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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 8
    weapon of influence upon men public opinion Whereas in a society ruled by coercive authority these same men are those who will seize authority and will make use of it not only without the restraint of public opinion but on the contrary supported praised and extolled by a bribed and artificially maintained public opinion It is said How can people live without governments i e coercion On the contrary one should say How can people rational beings live recognizing violence as the inner connecting link of their lives and not rational agreement It must be either one or the other men are either rational or irrational beings If they are not rational beings then all matters between them can and should be decided by violence and there is no reason for some to have and others not to have this right of violence But if men are rational beings then their relations should be founded not on violence but on reason One would think that this consideration should be conclusive to men recognizing themselves as rational beings But those who defend state power do not think of man his qualities or his rational nature They speak of a certain combination of men to which they apply a kind of supernatural or mystical significance What will happen to Russia France Britain or Germany they say if people cease to obey governments What will happen to Russia Russia What is Russia Where is its beginning or its end Poland The Baltic Provinces The Caucasus with all its nationalities The Kazan Tartars Ferghana Province All these are not only not Russia but all of these are also foreign nationalities desirous of being freed from the combination that is called Russia The circumstance that these nationalities are regarded as parts of Russia is an accidental and temporary one conditioned in the past by a whole series of historical events principally acts of violence injustice and cruelty while in the present this combination is maintained only by the power that spreads over these nationalities In our memory Nice was Italy and suddenly became France Alsace was France and became Prussia The Trans Amur Province was China and became Russia Saghalin was Russia and became Japan At present the power of Austria spreads over Hungary Bohemia and Galicia and that of the British government over Ireland Canada Australia Egypt and India That of the Russian government covers Poland Guria and others But tomorrow this power may cease The only force uniting all these Russias Austrias Britains and Frances is coercive power And coercive power is the creation of men who contrary to their rational nature and the law of freedom as revealed by Jesus obey those who demand of them evil works of violence Men need only become conscious of their freedom natural to rational beings and cease to commit acts contrary to their conscience and the law Then these artificial combinations of Russia Britain Germany and France which appear so splendid will no longer exist

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 9
    they should inquire and seek advice only from their own consciences The Russian people in order that they may fulfill the great work now before them should not only refrain from concerning themselves with the political government of Russia and with the securing of freedom to the citizens of the Russian state They should also first of all free themselves from the very idea of a Russian state and consequently also from all concern in the rights of the citizens of such a state At the present moment the Russian people so that they may obtain freedom should not only refrain from taking this or that action but should refrain from all undertakings from those into which the government is alluring them as well as from those into which the revolutionaries and liberals desire to draw them The peasants the majority of the Russian people should continue to live as they have always lived in their agricultural communal life enduring all violence both governmental and non governmental without struggle but not obeying demands to participate in any kind of governmental coercion They should not willingly pay taxes or serve in the police the administration the customs the army the navy or any coercive organization whatever Likewise and still more strictly the peasants should refrain from the violence to which they are being incited by the revolutionaries All violence of the peasants toward the landowners will call forth strife with retaliatory violence and will end in any case with the establishment of a government of this or that kind but unavoidably coercive And with any coercive government as happens in the freest countries of Europe and America the same senseless and cruel wars will be proclaimed and carried on and in the same way the land will continue to be the property of the wealthy It is only the non participation of the people in any violence whatever that can abolish all coercion from which they suffer prevent all possibility of endless armaments and wars and abolish private property in land Thus should the agricultural peasants act so that the revolution now taking place may produce good results As to the urban classes the nobles merchants doctors scientists writers and mechanics who are now occupied with the revolution they should first of all understand their numerical insignificance They are only one to a hundred in comparison with the agricultural people They should understand that the object of the revolution now taking place cannot and should not consist in the foundation of a new political coercive order with whatever universal suffrage whatever improved socialistic institutions The object of the revolution can and should consist in the liberation of the whole people and especially of the majority the 100 000 000 agricultural workers It should consist of liberation from every kind of coercion military coercion in the form of soldiery fiscal coercion in the form of taxes and tariffs and agrarian coercion in the form of the seizure of the land by the

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 10
    their own inner organization And in precisely the same way the Russian agricultural people most of Russia s population live without needing the government but merely suffering it The government has never been a necessity but always a burden to the Russian people The absence of government that same government which uses force to keep the right of using the land in the hand of the non laboring landowners can only contribute to that communal agricultural life which the Russian people regard as a necessary condition of good life It will contribute to it in that the power of maintaining property in land being abolished the land will be freed and all will have equal right to it Therefore the Russian people when abolishing government need not invent any new forms of combined life with which to replace the former Such forms of combined life already exist among the Russian people have always been natural to them and have satisfied their social demands These forms are a communal organization with the equality of all the members of the Mir a co operative system in industrial undertakings and a common possession of the land The revolution that is impending in Christendom and is now beginning among the Russian people is distinguished from former revolutions precisely in that the latter destroyed without substituting anything for that which was destroyed by them or else replaced one form of violence by another But in the impending revolution nothing need be destroyed It is only necessary to cease participating in violence not uprooting the plant and putting something artificial and lifeless in its place but merely to removing all that has hindered its growth Hasty bold faced and self assured people blindly and thoughtlessly overthrow the existing violence in order to replace it by new violence without understanding the cause of the evil with which they are violently striving and without themselves realizing any form of life without violence Such men will not contribute anything to the revolution now taking place Those who will contribute to it are those who without overthrowing or breaking anything will organize their lives independently of the government will peacefully endure any violence inflicted upon them will not participate in the government and will not obey it The Russian nation the agricultural nation the enormous majority need only continue to live as it lives now as an agricultural communal entity with no participation in the works of the government and without obedience to it The closer the Russian people will stick to the combined life that is natural to them the less possible will be the interference of governmental coercive rule into their life and the easier will this power be removed finding fewer and fewer occasions for interference and fewer and fewer assistants in the doing of its deeds of violence Therefore to the question as to what consequences will follow the cessation of obedience to government one can say for certain that the consequence will be the abolition

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 11
    advantages of civilization say that it is a boon for the whole of mankind but in this question they are not the judges or the witnesses but one of the litigants It is beyond doubt that we have advanced a long way on the road of technical progress but who has advanced along this road It is that small minority which lives on the shoulders of the working people while the working people themselves those who serve these other men who profit by civilization continue in all Christendom to live even as they lived five or six centuries ago profiting only at times and in rare cases from the refuse of civilization If they do live better then the difference separating their position from that of the wealthy classes is not less but is rather greater than the one that separated them from the wealthy six centuries ago I do not say that because civilization is not the absolute advantage that so many think it is we should throw aside all that men have attained in their strife with nature But I do say that before we can know that what has been attained by men does indeed serve their welfare it is necessary that all should profit by these advantages and not a small number It is necessary that people should not be forcibly deprived of their own welfare for other people s benefit in the hope that the same advantages shall someday reach their descendants We look upon the Egyptian pyramids and are horrified by the cruelty and insanity of those who ordered their erection as well as of those who fulfilled these orders But how much more cruel and insane are those ten and thirty six storey apartments that men of our time erect in cities and are proud of Around lies the land with its grass woods pure water pure air sun birds and animals But men with dreadful effort shut the sun from others and erect thirty six storey apartments rocked by the wind where there is neither grass nor trees where everything both water and air is contaminated where all the food is adulterated and spoiled and where life itself is tedious and unhealthy Is not this a sign of manifest madness in a whole society of men not only to accomplish such insanities but also to pride themselves upon doing so This is not the only example Look around you and you will see at every step what equals these thirty six storey apartments and Egyptian pyramids The justifiers of civilization say We are ready to correct the evil but only on the condition that all which mankind has attained should remain intact Why this is what a dissipated man who has ruined his life his position and his health says to his doctor He is ready to agree with all the doctor will prescribe but only on condition that he may continue his depraved life To such a man we say that

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 12
    that disease afflicting him his family or his cattle The schools into which he must send his children are defined as well as the proportions and the stability of the house that he must build It is defined how he should maintain his animals horses and dogs how he must make use of water and where he may walk without a road The punishments are defined for the non fulfillment of all these and many other laws It is impossible to enumerate all the laws upon laws and rules upon rules to which he must submit and the ignorance of which although it is impossible to know them cannot serve as an excuse for a man even in the most democratic state He is moreover placed in such a position that in buying every article that he consumes salt beer wine cloth iron oil tea sugar and the like he must surrender a great portion of his labor for certain undertakings unknown to him and for the paying of interest on debts contracted by someone else in the times of his grandfather and great grandfathers He must also surrender a part of his labor on the occasion of any moving from place to place or of any inheritance he may come into or of any transaction whatever with his neighbor Further for the portion of the land he occupies either by his abode or by cultivation a yet more considerable part of his labor is demanded from him If he lives by his own labor and not by that of others the greater part of his labor instead of being used for the alleviation and improvement of his own position and that of his family goes to pay these taxes tariffs and monopolies More than this This man as he comes of age in some states most of them is ordered to enter the military service for several years which is the cruelest servitude and to go and fight In other countries Britain and America he must hire other people for this same purpose Yet people placed in this position not only fail to see their own slavery but are proud of it regarding themselves as free citizens of the great states of Britain France or Germany They are proud of this just as lackeys are proud of the importance of the masters they serve It would appear natural to a man with undepraved and unweakened spiritual powers on finding himself in so dreadful and humiliating a position to say to himself But why should I go through all this I desire to live my life in the best way I wish to decide for myself what it is pleasant useful and necessary for me to do Leave me in peace with your Russia France and Britain Let him who wishes all this take care of these Britains and Frances but I do not require them You can seize from me everything you like by force and kill me but

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 13
    Russia These men have become so accustomed to this that it seems to them as impossible to live without belonging to these combinations possessing no internal union just as thousands of years ago it appeared impossible to people to live without offering sacrifices to gods and without oracles directing the actions of men How can men live without belonging to any government Why exactly as they now live only without doing those silly and objectionable things which they now do for the sake of this dreadful superstition They will live as they now live but without depriving their families of the products of their labors that would otherwise be devoted in the form of taxes and duties to the evil deeds of men unknown to them They will live without participating either in coercion or in law courts or in wars organized by these men Yes it is only this superstition which in our time has no sense which gives to some hundreds of men an insane and utterly unjustifiable power over millions and deprives these millions of true freedom A man living in Canada Kansas Bohemia Little Russia or Normandy cannot be free so long as he considers himself and often with pride a subject of Great Britain the United states Austria Russia or France Nor can governments whose vocation consists in maintaining the unity of such impossible and senseless combinations as Russia Britain Germany or France give their subjects real freedom and not its mere counterfeit as is the case with all the artful constitutions monarchical republican or democratic The principal if not the only cause of the absence of freedom is the state superstition People can indeed be deprived of liberty in the absence of the state But while they belong to a state there cannot be liberty Those now participating in the Russian revolution do not understand this They are striving for various liberties for the subjects of the Russian state imagining that in this consists the purpose of the revolution now taking place But its purpose and ultimate result are much more far reaching than the revolutionaries see This object is emancipation from state coercion And that complex work of mistakes and evil doings now taking place on the decaying surface of the enormous Russian population is leading toward this great revolution This is occurring among a small portion of urban classes the so called intellectuals and factory workmen All this complex activity chiefly proceeding from the lowest impulses of vengeance spite or ambition has for most of the Russian nation only one significance it serves to show the nation what they should not do and what they can and should do It must serve to demonstrate all the futility of the substitution of one form of government coercion and evil doing for another form of government coercion and evil doing and to destroy the superstition and spell of statedom in their consciousness Most of the Russian people are observing present events and all the

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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 14
    that there is only one law common to all men which gives them the greatest welfare the law of mutual service and indicated the reason why this law had not been realized in life It was not realized because man regarded the use of violence as necessary and beneficial for good ends and regarded the law of retribution as just Christianity showed that violence is always pernicious and that retribution cannot be applied by men Although Christian humanity desired to live according to the law of mutual service common to all men it did not accept this explanation of the law and involuntarily continued to live according to the pagan law of violence Such a contradictory state of things kept increasing the criminality of life and the external comforts and luxury of the minority at the same time increasing the slavery and misery of the majority among Christian nations In later times the criminality and luxury of the life of one portion and the misery and slavery of the other portion of Christendom have attained the highest degree especially among those nations which have long ago abandoned the natural life of agriculture and fallen under the deceit of imaginary self government These nations suffering from the misery of their position and the consciousness of the contradiction they are involved in search for salvation everywhere in imperialism militarism socialism the seizure of other people s lands and every kind of strife They search for it in tariffs in technical improvements in vice and in anything except the one thing that can save them the freeing of themselves from the superstition of the state the fatherland and the cessation of obedience to coercive state power of any kind whatever The Russian people have the advantages of their agricultural life their absence of the deceit of self government their great numbers and above all their Christian attitude toward violence They have been subjected to a cruel unnecessary and unfortunate war into which their government had drawn them and their demands that the land taken from them should be returned have been neglected This people has understood sooner than others the principal causes of the calamities Christendom has experienced in our time and therefore the great revolution impending over all mankind which can alone save it from its unnecessary sufferings must begin precisely among this nation Herein lies the significance of the revolution now beginning in Russia This revolution has not yet begun among the nations of Europe and America but the causes that have called it forth in Russia are the same for the entire Christian world The same sort of war demonstrating to the whole world the inevitable advantage in military art of pagan over Christian nations the same armaments of the great states reaching the utmost degree of strain and unable ever to cease and the same calamitous position and universal dissatisfaction of the working people owing to their loss of their natural right to the land these are to be

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  • THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION - Chapter 2
    who have power grow depraved unreasonable and cruel and the more injurious to their subjects do their demands become Secondly because as those in power grow more depraved their subjects see more and more clearly the harm and folly of submitting to such depraved power And those in power always become depraved Firstly such people immoral by nature and preferring idleness and violence to work having grasped power and used it to satisfy their lusts and passions give themselves up more and more to these passions and vices Secondly lusts and passions which in the case of ordinary men cannot be gratified without meeting with obstacles not only do not meet such obstacles and do not arouse any condemnation in the case of those who rule but on the contrary are applauded by all who surround them The latter generally benefit by the madness of their masters And besides it pleases them to imagine that the virtues and wisdom to which alone it is natural for reasonable men to submit are to be found in the men to whom they submit Therefore the vices of those in power are lauded as if they were virtues and grow to terrible proportions Consequently the folly and vice of the crowned and uncrowned rulers of the nations have reached such appalling dimensions as were reached by the Neros Charleses Henrys Louis Johns Peters Catherines and Marats Nor is this all The rulers would not do so much harm if they were satisfied with their personal debauchery and vices but idle satiated and depraved men such as rulers were and are must have something to live for They must have some aims and try to attain them And such men can have no aim except to get more and more fame All other passions

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