Zo d’Axa 1896


Source: L’En-Dehors 1896;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.

They talk of anarchy.

The dailies are roused. Comrades are interviewed and “L’Éclair” among other things, says that there is a split among the anarchists.

It’s on the matter of theft that opinions are divided.

Some, it is said, want to build it into a principle; others irrevocably condemn it.

Well! It would be impossible for us to take a position on such a question. This theft could seem to us good and should be approved; that one we could find violently repugnant.

There is no Absolute.

If the facts lead us today to specify such and such a way to see and be, every day, in the lively articles of our expressive collaborators, our determination has been clearly affirmed:

Neither in a party or a group.


We go our way — individuals, without the Faith that saves and blinds. Our disgust with society doesn’t engender in us any immutable convictions. We fight for the joy of the battle, and without any dream of a better future. What do we care about tomorrows that won’t come for centuries! What do we care about our grand-nephews! We are outside of all laws, of all rules, of all theories — even anarchist; it’s from this instant — right away — that we want to surrender to our pity, our outbursts, our gentleness, our rages, our instincts — with the pride of being ourselves.

Up till now nothing has revealed to us the radiant beyond. Nothing has given us a constant criterion. Life’s panorama changes without ceasing, and the facts appear to us under a different light depending on the hour. We will never react against the attractions of contradictory points of view. It is simple. The echo of vibrant sensations resounds here. And if impetuosity disorients by its unexpectedness, it’s because we speak of the things of our time as would primitive barbarians who have suddenly fallen among them.


It would never occur to us to pose us judges. There are thieves who displease us : that’s certain; and that we’d attack : that’s probable. But that would be for their allure rather than for the brute fact.

We will not put in play eternal Truth — with a capital T.

It’s a matter of impression.

A hunchback could displease me more than an amiable recidivist.