Anarchy signifies the destruction of misery, hate, superstition, and the abolition of oppression of man by man; that is to say, the abolition of government and the monopoly of property.
Human individuality is a profound and mysterious world which can enclose in itself all the vision of new horizons of various and different sentiments and affections; therefore the individual, this vital part of the vast universal harmony, must be able to give free outlet to his own inspirations, must have the chance to try every way he sees full of light and promise. He must be free to develop his activities, inclinations and capacities, his sometimes esoteric energies, which he feels palpitating in him, all of them mutable in space and time. He must feel himself as arbiter of his own destiny and direct the helm of his own existence towards the harbour which is the supreme dream of his life.
Governments, religions, fatherlands, morals, in their own interests, not only do not recognise any individual aspirations, but violate and sacrifice them. Governments oppress the individual. Religions hinder his rational faculties. Fatherlands push him to the cataclysm and vortex of war. Morals suffocate him with impositions and duties which are in direct contrast with his needs and natural inclinations. We are convinced that man will never be liberated if he is spiritually tied to the prejudices of gods, morals or any form of domination or subjugation. Therefore, our struggle is to free him from the clutches of these terrible intellectual and economic constraints. We rebel against the society which despotically claims the criminal right to dispose of its members.
Man must radically change the notions which have been nailed in his brain by the hammer of habit and centuries of slavery, such as: “Without bosses none would work,” “Nothing flourishes without God,” and “Social life is impossible without government.”
Everything that is beautiful and great is achieved by the dangerous march of humanity, and always against God, masters and government.
The flame of thought, the magnificence of art, wonderful discoveries, the audacity of inventions belong to revolutionary periods, when humanity, tired of the chains of its restrictions, shatters them, and stops inebriated to breathe the breeze of the vaster and freer horizon.
To those who affirm that without government, legislation and repression, which are necessary for the law to be respected and transgressors punished, there will be disorder and delinquency, I am answering: Look around yourselves, cannot you see the frightful disorder in every domain of social life? Disorder that reigns in spite of the authority which governs and the law which represses? Cannot you see that the increase of regulations makes legislation more severe, the domain of repression extends, and immorality, humiliation, crimes and faults multiply? And the spectacle of injustices, which are so repugnant, is before us, torturing our soul and life.
The taking of power, the contact with it, support for it, on any pretext of flag, celebrity, homage to a mirage or principle, despite any appearance, despite repeated trite formulae, bring degeneration in every time and place, to men, to groups and parties. Far from being the stimuli of progress, they become the forces of conservatism. And soon, because the world marches despite them, they change into the causes of reaction. Power uses the worst in man and the worst among men; it elevates, rewards and exalts the vile and servile, and hates and punishes personal independence and dignity.
They ask us: When will the anarchists dominate? We will never dominate. Until the time (its remoteness depends on how far you are from us) of the realisation of a society based on free voluntary contracts, in which no one can impose his will on others because association will be free and concerned with growth and development rather than sacrifice of the individual, we will always be at our place, together with those who, like us, do not want to be oppressed, or to oppress, and who want to push forward those who are oppressed. We will remain out of any government and against all governments to indicate to men the way to their own liberation, when they will take in their own hands their own good and happiness.
They ask us again: Then won’t you always be defeated? No! It is only that we do not delude ourselves that to win we must take the place of the defeated dominator. Even if Anarchy cannot be realised today, tomorrow or after centuries, the essential thing for us is to march towards anarchy today, tomorrow and always. Any blow to the institution of private property or to government; any exposure of their lies; any human activity which can be taken from the control of authority, any effort to elevate people’s conscience by increasing the spirit of initiative and solidarity, is a step towards anarchy.
We need to discriminate between real progress toward sour ideal and not confuse this with hypocritical legal reforms, which, under the pretext of immediate betterment, distract people from the fight against authority and tend to paralyse their activities, giving hope that something can be achieved because of the goodness of masters and governments.
Taken from the Italian anarchist paper, Umanita Nova. This article I later found to be part of a paper given in New York on the 20th of March, 1932.
From: Umanita Nova, reprinted in Red & Black No. 1, 1964..