Alexander Berkman: What is Communist Anarchism? - Principles and Practice



this audio production was made in collaboration with audible anarchist chapter xxviii principles and practice the main purpose of the social revolution must be the immediate betterment of the conditions for the masses the success of the revolution fundamentally depends on it this can be achieved only by organizing consumption and production so as to be of real benefit to the populace in that lies the greatest in fact the only security of the social revolution it was not the Red Army which conquered the counter-revolution in Russia it was the peasants holding on for dear life to the land they had taken during the upheaval the social revolution must be of material gain to the masses if it is to live and grow the people at large must be sure of actual advantage from their efforts or at least entertain the hope of such advantage in the near future the revolution is doomed if it relies for its existence only on the defense of mechanical means such as war and armies the real safety of the revolution is organic that is it lies in industry and production the object of the revolution is to secure greater freedom to increase the material welfare of the people the aim of the social revolution in particular is to enable the masses by their own efforts to bring about conditions of material and social well-being to rise to higher moral and spiritual levels in other words it is Liberty which is to be established by the social revolution for true liberty is based on economic opportunity without it all Liberty is a sham a lie a mask for exploitation and oppression for in the profoundest sense Liberty is the daughter of economic quality the main aim of the social revolution is therefore to establish equal Liberty on the basis of equal opportunity the revolutionary reorganization of life must immediately proceed to secure equality for all economically politically and socially the reorganization will depend first and foremost on thorough familiarity with labor and with the economic situation of the country on a complete inventory of supply on exact knowledge of the sources of raw material and on the proper organization of the labor forces for efficient management it means that statistics and intelligent workers associations are vital needs of the revolution on the day of the appeal the entire problem of production and distribution the life of the revolution is based on it it is obvious has pointed out before that this knowledge must be acquired by the workers before the revolution if the latter is to accomplish its purposes that is why the shop and factory committee dealt with in previous chapter are so important and will play such a decisive role in the revolutionary reconstruction for a new society is not born suddenly any more than a child is new social life just States in the body of the old just as the new individual life does in the mother's womb time and certain processes are required to develop it till it becomes a complete organism capable of functioning when that stays has been reached birth takes place in agony and pain socially as individually revolution to use a trite but expressive saying is the Midwife of a new social being this is true in the most literal sense capitalism is the parent of the new society the shop and factory committee the union of class conscious labor and revolutionary aims is the germ of new life in that shop committee the union worker must acquire the knowledge of how to manage his affair in the process he will grow to the perception that social life is a matter of proper organization of united effort and solidarity he will come to understand that it is not the bossing and ruling of men but free association and harmonious working together which accomplish things that it is not government in laws which produce and create make the wheat grow and the wheels turn but Concord and cooperation experience will teach him to substitute the management of things in the place of government of men in the daily life and struggles of his shop committee the worker must learn how to conduct the revolution shop and factory committees organized locally by district region and state and federated nationally will be the best body suited to carry on the revolutionary production local and state labor councils federated nationally will be the form of organization most adapted to manage distribution by means of the people's cooperatives these committees elected by workers on the job connect their shop and factory with other shops and factories of the same industry the joint Council of an entire industry that links that industry with other industries and thus is formed a federation of labour councils for the entire country cooperative associations are the mediums of exchange between country and city the farmers organized locally and federated to regionally and nationally supply the needs of the cities by means of cooperatives and receive through the ladder and exchange the products of the city industries every revolution is accompanied by a great outburst of popular enthusiasm full of hope and aspiration is the springboard of the revolution the high tide spontaneous and powerful opens up the human sources of initiative and activity the sense of equality Liberty it's the best there is in man and makes him consciously creative these are the great motors of the social revolution it's moving forces they're free and unhindered as' expression significant signifies the development and deepening of the revolution their suppression means decay and death the revolution is safe it grows become strong as long as the masses feel that their direct participants in it but they are fashioning their own lives that they are making the revolution that they are the revolution but at some moment their activities are usurped by a political party or are centered by some special organization revolutionary effort becomes limited to a comparatively small circle from which the large masses are practically excluded the natural result is that popular enthusiasm is dampened interest gradually weakens initiative languishes creativeness wanes and the revolution becomes the monopoly of a clique which presently turns dictator this is fatal to the revolution the sole prevention of such a catastrophe lies in the continued active interest of the workers through their everyday participation in all matters pertaining to the revolution the source of this interest and activity is the shop and the union the interest of the masses and their loyalty to the revolution depend further more on their feeling that the revolution represents justice and fair play this explains why revolutions have the power of rousing the people to acts of great heroism and devotion as already pointed out the mass is instinctively see in revolution the enemy of wrong and iniquity and the harbinger of justice in this sense the revolution is a highly ethical factor and an inspiration fundamentally it is only great moral principles which can fire the masses lift them to spiritual heights all popular upheavals have shown this to be true particularly so the Russian Revolution it was because of that spirit that the Russian mass is so strikingly triumph over all obstacles in the days of February and October no opposition could conquer their devotion inspired by a great and noble cause but the revolution began to decline when it had become emasculated of its high moral values when it was denuded of its elements of justice equality and Liberty their loss was the doom of the revolution it cannot be emphasized too strongly how essential spiritual values are to the social revolution these and the consciousness of the masses that the revolution also means material benefit our dynamic influences in the life and growth of the new society of the two factors the spiritual values of foremost the history of previous revolution proves that the masses were ever willing to suffer and to sacrifice material well-being for the sake of greater Liberty and justice thus in Russia neither cold nor starvation could induce the peasants and workers to aid the counter-revolution all privation and misery notwithstanding they served heroically the interests of the great cause it was only when they saw the revolution monopolized by a political party the new one liberties curtailed a dictatorship established and injustice and inequity dominant again that they became indifferent to the revolution declined to participate in the sham refused to cooperate and even turned against it to forget ethical values to introduce practices and methods inconsistent or opposed to the high moral purposes of the revolution means to invite counter-revolution and disaster it is therefore clear that the success of the social revolution depends on liberty and equality any deviation from them can only be harmful indeed this sure to prove destructive it follows that all activities of the revolution must be based on freedom and equal rights the supplies to the small things as to the great any acts or methods tending to limit liberty to creating quality and justice can only result in the popular attitude and mythical to the revolution and its best interests it is from this angle that all problems of the Revolutionary period must be considered and solved among those problems the most important are consumption and housing production and exchange this has been a production of audible anarchist you can find more audible anarchist on YouTube you




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