Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Erich Muhsam Quotes.

"For state and society are two different things. Neither is society an accumulation of all the different organizations and connections within which people order their communal affairs and under which the state exists alongside other institutional forms, nor is the state from among a great many possibilities one of the types of organization in which society can embody itself. It is certainly clear that wherever society exits there is no room for the state, but that wherever the state is it is like a thorn in society’s flesh, it does not permit it to form a people who can socially inhale and exhale, and instead divides them into classes and thereby prevents them from being a society. A centralized construct cannot at the same time be a federalist construct. A system of management organized along authoritarian lines is a government, a bureaucracy, a commanding power, and this is the mark of the state; a community built upon equal rights and mutuality is, when considered within the bounds of their physical proximity, a people, when considered as a general form of human living, a society. State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other."

"To speak of the class state is to speak of wooden wood. The state is and can be nothing other than the centralized executor of a class detached from the people, for the subjugation of a people disenfranchised and reduced to a dominated class. The process of state management thus divides human society into social classes by protecting the land along with the man-made means of production as the property of the privileged class, regulating the permission for the use of the property by the unpropertied class, which is nearly everyone, according to the principles of the sanctity of property privilege and of the preservation of the character of labor’s performance as the hiring out of labor power. The state is made exclusively for this purpose; it has never served another purpose; it could never be made useful to another purpose. Only where the rights of masters stand opposed to the rights of slaves does the state make sense, does it find tasks to carry out. The state could and did come into being only with the inception of personal property for the exploitation of people. With the development of capitalism, which makes the principles of material exploitation by the property owners the entire focus of man’s life, the state constantly enlarges and coarsens the network of legal, supervisory and compulsory measures through which the proletariat is to be maintained in obedience to the privileged class. But again it is the Marxist socialists who along with the materialist world view also want to adopt the centralist mode of organization, this essential characteristic of the capitalist state, as the blue print for the construction of society freed from capitalism."

"Therefore, if certain interpretations of Marxist doctrine wish to convince one that the essence of capitalism is determined by private exploiters’ ownership of the means of production, that their management through the state, however, can be interpreted already as a sign of socialism, then one cannot object strong enough against such a twisted falsification of the basic idea of socialism. State capitalism, even where one prefers to call it state socialism, has not the slightest thing in common with true socialism; it is on the contrary the form of capitalist subjugation most hostile to the spirit of community, mutuality and individual responsibility, without which there can be no socialism"

" A state does not die off, but consolidates itself by developing the foundations on which it rests. The foundations of the state are the capitalist class relations, and it makes no difference whether the class contradictions arise from the private ownership by the few of the earth and the means of work or are brought about by the transferal of the same ownership to select state commanders"

"The wage system is not altered in the slightest by the transferal of private capitalism to state capitalism, yet the wage system is the mark of exploitation."

"The disavowal of power in the social order is the definitive characteristic of anarchy, or, to give positive form to this negative explanation: instead of fighting for some form of power anarchism fights for the people’s socially organized self-possession and self-determination. By power is to be understood every claim to or concession of sovereign authority through which people are divided into governing and governed groups. In this the form of government plays not the slightest roll. Monarchy, democracy, dictatorship represent as types of state only different possibilities in the process of the centralized domination of people. If democracy makes the appeal that it ensures the participation of the entire population in the public administration with equal voting rights for all, then it must be remembered that equal voting rights has nothing to do with equal justice and that precisely the selection of delegates prevents the participation in administration by the delegators and means their representation through successive rulers. Where there are privileges of ownership, no formal equalization of voices can create real equality, and hardly where people’s self-determination lets itself be replaced by the conferment of power. Power rests always on economic superiority, and the abolition of economic superiority with simultaneous maintenance of power brings about under all circumstances the determination of those in possession of power to secure it through regaining economic superiority. Every even temporary law giver, be he supreme court justice, minister or parliamentarian, feels himself elevated above those for whom he can create regulations, thus becoming, even when he wasn’t before, the agent of an elite divorced from the whole with different, increased needs and life goals, ceasing to belong to the class which must direct itself according to the laws and regulations. That shows itself even in the centralistically organized labor organizations. Here an official leadership is endowed with the privilege of determining the guidelines of behavior and the obligations for the rest of the group; command, authority, power arise. Thereby arises further a fundamental separation of interests with the result that the head of the organization takes on a life independent from the members and the management of the organization becomes an end in itself and always holds its own needs more important than the tasks for the sake of which the organization was created."

"It lies in the nature of power not only to defend its continued existence by any means but to make itself materially and spiritually ever stronger, even making its strengthening and expansion the basis of all its actions."

"In the realization that power contains within itself exploitation, regardless who exercises it, regardless for what pretended or actual purpose it is rationalized, further that state and centralization are institutions of power and thus must practice exploitation, regardless what social goals they have set for themselves, anarchism sets itself the task of destroying power as a form of social life, accordingly of destroying every sort of state from the ground up and in its place constructing a federated community of people with equal rights. The frequently raised objection, that the destruction of power presumes through its means of execution once again the use of power, rests on unclear reasoning. For the words power, compulsion and force denote completely different concepts whose equation and confusion have produced disastrous errors even within the ranks of the anarchists themselves. Force is a means of struggles which is not fundamentally different from other means of struggle such as persuasion, deception, passive resistance, etc."

"The claim that anarchist thought is distinctly irreconcilable with struggle which requires the use of physical force or its mechanical reinforcement through use of weapons is an arbitrary distortion of anarchist thought. "

"Whoever is uncomfortable with the use of force in the struggle may avoid it; such matters of personal taste have nothing to do with anarchism. Since anarchism affirms the struggle it cannot differentiate among the external forms of struggle and draw a boundary beyond which struggle is disavowed. The use of compulsion also does not stand in general opposition to anarchist conduct. An opponent vanquished in battle must naturally be prevented from continuing the fight. A social parasite must be coerced into conforming itself to the necessity of forging a shared existence. Such prevention and coercion is compulsion. "

"Force and compulsion become only then unacceptable from the anarchist point of view when they serve a commanding authority, and the superficial equation of the three concepts is thereby explained in that the state by virtue of its power lays claim to the exclusive use of force and compulsion. Anarchism is opposed to state force and state compulsion because it is opposed to state power. But for the sake of clarity in thinking distinction must be made: force is an act of struggle, simply a means to accomplish an end; compulsion is a measure taken in struggle and a means of securing the struggle’s already accomplished end; power is a continuing situation of force and compulsion for the suppression of cravings for equality, is the ruler’s monopoly on force and compulsion wielded from on high."

"It is explained with the claim that jealousy is an inborn and therefore absolutely valid feeling, naturally justified in love, and therefore, as a prop to the reciprocal relationship, morally justifies the spouse’s demand for exclusivity in the sexual partnership."

"No person, man or woman, is constituted by nature so that he should feel throughout his whole life physically attracted to only one suitable individual. "

"With this quality, however, of self-righteously and jealously shutting oneself in with one’s group members like an enclosed fortress against the other clans, the authoritarian family fulfills its true task, which is to engraft onto the youth as they mature along with the sense of family the sense of state, the will to power of one’s own state, enmity toward other states, the desire for conquest, suppression, exploitation of the peoples beyond the state borders, nationalism. "

"Love of one’s home has nothing to do with worship of the fatherland. "

"Love of home is had by him whose growth is promoted by scenic and climatic stimuli. Every animal not torn out of its natural environment feels love of home, without ever distorting it into feeling for fatherland, without ever desiring expanded or armed borders around his home. An animal without a home would reasonably also feel no love of home, at most longing for a home. It is no different with people. Can the young person, poorly nourished, growing up in an unhealthy cellar dungeon, let his gloomy childhood environment shine over his life’s way as an alluring picture of home? Can he — and this is very well the distinguishing feature of love of home — be moved from a distance by the yearning to again be embraced by the hazy circle of his origins? He whose youth had no home, whose home held no joy, he had then no home to which a love could bind him. There is no obligation to love, however, and that one raises love of home to an obligation by having been able to convince someone, whose foot has never touched a sunny patch of homeland, of a fatherland which may demand his dedication, his love, his heroism, his blood and his life, this shows to what degree of distortion the delusion of authority can twist the human soul."

"Freedom is, however, not something which can be granted. Freedom is taken and lived. Furthermore, freedom is not a sum of freedoms, but rather the orderly unity of all life’s circumstances freed from every ruler and every authority. There is no freedom of society when the people live in bondage. The people have no freedom when the society is unfreely organized, centralist, state-like, according to power. The freedom of anarchy is the free confederation of free people in a free society. That person is free who acts voluntarily, who carries out all that he does out of his own recognition of the necessity or desirability of his action. The prerequisite for every person pursuing his affairs only out of voluntary determination is a society which knows no privileges through power or property. All property and all ideal power create dependence, annul thereby every person’s free will in resolution and action, are thus irreconcilable with actual freedom. Therefore, the individualists are wrong when they advance the thesis that every person has a right to freedom, yet this right ends at his neighbor’s freedom. Wherever the right to freedom for the individual finds any sort of limitation there exists no social freedom. For, if the concepts of freedom and free will are fully equated, the freedom of the one can never be impaired by the freedom of the other. Otherwise, the behavior disturbing the freedom of one’s fellow man would amount to laying claim to a privilege, thus would arise the condition of power and subordination. Yet whoever wishes to exercise privilege and power is thereby dependent on the compliance of fellow men, he himself thus no longer acts independently. Hence results again the complete unity of society and individual and the correctness of the above proposed claim that no one can be free unless all are free. There still remains to dispense with the old objection that people’s freedom founders on the facts of experience, which prove a lack of independence on the part of most people and their dependence upon a leader. Aside from the fact that the majority’s lack of independence is the result of education by all the authoritarian powers which have ever exploited the people’s souls and labor power, the undoubted correctness of the truism, that there are various talents, and that for certain requirements direction from suitable experts is necessary, can only be asserted as proof for the natural necessity of social bondage by people who under the influence of authoritarian education have lost every belief in freedom and are themselves striving for power. We anarchists disdain a leadership with the power of command and ensured of extended operation, that is, every state government, bureaucracy and central party, every dictatorship and every croneyist regime. But we deny neither the usefulness of the director in the theater or chairperson at a meeting nor of the captain on a ship. Here personal qualities assign certain tasks to the appropriate persons in certain cases. The same holds true in political struggle and just as well in an uprising or in fending off armed aggression. Just as a wandering herd follows the lead animal, which is not chosen but rather takes the lead because it is confident of the best trail, but when tired can immediately be replaced by any other animal, so it is with people, too. There are spokesmen, there are ringleaders, that is, people who are followed because they bring the will of all most clearly to expression or set themselves into action with the most determination. A leader is one who shows the way, not whoever gives laws or leads followers around behind him on a leash".

"Anarchism is the teaching of freedom. Where there is exploitation, where there is power, where authority holds sway, where centralism exists, where man keeps guard over man, where orders are given and obedience offered there is no freedom. The destruction of all authorities, all privileges, all institutions of property and slavery can come to pass only out of the free communal spirit. The stateless community of free people, — that is communism, the solidarity of equals in freedom, that is anarchy! "

"The path of anarchy is therefore first of all a path of revolutionary preparation. Preparation for revolution occurs in a three-fold way: through propaganda, whereby the essence of the reprehensible conditions is demonstrated and their removal and the creation of desirable conditions encouraged; through self-education, in that the perception of bad institutions arouses the intention to change them; and finally through struggle. The anarchist doctrine contains nothing which would exclude any person from the preparations for revolution who did not exclude himself through his own behavior. Communist anarchists are anyhow in pretty much general agreement that the removal of evil organizations and institutions is not to be demanded from those who have created them or derive benefit from them, but rather that all liberation is a matter for those who bear the bonds of oppression. The struggle against property rights is to be lead by those to whom property is denied, the struggle against exploitation and oppression by those who are exploited and oppressed, the struggle against lordly privilege by slaves and the disenfranchised. Equality, mutuality and self-determination according to the social conscience are to be aggressively prepared by those at whose cost inequality and privilege, authority and anti-social self-interest play themselves out. The liberation of society from the state is thus to be achieved primarily by that class for whose oppression the capitalist system requires the state, whose submissiveness is perpetuated through the authority of church and state, through the power structures of patriarchy and monogamy, through the habituation to centralistic forms of organization for the attainment of hostile divisions within all areas of life, through the fostering of patriotic and racist arrogance, through laws, punishments, taxes, through joblessness, hunger, misery, bad air, paternalism and humiliation. Liberation from the state is liberation from class enslavement; the enslaved class must be the carrier of the struggle for liberation. The struggle for communist anarchy is therefore to be conducted during the period of revolutionary preparation as a class struggle."

"The insight that the state’s delineation of borders is an expression of the class system, in that the artificial estrangement of the workers of the different nations through the breeding of national prejudice prevents the alliance of the exploited, — this insight was the guiding thought in the understanding reached at the First International. The fundamental motto of the gathered laboring class, however, was the vow of independence of the proletariat in its opinions and conclusions. The liberation of the laboring class must be the work of the laborers themselves! In this assertion is contained the profession of faith in individual responsibility, in equality, in mutual aid and in free will, just as international unity likewise proclaims the negation of the state, and thereby of centralization, supremacy and authoritarian power. Only the infiltration of Marxist doctrine into the class struggle concept brought the dissolution of class unity as well as of the internationalism of the workers. Under the influence of Marxism the workers created for themselves centralistic party and union organizations, mandated officers for the discernment of the workers’ interests, whereby they placed their struggle for liberation into the hands of superior representatives, took part in the state’s parliamentary elections, so that the state with its national borders again attained for them an objective significance, and let themselves be caught up by state-administered socialism. Thus has the worker become citizen, and his struggle against exploitation is wrecked on the contradiction that he supports and strengthens the public apparatus determining the exploitation. "

"So much the more must anarchists’ behavior in the battle against opposing views be perfectly honorable. Dirty fighting methods, suspicions, slander, crooked paths toward deception of comrades and enemies harm under any circumstances the persuasive force of an idea whose strength is its purity"

"At home he exercises no authority, nor does he tolerate any. In sexual matters he follows the paths which he holds proper without worrying which way others go. No woman belongs to a man, no man to a woman. What two mature people do in private to please one another is nobody else’s business, not the husband’s nor the wife’s, not the neighbor’s nor the comrade’s, not the church’s nor the state’s. Anarchist men and women are not rulers over their children, are rather their companions and helpers. Those who beat their children misuse their physical superiority to create a power relationship, thereby reinforcing the power and authority of state and capital and, by beating the insanity of power into their child, thereby curse future generations. The anarchist does not believe in gods or spirits, nor the words of priests or the claims of scientists which he cannot check for himself. He does not concern himself with street gossip nor with momentary fashions in matters of art and world view. He goes straight ahead down his own path, responsible to himself and his conscience, responsible to humanity which he knows to be one with himself and his conscience. He does what is right, since he knows what right is. For right and freedom are the same, as society and individual are the same. Out of right grows the equality of communism, out of equality the freedom of anarchy! "

The liberation of society from the state: What is communist anarchism? - Erich Mühsam


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