Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Joseph Déjacque, "The Humanisphere" (Part III)

[I've posted parts of The Humanisphere before, and talked a bit about the difficulties involved. Slowly, but surely, I'm working my way through the work, but not necessarily tackling the sections in order. This is the final section.]

THE HUMANISPHERE

by Joseph Déjacque

Part III

The Transitional Period.

How will the progress be accomplished? What means will prevail? What route will be chosen? That is what is it is difficult to determine in an absolute manner. But whatever these means, whatever the route, if it is a step towards anarchic liberty, I will applaud it. Let the progress take place by the arbitrary scepter of the czars or by the independent hand of the republics; let it be by the Cossacks of Russia or the proletarians of France, German, England or Italy in whatever manner the unity should come about, let the national feudalism disappear, and I will shout bravo. Let the soil, divided in a thousand fractions, be unified and formed into vast agricultural associations, the associations could even be, like the railroad corporations, usurious exploitations, and I will still cry bravo. Let the proletarians of the city and country organize themselves in corporations and replace wages with vouchers [bon de circulation], boutiques with bazaars, private monopoly with public exhibition and the commerce in capital with the exchange of products; let them subscribe in common to a mutual insurance and found a bank of reciprocal credit; let them begin to decree the abolition of all sorts of usury, and always I will shout bravo. Let women participate in all the advantages of society, as she does in all its burdens; let marriage disappear; let us suppress inheritance and employ the product of the successions to dower each mother with a pension for the feeding and education of her child; let us take from prostitution and begging ever chance of occurring; let us take the pickaxe to the barracks and the churches, raze them, and build on their sites monuments of public utility; let arbitrators replace the official judges and individual contract to the law; let universal registration [l'inscription universelle], as Girardin understands it, demolish the prisons penal colonies, the penal code and the scaffold; let the smallest, or the slowest, reforms be given rein, reforms with the scales and legs of a turtle, and provided they are real progresses and not harmful palliatives, a step into the future and not a return to the past, and with both hands I will cheer them on with my applause.
Everything that has become big and strong was first puny and week. The human being of today is incomparably greater in science, and more powerful in industry than the man of the past. Everything that begins with monstrous dimensions is not born viable. The fossilized monstrosities have preceded the birth of humanity as the civilized societies still precede the creation of harmonic societies. The earth requires the fertilizer of dead plants and animals to render it productive, as humans required the detritus of rotten civilizations to render them social and fraternal. The times reap what time has sown. The future supposes the past and the past a future; the present oscillates between these two movements without being about to keep balance, and is drawn by an irresistible magnetic attraction toward the unknown. We cannot resist Progress indefinitely. There is an irresistible weight that will always and despite everything drag down one of the trays of the scale. We can certainly violently resist it for a moment, jolt things in the opposite direct, subject it to reactionary pressures; but when the pressure fades, it will just regain, and more strongly, its natural inclination, and affirm more vigorously the power of the Revolution. Ah! Instead of clinging with rage to the branch of the Past, instead of agitating ourselves about it unsuccessfully and covering our powerlessness with blood, let us allow the social pendulum to swing freely towards the Future. And, one hand resting in the ropes, feet on the edge of the spherical plateau, oh you, gigantic aeronaut who has the terrestrial globe for a gondola, Humanity, do not block your eyes, do not tremble with fright, do not tear your chest with your nails, don’t clasp your hands in a sign of distress: fear is a bad adviser, it peoples our thoughts with ghosts. Raise, on the contrary, the veil of your eyelids and look, eagle, with your pupils: look and greet the limitless horizons, the luminous, azure depths of the Infinite, all these splendors of anarchy universal. Queen, who has for jewels in her crown the gems of intelligence, oh! be worthy of your sovereignty. Everything that is before you is your domain, the vastness that is your empire. Enter there, beautiful human, mounted on the terrestrial globe, your triumphant aerostat, and led by the doves of attraction. Stand, blonde sovereign, — mother, not this time of a sick child, of a love [that is] blind and armed with poisoned arrows, but on the contrary of men in possession of all their senses, of clear-sighted loves, armed with a productive mind and arm. Go, Majesty, fly at your prow your flag of purple, and sail, diadem on the head and scepter in the hand, in the midst of cheers for the Future!...
Two sons of the Bourgeoisie, who have partially renounced their bourgeois education and sworn themselves to [the cause of] liberty, Ernest Cœurderoy and Octave Vauthier, together in a pamphlet, la Barrière du Combat, and one of them in his book la Révolution dans l'homme et dans la société, prophesy the regeneration of society by a Cossack invasion. They rely, in order to make this judgment, on the analogy that they see existing between our society in decline and Roman decadence. They maintain that socialism will only be established in Europe when Europe is one. From an absolute point of view, yes, they are right to claim that liberty must be everywhere or nowhere. But it is not only in Europe, it is all over the globe that unity must be made before socialism in its catholicity, embracing the whole world with its roots, can rise high enough to shelter Humanity from the cruel storms, and [bring it to the harbor of] the charms of universal and reciprocal fraternity. To be logical, it is not only the invasion of France by the Cossacks that we must call for, but also the invasion of the Sepoys of Hindustan, of the Chinese, Mongol and Tartar multitudes, of the savages of New Zealand and Guinea, Asia, Africa and Oceania; that of the Red-Skins of the two Americas and of the Anglo-Saxons of the United State, more savage than the Red-Skins; we would have to call all of these tribes from the four corners of the earth to the conquest and domination of Europe. But no. The conditions are no longer the same. The means of communication are completely different than they were in the times of the Romans; the sciences have made an immense step forward. It is not only on the banks of the Neva of the Danube that there now rise up hordes of Barbarians summoned to the sack of Civilization, but on the banks of the Seine and the Rhône, the Thames and the Tagus, the Tiber and the Rhine. — It is from the empty furrow, it is from the floor of the workshop, it is sweeping along, in its floods of men and women, the pitchfork and the torch, the hammer and the gun; it is under the farmer’s overalls and the smock of the worker; it is with the hunger in the belly and the fever in the heart, but under the supervision of the Idea, that Attila of the modern invasion; it is under the generic name of the proletariat and rolling its eager masses towards the luminous centers of the utopian City; it is from Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Naples, that, raising up its enormous waves and pushed by its insurrectionary flood, the devastating torrent will overflow. It is at the noise of the social tempest, it is in the current of that regenerating deluge that Civilization will collapse in decadence. It is at the breath of the innovating spirit that the popular ocean will bound up from its gulf. It is the [stormy] turmoil of new ideas that will bring down the heads and thrones of the civilized and pass with its level of iron and fire over the ruins. It is this that will drown in blood and flames all the notarized and certified deeds, and the procurers of those deeds, and will make the parceled and appropriated soil a collective whole. This time it is not darkness that the Barbarians will bring to the world, but light. The old order took from Christianity only the name and the letter, but they have killed its spirit; the new will not profess absolutely the letter, but the spirit of socialism. Wherever they can find a patch of social earth, they will plant the seed of the tree of Liberty. They will pitch their tent there, the nascent tribe of free people. From there they will project the branches of the propaganda everywhere they can be extended. They will increase in number and strength, in scientific and social progress. They will invade, step by step, idea by idea, all of Europe, from the Caucasus to Mount Hekla and from Gibraltar to the Urals. The tyrants will struggle in vain. Oligarchic Civilization cede the terrain ascendant advance of Social Anarchy. Europe conquered and freely organized, America must be socialized in its turn. The republic of the Union, this breeding ground of grocers who award themselves voluntarily the name of model republic, of which all the grandeur consists in the extent of the territory; this cesspool where wallow and croak all the villainies of mercantilism, filibusters of commerce and piracies of human flesh; this den of all the hideous and ferocious beasts  revolutionary Europe will have rejected from its breast, last rampart of bourgeois civilization, but where, also, some colonies of Germans, of revolutionaries of all nations, established within, will have driven into the earth the mileposts of Progress, laid down the first foundations of social reforms; this shapeless giant, this republic with a heart of stone, an icy face, a goitrous neck, a statue of cretinism whose feet rest on a bale of cotton and whose hands are armed with a whip and a Bible; harpy carrying a revolver and a knife in her teeth; thieving like a magpie, murderous like a tiger; vampire with bestial thirsts, who must always have gold or blood to suck... finally, the American Babel will tremble to its foundations. From the North to the South and from the East to the West will crash the thunder of the insurrections. The revolts of the proletarians and the revolt of the slaves will crack the States and the bones of the exploiters of these States. The flesh of the politicians and industrialists, of the bosses and masters, the shopkeepers and planters will smoke under the bloody feet of the proletarians and slaves. The monstrous American Union, the fossil Republic, will disappear in this cataclysm. Then the Social Republic of the United States of Europe span the Ocean and take possession of the new conquest. Blacks and whites, creoles and redskins will fraternize then and will found one single race. The killers of Negros and proletarians, the amphibians of liberalism and the carnivores of privilege will withdraw like the caymans and bears before the advance of social liberty. The gallows-birds, like the beasts of the forest dread the company of human beings. The libertarian fraternity will frighten the denizens of Civilization. They know that where human rights exist there is no place for exploitation. So they will flee to the most remote parts of the bayous, to the most unexplored caverns of the Cordilleras.
Thus socialism—first individual, then local, then national, then European, from ramification to ramification and from invasion to invasion—will become universal socialism. And one day there will no longer be a question of the little French Republic, nor of the little American Union, nor even of the little United States of Europe, but of the true, great and social Human Republic, single and indivisible, the Republic of human beings in the state of freedom, the Republic of the united individualities of the globe.

[working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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