An excerpt from Anarchist Individualism as Life and Activity

To say that the anarchist movement embraces several tendencies is not to put forward anything new; it would be surprising if it were otherwise.  Non-political, outside of parties, this movement owes its existence solely to the individual personalities of which it is composed.  Since there is no a priori anarchist programme, since there are only anarchists, it follows that each one of those who call themselves anarchists has his own conception of anarchism…To ask that all anarchists should have similar views on anarchism is to ask the impossible.  Hence a wealth of diverging conceptions is to be found among them.

Whoever denies that the intervention of government is necessary for human relationships is an anarchist.

But this definition would have only a negative value did it not possess, as a practical complement, a conscious attempt to live outside this domination and servility which are incompatible with the anarchist conception.  An anarchist, therefore, is an individual who, whether he has been brought to it by a process of reasoning or by sentiment, lives to the greatest possible extent in a state of legitimate defence against authoritarian encroachments.  From this it follows that anarchist individualism—the tendency which we believe contains the most profound realization of the anarchist idea—is not merely a philosophical doctrine—it  is an attitude, an individual way of life.

His relationships with his comrades are based on reciprocity, on mutualism, on comradeship, and take numerous forms, all voluntary: free agreements of every type and in all spheres; respect for the pledge word and the carrying out of promises and engagements freely consented to.  It is in this fashion that the individualist of our kind practices mutual aid in his species.

If he joins a trades union regardless of its colour, the anarchist enters it purely as a member of a particular trade, in the hope of obtaining by collective action an improvement in his own lot–but he will see nothing anarchistic in gaining a wage increase, or a reduction of working hours.  From an economic point of view, under present conditions, each anarchist does what he thinks best for himself–one by working for a boss, another by acting outside the law; one benefits from the advantages obtained by association, another by participating in a “free milieu,” yet another by satisfying his needs as an artisan.  None of these ways of getting by are more “‘anarchist” than the others–they are makeshifts, sometimes “evasions”, neither more nor less.

The anarchist denies authority because he knows he can live without it.  He is guided by the play of agreements freely entered into with his comrades, never trampling on the liberty of any of them in order that none may trample on his.

Anarchists no more want to be masters than they want to be servants–they no more want to exercise violence than to submit to it.  They expose, they propose, but they do not impose.  They are pioneers, attached to no party, non-conformists, standing outside herd morality and conventional “good” and “evil”–“a-social,” a “species” apart, one might say.  They go forward, stumbling, sometimes falling, sometimes triumphant, sometimes vanquished.  But they do go forward, and by living for themselves, these “egoists,” they dig the furrow, they open the breach through which will pass those who deny archism, the unique ones who will succeed them.

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