anarchy archives


About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Max Stirner
  Elisée Reclus
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Anarchist Poets
  Music and Anarchy

Land and Liberty

High Resolution Image

<--Previous  Up  Next-->


The object of the Mexican Liberal Party has been "to sieze the property of the rich in Mexico and divide it up among the poor who needed it." To that statement, ade in open court by Ricardo Magon when he himself was under indictment, I alluded editorially last week, saying that, in my opinion, ot gave in a nutshell the economics of Anarchism. I now add that it expresses most exactly the one and only purpose of the Labor movement, which, if unable to accept it frankly, should go out of business, shut up its printing shops, dismantle its editorial offices, close its halls and strike its organizers and officials off the pay-roll.

Projecting myself into a dubious life to come, and assuming, for the sake of demonstration, that I may be called to fill a variety of roles, I anticipate the following future. As the possessor of a crop of potatoes which I myself have grown, I imagine myself faced by some survivior of an earlier age who seeks to levy tribe on my product. I hear myself replying: "pardon me, Sir, but we have changed all that. It is I who planted and harvested those potatoes, on land that I myself have tilled, and I part with not the smallest one of them to any idler." I see myself one of a gang of men toiling in the woods; felling timber, trimming it and making it ready for the mill. I hear some would-be collector of stumpage royalty stammering a parasite's demand, and ourselves answering, and ourselves answering, politely but decidedly: "Sir, these timbers that you see around you are the product of OUR toil, and we ourselves will make our own arrangements with the mill workers, to whom we are about to senf them." I see myself one of the lumberyard force, which fashioned into building shape the timbers freighted from the woods, and I hear sleek gentlemen insisting that we must pay them for rights of distribution. Again I hear us saying: "Gentlemen, we attend to our business, and as we paid the choppers the full value of their toil, so will the builders pay us, and pay us gladly, for this lumber, knowing that no leakages will be dribble into do-nothing pockets. In short, I see a sociert of works economically free; owning themselves, because, at every step, they own the material on which they work; the land where the potatoes grow; the trees they fell and strip; the timber they fasion into limber; the houses into which the lumber goes, and so "ad infinitum." A society purged of tribute to the parasite. A society no longer bent beneath monopoly's yoke, but one wherein natural opportunity is only for the user and while he uses it. A society no lonfer weighted down with those who exist merely to ride upon its back. A society of workers, in which energy will be echanged for enery, and men will toil to satisfy their wown needs and not the insane whims of wealth-corrupted idlers. I care not what name you give such economics, it being sufficient to me that they seem practical and just. However, if you turn to the "Data of Ethics" you will discover that Herbert Spencer saw this very vision, although his native pessimism placed it centuries ahead.

That means the taking from the rich the monopolies they today enjoy. That means expropriation, and it can mean nothing else; inasmuch as, having foolishly parted with our lordship of the earth, we have to take it back. To allow the few to continue eating all the cake is necessarily to leave the many hungry, and no sophistry can hide that simple fact. When we decided to abolish royalty we had to put the throne out of existence. When we decide to abolish monopoly we shall have to drive the dog out of the manger and see to it that every hrse has access to the feed. There is plenty for all, and the more so because it is only under conditions of monopoly that man is forced to be destructive and play the bloodsucker while his inclination is to do usefully constructyive work. The Kaffir of South Africa does not devote his life to digging diamonds for some idle woman's vanity because he likes it, but because Monopoly today dictates production. The American girl is not working in a powder factory because she yearns to risk her life, nor are thopusands of workingmen manufacuturing implementw of murder because they are in love with militarism. They do so because Carnegie & Co. ate in a position to swing the whip, and they must toe the mark or perish of starvation. That is slavery in its crudest form, and slavery must go. We cannot continue indefinitely holding Life itself by a thread so slender as the pleasure of the few. We have to overthrow Monopolies because they lead eventually to a corner in the exceedingly importanty business of Life itself.

These which I am trying tyo explain as clearly as I can


[Home]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]