Patriotismo: Uma Ameaça a Liberdade
O que é patriotismo? É o amor à terra natal, o lugar das esperânças, lembranças, sonhos e aspirações da infância? É o lugar onde, ingenuidade infantil, costumávamos observar as nuves a fugir, e pergunto também por que nós não podiamos correr tão rápido? O lugar onde nós podíamos contar as milhares de estreladas brilhantes, aterrorizados com medo de que cada "olho deve ser", penetrando nas profundezas de nossas pequenas almas? É o lugar onde nós podíamos ouvir a música dos pássaros, e tempo para ter asas para voar, assim como eles, para terras distantes? Ou o lugar onde se apoiar no joelho da mãe, encatados pelos lindos contos de grandes feitos e conquistas? Em resumo, é o amor pelo lugar, cada polegada representando queridas e preciosas lembranças de uma infância feliz, alegre e brincalhona?
Se isso fosse patriotismo, alguns homens americanos de hoje poderiam ser chamados de patriotas, já que o local da alegria foi transformado em fábrica, usina, e a minha, enquanto os sons ensurdecedores das máquinas têm substituído a música dos pássaros. Também não podemos mais ouvir os contos de grandes feitos, das histórias que nossas mães contam hoje, mas os de tristeza, lágrimas e dor.
O que é, então, patriotismo? "O patriotismo, senhor, é o último recurso dos canalhas", disse Dr. Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, o maior anti-patriota de nossos tempos, define patriotismo como o princípio que justifica a formação de assassinos indiscriminados; um negócio que exige melhor equipamento para o exercício da matança humana do que a elaboração das necessidades da vida, tais como sapatos, roupas e casas; um negócio que garante melhores retornos e maior glória do que o trabalhador médio.
Gustave Hervé, outro grande anti-patriota, justamente chama patriotismo de superstição - uma muito mais prejudicial, brutal e desumana do que a religião. A superstição da religião tem origem na incapacidade do homem de explicar fenômenos naturais. Ou seja, quando o homem primitivo ouviu um trovão ou viu um relâmpago, ele não podia explicar qualquer um, e, portanto, concluiu que a origem deles deve ser uma força maior que ele. Da mesma forma que ele viu uma força sobrenatural na chuva, e em várias outras mudanças na natureza. O patriotismo, por outro lado, é uma superstição artificialmente criada e mantida através de uma rede de mentiras e falsidades; uma superstição que rouba o homem de seu respeito próprio e dignidade, e aumenta a sua vaidade e arrogância.
450px|rightNa verdade, vaidade, arrogância e egoísmo são a essência do patriotismo. Deixe-me ilustrar. Patriotismo pressupõe que o nosso globo é dividido em pequenos locais, cada um rodeado por um portão de ferro. Aqueles que tiveram a sorte de ter nascido em algum ponto em particular, consideram-se melhores, mais nobres, maiores, mais inteligentes do que os seres vivos que habitam qualquer outro lugar. É, portanto, o dever de todos aqueles que vivem naquele local lutar, matar e morrer na tentativa de impor sua superioridade sobre todos os outros.
Os moradores dos outros lugares em razão na forma como, naturalmente, com o resultado que, desde a primeira infância, a mente da criança é envenenada com histórias horripilantes sobre os alemães, franceses, italianos, russos, etc. Quando a criança chega a maturidade, ela está completamente saturada com a crença de que ela é escolhida pelo próprio Senhor para defender seu país contra o ataque ou invasão de qualquer estrangeiro.É por esse fim que estamos clamando por um maior exército e marinha, mais navios de guerra e munições. É por esse fim que a América tem que, dentro de um curto período de tempo, gastar quatrocentos milhões de dólares. Basta pensar nisso - quatrocentos milhões de dólares provenientes da produção do povo. Porque, certamente, não são os ricos que contribuem com o patriotismo. Eles são cosmopolitas, perfeitamente à vontade em todos os territórios. Nós, na América, sabemos bem a verdade disso. Não estão nossos ricos franceses estadonidenses na França, alemães na Alemha, ou ingleses na Inglaterra? E eles estão dispensando uma fortuna gratuita e cosmopolita cunhada por fábricas americanas de algodão onde trabalham crianças e escravos? Sim, deles é o patriotismo que permitirá enviar mensagens de condolências a um tirano como o Czar Russo, quando acontece algum acidente a ele, como o presidente Roosevelt fez em nome de seu povo, quando Sergius foi punido pelos revolucionários russos.
É um patriotismo que ajuda o assassino serial, Diaz, na destruição de milhares de vidas no México, ou que ainda ajuda na detenção de revolucionários mexicanos em solo americano e mantem-os encarcerados nas prisões americanas, sem a menor causa ou razão.
Porém, então, o patriotismo não é para aqueles que representam a riqueza e o poder. É bom o suficiente para o povo. Lembra da sabedoria histórica de Frederico, o Grande, o amigo do peito de Voltaire, que disse: "A religião é uma fraude, mas deve ser mantida para as massas."
Que o patriotismo é mais que uma instituição cara, ninguém vai duvidar vistas as seguintes estatísticas. O aumento progressivo das despesas para exércitos líderes e marinhas do mundo durante o último trimestre do século é um fato de gravidade tal que assustam a todos os estudantes de questões econômicas. Pode ser sumariamente indicado pela divisão do tempo de 1881 a 1905 em períodos de cinco anos, e observando os desembolsos de várias grandes nações para o exército e marinha feitos durante o primeiro e o último desses períodos. Do primeiro ao último observou-se que os gastos da Grã-Bretanha aumentaram de U$2.101.848.936 para U$18.104.22.1685, os da França de U$3.324.500.000 para U$3.455.109.900, os da Alemanha de $725.000.200 para 2.700.375.600 de dólares, os do Estados Unidos de U$1.275.500.750 para U$2.650.900.450, os da Rússia de U$1.900.975.500 à U$5.250.445.100, os da Itália de U$1.600.975.750 para U$1.755.500.100, e os do Japão de U$182.900.500 para U$700.925.475.
Os gastos militares de cada um dos países mencionados aumentou em cada um dos períodos de cinco anos de análise. Durante todo o intervalo de 1881 a 1905, as despesas da Grã-Bretanha com seu exército aumentaram quatro vezes, as dos Estados Unidos foram triplicadas, as da Rússia dobrada, as da Alemanha aumentaram 35 por cento, da França, cerca de 15 por cento, e do Japão quase 500 por cento. Se compararmos os gastos desses países sobre os seus exércitos com suas despesas totais para todos os vinte e cinco anos, que termina com 1905, a proporção sube da seguinte forma:
Na Grã-Bretanha, de 20% a 37%; nos Estados Unidos de 15% para 13%; na França, de 16 a 18; na Itália, de 12 por cento para 15; no Japão, de 12 a 14%. Na outra mão, é interessante notar que a proporção na Alemnha descreceu de 58% para em torno de 25%. Sendo a diminuição devido ao enorme aumento nos gastos imperiais para outros fins, o fato é que as despesas militares no período de 1901-5 foram maiores do que em qualquer período de cinco anos anteriores. As estatísticas mostram que os países em que as despesas são maiores com o Exército, na proporção da receita total nacional, são a Grã-Bretanha, os Estados Unidos, Japão, França e Itália, na ordem de nomeada.
The showing as to the cost of great navies is equally impressive. During the twenty-five years ending with 1905 naval expenditures increased approximately as follows: Great Britain, 300 per cent.; France 60 per cent.; Germany 600 per cent.; the United States 525 per cent.; Russia 300 per cent.; Italy 250 per cent.; and Japan, 700 per cent. With the exception of Great Britain, the United States spends more for naval purposes than any other nation, and this expenditure bears also a larger proportion to the entire national disbursements than that of any other power. In the period 1881-5, the expenditure for the United States navy was $6.20 out of each $100 appropriated for all national purposes; the amount rose to $6.60 for the next five-year period, to $8.10 for the next, to $11.70 for the next, and to $16.40 for 1901-5. It is morally certain that the outlay for the current period of five years will show a still further increase.
The rising cost of militarism may be still further illustrated by computing it as a per capita tax on population. From the first to the last of the five-year periods taken as the basis for the comparisons here given, it has risen as follows: In Great Britain, from $18.47 to $52.50; in France, from $19.66 to $23.62; in Germany, from $10.17 to $15.51; in the United States, from $5.62 to $13.64; in Russia, from $6.14 to $8.37; in Italy, from $9.59 to $11.24, and in Japan from 86 cents to $3.11.
It is in connection with this rough estimate of cost per capita that the economic burden of militarism is most appreciable. The irresistible conclusion from available data is that the increase of expenditure for army and navy purposes is rapidly surpassing the growth of population in each of the countries considered in the present calculation. In other words, a continuation of the increased demands of militarism threatens each of those nations with a progressive exhaustion both of men and resources.
The awful waste that patriotism necessitates ought to be sufficient to cure the man of even average intelligence from this disease. Yet patriotism demands still more. The people are urged to be patriotic and for that luxury they pay, not only by supporting their "defenders," but even by sacrificing their own children. Patriotism requires allegiance to the flag, which means obedience and readiness to kill father, mother, brother, sister.
The usual contention is that we need a standing army to protect the country from foreign invasion. Every intelligent man and woman knows, however, that this is a myth maintained to frighten and coerce the foolish. The governments of the world, knowing each other's interests, do not invade each other. They have learned that they can gain much more by international arbitration of disputes than by war and conquest. Indeed, as Carlyle said, "War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other."
It does not require much wisdom to trace every war back to a similar cause. Let us take our own Spanish-American war, supposedly a great and patriotic event in the history of the United States. How our hearts burned with indignation against the atrocious Spaniards! True, our indignation did not flare up spontaneously. It was nurtured by months of newspaper agitation, and long after Butcher Weyler had killed off many noble Cubans and outraged many Cuban women. Still, in justice to the American Nation be it said, it did grow indignant and was willing to fight, and that it fought bravely. But when the smoke was over, the dead buried, and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent--that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American war was the consideration of the price of sugar; or, to be more explicit, that the lives, blood, and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of American capitalists, which were threatened by the Spanish government. That this is not an exaggeration, but is based on absolute facts and figures, is best proven by the attitude of the American government to Cuban labor. When Cuba was firmly in the clutches of the United States, the very soldiers sent to liberate Cuba were ordered to shoot Cuban workingmen during the great cigarmakers' strike, which took place shortly after the war.
Nor do we stand alone in waging war for such causes. The curtain is beginning to be lifted on the motives of the terrible Russo-Japanese war, which cost so much blood and tears. And we see again that back of the fierce Moloch of war stands the still fiercer god of Commercialism. Kuropatkin, the Russian Minister of War during the Russo-Japanese struggle, has revealed the true secret behind the latter. The Tsar and his Grand Dukes, having invested money in Corean concessions, the war was forced for the sole purpose of speedily accumulating large fortunes.
The contention that a standing army and navy is the best security of peace is about as logical as the claim that the most peaceful citizen is he who goes about heavily armed. The experience of every-day life fully proves that the armed individual is invariably anxious to try his strength. The same is historically true of governments. Really peaceful countries do not waste life and energy in war preparations, With the result that peace is maintained.
However, the clamor for an increased army and navy is not due to any foreign danger. It is owing to the dread of the growing discontent of the masses and of the international spirit among the workers. It is to meet the internal enemy that the Powers of various countries are preparing themselves; an enemy, who, once awakened to consciousness, will prove more dangerous than any foreign invader.
The powers that have for centuries been engaged in enslaving the masses have made a thorough study of their psychology. They know that the people at large are like children whose despair, sorrow, and tears can be turned into joy with a little toy. And the more gorgeously the toy is dressed, the louder the colors, the more it will appeal to the million-headed child.
An army and navy represents the people's toys. To make them more attractive and acceptable, hundreds and thousands of dollars are being spent for the display of these toys. That was the purpose of the American government in equipping a fleet and sending it along the Pacific coast, that every American citizen should be made to feel the pride and glory of the United States. The city of San Francisco spent one hundred thousand dollars for the entertainment of the fleet; Los Angeles, sixty thousand; Seattle and Tacoma, about one hundred thousand. To entertain the fleet, did I say? To dine and wine a few superior officers, while the "brave boys" had to mutiny to get sufficient food. Yes, two hundred and sixty thousand dollars were spent on fireworks, theatre parties, and revelries, at a time when men, women, and child}en through the breadth and length of the country were starving in the streets; when thousands of unemployed were ready to sell their labor at any price.
Two hundred and sixty thousand dollars! What could not have been accomplished with such an enormous sum? But instead of bread and shelter, the children of those cities were taken to see the fleet, that it may remain, as one of the newspapers said, "a lasting memory for the child."
A wonderful thing to remember, is it not? The implements of civilized slaughter. If the mind of the child is to be poisoned with such memories, what hope is there for a true realization of human brotherhood?
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.
Such is the logic of patriotism.
Considering the evil results that patriotism is fraught with for the average man, it is as nothing compared with the insult and injury that patriotism heaps upon the soldier himself,--that poor, deluded victim of superstition and ignorance. He, the savior of his country, the protector of his nation,--what has patriotism in store for him? A life of slavish submission, vice, and perversion, during peace; a life of danger, exposure, and death, during war.
While on a recent lecture tour in San Francisco, I visited the Presidio, the most beautiful spot overlooking the Bay and Golden Gate Park. Its purpose should have been playgrounds for children, gardens and music for the recreation of the weary. Instead it is made ugly, dull, and gray by barracks,--barracks wherein the rich would not allow their dogs to dwell. In these miserable shanties soldiers are herded like cattle; here they waste their young days, polishing the boots and brass buttons of their superior officers. Here, too, I saw the distinction of classes: sturdy sons of a free Republic, drawn up in line like convicts, saluting every passing shrimp of a lieutenant. American equality, degrading manhood and elevating the uniform!
Barrack life further tends to develop tendencies of sexual perversion. It is gradually producing along this line results similar to European military conditions. Havelock Ellis, the noted writer on sex psychology, has made a thorough study of the subject. I quote: "Some of the barracks are great centers of male prostitution.... The number of soldiers who prostitute themselves is greater than we are willing to believe. It is no exaggeration to say that in certain regiments the presumption is in favor of the venality of the majority of the men.... On summer evenings Hyde Park and the neighborhood of Albert Gate are full of guardsmen and others plying a lively trade, and with little disguise, in uniform or out.... In most cases the proceeds form a comfortable addition to Tommy Atkins' pocket money."
To what extent this perversion has eaten its way into the army and navy can best be judged from the fact that special houses exist for this form of prostitution. The practice is not limited to England; it is universal. "Soldiers are no less sought after in France than in England or in Germany, and special houses for military prostitution exist both in Paris and the garrison towns."
Had Mr. Havelock Ellis included America in his investigation of sex perversion, he would have found that the same conditions prevail in our army and navy as in those of other countries. The growth of the standing army inevitably adds to the spread of sex perversion; the barracks are the incubators.
Aside from the sexual effects of barrack life, it also tends to unfit the soldier for useful labor after leaving the army. Men, skilled in a trade, seldom enter the army or navy, but even they, after a military experience, find themselves totally unfitted for their former occupations. Having acquired habits of idleness and a taste for excitement and adventure, no peaceful pursuit can content them. Released from the army, they can turn to no useful work. But it is usually the social riff-raff, discharged prisoners and the like, whom either the struggle for life or their own inclination drives into the ranks. These, their military term over, again turn to their former life of crime, more brutalized and degraded than before. It is a well-known fact that in our prisons there is a goodly number of ex-soldiers; while, on the other hand, the army and navy are to a great extent plied with ex-convicts.
Of all the evil results I have just described none seems to me so detrimental to human integrity as the spirit patriotism has produced in the case of Private William Buwalda. Because he foolishly believed that one can be a soldier and exercise his rights as a man at the same time, the military authorities punished him severely. True, he had served his country fifteen years, during which time his record was unimpeachable. According to Gen. Funston, who reduced Buwalda's sentence to three years, "the first duty of an officer or an enlisted man is unquestioned obedience and loyalty to the government, and it makes no difference whether he approves of that government or not." Thus Funston stamps the true character of allegiance. According to him, entrance into the army abrogates the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
What a strange development of patriotism that turns a thinking being into a loyal machine!
In justification of this most outrageous sentence of Buwalda, Gen. Funston tells the American people that the soldier's action was "a serious crime equal to treason." Now, what did this "terrible crime" really consist of? Simply in this: William Buwalda was one of fifteen hundred people who attended a public meeting in San Francisco; and, oh, horrors, he shook hands with the speaker, Emma Goldman. A terrible crime, indeed, which the General calls "a great military offense, infinitely worse than desertion."
Can there be a greater indictment against patriotism than that it will thus brand a man a criminal, throw him into prison, and rob him of the results of fifteen years of faithful service?
Buwalda gave to his country the best years of his life and his very manhood. But all that was as nothing. Patriotism is inexorable and, like all insatiable monsters, demands all or nothing. It does not admit that a soldier is also a human being, who has a right to his own feelings and opinions, his own inclinations and ideas. No, patriotism can not admit of that. That is the lesson which Buwalda was made to learn; made to learn at a rather costly, though not at a useless price. When he returned to freedom, he had lost his position in the army, but he regained his self-respect. After all, that is worth three years of imprisonment.
A writer on the military conditions of America, in a recent article, commented on the power of the military man over the civilian in Germany. He said, among other things, that if our Republic had no other meaning than to guarantee all citizens equal rights, it would have just cause for existence. I am convinced that the writer was not in Colorado during the patriotic régime of General Bell. He probably would have changed his mind had he seen how, in the name of patriotism and the Republic, men were thrown into bull-pens, dragged about, driven across the border, and subjected to all kinds of indignities. Nor is that Colorado incident the only one in the growth of military power in the United States. There is hardly a strike where troops and militia do not come to the rescue of those in power, and where they do not act as arrogantly and brutally as do the men wearing the Kaiser's uniform. Then, too, we have the Dick military law. Had the writer forgotten that?
A great misfortune with most of our writers is that they are absolutely ignorant on current events, or that, lacking honesty, they will not speak of these matters. And so it has come to pass that the Dick military law was rushed through Congress with little discussion and still less publicity,--a law which gives the President the power to turn a peaceful citizen into a bloodthirsty man-killer, supposedly for the defense of the country, in reality for the protection of the interests of that particular party whose mouthpiece the President happens to be.
Our writer claims that militarism can never become such a power in America as abroad, since it is voluntary with us, while compulsory in the Old World. Two very important facts, however, the gentleman forgets to consider. First, that conscription has created in Europe a deep-seated hatred of militarism among all classes of society. Thousands of young recruits enlist under protest and, once in the army, they will use every possible means to desert. Second, that it is the compulsory feature of militarism which has created a tremendous anti-militarist movement, feared by European Powers far more than anything else. After all, the greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism. The very moment the latter is undermined, capitalism will totter. True, we have no conscription; that is, men are not usually forced to enlist in the army, but we have developed a far more exacting and rigid force--necessity. Is it not a fact that during industrial depressions there is a tremendous increase in the number of enlistments? The trade of militarism may not be either lucrative or honorable, but it is better than tramping the country in search of work, standing in the bread line, or sleeping in municipal lodging houses. After all, it means thirteen dollars per month, three meals a day, and a place to sleep. Yet even necessity is not sufficiently strong a factor to bring into the army an element of character and manhood. No wonder our military authorities complain of the "poor material" enlisting in the army and navy. This admission is a very encouraging sign. It proves that there is still enough of the spirit of independence and love of liberty left in the average American to risk starvation rather than don the uniform.
Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time. The centralization of power has brought into being an international feeling of solidarity among the oppressed nations of the world; a solidarity which represents a greater harmony of interests between the workingman of America and his brothers abroad than between the American miner and his exploiting compatriot; a solidarity which fears not foreign invasion, because it is bringing all the workers to the point when they will say to their masters, "Go and do your own killing. We have done it long enough for you."
This solidarity is awakening the consciousness of even the soldiers, they, too, being flesh of the flesh of the great human family. A solidarity that has proven infallible more than once during past struggles, and which has been the impetus inducing the Parisian soldiers, during the Commune of 1871, to refuse to obey when ordered to shoot their brothers. It has given courage to the men who mutinied on Russian warships during recent years. It will eventually bring about the uprising of all the oppressed and downtrodden against their international exploiters.
The proletariat of Europe has realized the great force of that solidarity and has, as a result, inaugurated a war against patriotism and its bloody spectre, militarism. Thousands of men fill the prisons of France, Germany, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries, because they dared to defy the ancient superstition. Nor is the movement limited to the working class; it has embraced representatives in all stations of life, its chief exponents being men and women prominent in art, science, and letters.
America will have to follow suit. The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is growing a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy.
The beginning has already been made in the schools. Evidently the government holds to the Jesuitical conception, "Give me the child mind, and I will mould the man." Children are trained in military tactics, the glory of military achievements extolled in the curriculum, and the youthful minds perverted to suit the government. Further, the youth of the country is appealed to in glaring posters to join the army and navy. "A fine chance to see the world!" cries the governmental huckster. Thus innocent boys are morally shanghaied into patriotism, and the military Moloch strides conquering through the Nation.
The American workingman has suffered so much at the hands of the soldier, State and Federal, that he is quite justified in his disgust with, and his opposition to, the uniformed parasite. However, mere denunciation will not solve this great problem. What we need is a propaganda of education for the soldier: antipatriotic literature that will enlighten him as to the real horrors of his trade, and that will awaken his consciousness to his true relation to the man to whose labor he owes his very existence. It is precisely this that the authorities fear most. It is already high treason for a soldier to attend a radical meeting. No doubt they will also stamp it high treason for a soldier to read a radical pamphlet. But, then, has not authority from time immemorial stamped every step of progress as treasonable? Those, however, who earnestly strive for social reconstruction can well afford to face all that; for it is probably even more important to carry the truth into the barracks than into the factory. When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for that great structure wherein all nationalities shall be united into a universal brotherhood, --a truly FREE SOCIETY.
- Emma Goldman se refere aqui ao ditador mexicano Porfírio Diaz, militar que com mão de ferro perseguiu toda forma de dissidência política, com ênfase nos anarquistas mexicanos
- Goldman se refere aos irmãos Flores Magón perseguidos e confinados em uma prisão norte-americana por conta de seus ideais libertários e de sua oposição incansável à ditadura de Porfírio Diaz.
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|Patriotismo: Uma Ameaça a Liberdade|