      criticisms to make, but in the meantime we use it to send
      our letters, and shall continue to use it, suffering all its
      faults, until we shall be able to correct or replace it.

      There are schools, but how badly they function. But because
      of this we do not allow our children to remain in ignorance
      -– refusing their learning to read and write.

      Meanwhile we wait and struggle for a time when we shall be
      able to organise a system of model schools to accommodate
      all.

      From this we can see that, to arrive at Anarchism, material
      force is not the only thing to make a revolution; it is
      essential that the workers, grouped according to the various
      branches of production, place themselves in a position that
      will insure the proper functioning of their social life –
      without the aid or need of capitalists or governments.

      And we see also that the Anarchist ideals are far from being
      in contradiction, as the "scientific socialists" claim, to
      the laws of evolution as proved by science; they are a
      conception which fits these laws perfectly; they are the
      experimental system brought from the field of research to
      that of social realisation.

      --
      Dan Clore
      mailto:clore@...

      Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
      http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/

      Necronomicon Page:
      http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/necpage.htm
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