Letter to the Associations on the Organization of Credit
[continued from Part I]
The circulation of these bills of credit assuring to each of the associations adhering to the mutual credit the business of all the other subscribing associations.
In order to form a mutual credit bureau, it is not necessary to form public gatherings. All that is required, to give the first impetus, is a few associations of various professions which have understood all the present advantages and all the possible results of this mode of credit.
The bills of credit should have a character of unity, and come from a common center, in order to give the mutual credit a more powerful guarantee, and to avoid making an emission of bills surpassing the resources of the credit.
But when two or three associations of different professions resolve to establish the mutual credit, and take the initiative to establish a credit bureau, no discussion will be necessary to lead the other associations: those who do not want to take part will not receive the bills, and they will await the results.
There will be nothing to discuss; it is not a question of a theory, but of a practical fact, and practical means are the best means of propaganda; the least fait accompli often has more value than an axiom.
The associations that wish to subscribe at the founding of the Bureau of Mutual Credit, will make a loan to that bureau, by subscribing an emission of bills of credit which cannot surpass the amount of consumption that they can make of the products and labors of the other adherent associations for three or six months.
That loan must be based on consumption, because it is an advance made in proportion to the consumptive needs of the lenders.
That loan can cause them no inconvenience, it does not put them in a deficit and it assures them the business of the other subscribing associations.
And each of those associations, by subscribing thus a loan in bills of credit equal to their consumption from the other adherent associations, acquires, by that act, the business of those associations and the right of credit.
And every association that has need of credit must first subscribe an emission of bills of credit equal to its consumptive needs from the other the other adherent associations.
The total credits can not surpass the total value of the consumption of the subscribing associations among themselves.
Thus, for example, if only three associations began the foundation of that Bureau of Mutual Credit, each of them could ne subscribe to an emission of bills of credit which would surpass the value of the consumption that it could make of the labor and products of the two other associations, during three or six months.
And that credit will be accorded with preference to those of the three of which, its labors or products not being sufficient to the needs of consumption of the other two others, should give more expansion to its operations.
These bills of credit that it will employ in payment for the labor and products of the two other associations, will give it the faculty of disposing of the cash that would have been necessary for that payment.
The consumption that each subscribing association could make of the labor and products of the other adherent associations will increase in proportion to the number of associations of various professions which subscribe to the mutual credit.
And the emission of the bills of credit being in proportion to the consumption of those associations among themselves, the use of the cash will become less and less necessary to them for the greatest part of the objects of habitual consumption.
They could employ, for the acquisition of the instruments of labor and raw materials that one could not find in the subscribing associations, the cash that they will receive in payment for the products or labor made for non-adherents.
And the clientele of each of the associations being composed of all the other associations and becoming more and more numerous, the credits would be employed to give the greatest possible extension to production, by facilitating to the associations of which the products and labors could not suffice to the needs of consumption of all the others, the means of procuring the instruments of labor and the raw material necessary, and to increase the number of their associates, in order to always be able to satisfy the demands of the bearers of the bills of credit.
The subscription of each new association will simultaneously increase production and consumption, and by adding a new loan, will facilitate more and more the mutual exchange of labor and products, by giving a greater extension to the circulation of the bills of credit.
When the associations of the same profession will subscribe to the mutual credit, they will become committed to not competing for the price of their labors and products, in order that the price be the same for objects of the same quality, because the association have to struggle against competition, it would be obliged to reduce more and more the part of remuneration of its associates, or no longer find an outlet for its products.
The price of the labors or products of the association subscribed to the mutual credit should no longer be inferior to that of foreign commerce, because competition from without would be so much more difficult to sustain in this regard, that the bosses, manufacturers and merchants in possession of the cash which accumulates in their hands the instruments of labor and allows them to loan them according to their will to the laborers, and when they have made a ruinous competition among themselves, they can reduce more and more the price of hand-labor, in order not to pay the costs of war.
Competition is contrary to the principles that are the basis of association; it is not liberty for all, but only for those who can withstand it; it is always the right of the strongest; it is not peace and union, but war at the expense of the workers.
The associations belonging to the mutual credit will have no interest in decreasing the price of hand-work, but, on the contrary, to maintain it as high as possible, in order to lead to the association of a great number of intelligent and industrious workers.
The emulation of the workers will have for motive the desire to do honor to the bills of credit; being simultaneously lenders and creditors, by the fact of the circulation of these bills, they will all have an equal interest in the success of the operations of the mutual credit bureau. A register must always be open to the claims of the consumers belonging to the mutual credit; the poor quality of the products or labors exchanged against the bills of credit must be a cause of expulsion from the membership of the producers.
The associations of the same profession will also find in that that bureau a means of withstanding competition from without; with the help of the credit that they receive from it, they could buy in bulk and at a common cost the instruments of labor and the raw materials that they don’t find in the subscribing associations.
Finally, the foundation of a bureau of mutual credit will be a means of conciliation between the all the classes of society, since all those who would want to testify to their sympathies for the workers could make an advance to labor by depositing, in cash, the quantity of the consumption that they want to make with the associations belonging to the mutual credit, and by accepting in exchange the bills of credit refundable in products or labors of the associations belonging to the mutual credit.
That advance made to labor will facilitate the acquisition of the instruments of labor and raw materials cannot be obtained from the adherent associations.
The credits in cash will be preferably granted to the associations that can not procure, except with cash, the instruments of labor and the raw materials necessary to the exercise of their profession.
And as these associations would also subscribe a loan in bills of credit equal to the value of their consumption from the other associations, they could take part, in that same proportion, in the circulation of the bills of credit, without having to fear that it could hinder their operations.
The associations belonging to the mutual credit having a real interest in giving the greater extension possible to the circulation of the bills of credit, when the resources of the bureau of credit permit it, one will be occupied more especially to found associations of laborers in professions whose products and labor are lacking and will be necessary to respond to the demands of the holders of the bills of credit.
It is quite evident that if some workers of ALL the professions belonged to the mutual credit, they could, by means of the circulation of the bills of credit, directly exchange their products and labors, and eliminate between them the use of cash which will no longer be except for the uses of foreign commerce, until the moment when all the laborers will be included: but it is necessary to gradually substitute the remuneration in products of labor for payment in cash.
Because the products of labor should only be exchanged against labor or the instruments of labor, in order to acquire, progressively and peacefully, by that exchange, the instruments of labor that are in the hands of the capitalists.
To acquire by labor, by means of the gradual elimination of cash, the instruments of labor: such should be the object of the constant efforts of the laborers.
This means is the sole peaceful means of attaining the real aim of association, which is the honestly acquired possession of the instruments of labor, in order to be freed from bossism and the salariat.
It is labor that makes the earth fruitful; it is labor that produces all that is necessary to the needs of life and well-being; it is labor that produces all the marvels of science and the fine arts; cash is only a product of labor and a sign of agreement which produces nothing; let us leave it in the hands of the capitalists, who make an instrument of exploitation of it.
It is by labor that we must redeem the instruments of labor, that labor has produced.
It is the sole means, for the laborers, to acquire the possession of the instruments of labor without undermining property.
The establishment of the mutual credit and the circulation of the bills of credit would be at once a work of emancipation and a work of conciliation: the first step towards the peaceful solution.
Proletarian and privileged, we have only one single enemy to combat, and it is poverty.
It causes the sufferings of the former, and troubles the security of the latter.
It is the true and only cause of revolutions; it is not only political liberties that the people want to win; they only demand them in order to help themselves to acquire true liberty, that is to say the complete development of free exercise of all human faculties, well-being for all by the means of an equitable division of labor, instruments of labor and products of labor.
[to be concluded...]