Regeneracion, February 12, 1914.
There are people, who in good faith ask this question: how would it be
possible to live without government? And they conclude saying that a
supreme chief, a crowd of officials, large and small, such as
ministers, judges, magistrates, legislators, soldiers, jailers,
policemen, and executioners, are necessary.
These good people believe that without authority we would all turn
ourselves over to excesses, the result being that the weak would
always be the victim of the strong.
This could happen only in this case: that the revolutionaries,
through a weakness of the guillotine, would leave afoot social
inequality. Social inequality is the fountain of all the antisocial
acts that the law and the bourgeois consider crimes with theft being
the most common of those crimes. Well, when all mankind will have the
opportunity to work the land or to dedicate itself, without the need
to work for salary, to be able to survive, who will take theft as a
profession the way it is seen now? In the society that the
libertarians long for, land and all methods of production will no
longer be objects of speculation for a determined number of
proprietors instead they will be the common property of the workers
and as before there will be only one class: that of the workers with
the right of all to produce and consume in common, what need would
there be to steal?
It will be said that there are persons given to idleness and that they
would take advantage of another's work to live instead of working. I
have lived in different prisons; I have spoken with many thieves, with
hundreds of thieves; almost all of them have stolen out of necessity.
There is no constant work: salaries are meager, the working day of
laborers is truly exhausting; the scorn of the proprietary class for
the proletariat class is irritating; the example of living in
idleness, luxury, abundance, in the vice of doing nothing useful that
the capitalist class gives to the working class, all of this causes
some workers, out of starvation, indignation, or as an individual
protest against the plunder of the bourgeois, to rob and they become
criminals, to the point of murder, to take what is necessary to live.
The profession of theft is definitely not one of the happiest. It
requires great activity and waste of energy on the part of the thief,
major activity and major energy that in many cases is required to
recover some task; so to complete a theft, the thief has to stake out
his victim, study his practices, be careful of policemen, plan a map,
risk his life or freedom, in continued anxiety, without limit in this
case of work, and assume that a man does not come to him for
happiness, but instead forced by necessity or the anger of seeing
himself in misery, when the rich pass by his side intoxicated by wine,
luxury, his mouth twisted with the hiccups of satiation, dressed in
suedes and fine clothes, enveloping in one scornful look the poor
people who sacrifice in the workshop, the factory, the mine, the
furrow . . .
The immense majority of the jail population is composed of individuals
who have committed a misdemeanor against property: theft, swindling,
fraud, falsification, etcetera, while in a small minority of
delinquents, prisoners with crimes against people, are found. Once
private property is abolished, when one will have all of the means to
choose a job of one's liking, but beneficial to the community;
humanizing the work in a virtue that will not effect the patron and
make him rich, but to satisfy necessities; returning to the industry
the thousands and thousands of day laborers that today corner the
government in its offices, in the districts, and the prisons
themselves; all will be put to work to gain sustenance, with the
powerful help of machinery of all kinds, it will be necessary to work
only some two or three hours daily to have everything in abundance.
Would there then be those who prefer theft to be able to live? Man,
although the most perverse, always likes to attract the esteem of all.
This can be observed today, although the way in which humanity lives
weakens the best instincts of the species, and if it is so, why not
admit that man would be better in the cavity of a free society?
In referring to the crimes against people, the major part is the
product of the sickness in which we live. Man lives in a constant
state of nervous over excitement; the misery, the insecurity of
winning the bread of the next morning; the offenses of authority; the
certainty that he is victim of political tyranny and capitalist
exploitation; the desperation of seeing the child without clothes,
education, future; the spectacle, nothing constructed of the struggle
of all against all, that is born specifically of the right of private
property, that facilitates the shrewd and the malicious to accumulate
capital by exploiting the workers; all of that and much more fills the
heart of man with bitterness, makes him violent, angry, and nudges him
to take out a revolver or dagger to attack, many times for trivial
issues. No society exists in which savage rivalry between human
beings satisfies all necessities, soothes sufferings, softens tempers,
and strengthens in them the instincts of sociability and solidarity.
All of which are so strong that, in spite of worldly disputes of all
against all, they have not died in human beings.
No, there is no need to fear life without government; we long for it
with all of our hearts. There would be, naturally, some individuals
given to criminal instincts; but politics would take charge of
attending to them, as ill as they are, because those poor people are
victims of [atavismos], illnesses inherited of inclinations born of
anger from the injustice and brutality of the environment.
Mexicans: remember how the rural populations of Mexico have lived.
Communism has been practiced in the rural huts; authority has not been
missed; before, to the contrary, when it was known that an agent of
authority was coming near, the men would flee to the forest because
authority is only present when men are needed for the barracks or for
contributions to maintain the parasites of the government and
nevertheless life was more tranquil in those places where laws were
not known nor the threat of the gendearme with his club.
Authority is not missed except to maintain social inequality.
Mexicans: Death to Authority!
Long Live Land and Liberty!
Ricardo Flores Magon