Roosevelt, Czolgosz and Anarchy
Though all earth’s systems crack;
We will not bate a single word
Nor take a letter back.
For hissing and for scorn
While some faint gleamings we can see
Of freedom’s coming morn?
Let traitors turn away,
Whatever we have dared to think
That dare we also say.
The shooting of President McKinley by Leon F. Czolgosz has brought the question of Anarchy prominently before the public mind. Unfortunately, Anarchy has been in the hands of its bitterest enemies, has been venomously misrepresented, maligned, and every species of crime laid at its door, those knowing the least about it howling the loudest against it. The Anarchists have been held up to public execration as a set of human monsters, who, hating mankind, are seeking to destroy its institutions by killing its rulers and abolishing its governments; the inference being that government is the great mother and protector of society, and that were it to be abolished the whole human race would lapse into a state of barbarism. The triumph of Anarchy, we are told, would mean the destruction of all liberty, the rending of every human tie and the annihilation of civilized society.
The thoughtful person will see at once that no such propaganda as that could be carried on in any country, were it possible—that individuals existed so excessively depraved as to espouse it. Thoroughly convinced of the justice and truth of their ideas, the Anarchists waited until the wild fury had spent itself and reason returned before attempting to dispel the utterly false ideas regarding the aims and objects of Anarchy which its enemies have so generously spread among the people; for, unlike their enemies, Anarchists always address themselves to reason and never to the blind furies—prejudice and hate.
In the following pages we propose to give a brief review of the possible causes that led up to the shooting of President McKinley, the relation the act bears toward Anarchy, a criticism of the attitude of the press, the President, and of the possible effect of legislation having for its purpose the suppression of Anarchy, closing with a short essay on Anarchy and the methods of its propaganda.
In the mad frenzy of the hour, men vied with each other in making proposals of the most atrocious methods of punishment for the Anarchists. Many gentlemen of education, professing the broadest principles of humanitarianism and Christian love—ministers and public educators—so far forgot all their former avowals and the teachings of the meek and lowly Carpenter of Nazareth, the forerunner of Anarchy, whom they profess to follow, as to cry aloud for vengeance upon the Anarchists.
This spirit of wolfishness did not manifest itself nearly so much among the common people as it did in the so-called upper strata of society. In proof of the attitude of “society” people towards the much-abused Anarchists, we will quote from the National Tribune, of Washington, DC. The editor of the Tribune moves in the highest ranks of “society,” and is much esteemed by the dignitaries of Church and State. He attends the social gatherings and costly dinners, and can rightly be said to have given expression to the views of his aesthetic and well-fed Washington society readers when he delivered himself of the following; “This is one of the times when an aroused public vengeance should have full sway, unhampered by legal interference, and every avowed Anarchist have no further grace than the time to take him to the nearest tree.”
If an Anarchist printed a venomous, inhuman suggestion like that, in reference to newspaper editors, he would be given a long term of imprisonment and his paper suppressed. But when a highly “cultured” society gentleman sits at his mahogany desk and such vile barbarity flows from the point of his gold pen, he is given a round applause and the seat of honor at the next social function. That is the difference between being an Anarchist—an honest man with unpopular opinions, and a capitalist editor—a hypocrite who panders to the vicious passions of his readers in order to retain their support of his pernicious newspaper. That such insidious vaporings could find a ready ear among the self-styled “better” class is a sad commentary upon its culture and refinement. The culture that approves such viciousness is worthy of the Cannibal Islands; certainly not of a community claiming for itself the top-notch of civilization.
If any excuse could be found for the terrible onslaught of the pulpit and press at the hour of McKinley’s death, when so many lost their patriotic heads, certainly no such excuse can be brought forth in defense of Roosevelt for his venomous attack upon Anarchy and Anarchists In his message to Congress.
Anarchy, says Roosevelt, in effect, is not the outgrowth of unjust social conditions, but the daughter of degenerate lunacy, a vicious pest, which threatens to uproot the very foundation of society if it is not speedily stamped out by the death, imprisonment, and deportation of all Anarchists, insinuating that he is the right man in the right place at the moment of society’s great danger. He recommends to Congress that special laws be passed dealing most strenuously with Anarchy; and the party puppets have flooded the clerks with a most ludicrous assortment of anti-Anarchist bills.
“Anarchist speeches and writings are essentially seditious and treasonable,” foams the rough rider. But the “Century Dictionary,” recognized as a much higher authority on definitions, has a different story to tell:
“Anarchy.— A social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all direct government of man by mail as the political ideal; absolute individual liberty.”
If we are to accept this latter definition as against Roosevelt’s, it will be seen that his attack is leveled against those who are fighting for Liberty—and this is the point we want to bring out most clearly in the course of our essay, Roosevelt is training his batteries upon the purveyors of Liberty, declaring it treason for them to write or speak of a future when society will not need a president or a congress to squander billions of wealth annually upon wars and the coronation of European kings. If anything should sound treasonable to the ear of a true American, it ought to be the vicious attack of Roosevelt upon Liberty under the guise of an attack upon a bogie he has set up and called “Anarchy.” He trusts to the ignorance of the people, not to their intelligence; he is so fond of telling them at election time, to think Anarchy a pest, that in stamping it out he may also stamp out every radical idea and clear the way for the full consummation of Morgan’s and Rockefeller’s ideal of an empire.
Nothing short of absolute ignorance or wilful knavery could have inspired the utter misrepresentation of Anarchy which Roosevelt’s message contains. His attack is as vicious as it is untruthful; his language bombastic, and is a beautiful contrast to the tender, ambiguous phraseology of that portion of his message devoted to the trusts. His screed was assuredly not addressed to the citizens’ intelligence, but to the low, rough-riding, animal-killing passions, and inspired by that shoot-a-fleeing-enemy-in-the-back sentiment which pervades the atmosphere of Washington.
It was exceedingly thoughtful, if not very manly, on the part of Roosevelt to direct such a malicious attack upon Anarchy and the man that made him president. For, had he passed the subject quietly by, or spoken less strenuously, there might have been some among his subjects wicked enough to have hinted that perhaps he secretly rejoiced in the perpetration of an act that landed him with a bound and without the fatigue and worry of a political campaign upon the uppermost round of the ladder of his life’s ambition. But now, since he has so ably availed himself of his literary talent, none, except indeed the “vile” Anarchists, will dare to question the fathomless depths of his sorrow. Indeed, it may readily be seen, if one but glance at his masterful literary effusion, that nothing but a supreme hurst of patriotism, seeing his country In such imminent danger from the Anarchists, could have induced Roosevelt to tear himself away from the quiet seclusion of the Senate chamber, don the flowing robes of office and assume the arduous duties of President.
If Anarchism is what Roosevelt would have us believe It to be, a peace-loving, common-sense people will dismiss it at once to the oblivion to which it rightfully belongs without the heroic intervention of Roosevelt and his Congress of political spoilsmen. If, on the contrary, it is what every investigator knows it to be—a criticism of the present unjust state of society, with its billionaires and paupers, and an effort to show the people a better and more truly civilized and equitable mode of social production and consumption, where each individual will have free access to the means of life, can share fully the product of his toil and enjoy all the benefits of liberty—full Liberty, not the Liberty granted by law; for Anarchists claim Liberty as a natural inalienable right of every individual, and any “granting” of it is simply the removal of some criminal political restriction—if, we repeat, Anarchy represents an honest effort of intelligent men and women to solve the great social problem now crying out so bitterly for solution, by analyzing history, showing the trend of evolution, and advising the people to follow it and cease being led astray by the Rockefellers, Morgans, and their tools in office and elsewhere, then, we say, Roosevelt has no right to interfere. And in trying to prevent the spread of these ideas he assumes the role of a tyrant, and must be classed with the kings and despots of the Old World.
If men have not the privilege to think and speak differently from the President and the ruling class, which, let it not be forgotten, is the millionaire class, without being hung, cast into prison and deported, then we may as well give up prattling about our “Free Country” and admit at once that it is a Despotism.
Before the Revolution our forefathers complained of the despotism of King George in suppressing free speech and imposing taxation without representation. They rose in rebellion against these wrongs, and were not satisfied with redressing them alone, but, on the advice of Anarchist Tom Paine, who saw how well the people governed themselves during the period of the rebellion when there was no government—Anarchy—in these colonies, raised the further and more vital question of the right of the King to rule over them at all. They dismissed the King and elected a President—changing the form but not the substance of the evil under which they had suffered. However, in framing their Constitution they were particular that the abuses under which they suffered the most when the King ruled should not be repeated under the rule of the President. Therefore, the freedom of speech was especially provided for in the Constitution. But Patrick Henry’s warning, that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” was not heeded by the people. And, gradually, as the power of the people HAS been supplanted by the power of the trusts, that freedom HAS been abridged and annulled, until today we see the President and Congress preparing laws for the punishment of those who speak and write about a social philosophy with which they do not agree.
This is common to all rulers, whether elected of God or of the People: that, being rulers, they rule In the manner best calculated to serve their own ends; and all this cant about the people ruling is the veriest nonsense. Constitutional checks even do not thwart them, for they either openly violate the Constitution or cunningly interpret it to suit their purposes.
Roosevelt, working upon the credulity of the people and their blind faith in the pulpit and press, is endeavoring to defeat the very letter of the Constitution by having laws passed ostensibly against a bugaboo it suits his purpose to give the name Anarchy, but really and actually against free speech and free press. That will be the entering wedge. Once such laws are on the statute books the rest will be easy. All radical editors and speakers may be cast into jail and left there to rot.
Anarchists have no fear of any laws Roosevelt may enact for the suppression of Anarchy. For they know only too well, if he and Congress do not, the utter futility of attempting to legislate ideas out of the country. Certain individuals may be persecuted. Persecution manures the soil upon which Ideas grow. Hang a man on a scaffold and yon hang his ideas on the Stars.
The wholesale arrest of Anarchists and the sacking of their homes without even the warrant of law when a copy of an Anarchist paper was found in the pocket of Czolgosz, their retention for weeks in jail and their final discharge without a particle of evidence or cause for their arrest other than the fact of their being Anarchists, has done more for the spread of Anarchy than years of agitation by the Anarchists themselves. Even Roosevelt’s tirade helps the cause along, for since its publication very many people, stimulated by its fierceness and not will tug to take him as the sole authority on Anarchy, have evinced a desire to investigate further, That is all the Anarchists want, and very many of them are willing to submit to such persecution quite often if by no other means can the people be drawn to an investigation of their ideas.
If the Revolutionary traditions of the country are to be outraged by the passage of medieval legislation against “Anarchy” it will be easy for every Anarchist to evade them. In the first place, the “Anarchy” that Roosevelt speaks about has no existence outside the spacious recesses of his rancorous Presidential imagination; and, secondly, no man need proclaim himself an Anarchist, or that what he writes or speaks is Anarchy. How is Roosevelt to know what is Anarchy unless he catches the sound of the word or sees it printed? Who is to decide what utterances are Anarchistic and therefore “treasonable?” Are the learned gentlemen of the club and pistol to be stationed at every meeting place and be the censors of speech; and won’t it first be necessary to open classes in sociology in every police station in the country for their instruction? And must not the judges, state’s attorneys and press censors be also instructed on the subject if they are to render intelligent and “just” decisions upon the “crime of Anarchy?” Must we not station one or more thoroughly instructed censor, at a good salary in every town and city in the country? Must they not have power to say what can and what cannot be printed? And then what shall have become of our boasted freedom of speech; and won’t ours then be a country like Russia—or worse, a despotism complete?
History is surely repeating itself. The martyrdom suffered by the Christians under Nero is to be visited upon the Anarchists under Roosevelt The Christians were accused of every conceivable crime. No charge was heinous enough to lay at their doors. They were hunted down like wild beasts. Nero fed them to the tigers for the amusement of the aesthetic, and “cultured” Roman “upper class,” Roosevelt would feed the Anarchists to the disease germs that infect his jails; but his efforts to stamp out Anarchy will be as fruitless as were Nero’s to stop the growth of Christianity.
Granting Czolgosz was an Anarchist, what sort of reasoning is it whereby every Anarchist in the country is to be held responsible for his act and Anarchy suppressed? When Guiteau, a Republican, killed President Garfield no one suggested the suppression of the Republican party; and when Pendergast, a Catholic, killed Mayor Harrison no one thought of deporting all the Roman Catholics. Why not have fastened Guiteau’s offence upon the Republican party, and Pendergast’s upon the Roman Church? The idea is absurd. But how much less absurd than the attempt of Roosevelt to hold Anarchy responsible for the act of Czolgosz?
In placing the blame of McKinley’s death upon the Anarchists. Roosevelt, to be logical, must himself accept responsibility for the death of Garfield and the recently cowardly murder—a cowardly murder, because the assassin hid himself, fearing to stand out in the open and take the consequences of his act, as did Czolgosz—from ambush of Governor Goebel of Kentucky; an inherently vile and contemptible act, for the murder, if not committed by the Republican candidate himself, was committed by one of his paid henchmen that he might plant himself in the murdered man’s seat which he immediately did. Czolgosz killed McKinley because he regarded him as one of the chief instruments with which a cruel system of capitalism was exploiting himself and his fellows. Czolgosz killed McKinley because he loved his fellowmen more than his own life; and no rational-minded person, even though he condemn the act in itself, can fail to recognize the nobility of character that will inspire a man to give up his own life, hoping thereby to call attention to the wrongs being perpetrated upon humanity.
At all times and in all ages the men who have been loved most were those who did most for their fellowmen, and what more can any man do than give up his life for his kind? It is the motive which inspires an act that makes it good or bad. A pure motive lends purity to a rash act. If the act of Czolgosz were inspired by some personal grievance he might have had against McKinley, if it were the result of some real or fancied personal injury, all men alike might justly regard him as a common assassin. But Anarchists and many who are not Anarchists discriminate between acts inspired by motives of narrow personal revenge and those acts performed with the hope of benefiting humanity. Hence, they do not class Czolgosz as a common assassin, but as a lover of mankind. Instead of condemning him, they try to explain the causes which actuated his deed.
Czolgosz had learned from personal observation in the various cities which he visited that thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, of his fellow beings were struggling desperately with the pangs of hunger, while he read in the papers of the $50,000 feasts of the rulers and exploiters of those same struggling ones. He had seen troops sent to Chicago, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, Idaho, Brooklyn and elsewhere to help the rich defeat the poor workingmen who struck against starvation wages by shooting them down like dogs. He had seen the working of McKinley’s policy of “benevolent assimilation” in the Philippines, how thousands of liberty-loving natives were being massacred for the “crime” of resisting the invasion of his troops—all those wrongs and many more grouped themselves in his mind and moved his feeling heat to pain. Tortured to the limit of endurance by the sight of a suffering humanity, he registered a final protest against a cruel system that starved men, women, and children while food lies rotting in the storehouses. McKinley was a prominent representative of a vicious system of wage slavery which is oppressing the people, and for that Czolgosz slew him.
The shooting was a social act, a mere incident in the great struggle going on between the oppressed and oppressors, between the forces in society which are making for progress and those which are attempting to block the onward march of Evolution.
Czolgosz was an implement in the hands of Evolution, and to condemn him for his act would be as silly as to condemn the flood for sweeping away the village built in the bed of the river. Through experience, people have learned that it is safest to build their villages on the heights. And so, through a further experience with the innumerable forces that surround them, and of which the act of Czolgosz was a part, that it is safest and best to build their society upon the heights of individual self-government and to cease ruling and exploiting each other at the point of the bayonet and the muzzle of the cannon.
McKinley reaped only that which he had sown. He armed men with the most improved implements of destruction and sent them forth to shoot down men striking for bread at home and defenseless men, women and children in the Philippines who have dared to assert a right once so dear to every American—the right of self-government. And as McKinley has made war upon these people, exterminating and enslaving them, when an individual, exasperated by such tyranny, makes war upon him, there is no just cause for complaint. All that can be done is to learn the lesson suggested by an act inspired by the wrongs of government and the consequent misery resulting therefrom.
To say that Czolgosz was inspired to commit his act by Anarchist speeches and literature explains no more than to say he was inspired by reading the Declaration of Independence, which lays it down as a principle of nature that all men are created free and equal and entitled to Liberty and happiness, all of which blessings he saw, without the aid of an Anarchist telescope, that himself and his class were denied absolutely. But if he had studied Anarchy and learned the truth that Labor creates all wealth, that to the producers belong the product, and that by the eternal law of Justice and Equity only the producer should enjoy it; if he learned that the rich and mightly American Plutocracy appropriated the wealth produced by the American worker, robbed him by all the devices their crafty brains are capable of conceiving, Taxes, Rent, Interest, and Profit being the legal names for the principal forms of robbery; that through the liberal distribution of a portion of this plunder, politicians, preachers and newspapers are purchased to glorify the system of robbery and keep the toilers in ignorance of the fraud being perpetrated upon them, by feeding their minds upon garbled news, perverted history, religious cant and patriotic twaddle; if, we repeat, he learned these few of the many unpleasant truths that might be mentioned about our detestable system of wage slavery, don’t blame Anarchy, unless you want that the truth shall not be known. If you do not want to know the truth, then the thing to do is proceed at once and get rid of the Anarchists, Socialists, and a host of “dangerous” elements which “infest” society. Deport the Anarchists to some desert island or hang them as did the Chicago police at the bidding of the rich legal robbers of Labor in 1887.
But they have found that hanging will not do, that, for every Anarchist hanged (legally murdered, as Governor Altgeld proved) thousands have sprung up, and that thousands are being attracted to the cause every year by reading the famous speeches they delivered before the court. And the cowardly vengeance perpetrated upon the body of Czolgosz will not tend to impress humane people overmuch with respect for government.
The wrath of government is a terrible wrath, its vengeance a double vengeance, a hideous and ghastly vengeance. It crisped the life and soul of its victim with the powerful electric spark; and ere the heart had yet stopped beating, and while the blood was still warm in his veins—the vengeful thirst for gore not yet satiated—it burned his limped body in acid and lime. Oh, thou government! Merciful exampler of Christian love! Is it thou who would guide the race of Man to a higher and a nobler plane of life? By thy acts we know thee, and for thy acts you are condemned by all men who have eyes and can see.
To show that the Anarchists are not alone in the belief that government is the expression of the chief evil in society—the desire to exploit the labor of others—we append quotations from a few of the world’s great thinkers:
“Law grinds the poor, and the rich men rule the law.”—Oliver Goldsmith.
“Government is, in its essence, always a force working in violation of Justice.”— Leo Tolstoi.
“No person will rule over me with my consent. I will rule over no man.”—Wm. Lloyd Garrison.
“Government is the great blackmailer.... No good ever came from the law. All reforms have been the offspring of Revolution.”—Buckle.
“In vain you tell me that artificial government is good, but that I fall out only with the abuse. The thing—the thing itself is the abuse.”— Edmund Burke.
“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one part of the citizens to give it to another.”— Voltaire.
“The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.”—Thomas Paine.
“Whatever form it takes—Monarchic, Oligarchic or Democratic—the government of man by man is illegitimate and absurd.... As man seeks justice in equity, so society seeks order in Anarchy.”—Proudhon.
“Did the mass of men know the actual selfishness and injustice of their rulers, not a government would stand a year; the world would ferment with Revolution.”—Theodore Parker.
“I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live with out government, enjoy in the general mass an infinitely greater degree happiness than those who live under governments.... That government is best which governs least”—Thomas Jefferson.
“That government is best which governs not at all, and when men are prepared for it, that is the kind of government they will have.” —Henry Thoreau.
“A man who cannot be acquainted with me, taxes me, ordains that part of my labor shall go to this or that whimsical end; not as I, but as he happens to fancy. Behold the consequences! Of all debts, men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is that on government ... Every actual State is corrupt.... Good men must not obey the laws too well,”— Emerson.
“Law in its guarantee of the results of pillage, slavery and exploitation, has followed the same phase of development as capital; twin brother and sister they have advanced hand in hand, sustaining one another with the sufferings of mankind.... Judiciary, police, army, public instruction, finance—all serve one God. capital; all have but one object—to facilitate the exploitation of the worker by the capitalist. “—Peter Kropotkin.
“By no process can coercion be made equitable. The freest form of government is only the least objectionable form. The rule of the many by the few, we call tyranny. The rule of the few by the many (Democracy) is tyranny also, only of a less intense kind.”—Herbert Spencer.
“There is no government, however restricted in its powers, that may not, by abuse, under pretext of exercise of its constitutional authority, drive its unhappy subjects to desperation”—John Randolph.
Thus we see what a loathsome thing is government to the great man. The Thinkers, Philosophers, Humanitarians, the men to whom we owe the progress of society, have always abhorred government, and their efforts have been to teach men to govern themselves, and not sublet the task of governing to corrupt rascals or even honest men. For honest men sometimes aspire to office, hoping thereby to correct the evils of society. But they very soon discover their mistake. They find honesty a very burdensome thing in office, and is largely outweighed by rascality. So they must either succumb to the temptation of spoils and become rascals themselves or retire in disgust, leaving the whole corrupt business in the hands of the Hannas, Roosevelts, Crokers, and Platts, gentlemen who have made the trade of governing a profitable business, and with whom those who love truth and honesty have nothing in common.
It has always been those who have analyzed and criticized the forms of society that have awakened the people to their errors and spurred them on to better modes of life. Great minds have ever bewailed man’s inhumanity to man.
It was the great Heine who said: “This old society has long since been judged and condemned. Let Justice be done. Let this old world be broken to pieces, ... where innocence has perished, where man is exploited by man. Let the whited sepulchres full of lying and iniquity be utterly destroyed.”
And Victor Hugo painfully asks:
“What kind of society is it which is based upon inequality and injustice to such an extent as this?”
Wendell Philips, the giant champion of Truth and Freedom In America speaks thus:
“Whenever you have met a dozen earnest men pledged to a new idea—wherever you have met them, you have met the beginning of a Revolution... Revolution is as natural a growth as an oak— it comes out of the past.... Every line in our history, every interest of civilization, bids us rejoice when the tyrant grows pale and the slaves rebellious.”
Patrick Henry, who roused Virginia to arms against King George, said:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
“Wreck of all order,” cry the multitude,
“Art thou, and war and murder’s endless rage.”
O, let them cry. To them that ne’er have striven,
The truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word’s right meaning was not given.
They shall continue blind among the blind.
But thou, word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
That sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future!—Thine secure
When each at least unto himself shall waken.
Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest’s thrill?
I cannot tell ... but It the earth shall see!
I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will
Not rule, and also ruled I will not be!
—John Henry Mackay.
Anarchy springs from a higher conception of human relations awakening in the breast of the mass of mankind as a result of the experience of the ages. Once the dream of the poet and philosopher, it is now upon the lips of the workers in factory, mine, and farm. The enemies of Anarchy—the exploiters of labor whose privileges it would destroy—raise the cry of conspiracy against it. As well to charge Evolution with being a conspiracy. If the electric light is a conspiracy against the tallow candle, if the Pullman train is a conspiracy against the stage coach, if the self-binding harvester is a conspiracy against the sickle, if the modern civilized man is a conspiracy against the savage—then Anarchy is a conspiracy against government. Well, if you like, Anarchy is a conspiracy. It is the conspiracy of the future against the past, of the rose against the weed, of love against hate, of humanity against barbarity, of knowledge against ignorance, of progress against retrogression, of reason against belief, of science against superstition, of liberty against slavery, of honesty against hypocrisy, of truth against falsehood, of rationalism against mysticism. This is the conspiracy of Anarchy. Now let the governments of the world proceed to stamp It out.
Anarchy gives to the words Liberty and Freedom a new meaning.
Govern thyself and thyself alone.
Thy neighbor’s freedom hold sacred as thy own.
Thus doth Anarchy—the highest present conception of human freedom—address the individual.
Restrict your rule exclusively to yourself and the armies and navies of the world will immediately vanish, and millions of men whose special art is now the taking of human life will turn their myriad hands to its preservation and enjoyment. The gory-handed wholesale murderers who now glory in deeds of war, because it is popular and their only means of raising to high station, will have to seek other and more humane methods of gaining popular favor.
The countless millions of wealth, the produce of your brain and brawn, that you now lavish on petty statesmen, who write laws and keep you in “order,”—and slavery—may be turned into a means for your own happiness and development when you have discovered order and Liberty within the confines of your own being.
The enormous profits and fabulous wealth accumulations of the captains of industry, the promoters of trusts and combines, who you now permit to control and regulate the work of your hands and the thoughts of your mind, will vanish like darkness before the light ere the dawn of the era of “no masters high or low” has well begun.
As no man made the land, it is therefore wrong for any man to claim it as his own and charge rent for the use of it. To each man what he himself can use; to no man any more. There will then be enough for all and to spare. To the builder belongs the house. When land is free all men may build for themselves, in compliance with their own ideas and desires, the homes which will furnish them with comfort and help secure to them the full enjoyment of health and happiness.
The factory and mill are built by those who work them, but who must sell themselves for a wage to the men who claim them as their own. Anarchy says, to the builders belong the factory and mill. By their united labor have they built them and the great machinery for lessening the work of creating the necessaries and comforts of life, and unitedly should they control, produce and enjoy the product of their skill and invention, and no man take more of the responsibility than his equal share. Then each man will be the social equal of his neighbor, none claiming to be greater or entitled to more of the social product than equity dictates. The workers in factory, mine, and on the farm, each requiring the product of the other’s toil, will exchange on a basis of equity. Under Freedom—Anarchy—injustice will be impossible.
Free access to land and other means of production will destroy every incentive to crime. The stomach makes nearly all the thieves and murderers. Hunger makes men desperate. Desperate men take desperate risks and perform desperate deeds. Crime is a social disease which multiplies with injustice, and which only Freedom will eliminate.
Under Freedom—Anarchy—an enlightened public opinion will take the place of laws and jails. The basis of society being love and comradeship, instead of brute force, as today, government and politics, which breed hate among meant, will not be tolerated. If any restraint will be needed, in ostracism will be found a sufficient punishment. No man likes to be shunned by his neighbors. Indeed, so strong is the love of approbation that only under the strain of severe necessity does any man ever do ought that incurs the displeasure of his fellows.
Peace, Love, and Brotherhood are the inevitable consequences of Anarchy.
“Your Anarchist ideals are very beautiful,” it will be said, “but your methods of propaganda are barbarous.” Be not too hasty, friend. Have you read the Anarchists’ literature? Have you studied their daily lives? No! Then wait until you do so before pronouncing a verdict against them. If you learned that very many Anarchists, so far from being the bloodthirsty hyenas you no doubt picture them, are vegetarians, so revolting to their moral senses is the taking of life even of the lower creation, you would be surprised.
Anarchist groups are not suicide clubs organized to kill kings and rulers. Such lies are terrible slanders upon the intelligence of the Anarchists. The Anarchists, of all men, are the last to entertain the delusion that a handful of intellectual weaklings called kings and rulers are so powerful that their removal will issue in the Millenium. It is not the rulers, but the ideas existing in the minds of the people, that enslave them.
Who has ever seen a government? All we see is the policeman’s club.
But the Anarchist sees the idea behind it, and knows that immediately that idea is destroyed the club will fall harmlessly to the ground. The fight, then, is one of ideas—the Anarchist idea of Freedom against the governmentalist’s idea of authority.
The Anarchist is essentially a man of ideas, and he is forever searching for fertile soil in which to plant them. With tongue and pen, he battles with the hosts of ignorance and authority. Being an Evolutionist, he knows that only through ceaseless agitation will his ideas gradually take root and finally become the dominant thought of the world.
The Anarchist has no elaborate program by which to issue in the “reign of Anarchy;” he is too sensible for that. He knows the world does not move according to programs; that programs soon become crystalized codes, which, instead of facilitating progress, obstruct its path. A program or platform is good only for today; tomorrow we shall need a different one. When the time comes for the transformation of society, the means will suggest themselves, After the revolution has taken place In the minds of the people, it may outwardly take the form of an insurrection. This has been the history of society, and will surely repeat itself while government persists, as it has always done, in preventing the gradual application and practice of the new ideas as they develop. All this, however, will take care of itself. The Anarchist concerns himself, now, only with the spreading of his ideas of an ideal society, knowing that once they have taken a firm hold on the public mind the practice will then be up for consideration and will solve itself, as all great questions have ever done.
Openly and boldly, then, let us proclaim the new idea, for he who compromiseth is a coward. Break away from the old mooring. Adjust yourself to the new mode of life, and your happiness will be increased a thousand fold. Raise in your might and shatter the bonds that bind you to a code of two thousand years past. Cast aside the customs your evolution has outgrown. Awaken to the new.
Anarchy infuses the human heart with feelings of comradeship and a love of Liberty, Justice and right-doing beyond comparison. That one word—Anarchy—encompasses all the hopes and aspirations of the new Humanity, that Evolution is slowly but surely developing among us. Marching across the threshold of the new century, enrapped with the crimson banner of brotherhood and holding aloft the flaming torch of Liberty, Anarchy leads the way to the land of freedom, burning as she goes the cobwebs of ignorance and superstition which ages of statecraft and priestcraft have woven across the path of progress.