Friday, July 23, 2010


John Cage (1912-1992) was (take a deep breath) a composer, poet, philosopher, music theirist, artist, printmaker, modern dance pioneer and mycologist. While never formally associated with the anarchist movement in its activist form Cage was one of the many outstanding polymaths who took inspiration from the anarchist ideal.

What follows is one of his works, titled quite simply 'Anarchist Poem'. To read more about Cage see the link above or also the Cage Links.


"We don't need government
We need utilities.
Air, water, energy
Travel and communication means
Food and shelter.

We have no need for imaginary mountain ranges
Between separate nations.

We can make tunnels through the real ones.

Nor do we have any need for the continuing division of people
Into those who have what they need
And those who don't.

Both Fuller and Marshal McLuhan
Knew, furthermore
That work is now obsolete.
We have invented machines to do it for us.

Now that we have no need to do anything
What shall we do?

Looking at Fuller's geodesic world map
We see that the Earth is a single island, Oahu.
We must give all the people all they need to live
In any way they wish.

Our present laws protect the rich from the poor.

If there are to be laws, we need ones that
Begin with the acceptance of poverty as a way of life.

We must make the world safe for poverty Without dependence on government."

- John Cage


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The idea of humans no longer needing to work is baffling to those few of us who still do it.

mollymew said...

Interesting thought. Cage wrote his poem at a certain time and place (America circa 1966)when certain ideas were "in the air". This was later (1971) given a more ideological expression by Bookchin's 'Post Scarcity Anarchism'. Very few people today see the world so optimistically. Even Bookchin himself later backtracked on his earlier views.
Leave the poet with his dream, but don't mistake that dream for reality.