Direct Struggle Against Capital: A Peter Kropotkin Anthology
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"The enemy on whom we declare war is capital, and it is against capital that we will direct all our efforts, taking care not to become distracted from our goal by the phony campaigns and arguments of the political parties. The great struggle that we are preparing for is essentially economic, and so it is on the economic terrain that we should focus our activities." —Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin is by far anarchism’s most influential theorist, and Direct Struggle Against Capital is the most extensive collection of his writings available in English. Over half the selections have been translated for the first time or recovered from long-out-of-print pamphlets and newspapers. The result is a volume that provides an introduction to classic texts, while showing new facets of a familiar and canonical figure. Direct Struggle Against Capital paints a detailed portrait of Kropotkin the revolutionary, the man Emma Goldman described as someone for whom anarchism “was not an ideal for the select few. It was a constructive social theory, destined to usher in a new world for all of mankind.”
Fully annotated and featuring a lengthy historical introduction, biographical sketch, glossary, bibliography, and index.
Peter Kropotkin (1842—1921) was one of anarchism's most famous thinkers. His classic works include Conquest of Bread; Fields, Factories and Workshops; Memoirs of a Revolutionist; and Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution.
Iain McKay is author of An Anarchist FAQ (volumes 1 & 2) and Property Is Theft: A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology.
action, by strikes and revolts extending more and more; and where workmen’s organisations have not allowed themselves to be dominated by the gentlemen who advocate “the conquest of political power,” but have continued to walk hand in hand with anarchists—as they have done in Spain—they have obtained, on the one hand, immediate results (an eight-hour day in certain trades in Catalonia), and on the other have made good propaganda for the social revolution—the one to come, not from the efforts of
an understanding and will return with a simple proposition which his mandatories can accept or refuse. This is what happens when true delegation comes into being; when the communes send their delegates to other communes, they need no other kind of mandate. Revolution was an immense work of social transformation. It could not be left to a few leaders, whether local or national. A revolutionary government would result in people “confiding in their governors, entrusted to them the charge of
forty-five or fifty years of age, you consecrate four or five hours a day to some work recognised as necessary to existence. Choose yourself the producing group which you wish to join, or organise a new group, provided that it will undertake to produce necessaries. And as for the remainder of your time, combine together with whomsoever you like, for recreation, art, or science, 99 according to the bent of your taste… Twelve or fifteen hundred hours of work a year is all we ask of you. For that
workshop; where every aggregation of individuals, large enough to dispose of a certain variety of natural resources—it 102 may be a nation, or rather a region—produces and itself consumes most of its own agricultural and manufactured produce. This did not mean that individuals or regions would do everything. Some regions simply do not have the necessary conditions for certain industries or agricultural produce and so the “geographical distribution of industries in a given country depends…
of the First International the libertarian idea of self-management prevailed over the statist concept.” It was also within the International that libertarians applied Proudhon’s ideas on “an agricultural and industrial combination” in the labour movement. Here we discover the syndicalist idea of unions as the means of both fighting capitalism and replacing it being raised. They were first raised in the International by delegates from the Belgium section at the Brussels conference in 1868.