- Jul 27, 2009
Paris, February 13th, 1936.
The Bourse Générale du Travail erupted into roaring applause and cheers, as their recently elected Chairman walked up to the speaker's podium, shaking hands with the Premier of the Comité de Salut Public, Daniel Guérin. Slowly turning towards his audience, the Chairman raised his arms in a futile attempt to calm the thunder. With a gentle smile on his face he waited a few minutes, until the applause finally died down a bit.
"Comrades..." he began his improvised speech, and his thundering voice showed his background of talking people into a frenzy. "Today is a great day for France! Today is the day that true freedom will show itself. Anarchism does not depend on theory or programs, which try to grasp man's life in its entirety. It is a teaching, which is based on real life, which outgrows all artificial limitations, which cannot be constricted by any system."
He paused for a moment, taking a sip from the glass of water in front of him, which the parliament used to burst into applause yet again.
"Anarchism's outward form is a free, non-governed society, which offers freedom, equality and solidarity for its members. Its foundations are to be found in man's sense of mutual responsibility, which has remained unchanged in all places and times. This sense of responsibility is capable of securing freedom and social justice for all men by its own unaided efforts. It is also the foundation of true communism. Anarchism therefore is a part of human nature, communism its logical extension. I think that Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Most, Kropotkin, Malatesta and even Sébastien Faure, never believed, that they could harness anarchism, a framework of immutable scientific dogma, by their theories. Instead, the teachings of anarchism represent a concerted effort to show its roots in human nature, and to prove that man's creative achievements never deviate from it; anarchism's fundamental trait, the negation of all bondage and servitude, is likewise to be found in human nature. Anarchism means freedom; socialism cannot destroy chains or bondage."
Many of the audience members turned towards Sébastien Faure at the mention of his name, only to see the old man of anarchism sit on his chair with a petrified expression on his face.
"We now know the real truths behind government. To the Jacobins and Sorelians we say: 'Shame! Dishonor! You talked such a lot about the terror of the bourgeoisie and you took the side of revolution with great zeal. But when you are in power you show yourself the same old fools, the same lackeys of the bourgeoisie, and slaves of their methods. You have turned yourselves into bourgeois.' You know that the exploitation and suppression of the working majority is inherent in this system, that the vicious life of sloth is not cast aside in socialism, but that it merely masquerades under another name before spreading and taking root again. This is the Truth! Liberalism, socialism, Bolshevism; they are three brothers who go their different ways to grab power over man. This power is used to block man's advance towards self-realization and independence."
For a moment there was a stunned silence hanging over the room. No one had expect the Chairman to confront his enemies so openly and especially during his inauguration speech. While some were sitting on their chairs with their mouths wide open, others (especially the minority of Sorelians and Jacobins) showed open contempt now.
"TO REBELLION! This is the cry of the anarchist revolutionary to the exploited. Power is used by those who have never really lived by the work of their hands. Government power will never let workers tread the road to freedom; it is the instrument of the lazy who want to dominate others, and it does not matter if the power is in the hand of the bourgeois, the socialists or the Bolsheviks, it is degrading. There is no government without teeth, teeth to tear any man who longs for a free and just life. Brothers; drive out the power in yourselfs. Never let it fascinate you or your brothers. A true collective life is not built with programs or with governments but with the freedom of mankind, with its creativity and its independence. The freedom of any individual carries within it the seed of a free and complete community without government, a free society that lives in organic and decentralized totality, united in its pursuit of the great human goal: Anarchist Communism! TO REBELLION!"
And with this final cry, Nestor Makhno turned around walked towards his seat again, while the Anarchiste faction carried on his cry "TO REBELLION! TO REBELLION! TO REBELLION!".
Two young man stood in the shadows on the sidelines and watched the enraged Sorelians and Jacobins walk out of the room with their face twisted by hate. "Well Maurice..." the younger one of the two said and casually lighted his cigarette. "I guess our work will start earlier than we expected..."
The speech is taken in parts from "The Anarchist Revolution" by Nestor Makhno.
((Welcome to my very first AAR. I hope you'll enjoy the ride into Anarchist Communism, we'll see where exactly it'll take us. ))