To Your Liberty
is the Government
You Are Not Self-Ruling
Liberty. It is a single word that has been used to express and describe so many ideas, many of them contradictory. But is there a single thread that makes up its fabric? Is there anything about liberty that is the same for its meaning and purpose everywhere? By the time it became a popular idea, wherever it rose up, the rulers and masters were ready to accept it... if only, they accepted it as a word. In the representative government of the United States, children are forced to sit through "liberty's pledge" every morning. And in the dictatorship of Communist China, its oppressive army is known as "the People's Liberation Army."
But those who suffer for freedom know exactly what it means. It is the right to be your own-decision maker, to be your own subject and master, to be ruled only by your conscience and not by orders. The community has no right to restrict or control you, except in its own self-defense. Using these twin concepts, of individual self-governance and community self-interest, the philosophy of liberty was born. Its adherents, though, range from Liberals and Republicans to Anarchists, Socialists, and even Nationalists. Liberty became this beautiful prophet of the new world; and once the people made a friendly relationship with the idea, governments and rulers had to make the same effort.
Freedom has been defined in the context of government. Writers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Plato defined liberty as a freedom from rulers and masters. This was a logical choice, since an individual's right to decision-making has been taken away by police officers, standing armies, and elected politicians. Government is the greatest threat to you living your life as you desire, to forming your own personal society and philosophy as you best see it. Jails for holding those who write or think "dangerous ideas;" wars that sacrifice the poor and enrich the already wealthy; a police force that is unrestrained in its brutality, its force, and its bloodlust. These are threats to your liberty -- and they all stem from the powers of government.
Where can you imagine that you will be limited or excluded, except by government and force? Even Capitalism is meaningless beyond government and force. If the people were to rise up, and take the land they have cultivated, and the factories that they have built, who would possibly stop them? It could only be by a private army hired by the possessors of wealth. In short: it could only be government.
Those in support of these violent actions will defend them as being "compatible with liberty." They may argue that farmers taking the land they work, laborers taking the machines they built, is theft. And the rights of the wealthy are being infringed. But it is certain that those who claimed property were excluding others from it. The Capitalist, in possessing land and refusing people who want to labor it, is stealing from the community. For the idea of private property is simply a human convention, contrived by human beings and equally disposable by human beings -- if we accepted it because it enriched the people at that time, today can reject it because it has become our burden.
Government, in defending these "rights of the people," sets itself against justice. Not only does it defend those who steal from the people -- it prevents those who have been victimized by Capitalism from reclaiming what is truly theirs. The system of private property has created artificial famine and manufactured winters, because prices rise when capitalists underproduce. This has become the standard, and anyone who tries to resist the aggressions of capital will find themselves fighting the state.
Even when there was no government, and if you had to defend yourself from any aggressor -- at least you could defend yourself, whereas in government you can only defend yourself as much as the ruling class is willing. And in State Capitalism, they've used the police to break union strikes and to shoot at peace protesters. That is how much freedom the state will allow you to have.
The inheritance of our planet's living creatures includes the right to live on this planet and to benefit from it; and this right is restricted by government. It guards capitalism, keeps the majority of wealth in the hands of the few, invents regulations to increase taxes and profits while leaving poverty and unemployment untouched. You do not even have the liberty to defend yourself from a system that threatens you with hunger, starvation, and homelessness if you don't comply -- the system of employers, bosses, supervisors, investors, managers, and CEOs.
In your personal liberty, it is the first to invade. In what you write, what you think, what you believe, what you worship or don't worship -- the first organization to ever interfere with what you're doing is going to be the state. Whether prompted by special-interest groups or churches or the right-wing or the nobility, it is government that uses force upon you. It is government that threatens you with prisons and jails if you do not submit to their laws -- if you do not obey the lords of industry and economy.
If someone wishes to really protect our liberty, the most important thing is to organize people so that they are ready to resist the law. Government is the greatest threat to liberty. Resistance to government is the only thing that can secure our rights and freedoms. If the people are readily organized and prepared, if they know who is their enemy and how to fight back, then liberty will have a real guardian. Then society will have the tools and necessary preparation to resist and fight back when the government tries to take away their rights. Then, it will not be a sudden effort, of people finally realizing that they are repressed, and fighting back against a gigantic, inhuman machine, against incredible odds. If we are readily prepared and work with the understanding that all government is opposed to liberty, then we will actually have a chance at protecting liberty.
Patriots and those who speak so much of their "nation's freedom" have taken the opposite direction. Instead of feeling their own nation to be oppressing them, it is actually an alien nation that is oppressing them. This feeling is cultivated most by the masters of their own country: those who stand to benefit by stirring up their people into the conquest and slavery of another people. Those who fight for established governments do not make themselves free, but they impose their tyrants' will upon others. The state never stops making itself felt in the most vicious and violent ways.
To resist those who would take away our freedom, we must be organized. We must be prepared and ready. We must use strategy in choosing our forms of action, in choosing the targets of our activity. We must be ready to fill the streets with our message, to plaster our philosophy in the public forum, to report and inform the public of our behavior to the greatest extent. A federation of free, mutual, voluntary organizations -- some unions, some collectives, some affinity groups, some worker cooperatives, some activist associations. This is how we will fight back: by organizing and directing our struggle meaningfully against the state.