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Studies in Communism

The Case For Anarchism

In the fact of this action and re-action so existing is to be found the cause of our present chaos and uncertainty in all revolutionary propaganda. Our only emancipation from the resulting apparent confusion will be found in the intellectual and economic destinies which constitute the logic shaping the ends of communities as well as of individuals. Whilst individually, man may be said by virtue of his heredity to largely mould his environment to his own ends, the ideals and inclinations of the race are moulded by external conditions. Hence, socially a creature of circumstances man is individually a free being capable of influencing his environment, as also of adapting it to his own ends. Only in so far, as he is a member of a society which recognises his natural freedom can he identify his interests with that of society. Only in proportion as he realises the influence society exercises in the moulding of the character of the race can he consciously contribute to the securement of his own freedom and that of his posterity, along the lines of least resistance. Hence the natural evolution of man, his place in society and his attitude towards abstract problems which have often supplied an excuse for reaction, only serve to emphasise humanity's potential capacity for Communism. Mankind's present activity is a certain promise of its inevitable arrival at that state of society which shall witness the combination of absolute individual liberty with the greatest amount of social order. With the many coerced by the few, the only "order" existent at present is that of disorder. With all enjoying the advantages of a social order based on an enlightened social expression of individual happiness.

In order that we might understand this phase of our subject it is well to note Spencer's contribution to the consideration of society as a social organism. Referring to the individual as a unit in society, he notes the tribal tendency to a small aggregation of individual units, augmenting insensibly in mass. At first, the communities thus formed seem structureless, so simple is the nature of their structure. In the course of their development, however, they become more and more complex, and the mutual dependence of their component parts or units becomes more and more firmly established, until at last the life of each unit is only made possible by the consent and activity of the remaining parts. To complete his analogy, Spencer shows that the life of society is interdependent of, and far more prolonged than the lives of any of its component units, which are conceived only to grow, work, reproduce and die, while the body politic, which is composed of them, survives generation after generation, increasing in mass, in completeness of structure and in functional activity. This is society as we know it the state in which the individual is made by schoolmaster and nurse, by priest and politician, a unit existing merely for the wellbeing, not of the whole organism, but of the consumptive or para-


sitical portion of the organism. Or, to vary our conception, in which the working section enjoys sufficient food to keep the central stomach of the organism in activity, whilst the vitals of the organism are being eaten away by the parasitic growths living in luxury on its activity.

Up to the point named the analogy between society and biological organism would seem to be complete. But the comparison entirely breaks down in that the body cells are of no importance in themselves, but are only of value in so far as they contribute to the well-being of the whole; whilst, in the case of the State, it having no corporate consciousness, its existence is only of importance in so far as it contributes to the happiness of the individual. In the case of the animal, it is well that the directive power should be central, inasmuch as the cellular consciousness is corporate, and therefore central. But as the consciousness in society of its units is individual, the directive force must be individual, and hence all central authority is artificial and an impertinent imposition. Only by the operation of internal canons of thought, only by the individual's growth in the direction of social feeling, by virtue of his own experience and observation, can he learn to identify his own interests with that of the community's well-being. A central activity, devoid of conscious control, cannot do this, for there exist no nervous tissues to convey the results of central legislative effort to all parts of the body politic and inspire the units with legislative vitality. Moral suasion, educative endeavour, rational conviction—these are the only forces which will contribute to this desirable end. Inasmuch as Anarchist society alone can develop these forces, Anarchists need have no fear of submitting their principles to analysis in the mental laboratory of reason.



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