The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 24 : Bishop to Rook
"If you want to trigger a revolt, focus on something that's tangible to the people," Spargo was adamant, "Exaggerate or fabricate some event, no matter how small or insignificant, and then use it as the basis for a battlecry."
"Ah, you Commies are quite sophisticated in the political thing," Agent 354 replied, "Use something trivial that you can easily believe in instead of something substantial you need to think about. You definitely have a grasp around politics."
"And you Cappies are quite sophisticated in the economic thing," Spargo returned the compliment, "I wouldn't invest in a factory unless I knew it was operated by a true, hot-blood Capitalist."
"Exaggerating an event seems perfect, especially the more that I consider it," Agent 354 said, "You're not going to deceive an entire population by running calculations by them on net-loss and net-gain that society has with authority versus without authority. Have them focus on some jewel of obsession, something that can easily enter the mind without hitting too many barriers, that's going to be what will do it. You can't chisel your way into the commoner's mind, you have to blast your way in."
"That's it, a blast! An explosion!" the Communist spy was getting excited.
"To execute the two leading Anarchists?" the Capitalist spy began to question the revolutionary tendencies of her newfound colleague, "That won't do it. Two others would just step up to take their place."
"No, that's not what I mean at all, not a blast like an explosion but a blast like blowing up a social idea," Spargo replied, "I mean just blowing up any old factory or mine. Nobody's going to suspect arson or espionage, since those places are always falling victim to those disasters. And when they try to tally up the dead, we remind the workers that it was Capitalists who sold them their building equipment."
"And we remind the local devoted and faithful that they're being called murderers and butchers by a youthful and ignorant upsurge of Communist rebellion," Agent 354 spoke fluidly and eloquently, perhaps almost honestly for a single moment, "We let the farmers that their farms are under constant threat of being confiscated under the name of 'collectivization' and we let the educated elite and their journalists and professors feel like they are about to endure prison life conditions underneath the words of 'equality of wages.'"
"One against the other," Spargo said, "Communism and Capitalism mean everything to everyone the world over. It's about time we bring that same difference to Anarchia. How could they not appreciate understanding it?"
"At least we have the privilege here of excluding that difference from this room where we discuss these things, don't you think so?" Agent 354 added in, with a half-grin.
And Spargo replied with another half-grin, "I've excluded the difference from my heart, that's why I can manipulate it so perfectly in my mind. For all that matters to people like you and me, who have always revered our mothers and fathers, respected our elders, and obeyed our masters, Communism and Capitalism are the same thing."
"You must be the most interesting person I've met in a long while," Agent 354 said, and then after inhaling and exhaling deeply, she finally said, "All right! Let's go kill some workers!"
Within the Anarchist utopia, one needs the right connections and the deepest of convictions to get close to explosives of any type, either through the university professors of chemistry or through the chemical workers association, but once that connection is made, the choices were endless. Spargo and Agent 354 acquired the necessary substances to produce an explosion and did so with leaving only the most minimal of proof that they had ever made such a request. Their arduous months of working hard and praying dutifully slowly gained them respect and trust from the community, and that's when they spent it like a currency to hide themselves from the more suspicious and curious of the common people. To gain the advantage again wouldn't be quite so easy, since there would be quite a few mysterious glances after the massive, public explosion, so this really was the only opportunity they could risk.
Fire and smoke, embers and ashes, screaming and running, dust and debris -- the explosion struck at one of the deepest iron mines of Anarchia, with tools and equipment, and even body parts, found for miles and miles in every direction. Agent 354 and Spargo made their mark. The two weren't very far from the scene when the blast ripped asunder that deep hole in the ground, and they quickly arrived at the scene, Agent 354 digging out rubble and Spargo carrying out wounded from the those cavernous depths. Both of them made certain that their activity would be noticed when Emma and Benjamin showed up, and it was this later fact that they were entirely depending upon. They were not disappointed.
"How many were there in the mine?" Emma asks the union stewardess.
"According to these time reports," the stewardess flips through several papers on a clipboard, "There must have been at least twenty down there, and we've only recovered two alive, three dead. And those alive are in horrible shape. We still need to find the others."
"Agreed," Emma replied, "We need to reroute the conveyor belts to hauling away rubble from the explosion. We can't blast our way to miners buried in a mine. We need to carefully pull stone by stone out of the way as we reach further and further down."
"Understood," the stewardess replied, "We have mechanics here who are capable of doing that. I'll explain to them the situation."
"How many loads of rubble are we extracting at our current rate right now?" Benjamin asked the shipping clerk.
"Approximately one ten every two minutes," the clerk replied.
"We're going to need the carts and porters to guarantee that this extraction can continue at its current rate," Ben replied, "If the outflow weakens, it's going to create a bottleneck that's going to put the lives of these hard-working miners on the line."
"We have a granite mine to the east and a lumber mill to the southeast," the clerk replied, "Both have been informed of the emergency and the dire need to borrow their equipment at this time, even if it means interrupting their work schedules. They've both already agreed to help us."
"Make sure the porters from the South Anarchian districts are informed of this calamity," Ben said, "Efficient communication may be the only thing that is going to help us save those laborers." The clerk nodded.
During the turmoil and the rushed energy of workers in desperation, Spargo looked up from a crevice in the mine and exchanged a glance with Agent 354. A few moments later, Spargo screamed in agony carrying a body over his shoulder, "Someone, come quick!" He wreathed as a body was held over his shoulders, and the many from the masses rushed quickly up to him. And once they had just been within a few feet, the base of the mine's entrance collapsed, filling the crowd with a plume of dust and smoke so that nobody could see a thing. Once the smoke had cleared, there was Spargo, holding the corpse of a miner, and a group of miners looking on.
"Those filthy Capitalists!" Spargo screamed, "Just to make a little extra profit, they sold cheap, unsafe machinery to our workers and created this horrible tragedy we all must now suffer!"
"We Capitalists are to blame!?" Agent 354 screamed from the other side of the mine where the porters and carters had been working, "It's you Communists who are always drunk and on drugs at the job, so why wouldn't a mistake like this happen when an important task is being handled by inept hands!?"
There was a burst of roaring and screaming, the clerks screaming, "We had three porters down there when the explosion went off!" and the miners responding, "We had more workers injured than you! Those porters were probably taking out safety beams so that they could sell them on the market!" A violent, tumultuous air erupted, Spargo screaming, Agent 354 screaming, the workers screaming, the carters screaming, but amidst all of this madness, there two silent creatures in the roar of confusion, Emma and Benjamin. And then finally, all fell silent when they finally opened their mouths.
"An investigation will be made and the causes of this accident will be determined," Emma said.
"We will find the person or the people responsible," Benjamin said, "And if we find that it's a mistake on behalf of human folly, then we shall take it upon ourselves to protect against such accidents in the future."
"But this isn't about marketers against communards, carter against miner, or Capitalist against Communist," Emma said, "It's about a community rationally determining the causes of its own suffering and correcting those causes itself."
"We're not against Communist or Capitalist," Benjamin added, "We're against the people or the accident responsible for killing these miners, the authority of mischief or accident against the liberty of the individual in mind and body."
A quiet descended upon the masses. "They're right, we need to get these human beings out of this disaster area as fast as possible," someone screamed, "Those miners down there are only waiting to suffocate."
"They're not right at all!" Agent 354 screamed, "They're not digging to save lives, they're digging to find more corpses, they don't want to get people out of their alive, they want to tally them up as more victims of Capitalism."
"We have lives to save here!" Benjamin replied, "And we don't have time to argue about this."
"Save it for your newspaper!" Emma said, "There are workers at your feet who need your help right now."
"More like corpses at your feet," Agent 354 said, "Go ahead, let the workers try and dig them up, see how many more fall in from their drunken stupor."
"And we should let you help us in doing this?" Spargo chanted, "Your cheap, shoddy equipment crushed human lives, and now you're going to cart them away in cheap, shoddy wheelbarrows, just before the axle shatters, the body falls in a ditch, and you walk away with a shrug and sigh, your legacy nothing more than delivering a disgraceful funeral!"
Others began to join in, as shouting and screaming made up the passions of the scene. "Ever since you switched to the suppliers from Crete, all of our baskets rot through and deliver several pounds of rubble and rock onto your feet!" ~ "Yeah, I've seen those baskets being used, you sit on them when you're drinking and smoking that dope! That's not how you're supposed to use it!" Spargo and Agent 354 were a bit startled by what was happening, as neither of them had even known about the issue with the baskets, but they were now ready to make profitable use of anything that could be used to break up these people.
"You know that we can't just pray for the metal to come out of the ground! We have to work, with our hands and our minds, to make something useful out of something that's not! You Capitalists could take a lesson from that!" ~ "You're the ones who can't manage your own finances! Even if you could dig up a rock that was worth the world, you wouldn't be able to figure it out! You'd just keep digging until your workshift was up!" ~ "There was once a time when a mine explosion would happen and we would throw rocks at you until you left town!" ~ "Oh, yeah? Just try it, loud-talking Communists! Throw a word, I don't doubt it, but throw something of substance, I don't believe it!" ~ "Take some responsibility for what you own, because you do nothing!" ~ "And you take responsible for what you do, because you don't own anything!" ~ "Save it for your sermons!" ~ "Save it for your pamphlets!"
And once again, after much hesitation and thought, the roar and scream of a mob divided into halves was finally brought to stillness, as one man spoke, "The greatness of Anarchia is based on the fact that we can have conversations about such important issues and that we can become so deeply passionate about in those arguments, but at the end of the day, you still dig your friends out from the dirt of the avalanche."
"Don't forget the people you argue with are your neighbors," one woman spoke, "Don't forget that your children go to school with their children. Don't forget that if you cut off everyone who's not Communist or Capitalist like you, you're going to need to explain to your child in extreme detail why they can't play with these children or those children. You have a right to your thoughts, a right to think whatever you want, and a right to have heartiness about it. But you also have an obligation to those that you work with to be honest, and there's nothing honest about letting your co-workers and neighbors die while you argue about politics."
There was a stillness in the air, a contrast of black against white, a starkness of void against fulfillment, the humidity of the seas against the dryness of sun-scorched earth. Again, the silence broke, not this time with either Agent 354 or Spargo, but with mutterings and grumblings amongst the crowd. "Those Capitalists have always ripped us off in their dealings, have always walked into our mines telling us how to do things." ~ "Those Communists know more about how to talk revolution than how to dig out anything of value from this world." ~ "You know that if we fight back against property, then they're going to try and suppress us, in the most brutal and bloody ways imaginable." ~ "Can you hear that? It's the threat of Revolution. The Communists are coming, and no family is safe! Guard your children and your belongings! That's what they come for!"
Benjamin and Emma stood side-by-side in that tumultuous churning of anger and words, constantly examining face after face, looking at expression after expression, hearing chant after chant and argument after argument and accusation after accusation. The crowd itself was physically splitting into halves, those with Capitalist background standing closer to Benjamin on the Western side of the mine, and those with Communist background standing closer to Emma in the East. The arguments became louder, the voices became angrier, the sound of feet and movement only added to the excitement everyone was feeling.
"What about the original myth? Don't you remember?" Emma said, "The division in society is not one between worker and owner but one between dominated and dominator. If it's true that these laborers were misled in their purchasing decisions, and that they were exploited and put into a submissive position by greater powers than themselves, then absolutely, we shall rally to them one hundred percent. But it will not be a battle between the workers and the owners, the Communists and the Capitalists. It will be a battle between authority and liberty."
"It was a myth, though, just a myth," Agent 354 said, "You knew it was basically just a lie, but then you built up an entire society upon it, right before it broke beneath its own weight."
"There was as much substance to it as any other myth," Spargo replied, "Stop pointing to Athens or Babylon when someone brings attention to your faults. Maybe building a world out of an incorrect, mythological idea was unintelligent."
"Sometimes it's what people believe that matters more than the actual situation," Emma said.
"Never!" Spargo responded, "The subjective conditions can only ripen when the objective conditions have been achieved. You can't save yourself from drowning by hoping for it. You have to swim."
"If it didn't matter what people believed, then why would any of them unite or separate?" Benjamin asked.
"Necessity!" Agent 354 replied, "People come together when they need to and break apart when they need to, just like the workers breaking away from the Capitalists and the farmers breaking away from the Communists."
The crowd grew ravenous and uncontrollable. The two sides were separated physically and continually took advantage of this knowledge by making dirty faces or pointing at individuals coupled with indiscreet whispering. Yelling and screaming, hollering and arguing, the mobs knew their own separation, their own division. "You can't control people!" Emma screamed ~ "You can't change people!" Benjamin yelled.
And then finally, someone made the suggestion. "You threaten us with being responsible with this with such severity and hatred, that the only way I can feel secure now is if I know someone can protect me, someone like the state," said one Capitalist carter, in an almost joking manner.
But the suggestion was already in the air. It had already been said, and there was no way to unsay it. "Oh, you need to be protected from us?" the voice returned was deeply serious. "We're the ones who are dying miserably and horribly doing hard and painful labor. You're the ones we need to protect ourselves against!" screamed back the Communist miner.
"You want to make a government!?" Emma screamed, "Don't make yourselves look like ridiculous Anarchists."
"You can't possibly want a state!?" Benjamin yelled, "You're only making your so-called sense of independence into a wide, public joke."
"We workers need something better than what we currently have!" Spargo rejoined the public discourse, "We can't possibly survive under conditions like these."
"And we lovers of independence must unite our combined effort into a single, solid, powerful force," Agent 354 added in, "We each have a flogging and burning waiting for us once the so-called Workers Revolution breaks out."
"It's not about wanting power at this point, it's about wanting some way to protect us from your exploitation!" screamed one miner. "It was never about power, it was always about you trying to uplift and overthrow any group of people with the justification that they're a 'system,'" screamed back one carter. "Overthrow the rule of Property!" ~ "Resist the brutality of Revolution!" ~ "Awaken to the lies of their churches!" ~ "Don't forget the ignorance of their presses!" Capitalist and Communist, one against the other, all of the intellectuals and small-property owners and farmers on the side of Capitalism, and all of the miners and engineers and technicians on the other.
"You have no right to impose authority on -- " Emma spoke, but her words were drowned out by those of workers and laborers.
"A state isn't going to make independence into -- " Ben spoke, but his words went up in smoke by the flaming roars of his clerks and carters.
The argument went on and on, screaming and roaring, laughing and gesturing, even at points shoving and making physical threats, until finally, Emma screamed. "If you want a state, then make your state!" she said, "Divide into halves, break up into insignificant pieces! Forget everything you don't know, because it could threaten you! But, I can't make that decision for you. Only you can. But right now, we have something to do. We need to save those imperiled by this calamity. Divide up when you want, but right now, do something about your friends."
The miners and carters worked, the one on the East side and the other on the West side, each of them digging out the rubble and carting it away on their own, struggling with skills they've never imagined they would have to use, but the entire operation was done in complete silence, excepting the loud hollering that normally occurs with reaching those lost deep in the Earth's ravine. By the day's end, they had recovered every person from the depths of the mine -- only one of them was still alive. The Capitalists went their way with the cadavers of their friends, and the Communists went away with the corpses of their comrades. This was the day that the difference between Communist and Capitalist meant something in Anarchia. The separate activities could only produce one living, human being out of the rubble of disaster.