Peter Kropotkin : biography
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin ( 9 December 1842 – 8 February 1921) was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, philologist, economist, activist, geographer, writer, and prominent anarcho-communist.
Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. He wrote many books, pamphlets and articles, the most prominent being The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops, and his principal scientific offering, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. He also contributed the article on anarchism to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition., Internet Archive. Public Domain text.
- The Conquest of Bread ,
- Fields, Factories and Workshops
- , London: Ward and Downey; 1887.
- Memoirs of a Revolutionist, London : Smith, Elder; 1899. Kropotkin’s own memoirs, which were also published in the United States in the same year and have appeared in a number of modern editions.
- The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, London, William Heinemann, 1909, translated from the French by N.F. Dryhurst.
- Russian Literature: Ideals and Realities (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1915). Available online at the Anarchy Archives,
- Ethics (unfinished). Included as first part of
- "Research on the Ice age", Notices of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, 1876.
- "The desiccation of Eur-Asia", Geographical Journal, 23 (1904), 722-741.
- Mr. Mackinder; Mr. Ravenstein; Dr. Herbertson; Prince Kropotkin; Mr. Andrews; Cobden Sanderson; Elisée Reclus, "On Spherical Maps and Reliefs: Discussion", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3. (Sep., 1903), pp. 294–299,
- "Baron Toll", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 23, No. 6. (Jun., 1904), pp. 770–772,
- "The population of Russia", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Aug., 1897), pp. 196–202,
- "The old beds of the Amu-Daria", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3. (Sep., 1898), pp. 306–310,
- Law and Authority.
- The Place of Anarchy in Socialist Evolution.
- Revolutionary Government.
- Chapter X from "In Russian and French Prisons" (1887)
- Selected Passages from his Writings (1898–1913)
Critique of capitalism
Kropotkin pointed out what he considered to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believed they create poverty and artificial scarcity while promoting privilege. He further proposed a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid, mutual support, and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.
Cooperation and competition
In 1902, Kropotkin published the book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, which provided an alternative view on animal and human survival, beyond the claims of interpersonal competition and natural hierarchy proffered at the time by some "social Darwinists", such as Francis Galton. He argued "that it was an evolutionary emphasis on cooperation instead of competition in the Darwinian sense that made for the success of species, including the human."Sale, Kirkpatrick (2010-07-01) , The American Conservative Kropotkin explored the widespread use of cooperation as a survival mechanism in human societies through their many stages, and animals. He used many real life examples in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups, without central control, authority, or compulsion. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, that provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic, and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism. In the last chapter, he wrote: