anarchy archives

An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism



About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
This letter is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission.

Petrograd, Mar 27

      We may go to Moscow within two weeks, to begin building the Kropotkin museum. I presume that our comrades in the U.S. have already taken steps to organize a Memorial Committee. With these committees, in the different countries, we wish to get in immediate touch. I have already prepares -- as the Secretary of the Peter Kropotkin Memorial Committee -- the letter to our comrades in Europe and America, and it will be sent our within a few days. The idea is to found in Moscow, where P.K. was born, a P.K. Museum that is to become the center of An. thought and an additional incentive for contemoraries to do full justice to such a man as P.K. He was great as a scientist, but he was even greater as a personality. In the death of P.K. science has lost a famous scholar, literature a great writer. rare in these days are scientists of original though and ideas, and writers of unique power - gifts with which Nature generously endowed K. But great as is his loss to science and literature, far greater still is the loss sustained by humanity. For in P.K. the world has lost something tat is greater and rarer than scientist or writer, -- a great Man, an exceptional personality. Our own time may appreciate K. the scientist the man, the rebel against injustice, the passionate lover of humanity -- K. the Anarchist. Every line he wrote, every word and action of his pulsated with his great ideal of a regenerated society in which oppression would be unknown and where every man, woman and child could enjoy liberty and well-being. Freedom was the flame that fired his soul and lighted his mind. It was the genius of his life and of his work.


     This is the key to the tremendous influence of P.K. throughout the world. The great thinker of An., its most learned and convincing exponent, the swayed minds and hearts of men by reflecting, truly and powerfully, the most vital aspirations of every human being. His appeal found an echo everywhere, but most significantly among the young, the uncorrupted, and the oppresssed the cheated of life. The true instinct of the enslaved sensed in K. the voice of its own bleeding heart, heard in his call the liberating tones of its own inmost hope.

     Much indeed has Russia given to the world. And much original. The land of the blackest, age-long reaction gave us three of the greatest Anarchists; Bakunin, Tolstoy, Kropotkin. Eternal rebellion against slavery bore the winged spirit of Bakunin; eternal love for humanity preached Tolstoi; besides resistence to oppression Kropotkin preached mutual aid, the vital principle he discovered in the social structure of human life. Darwin's "struggle for existence" needed basical correction. It was Kropotkin who did so. Darwin and Kropotkin are two equal pillars of modern science.

     Peter Kropotkin died at the time when our civilization is being weighed in the balance. The old social structure is breaking down. It has become unfit for human habitation. Already the New World is being built in the unique land of but recent Tsarism. It is being built haltingly, confusedly, and falsely, struggling for its very life against a world of enmity and obstacles. But the attempt is being made, and all the other peoples already stand on the threshold of a similar experience. The Social Revolution is with us. Its character and development will depend on the degree in which i will be imbued with the ideas and ideals of Peter Kropotkin, the spirit of free cooperation and mutual aid of non-governmental communism, of individual liberty within social wellbeing.

     It is late, dear child, so I shall close. the sweetheart of Credoveki arrived. She told me she has a copy of the second addition of Prison Memoire. I'll be glad to see it. I hope also that you are entirely through with the Jewish work. And then -- will you be able to take a vacation? I do hope for it, dear, and cannot tell you how much it would mean.

     My love to Polya, St/, and all the other of our folks.

             I embrace and affectionately,



This page has been accessed times since November 14, 2001.


[Home]               [Search]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]