Alexander Berkman died 61 years ago on June 28th, 1936. We enclose here his editorial for the first issue of The Blast published in San Francisco on 15th January 1916.
Do you mean to destroy?
Do you mean to build?
These are questions we have been asked from many quarters, by inquirers sympathetic and otherwise.
Our reply is frank and bold:
We mean both: to destroy and to build.
For, socially speaking, Destruction is the beginning of Construction.
Superficial minds speak sneeringly of destruction. O, it is easy to destroy - they say - but to build, to build, that's the important work.
Its nonsense. No structure, social or otherwise, can endure if built on a foundation of lies. Before the garden can bloom, the weeds must be uprooted. Nothing is therefore more important than to destroy. Nothing more necessary and difficult.
Take a man with an open mind, and you will have no great trouble in convincing him of the falsehood and rottenness of our social structure.
But when one is filled with superstition and prejudice, your strongest arguments will knock in vain against the barred doors of his bigotry and ignorance. For thousand-year-old superstition and tradition is stronger than truth and logic.
To destroy the Old and the False is the most vital work. We emphasize it: to blast the bulwarks of slavery and oppression is of primal necessity. It is the beginning of really lasting construction.
Thus The Blast will be destructive.
And The Blast will be constructive.
Too long have we been patient under the whip of brutality and degradation. Too long have we conformed to the Dominant, with an ineffective fist hidden in our pocket. Too long we have vented our depth of misery by endless discussion of the distant future. Too long have we been exhausting our efforts and energy by splitting hairs with each other.
Its time to act
The time is NOW.
The breath of discontent is heavy upon this wide land. It permeates mill and mine, field and factory. Blind rebellion stalks upon highway and byway. To fire it with the spark of Hope, to kindle it with the light of Vision, and turn pale discontent into conscious social action - that is the crying problem of the hour. It is the great work calling to be done.
To work, then, and blasted be every obstacle in the way of the Regeneration.