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Information sheet of: The Revolutionary Emancipists Against State Oppression And Nationalism. (TREASON) (1967)

TREASON members are, or should be, distinguished from the majority of the community and from members of other clubs in that they hold a wide variety of reasoned opinions with respect to various social, economic, political, moral and religious questions. There is, in TREASON, no pressure to conformity with a single set of responses to these.

War and Violence

On this question anarchists, pacifists and libertarians generally agree although there are still some violent anarchists that is, theoretical supporters of revolution. Otherwise all are united against war; but for different reasons. Some pacifists and anarchists oppose war because of its corrupting influence and the general moral paucity of the reasons for which wars are started and the actions to which they lead. Some also subscribe to the "brotherhood of man" which entails that you can't do anything final in your punishment of the enemy - that is, kill him. Another argument in this vein is that the wrong people are always killed - e.g. the civilians in Hamburg - although this is logically independent. Absolutists of both schools may argue for the supreme sanctity of human life.

A traditional argument of anarchists, and originally of Marxists, is that of "international solidarity of the proletariat" that the real enemy is the home front capitalist (or bureaucrat) and that the only loser is the proletariat in all ways. Libertarians, due to peculiarities of their ethical and social theories, do not feel any obligation to help any government; regard any war as correlated with certain interest groups and are opposed in their theory to compulsion. It would be unusual, however, to find a TREASON member being a pacifist on religious grounds alone.


In this realm certain differences arise which distinguish anarchists, who are generally moral, from libertarians who are nearly always amoral. The first point is whether every morality is ideological. In this connection, 'ideology' means a system of strictly meaningless propositions which are believed to be true (by some), but which have the actual function of serving some social, economic or political interest. Libertarians hold that all moralities are ideological and that all ethical propositions are meaningless. Anarchists, except some Christian ones, hold that all moralities are ideological, but few wish to do away with all ethical propositions. Religious anarchists may want to say that the few basic moral precepts that they keep are God's law (or Gods' law) but this leaves the question of the precedence of law and right. If they are God's law because they are right, then there is little objection; if they are right because they are God's law then the anarchist is committed to anti-theism.

(It should be pointed out that anarchists and libertarians are against the law; they have a social (un-moral) theory of crime, they point out the independence of law and right, and they attack the definite class character (or state character) of penal codes). The anarchists who are not religious either adhere to forms of utilitarianism, to personal intuition or to a sort of natural law or morality whirl they find emergent in the increasing sociability of man through history. Various positions are hence advanced in the discussion of free love - a bread and butter argument for anarchists and libertarians.

Free Love:

The traditional position is that 'love is born free', that is, that the facts of sexual involvement demand that they be not tied to any single system, that nothing be formalised and that (mutual) desire be allowed free reign.

Sometimes this becomes a position covering the instinctual anarchism of 'freedom worship' - that is, the state of mind that sees nothing higher than personal freedom and refuses all ties and all actual or potential restraints. This social position is only rarely, if ever, connected with the positions being discussed which are basically intellectual. Some argue that monogamy (or promiscuity) is most natural but this cannot be used as a ground of criticism as libertarians say that it is meaningless. They hold to a position rather like the first one in that they recognise a plurality of possible, equally valid approaches, but in general regard it as self-obligatory to some extent to choose the best sexual life and regard this usually as relative monogamies interspersed with promiscuities.

Social Theory:

Another divergence crisis between anarchists and libertarians is to be found in the analysis of society. Briefly it is that the latter consider anarchist theory to be false. Libertarian social theory is pluralistic; i.e. they start from the premise that in any society there are numbers of groups with different and often conflicting views and interests. It follows from this that solidarist concepts, e.g. 'State', 'Society', 'Party', are really covers for particular, relatively homogeneous groups. Because libertarians as such are classless, they do not have any explicit ideology to justify themselves, nor do they wish to. They claim to have anti-authoritarian preferences, but do not see these as embodied in any group or movement, whereas anarchists usually do. For this reason, they have no interest in the future society (or the future of society) and concentrate on they struggle against authoritarian forces here and now.

They see all revolutionary and reformist movements as doomed to bureaucratic degeneration and see the struggle against authoritarianism as never-ending. Anarchist social theory is not totally pluralistic, but is dialectic. That is, it sees society in a state of struggle between opposing sets of forces embodied in socially distinguishable groups (for example, Capital and Labour, Government and People, Leaders and Rank-and-file). It generally sees these conflicts as resolvable. Organisationally, anarchists believe that no-one should be allowed permanent assumption of power, and that this be resolved by rotation of citizens in these positions.

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