My freedom and my right are as great as the capacity of my potential. I will also have happiness and greatness to the extent of my strength. (from a book I wrote that will never see the light)
The Expropriator is the most beautiful, manly, uninhibited, virile figure that I have ever met in anarchism. He is the one who waits for nothing. He is the one who has no altar on which to sacrifice himself. He glorifies life alone with the philosophy of Action.
I came to know him on a distant August afternoon while the sun embroidered verdant nature in gold as, perfumed and festive, she sang a merry song of pagan beauty.
He told me: “I was always a restless, vagabond, rebellious spirit.
“I studied men and their minds in books and in reality. I found them to be a mixture of the comical, the vulgar and the cowardly. They left me nauseous. On the one hand, baleful moral phantoms, created from the lies and hypocrisy that rule. On the other hand, sacrificial animals who worship with fanaticism and cowardice. This is the world of men. This is humanity. I feel revulsion for this world, for these men, for this humanity. Plebeians and bourgeois are the same. They deserve each other. Socialism would not agree. It has discovered good and evil. And to destroy these two antagonisms, it has created two more phantoms: Equality and Fraternity among men…
“But men will be equal before the state and free under Socialism… Socialism has given up Force, Youth, War! But when the bourgeoisie, who are spiritual beggars, don’t want to see themselves as equals of the rabble, who are material beggars, then even sniveling socialism allows war. Yes, even socialism allows killing and expropriating. But in the name of an ideal of human equality and fraternity… that sacred equality and fraternity that began with Cain and Abel!…
“But with socialism on only half-thinks; one is half- free; one lives by half!… Socialism is intolerance; it is impotence of living; it is faith in fear. I go beyond!
“Socialism has found equality good and inequality evil. Slaves good and tyrants wicked. I have crossed the threshold of good and evil in order to live my life intensely. I live today and cannot wait for tomorrow. Waiting is for the people and for humanity, therefore it cannot be my affair. The future is fear’s mask. Courage and strength have no future for the simple reason that they themselves are the future that turns on the past and destroys it.
“Life’s purity goes on only with the nobility of courage that is the philosophy of action.”
I observe: “The purity of this life of yours seems to me to border on crime!”
He responds: “Crime is the highest synthesis of freedom and life. The moral world is a world of phantoms. Here there are specters and the specters’ shadows; here there is the Ideal, universal Love, the Future. Look, the specters’ shadow: ignorance, fear and cowardice lie there. Deep darkness, perhaps eternal. I once also lived in that gloomy, filthy prison. Then I armed myself with a sacrilegious torch, setting fire to phantoms and violating the night. When I reached the gates of good and evil, I furiously tore them down and crossed their threshold. The bourgeoisie has launched its moral anathema, the idiotic rabble its moral curse, at me.
“But both are humanity. I am a man. Humanity is my enemy. It wants to clasp me in a thousand horrid tentacles. I try to snatch all that my yearnings need from it. We are at war. All that I have the strength to snatch away from it is mine. And I sacrifice all that is mine on the altar of my life and my freedom. This life of mine that I feel throbbing amidst the pulsing flames that blaze in my heart; amidst the wild agony of my entire being that fills my mind with divine upheavals and creates thunderous fanfares of war and polyphonic symphonies of a higher, strange and unknown love which echo in my spirit. This life that fills my veins with vigorous and lively blood that spreads diabolical spasms of exultant expansion through all my muscles nerves and flesh; spasms of this life of mine that I glimpse through the crazed vision of my dreams, eager and in need of endless development. My motto is: to go along expropriating and burning, always leaving cries of moral outrage and smoking trunks of ancient things behind me.
“When men no longer possess ethical wealth – the only treasures that are truly inviolable – then I will throw away my lock picks. When there are no longer phantoms in the world, then I will throw away my torch. But this future is far away and may never come! And I am a child of this distant future, fallen into this world by Chance, to whose power I bow.”
So the Expropriator told me on that distant August afternoon, while the sun embroidered verdant nature in gold as, perfumed and festive, she sang a merry song of pagan beauty.
Iconoclasta! #10, Pistoia, , November 26, 1919