This lecture, reprinted and widely distributed in many languages as a pamphlet, answers the question as to whether anarchism has a philosophy, and what that philosophy is. Kropotkin answers the criticism that anarchism is merely destructive, by Bracing analogies with the natural sciences, in which he shows that progress takes place by violent changes in the equilibruim established at any period, followed by new adaptations, and a new harmony arising out of the reacting pares. An ever-changing equilibruim rather than forms fixed by law is the harmony he regards as natural. This natural growth of society he sees balked by powerful minorities, holding it in bonds made for their advantage.
Against them he pits the power of the aroused workers who see the appropriation of their labor and their liberties, but who are prevented from a revolutionary seizure of land and wealth by diversion to war and the mistakes in policy of the socialist movement.
To bring the workers' revolutionary movement to the anarchist conception of free federation, and to arouse the initiative of the people to a seizure of property he regards as essential to restoring the natural process of growth. "Variety is life, uniformity is death," is a principle which applies to the revolutionary movement as to all of life. Complete individual liberty is of course the goal. To aid in developing these natural tendencies is the practical task of anarchism. These are not dreams for a distant future, nor a stage to be reached when other stages are gone through, but processes of life about us everywhere which we may either advance or hold back.