Vicente Carreras, “Acraciápolis” (1902)

This translation from Spanish has been sitting, complete except for a last few lines, for quite some time now, probably because I had forgotten quite how much of it I had finished (undoubtedly late one night, while I should have been digging up more Max Nettlau articles from La Revista Blanca.) It was an obvious, appealing choice for translation—so obvious, in fact, that I find Jesse Cohn has also included a translation in his essay, “Escape From Cretinolândia: Strategies of Displacement in Anarchist Fiction.” Anyway, here is my translation of a short interesting, anarchist utopian tale. 

Acraciápolis

A TALE

In the vast territory of Brazil, after crossing countless impenetrable forests inhabited by enormous serpents, tigers, lions and countless other beasts that endanger the lives of people who dare to cross them, you may find a beautiful town called Acraciápolis, whose inhabitants, numbering 5000, are worth of a careful study as of result of their uses and customs, or rather of their way of life.

This town, which has existed for about two hundred years, owes its origin to a party of 100 explorers, men and women, who, after crossing endless, unknown terrain, travelling among forests and ravines, facing and overcoming a thousand dangers at every moment, found a beautiful meadow with fertile soil crossed by enchanting streams of crystalline water, and surrounded by numerous wild fruit trees, which supplied the necessary food to the wandering travelers.

There they decided to establish themselves permanently, far from a corrupt and criminal society, and to that end they began to construct some temporary barracks for shelter, while they were constructing beautiful houses that provided them all the comforts.

They did not lack engineers and good workers among them, nor the tools most essential for the first labors, and this, helped by some mines that exist there, provided them with the means to make machines of all kinds and to promote with rapid impulse a new city formed by them, to which they gave the name of Acraciápolis.

They all lived in the greatest harmony, none of them considered themselves superior to their companions, all working together to provide mutual well-being and to satisfy the necessities of life. In these conditions years and years passed, multiplying the inhabitants of that new city, without discord or selfishness ever taking over among them. The only selfishness that existed was the natural incentive in the sciences to achieve a work or make a discovery that would benefit everyone, for which the author obtained the praise of the community in general.

In these conditions two hundred years have elapsed, each day increasing the population to the 5,000 inhabitants that today it counts, without ever having felt the need to create a government, without written laws, without money, without priests, without judges, without soldiers or police, without jails or gallows, without thieves or prostitutes, in a word, without any of the shoddiness and vices we have in our society.

With the aid of machines, which are common property of the whole village, the work is executed in a few hours and in pleasant conditions. There are no catastrophes in the mines or sad accidents in other jobs, because they try to apply all possible safety conditions.

As time is left and the necessary means are available to all, at the same time as material work is carried out, the arts and sciences are cultivated, providing the greatest degree of well-being and recreation. Alcoholic beverages and adulterations in food are not known there, for there are no unscrupulous businessmen who try to enrich themselves even at the cost of poisoning their fellow men, as is the case in our society.

The unions of different sexes are spontaneous and by true love, without the intervention or sanction of any third person, since there are not the egoistic sights of the interest.

The children and the elderly are educated and cared for by the community, without this being considered charity, but instead a duty. The essential, but heavy or repugnant labor is carried out voluntarily, with each taking turns, since all benefit from it. Such is, in brief and described in broad strokes, the social organization of the population of Acraciápolis.

To those who read this description and like the sound of it, I say only that the way there is well known: always follow the road of social revolution.

On the journey you will encounter many obstacles and dangers, but do not falter; if you have courage and perseverance, you will arrive. Have no doubt; you will arrive.

VICENTE CARRERAS.


La Revista Blanca 6 no. 103 (October 1, 1902): 223-224.

Working Translation by Shawn P. Wilbur

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2057 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.