It’s time for anarchism to pick up a gun by Dr. Bones

Imagine for a moment you’re at a bar and there’s an immigrant in front of you.

He’s quiet, but not antisocial, casually dressed but not sloppy. He seems just like anybody else except he isn’t. What you don’t know is he’s been working as an aviation programs engineer and even helped design fly-by-wire planes, in which manual controls are entirely replaced by computers. Smart guy, very talented, “high energy” as Il Duce might say; a success story from India and right out of American mythology.

Now, behind him, a new sound; old, fearful, you hear a hellish cry: “GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY!”

Who the fuck was that? There appears to be a bit of a scuffle in the back, some guy hassling the immigrant you were just studying, but the bar manager seems to take care of it. The man, who appears to be just some old white dude, looks pissed. There’s something about him, but you can’t seem to place it. The man leaves, but in a few minutes comes back through the door. Perhaps he left something?

He shoots 3 people, two of them Indians who he mistakenly took for Muslims.

Maybe you’re at a protest this time, holding your sign and feeling the electric current of hundreds of other bodies joined in solidarity. A man emerges from the crowd, egging you on to hit him. He spits at you like a diseased raccoon and curses like a fucking sailor. Maybe he’s drunk you figure, or at least too high to really know what’s going on. Someone else pushes him away.

He pulls out a pistol and shoots them. He’ll only be charged with assault.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re not even a full year into the reign of a new emperor and already the political climate has become practically poisonous, a vile and noxious cloud not only choking the most at risk in our communities but the people seeking to defend them. People have called for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization; state governments are writing bills that allow protesters to be run over and have their property stolen from them.

It’s a situation not unlike the one faced by French Illegalists at the turn of the century:

“Against us, all arms are good; we are in an enemy camp, surrounded, harassed. The bosses, judges, soldiers, cops unite to bring us down.”

To be a thinking person in this country of barbarians is to be a criminal and with ever-increasing fervor the tribes loyal to the new Emperor aim to make war upon us. There are millions of people sitting in front of televisions as I type these words that would see nothing wrong with a few hundred lives sacrificed every year to “keep people in line” and you can be sure that folks like you and I will be among them. The cops don’t stop them, they exchange racist texts with them; they console men who kill unarmed black children and tell them what they did was just.

To be an Anarchist, a Communist, an Anti-Capitalist or Intersectional Insurgent is to be potentially marked for death. This is not a metaphor. This is real life.

If you roamed the streets of Syria with nothing but a baseball bat you’d be thought to be suicidal; if your “war against the State” consisted of nothing but flames and gasoline every fire station in the country would be well enough equipped to handle even your most daring of raids.

The people who overwhelmingly support the policies and politicians that want to see you stuffed into a coffin are getting rather shooty as of late. I ask a simple question: do you have the tools to protect not only yourself but the people you care about?

The Great Misfortune

Let’s not kid ourselves: “radicals” are about as far from “revolutionaries” as turkeys are from the T-rex. Somewhere along the line the Left stopped being dangerous and almost went extinct. After the IWW was broken in the 30’s and Labor’s power was smashed, after the ALF-CIO denounced communists and dropping acid was a stand in for revolution, the only place you could find the same current that scared the living piss out of emperors and presidents became smoke-filled college dorms or momentary marches down half-way empty streets. In essence the Left’s ideas about human liberation from the chains of capital were so heavily hunted in the physical world it ran back into our heads; like Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers the Left was thought to be extinct, the sight of a Hammer and Sickle more like the discovery of a dinosaur bone that any kind of political statement.

But times ain’t what they used to be.

Enraged by Trump’s actions and betrayed by the Democrats, the specter of radicalism has returned like an angry ghost hellbent on revenge. Millennials are tired of capitalism yet Bernie’s “political revolution” failed to deliver on anything worthwhile. Non-violence has shown itself as only a great way to get arrested.

Yes, the militant Left seems to be emerging from the ground like cicadas in the Florida summer, hisses and noises slowly building to an unshakable chorus. Signs from the previous generation still remain on the still wet wings of these new militants however. Black Bloc is back but we’re still battling over protests, people joined arm in arm around buildings are generally just a nuisance and not a blockade.

The Anarchists and Militants of all stripes have become neutered, putting us in a dangerous predicament not faced in other countries. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to be members of a gun-owning household and about six-in-ten gun household members (64%) say they “often feel proud to be American”; roughly half of all the guns in this country are possessed by just 3 percent of American adults; many of the cheapest firearms to produce (ones with open bolt actions) are specifically banned under the NFA and the Hughes Amendment, effectively keeping self-protection out of the hands of the working class.

This is not Europe, this is the United States of fucking America, a morose fiefdom where people can walk into a goddamned Starbucks with 30 rounds of armor-piercing bullets.

What this amounts to is a tangled web of dark implications too dire to think about, a hidden threat of wealthy and well-to-do patriots fully armed and very capable of destroying any gains a revolutionary movement might make in a matter days. They can afford to laugh at riots because they know when the chips are down any effective means of self-defense are firmly in the hands of one class and one ideology.

There is no specter haunting any continent besides the FAI and even then only in small spontaneous camps. Cops and Nazis alike(but I repeat myself) have stormed protests and proceeded to beat the shit out of whoever they like because they pose no threat to the ones doing the beating. Police still want to go home at the end of the day; the minute they are faced with somebody more than capable of inflicting even worse harm they can commit they suddenly become negotiators and peacemakers. Recall the inbreds at the Malthur Wildlife Reserve were treated like honorable enemies because they had fully automatic weapons that could slice a pig up in a matter of seconds.

Recall also they were all aquitted by juries and served almost no jail time.

Compare that with the protests at Standing Rock, where State forces have literally blown people’s arms off without any repercussions besides being prayed at. The camp, now in shambles, is done. The DAPL will be built, the people have failed, and all they have to show for it are bruises and injuries.

But what if the cops hadn’t been so eager to permanently maim protesters, or rush into camps? What if they had been afraid? What if Anarchism and Anti-Capitalists really were something to be afraid of again?

What if the resistance was armed?

The God That Lied

Modern protesting, a hold over from liberalism, assumes a few things:

The people in power care about what their livestock have to say.

There is some imaginary field surrounding all of us called “human rights” that these people feel morally obligated to respect.

The Enemy can be persuaded or guilted into giving up all its power to form some grand utopian cabal that spans the globe without any violence.

These ideas are ridiculous, some religious fantasy stillbirth from the 1960’s dragged around and paraded at every “demonstration” as if they were some patchouli-soaked Christ-child sent to heal us. It’s all lies. All of it. Just ask any black person.

These concepts are nothing more than implanted fictions given to you by the State to keep you docile and obedient, and were recognized as such one hundred years ago. Do bosses care about the food or shelter of the workers they fire? Do the police wonder if someone’s “rights” have been violated when they beat them with batons or shoot them on sight? They scream to you about non-violence while they steal almost every dollar you generate with the threat of force and starvation looming above you.

Rights are a fiction, a spook, and the sooner you realize the only “rights” you have are those you are willing to enforce the sooner you can join the rest of the planet in what we call life.

Enzo Martucci wrote:

“The freedom of an individual ends where his power ends.

If I want, and my power permits, I can command others. But in this case the power exercised over them is not authority because they are not bound to recognize and respect it. In fact, if they would rebel and use their power to impede my attempt at domination then all would remain free without anyone threatening to lord it over them.”

Anarchism has in effect relied on coercion: we will not work unless you do this, we will not stop rioting unless you give us this.

We can impede power plenty of ways, and lord knows radicals have learned an assortment, yet we never seem to make the idea of attempting domination a dangerous one. We walk the streets naked everyday with the sincere hope in our hearts that our weakness be respected as if our frailty was a virtue.

We protest laws that allow people to run us over and smash our skulls underneath one-thousand pounds of steel; we beg that the same people smashing us with batons eventually respect us; we don’t demand dignity, we whimper for permission to be treated as if we had any.

Is this the Anarchism we want, a tradition of asking to be human rather than demanding it? The majority of what passes for “direct action” nowadays is nothing more than calling upon the Enemy to be a better ruler instead of making ourselves ungovernable.

This tactic has never worked and the idea that any people, themselves surrounded by violent men and women defending imaginary lines carved from the corpses of millions, would believe them speaks more to strength of mass hallucination than any matters of politics.

As I write this a cop has pulled somebody over outside my window, his flashing lights a silent roar that he has caught his prey. If he does not forcibly detain his victim he will at least rob her to pay for the use of his protection racket. We will drive by, even if he beats or punches this young woman with sandy blonde hair because we are too weak to live without him.

If he killed her right now what would happen? Why shouldn’t he? What’s he got to lose? What would he even risk if he spread her brain matter everywhere in an orgy of foaming neurons and shark tank adrenaline? Nothing from her, nothing from the community around her. The slave cabins will remain quiet and after the protests are over he’ll be right back on the job.

Because he, and his entire department know they have nothing to fear. That we rely on them.

Pick Up YOUR Weapons and Declare YOUR War

I’ll say it plainly: an armed person is in command of themselves. They can not only defend themselves and thus be free from the “protection” of the police but move to enforce their own values on the world around them. When a cop tells you to take off a shirt he finds offensive(say, a Black Lives Matter t-shirt) you obey because the mere threat of violence and death is enough to make you comply. You are not sizing up the cop and wondering if you can out box him or pin him to the ground because you know no amount of muscle will stop a 9mm hollow point from ripping through your face like chemotherapy in a cancer patient.

There is no reason Anarchists can’t do the same.

Klansmen get awful scared at the sight of a loaded rifle, Nazis seem less likely to flex their muscle when they know a .357 is set to demolish in 2 seconds what took 2 years to build. To point a gun at a cop is a death sentence(unless you’re white of course), yet the mere idea that a shootout could occur is often enough to keep them on their best behavior.

Robert F. Williams was a classic example of this tactic being put into action.

“Robert F. Williams would become the leader of the Mabel, NC chapter of the NAACP and organized a black militia to fight against the Klan, much to the dislike of moderates in the Civil Rights movement. Williams was a WWII veteran and shared the skills he accumulated with his fellows to fight back against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Councils. This was shown to have quite a high level of efficacy; by simply being armed black militias were able to scare Klansmen out of action.”

Where the FUCK did THAT kind of politics go? When did we start asking for anything instead of taking it? Why have we let the enemy dictate what is acceptable for us? Why have we huddled together in weakness when we can proudly stand under our own authority?

“Revolution and insurrection,” said Max Stirner, “must not be looked upon as synonymous…The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on ‘institutions.’”

When we begin to make ourselves free we pave the way for the freedom of others.

Guns may be the great leveler: they don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to be fancy and they can be wielded by the sick or healthy, young or old, by any sex or gender. Anyone can use them to arrange the world around them.

Firearms are Anarchism in action, a tool that instantly frees you from relying on hierarchical authority. YOU can repel a burglary, YOU can stop a rape, YOU can keep racist scum from even showing their face in the neighborhood either individually or collectively; no authority is involved, no 911 to call or infrastructure to uphold, effectively making the State obsolete without relying on the spooks of “rights” or “laws” or some religious belief that “deep down everybody is good.”

When it becomes clear that threatening the life of an Anarchist by driving a car through a protest or pulling a gun at a rally becomes potentially deadly the aggravation will end. When police know they risk much more than a two-week paid vacation when they rampage through a neighborhood the harassment will cease. When it becomes clear that a rapist won’t live long enough to beg for mercy from a sympathetic judge the patriarchy will retreat.

Every anarchist with a gun in her hand is Anarchism made real, a potent force capable of holding the world accountable and demanding autonomy, the same world currently hidden behind walls, fences, badges, and uniforms that you and I have built for generation upon generation with our bare hands only to have it stolen from us by the diktats of the “markets” and the owners who treat us like cattle!

Well comrades, will you continue to let them steal from you? Will you continue to live as a peaceful and pacifist herd? Will you continue to let the State and the bourgeoisie steal your value, your time, your bodies, and your lives all while they ransom your safety for continued obedience?

Or will you begin to steal them back, one by one…

…at gun point?

If you can steal no other property from the State…

…at least steal back yourself.

“There is no communism in Russia” By Emma Goldman

Let us now turn to production and consumption, the levers of all existence. Maybe in them we shall find a degree of Communism that will justify us in calling life in Russia Communistic, to some extent at least.

I have already pointed out that the land and the machinery of production are owned by the state. The methods of production and the amounts to be manufactured by every industry in each and every mill, shop and factory are determined by the state, by the central government—by Moscow—through its various organs.

Now, Russia is a country of vast extent, covering about one sixth of the earth’s surface. It is peopled by a mixed population of 165,000,000. It consists of a number of large republics, of various races and nationalities, each region having its own particular interests and needs. No doubt, industrial and economic planning is vitally necessary for the well-being of a community. True Communism—economic equality as between man and man and between communities—requires the best and most efficient planning by each community, based upon its local requirements and possibilities. The basis of such planning must be the complete freedom of each community to produce according to its needs and to dispose of its products according to its judgment: to change its surplus with other similarly independent communities without let or hindrance by any external authority.

That is the essential politico-economic nature of Communism. It is neither workable nor possible on any other isis. It is necessarily libertarian, Anarchistic.

There is no trace of such Communism—that is to say, of any Communism—in Soviet Russia. In fact, the mere suggestion of such a system is considered criminal there, and any attempt to carry it out is punished by death.

Industrial planning and all the processes of production and distribution are in the hands of the central government. Supreme Economic Council is subject only to the authority of the Communist Party. It is entirely independent of the will or wishes of the people comprising the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. Its work is directed by the policies and decisions of the Kremlin. This explains why Soviet Russia exported vast amounts of wheat and other grain while wide regions in the south and southeast of Russia were stricken with famine, so that more than two million of its people died of starvation (1932–1933).

There were “reasons of state” for it. The euphonious has from time immemorial masked tyranny, exploitation and the determination of every ruler to prolong and perpetuate his rule. Incidentally, I may mention that—in spite of country-wide hunger and lack of the most elemental necessities of life in Russia—the entire First Five-Year Plan aimed at developing that branch of heavy industry which serves, or can be made to serve, _military_ purposes.

As with production, so with distribution and every other form of activity. Not only individual cities and towns, but the constituent parts of the Soviet Union are entirely deprived of independent existence. Politically mere vassals of Moscow, their whole economic, social and cultural activity is planned, cut out for them and ruthlessly controlled by the “proletarian dictatorship” in Moscow. More: the life of every locality, of every individual even, in the so-called “Socialist” republics is managed in the very last detail by the “general line” laid down by the “center.” In other words, by the Central Committee and Politbureau of the Party, both of them controlled absolutely by one man, Stalin. To call such a dictatorship, this personal autocracy more powerful and absolute than any Czar’s, by the name of Communism seems to me the acme of imbecility.

Lorenzo Komboa Ervin “unemployment and homelessness” from his book “Anarchism and the black revolution”

In the first three months of 1993, the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of labor Statistics listed official unemployment rates at about six million persons or just seven of the labor force. Under Capitalism half that figure is “normal” and nonsensically is considered by Capitalist economists as “full employment” even though this is millions of people consigned to economic poverty of the worst sort. But the government figures are intentionally conservative, and do not include those who have given up actively searching for jobs, the under employed (who can’t make enough to live on), the part-time workers (who can’t find a full time or steady job) and the homeless of which them are now between 3–5 million alone.

Of the 6 million people that the government does count as jobless now, less than 3 million are given any unemployment compensation or other federal or state aid; the rest are left to starve, steal or hustle for their survival. A person without a job under the Capitalist system is counted as nothing. Every worker has the human right to a job; yet under Capitalism, workers are dismissed form employment in times of business crisis, overproduction, depression or just to save labor costs through less workers and more speed-up. And some workers cannot find jobs in the Capitalist labor market because of lack of skills, or racial or social discrimination.

But the government’s figures lie, private researchers state that the total number of people who want full time jobs and thus cannot find them amounts to nearly 14.3 million persons. Clearly then this is a crisis situation of broad proportions, but all the government is doing is juggling and hiding figures. But the figures do show that Blacks, Latinos, and women are bearing the brunt of the current depression The National Urban League in its “Bidden Unemployment Index” (included as part of its annual “State of Black America” report) reports levels of 15–38 percent for Black adults 25 and older and incredible levels of 44–55% for teens and young adults 17–24 years. In fact, Black youth unemployment has not declined at all since the 1974–1975 recession. It has stayed at an official level of 35–40 percent, but in the major cities like Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, the real unemployment rate is more like 70 percent. For Black youth the unemployment rate is three to five times higher than that of white youth. Capitalism is making economic exiles of Black people as a whole. The fact is that unemployment is concentrated in the Black and Hispanic communities, and is greatly responsible for the most destructive tendencies inhuman relations and deteriorating neighborhoods. Crime, prostitution, suicide, drug addiction, gang fighting, mental illness, alcoholism, and the break up of the Black family, and other social ills — all are rooted in the lack of jobs and the denial of essential social services in their communities. It is actually racial genocide in the form of social neglect.

Unemployment is profitable for the bosses because it drives down the wages of workers and helps the employers to keep the workforce under control through this “reserve army of labor,” which are allegedly always ready to scab. Because of pervasive discrimination against Blacks, Latinos and other nationally oppressed workers, including higher levels unemployment — the jobs they do get art generally on the bottom rung. This is also profitable for the boss, and divides the working class.

Homelessness is just the most intensified form of unemployment, where in addition to loss of job or income, there is loss of housing and lack of access to social services. There are now millions of people homeless since the last 15 years, because of the Capitalist offensive to destroy the unions, beat back the gains of the civil rights struggle, and do away with the affordable housing sector in favor of yuppie gentrification in the cities. You see them in cities, big and small, and what this reflects is a total breakdown in the Capitalist State’s social services system, in addition to the heating up of the class war waged by government and the major corporations, It shows, more than anything, that Capitalism worldwide is undergoing an international financial panic, and is really in the beginning stages of a world depression. In addition to the 90 million persons who live below the poverty line and three to five million homeless in the U.S.; there are another 2.7 million homeless in the twelve nations of the European community, and 80 million people am living in poverty there, with millions more in the Capitalist countries of Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia. So although Black workers must organize and fight against homeless and unemployment in the U.S., clearly there must be an international movement of workers to fight this economic deprivation, as part of the overall class struggle. In every city in North America, the Black workers movement should organize unemployment councils to fight for unemployment benefits and jobs for the jobless, the building of decent, affordable low-income housing and an end to homelessness, as well as against racial discrimination in jobs and housing. Such councils would be democratic organizations, organized on a neighborhood basis, (to ensure that it would be under the control of the people, and against infiltration and takeover by liberal or “radical” political parties, or co-optation by the government), which would be federated into a citywide, regional, and national organization. That organization would be a national Black unemployment league, to create a mass fight back movement in this depression. It would be made up of Black community unemployed councils from all over the country, with delegates elected from all the local groups. Such a national organization could meet to map out a large-scale attack on unemployment, as well as serve as a national clearinghouse on Black unemployment conditions.

On the local level in the Black neighborhoods, it would be the community unemployment councils which would establish food and housing cooperatives, lead rent strikes and squatting, initiate land and building reclamation projects, establish producer and consumer cooperatives, distribute food and clothing, and provide for other services: they would establish neighborhood medical clinics for free treatment of the homeless and unemployed, rodent control programs, etc., and they would deal with community social problems (brought on by unemployment), and other issues of interest They would build hunger marches and other demonstrations and carry the people’s wrath to various government offices and to the businesses of the rich. Not only would the unemployment councils be a way of fighting for jobs and unemployment benefits, but also the councils would a way to a obtain a great deal of community self-sufficiency and direct democracy, instead of totally depending on city hall, Congress or the President, and helps lead to the kind of confidence among the masses that a Black municipal commune becomes a serious possibility.

One of the most important functions of an unemployment movement is to obtain unity between the employed and unemployed or homeless, and workers solidarity across race lines. The employed and unemployed must work together to struggle against the Boss class if they are to obtain any serious gains during this period of economic crisis. Workers who are on strike or protesting against the boss would be supported by the unemployed, who would even man the picket lines with them and refuse to scab. In turn the workers would form unemployed caucus in their trade unions to allow union representation of these workers and also force such unions to provide food and other necessities, make funds and training available to the unemployed, as well as throw the weight of the unions in the fight for decent jobs and housing for all workers. The Capitalist bosses will not be moved otherwise. Make the bosses pay for their economic crisis!

Here is what a united movement of workers and homeless must demand:

  1. Full employment (zero unemployment) for all workers at union wage.
  2. Establishment of a shorter workweek, so that workers would be paid at the rate for 40 hours of work for 20–30 hours a week on the job.
  3. End homelessness, build and make available decent affordable housing for all. Repeal all loitering, anti-panhandling and other laws against the homeless.
  4. End the war budget, and use those funds for decent, low-income housing, better schools, hospitals and clinics, libraries, parks and public transportation.
  5. End racism and sexism in job opportunities and relief benefits.
  6. Jobs or a guaranteed income for all.
  7. Full federal and state benefits for unemployed workers and their families, including corporate and government funds to pay the bills, rents and debts for any laid off worker, and unemployment compensation at 100% of regular paid wage, lasting the full length of a worker’s period of unemployment.
  8. National minimum wage set at prevailing union entry wage.
  9. Government and corporate funds to establish a public works program to provide jobs (with full union rights and wage scale) to rebuild the inner cities and provide needed social services. The program and its funds should be under the control of committees democratically elected from poor and Black neighborhoods, so as to avoid “poverty pimps” and rip off job agencies, or government bureaucrats.
  10. Free all persons in prison for crimes of economic survival.

These, and the demands previously mentioned, are merely a survival program and agenda for unemployed workers; the real answer is Social revolution the elimination of Capitalism, and workers’ self-management of the economy and society. This is a vital first step however. Them would be no unemployment or social need for wage labor in an Anarchist-Communist society.

There is no communism in Russia by Emma Goldman (part one)

Communism is now on everybody’s lips. Some talk of it with the exaggerated enthusiasm of a new convert, others fear and condemn it as a social menace. But I venture to say that neither its admirers—the great majority of them—nor those who denounce it have a very clear idea of what Bolshevik Communism really is.

Speaking generally, Communism is the ideal of human equality and brotherhood. It considers the exploitation of man by man as the source of all slavery and oppression. It holds that economic inequality leads to social injustice and is the enemy of moral and intellectual progress. Communism aims at a society where classes have been abolished as a result of common ownership of the means of production and distribution. It teaches that only in a classless, solidaric commonwealth can man enjoy liberty, peace and well-being.

My purpose is to compare Communism with its application in Soviet Russia, but on closer examination I find it an impossible task. As a matter of fact, there is no Communism in the U.S.S.R. Not a single Communist principle, not a single item of its teaching is being applied by the Communist party there.

To some this statement may appear as entirely false; others may think it vastly exaggerated. Yet I feel sure that an objective examination of conditions in present-day Russia will convince the unprejudiced reader that I speak with entire truth.

It is necessary to consider here, first of all, the fundamental idea underlying the alleged Communism of the Bolsheviki. It is admittedly of a centralized, authoritarian kind. That is, it is based almost exclusively on governmental coercion, on violence. It is not the Communism of voluntary association. It is compulsory State Communism. This must be kept in mind in order to understand the method applied by the Soviet state to carry out such of its plans as may seem to be Communistic.

The first requirement of Communism is the socialization of the land and of the machinery of production and distribution. Socialized land and machinery belong to the people, to be settled upon and used by individuals or groups according to their needs. In Russia land and machinery are not socialized but _nationalized_. The term is a misnomer, of course. In fact, it is entirely devoid of content. In reality there is no such thing as national wealth. A nation is too abstract a term to “own” anything. Ownership may be by an individual, or by a group of individuals; in any case by some quantitatively defined reality. When a certain thing does not belong to an individual or group, it is either nationalized or socialized. If it is nationalized, it belongs to the state; that is, the government has control of it and may dispose of it according to its wishes and views. But when a thing is socialized, every individual has free access to it and use it without interference from anyone.

In Russia there is no socialization either of land or of production and distribution. Everything is nationalized; it belongs to the government, exactly as does the post-office in America or the railroad in Germany and other European countries. There is nothing of Communism about it.

No more Communistic than the land and means of production is any other phase of the Soviet economic structure. All sources of existence are owned by the central government; foreign trade is its absolute monopoly; the printing presses belong to the state, and every book and paper issued is a government publication. In short, the entire country and everything in it is the property of the state, as in ancient days it used to be the property of the crown. The few things not yet nationalized, as some old ramshackle houses in Moscow, for instance, or some dingy little stores with a pitiful stock of cosmetics, exist on sufferance only, with the government having the undisputed right to confiscate them at any moment by simple decree.

Such a condition of affairs may be called state capitalism, but it would be fantastic to consider it in any sense Communistic.

Chapter 3: Law and Government by Alexander Berkman from “The ABC’s of communist anarchism

Yes, you are right: the law forbids theft.

If I should steal something from you, you can call a policeman and have me arrested. The law will punish the thief, and the government will return to you the stolen property, if possible, because the law forbids stealing. It says that no one has a right to take anything from you without your consent.

But your employer takes from you what you produce. The whole wealth produced by labor is taken by the capitalists and kept by them as their property.

The law says that your employer does not steal anything from you, because it is done with your consent. You have agreed to work for your boss for certain pay, he to have all that you produce. Because you consented to it, the law says that he does not steal anything from you.

But did you really consent?

When the highwayman holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables over to him. You ‘consent’ all right, but you do so because you cannot help yourself, because you are compelled by his gun.

Are you not compelled to work for an employer? Your need compels you, just as the highwayman’s gun. You must live, and so must your wife and children. You can’t work for yourself, under the capitalist industrial system you must work for an employer. The factories, machinery, and tools belong to the employing class, so you must hire yourself out to that class in order to work and live. Whatever you work at, whoever your employer may be, it always comes to the same: you must work for him. You can’t help yourself You are compelled.

In this way the whole working class is compelled to work for the capitalist class. In this manner the workers are compelled to give up all the wealth they produce. The employers keep that wealth as their profit, while the worker gets only a wage, just enough to live on, so he can go on producing more wealth for his employer. Is that not cheating, robbery?

The law says it is a ‘free agreement’. Just as well might the highwayman say that you ‘agreed’ to give up your valuables. The only difference is that the highwayman’s way is called stealing and robbery, and is forbidden by law. While the capitalist way is called business, industry, profit making, and is protected by law.

But whether it is done in the highwayman’s way or in the capitalist way, you know that you are robbed.

The whole capitalist system rests on such robbery.

The whole system of law and government upholds and justifies this robbery.

That’s the order of things called capitalism, and law and government are there to protect this order of things.

Do you wonder that the capitalist and employer, and all those who profit by this order of things, are strong for ‘law and order’?

But where do you come in? What benefit have you from that kind of ‘law and order’? Don’t you see that this ‘law and order’ only robs you, fools you, and just enslaves you?

‘Enslave me?’ you wonder. ‘Why, I am a free citizen!’

Are you free, really? Free to do what? To live as you please? To do what you please?

Let’s see. How do you live? What does your freedom amount to?

You depend on your employer for your wages or your salary, don’t you? And your wages determine your way of living, don’t they? The conditions of your life, even what you eat and drink, where you go and with whom you associate, — all of it depends on your wages.

No, you are not a free man. You are dependent on your employer and on your wages. You are really a wage slave.

The whole working class, under the capitalist system, is dependent on the capitalist class. The workers are wage slaves.

So, what becomes of your freedom? What can you do with it? Can you do more with it than your wages permit?

Can’t you see that your wage — your salary or income — is all the freedom that you have? Your freedom, your liberty, don’t go a step further than the wages you get.

The freedom that is given you on paper, that is written down in law books and constitutions, does not do you a bit of good. Such freedom only means that you have the right to do a certain thing. But it doesn’t mean that you can do it. To be able to do it, you must have the chance, the opportunity. You have a right to eat three fine meals a day, but if you haven’t the means, the opportunity to get those meals, then what good is that right to you?

So freedom really means opportunity to satisfy your needs and wants. If your freedom does not give you that opportunity, than it does you no good. Real freedom means opportunity and well being. If it does not mean that, it means nothing.

You see, then, that the whole situation comes to this: Capitalism robs you and makes a wage slave of you. The law upholds and protects that robbery.

The government fools you into believing that you are independent and free.

In this way you are fooled and duped every day of your life. But how does it happen that you didn’t think of it before? How is it that most other people don’t see it, either?

It is because you and every one else are lied to about this all the time, from your earliest childhood.

You are told to be honest, while you are being robbed all your life.

You are commanded to respect the law, while the law protects the capitalist who is robbing you.

You are taught that killing is wrong, while the government hangs and electrocutes people and slaughters them in war.

You are told to obey the law and government, though law and government stand for robbery and murder.

Thus all through life you are lied to, fooled, and deceived, so that it will be easier to make profits out of you, to exploit you.

Because it is not only the employer and the capitalist who make profits out of you. The government, the church, and the school — they all live on your labor. You support them all. That is why all of them teach you to be content with your lot and behave yourself.

‘Is it really true that I support them all?’ you ask in amazement.

Let us see. They eat and drink and are clothed, not to speak of the luxuries they enjoy. Do they make the things they use and consume, do they do the planting and sowing and building and so on?

‘But they pay for those things,’ your friend objects.

Yes, they pay. Suppose a fellow stole fifty dollars from you and then went and bought with it a suit of clothes for himself. Is that suit by right his? Didn’t he pay for it? Well, just so the people who don’t produce anything or do no useful work pay for things. Their money is the profits they or their parents before them squeezed out of you, out of the workers.

‘Then it is not my boss who supports me, but I him?’

Of course. He gives you a job; that is, permission to work in the factory or mill which was not built by him but by other workers like yourself. And for that permission you help to support him for the rest of your life or as long as you work for him. You support him so generously that he can afford a mansion in the city and a home in the country, even several of them, and servants to attend to his wants and those of his family, and for the entertainment of his friends, and for horse races and for boat races, and for a hundred other things. But it is not only to him that you are so generous. Out of your labor, by direct and indirect taxation, are supported the entire government, local, state, and national, the schools and the churches, and all the other institutions whose business it is to protect profits and keep you fooled. You and your fellow workers, labor as a whole, support them all. Do you wonder that they all tell you that everything is all right and that you should be good and keep quiet?

It is good for them that you should keep quiet, because they could not keep on duping and robbing you once you open your eyes and see what’s happening to you.

That’s why they are all strong for this capitalist system, for ‘law and order’.

But is that system good for you? Do you think it right and just? If not, then why do you put up with it? Why do you support it? ‘What can I do?’ you say; ‘I’m only one.’

Are you really only one? Are you not rather one out of many thousands, out of millions, all of them exploited and enslaved the same as you are? Only they don’t know it. If they knew it, they wouldn’t stand for it. That’s sure. So the thing is to make them know it.

Every workingman in your city, every toiler in your country, in every country, in the whole world, is exploited and enslaved the same as you are.

And not only the workingmen. The farmers are duped and robbed in the same manner.

Just like the workingmen, the farmer is dependent on the capitalist class. He toils hard all his life, but most of his labor goes to the trusts and monopolies of the land which by right is no more theirs than the moon is.

The farmer produces the food of the world. He feeds all of us. But before he can get his goods to us, he is made to pay tribute to the class that lives by the work of others, the profit-making, capitalist class. The farmer is mulcted out of the greater part of his product just as the worker is. He is mulcted by the land owner and by the mortgage holder; by the steel trust and the railroad. The banker, the commission merchant, the retailer, and a score of other middlemen squeeze their profits out of the farmer before he is allowed to get his food to you.

Law and government permit and help this robbery by ruling that the land, which no man created, belongs to the landlord; the railroads, which the workers built, belong to the railroad magnates; the warehouses, grain elevators, and storehouses, erected by the workers, belong to the capitalists; all those monopolists and capitalists have a right to get profits from the farmer for using the railroads and other facilities before he can get his food to you.

You can see then, how the farmer is robbed by big capital and business, and how the law helps in that robbery, just as with the workingman.

But it is not only the worker and the farmer who are exploited and forced to give up the greater part of their product to the capitalists, to those who have monopolized the land, the railroads, the factories, the machinery, and all natural resources. The entire country, the whole world is made to pay tribute to the kings of finance and industry.

The small business man depends on the wholesaler; the wholesaler on the manufacturer; the manufacturer on the trust magnates of his industry; and all of them on the money lords and banks for their credit. The big bankers and financiers can put any man out of business by just withdrawing their credit from him. They do so whenever they want to squeeze any one out of business. The business man is entirely at their mercy. If he does not play the game as they want it, to suit their interests, then they simply drive him out of the game.

Thus the whole of mankind is dependent upon and enslaved by just a handful of men who have monopolized almost the entire wealth of the world, but who have themselves never created anything.

‘But those men work hard,’ you say.

Well, some of them don’t work at all. Some of them are just idlers, whose business is managed by others. Some of them do work. But what kind of work do they do? Do they produce anything, as the worker and the farmer do? No, they produce nothing, though they may work. They work to mulct people, to get profits out of them. Does their work benefit you? The highwayman also works hard and takes great risks to boot. His ‘work’, like the capitalist’s, gives employment to lawyers, jailers, and a host of other retainers, all of whom your toil supports.

It seems indeed ridiculous that the whole world should slave for the benefit of a handful of monopolists, and that all should have to depend upon them for their right and opportunity to live. But the fact is just that. And it is the more ridiculous when you consider that the workers and farmers, who alone create all wealth, should be the most dependent and the poorest of all the other classes in society.

It is really monstrous, and it is very sad. Surely your common sense must tell you that such a situation is nothing short of madness. If the great masses of people, the millions throughout the world, could see how they are fooled, exploited and enslaved, as you see it now, would they stand for such goings on? Surely they would not!

The capitalists know they wouldn’t. That is why they need the government to legalize their methods of robbery, to protect the capitalist system.

And that is why the government needs laws, police and soldiers, courts and prisons to protect capitalism.

But who are the police and the soldiers who protect the capitalists against you, against the people?

If they were capitalists themselves, then it would stand to reason why they want to protect the wealth they have stolen, and why they try to keep up, even by force, the system that gives them the privilege of robbing the people.

But the police and the soldiers, the defenders of ‘law and order’, are not of the capitalist class. They are men from the ranks of the people, poor men who for pay protect the very system that keeps them poor. It is unbelievable, is it not? Yet it is true. It just comes down to this: some of the slaves protect their masters in keeping them and the rest of the people in slavery. In the same way Great Britain, for instance, keeps the Hindoos in India in subjection by a police force of the natives, of the Hindoos themselves. Or as Belgium does with the black men in the Congo. Or as any government does with a subjugated people. It is the same system. Here is what it amounts to: Capitalism robs and exploits the whole of the people; the laws legalize and uphold this capitalist robbery; the government uses one part of the people to aid and protect the capitalists in robbing the whole of the people. The entire thing is kept up by educating the people to believe that capitalism is night, that the law is just, and that the government must be obeyed. Do you see through this game now?

Chapter 1: What Do You Want Out Of Life? by Alexander Berkmans book ” The ABC’s of communist anarchism”

What is it that every one wants most in life? What do you want most?

After all, we are all the same under our skins. Whoever you be — man or woman, rich or poor, aristocrat or tramp, white, yellow, red or black, of whatever land, nationality, or religion — we are all alike in feeling cold and hunger, love and hate; we all fear disaster and disease, and try to keep away from harm and death.

What you most want out of life, what you fear most, that also is true, in the main, of your neighbor.

Learned men have written big books, many of them, on sociology, psychology, and many other ‘ologies’, to tell you what you want, but no two of those books ever agree. And yet I think that you know very well without them what you want.

They have studied and written and speculated so much about this, for them so difficult a question, that you, the individual, have become entirely lost in their philosophies. And they have at last come to the conclusion that you, my friend, don’t count at all. What’s important, they say, is not you, but ‘the whole’, all the people together. This ‘whole’ they call ‘society’, ‘the commonwealth’, or ‘the State’, and the wiseacres have actually decided that it makes no difference if you, the individual, are miserable so long as ‘society’ is all right. Somehow they forget to explain how ‘society’ or ‘the whole’ can be all right if the single members of it are wretched.

So they go on spinning their philosophic webs and producing thick volumes to find out where you really enter in the scheme of things called life, and what you really want.

But you yourself know very well what you want, and so does your neighbor.

You want to be well and healthy; you want to be free, to serve no master, to crawl and humiliate yourself before no man; you want to have well-being for yourself, your family, and those near and dear to you. And not to be harassed and worried by the fear of to-morrow.

You may feel sure that every one else wants the same. So the whole matter seems to stand this way:

You want health, liberty, and well-being. Every one is like yourself in this respect.

Therefore we all seek the same thing in life.

Then why should we not all seek it together, by joint effort, helping each other in it?

Why should we cheat and rob, kill and murder each other, if we all seek the same thing? Aren’t you entitled to the things you want as well as the next man?

Or is it that we can secure our health, liberty, and well-being better by fighting and slaughtering each other?

Or because there is no other way?

Let us look into this.

Does it not stand to reason that if we all want the same thing in life, if we have the same aim, then our interests must also be the same? In that case we should live like brothers, in peace and friendship; we should be good to each other, and help each other all we can.

But you know that it is not at all that way in life. You know that we do not live like brothers. You know that the world is full of strife and war, of misery, injustice, and wrong, of crime, poverty, and oppression.

Why is it that way then?

It is because, though we all have the same aim in life, our interests are different. It is this that makes all the trouble in the world.

Just think it over yourself.

Suppose you want to get a pair of shoes or a hat. You go into the store and you try to buy what you need as reasonably and cheaply as you can. That is your interest. But the store-keeper’s interest is to sell it to you as dearly as he can, because then his profit will be greater. That is because everything in the life we live is built on making a profit, one way or another. We live in a system of profit-making.

Now, it is plain that if we have to make profits out of each other, then our interests cannot be the same. They must be different and often even opposed to each other.

In every country you will find people who live by making a profit out of others. Those who make the biggest profits are rich. Those who cannot make profits are poor. The only people who cannot make any profits are the workers. You can therefore understand that the interests of the workers cannot be the same as the interests of the other people. That is why you will find in every country several classes of people with entirely different interests.

Everywhere you will find:

a comparatively small class of persons who make big profits and who are very rich, such as bankers, great manufacturers and land owners — people who have much capital and who are therefore called capitalists. These belong to the capitalist class;
a class of more or less well-to-do people, consisting of business men and their agents, real estate men, speculators, and professional men, such as doctors, lawyers, inventors, and so on. This is the middle class or the bourgeoisie.
great numbers of workingmen employed in various industries — in mills and mines, in factories and shops, in transport and on the land. This is the working class, also called the proletariat.
The bourgeoisie and the capitalists really belong to the same capitalistic class, because they have about the same interests, and therefore the people of the bourgeoisie also generally side with the capitalist class as against the working class.

You will find that the working class is always the poorest class, in every country. Maybe you yourself belong to the workers, to the proletariat. Then you know that your wages will never make you rich.

Why are the workers the poorest class? Surely they labor more than the other classes, and harder. Is it because the workers are not very important in the life of society? Perhaps we can even do without them?

Let us see. What do we need to live? We need food, clothing, and shelter; schools for our children; street cars and trains for travel, and a thousand and one other things.

Can you look about you and point out a single thing that was made without labor? Why, the shoes you stand in, and the streets you walk on, are the result of labor. Without labor there would be nothing but the bare earth, and human life would be entirely impossible.

So it means that labor has created everything we have — all the wealth of the world. It is all the product of labor applied to the earth and its natural resources.

But if all the wealth is the product of labor, then why does it not belong to labor? That is, to those who have worked with their hands or with their heads to create it — the manual worker and the brain worker.

Everybody agrees that a person has a right to own the thing that he himself has made.

But no one person has made or can make anything all by himself. It takes many men, of different trades and professions, to create something. The carpenter, for instance, cannot make a simple chair or bench all by himself; not even if he should cut down a tree and prepare the lumber himself. He needs a saw and a hammer, nails and tools, which he cannot make himself. And even if he should make these himself, he would first have to have the raw materials — steel and iron — which other men would have to supply.

Or take another example — let us say a civil engineer. He could do nothing without paper and pencil and measuring tools, and these things other people have to make for him. Not to mention that first he has to learn his profession and spend many years in study, while others enable him to live in the meantime. This applies to every human being in the world to-day.

You can see then that no person can by his own efforts alone make the things he needs to exist. In early times the primitive man who lived in a cave could hammer a hatchet out of stone or make himself a bow and arrow, and live by that. But those days are gone. To-day no man can live by his own work: he must be helped by the labor of others. Therefore all that we have, all wealth, is the product of the labor of many people, even of many generations. That is to say: all labor and the products of labor are social, made by society as a whole.

But if all the wealth we have is social, then it stands to reason that it should belong to society, to the people as a whole. How does it happen, then, that the wealth of the world is owned by some individuals and not by the people? Why does it not belong to those who have toiled to create it — the masses who work with hand or brain, the working class as a whole?

You know very well that it is the capitalistic class which owns the greatest part of the world’s wealth. Must we therefore not conclude that the working people have lost the wealth they created, or that somehow it was taken away from them?

They did not lose it, for they never owned it. Then it must be that it was taken away from them.

This is beginning to look serious. Because if you say that the wealth they created has been taken away from the people who created it, then it means that it has been stolen from them, that they have been robbed, for surely no one has ever willingly consented to have his wealth taken away from him.

It is a terrible charge, but it is true. The wealth the workers have created, as a class, has indeed been stolen from them. And they are being robbed in the same way every day of their lives, even at this very moment. That is why one of the greatest thinkers, the French philosopher Proudhon, said that the possessions of the rich are stolen property.

You can readily understand how important it is that every honest man should know about this. And you may be sure that if the workers knew about it, they would not stand for it.

Let us see then how they are robbed and by whom.

Forward and Introduction

I consider anarchism the most rational and practical conception of a social life in freedom and harmony. I am convinced that its realization is a certainty in the course of human development.

The time of that realization will depend on two factors: first, on how soon existing conditions will grow spiritually and physically unbearable to considerable portions of mankind, particularly to the laboring classes; and, secondly, on the degree in which Anarchist views will become understood and accepted.

Our social institutions are founded on certain ideas; as long as the latter are generally believed, the institutions built on them are safe. Government remains strong because people think political authority and legal compulsion necessary. Capitalism will continue as long as such an economic system is considered adequate and just. The weakening of the ideas which support the evil and oppressive present-day conditions means the ultimate breakdown of government and capitalism. Progress consists in abolishing what man has outlived and substituting in its place a more suitable environment.

It must be evident even to the casual observer that society is undergoing a radical change in its fundamental conceptions. The World War and the Russian Revolution are the main causes of it. The war has unmasked the vicious character of capitalist competition and the murderous incompetency of governments to settle quarrels among radons, or rather among the ruling financial cliques. It is because the people are losing faith in the old methods that the Great Powers are now compelled to discuss limitation of armaments and even the outlawing of war. It is not so long ago that the very suggestion of such a possibility met with utmost scorn and ridicule.

Similarly is breaking down the belief in other established institutions. Capitalism still ‘works’, but doubt about its expediency and justice is gnawing at the heart of ever-widening social circles. The Russian Revolution has broadcasted ideas and feelings that are undermining capitalist society, particularly its economic bases and the sanctity of private ownership of the means of social existence. For not only in Russia did the October change take place: it has influenced the masses throughout the world. The cherished superstition that what exists is permanent has been shaken beyond recovery.

The war, the Russian Revolution, and the post-war developments have combined also to disillusion vast numbers about Socialism. It is literally true that, like Christianity, Socialism has conquered the world by defeating itself. The Socialist parties now run or help to run most of the European governments, but the people do not believe any more that they are different from other bourgeois regimes. They feel that Socialism has failed and is bankrupt.

In like manner have the Bolsheviks proven that Marxian dogma and Leninist principles can lead only to dictatorship and reaction.

To the Anarchists there is nothing surprising in all this. They have always claimed that the State is destructive to individual liberty and social harmony, and that only the abolition of coercive authority and material inequality can solve our political, economic and national problems. But their arguments, though based on the age-long experience of man, seemed mere theory to the present generation, until the events of the last two decades have demonstrated in actual life the truth of the Anarchist position.

The breakdown of Socialism and of Bolshevism has cleared the way for Anarchism.

There is considerable literature on Anarchism, but most of its larger works were written before the World War. The experience of the recent past has been vital and has made certain revisions necessary in the Anarchist attitude and argumentation. Though the basic propositions remain the same, some modifications of practical application are dictated by the facts of current history. The lessons of the Russian Revolution in particular call for a new approach to various important problems, chief among them the character and activities of the social revolution.

Furthermore, Anarchist books, with few exceptions, are not accessible to the understanding of the average reader. It is the common failing of most works dealing with social questions that they are written on the assumption that the reader is already familiar to a considerable extent with the subject, which is generally not the case at all. As a result there are very few books treating of social problems in a sufficiently simple and intelligible manner.

For the above reason I consider a restatement of the Anarchist position very much needed at this time — a restatement in the plainest and clearest terms which can be understood by every one. That is, an ABC of Anarchism.

With that object in view the following pages have been written.

Introduction

I want to tell you about Anarchism.

I want to tell you what Anarchism is, because I think it is well you should know it. Also because so little is known about it, and what is known is generally hearsay and mostly false.

I want to tell you about it, because I believe that Anarchism is the finest and biggest thing man has ever thought of; the only thing that can give you liberty and well-being, and bring peace and joy to the world.

I want to tell you about it in such plain and simple language that there will be no misunderstanding it. Big words and high sounding phrases serve only to confuse. Straight thinking means plain speaking.

But before I tell you what Anarchism is, I want to tell you what it is not.

That is necessary because so much falsehood has been spread about Anarchism. Even intelligent persons often have entirely wrong notions about it. Some people talk about Anarchism without knowing a thing about it. And some lie about Anarchism, because they don’t want you to know the truth about it.

Anarchism has many enemies; they won’t tell you the truth about it. Why Anarchism has enemies and who they are, you will see later, in the course of this story. Just now I can tell you that neither your political boss nor your employer, neither the capitalist nor the policeman will speak to you honestly about Anarchism. Most of them know nothing about it, and all of them hate it. Their newspapers and publications — the capitalistic press — are also against it.

Even most Socialists and Bolsheviks misrepresent Anarchism. True, the majority of them don’t know any better. But those who do know better also often lie about Anarchism and speak of it as ‘disorder and chaos’. You can see for yourself how dishonest they are in this: the greatest teachers of Socialism — Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels — had taught that Anarchism would come from Socialism. They said that we must first have Socialism, but that after Socialism there will be Anarchism, and that it would be a freer and more beautiful condition of society to live in than Socialism. Yet the Socialists, who swear by Marx and Engels, insist on calling Anarchism ‘chaos and disorder’, which shows you how ignorant or dishonest they are.

The Bolsheviks do the same, although their greatest teacher, Lenin, had said that Anarchism would follow Bolshevism, and that then it will be better and freer to live.

Therefore I must tell you, first of all, what Anarchism is not.

It is not bombs, disorder, or chaos.

It is not robbery and murder.

It is not a war of each against all.

It is not a return to barbarism or to the wild state of man.

Anarchism is the very opposite of all that.

Anarchism means that you should be free; that no one should enslave you, boss you, rob you, or impose upon you.

It means that you should be free to do the things you want to do; and that you should not be compelled to do what you don’t want to do.

It means that you should have a chance to choose the kind of a life you want to live, and live it without anybody interfering.

It means that the next fellow should have the same freedom as you, that every one should have the same rights and liberties.

It means that all men are brothers, and that they should live like brothers, in peace and harmony.

That is to say, that there should be no war, no violence used by one set of men against another, no monopoly and no poverty, no oppression, no taking advantage of your fellow-man.

In short, Anarchism means a condition or society where all men and women are free, and where all enjoy equally the benefits of an ordered and sensible life.

‘Can that be?’ you ask; ‘and how?’

‘Not before we all become angels,’ your friend remarks.

Well, let us talk it over. Maybe I can show you that we can be decent and live as decent folks even without growing wings.

The struggling against fascism begins with the struggling against Bolshevism (section VII) by Alfredo Bonnano

If one looks with critical eyes at the picture of Bolshevism provided by Lenin’s pamphlet, the following main points may be recognized as characteristics of Bolshevism:

1. Bolshevism is a nationalistic doctrine. Originally and essentially conceived to solve a national problem, it was later elevated to a theory and practice of international scope and to a general doctrine. Its nationalistic character comes to light also in its position on the struggle for national independence of suppressed nations.

2. Bolshevism is an authoritarian system. The peak of the social pyramid is the most important and determining point. Authority is realized in the all-powerful person. In the leader myth the bourgeois personality ideal celebrates its highest triumphs.

3. Organizationally, bolshevism is highly centralistic. The central committee has responsibility for all initiative, leadership, instruction, commands. As in the bourgeois State, the leading members of the organization play the role of the bourgeoisie; the sole role of the workers is to obey orders.

4. Bolshevism represents a militant power policy. Exclusively interested in political power, it is no different from the forms of rule in the traditional bourgeois sense. Even in the organization proper there is no self-determination by the members. The army serves the party as the great example of organization.

5. Bolshevism is dictatorship. Working with brute force and terroristic measures, it directs all its functions toward the suppression of all non-Bolshevik institutions and opinions. Its ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is the dictatorship of a bureaucracy or a single person.

6. Bolshevism is a mechanistic method. It aspires to automatic coordination, technically secured conformity and the most efficient totalitarianism as a goal of social order. The centralistically ‘planned’ economy consciously confuses technical-organizational problems with socioeconomic questions.

7. The social structure of bolshevism is of a bourgeois nature. It does not abolish the wage system and refuses proletarian self-determination over the products of labour. It remains therewith fundamentally within the class frame of the bourgeois social order. Capitalism is perpetuated.

8. Bolshevism is a revolutionary element only in the frame of the bourgeois revolution. Unable to realize the soviet system, it is thereby unable to transform essentially the structure of bourgeois society and its economy. It establishes not socialism but State capitalism.

9. Bolshevism is not a bridge leading eventually into the socialist society. Without the soviet system, without the total radical revolution of men and things, it cannot fulfill the most essential of all socialistic demands, which is to end the capitalist human-self alienation. It represents the last stage of bourgeois society and not the first step towards a new society.

These nine points represent an unbridgeable opposition between bolshevism and socialism. They demonstrate with all necessary clarity the bourgeois character of the Bolshevist movement and its close relationship to fascism. Nationalism, authoritarianism, centralism, leader dictatorship, power policies, terror-rule, mechanistic dynamics, and inability to socialize—all these essential characteristics of fascism existed in bolshevism and still do. Fascism is merely a copy of bolshevism. For this reason the struggle against the one must begin with the struggle against the other.

The Wage system; Chapter 3 of Alexander Berkman’s “Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism”

Did you ever stop to ask yourself this question: why were you born from your parents and not from some others?

You understand, of course, what I am driving at. I mean that your consent was not asked. You were simply born; you did not have a chance to select the place of your birth or to choose your parents. It was just chance.

So it happened that you were not born rich. Maybe your people are of the middle class; more likely, though, they belong to the workers, and so you are one of those millions, the masses, who have to work for a living.

The man who has money can put it into some business or industry. He invests it and lives on the profits. But you have no money. You have only your ability to work, your labor power.

There was a time when every workingman worked for himself. There were no factories then and no big industries. The laborer had his own tools and his own little workshop, and he even bought himself the raw materials he needed. He worked for himself, and he was called an artisan or craftsman.

Then came the factory and the large workshop. Little by little they crowded out the independent workman, the artisan, because he could not make things as cheaply as the factory — he could not compete with the big manufacturer. So the artisan had to give up his little workshop and go to the factory to work.

In the factories and large plants things are produced on a big scale. Such big-scale production is called industrialism. It has made the employers and manufacturers very rich, so that the lords of industry and commerce have accumulated much money, much capital. Therefore that system is called capitalism. We all live to-day in the capitalist system.

In the capitalist system the workingman cannot work for himself, as in the old days. He cannot compete with the big manufacturers. So, if you are a workman, you must find an employer. You work for him; that is, you give him your labor for so and so many hours a day or week, and he pays you for it. You sell him your labor power and he pays you wages.

In the capitalist system the whole working class sells its labor power to the employing class. The workers build factories, make machinery and tools, and produce goods. The employers keep the factories, the machinery, tools and goods for themselves as their profit. The workers get only wages.

This arrangement is called the wage system.

Learned men have figured out that the worker receives as his wage only about one-tenthof what he produces. The other nine-tenths are divided among the landlord, the manufacturer, the railroad company, the wholesaler, the jobber, and other middlemen.

It means this:

Though the workers, as a class, have built the factories, a slice of their daily labor is taken from them for the privilege of using those factories.That’s the landlord’s profit.

Though the workers have made the tools and the machinery, another slice of their daily labor is taken from them for the privilege of using those tools and machinery. That’s the manufacturer’s profit.

Though the workers built the railroads and are running them, another slice of their daily labor is taken from them for the transportation of the goods they make. That’s the railroad’s profit.

And so on, including the banker who lends the manufacturer other people’s money, the wholesaler, the jobber, and other middlemen, all of whom get their slice of the worker’s toil.

What is left then — one-tenth of the real worth of the worker’s labor-is his share, his wage.

Can you guess now why the wise Proudhon said that the possessions of the rich are stolen property? Stolen from the producer, the worker.

It seems strange, doesn’t it, that such a thing should be permitted?

Yes, indeed, it is very strange; and the strangest thing of all is that the whole world looks on and doesn’t do a thing about it. Worse yet, the workers themselves don’t do anything about it. Why, most of them think that everything is all right, and that the capitalist system is good.

It is because the workers don’t see what is happening to them. They don’t understand that they are being robbed. The rest of the world also understands very little about it, and when some honest man tries to tell them, they shout ‘anarchist!’ at him, and they shut him up or put him in prison.

Of course, the capitalists are very much satisfied with the capitalist system. Why shouldn’t they be? They get rich by it. So you can’t expect them to say it’s no good.

The middle classes are the helpers of the capitalists and they also live off the labor of the working class, so why should they object? Of course, here and there you will find some man or woman of the middle class stand up and speak the truth about the whole matter. But such persons are quickly silenced and cried down as “enemies of the people”, as crazy disturbers and anarchists.

But you would think that the workers should be the first to object to the capitalist system, for it is they who are robbed and who suffer most from it.

Yes, so it should be. But it isn’t so, which is very sad.

The workers know that the shoe pinches somewhere. They know that they toil hard all their lives and that they get just enough to exist on, and sometimes not even enough. They see that their employers can ride about in fine automobiles and live in the greatest luxury, with their wives decked out in expensive clothes and diamonds, while the worker’s wife can hardly afford a new calico dress. So the workers seek to improve their condition by trying to get better wages. It is the same as if I woke up at night in my house and found that a burglar had collected all my things and is about to get away with them. Suppose that instead of stopping him, I should say to him: ‘Please, Mr. Burglar, leave me at least one suit of clothes so I can have something to put on’, and then thank him if he gives me back a tenth part of the things he has stolen from me.

But I am getting ahead of my story. We shall return to the worker and see how he tries to improve his condition and how little he succeeds. Just now I want to tell you why the worker does not take the burglar by the neck and kick him out; that is, why he begs the capitalist for a little more bread or wages, and why he does not throw him off his back, altogether.

It is because the worker, like the rest of the world, has been made to believe that everything is all right and must remain as it is; and that if a few things are not quite as they should be, then it is because ‘people are bad’, and everything will right itself in the end, anyhow.

Just see if that is not true of yourself. At home, when you were a child, and when you asked so many questions, you were told that ‘it is right so,’ that ‘it must be so,’ that ‘God made it so,’ and that everything was all right.

And you believed your father and mother, as they had believed their fathers and mothers, and that is why you now think just as your grandfather did.

Later, in school, you were told the same things. You were taught that God had made the world and that all is well; that there must be rich and poor, and that you should respect the rich and be content with your lot. You were told that your country stands for justice, and that you must obey the law. The teacher, the priest, and the preacher all impressed it upon you that your life is ordained by God and that ‘His will be done.’ And when you saw a poor man dragged off to prison, they told you that he was bad because he had stolen something, and that it was a great crime.

But neither at home, nor in school, nor anywhere else were you ever told that it is a crime for the rich man to steal the product of the worker’s labor, or that the capitalists are rich because they have possessed themselves of the wealth which labor created.

No, you were never told that, nor did any one else ever hear it in school or church. How can you then expect the workers to know it?

On the contrary, your mind — when you were a child and later on, too — has been stuffed so full of false ideas that when you hear the plain truth you wonder if it is really possible.

Perhaps you can see now why the workers do not understand that the wealth they have created has been stolen from them and is being stolen every day.

‘But the law,’ you ask, ‘the government — does it permit such robbery? Is not theft forbidden by law?’

Why socialism isn’t “government doing things”

Socialism is not a government doing things. You probably already know the definition of socialism so I won’t go over it again, but I will say that this is just liberal bullshit. Now this myth has done some good for the socialist movement by humanising socialism and making it easier for actual socialist to do work. It has also made it easier for socialism itself to be visioned in a non cold war propaganda way. 

But never the less, it is far from the truth. By this definition having a police force or a military is socialism. Subsidies to companies, building nuclear warheads, building roads and other things that are usually associated with governments are socialist. This definition kind of makes socialism a broad, useless term that can describe any government action.