Dedication to the Bad Workers of Italy and All the Other Countries

No doubt it is not yet time to do good. The particular good that we make is [merely] a palliative. We must await a very great, general evil for general opinion to prove its need for proper measures that do good. What produces the general good is always terrible or appears bizarre when we begin too soon.

(Saint-Just, Posthumous Writings)[1]

It is to you, the bad workers, that I address this pamphlet, which, if it does not answer the obligations that I have to you, is nevertheless the greatest gift that I can send you in these times, because I have sought here to express in words the same total, resounding and salutary insubordination that you express even better and always with more radicalism through your actions and your struggles against work. And since neither you nor the others can wait another hour for me without contenting yourself less as a result, you must not complain that I have not given you more than this. Perhaps you should criticize me for not having known how to describe all the misery (which is very great) against which you revolt today or for not having known how to reveal all of the richness of your revolt, which is not slight, but in such case I do not know who is less obligated to the other: me to you, because you have encouraged me to write what I could not have written without you, or you to me, because by writing this pamphlet I will not have satisfied you.

Thus, take hold of this Remedy for Everything as one takes everything that comes from a friend, always considering the intention of the giver more than the quality of what one receives from him.[2] And my intention, just like yours, is to harm this world, which harms you, to unmask those who are paid to deceive you, and to take away the good reputations of those who still enjoy them. Nevertheless, if here I directly attack the men who are known today, but who will quickly be buried by oblivion or by the consequences of their own abuses, it matters less to me to displease them than, through them, to strike against all the institutions of this society, institutions that they represent so well but defend so poorly, in the hope that they will be defended in their turn. My only desire is that this pamphlet will be capable of inciting those who still work without protesting – the good workers – to be less good, and those who, like you, already revolt – the bad workers – to become even worse.

To write such things against this world is easier than reading them, and reading them is easier than doing them. As for me, I would prefer to read what I write and to see and do what I read. Despite this, I would consider myself hardly practical if today I did not put my pen to certain ends a little better than so many others who say they use weapons and in a manner that I believe is less efficacious, because it is the pen that puts weapons to work, and not the reverse, as is desired by the owners of this society and the naïve fanatics of armed struggle, who, on this point, are more in agreement than they would like to believe.

If you, the bad workers, judge that this Discourse[3] is not too inferior to the ambitious intention that animates you and animates me, I will not fail to do even worse the next time, pushed as I am by my natural desire to commit (without any respect) everything that could bring the attack to the masters of our world, our times and our lives. If, moreover, you find in these pages only a single supplementary reason to unleash new and more violent attacks against all those who oppress and exploit you – the bureaucrats and the bourgeois – and to violently demystify the hoaxers who still pretend to speak in your name and place, Remedy for Everything will have satisfied my desires and there is nothing I desire more than that.

[1] Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just (1767-1794). Fragment #3, Fragments on Republican Institutions.

[2] The first four sentences of this text are closely modeled on the "Greetings" that begin Book I of Machiavelli's Discourses of Livy.

[3] The subtitle of Remedy for Everything is Discourse on the Next Opportunities to Ruin Capitalism in Italy.