It's Kropotkin's birthday!

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severin
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Dec 21 2007 08:54
It's Kropotkin's birthday!

Dec 21st, 1842: Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin, Russian geographer, biologist and anarchist revolutionary, is born.

"Every one of you, then, honest young folks, men and women, peasants, laborers, artisans and soldiers, you will understand what are your rights and you will come along with us; you will come in order to work with your brethren in the preparation of that Revolution which, sweeping away every vestige of slavery, tearing the fetters asunder, breaking with the old worn-out traditions, and opening to all mankind a new and wider scope of joyous existence, shall at length establish true Liberty, real Equality, ungrudging Fraternity throughout human society: work with all, work for all - the full enjoyment of the fruits of their labor, the complete development of all their faculties; a rational, human and happy life!

Don't let anyone tell us that we - but a small band - are too weak to attain unto the magnificent end at which we aim.

Count and see how many of us there are who suffer this injustice.
We peasants who work for others and who mumble the straw while our masters eat the wheat, we by ourselves are millions of men.
We workers who weave silks and velvets in order that we may be clothed in rags, we, too, are a great multitude; and when the clang of the factories permits us a moment's repose, we overflow the streets and squares like the sea in a spring tide.

We soldiers who are driven along to the word of command, or by blows, we who receive the bullets for which our officers get crosses and pensions, we, too, poor fools who have hitherto known no better than to shoot our brothers, why, we have only to make a right-about-face towards these plumed and decorated personages who are so good as to command us, to see a ghastly pallor overspread their faces.

Ay, all of us together, we who suffer and are insulted daily, we are a multitude whom no man can number, we are the ocean that can embrace and swallow up all else.

When we have but the will to do it, that very moment will Justice be done: that very instant the tyrants of the Earth shall bite the dust."

nastyned
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Dec 21 2007 09:54

I shall raise a glass to him tonight.

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Steven.
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Dec 21 2007 10:22

severin, I thought you hated middle class people. Are aristocrats ok?

BTW kropotkin is still alive and well. In a bit of legal trouble now though after an insurance scam went wrong...

MalFunction
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Dec 21 2007 12:10

idea:

anyone clever with photoshop (or similar) like to add a big red hat to a picture of kropotkin
(such as the one on Wired's article:

http://www.wired.com/images/article/full/2007/12/peter_alekseevich_kropotkin_250px.jpg

or better still (as he has a big white beard on in it):

http://www.anarsistkomunizm.org/Tacanka/images/kropotkin.GIF

add a Ho Ho Ho.

Merry Kropotkinmas!

IrrationallyAngry
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Dec 21 2007 13:19

It always astonishes me that Anarchists can celebrate Kropotkin without mentioning the small fact that he supported the first world war. It would be a bit like Marxists commemorating Kautsky.

miasnikov_perm
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Dec 21 2007 14:42
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
It always astonishes me that Anarchists can celebrate Kropotkin without mentioning the small fact that he supported the first world war. It would be a bit like Marxists commemorating Kautsky.

That's probably because anarchists do not need to whitewash the pasts of revolutionaries to like or to be inspired of them. Compare and contrast: "Trotsky massacred petit bourgeois elements at Kronstadt", "Lenin was for self-management", "Stalin fell from the moon" etc.

syndicalist
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Dec 21 2007 15:13

Well, as depressing and disappointing as Kropotkin's support for WWI is, I'm indepted to him for writing ANARCHIST COMMUNISM: ITS BASIS AND PRINCIPLES

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/revpamphlets/anarchistcommunism.html

IrrationallyAngry
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Dec 21 2007 15:37
miasnikov_perm wrote:
That's probably because anarchists do not need to whitewash the pasts of revolutionaries to like or to be inspired of them.

Strange then that the anarchists on this thread celebrating Kropotkin's birthday didn't mention the minor matter of his support for the first world war and cheerleading for the deaths of millions of workers. Whitewashing his record in other words.

IrrationallyAngry
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Dec 21 2007 15:40
miasnikov_perm wrote:
That's probably because anarchists do not need to whitewash the pasts of revolutionaries to like or to be inspired of them.

Strange then that the anarchists on this thread celebrating Kropotkin's birthday didn't mention the minor matter of his support for the first world war and cheerleading for the deaths of millions of workers. Whitewashing his record in other words.

nastyned
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Dec 21 2007 15:42

Nonsense. Anarchists are quite open about the mistakes Kropotkin made, but someone's hardly going to start a thread celebrating his birthday by bringing them up are they?

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thugarchist
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Dec 21 2007 15:43

Kropotkin's support for WWI was shit. Anyhoo... fields factories and workshops was one of the most amazing books I ever had the pleasure to read.

miasnikov_perm
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Dec 21 2007 15:49

Hmm, you are not just irrationally angry, but also double angry.

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Hieronymous
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Dec 21 2007 17:21

Kropotkin was a fucking trenchist, so I can't believe that you're celebrating this aristocratic reactionary. When Emma Goldman met him, she said he was a frigid old prude, too.

"If I can't fuck, I ain't coming to your revolution!"

David in Atlanta
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Dec 21 2007 17:51

Goldman also called him "our beloved old teacher" or words to that effect repeatedly, even when disagreeing with him, as in the war situation.
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/goldman/living/living2_43.html

What always amuses me when these issues come up is that Marxists can never seemingly understand that with rare exceptions anarchists do not call ourselves "Kropotkinists", "Bakuninists", "Rockerites", "Maknovists", etc. and don't have any great problem criticising errors our forebears made, just as we ream each other out today

syndicalist
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Dec 22 2007 05:17

Yeah, i agree with David 100%.

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fnbrill
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Dec 22 2007 05:54

Yes David and Marx said "I am not a Marxist".

Kropotkin was a very important revolutionary thinker, geographer and scientist. So what if he was a prude or not. Did the stupidity of his last 8 years of a long life cancel out the brilliance of his work in the 70 years before?

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Devrim
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Dec 22 2007 06:00

There was quite a good thread on this on Revleft: http://www.revleft.com/index.php?showtopic=62577&hl=kropotkin

For me it is quite shocking that Kropotkin is celebrated.

Devrim

David in Atlanta
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Dec 22 2007 16:28
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
It always astonishes me that Anarchists can celebrate Kropotkin without mentioning the small fact that he supported the first world war. It would be a bit like Marxists commemorating Kautsky.

interestiingly, the Marxist online archive has an extensive Kautsky library with not a hint of criticism.

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Anna
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Dec 22 2007 16:34

Didn't Marx clamour for Prussia to declare war on Russia?

EDIT: Something about him supporting a Prussian war against Denmark because he thought wars against Britain and Russia would develop out of it...and complaining in his newspaper when the war ended...I can't remember the details exactly, but surely Marx's advocacy of military action against Russia (which he believed to be a source of reaction) rivals kropotkin's advocacy of military action against Germany (which he believed to be a source of reaction). Nobody's perfect.

Oh and wasn't there something about him advocating Prussian hegemony over the various slavic countries, because slavs were inherently less revolutionary than Prussians

IrrationallyAngry
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Dec 22 2007 19:49
David in Atlanta wrote:
interestiingly, the Marxist online archive has an extensive Kautsky library with not a hint of criticism.

Inclusion in the MIA does not mean that the collective responsible for the MIA approves of your ideas. Despite the fact that it's largely run by Trotskyists it includes everyone from Hume to Kropotkin to Stalin. If your writings were Marxist, Marxian, influenced by Marxism, influential on Marxism or even just relevant to debates within Marxism and you are dead you are eligible for inclusion.

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cantdocartwheels
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Dec 22 2007 20:17

I was walking in the woods one day among the fading sunlight one evening and then a pack of ravenous wolves descended on me and tore me to pieces, while they ripped out my spinal column, i couldn't helpn but notice the way in which these animals worked together, if only human society acted in such a naturally co-operative fashion.
Jesus kropotkin, what a fuckwit.

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fnbrill
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Dec 22 2007 20:22
cantdocartwheels wrote:
I was walking in the woods one day among the fading sunlight one evening and then a pack of ravenous wolves descended on me and tore me to pieces, while they ripped out my spinal column, i couldn't helpn but notice the way in which these animals worked together, if only human society acted in such a naturally co-operative fashion.
Jesus kropotkin, what a fuckwit.

WTF? Kropotkin was attacking one of the main capitalist ideologies of his (and our) time - social darwinism. Cooperation is only obvious to you because of Kropotkin. You are the fuckwit.

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Anna
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Dec 22 2007 20:32

Kropotkin's ideas about evolution were pretty much totally wrong. Or at least he got it all backwards. 'Mutual Aid' is better if you skip the first two chapters (and the fucking stupid introductory essay by John Hewetson).

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Devrim
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Dec 22 2007 20:46
Anna wrote:
Kropotkin's ideas about evolution were pretty much totally wrong. Or at least he got it all backwards.

Why? I have never read his stuff on evolution, but I have read a lot of modern evolutionary theory, and would be interested to know your opinion.

Devrim

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Anna
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Dec 22 2007 20:57

Well basically his theory depended on species selection, which is untenable in a natural environment, and just doesn't happen. His recognisation that cooperation can occur in nature was correct, but he got the explanatory mechanisms wrong.

mikus
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Dec 22 2007 21:14
Anna wrote:
Oh and wasn't there something about him advocating Prussian hegemony over the various slavic countries, because slavs were inherently less revolutionary than Prussians

If I remember correctly, this is a myth. He did hate slavs for most of his life (his late interest in the Mir communes seems to have put an end to this hatred, however) but I'm pretty sure he didn't support military action on this basis. Hal Draper discusses some of these issues in "War and Revolution: The Myth of Revolutionary Defeatism".

Which is not to say that Marx never supported military action. But at least that one is a myth. (I think. I could be wrong.)

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Devrim
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Dec 22 2007 21:34
Anna wrote:
Didn't Marx clamour for Prussia to declare war on Russia?

EDIT: Something about him supporting a Prussian war against Denmark because he thought wars against Britain and Russia would develop out of it...and complaining in his newspaper when the war ended...I can't remember the details exactly, but surely Marx's advocacy of military action against Russia (which he believed to be a source of reaction) rivals kropotkin's advocacy of military action against Germany (which he believed to be a source of reaction). Nobody's perfect.

Oh and wasn't there something about him advocating Prussian hegemony over the various slavic countries, because slavs were inherently less revolutionary than Prussians

You could be refering to his attitude in 1870 on the forth coming Franco-Prussian war:

K.Marx wrote:
The French need a kicking.

Devrim

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Anna
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Dec 22 2007 22:32

Hmm, I'm pretty sure it was earlier than that. I'll try and dig out the book and see what documentary evidence is given, my memory of it is pretty hazy. But I do seem to remember quotes to the effect of what I posted.

EDIT: I think it may have been regarding the First Schleswig war

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Anna
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Dec 23 2007 00:59
mikus wrote:
Anna wrote:
Oh and wasn't there something about him advocating Prussian hegemony over the various slavic countries, because slavs were inherently less revolutionary than Prussians

If I remember correctly, this is a myth. He did hate slavs for most of his life (his late interest in the Mir communes seems to have put an end to this hatred, however) but I'm pretty sure he didn't support military action on this basis. Hal Draper discusses some of these issues in "War and Revolution: The Myth of Revolutionary Defeatism".

Which is not to say that Marx never supported military action. But at least that one is a myth. (I think. I could be wrong.)

I'll try and find the quote, I think it was lifted from his somewhere in his correspondence with Engels (he's often rather frank in those letters, to say the least). I don't have the book in my possession at the moment though so it might take a while.

Marx's late writings regarding Russia are really interesting. Have you read T. Shanin's 'Late Marx and the Russian Road'? I was wondering if it was worth hunting down.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 23 2007 01:19

Incidentally, the fine town of Brighton has a bus named after "Prince Kropotkin"

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Red Marriott
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Dec 23 2007 02:29

Anna, it may be this quote (by Engels, under the editorship of Marx) - such a fine expression of proletarian internationalism - that you are thinking of;

Quote:
"Our answer to the sentimental phrases about fraternity which are now offered to us on behalf of the most counter-revolutionary nations in Europe is: hatred of Russia was the first revolutionary passion of the Germans and it still is. Since the revolution this hatred of Russia has been enhanced by hatred of the Czechs and the Croats, and, together with the Poles and Magyars, we can secure the victory of the revolution only by energetic terrorism against these Slav peoples." Engels, 1848, Neue Rheinische Zeitung; editor-in-chief, Marx.