[Note: In l’Opinion des Femmes, the author of this pamphlet is identified as Jeanne Deroin.]
Society for the Mutual Education of Women.
RESPONSE TO SATAN
ON THE SUBJECT OF MR. PROUDHON
THE ARCHANGEL SAINT-MICHEL
How long, O Satan, do you hope to persecute with impunity the children of the true God? You have assumed every form in order to establish your empire on the earth; now you believe your power so solidly based that you dare to reveal yourself by your true name; for it is you who suggested, to a pamphleteer misled by your perfidious inspirations, the strange thought of signing your work, which he believed his own, with your accursed name.
It is in the name of morals that you accuse and slander one of the most generous defenders of the rights of the people; it is in the name of justice that you uphold privilege; it is in the name of truth that you propagate error!
It is because Proudhon comes, like the exterminating angel, to undermine your altars and cast the anathema on your impious doctrines, it is because he wants to demolish the temple of iniquity that your adherents have raised to the golden calf, that you accuse him of insulting and denying God.
But it is time for the light to comes and dispel the shadows you pour out by design over the earth to make humanity go astray from the providential way. I come to unveil your life and your works, and to announce to all that the end of your reign is near.
Hardly a few thousand revolutions of the sun of your terrestrial system separate us, O Satan, from these happy times when you lived among us, angel of light, as indicated by your original name; (Lucibel), you freely roamed the myriad shining spheres subject to your direction, where countless phalanges of God’s children lived happily.
All children of God, we are all brothers, all equal though different, all free because we accept providential direction freely and with love;
But you wanted to demonstrate the power of your free will by following an opposite course; angel of light, you became the spirit of darkness, and when, after a solemn combat, where you were struck down by me, according to the will of the Most High, and banished from the heavens where you wanted to reign, you came to the earth to found your empire, and still struggling against the law of God, opposed yourself constantly to the regeneration of those that you have led in revolt and in your fall.
It is by interpreting in a false and impious manner the holy traditions and the teachings of Christ, that you have led the human race down the subversive paths of error and suffering.
It is by interpreting falsely and in an impious manner the dogmas of the fall, the expiation and the redemption that you have misled men, fallen and transformed angel, about the path that they must follow in order to recapture their glorious privileges and arrive at the happiness for which they have been created.
The fall is the deviation from the law of love, fraternity and solidarity, from the law of labor by which every intelligent being must develop and enrich the faculties with which it is endowed; and you know well that God has put within the human domain the tree of the science of good and evil, the knowledge of truth and free will, in order to inspire in them the desire to acquire science and liberty; but he has warned at the same time that they will die the death if they eat the fruit of that tree that they have not planted and cultivated, in order to teach them that no one should possess that which they have not acquired by labor.
But you, who are the tempter, you still come to lead man astray by persuading him that God has forbidden him from acquiring science and enjoying his liberty. It is by inciting him to oppress the holiest half of himself that you giver rise in his heart to selfishness and the spirit of domination, in order to stifle in him the seed of divine love and the sentiment of fraternity.
God, in his infinite foresight, had prepared the way of regeneration. He gave the earth to man as an instrument of labor, and did not permit it to produce by itself, without culture, what is necessary to the satisfaction of his needs, in order to make him understand that he must exercise and develop all the faculties with which he is endowed in order to acquire knowledge of nature and of the properties of all beings and all things, and to transform them according to his needs and desires. By giving man the mission of subjecting all the powers of nature, of conquering the sovereignty of the terrestrial globe and of appropriating it by labor, God united all the members of the great human family by a powerful link of solidarity, for that immense work can only be accomplished but the entire human race marching in harmony towards a single goal. It is only when all men will have acquired in their successive transformations the most complete development of all of their physical, intellectual and moral faculties, that they will be perfect, that they will be happy. But the work of regeneration will be incomplete and no one will be happy as long as there is a single incomplete and suffering being on the globe.
Thus the law of expiation is the law of solidarity and association, it is the law of progress. From the childhood of humanity, God has sent, according to the needs of times and places, prophets and legislators to direct humanity and lead it towards the providential way.
But you, Satan, you wanted to reign on earth, as you had wanted to reign in heaven, you have used every means that you infernal genius suggests in order to substitute your worship for the worship of the true God; you have inspired false prophets and tyrants who come to extend the veil of ignorance and superstition over the eternal truths, and to persuade the people that God has condemned them to live in suffering; fraternity and holy equality were excluded from the earth by oppressive and unjust laws, the natural order was overturned, oppressors, false doctors and idlers were placed in the first ranks, and the laborers, successively slaves, serfs and proletarians, were relegated to the lowest ranks of society, deprived of the means to develop all their faculties and reduced to constant struggling against all the miseries born from a subversive social organization.
But your greatest crime, O Satan! It is to have accomplished your impious work in the name of God and to have thus caused his children to doubt his love, his justice, and his power.
God, the true God, wants all men to be brothers, equal and free; he created them to be happy. He dedicated the earth to all the generations, present and future, as a common good, whose products must nourish all those who inhabit it. And you have brought forth discord and hatred, inequality and slavery, by establishing property on the right of the strongest, the chance of birth, and the exploitation of man by man.
You accuse Proudhon, that courageous defender of fraternity, because he dared to say that property is theft.
Isn’t property, which must be based on an equitable division of the products of labor, indeed, as you have constituted it, a spoliation of the common good for the profit of a privileged few? And it is with gold, torn from the bowels of the earth by hard-working miners, who only collect, as the price of their labors, some suffering and misery; it is with gold transformed into a conventional value that the elect of privilege, led astray themselves by infernal ruses, think they have a right to acquire what belongs to all.
With that gold, often acquired by fateful speculations, sources of ruin and misery for the people, that they, not only that which is necessary for the satisfaction for the needs of life, but, the pleasures and feasts, which should be the price of labor, the recompense and the relaxation of the worker, and the communion of the people with their brothers and with God, by growth and happiness.
You have thus reduced humanity to vegetate under the yoke of poverty and ignorance which produces the corruption; you have put all interests in battle, based all institutions on war, on privilege, on the exploitation of man by man, and organized society in a sense opposite to fraternity, equality, liberty and justice, and, through some false doctors, you name this awful chaos a society constituted by God!
But it is you who is the creator-God of that subversive organization; thus, it is of you that Proudhon has spoken, when he said: God (the God of evil) is essentially hostile to our nature. That divinity hostile to our nature, it is you, Satan! You, the prince of darkness, who wants to extinguish the natural light that the true God makes shine in all souls, and stop the development of the most noble faculties of man! It is you who forbids science, progress, well-being, by taking from the most numerous party of humanity the means of exercising and developing the gifts that God has made to all intelligent beings, by creating them in his image. God, the true God, wants all to be happy, since he has put in all souls an ardent aspiration towards happiness and liberty.
But the moment approaches, Satan! When the mystery of the redemption will be unveiled! When you will be struck down anew and vanquished by the power of infinite love, when men will understand that you have falsely interpreted the teachings of Christ.
He has come to deliver humanity from your yoke and has taught all the renunciation of all the goods of the earth and the joys of life, as the means of reconciling all men and making them understand the holy law of solidarity which must reconnect all the members of humanity in harmony, but which strikes them with years of disorder; because humanity is like a body which suffers, when a single one of its members is suffering. Now, it reveals thus, to the elect of fortune and the powerful of the earth, that all the joys and vanities with which they are intoxicated, while so great a number of their brothers groan in slavery and affliction, are false joys and fatal illusions; that all the treasures that they possess are treasures of iniquity, because no one should appropriate the goods of the earth, as long as there is a single one of their brothers deprived of necessities.
He exhorted the weak, poor and suffering not to envy the deceptive joys and iniquitous treasures of their oppressors, not to teach them to despise the gifts of God, but finally that they do not become like those prevaricators of the divine law, by taking by violence what they possess.
The privileged and powerful of the earth, inspired and directed by law, want to persuade the people that the treasure of heaven is promised to those who suffer, in compensation for the joys of life; but they testify, by their ambition and their cupidity, by their immoderate thirst for the pleasures and enjoyments of luxury, that they do not believe in that promise and that they use it as a lure, to subjugate the people under the yoke of poverty; but the regenerative torch of social science has projected its light on your impostures, and the people know now that, to deserve that heavenly treasure promised to all, they must work constantly to escape slavery, poverty, ignorance and corruption.
This treasure from heaven which is the reign of God on earth, the reign of fraternity and universal harmony, can only be acquired by the most complete development of all the faculties with which the heavenly father has endowed all his children, it is promised to all, and all will obtain it, when they understand that no one can be perfect, which is to say happy, as long as suffering beings exist.
And the work of redemption will only be accomplished by reparation and reconciliation.
You have convinced the elect of fortune that they owe to those disinherited of the goods of the earth only charity which degrades and withers, but Christ said: If you want to be perfect, sell your goods and distribute them to the poor. He did not demand of the rich a small part of their excess, but all that they possessed, to make them understand that it is not a gift that they make to their brothers, but a restitution.
And it is a restitution, because the one who possesses must not forget that his fortune, however he has acquired it, does not belong to him completely, because he has not created its source. God alone creates the raw materials and gives man the intelligence and the faculties necessary to employ them according to his needs; and his will is that each and all of his children participate in the gifts that he has made to each and all. In the end man can only acquire and possess with the aid of the progress that has been accomplished, the education he has received, and the advantages procured for him by the social organization.
Thus society should be organized so that all its members can profit from the progress accomplished, develop all their faculties, and acquire, by labor the right to possess.
But, in a society based on privilege where the smallest number possess the earth, the houses, and all the large industrial exploitations, and refuse the right to labor to their brothers of the most numerous class, property is a spoliation.
Thus, Satan!. Proudhon was right to say that property is theft, that charity is a mystification: charity means love and devotion, and you want to substitute the alms which humiliate, the hand-outs that the people reject; for it is written on their flag: Live working or die fighting. He was right to say that the justice that you have instituted is infamous; it is blind; it is impious, since it punishes those who take bread to save their children from the horrors of hunger, and it protects the shameful speculations of those who work the people like dogs and reduce them to poverty; since it protects the tyrants who oppress those who only ask to live by laboring. Proudhon, the generous citizen who has had the courage to protester against the impious doctrine of Malthus and Thiers, your faith adherents, Proudhon has broken your throne and overturned your altars. He has shown himself a servant of the true God by unveiling your iniquities. The time has come, Satan, when your reign will end. Humanity, tired of suffering, seeks the light, and wants happiness.
The privileged themselves begin to understand that you have fooled them, and that there are no real joys, of certain possession or of security, possible in injustice.
And that dreadful struggle of hate and envy, of selfishness and fear, will cease when the sun of truth will rise over all, and as brothers who, encountering each other in the shadows, battle each other, they will be filled with confusion and will understand that the temple of Fraternity cannot be founded on bloody bases; they will enter in the path of reparation.
All the privileges of sex, race, birth, of caste and fortune will be abolished. They will recognize that all have the same right to education, to labor, to the joys of life, to rest and happiness. And knowing that in their successive transformations, since the origin of the world, they have been by turns oppressors and oppressed, they will pardon one another. That reconciliation will be the token of salvation for humanity, and the aurora of the reign of God, of fraternity and universal harmony.
THE ARCHANGEL SAINT MICHAEL.
[Working translation by Shawn. P. Wilbur]