Monday, May 18, 2015

Radiant Things

"Now, how many of you people are not certain that you could live without government or authority? … All of you know that in your own minds you are certain that you could live without carrying these governments, but you say, ‘I can, but the other fellow cannot. I don’t need law, but he does.’ You keep on thinking you are your brother’s keeper and the trouble is you have kept him so long he has forgotten to keep himself. How do you otherwise account for that vast horde of lazy people the workingmen have always carried, the judiciary, the police, the soldiers and all those others who won’t work? Anarchism opposes government in every form because it believes in the power of the individual to take care of himself."

“‎Civilization has been a continuous struggle of the individual or of groups of individuals against the State and even against "society," that is, against the majority subdued and hypnotized by the State and State worship.”

 "I shall begin with a definition.... Anarchism: The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary."

"Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property: liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations."

"Anarchism... is the great, surging, living truth that is reconstructing the world, and that will usher in the Dawn."

--Emma Goldman

"You know, I had an abortion. The doctor was fat, dirty and furtive. He left hastily after it was accomplished, leaving me bleeding. The daughter of the landlords assisted me and never said a word of it. He was Emma Goldman's lover; that's why I have never had any use for Emma." --Dorothy Day

"My visitor was a tall man with a finely shaped head, covered with a mass of black curly hair, which evidently had not been washed for some time. His eyes were brown, large, and dreamy. His lips, disclosing beautiful teeth when he smiled, were full and passionate. He looked a handsome brute. His hands, narrow and white, exerted a peculiar fascination. His finger-nails, like his hair, seemed to be on strike against soap and brush. I could not take my eyes off his hands. A strange charm seemed to emanate from them, caressing and stirring..." --Emma Goldman describing first meeting Ben Reitman

"Dr. Reitman was a large man of imposing presence, with untidy black hair, and a full beard in later years. He usually wore a black foulard tie and carried a cane and a black slouch hat when he went out. Niver often went to lunch with Reitman at Berghoff's on Adams Street in the basement. Reitman's favorite meal there was pig's knuckles and sauerkraut. He would noisily suck out the marrow and smack his lips in enjoyment. His political and social philosophy is not so easily described...Reitman wrote to Niver, 'I'm an Anarchist and think all governments wrong and harmful and built upon violence. Only freedom in all of its loveliness, cooperation to share and share alike will bring peace on earth. Let me repeat again with Walt Whitman, "I swear I ask for nothing for myself that I do not want for all man.'" --The Rise and Fall of the Dill Pickle, quoted from, Homelessness: A Documentary and Reference Guide

"On August 2, 1931, the Dill Pickle reached perhaps the lowest point in its descent to sideshow. The focus of that night's activities was expected to be "Billie", female hobo, prostitute, friend of Dr. Ben Reitman, and pregnant. Jack Jones and Ben had persuaded Billie to discuss the subject, "What Shall an Unmarried Mother Do? Have a Child, an Abortion, or Commit Suicide?" As the crowd of 300 wedged into the lecture hall, the chairwoman for the evening, Roxy Hinkley, opened with a reading from Voltairine de Cleyre's poem "Bastard Born." After only four lines the place erupted. A shower of eggs whizzed to the front, along with vegetables in doubtful stages of maturity. Reitman was a favourite target, his black suit soon dribbling with a mucky egg salad. John Burnes, a Dill Pickle regular, shouted above the din, "We've discussed queers and crooks, but this is too much, even for me, to take a woman about to become a mother and drag her through a lot of talk about it." Billie never gave the address. The Dill Pickle had become too tasteless even for its own insatiable audience." --The Damndest Radical: The Life and World of Ben Reitman, Chicago's Celebrated Social Reformer, Hobo King, and Whorehouse Physician

"I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." --Emma Goldman

"Hi there. Name is Ben Reitman - before I became fat. I practiced 'free love' to the hilt. And I performed abortions. Lots of abortions. After carrying out an abortion and leaving the woman to bleed away in the gurney, I would enjoy sucking the marrow out of pig's knuckles for lunch. Mmmmm. Wikipedia describes me as 'colorful'."

"Why, hello! My name is Emma Goldman. My claim to history is birth control-anarchism disseminator, criminal and all-round cobbler of unreadable prose. Well, unreadable, unless you were Benny reading my randy love letters to him. Oh, his hands, those baby-killing hands - so mesmerizing. They made me go all chubby!"

Good grief, these early twentieth century anarchists on the lecture circuit, self-described radicals and social reformers; these we-don't-need-no-gubmint proto-libertarians (basically the plain-meat version of today's abstract libertarianism?) - oh man! Who can possibly be exhausted in describing the obnoxious overflowing stream of banality these people produced? (And no, I am not including Dorothy Day in this set at all, of course, so don't have an apoplectic seizure.)

Under a thin crest of intellectual foam the century was inundated by a tsunami of pure, unrendered human fat - blindsiding, clobbering. A bizarre combination, or rather crashing together, of suffrage power, demonic scapegoating of children born and unborn, racial cleansing, glowing spiritism, guttersnipe eugenics, stump speeching and on and on, all reacting together like a suffocating family reunion. The purpose, it seems, was ideally anarchic: not one content per se mattered all that much, so much as to drown the successive generations with their intellectual filth, their own stench-filled baggage. These very people claiming to have shed the shackles of their ancestors, of the oppressive church, of the government - they were doing nothing, absolutely nothing else, but shackling the new generations beyond anything their ancestors could have done. They released a torrent of flabby, buttock cheek fat-quivering evil stupidity, fronted by a nauseating hypocrisy of sunny adjectives and vapid sagacity - "to share and share alike" and "everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things" and "freedom in all of its loveliness" etc. - with their asinine quoting of Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau. Oh Lord - what dreadful people! In their dead earnest intellectual seriousness: what superficial, ghastly ignoramuses! In their self-assured intent of bestowing warmth and goodness towards all: what wastrel thin child orphans haunting the bodies of adults!

But what is really interesting is this: the wave of birth control and abortion was not pioneered by a government, but by anarchists, by those who constantly railed against the (supposedly inevitable) violence and evils of government "in all its forms". The fact is that back in earlier days the governments were actually seeking to arrest and prosecute the people who were disseminating birth control/abortion practice and indoctrination.

Funny too, how if you phone up any of your government officials in office, whether your local guy or the one in parliament or wherever, and ask them why, instead of having to service a national debt by borrowing the country's money into existence at interest, they don't just issue it themselves without interest-bearing debt, the politician will tell you - I guarantee you, nine times out of ten - some variation of, "The government cannot be trusted with that; for they will cause inflation."

We have government, in other words, that tells us exactly what the libertarians tell us.

I find that immensely interesting.

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