Oregon militia

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

Zeitgeist

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [ˈtsaɪtɡaɪst] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1]Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

*

2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

*

3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

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5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [?tsa?t?a?st] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1] Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

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2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

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3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

*

5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

Defense Distributed

Published on Mar 25, 2013

Cody R Wilson has figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home. Now he’s putting all the information online so that others will join him.

This is a story about the rapid evolution of a technology that has forced the American legal system to play catch up. Cody Wilson, a 25 year old University of Texas Law student, is an advocate for the open source production of firearms using 3D printing technology. This makes him a highly controversial figure on both sides of the gun control issue. MOTHERBOARD sat down with Cody in Austin, Texas to talk about the constitution, the legal system, and to watch him make and test-fire a 3D-printed gun.

Check out our podcast with Cody here: http://bit.ly/VICE-Podcast-Cody-Wilson

Produced By Erin Lee Carr
Edited by Chris O’Coin

Read more on MOTHERBOARD here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/clic…

To find out more about what the ATF says about 3D-printed guns, read this: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-…


Published on May 15, 2013

How does the Liberator works ?
The 3d printed gun (all made of plastic with a printer) designed by Defense Distributed is here modeled and animated with Solidworks to show its functionality.
Springs are not animated properly,


Published on May 7, 2013

Defense Distributed has made good on their promise to produce and fire the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun. Anthony looks at the impact this might have on our lives.

Read More:

Meet The “Liberator”: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gun
http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreen…
“Before “three” arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape.”

Defense Distributed
http://defdist.org/

World’s First 3D-Printed Gun Fired on Video
http://mashable.com/2013/05/06/3d-pri…
“Can guns really be 3D-printed? The answer to that question is a simple yes. If you don’t believe it, just watch Cody Wilson, the man behind the world’s first 3D-printed gun, firing the weapon on video.”

First 3D-Printed Gun Fired
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world…
“A gun has been produced using a 3D-printer in a world first that has prompted concerns that the regulation of firearms may soon be impossible.”

DEFCAD Liberator
http://defcad.org/liberator/

What You Need To Know About The Liberator 3D-Printed Pistol
http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/06/what…
“Now that we have confirmation that the Liberator 3D-printed pistol can be fired without destroying the body, let’s address what this means for 3D printed weapons and, presumably, homemade weapons in general.”

3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/…
“Cody Wilson planned in the coming weeks to make and test a 3-D printed pistol.”

Published on May 13, 2013
Inventor of 3D Printer Guns Shut Down By Government – Cody Wilson’s Interview with Jacari Jackson

Cody Wilson’s on the air anouncement of the 3D Guns Printer guns anouncement can be seen on the video here: http://youtu.be/m5an-j3D190

You can check out the Liberator being shot for the first time on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/drPz6n6UXQY

Cody Wilson – Inventor of 3D Printer Guns Gets Shut Down By Government

3D printing guru Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed announced that the US Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END) had sent him a letter requesting the group remove all data supposedly in violation of the Arms Export Control Act from public access immediately on his website at http://defcad.org.

The State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTCC) have shut down the Austin Texas based 3D printing company.

“I think information will be free, and it wants to be.” Cody said May 9th, 2012 when the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC) Enforcement Division had issued a take down notice to Austin-based 3D gun printing company Defense Distributed declaring the group’s open distribution of 3D gun part files on the Internet potentially violated export laws explicit in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR.

The notice came just days after the group finally managed a fully-functional gun using mainly parts printed from a 3D printer, and aimed to have Defense Distributed take down the offending files and cite their “procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data,” data which, at this point the DTCC says, could be in violation of § 127.1 of the ITAR.

“As an arms manufacturer, we registered ITAR, but we thought since Defense Distributed would be a non-profit software company; we could not have to register for ITAR because we were just a software company and not interested in actual trade of arms, and then number 2, we could basically claim a public domain exemption from the ITAR and we wouldn’t have to ask permission to put the files up for download.”

Gun-related files, Wilson claims, are already regulated and must be permitted before they can be distributed online, but since the beginning, the group has tried to avoid asking government for permission, not to flout the laws, but because they believed they met public domain exemptions.

According to Wilson, the fact that the DTCC cites specific pieces of the ITAR is an indication that they may plan to bring criminal prosecutions of civil penalties against the group.

“So it’s not a good day for the project, but it was expected, and we released, especially the Liberator, in such a good way that it’s definitely online forever and, especially with news of this censorship, I don’t think it will ever disappear. So that’s a success even if Defense Distributed or DefCad is somehow indefinitely shut down.”

Wilson says the group knew what they were up against long before the project even started by studying the case of Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption program who in 1993 was under investigation by the United States Customs Service.

Similarly, in that case, law enforcement wanted to see if Zimmermann’s software violated federal arms-export laws because the technology could be considered a munition in that, being readily available online, it made it too difficult to determine what kinds of files, transactions and emails were being exchanged and what countries they came from and went to.
As was the case with Zimmermann, Wilson hoped the popularization and widespread distribution of his group’s gun files would lead the State Department to reconsider, if not altogether dump, an investigative effort.

“And to me, I understand that this software seems more closely related to guns so it might be a different case, but the parallels seemed pretty strong. At the end of the day, these are just bits, they’re not actual bombs.”

The frantic rush to regulate the data was no doubt accelerated by Defense Distributed’s recent successes — printable 30-round AR magazines and lower receivers that could withstand more than 650 rounds and of course their latest conquest, the single-shot pistol known as the Liberator.

http://youtu.be/H9MsYlnJVkM

Published on Mar 25, 2013

Cody R Wilson has figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home. Now he’s putting all the information online so that others will join him.

This is a story about the rapid evolution of a technology that has forced the American legal system to play catch up. Cody Wilson, a 25 year old University of Texas Law student, is an advocate for the open source production of firearms using 3D printing technology. This makes him a highly controversial figure on both sides of the gun control issue. MOTHERBOARD sat down with Cody in Austin, Texas to talk about the constitution, the legal system, and to watch him make and test-fire a 3D-printed gun.

Check out our podcast with Cody here: http://bit.ly/VICE-Podcast-Cody-Wilson

Produced By Erin Lee Carr
Edited by Chris O’Coin

Read more on MOTHERBOARD here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/clic…

To find out more about what the ATF says about 3D-printed guns, read this: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-…


Published on May 15, 2013

How does the Liberator works ?
The 3d printed gun (all made of plastic with a printer) designed by Defense Distributed is here modeled and animated with Solidworks to show its functionality.
Springs are not animated properly,


Published on May 7, 2013

Defense Distributed has made good on their promise to produce and fire the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun. Anthony looks at the impact this might have on our lives.

Read More:

Meet The “Liberator”: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gun
http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreen…
“Before “three” arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape.”

Defense Distributed
http://defdist.org/

World’s First 3D-Printed Gun Fired on Video
http://mashable.com/2013/05/06/3d-pri…
“Can guns really be 3D-printed? The answer to that question is a simple yes. If you don’t believe it, just watch Cody Wilson, the man behind the world’s first 3D-printed gun, firing the weapon on video.”

First 3D-Printed Gun Fired
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world…
“A gun has been produced using a 3D-printer in a world first that has prompted concerns that the regulation of firearms may soon be impossible.”

DEFCAD Liberator
http://defcad.org/liberator/

What You Need To Know About The Liberator 3D-Printed Pistol
http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/06/what…
“Now that we have confirmation that the Liberator 3D-printed pistol can be fired without destroying the body, let’s address what this means for 3D printed weapons and, presumably, homemade weapons in general.”

3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/…
“Cody Wilson planned in the coming weeks to make and test a 3-D printed pistol.”

Published on May 13, 2013
Inventor of 3D Printer Guns Shut Down By Government – Cody Wilson’s Interview with Jacari Jackson

Cody Wilson’s on the air anouncement of the 3D Guns Printer guns anouncement can be seen on the video here: http://youtu.be/m5an-j3D190

You can check out the Liberator being shot for the first time on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/drPz6n6UXQY

Cody Wilson – Inventor of 3D Printer Guns Gets Shut Down By Government

3D printing guru Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed announced that the US Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END) had sent him a letter requesting the group remove all data supposedly in violation of the Arms Export Control Act from public access immediately on his website at http://defcad.org.

The State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTCC) have shut down the Austin Texas based 3D printing company.

“I think information will be free, and it wants to be.” Cody said May 9th, 2012 when the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC) Enforcement Division had issued a take down notice to Austin-based 3D gun printing company Defense Distributed declaring the group’s open distribution of 3D gun part files on the Internet potentially violated export laws explicit in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR.

The notice came just days after the group finally managed a fully-functional gun using mainly parts printed from a 3D printer, and aimed to have Defense Distributed take down the offending files and cite their “procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data,” data which, at this point the DTCC says, could be in violation of § 127.1 of the ITAR.

“As an arms manufacturer, we registered ITAR, but we thought since Defense Distributed would be a non-profit software company; we could not have to register for ITAR because we were just a software company and not interested in actual trade of arms, and then number 2, we could basically claim a public domain exemption from the ITAR and we wouldn’t have to ask permission to put the files up for download.”

Gun-related files, Wilson claims, are already regulated and must be permitted before they can be distributed online, but since the beginning, the group has tried to avoid asking government for permission, not to flout the laws, but because they believed they met public domain exemptions.

According to Wilson, the fact that the DTCC cites specific pieces of the ITAR is an indication that they may plan to bring criminal prosecutions of civil penalties against the group.

“So it’s not a good day for the project, but it was expected, and we released, especially the Liberator, in such a good way that it’s definitely online forever and, especially with news of this censorship, I don’t think it will ever disappear. So that’s a success even if Defense Distributed or DefCad is somehow indefinitely shut down.”

Wilson says the group knew what they were up against long before the project even started by studying the case of Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption program who in 1993 was under investigation by the United States Customs Service.

Similarly, in that case, law enforcement wanted to see if Zimmermann’s software violated federal arms-export laws because the technology could be considered a munition in that, being readily available online, it made it too difficult to determine what kinds of files, transactions and emails were being exchanged and what countries they came from and went to.
As was the case with Zimmermann, Wilson hoped the popularization and widespread distribution of his group’s gun files would lead the State Department to reconsider, if not altogether dump, an investigative effort.

“And to me, I understand that this software seems more closely related to guns so it might be a different case, but the parallels seemed pretty strong. At the end of the day, these are just bits, they’re not actual bombs.”

The frantic rush to regulate the data was no doubt accelerated by Defense Distributed’s recent successes — printable 30-round AR magazines and lower receivers that could withstand more than 650 rounds and of course their latest conquest, the single-shot pistol known as the Liberator.

http://youtu.be/H9MsYlnJVkM

Noam Chomsky and the Media

Mainstream political commentators tend either to pretend Chomsky doesn’t exist, or to dismiss him as a lunatic. I think this is probably because to even enter into debate with him requires one to abandon the narrative conventions, described by the pare…

Mainstream political commentators tend either to pretend Chomsky doesn’t exist, or to dismiss him as a lunatic. I think this is probably because to even enter into debate with him requires one to abandon the narrative conventions, described by the parentheses of “liberal” and “conservative”, that determine what is an acceptable thought.

Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky demolish one of the central tenets of our political culture, the idea of the “liberal media.” Instead, utilizing a systematic model based on massive empirical research, they reveal the manner in which the news media are so subordinated to corporate and conservative interests that their function can only be described as that of “elite propaganda.”

“If you want to understand the way a system works, you look at its institutional structure. How it is organized, how it is controlled, how it is funded.”
-Noam Chomsky

“The Mainstream media really represent elite interests, and what the propaganda model tries to do is stipulate a set of institutional variables, reflecting this elite power, that very powerfully influence the media.”
-Edward Herman

Guernica

Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruizy Picasso but known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 — 8 April 1973) was a Spanish expatriatepainter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, and the legend lives on a tribute to the vitality of the “disquieting” Spaniard with the “sombre…piercing” eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of modern art in the 20th century.

Picasso’s art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Moreover, while other masters such as Matisse or Braque tended to stay within the bounds of a style they had developed in their youth, Picasso continued to be an innovator into the last decade of his life. This led to misunderstanding and criticism both in his lifetime and since, and it was only in the 1980s that his last paintings began to be appreciated both in themselves and for their profound influence on the rising generation of young painters. Since Picasso was able from the 1920s to sell works at very high prices, he could keep most of his oeuvre in his own collection. At the time of his death he owned some 50,000 works in various media from every period of his career, which passed into possession of the French state and his heirs. Their exhibition and publication has served to reinforce the highest estimates of Picasso’s astonishing powers of invention and execution over a span of more than 80 years.

Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruizy Picasso but known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 — 8 April 1973) was a Spanish expatriatepainter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, and the legend lives on a tribute to the vitality of the “disquieting” Spaniard with the “sombre…piercing” eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of modern art in the 20th century.

Picasso’s art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Moreover, while other masters such as Matisse or Braque tended to stay within the bounds of a style they had developed in their youth, Picasso continued to be an innovator into the last decade of his life. This led to misunderstanding and criticism both in his lifetime and since, and it was only in the 1980s that his last paintings began to be appreciated both in themselves and for their profound influence on the rising generation of young painters. Since Picasso was able from the 1920s to sell works at very high prices, he could keep most of his oeuvre in his own collection. At the time of his death he owned some 50,000 works in various media from every period of his career, which passed into possession of the French state and his heirs. Their exhibition and publication has served to reinforce the highest estimates of Picasso’s astonishing powers of invention and execution over a span of more than 80 years.

ADDRESS OF AUGUST SPIES.

Speech of August Spies, pp. 1 – 23 YOUR HONOR: In addressing this court I speak as the representative of one class to the representative of another. I will begin with the words uttered five hundred years ago on a similar occasion, by the Venetian Doge …

Speech of August Spies, pp. 1 – 23

YOUR HONOR: In addressing this court I speak as the representative of one class to the representative of another. I will begin with the words uttered five hundred years ago on a similar occasion, by the Venetian Doge Faheri, who addressing the court, said:

“MY DEFENSE IS YOUR ACCUSATION.”

The causes of my alleged crime your history!” I have been indicted on the charge of murder, as an accomplice or accessory. Upon this indictment I have been convicted. There was no evidence produced by the State to show or even indicate that I had any knowledge of the man who threw the bomb, or that I myself had anything to do with the throwing of the missile, unless, of course, you weigh the testimony of the accomplices of the State’s Attorney and Bonfield, the testimony of Thompson and Gilmer, by the price they were paid for it.

If there was no evidence to show that I was legally responsible for the deed, then my conviction and the execution of the sentence is nothing less than willful, malicious, and deliberate murder, as foul a murder as may be found in the annals of religious, political, or any other sort of persecution. There have been many judicial murders committed where the representatives of the State were acting in good faith, believing their victims to be guilty of the charge accused of. In this case the representatives of the State cannot shield themselves with a similar excuse. For they themselves have fabricated most of the testimony which was used as a pretense to convict us; to convict us by a jury picked out to convict! Before this court, and before the public, which is supposed to be the State, I charge the State’s Attorney and Bonfield with the heinous conspiracy to commit murder.

I will state a little incident which may throw light upon this charge. On the evening on which the Praetorian Guards of the Citizen’s Association, the Bankers’ Association, the Association of the Board of Trade men, and the railroad princes, attacked the meeting of workingmen on the Haymarket, with murderous intent-on that evening, about 8 o’clock I met a young man, Legner by name, who is a member of the Aurora Turn-Verein. He accompanied me, and never left me on that evening until I jumped from the wagon, a few seconds before the explosion occurred. He knew that I had not seen Schwab on that evening. He knew that I had no such conversation with anybody as Mr. Marshal Field’s protege, Thompson, testified to. He knew that I did not jump from the wagon to strike the match and hand it to the man who threw the bomb. He is not a Socialist. Why did we not bring him on the stand? Because the honorable representatives of the State, Grinnell and Bonfield, spirited him away.

These honorable gentlemen knew everything about Legner. They knew that his testimony would prove the perjury of Thompson and Gilmer beyond any reasonable doubt. Legner’s name was on the list of witnesses for the State- He was not called, however, for obvious reasons. Aye, he stated to a number of friends that he had been offered $500 if he would leave the city, and threatened with direful things if he remained here and appeared as a witness for the defense. He replied that he could neither be bought nor bulldozed to serve such a damnable and dastardly plot. When we wanted Legner, he could not be found; Mr. Grinnell said- and Mr. Grinnell is an honorable man! – that he had himself been searching for the young man, but had not been able to find him. About three weeks later I learned that the very same young man had been kidnapped and taken to Buffalo, N. Y., by two of the illustrious guardians of “Law and Order,” two Chicago detectives. Let Mr. Grinnell, let the Citizens’ Association, his employer, let them answer for this! And let the public sit in judgment upon the would-be assassins.

No, I repeat, the prosecution has not established our legal guilt. Notwithstanding the purchased and perjured testimony of some, and notwithstanding the originality (sarcastically) of the proceedings of this trial. And as long as this has not been done, and you pronounce upon us the sentence of an appointed vigilance committee acting as a jury, I say, you, the alleged representatives and high priests of “Law and Order,” are the real and only law breakers, and in this case to the extent of murder.

It is well that the people know this. And when I speak of the people I don’t mean the few co-conspirators of Grinnell, the noble patricians who thrive upon the misery of the multitudes. These drones may constitute the State, they may control the State, they may have their Grinnells, their Bonfields and other hirelings! No, when I speak of the people I speak of the great mass of human bees, the working people, who unfortunately are not yet conscious of the rascalities that are perpetrated in the “name of the people,”-in their name.

The contemplated murder of eight men, whose only crime is that they have dared to speak the truth, may open the eyes of these suffering millions; may wake them up. Indeed, I have noticed that our conviction has worked miracles in this direction already. The class that clamors for our lives, the good, devout Christians, have attempted in every way, through their newspapers and otherwise, to conceal the true and only issue in this case. By simply designating the defendants as “Anarchists,” and picturing them as a newly discovered tribe or species of cannibals, and by inventing shocking and horrifying stories of dark conspiracies said to be planned by them -these good Christians zealously sought to keep the naked fact from the working people and other righteous parties, namely: That on the evening of May 4, 200 armed men, under the command of a notorious ruffian, attacked a meeting of peaceable citizens!

With what intention? With the intention of murdering them, or as many of them as they could. I refer to the testimony given by two of our witnesses. The wage-workers of this city began to object to being fleeced too much-they began to say some very true things, but they were highly disagreeable to our patrician class; they put forth-well, some very modest demands. They thought eight hours hard toil a day for scarcely two hours’ pay was enough.

THIS LAWLESS RABBLE HAD TO BE SILENCED!

The only way to silence them was to frighten them, and murder those whom they looked up to as their “leaders.” Yes, these foreign dogs had to be taught a lesson, so that they might never again interfere with the high-handed exploitation of their benevolent and Christian masters. Bonfield, the man who would bring a blush of shame to the managers of the Bartholomew night-Bonfield, the illustrious gentleman with a visage that would have done excellent service to Dore in portraying Dante’s fiends of hell-Bonfield was the man best fitted to consummate the conspiracy of the citizens’ association, of our patricians. If I had thrown that bomb, or had caused it to be thrown, or had known of it, I would not hesitate a moment to state so. It is true a number of lives were lost-many were wounded. But hundreds of lives were thereby saved! But for that bomb, there would have been a hundred widows and hundreds of orphans where now there are few. These facts have been carefully suppressed, and we were accused and convicted of conspiracy by the real conspirators and their agents. This, your honor, is one reason why sentence should not be passed by a court of justice-if that name has any significance at all.

“But,” says the State, “you have published articles on the manufacture of dynamite and bombs.” Show me a daily paper in this city that has not published similar articles! I remember very distinctly a long article in the Chicago Tribune of February 23, 1885. The paper contained a description and drawings of different kinds of infernal machines and bombs. I remember this one especially, because I bought the paper on a railroad train, and had ample time to read it. But since that time the Times has often published similar articles on the subject, and some of the dynamite articles found in the Arbeiter-Zeitung were translated articles from the Times, written by Generals Molineux and Fitz John Porter, in which the use of dynamite bombs against striking workmen is advocated as the most effective weapon against them. May I learn why the editors of these papers have not been indicted and convicted for murder? Is it because they have advocated the use of this destructive agent only against the common rabble? I seek information. Why was Mr. Stone of the News not made a defendant in this case? In his possession was found a bomb. Besides that Mr. Stone published an article in January which gave full information regarding the manufacture of bombs. Upon this information any man could prepare a bomb ready for use at the expense of not more than ten cents.

The News probably has ten times the circulation of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Is it not likely that the bomb used on May 4th was one made after the News’ pattern? As long as these men are not charged with murder and convicted. I insist, your honor, that such discrimination in favor of capital is incompatible with justice, and sentence should therefore not be passed.

Grinnell’s main argument against the defendants was “they were foreigners. They are not citizens.” I cannot speak for the others. I will only speak for myself. I have been a resident of this State fully as long as Grinnell, and probably have been as good a citizen-at least, I should not wish to be compared with him.

Grinnell has incessantly appealed to the patriotism of the jury. To that I reply in the language of Johnson, the English literateur, “patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel.”

My efforts in behalf of the disinherited and disfranchised millions, my agitation in this direction, the popularization of economic teachings-in short, the education of the wage-workers, is declared “a conspiracy against society.” The word “society” is here wisely substituted for “the State,” as represented by the patricians of today. It has always been the opinion of the ruling classes that the people must be kept in ignorance for they lose their servility, their modesty and their obedience to the powers that be, as their intelligence increases. The education of a black slave a quarter of a century ago was a criminal offense. Why? Because the intelligent slave would throw off his shackles at whatever cost. Why is the education of the working people of today looked upon by a certain class as an offense against the State? For the same reason! The State, however, wisely avoided this point in the prosecution of this case. From their testimony one is forced to conclude that we had, in our speeches and publications, preached nothing else but destruction and dynamite. The court has this morning stated that there is no case in history like this. I have noticed, during this trial, that the gentlemen of the legal profession are not well versed in history. In all historical cases of this kind truth had to be perverted by the priests of the established power that was nearing its end.

What have we said in our speeches and publications?

We have interpreted to the people their conditions and relations in society. We have explained to them the different social phenomena and the social laws and circumstances under which they occur. We have, by way of scientific investigation, incontrovertibly proved and brought to their knowledge that the system of wages is the root of the present social iniquities-iniquities so monstrous that they cry to Heaven. We have further said that the wage system, as a specific form of social development, would, by the necessity of logic, have to make room for higher forms of civilization; that the wage system must prepare the way and furnish the foundation for a social system of co-operation-that is, Socialism. That whether this or that theory, this or that scheme regarding future arrangements were accepted was not a matter of choice, but one of historical necessity, and that to us the tendency of progress seemed to be Anarchism-that is, a free society without kings or classes-ta sociey of sovereigns in which the liberty and economic equality of all would furnish an unshakable equilibrium as a foundation and condition of natural order.

It is not likely that the honorable Bonfield and Grinnell can conceive of a social order not held intact by the policeman’s club and pistol, nor of a free society without prisons, gallows, and State’s attorneys. In such a society they probably fail to find a place for themselves.

And is this the reason why Anarchism is such a “pernicious and damnable doctrine?”

Grinnell has intimated to us that Anarchism was on trial. The theory of Anarchism belongs to the realm of speculative philosophy. There was not a syllable said about Anarchism at the Haymarket meeting. At that meeting the very popular theme of reducing the hours of toil was discussed. But, “Anarchism is on trial!” foams Mr. Grinnell. If that is the case, your honor, very well; you may sentence me, for I am an Anarchist. I believe with Buckle, with Paine, Jefferson, Emerson, and Spencer, and many other great thinkers of this century, that the state of castes and classes-the state where one class domininates over and lives upon the labor of another class, and calls this order-yes; I believe that this barbaric form of social organization, with its legalized plunder and murder, is doomed to die, and make room for a free society, voluntary association, or universal brotherhood, if you like. You may pronounce the sentence upon me, honorable judge, but let the world know that in A. D. 1886, in the State of Illinois eight men were sentenced to death, because they believed in a better future; because they had not lost their faith in the ultimate victory of liberty and justice! “You have taught the destruction of society and civilization,” says the tool and agent of the Bankers’ and Citizens’ Association, Grinnell. That man has yet to learn what civilization is. It is the old, old argument against
human progress. Read the history of Greece, of Rome; read that of Venice; look over the dark pages of the church, and follow the thorny path of science. “No change! No change! You would destroy society and civilization!” has ever been the cry of the ruling classes. They are so comfortably situated under the prevailing system that they naturally abhor and fear even the slightest change. Their privileges are as dear to them as life itself, and every change threatens these privileges. But civilization is a ladder whose steps are monuments of such changes! Without these social changes-all brought about against the will and the force of the ruling classes-there would be no civilization. As to the destruction of society which we have been accused of seeking, sounds this not like one of AEsop’s fables-like the cunning of the fox? We, who have jeopardized our lives to save society from the fiend-the fiend who has grasped her by the throat; who sucks her life-blood, who devours her children-we, who would heal her bleeding wounds, who would free her from the fetters you have wrought around her; from the misery you have brought upon her-we her enemies!!

Honorable Judge, the demons of hell will join in the laughter this irony provokes!

We have preached dynamite. Yes, we have predicted from the lessons history teaches, that the ruling classes of today would no more listen to the voice of reason than their predecessors; that they would attempt by brute force to stay the wheel of progress. Is it a lie, or was it the truth we told? Are not already the large industries of this once free country conducted under the surveillance of the police, the detectives, the military, and the sheriffs-and is this return to militancy not developing from day to day? American sovereigns-think of it-working like the gally convicts under military guards! We have predicted this, and predict that soon these conditions will grow unbearable. What then? The mandate of the feudal lords of our time is slavery, starvation, and death! This has been their programme for the past years. We have said to the toilers, that science had penetrated the mystery of nature-that from Jove’s head once more has sprung a Minerva dynamite!

If this declaration is synonymous with murder, why not charge those with the crime to whom we owe the invention? To charge us with an attempt to overthrow the present system on or about May 4th by force, and then establish Anarchy, is too absurd a statement, I think, even for a political office-holder to make. If Grinnell believed that we attempted such a thing, why did he not have Dr. Bluthardt make an inquiry as to our sanity? Only mad men could have planned such a brilliant scheme, and mad people cannot be indicted or convicted of murder. If there had existed anything like a conspiracy or a pre-arrangement, does your honor believe that events would not have taken a different course than they did on that evening and later? This “conspiracy” nonsense is based upon an oration I delivered on the anniversary of Washington’s birthday at Grand Rapids, Mich., more than a year and a half ago. I had been invited by the Knights of Labor for that purpose. I dwelt upon the fact that our country was far from being what the great revolutionists of the last century had intended it to be. I said that those men if they lived today would clean the Augean stables with iron brooms, and that they, too, would undoubtedly be characterized as “wild Socialists.” It is not unlikely that I said Washington would have been hanged for treason if the revolution had failed. Grinnell made this “sacrilegious remark” his main arrow against me. Why? Because he intended to inveigh the know-nothing spirit against us. But who will deny the correctness of the statement? That I should have compared myself with Washington, is a base lie. But if I had, would that be murder? I may have told that individual who appeared here as a witness that the workingmen should procure arms, as force would in all probability be the ultima ratio; and that in Chicago there were so and so many armed, but I certainly did not say that we proposed to “inaugurate the social revolution.” And let me say here: Revolutions are no more made than earthquakes and cyclones. Revolutions are the effect of certain causes and conditions. I have made social philosophy a specific study for more than ten years, and I could not have given vent to such nonsense! I do believe, however, that the revolution is near at hand-in fact, that it is upon us. But is the physician responsible for the death of the patient because he foretold that death? If any one is to be blamed for the coming revolution it is the ruling class who steadily refused to make concessions as reforms became necessary; who maintain that they can call a halt to progress, and dictate a stand-still to the eternal forces, of which they themselves are but the whimsical creation.

The position generally taken in this case is that we are morally responsible for the police riot on May 4th. Four or five years ago I sat in this very court room as a witness. The working men had been trying to obtain redress in a lawful manner. They had voted, and among others, had elected their Aldermanic, candidate from the Fourteenth Ward. But the street car company did not like that man. And two of the three election judges of one precinct, knowing this, took the ballot box to their home and “corrected” the election returns, so as to cheat the constituents of the elected candidate of their rightful representative, and give the representation to
the benevolent street car monopoly.

The workingmen spent $1,500 in the prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime. The proof against them was so overwhelming that they confessed to having falsified the returns and forged the official documents. Judge Gardner, who was presiding in this court, acquitted them, stating that “that act had apparently not been prompted by criminal intent.” I will make no comment. But when we approach the field of moral responsibility, it has an immense scope! Every man who has in the past assisted in thwarting the efforts of those seeking reform is responsible for the existence of the revolutionists in this city today! Those, however, who have sought to bring about reforms must be exempted from the responsibility-and to these I belong.

If the verdict is based upon the assumption of moral responsibility, your honor, I give this as a reason why sentence should not be passed.

If the opinion of the court given this morning is good law, then there is no person in this country who could not lawfully be hanged. I vouch that, upon the very laws you have read, there is no person in this courtroom now who could not be “fairly, impartially and lawfully” hanged! Fouche, Napoleon’s right bower, once said to his master: “Give me a line that any one man has ever written, and I will bring him to the scaffold.” And this court has done essentially the same. Upon that law every person in this country can be indicted for conspiracy, and, as the case may be, for murder. Every member of a trade union, Knights of Labor, or any other labor organization, can then be convicted of conspiracy, and in cases of violence, for which they may not be responsible at all, of murder, as we have been. This precedent once established, and you force the masses who are now agitating in a peaceable way into open rebellion! You thereby shut off the last safety valve
-and the blood which will be shed, the blood of the innocent-it will come upon your heads!

“Seven policemen have died,” said Grinnell, suggestively winking at the jury. You want a life for a life, and have convicted an equal number of men, of whom it cannot be truthfully said that they had anything whatsoever to do with the killing of Bonfield’s victims. The very same principle of jurisprudence we find among various savage tribes. Injuries among them are equalized, so to speak. The Chinooks and the Arabs, for instance, would demand the life of an enemy for every death that they had suffered at their enemy’s hands. They were not particular in regard to the persons, just so long as they had a life for a life. This principle also prevails today among the natives of the Sandwich Islands. If we are to be hanged on this principle then let us know it, and let the world know what a civilized and christian country, it is in which the Goulds, the Vanderbilts, the Stanfords, the Fields, Armours, and other local money hamsters have come to the rescue of liberty and justice!

Grinnell has repeatedly stated that our country is an enlightened country, (Sarcastically.) The verdict fully corroborates the assertion! This verdict against us is the anathema of the wealthy classes over their despoiled victims-the vast army of wage workers and farmers. If your honor would not have these people believe this; if you would not have them believe that we have once more arrived at the Spartan Senate, the Athenian Areopagus, the Venetian Council of Ten, etc., then sentence should not be pronounced. But, if you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement-the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery-the wage slaves-expect salvation-if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.

THE GROUND IS ON FIRE

upon which you stand. You can’t understand it. You don’t believe in magical arts, as your grandfathers did, who burned witches at the stake, but you do believe in conspiracies; you believe that all these occurrences of late are the work of conspirators! You resemble the child that is looking for his picture
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behind the mirror. What you see, and what you try to grasp is nothing but the deceptive reflex of the stings of your bad conscience. You want to “stamp out the conspirators”-the “agitators?” Ah, stamp out every factory lord who has grown wealthy upon the unpaid labor of his employes. Stamp out every landlord who has amassed fortunes from the rent of overburdened workingmen and farmers. Stamp out every machine that is revolutionizing industry and agriculture, that intensifies the production, ruins the producer, that increases the national wealth, while the creator of all these things stands amidst them, tantalized with hunger! Stamp out the railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, steam and yourselves-for everything breathes the revolutionary spirit.

You, gentlemen, are the revolutionists! You rebel against the effects of social conditions which have tossed you, by the fair hand of Fortune, into a magnificent paradise. Without inquiring, you imagine that no one else has a right in that place. You insist that you are the chosen ones, the sole proprietors. The forces that tossed you into the paradise, the industrial forces, are still at work. They are growing more active and intense from day to day. Their tendency is to elevate all mankind to the same level, to have all humanity share in the paradise you now monopolize.

You, in your blindness, think you can stop the tidal wave of civilization and human emancipation by placing a few policemen, a few gatling guns, and some regiments of militia on the shore-you think you can frighten the rising waves back into the unfathomable depths, whence they have arisen, by erecting a few gallows in the perspective. You, who oppose the natural course of things, you are the real revolutionists. You and you alone are the conspirators and destructionists!

Said the court yesterday, in referring to the Board of Trade demonstration: “These men started out with the express purpose of sacking the Board of Trade building.” While I can’t see what sense there would have been in such an undertaking, and while I know that the said demonstration was arranged simply as a means of propoganda against the system that legalizes the respectable business carried on there, I will assume that the three thousand workingmen who marched in that procession really intended to sack the building. In this case they would have differed from the respectable Board of Trade men only in this-that they sought to recover property in an unlawful way, while the others sack the entire country lawfully and unlawfully-this being their highly respectable profession. This court of “justice and equity” proclaims the principle that when two persons do the same thing, it is not the same thing. I thank the court for this confession. It contains all that we have taught and for which we are to be hanged, in a nut shell! Theft is a respectable profession when practiced by the privileged class. It is a felony when resorted to in self preservation by the other class. Rapine and pillage are the order of a certain class of gentlemen who find this mode of earning a livelihood easier and preferable to honest labor-this is the kind of order we have attempted, and are now trying, and will try as long as we live to do away with. Look upon the economic battle fields! Behold the carnage and plunder of the Christian patricians! Accompany me to the quarters of the wealth-creators in this city. Go with me to the half-starved miners of the Hocking Valley. Look at the pariahs in the Monongahela Valley, and many other mining districts in this country, or pass along the railroads of that great and most orderly and law-abiding citizen, Jay Gould. And then tell me whether this order has in it any moral principle for which it should be preserved. I say that the preservation of such a order is criminal – is murderous. It means the preservation of the systematic destruction of children and women in factories. It means the preservation of enforced idleness of large armies of men, and their degradation. It means the preservation of intemperance, and sexual as well as intellectual prostition. It means the preservation of misery, want, and servility on one hand, and the dangerous accumnlation of spoils, idleness, voluptuousness and tyranny on the other. It means the preservation of a vice in every form.

And last but not least, it means the preservation of the class struggle, of strikes, riots and bloodshed. That is your “order,” gentlemen; Yes, and it is worthy of you to be the champions of such an order. You are eminently fitted for that role. You have my compliments!

Grinnell spoke of Victor Hugo. I need not repeat what he said, but will answer him in the language of one of our German philosphers: “Our Bourgeoise erects monuments in honor of the memory of the classics. If they had read them they would burn them!” Why, amongst the articles read here from the Arbeiter-Zeitung, put in evidence by the State, by which they intend to convince the jury of the dangerous character of the accused anarchists, is an extract from Goethe’s Faust,

“Es erben sich Gesetz und Rechte,
We eine ew’ge Krankheit fort,” etc.

(“Laws and class privileges are transmitted like an hereditary disease.”)

And Mr. Ingham in his speech told the Christian jurors that our comrades, the Paris communists, had in 1871, dethroned God, the Almighty, and had put up in his place a low prostitute. The effect was marvelous! The good Christians were shocked.

I wish your honor would inform the learned gentlemen that the episode related occurred in Paris nearly a century ago, and that the sacrilegious perpetrators were the cotemporaries of the founders of the Republic-and among them was Thomas Paine. Nor was the woman a prostitute, but a good citoyenne de Paris, who served on that occasion simply as an allegory of the goddess of reason.

Referring to Most’s letter, read here, Mr. Ingham said: “They,” meaning Most and myself, “They might have destroyed thousands of innocent lives in the Hocking Valley with that dynamite.” I have said all I know about the letter on the witness stand, but will add that two years ago I went through the Hocking Valley as a correspondent. While there I saw hundreds of lives in the process of slow destruction, gradual destruction. There was no dynamite, nor were they Anarchists who did that diabolical work. It was the work of a party of
highly respectable monopolists, law-abiding citizens, if you please. It is needless to say the murderers were never indicted. The press had little to say, and the State of Ohio assisted them. What a terror it would have created if the victims of this diabolical plot had resented and blown some of those respectable cut-throats to atoms. When, in East St. Louis, Jay Gould’s hirelings, “the men of grit,” shot down in cold blood and killed six inoffensive workingmen and women, there was very little said, and the grand jury refused to indict the gentlemen. It was the same way in Chicago, Milwaukee and other places. A Chicago furniture manufacturer shot down and seriously wounded two striking workingmen last spring. He was held over to the grand jury. The grand jury refused to indict the gentleman.

But when, on one occasion, a workingman in self defense resisted the murderous attempt of the police and threw a bomb, and for once blood flowed on the other side, then a terrific howl went up from the land: “Conspiracy has attacked vested rights!” And eight victims are demanded for it. There has been much said about the public sentiment. There has been much said about the public clamor. Why, it is a fact, that no citizen dared express another opinion than that prescribed by the authorities of the State, for if one had done otherwise, he would have been locked up; he might have been sent to the gallows to swing, as they will have the pleasure of doing with us, if the decree of our “honorable court” is consummated.

“These men,” Grinnell said repeatedly, “have no principles; they are common murderers, assassins, robbers,” etc. I admit that our aspirations and objects are incomprehensible to unprincipled ruffians, but surely for this we are not to be blamed. The assertion, if I mistake not, was based on the ground that we sought to destroy property. Whether this perversion of facts was intentional, I know not. But in justification of our doctrines I will say that the assertion is an infamous falsehood. Articles have been read here from the Arbeiter-Zeitung and Alarm to show the dangerous characters of the defendants. The files of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and Alarm have been searched for the past years. Those articles which generally commented upon some atrocity committed by the authorities upon striking workingmen were picked out and read to you. Other articles were not read to the court. Other articles were not what was wanted. The State’s Attorney upon those articles (who well knows that he tells a falsehood when he says it), asserts that “these men have no principle.”

A few weeks before I was arrested and charged with the crime for which I have been convicted, I was invited by the clergymen of the Congregational Church to lecture upon the subject of socialism, and debate with them. This took place at the Grand Pacific Hotel. And so that it cannot be said that after I have been arrested, after I have been indicted, and after I have been convicted, I have put together some principles to justify my action, I will read what I said then-

CAPT. BLACK: “Give the date of the paper.”

MR. SPIES: “January 9, 1886.”

CAPT. BLACK: “What paper, the Alarm?”

MR. SPIES: “The Alarm. When I was asked upon that occasion what Socialism was, I said this:

“Socialism is simply a resume of the phenomena of the social life of the past and present traced to their fundamental causes, and brought into logical connection with one another. It rests upon the established fact that the economic conditions and institutions of a people form the ground work of all their social conditions, of their ideas-aye, even of their religion, and further, that all changes of economic conditions, every step in advance, arises from the struggles between the dominating and dominated class in different ages. You, gentlemen, cannot place yourselves at this standpoint of speculative science; your profession demands that you occupy the opposite position, that which professes acquaintance with things as they actually exist, but which presumes a thorough understanding of matters which to ordinary mortals are entirely incomprehensible. It is for this reason that you cannot become Socialists (cries of “Oh! oh!”). Lest you should be unable to exactly grasp my meaning, however, I will now state the matter a little more plainly. It cannot be unknown to you that in the course of this century there have appeared an infinite number of inventions and discoveries, which have brought about great, aye, astonishing changes in the production of the necessities and comforts of life. The work of machines has, to a great extent, replaced that of men.

“Machinery involves a great accumulation of power, and always a greater division of labor in consequence.

“The advantages resulting from this centralization of production were of such a nature as to cause its still further extension, and from this concentration of the means of labor and of the operations of laborers, while the old system of distribution was (and is) retained, arose those improper conditions which ails society today.

“The means of production thus came into the hands of an ever decreasing number, while the actual producers, through the introduction of machinery, deprived of the opportunity to toil, and being at the same time disinherited of the bounties of nature, were consigned to pauperism, vagabondage-the so-called crime and prostitution-all these evils which you gentlemen would like to exorcise with your little prayer-book.

“The Socialists award your efforts a jocular rather than a serious attention-[symptoms of uneasiness]-otherwise, pray let us know how much you have accomplished so far by your moral lecturing toward ameliorating the condition of those wretched beings who through bitter
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want have been driven to crime and desperation? [Here several gentlemen sprang to their feet, exclaiming, `We have done a great deal in some directions!’] Aye, in some cases you have perhaps given a few alms; but what influence has this, if I may ask, had upon societary conditions, or in affecting any change in the same? Nothing; absolutely nothing. You may as well admit it, gentlemen, for you cannot point me out a single instance.

“Very well. Those proletarians doomed to misery and hunger through the labor-saving of our centralized production, whose number in this country we estimate at about a million and a half, is it likely that they and the thousands who are daily joining their ranks, and the millions who are toiling for a miserable pittance, will suffer peacefully and with Christian resignation their destruction at the hand of their thievish and murderous, albeit very Christian wage-masters? They will defend themselves. It will come to a fight.

“The necessity of common ownership in the means of toil will be realized, and the era of socialism, of universal co-operation begins. The dispossessing of the usurping classes-the socialization of these possessions-and the universal co-operation of toil, not for speculative purposes, but for the satisfaction of the demands which we make upon life; in short co-operative labor for the purpose of continuing life and of enjoying it-this in general outlines, is Socialism. This is not, however, as you might suppose, a mere “beautifully conceived plan,” the realization of which would be well worth striving for if it could only be brought about. No; this socialization of the means of production, of the machinery of commerce, of the land and earth, etc., is not only something desirable, but has become an imperative necessity, and wherever we find in history that something has once become a necessity there we always find that the next step was the doing away with that necessity by the supplying of the logical want.

“Our large factories and mines, and the machinery of exchange and transportation, apart from every other consideration, have become too vast for private control. Individuals can no longer monopolize them.

“Everywhere, wherever we cast our eyes, we find forced upon our attention the unnatural and injurious effects of unregulated private production. We see how one man, or a number of men, have not only brought into the embrace of their private ownership a few inventions in technical lines, but have also confiscated for their exclusive advantage all natural powers, such as water, steam, and electricity. Every fresh invention, every discovery belongs to them. The world exists for them only. That they destroy their fellow-beings right and left they little care. That, by their machinery, they even work the bodies of little children into gold pieces they hold to be an especially good work and a genuine Christian act. They murder, as we have said, little children and women by hard labor, while they let strong men go hungry for lack of work.

“People ask themselves how such things are possible, and the answer is that the competitive system is the cause of it. The thought of a cooperative, social, rational, and well-regulated system of management irresistibly impresses the observer. The advantages of such a system are of such a convincing kind, so patent to observation-and where could there be any other way out of it? According to physical laws a body always moves itself, consciously or unconsciously, along the line of least resistance. So does society as a whole. The path to co-operative labor and distribution is leveled by the concentration of the means of labor under the private capitalistic system. We are already moving right in that track. We cannot retreat even if we would. The force of circumstances drives us on to Socialism.

” `And now, Mr. S., won’t you tell us how you are going to carry out the expropriation of the possessing classes?’ asked Rev. Dr. Scudder.

” `The answer is in the thing itself. The key is furnished by the storms raging through the industrial life of the present. You see how penuriously the owners of the factories, of the mines, cling to their privileges, and will not yield the breadth of an inch. On the other hand, you see the half-starved proletarians driven to the verge of violence.’

” `So your remedy would be violence?’

” `Remedy? Well, I should like it better if it could be done without violence, but you, gentlemen, and the class you represent, take care that it cannot be accomplished otherwise. Let us suppose that the workingmen of today go to their employers, and say to them: `Listen! Your administration of affairs don’t suit us any more; it leads to disastrous consequences. While one part of us are worked to death, the others, out of employment, are starved to death; little children are ground to death in the factories, while strong, vigorous men remain idle; the masses live in misery while a small class of respectables enjoy luxury and wealth; all this is the result of your maladministration, which will bring misfortune even to yourselvess; step down and out now; let us have your property, which is nothing but unpaid labor; we shall take this thing in our hands now; we shall administrate matters satisfactorily, and regulate the institutions of society; voluntarily we shall pay you a life-long pension. Now, do you think the `bosses’ would accept this proposition? You certainly don’t believe it. Therefore force will have to decide-or do you know of any other way?’

“So you are organizing a revolution?”

“It was shortly before my arrest, and I answered: “Such things are hard to organize. A revolution is a sudden upwelling-a convulsion of the fevered masses of society.

“We are preparing society for that, and insist upon it that workingmen should arm themselves and keep ready for the struggle. The better they are armed the easier will the battle be, and the less the bloodshed.

” `What would be the order of things in the new society?’

” `I must decline to answer this question, as it is, till now, a mere matter of speculation. The organization of labor on a co-operative basis offers no difficulties. The large establishments of today might be used as patterns. Those who will have to solve these questions will expediently do it, instead of working according to our prescriptions (if we should make anything of the kind); they will be directed by the circumstances and conditions of the time, and these are beyond our horizon. About this you needn’t trouble yourselves.’

” `But, friend, don’t you think that about a week after the division, the provident will have all, while the spendthrift will have nothing?’

” `The question is out of order,’ interfered the Chairman; `there was not said anything about division.’

“Prof. Wilcox: `Don’t you think the introduction of Socialism will destroy all individuality?’

” `How can anything be destroyed which does not exist? In our times there is no individuality; that only can be developed under Socialism, when mankind will be independent economically. Where do you meet today with real individuality? Look at yourselves, gentlemen! You don’t dare to give utterance to any subjective opinion which might not suit the feelings of your bread-givers and customers.

You are hypocrites [murmurs and indignation]; every business man is a hypocrite. Everywhere is mockery, servility, lie and fraud. And the laborers! There you feign anxiety about their individuality; about the individuality of a class that has been degraded to machines-used each day for ten or twelve hours as appendages of the lifeless machines! About their individuality you are anxious!’

“Does that sound as though I had at that time, as has been imputed to me, organized a revolution-a so-called social revolution, which was to occur on or about the 1st of May to establish anarchy in place of our present “ideal order?” I guess not.

“So socialism does not mean the destruction of society. Socialism is a constructive and not a destructive science. While capitalism expropriates the masses for the benefit of the privileged class; while capitalism is that school of economics which teaches how one can live upon the labor (i.e., property) of the other; Socialism teaches how all may possess property, and further teaches that every man must work honestly for his own living, and not be playing the “respectable board of trade man,” or any other highly (?) respectable business man or banker, such as appeared here as talesmen in the jurors’ box, with the fixed opinion that we ought to be hanged. Indeed, I believe they have that opinion! Socialism, in short, seeks to establish a universal system of cooperation, and to render accessible to each and every member of the human family the achievements and benefits of civilization, which, under capitalism, are being monopolized by a privileged class and employed, not as they should be, for the common good of all, but for the brutish gratification of an avaricious class. Under capitalism the great inventions of the past, far from being a blessing for mankind, have been turned into a curse! Under Socialism the prophecy of the Greek poet, Antiporas, would be fulfilled, who, at the invention of the first water-mill, exclaimed: “This is the emancipator of male and female slaves”; and likewise the prediction of Aristotle, who said: “When, at some future age, every tool, upon command or by predestination, will perform its work as the artworks of Daedalus did, which moved by themselves, or like the three feet of Hephaestus, which went to their sacred work instinctively, when thus the weaver shuttles will weave by themselves, then we shall no longer require masters and slaves.”

Socialism says this time has come, and can you deny it? You say: “Oh, these heathens, what did they know?” True! They knew nothing of political economy; they knew nothing of christendom. They failed to conceive how nicely these man-emancipating machines could be employed to lengthen the hours of toil and to intensify the burdens of the slaves. These heathens, yes, they excused the slavery of one on the ground that thereby another would be afforded the opportunity of human development. But to preach the slavery of the masses in order that a few rude and arrogant parvenues might become “eminent manufacturers,” “extensive packing-house owners,” or “influential shoe-black dealers,” to do this they lacked that specfic Christian organ.

Socialism teaches that the machines, the means of transportation and communication are the result of the combined efforts of society, past and present, and that they are therefore rightfully the indivisible property of society, just the same as the soil and the mines and all natural gifts should be. This declaration implies that those who have appropriated this wealth wrongfully, though lawfully, shall be expropriated by society. The expropriation of the masses by the monopolists has reached such a degree that the expropriation of the expropriateurs has become an imperative necessity, an act of social self-preservation.

SOCIETY WILL RECLAIM ITS OWN, even though you erect a gibbet on every street corner. And Anarchism, this terrible “ism,” deduces that under a co-operative organization of society, under economic equality and individual independence, the “State”-the political State-will pass into barbaric antiquity. And we will be where all are free, where there are no longer masters and servants, where intellect stands for brute force, there will no longer be any use for the policemen and militia to preserve the so-called “peace and order”-the order that the Russian General speaks of when he telegraphed to the Czar after he had massacred half of Warsaw, “Peace reigns in Warsaw.”

Anarchism does not mean bloodshed; does not mean robbery, arson, etc. These monstrosities are, on the contrary, the characteristic features of capitalism. Anarchism means peace and tranquility to all. Anarchism, or Socialism, means the reorganization of society upon scientific principles and the abolition of causes which produce vice and crime. Capitalism first produces these social diseases and then seeks to cure them by punishment.

The court has had a great deal to say about the incendiary character of the articles read from the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Let me read to you an editorial which appeared in the Fond du Lac Commonwealth, in October, 1886, a Republican paper. If I am not mistaken the court is Republican, too.

“To arms, Republicans! Work in every town in Wisconsin for men not afraid of firearms, blood or dead bodies, to preserve peace [that is the `peace’ I have been speaking of] and quiet; avoid a conflict of parties to prevent the administration of public affairs from falling into the hands of such obnoxious men as James G. Jenkins. Every Republican in Wisconsin should go armed to the polls on next election day. The grain-stacks, houses and barns of active Democrats should be burned; their children burned and their wives outraged, that they may understand that the Republican party is the one which is bound to rule, and the one which they should vote for, or keep their vile carcasses away from the polls. If they still persist in going to the polls, and persist in voting for Jenkins, meet them on the road, in the bush, on the hill, or anywhere, and shoot every one of these base cowards and agitators. If they are too strong in any locality, and succeed in putting their opposition votes into the ballot box, break open the box and tear in shreds their discord-breathing ballots. Burn them. This is the time for effective work. Yellow fever will not catch among Morrison Democrats; so we must use less noisy and more effective means. The agitators must be put down, and whoever opposes us does so at his peril. Republicans, be at the polls in accordance with the above directions, and don’t stop for a little blood. That which make the solid South will make a solid North.”

What does your honor say to these utterances of a “law and order” organ-a Republican organ? How does the Arbeiter-Zeitung compare with this?

The book of Johann Most, which was introduced in court, I have never read, and I admit that passages were read here that are repulsive -that must be repulsive to any person who has a heart. But I call your attention to the fact that these passages have been translated from a publication of Andrieux, the ex-prefect of police, in Paris, by an exponent of your order! Have the representatives of your order ever stopped at the sacrifice of human blood? Never!

It has been charged that we (the eight here) constituted a conspiracy. I would reply to that that my friend Lingg I had seen but twice at meetings of the Central Labor Union, where I went as a reporter; had seen him but twice before I was arrested. Never spoke to him. Engle I have not been on speaking terms with for at least a year. And Fischer, my lieutenant (?) used to go round and make speeches against me.

So much for that.

You honor has said this morning, “we must learn their objects from what they have said and written,” and in pursuance thereof the court has read a number of articles.

Now, if I had as much power as the court, and were a law-abiding citizen, I would certainly have the court indicted for some remarks made during this trial. I will say that if I had not been an anarchist at the beginning of this trial I would be one now. I quote the exact language of the court on one occasion. “It does not necessarily follow that all laws are foolish and bad because a good many of them are so.” That is treason, sir! if we are to believe the court and the State’s Attorney. But, aside from that, I cannot see how we shall distinguish the good from the bad laws. Am I to judge of that? No; I am not. But if I disobey a bad law, and am brought before a bad judge, I undoubtedly would be convicted.

In regard to a report in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, also read this morning the report of the Board of Trade demonstration, I would say-and this is the only defense, the only word I have to say in my own defense is, that I did not know of that article until I saw it in the paper, and the man who wrote it, wrote it rather as a reply to some slurs in the morning papers. He was discharged. The language used in that article would never have been tolerated if I had seen it.

Now, if we cannot be directly implicated with this affair, connected with the throwing of the bomb, where is the law that says, “that these men shall be picked out to suffer? Show me that law if you have it! If the position of the court is correct, then half of this city-half of the population of this city-ought to be hanged, because they are responsible the same as we are for that act on May 4th. And if not half of the population of Chicago is hanged, then show me the law that says, “Eight men shall be picked out and hanged as scapegoats!” You have no good law. Your decision, your verdict, our conviction is nothing but an arbitrary will of this lawless court. It is true there is no precedent in jurisprudence in this case! It is true we have called upon the people to arm themselves. It is true that we have told them time and again that the great day of change was coming. It was not our desire to have bloodshed. We are not beasts. We would not be socialists if we were beasts. It is because of our sensitiveness that we have gone into this movement for the emancipation of the oppressed and suffering. It is true we have called upon the people to arm and prepare for the stormy times before us.

This seems to be the ground upon which the verdict is to be sustained. “BUT WHEN A LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS PURSUING INVARIABLY THE SAME OBJECT EVINCES A DESIGN TO REDUCE THE PEOPLE UNDER ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY, TO THROW OFF SUCH GOVERNMENT AND PROVIDE NEW GUARDS FOR THEIR FUTURE SAFETY.” This is a quotation from the “Declaration of Independence.” Have we broken any laws by showing to the people how these abuses, that have occurred for the last twenty years, are invaribly pursuing one object, viz: to establish an oligarchy in this country as strong and powerful and monstrous as never before has existed in any country? I can well understand why that man Grinnell did not urge upon the grand jury to charge us with treason. I can well understand it. You cannot try and convict a man for treason who has upheld the constitution against those who try to trample it under their feet. It would not have been as easy a job to do that, Mr. Grinnell, as to charge “these men” with murder.

Now, these are my ideas. They constitute a part of myself. I cannot divest myself of them, nor would I, if I could. And if you think that you can crush out these ideas that are gaining ground more and more every day, if you think you can crush them out by sending us to the gallows-if you would once more have people suffer the penalty of death because they have dared to tell the truth-and I defy you to show us where we have told a lie-I say, if death is the penalty for proclaiming the truth, then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price! Call your hangman! Truth crucified in Socrates, in Christ, in Giordano Bruno, in Huss, Gallileo, still lives-they and others whose number is legion have preceded us on this path. We are ready to follow!

SPEECH OF ADOLPH FISCHER.

Speech of Adolph Fischer, pp. 36 – 38YOUR HONOR: You ask me why sentence of death should not be passed upon me. I will not talk much. I will only say that I protest against my being sentenced to death, because I have committed no crime. I was tried her…

Speech of Adolph Fischer, pp. 36 – 38

YOUR HONOR: You ask me why sentence of death should not be passed upon me. I will not talk much. I will only say that I protest against my being sentenced to death, because I have committed no crime. I was tried here in this room for murder, and I was convicted of Anarchy. I protest against being sentenced to death, because I have not been found guilty of murder. But, however, if I am to die on account of being an Anarchist, on account of my love for liberty, fraternity and equality, then I will not remonstrate. If death is the penalty for our love of the freedom of the human race, then I say openly I have forfeited my life; but a murderer I am not. Although being one of the parties who arranged the Haymarket meeting, I had no more to do with the throwing of that bomb, I had no more connection with it than State’s Attorney Grinnell had, perhaps. I do not deny that I was present at the Haymarket meeting but that meeting-

(At this point Mr. Salomon stepped up and spoke to Mr. Fischer in a low tone, but the latter waved him off and said:)

Mr. Salomon, be so kind. I know what I am talking about. Now, that Haymarket meeting was not called for the purpose of committing violence and crime. No; but the meeting was called for the purpose of protesting against the outrages and crimes committed by the police on the day previous, out at McCormick’s. The State’s witness, Waller, and others have testified here, and I only need to repeat it, that we had a meeting on Monday night, and in this meeting-the affair at McCormick’s taking place just a few hours previous-took action and called a mass-meeting for the purpose of protesting against the brutal outrages of the police. Waller was chairman of this meeting, and he himself made the motion to hold the meeting at the Haymarket. It was he also who appointed me as a committee to have handbills printed and to provide for speakers; that I did, and nothing else. The next day I went to Wehrer & Klein, and had 25,000 handbills printed, and I invited Spies to speak at the Haymarket meeting. In the original of the “copy” I had the line “Workingmen, appear armed!” and I had my reason too for putting those words in, because I didn’t want the working men to be shot down in that meeting as on other occasions. But as those circulars were printed, or as a few of them were printed and brought over to me at the Arbeiter-Zeitung office, my comrade Spies saw one of them. I had invited him to speak before that. He showed me the circular, and said: “Well, Fischer, if those circulars are distributed, I won’t speak.” I admitted it would be better to take the objectionable words out, and Mr. Spies spoke. And that is all I had to do with that meeting. Well, I went to the Haymarket about 8:15 o’clock, and stayed there until Parsons interrupted Fielden’s speech. Parsons stepped up to the stand, and said that it looked like it was going to rain, and that the assembly had better adjourn to Zepf’s Hall. At that moment a friend of mine who testified on the witness stand, went with me to Zepf’s Hall, and we sat down at a table and had a glass of beer. At the moment I was going to sit down, my friend Parsons came in with some other persons, and after I was sitting there about five minutes the explosion occurred. I had no idea that anything of the kind would happen, because, as the State’s witnesses testified, themselves, there was no agreement to defend ourselves that night. It was only a meeting called to protest.

Now, as I said before, this verdict, which was rendered by the jury in this room, is not directed against murder, but against Anarchy. I feel that I am sentenced, or that I will be sentenced, to death because of being an Anarchist, and not because I am a murderer. I have never been a murderer. I have never yet committed a crime in my life; but I know a certain man who is on the way to becoming a murderer, an assassin, and that man is Grinnell-the State’s Attorney Grinnell-because he brought men on the witness stand who he knew would swear falsely; and I publicly denounce Mr. Grinnell as being a murderer and an assassin if I should be executed. But if the ruling class thinks that by hanging us, hanging a few Anarchists, they can crush out Anarchy, they will be badly mistaken, because the Anarchist loves his principles more than his life.

An Anarchist is always ready to die for his principles; but in this case I have been charged with murder, and I am not a murderer. You will find it impossible to kill a principle, although you may take the life of men who confess these principles. The more the believers in just causes are persecuted, the quicker will their ideas be realized. For instance, in rendering such an unjust and barbarous verdict, the twelve “honorable men” in the jury-box have done more for the furtherance of Anarchism than the convicted could have accomplished in a generation. This verdict is a death-blow against free speech, free press, and free thought in this country, and the people will be conscious of it, too. This is all I care to say.

Resistance to Civil Government

Henry David Thoreau

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

[1849, original title: Resistance to Civil Government]

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievious persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation on conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts — a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

“Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where out hero was buried.”

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others — as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders — serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as the rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few — as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men — serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be “clay,” and “stop a hole to keep the wind away,” but leave that office to his dust at least:

“I am too high born to be propertied,
To be a second at control,
Or useful serving-man and instrument
To any sovereign state throughout the world.”

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them in pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of ’75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the “Duty of Submission to Civil Government,” resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that “so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that it, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniencey, it is the will of God… that the established government be obeyed — and no longer. This principle being admitted, the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other.” Of this, he says, every man shall judge for himself. But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself. This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.

In their practice, nations agree with Paley; but does anyone think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the present crisis?

“A drab of stat,
a cloth-o’-silver slut,

To have her train borne up,
and her soul trail in the dirt.”

Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, neat at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of, those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not as materially wiser or better than the many. It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for other to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. But it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it.

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of this wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reasons to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. O for a man who is a man, and, and my neighbor says, has a bone is his back which you cannot pass your hand through! Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in the country? Hardly one. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow — one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness, and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful self-reliance; whose first and chief concern, on coming into the world, is to see that the almshouses are in good repair; and, before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb, to collect a fund to the support of the widows and orphans that may be; who, in short, ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance company, which has promised to bury him decently.

It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, “I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico — see if I would go”; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble are most likely to incur. Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves — the union between themselves and the State — and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? Do not they stand in same relation to the State that the State does to the Union? And have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting the Union which have prevented them from resisting the State?

How can a man be satisfied to entertain and opinion merely, and enjoy it? Is there any enjoyment in it, if his opinion is that he is aggrieved? If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with knowing you are cheated, or with saying that you are cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due; but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, and see to it that you are never cheated again. Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divided States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

One would think, that a deliberate and practical denial of its authority was the only offense never contemplated by its government; else, why has it not assigned its definite, its suitable and proportionate, penalty? If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know, and determined only by the discretion of those who put him there; but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large again.

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth — certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man’s life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconcilliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

I meet this American government, or its representative, the State government, directly, and face to face, once a year — no more — in the person of its tax-gatherer; this is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinctly, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispensablest mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with — for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel — and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well that he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he will treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborlines without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name — if ten honest men only — ay, if one honest man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. If my esteemed neighbor, the State’s ambassador, who will devote his days to the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council Chamber, instead of being threatened with the prisons of Carolina, were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts, that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister — though at present she can discover only an act of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her — the Legislature would not wholly waive the subject of the following winter.

Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her — the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.

I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, rather than the seizure of his goods — though both will serve the same purpose — because they who assert the purest right, and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. To such the State renders comparatively small service, and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man — not to make any invidious comparison — is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer; while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as that are called the “means” are increased. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. “Show me the tribute-money,” said he — and one took a penny out of his pocket — if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it, and which he has made current and valuable, that is, if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar’s government, then pay him back some of his own when he demands it. “Render therefore to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God those things which are God’s” — leaving them no wiser than before as to which was which; for they did not wish to know.

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a start, and not have many affairs. A man may grow rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said: “If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame.” No: until I want the protection of Massachusetts to be extended to me in some distant Southern port, where my liberty is endangered, or until I am bent solely on building up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise, I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my property and life. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. “Pay,” it said, “or be locked up in the jail.” I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster; for I was not the State’s schoolmaster, but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church. However, as the request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: “Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined.” This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.

I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated my as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be as free as I was. I did nor for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.

Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior with or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, “Your money our your life,” why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man.

The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. The prisoners in their shirtsleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway, when I entered. But the jailer said, “Come, boys, it is time to lock up”; and so they dispersed, and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as “a first-rate fellow and clever man.” When the door was locked, he showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month; and this one, at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably neatest apartment in town. He naturally wanted to know where I came from, and what brought me there; and, when I had told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming him to be an honest man, of course; and as the world goes, I believe he was. “Why,” said he, “they accuse me of burning a barn; but I never did it.” As near as I could discover, he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe there; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer; but he was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for nothing, and thought that he was well treated.

He occupied one window, and I the other; and I saw that if one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out the window. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there, and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various occupants of that room; for I found that even there there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but not published. I was shown quite a long list of young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them.

I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should never see him again; but at length he showed me which was my bed, and left me to blow out the lamp.

It was like travelling into a far country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, not the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn — a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.

In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what bread I had left, but my comrade seized it, and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.

When I came out of prison — for some one interfered, and paid that tax — I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a gray-headed man; and yet a change had come to my eyes come over the scene — the town, and State, and country, greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight through useless path from time to time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village.

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the jail window, “How do ye do?” My neighbors did not this salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker’s to get a shoe which was mender. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended show, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour — for the horse was soon tackled — was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.

This is the whole history of “My Prisons.”

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man a musket to shoot one with — the dollar is innocent — but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get what advantages of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his property, or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good.

This, then is my position at present. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his actions be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.

I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? But I think again, This is no reason why I should do as they do, or permit others to suffer much greater pain of a different kind. Again, I sometimes say to myself, When many millions of men, without heat, without ill will, without personal feelings of any kind, demand of you a few shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitution, of retracting or altering their present demand, and without the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force? You do not resist cold and hunger, the winds and the waves, thus obstinately; you quietly submit to a thousand similar necessities. You do not put your head into the fire. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker for fire, and I have only myself to blame. If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied with men as they are, and to treat them accordingly, and not according, in some respects, to my requisitions and expectations of what they and I ought to be, then, like a good Mussulman and fatalist, I should endeavor to be satisfied with things as they are, and say it is the will of God. And, above all, there is this difference between resisting this and a purely brute or natural force, that I can resist this with some effect; but I cannot expect, like Orpheus, to change the nature of the rocks and trees and beasts.

I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people to discover a pretext for conformity.

“We must affect our country as our parents,
And if at any time we alienate
Out love or industry from doing it honor,
We must respect effects and teach the soul
Matter of conscience and religion,
And not desire of rule or benefit.”

I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very good; the law and the courts are very respectable; even this State and this American government are, in many respects, very admirable, and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a great many have described them; seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all?

However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him.

I know that most men think differently from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects content me as little as any. Statesmen and legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it. They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems, for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency. Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it. His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all tim, he never once glances at the subject. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind’s range and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom an eloquence of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical. Still, his quality is not wisdom, but prudence. The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing. He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. There are really no blows to be given him but defensive ones. He is not a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of ’87. “I have never made an effort,” he says, “and never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by which various States came into the Union.” Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, “Because it was part of the original compact — let it stand.” Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect — what, for instance, it behooves a man to do here in American today with regard to slavery — but ventures, or is driven, to make some such desperate answer to the following, while professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man — from which what new and singular of social duties might be inferred? “The manner,” says he, “in which the governments of the States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration, under the responsibility to their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, and justice, and to God. Associations formed elsewhere, springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, have nothing whatever to do with it. They have never received any encouragement from me and they never will. [These extracts have been inserted since the lecture was read — HDT]

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freed, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations. For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation.

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to — for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well — is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.

Henry David Thoreau

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

[1849, original title: Resistance to Civil Government]

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievious persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation on conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts — a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

“Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where out hero was buried.”

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others — as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders — serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as the rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few — as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men — serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be “clay,” and “stop a hole to keep the wind away,” but leave that office to his dust at least:

“I am too high born to be propertied,
To be a second at control,
Or useful serving-man and instrument
To any sovereign state throughout the world.”

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them in pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of ’75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the “Duty of Submission to Civil Government,” resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that “so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that it, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniencey, it is the will of God… that the established government be obeyed — and no longer. This principle being admitted, the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other.” Of this, he says, every man shall judge for himself. But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself. This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.

In their practice, nations agree with Paley; but does anyone think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the present crisis?

“A drab of stat,
a cloth-o’-silver slut,

To have her train borne up,
and her soul trail in the dirt.”

Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, neat at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of, those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not as materially wiser or better than the many. It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for other to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. But it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it.

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of this wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reasons to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. O for a man who is a man, and, and my neighbor says, has a bone is his back which you cannot pass your hand through! Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in the country? Hardly one. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow — one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness, and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful self-reliance; whose first and chief concern, on coming into the world, is to see that the almshouses are in good repair; and, before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb, to collect a fund to the support of the widows and orphans that may be; who, in short, ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance company, which has promised to bury him decently.

It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, “I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico — see if I would go”; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble are most likely to incur. Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves — the union between themselves and the State — and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? Do not they stand in same relation to the State that the State does to the Union? And have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting the Union which have prevented them from resisting the State?

How can a man be satisfied to entertain and opinion merely, and enjoy it? Is there any enjoyment in it, if his opinion is that he is aggrieved? If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with knowing you are cheated, or with saying that you are cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due; but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, and see to it that you are never cheated again. Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divided States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

One would think, that a deliberate and practical denial of its authority was the only offense never contemplated by its government; else, why has it not assigned its definite, its suitable and proportionate, penalty? If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know, and determined only by the discretion of those who put him there; but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large again.

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth — certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man’s life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconcilliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

I meet this American government, or its representative, the State government, directly, and face to face, once a year — no more — in the person of its tax-gatherer; this is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinctly, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispensablest mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with — for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel — and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well that he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he will treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborlines without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name — if ten honest men only — ay, if one honest man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. If my esteemed neighbor, the State’s ambassador, who will devote his days to the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council Chamber, instead of being threatened with the prisons of Carolina, were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts, that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister — though at present she can discover only an act of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her — the Legislature would not wholly waive the subject of the following winter.

Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her — the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.

I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, rather than the seizure of his goods — though both will serve the same purpose — because they who assert the purest right, and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. To such the State renders comparatively small service, and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man — not to make any invidious comparison — is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer; while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as that are called the “means” are increased. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. “Show me the tribute-money,” said he — and one took a penny out of his pocket — if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it, and which he has made current and valuable, that is, if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar’s government, then pay him back some of his own when he demands it. “Render therefore to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God those things which are God’s” — leaving them no wiser than before as to which was which; for they did not wish to know.

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a start, and not have many affairs. A man may grow rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said: “If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame.” No: until I want the protection of Massachusetts to be extended to me in some distant Southern port, where my liberty is endangered, or until I am bent solely on building up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise, I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my property and life. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. “Pay,” it said, “or be locked up in the jail.” I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster; for I was not the State’s schoolmaster, but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church. However, as the request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: “Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined.” This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.

I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated my as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be as free as I was. I did nor for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.

Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior with or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, “Your money our your life,” why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man.

The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. The prisoners in their shirtsleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway, when I entered. But the jailer said, “Come, boys, it is time to lock up”; and so they dispersed, and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as “a first-rate fellow and clever man.” When the door was locked, he showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month; and this one, at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably neatest apartment in town. He naturally wanted to know where I came from, and what brought me there; and, when I had told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming him to be an honest man, of course; and as the world goes, I believe he was. “Why,” said he, “they accuse me of burning a barn; but I never did it.” As near as I could discover, he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe there; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer; but he was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for nothing, and thought that he was well treated.

He occupied one window, and I the other; and I saw that if one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out the window. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there, and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various occupants of that room; for I found that even there there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but not published. I was shown quite a long list of young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them.

I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should never see him again; but at length he showed me which was my bed, and left me to blow out the lamp.

It was like travelling into a far country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, not the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn — a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.

In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what bread I had left, but my comrade seized it, and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.

When I came out of prison — for some one interfered, and paid that tax — I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a gray-headed man; and yet a change had come to my eyes come over the scene — the town, and State, and country, greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight through useless path from time to time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village.

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the jail window, “How do ye do?” My neighbors did not this salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker’s to get a shoe which was mender. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended show, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour — for the horse was soon tackled — was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.

This is the whole history of “My Prisons.”

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man a musket to shoot one with — the dollar is innocent — but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get what advantages of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his property, or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good.

This, then is my position at present. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his actions be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.

I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? But I think again, This is no reason why I should do as they do, or permit others to suffer much greater pain of a different kind. Again, I sometimes say to myself, When many millions of men, without heat, without ill will, without personal feelings of any kind, demand of you a few shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitution, of retracting or altering their present demand, and without the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force? You do not resist cold and hunger, the winds and the waves, thus obstinately; you quietly submit to a thousand similar necessities. You do not put your head into the fire. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker for fire, and I have only myself to blame. If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied with men as they are, and to treat them accordingly, and not according, in some respects, to my requisitions and expectations of what they and I ought to be, then, like a good Mussulman and fatalist, I should endeavor to be satisfied with things as they are, and say it is the will of God. And, above all, there is this difference between resisting this and a purely brute or natural force, that I can resist this with some effect; but I cannot expect, like Orpheus, to change the nature of the rocks and trees and beasts.

I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people to discover a pretext for conformity.

“We must affect our country as our parents,
And if at any time we alienate
Out love or industry from doing it honor,
We must respect effects and teach the soul
Matter of conscience and religion,
And not desire of rule or benefit.”

I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very good; the law and the courts are very respectable; even this State and this American government are, in many respects, very admirable, and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a great many have described them; seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all?

However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him.

I know that most men think differently from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects content me as little as any. Statesmen and legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it. They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems, for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency. Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it. His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all tim, he never once glances at the subject. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind’s range and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom an eloquence of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical. Still, his quality is not wisdom, but prudence. The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing. He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. There are really no blows to be given him but defensive ones. He is not a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of ’87. “I have never made an effort,” he says, “and never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by which various States came into the Union.” Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, “Because it was part of the original compact — let it stand.” Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect — what, for instance, it behooves a man to do here in American today with regard to slavery — but ventures, or is driven, to make some such desperate answer to the following, while professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man — from which what new and singular of social duties might be inferred? “The manner,” says he, “in which the governments of the States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration, under the responsibility to their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, and justice, and to God. Associations formed elsewhere, springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, have nothing whatever to do with it. They have never received any encouragement from me and they never will. [These extracts have been inserted since the lecture was read — HDT]

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freed, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations. For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation.

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to — for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well — is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.