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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Objects of the Anarchist Movement

The Objects of the Anarchist Movement

avowedly include the complete abolition of classes, the enjoyment of absolute freedom, the fullest satisfaction of man's wants per-mitted by the limits of Nature's productiveness, and due consideration for the wants of others. Capital is declared to be the common inheritance of humanity, and ought to be at the disposal of all, so that no one should be excluded from it, and none seized of part of it to the detriment of the rest. Let there be bread for all, science for all, work for all, independence and justice for all, while the fullest equality is demanded as the essential condition of freedom. No Government is to be tolerated, and in place of all external and administrative control there must be substituted voluntary agreements perpetually open to rescission. You will recognise in all this the identity of much of the Greek conception of the Stoic's law of nature, but as a social system nothing could be more unlike Aristotle's view of the State's functions. He does not begin with a fanciful figment like the social compact but the actual conditions of human society as upon close investigation he found them. In direct opposition to the Anarchist's view he declares that man was born to be a citizen, and that man's true state of nature is society—so far so, that he pronounces the State not only natural and necessary to man but prior to individual man, since he cannot live a complete and tolerable life page 7 apart from it. "As for equality, he says it is idle to talk of equality as good for its own sake—an equality of pinching poverty would not help us much. The aim should be to equalise men's wants." But to return to Anarchism. I have outlined the aims, and the means employed to promote those aims you learn daily in the newspapers. Bakunin states the duty of the Anarchist plainly and boldly. Let him, he in effect declares, set himself steadfastly to destroy by every possible means this cursed growth we call society. In pursuit of this end he must be influenced by no private interests, no personal feelings, no sentiments of religion, patriotism, or morality, but let him be ruthless, relentless, dauntless in the work of unceasing destruction. Tins is his mission, and, let the means be fair or foul, the glorious aim of the welfare of the race will justify and commend it. Once destroy every vestige of external government and with man's complete emancipation the millennium will come. So assured, these blind enthusiasts would hasten on the wheels of human progress by the bomb, the pistol, and the dagger. I do not say that these means are approved by such men as Kropotkin or Elisée Reclus, nor have I space to give the different shades of opinion among the advocates of Anarchist themselves. It is sufficient for my purpose that the aims and means I have stated reflect the view of all the pronounced and active Anarchists of these times. With most of us our special wonder is how theories so mad and brutal find acceptance; but remember that no teaching or doctrine will readily take root unless it fall in with the prepossessions of those to whom it is addressed.