Order today — what they mean by order — is nine-tenths of mankind working to provide luxury, pleasure and the satisfaction of the most disgusting passions for a handful of idlers.
Order is nine-tenths being deprived of everything which is a necessary condition for a decent life, for the reasonable development of intellectual faculties. To reduce nine-tenths of mankind to the state of beast of burden living from day to day, without ever daring to think of the pleasures provided for man by scientific study and artistic creation — that is order!
Order is poverty and famine become the normal state of society; it is the Irish peasant dying of starvation; it is the peasants of a third of Russia dying of diptheria and typhus, and of hunger following scarcity — at a time when stored grain is being sent abroad. It is the people of Italy reduced to abandoning their fertile countryside and wandering across Europe looking for tunnels to dig, where they risk being buried after existing only a few months or so. It is the land taken away from the peasant to raise animals to feed the rich; it is the land left fallow rather than being restored to those who ask nothing more than to cultivate it.
Order is the woman selling herself to feed her children, it is the child reduced to being shut up in a factory or to dying of starvation, it is the worker reduced to the state of a machine. It is the spectre of the worker rising up against the rich, the spectre of the people rising against the government.
Order is an infinitesimal minority raised to positions of power, which for this reason imposes itself on the majority and which raises children to occupy the same positions later so as to maintain the same privileges by trickery, corruption, violence and butchery.
Order is the continuous warfare of man against man, trade against trade, class against class, country against country. It is the cannon whose roar never ceases in Europe, it is the countryside laid waste, the sacrifice of whole generations on the battlefield, the destruction in a single year of the wealth built up by centuries of hard work.
Order is slavery, thought in chains, the degradation of the human race maintained by sword and lash. It is the sudden death by explosion or the slow death by suffocation of hundreds of miners who are blown up or buried every year by the greed of the bosses — and are shot or bayoneted as soon as they dare complain.
Finally, order is the Paris Commune, drowned in blood. It is the death of thirty thousand men, women and children, cut to pieces by shells, shot down, buried in quicklime beneath the streets of Paris. It is the face of the youth of Russia, locked in the prisons, buried in the snows of Siberia, and — in the case of the best, the purest, and the most devoted — strangled in the hangman’s noose. That is order! And disorder — what they call disorder?
It is the rising of the people against this shameful order, bursting their bonds, shattering their fetters and moving towards a better future. It is the most glorious deeds in the history of humanity.
It is the rebellion of thought on the eve of revolution; it is the upsetting of hypotheses sanctioned by unchanging centuries; it is the breaking of a flood of new ideas, or daring inventions, it is the solution of scientific problems. Disorder is the abolition of ancient slavery, it is the rise of the communes, the abolition of feudal serfdom, the attempts at the abolition of economic serfdom.
Disorder is peasant revolts against priests and landowners, burning castles to make room for cottages, leaving the hovels to take their place in the sun. It is France abolishing the monarchy and dealing a mortal blow at serfdom in the whole of Western Europe.
Disorder is 1848 making kings tremble, and proclaiming the right to work. It is the people of Paris fighting for a new idea and, when they die in the massacres, leaving to humanity the idea of the free commune, and opening the way towards this revolution which we can feel approaching and which will be the Social Revolution.
Disorder — what they call disorder — is periods during which whole generations keep up a ceaseless struggle and sacrifice themselves to prepare humanity for a better existence, in getting rid of past slavery. It is periods during which the popular genius takes free flight and in a few years makes gigantic advances without which man would have remained in the state of an ancient slave, a creeping thing, degraded by poverty.
Disorder is the breaking out of the finest passions and the greatest sacrifices, it is the epic of the supreme love of humanity!