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Centennial Tribute to Kropotkin

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sprouts from the foolish doctrine with which the bourgeoise in former times tried to justify her factual privileges, from the "nursery tale of previous accumulation, which claims that the Class-State of history has not been created by extra-economic violence, but by peaceful development due to the innate differences [sic] in economic talent and moral restraint.

When arguing this point with Peter Kropotkin I had not yet found the decisive answer to this most important question. It is that social science has to deal with mass manifestations exclusively but is not in the least interested in purely individual cases, neither in theory nor in practice. The task of social theory is to explain, that of social practice is to remove undesired and to effect desired mass manifestations. In the Class-State, power may be abused toward permanent detriment of the society, if the holder of office is backed by a powerful group which derives benefits from the abuse. This is impossible in a class-less society, where, to quote Rousseau, "nobody is rich enough to bribe many, and nobody poor enough to have to accept bribe." For that reason abuse of office is perhaps not impossible, maybe not even improbable, "as human beings go," but it is impossible that the guilty one, once found out, remains in office to continue his misconduct and to grow bolder at it while society suffers. Such cases in the class-less society are turned over to the prosecuting attorney, just as it is up to the physician to go after singular cases of, let us say, tuberculosis, while society will do everything to weed out any mass epidemics. Singular cases are lust as harmless for the welfare of society as an abrasion is for the individual, though a few cells may be destroyed by it.

These, approximately, were the things which we discussed and over which we argued, --- Kropotkin, once the page of Czar Nicholas and later prisoner in the Peter Paul Fort of Petersburg, and myself; the two of us thinkers who were close enough in ideas to ardently seek agreement on these last differences in our opinions.

It was one of the finest days of my life, a day indelible in the memory and full of real living: I can still see the kind and knowing face of the Sage who sat next to me on a bench on the Beach. I can see the colorful crowds move by us, old people in their wheel chairs, and babies in perambulators. I can still hear the distant music from the Band in the Pavillion [sic]. And I remember how Peter Kropotkin and I, together, admired a daring lad who, from a high tower, somersaulted into the ocean on a bicycle. 'When I had to bid him hood-bye to get back to London he embraced me and kissed both of my cheeks in Russian fashion.

I never saw him again and did not correspond with him after the beginning of World War I. I only heard that he had gone back to Russia as soon as the Revolution had opened to him the doors so long closed. He had since long predicted the Revolution and had wished for it ardently. How he fared there I never knew. Now I see that they named a City in the South after him.

Honor to his memory!

Kropotkin's Doctrine of Mutual Aid

By Dr. E. Guy Talbott

Prince Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin, Rus-sian revolutionary and sociologist, was born in Moscow on December 9, 1842. He early developed an interest in the Russian peasants. During his last years as a student he came under the influence of the new revolutionary literature, which so largely expressed his own aspirations. In 1864 Kropotkin took charge of a geographical survey expedition in Manchuria and Eastern Siberia. In 1867 he became sec-retary of the physical geography section of the Russian Geographical Society.

In 1872 he visited Switzerland, and became a member of the International Workingmen's Association at Geneva. He then adopted the creed of anarchism, and on his return to Russia he took an active part in spreading nihilist propaganda. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1874 but escaped in 1876 and went to England, and again to Switzerland, where he joined the Jura Federation and edited its paper Le Revolta. He also published various revolutionary pamphlets.

Kropotkin was expelled from Switzerland in 1881, shortly after the assassination of Czar Alexander II. He spent some time in Eng-land and France, and at Lyons he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for membership in revolutionary organizations. However, in 1886, as a result of repeated efforts on his behalf in the French Chamber, he was released, and settled near London.


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