The Commune, the Church and the State
I am a passionate seeker for truth and just as strong an opponent
of the corrupting lies, through which the party of order--this
privileged, official, and interested representative of all religions,
philosophical, political, legal economical, and social outrage
in the past and present--has tried to keep the world in ignorance.
I love freedom with all my heart. It is the only condition under
which the intelligence, the manliness, and happiness of the people,
can develop and expand. By freedom, however, I naturally understand
not its more form, forced down as from above, measured and controlled
by the state, this eternal lie which, in reality, is noting bit
the privilege of the few founded upon the slavery of all. Nor
do I mean that "individualistic," selfish, petty, and
mock freedom, which is propagated by J.J. Rousseau and
all other schools of bourgeois liberalism. The mock freedom which
is limited by the supposed right of all, and defended by the state,
and leads inevitably to the destruction of the rights of the individual.
No: I mean the only true freedom, that worthy of the name; the
liberty which consists therein for everyone to develop all the
material, intellectual, and moral faculties which lie dormant
in him; the liberty which knows and recognizes no limitations
beyond these which nature decrees. In this sense, there are no
limitations, for the laws of our own nature are not forced upon
us by a law-giver who, beside or above us, sits on a throne. They
are iii us, the real basis of our bodily and intellectual existence.
Instead of limiting them, we must know that they are the real
condition and first cause of our liberty.
I mean that liberty of each which is not limited or restrained
or curtailed by the liberty of another, but is strengthened and
enlarged through it: the unlimited liberty of each through the
liberty of all, liberty through solidarity, liberty in equality,
(Political, economical and social.) The liberty which has conquered
brute force and vanquished the principle of authority, which is,
always, only the expression of that force. The liberty, which
will abolish all heavenly and earthly idols, and erect a new world
of fellowship and human solidarity on the ruins of all states
I am a confirmed disciple of economic and social equality.
Outside of this, 1 know, freedom, justice, manliness, morality,
and the welfare of the individual as well as that of the community,
can only be a hollow lie, an empty phrase. This equality must
realize itself through the free organization of labor and the
voluntary cooperative ownership of the means of production, through
the combination of the productive workers into freely organized
communes, and the free federation of the communes. There must
be no controlling intervention of the state.
This is the point which separates, especially, the revolutionary
socialists from the authoritarian i. e. marxian socialists. Both
work for the same end. Both are out to create a new society. Both
agree that the only basis of this new society shall be: the organization
of labor which each and all Will have to perform under equal economic
conditions, following the demands of nature; and the common ownership
of, everything that is necessary to perform that labor, lands,
tools, machinery, etc. But, where as, the revolutionary socialists
believe in the direct initiative of the workers themselves through
their industrial combinations, this is anarchist stand point in
contradiction to marxian or as it claims to be scientific. The
authoritarians believe in the direct initiative of the state.
They imagine they can reach their goal with the help of the radical
parties (new it should be understood as communist) through the
development and organization of the political power of the working-class,
especially the proletariat of the big towns, due to concentration
of large industries employing large mass of proletariat. But the
revolutionary socialist oppose all these compromising and confusing
alliances. They are convinced that the goal of a free society
can only be reached through the development and organization of
the non-political, but social power of the working class of both
town and country, with the fusion of forces of all these members
of the upper class who are willing to declass themselves and ready
to break with the past, and to combine together for the same demands.
The revolutionary socialists are opposed, therefore, to all politics.
Thus we have two methods:
1. The organization of the representative or political strength
of the proletariat for the purpose of capturing political power
in the state in order to transform society.
2. The organization of the direct strength, the social and
industrial solidarity of the proletariat for the purpose of abolishing
all political power and the state.
The advocates of both methods believe in science, which is
out to slay superstition, and which shall take the place of religious
church belief. But the former propose to force it into humanity,
whilst the latter seek to convince the people of its truth, to
educate them everywhere, so that they shall voluntarily organize
and combine--freely, from the bottom upwards through individual
initiative and according to their true interests, but never according
to a plan drawn up before hand for the "ignorant masses"
by a few intellectually superior persons.
Revolutionary--new known as libertarian socialists believe
that in the instinctive yearnings and true wants of the masses,
is to be found much sound reason and logic than in the deep wisdom
of all the doctors, servants, and teachers of humanity who, after
many disastrous attempts, still dabble in the problem of making
the people happy. Humanity, think they, has been ruled and governed
much toe long and so they think this state of the affairs should
continue. Indeed the search of people's trouble, lies not in this
or that form of government, but in the existence and manifestation
of Government itself, whatever form it may assume.
This is the historical difference between the authoritarian
communist ideas, scientifically developed through the German Marxist
school and partly adopted by English and American Socialists,
on one hand and the Anarchist ideas of Joseph Pierre Proudhon
which have educated the proletariat of the Latin countries and
led them intellectually to the last consequences of Proudhon's
teachings. This latter revolutionary or libertarian socialism
has now for the first time, attempted to put its ideas into practice
in the Paris Commune.
I am a follower of the Paris Commune, which, though dastardly
murdered and drowned in blood by the assassins of the clerical
and monarchical reaction, yet lives, more than ever, in the imagination
and hearts of the European proletariat. I am its follower, especially
because of the fact that it was a courageous, determined, negation
of the state. It is a fact of enormous significance, that this
should have happened in France, hitherto the land of strongest
political centralization; that it was Paris, the head and creator
of this great centralization, which made the start-thus destroying
itself and proclaiming with joy its fail, in order to give life
to France, to Europe, to the whole world; thus revealing to all
enslaved people--and who are the people who are not slaves--the
only way to liberty and happiness; delivering a deathly stroke
against the political traditions of bourgeois liberalism, and
giving a sound has-is to revolutionary socialism.
Paris thus earned for itself the curses of the reactionaries
of France and Europe. It inaugurated the new era, that of the
final and entire liberation of the people, and their truly realized
solidarity, above and in spite of all limitations of the State.
Proclaimed the religion of humanity. Made manifest its humanism
and atheism, and substituted the great truths of social life and
science for godly lies. Paris, heroic, sane, unflinching, assorted
its strong belief in the future of humanity. It substituted liberty,
justice, and fraternity for the falsehood and injustice of religious
and political morality. Paris, evoked in the blood of its children,
symbolized humanity crucified by the International united reaction
of Europe at the direct inspiration of the churches and the high
priests (Politicians) of injustice. The next International upheaval
of humanity will be the resurrection of Paris.
Such is the true meaning and the beneficial and immeasurably
important results of the two-months' existence and memorable fall
of the Paris Commune. It lasted only a short time. It was hampered
too much by the deadly war it had to wage against the Versailles
reaction and Holy Alliance. Consequently, it was unable to work
out its Socialist program, even theoretically, much less practically.
The majority of the members of the Commune, even, were not Socialists
in the real sense of the word. And if they acted as Socialists,
it was only because they were irresistibly carried away by the
nature of their surroundings, the necessity of their position,
and not by their own innermost convictions. The Socialists, led
by our friend Varlin, formed in the Commune only a disparagingly
small minority, say fourteen or fifteen members. The rest consisted
of Jacobins. But we must discriminate between Jacobins and Jacobins.
There are doctrinaire Jacobins like Gambotta whose, oppressing
lust for power and formal republicanism has lost the old revolutionary
fire, and preserved only a respect for centralized unity and authority.
This was the Jaeobinism that betrayed the France of the people
to the Prussian conquerors, and then to the native re action.
But there were honest revolutionary Jacobins also, the last heroic
descendants of the democratic impulse of 1793, men and women who
could sacrifice their centralized unity and well-armed authority
to the needs of the revolution, rather than bend their condolence
before the obnoxious reaction. In the vanguard of these great-hearted
Jacobins we see Delecluse, a great and noble figure. Before everything
he desired the triumph of the revolution; and as, without the
people, no revolution is possible as the people are Sociallsticallv
inclined, and could not be wen for any other revolution than á
social or economic one, Delecluse and his fellow honest Jacobins
allowed themselves to be carried away by the logic of the revolutionary
movement. Without desiring it, they became revolutionary Socialists,
and signed proclamations and appeals whose general spirit was
of a decidedly Socialist nature.
But, in spite of their honesty and goodwill, their Socialism
was the product of external circumstances rather than inner conviction.
They had neither the time nor the ability to overcome bourgeois
prejudices diametrically opposed to their newly acquired Socialism.
This internal conflict of opinion weakened them in action. They
never got beyond fundamental theories, and were unable to come
to decisive conclusions such as would have severed their :connection
with bourgeois society once and for all.
This was a great calamity for the Commune and for the men themselves.
It paralyzed thorn, and they paralyzed the Commune. But we must
not reproach them on that account. Man does not change in a day,
and we cannot change our natures and customs overnight. The Jacobins
of the commune have shown their honesty by suffering themselves
to be murdered for it. Who expect more of them?
Even the people of Paris, under whose influence they thought
and acted, were Socialists more by instinct than by well-balanced
conviction. All their yearnings were in the highest degree entirely
Socialistic But their thoughts were expressed in traditional forms
for removed from this height. Among the proletariat of the French
towns, and even of Paris, many Jacobins prejudices still remain.
Many false ideas about the necessity of dictatorship and government
still flourish. The worship of authority--the inevitable result
of religious education, that eternal source of all evil, all degradation,
all enslavement of peoples--has not yet been entirely removed
from its midst. So much is this the case that even the most intelligent
son's of the people, the self-conscious Socialists of that time,
have not yet been able to free themselves from this superstition.
Were one to dissect their minds, one would find the Jacobin, the
believer in government, huddled together in a little corner, forsaken
and almost lifeless, but not quite dead.
Besides, the position of the small minority of class conscious
and revolutionary Socialists in the Commune was very difficult.
They felt that they lacked the support of the mass of the Paris
population. The organization of the International Workers' Association
was very imperfect, and it only had a few thousand members. With
this backing, they had to fight daily against a Jacobin majority.
And under what circumstances! Daily they had to find work and
bread for several hundred thousand workers, to organize and arm
them, and t o guard against reactionary conspiracies. All in a
town like Paris, beleaguered, menaced with starvation, and exposed
to all underhand attacks of the reaction which had established
itself in Versailles by kind permission of the Prussian Conqueror.
They were forced to create a revolutionary government and army
in order to oppose Versailles government and army. They had to
forget and violate the first principles of revolutionary Socialism,
and organize themselves as a Jacobin reaction, in order to fight
the monarchical and clerical reaction.
It is obvious that, under these circumstances, the Jacobins
were the stronger party. They were in a majority and possessed
superior political cunning. Their traditions and greater experience
in the organization of government gave them a gigantic advantage
over the few genuine Socialists. But the Jacobins took little
advantage of this fact; they did not strive to give to the uprising
of Paris a distinctive Jacobin character, but allowed themselves
to drift into a social revolution.
Many Socialists, very consequential in their theory, reproach
our Paris comrades with not having acted sufficiently Socialistic,
whilst the barkers of the bourgeois forces accused them of having
been toe loyal to the Socialist program. We will leave the latter
gentry on one side now, and endeavor to convince the storm theorists
of the liberation of labor that they are unjust to our Paris brethren.
Between the best theories and their practical realization is a
gigantic difference, which cannot be covered in a few days. These
of us who knew for, our friend Varlin-to mention only him whose
death was certain--how strong, well considered, and deep-rooted
were the convictions of Socialism in him and his friends. They
were men whose enthusiasm, honesty, and self-sacrifice nobody
could doubt. Their very honesty make them suspicious of themselves,
and they under-estimated their strength and character in face
of the titanic labor to which they were consecrating their life
and thought. Besides, they had the right conviction that, in the
social revolution-which in this, as in every other respect, is
the direct opposite of political revolution-the deeds of the single
leading personality nearly disappear, and the independent, direct
action of the masses count as everything. The only thing which
the more advanced can de is to work out, spread, and ex. plain
the ideas which suit the requirements and ideas of the people,
and contribute to the national strength of the latter by waking
untiringly on the task of revolutionary organization--nothing
more. Everything else can and must be accomplished by the people
themselves. Otherwise we would arrive at political dictatorship;
that is, a re-instatement of the State, privilege, inequality,
prosecution; a re-establishment, by a long and roundabout way,
of political, social, and economic slavery.
Varlin and all his friends; like all true Socialists, and like
the average worker who is born and bred amongst the people, experienced
in highest degree this well-justified fear of the continued initiative
of the same men, this distrust of the of distinguished personalities.
Their uprightness caused them to turn this fear and suspicion
as much against themselves as against others.
In opposition to the, in my opinion, entirely erroneous idea
of State Socialists, that a dictatorship or a constitutional assembly--that
has emerged from a political revolution--can proclaim and organize
the social revolution by laws and degrees, our Paris friends were
convinced that it could only be brought about and developed through
the independent and unceasing efforts of the masses and the groups.
They were a thousand times right. Where is the head, however genial,
or--if one speaks of the collective dictatorship of an elected
assembly, even if it consists of several hundred uncommonly well
educated people--where is the brain that is mighty and grasping
enough to grasp the unending number and multitude of true interests,
yearnings, wills, and requirements, the sum total of which constitute
the collective will of the people? And who could invent a social
organization which would satisfy every man? Such an organization
would be nothing less than a torture-chamber, into which the more
or less aggressive State would put unhappy society. This has always
happened up to now. But the social revolution must make an end
of this antiquated system of organization. It must give back to
the masses, the groups, communes, societies, even to every man
and woman, their full and unrestricted liberty. It must abolish,
once and for all, political power. The State must go. With its
fail must disappear all legal rights, all the lies of various
religions. For law and religion were always only the forced justification
for privileged outrages and established aggression.
It is clear that liberty can only be restored to mankind, and
that the true interests of society, of all groups, all local organizations,
as well as every single, being can be entirely satisfied entirely
only when all States have been abolished. All the so-called
"common interests of society" who are supposed to be
represented by the State, are in reality nothing else than the
entire and continued suppression of the true interests of the
districts, communes, societies, and individuals which are subservient
to the State. They are an imagination, an abstract idea, a lie.
Under the guise of this idea of representing common interests,
the State becomes a vast slaughter house or cemetery, where-in
is slain all the living energy of the people.
But an abstract idea can never exist for itself and through
itself. It has no feet with which to walk, no arms with which
to work, no stomach in which to digest its slaughtered victims.
The religious idea, God, represents in reality, the self-evident
and real interests of a privileged class, the clergy, who represent
the earthly half of the God idea. The State, the political abstraction,
represents as real and self-evident interests of the bourgeoisie.
Today, that class is the most important and practically only exploiting
class, which is threatening to swallow up all other classes. Priesthood
is developing gradually into a very rich and mighty minority,
but is rather relegated and with poor majority. The same is true
of the bourgeoisie. Its political and social organizations are
every day making for a real ruling oligarchy, to whom a majority
of more or less conceited and impoverished bourgeois creatures
who are obliged to serve the almighty oligarchy as blind tools.
This majority lives in a continues illusion, and is, through the
irresistible power of economic development, unavoidably and ever
more pulled down to the ranks of the proletariat.
The abolition of Church and State must be the first and essential
condition for the true liberation of society.
Only afterwards can and must society organize itself on a new
basis. But not from the top downwards, after a more or less beautiful
plan of a few exports or theorists, or on the strength of decrees
of a ruling power, or through a universal-suffrage-elected Parliament.
Such a proceeding would load inevitably to the creation of a new
ruling aristocracy, i.e., a class who have nothing in common
with the people. This class would exploit and bleed the people
under the pretense of the common welfare, or in order to preserve
the new State.
The organization of the society of the future must and can
be accomplished only from the bottom upwards, through the free
federation and union of the workers into groups, unions, and societies,
which will unite again into districts, communes, national communes,
and finally form a great International federation. Only thus can
be evolved the true vital order of liberty and happiness for all,
the order which is not opposed to the interests of the individual
or of society, but on the contrary strengthens the same and brings
them into harmony.
It is said that the harmony and the solidarity between the
interests of the individual and society can never be affected,
because of an inherent antagonism. But if these interests never
and nowhere did harmonize, up to now, it has been the fault of
the State in sacrificing the interests of the majority of the
people to the gain of the small privileged minority. This oft-mentioned
opposition of personal and social interests is only a swindle
and political lie, which originated through the religious and
theological lie of the Fall-a dogma which was invented to degrade
man and destroy his consciousness of his own value. Support was
lent to this false idea of antagonism of interests by the speculation
of the metaphysical philosophies. These are closely related to
theology. Metaphysics over-look the fact that man is a social
animal, however, and view society as a mechanical and wholly artificial
conglomeration of individuals, who suddenly organize themselves
on the basis of a secret or sacred compact out of their free will,
or at the dictation of a higher power. Before coming together
in this fashion, these individuals had boasted an eternal soul
and lived in alleged unlimited liberty!
But when the metaphysicians, especially these who believe in
the immortality of the soul, assort that men, outside society,
are free beings, they maintain that men can enter into society
only by denying their freedom and natural independence, and sacrificing
both their personal and local interests. This denial and sacrifice
of the ego becomes greater the more developed the society and
the more complicated its organization. From this viewpoint the
State becomes the expression of individual sacrifice which all
have to bring to its altar. In the name of the abstract and outrageous
lie called "the common good," and "law and order"
it imperils increasingly all personal liberty, in the interests
of the governing class it exclusively represents. Hence the State
appears to us as an inevitable negation and destruction of all
liberty, all personal, individual, and common interests.
Everything in the metaphysical and theological system follows
and solves itself, Therefore the upholders of these systems are
obliged to exploit the masses through the medium of Church and
State. Whilst filling their pockets and satisfying all their filthy
desires, they toil themselves that they work for the honor of
God, the triumph of civilization, and the eternal welfare of the
But we revolutionary Socialists, who believe neither in God,
nor yet in (absolute or unqualified) free will, nor yet in the
immortality of the soul, we say that liberty, in its fullest sense,
must be the goal of human progress.
Our idealistic opponents, the theologians and metaphysicians,
take the abstract "liberty," as the foundation of their
theories. It is then quite easy for them to draw the conclusion
that slavery is the' indisputable condition of human existence.
We, who are in our empirical scientific theory, materialists,
strive' in practice for the triumph of a sane and noble idealism.
We are convinced that the' whole' wealth of the intellectual,
moral and material development of humanity, as well as its seeming
independence, is due to the fact that man lives in society. Outside
of society man would not only would not have been free. He' would
not even have been capable of becoming a man, i.e., a self-conscious
being, capable of thought and speech. Thinking and waking together
lifted man out of his animal condition. We are absolutely convinced
that the whole life' of man is a social product. His interests,
yearnings, needs, dreams, and even his foolishness, as we'll as
his brutality, injustice, and actions, depending, seemingly, on
free will, are only the inevitable results of forces at work in
our social life. Men are not independent of each other, but each
influences the other. We' are' all in continual co-relation with
our neighbors and surrounding nature.
In nature itself this wonderful co-working and fitting together
of events does not take place without a struggle On the contrary,
the harmony of the elements is but the result of this continual
struggle, which is the condition of all life and of movement.
Both in nature and society order without struggle is the equivalent
Order is possible and natural in world system only when the
latter is a previously thought out arrangement imposed upon mankind
from above. The Jewish religious imagination of a godly law-giver
makes for unparalleled nonsense, and the negation not only of
all order, but of nature' itself. "The' laws of nature"
relate only to the goal of nature itself. The phrase is not true
if used to mean laws decreed by an outside' authority. For these
"laws" are nothing else' than the continual adaptation
which is part of the evolution of things, of the waking together
of vastly different passing but real facts. The sum total of all
action and interaction is what we call "nature'." The
thoughts and science of man observe these phenomena, controlled
and experimented with them and finally united them into a system,
the single parts of which are called "laws." But nature
itself knows no laws. Nature acts unconsciously. In itself it
demonstrates the unending difference of its necessarily appearing
and self repeating phenomena. This is how, thanks to the inevitableness
of activity, the common order can and does exist.
So with human society, which apparently develops against nature,
but in reality goes hand in hand with the natural and inevitable
development of things. one the superiority of man over the rest
of the animals and his highly developed thinking ability brought
a special feature into his evolution--also, by the way, quite
natural since man, like everything else, is the material result
of the' waking together and union of natural forces. This special
feature is the calculating, thinking ability, the power of induction
and abstraction. Through this man has been able to carry his thoughts
outside himself, and so observe and criticize himself as a thing
apart, some strange or foreign object. And as he, in his thoughts,
lifts himself out of himself and the surrounding world, he arrives
at the idea of the entire abstraction, the pure nothingness, the
absolute. But this represent noting beyond man' 5 own ability
to abstract thought, who looks down on all that is and finds peace
in the entire negation of all that is. This is the very limit
of the highest abstraction of thought: this is God.
Herein is to be found the spirit and historical proof of every
theological and religious doctrine. Man did not understand nature
and the material foundation of his own thoughts. He was unconscious
of the natural circumstances and powers which were characteristic
of them. So he failed to realize that his abstract ideas only
expressed his own ability to abstract thought. Therefore, he carne
to regard the abstract idea as something really existing--something
before which even nature sank into insignificance. And does he
worshipped and honored in every conceivable fashion this unreality
of his imagination. But it became necessary to imagine more clearly
and to make understood somehow this God, this supreme nothingness
which seemed to contain all things in essence but not in fact.
So primitive man enlarged his idea of God. Gradually he bestowed
on the deity all the powers which existed in human society, good
and bad, virtuous and vicious. Such was the beginning of all religions,
such their evolution from fetish worship to Christianity. We will
not stop to analyze the history of religious, theological, and
metaphysical nonsense, nor speak about the ever occurring godly
incarnations and visions which have happened during centuries
of human ignorance. Everyone knows that these superstitions occasioned
terrible suffering, and their progress was accompanied by rivers
of blood and much mourning. All these terrible horrors of poor
humanity were inevitable in the evolution of society. They were
the necessary effect, the natural consequence of that all powerful
idea that the universe is governed and conditioned by a supernatural
power and will. Century succeeds century. Man becomes more and
more used to this belief. Finally it seeks to crush and to kill
every effort towards higher development.
The mad desire to rule or to govern, first on the part of a
few men, then of a certain class, demandd that slavery and conquest
should be accepted as the underlying principles of society. This,
more than anything else, strengthened the terrible belief in a
God above. Consequently, no social order could exist without being
founded on the Church and State. All doctrinaires defend both
of these outrageous institutions.
With their development increased the power of the ruling class,
of the priests and aristocrats. Their first concern was to inoculate
the enslaved peoples with the idea of the necessity, the benefit,
and the sacredness of Church and State. And the purpose of all
this was to change brutal and violent slavery into legal, divinely
preordained and sanctified slavery.
Did the priests and really and truly believe in these institutions
which they were endeavoring to uphold with all their power, and
to their own benefit? Or were they only lairs and hypocrites?
In my opinion they were honest believers and dishonest deceivers
They themselves believed,since they participated, naturally,
in the horrors of the masses. Only later, at the time the old
world declined-that is, in the Middle Ages, did they become unbelievers
and shameless lairs. The founders of states can be regarded also
as honest men Man readily believes that which he desires and that
which is not detrimental to his own interests. It makes no difference
if he is intelligent and educated. Through his egotism and his
desire to live with his neighbors and to profit by their estimation
he will believe always only in that which is useful and desirable
to him. I am convinced, for instance, that Thiers and the Versailles
government were trying to convince themselves, violently, that
they were saving France by murdering several thousand men, women,
Even if the priests, prophets, aristocrats, and bourgeois of
all times were honest believers, in spite of all, they were parasites.
One cannot suppose that they believed every bit of nonsense in
religion and polities which they taught the masses. I will not
go so far back as to the time when two Augurs in Rome were unable
to look into each others face without smiling. It is hard to believe
that even in the time of mental darkness and superstition the
inventors of miracles were convinced of their truth. The same
may be Raid of polities, where the motto is: "One must understand
how to govern and rob a people so that they do not complain too
much or forget to be subservient, so that they get no chance to
think of resentment and revolt."
How can one possibly believe after this that the men who make
a business out of polities, and whose goal is injustice, violence,
lies, treason, single, and wholesale murder, honestly believe
that the wisdom and art of ruling the State make for the common
weal? In spite of all their brutality they are not so stupid as
to think this. Church and State were in all times the schools
of vice. History testifies to their crimes. Ever and always were
priest and politician the conscious, systematic, unyielding, bloodthirsty
enemies and executioners of the people. But how can we reconcile
two se seemingly opposed things like cheater and cheated, liar
and believer? In thought it looks difficult, but in life we find
the two often together.
The great bulk of mankind live in a continual quarrel and apathetic
misunderstanding with themselves. They remain unconscious of this,
as a rule, until some uncommon occurrence wakes them up out of
their sleep, and forces them to reflect on themselves and their
In politics, as well as in religion, man is only a machine
in the hands of his oppress ors. But robber and robbed, oppressor
and oppressed live side by side, ruled by a handful of people,
in whom one recognizes the real oppressors. It is always the same
type of men, who, free of all political and religion prejudice,
consciously torture and oppress the rest of the people. In the
l7th and l8th centuries, until the advent of the great revolution,
they ruled Europe and did as they liked. They do the same to-day.
But we have reason to hope that their rule will be over soon.
History teaches us that the chief priests of Church and State
or also the sworn servants and creatures of these damnable institutions.
Whilst consciously deceiving the people and leading them into
disaster, these persons are concerned to uphold zealously the
sanctity and unapproachability of both establishments. The Church,
on the authority of all priests and most politicians, is essential
to the proper care of the people's sons; and the State is indispensable,
in their opinion, for the proper maintenance of peace, order,
and justice. And the doctrinaires of all schools exclaim in chorus:
"Without Church or Government, progress and civilization
We make no comment on the heavenly hereafter, since we do not
believe in an immortal soul. But we are convinced that nothing
offers a greater menace to truth and the progress of humanity
than the Church. How else could it be ? Is it not the task of
the Church to chloroform the women and children? Does she not
kill all sound reason and science with her dogmas, and degrade
the self-respect of man by confusing his ideas of right and justice?
Does she not preach eternal' slavery to the masses in the interest
of the ruling and oppressing class? And is she not determined
to perpetuate the present reign of darkness, ignorance, misery,
and crime? For the progress of our age not to be an empty dream,
it must first sweep the Church out of its path.