The Expropriator

by Renzo Novatore

For Nikolina

My freedom and my rights

As much as my capacity of power

Even the felicity and greatness

I have only in the measure of my strength!

(From a book I have written that will never see the light)

The expropriator is the most beautiful figure, male, unscrupulous, and virile that I have ever found in anarchism. He is the one who has nought to attend to. He is the one who has no altar on which to sacrifice himself. He glorifies only Life with the philosophy of Action. I met him in a distant midday in August while the sun embroidered in gold the giant green nature, perfumed and festive, singing playful songs of pagan beauty.

He said, “I was always a restless spirit, vagabond and rebellious. I have studied people and their souls in books and in reality. I have found a mixture of comedian, of plebeian, of villain. I was nauseated. From one part the sinister moral phantoms, created by the lies and by the hypocrisy that dominate. From the other part the sacrificial beasts that adore with fanaticism and cowardice. This is the world of men. This is humanity. To this world, for these men and this humanity, I feel repugnance.

Plebeian and bourgeois are equivalent. They deserve each other. Socialism is not of this opinion. He had made the discovery of good and evil. And to destroy these two antagonisms he created another two phantoms: Equality and Fraternity among men. . .

“But people will be equal before the state and free in Socialism . . . He — socialism — Has denied the Force, the Youth, the War! But when the bourgeoisie, who are the peasants of the spirit, don’t will to be the same as plebeians, who are peasants of the flesh, then socialism admits, whining, war. Yes, even socialism admits homicide and expropriation. But in the name of an ideal of equality and of human brotherhood. . . Of that holy equality and brotherhood that commenced from Cain & Abel!. . .

“But with Socialism you think to half; you are half free; you are half alive!. . . Socialism is intolerance, is impotence of living, is the faith of fear. I’m going beyond!

“The Socialists have found good the equality, and bad the inequality. Good the servants and bad the tyrants. I crossed the threshold of good and evil in order to live my life intensely. I live today and can not await tomorrow. The wait is of peoples and of humanity, so could not be my affair. The future is the mask of fear. The courage and strength have no future for the simple fact that they themselves are the future that revolts on the past and destroys it.

“The purity of life proceeds only with the nobility of courage that is the philosophy of action.”

I observed: “The purity of this your life seems to me to border on crime!”

He said: “Crime is the supreme synthesis of liberty and life. The world is the moral world of phantoms. There are spectres and shadows of spectres, there is the Ideal, Universal Love, the Future. Here is the shadow of the spectre: here is ignorance, fear, cowardice. Deep darkness. Perhaps eternal darkness. Even I had lived, one day, in that bleak and lurid prison.

Then I was armed with a sacrilegious torch to ignite the ghosts and violate the night. When I arrived at the rusty gates of good and evil I have I have furiously toppled them I have crossed the threshold. The bourgeoisie I have thrown his moral anathema and plebeian idiot his moral curse.

“But the one and the other are humanity. I am a man. Humanity is my enemy. It wants to tighten me around its thousand horrendous tentacles. I try to tear from it all which my desires need. We are at war! Everything I have the force to wrest is mine.

And all that which is mine I sacrifice upon the altar of my freedom and my life.

Of this my life that I feel palpitate among the palpitating flames I burst in the heart; Among this savage torture of all my being that I inflate the soul of divine storms, and that makes me echo in the spirit of thunderous fanfare of war and polyphonic symphonies of a superior love, strange and unknown, that I (empie1) the veins of a blood lush and vigorous, that spreads in all the wrapping of my muscles, of my nerves and of my flesh, quivering diabolically with rejoicing expansion; of this my life of which I glimpse through the vision crowd of my fantastic dreams, eager and needful of of perennial development.

My motto is: walk expropriating and igniting, always leaving behind me howls of moral offenses and smoking trunks of old things.

When men possess no more ethical wealth truly unique real inviolable treasures then I will throw out my lock-picks. When in the world there will be no more phantoms, then I will throw out my torch. But this future is distant and might never be! And I am a son of this distant future, sealed in lead on this world by Chance to where I bow to power.” So said to me the Expropriator in that distant midday in August while the sun embroidered in gold the giant green nature, fragrant and festive, singing songs of joyful pagan beauty.

(first published November 26th, 1919)

Breaking Bad To Do Some Good: Is the Illegalist Anarchist our Comrade?

Is the Illegalist Anarchist our Comrade?

Emile Armand c. 1911

Translated by Mitchell Abidor.

When we consider the thief as such we can’t say that we find him less human than other classes of society. The members of the great criminal gangs have mutual relations that are strongly marked with communism. If they represent a survival from a prior age, we can also consider them as the precursors of a better age in the future. In all cities they know where to address themselves so they’ll be received and hidden. Up to a certain point they show themselves to be generous and prodigal towards those of their milieu. If they consider the rich as their natural enemies, as a legitimate prey – a point of view quite difficult to contradict – a large number of them are animated by the sprit of Robin Hood; when it comes to the poor many thieves show themselves to have a good heart.

(Edward Carpenter: Civilization, its Cause and Cure.)

I am not an enthusiast of illegalism. I am an alegal. Illegalism is a dangerous last resort for he who engages in it, even temporarily, a last resort that should neither be preached nor advocated. But the question I propose to study is not that of asking whether or not an illegal trade is perilous or not, but if the anarchist who earns his daily bread by resorting to trades condemned by the police and tribunals is right or wrong to expect that an anarchist who accepts working for a boss treat him as a comrade, a comrade whose point of view we defend in broad daylight and who we don’t deny when he falls into the grips of the police or the decisions of judges. (Unless he asks us to remain silent about his case)

The illegalist anarchist in fact doesn’t want us to treat him like a “poor relation” who we don’t dare publicly admit to because this would do harm to the anarchist cause, or because not separating ourselves from him when the representatives of capitalist vengeance come crushing down on him would risk losing the sympathy of syndicalists and the clientele of petit-bourgeois anarchist sympathizers for the anarchist movement.

It is by design that the illegalist anarchist addresses himself to his comrade who is exploited by a boss, that is, who feels himself to be exploited. He hardly expects to be understood by those who work at a job that is to their taste. Among these latter he places the anarchist doctrinaires and propagandists who spread, defend, and expose ideas in accordance their opinions – this is what we hope, at least. Even if they only receive a pitiful , a very pitiful salary for their labor, their moral situation isn’t comparable to the position of an anarchist working under the surveillance of a foreman and obliged to suffer all day the promiscuity of people whose company is antagonistic to him. This is why the illegalist anarchist denies to those who have jobs that please them the right to cast judgment on his profession on the margins of the law.

All those who do written or spoken propaganda work that is to their taste, all those who work at a profession they like, too often forget that they are privileged in comparison with the mass of the others, their comrades, those who are forced to put on their harness every morning, from January first to the next New Year’s Eve and work at tasks for which they have no liking.

The illegalist anarchist claims he is every bit as much a comrade as the merchant, the secretary at town hall, or the dancing master, none of whom in any way modify – and certainly to no greater degree than he – the economic conditions of current society. A lawyer, a doctor, a teacher can send articles to an anarchist newspaper and give talks at tiny libertarian circles all they want, they nevertheless remain both the supporters and the supported of the archist system, which gave them the monopoly that permits them to exercise their profession and the regulations they are obliged to submit to if they want to continue working at their trades.

It is not an exaggeration to say that any anarchist who accepts being exploited for the profit of a private boss or the state-boss is committing an act of treason towards anarchist ideas. He is, in effect, reinforcing domination and exploitation, is contributing to maintaining the existence of archism. It is doubtless true that becoming aware of his inconsistency he strives to redeem or repair his conduct by making propaganda. But whatever the propaganda done by the exploited he still remains an accomplice of the exploiters, a cooperator in the system of exploitation that rules the conditions under which production takes place.

This is why it is not exact to say that the anarchist “who works,” who submits to the system of domination and exploitation in place, is a victim. He is an accomplice as much as he is a victim. All of the exploited, legal or illegal, cooperate in the state of domination. There is no difference between the anarchist worker who earned 175,000 or 200,000 francs in thirty years of labor and who , with his savings, has purchased a hut in the country, and the illegalist anarchist who grabs a safe containing 200,000 francs and with this sum acquires a house by the seaside. Both are anarchists in word only, it is true, but the difference between them is that the anarchist worker submits to the terms of the economic contract that the leaders of the social milieu impose on him, while the anarchist thief does not submit to them.

The law protects the exploited as much as the exploiter, the dominated as much as the dominator in their mutual social relations, and as long as he submits the anarchist is as well protected in his property and his person as the archist. The law makes no distinction between the archist and the anarchist as long as both accept the injunctions of the social contract. Whether they will or no, the anarchists who submit: bosses, workers, employees, functionaries, have the public forces, tribunals, social conventions, and official educators on their side. This is the reward for their submission: when they constrain – by moral persuasion or the force of the law – the archist employer to pay his anarchist employee, the forces of social preservation could care less that deep down, or even on the outside, the wage earner is hostile to the wage system.

On the contrary, the opponent of, the rebel against the social contract, the illegal anarchist has against him the entire social organization when in order to “live his life” he leaps over all intermediary stages in order immediately reach the goal that the submissive anarchist will reach only later, if ever. He runs an enormous risk, and it is only fair that this risk be compensated for by immediate results, if there are results at all.

The recourse to ruse, which the illegalist anarchist constantly practices, is a procedure employed by all revolutionaries. Secret societies are an aspect of this. In order to put up subversive posters we wait for policemen to walk in another sector. An anarchist who leaves for America conceals his moral, political and philosophical point of view. Whatever he might be, apparently submissive or openly rebellious, the anarchist is always an illegal as regards the law. When he propagates his anarchist ideas he contravenes the special laws that repress anarchist propaganda; even more, by his anarchist mentality he opposes himself to the written law itself in its essence, for the law is the concretion of archaism.

The rebellious anarchist cannot fail to be found sympathetic by the submissive anarchist who feels himself to be submissive. In his illegal attitude the anarchist who either couldn’t or wouldn’t break with legality recognizes himself, realized logically. The temperament, the reflections of the submissive anarchist can lead him to disapprove certain acts of the rebellious anarchist, but can never render him personally antipathetic.

The illegalist answers the revolutionary anarchist who reproaches him with immediately seeking his financial well being by saying that he, the revolutionary, does nothing different. The economic revolutionary expects from the revolution an improvement in his personal economic situation: if not he wouldn’t be a revolutionary. The revolution will give him what he hoped for or it won’t, just as an illegal operation furnishes or doesn’t furnish what was counted on to he who executes it.. It’s simply a question of dates. Even when the economic question is not a factor one only makes a revolution if one expects a personal benefit, a religious, political, intellectual or perhaps ethical benefit. Every revolutionary is an egoist.

*

Does the explanation of acts of “expropriation” committed by illegalists have an unfavorable influence, in general and in particular, on anarchist propaganda?

In order to answer this question, which is the most important of all questions, one must not lose sight for a single second of the fact that in coming into the world, or in penetrating any country, the human unit finds economic conditions that are imposed on it. Whatever one’s opinions, one must, in order to live (or die) in peace, submit to constraint. Where there is constraint the contract is no longer valid, since it is unilateral, and bourgeois codes themselves that a commitment subscribed to under threat is of no legal value. The anarchist thus finds himself in a state of legitimate defense against the executors and the partisans of the imposed economic contract. For example, we have never heard an anarchist, exercising an illegal trade, call for a society based on universal banditry. His situation, his acts, are solely in relation to the economic contract that the capitalists or the unilaterals impose even on those revolted by its clauses. The illegalism of anarchists is only transitory: a last resort.

If the social milieu granted anarchists the inalienable possession of their personal means of production; if they could freely, and without any fiscal restriction (taxes, customs duties) , dispose of their products; if they allowed to be employed among them an exchange value that would be struck with no tax, all of this at their own risk, illegalism, in my sense of the word (i.e., economic illegalism), would no longer be understood. Economic illegalism is thus purely accidental.

In any event, economic or otherwise, illegalism is a function of legalism. The day authority disappears – political, intellectual and economic authority – the illegalists will also disappear.

It is on this path that we must orient ourselves in order for illegalist acts to benefit anarchist propaganda.

Every anarchist, submissive or not, considers as a comrade he among his like who refuses to accept military servitude. It is inexplicable then why his attitude would change when it’s a matter of refusing to serve economically.

We can easily understand that anarchists don’t want to contribute to the economic life of a country that doesn’t accord them the possibility of explaining by the pen or the spoken word and that limits their faculties and their possibilities of realization and association, in whatever realm. At the same time they, for their part, would allow non-anarchists to conduct themselves however they wish. Those anarchists who agree to participate in the economic functioning of societies where they cannot live according to their desires are inconsistent. We can’t understand why they object to those who rebel against this state of things.

The rebel against economic servitude finds himself, from the instinct for preservation, by the need and the will to life, to appropriate the production of others. This instinct is not only primordial, it is legitimate, the illegalists affirm, compared to capitalist accumulation, accumulation which the capitalist, taken personally, does not need to exist, accumulation which is a superfluity. Now who are these “others” who the reasoning illegalist attacks – the anarchist who exercises an illegal profession. The “others” are those who want majorities to dominate or oppress minorities, they are the partisan of the domination or the dictatorship of one class or caste over others, they are the voters, the supporters of the state, of the monopolies and privileges it implies. In reality, these “others” are an enemy for the anarchist, irreconcilable adversaries. The moment he economically lays into him, the illegalist anarchist no longer sees in him, cannot see in him, anything but an instrument of the archist system.

These explanations provided we can’t say that the illegalist anarchist is wrong who considers himself betrayed when those anarchists who preferred following less perilous roads than his abandon or don’t care to explain their attitudes.

*

I repeat what I said when I began these lines; since there is a last resort, that offered by illegalism is the most dangerous of all, and it must be demonstrated that it brings in more than it costs, which is something quite exceptional. The illegalist anarchist who is thrown in prison has no favors to hope for as far as probation or reduction of his sentence. As the saying goes, his dossier is marked in red. But with this caveat, it must still be pointed out that in order to be seriously practiced illegalism demands a strongly tempered temperament, a sureness of oneself that doesn’t belong to everyone. As with all experiences in anarchist life that don’t march in step with the routines of daily existence, it is to be feared that the practices of illegalist anarchism take over the will and the thought of the illegalist to such an extent that it renders him incapable of any other activity, any other attitude. The same also goes for certain legal trades that spare those who practice it the need to be at a factory or an office.

CONCLUSIONS

Economic anarchists and economic leaders and rulers impose on workers working conditions incompatible with the anarchist notion of life, i.e., with the absence of exploitation of man by man. In principle an anarchist refuses to allow to have working conditions imposed on him or to allow himself to be exploited. He only accepts on condition of abdicating and submitting.

And there is no difference between submitting to pay taxes, submitting to exploitation, and submitting to military service.

It is understood that the majority of anarchists submit. “We obtain more from legality by rusing with it, by fooling it, than by confronting it face to face.” This is true. But the anarchist who ruses with the law has no reason to brag about it. In doing this he escapes the dangerous consequences of insubordination, the penal colony , the “most abject of slaveries.” But if he doesn’t have to suffer all this, the submissive anarchist has to deal with “professional deformation”: by externally conforming to the law a number of anarchists finish by no longer reacting at all and pass to the other side of the barricades. An exceptional temperament is necessary in order to ruse with the law without allowing oneself to be caught up in the net of legality.

As for the anarchist-producer in the current economic milieu: this is a myth. Where are the anarchists who produce anti-authoritarian values? By their productivity almost all anarchists collaborate in maintaining the current economic state of affairs. You’ll never make me believe that the anarchist who builds prisons, barracks, churches; who manufactures arms, munitions, uniforms; who prints codes, political journals, religious books, who stocks them, transports them, sells them, is participating in anti-authoritarian production. Even the anarchist who produces necessary items for the use of voters and the elected is false to his convictions.

It is not up to either verbal propagandists or men of the pen to accuse obscure individualists of materially benefiting from their ideas. Do they count as nothing the “moral” and sometimes pecuniary benefit their efforts procure for them? Renown spreads their names “from one end of the earth to the other;” they have disciples, translators, slanderers, persecutors. For what do they count all this?

I find it only fair that every labor receive a salary, in all domains. It is fair that if you suffer for your opinions you should also profit from them. What matters is that by violence, trickery, ruse, theft, fraud or imposition of any kind this profit not be realized to the detriment or harm or wrong of one’s comrades, of those from “our world.”

In the current social milieu anarchism extends from Tolstoy to Bonnot: Warren, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Ravachol, Caserio, Louise Michel, Libertad, Pierre Chardon, Tchorny, the tendencies they represent or that are represented by certain living animators or inspirations whose names are of little importance, are like the nuances of a rainbow where each individual chooses the tint that most pleases his vision.

In placing oneself from the strictly individualist anarchist point of view – and it is with this that I will conclude – the criterion for camaraderie doesn’t reside in the fact that tone is an office worker, factory worker, functionary, newspaper seller, smuggler or thief, it resides in this, that legal or illegal, MY comrade will in the first place seek to sculpt his own individuality, to spread anti-authoritarian ideas wherever he can, and finally, by rendering life among those who share his ideas as agreeable as possible will reduce to as useless and avoidable suffering to as negligible a quantity as possible.

Toward the Creative Nothing

Renzo Novatore was a self-educated poet, theorist, revolutionary and outlaw who lived a life that was brutal and short; but it was a life without compromise or subservience. A biography and more texts can be found here. You may also like to purchase a paper copy of the pamphlet from AK Press (US site here).


Toward the Creative Nothing

I

Our epoch is an epoch of decadence. Bourgeois-christian­plebeian civilization arrived at the dead end of its evolution a long time ago.
Democracy has arrived!
But under the false splendor of democratic civilization, higher spiritual values have fallen, shattered.
Willful strength, barbarous individuality, free art, heroism, genius, poetry have been scorned, mocked, slandered.
And not in the name of “I”, but of the “collective”. Not in the name of “the unique one”, but of society.
Thus christianity—condemning the primitive and wild force of the virgin instinct-killed the vigorously pagan “concept” of the joy of the earth. Democracy-its offspring-glorified itself making the justification for this crime and reveling in its grim and vulgar enormity.
Already we knew it!
Christianity had brutally planted the poisoned blade in the healthy, quivering flesh of all humanity; it had goaded a cold wave of darkness with mystically brutal fury to dim the serene and festive exultation of the dionysian spirit of our pagan ancestors.
In one cold evening, winter fatally fell upon a warm midday of summer. It was-christianity-that, substituting the phantasm of “god” for the vibrant reality of “I”, declared itself the fierce enemy of the joy of living and avenged itself knavishly .on earthly life.
With christianity Life was sent to mourn in the frightful abysses of the most bitter renunciations; she was pushed toward the glacier of disavowal and death. And from this glacier of disavowal and death, democracy was born.
Thus democracy-the mother of socialism-is the daughter of christianity.

II

With the triumph of democratic civilization the spiritual mob was glorified. With its fierce anti-individualism-democracy­ being incapable of understanding such a thing-trampled all the heroic beauty of the anti-collectivist and creative “I”.
The bourgeois toads and the proletarian frogs clasped each others hands in a common spiritual baseness, piously receiving communion from the lead cup containing the slimy liquor of the very social lies that democracy handed to each of them.
And the songs that bourgeois and proletarian raised at their spiritual communion were a common and noisy “Hurrah!” to the victorious and triumphant Goose.
And while the “Hurrah!”’s burst forth high and frenzied, she­–democracy–pressed the plebeian cap on her forehead, proclaiming-grim and savage irony-the equal rights… of Man!
It was then that the Eagle, in his prudent awareness, beat his titanic wings more swiftly, soaring-disgusted by the trivial performance-toward the peak of meditation.
Thus, the democratic Goose remained queen of the world aid lady of all things, imperial mistress and sovereign.
But since something waiting above her laughed, she-by means of socialism, her only true son-moved to hurl a stone and a word, in the low swampy realm where the toads and frogs croaked, to raise a materialistic fistfight in order to make it pass through a titanic war to superb ideas and to spirituality. And in the marshes, the fistfight happened. It happened in such a plebeian manner as to spray mud so high that it stained the stars.
Thus, everything was contaminated with democracy.
Everything!
Even that which was best here.
Even that which was worst here.
In the reign of democracy, the struggles that were opened between capital and labor were stunted struggles, impotent ghosts of war, deprived of all content of high spirituality and of brave revolutionary greatness, unable to create a different concept of life, stronger and more beautiful.
Bourgeois and proletarian, though clashing over questions of class, of power and of the belly, still always remained united in common hatred against the great vagabonds of the spirit, against the solitaries of the idea. Against all those stricken by thought, against all those transfigured by a superior beauty.
With democratic civilization, Christ has triumphed.
In addition to paradise in heaven, “the poor in spirit” had democracy on earth.
If the triumph has not yet been completed, socialism will complete it. In its theoretical conception, it has already announced itself for a long time. It aims to “level” all human worth.
Listen, oh youthful spirits!
The war against the human individual was begun by Christ in the name of god, was developed by democracy in the name of society and threatens to complete itself in socialism in the name of humanity.
If we do not know in time how to destroy these three absurd as well as dangerous phantoms, the individual will be inexorably lost.
It is necessary that the revolt of the “I” expands itself, broadens itself, generalizes itself!
We-the forerunners of the time-have already lit the beacons!
We have lit the torches of thought.
We have brandished the ax of action.
And we have smashed.
And we have unhinged.
But our individual “crimes” must be the fatal announcement of a great social storm.
The great and dreadful storm that will smash all the structures of the conventional lies, that will unhinge the walls of all hypocrisy, that will reduce the old world to a heap of ruins and smoking rubble!
Because it is from these ruins of god, of society, of family and of humanity that the new human mind could be born flourishing and festive, that new human mind which-on the rubble of all the past-will sing the birth of the liberated man: the free and great “I”.

III

Christ was a paradoxical misunderstanding from the gospels. He was a sad and sorrowful phenomenon of decadence, born of pagan fatigue.
The Antichrist is the healthy son of all the bold hatred that Life has bred in the secrecy of its own fecund breast, during the twenty and more centuries of christian order.
Because history returns.
Because eternal return is the law that rules the universe.
It is the destiny of the world!
It is the axis around which life itself turns!
To perpetuate itself.
To run itself back.
To contradict itself.
To pursue itself.
To not die.
Because life is a movement, an action.
That pursues thought.
That yearns for thought.
That loves thought.
And this being walks, runs, bustles around.
Life wants to stir in the kingdom of ideas.
But when the way is impractical, then, thought weeps. It weeps and despairs…
Then weariness makes it weak, renders it christian.
Then it takes its sister life in hand and seeks to confine her in the realm of death.
But the Antichrist-the spirit of the most mysterious and profound instinct-calls Life back to himself, shouting barbarically to her: Let’s begin again!
And Life begins again!
Because it does not want to die.
And if Christ symbolizes the weariness of life, the sunset of thought: the death of the idea!
The Antichrist symbolizes the instinct of life.
He symbolizes the resurrection of thought.
The Antichrist is the symbol of a new dawn.

IV

If the dying democratic (bourgeois-christian-plebeian) civilization succeeded in leveling the human mind, denying every high spiritual value that stands out above it, it­ fortunately-did not succeed in leveling the differences of class, of privilege, and of caste, which-as we have already said­ remained divided only over of a question of the belly.
Since-for the one class as for the other-the belly remained-it is necessary to confess it and not only to confess it as the supreme ideal. And socialism understood all this.
It understood it, and since it was a skillful-and at last, perhaps, practically useful-speculator, it cast the poison of its coarse doctrine of equality (equality of lice before the sacred majesty of the sovereign state) into the wells of slavery where innocence blissfully quenched its thirst.
But the poison that socialism spread was not the powerful poison capable of giving heroic virtue to anyone who drank it.
No: it was not the radical poison capable of performing the miracle that elevates the human mind-transfiguring it and freeing it. Rather it was a hybrid blend of “yes” and “no”. A livid mixture of “authority” and “faith”, of “state” and of “the future”.
So that, through socialism, the proletarian mob once again felt close to the bourgeois mob and together they turned toward the horizon, faithfully awaiting the Sun of the Future!
And this because, while socialism was not able to transform the shivering hands of the slaves into so many iconoclastic, pitiless and rapacious claws, it was also incapable of transforming the mean avarice of the tyrants into the high and superior virtue of generosity.
With socialism, the corrupt and viscous circle created by christianity and developed by democracy was not broken. Instead it consolidated itself better.
Socialism remained as a dangerous and impractical bridge between the tyrant and the slave; as a false link of conjunction; as the ambiguity of the “yes” and the “no” from which its absurd underlying principle is mixed.
And, once again, we saw the fatally obscene joke that disgusted us. We saw socialism, proletariat and bourgeoisie, together reenter the orbit of the lowest spiritual poverty to worship democracy. But democracy-being the people that governed the people by beatings with cudgels-for the love of the people as Oscar Wilde one day quipped-it was logical that true free spirits, great vagabonds of the idea, more strongly felt the need to push decisively toward the extreme boundary of their iconoclasm off the solitary in order to prepare the trained phalanxes of the human eagles in the silent desert, those who will furiously take part in the tragic celebration of the social dusk in order to overturn democratic civilization between their steel claws, and plunge it into the void of an ancient time that was.

V

When the bourgeoisie had kneeled to the right of socialism in the sacred temple of democracy, they serenely stretched out in the bed of expectation to sleep their absurd sleep of peace. But the proletarians, who had lost their happy innocence by drinking the socialist poison, shouted from the left side, upsetting he tranquil sleep of the idiotic, criminal bourgeoisie.
In the meantime, on the higher mountains of thought, the vagabonds of the idea overcame nausea, announcing that something like the roaring laughter of Zarathustra had echoed sinisterly.
The wind of the spirit, similar to a hurricane, would have had to penetrate the human mind and raise it impetuously in the whirlwind of ideas in order to overwhelm all the old values from the darkness of time, raising the life of the sublimated instinct again in the sun with the new thought.
But, awakening, the bourgeois toads understood that some incomprehensible thing cried out in the heights, threatening their base existence. Yes: they understood that a thing arrive from the heights like a rock, a roar, a menace.
They understood that the satanic voices of frenzied forerunners of time announced a furious tempest that, arising from the renewed will of a few solitaries, exploded in the entrails of society to raze it to the ground.
But they have not understood (and will never understand this until they have been crushed) that what passed over the world was the powerful wing of a free life in the beating of which was the death of the “bourgeois man” and of the “proletarian man”, because all people could have been “unique” and “universal” at the same time.
And this was the reason why all the bourgeoisie of the world rang their bells, made from false idealistic metal, in mass, calling themselves to a great assembly.
The assembly was general…
All the bourgeoisie gathered.
They gathered among the slimy rushes growing from the quagmire of their common lies and there, in the silence of the mud, they decided the extermination of the proletarian frogs, their servants and their friends.
In the ferocious plot all sides were devotees of Christ and of democracy.
All the former apostles of the frogs attended as well. The war was decided and the prince of the black vipers blessed the fratricidal armies in the name of the god who said, “Do not kill”, while the symbolic vicar of death implored his goddess who came to dance on the earth.
Then socialism-as skillful acrobat and practical juggler­took a leap ahead. He jumped on the tight wire of sentimental political speculation, his brow encircled in black, and, aching and weeping more or less this way, said, “I am the true enemy of violence. I am the enemy of war, and also the enemy of revolution. I am the enemy of blood.”
And after having spoken again of “peace” and of “equality”, of “faith” and of “martyrdom”, of “humanity” and of “the future”, he intoned a song on the motifs of the “yes” and of the “no”, bowed his head and wept.
He wept the tears of Judas, which are not even the “I wash my hands of it” of Pilate.
And the frogs departed…
They departed toward the realm of supreme human baseness. They departed toward the mud of all the trenches.
They departed…
And death came!
It came drunk on blood and danced horribly in the world.
For five long years…
It was then that the great vagabonds of the spirit, taken with a new disgust, rode their free eagles once more to soar dizzily in the solitude of their distant glaciers to laugh and curse.
Even the spirit of Zarathustra-the truest lover of war and the most sincere friend of warriors-must have remained sufficiently disgusted and scornful since somebody heard him exclaim: “For me, you must be those who stretch your eyes in search of the enemy-of your enemy. And in some of you hatred blazes at first glance. You must look for your enemy, fight your war. And this for your ideas!
And if your idea succumbs, your rectitude cries of triumph!” But alas! The heroic sermon of the liberating barbarian availed nothing.
The human frogs knew neither how to distinguish their own enemy nor how to fight for their own ideas. (The frogs have no ideas!)
And neither recognizing their enemies nor having their own ideas, they fought for the bellies of their brothers in Christ, for their equals in democracy.
They fought against each other for their enemy.
Abel, revived, died for Cain a second time.
But this time, at his own hand!
Voluntarily…
Voluntarily, because he could have rebelled, and lie did not do so…
Because he could have said: no!
Or yes!
Because saying: “no” he could have been strong!
Because saying: “yes”, lie could have shown that he “believed”
in the “cause for which he fought.
But he said neither “yes” nor “no”.
He departed!
From cowardice!
Like always!
He departed…
He went toward death! .. .
Without knowing why.
Like always.
And death came…
It came to dance in the world for five long years!
And it danced hideously in the muddy trenches of all parts of the world.
It danced with feet of lightning…
It danced and laughed…
It laughed and danced…
For five long years!
Ah! How vulgar is death that dances without having the wings of an idea on its back.
What an idiotic thing to die without knowing why…
We saw it when it danced-Death. It was a black Death, without transparency of light.
It was a Death without wings!
How ugly and vulgar it was…
How clumsy was its dance…
But still it danced!
And how it mowed-dancing-all the superfluous and all of those of the majority. All those for whom-says the great liberator-the state was invented.
But alas! It did not mow these alone…
Death-in order to avenge the state-has even mowed down
those who are not worthless, even those who are essential!…
But those who were not worthless, those who were not of the majority, those who have fallen saying “no!” They will be avenged.
We will avenge them.
We will avenge them because they are our brothers!
We will avenge them because they have fallen with stars in their eyes.
Because dying, they have drunk the sun.
The sun of life, the sun of struggle, the sun of an Idea.

VI

What has the war renewed?
Where is the heroic transfiguration of the spirit?
Where have they hung the phosphorescent tables of the new values?
In which temple have the holy amphoras of gold enclosing the luminous and blazing hearts of the supreme and creative heroes been laid?
Where is the splendor of the great and new noon?
Frightful rivers of blood washed all the turf and covered all the pathways of the world.
Fearful torrents off tears made their heartbreaking lament echo across the eddies of all the earth: mountains of bone and human flesh everywhere blanched and everywhere rotted in the sun.
But nothing was transformed, nothing evolved.
The bourgeois belly merely belched from satiety and that of the proletarian cried out from too much hunger.
And enough!
With Karl Marx the human mind descended into the intestines. The roar that passes through the world today is a belly roar. Our will can transform it into a shout of the mind.
Into a spiritual storm.
Into a cry of free life.
Into a hurricane of lightning.
Our thunderbolt could unhinge the present reality, rip open the door to the unknown mystery of our longed-for dream and show the supreme beauty of the liberated man. Because we are mad forerunners of the time.
The pyres.
The beacons.
The signals.
The first announcements.

VII

The war!
Do you remember it?
What has the war created?
Here it is:
The woman sold her body and called the prostitution “free love”.
The man, who “dodged” to manufacture bullets and to preach the sublime beauty of the war, called his cowardice: “delicate artfulness and heroic cunning”.
This one who always lived in unconscious infamy, in cowardice, in humility, in indifference and in weak renunciations, cursed against small audacities-which he had always detested 4 because by themselves they did not have the strength to prevent his belly from being torn apart by those weapons that lie himself had constructed for a vile morsel of bread.
Because even the beggars of the spirit-those who always remain outside to warm up while the more noble part of humanity enters into the hell of life-these humble and devoted servants of their tyrant, these unconscious slanderers of superior minds, even these, we say, did not want to depart.
They did not want to die.
They writhed, they wept, they implored, they prayed!
But all this from a low instinct of impotent and bestial self-preservation, deprived of every heroic roar of revolt, and not instead from questions of a superior humanity, of refined depth of feeling, of spiritual beauty.
No, no, no!
Nothing off all that!
The belly!
Only the bestial belly.
Bourgeois ideal-proletarian ideal-the belly!
But in the meantime death came…
It came to dance in the world without having the wings of an idea on its back!
And it danced…
It danced and laughed.
For five long years…
And while on the borders wingless death danced drunk on blood, at home in the sacred apse of the internal front-in the vulgar “gazettes” of lies-the miraculous moral and material evolution of our women was recited and sung along with the spiritual peak that our heroic and glorious foot soldier ascended. The one who died weeping without knowing “why”.
How many ferocious lies, how much vulgar cynicism the grim minds of democratic society and of the state vomited in the “gazettes”.
Who remembers the war?
How the crows croaked…
The crows and the owls!
And meanwhile death danced!
It danced without having the wings of an idea on its back! Of a dangerous idea that bears fruit and that creates. It danced…
It danced and laughed!
And how it mowed-dancing-the superfluous. All those who
were of the majority. Those for whom the state was invented.
But alas! It did not only mow these.
It also mowed those who had the rays of the sun in their eyes, those who had the stars in their pupils!

VIII

Where is the epic art, the heroic art, the supreme art that the war promised us?
Where is the free life, the triumph of the new dawn, the splendor of noon, the festive glory of the sun?
Where is the redemption from material slavery?
Where is the one who has created the fine and profound poetry that had to germinate painfully in this tragic and fearful abyss of blood and death, in order to tell us the silent and cruel torture felt by the human mind?
Who has said the sweet and good word to us that calls a clear morning after a terrible night of hurricane?
Who has said the superior word that makes us great as our sorrow, pure in beauty and deep in humanity?
Who is, who ever is the genius who has known how to bend himself with love and faithfulness over the open wounds in the living flesh of our life, to receive all the noble tears from them so that the supreme laughter of the redeemer spirit could rend the claws from the starving monsters of our past errors in order to make us ascend to the concept of a superior ethic, where, through the luminous principle of human beauty purified in blood and sorrow, we could lift ourselves, strong and majestic- like an arrow taut on the bow of the will-to sing the deepest and gentlest melody of the highest of all our hopes to earthly life!
Where? Where?
I don’t see it!
I don’t feel it!
I look around me, but I see only vulgar pornography and false cynicism…
At least we could have been given a Homer of art, and a Napoleon of the acts of war.
A man who could have had the strength to destroy an epoch, to create a new history…
But nothing!
The war has given us neither great singers nor great rulers. Only lying ghosts and grim parodies.

IX

The war has passed washing history and humanity in tears and blood, but the epoch has remained unchanged.
An epoch of disintegration.
Collectivism is dying and individualism has not yet taken hold.
Nobody knows how to obey, nobody knows how to command.
But given all this, knowing how to live free, this is still at present an abyss.
An abyss that can only be filled up with the corpse of slavery and that of authority.
The war could not fill up this abyss. It could only dig it deeper.
But what the war could not do, revolution must do.
The war has rendered humans more beastly and plebeian. Coarser and uglier.
Revolution must render them better.
It must ennoble them.

X

Already–socially speaking–we have slipped down the fatal slope, and there is no more possibility of turning back.
To attempt it alone would be a crime.
Not a great and noble crime however.
But a vulgar crime. A crime more than useless and vain. A crime against the flesh of our ideas.
Because we are not the enemies of blood…
We are the enemies of vulgarity!
Now that the age of obligation and slavery is agonizing, we want to close the cycle of theoretical and contemplative thought in order to open the breach to violent action, which is still the will of life and the exultation of expansion.
On the ruins of piety and religion we want to erect the creative hardness of our proud hearts.
We are not the admirers of the “ideal man” of “social rights, but the proclaimers of the “actual individual”, enemy of social abstractions.
We fight for the liberation of the individual.
For the conquest of life.
For the triumph of our idea.
For the realization of our dreams.
And if our ideas are dangerous, it is because we are those who love to live dangerously.
And if our dreams are mad, it is because we are mad.
But our madness is supreme wisdom.
But our ideas are the heart of life; but our thoughts are the beacons of humanity.
And what the war has not done, revolution must do.
Because revolution is the fire of our will and a need of our solitary minds; it is an obligation of the libertarian aristocracy.
To create new ethical values.
To create new aesthetic values.
To communalize material wealth.
To individualize spiritual wealth.
Because we-violent celebralists and passional sentimentalists at the same time-understand and know that revolution is a necessity of the silent sorrow that suffers at the bottom and a need of the free spirits who suffer in the heights.
Because if the sorrow that suffers at the bottom wants rise with the happy smile of the sun, the free spirits who suffer in the heights no longer want to feel the petty offenses of the shame of vulgar slavery that surrounds them.
The human spirit is divided into three streams:
The stream of slavery, the stream of tyranny, the stream of freedom!
With revolution, the last of these streams needs to burst upon the other two and overwhelm them.
It needs to create spiritual beauty, teach the poor the shame of
their poverty, and the rich the shame of their wealth.
All that is called “material property”, “private property”, “exterior property” needs to become what the sun, the light, the sky, the sea, the stars are for individuals.
And this will happen!
It will happen because we-the iconoclasts-will violate it!
Only ethical and spiritual wealth is invulnerable.
This is the true property of individuals. The rest no!
The rest is vulnerable! And all that is vulnerable will be violated!
It will be done by the unbiased might of the “I”.
By the heroic strength of the freed man.
And beyond every law, every tyrannical morality, every society, every conception of false humanity…
We must set our endeavor to transform the revolution that advances into “anarchist crime”, in order to push humanity beyond the state, beyond socialism.
Toward Anarchy!
If, with the war, people were not able to sublimate themselves in death, death has purified the blood of the fallen.
And the blood that death purified-and that the soil drank greedily-now cries from underground!
And we solitaries, we are not the singers of the belly, but the listeners to the dead; to the voice of the dead who cry from underground!
To the voice of the “impure” blood that is purified in death.
And the blood of the fallen cries!
Cries from under the ground!
And the cry of this blood calls us also toward the abyss…
It needs to be freed from its prison!
Oh, young miners, be ready!
We prepare the torches and paravanes.
It is necessary to till the earth.
It is time! It is time! It is time!
The blood of the dead must be freed from its prison.
It wants to rise from the shadowy depths to hurl itself toward the sky and conquer the stars.
Because the stars are the friends of the dead.
They are the good sisters who have seen them die.
They are the ones who go to their graves every night with feet of light and tell them:
Tomorrow!…
And we-the children of tomorrow-have come today to tell you:
It is time! It is time! It is time!
And we have come at the hour before dawn…
In the company of the dawn and of the last stars!
And to the dead we have added more dead…
But all those who fall have a star of gold that shines in their pupil!
A star of gold that says:
“The cowardice of the remaining brothers is transformed into a creative dream, into avenging heroism.
Because if it were not so, one would not deserve to die!”
How sad it must be to die.
Without a hope in one’s heart… without a pyre in one’s brain; without a dream in one’s mind; without a star of gold shining in our pupil!

* * *

The blood of the dead-our dead–cries from underground.
Clearly and distinctly, we hear that cry. That cry which intoxicates us with anguish and with sorrow.
And we cannot be deaf to that voice, nor do we want to … We.
We do not want to be deaf to it, because life has told us:
“Whoever is deaf to the voice of blood is not worthy of me.
Because blood is my wine; and the dead my secret.
Only to the one who will listen to the voice of the dead will I unveil the enigma of my great mystery!”
And we will respond to this voice:
Because only those who know how to respond to the voice from the abyss can conquer the stars.
I address myself to you, oh my brother!
I address myself to you and tell you:
If you are among those who are kneeling in the half circle, close your eyes in the darkness and leap into the abyss.
Only in this way will you be able to bounce back to the highest
peaks and open your great pupils wide in the sun.”
Because one cannot be of the eagles if one is not of the divers.
One cannot soar to the peaks when one is incapable of the depths.
In the bottom, sorrow dwells, in the heights anguish.
Over the sunset of all the ages, a unique dawn rises between two different dusks.
In the midst of the virgin light of this unique dawn, the sorrow of the diver that is in us must be united to the anguish of the eagle that also lives in us, to celebrate the tragic and fruitful marriage of perpetual renewal.
The renewal of the personal “I” among the collective tempests and social hurricanes.
Because perennial solitude is only for saints who recognize in god their witness. But we are the atheist offspring of solitude.
We are the solitary demons without witness.
In the bottom, we want to live the reality of sorrow; in the heights, the sorrow of the dream…
In order to live all the battles, all the defeats, all the victories, all the dreams, all the sorrows and all the hopes intensely and dangerously.
And we want to sing in the sun; we want to howl in the winds!
Because our brain is a sparkling pyre where the great fire of thought crackles and burns in mad and joyful torments.
Because the purity of all dawns, the flame of all noons, the melancholy of all sunsets, the silence of all tombs, the hatred of all hearts, the murmur of all forests and the smile of all stars are the mysterious notes composing the secret music of our mind overflowing with vital exuberance.
Because in the depth of our heart we hear a voice speaking of human individuation, a voice so masterful and vigorous that, often times, while listening to it, we feel fear and terror.
Because the voice that speaks is His voice: the winged Demon from our depths.

XI

By now, it is proven…
Life is sorrow!
But we have learned to love sorrow in order to love life!
Because in loving sorrow we have learned to struggle.
And in struggle-in struggle alone-is our joy of living.
To remain suspended halfway is not our task.
The half circle symbolizes the ancient “yes and no”.
The impotence of life and death.
It is the circle of socialism, of pity and of faith. But we are not socialists…
We are anarchists. And individualists, and nihilists, and aristocrats.
Because we come from the mountains.
From close to the stars.
We come from the heights: to laugh and to curse!
We have come to light a forest of pyres upon the earth to illuminate it during the night which precedes the great noon.
And our pyres will be extinguished when the fire of the sun bursts majestically over the sea. And if this day should not come, our pyres will continue to crackle tragically amidst the darkness of the eternal night.
Because we love all that is great.
We are the lovers of every miracle, the promoters of every prodigy, the creators of every wonder!
Yes: we know it!
For you, great things are in good as in evil.
But we live beyond good and evil, because all that is great belongs to beauty.
Even “crime”.
Even “perversity”.
Even “sorrow”.
And we want to be great like our crime!
In order not to slander it.
We want to be great like our perversity!
In order to render it conscious.
We want to be great like our sorrow.
In order to be worthy of it.
Because we come from the heights. From the home of Beauty.
We have come to raise a forest of pyres upon the earth to illuminate it during the night which precedes the great noon.
Until the hour in which the fire of the sun bursts majestically over the sea.
Because we want to celebrate the feast of the great human prodigy.
We want our minds to vibrate in a new dream.
We want this tragic social dusk to give our “I” some calm and thrilling tinder of universal light.
Because we are the nihilists of social phantoms.
Because we hear the voice of the blood that cries from underground.
We prepare the paravanes and the torches, oh young miners.
The abyss awaits us. We leap into it in the end: Toward the creative nothing.

XII

Our nihilism is not christian nihilism.
We do not deny life.
No! We are the great iconoclasts of the lie.
And all that is declared “sacred” is a lie.
We are the enemies of the “sacred”.
And to you a law is “sacred”; a society “sacred”; a moral “sacred”; an idea “sacred”!
But we–the masters and lovers of pitiless strength and strong willed beauty, of the ravishing idea–we, the iconoclasts of all that is consecrated-we laugh satanically, with a fine broad and mocking laughter.
We laugh!…
And laughing, we keel) the bow of our pagan will to enjoy always strained toward the full integrity of life.
And we write our truths with laughter.
And we write our passions with blood.
And we laugh! .. .
We laugh the fine healthy and red laughter of hatred.
We laugh the fine blue and fresh laughter of love.
We laugh!
But laughing, we remember, with supreme gravity, to be the legitimate offspring and the worthy heirs of a great libertarian aristocracy that transmitted to us satanic outbursts of mad heroism in the blood, and waves of poetry, of solos, of songs in the flesh!
Our brain is a sparkling pyre, where the crackling fire of thought burns in joyful torments.
Our mind is a solitary oasis, always flowering and cheerful, where a secret music sings the complicated melody of our winged mystery.
And in our brain all the winds of the mountains cry to us; in our flesh all the tempests of the sea shout to us; all the Nymphs of Evil; our dreams are actual heavens inhabited by thrilling virgin muses.
We are the true demons of Life.
The forerunner of the time.
The first announcements!
Our vital exuberance intoxicates us with strength and with scorn.
It teaches us to despise Death.

XIII

Today we have reached the tragic celebration of a great social dusk.
The twilight is red.
The sunset is bloody.
Anxiety flaps its throbbing wings in the wind.
Wings red with blood; wings black with death!
In the shadow Sorrow organized the army of her unknown children.
Beauty is in the garden of Life, and is weaving garlands of flowers to crown the brows of the heroes.
The free spirits have already hurled their thunderbolts across the twilight.
As first announcements of fire: first signals of war!
Our epoch is under the wheels of history.
Democratic civilization turns toward the grave.
Bourgeois and plebeian society is shattered fatally, inexorably!
The fascist phenomenon is the most certain and irrefutable proof of it.
To demonstrate it, we would only need to go back in time and question history.
But there is no need for this!
The present speaks with abundant eloquence!
Fascism is nothing but the convulsive and cruel pang of a plebeian society, emasculated and vulgar, that agonizes tragically drowned in the quagmire of its flaws and of its own lies.
It-fascism-celebrates these its bacchanals with pyres of flame and wicked orgies of blood.
But from the gloomy crackle of its livid fires, it does not sparkle with even a single spark of vigorous, innovative spirituality, whereas the blood that it sheds transforms itself into wine that the forerunners of the time silently gather in the red chalices of hatred, addressing it as the heroic beverage in order to commune with all the offspring of social sorrow called to the twilight celebration of the dusk.
Because the great forerunners of the time are the brothers and the friends of the offspring of sorrow.
Of sorrow that struggles.
Of sorrow that rises.
Of sorrow that creates.
We will take these unknown brothers by the hand to advance together against all the “no” of denial, and to climb together toward all the “yes” of affirmation; toward a new spiritual dawn; toward new noons of life.
Because we are lovers of danger; the reckless ones in all undertakings, the conquerors of the impossible, the promoters and precursors of all “endeavors”!
Because life is an endeavor!
After the negating celebration of the social dusk, we will celebrate the rite of the “I”: the great noon of the complete and actual individual.
So that the night triumphs no more.
So that the darkness surrounds us no more.
So that the majestic fire of the sun perpetuates its feast of light in the sky and in the sea.

XIV

Fascism is an obstacle much too ephemeral and impotent to hinder the course of human thought that bursts beyond every dam and overflows beyond every boundary, stirring action on its way.
Fascism is impotent because it is brute force.
It is matter without spirit; it is night without dawn.
Fascism is the other face of socialism.
Both of them are bodies without minds.

XV

Socialism is the material force that, acting as the shadow of a dogma, resolves and dissolves in a spiritual “no”.
Fascism is a consumptive of the spiritual “no” that aims­ wretch-at a material yes.
Both lack willful quality.
They are the bores of time; the temporizers of the deed!
They are reactionary and conservative.
They are crystallized fossils that the strong-willed dynamism of history that passes will sweep away together.
Because, in the willful field of moral and spiritual values, the two enemies are equal.
And it is well known that when fascism is born, socialism alone is its direct accomplice and responsible father.
Because, if when the nation, if when the state, if when democratic Italy, if when bourgeois society trembled in pain and agony in the knotty and powerful hands of the “proletariat” in revolt, socialism had not basely hindered the tragic deadly hold-losing the lamps of reason in front of its wide-opened eyes-certainly fascism would never even have been born, let alone lived.
But the awkward colossus without mind is then allowed to take hold-for fear that the vagabonds of the idea would push the movement of revolt beyond the appointed mark-in a most vulgar game of sullen conservative pity and false human love.
Thus, bourgeois Italy, instead of dying, brought forth…
It brought forth fascism!
Because fascism is the stunted and deformed creature born of the impotent love of socialism for the bourgeoisie.
One of them is the father, and the other the mother. But neither wants the responsibility for it.
Perhaps they find it a child much too monstrous.
And this is the reason they call it a “bastard”!
And it gets revenge.
Already wretched enough for being born this way, it rebels against the father and insults the mother…
And perhaps it has reason…
But we, we bring all this out for history.
For history and for truth, not for ourselves.
For us-fascism-is a poisonous mushroom planted quite well in the rotten heart of society, that is enough for us.

XVI

Only the great vagabonds of the idea can-and must-be the luminous spiritual fulcrum of the tempestuous revolution, which advances in gloom upon the world.
Blood requires blood.
That is ancient history!
It can turn back no more.
To attempt to turn back-as socialism does-would be a useless and vain crime.
We must leap into the abyss.
We must answer the voice of the dead.
Of those dead who have fallen with immense stars of gold in their pupils.
It is necessary to cultivate the soil.
To free the blood from underground.
Because it wants to rise to the stars.
It wants to burn its good sisters, luminous and distant, who have seen them die.
The dead, our dead, speak:
“We have died with stars in our eyes.
We have died with rays of the sun in our pupils.
We have died with hearts swollen with dreams.
We have died with the song of the most beautiful hope in our mind.
We have died with the fire of an idea in our brain.
We have died…”
How sad death must be as the others died–not our dead­–without all this in the brain, in the mind, in the heart, in the eyes, in the pupils!
Oh dead, oh dead! Oh our dead! Oh luminous torches! Oh burning beacons! Oh crackling pyres! Oh dead…
Here it is, we are at twilight.
The tragic celebration of the great social dusk draws near.
Our great mind already opens toward the great subterranean light, oh dead!
Because we too have the stars in our eyes, the sun in our pupils, the dream in our heart, the song of hope in our mind and, in our brain, an idea.
Yes, we too, we too!
Oh dead, oh dead! Oh our dead! Oh torches! Oh beacons! Oh pyres!
We have heard you speak in the solemn silence of our deep nights.
You said:
“We wanted to ascend in the sky of the free sun…
We wanted to ascend in the sky of the free life…
We wanted to ascend up there where once the penetrating eyes
of the pagan poet gazed:
Where the great thoughts arise and stand as inviolable oaks among the people; where beauty descends, invoked by the pure poets, and stands serene among the people; where love creates life and breathes joy!
Up above where life exults and expands in full harmony of splendor…
And for this, for this dream we struggled, for this great dream we died…
And our struggle was called crime.
But our `crime’ must only be considered as titanic valor, as promethean effort for liberation.
Because we are the enemies of all material domination and all spiritual leveling.
Because, beyond all slavery and every dogma, we saw life dance free and naked.
And our death must teach you the beauty of the heroic life!”
Oh dead, oh dead! Oh our dead…
We have heard your voice…
We have heard it speak this way in the solemn silence of our deep nights.
Deep, deep, deep!
Because we are sensitives.
Our heart is a torch, our mind is a beacon, our brain is a pyre!…
We are the soul of life!…
We are the predawn ones who drink the dew from the chalice of flowers.
But the flowers have glowing roots attached in the darkness of the earth.
In that earth which has drunk your blood.
Oh dead! Oh our dead!
This, your blood that cries, that roars, that wants to be freed from its prison to hurl itself toward the sky and conquer the stars!
Those, your remote and luminous sisters who have seen you die.
And we-the vagabonds of the spirit, the solitaries of the idea-want our mind, free and great, to open its wings wide in the sun.
We want to celebrate the social dusk in this twilight of bourgeois society so that the final black night is made vermillion with blood.
Because the children of the dawn must be born of blood… Because the monsters of the darkness must be killed by dawn…
Because the new individual ideas must be born through social tragedies…
Because the new people must be forged in the fire!
And only from tragedy, from fire and from blood will the true, profound Antichrist of humanity and of thought be born.
The true child of the earth and the sun.
The Antichrist must be born of the smoking ruins of revolution to enliven the children of the new dawn.
Because the Antichrist is the one who comes from the abyss to rise beyond every boundary. He is the strong-willed enemy of crystallization, of pre-establishment, of conservation!…
He is the one who will drive the human race through the mysterious cavern of the unknown to the perennial unveiling of new sources of life and of thought.
And we-the free spirits, the atheists of solitude, the demons of the desert without witness-have ourselves already pushed ourselves toward the most extreme peaks.
Because—with us-everything must be pushed to its maximum consequences.
Even Hatred.
Even violence.
Even crime!
Because Hatred gives strength.
Violence unhinges.
Crime renews.
Cruelty creates.
And we want to unhinge, to renew, to create!
Because everything that is dwarfed vulgarity must be overcome.
Because all that lives must be great. Because all that is great belongs to beauty! And life must be beautiful!

XVII

We have killed “duty” so that our ardent desire for free brotherhood acquires heroic valor in life.
We have killed “pity” because we are barbarians capable of great love.
We have killed “altruism” because we are generous egoists.
We have killed “philanthropic solidarity” so that the social man unearths his most secret “I” and finds the strength of the “Unique”.
Because we know it. Life is tired of having stunted lovers. Because the earth is tired of feeling itself trampled by long phalanxes of dwarfs chanting christian prayers.
And finally, because we are tired of our brothers, carcasses incapable of peace and of war. Inferior to hatred and to love.
We are tired and disgusted.
Yes, quite tired: quite disgusted!
And then that voice of the dead…
Of our dead!
The voice of the blood that cries from underground!
Of the blood that wants to free itself from its prison to hurl itself toward the sky and conquer the stars!
Those stars that-blessing them-sparkled in their pupils at in the final moment of death, transforming their dreamy eyes into vast discs of gold.
Because the eyes of the dead-of our dead-are discs of gold. They are luminous meteors that wander the infinite to point out the way to us.
The way without end that is the pathway to eternity.
The eyes of out dead tell us the “why” of life, showing us the secret fire that burns in our mystery. In that our secret mystery that nobody has sung up to now…
But today the twilight is red…
The sunset is covered with blood…
We are close to the tragic celebration of the great social dusk. Already, on the bells of history, time has struck the first predawn strokes of a new day.
Enough, enough, enough!
It is the hour of the social tragedy!
We will destroy laughing.
We will set fires laughing.
We will kill laughing.
We will expropriate laughing.
And society will fall.
The fatherland will fall.
The family will fall.
All will fall after the free man is born.
The one is born who has learned the Dionysian art of joy and laughter through tears and sorrow.
The hour has come to drown the enemy in blood…
The hour has come to wash our minds in blood.
Enough, enough, enough!
As the poet transforms his lyre into a dagger!
As the philosopher transforms his probe into a bomb !
As the fisherman transforms his oar into a formidable ax.
As the miner comes up from the unbearable caves of the dark mines armed with his shining iron.
As the farmer transforms his fruitful spade into a war lance.
As the laborer transforms his hammer into a scythe and cleaver.
And forward, forward, forward.
It is time, it is time-it is time!
And society will fall.
The fatherland will fall.
The family will fall.
All will fall after the Free Man is born.
Forward, forward, forward, oh joyful destroyers.
Beneath the black edge of death we will conquer Life!
Laughing!
And we will make it our slave! Laughing!
And we will love it laughing!
Since the only serious people are those who know how to be actively engaged laughing.
And our hatred laughs…
Red laughter. Forward!
Forward, for the destruction of the lie and of the phantoms!
Forward, for the complete conquest of individuality and of Life!

Individualist Perspectives

Individualist Perspectives

by Emile Armand

Transcribed by Curtis Price

The anarchist individualists do not present themselves as proletarians, absorbed only in the search for material amelioration, tied to a class determined to transform the world and to substitute a new society for the actual one. They place themselves in the present; they disdain to orient the coming generations towards a form of society allegedly destined to assure their happiness, for the simple reason that from the individualist point of view happiness is a conquest, an individuals internal realization.

Even if I believed in the efficacy of a universal social transformation, according to a well-defined system, without direction, sanction, or obligation, I do not see by what right I could persuade others that it is the best. For example, I want to live in a society from which the last vestige of authority has disappeared, but, to speak frankly, I am not certain that the “mass,” to call it what it is, is capable of dispensing with authority. I want to live in a society in which the members think by and for themselves, but the attraction which is exercised on the mass by publicity, the press, frivolous reading and by State-subsidized distractions is such that I ask myself whether men will ever be able to reflect and judge with an independent mind.

I may be told in reply that the solution of the social question will transform every man into a sage. This is a gratuitous affirmation, the more so as there have been sages under all regimes. Since I do not know the social form which is most likely to create internal harmony and equilibrium in social unity, I refrain from theorizing.

When “voluntary association” is spoken of, voluntary adhesion to a plan, a project, a given action, this implies the possibility of refusing the association, adhesion or action. Let us imagine the planet submitted to a single social or economic life; how would I exist if this system did not please me? There remains to me only one expedient: to integrate or to perish. It is held that, “the social question” having been solved, there is no longer a place for non-conformism, recalcitrance, etc….. but it is precisely when a question has been resolved that it is important to pose new ones or to return to an old solution, if only to avoid stagnation.

If there is a “Freedom” standing over and above all individuals, it is surely nothing more than the expression of their thoughts, the manifestation and diffusion of their opinions. The existence of a social organization founded on a single ideological unity interdicts all exercise of freedom of speech and of ideologically contrary thought. How would I be able to oppose the dominant system, proposing another, supporting a return to an older system, if the means of making my view-point known or of publicizing my critiques were in the possession of the agents of the regime in power? This regime must either accept reproach when compared to other social solutions superior to its own, or, despite its termination in “ist,” it is no better than any other regime. Either it will admit opposition, secession, schism, fractionalism, competition, or nothing will distinguish it significantly from a dictatorship. This “ist” regime would undoubtedly claim that it has been invested with its power by the masses, that it does not exercise its power or control except by the delegation of assemblies or congresses; but as long as it did not allow the intransigents and refractories to express the reasons for their attitude and for their corresponding behaviour, it would be only a totalitarian system. The material benefits on which a dictatorship prides itself are of no importance. Regardless of whether there is scarcity or abundance, a dictatorship is always a dictatorship.

It is asked of me why I call my individualism “anarchist individualism”? Simply because the State concretizes the best organized form of resistance to individual affirmation. What is the State? An organism which bills itself as representative of the social body, to which power is allegedly delegated, this power expressing the will of an autocrat or of popular sovereignty. This power has no reason for existing other than the maintenance of the extant social structure. But individual aspirations are unable to come to term with the existence of the State, personification of Society, for, as Palante says: “All society is and will be exploitative, usurpacious, dominating, and tyrannical. This it is not by accident but by essence.” Yet the individualist would be neither exploited, usurped, dominated, tyrannized nor dispossessed of his sovereignty. On the other hand, Society is able to exercise its constraint on the individual only thanks to the support of the State, administrator and director of the affairs of Society. No matter which way he turns the individual encounters the State or its agents of execution, who do not care in the least whether the regulations which they enforce concur or not with the diversity of temperaments of the subjects upon whom they are administered. From their aspirations as from their demands, the individualists of our school have eliminated the State. That is why they call themselves “anarchists.”

But we deceive ourselves if we imagine that the individualists of our school are anarchists (AN-ARCHY, etymologically, mans only negation of the state, and does not pertain to other matters) only in relation to the State – such as the western democracies or the totalitarian systems. This point cannot be overemphasized. Against all that which is power, that is, economic as well as political domination, esthetic as well as intellectual, scientific as well as ethical, the individualists rebel and form such fronts as they are able, alone or in voluntary association. In effect, a group or federation can exercise power as absolute as any State if it accepts in a given field all the possibilities of activity and realization.

The only social body in which it is possible for an individualist to evolve and develop is that which admits a concurrent plurality of experiences and realizations, to which is opposed all groupings founded on an ideological exclusiveness, which, well-meant though they may be, threaten the integrity of the individual from the moment that this exclusiveness aims to extend itself to the non-adherents of the grouping. To call this anti-statist would be doing no more than provoking a mask for an appetite for driving a herd of human sheep.

I have said above that it is necessary to insist on this point. For example, anarchist communism denies, rejects and expels the State from its ideology; but it resuscitates it the moment that it substitutes social organization for personal judgment. If anarchist individualism thus has in common with anarchist communism the political negation of the State, of the “Arche,” it only marks a point of divergence. Anarchist communism places itself on the economic plane, on the terrain of the class struggle, united with syndicalism, etc. (this is its right), but anarchist individualism situates itself on the psychological plane, and on that of resistance to social totalitarianism, which is something entirely different. (Naturally, anarchist individualism follows the many paths of activity and education: philosophy, literature, ethics, etc., but I have wanted to make precise here only some points of our attitude to the social environment.)

I do not deny that this is not very new, but it is taking a position to which it is good to return from time to time.