DEAR COMRADES AND FRIENDS:
First of all, let me express to you my warmest, heartiest thanks for all the kind words and thoughts you have addressed to me, and then to express through your pages the same heartiest thanks to all the comrades and friends who have sent me such warm and friendly letters and telegrams on the occasion of my seventieth birthday.
I need not tell you, nor could I word it on paper, how deeply I was touched by all these expressions of sympathy, and how I felt that "something brotherly" which keeps us, Anarchists, united by a feeling far deeper than the mere sense of solidarity in a party; and I am sure that that feeling of brotherhood will have some day its effect, when history will call upon us to show what we are worth, and how far we can act in harmony for the reconstruction of Society upon a new basis of equality and freedom.
And then let me add that if all of us have contributed to some extent to the work of liberation of exploited mankind, it is because our ideas have been more or less the expression of the ideas that are germinating in the very depths of the masses of the people. The more I live, the more am I convinced that no truthful and useful social science, and no useful and truthful social action is possible, but the science which bases its conclusions, and the action which bases its acts, upon the thoughts and the aspirations of the masses. All sociological science and all social action which would not do that would remain sterile.
With full heart with you,
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
THE aftermath of the McNamara tragedy—the trial of the forty labor leaders, most of them members of the Bridge and Iron Workers' Union—closed its first act at Indianapolis. The defendants were charged by the Federal government with conspiracy to transport explosives from State to State, and thirty-three men were convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from one to seven years' imprisonment.
The second act is to follow. Meanwhile the cases have been appealed to the Supreme Court, and bail has been granted.
This is the juridical state of affairs. Much more important, however, than the legal farce is the social significance of the situation and the attitude of the workers and their organizations toward it.
There is no doubt that the masters, the Steel Trust and its branches of the Erectors and Manufacturers' Association, left no stone unturned to send the indicted labor leaders to prison. The accusations against them and the trial were designed to impress the workers with their servitude and to teach them subjection and humility on the pain of persecution and punishment. Plutocracy, manipulating the wires behind the throne of justice, pretended to be morally shocked at the terrible dynamite practices. But the real purpose of the trial was to give organized labor a knockout blow, to weaken and destroy the militant spirit of the toilers, by all the forces at the command of the masters.
On their part, the workers seem yet sadly lacking in conscious solidaric purpose. The men on trial in Indianapolis seemed to be isolated, to stand alone. It is true, the last convention of the A. F. L. passed a half-hearted resolution to the effect that the local bodies should give their support to the Indianapolis defendants. But in his yearly report Gompers declared that. the McNamaras were "either criminally insane or insanely criminal— either condition due to imperfect education, incomplete education, or defective mentality."
It may be that Gompers and his co-bureaucrats are much better educated: in their intercourse with the politicians of the Civic Federation they have been well trained—so well that they believe to have done their duty to labor by hiding behind respectability and masking themselves with legal virtue.
A great opportunity was lost to labor in the McNamara trial. A far greater one still at Indianapolis. If we had a mature labor movement in this country and strong characters within it—men with enthusiasm to stand up for their convictions, the trial at Indianapolis would have served to tear the mask off our rotten plutocratic society. Then the accused would have become the accusers. No matter whether guilty or innocent, in the legal sense: had the labor leaders grasped the opportunity to throw their thundering j'accuse in the face of the exploiters, they would have consciously made history and impressed their footsteps upon social progress, to the inspiration of the multitudes of oppressed. Had the men in Indianapolis dared defy the dragnet of capital, dared assert their manhood, they would have done a really great service to the cause of labor. Unfortuntely, when that cause is left to the mercy of "legal talent" and legal trickery, its fate is pitiful.
However, our whole sympathy is with the convicted men, who are but the victims of our social rottenness and their own resultant lack of social consciousness. But we hope that the lesson of Indianapolis will not be lost. The struggle of labor against capital is daily assuming the scope of a larger consciousness and determined purpose. Capital, intrenched behind respectability and legality, is constantly forcing the workers into more open warfare. The masses are beginning to realize that in this war every weapon is justified that will prove effective in improving the miserable condition of the disinherited and ultimately emancipate the wage slave. Every strike is an incident in this warfare, involving violence. Labor is forced to protect its interests by fighting the masters with labor's strongest weapons.
In this spirit the trial at Indianapolis should have been conducted—a defy of the slave to his oppressor. And this spirit will gradually manifest itself in the daily more intensive struggle of labor, in the growing social consciousness of the wage slave determined to break his chains.
SINCE the Tsar issued, some years ago, his boastful peace-manifesto—to the great joy of superficial and noisy philanthropists—we have had almost continual war. This Christmas and the New Year found the various governments of Europe in such a murderous attitude, that a carnage of international proportions, carried on with the most modern machinery of wholesale bloodshed, seems to be imminent. Such a general war would involve from 12 to i5 millions of trained murderers in a great slaughter, compared with which the atrocities and bloodshed of the Balkan war would appear the merest child play.
So far general hostilities have been avoided. The experts and technicians of the great powers are absorbed in "studying" the effect of modern weapons in the war against Turkey, Especial interest is manifested in the airships from which good Christians are speeding explosives upon the heathen Turks, and when this method of destroying whole armies will prove successful, what a great step forward will have been taken along the road of truly Christian civilization!
However, we need not despair of the ultimate triumph of humanity. The anti-militant spirit is growing throughout the civilized world, and the governments everywhere are forced to take it into account. The great generals and diplomats do not feel quite safe in their calculations; they are beginning to doubt the efficacy of their orders: some soldiers might happen to turn their guns the wrong way. Anti-militarist demonstrations are taking place in various countries. In France, for instance, the government has grown so fearful of this propaganda that it has resolved to suppress the organization of the public school teachers, because the latter are permeated with the anti-militarist spirit. The French Parliament stands aghast at the statistics showing that during the year i911 80,000 young men evaded military service, through desertion and other means. In many regiments there have been discovered anti-military conspiracies, and the Confédération Générale du Travail is preparing to declare a General Strike in case of war, which shall especially involve the industries most vital for the transportation and provisioning of troops.
It is quite safe to say that if a general European war is averted, it will not be due to the peace fakirs a la Carnegie, who deal in canon and armor plate, but to a great extent to the determined anti-military attitude of the international proletariat.
* * *
WITH considerable satisfaction the press reported recently that Judge Goff, of New York, broke all previous records by sentencing four men, at the same time, to die in the electric chair.
The murderers are done with; but murder remains: for murder is as closely interwoven with our social conditions as prostitution is with the morality of "high society," or as the innumerable fatal accidents on our railroads are connected with the greed for big profits.
* * *
AN army of 100,000 garment workers has risen in rebellion against starvation wages, Triangle fire traps, and limitless exploitation.
Such a strike, fought energetically and determinedly, without weak compromise or petitioning, can accomplish more within a few weeks than a generation of political juggling with alleged labor-protection laws.
* * *
IF our Comrade Peter Kropotkin ever doubted the value of his revolutionary activities, the wonderful spirit manifested at the various celebrations of his seventieth birthday would serve completely to dispel that doubt.
All over Europe and America the thoughtful workers, whether Anarchists or Socialists, gathered en masse to express their love and devotion to the man who, among all revolutionists, stands out as the most firm and uncompromising figure—Peter Kropotkin.
The most inspiring event was the meeting in New York, at Carnegie Hall, but there were numerous others, in Chicago, Boston, Brownsville, Toronto, London, Brussels, Paris, and other cities, all over the world. Everywhere the same enthusiasm, the same spontaneous outburst of love and appreciation for our Comrade. And that not only because Peter Kropotkin ranks high as a scientist, historian and man of letters, but because, above and beyond all that, Kropotkin is an Anarchist, a revolutionist. As such he will live in the minds and hearts of his comrades always.
A GROUP of young Jewish Anarchists, known as the Kropotkin Jubilee Committee, is fittingly commemorating the 70th birthday of Comrade Peter Kropotkin by the publication of a new edition of his complete works in the Jewish language. The first volume, "The Memoirs of a Revolutionist," has now appeared. The translation is very carefully done, and is faithful to the original. The price of the volume is 75c.
The Committee will also issue in the near future a de luxe edition of the same work, in 2 volumes, at $1.00. The profits will be used to publish the other works of Peter Kropotkin.
* * *
AMONG the speakers who addressed the Kropotkin celebration in London—in honor of our Comrade's 70th birthday—was also George Bernard Shaw. He was "beginning to wonder," he said, "whether Kropotkin had not been right all these years," and he and his friends all wrong.
Better late than never, George. Even a Fabian Socialist may be saved from the confusion of hopeless experimental politics and become a true revolutionist, provided he is sincere in his self-criticism. He need but make a bold attempt.
* * *
A CORRESPONDENT of the Social Democratic publications in America relates an interview with August Bebel, in which the latter expressed himself to the effect that the German workingmen are not ripe for a social change along Socialist lines.
Bebel was much more hopeful when his party did not yet count 4 million votes and when the Socialists in Germany had less than two dozen representatives in the Reichstag, instead of the 40 they have now. At that time he prophesied that the social revolution would take place in the year 1898.
Great success at the ballot box has evidently proved very disheartening. Bebel is now the leader of the strongest party in the Reichstag, and if he now declares that notwithstanding the four million Socialist votes the German workers are not ready for Socialism, such a statement is tantamount to a declaration of bankruptcy on the part of political Socialism.
This bankruptcy was inevitable. If for generations the workers are taught to believe that their emancipation can be brought about in Parliaments by casting a bit of paper on election day, by compromises and legislation, the result can be but one: the masses become more and more passive, lose initiative and the power of independent action, and are soon totally paralyzed.
* * *
WITH a single master stroke "Comrade" Spargo annihilated sabotage. Sabotage must be severely repudiated-—said he—because it is an enemy to morality.
A profound thought! A little more serious investigation will yet enable Spargo to prove that sabotage is opposed to the commandments of Moses, handed to him directly by Jehovah, and that it is further also not in keeping with the dogmas of the only true apostolic Church, or of the Koran. Indeed, sabotage can not be even harmonized with the pious Sunday-school advice of young Rockefeller to the open-mouthed youngsters of the Y. M. C. A.
* * *
THE Suffragettes of England continue to practice direct action and sabotage. They are not to be so easily cajoled as our own Suffragists whose "radicalism" finds complete expression in five o'clock teas, banquets, and meaningless parades.
Of course, there is no lack of moral indignation over the methods of the militant suffragettes. The editors of "respectable" journalism literally froth at their bovine mouths. Nevertheless it is a fact that the British direct actionists have filled the government with wholesome respect, so that it does not dare to keep them long in prison. The governmental machinery of organized violence works nice and smooth only so long as the people remain patient in their subjection; but the moment they awaken to the realization of their own will and energy, the machinery goes wrong and begins to break down.
* * *
OUR request for gifts for the Mother Earth Bazaar met with a most generous response.
Friends from every part of the country made contributions and thereby proved that whatever our magazine may lack in numbers, it makes up for in the quality of its friends. With such splendid incentive Mother Earth will continue the struggle against all odds.
THE CASE OF EDWARD F. MYLIUS
THE United States began by declaring high treason against the King of England to be a patriotic virtue. His Majesty was voted a dangerous nuisance, and it often happened that loyalists who dared to hurrah for the King were beaten, tarred and feathered.
The young Republic, christened in the blood of the revolution, proclaimed to the whole world that it welcomed the persecuted, and that in America was "planted the banner of universal tolerance and justice. A fairy tale, indeed beautiful.
But entrance into this fairy land is now barred by iron gates and inquisitions; nay, more; hundreds of officials nose about to determine the size of the immigrant's pocketbook and to weigh his opinions and morality in the scale of bureaucracy.
Into the hands of this inquisition has now fallen the Englishman, Edward F. Mylius. He is imprisoned at Ellis Island, and the immigration authorities have already twice decided to deport him. A protest against this idiotic decision has been forwarded to Washington.
The immigration authorities charge Mylius with being a common criminal, he having been punished in England by a year's imprisonment for an article he had supposedly written in the Liberator—the sheet published in Paris by the American, Edward Holden James, advocating an universal republic. The article in question described the present hen-pecked occupant of the British throne as a bigamist who had married a Miss Culme-Seymour in the Island of Malta, in 1890, afterwards deserting his legal wife in order to attach himself in wedlock to a woman contaminated with royal blood—the present Queen.
Our immigration authorities contend that a man who had so boldly cast aside respect for his" Majesty could find no asylum in the country that began its career by wiping monarchy off its map.
His Majesty and his government will be much moved to know that the United States government so willingly and ardently plays the role of bouncer for Great Britain, refusing to recognize a criticism of the King as a political offence and considering such acts crimes involving "moral turpitude."
Even the British court, before which Mylius was tried, did not prove such a monarchical lickspittle as our American immigration authorities. Meanwhile, however, the publisher of the Liberator has issued a statement to the effect that Mylius was not the author of the article in question, but that he was merely the English representative of the publication. Whence it follows, of course, that the charges of the American government against Mylius fall flat even if considered in a merely technical light.
The freedom of press in England, as in America, is evidently a very doubtful matter. In both countries it is quickly punctured, as soon as it is put to the test.
However, the story of the King's bigamy would not have had such evil consequences for Mylius and would have probably never become known at Ellis Island, had not a skunk from Scotland Yard rushed in to take a hand in the council of the nations. That worthy, whose odiferous name we are about to reveal, sent the following cable to the New York Police Department:
20 Aberdeen Place, Molde Wall, London.
December 9th, 1912.
There is a notorious Anarchist named E. F. Mylius coming over to the United States. He was formerly a Republican, and was sentenced for libelling His Majesty the King of England. Lately he is becoming an Anarchist, and I am especially engaged in watching his movements. He is always in company of the direct-actionists. One of his friends tells me he is going over to consult Emma Goldman. Probably he will sail from Havre on a French boat, and am assured before Christmas. I send you this warning at once, in order to prevent his landing. He always carries a loaded revolver, so I am told. I am sending this at once. When he is rejected a small remuneration will oblige.
A. E. EMMANUEL, Secret Police Agent.
This Judas letter is on file at the immigration offices of Ellis Island. No doubt, it is considered one of the valuable documents on the strength of which Mylius has been refused admission to the shores of this free country. For Mylius is indeed a man of evil intentions. Does not the detective himself say that a "friend" told him that he believed that Mylius might visit Emma Goldman? This is enough to prove what a dangerous man Mylius is to this in-money-we-trust government.
But seriously, it indicates nameless stupidity and degradation of the lowest form that such a "document" should at all be considered by the government; that it should even cause the detention and possible deportation of a man who comes to our shores in the hope of earn-ing a modest living. No government could stoop lower than to permit such a denunciatory letter to influence -- perhaps even to determine -- its actions and policy. The reference, at the close of the letter, to the "small remuneration that will oblige" the Scotland Yard man, gives rise to the justified suspicion that the United States encourages and even rewards such dirty work. It would be highly interesting to learn more details of this side of the immigration situation; it might throw some light on the terrible misery of our immigrants.
Familiar with the character of government, we are not very much surprised at any atrocity it might commit. But the case of Edward Mylius typifies to systematic suppression of free speech and free press, and the tyrannical persecution of all radical thought, and we are therefore determined to exert every possible effort to fight the deportation of Edward F. Mylius
* * *
Upon learning of the detention of Mylius, the comrades of the Mother Earth group immediately took steps to call the case to the attention of the public, with a view of defeating the express purpose of the immigration authorities to deport Mylius. The matter involves considerable expense, and we urge every radical and liberty-loving man to contribute toward making our fight a suc-cess. Send contributions care of MOTHER EARTH.
To begin the eight year of our magazine, we must in-crease our subscription by at least fie hundred. To make this possible, we have decided to offer a premium with every new subscription or renewal. My book, "Anarchism and Other Essays, " which, as you know, sells at <$>1.00, cloth, hs been gotten out now in paper cover, and will be given as a premium with a year's subscription for the magazine.
SYNDICALISM: ITS THEORY AND PRACTICE
By Emma Goldman.
IN view of the fact that the ideas embodied in Syndicalism have been practised by the workers for the last half century, even if without the background of social consciousness; that in this country five men had to pay with their lives because they advocated Syndicalist methods as the most effective in the struggle of labor against capital; and that, furthermore, Syndicalism has been consciously practised by the workers of France, Italy and Spain since 1895, it is rather amusing to witness some people in America and England now swooping down upon Syndicalism as a perfectly new and never before heard-of proposition.
It is astonishing how very naïve Americans are, how crude and immature in matters of international importance. For all his boasted practical aptitude, the average American is the very last to learn of the modern means and tactics employed in the great struggles of his day. Always he lags behind in ideas and methods that the European workers have for years past been applying with great success.
It may be contended, of course, that this is merely a sign of youth on the part of the American. And it is indeed beautiful to possess a young mind, fresh to receive and perceive. But unfortunately the American mind seems never to grow, to mature and crystallize its views.
Perhaps that is why an American revolutionist can at the same time be a politician. That is also the reason why leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World continue in the Socialist party, which is antagonistic to the principles as well as to the activities of the I. W. W. Also why a rigid Marxian may propose that the Anarchists work together with the faction that began its career by a most bitter and malicious persecution of one of the pioneers of Anarchism, Michael Bakunin. In short, to the indefinite, uncertain mind of the American radical the most contradictory ideas and methods are possible. The result is a sad chaos in the radical movement, a sort of intellectual hash, which has neither taste nor character.
Just at present Syndicalism is the pastime of a great many Americans, so-called intellectuals. Not that they know anything about it, except that some great authorities — Sorel, Bergson and others — stand for it: because the American needs the seal of authority, or he would not accept an idea, no matter how true and valuable it might be.
Our bourgeois magazines are full of dissertations on Syndicalism. One of our most conservative colleges has even gone to the extent of publishing a work of one of its students on the subject, which has the approval of a professor. And all this, not because Syndicalism is a force and is being successfully practised by the workers of Europe, but because — as I said before — it has official authoritative sanction.
As if Syndicalism had been discovered by the philosophy of Bergson or the theoretic discourses of Sorel and Berth, and had not existed and lived among the workers long before these men wrote about it. The feature which distinguishes Syndicalism from most philosophies is that it represents the revolutionary philosophy of labor conceived and born in the actual struggle and experience of the workers themselves — not in universities, colleges, libraries, or in the brain of some scientists. The revolutionary philosophy of labor, that is the true and vital meaning of Syndicalism.
Already as far back as 1848 a large section of the workers realized the utter futility of political activity as a means of helping them in their economic struggle. At that time already the demand went forth for direct economic measures, as against the useless waste of energy along political lines. This was the case not only in France, but even prior to that in England, where Robert Owen, the true revolutionary Socialist, propagated similar ideas.
After years of agitation and experiment the idea was incorporated by the first convention of the Internationale in 1867, in the resolution that the economic emancipation of the workers must be the principal aim of all revolutionists, to which everything else is to be subordinated.
In fact, it was this determined radical stand which eventually brought about the split in the revolutionary movement'of that day, and its division into two factions: the one, under Marx and Engels, aiming at political conquest; the other, under Bakunin and the Latin workers, forging ahead along industrial and Syndicalist lines. The further development of those two wings is familiar to every thinking man and woman: the one has gradually centralized into a huge machine, with the sole purpose of conquering political power within the existing capitalist State; the other is becoming an ever more vital revolutionary factor, dreaded by the enemy as the greatest menace to its rule.
It was in the year i900, while a delegate to the Anarchist Congress in Paris, that I first came in contact with Syndicalism in operation. The Anarchist press had been discussing the subject for years prior to that; therefore we Anarchists knew something about Syndicalism. But those of us who lived in America had to content themselves with the theoretic side of it.
In 1900, however, I saw its effect upon labor in France: the strength, the enthusiasm and hope with which Syndicalism inspired the workers. It was also my good fortune to learn of the man who more than anyone else had directed Syndicalism into definite working channels, Fernand Pelloutier. Unfortunately, I could not meet this remarkable young man, as he was at that time already very ill with cancer. But wherever I went, with whomever I spoke, the love and devotion for Pelloutier was wonderful, all agreeing that it was he who had gathered the discontented forces in the French labor movement and imbued them with new life and a new purpose, that of Syndicalism.
On my return to America I immediately hegan to propagate Syndicalist ideas, especially Direct Action and the General Strike. But it was like talking to the Rocky Mountains — no understanding, even among the more radical elements, and complete indifference in labor ranks.
In 1907 I went as a delegate to the Anarchist Congress at Amsterdam and, while in Paris, met the most active Syndicalists in the Confédération Générate du Travail: Pouget, Delesalle, Monate, and many others. More than that, I had the opportunity to see Syndicalism in daily operation, in its most constructive and inspiring forms.
I allude to this, to indicate that my knowledge of Syndicalism does not come from Sorel, Bergson or Berth, but from actual contact with and observation of the tremendous work carried on by the workers of Paris within the ranks of the Confédération. It would require a volume to explain in detail what Syndicalism is doing for the French workers. In the American press you read only of its resistive methods, of strikes and sabotage, of the conflicts of labor with capital. These are no doubt very important matters, and yet the chief value of Syndicalism lies much deeper. It lies in the constructive and educational effect upon the life and thought of the masses.
The fundamental difference between Syndicalism and the old trade union methods is this: while the old trade unions, without exception, move within the wage system and capitalism, recognizing the latter as inevitable, Syndicalism repudiates and condemns present industrial arrangements as unjust and criminal, and holds out no hope to the worker for lasting results from this system.
Of course Syndicalism, like the old trade unions, fights for immediate gains, but it is not stupid enough to pretend that labor can expect humane conditions from inhuman economic arrangements in society. Thus it merely wrests from the enemy what it can force him to yield; on the whole, however, Syndicalism aims at, and concentrates its energies upon, the complete overthrow of the wage system. Indeed, Syndicalism goes further: it aims to liberate labor from every institution that has not for its object the free development of production for the benefit of all humanity. In short, the ultimate purpose of Syndicalism is to reconstruct society from its present centralized, authoritative and brutal state to one based upon the free, federated grouping of the workers along lines of economic and social liberty.
With this object in view, Syndicalism works in two directions: first, by undermining the existing institutions; secondly, by developing and educating the workers and cultivating their spirit of solidarity, to prepare them for a full, free life, when capitalism shall have been abolished.
Syndicalism is, in essence, the economic expression of Anarchism. That circumstance accounts for the presence of so many Anarchists in the Syndicalist movement. Like Anarchism, Syndicalism prepares the workers along direct economic lines, as conscious factors in the great struggles of to-day, as well as conscious factors in the task of reconstructing society along autonomous industrial lines, as against the paralyzing spirit of centralization with its bureaucratic machinery of corruption, inherent in all political parties.
Realizing that the diametrically opposed interests of capital and labor can never be reconciled, Syndicalism must needs repudiate the old rusticated, worn-out methods of trade unionism, and declare for an open war against the capitalist regime, as well as against every institution which to-day supports and protects capitalism,
As a logical sequence Syndicalism, in its daily warfare against capitalism, rejects the contract system, because it does not consider labor and capital equals, hence cannot consent to an agreement which the one has the power to break, while the other must submit to without redress.
For similar reasons Syndicalism rejects negotiations in labor disputes, because such a procedure serves only to give the enemy time to prepare his end of the fight, thus defeating the very object the workers set out to accomplish. Also, Syndicalism stands for spontaneity, both as a preserver of the fighting strength of labor and also because it takes the enemy unawares, hence compels him to a speedy settlement or causes him great loss.
Syndicalism objects to a large union treasury, because money is as corrupting an element in the ranks of labor as it is in those of capitalism. We in America know this to be only too true. If the labor movement in this country were not backed by such large funds, it would not be as conservative as it is, nor would the leaders be so readily corrupted. However, the main reason for the opposition of Syndicalism to large treasuries consists in the fact that they create class distinctions and jealousies within the ranks of labor, so detrimental to the spirit of solidarity. The worker whose organization has a large purse considers himself superior to his poorer brother, just as he regards himself better than the man who earns fifty cents less per day.
The chief ethical value of Syndicalism consists in the stress it lays upon the necessity of labor getting rid of the element of dissension, parasitism and corruption in its ranks, It seeks to cultivate devotion, solidarity and enthusiasm, which are far more essential and vital in the economic struggle than money.
As I have already stated, Syndicalism has grown out of the disappointment of the workers with politics and parliamentary methods. In the course of its development Syndicalism has learned to see in the State — with its mouthpiece, the representative system — one of the strongest supports of capitalism; just as it has learned that the army and the church are the chief pillars of the State. It is therefore that Syndicalism has turned its back upon parliamentarism and political machines, and has set its face toward the economic arena wherein alone gladiator Labor can meet his foe successfully. ,
Historic experience sustains the Syndicalists in their uncompromising opposition to parliamentarism. Many had entered political life and, unwilling to be corrupted by the atmosphere, withdrew from office, to devote themselves to the economic struggle — Proudhon, the Dutch revolutionist Nieuwenhuis, John Most and numerous others. While those who remained in the parliamentary quagmire ended by betraying their trust, without having gained anything for labor. But it is unnecessary to discuss here political history. Suffice to say that Syndicalists are anti-parlamentarians as a result of bitter experience.
Equally so has experience determined their anti-military attitude. Time and again has the army been used to shoot down strikers and to inculcate the sickening idea of patriotism, for the purpose of dividing the workers against themselves and helping the masters to the spoils. The inroads that Syndicalist agitation has made into the superstition of patriotism are evident from the dread of the ruling class for the loyalty of the army, and the rigid persecution of the anti-militarists. Naturally, for the ruling class realizes much better than the workers that when the soldiers will refuse to obey their superiors, the whole system of capitalism will be doomed.
Indeed, why should the workers sacrifice their children that the latter may be used to shoot their own parents? Therefore Syndicalism is not merely logical in its anti-military agitation; it is most practical and farreaching, inasmuch as it robs the enemy of his strongest weapon against labor.
(To be continued in the next issue.)
By Pedro Esteve.
HE died without being able to explain the motives that induced him to suppress Canalejas. Those of us who have known him can, nevertheless, understand them.
Pardinas was an intelligent workingman, industrious, simple and kind. His life was full of suffering. He left his native town to seek mental expansion and comfort for the body, and wherever he went he found misery, ignorance and persecution. He was in Catalonia, in France, in Cuba, in North America, and, notwithstanding the fact that he was an expert painter and decorator, sober in the extreme — he drank absolutely no liquor and nourished himself solely with fruits and vegetables in small quantities — he was out of work for long periods and, consequently, suffered much hardship.
"Why live," he said to me one day, "if life is to be one long-continued suffering?" To toil and eat (when you are able), sleep restlessly, always thinking of the morrow and having to contemplate innumerable injustices without being able to prevent or remedy them. No pleasures, not even that of finding among your comrades in distress collaborators in the work of redemption!
"Life is attractive even when you suffer, knowing that your own labor will benefit our fellow creatures," I replied.
"Sacrifice yourself for others! It isn't even an emulation, not even a consolation. Death is our only consolation."
And notwithsanding, he dreamed only of finding work, in order to save sufficiently to go to fight in Mexico, and, while waiting for this anxiously desired moment to arrive, wherever there was a comrade, or a child of a comrade, sick, there he went to assist, to apply the curative methods called natural, and of which he was a fervent advocate.
Even now it seems to me I can see him giving baths to my children and constructing a sun parlor in the yard of the house in which he lived, in order to give them a sun-bath!
Pie discussed, reasoned, and above all, he had feeling.
I never saw him in a provocative mood, or loquacious, nor brutal. In preference to disputing, he preferred being silent. He was very studious. He spoke French, studied English, and read with fondness every book or periodical which fell into his hands and which he knew could illuminate him. He had a great predilection for astronomy.
He looked for the desired consolation in spiritualism, and- served as medium in spiritualistic seances; but the illusion could not satisfy him and he returned to ask of science that which science could not give him, because a few privileged ones had usurped the means of obtaining it: the full unfolding of his being. Study made him more wretched, because it made him glimpse a world of beauty, — which he knew was not within his reach ever to enjoy.
There appeared before him one day one who could have given him encouragement, who could have made life agreeable, even in the midst of great sufferings — a woman who liked him, who loved him, who knew how to instill in him an intense passion. But is was forbidden fruit, the enjoyment of which would have caused suffering to another man and to innocent, tender creatures, and, through fear of seeing these children suffer (he believed in the economic ideas of Malthus), he fled from the amorous incarnation.
What should he do? Life in Tampa was to him loathsome. He had little work and under very poor conditions. At last he obtained steady employment, and as he spent almost nothing for food and clothes — he went so far as to buy second-hand clothing in order not to reduce his modest stock-r-when he finished his job he had a hundred dollars in his pocket and thought of returning to old Europe, where, if the lack of necessities is felt the same as in America, or worse, there are at least more intellectual joys. There there are people who propagate, who agitate, who struggle for their redemption.
Perhaps he expected that by becoming absorbed in the whirlwind of life, he would return to life.
But it seems that there he not only encountered the dreaded spectre of unemployment, but also the persecution of the police, who would not let him rest day or night: who denounced him as a dangerous Anarchist to anyone who employed him and to the people with whom he resided, and followed him constantly and — drove him to be, in truth, really dangerous.
He was by nature sensitive and they assuredly overexcited his sensitiveness. They made life more loathsome to him, and death more desirable. Being in this state or condition, the deceit practised by Canalejas upon the railway employees may have created an intense impression upon him and he may have decided to tiie killing, and he did kill and then he committed suicide. Perhaps it was the only happy moment of his life! .
* * *
May these have been the motives that induced him to suppress Canalejas? He did not say so. Probably no one will ever know them: but those among us who have known him, who have been on intimate terms with him as a comrade, and who know how he thought, knew his feelings and how he acted, can permit themselves deductions of this nature.
Once again, he who would least have been suspected of a disposition to commit such an act, was the one to realize it. Another repetition of the case of Caserio, of Bresci, of nearly all the heroic paladins of the social vindication. His acquaintances, his friends perhaps, have been those most surprised at his act.
Of what use are the special laws promulgated to prevent such acts, the photographic galleries and the anthropometric departments? Of what use will it be to arrest hundreds of men who neither knew him, nor have ever heard the name of this destroyer of a tyrant previous to this attempt? At the utmost, to over-excite some other sensitive person.
Accomplices, inducers! Yes, there is one, an accomplice and an inducer at the same time, whom we want to decapitate — the present social régime.
A VOICE FROM SIBERIA
New York, Dec. 23rd, 1912.
Mother Earth, 55 West 28th Street, City.
Dear Comrades: — The following pathetic letter was received by the Relief Society for the Political Exiles in Siberia, from an exile in Siberia whom they have helped considerably. The letter speaks for itself, and if you find it important, kindly print it in MOTHER EARTH.
"Tell Them. . . ."
Consumption is doing its work. The doctors assure me that I have only five or six months more to live, and it is possible that with great care and under the best conditions, I should survive a year, but it is ridiculous to speak of good conditions here.
There is a good deal to say about the life of the exiles, but not knowing in whose hands the letter may fall, I restrain from saying anything.
I do not know to what conclusions you have come, comrades, but I am a decided Anarchist. This word, I know, calls out a good deal of contempt, hatred and fear. I know it. But I do not intend to discuss this matter with you. I only ask you, comrades, to tell those who have come to the same conclusions with me, that I send them my greetings. Tell them. . . . Tell them that with the last piece of lung that I will be compelled to eject with blood, the last words that I will utter will be, "Ave Socialis Revolution, salutant te morituri! (Long live the social revolution, on my way to meet death I salute you.)
* * *
- ANARCHISM — The philosophy of a new social order based
- on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
- DIRECT ACTION — Conscious individual or collective effort
- to protest against, or remedy, social conditions through the systematic assertion of the economic power of the workers.
By B. M.
IT is quite impossible to write of Nietzsche in a way that the reader should at once understand him and "place" him. Very little is to be gleaned from the numerous volumes written about him. One must read him at first hand, get close to him, in order to gain admission into his castle — the castle of a thousand lights, with its noble domes and spires that rear their heads to the highest mountain peaks. He belongs to the thinkerpoets who are clarified by divination and intuition rather than by argumentation and explanation. His style is music; in the highest degree he combines the artistic temperament with the scientific spirit.
The systematic ones, the dry rationalists, consider him a wild-eyed philosopher run amuck, satanically bent upon the destruction of all institutionalized discipline and authority. He is the annihilator of all "accepted verities" and traditions, especially to those who pride themselves on their respectability, piety, and ripeness of years. Nor can the representatives of various isms "classify" him. To label his philosophy materialistic or idealistic does not help to understand Nietzsche. He had shot sharp arrows into, the camp of both the Socialists and the Anarchists. The former, especially, he abominated, considering them, like everything democratic, the last exponents of the Christian morality of charity and pity — a morality he heartily despised as the source of all the pettiness, cowardice and wretchedness of the man of today. In the last chapter of the "Antichrist" (the XVI. volume of the complete edition) he sums up his judgment of Christianity as follows:
With this I will now conclude and pronounce my judgment. I condemn Christianity and confront it with the most terrible accusation that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. To my mind it is the greatest of all conceivable corruptions; it has had the will to the last imaginable corruption. The Christian Church allowed nothing to escape from corruption; it converted every value into its opposite, every truth into a lie, and every honest impulse into an ignominy of soul. Let anyone dare speak to me of its humanitarian blessings! To abolish any sort of distress was opposed to its profoundest interest; its very existence depended on states of distress; it created states of distress in order to make itself, immortal. The cancer germ of sin for instance! The Church was the first to enrich mankind with this misery.
* The Macmillan Company, New York.
This eternal accusation against Christianity I would fain write on all walls — I have letters with which I can make even the blind see — I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of revenge for which no means are too venomous, too underhand, too underground and too Petty. I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.
The civilization of our day, permeated as it is by Christian morality, Nietzsche considered an instrument for the subjection and taming of man. It suppresses his nature-given instincts, and turns him — like the stable-life of domesticated animals — into a weak, tame and humble creature that trembles before its own shadow and is aghast at every boldness and adventure. Nietzsche wants man to reach the courageous hour when he shall ask himself:
What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self — complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!
The hour when ye say: "What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!"
The hour when ye say: "What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched complacency!"
The hour when ye say: What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervor and fuel. The just however are fervor and fuel!"
The hour when ye say: "What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion."
It is not your sin — it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto heaven; your very sparingness in sin crieth unto heaven!
Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which ye should be inoculated?
Even the highest in this tame civilization are yet low. "I serve, thou servest, we serve," they say to each other, and over all rules the gold of the tradesman.
* * *
With pride Nietzsche called himself the "first Immoralist." But how beautifully he speaks of chastity!
Would that ye were perfect — at least as animals! But to animals belongeth innocence.
Do I counsel you to slay your instincts? I counsel you to innocence in your instincts.
Do I counsel you to chastity? Chastity is a virtue with some, but with many almost a vice.
And also this parable give I unto you: Not a few who incant to cast out their devil, went thereby into the swine themselves.
To whom chastity is difficult, it is to be dissuaded: lest it become the road to hell — to filth and lust of soul.
Verily, there are chaste ones from their very nature; they are gentler of heart, and laugh better and oftener than you.
They laugh also at chastity and ask: "What is chastity?"
Is chastity not folly? But the folly came unto us, and' not we unto it.
We offered that guest harbor and heart: now it dwelleth with us — let it stay as long as it will.
The relation of Christianity to erotic love Nietzsche appropriately characterized in the following aphorism: "Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; certainly he did not die of it, but degenerated to vice."
* * *
Nietzsche first attracted attention by his annihilating attack on David Strauss — the author of the "Life of Jesus," the "Old and New Faith" — who was then considered a great apostle of enlightment. Nietzsche singled out Strauss as the typical representative of philistine culture, coining the characteristic term, Bildungsphilister, — descriptive of the intellectual plebeians in the realm of knowledge and taste, who are perfectly content in the sterile delusion that the Truth has already been found and all that is necessary is to introduce it, properly frocked and trained. This type of intellectual philistine Nietzsche confronts with the unfettered intelligence, the unconventional, solitary thinker, who is not to be met with on the beaten path, and who knows that the "great men" were always in search of truth, but that it is not a thing to be captured and caged for all time.
Nietzsche's next labors dealt with a criticism of the study of history. The latter, he finds, is over-estimated. The present suffers from an over-consumption of historic education; it is a sort of mental luxury, an intellectual patchwork of variegated colors. It has blinded and stultified modern man, robbed him of character and personality, and turned him into a mere onlooker, without the power of initiative or strength — a sombre eunuch, a walking encyclopedia ornamented with the gilt index of objectivity. Such a one is a concrete abstraction, that boasts to understand everything, to consider everything objectively, to know the cause and origin of all things. He can be roused neither by hatred nor love, for is not everything as it is, because of Necessity? Indeed, the boasted education and culture of our day is not a thing of life, not a matter of real understanding: it merely treats of it. It can make philistines and scholars; but it cannot produce men, individuals that themselves make history, that defy history and so-called reality: men that care nought for "thus it is", but strive with all the energy and strength of their will for "Thus it shall be".
At this period Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner are Nietzsche's masters. In the art of Wagner he finds the elements of the culture of the future; in the school of Schopenhauer men may mature to make that culture a reality. With these two masters we can learn to be unzeitgemäss, rise beyond the tendencies of our day, arm ourselves against our time. They possess the honesty that does not blink in the face of considerations: they have boldly exposed their breasts to the shafts of their time; they have gone into the wilderness and were unafraid to be alone; they have saved themselves from becoming-moral and intellectual, fossils, they refused to be molded into the form which the cultured people of today consider the only proper one. And thus they have set an example for the coming generations.
From Schopenhauer and Wagner Nietzsche draws a metaphysical philosophy that found expression in "The Birth of Tragedy."
* * *
A second period begins. The faith in Wagner is dying: the hero of his youth is looked upon with suspicion, as a Rattenfänger von Hameln, who with mystically sensual melodies tries again to decoy men to the Golgotha of the bleeding Saviour, to prostrate themselves with contrition. Nietzsche is filled with a great disgust. He feels as if he had cast the enthusiasm of his youth into the mire; like a man broken down with Severe illness he feels himself. But by degrees he recovers his health and is rejuvenated. Like a care-free wanderer he wends his way through all the regions of the mind, biding but a short while in any one place. And when he again appears in public, it is with a new book that mirrors his being from a new angle. He now speaks as one emerged from beneath a heavy weight, one who has risen from the darkness and entered into the light. "Human all too Human" is in point of style and contents the forerunner of Zarathustra, the "Geneology of Morals," the philosophy of "Beyond Good and Evil." He choses the form of aphorism to express his bold thoughts, which now proclaim war against the philosophic systems and especially against metaphysics. All philosophic systems are fata morgana that mislead and dupe man; but the worst deceiver is metaphysics: it falsifies the text of nature and relegates the true meaning of life to the Hinterwelt — the world beyond.
This new Nietzsche is already the one that later speaks in Zarathustra:
I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.
Despisers of life are they themselves, decayed and poisoned, of whom the earth is weary; so away with them!
Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy, but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfullest sin; and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth.
To make peace between man and the earth, it is necessary to eradicate from the world the "evil conscience." For at all times there have been many who lived in evil without conscience, while many good men lack the feeling of a good conscience. An evil conscience is like a dog biting into a stone — it is stupidity. There is no radical difference between good and evil. Nature knows only relative differences, and Kant who wanted to establish the good by means of the categoric imperative, therefore became,' in philosophy, the great Chinaman of Koenigsberg. In opposition to the dogmas of morality, philosophy, and religion it must always be emphasized that everything is subject to question, and nothing is finite. "A thousand paths are there which have never yet been trodden; a thousand salubrities and hidden islands of life. Unexhausted and undiscovered is still man and man's world."
How often we believe that we have firm hold of a truth, and yet hold words merely! Beware of words, for every word is a prejudice.
Between "Human All Too Human" and "Thus spake Zarathustra" appeared "The Dawn of Day'' and "Joyful Wisdom." The magic and beauty of early dew is in these works, so rich in thought about moral prejudices. To read them is to behold a man liberated from darkness, walking erect toward beautiful vistas of light. The sunshine of joy envelops him and glows serenely through life and death. He seeks the solitude that so few can bear today. Yet he does not run away from life like a nun that knows nought of it; rather does he, as a thinker, retire from the world, because he understands men. The solitude is the best abode for the wholesome, the free man, for the world is full of the petty and the revengeful who darken the sun and poison life.
To live like a bird that goes and comes at will and carries no label in its bill! This is the sesame that opens up all splendors of life: Live boldly and dare danger! Build your castle on the Vesuvius, sail your ship on the unexplored seas; love the habits of the moment, and regard everything with suspicion that tends to estrange you from yourself, that becomes rigid and rooted. The noble character is unreasonable, daring, reckless; it is the sign of a low nature always to keep in mind his advantage, never losing sight of the practical. The proud man purposely ignores the judgment of the world about him, be it good or bad. Indeed, he absolves men in advance for their gossip, past and future.
It is not noble to hide the wretchedness of soul beneath moral concepts, as miserable bodies are hidden by clothes. To clad the world with ethical significance is as senseless as to ascribe to the sun particular sex. Subjection to morality is not in itself moral: it may be caused by slavishness, hypocrisy, vanity, self-seeking, resignation. It is always the strong and evil spirits that lead the human mind forward. The development of moral concepts takes place through attacks upon the dominant, the established. The supreme instinct in man is the will to power; it is the demon in us that urges us forward. It is even the hidden spring of charity.
A clear exposition of his criticism of morality Nietzsche gives in "Beyond Good and Evil," and the "Geneology of Morals." He contrasts slave morality with that of the master. Slave morality and slave insurrection began with Judaism and Christianity, continued in the Reformation and the French Revolution, and threatens to culminate in Democracy, Socialism, and labor barracks. To slave morality Nietzsche opposes the man who is not content with the life of the herd in the valley. Long live the Superman, for the gods are dead — thus speaks Zarathustra, the godless. The Superman is not the goal; rather is he the bridge toward it. He is the one who overcomes the herd, the commonplace men held fast in the web of superstition, of petrified "eternal truths," like dead flies hanging on a spider thread. "There, — look thither, my brethren! Do ye not see it, where the State ceaseth, the rainbow and the bridges of the Superman?"
In "Zarathustra" the philosophy of Nietzsche reaches its clearest expression; it becomes flesh and blood in this great destroyer, pathfinder, and breaker of old images. It is a book that affects one like a fiery wine, like a revelation — an experience that abides thoughout one's life.
The works of Friedrich Nietzsche have recently for the first time been published in this country in a complete English edition. And though the editorial and translatorial interpretation is often awkward and incorrect, yet no one should fail to become acquainted with this inspiring philosopher. To know him will, in every case, redound to the enrichment of one's heart, mind, and taste. The edifice he reared towers to the heights.
* * *
The splendid Concert and Literary Evening given on October 25th by our indefatigable comrades of the Group "Friends of Art and Education," of Brownsville, N. Y., in honor of Comrade Berkman's Book, proved a great success in every respect. After deducting all the expenses of the big undertaking, the Group donated $35.00 towards the costs of the publication of "Prison Memoirs."
No less inspiring an event was the Banquet given by the "Friends of Art and Education," on November i6th, on which occasion revolutionists of various camps joined In expressing appreciation of the past life and recent literary achievement of Comrade Alexander Berkman.
OWING to other important matters, we have neglected to acknowledge receipts of money for various funds. We publish the donations now, at the same time thanking our friends for their ever ready and and solidaric support in behalf of the various needs of the movement.
GUSSIE WINN FUND.
N. Feingold, Boston. $1.00; L. Warner, Boston, $1.00; Italian Socialists, Waterbury, Conn., $3.65; Cronaca Sowersiva, $3.00; Nancy D. Pearmain, $5.00; Comrades of Springfield, Mass., per Cronaca Sowersiva, $14.50; Comrades of Frankfort, Ill., $2.50; G. Galeotti, Columbus, Kas., $10.00; R. N. Douglas, Postville, la., $1.00; Peter Perruchou, Smuggler, Colo., 50c.; Chas. Cavis, Detroit, $1.00; P. Secco, Cuba, Ill., $1.00; C. A. Miller, Moreno, Cal., $1.25; Mother Earth Readers, Vancouver, B. C, $2.00; per Freie Arbeiter Stimme, $6.00; F. Trandorfer, N. Y., $1.00; B. Kerr, Brooklyn, $5.00; Cronaca Sowersiva, $5.38; C. Gleeser, $2.00; Ben Capes, St. Louis, $2.00; Collection' E. G. Jewish Meeting, N. Y., $7.50; Collection E. G. English Meeting, N. Y., $28.00; H. E. Sonden, St Elmo, Ten., $1.00.
ALEXANDER ALDAMAS DEFENSE FUND.
11th Nov. Commemor. Meeting, N. Y., $24.07; Kropotkin Jubilee, Carnegie, Hall, N. Y., $50.00; E. G. Jewish Meeting, N. Y., $15.00; E. G. English Meeting, N. Y., $37.77; E. G. Chicago English Meetng, $8.33; E. G. Jewish Meeting, Chicago, $14.00; Pittsburgh E. G. Meetings, $20.30; New Castle E. G. Meeting, $7.i5; Aldamas Mass Meeting, N. Y., per A. B., $38.30; Friends of Art and Education, Brownsville, per A. B., $5.05; A. Schneaber, $5.00; turned over $17.00 ($12.00 sent by "Three Friends" and $5.00 by a comrade — name illegible) sent to us for EttorGiovannitti fund, when the latter had been closed.
ALSO COLLECTED AND FORWARDED:
To Little Falls Strike Fund: Kropotkin Jubilee, Carnegie Hall, N. Y., $75.00; nth Nov. Anniversary, N. Y., $24.07. — To Prince Rupert, B. C, Strike Fund: 11th Nov. Annivers., N. Y., $24.07. — To Jay Fox Defence, Caminita Defence, Lumber Strike, La., $25.00 each from collection Kropotkin Jubilee, Carnegie Hall, New York.
To Jack Whyte, San Diego Prison, Cal.: Collected by A. B. at Textile Hall, Providence, R. I.: J. P. Reid, T. J. Powers, A. Casey, J. Lynch, J. J. Paterson, Ed Ayers, J. Cummings, R. Casey, P. Lecomte, A. Gaston, P. King, J. Martn, Alex. Berkman, C. Cross, B. Gannon, J. Midgley, N. Schwartz, $1.00 each; F. Miller, J. Shannon, each 50c. Mother Earth, N. Y., $2.00.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE PUBLICATION FUND.
(Received per H. Kelly)
S. Rosenblatt, Atlantic City, $4.00; Kopcinell, St. Louis, $5.00; Polsky, Coffeyville, Kas., $5.00; Otto Weik, Coiville, Wash., $2.00; L. Cowdy, Middland, Ark., 25c.
Statement of ownership, management, circulation, etc., of Mother Earth, published monthly at New York. Publisher, Emma Goldman, post-office address, 55 West 28th St.; Editor, Alexander Berkman, 55 West 28th St.; Business Manager, Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 55 West 28th St. Bondholders and securityholders — there are none.
(Signed) BEN L. REITMAN, M.D., Business Manager.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this i4th day of October, 1912.
(Signed) S. SONNENSCHEIM,
[seal.] Commissioner of Deeds, New York City.
(My commission expires January i7, 1913)
The Works of Friedrich Nietzsche
Beyond Good and Evil $1.25
The Birth of Tragedy i.00
Case of Wagner; We Philologists, etc.; Nietzsche
contra Wagner i.25
The Dawn of Day i.75
Early Greek Philosophy and Other Essays .... i.25
Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography) .... 2.00
Genealogy of Morals. Poems i.25
The Joyful Wisdom i.60
Human, All Too Human. Part I i.60
Human, All-too-Human. Part II '. . i.75
On the Future of Our Educational Institutions;
and Homer and Classical Philology i.00
Thoughts Out of Season. Part I i.00
Same. Part II i.00
The Twilight of the Idols: The Antichrist .... i.75
Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book of All and None 2.00
The Will to Power. Books I and II i.60
Same. Vol. II i.60
Various Essays and Fragments. Biography and
The Gospel of Superman i.60
Postage, 15c. per volume.