Proposed Roads To Freedom
by Bertrand Russell
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THE attempt to conceive imaginatively a better ordering of human society than the destructive and cruel chaos in which mankind has hitherto existed is by no means modern: it is at least as old as Plato, whose "Republic'' set the model for the Utopias of subsequent philosophers. Whoever contemplates the world in the light of an ideal—whether what he seeks be intellect, or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together—must feel a great sorrow in the evils that men needlessly allow to continue, and—if he be a man of force and vital energy—an urgent desire to lead men to the realization of the good which inspires his creative vision. It is this desire which has been the primary force moving the pioneers of Socialism and Anarchism, as it moved the inventors of ideal commonwealths in the past. In this there is nothing new. What is new in Socialism and Anarchism, is that close relation of the ideal to the present sufferings of men, which has enabled powerful political movements to grow out of the hopes of solitary thinkers. It is this that makes Socialism and Anarchism important, and it is this that makes them dangerous to those who batten, consciously or unconsciously upon the evils of our present order of society.

The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large. They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires. Almost as instinctively as the beasts of the field, they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole conditions of their lives could be changed. A certain percentage, guided by personal ambition, make the effort of thought and will which is necessary to place themselves among the more fortunate members of the community; but very few among these are seriously concerned to secure for all the advantages which they seek for themselves. It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present. But in the past such men have, as a rule, failed to interest the very victims of the injustices which they wished to remedy. The more unfortunate sections of the population have been ignorant, apathetic from excess of toil and weariness, timorous through the imminent danger of immediate punishment by the holders of power, and morally unreliable owing to the loss of self-respect resulting from their degradation. To create among such classes any conscious, deliberate effort after general amelioration might have seemed a hopeless task, and indeed in the past it has generally proved so. But the modern world, by the increase of education and the rise in the standard of comfort among wage-earners, has produced new conditions, more favorable than ever before to the demand for radical reconstruction. It is above all the Socialists, and in a lesser degree the Anarchists (chiefly as the inspirers of Syndicalism), who have become the exponents of this demand.

What is perhaps most remarkable in regard to both Socialism and Anarchism is the association of a widespread popular movement with ideals for a better world. The ideals have been elaborated, in the first instance, by solitary writers of books, and yet powerful sections of the wage-earning classes have accepted them as their guide in the practical affairs of the world. In regard to Socialism this is evident; but in regard to Anarchism it is only true with some qualification. Anarchism as such has never been a widespread creed, it is only in the modified form of Syndicalism that it has achieved popularity. Unlike Socialism and Anarchism, Syndicalism is primarily the outcome, not of an idea, but of an organization: the fact of Trade Union organization came first, and the ideas of Syndicalism are those which seemed appropriate to this organization in the opinion of the more advanced French Trade Unions. But the ideas are, in the main, derived from Anarchism, and the men who gained acceptance for them were, for the most part, Anarchists. Thus we may regard Syndicalism as the Anarchism of the market-place as opposed to the Anarchism of isolated individuals which had preserved a precarious life throughout the previous decades. Taking this view, we find in Anarchist-Syndicalism the same combination of ideal and organization as we find in Socialist political parties. It is from this standpoint that our study of these movements will be undertaken.

Socialism and Anarchism, in their modern form, spring respectively from two protagonists, Marx and Bakunin, who fought a lifelong battle, culminating in a split in the first International. We shall begin our study with these two men—first their teaching, and then the organizations which they founded or inspired. This will lead us to the spread of Socialism in more recent years, and thence to the Syndicalist revolt against Socialist emphasis on the State and political action, and to certain movements outside France which have some affinity with Syndicalism— notably the I. W. W. in America and Guild Socialism in England. From this historical survey we shall pass to the consideration of some of the more pressing problems of the future, and shall try to decide in what respects the world would be happier if the aims of Socialists or Syndicalists were achieved.

My own opinion—which I may as well indicate at the outset—is that pure Anarchism, though it should be the ultimate ideal, to which society should continually approximate, is for the present impossible, and would not survive more than a year or two at most if it were adopted. On the other hand, both Marxian Socialism and Syndicalism, in spite of many drawbacks, seem to me calculated to give rise to a happier and better world than that in which we live. I do not, however, regard either of them as the best practicable system. Marxian Socialism, I fear, would give far too much power to the State, while Syndicalism, which aims at abolishing the State, would, I believe, find itself forced to reconstruct a central authority in order to put an end to the rivalries of different groups of producers. The BEST practicable system, to my mind, is that of Guild Socialism, which concedes what is valid both in the claims of the State Socialists and in the Syndicalist fear of the State, by adopting a system of federalism among trades for reasons similar to those which are recommending federalism among nations. The grounds for these conclusions will appear as we proceed.

Before embarking upon the history of recent movements In favor of radical reconstruction, it will be worth while to consider some traits of character which distinguish most political idealists, and are much misunderstood by the general public for other reasons besides mere prejudice. I wish to do full justice to these reasons, in order to show the more effectually why they ought not to be operative.

The leaders of the more advanced movements are, in general, men of quite unusual disinterestedness, as is evident from a consideration of their careers. Although they have obviously quite as much ability as many men who rise to positions of great power, they do not themselves become the arbiters of contemporary events, nor do they achieve wealth or the applause of the mass of their contemporaries. Men who have the capacity for winning these prizes, and who work at least as hard as those who win them, but deliberately adopt a line which makes the winning of them impossible, must be judged to have an aim in life other than personal advancement; whatever admixture of self-seeking may enter into the detail of their lives, their fundamental motive must be outside Self. The pioneers of Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism have, for the most part, experienced prison, exile, and poverty, deliberately incurred because they would not abandon their propaganda; and by this conduct they have shown that the hope which inspired them was not for themselves, but for mankind.

Nevertheless, though the desire for human welfare is what at bottom determines the broad lines of such men's lives, it often happens that, in the detail of their speech and writing, hatred is far more visible than love. The impatient idealist—and without some impatience a man will hardly prove effective—is almost sure to be led into hatred by the oppositions and disappointments which he encounters in his endeavors to bring happiness to the world. The more certain he is of the purity of his motives and the truth of his gospel, the more indignant he will become when his teaching is rejected. Often he will successfully achieve an attitude of philosophic tolerance as regards the apathy of the masses, and even as regards the whole-hearted opposition of professed defenders of the status quo. But the men whom he finds it impossible to forgive are those who profess the same desire for the amelioration of society as he feels himself, but who do not accept his method of achieving this end. The intense faith which enables him to withstand persecution for the sake of his beliefs makes him consider these beliefs so luminously obvious that any thinking man who rejects them must be dishonest, and must be actuated by some sinister motive of treachery to the cause. Hence arises the spirit of the sect, that bitter, narrow orthodoxy which is the bane of those who hold strongly to an unpopular creed. So many real temptations to treachery exist that suspicion is natural. And among leaders, ambition, which they mortify in their choice of a career, is sure to return in a new form: in the desire for intellectual mastery and for despotic power within their own sect. From these causes it results that the advocates of drastic reform divide themselves into opposing schools, hating each other with a bitter hatred, accusing each other often of such crimes as being in the pay of the police, and demanding, of any speaker or writer whom they are to admire, that he shall conform exactly to their prejudices, and make all his teaching minister to their belief that the exact truth is to be found within the limits of their creed. The result of this state of mind is that, to a casual and unimaginative attention, the men who have sacrificed most through the wish to benefit mankind APPEAR to be actuated far more by hatred than by love. And the demand for orthodoxy is stifling to any free exercise of intellect. This cause, as well as economic prejudice, has made it difficult for the "intellectuals'' to co-operate prac- tically with the more extreme reformers, however they may sympathize with their main purposes and even with nine-tenths of their program.

Another reason why radical reformers are misjudged by ordinary men is that they view existing society from outside, with hostility towards its institutions. Although, for the most part, they have more belief than their neighbors in human nature's inherent capacity for a good life, they are so conscious of the cruelty and oppression resulting from existing institutions that they make a wholly misleading impression of cynicism. Most men have instinctively two entirely different codes of behavior: one toward those whom they regard as companions or colleagues or friends, or in some way members of the same "herd''; the other toward those whom they regard as enemies or outcasts or a danger to society. Radical reformers are apt to concentrate their attention upon the behavior of society toward the latter class, the class of those toward whom the "herd'' feels ill-will. This class includes, of course, enemies in war, and criminals; in the minds of those who consider the preservation of the existing order essential to their own safety or privileges, it includes all who advocate any great political or economic change, and all classes which, through their poverty or through any other cause, are likely to feel a dangerous degree of discontent. The ordinary citizen probably seldom thinks about such individuals or classes, and goes through life believing that he and his friends are kindly people, because they have no wish to injure those toward whom they entertain no group-hostility. But the man whose attention is fastened upon the relations of a group with those whom it hates or fears will judge quite differently. In these relations a surprising ferocity is apt to be developed, and a very ugly side of human nature comes to the fore. The opponents of capitalism have learned, through the study of certain historical facts, that this ferocity has often been shown by the capitalists and by the State toward the wage-earning classes, particularly when they have ventured to protest against the unspeakable suffering to which industrialism has usually condemned them. Hence arises a quite different attitude toward existing society from that of the ordinary well-to-do citizen: an attitude as true as his, perhaps also as untrue, but equally based on facts, facts concerning his relations to his enemies instead of to his friends.

The class-war, like wars between nations, produces two opposing views, each equally true and equally untrue. The citizen of a nation at war, when he thinks of his own countrymen, thinks of them primarily as he has experienced them, in dealings with their friends, in their family relations, and so on. They seem to him on the whole kindly, decent folk. But a nation with which his country is at war views his compatriots through the medium of a quite different set of experiences: as they appear in the ferocity of battle, in the invasion and subjugation of a hostile territory, or in the chicanery of a juggling diplomacy. The men of whom these facts are true are the very same as the men whom their compatriots know as husbands or fathers or friends, but they are judged differently because they are judged on different data. And so it is with those who view the capitalist from the standpoint of the revolutionary wage-earner: they appear inconceivably cynical and misjudging to the capitalist, because the facts upon which their view is based are facts which he either does not know or habitually ignores. Yet the view from the outside is just as true as the view from the inside. Both are necessary to the complete truth; and the Socialist, who emphasizes the outside view, is not a cynic, but merely the friend of the wage-earners, maddened by the spectacle of the needless misery which capitalism inflicts upon them.

I have placed these general reflections at the beginning of our study, in order to make it clear to the reader that, whatever bitterness and hate may be found in the movements which we are to examine, it is not bitterness or hate, but love, that is their mainspring. It is difficult not to hate those who torture the objects of our love. Though difficult, it is not impossible; but it requires a breadth of outlook and a comprehensiveness of understanding which are not easy to preserve amid a desperate contest. If ultimate wisdom has not always been preserved by Socialists and Anarchists, they have not differed in this from their opponents; and in the source of their inspiration they have shown themselves superior to those who acquiesce ignorantly or supinely in the injustices and oppressions by which the existing system is preserved.







SOCIALISM, like everything else that is vital, is rather a tendency than a strictly definable body of doctrine. A definition of Socialism is sure either to include some views which many would regard as not Socialistic, or to exclude others which claim to be included. But I think we shall come nearest to the essence of Socialism by defining it as the advocacy of communal ownership of land and capital. Communal ownership may mean ownership by a democratic State, but cannot be held to include ownership by any State which is not democratic. Communal ownership may also be understood, as Anarchist Communism understands it, in the sense of ownership by the free association of the men and women in a community without those compulsory powers which are necessary to constitute a State. Some Socialists expect communal ownership to arrive suddenly and completely by a catastrophic revolution, while others expect it to come gradually, first in one industry, then in another. Some insist upon the necessity of completeness in the acquisition of land and capital by the public, while others would be content to see lingering islands of private ownership, provided they were not too extensive or powerful. What all forms have in common is democracy and the abolition, virtual or complete, of the present capitalistic system. The distinction between Socialists, Anarchists and Syndicalists turns largely upon the kind of democracy which they desire. Orthodox Socialists are content with parliamentary democracy in the sphere of government, holding that the evils apparent in this form of constitution at present would disappear with the disappearance of capitalism. Anarchists and Syndicalists, on the other hand, object to the whole parliamentary machinery, and aim at a different method of regulating the political affairs of the community. But all alike are democratic in the sense that they aim at abolishing every kind of privilege and every kind of artificial inequality: all alike are champions of the wage- earner in existing society. All three also have much in common in their economic doctrine. All three regard capital and the wages system as a means of exploiting the laborer in the interests of the possessing classes, and hold that communal ownership, in one form or another, is the only means of bringing freedom to the producers. But within the framework of this common doctrine there are many divergences, and even among those who are strictly to be called Socialists, there is a very considerable diversity of schools.

Socialism as a power in Europe may be said to begin with Marx. It is true that before his time there were Socialist theories, both in England and in France. It is also true that in France, during the revolution of 1848, Socialism for a brief period acquired considerable influence in the State. But the Socialists who preceded Marx tended to indulge in Utopian dreams and failed to found any strong or stable political party. To Marx, in collaboration with Engels, are due both the formulation of a coherent body of Socialist doctrine, sufficiently true or plausible to dominate the minds of vast numbers of men, and the formation of the International Socialist movement, which has continued to grow in all European countries throughout the last fifty years.

In order to understand Marx's doctrine, it is necessary to know something of the influences which formed his outlook. He was born in 1818 at Treves in the Rhine Provinces, his father being a legal official, a Jew who had nominally accepted Christianity. Marx studied jurisprudence, philosophy, political economy and history at various German universities. In philosophy he imbibed the doctrines of Hegel, who was then at the height of his fame, and something of these doctrines dominated his thought throughout his life. Like Hegel, he saw in history the development of an Idea. He conceived the changes in the world as forming a logical development, in which one phase passes by revolution into another, which is its antithesis—a conception which gave to his views a certain hard abstractness, and a belief in revolution rather than evolution. But of Hegel's more definite doctrines Marx retained nothing after his youth. He was recognized as a brilliant student, and might have had a prosperous career as a professor or an official, but his interest in politics and his Radical views led him into more arduous paths. Already in 1842 he became editor of a newspaper, which was suppressed by the Prussian Government early in the following year on account of its advanced opinions. This led Marx to go to Paris, where he became known as a Socialist and acquired a knowledge of his French predecessors.[1] Here in the year 1844 began his lifelong friendship with Engels, who had been hitherto in business in Manchester, where he had become acquainted with English Socialism and had in the main adopted its doctrines.[2] In 1845 Marx was expelled from Paris and went with Engels to live in Brussels. There he formed a German Working Men's Association and edited a paper which was their organ. Through his activities in Brussels he became known to the German Communist League in Paris, who, at the end of 1847, invited him and Engels to draw up for them a manifesto, which appeared in January, 1848. This is the famous "Communist Manifesto,'' in which for the first time Marx's system is set forth. It appeared at a fortunate moment. In the following month, February, the revolution broke out in Paris, and in March it spread to Germany. Fear of the revolution led the Brussels Government to expel Marx from Belgium, but the German revolution made it possible for him to return to his own country. In Germany he again edited a paper, which again led him into a conflict with the authorities, increasing in severity as the reaction gathered force. In June, 1849, his paper was suppressed, and he was expelled from Prussia. He returned to Paris, but was expelled from there also. This led him to settle in England—at that time an asylum for friends of freedom—and in England, with only brief intervals for purposes of agitation, he continued to live until his death in 1883.

[1] Chief among these were Fourier and Saint-Simon, who constructed somewhat fantastic Socialistic ideal commonwealths. Proudhon, with whom Marx had some not wholly friendly relations, is to be regarded as a forerunner of the Anarchists rather than of orthodox Socialism.

[2] Marx mentions the English Socialists with praise in "The Poverty of Philosophy'' (1847). They, like him, tend to base their arguments upon a Ricardian theory of value, but they have not his scope or erudition or scientific breadth. Among them may be mentioned Thomas Hodgskin (1787-1869), originally an officer in the Navy, but dismissed for a pamphlet critical of the methods of naval discipline, author of "Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital'' (1825) and other works; William Thompson (1785-1833), author of "Inquiry into the Principles of Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness'' (1824), and "Labour Rewarded'' (1825); and Piercy Ravenstone, from whom Hodgskin's ideas are largely derived. Perhaps more important than any of these was Robert Owen.

The bulk of his time was occupied in the composition of his great book, "Capital.''[3] His other important work during his later years was the formation and spread of the International Working Men's Association. From 1849 onward the greater part of his time was spent in the British Museum, accumulating, with German patience, the materials for his terrific indictment of capitalist society, but he retained his hold on the International Socialist movement. In several countries he had sons-in-law as lieutenants, like Napoleon's brothers, and in the various internal contests that arose his will generally prevailed.

[3] The first and most important volume appeared in 1867; the other two volumes were published posthumously (1885 and 1894).

The most essential of Marx's doctrines may be reduced to three: first, what is called the material- istic interpretation of history; second, the law of the concentration of capital; and, third, the class-war.

1. The Materialistic Interpretation of History.— Marx holds that in the main all the phenomena of human society have their origin in material conditions, and these he takes to be embodied in economic systems. Political constitutions, laws, religions, philosophies—all these he regards as, in their broad outlines, expressions of the economic regime in the society that gives rise to them. It would be unfair to represent him as maintaining that the conscious economic motive is the only one of importance; it is rather that economics molds character and opinion, and is thus the prime source of much that appears in consciousness to have no connection with them. He applies his doctrine in particular to two revolutions, one in the past, the other in the future. The revolution in the past is that of the bourgeoisie against feudalism, which finds its expression, according to him, particularly in the French Revolution. The one in the future is the revolution of the wage- earners, or proletariat, against the bourgeoisie, which is to establish the Socialist Commonwealth. The whole movement of history is viewed by him as necessary, as the effect of material causes operating upon human beings. He does not so much advocate the Socialist revolution as predict it. He holds, it is true, that it will be beneficent, but he is much more concerned to prove that it must inevitably come. The same sense of necessity is visible in his exposition of the evils of the capitalist system. He does not blame capitalists for the cruelties of which he shows them to have been guilty; he merely points out that they are under an inherent necessity to behave cruelly so long as private ownership of land and capital continues. But their tyranny will not last forever, for it generates the forces that must in the end overthrow it.

2. The Law of the Concentration of Capital.— Marx pointed out that capitalist undertakings tend to grow larger and larger. He foresaw the substitution of trusts for free competition, and predicted that the number of capitalist enterprises must diminish as the magnitude of single enterprises increased. He supposed that this process must involve a diminution, not only in the number of businesses, but also in the number of capitalists. Indeed, he usually spoke as though each business were owned by a single man. Accordingly, he expected that men would be continually driven from the ranks of the capitalists into those of the proletariat, and that the capitalists, in the course of time, would grow numerically weaker and weaker. He applied this principle not only to industry but also to agriculture. He expected to find the landowners growing fewer and fewer while their estates grew larger and larger. This process was to make more and more glaring the evils and injustices of the capitalist system, and to stimulate more and more the forces of opposition.

3. The Class War.—Marx conceives the wage- earner and the capitalist in a sharp antithesis. He imagines that every man is, or must soon become, wholly the one or wholly the other. The wage- earner, who possesses nothing, is exploited by the capitalists, who possess everything. As the capitalist system works itself out and its nature becomes more clear, the opposition of bourgeoisie and proletariat becomes more and more marked. The two classes, since they have antagonistic interests, are forced into a class war which generates within the capitalist regime internal forces of disruption. The working men learn gradually to combine against their exploiters, first locally, then nationally, and at last internationally. When they have learned to combine internationally they must be victorious. They will then decree that all land and capital shall be owned in common; exploitation will cease; the tyranny of the owners of wealth will no longer be possible; there will no longer be any division of society into classes, and all men will be free.

All these ideas are already contained in the "Communist Manifesto,'' a work of the most amazing vigor and force, setting forth with terse compression the titanic forces of the world, their epic battle, and the inevitable consummation. This work is of such importance in the development of Socialism and gives such an admirable statement of the doctrines set forth at greater length and with more pedantry in "Capital,'' that its salient passages must be known by anyone who wishes to understand the hold which Marxian Socialism has acquired over the intellect and imagination of a large proportion of working-class leaders.

"A spectre is haunting Europe,'' it begins, "the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre—Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its re-actionary adversaries?''

The existence of a class war is nothing new: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.'' In these struggles the fight "each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.''

"Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie . . . has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.'' Then follows a history of the fall of feudalism, leading to a description of the bourgeoisie as a revolutionary force. "The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.'' "For exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.'' "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe.'' "The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.'' Feudal relations became fetters: "They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder. . . . A similar movement is going on before our own eyes.'' "The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself. But not only has the bourgoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons— the modern working class—the proletarians.''

The cause of the destitution of the proletariat are then set forth. "The cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and diversion of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases.''

"Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful, and the more embittering it is.''

The Manifesto tells next the manner of growth of the class struggle. "The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual laborers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves.''

"At this stage the laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so.''

"The collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (Trades Unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest breaks out into riots. Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the im- proved means of communication that are created by modern industry, and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years. This organization of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself.''

"In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family-relations; modern industrial labor, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests. All the preceding classes that got the upper hand, sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property. All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole super- incumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.''

The Communists, says Marx, stand for the proletariat as a whole. They are international. "The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got.''

The immediate aim of the Communists is the conquests of political power by the proletariat. "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.''

The materialistic interpretation of history is used to answer such charges as that Communism is anti-Christian. "The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination. Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, man's consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations, and in his social life?''

The attitude of the Manifesto to the State is not altogether easy to grasp. "The executive of the modern State,'' we are told, "is but a Committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.'' Nevertheless, the first step for the proletariat must be to acquire control of the State. "We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.''

The Manifesto passes on to an immediate program of reforms, which would in the first instance much increase the power of the existing State, but it is contended that when the Socialist revolution is accomplished, the State, as we know it, will have ceased to exist. As Engels says elsewhere, when the proletariat seizes the power of the State "it puts an end to all differences of class and antagonisms of class, and consequently also puts an end to the State as a State.'' Thus, although State Socialism might, in fact, be the outcome of the proposals of Marx and Engels, they cannot themselves be accused of any glorification of the State.

The Manifesto ends with an appeal to the wage- earners of the world to rise on behalf of Communism. "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!''

In all the great countries of the Continent, except Russia, a revolution followed quickly on the publication of the Communist Manifesto, but the revolution was not economic or international, except at first in France. Everywhere else it was inspired by the ideas of nationalism. Accordingly, the rulers of the world, momentarily terrified, were able to recover power by fomenting the enmities inherent in the nationalist idea, and everywhere, after a very brief triumph, the revolution ended in war and reaction. The ideas of the Communist Manifesto appeared before the world was ready for them, but its authors lived to see the beginnings of the growth of that Socialist movement in every country, which has pressed on with increasing force, influencing Governments more and more, dominating the Russian Revolution, and perhaps capable of achieving at no very distant date that international triumph to which the last sentences of the Manifesto summon the wage-earners of the world.

Marx's magnum opus, "Capital,'' added bulk and substance to the theses of the Communist Manifesto. It contributed the theory of surplus value, which professed to explain the actual mechanism of capitalist exploitation. This doctrine is very complicated and is scarcely tenable as a contribution to pure theory. It is rather to be viewed as a translation into abstract terms of the hatred with which Marx regarded the system that coins wealth out of human lives, and it is in this spirit, rather than in that of disinterested analysis, that it has been read by its admirers. A critical examination of the theory of surplus value would require much difficult and abstract discussion of pure economic theory without having much bearing upon the practical truth or falsehood of Socialism; it has therefore seemed impossible within the limits of the present volume. To my mind the best parts of the book are those which deal with economic facts, of which Marx's knowledge was encyclopaedic. It was by these facts that he hoped to instil into his disciples that firm and undying hatred that should make them soldiers to the death in the class war. The facts which he accumulates are such as are practically unknown to the vast majority of those who live comfortable lives. They are very terrible facts, and the economic system which generates them must be acknowledged to be a very terrible system. A few examples of his choice of facts will serve to explain the bitterness of many Socialists:—

Mr. Broughton Charlton, county magistrate, declared, as chairman of a meeting held at the Assembly Rooms, Nottingham, on the 14th January, 1860, "that there was an amount of privation and suffering among that portion of the population connected with the lace trade, unknown in other parts of the kingdom, indeed, in the civilized world. . . . Children of nine or ten years are dragged from their squalid beds at two, three, or four o clock in the morning and compelled to work for a bare subsistence until ten, eleven, or twelve at night, their limbs wearing away, their frames dwindling, their faces whitening, and their humanity absolutely sinking into a stone-like torpor, utterly horrible to contemplate.''[4]

[4] Vol. i, p. 227.

Three railway men are standing before a London coroner's jury—a guard, an engine-driver, a signalman. A tremendous railway accident has hurried hundreds of passengers into another world. The negligence of the employes is the cause of the misfortune. They declare with one voice before the jury that ten or twelve years before, their labor only lasted eight hours a day. During the last five or six years it had been screwed up to 14, 18, and 20 hours, and under a specially severe pressure of holiday-makers, at times of excursion trains, it often lasted 40 or 50 hours without a break. They were ordinary men, not Cyclops. At a certain point their labor-power failed. Torpor seized them. Their brain ceased to think, their eyes to see. The thoroughly "respectable'' British jurymen answered by a verdict that sent them to the next assizes on a charge of manslaughter, and, in a gentle "rider'' to their verdict, expressed the pious hope that the capitalistic magnates of the railways would, in future, be more extravagant in the purchase of a sufficient quantity of labor-power, and more "abstemious,'' more "self-denying,'' more "thrifty,'' in the draining of paid labor-power.[5]

[5] Vol. i, pp. 237, 238.

In the last week of June, 1863, all the London daily papers published a paragraph with the "sensational'' heading, "Death from simple over-work.'' It dealt with the death of the milliner, Mary Anne Walkley, 20 years of age, employed in a highly respectable dressmaking establishment, exploited by a lady with the pleasant name of Elise. The old, often-told story was once more recounted. This girl worked, on an average, 16 1/2 hours, during the season often 30 hours, without a break, whilst her failing labor-power was revived by occasional supplies of sherry, port, or coffee. It was just now the height of the season. It was necessary to conjure up in the twinkling of an eye the gorgeous dresses for the noble ladies bidden to the ball in honor of the newly- imported Princess of Wales. Mary Anne Walkley had worked without intermission for 26 1/2 hours, with 60 other girls, 30 in one room, that only afforded 1/3 of the cubic feet of air required for them. At night, they slept in pairs in one of the stifling holes into which the bedroom was divided by partitions of board. And this was one of the best millinery establishments in London. Mary Anne Walkley fell ill on the Friday, died on Sunday, without, to the astonishment of Madame Elise, having previously completed the work in hand. The doctor, Mr. Keys, called too late to the death bed, duly bore witness before the coroner's jury that "Mary Anne Walkley had died from long hours of work in an over- crowded workroom, and a too small and badly ventilated bedroom.'' In order to give the doctor a lesson in good manners, the coroner's jury thereupon brought in a verdict that "the deceased had died of apoplexy, but there was reason to fear that her death had been accelerated by over-work in an over-crowded workroom, &c.'' "Our white slaves,'' cried the "Morning Star,'' the organ of the free-traders, Cobden and Bright, "our white slaves, who are toiled into the grave, for the most part silently pine and die.''[6]

[6] Vol. i, pp. 239, 240.

Edward VI: A statue of the first year of his reign, 1547, ordains that if anyone refuses to work, he shall be condemned as a slave to the person who has denounced him as an idler. The master shall feed his slave on bread and water, weak broth and such refuse meat as he thinks fit. He has the right to force him to do any work, no matter how disgusting, with whip and chains. If the slave is absent a fortnight, he is condemned to slavery for life and is to be branded on forehead or back with the letter S; if he runs away thrice, he is to be executed as a felon. The master can sell him, bequeath him, let him out on hire as a slave, just as any other personal chattel or cattle. If the slaves attempt anything against the masters, they are also to be executed. Justices of the peace, on information, are to hunt the rascals down. If it happens that a vagabond has been idling about for three days, he is to be taken to his birthplace, branded with a redhot iron with the letter V on the breast and be set to work, in chains, in the streets or at some other labor. If the vagabond gives a false birthplace, he is then to become the slave for life of this place, of its inhabitants, or its corporation, and to be branded with an S. All persons have the right to take away the children of the vagabonds and to keep them as apprentices, the young men until the 24th year, the girls until the 20th. If they run away, they are to become up to this age the slaves of their masters, who can put them in irons, whip them, &c., if they like. Every master may put an iron ring around the neck, arms or legs of his slave, by which to know him more easily and to be more certain of him. The last part of this statute provides that certain poor people may be employed by a place or by persons, who are willing to give them food and drink and to find them work. This kind of parish-slaves was kept up in England until far into the 19th century under the name of "roundsmen.''[7]

[7] Vol. i, pp. 758, 759.

Page after page and chapter after chapter of facts of this nature, each brought up to illustrate some fatalistic theory which Marx professes to have proved by exact reasoning, cannot but stir into fury any passionate working-class reader, and into unbearable shame any possessor of capital in whom generosity and justice are not wholly extinct.

Almost at the end of the volume, in a very brief chapter, called "Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation,'' Marx allows one moment's glimpse of the hope that lies beyond the present horror:—

As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the laborers are turned into proletarians, their means of labor into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialization of labor and further transformation of the land and other means of production into so- cially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many laborers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many, and in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever extending scale, the co-operative form of the labor-process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialized labor, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this, too, grows the revolt of the working- class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated,[8]

[8] Vol. i pp. 788, 789.

That is all. Hardly another word from beginning to end is allowed to relieve the gloom, and in this relentless pressure upon the mind of the reader lies a great part of the power which this book has acquired.

Two questions are raised by Marx's work: First, Are his laws of historical development true? Second, Is Socialism desirable? The second of these questions is quite independent of the first. Marx professes to prove that Socialism must come, but scarcely concerns himself to argue that when it comes it will be a good thing. It may be, however, that if it comes, it will be a good thing, even though all Marx's arguments to prove that it must come should be at fault. In actual fact, time has shown many flaws in Marx's theories. The development of the world has been sufficiently like his prophecy to prove him a man of very unusual penetration, but has not been sufficiently like to make either political or economic history exactly such as he predicted that it would be. Nationalism, so far from diminishing, has increased, and has failed to be conquered by the cosmopolitan tendencies which Marx rightly discerned in finance. Although big businesses have grown bigger and have over a great area reached the stage of monopoly, yet the number of shareholders in such enterprises is so large that the actual number of individuals interested in the capitalist system has continually increased. Moreover, though large firms have grown larger, there has been a simultaneous increase in firms of medium size. Meanwhile the wage-earners, who were, according to Marx, to have remained at the bare level of subsistence at which they were in the England of the first half of the nineteenth century, have instead profited by the general increase of wealth, though in a lesser degree than the capitalists. The supposed iron law of wages has been proved untrue, so far as labor in civilized countries is concerned. If we wish now to find examples of capitalist cruelty analogous to those with which Marx's book is filled, we shall have to go for most of our material to the Tropics, or at any rate to regions where there are men of inferior races to exploit. Again: the skilled worker of the present day is an aristocrat in the world of labor. It is a question with him whether he shall ally himself with the unskilled worker against the capitalist, or with the capitalist against the unskilled worker. Very often he is himself a capitalist in a small way, and if he is not so individually, his trade union or his friendly society is pretty sure to be so. Hence the sharpness of the class war has not been maintained. There are gradations, intermediate ranks between rich and poor, instead of the clear-cut logical antithesis between the workers who have nothing and the capitalists who have all. Even in Germany, which became the home of orthodox Marxianism and developed a powerful Social-Democratic party, nominally accepting the doctrine of "Das Kapital'' as all but verbally inspired, even there the enormous increase of wealth in all classes in the years preceding the war led Socialists to revise their beliefs and to adopt an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary attitude. Bernstein, a German Socialist who lived long in England, inaugurated the "Revisionist'' movement which at last conquered the bulk of the party. His criticisms of Marxian orthodoxy are set forth in his "Evolutionary Socialism.''[9] Bernstein's work, as is common in Broad Church writers, consists largely in showing that the Founders did not hold their doctrines so rigidly as their followers have done. There is much in the writings of Marx and Engels that cannot be fitted into the rigid orthodoxy which grew up among their disciples. Bernstein's main criticisms of these disciples, apart from such as we have already mentioned, consist in a defense of piecemeal action as against revolution. He protests against the attitude of undue hostility to Liberalism which is common among Socialists, and he blunts the edge of the Internationalism which undoubtedly is part of the teachings of Marx. The workers, he says, have a Fatherland as soon as they become citizens, and on this basis he defends that degree of nationalism which the war has since shown to be prevalent in the ranks of Socialists. He even goes so far as to maintain that European nations have a right to tropical territory owing to their higher civilization. Such doctrines diminish revolutionary ardor and tend to transform Socialists into a left wing of the Liberal Party. But the increasing prosperity of wage-earners before the war made these developments inevitable. Whether the war will have altered conditions in this respect, it is as yet impossible to know. Bernstein concludes with the wise remark that: "We have to take working men as they are. And they are neither so universally paupers as was set out in the Communist Manifesto, nor so free from prejudices and weaknesses as their courtiers wish to make us believe.''

[9] Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozial-Demokratie.''

In March, 1914, Bernstein delivered a lecture in Budapest in which he withdrew from several of the positions he had taken up (vide Budapest "Volkstimme,'' March 19, 1914).

Berstein represents the decay of Marxian orthodoxy from within. Syndicalism represents an attack against it from without, from the standpoint of a doctrine which professes to be even more radical and more revolutionary than that of Marx and Engels. The attitude of Syndicalists to Marx may be seen in Sorel's little book, "La Decomposition du Marxisme,'' and in his larger work, "Reflections on Violence,'' authorized translation by T. E. Hulme (Allen & Unwin, 1915). After quoting Bernstein, with approval in so far as he criticises Marx, Sorel proceeds to other criticisms of a different order. He points out (what is true) that Marx's theoretical economics remain very near to Manchesterism: the orthodox political economy of his youth was accepted by him on many points on which it is now known to be wrong. According to Sorel, the really essential thing in Marx's teaching is the class war. Whoever keeps this alive is keeping alive the spirit of Socialism much more truly than those who adhere to the letter of Social-Democratic orthodoxy. On the basis of the class war, French Syndicalists developed a criticism of Marx which goes much deeper than those that we have been hitherto considering. Marx's views on historical development may have been in a greater or less degree mistaken in fact, and yet the economic and political system which he sought to create might be just as desirable as his followers suppose. Syndicalism, however, criticises, not only Marx's views of fact, but also the goal at which he aims and the general nature of the means which he recommends. Marx's ideas were formed at a time when democracy did not yet exist. It was in the very year in which "Das Kapital'' appeared that urban working men first got the vote in England and universal suffrage was granted by Bismarck in Northern Germany. It was natural that great hopes should be entertained as to what democracy would achieve. Marx, like the orthodox economists, imagined that men's opinions are guided by a more or less enlightened view of economic self-interest, or rather of economic class interest. A long experience of the workings of political democracy has shown that in this respect Disraeli and Bismarck were shrewder judges of human nature than either Liberals or Socialists. It has become increasingly difficult to put trust in the State as a means to liberty, or in political parties as instruments sufficiently powerful to force the State into the service of the people. The modern State, says Sorel, "is a body of intellectuals, which is invested with privileges, and which possesses means of the kind called political for defending itself against the attacks made on it by other groups of intellectuals, eager to possess the profits of public employment. Parties are constituted in order to acquire the conquest of these employments, and they are analogous to the State.''[10]

[10] La Decomposition du Marxisme,'' p. 53.

Syndicalists aim at organizing men, not by party, but by occupation. This, they say, alone represents the true conception and method of the class war. Accordingly they despise all POLITICAL action through the medium of Parliament and elections: the kind of action that they recommend is direct action by the revolutionary syndicate or trade union. The battle- cry of industrial versus political action has spread far beyond the ranks of French Syndicalism. It is to be found in the I. W. W. in America, and among Industrial Unionists and Guild Socialists in Great Britain. Those who advocate it, for the most part, aim also at a different goal from that of Marx. They believe that there can be no adequate individual freedom where the State is all-powerful, even if the State be a Socialist one. Some of them are out-and- out Anarchists, who wish to see the State wholly abolished; others only wish to curtail its authority. Owing to this movement, opposition to Marx, which from the Anarchist side existed from the first, has grown very strong. It is this opposition in its older form that will occupy us in our next chapter.



IN the popular mind, an Anarchist is a person who throws bombs and commits other outrages, either because he is more or less insane, or because he uses the pretense of extreme political opinions as a cloak for criminal proclivities. This view is, of course, in every way inadequate. Some Anarchists believe in throwing bombs; many do not. Men of almost every other shade of opinion believe in throwing bombs in suitable circumstances: for example, the men who threw the bomb at Sarajevo which started the present war were not Anarchists, but Nationalists. And those Anarchists who are in favor of bomb-throwing do not in this respect differ on any vital principle from the rest of the community, with the exception of that infinitesimal portion who adopt the Tolstoyan attitude of non-resistance. Anarchists, like Socialists, usually believe in the doctrine of the class war, and if they use bombs, it is as Governments use bombs, for purposes of war: but for every bomb manufactured by an Anarchist, many millions are manufactured by Governments, and for every man killed by Anarchist violence, many millions are killed by the violence of States. We may, therefore, dismiss from our minds the whole question of violence, which plays so large a part in the popular imagination, since it is neither essential nor peculiar to those who adopt the Anarchist position.

Anarchism, as its derivation indicates, is the theory which is opposed to every kind of forcible government. It is opposed to the State as the embodiment of the force employed in the government of the community. Such government as Anarchism can tolerate must be free government, not merely in the sense that it is that of a majority, but in the sense that it is that assented to by all. Anarchists object to such institutions as the police and the criminal law, by means of which the will of one part of the community is forced upon another part. In their view, the democratic form of government is not very enormously preferable to other forms so long as minorities are compelled by force or its potentiality to submit to the will of majorities. Liberty is the supreme good in the Anarchist creed, and liberty is sought by the direct road of abolishing all forcible control over the individual by the community.

Anarchism, in this sense, is no new doctrine. It is set forth admirably by Chuang Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, who lived about the year 300 B. C.:—

Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels over the champaign. Such is the real nature of horses. Palatial dwellings are of no use to them.

One day Po Lo appeared, saying: "I understand the management of horses.''

So he branded them, and clipped them, and pared their hoofs, and put halters on them, tying them up by the head and shackling them by the feet, and disposing them in stables, with the result that two or three in every ten died. Then he kept them hungry and thirsty, trotting them and galloping them, and grooming, and trimming, with the misery of the tasselled bridle before and the fear of the knotted whip behind, until more than half of them were dead.

The potter says: "I can do what I will with Clay. If I want it round, I use compasses; if rectangular, a square.''

The carpenter says: "I can do what I will with wood. If I want it curved, I use an arc; if straight, a line.''

But on what grounds can we think that the natures of clay and wood desire this application of compasses and square, of arc and line? Nevertheless, every age extols Po Lo for his skill in managing horses, and potters and carpenters for their skill with clay and wood. Those who govern the empire make the same mistake.

Now I regard government of the empire from quite a different point of view.

The people have certain natural instincts:—to weave and clothe themselves, to till and feed themselves. These are common to all humanity, and all are agreed thereon. Such instincts are called "Heaven-sent.''

And so in the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied, trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into the raven's nest. For then man dwelt with birds and beasts, and all creation was one. There were no distinctions of good and bad men. Being all equally without knowledge, their virtue could not go astray. Being all equally without evil desires, they were in a state of natural integrity, the perfection of human existence.

But when Sages appeared, tripping up people over charity and fettering them with duty to their neighbor, doubt found its way into the world. And then, with their gushing over music and fussing over ceremony, the empire became divided against itself.[11]

[11] "Musings of a Chinese Mystic.'' Selections from the Philosophy of Chuang Tzu. With an Introduction by Lionel Giles, M.A. (Oxon.). Wisdom of the East Series, John Murray, 1911. Pages 66-68.

The modern Anarchism, in the sense in which we shall be concerned with it, is associated with belief in the communal ownership of land and capital, and is thus in an important respect akin to Socialism. This doctrine is properly called Anarchist Com- munism, but as it embraces practically all modern Anarchism, we may ignore individualist Anarchism altogether and concentrate attention upon the communistic form. Socialism and Anarchist Communism alike have arisen from the perception that private capital is a source of tyranny by certain individuals over others. Orthodox Socialism believes that the individual will become free if the State becomes the sole capitalist. Anarchism, on the contrary, fears that in that case the State might merely inherit the tyrannical propensities of the private capitalist. Accordingly, it seeks for a means of reconciling communal ownership with the utmost possible diminution in the powers of the State, and indeed ultimately with the complete abolition of the State. It has arisen mainly within the Socialist movement as its extreme left wing.

In the same sense in which Marx may be regarded as the founder of modern Socialism, Bakunin may be regarded as the founder of Anarchist Communism. But Bakunin did not produce, like Marx, a finished and systematic body of doctrine. The nearest approach to this will be found in the writings of his follower, Kropotkin. In order to explain modern Anarchism we shall begin with the life of Bakunin[12] and the history of his conflicts with Marx, and shall then give a brief account of Anarchist theory as set forth partly in his writings, but more in those of Kropotkin.[13]

[12] An account of the life of Bakunin from the Anarchist standpoint will be found in vol. ii of the complete edition of his works: "Michel Bakounine, OEuvres,'' Tome II. Avec une notice biographique, des avant-propos et des notes, par James Guillaume. Paris, P.-V, Stock, editeur, pp. v-lxiii.

[13] Criticism of these theories will be reserved for Part II.

Michel Bakunin was born in 1814 of a Russian aristocratic family. His father was a diplomatist, who at the time of Bakunin's birth had retired to his country estate in the Government of Tver. Bakunin entered the school of artillery in Petersburg at the age of fifteen, and at the age of eighteen was sent as an ensign to a regiment stationed in the Government of Minsk. The Polish insurrection of 1880 had just been crushed. "The spectacle of terrorized Poland,'' says Guillaume, "acted powerfully on the heart of the young officer, and contributed to inspire in him the horror of despotism.'' This led him to give up the military career after two years' trial. In 1834 he resigned his commission and went to Moscow, where he spent six years studying philosophy. Like all philosophical students of that period, he became a Hegelian, and in 1840 he went to Berlin to continue his studies, in the hope of ultimately becoming a professor. But after this time his opinions underwent a rapid change. He found it impossible to accept the Hegelian maxim that whatever is, is rational, and in 1842 he migrated to Dresden, where he became associated with Arnold Ruge, the publisher of "Deutsche Jahrbuecher.'' By this time he had become a revolutionary, and in the following year he incurred the hostility of the Saxon Government. This led him to go to Switzerland, where he came in contact with a group of German Communists, but, as the Swiss police importuned him and the Russian Government demanded his return, he removed to Paris, where he remained from 1843 to 1847. These years in Paris were important in the formation of his outlook and opinions. He became acquainted with Proudhon, who exercised a considerable influence on him; also with George Sand and many other well- known people. It was in Paris that he first made the acquaintance of Marx and Engels, with whom he was to carry on a lifelong battle. At a much later period, in 1871, he gave the following account of his relations with Marx at this time:—

Marx was much more advanced than I was, as he remains to-day not more advanced but incomparably more learned than I am. I knew then nothing of political economy. I had not yet rid myself of metaphysical abstractions, and my Socialism was only instinctive. He, though younger than I, was already an atheist, an instructed materialist, a well-considered Socialist. It was just at this time that he elaborated the first foundations of his present system. We saw each other fairly often, for I respected him much for his learning and his passionate and serious devotion (always mixed, however, with personal vanity) to the cause of the proletariat, and I sought eagerly his conversation, which was always instructive and clever, when it was not inspired by a paltry hate, which, alas! happened only too often. But there was never any frank intimacy between as. Our temperaments would not suffer it. He called me a sentimental idealist, and he was right; I called him a vain man, perfidious and crafty, and I also was right.

Bakunin never succeeded in staying long in one place without incurring the enmity of the authorities. In November, 1847, as the result of a speech praising the Polish rising of 1830, he was expelled from France at the request of the Russian Embassy, which, in order to rob him of public sympathy, spread the unfounded report that he had been an agent of the Russian Government, but was no longer wanted because he had gone too far. The French Government, by calculated reticence, encouraged this story, which clung to him more or less throughout his life.

Being compelled to leave France, he went to Brussels, where he renewed acquaintance with Marx. A letter of his, written at this time, shows that he entertained already that bitter hatred for which afterward he had so much reason. "The Germans, artisans, Bornstedt, Marx and Engels—and, above all, Marx—are here, doing their ordinary mischief. Vanity, spite, gossip, theoretical overbearingness and practical pusillanimity—reflections on life, action and simplicity, and complete absence of life, action and simplicity—literary and argumentative artisans and repulsive coquetry with them: 'Feuerbach is a bourgeois,' and the word 'bourgeois' grown into an epithet and repeated ad nauseum, but all of them themselves from head to foot, through and through, provincial bourgeois. With one word, lying and stupidity, stupidity and lying. In this society there is no possibility of drawing a free, full breath. I hold myself aloof from them, and have declared quite decidedly that I will not join their communistic union of artisans, and will have nothing to do with it.''

The Revolution of 1848 led him to return to Paris and thence to Germany. He had a quarrel with Marx over a matter in which he himself confessed later that Marx was in the right. He became a member of the Slav Congress in Prague, where he vainly endeavored to promote a Slav insurrection. Toward the end of 1848, he wrote an "Appeal to Slavs,'' calling on them to combine with other revolutionaries to destroy the three oppressive monarchies, Russia, Austria and Prussia. Marx attacked him in print, saying, in effect, that the movement for Bohemian independence was futile because the Slavs had no future, at any rate in those regions where they hap- pened to be subject to Germany and Austria. Bakunin accused Mars of German patriotism in this matter, and Marx accused him of Pan-Slavism, no doubt in both cases justly. Before this dispute, however, a much more serious quarrel had taken place. Marx's paper, the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung,'' stated that George Sand had papers proving Bakunin to be a Russian Government agent and one of those responsible for the recent arrest of Poles. Bakunin, of course, repudiated the charge, and George Sand wrote to the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung,'' denying this statement in toto. The denials were published by Marx, and there was a nominal reconciliation, but from this time onward there was never any real abatement of the hostility between these rival leaders, who did not meet again until 1864.

Meanwhile, the reaction had been everywhere gaining ground. In May, 1849, an insurrection in Dresden for a moment made the revolutionaries masters of the town. They held it for five days and established a revolutionary government. Bakunin was the soul of the defense which they made against the Prussian troops. But they were overpowered, and at last Bakunin was captured while trying to escape with Heubner and Richard Wagner, the last of whom, fortunately for music, was not captured.

Now began a long period of imprisonment in many prisons and various countries. Bakunin was sentenced to death on the 14th of January, 1850, but his sentence was commuted after five months, and he was delivered over to Austria, which claimed the privilege of punishing him. The Austrians, in their turn, condemned him to death in May, 1851, and again his sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life. In the Austrian prisons he had fetters on hands and feet, and in one of them he was even chained to the wall by the belt. There seems to have been some peculiar pleasure to be derived from the punishment of Bakunin, for the Russian Government in its turn demanded him of the Austrians, who delivered him up. In Russia he was confined, first in the Peter and Paul fortress and then in the Schluesselburg. There be suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out. His health gave way completely, and he found almost all food impossible to assimilate. "But, if his body became enfeebled, his spirit remained inflexible. He feared one thing above all. It was to find himself some day led, by the debilitating action of prison, to the condition of degradation of which Silvio Pellico offers a well-known type. He feared that he might cease to hate, that he might feel the sentiment of revolt which upheld him becoming extinguished in his hearts that he might come to pardon his persecutors and resign himself to his fate. But this fear was superfluous; his energy did not abandon him a single day, and he emerged from his cell the same man as when he entered.''[14]

[14] Ibid. p. xxvi.

After the death of the Tsar Nicholas many political prisoners were amnested, but Alexander II with his own hand erased Bakunin's name from the list. When Bakunin's mother succeeded in obtaining an interview with the new Tsar, he said to her, "Know, Madame, that so long as your son lives, he can never be free.'' However, in 1857, after eight years of captivity, he was sent to the comparative freedom of Siberia. From there, in 1861, he succeeded in escaping to Japan, and thence through America to London. He had been imprisoned for his hostility to governments, but, strange to say, his sufferings had not had the intended effect of making him love those who inflicted them. From this time onward, he devoted himself to spreading the spirit of Anarchist revolt, without, however, having to suffer any further term of imprisonment. For some years he lived in Italy, where he founded in 1864 an "International Fraternity'' or "Alliance of Socialist Revolutionaries.'' This contained men of many countries, but apparently no Germans. It devoted itself largely to combating Mazzini's nationalism. In 1867 he moved to Switzerland, where in the following year he helped to found the "International Alliance of So- cialist Democracy,'' of which he drew up the program. This program gives a good succinct resume of his opinions:—

The Alliance declares itself atheist; it desires the definitive and entire abolition of classes and the political equality and social equalization of individuals of both sexes. It desires that the earth, the instrument of labor, like all other capital, becoming the collective property of society as a whole, shall be no longer able to be utilized except by the workers, that is to say, by agricultural and industrial associations. It recognizes that all actually existing political and authoritarian States, reducing themselves more and more to the mere administrative functions of the public services in their respective countries, must disappear in the universal union of free associations, both agricultural and industrial.

The International Alliance of Socialist Democracy desired to become a branch of the International Working Men's Association, but was refused admission on the ground that branches must be local, and could not themselves be international. The Geneva group of the Alliance, however, was admitted later, in July, 1869.

The International Working Men's Association had been founded in London in 1864, and its statutes and program were drawn up by Marx. Bakunin at first did not expect it to prove a success and refused to join it. But it spread with remarkable rapidity in many countries and soon became a great power for the propagation of Socialist ideas. Originally it was by no means wholly Socialist, but in successive Congresses Marx won it over more and more to his views. At its third Congress, in Brussels in September, 1868, it became definitely Socialist. Meanwhile Bakunin, regretting his earlier abstention, had decided to join it, and he brought with him a considerable following in French-Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy. At the fourth Congress, held at Basle in September, 1869, two currents were strongly marked. The Germans and English followed Marx in his belief in the State as it was to become after the abolition of private property; they followed him also in his desire to found Labor Parties in the various countries, and to utilize the machinery of democracy for the election of representatives of Labor to Parliaments. On the other hand, the Latin nations in the main followed Bakunin in opposing the State and disbelieving in the machinery of representative government. The conflict between these two groups grew more and more bitter, and each accused the other of various offenses. The statement that Bakunin was a spy was repeated, but was withdrawn after investigation. Marx wrote in a confidential communication to his German friends that Bakunin was an agent of the Pan-Slavist party and received from them 25,000 francs a year. Meanwhile, Bakunin became for a time interested in the attempt to stir up an agrarian revolt in Russia, and this led him to neglect the contest in the International at a crucial moment. During the Franco-Prussian war Bakunin passionately took the side of France, especially after the fall of Napoleon III. He endeavored to rouse the people to revolutionary resistance like that of 1793, and became involved in an abortive attempt at revolt in Lyons. The French Government accused him of being a paid agent of Prussia, and it was with difficulty that he escaped to Switzerland. The dispute with Marx and his followers had become exacerbated by the national dispute. Bakunin, like Kropotkin after him, regarded the new power of Germany as the greatest menace to liberty in the world. He hated the Germans with a bitter hatred, partly, no doubt, on account of Bismarck, but probably still more on account of Marx. To this day, Anarchism has remained confined almost exclusively to the Latin countries, and has been associated with, a hatred of Germany, growing out of the contests between Marx and Bakunin in the International.

The final suppression of Bakunin's faction occurred at the General Congress of the International at the Hague in 1872. The meeting-place was chosen by the General Council (in which Marx was unopposed), with a view—so Bakunin's friends contend— to making access impossible for Bakunin (on account of the hostility of the French and German governments) and difficult for his friends. Bakunin was expelled from the International as the result of a report accusing him inter alia of theft backed; up by intimidation.

The orthodoxy of the International was saved, but at the cost of its vitality. From this time onward, it ceased to be itself a power, but both sections continued to work in their various groups, and the Socialist groups in particular grew rapidly. Ultimately a new International was formed (1889) which continued down to the outbreak of the present war. As to the future of International Socialism it would be rash to prophesy, though it would seem that the international idea has acquired sufficient strength to need again, after the war, some such means of expression as it found before in Socialist congresses.

By this time Bakunin's health was broken, and except for a few brief intervals, he lived in retirement until his death in 1876.

Bakunin's life, unlike Marx's, was a very stormy one. Every kind of rebellion against authority always aroused his sympathy, and in his support he never paid the slightest attention to personal risk. His influence, undoubtedly very great, arose chiefly through the influence of his personality upon important individuals. His writings differ from Marx's as much as his life does, and in a similar way. They are chaotic, largely, aroused by some passing occasion, abstract and metaphysical, except when they deal with current politics. He does not come to close quarters with economic facts, but dwells usually in the regions of theory and metaphysics. When he descends from these regions, he is much more at the mercy of current international politics than Marx, much less imbued with the consequences of the belief that it is economic causes that are fundamental. He praised Marx for enunciating this doctrine,[15] but nevertheless continued to think in terms of nations. His longest work, "L'Empire Knouto-Germanique et la Revolution Sociale,'' is mainly concerned with the situation in France during the later stages of the Franco-Prussian War, and with the means of resisting German imperialism. Most of his writing was done in a hurry in the interval between two insurrections. There is something of Anarchism in his lack of literary order. His best-known work is a fragment entitled by its editors "God and the State.''[16]

In this work he represents belief in God and belief in the State as the two great obstacles to human liberty. A typical passage will serve to illustrate its style.

[15] "Marx, as a thinker, is on the right road. He has established as a principle that all the evolutions, political, religious, and juridical, in history are, not the causes, but the effects of economic evolutions. This is a great and fruitful thought, which he has not absolutely invented; it has been glimpsed, expressed in part, by many others besides him; but in any case to him belongs the honor of having solidly established it and of having enunciated it as the basis of his whole economic system. (1870; ib. ii. p. xiii.)

[16] This title is not Bakunin's, but was invented by Cafiero and Elisee Reclus, who edited it, not knowing that it was a fragment of what was intended to he the second version of "L'Empire Knouto-Germanique'' (see ib. ii. p 283).

The State is not society, it is only an historical form of it, as brutal as it is abstract. It was born historically in all countries of the marriage of violence, rapine, pillage, in a word, war and conquest, with the gods successively created by the theological fantasy of nations. It has been from its origin, and it remains still at present, the divine sanction of brutal force and triumphant inequality.

The State is authority; it is force; it is the ostentation and infatuation of force: it does not insinuate itself; it does not seek to convert. . . . Even when it commands what is good, it hinders and spoils it, just because it commands it, and because every command provokes and excites the legitimate revolts of liberty; and because the good, from the moment that it is commanded, becomes evil from the point of view of true morality, of human morality (doubtless not of divine), from the point of view of human respect and of liberty. Liberty, morality, and the human dignity of man consist precisely in this, that he does good, not because it is commanded, but because he conceives it, wills it and loves it.

We do not find in Bakunin's works a clear picture of the society at which he aimed, or any argument to prove that such a society could be stable. If we wish to understand Anarchism we must turn to his followers, and especially to Kropotkin—like him, a Russian aristocrat familiar with the prisons of Europe, and, like him, an Anarchist who, in spite of his internationalism, is imbued with a fiery hatred of the Germans.

Kropotkin has devoted much of his writing to technical questions of production. In "Fields, Factories and Workshops'' and "The Conquest of Bread'' he has set himself to prove that, if production were more scientific and better organized, a comparatively small amount of quite agreeable work would suffice to keep the whole population in comfort. Even assuming, as we probably must, that he somewhat exaggerates what is possible with our present scientific knowledge, it must nevertheless be conceded that his contentions contain a very large measure of truth. In attacking the subject of production he has shown that he knows what is the really crucial question. If civilization and progress are to be compatible with equality, it is necessary that equality should not involve long hours of painful toil for little more than the necessaries of life, since, where there is no leisure, art and science will die and all progress will become impossible. The objection which some feel to Socialism and Anarchism alike on this ground cannot be upheld in view of the possible productivity of labor.

The system at which Kropotkin aims, whether or not it be possible, is certainly one which demands a very great improvement in the methods of production above what is common at present. He desires to abolish wholly the system of wages, not only, as most Socialists do, in the sense that a man is to be paid rather for his willingness to work than for the actual work demanded of him, but in a more fundamental sense: there is to be no obligation to work, and all things are to be shared in equal proportions among the whole population. Kropotkin relies upon the possibility of making work pleasant: he holds that, in such a community as he foresees, practically everyone will prefer work to idleness, because work will not involve overwork or slavery, or that excessive specialization that industrialism has brought about, but will be merely a pleasant activity for certain hours of the day, giving a man an outlet for his spontaneous constructive impulses. There is to be no compulsion, no law, no government exercising force; there will still be acts of the community, but these are to spring from universal consent, not from any enforced submission of even the smallest minority. We shall examine in a later chapter how far such an ideal is realizable, but it cannot be denied that Kropotkin presents it with extraordinary persuasiveness and charm.

We should be doing more than justice to Anarchism if we did not say something of its darker side, the side which has brought it into conflict with the police and made it a word of terror to ordinary citizens. In its general doctrines there is nothing essentially involving violent methods or a virulent hatred of the rich, and many who adopt these general doctrines are personally gentle and temperamentally averse from violence. But the general tone of the Anarchist press and public is bitter to a degree that seems scarcely sane, and the appeal, especially in Latin countries, is rather to envy of the fortunate than to pity for the unfortunate. A vivid and readable, though not wholly reliable, account, from a hostile point of view, is given in a book called "Le Peril Anarchiste,'' by Felix Dubois,[17] which incidentally reproduces a number of cartoons from anarchist journals. The revolt against law naturally leads, except in those who are controlled by a real passion for humanity, to a relaxation of all the usually accepted moral rules, and to a bitter spirit of retaliatory cruelty out of which good can hardly come.

[17] Paris, 1894.

One of the most curious features of popular Anarchism is its martyrology, aping Christian forms, with the guillotine (in France) in place of the cross. Many who have suffered death at the hands of the authorities on account of acts of violence were no doubt genuine sufferers for their belief in a cause, but others, equally honored, are more questionable. One of the most curious examples of this outlet for the repressed religious impulse is the cult of Ravachol, who was guillotined in 1892 on account of various dynamite outrages. His past was dubious, but he died defiantly; his last words were three lines from a well-known Anarchist song, the "Chant du Pere Duchesne'':—

Si tu veux etre heureux, Nom de Dieu! Pends ton proprietaire.

As was natural, the leading Anarchists took no part in the canonization of his memory; nevertheless it proceeded, with the most amazing extravagances.

It would be wholly unfair to judge Anarchist doctrine, or the views of its leading exponents, by such phenomena; but it remains a fact that Anarchism attracts to itself much that lies on the borderland of insanity and common crime.[18] This must be remembered in exculpation of the authorities and the thoughtless public, who often confound in a common detestation the parasites of the movement and the truly heroic and high-minded men who have elaborated its theories and sacrificed comfort and success to their propagation.

[18] The attitude of all the better Anarchists is that expressed by L. S. Bevington in the words: "Of course we know that among those who call themselves Anarchists there are a minority of unbalanced enthusiasts who look upon every illegal and sensational act of violence as a matter for hysterical jubilation. Very useful to the police and the press, unsteady in intellect and of weak moral principle, they have repeatedly shown themselves accessible to venal considerations. They, and their violence, and their professed Anarchism are purchasable, and in the last resort they are welcome and efficient partisans of the bourgeoisie in its remorseless war against the deliverers of the people.'' His conclusion is a very wise one: "Let us leave indiscriminate killing and injuring to the Government—to its Statesmen, its Stockbrokers, its Officers, and its Law.'' ("Anarchism and Violence,'' pp. 9-10. Liberty Press, Chiswick, 1896.)

The terrorist campaign in which such men as Ravachol were active practically came to an end in 1894. After that time, under the influence of Pelloutier, the better sort of Anarchists found a less harmful outlet by advocating Revolutionary Syndicalism in the Trade Unions and Bourses du Travail.[19]

[19] See next Chapter.

The ECONOMIC organization of society, as conceived by Anarchist Communists, does not differ greatly from that which is sought by Socialists. Their difference from Socialists is in the matter of government: they demand that government shall require the consent of all the governed, and not only of a majority. It is undeniable that the rule of a majority may be almost as hostile to freedom as the rule of a minority: the divine right of majorities is a dogma as little possessed of absolute truth as any other. A strong democratic State may easily be led into oppression of its best citizens, namely, those those independence of mind would make them a force for progress. Experience of democratic parliamentary government has shown that it falls very far short of what was expected of it by early Socialists, and the Anarchist revolt against it is not surprising. But in the form of pure Anarchism, this revolt has remained weak and sporadic. It is Syndicalism, and the movements to which Syndicalism has given rise, that have popularized the revolt against parliamentary government and purely political means of emancipating the wage earner. But this movement must be dealt with in a separate chapter.



SYNDICALISM arose in France as a revolt against political Socialism, and in order to understand it we must trace in brief outline the positions attained by Socialist parties in the various countries.

After a severe setback, caused by the Franco- Prussian war, Socialism gradually revived, and in all the countries of Western Europe Socialist parties have increased their numerical strength almost continuously during the last forty years; but, as is invariably the case with a growing sect, the intensity of faith has diminished as the number of believers has increased.

In Germany the Socialist party became the strongest faction of the Reichstag, and, in spite of differences of opinion among its members, it preserved its formal unity with that instinct for military discipline which characterizes the German nation. In the Reichstag election of 1912 it polled a third of the total number of votes cast, and returned 110 members out of a total of 397. After the death of Bebel, the Revisionists, who received their first impulse from Bernstein, overcame the more strict Marxians, and the party became in effect merely one of advanced Radicalism. It is too soon to guess what will be the effect of the split between Majority and Minority Socialists which has occurred during the war. There is in Germany hardly a trace of Syndicalism; its characteristic doctrine, the preference of industrial to political action, has found scarcely any support.

In England Marx has never had many followers. Socialism there has been inspired in the main by the Fabians (founded in 1883), who threw over the advocacy of revolution, the Marxian doctrine of value, and the class-war. What remained was State Socialism and a doctrine of "permeation.'' Civil servants were to be permeated with the realization that Socialism would enormously increase their power. Trade Unions were to be permeated with the belief that the day for purely industrial action was past, and that they must look to government (inspired secretly by sympathetic civil servants) to bring about, bit by bit, such parts of the Socialist program as were not likely to rouse much hostility in the rich. The Independent Labor Party (formed in 1893) was largely inspired at first by the ideas of the Fabians, though retaining to the present day, and especially since the outbreak of the war, much more of the original Socialist ardor. It aimed always at co-operation with the industrial organizations of wage-earners, and, chiefly through its efforts, the Labor Party[20] was formed in 1900 out of a combination of the Trade Unions and the political Socialists. To this party, since 1909, all the important Unions have belonged, but in spite of the fact that its strength is derived from Trade Unions, it has stood always for political rather than industrial action. Its Socialism has been of a theoretical and academic order, and in practice, until the outbreak of war, the Labor members in Parliament (of whom 30 were elected in 1906 and 42 in December, 1910) might be reckoned almost as a part of the Liberal Party.

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