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Benjamin R. Tucker
1854 - 1939

American anarchist and libertarian reformer, founder and publisher of the periodical broadsheet Liberty (1881-1908), author of the famous essay "State Socialism and Anarchism" (1886) and other works


[State socialism] means the absolute control by the majority of all individual conduct. The right of such control is already admitted by the State Socialists, though they maintain that, as a matter of fact, the individual would be allowed a much larger liberty than he now enjoys. But he would only be allowed it; he could not claim it as his own. There would be no foundation of society upon a guaranteed equality of the largest possible liberty. Such liberty as might exist would exist by sufferance and could be taken away at any moment. Constitutional guarantees would be of no avail. There would be but one article in the constitution of a State Socialistic country: "The right of the majority is absolute." [This essay was written before state socialism completed its inevitable evolution to "the right of the state's managers is absolute." Ed.]

1886 - from "State Socialism and Anarchism" originally published in Instead of a Book
[Karl] Marx, [state socialism's] founder, concluded that the only way to abolish the class monopolies was to centralize and consolidate all industrial and commercial interests, all productive and distributive agencies, in one vast monopoly in the hands of the State... the remedy for monopolies is monopoly.

1886 - from "State Socialism and Anarchism" originally published in Instead of a Book
It is a curious fact that the two extremes of the [socialist movement] ... though united... by the common claim that labour should be put in possession of its own, are more diametrically opposed to each other in their fundamental principles of social action and their methods of reaching the ends aimed at than either is to their common enemy, existing society. They are based on two principles the history of whose conflict is almost equivalent to the history of the world since man came into it... The two principles referred to are authority and liberty, and the names of the two schools of Socialistic thought which fully and unreservedly represent one or the other are, respectively, State Socialism and Anarchism. Whoso knows that these two schools want and how they propose to get it understands the Socialistic movement. For, just as it has been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between State Socialism and Anarchism.

1886 - from "State Socialism and Anarchism" originally published in Instead of a Book