Daily Philosophy

“Now, history is made, not by abstract individuals, but by acting, living, and passing individuals. Abstractions advance only when borne forward by real men. For these beings made, not in idea only, but in reality, of flesh and blood, science, has no heart: it considers them at most as material for intellectual and social development. What does it care for the particular conditions and chance fate of Peter or James? It would make itself ridiculous, it would abdicate, it would annihilate itself, if it wished to concern itself with them otherwise than as examples in support of its eternal theories. And it would be ridiculous to wish it to do so, for its mission lies not there. It cannot grasp the concrete; it can move only in abstractions. Its mission is to busy itself with the situation and the general conditions of the existence and development, either of the human species in general, or of such a race, such a people, such a class or category of individuals; the general causes of their prosperity, their decline, and the best general methods of securing their progress in all ways. Provided it accomplishes this task broadly and rationally, it will do its whole duty, and it would be really unjust to expect more of it.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“The methods pursued by District Assembly 49 of the Knights of Labor in the conduct of the recent strike have driven Mayor Hewitt and divers others capitalistic publicists into a state of frenzy, so that they now lose no opportunity to frantically declare that one set of men must not be permitted to deprive other sets of men of the right to labor. This is a white bearded truth, but, when spoken in condemnation of the Knights of Labor for ordering members in one branch of industry to quit work for the purpose of strengthening strikers in another branch by more completely paralyzing business, it is given a tone of impertinence more often characteristic of callow juvenility than of venerable old age. I cannot see for my life whose liberty is encroached upon by such a procedure. Certainly not that of the men ordered to quit, because they joined the Knights, a voluntary organization, for certain express purposes, of which was this one, and, when they no longer approve it, can secede from it and then work when and where they please. Certainly not, on the other hand, that of the employers who thus lose their workmen, because, if it is no invasion of liberty for the individual workman to leave his employer in obedience to any whim whatsoever, it is equally no invasion of liberty for a body of workmen to act likewise, even though they have no grievance against their employer. Who, then, are deprived of their liberty? None. All this outcry simply voices the worry of the capitalists over the thought that laborers have learned one of their own tricks – the art of creating a corner. The policy of District Assembly 49 (whether wise or foolish is another question) was simply one of cornering labor, which is much easier to justify than cornering capital, because the cornered labor is withheld from the market by its rightful owners, while the cornered capital is withheld by men who never could have obtained it except through State-granted privilege to extort and rob.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“The laboring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors . . . It is extremely dangerous to encourage mobs in a commercial state like ours, where, perhaps, seven parts out of eight of the whole, are people with little or no property. The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labor six days for the sum which they now earn in four days.’ To this end, and for ‘extirpating idleness, debauchery and excess’, promoting a spirit of industry, ‘lowering the price of labor in our manufactories, and easing the lands of the heavy burden of poor’s rates’, our ‘faithful Eckart’ of capital proposes the well-tried method of locking up workers who become dependent on public support (in one word paupers) in ‘an ideal workhouse’. Such an ideal workhouse must be made a ‘House of Terror’, and not an asylum for the poor ‘where they are to be plentifully fed, warmly and decently clothed, and where they do but little work’. In this ‘House of Terror’, this ‘ideal workhouse, the poor shall work 14 hours in a day, allowing proper time for meals, in such manner that there shall remain 12 hours of neat labor.'” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Must we, then, eliminate from society all instruction and abolish all schools? Far from it! Instruction must be spread among the masses without stint, transforming all the churches, all those temples dedicated to the glory of God and to the slavery of men, into so many schools of human emancipation. But, in the first place, let us understand each other; schools, properly speaking, in a normal society founded on equality and on respect for human liberty, will exist only for children and not for adults; and, in order that they may become schools of emancipation and not of enslavement, it will be necessary to eliminate, first of all, this fiction of God, the eternal and absolute enslaver. The whole education of children and their instruction must be founded on the scientific development of reason, not on that of faith; on the development of personal dignity and independence, not on that of piety and obedience; on the worship of truth and justice at any cost, and above all on respect for humanity, which must replace always and everywhere the worship of divinity. The principle of authority, in the education of children, constitutes the natural point of departure; it is legitimate, necessary, when applied to children of tender age, whose intelligence has not yet openly developed itself. But as the development of everything, and consequently of education, implies the gradual negation of the point of departure, this principle must diminish as fast as education and instruction advance, giving place to increasing liberty. All rational education is at bottom nothing but this progressive immolation of authority for the benefit of liberty, the final object of education necessarily being the formation of free men full of respect and love for the liberty of others. Therefore the first day of the pupils’ life, if the school takes infants scarcely able as yet to stammer a few words, should be that of the greatest authority and an almost entire absence of liberty; but its last day should be that of the greatest liberty and the absolute abolition of every vestige of the animal or divine principle of authority.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“The colonial system and the extension of the world market, both of which form part of the general conditions for the existence of the manufacturing period, furnish us with rich materials for displaying the division of labor in society. This is not the place, however, for us to show how division of labor seizes upon, not only the economic, but every other sphere of society, and everywhere lays the foundation for that specialization, that development in a man of one single faculty at the expense of all others, which already caused Adam Ferguson, the master of Adam Smith, to exclaim: ‘We make a nation of Helots, and have no free citizens.'” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Originally the rights of property seemed to us to be grounded in a man’s own labor. Some such assumption was at least necessary, since only commodity-owners with equal rights confronted each other, and the sole means of appropriating the commodities of others was the alienation of a man’s own commodities, commodities which, however, could only be produced by labor. Now, however, property turns out to be the right, on the part of the capitalist, to appropriate the unpaid labor of others or its product, and the impossibility, on the part of the worker, of appropriating his own product. The separation of property from labor thus becomes the necessary consequence of a law that apparently originated in their identity.” – Karl Marx, Capital

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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