- By what right then can any one whatever appropriate the least morsel of this immense whole and say--This is mine, not yours?
- Under pain of death, human societies are forced to return to first principles: the means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure of their strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one's part in the production of the world's wealth.
- All things are for all. Here is an immense stock of tools and implements; here are all those iron slaves which we call machines, which saw and plane, spin and weave for us, unmaking and remaking, working up raw matter to produce the marvels of our time. But nobody has the right to seize a single one of these machines and say, "This is mine; if you want to use it you must pay me a tax on each of your products," any more than the feudal lord of medieval times had the right to say to the peasant, "This hill, this meadow belong to me, and you must pay me a tax on every sheaf of corn you reap, on every rick you build." All is for all! If the man and the woman bear their fair share of work, they have a right to their fair share of all that is produced by all, and that share is enough to secure them well-being. No more of such vague formulas as "The Right to work," or "To each the whole result of his labour." What we proclaim is THE RIGHT TO WELL-BEING: WELL-BEING FOR ALL!
- But, if plenty for all is to become a reality, this immense capital--cities, houses, pastures, arable lands, factories, highways, education--must cease to be regarded as private property, for the monopolist to dispose of at his pleasure.
This rich endowment, painfully won, builded, fashioned, or invented by our ancestors, must become common property, so that the collective interests of men may gain from it the greatest good for all.
There must be EXPROPRIATION. The well-being of all--the end; expropriation--the means.
- Very different will be the result if the workers claim the right to well-being! In claiming that right they claim the right to possess the wealth of the community--to take the houses to dwell in, according to the needs of each family; to seize the stores of food and learn the meaning of plenty, after having known famine too well. They proclaim their right to all wealth--fruit of the labour of past and present generations--and learn by its means to enjoy those higher pleasures of art and science too long monopolized by the middle classes.
- And while asserting their right to live in comfort, they assert, what is still more important, their right to decide for themselves what this comfort shall be, what must be produced to ensure it, and what discarded as no longer of value.
The "right to well-being" means the possibility of living like human beings, and of bringing up children to be members of a society better than ours, whilst the "right to work" only means the right to be always a wage-slave, a drudge, ruled over and exploited by the middle class of the future. The right to well-being is the Social Revolution, the right to work means nothing but the Treadmill of Commercialism. It is high time for the worker to assert his right to the common inheritance and to enter into possession.
- EVERY society which has abolished private property will be forced, we maintain, to organize itself on the lines of Communistic Anarchy. Anarchy leads to Communism, and Communism to Anarchy, both alike being expressions of the predominant tendency in modern societies, the pursuit of equality.
Time was when a peasant family could consider the corn which it grew, or the woollen garments woven in the cottage, as the products of its own toil. But even then this way of looking at things was not quite correct. There were the roads and the bridges made in common, the swamps drained by common toil, and the communal pastures enclosed by hedges which were kept in repair by each and all. If the looms for weaving or the dyes for colouring fabrics were improved, all profited; so even in those days a peasant family could not live alone, but was dependent in a thousand ways on the village or the commune.
But nowadays, in the present state of industry, when everything is interdependent, when each branch of production is knit up with all the rest, the attempt to claim an Individualist origin for the products of industry is absolutely untenable. The astonishing perfection attained by the textile or mining industries in civilized countries is due to the simultaneous development of a thousand other industries, great and small, to the extension of the railroad system, to inter-oceanic navigation, to the manual skill of thousands of workers, to a certain standard of culture reached by the working classes as a whole, to the labours, in short, of men in every corner of the globe.
The Italians who died of cholera while making the Suez Canal, or of anchylosis in the St. Gothard Tunnel, and the Americans mowed down by shot and shell while fighting for the abolition of slavery have helped to develop the cotton industry in France and England, as well as the work-girls who languish in the factories of Manchester and Rouen, and the inventor who (following the suggestion of some worker) succeeds in improving the looms.
How, then, shall we estimate the share of each in the riches which ALL contribute to amass?
Looking at production from this general, synthetic point of view, we cannot hold with the Collectivists that payment proportionate to the hours of labour rendered by each would be an ideal arrangement, or even a step in the right direction.
Without discussing whether exchange value of goods is really measured in existing societies by the amount of work necessary to produce it--according to the doctrine of Smith and Ricardo, in whose footsteps Marx has followed--suffice it to say here, leaving ourselves free to return to the subject later, that the Collectivist ideal appears to us untenable in a society which considers the instruments of labour as a common inheritance. Starting from this principle, such a society would find itself forced from the very outset to abandon all forms of wages.
The mitigated individualism of the collectivist system certainly could not maintain itself alongside a partial communism--the socialization of land and the instruments of production. A new form of property requires a new form of remuneration. A new method of production cannot exist side by side with the old forms of consumption, any more than it can adapt itself to the old forms of political organization.
The wage system arises out of the individual ownership of the land and the instruments of labour. It was the necessary condition for the development of capitalist production, and will perish with it, in spite of the attempt to disguise it as "profit-sharing." The common possession of the instruments of labour must necessarily bring with it the enjoyment in common of the fruits of common labour.
We hold further that Communism is not only desirable, but that existing societies, founded on Individualism, are inevitably impelled in the direction of Communism. The development of Individualism during the last three centuries is explained by the efforts of the individual to protect himself from the tyranny of Capital and of the State. For a time he imagined, and those who expressed his thought for him declared, that he could free himself entirely from the State and from society. "By means of money," he said, " I can buy all that I need." But the individual was on a wrong tack, and modern history has taught him to recognize that, without the help of all, he can do nothing, although his strong-boxes are full of gold.
In fact, alongside this current of Individualism, we find in all modern history a tendency, on the one hand, to retain all that remains of the partial Communism of antiquity, and, on the other, to establish the Communist principle in the thousand developments of modern life.
As soon as the communes of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries had succeeded in emancipating themselves from their lords, ecclesiastical or lay, their communal labour and communal consumption began to extend and develop rapidly. The township--and not private persons--freighted ships and equipped expeditions, and the benefit arising from the foreign trade did not accrue to individuals, but was shared by all. The townships also bought provisions for their citizens. Traces of these institutions have lingered on into the nineteenth century, and the folk piously cherish the memory of them in their legends.
All that has disappeared. But the rural township still struggles to preserve the last traces of this Communism, and it succeeds--except when the State throws its heavy sword into the balance.
Meanwhile new organizations, based on the same principle--to every man according to his needs-- spring up under a thousand different forms; for without a certain leaven of Communism the present societies could not exist. In spite of the narrowly egoistic turn given to men's minds by the commercial system, the tendency towards Communism is constantly appearing, and influences our activities in a variety of ways
The bridges, for the use of which a toll was levied in the old days, are now become public property and free to all; so are the high roads, except in the East, where a toll is still exacted from the traveller for every mile of his journey. Museums, free libraries, free schools, free meals for children; parks and gardens open to all; streets paved and lighted, free to all; water supplied to every house without measure or stint--all such arrangements are founded on the principle: "Take what you need."
But ours is neither the Communism of Fourier and the Phalansteriens, nor of the German State-Socialists. It is Anarchist Communism,--Communism without government--the Communism of the Free. It is the synthesis of the two ideals pursued by humamty throughout the ages-- Economic and Political Liberty.
- To maintain this superstition whole systems of philosophy have been elaborated and taught; all politics are based on this principle; and each politician, whatever his colours, comes forward and says to the people, "Give me the power, and I both can and will free you from the miseries which press so heavily upon you."
- Now the worker must be made to see clearly that in refusing to pay rent to a landlord or owner he is not simply profiting by the disorganization of authority. He must understand that the abolition of rent is a recognized principle, sanctioned, so to speak, by popular assent; that to be housed rent-free is a right proclaimed aloud by the people
- If the people of the Revolution expropriate the houses and proclaim free lodgings--the communalizing of houses and the right of each family to a decent dwelling--then the Revolution will have assumed a communistic character from the first, and started on a course from which it will be by no means easy to turn it. It will have struck a fatal blow at individual property.
- MAN, however, is not a being whose exclusive purpose in life is eating, drinking, and providing a shelter for himself. As soon as his material wants are satisfied, other needs, of an artistic character, will thrust themselves forward the more ardently. Aims of life vary with each and every individual; and the more society is civilized, the more will individuality be developed, and the more will desires be varied
- But we expect more from the Revolution. We see that the worker compelled to struggle painfully for bare existence, is reduced to ignorance of these higher delights, the highest within man's reach, of science, and especially of scientific discovery; of art, and especially of artistic creation. It is in order to obtain these joys for all, which are now reserved to a few; in order to give leisure and the possibility of developing intellectual capacities, that the social revolution must guarantee daily bread to all. After bread has been secured, leisure is the supreme aim.
- What is needed to promote the spirit of invention is, first of all, the awakening of thought, the boldness of conception, which our entire education causes to languish; it is the spreading of a scientific education, which would increase the number of inquirers a hundred-fold; it is faith that humanity is going to take a step forward, because it is enthusiasm, the hope of doing good, that has inspired all the great inventors. The Social Revolution alone can give this impulse to thought, this boldness, this knowledge, this conviction of working for all.
- Every one would be the happier for it. In collective work, performed with a light heart to attain a desired end, a book, a work of art, or an object of luxury, each will find an incentive, and the necessary relaxation that makes life pleasant. In working to put an end to the division between master and slave we work for the happiness of both, for the happiness of humanity.
- A society regenerated by the Revolution will make domestic slavery disappear--this last form of slavery, perhaps the most tenacious, because it is also the most ancient. Only it will not come about in the way dreamt of by Phalansterians, nor in the manner often imagined by authoritarian Communists.
- But woman, too, at last claims her share- in the emancipation of humanity. She no longer wants to be the beast of burden of the house. She considers it sufficient work to give many years of her life to the rearing of her children. She no longer wants to be the cook, the mender, the sweeper of the house! And, owing to American women taking the lead in obtaining their claims, there is a general complaint of the dearth of women who will condescend to domestic work in the United States. My lady prefers art, politics, literature, or the gaming tables; as to the work-girls, they are few, those who consent to submit to apron-slavery, and servants are only found with difficulty in the States. Consequently, the solution, a very simple one, is pointed out by life itself. Machinery undertakes three-quarters of the household cares
- To emancipate woman is not only to open the gates of the university, the law courts, or the parliaments, for her, for the "emancipated" woman will always throw domestic toil on to another woman. To emancipate woman is to free her from the brutalizing toil of kitchen and washhouse; it is to organize your household in such a way as to enable her to rear her children, if she be so minded, while still retaining sufficient leisure to take her share of social life.
It will come to pass. As we have said, things are already improving. Only let us fully understand that a revolution, intoxicated with the beautiful words Liberty, Equality, Solidarity would not be a revolution if it maintained slavery at home. Half humanity subjected to the slavery of the hearth would still have to rebel against the other half.
- Well-being, that is to say, the satisfaction of physical, artistic, and moral needs, has always been the most powerful stimulant to work. And when a hireling produces bare necessities with difficulty, a free worker, who sees ease and luxury increasing for him and for others in proportion to his efforts, spends infinitely far more energy and intelligence, and obtains first-class products in far greater abundance. The one feels riveted to misery, the other hopes for ease and luxury in the future. In this lies the whole secret. Therefore a society aiming at the well-being of all, and at the possibility of all enjoying life in all its manifestations, will supply voluntary work which will be infinitely superior and yield far more than work has produced up till now under the goad of slavery, serfdom, or wagedom.
- Built up by the middle classes to hold their own against royalty, sanctioning, and at the same time strengthening, their sway over the workers, parliamentary rule is pre-eminently a middle-class rule. The upholders of this system have never seriously affirmed that a parliament or a municipal council represent a nation or a city. The most intelligent among them know that this is impossible. The middle class has simply used the parliamentary system to raise a barrier between itself and royalty, without giving the people liberty. But gradually, as the people become conscious of their interests and the variety of their interests multiply, the system can no longer work. Therefore democrats of all countries vainly imagine (livers palliatives. The Referendum is tried and found to be a failure; proportional representation is spoken of, so is representation of minorities, and other parliamentary Utopias. In a word, they strive to find what is not to be found, and they are compelled to recognize that they are in a wrong way, and confidence in a Representative Government disappears.
- It is the same with the wages system; for after having proclaimed the abolition of private property, and the possession in common of all means of production, how can they uphold the wages system in any form? It is, nevertheless, what collectivists are doing when they recommend labour-cheques.
- We have said that certain collectivist writers desire that a distinction should be made between qualified or professional work and simple work. They pretend that an hour's work of an engineer, an architect, or a doctor, must be considered as two or three hours' work of a blacksmith, a mason, or a hospital nurse. And the same distinction must be made between all sorts of trades necessitating a more or less long apprenticeship and the simple toil of day labourers.
Well, to establish this distinction would be to maintain all the inequalities of present society. It would mean fixing a dividing line, from the beginning, between the workers and those who pretend to govern them. It would mean dividing society into two very distinct classes--the aristocracy of knowledge above the horny-handed lower orders--the one doomed to serve the other; the one working with its hands to feed and clothe those who, profiting by their leisure, study how to govern their fosterers.
It would mean reviving one of the distinct peculiarities of present society and giving it the sanction of the Social Revolution. It would mean setting up as a principle an abuse already condemned in our ancient crumbling society
- The collectivists say, "To each according to his deeds"; or, in other terms, according to his share of services rendered to society. They think it expedient to put this principle into practice as soon as the Social Revolution will have made all instruments of production common property. But we think that if the Social Revolution had the misfortune of proclaiming such a principle, it would mean its necessary failure; it would mean leaving the social problem, which past centuries have burdened us with, unsolved. In fact, in a society like ours, in which the more a man works the less he is remunerated, this principle, at first sight, may appear to be a yearning for justice. But it is really only the perpetuation of past injustice. It was by virtue of this principle that wagedom began, to end in the glaring inequalities and all the abominations of present society; because, from the moment work done was appraised in currency or in any other form of wage; the day it was agreed upon that man would only receive the wage he could secure to himself, the whole history of State-aided Capitalist Society was as good as written; it germinated in this principle
- Services rendered to society, be they work in factory or field, or mental services, cannot be valued in money. There can be no exact measure of value (of what has been wrongly-termed exchange value), nor of use value, with regard to production. If two individuals work for the community five hours a day, year in year out, at different work which is equally agreeable to them, we may say that on the whole their labour is equivalent. But we cannot divide their work, and say that the result of any particular day, hour, or minute of work of the one is worth the result of a minute or hour of the other.
We may roughly say that the man who during his lifetime has deprived himself of leisure during ten hours a day has given far more to society than the one who has only deprived himself of leisure during five hours a day, or who has not deprived himself at all. But we cannot take what he has done during two hours and say that the yield is worth twice as much as the yield of another individual, working only one hour, and remunerate him in proportion. It would be disregarding all that is complex in industry, in agriculture, in the whole life of present society; it would be ignoring to what extent all individual work is the result of past and present labour of society as a whole. It would mean believing ourselves to be living in the Stone Age, whereas we are living in an age of steel.