to-day is in the hand of jobbers. Self-devotion will spring up, and noble deeds beget their like; even the egoists will think shame to hang back, and will be drawn in self's despite to admire, if not to imitate, the generous and brave.
The great Revolution of 1793 abounds in examples of this kind, and it is ever during such times of spiritual revival—as natural to societies as to individuals—that the spring-tide of enthusiasm sweeps humanity onwards.
We do not wish to exaggerate the part played by such noble passions, nor is it upon them that we would found our ideal of society. But we are not asking too much if we expect their aid in tiding over the first and most difficult moments. We cannot hope that our daily life will be continuously inspired by such exalted enthusiasms, but we may expect their aid at the first, and that is all we need.
It is just to wash the earth clean, to sweep away the shards and refuse accumulated by centuries of slavery and oppression, that the new Anarchist society will have need of this wave of brotherly love. Later on it can exist without appealing to the spirit of self-sacrifice, because it will have eliminated oppression and thus created a new world, instinct with all the feelings of solidarity.
Besides, should the character of the Revolution be such as we have sketched here, the free initiative of individuals would find an extensive field of action in thwarting the efforts of the egoists. Groups would spring up in every street and quarter to undertake the charge of the clothing. They would make inventories of all that the city possessed, and would find out approximately what were the resources at their disposal. It is more than likely that in the matter of clothing the citizens would adopt the same principle as in the matter of provisions—that is to say, they would offer freely from the common store everything which was to be found in abundance, and dole out whatever was limited in quantity.
Not being able to offer to each man a sable-lined coat, and to every woman a velvet gown, society would probably distinguish between the superflous and the necessary, and, provisonally at least, class sable and velvet among the superfluities of life, ready to let time prove whether what is a luxury to-day may not become common to all to-morrow. While the necessary clothing would be guaranteed to each inhabitant of the Anarchist city, it would be left to private beneficence to provide for the sick and feeble those things provisionally considered as luxuries, to procure for the less robust such special articles as would not enter into the daily consumption of ordinary citizens.
Printed and published by G. M. Wilson, at 173 Old-street, E. C. Copies may
be obtained of W. Reeves, 185, Fleet-street, London, E. C.