Kropotkin, 1896

… It is often said that anarchists live in a world of dreams to come, and do not see the things which happen today. We see them only too well, and in their true colours, and that is what makes us carry the hatchet into the forest of prejudices that besets us.

Far from living in a world of visions and imagining men better than they are, we see the m as they are; and that is why we affirm that the be st of men is made essentially bad by the exercise of authority, and that the theory of the “balancing of powers” and “control of authorities” is a hypocritical formula, invented by those who have seized power. to make the “sovereign people,” whom they despise, believe that the people themselves are governing. It is be cause we know men that we say to those who imagine that men would devour one another without those governors: “You reason like the king. who, being sent across the frontier, called out. ‘What will be come of my poor subjects without me?’ ”

Ah, if men were those superior beings that the utopians of authority like to speak to us of, if we could close our e yes to reality and live like them in a world of dreams and illusions as to the superiority of those who think themselves called to power, perhaps we also should do like the m; perhaps we also should believe in the virtues of those who govern.
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But it is not enough to destroy. We must also know how to build, and it is owing to not having thought about it that the masses have always been led astray in all their revolutions. After having demolished they abandoned the care of reconstruction to the middle-class people who possessed a more or less precise conception of what they wished to realize, and who consequently reconstituted authority to their own advantage.

That is why anarchism, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement, at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist. Only instead of demanding that those social customs should be maintained through the authority of a few, it demands it from the continued action of all. “

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