Obviously, in the present state of mankind, when the vast majority of people, oppressed by poverty and stupefied by superstition, stagnate in a state of humiliation, the fate of humanity depends on the action of a relatively small number of individuals; obviously it will not be possible suddenly to get people to raise themselves to the point where they feel the duty, indeed the pleasure from controlling their own actions in such a way that others will derive the maximum benefit therefrom. But if today the thinking and directing forces in society are few, it is not a reason for paralyzing yet more of them and for subjecting many others to a few of them. It is not a reason for organizing society in such a way that (thanks to the apathy that is the result of secured positions, thanks to birth, patronage, esprit de corps, and all the government machinery) the most lively forces and real ability end up by finding themselves outside the government and almost without influence on social life; and those that attain to government, finding themselves out of their environment, and being above all interested in remaining in power, lose all possibilities of acting and only serve as an obstacle to others.

Once this negative power that is government is abolished, society will be what it can be, but all that it can be given the forces and abilities available at the time. If there are educated people who wish to spread knowledge they will organize the schools and make a special effort to persuade everybody of the usefulness and pleasure to be got from an education. And if there were no such people, or only a few, a government could not create them; all it could do would be what happens now, take the few that there are away from their rewarding work, and set them to drafting regulations which have to be imposed with policemen, and make intelligent and devoted teachers into political beings, that is useless parasites, all concerned with imposing their whims and with maintaining themselves in power. . . .

In any case we will have on events the kind of influence which will reflect our numerical strength, our energy, our intelligence and our intransigence. Even if we are defeated, our work will not have been useless, for the greater our resolve to achieve the implementation of our program in full, the less property and less government will there be in the new society. And we will have performed a worthy task for, after all, human progress is measured by the extent government power and private property are reduced. And if today we fail without compromising, we can be sure of victory tomorrow. — Errico Malatesta, 1891, from Anarchy


Unfinished Business: The Politics of Class War

Class War

Some frolics through the politics of these rabble-rousing English anarchists, who have raised tabloid-baiting, cop-targeting and Tory-annoying to a fine art. Some insightful essays, mixed with a lot of working-class rhetoric. SC

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 186 pages

Words of a Rebel

Peter Kropotkin

This is the first complete English translation of a seminal Kropotkin book, which includes his earliest articles. These pieces present his skills as a political agitator in their full glory, as he rouses the rabble to overthrow corrupt, centralized wealth and power. SC

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 232 pages