Archive for the ‘Vallotton (Felix)’ Category

The Defenders

February 21, 2016

Today, sated, he sees that the bone is down to the marrow, that the worm is in the fruit, rotten apple to the core. And, being generous, he invites us to bite into it—it is Adam’s revenge!

Source: The Defenders


The Ricochets

May 31, 2015

For, there are some cops—with all due respect to them!—who are like all animals trained for the hunt: they take a liking to it.

via The Ricochets.

A Conversation with Charles Malato

September 9, 2012

A Conversation with Charles Malato, Le Matin, February 28 1894.

London, February 27. From our Special Envoy.
After Mecca, Jerusalem and Rome—London! Today London has become an anarchist holy city. Here the militant “companions” have come to fraternize in their miserable exile, thrown out or chased off the continent. Today there are around a thousand of them on the shores of the Thames, mostly French, Italian and Czech. Next come the Swiss and Belgians. As for the Spaniards, they are represented by only two or three revolutionaries, which might seem surprising given the hunt for anarchists that has taken place on the Iberian Peninsula over the past four months. Finally there are many Russian Jews.
The most remarkable of the Slavs is indisputably Prince Kropotkine, a first rate philosopher and scholar but who lives very secluded. He lives in Acton, a London suburb, with his wife and daughter Sacha, in a modest little house that he hardly ever leaves, really only to go work in the library of the British Museum.
Stepniak, once a famous terrorist, devotes himself now to propaganda by the pen for Free Russia, a paper sent clandestinely into Russia. However, he is not an anarchist but rather a social democrat.
Finally it would not be right to forget the… English anarchists, even though they are, as their counterparts on the continent admit, more like theologians than dynamiters. They form two groups that each takes their name from the newspaper they publish: Freedom and Commonwealth. Their main orators are Mowbray, Samuels and Nicholl.

The Clubs
The Autonomy club, which now has the honor of being famous, was founded by the German companions a dozen years ago. It consists of a long, narrow hall used for conferences and balls, a bar whose walls are plastered with revolutionary posters, and a few other rather cramped rooms. Originally created on Whitfield Street, it has since been transferred close by to Windmill Street, right near the main thoroughfare of Tottenham Court Road. It is smack in the middle of the French quarter and has as many French regulars as German. It is entirely anarchist.
The Graiton Hall club, which is just as famous of late, is independent socialist. More fashionable and especially bigger, it counts among its members not only revolutionaries of different stripes, but also the dandies that come on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday evenings to enjoy the two-step waltz. The grand ballroom that is used for both the choreographic entertainment and for public meetings can hold 1,200 people. The walls are decorated with that call that ends Karl Marx’ famous manifesto, written in every European language: “Workers of all countries, Unite!”
It is, however, in another club, the one on Tottenham Street, where the real gospel of Marx is preached. The old friend of the German sociologist, Frederic Engels, who has lived in London for a number of years, graces it with his presence. On Tottenham Street the club is completely authoritarian communist.

At Malato’s
After a little research, I went to see an anarchist considered by his friends to be as far from the staunch individualists as he is from the pompous theoreticians.
Monsieur Charles Malato, whom we met once in the Pavillon of the Princes in Sainte-Pélagie [a Parisian prison], is a writer for the cause with virulent ideas but not a very savage appearance. He did not, however, welcome me with open arms.
“Are you annoyed that I asked you to talk to me, to tell me something that a militant can honestly say, about the anarchist movement in London?”
“But,” he answered, “you have here a Mr. Melville, inspector at Scotland Yard (the police department), who’ll be able to accommodate you better than I. You’re wonderful! Your newspapers treat me everyday like a wild madman, a coward and bandit, demanding that they deport me or exterminate me and then you come here, sweet as can be, to ask for an interview.”
“Come now, my dear colleague,” (Monsieur Malato publishes books and articles), “don’t be unfair. Not all the journalists, even the bourgeois, deserve to be bombed. When you came to Paris five weeks ago, didn’t one of us recognize you and keep it secret in good faith?”
This ad hominem argument seemed to affect the revolutionary publicist. After a moment of reflection he responded, “Well, so be it! Even though we’re at war, speak first, Monsieur Bourgeois. If I can, in good conscience, answer you, I will, but solely my own ideas, as is the custom among us other anarchists. After all, it doesn’t bother me to tell you what I think, which is the same as many friends, about [Auguste] Vaillant and [Emile] Henry.”
“They say you went to Italy to take part in the revolutionary movement.”
“Well now, I’ve come back so I have no reason to hide it or, really, to get any misplaced glory out of it, because despite the courage and self-sacrifice of the rebels, the movement was crushed.”
“What kind of anarchist movement was it, republican, authoritarian? Were there leaders?”
“A revolution is made with all kinds of elements. For example, the movement in Sicily was due to economic causes, to poverty. In Lunigiana, it was purely anarchist. The staunch revolutionary accepts the battle under all circumstances, be it alone or with ten thousand men. For me, I went down there alone, on the strength of my will alone, being a soldier not for a man or for a committee but for the Revolution. I fully admit that the on-the-spot organization was a little like the Garibaldian bands under enemy fire, but I don’t much believe in massive organizations prepared over a long period that go rusty and derail when the day comes.”
“Did you believe in success when you went Italy?”

“I believe that the triumph will not come by itself, that it has to be won. Anyway, I consider it a duty for those who urge others into combat to go and risk their own hide sometimes. The triumph of the Italian Revolution, which would have given them, at the very least, a largely social republic, would have been an invaluable benefit from the economic standpoint: the emancipation of twenty five million alpine proletariats, the end of their economic rivalries with the French proletariats. From the political standpoint: breaking up the Triple Alliance [Italy, German, Austria-Hungary] and a guaranteed European peace—the working masses of France and Italy don’t really want war. So, I stopped correcting the proofs of my book De la Commune à l’Anarchie [From the Commune to Anarchy], which is why, sorry, the reader will find some mistakes in it—which irks me a little.”
I noticed a pile of books with oxblood covers. I thumbed through one and was surprised to see the following note printed:
“The author and editor reserve all rights of translation and reproduction in all countries including Sweden and Norway. This book has been registered with the Ministry of Interior (publishing section) in February 1894.”
“Well, well, is this really anarchist?”
“For the reproduction I’m bound by my contract with the publisher, Monsieur Stock. As for sending the book to the Ministry of Interior, he did it himself while I was wandering around in the mountains of Italy and, from the point of view of the publisher, he had the very ingenious idea that I, being an anarchist, would never have come up with. I think that now the government won’t be able to seize my book like it did with [Jean] Grave’s Societé mourante et l’Anarchie [Moribund Society and Anarchy].

The Movement
We talked again about the current anarchist movement and I asked Malato if he considered it collective or individualist.
“Both,” he answered. “It’s wrong for some rather intolerant friends to want to force people to do things they don’t want to do. There have always been temperaments made for isolated actions and others for methodic, collective actions. The Revolution needs both and I figure that the plasticity of the anarchists is what’s allowed them so far to resist the shocks that have crushed every compact, centralized organization. Nevertheless, there are times when we must act together. Individual action can’t be the answer to everything. I think it makes more of an impression than some collective movements, but it’s only by collective revolt that the bourgeois society will collapse. Both modes of action are compatible with the anarchist idea. You see now, at the same time, Vaillant’s isolated action and the revolt of the whole Carrara population in Italy.

The Finer Points
“What’s your opinion of Vaillant’s act?”
“For this noble-hearted man whom I once had the honor of knowing, I have nothing but admiration and, even if it might seem excessive coming from the mouth of an anarchist, respect.”
“Hell, you’re going too far.”
“How’s that? I thought that the bourgeois republicans admired regicide like, for example, the one in 1793 from which they benefited greatly. Well, the proletariat Vaillant, by throwing a bomb at the ‘kings of the Republic’ committed an act of regicide.”
“And you also admire Emile Henry’s action?”
“Not at all.” His answer was curt. He continued, “I say what I think and not being a moderate, a simple theoretician, like they’ve sometimes said, not having thrown a stone at Ravachol, unreservedly admiring [Paulino] Pallas and Vaillant, I believe, without being guilty of spinelessness, that I can confess my absolute lack of enthusiasm for an action of this sort. I complete agree with Octave Mirbeau: The act of Emile Henry, even though he is a highly intelligent and highly courageous anarchist, has, more than anything, been a blow to anarchy. It was savage to attack a collaborator who, even if it was a mistake, almost killed him. But I can’t help thinking that he could have done better. I approve all violence that targets the obstacle, that strikes at the enemy, not that strikes blindly. A crowd is unconscious, often even brutal and hateful, I know that very well, but whose fault is that? The masters who keep it in ignorance and secular submission. If we are really what we have always claimed to be, friends of the masses, and not neurotic decadents, we ought to be throwing at the crowd, which has the right to go a café, not dynamite but ideas.”

A Legal Crime
“This said, I will add that to guillotine Emile Henry would be a crime and my reasoning is not sentimental but purely scientific. Emile Henry, whom I knew rather closely, who had a remarkable education and has a great deal of intelligence, suffered more than others from the influence of his background and his surroundings. He was born in that Catalonia that is both fervent and tenacious, of a mother with a passionate imagination, almost extravagant. His father, a member of the Commune, condemned to death, nursed him with stories of the Semaine Sanglante [The Bloody Week]. When he came to France, being cultivated and proud, he suffered from the scorn of his aristocratic relatives. He buried himself in his studies with feverish enthusiasm and soon slipped into occultism. The spiritualists got hold of his young imagination and made him participate in their séances until they finally subdued him, as a medium of incarnations. I know this from him, from his experiences that disturbed his sensitive organism so much that they always ended in him fainting. Seeing their hoaxes he left them, but the fatal blow had already been struck.
Emile Henry is proud. He will march toward death with his head held high, forbidding his lawyer to call up any extenuating circumstances. But if, instead of dealing with judges, whose job is to condemn, he were dealing with men of science, I wonder if they would dare deliver the young man to Deibler [the executioner].”
And with that it was over.

Also at The Anarchist Library

Myself by ☠

May 12, 2012

Myself (published in La Jeune Belgique, Nov. 1, 1883, signed only with a skull and crossbones).

The first time I saw Myself, I was instinctively pleased with Myself. It seemed I had finally found someone who could understand me, share my ambitions, my joys, who knows? In brief, I loved Myself. Love can’t be explained: the heart has disturbing mysteries and no one will ever know why instead of giving mine to a human creature of the outside world, I gave it to a being, all in all ordinary, who is Myself.
From now on, I’ll worry all the time about my idol! I’ll devote Myself to having fun, to enjoying Myself; I’ll even make other people happy just to give Myself the joy of seeing it. “You’re so good,” I’ll tell Myself, smiling, and “You really do deserve the gratitude people show you with their thoughtfulness and kind looks, not to mention the reputation of wisdom that you’ve made!”
I love Myself!
And of course you’ll never deceive me, Myself! You won’t practice the little treacheries of women, who lie and snap and claw: I will study Myself and know Myself…never will a cloud darken the peace of our affection. Like Narcissus admiring his beautiful young looks in the clear water of the fountain, my soul will reflect Myself in its pure stream and my love will be so harmonious, so limpid and so unalterable that sometimes it will seem to me that I’ll love nothing so much as I love Myself!
That’s what I told Myself when I met Myself for the first time. I considered Myself extremely good as well, quite beautiful in body and mind and I thought Myself very stupid for dreaming for a single moment of giving to strangers this unalterable friendship that I felt for Myself and that I could just as easily have given Myself.
But one day I felt a need to escape from Myself and when I fell in the water, I yelled to Myself to get rescued without me, “I couldn’t care less!” But my devotion to the beloved returned and swimming hard I saved Myself.
Thus I knew Self-sacrifice.
Another day some bully had the audacity to challenge Me Myself to a duel. Right away I talked to Myself and said, “You won’t fight. This wretch will take you away from me. Are you crazy? I’d rather die! True courage consists in scorning insults.”
Thus I knew Heroism. Someone from the outside told me, “It’s cowardly!” Two days before he had stopped a friend from fighting and he found it cowardly that I would do the same thing! I did the same thing, didn’t I, because I was my own best friend.
Nevertheless sorrow came; I suffered—I don’t know why—I was furious at Myself and I wanted to hurt Myself. I listened to Myself one night, I saw Myself slowly descending into a nightmare of despair—because in my exquisite life there was something missing in Myself—and coldly, without fear, inflexible, I killed Myself.
The newspapers claimed it was suicide.
I only killed Myself.

The Anarchist Defense of Louis Léveillé

April 20, 2012

The Anarchist Defense of Louis Léveillé in L’Anarchie en cour d’assises by Sébastien Faure, 1891.

[On May 1, 1891, after a Labor Day demonstration, police attacked protestors in Clichy. A violent battle ensued and gunfire was exchanged. Three anarchists were arrested. Henri Louis Decamps was sentenced to five years in prison, Charles Auguste Dardare to three and Louis Léveillé (who was wounded in the fight) was acquitted. Ravachol would later take revenge for the injustice in March the following year.]

Members of the Jury,

I asked my comrade and friend, Sébastien Faure, to present my defense. Even though the law, by special arrangement, allows the accused to choose his defender, either a relative or friend outside the profession of lawyers, Your Honor has clearly refused my request on this matter.
First of all I protest against this disrespect of the law committed by those very men who are responsible for applying it within these walls and yet they do not respect it.
I regret that Sébastien Faure is not in the defense box, first because I know better than anyone else that he is the most likely to help me here; and then since the matter is not what the Members of the Jury are used to examining everyday, it will take a comrade, a partner, an anarchist to give or convey to these arguments the style they deserve; and finally because with the persuasive, lively and sincere eloquence that characterizes the apostles of our Idea, Sébastien Faure could make you understand the motives that have brought me before you and he could explain to you the whys and wherefores of this struggle that my friends and I have supported against the local and national police who have assaulted us. And I am sure, Sirs, that your verdict would be for acquittal.
I am forced to express at the beginning of my defense these regrets of mine and my firm objection.
If, in the first days after my arrest and in the course of my trial, I denied firing a shot, it is not, sirs, because I wanted to shirk the responsibility of my actions. But convinced that if absolutely reliable witnesses did not come forward, I would be released and figuring that when up against the representatives of the authority imprisoning me all ways are fair to be free, I had, for an instant, hope.
But today, I have declared and I categorically declare that I fired on those who attacked me. I have done my duty like my friends Decamp and Dardare. I want to be sentenced or acquitted with them. If you find them guilty, I am guilty, too. And I will take my part of the responsibility full and entire.
I will not try to arouse your anger by telling you how they treated us. Suffice it to say, sirs, that after being shot in the thigh, devoured by fever and in serious pain, when I asked for water to clean my wound, they answered me with their boots and pistol butts. Suffice it to say that this painful agony lasted for six days and remained without care until May 20, that is for twenty days in all. And yet, sirs, in times of war, even when the most savage instincts have free rein, it is an absolute rule that the wounded who have fallen into enemy hands will be cared for and the prisoners respected. But for the police, we are worse than enemies because we are revolutionaries—we are anarchists.
And so it should be no surprise that the prosecution is seeking the death penalty for us. And why? Because, being the determined adversaries of the Authority that starves, humiliates, imprisons and kills, we want Anarchy to triumph. Anarchy that they have always represented as a doctrine of hatred and violence but that is, in reality, a doctrine of peace, fraternity and love, seeing that the goal of Anarchy is to substitute the solidarity of individual interests for their opposition and to replace competition (the source of all dualism, of all animosity and of all social crimes) with universal association and harmony.
The people who stand most vehemently against anarchist theories are those who understand them the least. Anarchy, which in the present state of things is not and cannot be but a negation of the entire authoritarian system, is not and cannot be, during a struggle, but the practice of disobedience, insubordination and defiance—in a word, revolt.
As such, the anarchist idea is as old as the principle of authority because from the day when a man claimed he commanded other men, these men more or less refused to obey. But just as ignorance created the Gods and gave birth to governmental systems, so this same ignorance kept humans from shaking off the yoke and clearly seeing their rights.
Moreover, it was bound to happen that being thrown on a planet with inexhaustible treasures in its belly but not knowing how to dig and make the most of it, humans, faced with the difficulties of feeding themselves, of protecting themselves against bad weather and of moving freely, argued and fought and killed each other to get what their desires, needs and aspirations demanded.
The recognition of this perpetual “struggle for life” might make you think that these conflicts, rivalries and battles are inevitable, that they have always existed and that they will continue until the end of history. But ignorance, that evil of primitive ages, has been gradually reduced by the knowledge accumulated over the centuries. Humanity has been steadily enriched in wonderful ways; the conquests of the human mind have multiplied; the horizon has expanded beyond measure; the elements tamed by man have become his most diligent, most docile and most disinterested collaborators; labor, supported by Science, has made extraordinary underground riches spring forth; farming, expertly developed, has covered the ground with wonderful crops, savory fruits, sweet-scented flowers and hardy trees; floods have been averted, epidemics victoriously battled; natural evils have been almost wiped out!
And in the heart of this fertile, beautiful, luxuriant earth, some men, who once stood side by side with others to reach their goals, have been stupid enough to keep wanting to grab everything; and others stupid enough to accept being despoiled. The grabbers are scandalously becoming richer and richer and fewer and fewer while the family of disinherited are becoming poorer and poorer and more and more numerous. How is that these millions and millions of poor do not get any payback from this handful of billionaires?
It is not too hard to answer this question. This comes from:
1st, every kind of prejudice carefully maintained by the privileged in the brains of the masses; these prejudices are the government, laws, property, religion, country, family, etc. This is a moral restraint.
2nd, the system of repression that dishonors the land: judges, police, soldiers, prison guards—there is your physical restraint.
To sum up, I’ll say that the evil comes from the law that, being made by those in power, has no other purpose but to justify their imposture, to consecrate their depredation and to guarantee their impunity; the law that requires a governmental system which logically drags behind it the coercive and repressive forces I just mentioned.
Everyone is aware these truths. To such a point that they are starting to wonder today if a government is really necessary. While the partisans of all authoritative systems say “yes”, the anarchists alone say “no”. And at the end of this 19th century, the anarchist concept is summed up in these three words that have the power of terrifying some and making others smile in disbelief: “No more government”.
Yes, no more government.
Everything is there because from the day that the government (and I understand by this every governmental system, whatever the form and whatever its name), from the day, then, that every government disappears, the written laws and the codes will have no more reason to exist, seeing that they will no longer rely on any force to be feared and respected. At the same time, the natural law will easily take the place of artificial laws because, don’t forget, sirs, Anarchy is free play in the humanity of natural laws or, more precisely, (since I want to avoid this word “law”) of the natural forces that regulate the entire Universe.
No more Codes! No more judges! No more police! No more soldiers! No more priests! No more leaders! In a word, no more governments!
Such is our watchword! Such is our rallying cry! Such is the slogan of Anarchy fighting against the old social order.
And why a government? Ask individually each of the 500 people assembled here.
A strange thing. Recognizing that it is not the government that cultivates the land, sews clothes, kneads bread, builds houses, mines coal, fabricates machines, writes books and pushes knowledge to new directions, each will answer that for him a government is useless, that he does not feel the need. And grouped together, assembled here, when I come to say that this useless machinery is harmful, that it sucks out all our energy, costs too much to maintain (and you know as well as I do what the cost of governmental machinery is!) and therefore this harmful machinery should be done away with, you rear up under the whiplash of this simple statement!
Why is that? Because for centuries they have said over and over again, “A government is necessary.” And your fathers believed it and without even thinking you believe it, too.
If you open any dictionary to the letter A and look up the word Anarchy, you will see the following definition: “Chaos, upheaval, absence of order and harmony.” Is this the meaning of Anarchy? It comes from two Greek words: Alpha privative, A, meaning “absence of” and Arke which means “power”. So that according to official knowledge absence of order is synonymous with absence of power and we should conclude that there is no order without authority and where there is no government, there can only be disorder.
Ah! How easy it would for me to take this error in hand and, with my eyes open not only on the past but on the present as well, to prove that this age of ours is living under a regime of excessive governmental centralization but our generation is running around in appalling disorder.
Allow me, briefly, in a few quick images, to paint you a picture of Modern Society.
On the top:
Priests trafficking religious sacraments and ceremonies; bureaucrats bowing their heads but ripping off and running off with the cash; military officers selling so-called national defense secrets to the enemy; writers directing their thoughts to glorify injustice, poets idealizing the ugly, artists apotheosizing the iniquitous, as long as their depravity lands them a cushy chair at the Academy, a seat at the Institute or some entitlements… an income.
Lying salesmen cheating on the weight, quality and provenance of their merchandise; industrialists adulterating their products; speculators fishing for billions in the inexhaustible Ocean of human stupidity.
Politicians, thirsting for domination, banking on the ignorance of some and the good faith of others; penpushers, so-called journalists, prostituting their pens with an indifference that has no equal except in the foolishness of the readers.
On the bottom:
Home builders without homes, garment workers without clothes, bakers without bread, billions of producers suffering unemployment and therefore hunger; crowds of people wandering around, all over the place, in search of a bridge to build, a tunnel to construct, a hole to dig; families piled up in slums; fifteen-year old girls, in order to eat, forced to put up with the foul gropings of old men and the lewd assaults of young bourgeoisie.
Blind masses, who seem totally unfit to recognize their dignity; this rabble rushing after a minister who exploits them and lavishing ridiculous praise on him; crowds gathering at a station before a monarch, a son, brother or cousin of the coming king; and in the intoxication of national celebrations, in the numbing fanfares and whirling public balls, people willingly forget that yesterday they were dying in misery and slavery and tomorrow they will perish in servitude and hardship.
Such is the desperate picture that our present humanity offers. That is the order that the most governmentalized of Societies offers you.
And while the colors are very dark indeed, they are not painted on for fun; there is depravity, shame, atrocity and torture that no human language can describe.
But at the heart of this corruption that is eating away at the powerful and of this servility that dishonors the weak, at the heart of this hypocritical cynicism that characterizes the haughty and of the incredible naivety in which the lowly perish, in the midst of the insolence that the “upper classes” flaunt and of the fawning of the “lower classes”, in the midst of the savage greed of the robbers and of the unfathomable apathy of the robbed, between the wolves of power, religion and wealth and the sheep of work, poverty and servitude, there are a handful of brave men standing tall, a phalanx that has not been contaminated by the arrogance of the haughty or the platitudes of the humble.
Yesterday a half a handful; today an army; tomorrow a numberless crowd; they follow the Truth; they care no more about the fearful tittering of the rich than they do about the dreary indifference of the poor.
To the powerful they say:
“You reign only through ignorance and fear. You are the degenerate heirs of barbarians, tyrants and criminals.
“Who maintains you in your idle lives? Your victims!
“Who protects you and defends you against the enemies from within and without? O bitter irony—Your victims!
“Who elects you into public office? Once again, your victims!
“And their ignorance, so carefully maintained by you, not only does not see these disturbing inconsistencies, but it turns it into resignation, respect, almost veneration.
“But we will unmask you without pity and we will expose your hideous faces, you butchers, where we can see the hypocrisy, avarice, pride and cowardice.”
And what do these same men say to the lowly, the exploited, the enslaved?
“O you who are born in a cradle of straw, who grow up in the claws of misery and live condemned to hard labor and the premature old age of scapegoats, don’t despair.
“Proletariat, grandsons of ancient slaves, sons of medieval serfs, know that your misery is not hopeless.
“All of you who make up this enslaved humanity whose wounded feet have left bloody traces in its human wake for too many centuries now, trust in the future.
“In rags, in pain, with empty stomachs, barefoot, exploited, wounded, disinherited, you are drained a little more every day by the power and prestige of your masters but every day your battalions are becoming stronger and stronger.
“Lift up your hearts and your heads! Know your rights! Understand that every man is equal to every other man. It is wrong that some have rights to exercise and others duties to fulfill. Refuse to obey and no one will think of commanding you.
“At last, raise up your dignity.
“Let the spirit of revolt grow in you and with Freedom you will become happy!”
That, sirs, is what anarchists are. Such is their language and such is ours.
I conclude:
We are guilty if by awaking the sense of dignity among our comrades, we fail to do so in ourselves.
Criminals, yes, we will be criminals if by calling men to revolt, we bow before the threats and submit to the orders of the representatives of authority.
Cowards, the worst of cowards if arousing the courage of our partners in the fight and encouraging them to be brave, we do not defend out life and liberty when they are in danger.
That is why I had to do what I did, we had to do what we did (my friends, I know, think the same as me). And we have no regrets.
If you condemn me, my convictions will remain unshakeable.
There will be one more anarchist in prison, but one hundred more on the streets. And our example will be followed. It will be the starting point of revolts that will multiply, that will become more and more collective, until the universal Revolution introduces into the everyday world the ideas for which I live, for which I suffer with a certain joy, for which I am ready, like all anarchists, to shed my blood if necessary, without swaggering or staggering, until not a drop is left.

Also at The Anarchist Library

Mikhail Bakunin

January 21, 2012

Mikhail Bakunin, from Philosophical Considerations on the Divine Phantom, the Real World and Humanity, 1870-71.

You would say that in searching for himself, through all his wanderings and historic transformations, Man first had to wear out all his brutality, all his iniquity and all possible tragedies just to end up with this tiny bit of reason and justice that there is in the world today.

God exists—therefore man is a slave.
Man is intelligent, just and free—therefore God does not exist.
We challenge anyone to avoid this circle. So now, let’s choose.

What all governments, all politicians, all men who consider themselves either officially or unofficially pastors of the people, most of whom are neither Christian or even Deist today but freethinkers who believe in neither God nor the Devil—they still ostensibly protect all these religions provided that these religions teach (like all the others) resignation, patience and submission.

The destruction of the ideas and cults of religions is one of the most urgent because until religious ideas are uprooted from the imagination of the people, the emancipation of the populace will be impossible.

It is by searching for the impossible that man has always recognized and achieved the possible and those who are wisely limited to what seems possible to them have never moved one step forward.

I need to know things that have an immediate affect on me, but to know them I need to know what acts on them and thus unto infinity. Wherefrom I have to know everything.

We have to destroy this science through general education, for men and women alike, among the masses, so that they stop being the masses, that passive, suffering matter of historic developments, and become a truly human society, intelligent and composed of really free individuals able to take their historic destinies in their own hands from now on.

Ernest Coeurderoy

December 10, 2011

from Ernest Coeurderoy, Hurrah!!! Or the Revolution by the Cossacks, 1854.

Ah! Humanity is grand, the Future eternal and the Worlds cradled in infinite Space are immense! And we are tiny, short-lived Civilized men who think we lay down the laws of the Universe and the limits of Time! So, who are you then, illustrious monarchs and profound lawmakers of the West who believe you are the end all and be all of creatures living under the sun? Wretched and pitiful! Don’t you hear the rumble of the abyss of fire vomiting revolutions among men, the ever-open, ever-hungry, ever-vengeful abyss? It will swallow you up and your lying systems and your schoolmaster vanity. For, every system is false and every systematic an oppressor! We will no longer put up with Governments, Begging and Masters. Whoever you are—Caesars, Jesuits, Communists, Fundamentalists or Utopists—don’t hope to lead us any more. Man has finally left the school of Slavery! The Revolution carries me toward distant, terrible horizons; it multiplies a hundredfold the virtuality of my being; it blows through my head like a storm wind.

This world is a dungeon.

Anarchist revolutionaries, say it out loud: our only hope is for the human deluge, our only future is in chaos, our only resource is in a war that will mix all races and break all established relations, remove the hands of the dominating classes, the instruments of oppression with which they violate freedom at the price of blood.

When everyone fights for his own cause, no one will need to be represented.


November 26, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Caiman (from Caribbean acayouman)
The caiman is a species of crocodile with a long snout from the rivers of America and China. Figuratively, we call someone a caiman who is greedy and without scruples and stops at nothing to exploit his fellowmen in the most disgraceful way. Thus, a caiman is the boss who makes his employees work 10 or 12 hours a day at famine wages in order to increase his fortune. The working class today is the unfortunate victim of countless caimans of this kind who grow fat on the blood and sweat of the workers. No pity is to be expected from these monsters. Just as with the caimans in exotic countries, only force can overcome human caimans (really only human in form since all noble sentiments of humanity are unknown to them). That’s why the anarchists just shrug their shoulders when reformists talk about reaching agreements with their executioners. You can’t negotiate with wild beasts!


November 23, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Slaughter: Literally: the place where they cut up meat. Figuratively: a massacre. Example: the “Great War of Rights” of 1914-1918 was a horrific slaughter. The sparkling, shining officers have always led their wretched victims into useless bloodbaths. Sometimes under one pretext, sometimes under another, the rulers, to satisfy their ambitions and their hatred, have unleashed international slaughters. In the past, they gave no reason to those they send to their deaths. Today, being more prudent, they try to camouflage their infamy with high-flown speeches: “The slaughter that they started will be the last. It will save humanity. It will save people’s rights, etc. etc.” and the wretched victims believe them and march straight into the slaughterhouse. But day by day, the people are starting to wake up. Men are beginning to wonder why they have to get themselves killed by the millions and why they have to kill those poor guys who never did anything to them. Day by day there are more and more rebels who refuse this bloody comedy. Eyes are opening. And the anarchists won’t be the last to arouse this healthy vision of coming generations. Let’s hope that the slaughters will soon be extinct, for lack of victims. If the rulers figure that they are still necessary, let them fight among themselves and leave the others in peace. If they kill each other, all the better for the people. But let’s not be fool ourselves. Though the rulers love to send their subjects to slaughter, they have never loved to send themselves. The day the soldiers rebel, the enemy leaders will run away together like flushed out thieves.


November 19, 2011

from Sébastien Faure, The Anarchist Encyclopedia, 1934.

Avatar: (n.m. sanscrit avatâra) Avatar is the name given in India to the incarnations of a god, particularly of Vishnu. By analogy the word avatar has come to designate a transformation, a metamorphosis. Ex: the avatars of a politician.
Like apostasy, the avatar is a very popular in politics—what politician doesn’t have an avatar? In general, it is enough just to call upon them—a promotion or a cushy job somewhere. Those are the things that politicians care about—in fact, that will usually get them moving.
Anarchists don’t recognize avatars in politics and they know how to castigate them when the time comes.

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