Prof. Max Nettlau — History of Anarchy — Vol. I 1925. Excerpt from Peter Kropotkin, Encyclopaedia Britannica 1910
A fuller insight would only be gained through intensive individual studies. The works of P. Kropotkin, Mutual Aid (London; Mutual Aid in the Animal and Human World, translated by G. Landauer, Leipzig) are based on such studies; Etika (Moscow, 1922; Ethics, Volume 1, Berlin 1923; the first chapters); La Science Moderne et l’Anarchy (Paris, 1913; German, Berlin, 1925), including: The historical role of the state (1896–1897); Elisée Reclus, L’Homme et la Terre (1905–1908, 6 volumes: Man and the earth); Gustav Landauer, The Revolution (Frankfurt, 1907). Also Elie Reclus, Les Primitifs (Paris, 1903; The Aborigines, Studies in Comparative Ethnology), etc.)
Max Nettlau, Peter Kropotkin, Georg Adler, Michael Schreiber
History of Anarchy I. (Excerpt)
The early spring of anarchy — Its development from the beginning to 1864. According to Kropotkin, Prof. Max Nettlau and Prof. Georg Adler
The first known political usage of the word anarchy (Ancient Greek: ἀναρχία) appeared in plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles in the fifth century BC. (in Oidipos — King of Thebes and in Seven against Thebes, both are playing in the 13th century BC)
Ancient Greece also saw the first Western instance of anarchy as a philosophical ideal mainly, but not only, by the Cynics and Stoics. The Cynics Diogenes of Sinope and Crates of Thebes are both supposed to have advocated for anarchistic forms of society, although little remains of their writings. Their most significant contribution was the radical approach of nomos (law) and physis (nature). Contrary to the rest of Greek philosophy, aiming to blend nomos and physis in harmony, Cynics dismissed nomos (and in consequence: the authorities, hierarchies, establishments and moral code of polis) while promoting a way of life, based solely on physis. Zenon of Kition, the founder of Stoicism, who was much influenced by the Cynics, described his vision of an egalitarian utopian society around 300 BC. Zenon’s Republic advocates a form of anarchic society where there is no need for state structures. He argued that although the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads humans to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct, namely sociability. Like many modern anarchists, he believed that if people follow their instincts, they will have no need of law courts or police, no temples and no public worship, and use no money—free gifts taking the place of monetary exchanges.
Sokrates expressed some views appropriate to anarchism. He constantly questioned authority and at the centre of his philosophy stood every man’s right to freedom of consciousness. Aristippus, a pupil of Socrates and founder of the Hedonistic school, claimed that he did not wish either to rule or be ruled. He saw the State as a danger to personal autonomy. Not all ancient Greeks had anarchic tendencies. Other philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle used the term anarchy negatively in association with democracy which they mistrusted as inherently vulnerable and prone to deteriorate into tyranny.
The first forerunners of anarchism in Europe can be found in ancient Greek philosophy. The anarchist historian Prof. Max Nettlau sees the mere existence of the word “An-Archia” as evidence that “there were people who consciously rejected the rule, the state.”
An outspoken critic of the state was Aristippus of Cyrene (approx. 435–355 BC), who represented an early form of hedonism and was the founder of Cyrenaism. From the standpoint of the greatest possible individual freedom, he preached that man should withdraw from state life. Aristippus also rejected the idea of a fatherland and advocated cosmopolitan ideas. When asked whether he would rather belong to the ruling or ruled class in the state, Aristippus of Cyrene is said to have replied: “Neither of the two!”
From the 5th century BC, Diogenes of Sinope (approx. 400–324 BC) preached the return to a natural life. He and the students of the school of the Cynics, which he founded, saw the original needlessness as a desirable state. According to the Cynics, social harmony would prevail instead of mutual struggle and social conflict, since these arise from man’s greed for material possessions and the pursuit of honor.
The historian Georg Adler sees the ideas of anarchism developed for the first time in world history in the teachings of Zenon of Kition (approx. 333–262 BC). Zenon, the founder of the Stoa, was a great critic of Plato’s ideal of a society that should find a moral coexistence with absolute state power. In contrast to Plato, Zeno drafted his own ideal of a free stateless community that would better suit human nature. Instead of following the written law, people should follow their true natural urges through discernment. This would lead people to love for others and to justice. Just as there is unity, harmony and equilibrium in external nature, so would this also apply in human society. From this follows the negation of the law, the courts, the police, the school, the marriage, the money, the state religion and the state. Man would live in perfect equality across all national borders. Everyone should work voluntarily according to their abilities and be allowed to consume according to their needs.
Peter Kropotkin, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910 (Short Excerpt)
The historical development of anarchism
The conception of society just sketched, and the tendency which is its dynamic expression, have always existed in mankind, in opposition to the governing hierarchic conception and tendency — now the one and now the other taking the upper hand at different periods of history. To the former tendency we owe the evolution, by the masses themselves, of those institutions — the clan, the village community, the guild, the free medieval city — by means of which the masses resisted the encroachments of the conquerors and the power-seeking minorities. The same tendency asserted itself with great energy in the great religious movements of medieval times, especially in the early movements of the reform and its forerunners. At the same time it evidently found its expression in the writings of some thinkers, since the times of Lao-tsze, although, owing to its non-scholastic and popular origin, it obviously found less sympathy among the scholars than the opposed tendency.
As has been pointed out by Prof. Adler in his Geschichte des Sozialismus und Kommunismus, Aristippus (430 BC), one of the founders of the Cyrenaic school, already taught that the wise must not give up their liberty to the state, and in reply to a question by Socrates he said that he did not desire to belong either to the governing or the governed class. Such an attitude, however, seems to have been dictated merely by an Epicurean attitude towards the life of the masses.
The best exponent of anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece was Zeno (342–267 or 270 BC), from Crete, the founder of the Stoic philosophy, who distinctly opposed his conception of a free community without government to the state-utopia of Plato. He repudiated the omnipotence of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the moral law of the individual — remarking already that, while the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads man to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct — that of sociability. When men are reasonable enough to follow their natural instincts, they will unite across the frontiers and constitute the cosmos. They will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money — free gifts taking the place of the exchanges. Unfortunately, the writings of Zeno have not reached us and are only known through fragmentary quotations. However, the fact that his very wording is similar to the wording now in use, shows how deeply is laid the tendency of human nature of which he was the mouthpiece.
In medieval times we find the same views on the state expressed by the illustrious bishop of Alba, Marco Girolamo Vida, in his first dialogue De dignitate reipublicae (Ferd. Cavalli, in Mem. dell’Istituto Veneto, xiii.; Dr E. Nys, Researches in the History of Economics). But it is especially in several early Christian movements, beginning with the ninth century in Armenia, and in the preachings of the early Hussites, particularly Chojecki, and the early Anabaptists, especially Hans Denk (cf. Keller, Ein Apostel der Wiedertaufer), that one finds the same ideas forcibly expressed — special stress being laid of course on their moral aspects.
Max Nettlau — History of Anarchy — Vol. I (Excerpt, Chapter I to Chapter III, translated into English by Michael Schreiber)
Chapter I: On the prehistory of freedom and authority
The social movements since 1917 and all previous and previous failures prove not that socialism fails because of man’s natural need for freedom, but that a socialism that does not correspond to this urge for freedom is not viable, even if all means forced upon it by force be available. Because every organism needs a free sphere of movement, without which standstill and decay must occur.
Every social class has understood this, even if it had acquired the greatest conceivable position of power. The urge for freedom of injustice and privilege is precisely the ceaseless struggle for their expansion and reinforcement, while the rigid systems of authoritarian socialism believe they can put a stop to this urge to move towards the establishment of social justice, an illusion because it gives humanity the element of freedom that invigorates it would withdraw, which is why their serious realization is always opposed by instinctive mistrust. In addition to shorter periods of apparent calm, in which a rule, a system seemed to have prevailed, while in reality this brief bloom was inevitably followed by withering and decay, there were normal periods of constant struggles, either for the defense of independence or autonomy or for attack Aimed at expanding a rule or a privilege. Every feudal lord fought in this sense against kings, cities and the state for his old or new privileges or in league with them against weaker neighbors for booty. The beginning bourgeoisie of the free cities of the Middle Ages, even tyrants in their urban area and the surrounding area within their reach, defended themselves against the nobility and kings and the centralist state of the modern age, which they were preparing to crush. These grandiose struggles of the bourgeoisie in Italy, Holland, England, America, France from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and throughout the world in the course of the nineteenth, finally gave the bourgeoisie the complete domination now represented by international finance capital, a power which still has many possibilities of expansion which, however, has long since shown a Hippocratic trait: through the exclusion of the immense masses of the people, the nominal power of the bourgeoisie lacks any permanent solid foundation and is actually maintained primarily through distrust of socialism, for which a form that pacifies the natural need for freedom The masses are not yet known, while the libertarian tendencies of socialism, anarchism, have long been striving to find practical ways of synthesizing freedom and solidarity.
Of course, such new possibilities of social life would not be imposed by a dictatorship, but, even arising from observation and free experiment, with the use of adequate quantities of means of production and raw materials, with unhindered freedom of movement and non-interference by outsiders, they would experience realizations, their dissemination and Changes would depend on their results and the experience gained. Obstacles to such a development would of course be removed.
This goal and these paths are not arbitrarily chosen, artificially devised, but this path to freedom is the same that parts of humanity have been looking for since time immemorial, and whose location and direction, however difficult to find, are becoming more and more clearly visible. We must assume that absolutely every physical unit, from the tiniest perceptible to the largest groupings, has properties which, in their relationship to other units, express themselves as attraction and repulsion, from which all that develops that we as association, mutual Help, solidarity and know as autonomy, struggle for independence, freedom. Both groups of activity of all living things are inseparable, and their harmonious distribution, their rapid, unconstrained change according to the dictates of every situation, represent an ideal state that should become the normal state. As far as we know, this equilibrium is almost reached in most animals and is maintained: in most people, too, it consists of a thousand things in individual life that would otherwise be inconceivable — but it still has somehow in the “incarnation” of the There was a partial disturbance of this equilibrium, perhaps closely related to it, from which we still suffer today, but which try to combat the libertarian counter-movements from prehistoric times to today’s anarchy and, we hope, with success.
It is probable that this “incarnation” first took place under the locally most favorable conditions, i.e. partially, and that this superiority in the use of tools and weapons and in intellectual activity over those who stayed behind was that break in solidarity that no animal species knows, the rule over others same kind, first brought about. In any case, many things, physical strength, cleverness, special experience and knowledge, soon strengthened this differentiation of people, and the feeling of solidarity inherited from the animal age, mutual help, was not supported by the strong individuals exploiting their superiority, but fought, a struggle that is still going on persists. This superiority of individuals was expressed early on through strength (warriors), cleverness (leaders), through certain experiences (priests), through accumulation of property in various ways (empires), etc., while through violence, superstition, wages, etc. these ruling circles joined themselves to all Times knew how to procure armed creatures and pushed the masses, which remained only their feeling of solidarity, on the defensive, deprived them of their rights and enslaved them to this day.
So it happened that the masses once never got to know freedom, except to a certain extent in the inconspicuous private life, and that they always saw that whoever rose up somehow, be it from their own midst or by birth, was in a more prominent position occupied, almost always became their master, servant and despiser. Therefore the masses could neither know nor appreciate freedom and knowledge, which confronted them only as domination and intellectual privilege, and their only weapons remained their unwritten feeling of togetherness, a dull resentment and an actual irreconcilability that has been waiting for their hour since time immemorial. Much feeling of freedom was lost in this helplessness of the masses, which from prehistoric times until today are always facing every murderous enemy, through disuse or dulling, much was active in private life, created families and groups of free and humane people, those in the run the time which, despite everything, sprang from numerous people who, in their own way, have done the most possible for freedom and are still ready to do so.
Since the earliest times these have included those who did not use their intellectual superiority for rule and exploitation, such as the political leaders and the priestly caste, but who carelessly made them available to mankind — inventors and scholars. With them and with the dissemination of their knowledge through teaching, the first liberation activity of mankind begins.
This activity was infinitely slow, since the same masses that were supposed to be liberated had to be kneaded from the cradle to willing servitude at the same time, so that a little running around as a child is for many their only memory of a bit of freedom today. Therefore, they also felt the daily social pressures heavier than the spiritual pressures and revolted earlier in the name of social justice than in the name of personal and social freedom. So it was easy for the authoritarian socialist tendencies to pull together large masses, but this only demonstrated how much they cling to the surface in their conception of socialism. It is the most obvious thing for the unenlightened masses to reach for some social justice, but it is rash for socialists to make this incomplete state a system, and it is unscrupulous and anti-revolutionary of them, the libertarian directions of socialism, which alone to advocate and fight a complete and natural socialism, instead of rejoicing that those who were fleetingly stimulated by their propaganda were given the opportunity to deepen their ideas in those directions. So it came about that today authoritarian socialism must be counted among the powers of the past and not among the development factors of the future, and that one can say that, as in primeval times, the violent tribal chief and the priest were the first to oppose freedom, the socialist dictator and the Marx priest may be the last to do so in a perhaps near future.
Despite the tightening of authority in our sad times, we see how much it has weakened in the course of history, the first phases of which we do not know, but not in the political field, in which the ballot of today is just as authoritarian as it was once the Brennus sword, but in the spiritual and moral field, in religion, science, private life, often in the social field, etc. Here the history of free thought, that of every single science, that of many institutions, customs and ways of thinking, that of some international institutions, that of the Literature and art of all peoples, their people’s life, also the history of political and social struggles, movements, attempts at organization, etc. are examined in detail. As seldom as a full understanding of political and social freedom is, so innumerable and self-evident are the most honest and sacrificial efforts to remove authority in individual areas. Who is the present-day representative of these immense struggles against innumerable individual forms of authority? Certainly not the feeble-hearted liberal of today, who is afraid of full freedom, just as little is the authoritarian socialist who disdains or hates full freedom. Only the anarchist stands in the straight line of this development towards freedom, whose older representatives could of course only overlook a small part of the great road, the further course and end of which we also do not know.
Of course, this story is a very clouded one, rich in aberrations and setbacks. As science places itself at the disposal of general development, the authority of its results also seized itself and through them strengthened its constructions; Even the religions modernized themselves and every system, no matter how reactionary, tried to incorporate certain advances and also won over individuals: this is how the “official” science emerged, which real science has to overthrow over and over again. Furthermore, our sources are infinitely flawed and one-sided. Is it z. B., apart from a few Near Eastern and Egyptian sources, everything known about the old European culture was taken from the notes of haughty Greeks and Romans, for whom all other Europeans were “barbarians”, with the exception of inextricable remnants in mythology, the heroic songs and the folklore of a few Europeans People! Freethinkers, rebels, and popular uprisings were ignored or briefly mentioned by the chroniclers to an even higher degree , disappeared as much as all these ideas, according to fragmentary statements, led their own lives, from Lycurgus to the Gracches, Catiline and Spartacus, with their renewal in early Christianity.
But if we first look at the material collected from the ethnography of all continents, we encounter the most diverse forms of political and social life, we see the tremendous tortures that were inflicted on the peoples by authority of every kind, but also traces of the incessant struggle against them. Finally, we can gauge how little our knowledge is of the countless years of unscriptural prehistory, the events of which, incidentally, were forgotten in their time even after a few generations if they did not pass over into mythology or legend. But whether we look at the reflexes of old freedom struggles in the Bible or the Greek or other mythologies, it is always the struggles against authority in which it still wins, but its fighters are no longer forgotten, no matter how much the priests and courtly singers play their role disfigure. The devils hurled out of heaven, with Satan, Bakunin’s favorite figure in the Bible, and Lucifer, the lightbringer, or the titans hurled out of Olympus, those expelled from paradise and cursed by Jehovah, who ate from the tree of knowledge or from Zeus martyred Prometheus, who broke the divine monopoly of fire and brought fire to people — all of these are rebels through and through, and unknown social freedom struggles of the past found a skilful expression in them that continues today.
Let’s cross-check: who fought for authority, and what became of such in the course of history? Tyrants who often found a tyrant murderer, better known as themselves, kings, popes, statesmen, generals whose memory is loathed while their victims are honored. However, these remarks may suffice to show that innumerable people groped towards freedom, however small the traditional number of men of earlier centuries who directly represented anti-state and anarchist ideas may be, whereby the small number of real studies in this area must also be pointed out .
Chapter II: Zenon, the Stoics and Natural Law
In the countless decades of primeval times without writing, domination, property, legal and other social relationships as well as intellectual dependence in the direction of authority developed and evidently overcame all conscious or unconscious expressions of the feeling of freedom, along with rebellions and the constantly practiced dull passive resistance of the masses in the intellectual achievements of individuals, of thinkers, inventors, poets and artists, sought any expression and never went under. The spiritual bondage must have preceded the material bondage, because the masses were actually in the possession of the land from which the livelihood of the tribe was somehow drawn through common hunting, cattle breeding or agriculture, but spiritual superiority and special physical strength were a monopoly of the Priests and chiefs and were protected by them from the masses, who were thus excluded from spiritual development and gradually materially plundered and continuously exploited. The masses faced alleged religious mysteries, a series of gods sprung from their own imagination, the personifications of undeciphered natural processes, and the priestly class claimed to be mediators towards these gods; the people who were not yet spiritually awakened believed this in their earliest times, and this belief has been inherited to this day. It is being spread so systematically that many people are still in this spiritual twilight state. The people who became chiefs through violence or talent developed a different kind of spiritual bondage, the heroic saga of the tribe and their own family. The dark memories of lost times, in which mostly inexplicable events were brought into a certain context through the intervention of the gods, clung to the most powerful; this was done by the journalists of that time, the wandering singers. And this is how mythical prehistory arose with a mixture of heroes and gods who passed over, localized, amplified, modernized from one dominant tribe, one powerful personality, to others who replaced them in power. What we have today in mythology, heroic sagas, and folklore are the last remarks of this material, which circulated from tribe to tribe, from generation to generation in the long unscriptural age, which was supposed to satisfy the vanity of the rulers and the tribal pride of their subordinates. This is how patriotism and nationalism arose, and they are still cultivated today with the same means, the glorious, falsified national history, whether this is done by the singer of the heroic saga or the author of a school textbook or an officious editorial.
Certainly there was a tradition of rebellion and freedom of thought in relation to this systematic spiritual enslavement through religion and nationalism. The means of tradition, especially the later written system, were so in the possession of the rulers that all direct expressions of a anarchist nature are lost, and that they can only be peeled out with difficulty from accidental and often distorted notes and fragments. In some cases, they were also transformed into general mythology and literature. So the ideas of a golden age, of paradise, of Elysium, of heaven come from this circle of ideas, in which the official religion and literature found it good to take away their rebellious meaning from these ideas and adapt them to their authoritarian circle of ideas, whereby the wise legislature then , the righteous judge and similar fictions of authoritarian legend, and the people learn to regard these things, once their own desires, as dreams or hopes beyond the grave. Furthermore, besides Satan and Prometheus, the Christian and pagan mythologies certainly still contain numerous once very lively rebels and references to their former activities under the deterrent mask of enemies of the gods. Through the satyr games after the tragedies, through the Roman Saturnalia, the Christian carnival and the like, the anti-god, rebellious popular current was apparently met in order to exhaust it with harmless satisfaction. In countless tales, cunning resistance against the powerful is popularly portrayed, and one is always happy to see a weak triumph over the clumsy tyrant or money-headed man. As soon as it is possible, as soon as the printing press makes it easier to circulate, the satire is at hand, the joke, the song of derision, the leaflet and the pamphlet.
For a long time it was difficult to complete this never tiresome criticism with positive suggestions, and even more difficult to summarize the available forces into action, but this too has always happened to a greater extent than is often believed, since historical sources and historians often find them unpleasant Things slide away. Admittedly, most of the efforts were inadequate and fragmented, or the authors themselves were under the spell of authoritarian thinking and advocated reform policies led by wise leaders. The political, religious and social struggles were mostly fought separately and were at different stages of development, which is still the case today and which means that a piece of the old is repeatedly saved into the new and a complete liberation is postponed. Corresponding to the killing of the scarcely developed feelings of freedom brought about by the victory of the state, private property and church, the social struggles were mostly robbed of this element in its true sense and had to fail because of their fundamental authoritarian errors. So it came about that in this field to this day error is more numerous and more powerful than truth. Nevertheless, there has never been a lack of representatives of the full and complete freedom known to us as anarchy, and their gradual emergence will be described in the following — admittedly still from sparse sources at the moment, which will only deepen and increase the research that has hardly begun in this field . Unfortunately I cannot use many sources for antiquity, the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century myself, cannot trace many traces and have to limit myself to excerpts and references.
Late Greek philosophers opposed the state cult and narrow nationalism of their better-known predecessors; I mean Zenon, of whom Prof. Georg Adler wrote in 1899 ): “... In relation to the community of goods and state omnipotence for the purpose of the highest moral community life, as Plato preaches, Zenon, the founder of the Stoic School ( 342–270 BC), praised the free stateless community for the same purpose as the ideal of the future. “ States want to have something to do. The wise man — was his reasoning — knows no more precious good than freedom and must therefore seek to withdraw from state life, which at least partially suppresses individual freedom. Why a fatherland at all, “when every piece of earth is equidistant from Hades [the place of the dead]”? According to this, one can also understand how he could give Sokrates the answer to the question of whether he would rather belong to the ruling or ruled class in the state: “Neither of the two!” And of course we have received similar views from supporters of the school founded by Aristippus.
“Another line of thought, which had to lead even more clearly to anarchism, was given with the doctrine of the state of nature, which arose since the fifth century [BC]. Here — the return to nature was preached. Political literature paints prehistoric times as a kind of paradisiacal state of humanity, where, of course, cultural goods were still lacking, but people lived happily on in peace and harmony ... and here is the obvious ... conclusion: that social harmony is the consequence of the needlessness of people in a state where no object is valued sufficiently high to be considered the aim of strong desire and struggle. ”
“The cynical school now had to pick up on trains of thought of this kind all by itself. The needless was their human ideal, because it was independent of people and things and thus only truly free: consequently her social ideal — as corresponded to an age of declining political life in Hellas — was of course a condition that had to be more or less similar to the one just described and so it really praised the self-sufficiency of the first people as the highest. At the same time the agreement of all, the homonoia, the goal of the whole ethical-political speculation of those days, was given by itself. ”
“The logical consequence of the principle of lack of need was the negation of cultural needs to the negation of all cultural institutions: marriage, property, the state. These last results are admittedly only hinted at by the Cynical school itself (at least in the fragments of cynical literature we have received) — if we disregard the abolition of the family, which Diogenes explicitly suggested; but those bold consequences are to be found in the oldest system of the Stoa, which was closely related to the cynical ethics, precisely in the system of Zenos, a contemporary of Dikaearch. Unfortunately, the same is not preserved for us; at least we are able, from what we know about it through other authors, to reconstruct a sketch of the ... social ideals represented therein! of egoism, however, nature has inoculated into us a second instinct for community with other people, and this community instinct, which is inherent in us by nature, leads quite automatically to justice and human love, in that this alone enables a lasting and happy community. If we now have the necessary insight, we must absolutely live in accordance with nature, consciously make “living in accordance with nature” according to the principles just established as the guideline for all of our actions and are not allowed to worry about things that are only artificially stamped as goods, such as property , Honor and the like. ”
“Like the cynics earlier, Zenon too, as a consequence of his principles, goes beyond the framework of Greek nationality and positively postulates a cosmopolitanism — which in the age of Alexander’s world empire, the barbarian and the Hellenic to a whole aspired to one that had to be twice as easy for a man of oriental tribe."
In this way he stood in opposition to Platon, who “could never deny the racial Hellenes”, and he was also an opponent of the platonic state socialist ideas of the same:
“Zenon does not want to know anything about state omnipotence, paternalism and regulation, but he relocates the omnipotence of the law to the inside of people; as soon as these are only insightful enough to follow their true natural instincts, they will all be filled with justice and love for their fellow human beings, and unity and harmony will prevail, as in external nature, also in the natural coexistence of human beings, and so on the people will present the image of a herd grazing peacefully together, in that they represent a whole on a small scale, like the cosmos governed by a uniform law on a large scale. ”
“So all act according to the law inherent in nature itself, which has come to life in the mind. And this law commands one to love the closest, yes, everyone with whom one comes into contact .... ”
“But where everyone is given what is due to them voluntarily, yes, there is vain unity and love, there are no misconduct. And consequently the court and the police are banned here.”
“Since, furthermore, man can follow the supreme moral law without the need for many words and instructions, the entire school sciences ... are useless and cease to be taught; — since everyone grows up naturally, the grammar schools are also abolished, — and since everyone knows who they suit, the bond of marriage is superfluous, and nature and freedom become broadest in regulating the relationship between man and woman Leeway granted; — and in the same way, where everyone has found the true relationship to God and through their way of life dedicates themselves to the best worship, no state organization of worship and no temple is necessary; — and finally ... no more money and no means of exchange are needed, since all economic traffic takes place through the immediate transfer of the desired products in good quality.”
“So here the whole of humanity is thought of in its perfection, everything that means coercion is switched off, the inner moral drive as the sole, but also completely sufficient regulator for the individual, as shown for the whole.”
“So Zenon — summarized Georg Adler — through his brooding mind and his excessively dissolute imagination came to draw all the conclusions from the philanthropic — natural law principle of the cynical school, with which this school itself had withheld from ancient Greek political instinct, and thus the theory of anarchism was developed for the first time in world history in scriptures”.....
While Platon wants to achieve everything through the highest compulsion with the means of the state, Zenon leaves everything “to freedom, to the moral law, which has been incorporated into the human being, so that all state institutions cease to exist, the concept of the state itself evaporates.” In Zenon’s hierarchical structure there is “perfect equality”: “Everyone works according to his (voluntarily applied) abilities and consumes according to his needs.” He lets “all peoples live in a constant frenzy of mutual friendship and love ) .... ”
I cannot judge this presentation of Zenon’s ideas from my own knowledge, just as little as the presumed prehistory of his ideas and how far his time and milieu influenced them, nor to what extent they were influenced by other forerunners and movements and currents can be assumed outside of philosophical circles, in any case Zenon had full confidence in the human instinct for sociality and drew brilliant, anarchist conclusions from it. Even if his followers were unable to stay on top of his heights, his penetrating teaching of the unity, equality and freedom of all people who realize this themselves out of inner instinct streamed a power and warmth that spread over many centuries, which in the gloomy times, able to kindle some human emotions in the most rigid minds. This aftereffect can be expressed in the words of Dr. Paul Barths described ):
“... The stoic principles became most effective when, when applied to legal questions, they resulted in“ natural law ”, an ideal right of general equality and the resulting general freedom, since by nature all human beings are equal as partakers of divine reason and therefore all are free. The Roman jurists of the imperial era were all permeated by this ideal right and tried to enforce it against the rigid positive right wherever it had a loophole or where innovations were necessary out of practice. ”- In the third century stoicism emerged ousted by Christianity. “... But once resurrected in the Renaissance, stoicism contributed greatly to European culture. The worldview of the educated in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is the “natural religion” which, in contrast to Revelation, does not divide people into denominations, but unites them all, i. H. belief in God, immortality, retribution after death. It interweaves the entire European literature of the modern age, it appears in Thomas More ’Utopia, where it forms the worldview of the utopians, in the creed of the Savoyard vicar in Rosseau’s Emile, in Schiller’s“ Three Words of Faith ”. Its main root is stoicism, which taught that certain cognitions, including God, immortality, and virtue, constitute an innate common property of all mankind. And the stoic natural law, which also awoke in the 16th century, was the ferment to all the ideas that transformed medieval society into modern society from the 16th to the 19th century ... ”
All these connections deserve an in-depth study. Natural law was a permanent utopia of freedom, the admonishing conscience of positive law, which was as different from it as the church’s direct, folk-dumbing doctrines from the social utopia expressed in the equality of all before God and before death, the bad conscience of the tyrants and the rich, who in fact never achieved a permanently satisfactory theoretical and moral justification of rule and property, because even their most compliant jurists and clergymen were aware of natural law and the ideas of equality of so-called natural religion and they only did so through a thousand palpable subtleties could derive the factual state from the natural state. In its origin, natural law was certainly not speculation and fiction, but it was the result of the previous rebellious attempts and hopes of the anarchist libertarian socialist forces of mankind, to which the progressive destruction of the old, self-evident common property of all on earth by the haves and the servitude of the masses clearly conscious of their free grouping by organized dictatorial minorities, the later states.
To be sure, the influence of natural law was limited, and it was mostly mentioned only in theory in order to be avoided in practice, but it was one of the veins through which a living tradition and immortal hopes of freedom and equality for so many centuries flowed on, albeit weakly, and it is in modern anarchy in which these ideas finally gained fuller development. In John Toland’s Pantheisticon (Cosmopoli, 1720), the draft of a secret society for the dissemination of the ideas mentioned here in their most developed form at that time, For example, a passage from Ciceros De republica (of the state) about the natural law) was read out, whereupon it says: “We want to be governed and guided by this law and not by the lying and superstitious fictions of the people. The imagined laws are neither clear nor general, nor always the same, nor ever effective. So they are of very little use, or rather, they are of no use to anyone except those who interpret them .... “- Natural law was the cradle of international law, a first attempt to summarize what the peoples had in common against the separate power of the states. — There were also social roots in natural law, which Grotius, Pufendorf, Thomasius (1688) began to develop; this was called the “principle of sociability” and the Latin word socialitas, which is used for this purpose, involuntarily develops the word socialist.)
Whether the word anarchy, which means non-rule and in the parlance of many countries expresses a tightening of the term disorder, already had this meaning when it was first formed, I would like to doubt: the language would have chosen a direct word. The presence of the Greek “an-archia” indicates that there were persons who consciously rejected the rule, the state; only when they were fought and persecuted did this designation stick to them in the sense of the most dangerous rebels of the existing order revolutionary meaning arose late, while communiste as a legal term is older. Incidentally, when the word communist was first used does not seem to have been established.)
The stimuli emanating from the Stoa were interrupted by spiritual and material catastrophes, the onset of Christianity and the new peoples, and countless others; but the influence of the ancient Greek and Hellenistic opponents of the state and friends of freedom and equality, including the first internationalists, which we personified in Zenon, was never completely lost.)
In the twelve to fifteen centuries after the last heyday of ancient Greece, the period in which the Stoics’ anarchist ideas developed, authority of every kind reigned. The temporary dictatorship of Macedonia was followed by the permanent iron dictatorship of Rome, which was only broken by the Central and Eastern European peoples who fell into the madness of Caesars. In the meantime, oriental mysticism darkened the spirits and, in a variant that first made use of democratic, even communist arguments, Christianity, gained a power over the spirit and morality of almost all of mankind, so that it is still set into pitiful ignorance and fanatical frenzy , an intellectual immaturity that every government has made use of for millennia. Every originally good disposition of the peoples newly entering history went under or degenerated in contact with the political and soon also spiritual authority concentrated in Rome and the intensive social exploitation favored by it, and the result was an uninterrupted one, from the so-called migration to the present day A series of wars and intrigues of the European states, each of which is imitated by ancient Rome and the enemy of all — and all the forces of freedom were and are still powerless to change the slightest thing. In spite of this they are at work, but their course is a small stream opposite the stream of authority which whole peoples are ready to swell with their blood at any moment, while freedom has only small minorities who have made many sacrifices. Nevertheless, we hope that humanity will pave the way to freedom.
So it came about that in these many centuries even social indignation mostly assumed authoritarian forms; We find this in the political and social struggles of the Roman plebeians, the times of Marius, the Gracches and Catilines, the slave wars with Spartacus, and we find spiritual submission and resignation in communist primitive Christianity and its offshoots, monasticism — doctrinal fanaticism in the religious Sect beings, the heretics of all kinds, who only prevented their powerlessness from becoming persecutors themselves, — dull confusion in the hopes of many, of the Millennium believers (millennium), etc., and often a dull turning away from the world in those among themselves some religious ideal in the case of community of property within the group, believers trying to realize. None of these are considered for freedom, because in them fanaticism has probably always stifled respect for the freedom of others. A Julian apostate who yearned back to Greek spiritual freedom outweighs them all.
Certainly, in all these very numerous movements and milieus deviating from routine, there were individuals who continued to develop through them or alongside them, went their own way and in any case soon became just as hated by the sects as they were by their own persecutors. Or people took their fate into their own hands, struck loose and were destroyed as rebels or robbers. Or some individuals carried out studies, investigated the clear thinkers of antiquity, what was dangerous in the time of Christian obscuration, they experimented and rose above the superstitions of their time, they might even communicate with others from a long distance, through secret societies or scholarly connections that might affect the Arab-African world, in which people were eagerly studying: through all of these, freedom lived on. They could no longer write books and convey their teachings to students, they had to act privately or secretly, and we only hear of those who were discovered and victims of their ideas. Even then, their “crime”, their “heresy” is seldom passed down to us in detail, and we are in the dark about their true ideas. We do not know whether some of them calmly, not in a state of exaltation, have thought through the ideas of freedom to the end, but many have probably done their best, and the ruling system had its mortal enemies within them, who are loud and fought ceaselessly in silence.
One would have to search through the infinite historical material of these times in all its forms in order to find the consciously anti-state, really free-thinking elements among the many who somehow appear to be enemies of the conditions of terrible intellectual and material pressure, an as yet quite unsolved task. Therefore I can only refer to a few details.
Thus the Gnostic Carpocrates of Alexandria is emphasized), whose son Epiphanes summarized his teachings in the book Peri dikaiosynes (On Justice); But only extracts of this have been preserved in Christian writings against heretics. For Carpocrates, God’s righteousness is presented as a community with equality (Koinonia met ’isotetos); equally God grants everything to everyone. “Just as nobody can have more or less of the sun’s light than others, so it should be kept with all things and pleasures. And that is actually how it is in all of nature. Everywhere we see that living beings are given all food together for equal enjoyment, and that no law disturbs this God-willed relationship, which brings about agreement. ”“ .... Also [about procreation] there is no written law that documented as coming from God .... Here, as always, God has given all goods equally to everyone. ”- God, who implanted desire, ordered us to use it and not eradicate it anywhere, any more than others Living beings curb their desires ...
The Carpokratians were therefore among the first to recognize and try to implement the right of everyone to everything to the extreme; they were persecuted and wiped out, which did not prevent the same ideas from being repeated over and over again from that time, in the middle of the second century disseminated by individual, local communities or widespread, secret international educational sects and realized in their circle. The religion here formed natural law, the pure form to which one appealed from the corruption of the ruling clergy religion. For those who thought further, God and nature were identical, and science, which was not entirely extinct, was their guide. Propaganda and caution, as well as general custom, brought about the religious covering. It was life-threatening to doubt official religion; it would have been fatal and not understood to deny any religion from the start. We do not know how far the inner circles of the sects went, and just as little to what extent the very widespread rejection of all laws and authorities of that time meant a fundamental rejection of any authority for the sect members. In any case, the idea that God or nature had put in everyone the ability to make his own law, that is, to be free and leave others free, was just as widespread as that of the freest communism, the free disposal of all over everything. But not all achieved this consistency, and alongside the anarchist sects there were, perhaps in a similar proportion as today, moderate sects of all kinds, which — as unfortunately today — proved to be the greatest obstacle: the atheism and anarchism of those times were the reform sects , the later Protestantism and the rising bourgeoisie so disastrously in the way as today social democracy and similar tendencies place themselves between the ruling system and the revolution.
It is infinitely difficult to find out the really anarchist elements in the heretic, sectarian and revolutionary history of later antiquity and the Middle Ages, since one has hardly begun to remove the social, political and free-thinking elements in general from their religious disguise or the distortion of their deeds to peel out the always reactionary chroniclers.
Many years ago, for example, Dr A Atabekian translated for me from the history of Armenia from Tschamtschianz, a three-volume Armenian work, Venice, 1795; II, p. 884ff., what is told there of Smbate from the village of Zarehavan, who, influenced in his ideas by the neo-Manichaean baboons and a Persian Mdsusik, is said to have spread heresy in the Thondrak district under a Christian mask. He denied future life, providence, holy spirit, all church rites, all doctrines, the existence of sin and punishment: “He denied all and every law and authority ... and he was like an incarnation of the one shining Angels transformed the devil. “- In any case, a splendid person whose end, which may have been sad enough, I don’t know, perhaps a staunch anarchist — or even just a rebel or a rationalist, whom the chronicler, because he’s already at it, mechanically ascribes the whole list of sins against sacred superstition and its proponents; only a single examination can perhaps clear up this case, and so it is with all the remaining, almost unseen material.
Most surely it seems to be certain that, following on from Paul’s words to the Galatians: “But if the spirit rules you, you are not under the law”, following on from the pantheistic idea that God pervades all nature, the soul of man is intruding Part of God, in some the conviction of unity with God arose, which placed them above human law. So they pretty much shared the point of view of the Carpocratians and, like them, achieved recognition and, where they could, the exercise of the freest communism, which, since all other activities, such as open settlements, were closed to them, was limited to their private way of life — Reason enough to submit to the most devastating persecution. These ideas were presented in a moderate form by Amaury from Bène (Amalrich von Bena), a Paris university teacher († 1204). Spread by his pupils and brought to Germany by Ortlieb from Strasbourg, these ideas found the most convinced and self-sacrificing followers in mystical circles that had long been receptive, the so-called brothers and sisters of the free spirit, who placed themselves outside of society and its laws, manners and customs and were fought to the death by society. ) — In the last centuries of the Middle Ages, southern France, the land of the Albigensians, were parts of Germany as far as Bohemia and the Lower Rhine as far as Holland and Flanders, alongside parts of England , Italy and probably also the catatonic Spain places of lively cult activity, whereby the only mystical religious and the controversial authoritarian elements far outweighed. The freest ideas might be harbored by some thinkers and researchers, the groups of free spirits mentioned, and certain, in contrast to the authoritarian-nationalist Hussites, developing Czech groups of conscious peacefulness, a persistent spirit of association and renunciation of secular rule. Peter Chelčicky is said to have been a kind of Tolstoy of his time, and the offshoots of his movement, the Bohemian-Moravian Brothers, stuck together for a long time, but lost the anti-authoritarian spirit that really seems to have inspired Chelčicky and his closest comrades. )
Holland and Flanders gradually became asylum for the moderate sects; the anarchist ones were also cruelly persecuted there. The Klompdraggers or Kloeffers from the end of the 14th century are said to have been such. Anvers. Légende et Histoire des Loïstes (Paris, 1912, 403 pp.) ).
I don’t want to try to penetrate further into this unsafe area.