On December 9, 1842, Prince Piotr Kropotkin was born in Moscow. Soon, Piotr and his brother, Alexei, were left without their mother. He attends school in St. Petersburg while conducting a series of research on peasants after which concludes that they are forced to obey authority but in no way respects that. Thus refuses to continue his military career in the Imperial Guard and choose to be deported to Siberia in a Cossack unit.
Siberia teaches him that “man actually requires very little, as it moves out of the magic circle of conventional civilization” and that the state apparatus, this “administrative mechanism”, it can never do anything good for the people. He believes the masses are more important historically than outstanding individuals, therefore, the masses should realize the importance of their power and refuse to obey the will of a minority. During this experience in Siberia, he managed to take a series of geographical paper works.
After returning to St. Petersburg decided to withdraw permanently from a military career after he noticed the cruelty of Russian army suppressed the Polish insurrection of 1863 trying to flee to China, and how workers were treated by the state.
In 1872, he travels to Switzerland and adheres to one of the local branches of the International, which allowed him to get in touch with many socialist works which doesn’t exist in Russia. He visits Jurasian Federation, which doesn’t accept the authority of the General Council run by Marx and Engels, and becomes a good friend of James Guillaume, one of the best friends of Bakunin.
He returned to Russia with several revolutionary books and pamphlets which were unconditionally prohibited by censorship and starts to make propaganda under the Borodin name, attending Chaikovski Circle. After the police find a manifesto and also conducting raids on some apartments of the anarchists, Kropotkin was arrested and then is imprisoned in the famous Petropavlovsk fortress. Health is deteriorating, which requires transfer to a military hospital, from which he managed to escape and cross Finland, Sweden, Norway. Settling in Edinburgh he will declare: “I saw myself recently involved in the vortex of the anarchist movement, which spreads in Western Europe and felt that I would be more useful here than in Russia to help the movement to find its authentic expression. “
In exile, he will publish many articles and even managed to launch some newspapers and even set up a printing press. Kropotkin was arrested along with other anarchists on charges that they belonged to the International, an association was prohibited. However, the situation could not compare with the experience of imprisonment in Russia at Clairvaux prison with the possibility to write a series of articles and be pardoned, a few years later.
In 1917 the Russian Revolution broke out. Kropotkin returned to Petrograd where even met several representatives of the new government. “Lenin, who admired the works of Kropotkin, especially the Great Revolution, wanted to see the new regime ally. But the old anarchist refuses. “He didn’t accept the ministerial portfolio which it was proposed to him and even criticized the new regime insisting that the arrests done by the Red Army during the Civil War need to stop.
Piotr Kropotkin said that “anarchism is more than just a mode of action or a mere conception of a free society; is a side of philosophy, natural and social to be developed in a different manner to the methods metaphysical or dialectic have been employed in human sciences.” It is therefore launched the idea that anarchism requires a scientific basis, rigor, and precision of specific natural sciences and defines the doctrine as anarchic-communist, taking many proudhoniene influences.
The central problem of society is consumption, not production, and this problem should be eliminated through a revolution to restore people their natural state. Individuals in their natural state produced as needed, but capitalism has diverted this natural characteristic, the determinant factor of production being the profit for a minority and not the real needs of all.
Also critical of both socialism and capitalism for the fact of having launched the concept of division of labor, which doesn’t change the society, moreover, those who were insignificant before the revolution will remain the same after all the acts of revolutionary turning into a coup. Kropotkin considered an unskilled worker, which is used only in a field is more easily exploited by an employer rather than knowing to fulfill several tasks.
And another important factor is the rotation of individuals in employment that encourages creativity and training workers in various activities in order to be given the chance to evolve. The division of labor, socialism is corrupted by capitalism, because this “universal mechanization ” means “child serving a machine that can not and must understand and supervisors which amend if even one careless second. Division of labor means man labeled, stamped for life. “This is one of the reasons that says we should” destroy first capitalism and autocracy and see after that what we put in place. “
Speaking of the origins of the state – counterrevolutionary by definition – Kropotkin provides an anthropological analysis which highlights the fact that in the natural societies, individual relations were based on mutual aid, the rules and habits reinforced by practice and consensual acceptance, not laws imposed by an external authority who assumes the role of judge of the people. In order to create a free society, “the function, their historical mission (anarchists) is to prepare hearts and minds for revolution.”
How about the economy? Kropotkin went beyond mutualism of Proudhon, or collectivism of Bakunin, to build a form of communist anarchism saying that “all belong to all. “the wage should be abolished as well as the right to private ownership of the means of production – that would be transferred to producer – and individuals should contribute according to their abilities to the welfare of the community, being rewarded according to their needs.
All of this should happen without a government, by understanding and direct communication between people – this is the state of anarchy, not chaos, terror, war, famine, robbery, rape, poverty, discrimination, disease, pandemic, states against which any State declares that fight, but no state wins. How is this possible? Probably because every state produces and maintains such horrendous things.