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(en) Workers Solidarity No 73 - Review: Anarchism and Anarchist Communism by Peter Kropotkin (Freedom Press)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 5 Dec 2002 15:16:16 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Anarchism and Anarchist Communism were first published
separately in 1910 and 1887 respectively, the first in
Encyclopaedia Britannica and the latter as a pair of articles
in the paper The Nineteenth Century. They have since been
republished numerous times; they are certainly classic texts
on the philosophy and structure of anarchism.

The opening pages of Anarchism dispel the myths of
society without government being chaos - "harmony in
such a society [is] obtained not by submission to law, or by
obedience to any authority; but by free agreements
concluded between the various groups, territorial and
professional, freely constituted for satisfaction of the infinite
variety of needs and aspirations of a civilised being." That
organisation of society in such a way is obviously more fair
and equitable than the current system of land and wealth
monopolisation by the capitalists, and the tyranny of the
main support of that system, i.e., the State. Such and idea is
not a Utopia, contends Kropotkin - no, indeed it is derived
from the analysis of tendencies already beginning to
emerge, such as the growth of 'free initiative' and
independence in all spheres of human action.

With regard to the actuality of the idea of Anarchism,
Kropotkin warns against the infusion of even more power
into the state in time of change, as would be the case with a
turning to 'state socialism'. In times of accelerated
development, i.e. revolutionary times, we must take
advantage - "not for increasing and widening the powers of
the State, but for reducing them, through the organisation
in every township or commune of local groups of producers
and consumers, as also the regional, and eventually the
international, federations of these groups."

Half of Anarchism is devoted to sketching an outline of the
progression of anarchist thought, from the earliest in the
shape of Zeno (Greek, 270 BC) through the early Christians
and as far as those toward his own time such as Proudhon,
Stirner and Bakunin. Some of this includes critique,
especially of the extreme individualism of those such as

Anarchist Communism is a far more detailed examination
of the inadequacies and inequalities of capitalism versus the
infinitely preferable and fair system of anarchism. It is
divided into two parts, the first being critical in format and
concluding that, "The means of production and of
satisfaction of all needs of society, having been created by
the common efforts of all, must be at the disposal of all."

The second part forms a call for the end of the wage
system, to free communism, that is of the anti-authoritarian
variety. Kropotkin devotes much time to giving examples of
how much free association had already come into being,
without interference from government and therefore a free
communism is certainly a natural and likely progression for
society. Further to these he gives a basic account of how
anarchist self-governance occurs, through means of
delegates as opposed to representatives and rulers.

This is one of the most excellent introductions to
Anarchism, putting paid to the usual objections to the
system, synonymous as it has become, wrongly, with
disorganisation and chaos.

Roisin Dubh

This page is from the print version of the Irish
Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'  http://struggle.ws/worksol.html .

We also  provide PDF  http://struggle.ws/ws/pdf.html files of
all our publications for you to print out and distribute locally

Print out the PDF file of this issue http://struggle.ws/wsm/pdf/ws/73.html

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