J. Morrison (John Morrison) Davidson.

New politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. online

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list of our national institutions is inscribed.

What to substitute ? The Initiative and Referendum ;
and already is that " two-handed engine at the door,
which, smiting once, shall smite no more." In the
Parish Councils Act, as 1 have shown in " The
Village for the Villagers," these vital principles of
Democratic Government have received an application
as bold as it was unlocked for, and I firmly believe
that, in time, this modern Saturnus Referendus will
devour all his children — Queen, Lords and Commons
included. In the United States of Great Britain and
Ireland all important projects of law, whether of State
or Federal origin, will then have to be periodically
(say, once or twice a year) submitted — Yes or No ?
— to the Open Vote, or Ballot, of the Parish
Electorates, enactment or non-enactment depending
on the issues.

This, to be sure, is a very sanguine saying or
prophecy, especially at a time when not one" Free-
born Briton " in a hundred thousand has anything


but the haziest notions regarding the origin, history,
or purpose of the Initiative and Reftrendiim — of Demo-
cratic as distinct from Representative Government. But
though ignorance is mighty, truth is invincible, and
I am satisfisd that when once the principles of
Democratic Government shall have been fairly set forth
they will "go" like wildfire. So convinced am I of
this that, if I had any reasonable assurance of ten
years more of journalistic life in me, I should gladly
devote them all to the overthrow of the Representative
regime and the ushering in of the New Democratic
Order. But recently I went on a short lecturing
tour in the larger towns of Scotland and the North of
England, and no subject to which I made allusion
awakened half the intelligent interest and inquiry,
aroused by what little I had to say regarding the
Initiative and Referendum.

Let us now make a brief excursion to the Father-
land of the Referendum — Switzerland. It is a land
of romance, and we are wont to regard it as the
historic stronghold of European Freedom. But this
is only very partially true. There never, for example,
was any such personage as our childhood's hero,
William Tell. The Dryasdusts (worse luck to them !)
have not left so much as a vestige of him. Never-
theless, though Switzerland, as a whole, was the
home of despotism rather than of Freedom, it is still
true that there, from time immemorial, was to be
found hidden away the true democratic leaven which
existed nowhere else. For a thousand years, in the
ancient secluded Cantons (Commonwealths) of Glarus,
Uri, Unterwald and Appenzell, the two great tests of
true Democracy had been abundantly vindicated,
viz. : —

(i). That the entire Citizens should vote the

(2). That Land is not property, and can only be
justly held for use.


But the traditions of Switzerland generally were
very different. The oligarchic cities and feudal
bishoprics of the old Swiss League, which lasted for
six centuries, were hotbeds of oppression, and it was
not really till 1848 — the Annus Mimhilis of European
revolution — that the modern Swiss Republic was
born. The Federal, {i.e., National) Referendum dates
only from 1874, and the Federal Initiative from
189 1. This is how the present movement in favour
of " politics without politicians " began :

For a little over a year previous to the Napoleonic
Coup d' etat of December 2nd, 1851, there appeared
in Paris a weekly called the Democratie Pacijiqtie. It
was the mouthpiece of such thinkers as Martin
Rittinghausen, Emile Girardin, Louis Blanc, and
Victor Considerant. It advocated gouvernement direct
du peuple, was received with considerable favour, and
as many as thirty French journals espoused the
cause. But in a single night, black with villainy,
Napoleon the Little cut short its career and " saved

The Referendists then made Switzerland their
headquarters, and thsre, old practice and new theory
were first successfully wedded in the Canton of
Zurich. In i86g, Karl Biirkli, and others less known
to fame, carried the Initiative. It was speedily fol-
lowed by its correlative, the Referendum, in the obliga-
tory iovm, with the result, in the words of Biirkli, that —

The Plutocratic Government and Grand Council (Legisla-
ture) of Zurich, which had connived with the private banks and
railways, were pulled down in one great voting swoop. The
people had grown tired of being beheaded by the office-holders
after every election.

This gave the start to the two great principles of

Democratic Government, viz : —

(i) That every Citizen shall have the right to
submit projects of law to his fellow-citizens
(The Initiative.)


(2) That the majority of citizens shall actually
accept or reject projected laws (Tht

How stands the matter to-day ? In Switzerland
there are 22 Cantons (States) and 2,706 Communes
(parishes or townships). Of the latter the vast
majority are like unto our own new Parish Meetings,
only much more so. Of the Cantons seventeen
already respond to the Initiative and all but one
(Freiburg) to the Referendum, in some form or other.

The Referendum is either (i) Obligatory, or (2)
Optional. It is obligatory — and all the strong forces
are making for obligation — where every law and
every expenditure beyond a fixed maximum must
be put to the vote ot the Citzenship. It is optional
where the Legislature, having passed an enactment,
is petitioned by a fixed proportion of the Citizens —
from one-sixth to one-fourth usually — to put it to the
vote of the Citizens.

How near the Swiss have already come to the
total abolition of Representative Government the follow-
ing table will show : —

No. of Mode of

Canton. Inhabitants Passing

Dec. 1888. Laws.

Uri 17.249 Open Assembly.


Obwald 15,041 „

Niwald 12,538 ,,


Outer 54.109

Inner 12,888 „

Glarus 33.825

Zurich 337.183 Obligatory RefeienduCv

Berne 536,679 ,, „

Schwyz 50.307 ,, J,

Soleure 85,621 ,,

Bale (Country) 61,941 ,, «

Grisons 94,810 ,, „

Aargau 193.580 „ ^

Thurgau 104,678 ,,


No of Mode of

Canton. Inhabitants Passing

Dec 1888. Laws.

Lucerne ••135,360 Optional Referendum.

Geneva 105,509 ,, „

Zug 23,029 ,,

Bale (City) ... 73,740
Schauffhausen 37,783

St Gall . 228,160

Vaud 247,655 ,,

Ticino 120,751

Neuchatel 108,153 ,, ,,

Valais 101,985 Financial Referendum.

Freiburg ii9>i55 Representative Legislature.


As yet the Federal Referendum has only assumed
the Optional form. It must be demanded by 30,000
citizens or eight Cantons, within ninety days after
the publication of any law, or decree of the Execu-
tive. Between 1874 and i8gi, 149 Federal laws and
decrees were passed, and out of these 27 were
challenged by the requisite 30,000 citizens — result,
accepted 12, rejected 15. The Federal Constitution
may be amended at any time by Referendum on the
demand of 50,000 citizens. A like number is re-
quired for the Federal Initiative.

In Switzerland four languages are spoken — French,
German, Italian and Romansch ; while in religion
the people are sharply divided into Romanists,
Protestants, and Rationalists. Yet is there no strain
on the Constitution, because all feel that to antago-
nise a Government, whose watchword is " Every
Man his ov/n Legislator," would be absurd.

How far we sluggish, precedent-ridden islanders
are off this lofty, but by no means unattainable, ideal
of Democratic Government one can only guess. But sure
I am that all thinking men and women among us are
heart-sick of the mockery of Representative Govern-
ment, and will rejoice, whenever occasion offers, to



throw Queen, Lords, Commons, and all vain Party
Politicians to the young lions of Democracy — the
Initiative and Referenduvi — by them to be devoured,
and their names for ever blotted out from the
Democratic Book of Life.



And I beheld the tears of such as were oppressed, and they
had no comforter, and on the side of their oppressors there was


Learning without tkought is labour lost : thought without
learning is perilous indeed. — Confucius.

HAT is Anarchy ? " Society " is puzzled,
bewildered, dumbfounded, does not know
what to think, can only senselessly ban
and rave. Yet Anarchy is, at least, as
old as the Christian religion ; nay, properly under-
stood, is the Christian religion in its primitive

But, needless to say, it is not properly understood
by the desperate men who seek to propagate its
principles by bomb and dagger. Comtism, it has
been said, is Roman Catholicism with God left out.
In likewise, the Anarchy of a Vailliant or a Santo is
Christianity, with its distinctive element, love, left out,
ant] hate put in its place. Just as the Anarchy
taught and practised by Christ and His apostles is the
best of all systems ever propounded, or likely to
be propounded in this world, so the Materialis'
Anarchy of the hour is the worst. Corruptio optimi
pessima. The one is God's Anarchy, the other the
devil's Anarchy.

And what is most striking;, in the whole deplorable


business, is that the world of Mammon and the
"Classes" cannot utter a single word of efiective
moral rebuke to the bomb-and-dagger propagandists.
Society can only say to them : " We have a
majority on our side and are well provided with
policemen, judges, jailers and hangmen, and hanged
and guillotined ye shall be."

In truth Society trusts to precisely the same
weapons of the flesh as the Anarchist. Nay, the
one lesson that the State inculcates above all others
is that there is no remedy except force. " Thou shalt
not kill ! " say statesman and priest to the Ravachols
and the Henrys ; but what do the statesman and
the priest themselves in the way of observing this
aboriginal, universally-binding Commandment ? The
one organises huge armies for purposes of wholesale
murder and, when the hideous work is satisfactorily
achieved, the other comes in and impiously exults, in
the name of the Merciful and Compassionate One,
over massacred multitudes led by them to the

We punish (said old Seneca), murders and massacres com-
mitted among private persons. What do we respecting wars and
the glorious crime of murdering whole nations ? Here avarice
and cruelty know no bounds. Barbarities are authorized by
decrees of the Senate, and the votes of the People ; and
enormities forbidden to private persons are ordered and sanc-
tioned by legislators. Things, which, if men had done in their
private capacity, they would have paid for with their lives, the
very same things we extol to the skies, when they do them with
their regimentals on their backs.

"Companion" Vaillant got hxsmotd'oYdve, according
to his diary, from Herbert Spencer: while Santo seems
to have drawn his inspiration from the far more
direct and intelligible Bakounine. Here is a choice
extract from that grim Russian nobleman's " Revo-
tionary Catechism," which will be something for
the " Classes " to ponder in connection with their
Gospel of Force : —


The Revolutionist is a man under a vow. He ought to have
no personal interests, no business, no feelings, no property. He
ought to be entirely absorbed in one single interest, one single
thought, one single purpose, one single passion — the Revolution.
He has only one aim, one sc\cnce— Destruction . For that, and
for nothing else, he studies mechanics, physics, chemistry and
sometimes medicine. He despises and detests existing moruhty,
Between him and Society there is war— war to the death,
incessant, irreconcilable. He ought to be ready to die, to
endure torture, and with his own hands to kill all who place
obstacles in the way of the Revolution. So much the worse for
him if he has, in this world, any ties of relationship, of friend-
ship, of love.

Such then, in all their nakedness, are the methods
by which the Revolution is to be accomplished. Let
us now see what the Revolution itself is to be like,
when it comes. The gist of the Anarchist case was
thus set forth, in a remarkable Confession of Faith,
read, by a spokesman, at the trial of forty-seven
Anarchist insurgents, at Lyons, in 1883.

We wish liberty — that is to say, we demand for every human
being the right and the means of doing that which pleases him,
to satisfy integrally all his wants, without any other limits than
natural impossibilities and the wants of neighbours equally

We wish liberty, and we believe its existence incompatible
with the existence of any power whatsoever, whatever its
origin and form— whether it be elected or imposed. Monarchical
or Republican ; whether inspired by Divine right or by popular
right, by anointment or by universal suffrage.

The best Governments are the worst. The evil, in other terms, ia
the eyes of the Anarchists, does not reside in one form of
Government more than another ; it is in the idea of Goverment
itself, in the pi inciple of authority.

The substitution in a word, in human relatioBS, of Free C»n-
tract, perpetualy revisable and dissoluble is our ideal.

The Anarchists propose to teach the people how to get along
without Government.

They will learn, likewise, how to get along without property,
holders. No liberty without equality.

This, to be sure, is not the Anarchy of the Personal
Liberty and Property Defence League. It is the genuine
article, differing only from the Anarchy of Jesus of


Nazareth in the fact tiiat it eliminates the all-trans-
forming miracle-working factor of love from the
problem of Human Emancipation. Christ postulated
not merely a Causa Causaiis, but a God of Love, and
from that source His whole ethical system flows like
a river of crystal.

He repudiated jovu absolutely, and made lovi'
" the fulfilling of the law." And repudiating force
He necessarily repudiated the State, which is its
express embodiment. The Christian Anarchist,
therefore, is alone in a position to talk to the
Materialist Anarchist in the gate. To the ethic of
ftvct he opposes the ethic of lovt and, what is more, he
can demonstrate, from the pages of universal history,
that without Fvatevnity, Liberty and Equality are un-
attainable ideals. How far Proudhon, the greatest
name in connection with " Modern Anarchy,' is
responsible for the elimination of the Christian prin-
ciple of Fraternity from the inseparable Trinity —
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity — it is not easy to say,
for, unlike so many of his followers, he yielded to no
man in appreciation of the Master and His work : —

All at once (says he), a man appeared calling Himself Tht
Word of God. It is not known to this day who He was, whence
tie came, or what sui^j^ested to Him His ideas. He went about,
proclaiming everywhere that the end of existing society was at
liand ; that the world was about to experience anew birth ; that
the priests were viper", the lawyers ignoramuses, and the philo-
sophers hypocrites and liars ; that masters and slaves were
equals ; that usury and everything akin to it was robbery ; that
proprietors and idlers would one day burn, while the poor and
pure in heart would find a iiaven of peace.

Society was saved by the; negation of its own principles, by a
revolution in its religion, and by violation of its most sacred
rights. In this revolution the idea of justice spread to an extent
that had not before been dreamed of, never to return to its
original limits. Heretofore justice had existed only for tha
masters ; it then commenced to exist for the slaves.

And The Word of God, in spite of the " Classes,"
their priests, their philosophers, and their lawyers, is


not even yet wholly inaudible. Is it not heard
in the mouth of a Count Tolstoy, a Dr. Clifford, a
Bruce Wallace, a Kenworthy, not to mention scores
of other earnest witnesses to the truth ? The future
is with that " Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet
mighty in deed and word before God and all the
People," and such as strive, with heart and soul, to
speak and act, however insufficiently, in the spirit
and purpose of His infinite love.

It remains to glance, for a moment, at the attitude
of such nondescript Anarchists as Lords Bramwell
and Wemyss, Mr. Auberon Herbert, Mr. Wordsworth
Donisthorpe and the Liberty and Property Defence
Leaguers. To repudiate the State while fondly cling-
ing to its only begotten offspring — private property — as
" Individuahst Anarchists" would fain do, is worse
than illogical. It is, it seems to me, dishonest, and
peradventure, it will be found impossible ; and how,
in particular, a man of Mr. Donisthorpe's con-
spicuous intellectual vigour and high moral courage
should elect to wriggle in such a cleft stick I cannot
imagme. But such is Materialist Anarchy which
seeks in vain for itself an ethical basis in " Natural-
ism," where the Philosophic Doubter, now First
Lord of the Treasury in the faithful Commons, cor-
rectly surmises that none is to be found.

With Spiritual Anarchy — the Communist Anarchy
of Christ — it is altogether different. Jesus of
Nazareth, from the first, set His face like flint against
the institution of private property, alias " Mammon,"
and against the physical force by which alone the
State or Kingdom of Mammon can be upheld.
Abolish private property, and with it must go, almost
as a matter of course, kings and queens, lords
spiritual and lords temporal, ministers and M.P.'s,
soldiers and marines, judges and policemen, gaolers
and hangmen — in a word, the whole paraphernalia
of the pagan State. In private property they live,



move, and have their being. In the forum of the
Christian Conscience the entire bundle of egotisms
labelled " patriotism " is completely ruled out.

And this mighty social transformation — this
supreme revolution in human nature itself — Mr.
Donisthorpe would have us believe (see IVestmittster
Gazette, Aug. 3rd, '94), Christ sought to achieve by
other than peaceful means, because, though He
explicit!}' told Pilate, *' If My Kingdom were of this
world, tlien would My servants fight," He also with
profound insight said, in another connexion, " Vent
in mundum non latnrus pacem sed gladiiim.'" Unhappily,
It is always so. The truth that makes us free is ever
born of storm and tears, as our earth rose out of
chaos, and as man himself comes wailing into the
world. "The light shineth in darkness, and the
darkness comprehendeth it not." How should it ?
Was not Galileo visited with a dungeon for saying
the world moved ? But it is ever the " darkness "
that is the " sword."

Mr. Donisthorpe is on far firmer, and, indeed, on
indisputable ground when, in extenuation of the
odious crime of Caserio Santo, he reminds us " that
Caserio was not the one to hit first." In foully slay-
ing the good Carnot, Santo merely showed how well
he had learned the first lesson of the State's De Fide
Propaganda — viz., that there is no remedy except force.
If, for example, in the military livery of the British
State, Santo had gallantly gone forth to war and
superintended the indiscriminate slaughter of some
thousands of miserably fleeced and entirely innocuous
Egyptian fellaheen, in the interest of the Honourable
Mr. Shylock and his twenty five per cent " bonds,"
he would have been a hero of the first water and his
reward a peerage and ^25,000 down. His Grace of
Canterbury would have chimed in with a lusty " Te
Deum Laudamus," and Church as well as State
would have pronounced him blessed. As it was, the


misguided youth murdered one man, not in the
interest of Dives but of Pauper (as he imagined), and
he is all but universally execrated, and sent to the
guillotine as an unspeakable monster of iniquity 1

'Taint your eppylettes and feathers
Make the thing a grain more right ;

'Taint a-follerin' your bell-wethers
Will excuse you in His sight.

Ef you take a sword and drnr it,
And go stick a feller thru,
Guv'ment aint to answer for it,
God 'II send the bill to you.

To-day Europe is an armed camp ; to-morrow, as
likely as not, it will be one vast cockpit, compared
with which even militant Materialist Anarchy were
a thing of clemency and mercy. Woe unto you
hypocrites !

Must the vendetta go on ? Yes, until the Kingdom
of God «, and the Pagan State is no more for ever.


Force is no remedy. — John Bright.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, " An eye for an eye and
a tooth for a tooth ! "

But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil ; but whosoever
shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other

And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy
coat, let him have thy cloak also.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him
twain. — Matt. v. 38-41.

HE " Mayfair Bomb Outrage, " (Nov. '94).
whether intended to " remove " Mr,
Justice Hawkins or not, can hardly fail
to add to the odium that already
attaches to Anarchy and Anarchists. But there
are Anarchists and Anarchists, and it may therefore
be permissible to seize the opportunity to differ-
entiate between them.

The true Anarchist looks on the deeds of the
dynamiter with even more intense feelings of abhor-
rence than those by which the ordinary citizen is
inspired. He repudiates the State because the
State rests on force, which all history loudly pro-
claims to be no remedy. " He who taketh the
sword shall perish by the sword,"

The dynamiter likewise repudiates the State, but
vainly appeals to the State's sole weapon — forct.



He can only be compared to Beelzebub casting out
Beelzebub. The cement of any conceivable Anar-
chistic society is love — unconstrained brotherly kind-
ness — and for love the dynamiter would substitute

There is in truth nothing in common between
the profound Communistic Anarchy of which Christ
was the Founder and the crazy creed of the dyna-
miter, except that the State is repuditated by both.
Even as regards the economic question they are not
at one. Bombs and Communism are an inconceiv-
able mixture. Indeed, private property and force are
mseparable, and in their death they will not be
divided. When love reigns private property will be
no more. Common possission will as surely be the off-
spring of love as private property is now the child of

At best, Continental Anarchy is to be regarded
as a cry of despair. Tlie men of the bomb are not
all bad, though, of course, some thorough -paced
scoundrels have attached themselves to their ranks.
Some of them, indeed, are, I am assured, heroes
in their way, self-sacrificing to a fault, irreproach-
able in their lives, and chargeable with nothing
worse than ignorance and the fanaticism that springs
from ignorance.

Even the illiterate " Death to the Judges ! Death
to the Jurors ! Death to the Policemen ! " mani-
festo affords some food for reflection. It arraigns the
State in the persons of its executive officers, and
challenges its right to sit in judgment on the in-
dividual. " God ha'e mercy ! Hang a Bailie ! " to
say nothing of a bewigged and ermined Judge. Now
I would hang neither Bailie, Judge nor Policeman,
but they are nevertheless an odious crew, against
whom one's gorge involuntaril}' rises. I witnessed
Robert's exploits on " Bloody Sunday," and shall
never forget them. Nor is it possible to think of


the brutal sentences for trifling offences against
property, inflicted from time to time by such a
callous judicial ignoramus as Justice Day, without
feelings of the bitterest indignation and resentment.

Some time ago, it will be remembered, Day
sentenced three hungry lads, under eighteen years
of age, previously unconvicted, to lengthened terms of
imprisonment with hard labour for purloining a
piece of bacon! Now "oppression," we know,
" maketh a wise man mad," and, had I been one
of those victims, I question very much if the rank-
ling sense of injustice might not have impelled me
to avenge myself on so notoriously incompetent
a State functionary, who even added insult to injury
by prefacinglusvindictive judgments with an edifying
homily on the advantages of " short sentences ! "
" Out of evil evil flourishes ; out of tyranny tyranny

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Online LibraryJ. Morrison (John Morrison) DavidsonNew politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. → online text (page 5 of 13)