June 20, 2022
From Libertarian Labyrinth
255 views

Une sourdine

Oubliant qu’il ne s’est fait que trop entendre jusqu’ici, le groupe Cornelissen – Grave – Kropotkine – Laisant – Malato – Tcherkesoff a Ă©prouvĂ© le besoin de publier une DĂ©claration-Redite oĂč — encadrĂ© de quelques comparses et flanquĂ© d’un quarteron de manuels ou de repentis, — il se prononce contre toute conclusion de paix prĂ©maturĂ©e.

Il va sans dire que c’est Ă  la Bataille tout court — n° du 14 mars dernier — qu’est Ă©chue la primeur de ce factum, lequel a, pour ĂȘtre mis au monde, exigĂ©, nous assure-t-on, une longue gestation.

Toute la presse bourgeoise, Ă  commencer par HervĂ©-la-Girouette, a sautĂ© Ă  pieds joints sur cette DĂ©claration (?), nouvelle manifestation d’une Union SacrĂ©e accoucheuse de vĂ©ritables miracles. Dame! c’est qu’il ne s’agit pas d’une demi-conversion. Les signataires de ce manifeste antipacifiste se proclament carrĂ©ment “anarchistes”, “antimilitaristes ”, “ennemis de la guerre”, “partisans passionnĂ©s de la paix et de la fraternitĂ© entre les peuples ” — On n’enrĂŽle pas tous les jours de semblables recrues. Comme les journaux bien pensants le font remarquer, il ne s’agit rien moins que de la fine fleur des anarchistes
 intellectuels


En effet, il y a deux sortes d’anarchistes : les anarchistes
 intellectuels et
 les autres.

⁂

Les anarchistes
 intellectuels : d’abord ce n’est pas de la petite biĂšre et ça peut se recevoir dans le monde. Ils ont de l’éducation et de l’instruction ; ils se conduisent bien en sociĂ©tĂ©; savent, Ă  table, soutenir une conversation brillante; de plus, l’argenterie de leurs amphytrions ne craint rien
 Autour d’eux flotte une atmosphĂšre de persĂ©cutions, de sacrifice de situations plus ou moins Ă©levĂ©es en faveur d’une Cause gĂ©nĂ©reuse. Les anarchistes
 intellectuels, ça trouve des imprimeurs pour Ă©diter ses livres et parfois mĂȘme, dit-on, des secrĂ©taires pour les Ă©crire Ă  sa place ; ça vit sur sa renommĂ©e ; c’est trĂšs moral d’ailleurs.

Ça n’est pas accessible Ă  tout le monde — tout en s’affirmant solidariste et communiste. Ça trouve mĂȘme des ministres opportunistes pour les faire revenir d’exil. Ça jette aussi la pierre Ă  ceux qui exercent des mĂ©tiers que ne reconnaissent ni la police ni le code. Ça conserve aussi des dĂ©corations.

Les anarchistes
 intellectuels, ça Ă©pouse la querelle de l’exploitĂ© et les revendications du prolĂ©taire sans avoir jamais Ă©tĂ© ni l’un ni l’autre. En dilettantes, en avocats. Sans avoir Ă©tĂ© astreints Ă  la cloche de l’usine, Ă  la brutalitĂ© du contre-maitre, Ă  la mauvaise humeur du patron, au contact grossier des camarades de travail inĂ©duquĂ©s et inĂ©voluĂ©s, Ă  la frĂ©quentation des arrivistes et des moralistes de syndicat. Sans avoir connu la misĂšre d’un taudis, avec une mĂ©gĂšre qui rĂ©pugne et une progĂ©niture qui enchaine. Sans avoir Ă©prouvĂ© le besoin, l’impĂ©rieux besoin de se soustraire Ă  l’esclavage du travail forcĂ©, du ‘‘home” et de la famille obligatoire, — de rompre, ne fĂ»t-ce qu’une semaine, qu’un jour, qu’une heure, avec l’environnement, de n’importe quelle façon, mĂȘme par l’ivresse.

Les anarchistes
 intellectuels, ça parle de la guerre comme du travail. En discoureurs, sans avoir vĂ©cu la guerre, sans avoir connu l’angoisse de la sĂ©paration d’avec ceux qui vous sont chers; — le changement des conditions d’existence, — l’abandon graduel de l’initiative et de l’indĂ©pendance entre les mains d’autres hommes auxquels ne lie aucune affinitĂ© de pensĂ©e ou de sentiment; sans avoir connu la tranchĂ©e, l’attaque, la contre-attaque, l’horreur du champ de bataille, l’agonie des heures et des heures qui se passent alors que, blessĂ©, on git entre les deux camps adverses, Ă  l’affĂ»t du moindre signe de secours
 ou encore le sentiment que la mort vient, inĂ©vitable, inĂ©luctable, sur un tertre ou au fond d’un ravin labourĂ© par les Ă©clats d’obus; qu’on va ĂȘtre frappĂ©, au cƓur, en pleine poitrine, dans le ventre, qu’on ne reverra jamais plus le coin de pays qu’on aimait; qu’on s’éteindra, Ă  terre, unitĂ© saps espoir, parmi la totalitĂ© des dĂ©sespĂ©rĂ©s, maudissant la terre et les hommes, et blasphĂ©mant le ciel.

Les anarchistes
 intellectuels, ça Ă©crit et ça parle, en dilettantes et en avocats.

⁂

Puis il y a les anarchistes
 qui ne sont pas intellectuels. Ceux qu’on ne reçoit jamais dans la sociĂ©tĂ© et pour cause. Ceux qui se sont rebellĂ©s contre le monde, non pas en paroles ou par Ă©crit, mais de façon telle que la prison de droit commun les a abritĂ©s et que leur casier judiciaire en porte la trace. Ceux qui ayant renoncĂ© Ă  tout ce dont s’enorgueillit le milieu — renommĂ©e, honneurs, position stable, famille — ne tiennent plus Ă  rien d’autre qu’à leur peau. Ceux qui ne sont ni francs-maçons, ni membres de sociĂ©tĂ©s officielles ou officieuses. Ceux qui Ă©crivent — quand ils Ă©crivent — comme ils agissent ; Ă  leur corps dĂ©fendant, sachant d’avance que la grande presse — et la petite — ne les considĂ©rera jamais comme des “confrĂšres” ou des “consciences” — qu’aucune influence n’interviendra en leur faveur quand on les trouvera de trop. Ceux qui se dĂ©pensent malgrĂ© et contre les organisations de toute espĂšce, en francs tireurs, en enfants perdus, sans solliciter l’appui oĂč escompter l’aide d’aucune association ouvriĂšre ou professionnelle. Ceux que la science des subdivisions gĂ©ographiques n’intĂ©resse pas et que laissent indiffĂ©rent les considĂ©rations d’ordre politique. Ceux qui connaissent ce dont ils parlent ou Ă©crivent autrement qu’en dilettantes ou en avocats, parce qu’ils l’ont vĂ©cu ou subi.

Que les anarchistes
 intellectuels se couvrent de ridicule en lançant des manifestes politiques et antipacifistes, c’est leur affaire. Qu’ils rentrent dans le giron bourgeois — leur vie d’honnĂȘtes gens, d’écrivains classĂ©s et de con-
toutes sortes de choses de personnalitĂ©s respectables les y prĂ©destinaient. Qu’abandonnĂ©s par leur propre presse — la presse communiste anarchiste de tous les pays — ils en soient rĂ©duits Ă  la publicitĂ© d’un organe aussi sujet Ă  caution que La Bataille, c’est simplement un Ă©chelon de l’adaptation oĂč sombrent des intelligences, qu’en dĂ©pit de divergences intellectuelles, nous avions appris jadis Ă  estimer. Tout s’enchaine. Mais qu’ils cessent, de grĂące, de se dĂ©cerner des brevets d’anarchisme et d’antimilitarisme, — de se dĂ©clarer ennemis de la guerre ou partisans passionnĂ©s de la paix et de la fraternitĂ© entre les peuples. Il y a lĂ  plus que du ridicule, puisqu’ils savent fort bien que si la Censure autorise leurs DĂ©clarations ou leurs Manifestes, elle interdit, par contre, qu’on leur rĂ©ponde comme il conviendrait. Une sourdine, — ĂŽhĂ© ! les adaptĂ©s de l’anarchisme
 intellectuel — une sourdine !

Joseph LEGUÉPIN.

A Muzzle *

Forgetting that it has made itself only too well heard up to now, the group Cornelissen-Grave-Kropotkin-Laisant-Malato-Tcherkesoff felt the need to publish a Declaration-Retread in which — surrounded by a few companions and flanked by a handful of practical and penitent types — it pronounces itself against any premature conclusion of peace.

It goes without saying that it was only to La Bataille — in the issue of last March 14 — that could have fallen the scoop of this factum,  a statement that required, we are assured, a long gestation before it could be brought into the world.

The whole bourgeois press, starting with HervĂ©-la-Girouette, jumped with both feet on this Declaration (?), a new manifestation of a Sacred Union giving birth to true miracles. And why not! it is not a question of a half-conversion. The signatories of this anti-pacifist manifesto openly proclaim themselves “anarchists,” “anti-militarists,” “enemies of war,” “passionate supporters of peace and brotherhood among peoples.” — Such recruits are not enlisted every day. As the right-thinking newspapers point out, this is nothing less than the cream of the crop of anarchist
 intellectuals


Indeed, there are two kinds of anarchists: the anarchist
 intellectuals and
 the others.

⁂

The anarchist
 intellectuals: first of all they’re no small beer and they can be received in the world. They have education and training; they behave well in society and know how to carry on a brilliant conversation at table. Moreover, the silverware of their generous hosts leaves nothing to be desired
 Around them floats an atmosphere of persecutions, of sacrifice, of more or less elevated positions in favor of a generous Cause. The anarchist
 intellectuals, they find printers to publish their books and sometimes even, it is said, secretaries to write them in their place. They live on their fame; this is very moral indeed.

This situation is not available to everyone — while claiming to be solidarist and communist. They even find opportunistic ministers to bring them back from exile. They also throws stones at those who practice trades that neither the police nor the code recognize. They also hold honors.

The anarchist
 intellectuals adopt the quarrel of the exploited and the demands of the proletarian without ever having been either one or the other. Like dilettantes — or lawyers. Without having been constrained by the factory bell, by the brutality of the foreman, by the bad temper of the boss, by the rude contact of uneducated and untrained comrades in labor, in the company of union arrivists and moralists. Without having known the misery of a hovel, with a shrew who disgusts them and offspring who tie them down. Without having felt the need, the imperious need to escape from the slavery of forced labor, “home” and the obligatory family, — to break, were it only for a week, only a day, than an hour, with the environment, in any way, even by drunkenness.

The anarchist
 intellectuals talk about war like they talk about work. As talkers, without having lived through the war, without having experienced the anguish of separation from those who are dear to you; — the change in the conditions of existence, — the gradual abandonment of initiative and independence in the hands of other men to whom no affinity of thought or feeling binds them; without having known the trench, the attack, the counter-attack, the horror of the battlefield, the agony of the hours and hours that pass while, wounded, we lie between the two opposing camps, at the on the lookout for the slightest sign of help
 or even the feeling that death is coming, inevitable, ineluctable, on a mound or at the bottom of a ravine plowed by shrapnel; that we are going to be struck, in the heart, in the chest, in the belly, that we will never see again the corner of the country that we loved; that we will be extinguished, on the ground, unity sapping hope, among the totality of the desperate, cursing the earth and men, and blaspheming the sky.

The anarchists
 intellectuals, they write and they speak, as dilettantes and as lawyers.

⁂

Then there are the anarchists
 who are not intellectuals. Those we never receive in society and for good reason. Those who rebelled against the world, not in words or in writing, but in such a way that the common law sheltered them in prison and their criminal record bears the mark. Those who, having given up everything in which those around them take pride — fame, honors, stable position, family — no longer hold on to anything but their skin. Those who are neither freemasons nor members of official or unofficial societies. Those who write — when they write — as they act; reluctantly, knowing in advance that the press — both big and small — will never consider them as “colleagues” or “consciences” — that no influence will intervene in their favor when they are found excessive. Those who spend themselves despite and against organizations of all kinds, like mavericks, lost children, without seeking the support or expecting the help of any workers’ or professional associations. Those who are not interested in the science of geographical subdivisions and are left indifferent by political considerations. Those who know what they speak or write about, other than as dilettantes or lawyers, because they have lived or suffered it.

Let the anarchist
 intellectuals cover themselves with ridicule by issuing political and anti-pacifist manifestos. That’s their business. Let them return to the bosom of the bourgeois, to their life as honest people, recognized authors and blockheads
 all kinds of respectable personality traits have destined them to it. That, abandoned by their own press — the anarchist communist press of all countries — they are reduced to publication in an organ as questionable as La Bataille, is simply a level of adaptation to which some intelligences sink—even those that, despite intellectual differences, we had once learned to value. Everything is linked. But may they cease, please, awarding themselves certificates of anarchism and anti-militarism, declaring themselves enemies of war or passionate partisans of peace and fraternity among peoples. This is more than ridiculous, since they know very well that if the Censorship authorizes their Declarations or their Manifestos, it forbids, on the other hand, that they be answered as they should be. A muzzle — oh! the adaptations of anarchism
 intellectual—a muzzle!

Joseph LEGUÉPIN.

* Une sourdine is most literally rendered as a mute, such as you would use with a musical instrument. But a publication that, by its very nature, forbids response seems at least as recognizable as a muzzle.

Joseph LeguĂ©pin, “Une sourdine,” Par delĂ  la mĂȘlĂ©e 1 no. 8 (25 mars 1916): 3.

Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur




Source: Libertarian-labyrinth.org