Let’s keep it short, Sophie Zaikowska

Let’s keep it short
Sophie Zaïkowska
March 1912
La Vie Anarchiste

We owe the greatest scientific discoveries to the experimental method. Philosophers of old, who used their own imagination to explain natural phenomenon, gave us some extraordinary theories, which for centuries were held as truth in schools and against which modern scientists had to fight hard.

I think that we can fear the same in sociology. Always, theoreticians from different philosophies prophesied, announcing that there will be a day when the sun would shine for everyone. But since they didn’t try to put their theories to practice, happy days may well be faraway.

Communists tell us, based on figures, that thanks to mechanisation, we would have so little work to do – a few minutes a day according to Kropotkin – that communism will necessarily be established, therefore ensuring happiness for the whole of humankind.

Others, still theoretically, deny the possibility of communism. It would even be, according to them, a catastrophe for the strong individual who wouldn’t enjoy the entirety of their production. The lives of these “militants” explain their opposition to communism; these defenders of private property are now experiencing, presently, what communism cannot offer their inveterate laziness: they live without doing anything manual, without being taken by work in any office, workshop, building site or field; they live without being subjected to the discipline of collective effort; they live without having to struggle to find means of existence. They live from their pensions, or from the produce of their “proprietary” arguments which they sell in books, pamphlets or small 25-centime journals.

From this reality we can explain everything else: a free milieu, a communist association horrifies them! It would be hell for them: they would have to work when paradise is theirs with its juicy pears!

Like scholastic philosophers who opposed experimentation, our theorists hold the principle of preventing any anarchist action.

Chamber revolutionaries called the propagandists of the heroic period insane, or accused them of being snitches.

Nowadays, character assassination, conspiracy of silence, any means is accepted in order to crush an attempt at a communist colony, for example, or at a free column newspaper.

Recently, in “l’anarchie”, the former colonists of Vaux were called beggars because, since they lived on Earth and not on the Moon, they raised funds to get the starting capital they needed. Let’s say, in passing, that most colonists were themselves among the people donating funds. But even the small Bascon colony, who never asked anyone anything, who only offered its production, why was it insulted by Armand, who bravely hid under the pseudonym “le Guépin”?

Even if we don’t do much, we sure talk a lot these past few dozen years. We are worried when we treat a subject about repeating ourselves. This is why we strive for originality, and therefore we sometimes say absurdities.

In this way, some comrades, while observing the monstrosity of the current organisation of society, wish for it always to remain so, so that they can enjoy fighting against it. They imagine that under communism this famous machinery will always ensure the happiness of individuals, who would have nothing to do and become weak from idleness.

We don’t have to worry about idleness, machines will never work on their own and to build them, take care of them, program them, we will have to toil; we will have to go down the mines to extract the minerals used in their construction; in the summer, the communist sun will still burn brightly enough to make fieldworkers sweat. We will not want for work. And if it is less crushing than it is now – which we gladly hope – people will have a bit of time to rest and study.

This harmonious society will only be established once individuals will have enough self-will to do away with cops. Everyone will not evolve at the same time, and for a long time, alas! Stupid fratricidal war between people will endure. The task of the anarcho-individualist propagandist is educational in the best sense, it aims at preparing individuals to a more rational life. That is our goal.

It is being incoherent to fight, to strive to educate, to perfect individuals with the desire never to achieve it. Nothing is more tiring than efforts in vain. It is hard labour. Even children when they play try to achieve some result. To fill a wheelbarrow with grass or to dig a square in the garden to plant some real vegetables, which we will be able to consume, to use, seem much more attractive to them than a complicated very expensive toy, created only to distract them.

Also, the fight is not as attractive as all that, if we judge it by the number of greying beards among us.
And those who fight are the small comrades in groups, us the workers, who thirst for less misery, less material efforts to earn our living; don’t call it fight, you, the “propagandists” who never work and live off of us, off of propaganda.

I keep on fighting, knowing that our struggle will lead to communism – partial at first – in which individuals will have only a few minutes to work every day but in which our struggle will increasingly lose its cannibalistic character, will be less petty, more aimed against natural disasters, in order to achieve maximum well-being from nature.

Two fears cancel each other: the fear that under communism we find existence unpalatable because individual needs will be met too easily and there will not be enough stimulation; and the fear of individuals not being conscious enough to work enough for the community, that they would refuse to produce.

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