The sentiment is widespread – the slogan has been tirelessly repeated, but almost nothing has been said about what actually can be done to “smash the State”. Here are a few practical suggestions:
Refuse to work for any agency, department, or bureau of government. Disaffiliate yourself from any employment that furthers coercion, no matter what form. Forget about trying to “change from within”; sure you have to make a living, but if you’re working in a government research laboratory or a Selective Service office, your efforts aid, not hinder, government control. Remember – the State desperately needs to co-opt your talents. If you and thousands like you resigned, far more good could be accomplished than by furthering authoritarianism in fact while opposing it in theory. Build alternatives to the present form of society.
Actively resist the State’s domination over you in whatever ways you are able. But don’t feel guilty when you find there are too many injustices for you to fight them all. The State should feel guilty, not you. Do what you can.
Continually improve your ability to express yourself in at least one language. Strive after perfection in the usage of your native tongue. Learn it well and use it often. It is your one friend, your basic tool, and your fluency and persuasiveness in it will ultimately determine whether or not your ideas are accepted by the people.
Write write write write write. Constantly write and speak to get your thoughts before a wide audience. Set forth what you have to say in as understandable a form as you can contrive. Don’t be afraid to reiterate; the diffuse genius with scores of ideas he expresses once only, will be overlooked and lost in obscurity. The persistent man who expresses, restates, enlarges upon, and expounds his single thought – he stands a chance of being heard. Incessant repetition and doggedness elevates mediocre or false ideas to the stature of truth, and low, mean men to high positions. Now let’s use the technique to get rid of them.
If you oppose authority, you are an Anarchist. The implements of your trade are the typewriter and the printing press. Ignore the secret police provocateurs who will try to persuade you to take up bombs and guns against the State. If every Anarchist in the world killed twenty government agents and dynamited $100,000 worth of government offices, all that would happen would be that every Anarchist in the world would be sentenced to death. The State would not be deflected even an iota from its normal patterns. But with the typewriter and the printing press, you can manufacture articles far more deadly and effective than bombs. Buy a mimeograph machine and learn how to use it. Long after the smoke and destruction of a bomb is forgotten, products of your imagination and creativity can live on, making tiny explosions inside people’s minds.
Running through the streets screaming unintelligibly; giving the clenched fist salute and yelling “power to the people” – are superb gestures. For the insane. But if you think about it, the very thing we want to end is “power”, at least power of people over other people. So a slogan like “power to the people” (What power? Which people? Power to do what? To whom?) essentially has no meaning. Too inexact. And even if it did have any meaning, shrieking and howling it through the streets at night in a mob would be a next to worthless way of communicating that meaning. It might be even worse than worthless, because some individuals who might have taken you seriously will now dismiss you and your ideas as idiocy. Who knows? Maybe they’re right. Reject the pigs who call for trashing and looting. Nine of ten such episodes end in punishment for innocent people, while the pigs who caused it all get safely away. Even if anything does come down on the guilty, they just rip off their friends to pay the fine, or bail or whatever. They never suffer. In fact, they’re probably chortling all the way to the FBI office. Keep away from such people if you really want to smash the State.
Never neglect your education. Learn as much as you can about as many subjects as you can – avoid writing or speaking in ignorance. If you have no idea what’s inside a computer, don’t spout reams of theory about what computers can do or you may be wrong. If you can’t produce a coherent explanation of how an electric doorbell works, don’t extol the virtues of technology, or you may be made to appear ridiculous. Talk about subjects you know, otherwise you will only do harm.
Thoroughly dissect and expose the numberless inconsistencies of governmental theory. Hammer away at the State’s lies, false assurances, mistakes, stupid errors and injustices. The time hasn’t quite arrived when back numbers of newspapers and magazines are altered daily to conform to a legislated view of reality; hence, though politicians strive frantically to maintain an air of infallibility, we can still point out how their hasty, expedient prognostications of yesteryear have not yet been borne out by subsequent facts.
Oppose religion wherever and however possible. When at long last deistic superstition vanishes from the face of the earth, the States of the world will have lost their principal mode of effecting and enforcing subservience and abject humility. Erasure of religion’s mind-befuddling contradictionism will enable individuals to live without fear and psychosis, freely interacting and accepting responsibility for their own actions.
Always fight on your own battlefield. Refuse to be drawn into disadvantageous conflict planned and stacked against you. If pigs stop you when you are alone and push you and call you names, flash a glassy smile and say nothing. Why fight when and where they choose? Wait till you get to the place of your choosing – the typewriter, printing press, or microphone, for instance; then hit them with all you’ve got. If they try to beat you at your own game, they will be as much at a disadvantage as you were in theirs. Basic logic patterns and language fluency you have developed can cast pigs into ridicule and annihilate them.
At some time you will discover that an associate close to you is a secret police agent. People you thought were friends will slowly reveal themselves as latent politicians or thieves trying to rip off movement funds. Don’t tremble or become discouraged – fight on – write on.
Never trust anyone. Nobody but you can be depended upon to carry out projects you conceive, so learn how to do everything yourself. That way, no matter if everyone abandon you, all will continue as before. Propaganda will roll on with no lessening of intensity, and the Anarchist idea will be broadcast without even a moment’s dead air.
Intensify your life. Struggle to cut down on the amount of time you lose by sleeping. Naturally one must rest, but an extra hour of working time a day adds up to more than a whole extra day each month, more time available than most so-called “anarchists” put in during a year of do-nothing ego-trips. Using time wisely, a single fanatic can equal or surpass the efforts of an entire organization of whimps.
Work selflessly and untiringly, give everything you can, do whatever is in your power to aid those unjustly imprisoned by the State. Know, however, that when you are imprisoned, inevitable in this totalitarian society, you and your efforts will be forgotten, and you will languish abandoned.
So live every day as though it is your last. Save time out to look at the trees and stars; to consider what you are doing; to reaffirm your committment to the world of ideas, to propaganda, to non-violence – to Anarchism!
The world will be little changed for what you do. Your work will be misunderstood and grossly misrepresented. You will be detested. But you are smashing the State.
Don’t ever give up.
Originally appeared in the July 1971 issue of The Match