Our Aims, by La Voz de la Mujer

[Article recovered by Marisa Muñoz y Liliana Vela and published in Antologia del Pensamiento Feminista Nuestroamericano, this translation is in all likelihood inaccurate and needs much improvement.]

“Our aims” La Voz de la Mujer, January 8th, 1896


Well: weary of so much crying and misery, weary of the eternal and disheartening picture which our unfortunate children offer us, tender pieces of our hearts, weary of begging and pleading, to be the toy, the object of pleasure of our evil exploiters or of our despicable husbands, we have decided to raise our voices in the social concert, and to demand, demand we say, our share of seats at the banquet of life.

Long evenings of work and suffering, dark, dreadful days without bread have taken their toll on us, and has forced us to feel the sharp and heart-wrenching cry of our hungry children, for whom weary of so much poverty and suffering, we decided to let our voices be heard, not in the form of a lament or a begging complaint, but in the form of a vibrant and energetic demand. It rises from everywhere. Up until now we pleaded to a God, to a virgin and to other saints no less imaginary than any other and when we went full of trust to ask for a piece of bread for our children, you know what we found? The lewd and lustful look of those who want to constantly change the object of their impure desires, offering us with an insinuating and cunning voice an exchange, a trade, a banknote with which to cover the nudity of our body, without more obligation than to lend it.

We walked further, still confident and with our hopes put in God in the heavens, and after we tripped and fell we cared not where, we saw and while we fixed our eager eyes to the sky, do you know what we found? Lust and brutal impurity, corruption and dirt and a new occasion to sell our skinny and pale bodies. We averted our eyes, dry, oh so dry!, and there, far away in the distance, we almost could see our children, pale, weak and sickly… and the misty breeze, which brought us the eternal song for bread. Mummy, some bread for the love of God! And at that moment we understood why we fell… why we kill and why we steal (in other words we expropriate). It was also then that we understood and we repudiated this God, and that we understood how false is his existence, in a word, that he doesn’t exist.

It was then that we sympathised with our fallen and disgraced fellow women: Now we want to break with all the preoccupations and absurd restraints, with these cruel chains whose links are thicker than our bodies. We understood that we had a very powerful enemy in the current society and it was then that, as we looked around us, that we saw many of our comrades fighting against such a society; and how we understood that this was also our enemy. We decided to go with them against our common enemy, but since we don’t want to depend on anyone, we also raise the red flag; we are leaving for the fight… without God nor master.

And this, dear fellow women, is why we make our newspaper, not ours but everyone’s, and this is also why we declare ourselves Commmunist Anarchists, demanding the right to live, which means equality and freedom.

Louis Lecoin, by May Picqueray

My enthusiasm for anarchism went in all directions. I was at risk of becoming inefficient, spreading my energies too thin. Chance made me cross paths with Louis Lecoin. It was in 1921 that I first met him. From that moment on, I spent most of my time making war to war.

Louis Lecoin was just out from the prison of Albertville after an eight-year sentence for antimilitarism. What stroke me first were his blue eyes which glistened with intelligence, with a touch of mischievousness, but also his goodness, his energy, and his courage. He even courted me for a short while. But, at 20, I thought this great man was too small. This did not stop us from being good friends all our lives.

I was not disappointed, the legend about him seemed justified. I knew him well from what Sébastien Faure, Pierre Le Meillour and other people had told me, with such warmth, such love! I knew all the things for which he had been imprisoned: his refusal, as a young soldier, to march against train workers on strike, and to shoot at them, defying the military machine of which he was a part. His campaign against the war, in 1914, the thousand leaflets he had distributed, his long years in jail, punctuated with hunger strikes to demand the reestablishment of the status of political prisoners, and for it to be granted to the anarchist comrade Jeanne Morand, injustly suspected of intelligence with the enemy.

Louis Lecoin was to us, young libertarians, young syndicalists, an example to follow. He had proven us that we could be at the same time syndicalists, liertarians, and antimilitarists.

When he got out he became the administrator of Le Libertaire, the newspaper of the Union Anarchiste, which did not prevent him from being a militant in his union (the builders’ union) and to intervene energetically and efficiently at the Lille congress in 1921 and Saint Etienne in 1922.

Like most of us, he felt enthusiastic about the Russian revolution, from which we expected great things, and which only brought us disillusions, but he resisted being enrolled into the Communist Party, unlike some other comrades.

In 1921, he led a campaign to avoid the extradition of three Spanish men: Ascaso, Durruti, and Jover, sentenced in Argentina pretendingly for some robbery, but in fact for being anarchists. Their extradition was imminent: a cruiser was coming to get them. He reached out to the highest political and judiciary figures, and, finally, won their case.

He also worked to avoid the deportations of Camille Berneri and Nestor Makhno and managed to save them.

But his biggest case was the Sacco and Vanzetti affair.