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Contrast

By B.Traven (21 December 1921)

Sunday 25 May 2008

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français] [italiano]

Think! But you can’t think, because you need statutes, because you have
administrators to elect, because you have ministers to enthrone, because you can’t
live without government, because you can’t live without a boss.


You yield your voices only to lose them, and when you yourselves want to use them,
you don’t have them anymore, you miss them because you gave them up.

Think! You don’t need anything else. Become conscious of the serene passivity which
exists inside you, in which your invincible power is rooted. With a calm and
carefree heart let economic life crumble down; it never brought me happiness and
neither will it bring you any. Consciously, let industry rot, otherwise it will rot
you.

You go on strike. Well done, bunch of serfs! Industry gets fat from your strikes and
starves you. You go on strike and you win. Oh winners! What you have won is a tiny
chunk of bread: while you were celebrating victory, the loser bought two estates.
Oh, you who win! You who persuade! Your leader has become a minister, proud winners!

Because you need a plush sofa! It’s the mark of your servitude. You will remain
slaves for as long as you hold onto and tend to your plush sofa…

So destroy economic life, not only on the inside but also on the outside. It is upon
the ruins of industry that your freedom flowers, not upon industry’s fortresses and
castles.

Let your money be devoured by worms and larvae, extort a salary twenty times greater
and reduce your work to a hundredth of that which you are able to offer, and
happiness will return to you multiplied by a hundred.

Incense in a church or chatting at a meeting are the same thing. To read or to buy a
newspaper is to learn hymns by heart.

No god will help you, no programme, no party, no ballot paper, no masses, no unity.
I’m the only one able to help myself. And it is within myself that I will help all
the people whose tears overflow.

I help myself. Brother, help yourself! Act! Be will! Be action!

You shout: Long live world revolution! It sounds very nice. But are the telegraph
cables already between your hands? Have you already blown up a rotary press? You
shout: Long live world revolution! But your brother, who you hold between your arms,
already doesn’t hear your cry. How could the universe hear you?

Don’t buy yourself Sunday clothes and don’t be ashamed to sleep on planks at home,
and to walk along posh roads without trousers, laughing; it furthers the revolution
more than singing The Internationale or studying the conjuring tricks which the
popes of Berlin and Moscow have for sale.

Ret Marut, dithyrambs in Der Ziegelbrenner, n.35/40, 21st December 1921.