We see on the daily news programmes that ‘Los Indignados’ have returned to the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza de Cataluña in Spain, and various other municipal hot points in Europe, to celebrate an anniversary. It was in May last year that European city-dwellers learned to put up with their plazas and places filled to saturation with the young and the old, of every sex, of every class, of every profession, setting up camp, breaking out the same tired old political cant on badly spelled, cheaply printed placards. These are the ‘Indignants’.
Their message is incoherent, as are their few conversations with the media trying (and failing) to explain what they are doing there. But though the indignants may not be entirely sure what they are doing, the people behind these seemingly populist sitters-on-pavements know very well what they are doing. It is impossible to believe that such an amassing of peaceful crowds is anything but organised, rehearsed, administrated and conducted by experts. Extremely Right, or Extremely Left, the faceless ones behind the milling crowds are, I suppose, what used to be called ‘Anarchists’, that is those who, disillusioned with the continued exercise of authority by those to whom they have democratically given the vote, present themselves as opposers to any kind of governing will.
Anarchy comes from the Greek of course. It is the philosophy that states all government is unnecessary and harmful and hateful and should therefore be abolished. There is nothing in the word that indicates what can replace government. It is left to History to tell us. All anarchical movements have led, are leading, and will lead to dictatorship, merely because if elected government fails, unelected (and certainly unwanted) military government follows.
It was the nineteenth century that first saw what anarchists could do. In 1848 a French socialist called Proudhon said that we needed morally to mature if we wanted to dispense with artificial restraints imposed by governments. This argument was closely followed by a more radical view, expressed naturally by a Russian, Bakunin. He praised violence as the ideal medicine, curing all ills such as taxes and police work; but the main ideal of anarchism by the end of the nineteenth century was a pacifist but absolute rejection of violence.
In a gesture of absolute rejection of violence, the communists murdered an entire family, their tutor and pets, and by 1920, only two decades after the absolute rejection, the Soviet Union came to dominate most Eastern European lives for seventy years. Not forgetting pacifist origins, the newly installed masters in Russia, later in Yugoslavia, Cuba and China peacfully eliminated all opposition. Mass graves were filled by those daring to express a view.
In America, meanwhile, Emma Goldman linked support for social communes with feminism added to pacifism. Englishwomen, practical as ever, decided that they should have the vote (as indeed they should) and emphasised their argument by toppling silly men off their soap-boxes and tripping up the King’s horse in a race.
Unfortunately for the genuine anarchists, people began to associate anarchism with violence and assassination; In Spain and Italy anarchist bombs exploded, killing and maiming people and horses. Real anarchists were shocked to find themselves named ‘The Red Hand’ or ‘The Black Hand’ etc. The failure of the Left to conquer Franco in the ghastly Spanish Civil War was blamed on their internal conflicts – between anarchism, syndicalism and orthodox socialism. Anarchism began to lose some of its appeal, until 1968 in Germany and especially France, where pacifist intentions soon exploded into fire, smoke and bloodshed.
Now in Spain, people are confused again. On the one hand trade union leaders complain that their bien estar or ‘well-being’ has been restricted by the Conservative government under Rajoy. They must be blind or deaf. Their well-being was thoroughly expunged during the last eight years, though they chose not to notice. Amidst crashing sounds of collapsing banks and cajas, their President Zapatero reminded them that Spain had the best economic policy in Europe.
It is up to the people to make up their minds. It is one thing to vote against Labour so as to improve one’s well-being. Labour could not give a stuff about your well-being. But if you use your vote to remove Labour from government, it is the act of a fool not to support the people you did vote for, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Christian Democrat or the Cat-Lovers’ Party.
You might just as well vote (as the French have just done) for the dear old Marxist/Leninists/Stalinists, represented by addled-brained twerps such as François Hollande. He will do just as well as Cripps or Wilson did in Britain, rationing food, pleasure, leisure and education; as did Felipe González in Spain, encouraging personal pillage among politicians; or Zapatero also in Spain, encouraging massive over-spending by the State viz. the Taxpayer to the extent that Spain cannot pay her bills. No wonder people are indignant.