The New Utopia
Allow me first of all to present my apologies to the Ateneo Obrero de Tarrasa, for replacing the title I had imagined for the subject I am dealing with with another of my own.
I am one of those who smudge pages, for whom the title is the real key to their works.
So I have given this modest design the title of the “New Utopia”, because it represents for me the very idea I have conceived.
Utopia, from the Greek, ontopos, non-place, that which does not really exist, is a term used not only in its literal sense, but also to indicate the impossible in the present and in the future. But as the latter is entirely arbitrary, I have not hesitated to adopt, perhaps for this very reason, that graphic term by which we are commonly designated.
If social concern were to prevail, Copernicus’ theory of the motion of the earth and Galileo’s energetic ¡e pour se mouve!, Newton’s universal gravitation and the new world discovered by Columbus would still pass for utopias; if the ideas of the majorities were to be invulnerable, Christianity, the emancipation of the third estate, representative government, democracy, the republic and federalism would still be regarded as utopias. Today, when all these have been proven or only accepted by society or a part of it, there is still a utopia to be discarded, the terrifying utopia of socialism, and more than this, the utopia of the aspirations of the fourth estate for freedom and economic equality.
And since in the process of history it has become evident, in Pí’s expression, that today’s utopia is tomorrow’s truth, I firmly believe that what I call the new utopia is the immediate truth of a relatively near future.
For this reason, and in spite of the incredulous smile of the indifferent and the foolish mockery of the worried, I take as my motto a word that has been used to dismiss as reveries so many wonders of science and so many great truths systematically denied by error.
I am only sorry that my literary inadequacy has not allowed me to give this sketch all the colouring of which it is susceptible.
I would have tried at least to make it more pleasant, but I confess my impotence. Written, moreover, at the stroke of a pen, it will certainly suffer from serious defects, among them the monotony of the description. I have not been able to do more.
The conviction for the idea lives in me and will live on until the annulment of my organism. So I lend my support regardless of whether it is worth more or less.
And I end by replying in advance to those who may brand me as a dreamer, that I always prefer dreaming to the overwhelming reality that surrounds me.
On the seashore of the Bay of Biscay, on a slight hill, stands a superb city, an emporium of wealth and prosperity. The inhabitants of this happy mansion enjoy every desirable comfort and live in complete harmony, never disturbed by the upheavals common to other times and customs. The “New Utopia”, the grandiose creation of a free race, is the product of a profound social upheaval which, in not too distant times and in a radical way, transformed the old world, laying the firmest roots of the dreamed ideal of the brains of reputed madmen and visionaries.
The chronicles tell us that the “New Utopia” was a small fishing village, deprived of all welfare and enlightenment. People born in the open, brought up in rags, educated in the roughness of the roughness of the rough waves, terrified by the worry of the fear of the unknown, imbued with all the old errors and fanaticisms, weakened by overwork and the almost absolute lack of food, both physically and intellectually, lived those wretches as if it were true, these wretches lived like real pariahs, isolated from the concert of semi-civilised peoples, forgotten by the philanthropists in vogue at the time, men who preached charity and poverty without prejudice to enrich themselves more and better and leave the vast majority of the truly active members of society in misery.
The village lost from time to time a certain number of its inhabitants, as a rule the young and stout people, the most useful for work, who were taken to other villages by armed men, dressed in red, and charged, it seemed, with the defence of the common interests and of the lives and property of the citizens. These rude and uncouth men had no sympathy for the maternal tears or the sorrowful groans of father and brother. Their hearts were of steel as hard as their weapons. In addition to this, there went annually through the villages, and therefore the hamlet in question, other men with the special charge of collecting a tribute which they called the land and industrial tax, and which they obtained by the procedure called the seizure or expropriation of the derisory property of the diminished who did not pay the odious levy. Although property was sufficiently guaranteed and theft punished, none of this was true of the so-called State, whose representatives took it upon themselves to trample all the laws dictated by it. The poor fishermen knew nothing more about what was going on in the rest of the world, for the priest, a sort of idler who lived off the ignorance of his faithful, brought them no enlightenment and only suggested ideas aimed at plunging them deeper and deeper into the shadows that darkened their virgin intelligence.
That was how the unfortunate forefathers of the “New Utopia” lived and would have lived forever if a great universal upheaval, begun in remote lands, had not reached that corner of the world to transform it completely. The clang of guns, the roar of cannon, the mighty din of combat, the floods of blood necessarily shed, had been the fatal prologue to that immense transformation.
Awakening from their long slumber, the peoples shook off all their worries in horror and rushed like an avalanche to conquer their dignity. They looked away for a moment from the immense sacrifice which their awakening was costing humanity, and entered into the new life full of enthusiasm and vigour.
A large nucleus of workers joined the inhabitants of the miserable slum and founded the “New Utopia”. The innovators had to overcome formidable resistance, and it was not without great and titanic efforts that they succeeded in realising their beautiful ideal. Worry and ignorance, not yet banished in the moral order, necessitated a portentous work of regeneration. The old elements were constantly fighting against any innovation, and it was not without new partial struggles that, after a long period of time, it was possible to arrive at its definitive conquest.
Slowly, at the same time as a completely new moral order, a completely new social life was being formed. The vices of the past, the habits of servitude, have led in the present to abuses of the ideal that were not understood or wrongly interpreted, and it is remarkable that these abuses have generally come from those who resisted most stubbornly the beneficent invasion of the new ideas.
It cost immense sacrifices to make the most reluctant understand that the family was not constituted by the mediation of a ridiculous mogiganga, that citizens could go perfectly well without the regulation of their acts by other citizens imposed on them, that the producer had a perfect right to all the means of production and could use all of them directly and freely; that society needed neither spiritual fathers, nor privileged masters, nor armed defenders, nor invulnerable judges, nor administrators turned into true lords and absolute masters of the common good, nor any of the countless other trifles that passed, in the end, as all corrupt things do, with the curse of humanity as a whole, to the heap of errors stigmatised by history.
A few centuries passed, and new generations renewed and invigorated the new social order, strengthening it through science, liberty and justice heroically conquered, not granted with the appearance of generosity by those who could not grant them.
The “New Utopia” is the material order, the product of this slow work, of this painful labour of several generations a thousand times blessed.
The distinguishing features of the big city are iron and electric power applied prodigiously to all the marvellous combinations of mechanics. The crowding of the dwellings, the gloom of the rooms, the cramped and cramped alcoves, the filthy contubernium of the dustbin and the kitchen, the bedroom and the dining-room; the capricious alignment of the streets, all the remnants of the old system have disappeared altogether from the “New Utopia”. In their place have risen large, perfectly aligned buildings, separated by small gardens, where the children of the neighbourhood play happily. One part of the city is devoted exclusively to housing, and on the other side there are only huge factories, workshops, farms on the outskirts, grandiose markets, a beautiful and grandiloquent ensemble of all those manifestations of human activity, of work. The residential buildings meet all the requirements of hygiene and science: plenty of space, plenty of air and light, water everywhere, electric pumps for mechanical services, and the most ingenious apparatus for heating, cleanliness and safety. Staircases have disappeared, and in their place simple and magnificent lifts automatically serve all the neighbours. Stone or brick and iron have banished wood. The machine has done away with domestic service: everyone can serve himself without disturbance. The separation of buildings by gardens has eliminated the unhealthy effects of the agglomeration of the big cities. Everything is new, beautiful, magnificent. There are no differences: the palace and the hut have merged into the modern building prescribed by science.
On the other side, a vast, shallow expanse offers a magical horizon. Hundreds of chimneys belch endless plumes of smoke into the air. Industry in all its splendour, machinery in all its combinatorial grandeur, whether steam, or water, or the mighty electric motor which is overcoming coal and banishing it from the factories, is used to transform it into work. Immense buildings house gigantic machines that work incessantly, and here and there the worker has hardly any other work to do than to direct and observe the orderly progress of the various mechanisms under his control. Trains run everywhere transporting the products of this colossal industry. Animal power, the blood engine, is scarcely used in agricultural work. The locomotives are driven by powerful electric traction or by the most perfect applications of steam.
The markets are spread out over a vast area. Large bazaars alternate with the markets, and both serve as centres for the exchange of various products by means of very simple combinations. The crowds move freely, without getting in the way in the least, thanks to the capacity of these immense warehouses.
The wide streets of the “New Utopia” are lined with electric trams that can be stopped instantly, and at night the brightest spotlights radiate torrents of light, intense beams that compete with the intensity of the sun. Day and night pass without perceptible variations, thanks to the substitution of a large spotlight by innumerable smaller ones which, when combined, are sufficient to provide the entire population with the diaphanous brightness of daylight.
Among the city’s notable buildings are the public schools, the local business and social centre, the medical correction house, libraries and museums, recreation centres and others.
The public schools, promoted by the initiative of associations devoted to education, are a veritable encyclopaedic summary of all human knowledge. The elements necessary for primary education, which are brought together there, enable children to acquire the necessary knowledge in the midst of their games and without restricting their freedom or twisting the inclinations and spontaneous movements of their nature. The teachers take advantage of children’s interests and subtly introduce the letters of the alphabet, geometrical figures, illustrations of the first elements of geography, natural history, physiology, arithmetic and other branches of universal science among their toys. The gardens where the pupils play are real centres of experimentation. The hoop they play with is a geometrical element for learning the first notions of the circumference and its lines. The ball is a physical means of demonstrating the laws of gravity, the composition and decomposition of colours, and another geometrical means of learning about different kinds of lines.
For this purpose, the ball is covered with yarn in the colours of the rainbow and hung on a string which in various positions determines the straight line, the curve, the broken line, the horizontal and vertical lines, etc. The sheets, conveniently divided into pieces, entertain them in the combination, either of geographical charts or of other necessary figures. Other wisely chosen toys teach them the diversity of movements and their laws. They combine letters and numbers with specially cut pieces of cardboard, and the bushes and plants in the garden serve as units for acquiring the first elements of arithmetical calculation. Children’s natural curiosity is the teacher’s most powerful aid. The activity which manifests itself so powerfully in them has its application in gymnasiums, where they develop their strength and agility without fatigue or weariness and as a most enjoyable pastime. The child goes from one exercise to another, always happy and always learning.
Later, when their physical and intellectual development permits, they broaden their knowledge with general notions of all the sciences. The main theories are taught by theoretical and practical methods which make it very easy to understand their nature and development. Various combinations of spheres with suitable motions of their own teach the principles of astronomy, and a multitude of simple experimental apparatus provide the pupil with the main fundamentals of physics and chemistry. The movements and properties of the stars, molecular attractions and repulsions, the circulation and diffusion of light, the propagation of sound, the composition and decomposition of matter in bodies, the study, in short, of all the natural elements in their various states, form the whole of an all-embracing and wise teaching. There are miniatures of all the most important machines, working instruments of various kinds, farming implements, scientific instruments of marvellous results, everything that can be of interest to the instruction of man, from the most rudimentary to the most complicated combinations of natural laws skilfully applied to work.
The aim of these centres is not to train encyclopaedic scholars, which is impossible given the great development of the sciences. The teaching plan has no other aim than to acquaint all men with the general principles of the arts and sciences, so that each individual’s inclinations can be freely expressed and he can devote himself to the speciality most in harmony with his temperament, character and interests. The pupil is not ignorant of anything that may be of interest to him, all orders of knowledge are common to him, and he can thus consciously choose his profession, in order to enter into the social concert as a member useful to himself and to his fellows. Intellectual inequality has thus received a severe blow. Medical science is lending its aid to education, and is removing many of the pathological and physiological imperfections which in former times opened up real gulfs between men. There are small inequalities of aptitude produced by nature itself, which always manifests itself in different degrees of varying perfection, but not incomprehensible inequalities of acquired knowledge, of the social means necessary for production. The manifestations may be unequal, but the original cause is identical. The dreamers of the “New Utopia” said to themselves that all men are essentially equal in terms of intelligence, and they did not cease in their efforts until they saw this fine ideal confirmed by experience.
The local Business and Relation Centre is what could be called a huge house of all. It consists of large rooms for public meetings, a large courtyard for notices and news of general or particular interest, and several rooms for offices. In the latter, the statistical association provides its services to the community on its own initiative and by spontaneous agreement. All those who need publicity come to the courtyard and there, without hindrance of any kind, they freely post edicts, announcements, news, notices or announcements of importance for one or more groups, whether in the field of production, consumption, exchange, art, science, etc. It is in the salons that the groups hold their assemblies, formulate their contracts, establish or modify their relations and, finally, discuss all matters of interest to the cooperation of two or more individuals, of two or more collectivities. This centre is, in short, the appropriate means for the community, the people, to be able to meet, concentrate and communicate with ease, without waiting for prior arrangements by others, or fearing outside interference. The citizens of the “New Utopia” wanted to live the life of freedom and, for this purpose, it was sufficient to annul all powers in exchange for the spontaneous manifestation of all initiatives, both individual and group.
The medical house of correction is a thoroughly modern creation, with no antecedents in the system of the ancient world. In the “New Utopia” there are no prisons, because with the disappearance of the cause of crime, the offender has disappeared. Those dens of corruption which our forefathers foolishly called correctional institutions belong to history. The contagion of moral and intellectual diseases has disappeared at the same time as prisons. With them have also been abolished the hospitals, the creation of a false philanthropy, of an unfashionable false charity. These epidemic centres, these prisons for physical delinquents, for those sick with misery, have no place where misery is a myth, and the “New Utopia” has destroyed them, guaranteeing existence and work for everyone. No hospitals, no prisons! The free man, responsible for his actions, needs no other guarantees than those of mutuality and solidarity, and for both he goes to the home of his friend, his brother, before the evil occurs, and prevents and avoids it if possible. Why kill, where the death of a fellow man is not the object of theft, jealousy, ambition or envy? Why openly fight with the established society, when it guarantees the satisfaction of all our desires within the natural order of life?
The “New Utopia” lives carelessly, resting on the very virtue of the principle that informs it, freedom.
All organisms obey natural laws. The universe revolves in the infinity of time according to immutable laws. Matter is transformed by composition and decomposition in the infinity of space, according to permanent laws. Humanity lives in the eternity of thought according to immanent and indestructible laws. But there is no law without phenomena, and one day the universal order seems to be disturbed by a body which disobeys the laws of gravitation or attraction, and thus humanity seems to lose the established order also, by the presentation of a pathological, physiological or moral phenomenon. The phenomenon arises, but neither the universal nor the human order is disturbed by it. The general laws of the existence of everything remain subdued and subordinate to it.
Thus society never counts the phenomenon as a general factor in its constitution. It is organised according to the law, not according to the phenomenon.
The “New Utopia”, formed according to the laws of human nature, has not brought the phenomenon into the combination of its constituent elements. It is a negative force which tends to destroy it, and it is enough for it to prevent and guard against it.
There are therefore no longer any criminals; there are rare phenomena, rare exceptions to the general rule, and these phenomena, these exceptions, can only arise from physical, intellectual or moral imbalance. Nature sometimes breaks the regularity of its laws, or rather produces the disturbance by the intervention of an agent foreign to its functioning, and thus the individual, by the intervention of any agent, breaks the equilibrium of his own organism and disturbs it. To discover this agent in order to destroy it and re-establish equilibrium is the only mission that society can and must assign itself. This agent bears the generic name of disease. Social phenomena are therefore sick, and every sick person needs to be cured; every decayed organism needs to be corrected.
The principle of social solidarity, on the other hand, obliges the sick to be cured, and that is why the “New Utopia” has created its “House of Medical Correction”. The professors of this science, the specialists in various ailments, not well defined, which in former times were regarded as crimes or offences, constitute a highly beneficial association, which is charged, not by alien delegation, but of its own free will, with protecting society against the rare attacks of certain sick people, and then reintegrating them as useful members, wrested by science from an internal principle of individual destruction.
The “House of Medical Correction” is a small compendium of all that man needs in social life. There the sick person is studied in the midst of his daily labours; the intelligent gaze of the man of science follows him everywhere, and his eloquent words solicit him with affection in order to obtain the exteriorisations suited to the object pursued. The unfortunate sufferer enjoys relative freedom, according to the perniciousness of his malady, and is not deprived of all the advantages which society could offer him. He is transferred from a big world to a small world: that is all. He works, he studies, he walks, he enjoys, he enjoys life. When he is declared cured, he returns to society thrilled, grateful to the care of those priests of science, of those wise men who give him back the physical and social freedom that his own sick organism had deprived him of. He is a renegade member of humanity, who returns to it ready to fight for existence in fraternal co-operation with his fellows. What the sentimentality of prehistoric Christian charity could not achieve, the sublime principle of universal solidarity established by a nucleus of dreamers in the “New Utopia” does.
Recreation centres, libraries and museums, true schools of moral and intellectual gymnastics, complete that grandiose picture of the highest degree of human perfection. Words are lacking to sing the excellences of so much beauty, so much wisdom, so much goodness and so much immense work. The pleasure of study, of art and science, the pleasant entertainment of hygienic exercises, of ingenious games of patience and intelligence, have replaced the vice that debased the slave, the passion that degraded him, the bestiality that plunged him into idiocy. What a difference between the slave and the free man!
The magnificence of the “New Utopia”, its material aggrandisement, responded to a proportionate elevation of the moral level. Everything there is great, colossal, sublime as the product of a greater transformation of the world, brought about by the impulse of the revolutionary hurricane.
The most reckless dreams have been realised. Aerial navigation, submarine navigation, electric power applied to movement, light and work, the word transmitted unalterably through time and space, marvels of photography never before foreseen, progress in mechanics never before imagined, everything has become a reality for this happy generation.
On the shores of that beach covered with innumerable docks, criss-crossed by railways of immense power, the mighty colossus of the seas, which carries destruction everywhere, is no longer to be seen. From the smallest little boat to the formidable iron transport, all are vehicles of peace and prosperity that cross the seas from one end to the other with dizzying speed. The legendary sail is no more, the terrifying shipwreck has almost been cancelled. The Ocean seems to admire the portentous work of man. They are two giants who respect each other, but do not fear each other. The elements are powerless against the immeasurable power of man.
How much useless wreckage, how much pernicious preoccupation, how many institutions, how many powers, how many fictitious forces, how many lying sciences have been destroyed, annihilated! Not even the infectious dust of the past has prevailed!
Everything is new, as new is the idea, as new is the principle, as new is life. Everything is pure, as pure is the ideal, the atmosphere, the thoughts, the feelings, the deeds, the imperishable summary of a higher concept of Justice which has put an end for ever to the religious lie, to the political lie, to the economic lie, to all the lies on which man nourished himself in times long past.
The “New Utopia” is the better world of human dreams. Eternal glory to the creature!
If any inhabitant of the “New Utopia” were asked what was the social regime that had worked such wonders, he would answer without hesitation: that of liberty.
We live,” I would say, “in such a milieu of equity and justice that the greater the degree of freedom we attain, the more solid and firmer is the resulting order. The worries and mistakes of the past are almost incomprehensible to us. Thus we fail to explain the need our ancestors had for so many written rules which they called laws, when they made them real slaves, when they reduced them to mere instruments of their own misdeeds. We do not understand the usefulness of those meetings of popular or privileged representatives, much less the preservation of the institutions called public authorities. We cannot imagine how, with so many obstacles and so many and so many obstacles, social life was even viable for the citizen. All these things have become for us strange curiosities, and it seems to us that the wise rulers, the powerful legislators of those times were very much tricksters, and those who followed and supported them, very much voluntary slaves; that the so-called guardians of order were real tyrants, infamous despots, obeyed by cowards with no sense of their own dignity; that the spiritual fathers were forgers of fantastic lies to lull the people to sleep; that the so-called proprietors were in reality robber lords protected by the laws; that the judges and magistrates, claiming the power of justice, were the protection of the rulers, the guardians of order, the proprietors and the priests, different cogs in a machine set up to nullify in other men all their most valuable qualities: Dignity, sovereignty, reason, sentiment, justice. Here we live as men should live. The function of government belongs to each one of us, and we are all completely free. We do not dispute the exercise of this or that right, nor do we dispute with anyone what used to be called political or social rights. We all enjoy the fullness of rights, and each one exercises them as he pleases. Our only care is to respect our fellow men, and to co-operate with them for the common good as we work and produce for ourselves. If we were to attempt to give rules for the exercise of law, the social order would immediately be disturbed. We do not understand order, nor do we believe that it can exist, except as a result of the widest freedom. By this our way is easy and unobstructed. We have nothing to rebel for or against; we need not fight with anyone, nor do we need to struggle uselessly. All the contradictions of life are thus resolved; for harmony is the natural fruit of the preservation and mutual respect of all initiatives, of all activities. In short, our whole problem boils down to this: to satisfy social needs as well as possible with the least necessary expenditure of strength, to develop the sphere of our knowledge and our pleasures as much as possible, and to contribute to the preservation of the manifold elements of society by the solidarity of interests.
The social system of the “New Utopia” is admirably simple. Its two fundamental principles are liberty and equality. By the first, man uses his natural dispositions, employs his activities, applies his forces without hindrance, without pernicious friction. Nature is his only limit. By the second he has at his disposal all the means he needs for the real translation of the first, means of production, of study and of recreation which place him on an equal footing with his fellow-citizens. The contract or pact is the only means of relationship, of transactions, of agreement between the various members of society. There is no single, general and permanent pact. There is a diversity of more or less general and variable, terminable and voidable contracts.
All natural elements, plus those produced by the continuous labour of generations, belong to the universal patrimony. Private ownership of these elements has been banished from the “New Utopia”. The isolated or associated producer always has the usufructuary position of these general means of labour.
The organisation of labour is extremely simple. In agriculture, various farming methods are used. Depending on the quality and circumstances of the land and the work involved. Different associations are engaged in cultivation, aided by modern equipment suitable for the purpose. This or that work is carried out by individual labourers who prefer the pleasures of small-scale cultivation in the orchard and garden. This or that, cooperative groupings of organisation more in harmony with the necessary division of labour. This or that labour, small or large communities which the very nature of uniform work demands and needs. This diversity of organic procedures makes production more fruitful and farm work easier. The vast fields devoted to cereals, the great orchards, the immense forests, are assiduously tended by these industrious and intelligent citizens, who, in their practice, gather sufficient scientific knowledge to better carry out their various operations. These groups generally form part of large federative nuclei, the object of which is to preserve and promote the solidarity of the component elements, to ensure the good of the community and to prevent unforeseen evils, as well as to know and establish or fix the needs of production, exchange and consumption in their relations with the other economic corporations.
In industry, the diversity is even more remarkable. The infinite variety of products calls for a similar variation of applications and processes. The isolated industrialist is not common in the “New Utopia”, because the advantages of collective production are so evident that it is more attractive to the workers. On the other hand, the great development of all industries has, as in the sciences, made specialities necessary, and a thoughtful division of labour increases production and perfects it in exchange for a small expenditure of strength. The worker of the minutiae, the exaggerated speciality, which has been exaggerated by the ambition of the exploiters, has disappeared, because this ambition has been changed into a praiseworthy stimulus of free men for the general good, and a more perfect instruction enables him to widen, as well as the sphere of his scientific knowledge, that of his necessary applications. Associations are generally founded on free co-operation as more appropriate to human nature and to social ends. Community, like individual exploitation, is the exception. By this other system or procedure, no one is obliged to do more than he can or will, and without diminishing collective strength, he is always in control of himself and in a position to modify the conditions of the contract or to break it in order to reconstruct it with another or others. In large factories these groups are subdivided into sections, according to the nature of the work, and each is assigned to its work and organised according to its purpose. The engineer, the smelter, the fitter, all concur and co-operate to the same end in the sphere of their speciality, and complete each other without the need of the master, the feudal lord of industry in former times. And what happens in the aforementioned factory happens in the cloth factory, in the looms, in all the factories that contribute their labour to the common needs of society. Their federations are immense and spread over the whole territory in perfect harmony with the agricultural, scientific and artistic federations. Conflicts are always resolved by freedom and for freedom, and only in this way can such vast organisations survive. These federative relations are not confined to one locality, they are not confined to the exclusivity of one people, but are maintained with other peoples in a necessary correspondence of reciprocity, mutuality and solidarity of interests and aims. Agricultural, agricultural-industrial and industrial groupings, properly so called, frequently come into contact with each other and enter into agreements and contracts on specific objects of the moment for the future, and thus, by the voluntary and free cooperation of such varied entities, that dream of the warriors and tyrants of former times, who sought to unite all the peoples of the world in a mighty unity in law and in fact, becomes a reality. Work founded on freedom and equality of conditions is the simple application of this great event.
Like agriculture and industry, the sciences and the arts have taken on a new dimension thanks to this process of association. The distinctive character of these groups is that of a more marked individualism. Men of science and artists are grouped together for their studies and co-operate in their works, lending each other mutual aid, but production is more personal, more individualistic. Here the producer, by the very nature of the work, reserves for himself a certain independence in his labours, a certain isolation of his own in which he needs both solitude and co-operation, subjective and associative work. The artist does not live without the mysteries of his reserved study; the man of science and these artists are not usually privileged beings alien to all directly useful production. Mechanical work is necessary for the equilibrium of their organism, and they work with ardor in various industries or agricultural work, according to their inclinations. The producer of the “New Utopia” has time to devote to science and art. If he is a naturalist, the labours of the fields are for him both a profitable means of study and a necessary exercise for his body; if a chemist, the great factories of corresponding products, vast fields of experimentation; if a mathematician, the immense workshops of mechanics, invaluable centres of observation and application; if a painter, the production of colours offers him new horizons to study. Not everyone, however, can devote himself to this double work. The doctor has his share of hardships in the care and cure of his fellow men; he is needed in the school, in the workshop, in the field and in the home. If he is a musician or a teacher, his well-defined mission calls him the ally of youth. Science and art are, in short, no mystery to anyone; they are within the reach of all.
The three orders of production, agricultural, industrial and intellectual, form a harmonious whole in mutual correspondence of relations and solidarity. They need each other and complement each other, grouping themselves by the federative bond into vast local, regional, continental and universal associations. This immense whole does not obey determined rules, nor does it subsist by any extraneous force. The cohesive forces of subsistence are natural forces of their own, which, like the law of gravitation in the sidereal world, keep the various elementary or simple and composite groupings in permanent equilibrium. The rules, the laws by which these organisms are governed and develop, are the immutable rules of sociology, deduced from nature, freely and spontaneously observed by each and every one.
When human nature has been restored to its state of free manifestation and development, the harmony and brotherhood of men and of interests is brought about in a brilliant and powerful way, and the evolutionary improvement of society and of the individual is realised without violence by the twofold compensation of struggle for existence and co-operation in the struggle. By the first, the necessary stimulus to the multiplication of products enters into a noble struggle and gives society abundant means for the ample satisfaction of its moral, intellectual and material needs. By the second, forces are united and energy is conserved and directed towards the common good, avoiding the perversion of the struggle and converging the opposing stimuli to the same end, that of the greatest possible well-being with the least necessary effort. Magnificent fruit of freedom and association, true manifestations of the centrifugal and centripetal forces of the social organism!
Like production, change and consumption in their various material, moral and intellectual aspects necessarily respond to the new environment in which they take place.
Now that the process of adaptation, the immediate consequence of change in human institutions, has been achieved, there is nothing powerful enough to disturb the magnificent established order, nothing powerful enough to annul the effects of the hard-won freedom. Evolution, Revolution, Adaptation, three successive and complementary periods which have given all the necessary vigour to the new idea that has been realised: this is the key to the problem.
The old form of exchange, trade, a system of idleness and larceny; the lie of credit and monetary circulation, an organisation of usury and banditry, have been destroyed, annihilated down to their foundations. The real exchange of commodities and their regular circulation, introduced by the revolution, has been perfected by evolution at the same time as society has changed in its habits, usages and customs. Universal and free credit, free from all the old preoccupations, has entered as a principal factor in this new order of things, and credit and exchange together solve the problem of the distribution of wealth, of consumption in all its variants in harmony with the very new mode of production.
The bazaar and the market are large exhibitions of all kinds of products, more than enough to satisfy local needs. Each producer, each group of producers brings to the market or to the bazaar, if he thinks fit, the result of his work and thus gives it to the general circulation. Each producer or each group of producers makes personal or collective issues of securities representing work done or to be done, simple signs of exchange with no other value than that attributed to the labour and personal credit of the worker. Each producer or group of producers organises, according to his needs in the very order of production and consumption, exchange and credit in his relations with other producers or groups of producers, and thus by such expeditious means, without banking or commercial institutions of old-fashioned taste, each one provides as much as he can or wants to others, and as much as he wants or can, he uses himself of the others. Interest, that social plague of our ancestors, does not exist here, and that is precisely why this system of universal confidence in credit and exchange can be freely realised for the general good of the social body. The expense of administration is reduced in the market and in the bazaar to tiny proportions which do not alter the value of the products in any way, and once profit is naturally suppressed, once the merchant is suppressed, the ideal of exchange at cost price, the ideal of exchange between equivalent or equal labours, is realised.
The labourer, the producer who carries out a long-term work, does not have to undergo the privations which the lack of his own products delivered into circulation seems to indicate. His current account on the market or in the bazaar allows him to take as much as he needs on account of promised work, and his representative and personal values have the same value as a realised and exchanged product. Social and private tenure resolves all conflicts, all difficulties. The worker who invents, who studies, who paints, all have, in the absence of exchangeable products at the moment, equivalent personal credit to cover all their needs.
Thus consumption is not a problem for anyone, it is not an abyss of misery for the worker. Here the community provides everyone with what is necessary in exchange for the effort possible; there co-operation establishes distribution by means of exchange, of reciprocity of services; there individual effort finds its equal correspondence in transactions with the other workers of the community and of the co-operative association. Solidarity, social trust, through the complex freedom of human relations, sums up in a single common interest the infinite variety of social, corporate and individual interests. This magnificent variety, crowned by the federative unity of so many and so manifold elements, which excludes no system, which enshrines them all, in the immediate result of collective production, of the association of efforts and the tacit consecration of individual freedom.
Man feels, thinks and acts. This is a fact of unquestionable evidence. Any obstacle placed in the way of the free manifestation of his feelings and the realisation and disposal of his works is an attack on nature, which wanted to guarantee man those three modes of personal and collective production. It is therefore through the freedom inherent in his personality that he directs his feelings, publishes and propagates his thoughts, completes and distributes his works. It is also through this same freedom that he chooses the mode and means of production, exchange and socially considered consumption. He disposes as and when he pleases of his feelings, his thoughts and his works, of all his individual externalisations. If he wants to reserve the right to exchange his products, no one prevents him from doing so; if he wants to give them to the community, no one hinders him; if he wants to give them to co-operation, no one opposes him. In the first case he retains the ownership of the product, determined personally, if it is individual, or by contract, if it is collective, until the very moment he gives it to the circulation. In the second, he renounces this ownership in exchange for the right to appropriate whatever is indispensable to his needs. In the third, he participates in these two extremes and secures in the same way the ownership of the product and the right of appropriation of the necessaries of life by means of exchange and credit. In all cases property, the guarantee of his personal freedom, exists in law and in fact. Whether it lasts for the precise moment between production and circulation, or between the moment of circulation and consumption, or finally at the same time these two necessary moments of social life, a prodigy only to be conferred by freedom without limits or barriers!
And this magnificent system includes the farmer, the industrialist, the artist, the man of science, for the human being has not only material but also moral and intellectual needs; he does not live by and for the stomach to the exclusion of all other terms, but is at once a sentient, thinking and producing being, and as such his needs are at once physical, psychic and intellectual or ideal. And as it manifests itself in these three forms, it expends and replenishes and consumes itself in the same way as if it were to keep the energy of its organism active.
There are, therefore, no longer any castes among men. All enjoy material comforts, artistic pleasures, the joys of study and science. All are essentially equal.
The “New Utopia”, the realisation of a dream of many centuries, at last conquered in spite of all the resistance of the past, has become the truth of the present; the magnificent truth which has united men in the noblest of aspirations, in the highest concept of life, the happiness promised in imaginary worlds by the merchants of poisonous and corrupting religions and metaphysics; the sublime truth which has established for all time the reign of universal brotherhood! Great Truth which has banished from the world the infamies of ancient times! Imperishable Truth which assures mankind the possession and enjoyment of Science, Liberty and Justice!
New Utopia realised, dream of so many heroes and so many martyrs, constant aspiration of the human being, your children bless you, sanctify you, and cast the mantle of their forgetfulness over all the worries and errors of the past! The present and the future are yours: may our successors perfect and revere you as we perfect and revere you! May progress be your only law, your only end, because to progress is to perfect oneself, is to enjoy, is to live!
In the order of public functions, the “New Utopia” has reached the maximum degree of simplicity. The whole jumble of complicated administrative and governmental mechanisms, typical of a social state deviating from all logic and nature, has disappeared along with the very system that made it necessary. Communal services have been reduced or purified, if not abolished as unnecessary. General relations have been reduced to purely economic relations and relations of security and mutual guarantee.
Assistance, security, statistics, communications and transport, education, are the main public functions. Cleaning has been eliminated from the communal services, because it is the private function of each producer, who does it mechanically by means of an apparatus attached to the houses and arranged in such a way that the sediments produced by the circulation are thrown into the drains of automatic absorption. In addition, each house has its own special water service, not only for consumption, but also for irrigation as a complement to cleaning, and, finally, the arrangement of the habitable buildings and those for drainage and disinfection avoid any further inconvenience to the citizen in this respect.
Assistance and security are not represented by the hospital and force, by alms and the sword as in former times. The medical and pharmaceutical associations have organised the first of these services in such a way that on no occasion and in no place can the citizen be helpless against the necessary improprieties of nature, diseases. The medical facilities are as numerous as the public needs demand, and the professors of this science are spread throughout the community, generously and wisely rendering their powerful aid to the unfortunate. This service is completed by its correlative, security. In order to organise it, there are groups devoted exclusively to the propagation of insurance, and they organise it in their own ranks. Each producer insures himself for the future by mutual co-operation and by associating with others, either for this purpose alone or for the other purposes of life. In this way the security service has ceased to exist as unnecessary in the social order, and has been transformed into the economic order, and has ceased to be a scandalous exploitation of human needs. Foresight has developed in citizens to such an extent that their worship of this system of insurance strengthens them against all the thoughtlessness and lightness of the present, against all excitements of the passions which might harm them.
Assistance and security constitute the two terms of a higher principle, solidarity, which guarantees to all the peaceful enjoyment of the present good and the possible remedy of future evil. Every producer, by the regular use of his strength, produces, in addition to what is necessary, a surplus which, by means of this salutary principle of security, assures him a restful and pleasant old age. Moreover, in the event of physical imperfection, unexpected uselessness, or some present or unforeseen evil, the same principle obliges all associates equally to guarantee an existence on equal terms to the unfortunate person who finds himself at a disadvantage in sustaining the struggle for life. The tacit pact which constitutes every group necessarily includes this eventuality or refers it to special groups consecrated to this end of security. What everyone takes is thus his property, his right, and alms, humiliating charity, is banished altogether.
Social security against the attack of a fellow-creature is unnecessary, and the consequent organisation of justice is likewise superfluous. The personal attack is either reduced to a simple difference of opinion, or it necessarily comes from a sick member. In the latter case, justice has been replaced by medicine, and individual revenge has no reason to exist, just as the so-called public vindictiveness has ceased to exist. In the former case citizens freely air their grievances. They generally hand them over, if there is room for it, to their friends and fellow-citizens, and they are settled without violence or mutilation of law. Each offended and injured party chooses his representatives, who, together with his social representation, which is usually voluntarily determined by the group or groups to which the disputants belong, form what is called the jury of honour. And thus, without written laws, without immoral prejudices, without judges of law, without absurd jurisprudence, every difference is settled for the time being in accordance with the special circumstances of the disputing parties, and at the same time the problem is solved of each one doing justice to himself and by himself becoming a security for the communion of all the members of society. Such are the simple terms of the distribution of justice.
The organisation of education has also lost its official character and its enforced uniformity. The ideal of the single precept, of the universal producer, of the guarantee of the state, are concepts banished from all minds. In the “New Utopia” they despise those institutions which assume the incapacity and inadequacy of private initiatives, and thus do not need the state as the sole healer, the exclusive teacher, the indispensable producer, the irreplaceable protector. For education, as for all other manifestations of activity, associated private initiatives are sufficient. Men devoted to the education of children form powerful groups, and they do not lack the cooperation of women, whose vocation draws them to share with them the hardships and the great pleasures of their priesthood. The groups are as diverse as are the needs of their ministry and the different methods applied. The teaching is common to the sexes, for beings born to live constantly in a community of relationships and of society must be educated also out of all irrational separation. Women thus acquire as much knowledge as men can acquire, and are freed from that inferiority which has so long reduced them to slavery and servitude. Each family educates its children as it sees fit, and is not compelled to accept an impossible common regulation. The diffusion of science has thus reached the highest possible degree of extension, all being initiated in it, and all having, consequently, the necessary aptitude for its application to the necessities of life, without any longer requiring those academic degrees which in ancient times constituted a privilege and which made the University an odious centre where, rather than diffusing science, the privileged were given the instruction necessary to oppress and exploit the disinherited. Only in this way has it been possible to achieve the marvellous results mentioned elsewhere.
Another of the most important public services, the organisation of communities and transport, is entrusted to the corresponding associations of railways, trams, steamers and other means of transport. They manage the telegraph and postal services as well as carrying out the task of regulating transport. A well-considered division of labour, correlative to a similar division of groupings, has made the cost of locomotion and communication excessively economical. Engineers, machinists, electricians, mechanics, forgers, carpenters, all the various elements involved in this colossal undertaking, form an immense federation, a worthy competitor of the other federations of production and exchange, education and safety, science and art. Through this associative work, a speed and safety in locomotive services never seen before has been achieved. The inviolability and regularity of communications have reached a degree of perfection never before imagined. The dignified emulation which presides over all functions, both social and private, has given to this service so many and so manifold means of progress that there is no one who is not assured of free circulation and communication with his fellow-men, for every service is free which costs only the aliquot part of the expenses occasioned by it.
And as a supplement to this harmonious whole, statistical associations crown the grandiose work of all human efforts. Statistics of production, statistics of consumption, statistics of traffic, statistics of attendance, statistics of sickness, statistics of education; a careful study of each of these special statistics of the corresponding manifestations of labour, show the producer the road he must steadily tread, and guide him in the immense field of his operations. The “Centre for Public Relations and Public Business” is the main focus of this enormous work. How many production groups do not carry out their own research in their own particular field, and there they provide their data for publicity. The special statistical groups collect these voluntarily These voluntarily supplied data and those published in the Bulletins of the other associations, and slowly build up the comparative and general study of the marvellous results obtained by work, education, medicine, etc., etc., etc. These same statistical groups publish their work up to date, and summarise the results of their important work every month, methodically and scientifically arranged. Eminent men in economic science illustrate with their studies and their deductions the finished work of this general account of life, called statistics.
The true laws of economics and sociology are thus recognised without great effort, and this knowledge enables everyone to eliminate error without violence.
The useless mechanism of public services under the direction of the state has, as can be seen, been radically transformed. That labyrinth of confusions, officially elevated to dogmas, to axiomatic truths, which imbued even the most eminent men of science with error, which led society astray in a chaos of injustice and iniquity. That labyrinth has disappeared to give place to the great work of liberty, of labour and individual initiative, so long stunted, so long unknown in its virtues, so long vitiated and corrupted by an infectious social milieu forcibly imposed and forcibly maintained.
Of what use in the “New Utopia” would be an armed army? Of what use would be an organisation of espionage, of police? Of what use would be an organisation of justice, armed with the spirit of revenge? Of what use would be institutions to promote public works, to govern the treasury, to regulate cults, to maintain foreign relations? Of what use would be hospitals, prisons, almshouses, nursing homes or relief homes? Of what use would be institutes and universities? Of what use would be the ridiculous farce of diplomacy?
Citizens have in the “New Utopia” a fairer and more rational self-concept. Force and espionage is proper to guard against wild beasts, not men. Revenge is a quality of the gods, as they used to say in ancient times, and the human being is at present very far from considering himself on a par with these representations of unleashed passion. The promotion of public works and the government of the treasury are functions for which the citizen is sufficient, without the need of powers to supplant them. The regularity of worship is a matter for personal sentiment, free from all unnatural aberrations. Foreign relations are the direct responsibility of the people, since sincerity has taken the place of diplomacy. Hospitals, prisons, hospices, nursing and nursing homes, all belong to the category of institutions created by power to remedy in part the suppression of individual and collective strength. A mask of governmental hypocrisy, it has been torn off by destroying the very principle of government, of centralising absorption. Official colleges and universities, set up to foster erroneous and conventional teaching, within narrow and coercive limits, are superfluous where freedom has invaded everything. Education cannot and must not be organised like a barracks or a convent.
Look for the relationship between the present and the past and you will hardly perceive the trace of what it was. An immense continuity solution mediates between yesterday and today. This solution of continuity has a name: revolution.
And it is because of this revolution that such an immense change has taken place, not only in the order of public life, but also in the order of private life. Everything has changed: principles of society, economy and justice; production, exchange and consumption; science, art and work; education, assistance and solidarity. The customs of the people in the moral order have undergone a profound upheaval. Neither the priest, nor the judge, nor ambition, nor deceit intervene in the constitution of families. Love presides over all unions; freedom brings them into being. The free man, the free woman, love each other and unite. Ritual formulas: each one adopts what he wants. The intervention of the father and the friend of the fellow-citizen, more than imposed, requested, often accompanies these solemnities of life. It is, if I may say so, a patriarchal custom, even if it is a step backwards. Mutuality of affection is enough to resolve all these questions. Social customs determine, better than laws and without impositions, the ways and forms of consecrating what is previously consecrated by love. The needs of statistics can be satisfied without the intervention of an officially imposed register. Births and deaths are, like the constitution of families, data that everyone willingly provides.
There are undoubtedly frictions, disagreements and differences. The “New Utopia” is not a city of angels, but of men, but were there not angels in the system overturned by the revolution? Were not the differences, the dissent, more numerous and deeper? It is not for man to suppress them, but to avoid and remedy them. Liberty can well replace this useless, and more than useless, harmful organism. What does it matter if it cannot avoid or eliminate some of the inconveniences suggested by nature itself?
The “New Utopia” is a small sketch of human society. Without limits, without frontiers, the good news has spread throughout the world. There remain some unconquered corners, lagging behind in the progressive movement of society in general. They are crystallisations that bear witness to a bygone age. From North to South, East to West, the world has been regenerated. Races and peoples have merged into a universal confederation, bound together by the identity of sentiments, aspirations and interests.
Perhaps this is only the constituent period of the revolution; perhaps the social elements tend to be definitively and permanently constituted by virtue of the new principles practised. Societies are like the isothermal reactions of chemistry, which by themselves take place and form complex, permanent bodies, as long as a new force, a new factor does not bring about the necessary reactions to more complex states of matter.
But, whatever else it may be, the “New Utopia” is fully immersed in the principle of justice, and by this principle it subsists and progresses. There, all forces are united in the common goal of human happiness. The struggles of religion and politics no longer engage men in fratricidal wars. The fullness of rights enshrined in liberty makes any violent clash of affections and interests impossible.
What can trouble the inhabitants of the “New Utopia”?
Revolution is its origin, Justice its end. A regenerated people, emancipated by such a powerful effort, will not allow itself to be robbed of its precious conquest.
Who else can have any interest in it?
Let us sing, then, of our victory; let us sing of the glorious transformation bequeathed to us by a generation of heroes; let us sing of the indestructible possession of the new idea. The eternal principles of renewal, of revolution, assure us of the present and the future.
To work, to change, to consume, to study, to enjoy, to live, in short, in the highest expression of the word, is our common aspiration. To progress, to perfect ourselves, our constant yearning.
Come, you black shadows of the past, to snatch away our conquest! Come to plunge us back into the horrors of worry and fanaticism! Come to destroy this great work of the most imperishable of all revolutions!
That world promised in ethereal regions by those interested in maintaining the captivity here below, no longer seduces us. Your better world, you dupes of humanity, has been given to us by the same revolution that has destroyed you.
How we laugh at your theological claptrap; how we delight in your spiritual pastimes; how we enjoy your political capers!
Our present has broken completely with your past. Do not try to reverse the direction of the world. Everything marches forward, without looking back, without caring for the one who seems to be crushed by the giant of revolution. Small stone placed on the rail, it will be crushed by the mighty locomotive in its swift race.
Martyrs of the revolution, heroes of the ideal who dared to fight with the colossus of tyranny, rise up and admire your work! Generous beings who knew how to sacrifice your lives for the freedom of your children, rejoice in your attempt! Utopians of yesterday, who strenuously perished for your idea, come and behold your dreams realised!
The cyclonic impetus of the revolution has swept away the miasmas of the past and the splendid sun of freedom is shining on the world.
The rejoicing humanity shouts from one end to the other Eureka, eureka and bursts into exclamations of joy and sings united hymns of glory to the great revolution that has broken all chains and overthrown all tyrants.
“New Utopia” happy, the world greets you and reveres you at last, because you are the truth realised, you are the ideal dream conquered. In thee converge all the unknown virtues of human nature; in thee are summed up the supreme good, the supreme happiness; in thee live in harmonious bliss all the powers, once dormant, of justice, of goodness, of human happiness. You are the beginning, the means and the end of all things; you are the finished expression of the new life; you are the light, the reason, the science, the nature, the justice; you are the universal truth accepted by all.
Glory to the humanity that gives you life! Glory to the man who realises you! Glory to the freedom that breathes in you!
Immortal glory to the new world!