August 15, 2021
From Libertarian Labyrinth
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Etre anarchiste

Si, aprĂšs avoir rĂ©uni plusieurs camarades libertaires, vous demandez Ă  chacun quelle est leur maniĂšre d’ĂȘtre anarchiste, vous serez amenĂ©s fatalement Ă  faire une constatation importante qui est celle-ci :

Aucune des rĂ©ponses recueillies ne sera exactement semblable aux autres ; certaines, mĂȘme, diffĂ©reront de telle sorte qu’elles sembleront prĂ©senter des oppositions irrĂ©ductibles.

Par contre, si votre curiositĂ© vous pousse Ă  questionner un groupe de catholiques et que vous demandiez Ă  ces religieux ce qu’ils entendent par ĂȘtre catholiques, les rĂ©ponses arriveront toutes identiques quant au fond.

Il en sera de mĂŽme, Ă©videmment, si vous demandez Ă  des marxistes comment ils comprennent le marxisme, cette autre religion ; leurs rĂ©ponses ne pourront prĂ©senter que de lĂ©gĂšres diffĂ©rences de forme (s’il en Ă©tait autrement, ils seraient considĂ©rĂ©s par leurs coreligionnaires comme des hĂ©rĂ©tiques et excommuniĂ©s sans plus).

D’oĂč provient, chez les anarchistes, cette diversitĂ© d’apprĂ©ciation d’une mĂȘme-chose ? C’est que l’anarchie n’est pas un Credo fixant ce que chacun doit croire et faire ; elle laisse, bien mieux elle pousse ceux qui viennent Ă  sa philosophie sereine Ă  cultiver leur originalitĂ© propre, face aux suiveurs des diffĂ©rentes Ă©coles politiques ou religieuses (ce qui est tout un, en somme) ; elle veut former des uniques qui trancheront sur lu dĂ©sespĂ©rante uniformitĂ© du troupeau, c’est-Ă -dire des individus agissant d’aprĂšs leur dĂ©terminisme personnel, sans se soucier s’ils sont en accord avec les enseignements d’un quelconque maĂźtre.

Se servir des parcelles de vĂ©ritĂ© dĂ©couvertes par les penseurs qui nous ont prĂ©cĂ©dĂ©s pour nous forger chacun notre vĂ©ritĂ© particuliĂšre, voilĂ  le but de notre Ă©tude de chaque jour ; mais accepter les yeux fermĂ©s comme vĂ©ritĂ© absolue, intangible, les rĂšgles Ă©mises par une Ă©cole quelconque, voilĂ  l’erreur que nous voulons Ă©viter. L’anarchie veut des hommes sachant penser par eux-mĂȘmes, non des croyants.

Les diffĂ©rentes façons de comprendre d’anarchie que nous rencontrons chaque jour sous nos yeux dans les journaux et dans les milieux libertaires, loin de nous effrayer, nous enchantent. C’est la preuve par excellence que le dogme est bien prĂšs de disparaĂźtre parmi nous.

MalgrĂ© tout, on ne se dĂ©barrassera pas aisĂ©ment de la tendance innĂ©e en la plupart d’entre nous et qui nous pousse Ă  vouloir modeler les individus sur le modĂšle qui nous est propre.

Il faudrait que chacun se pĂ©nĂštre du droit qu’a tout individu d’arranger sa vie comme il l’entend, pourvu que, ce faisant, il n’empiĂšte pas sur les droits Ă©gaux de son prochain. On Ă©viterait ainsi bien des reproches entre libertaires, bien des polĂ©miques irritantes qui font souffrir, non seulement tes camarades qui s’entredĂ©chirent, mais aussi ceux qui sont les spectateurs impuissants de ces luttes stĂ©riles.

Il faut apprendre Ă  ĂȘtre tolĂ©rant — pour les nĂŽtres s’entend — pour notre joie intĂ©rieure d’abord (un homme tolĂ©rant ne s’offusque de rien) et aussi pour les idĂ©es qui nous sont chĂšres.

Anarchistes, sachons harmoniser nos efforts.

Charles THIEVON.

To Be an Anarchist

If, having brought together several libertarian comrades, you were to ask each one what is their manner of being an anarchist, you will inevitably be led to make this important observation:

None of the answers collected will be exactly the same as the others; some, even, will differ in such a way that they appear to present irreducible oppositions.

On the other hand, if your curiosity prompts you to question a group of Catholics and you ask these religious believers what they mean by being Catholic, the answers will all be basically identical.

It will be the same, of course, if you ask Marxists how they understand Marxism, that other religion; their answers can only show slight differences in form (if it were otherwise, they would be considered by their co-religionists as heretics and excommunicated without further ado.)

Where does this diversity of judgements regarding the same thing come from among anarchists? It is because anarchy is not a Creed, establishing what each one must believe and do; it allows, indeed it pushes those who come to its serene philosophy to cultivate their own originality, as opposed to the followers of the various political or religious schools (which are all one, in short); it wants to form unique individuals who will contrast sharply with the desperate uniformity of the herd, individuals acting according to their personal determinism, without worrying about whether they are in agreement with the teachings of any master.

The goal of our daily study is for each of us to use the bits of truth discovered by the thinkers who preceded us to forge our own particular truth. Accepting—with eyes closed, as absolute, intangible truth—the rules issued by any school is the mistake we want to avoid. Anarchy wants individuals who can think for themselves, not believers.

The different ways of understanding anarchy that we encounter every day before our eyes in the newspapers and in libertarian circles, far from frightening us, delight us. This is the proof par excellence that dogma is very close to disappearing among us.

However, we will not easily get rid of the tendency, innate in most of us, to want to fashion individuals on our own model.

Everyone should understand the right of every individual to arrange their life as they see fit, provided that in doing so they do not infringe on the equal rights of their neighbor. We would thus avoid many reproaches between libertarians, many irritating polemics which cause suffering, not only to the comrades who tear into one another, but also those who are the powerless spectators of these sterile struggles.

We must learn to be tolerant — of our own, it is understood — first of all for our own inner joy (a tolerant man takes no offense), but also for the ideas that are dear to us.

Anarchists, let us learn how to harmonize our efforts.

Charles Thievon.

Charles Thievon, “Etre anarchiste,” Le Libertaire 3e sĂ©rie, 30 no. 256 (30 AoĂ»t 1924): 2.

[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]




Source: Libertarian-labyrinth.org