Emma Goldman - Anarchism: What It Really Stands For (Anarchism & Other Essays) 2/3

they do not want to know that centralization is not only the death knell of Liberty but also of health and beauty of art and science all these being impossible in a clock like mechanical atmosphere and Arc ISM cannot but repudiate such a method of production its goal is the freest possible expression of all the latent powers of the individual Oscar Wilde defines a perfect personality as one who develops under perfect conditions who is not wounded maimed or in danger a perfect personality then is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose the mode of work the conditions of work and the freedom to work one to whom the making of a table the building of a house or the tilling of the soil is what the painting is to the artist and the discovery to the scientist the result of inspiration of intense longing and deep interest in work as a creative force that being the ideal of anarchism its economic arrangements must consist of voluntary productive and distributive associations gradually developing into free communism as the best means of producing with the least waste of human energy anarchism however also recognizes the right of the individual or numbers of individuals to arrange at all times for other forms of work and harmony with their tastes and desires such free display of human energy being possible only under complete individual and social freedom and Arc ISM directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality namely the state organised Authority or statutory law the Dominion of human conduct just as religion has fettered the human mind and as property or the monopoly of things has subdued and stifled man's needs so has the state enslaved his spirit dictating every phase of conduct all government in essence says Emerson is tyranny it matters not whether it is government by divine right or majority rule in every instance its aim is the absolute subordination of the individual referring to the American government the greatest American anarchist David Thoreau said government what is it but a tradition though a recent one endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity but each instance losing its integrity it has not the vitality and force of a single living man law never made man a whit more just and by means of their respect for it even the well-disposed our daily maid agents of injustice indeed the key note of government is injustice with the arrogance and self-sufficiency of the king who could do no wrong governments ordain judge condemn and punish the most insignificant offenses while maintaining themselves by the greatest of all offenses the annihilation of individual liberty the sweida is right when she maintains that the state only aims at instilling those qualities in its public by which it demands are obeyed and its Exchequer is filled its highest attainment is the reduction of mankind to clockwork in its atmosphere all those finer and more delicate liberties which require treatment and spacious expansion inevitably dry up and perish the state requires a taxpaying machine in which there is no hitch an Exchequer in which there is never a deficit and a public monotonous obedient colorless spiritless moving humbly like a flock of sheep along a straight high road between two walls yet even a flock of sheep would resist the chicane array of this state if it were not for the corruptive tyrannical and oppressive methods it employs to serve its purposes therefore but kuhnian repudiates the state sm9 with the surrender of the liberty of the individual or small minorities the destruction of social relationship the curtailment or complete denial even of life itself for its own aggrandizement the state is the altar of political freedom and like the religious altar it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice in fact there is hardly a modern thinker who does not agree that government organized Authority or the state is necessary only to maintain or protect property and monopolies it is proven efficient in that function only even George Bernard Shaw who hopes for the miraculous from the state under fabianism nevertheless admits that it is at present a huge machine for robbing and slave driving of the poor by brute force this being the case it is hard to see why the clever professor wishes to uphold the state after poverty shall have ceased to exist unfortunately there are still a number of people who continue in the fatal belief that government rests on natural laws that it maintains social order and harmony that it diminishes crime and that it prevents the lazy man from fleecing his fellows I shall therefore examine these contentions a natural law is that factor in man which asserts itself freely and spontaneously without any external force in harmony with the requirements of nature for instance the demand for nutrition for sex gratification for light air and exercise is a natural law but its expression needs not the machinery of government he's not the club the gun the handcuff or the prison to obey such laws if we may call it obedience requires only spontaneity and free opportunity that governments do not maintain themselves through such harmonious factors is proven by the terrible array of violence force and coercion all government's use in order to live thus Blackstone is right when he says human laws are invalid because they are contrary to the laws of nature unless it be the order of Warsaw after the slaughter of thousands of people it is difficult to ascribe to governments and a capacity for order or social harmony order derived through submission and maintained by terror is not much of a safe guarantee yet that is the only order that governments have ever maintained true social harmony grows naturally out of solidarity of interests in a society where those who always work never have anything while those who never work enjoy everything solidarity of interest is non-existent hence social harmony is but a myth the only way organized Authority meets this grave situation is by extending still greater privileges to those who have already monopolized the earth and by still further enslaving the disinherited masses thus the entire arsenal of government laws police soldiers the courts legislatures prisons is strenuously engaged in harmonizing the most antagonistic elements in society the most absurd apology for authority and laws that they serve to diminish crime aside from the fact that the state is itself the greatest criminal breaking every written and natural law stealing in the form of taxes killing in the form of war and capital punishment it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime it has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation crime is not but misdirected energy so long as every institution of today economic political social and moral conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do living a life they love to live crime will be inevitable and all the laws and the statutes can only increase but never do away with crime what does society as it exists today know of the process of despair the poverty the horrors the fearful struggle the human soul must pass on its way to crime and degradation who that knows this terrible process can fail to see the truth in these words of Peter Kropotkin those who will hold the balance between the benefits thus attributed to law and punishment and the degrading effect of the latter on humanity those who will estimate the torrent of depravity poured abroad in human society by the informer favored by the judge even and paid for in clinking cashed by governments under the pretext of aiding to unmask a crime those who will go within prison walls and there see what human beings become when deprived of liberty when subjected to the care of brutal keepers to coerce cruel words to a thousand stinging piercing humiliations will agree with us that the entire apparatus of prison and punishment is an abomination which ought to be brought to an end the deterrent influence of law on the lazy man is to observe Jumeirah consideration if society were only relieved of the waste and expense of keeping a lazy class and the equally great expense of the paraphernalia of protection this lazy class requires the social tables would contain an abundance for all including even the occasional lazy individual besides it is well to consider that laziness results either from special privileges or physical and mental abnormalities our present insane system of fosters both and the most astounding phenomenon is that people should want to work at all now anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening dulling aspect of its gloom and compulsion it aims to make work an instrument of joy of strength of color of real harmony so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope to achieve such an arrangement of life of government with its unjust arbitrary repressive measures must be done away with that best it has but imposed one single mode of life upon all without regard to individual and social variations and needs in destroying government and statutory laws anarchism proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by Authority only in freedom can man grow to his full stature only in freedom will he learn to think and move and give the very best in him only in freedom will he realize the true force of the social bonds which knit men together and which are the true foundation of a normal social life but what about human nature can it be changed and if not will it endure under anarchism poor human nature what horrible crimes have been committed in my name every fool from King to policeman from the flat headed parson to the visionless dabbler in science presumes to speak authoritative Lee of human nature the greater the mental charlatan the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature yet how can anyone speak of it today with every soul in a prison with every heart fettered wounded and maimed John Burroughs has stated that study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless their character their habits their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest with human nature caged in a narrow space whip daily into submission how can we speak of its potentialities freedom expansion opportunity and above all peace and repose alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities and our kisum then really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the Dominion of religion the liberation of the human body from the Dominion of property liberation from the shackles and restraint of government and arc ISM stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life according to individual desires tastes and inclinations this is not a wild fancy or an aberration of the mind it is the conclusion arrived at by a host of intellectual men and women the world over a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society individual liberty and economic equality the twin forces for the birth of what is fine and true in man as two methods anarchism is not as some may suppose a theory of the future to be realized through divine inspiration it is a living force in the affairs of our life constantly creating new conditions the methods of anarchism therefore do not comprise an ironclad program to be carried out under all circumstances methods must grow out of the economic needs of each place incline and of the intellectual and temperamental requirements of the individual


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