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From: "Objections To Anarchism," by George Barrett, Freedom Pamphlet, Freedom Press, 127 Ossulston Street, London, N.W.1., 1921.

Objections to Anarchism

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The second interesting point to notice about the question is that it is generally asked by a Socialist. Behind the question there is obviously the implication that he who asks it has in his mind some way of forcing men to work. Now the most obvious of all those who will not work is the man who is on strike, and if you have a method of dealing with the man who will not work it simply means that you are going to organise a system of society where the government will be so all-powerful that the rebel and the striker will be completely crushed out. You will have a government class dictating to a working class the conditions under which it must labour, which is exactly what both Anarchists and Socialists are supposed to be struggling against to-day.

In a free society the man who will not work, if he should exist at all, is at least brought on equal terms with the man who will. He is not placed in a position of privilege so that he need not work, but on the contrary that argument which is so often used against Anarchism comes very neatly into play here in its favour. It is often urged that it is necessary to organise in order to live. Quite so, and for this reason the struggle for life compels us to organise, and there is no need for any further compulsion on the part of the government. Since to organise in society is really to work in society, it is the law of life which constantly tends to make men work, whilst it is the artificial laws of privilege which put men in such a position that they need not work. Anarchism would do away with these artificial laws, and thus it is the only system which constantly tends to eliminate the man who will not work.

We might perhaps here quote John Stuart Mill's answer to this objection: —

"The objection ordinarily made to a system of community of property and equal distribution of produce — 'that each person would be incessantly occupied in evading his share of the work' — is, I think, in general, considerably overstated.... Neither in a rude nor in a civilized society has the supposed difficulty been experienced. In no community has idleness ever been a cause of failure."

J. S. Mill, "Political Economy," Vol. I., p. 251.



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