Ravachol, “My Principles” (1892)

Gentlemen, I am in the habit of engaging in propaganda wherever I find myself. Do you know what Anarchy is?

We answered ‘No’ to this question.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” he responded. The working class, which as you know is obliged to work to obtain its bread, doesn’t have the time to indulge itself in reading the pamphlets that are made available to it; it is the same for you.

Anarchy is the annihilation of property.

Presently there exist many useless things, many occupations which also useless, such as accounting, for example. With anarchy, there is no more need for money, no need of bookkeeping or of the other professions that derive from it.

There are presently too great a number of citizens who suffer while others bask in opulence, in abundance. That state of things cannot last; we should all not only profit from the surpluses of the wealthy, but like them we should still obtain the necessities. Within the present society it is impossible to achieve that goal. Nothing, not even the tax on income, can change the face of things, and yet the majority of the workers are persuaded that if we acted thus, there would be an improvement. That is an error. If we imposed a tax on the proprietor, he would increase his rent and in this way would arrange to have those who already suffer bear the new burden that we would impose on him. No law, moreover, can touch the proprietors, for being masters of their goods we cannot prevent them from disposing of them as they wish. What then is to be done? Destroy property and, by this act, destroy the monopolists. If that abolition took place, it would also be necessary to abolish money in order to avoid any idea of accumulation which would force the return of the present regime.

It is indeed money that is the motive of all the discords, all the hatreds, all the ambitions. It is, in a word, the creature of property. That metal, in truth, only has a conventional price born of its rarity. If we were no longer obliged to give something in exchange for what we need for our existence, gold would lose its value and no one would seek it, and no one could enrich themselves since nothing that they amassed could serve to procure them a well-being greater than that of others. From that, no need of laws, no need of masters.

As for religions, they would be destroyed since their moral influence would no longer have a place to exist. There would no longer be the absurdity of believing in a God who does not exist, since after death everything is finished. So we must hold onto life, but when I say life, I mean it. It is not [life] to dig the whole day to fatten the bosses and become, while dying of hunger, the authors of their well-being.

There must be no more bosses, none of those people who support their idleness with our labor, everyone must be made useful to society, working according to their abilities and aptitudes. Thus, one will be a baker, the other a teacher, etc. With this principle, labor will diminish, and we will each have an hour or two of work per day. Men, being unable to remain without an occupation, will find entertainment in labor; there will be no more idlers, and if they exist their number will be so negligible that we could leave them alone and let them profit, without grumbling, from the labor of others.

Having no more laws, marriage will be destroyed. We will join together according to our penchants and inclinations, and the family will find itself constituted by the love of the father and mother for their children. If, for example, a woman no longer loved the one she had chosen for her companion, she could separate and make a new association. In short, complete liberty to live with those we love. If, in the case that I have just cited, there were children, society would raise them, those who love the children would take charge of them.

With that free union, no more prostitution. The secret diseases would no longer exist, since they arise only from the abuse of the coming together of the sexes, an abuse that woman is obliged to engage in, that the present conditions force her to make an occupation of, in order to provide for herself. Isn’t money necessary to live, no matter the cost?

With my principles, which I can detail for you completely in a very short time, there will be no more reason for the army, since there will be no separate nations, property being destroyed and all the nations being joined into a single one, which will be the Universe.

No more wars, no more quarrels, no more jealousy, no more theft, no more murder, no more magistracy, no more police, no more civil service.

The anarchists have still not entered into the details of their constitution. Only the markers have been laid down. Today the anarchists are numerous enough to overthrow the present order of things, and if this has not taken place it is because it is necessary to complete the education of the members, to inspire in them the energy and the firm will to aid in the realization of their projects. For that, only a push is necessary; let someone put themselves at their head and the revolution will be accomplished.

Those who blew up the houses aimed to exterminate all those who, through their social positions or their actions, are detrimental to anarchy. If they were allowed to openly attack those people without fear of the police, and consequently without fear for their hides, they would not destroy their habitations with the aid of explosive devices, means that can kill, at the same time as them, the suffering class they have in their service.