Reading The Words of the Immortal Gustav Landauer Assiduously  

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1/10/2006 4:25 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Reading The Words of the Immortal Gustav Landauer Assiduously

"One can throw away a chair and destroy a pane of glass; but those are idle talkers and credulous idolaters of words who regard the state as such a thing or as a fetish that one can smash in order to destroy it. The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another ‒ One day it will be realized that Socialism is not the invention of anything new, but the discovery of something actually present, of something that has grown…*We are the state, and we shall continue to be the state until we have created the institutions that form a real community and society of men.*" ‒ Gustav Landauer
"Schwache Stattsmanner, Schwacheres Volk!"
Der Sozialist, June, 1910

"…The realization of Socialism is always possible if a sufficient number of people want it. The realization depends not on the technological state of things, although Socialism when realized will of course look differently and develop differently according to the state of technics; *it depends on people and on their spirit*…Socialism is possible and impossible at all times; it is possible when the right people are there to will it and to do it; it is impossible when people either don't will it or only supposedly will it, but are not capable of doing it." ‒ Gustav Landauer
"For Socialism", quoted in Martin Buber,
Paths in Utopia
Translated by R.F.C. Hull

We see no violent terms or calls to take up arms against the state in the anarchy of Landauer. He quite correctly understands the state as us, not as an imaginary "them".

To try to smash a state is as foolish as one who, gazing in a mirror, does not like the image she or he sees, and so smashes the mirror.

Notice the use of the term 'fetish' in Landauer's first quote above. Landauer's command of language was exquisite. The Transderivational Morphology in his choice of the term 'fetish' is wholly intentional and masterfully applied.

It is not only, and perhaps not even principally, in our economic behavior that will, gradually, transform society, but also by way of our spiritual and sexual behavior, as determined by our Moral/Spiritual development.

While our interactions with one another as members of the same guilds and unions is very important, it is far more in our faults, failings and foibles as Human beings and in our common need to grow as people that we connect on the profoundest levels.

Alcoholics, for instance, feel a far greater affinity for their fellows in Alcoholics Anonymous than they do for their coworkers who are not recovering alcoholics. Indeed, many express the feeling that other AA members are more their family than their biological families are.

The same may be said, of course, for people engaged in other common struggles with ongoing and complex personal issues and problems. Such people are kindred spirits. They are united in sharing a common problem and are interdependent given the fact that they must create the solutions to their problems together, as other members of society are often woefully unequipped to deal with their problems, or even the proximate cause of their problems.

While "leftists" have always concentrated on considering Human being primarily in their capacities as workers, intentionally ignoring the intangible aspects of Human make-up, it will ultimately be in our recognizing our common Humanity in our personal, and even very personal lives, that will determine the shape our societies take on. The hope for a society that responds to our physical needs in a humane manner rests with our being compassionate toward one another on the more rarified levels of our existence.

The overall form society takes on is a function of how we, all of us, interact with those who we recognize as being our kindred spirits and upon our ability to recognize that we all need maximum succor from society, on the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical planes of our existence in order to evolve without suffering.

It is far more efficacious to go gently and serenely about the business of improving our interrelations with one another than to bother ourselves with "resistance", "struggle", "overthrow" and the like. Such an approach is, necessarily, counterproductive, as we are doing nothing but waging battle against ourselves in so doing and rendering ourselves incapable of entering into intimate community with others.

"We are the state, and we shall continue to be the state until we have created the institutions that form a real community and society of men."


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