The State: Its Historic R6l$.
later that of the State, which, after a flourishing period, resulted in the
death of the country.
The evolution began again in Assyria, in Persia, in Palestine. Again
it traversed the same phasis: the tribe, the village community, the free
city, the all-powerful State, and finally the result was—death !
A new civilization then sprang up in Greece. Always beginning by
the tribe, it slowly reached the village commune, then the period of republican cities. In these cities, civilization reached its highest summits.
But the East brought to them its poisoned breath, its traditions of despotism. Wars and conquests created Alexander's empire of Macedonia.
The State enthroned itself, the blood-sucker grew, killed all civilization,
and then came—death !
Rome in its turn restored civilization. Again we find the primitive
tribe at its origin; then, the village commune; then, the free city. At
that stage, it reached the apex of its civilization. But then came the
State, the Empire, and then—death !
On the ruins of the Roman Empire, Celtic, Germanic, Slavonian and
Scandinavian tribes began civilization anew. Slowly the primitive tribe
elaborated its institutions and reached the village commune. It remained at that stage till the twelfth century. Then rose the Republican
cities which produced the glorious expansion of the human mind, attested by the monuments of architecture, the grand development of
arts, the discoveries that laid the basis of natural sciences. But then
came the State...
Will it again produce death ?—Of course it will, unless we reconstitute society on a libertarian and anti-State basis. Either the State will
be destroyed and a new life will begin in thousands of centres, on the
principle of an energetic initiative of the individual, of groups, and of
free agreement; or else the State must crush the individual and local
life, it must become the master of all the domains of human activity,
must bring with it its wars and internal struggles for the possession of
power, its surface-revolutions which only change one tyrant for another,
and inevitably, at the end of this evolution,—death !
Choose yourselves which of the two issues you prefer.