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Duncan Dundonald: Scottish Syndicalist and the Quintessence of Anarchism (1967)

(Being a spoof delivered as the First Annual Mikhail Bakunin Memorial Lecture 1967)

Duncan Dundonald was born in Glasgow in 1848, and was apprenticed at the age of eight in the Scotch shipbuilding industry. He eras a member of the Scotch shipbuilding union when it affiliated with the International Alliance of Social Democracy in 1864, Marxists deserted Bakuninism in 1872, Dundonald devoted himself to organizing syndicalism and destructionism in the Scottish engineering industry. After the Tay Bridge disaster; Dundonald fled Scotland for Australia, and Bakuninism slowly declined in Scotland, except for a militant faction in the shipyard which was later to be famous for building the "Titanic".

In Australia, Dundonald reversed his name to Donald Duncan, and continued organizing although handicapped by the need to remain anonymous. His best known works in Australia were the so-called "Great Fire of Melbourne" in 1898, and the Sunshine Railway Accident of 1908. Although growing old, Duncan gave considerable moral support to the Industrial Workers of the World, especially in the engineering and arsonist aspects.

His grandson at present rotting in prison has, as Anarchists realise, attempted to carry forward the Work.

The State as judge, moderator of social strife, impartial administrator of the public interests, is a lie, an illusion, a Utopia, never realized and never realizable. The question of putting an end to the exploitation of man by man is the question of putting an end to the coercive State. The question of Anarchism is thus the quest of pacifism, the question of libertarianism, and finally the question of liberty. The contest between master and slave, governors and governed, action and inaction, and at last, existence and non-existence turn upon the preparedness of the oppressed in all regions to ignore all demands whatsoever placed upon them, to altogether revile every. politician, policeman and priest, and to destroy all constraints, including especially every economic system, every monument of government, every den of private enterprise, every snivelling academic quisling who leads his students into any system of authority of any kind.

By contrast, Anarchy is the creative and constructive force of the people, who do not tolerate whatsoever any political upstart, landed proprietor, publisher, policemen and other fools who surrender to the demands of the political and economic power relationship. Power and relationship are not reconcilable to the cruel judgement of the people who reject such shoddy attempts to steal from them beyond their labour.

All Institutions existing within whatsoever political and economic power relationship fall under the domination of an ambitious minority of politicians, pederasts, and publicists, and soon sycophancy throttles effectively any breathing which might have occurred. The Anarchist enquirer searches relentlessly for all institutions, organizations, and relationships of any kind and destroys these without relenting, acknowledging that the political and economic power relationship is the epitome, pattern, and archetype of all such attempts to deceive the people.

Anthropologists find all tribal customs, village communities and guilds whatsoever to be contemptible. We steal as far as possible all artifacts of these cheap attempts to disguise power behind any primitivist facade, whether in time or space, oceanic medieval. We gleefully record and publish the taxonomy of objectives of all pitiful organizations by which those in power dupe the exploited. And finally we call upon all exploited to altogether regard the quest for status and power within any structure as contemptible, and pursue voluntary aims of food and sex as our brother Dundonald has done before us.

Moreover, do not believe that we are without clerical mandate, for all priests who do not unite wittingly with the universal struggle to enslave fellow men will unwittingly join our ranks. All schoolteachers will pursue the ideal of the total destruction within the classroom of all discipline, authority and instruction whatsoever, and call upon pupils to ignore resolutely all demands, most eminently his own. They may then freely, subject to whatever untainted winds that blow them, drift also towards food and sex.

All soldiers must divest themselves of uniform, donning clothes of skins, and mantles woven from reeds and the fronds of trees. Their guns and other machines of destruction will be gathered by the grateful people, who will convey them to regional destructionists who, following the example set by our brother, Michael Duncan, will set afire whatever building reeks before their nostrils with the stink of authority. Fire brigades, abandon your hoses, let us turn them into the streets of the metropolis to wash from them the filth of the political and economic power relationship.

Yes, and what tramrides you shall have brethren! No tram shall come but that packed with happy people, rejecting all demands, travelling neither to the Sodom of Work nor the Gomorrah of Home. No priorities, no hierarchies, no sequences whatsoever of any kind will exist: their function exhausted.

Brothers and sisters, listen now to the deeds of Dundonald, behind whom people, birds and animals gathered as with his arrows of desire, he laid the ruins for the millennium of anarchy.

Can we not imagine the streets of the suburbs of this metropolis when Dundonald walked there with the throngs? There could not be fewer than five hundred people, and they were dancing like five thousand demons. They danced to a popular Anarchist keeping a ferocious time that was like a gnashing of the teeth in unison. They advanced, retreated, struck at one another's hands, clutched at one another's heads, spun round alone, caught one another, and spun round in pairs, until many of them dropped. Suddenly they stopped again, paused, struck out the time afresh, forming into lines the width of the street, and with their heads low down and their hands high up, swooped screaming off.

At the back of the rod, mightier than it, stands our obduracy. By degrees we get at what is at the back of the political and economic power relationship, and behind ever that we find our ataraxy, imperturbability, our counter force, our odds of strength, our invincibility. Before that which formerly inspired in us fear and deference we no longer retreat shyly but ignore it. Back of everything we find our refusal to participate; at the back of authorities of whatsoever standing stands, after all, our immovable nonchalance or our outwitting shrewdness.

In the Houses of Parliaments, the temples of priestcraft, and the halls of learning the people erect their shrines of Venus, all politics, all economics, all power ignored. The marriage institution teas their only weapon against the awakening of Woman. But in vain such frantic efforts to maintain a state of bondage. In vain, too, the edicts of priests, politicians and their academic subalterns. In vain the mad attacks of rulers, in vain the arm of the law. Woman no longer wants to be party to the production of a race of sickly, feeble, decrepit, wretched human beings, who have neither the strength nor the moral courage to throw off the yoke of the economic and political relationships of power.

Scientists agree to falsify their findings. Rather than let their formulas do the work of the captains of industry, they destroy the formulas: no car, tank or bomber shall move on the fuel of our white-coated brothers. The scales of the petty shopkeeper shall be corrupted, and to all shall be given an abundance of food until the: warehouses are empty, and the silos have released from captivity the last grain of wheat. All who craved power are laughed at, the bitter acid of jests and ridicule render their pretensions impotent. Universal spontaneity replaces totalitarian regimentation. Dundonald is revered by all, listened to by none. Authority is dead.

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