EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION

EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION

By  Elisée Reclus


THESE two words, Evolution and Revolution, closely resemble one  another, and yet they are constantly used in their social and political  sense as though their meaning were absolutely antagonistic. The word  Evolution, synonymous with gradual and continuous development in morals  and ideas, is brought forward in certain circles as though it were the  antithesis of that fearful word, Revolution, which implies changes more  or less sudden in their action, and entailing some sort of catastrophe.  And yet is it possible that a transformation can take place in ideas  without bringing about some abrupt displacements in the equilibrium of  life? Must not revolution necessarily follow evolution, as action  follows the desire to act? They are fundamentally one and the same  thing, differing only according to the time of their appearance. If, on  the one hand, we believe in the normal progress of ideas, and, on the  other, expect opposition, then, of necessity, we believe in external  shocks which change the form of society.

It is this which I am about to try to explain, not availing myself of  abstract terms, but appealing to the observation and experience of  every one, and employing only such arguments as are in common use. No  doubt I am one of persons known as "dreadful revolutionists;" for long  years I have belonged to the legally infamous society which calls itself  "The International Working Mens' Association," whose very name entails  upon all who assume membership the treatment of malefactors; finally, I  am amongst those who served that "execrable" Commune, "the detestation  of all respectable men." But however ferocious I may be, I shall know  how to place myself outside, or rather above my party, and to study the  present evolution and approaching revolution of the human race without  passion or personal bias. As we are amongst those whom the world  attacks, we have a right to demand to be amongst those whom it hears.

To begin with, we must clearly establish the fact, that if the word  evolution is willingly accepted by the very persons who look upon  revolutionists with horror, it is because they do not fully realise what  the term implies, for they would not have the thing at any price. They  speak well of progress in general, but they resent progress in any  particular direction. They consider that existing society, bad as it is,  and as they themselves acknowledge it to be, is worth preserving; it is  enough for them that it realises their own ideal of wealth, power or  comfort. As there are rich and poor, rulers and subjects, masters and  servants, Caesars to command the combat, and gladiators to go forth and  die, prudent men have only to place themselves on the side of the rich  and powerful, and to pay court to Caesar. Our beautiful society affords  them bread, money, place, and honour; what have they to complain of?  They persuade themselves without any difficulty that every one is as  well satisfied as they. In the eyes of a man who has just dined all the  world is well fed. Toying with his tooth-pick, he contemplates placidly  the miseries of the "vile multitude" of slaves. All is well; perdition  to the starveling whose moan disturbs his digestion! If society has from  his cradle provided for the wants and whims of the egotist, he can at  all events hope to win a place there by intrigue and flattery, by hard  work, or the favour of destiny. What does moral evolution matter to him?  To evolve a fortune is his one ambition!

But if the word evolution serves but to conceal a lie in the mouths  of those who most willingly pronounce it, it is a reality for  revolutionists; it is they who are the true evolutionists.

Escaping from all formulas, which to them have lost their meaning,  they seek for truth outside the teaching of the schools; they criticise  all that rulers call order, all that teachers call morality; they grow,  they develop, they live, and seek to communicate their life. What they  have learned they proclaim; what they know they desire to practise. The  existing state of things seems to them iniquitous, and they wish to  modify it in accordance with a new ideal of justice. It does not suffice  them to have freed their own minds, they wish to emancipate those of  others also, to liberate society from all servitude. Logical in their  evolution, they desire what their mind has conceived, and act upon their  desire.

Some years ago the official and courtly world of Europe was much in  the habit of repeating that Socialism had quite died out. A man who was  extremely capable in little matters and incapable in great ones, an  absurdly vain parvenu, who hated the people because he had risen  from amongst them, officially boasted that he had given Socialism its  death-blow. He believed that he had exterminated it in Paris, buried it  in the graves of Pere La Chaise. It is in New Caledonia at the  Antipodes, thought he, that the miserable remnant of what was once the  Socialist party is to be found. All his worthy friends in Europe  hastened to repeat the words of Monsieur Thiers, and everywhere they  were a song of triumph. As for the German Socialists, have we not the  Master of Masters to keep an eye upon them, the man at whose frown  Europe trembles? And the Russian Nihilists! Who and what are those  wretches?  Strange monsters, savages sprung from Huns and Bashkirs,  about whom the men of the civilised West have no need to concern  themselves!

Nevertheless the joy caused by the disappearance of Socialism was of  short duration. I do not know what unpleasant consciousness first  revealed to the Conservatives that some Socialists remained, and that  they were not so dead as the sinister old man had pretended. But now no  one can have any doubts as to their resurrection. Do not French workmen  at every meeting pronounce unanimously in favour of that appropriation  of the land and factories, which is already regarded as the point of  departure for the the new economic era? Is not England ringing with the  cry, "Nationalisation of the Land," and do not the great landowners  expect expropriation at the hands of the people? Do not political  parties seek to court Irish votes by promises of the confiscation of the  soil, by pledging themselves beforehand to an outrage upon the thrice  sacred rights of property? And in the United States have we not seen the  workers masters for a week of all the railways of Indiana, and of part  of those on the Atlantic sea-board? If they had understood the  situation, might not a great revolution have been accomplished almost  without a blow? And do not men, who are acquainted with Russia, know  that the peasants, one and all, claim the soil, the whole of the soil,  and wish to expel their lords?  Thus the evolution is taking place.  Socialism, or in other words, the army of individuals who desire to  change social conditions, has resumed its march. The moving mass is  pressing on, and now no government dare ignore its serried ranks. On the  contrary, the powers that be exaggerate its numbers, and attempt to  contend with it by absurd legislation and irritating interference. Fear  is an evil counsellor.

No doubt it may sometimes happen that all is perfectly quiet. On the  morrow of a massacre few men dare put themselves in the way of the  bullets. When a word, a gesture are punished with imprisonment, the men  who have courage to expose themselves to the danger are few and far  between. Those are rare who quietly accept the part of victim in a  cause, the triumph of which is as yet distant and even doubtful.  Everyone is not so heroic as the Russian Nihilists, who compose  manifestos in the very lair of their foes, and paste them on a wall  between two sentries. One should be very devoted oneself to find fault  with those who do not declare themselves Socialists, when their work,  that is to say the life of those dear to them, depends on the avowal.  But if all the oppressed have not the temprement of heroes, they feel  their sufferings none the less, and large numbers amongst them are  taking their own interests into serious consideration. In many a town  where there is not one organised Socialist group, all the workers  without exception are already more or less consciously Socialists;  instinctively they applaud a comrade who speaks to them of a social  state in which all the products of labour shall be in the hands of the  labourer. This instinct contains the germ of the future Revolution; for  from day to day it becomes more precise, transformed into distincter  consciousness. What the worker vaguely felt yesterday, he knows today,  and each new experience teaches him to know it better. And are not the  peasants, who cannot raise enough to keep body and soul together from  their morsel of ground, and the yet more numerous class who do not  possess a clod of their own, are not all these beginning to comprehend  that the soil ought to belong to the men who cultivate it? They have  always instinctively felt this, now they know it, and are preparing to  assert their claim in plain language.

This is the state of things; what will be the issue? Will not the  evolution which is taking place in the minds of the workers, i.e. of the  great masses, necessarily bring about a revolution; unless, indeed, the  defenders of privilege yield with a good grace to the pressure from  below? But history teaches us that they will do nothing of the sort. At  first sight it would appear so natural that a good understanding should  be established amongst men without a struggle. There is room for us all  on the broad bosom of the earth; it is rich enough to enable us all to  live in comfort. It can yeild sufficient harvests to provide all with  food; it produces enough fibrous plants to supply all with clothing; it  contains enough stone and clay for all to have houses. There is a place  for each of the brethren at the banquet of life. Such is the simple  economic fact.

What does it matter? say some. The rich will squander at their  pleasure as much of this ealth as suits them; the middle-men,  speculators and brokers of every description will manipulate the rest;  the armies will destroy a great deal, and the mass of the people will  have ahve the scraps that remain. "The poor we shall have always with  us," say the contented, quoting  a remark which, according to them, fell  from the lips of a God. We do not care whether their God wished some to  be miserable or not. We will re-create the world on a different  pattern! "No, there shall be no more poor! As all men need to be housed  and clothed and warmed and fed, let all have what is necessary, and none  be cold or hungry!" The terrible Socialists have no need of a God to  inspire these words; they are human, that is enough.

Thus two opposing societies exist amongst men. They are intermingled,  variously allied here and there by the people who do not know their own  minds, and advance only to retreat; but viewed from above, and taking  no account of uncertain and indifferent individuals who are swayed  hither and thither by fate like waves of the sea, it is certain that the  actual world is divided into two camps, those who desire to maintain  poverty, i.e. hunger for others, and those who demand comforts for all.  The forces in these two camps seem at first sight very unequal. The  supporters of existing society have boundless estates, incomes counted  by hundreds of thousands, all the powers of the State, with its armies  of officials, soldiers, policemen, magistrates, and a whole arsenal of  laws and ordinances. And what can the Socialists, the artificers of the  new society, oppose to all this organised force? Does it seem that they  can do nothing? Without money or troops they would indeed succumb if  they did not represent the evolution of ideas and of morality. They are  nothing, but they have the progress of human thought on their side. They  are borne along on the stream of the times.


The external form of society must alter in  correspondence with the impelling force within; there is no better  established historical fact. The sap makes the tree and gives it leaves  and flowers; the blood makes the man; the ideas make the society. And  yet there is not a conservative who does not lament that ideas and  morality, and all that goes to make up the deeper life of man, have been  modified since "the good old times." Is it not a necessary result of  the inner working of men's minds that social forms must change and a  proportionate revolution take place?


Let each ascertain from his own recollections the  changes in the methods of thought and action which have happened since  the middle of this century. Let us take, for example, the one capital  fact of the diminution of observance and respect. Go amongst great  personages: what have they to complain of? That they are treated like  other men. They no longer take precedence; people neglect to salute  them; less distinguished persons permit themselves to possess handsomer  furniture or finer horses; the wives of less wealthy men go more  sumptuously attired. And what is the complaint of the ordinary man or  woman of the middle-class? There are no more servants to be had, the  spirit of obedience is lost. Now the maid pretends to understand cooking  better than her mistress; she does not piously remain in one situation,  only too grateful for the hospitality accorded her; she changes her  place in consequence of the smallest disagreeable observation, or to  gain two shillings more wages. There are even countries where she asks  her mistress for a character in exchange for her own.


It is true, respect is departing; not the just  respect which attaches to an upright and devoted man, but that  despicable and shameful respect which follows wealth and office; that  slavish respect which gathers a crowd of loafers when a king passes, and  makes the lackeys and horses of a great man objects of admiration. And  not only is respect departing, but those who lay most claim to the  consideration of the rest, are the first to compromise their superhuman  character. In former days Asiatic sovereigns understood the art of  causing themselves to be adored. Their palaces were seen from afar;  their statues were erected everywhere; their edicts were read; but they  never showed themselves. The most familiar never addressed them but upon  their knees; from time to time a half-lifted veil parted to disclose  them as if by a lightning flash, and then as suddenly enfolded them once  more, leaving consternation in the hearts of all beholders. In those  days respect was profound enough to result in stupifaction: a dumb  messenger brought a silken cord to the condemned, and that sufficed,  even a gesture would have been superfluous. And now we see sovereigns  taking boxes by telegraph at the theatre to witness the performance of Orphee aux Enfers or The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, that  is to say, taking part in the derision of all which used to be held  most worthy of respect- divinity and royalty! Which is the true  regicide, the man who kills a sovereign, doing him the honour to take  him as the representative of a whole society, or the monarch, who mocks  at himself by laughing at the Grand Duchess or General Boum ? He teaches  us at least that political power is a worm eaten institution. It has  retained its form, but the universal respect which gave it worth has  disappeared. It is nothing but an external scaffolding, the edifice  itself has ceased to exist.


Does not the spread of an education, which gives the  same conception of things to all, contribute to our progress towards  equality? If instruction were only to be obtained at school, governments  might still hope to hold the minds of men enslaved; but it is outside  the school that most knowledge is gained. It is picked up in the street,  in the workshop, before the booths of a fair, at the theatre, in  railway carriages, on steam boats, by gazing at new landscapes, by  visiting foreign towns. Almost every one travels now, either as a luxury  or a necessity. Not a meeting but people who have seen Russia,  Australia, or America may be found in it, and if travellers who have  changed continents are so frequently met with, there is, one may say, no  one who has not moved about sufficiently to have observed the contrast  between town and country, mountain and plain, earth and sea. The rich  travel more than the poor, it is true; but they generally travel  aimlessly; when they change countries they do not change surroundings,  they are always in a sense at home; the luxuries and enjoyments of hotel  life do not permit them to appreciate the essential differences between  country and country, people and people. The poor man, who comes into  collision with the difficulties of life without guide or cicerone, is  best qualified to observe and remember. And does not the great school  of the outer world exhibit the prodigies of human industry equally to  rich and poor, to those who have called these marvels into existence and  those who profit by them? The poverty-stricken outcast can see  railways, telegraphs, hydraulic rams, perforators, self-lighting  matches, as well as the man of power, and he is no less impressed by  them. Privilege has disappeared in the enjoyment of some of these grand  conquests of science. When he is conducting his locomotive through  space, doubling or slacking speed at his pleasure, does the  engine-driver believe himself the inferior of the sovereign shut up  behind him in a gilded railway-carriage, and trembling with the  knowledge that his life depends on a jet of steam, the shifting of a  lever, or a bomb of dynamite?


The sight of nature and the works of man, and  practical life, these form the college in which the true education of  contemporary society is obtained. Schools, properly so called, are  relatively much less important; yet they, too, have undergone their  evolution in the direction of equality. There was a time, and that not  very far distant, when the whole of education consisted in mere  formulas, mystic phrases, and texts from sacred books. Go into the  Mussel school opened beside the mosque. There you will see children  spending whole hours in spelling or reciting verses from the Koran. Go  into a school kept by Christian priests, Protestant or Catholic, and you  will hear silly hymns and absurd recitations. But even in these schools  the pressure from below has caused this dull routine to be varied with a  new sort of instruction; instead of nothing but formulas the teachers  now explain facts, point out analogies and trace the action of laws.  Whatever the commentaries with which the instructor accompanies his  lessons, the figures remain none the less incorruptible. Which education  will prevail? That according to which two and two make four, and  nothing is created out of nothing; or the odd education according to  which everything comes from nothing and three persons make only one?


The elementary school, it is true, is not all: it is  not enough to catch a glimpse of science, one should be able to apply it  in every direction. Therefore Socialistic evolution renders it  necessary that school should be a permanent institution for all men.  After receiving "general enlightenment" in a primary school, each ought  to be able to develop to the full such intellectual capacity as he may  possess, in a life which he has freely chosen. Meanwhile let not the  worker despair. Every great conquest of science ends by becoming public  property. Professional scientists are obliged to go through long ages of  research and hypothesis, they are obliged to struggle in the midst of  error and falsehood; but when the truth is gained at length, often in  spite of them, thanks to some despised revolutionists, it shines forth  clear and simple in all its brilliance. All understand it without an  effort: it seems as if it had always been known. Formerly learned men  fancied that the sky was a round dome, a metal roof-or better still-a  series of vaults, three, seven, nine, even thirteen, each with its  procession of stars, its distinct laws, its special regime and  its troops of angels and archangels to guard it! But since these tiers  of heavens, piled one upon the other, mentioned in the Bible and Talmud,  have been demolished, there is not a child who does not know that round  the earth is infinite and unconfined space. He hardly can be said to  learn this. It is a truth which henceforward forms a part of the  universal inheritance.


It is the same with all great acquisitions,  especially in morals and political economy. There was a time when the  great majority of men were born and lived as slaves, and had no other  ideal than a change of servitude. It never entered their heads that "one  man is as good as another." Now they have learnt it, and understand  that the virtual equality bestowed by evolution must be changed into  real equality, thanks to a revolution. Instructed by life, the workers  comprehend certain economic laws much better than even professional  economists. Is there a single workman who remains indifferent to the  question of progressive or proportional taxation, and who does not know  that all taxes fall on the poorest in the long run ? Is there a single  workman who does not know the terrible fatality of the "iron law," which  condemns him to receive nothing but a miserable pittance, just the  wage: that will prevent his dying of hunger during his work? Bitter  experience has caused him to know quite enough of this inevitable law of  political economy.

Thus, whatever be the source of information, all profit by it, and  the worker not less than the rest. Whether a discovery is made by a  bourgeois, a noble, or a plebeian, whether the learned man is Bernard  Palissy, Lord Bacon, or Baron Humboldt, the whole world will turn his  researches to account. Certainly the privileged classes would have liked  to retain the benefits of science for themselves, and leave ignorance  to the people, but henceforth their selfish desire cannot be fulfilled.  They find themselves in the case of the magician in "The Thousand and  One Nights," who unsealed a vase in which a genius had been shut up  asleep for ten thousand years. They would like to drive him back into  his retreat, to fasten him down under a triple seal, but they have lost  the words of the charm, and the genius is free for ever.

This freedom of the human will is now asserting itself in every  direction; it is preparing no small and partial revolutions, but one  universal Revolution. It is thoughout society as a whole, and every  branch of its activity, that changes are making ready. Conservatives are  not in the least mistaken when they speak in general terms of  Revolutionists as enemies of religion, the family and property. Yes;  Socialists do reject the authority of dogma and the intervention  of the  supernatural in nature, and, in this sense however earnest their  striving for the realisation of their ideal, they are the enemies of  religion. Yes; they do desire the suppression of the marriage market;  they desire that unions should be free, depending only on mutual  affection and respect for self and for the dignity of others, and, in  this sense, however loving and devoted to those whose lives are  associated with theirs, they are certainly the enemies of the legal  family. Yes; they do desire to put an end to the monopoly of land and  capital, and to restore them to all, and, in this sense, however glad  they may be to secure to every one the enjoyment of the fruits of the  earth, they are the enemies of property.

Thus the current of evolution, the incoming tide, is bearing us  onward towards a future radically different from existing conditions,  and it is vain to attempt to oppose obstacles to destiny. Religion, by  far the most solid of all dikes, has lost its strength: cracking on  every side, it leaks and totters, and cannot fail to be sooner or later  overthrown.

It is certain that contemporary evolution is taking place wholly  outside Christianity. There was a time when the word Christian, like  Catholic, had a universal signification, and was actually applied to a  world of brethren, sharing, to a certain extent, the same customs, the  same ideas, and a civilisation of the same nature. But are not the  pretensions of Christianity to be considered in our day as synonymous  with civilisation, absolutely unjustifiable? And when it is said of  England or Russia that their armies are about to carry Christianity and  civilisation into distant regions, is not the irony of the expression  obvious to every one? The garment of Christianity does not cover all the  peoples who by right of culture and industry form a part of  contemporary civilisation. The Parsees of Bombay, the Brahmins of  Benares eagerly welcome our science, but they are coldly polite to the  Christian Missionaries. The Japanese, though so prompt in imitating us,  take care not to accept our religion. As for the Chinese, they are much  too cunning and wary to allow themselves to be converted. "We have no  need of your priests," says an English poem written by a Chinese, "We  have no need of your priests. We have too many ourselves, both  long-haired and shaven. What we need is your arms and your science, to  fight you and expel you from our land, as the wind drives forth the  withered leaves!"

Thus Christianity does not nominally cover half the civilised world,  and even where it is supposed to be paramount, it must be sought out; it  is much more a form than a reality, and amongst those who are  apparently the most zealous, it is nothing but an ignoble hypocrisy.  Putting aside all whose Christianity consists merely in the sprinkling  of baptism or inscription on the parish register, how many individuals  are there whose daily life corresponds with the dogmas they profess, and  whose ideas are always, as they should be, those of another world?  Christians rendered honourable by their perfect sincerity may be sought  without marked success even in "Protestant Rome," a city, nevertheless,  of mighty traditions. At Geneva as at Oxford, as at all religious  centres, and everywhere else, the principal preoccupations are  non-ecclesiastical; they lean towards politics, or, more often still,  towards business. The principal representatives of so-called Christian  society are Jews, "the epoch's kings." And amongst those who devote  their lives to higher pursuits--science, art, poetry--how many, unless  forced to do so, occupy themselves with theology? Enter the University  of Geneva. At all the courses of lectures--medicine, natural history,  mathematics, even jurisprudence--you will find voluntary listeners; at  every tone except at those upon theology. The Christian religion is like  a snow-wreath melting in the sun: traces are visible here and there,  but beneath the streaks of dirty white the earth shows, already clear of  rime.

The religion which is thus becoming detached, like a garment, from  European civilisation, was extremely convenient for the explanation of  misery, injustice, and social inequality. It had one solution for  everything-miracles. A Supreme will had pre-ordained all things.  Injustice was an apparent evil, but it was preparing good tilings to  come. "God giveth sustenance to the young birds. He prepareth eternal  blessedness for the afflicted. Their misery below is but the harbinger  of felicity on high!" These things were ceaselessly repeated to the  oppressed as long as they believed them; but now such arguments have  lost all credence, and are no longer met with, except in the petty  literature of religious tracts.

What is to be done to replace the departing religion? As the worker  believes no longer ill miracles, can he perhaps be induced to believe in  lies? And so learned economists, academicians, merchants, and  financiers have contrived to introduce into science the bold proposition  that property and prosperity are always the reward of labour! It would  be scarcely decent to discuss such an assertion. When they pretend that  labour is the origin of fortune, economists know perfectly well that  they are not speaking the truth. They know as well as the Socialists  that wealth is not the product of personal labour, but of the labour of  others: they are not ignorant that the runs of luck on the Exchange and  the speculations which create great fortunes have no more connection  with labour than the exploits of brigands in the forests; they dare not  pretend that the individual who has five thousand pounds a day, just  what is required to support one hundred thousand persons like himself,  is distinguished from other men by an intelligence one hundred thousand  times above the average. It would be scandalous to discuss this sham  origin of social inequality. It would be to be a dupe, almost an  accomplice, to waste time over such hypocritical reasoning.

But arguments of another kind are brought forward, which have at  least the merit of not being based upon a lie. The right of the  strongest is now evoked against social claims. Darwin's theory, which  has lately made its appearance in the scientific world, is believed to  tell against us. And it is, in fact, the right of the strongest which  triumphs when fortune is monopolised. He who is materially the fittest,  the most wily, the most favoured by birth, education, and friends; he  who is best armed and confronted by the feeblest foe, has the greatest  chance of success; he is able better than the rest to erect a citadel,  from the summit of which he may look down on his unfortunate brethren.  Thus is determined the rude struggle of conflicting egoisms. Formerly  this blood-and-fire theory was not openly avowed; it would have appeared  too violent, and honied words were preferable. But the discoveries of  science relative to the struggle between species for existance and the  survival of the fittest, have permitted the advocates of force to  withdraw from their mode of expression all that seemed too insolent.  "See, they say, "it is an inevitable law! Thus decrees the fate of  mankind!"

We ought to congratulate ourselves that the question is thus  simplified, for it is so much the nearer to its solution. Force reigns,  say the advocates of social inequality! Yes, it is force which reigns!  proclaims modern industry louder and louder in its brutal perfection.  But may not the speech of economists and traders be taken up by  revolutionists? The law of the strongest will not always and necessarily  operate for the benefit of commerce. "Might surpasses right," said  Bismark, quoting from many others; but it is possible to make ready for  the day when might will be at the service of right. If it is true that  ideas of solidarity are spreading; if it is true that the conquests of  science end by penetrating the lowest strata; if it is true that truth  is becoming common property; if evolution towards justice is  taking place, will not the workers, who have at once the right and the  might, make use of both to bring about a revolution for the benefit of  all? What can isolated individuals, however strong in money,  intelligence, and cunning, do against associated masses?

In no modern revolution have the privileged classes been known to  fight their own battles. They always depend on armies of the poor, whom  they have taught what is called loyalty to the flag, and trained to what  is called "the maintenance of order." Five millions of men, without  counting the superior and inferior police, are employed in Europe in  this work. But these armies may become disorganised, they may call to  mind the nearness of their own past and future relations with the mass  of the people, and the hand which guides them may grow unsteady. Being  in great part drawn from the proletariat, they may become to bourgeois society what the barbarians in the pay of the Empire became to that of  Rome-an element of dissolution. History abounds in examples of the  frenzy which seizes upon those in power. When the miserable and  disinherited of the earth shall unite in their own interest, trade with  trade, nation with nation, race with race; when they shall fully awake  to their sufferings and their purpose, doubt not that an occasion will  assuredly present itself for the employment of their might in the  service of right; and powerful as may be the Master of those days, he  will be weak before the starving masses leagued against him. To the  great evolution now taking place will succeed the long expected, the  great revolution.

It will be salvation, and there is none other. For if capital retains  force on its side, we shall all be the slaves of its machinery, mere  bands connecting iron cogs with steel and iron shafts. If new spoils,  managed by partners only responsible to their cash books, are  ceaselessly added to the savings already amassed in bankers' coffers,  then it will be vain to cry for pity, no one will hear your complaints.  The tiger may renounce his victim, but bankers' books pronounce  judgments without appeal. From the terrible mechanism whose merciless  work is recorded in the figures on its silent pages, men and nations  come forth ground to powder. If capital carries the day, it will be time  to weep for our golden age; in that hour we may look behind us and see  like a dying light, love and joy and hope-all the earth has held of  sweet and good. Humanity will have ceased to live.

As for us, whom men call "the modern barbarians," our desire is  justice for all. Villains that we are, we claim for all that shall be  born, bread, liberty, and progress.

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