Arbeter Fraint, October 12 1888, page 3
right to manage the country as it deems best, so all the cities and communes are governed by the central government—also with respect to economics. The products that the whole country produces are regulated by the central [government], and the communes cannot barter among themselves without [following] certain regulations of the central government.
Federation means connection; connected, bound. There are state federations and anarchistic (free) federations. In a federated, socialized state the communes and the cities are independent of one another. Every city can have its own government, and when it wants to it can send delegates to the capitol, where the representatives of all the cities gather together. And if it doesn’t want to it doesn’t have to. All the states are also free to exchange their produce with one another. All the cities form one state, because they are voluntarily associates; no one is forcing them to do it.
Here we must notice that when a federation is called an association, this refers only to whole groups. It is unnecessary to say: “Two people can be federated,” however certain people can join together with certain others.
The difference between collectivism and anarchism is in their economic situations and in their management of the communes. Collectivism says that the fact that people do not all possess the same natural mental and physical abilities and therefore cannot deliver equal benefits to society, each person must therefore receive as payment from society according to how much he produces. Those who are not good workers and old people must be provided for by society.
However, in order to continue in this way, the work must have some value. One must be able to estimate the value of every product produced, and time is not a good indicator of work and especially [not] of value. For example, if a person works eight hours a day and finishes a certain amount of work, [but] someone else does less work in those eight hours, and a third person falls somewhere between those two, the average of all three is taken and each one is paid accordingly. For bespoke work the worker gets a certificate for which he receives goods. For an hour of work, for example, he receives a pound of meat: for half an hour’s work two pounds of bread and so on.
Whatever the work itself comes to is divided in two ways: professional and simple. The former is more valued than the latter.
For example, the work of a doctor is remunerated at three times that of a miner, and so on. The reason for this, for the doctor being paid more is that his education cost society more than that of the simple worker, and he himself put in more [physical] and mental effort until he mastered his profession.
However, since the professional workers cost society much more than an ordinary worker, who has no right to demand a larger salary for himself, the scholars of collectivism, found that there should not be any difference between the remuneration of a professional and nonprofessional worker. All workers must be paid the same for their labor, but it should be according to the rate of bespoke work.
Now the question arises: how can one, in general, estimate or know how much one person can deliver as compared to someone else. As an example, let us take a coal mine. One worker stands aboveground and by means of a pulley draws up the crates of coal, one of which comes up full and the other goes down empty. This man must work a switch that someone else reacts to. The switch indicates how high the crate must go and not any higher or any lower. If he looks away for a minute, it flies down killing many people and causing great damage. If the worker of the switch looks away for one moment, the same danger applies as with the first one. The miner below is at constant risk of being crushed by a mass of coal. Or when the engineer determines that in this or that place there must be coal but his calculation is wrong, and the laborer, who has worked a long time before getting this job finds stones instead of coal.
How can one determine who had produced more work? When the machinist looked away for one minute, he destroys the whole train; when the brakeman doesn’t screw in the screws of the train car at the right time in order to stop the train, if something is on the tracks…that’s the end of the train. Or when the conductor mistakenly indicates that the way is clear when it is not causing the train to proceed, or when the line switchman mistakenly switches a train to the wrong track and the train flies of the rails. . . and so on.
So how can one know who of all these workers brings society the most benefits with his labors?
Who can estimate the price and the usefulness of an act or a job? Here we are not only speaking of physical labor. Each job has benefits for society and one cannot determine the importance of each one. Sometimes someone can with a word or a look be more useful than a hundred others performing hard labor.
One can mention thousands of such examples showing that it is impossible for a defiled servant of a member of society to be accurately evaluated. And since this cannot happen, the opposite happens (that is if the work is appreciated at all) and that is not right and will not lead to a newly ordered society and
the fulfillment of the goal that the social revolution strives to achieve.
Therefore, in view of all of this, the Communist-Anarchist Party was created. It wants to remove a price from all work. Everyone has to benefit society as much as he can, and everyone can benefit as much as he desires from all the results created by nature and human labor. And because payment for work leads to disrespect and jealousy among the producers, one must have a government in order to make everything equal, but the Anarchists do not want a government.
All of the Socialist parties concede that an anarchistic society is certainly good, but because people are not yet so advanced as to be able to govern themselves, one must, at first, have Socialist reforms and in time they will get to Anarchism.
This is false thinking, since history and experience teaches that without bloodshed society doesn’t change, and that no government willingly gives up its position. So, in order to first have a Socialist revolution, so that afterwards there can be a society that will firmly have the same principles as the present one, it is a waste of the blood of the masses that will be spilled.
In the next article we will show that the present society doesn’t need a transitional period; it is now already prepared for an Anarchistic society.
What Does Socialism Want?
The basic principles of this lesson are freedom, equality and fraternity. That is the goal of Socialism, one kind of societal condition, under which every individual, as well as society as a whole, should be able to benefit from complete freedom, and should be a member with equal rights in the society and should find himself in the situation where it would be impossible to do otherwise than live in brotherly fashion with his companions.
In today’s society, things are quite the opposite of this: it is just the reverse. Today, freedom exists in name only, has no meaning, especially in the life of the [common] people. It is, perhaps a fact, that we benefit from more political freedom today than our brothers did in the olden days, but now we now how useless and ineffectual political freedom is when it is accompanied by economic enslavement. And it is absolutely impossible to dispute, as many swindlers have already attempted, the fact that we workers, even in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, are no different than slaves. The meaning of this word “slave” is: a person who is subjugated—it doesn’t matter what the conditions are—to the will of someone else. It doesn’t matter if this is a god, a king or someone else. And everyone would agree that we are completely subjugated to our bosses and to our government. We are “free” workers; yes, but free to be flayed!
A worker’s freedom only extends to being able to select who will do the flaying (and often not even that far), but a flayer they must have. And why? Because the current system is based on inequality, due to several people having robbed the [common] people of all their wealth—such as land, water, machinery and all the other means of production without which it is impossible for the people to exist, and they are, therefore, in the position to rob the people to their heart’s content. The inequality in current “society” has already attained such a high point that we can now find at least 10,000 poor people for every rich one. But we are not yet finished with this. Despite the fact that inequality in society has already gone this far, it continues to get worse and worse with every day that passes, and we have every reason to expect that if things continue as they are going now in time all wealth will be concentrated in the hands a few people, and everyone will be dependent on these few people for the necessities of life. It cannot really get that far, because before that the people will revolt; that will be the social revolution.
Well, people who think that they know everything want to convince us that that is how it has to be: that things cannot be any different than they are now, that this is “natural.” Socialism, however, teaches us different. It teaches us that the only reason for the inequality in the present society is private property. Private property is the only thing that makes it possible for one person to live on another’s account, to steal from the worker the greatest part of the fruit of his labor. Socialism shows us that private property is no different than stealing, just another form on a greater scale. Private property is a great, gross lie—such a lie that has no equal in the whole history of fraud and deception. It is as possible for one person to call a piece of land, a machine or whatever else it may be his own property as it is possible for one person to call another person “his person.” Everything that exists in this world is not the result of the efforts of one person’s or many people. It is, on the contrary, the result of the work of nature and of innumerable generations that have lived in the world. And so everything belongs to everyone!
[End of page 3.]