Kropotkin Anthology (Direct Action Against Capital) Update

Well, been busy and so have not blogged for a while. Did find time to do a long-ish review article on Victor Serge (suffice to say, I do think he is over-rated). The Black Flag meeting at the bookfair went well and it looks like Black Flag is going to keep doing – at least that is what the well attended meeting concluded. I will be getting the new collective going in the new year.

In other news, Direct Action Against Capital: A Peter Kropotkin Anthology is now with AK Press (UK) and at the final proof-reading stage. It seems certain to be out in March 2014. I’m looking forward to it. Below are the final contents of the book.

Direct Action Against Capital: A Peter Kropotkin Anthology


Introduction: Bread and Liberty

Anarchism before Kropotkin

  • The Birth of Anarchism: Proudhon and Mutualism
  • Libertarians in the First International
  • Bakunin and Revolutionary Anarchism

Kropotkin’s ideas

  • On Capitalism and the State
  • On State Socialism
  • On the Workers’ Movement
  • On Syndicalism and Revolutionary Minorities
  • On National Liberation
  • On Mutual Aid and Ethics
  • On Revolution
  • On Anarchy and Communism


Kropotkin: A Biographical Sketch

Further Reading


A Note on the Texts


As can be seen, the introduction follows the introduction of my Proudhon anthology Property is Theft! – and, like that, “Direct Struggle Against Capital” is a direct quote from Kropotkin (picked because it sums up a key aspect of his ideas and the aim of the book).

Below are the Kropotkin texts. These are not ordered chronologically, as in Property is Theft!, rather they are grouped together in themes and, with one exception, organised chronologically in terms of publication within each section (although some sections are prefaced with extracts from Kropotkin’s memoirs). The one exception is the section “Revolutions” which, because it covers previous revolutions, is organised in chronological order of when the revolutions took place.

Anarchism and Anarchists

From Memoirs of a Revolutionist

  • St. Petersburg – First Journey to Western Europe
  • Western Europe

The Lyon anarchist trial of 1883 (Freedom, first time in book)

  • From Kropotkin’s Defence Speech
  • Defence Declaration

The Place of Anarchism in Socialist Evolution (first time in book)

Preface to Bakunin’s The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State (Newly translated)

Letter to Maria Isidine Goldsmith (Newly translated)

Letter to Max Nettlau (New translation, different translation in Selected Writings on Anarchism and Revolution)

Anarchism (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets)

  • The Historical Development of Anarchism
  • Anarchism in the International Working Men’s Association

From Modern Science and Anarchism

  • The Origin of Anarchism
  • The Anarchist Ideal and the Preceding Revolutions
  • Anarchism
  • A Few Conclusions of Anarchism
  • The Means of Action

The Anarchist Principle (Newly translated)

A Few Thoughts about the Essence of Anarchism (Freedom, first time in book)

Letter to the Bakunin Centenary Celebration (Freedom, first time in book)

From Ethics: Origin and Development

Capitalism and the State

From Representative Government (New translation, Words of a Rebel)

Our Riches (Conquest of Bread)

The Division of Labour (Conquest of Bread)

Economic Expedients (Newly translated)

From The State: Its Historic Role

Prisons: Universities of Crime (Anarchy! An Anthology of Emma Goldman's Mother Earth)

From The Modern State (Freedom, first time in book)

  • I. The Essential Principle of Modern Society
  • II. Serfs of the State
  • III. Taxation as a Means of Increasing the Power of the State
  • IV. Taxation a Means of Enriching the Rich
  • V. The Monopolies
  • VI. The Monopolies in the Nineteenth Century

The Workers Movement and Class Struggle

From Memoirs of a Revolutionist

Enemies of the People (Newly translated)

The Workers’ Movement in Spain (Newly translated)

Workers Organisation (Newly translated)

The Use of the Strike (Freedom, first time in book)

Strikes (Newly translated)

1st May 1891 (Newly translated)

The Death of the New International (Newly translated)

Commemoration of the Chicago Martyrs (Freedom, first time in book)

The Workers’ Congress of 1896 (Newly translated)

The Development of Trade-Unionism (Freedom, first time in book)

Letter to French and British Trade Union Delegates (Freedom, first time in book)

From Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

  • Mutual Aid Amongst Ourselves
  • Conclusion

Politics and Socialism (Freedom pamphlet, first time in book)

Trade Unionism and Parliamentarism (Newly translated)

Letter to “The Voice of Labour” (The Voice of Labour, first time in book)

Anarchists and Trade Unions (Freedom, first time in book)

1886-1907: Glimpses into the Labour Movement in this Country (Act for Yourselves)

Letter to Alexander Berkman (first time in book)

Syndicalism and Anarchism (Freedom, first time in book)


From The Great French Revolution

  • Action
  • The “Districts” and the “Sections” of Paris
  • The Sections of Paris under the New Municipal Law

1848–1871 (Freedom, first time in book)

The Paris Commune (Fighting the Revolution volume 2; first time in book)

  • The theory of the State and the practice of the Commune
  • Popular aspirations and popular prejudices in the Commune
  • From the Paris Commune to anarchist communism

Commune of Paris (Freedom, first time in book)

The Revolution in Russia (Freedom, first time in book)

The Russian Revolution and Anarchism (Newly translated)

  • Political and economic revolution
  • Our relation with peasants and workers’ unions
  • Conclusions of the conference

Enough of Illusions! (Freedom, first time in book)

A Letter to the Workers of the West (Freedom, original English language version)

Social Revolution

From Memoirs of a Revolutionist

The Anarchist Idea from the Point Of View of its Practical Realisation (Freedom, first time in book; another translation appears in No Gods, No Masters)

Revolutionary Government (Words of a Rebel; translation from No Gods, No Masters)

From Expropriation (Conquest of Bread)

What Revolution Means (Act for Yourselves)

Act For Yourselves (Act for Yourselves)

Local Action (Act for Yourselves)

Preface to Words of a Rebel (1904) (first time in book)

Insurrections and Revolution (Newly translated)

Preface to How We Shall Bring About the Revolution

Anarchist Action in the Revolution (Newly translated)

Postscript to Words of a Rebel (1919) (first time in book)


The Commune (Words of a Rebel; translation from No Gods, No Masters)

From In Russian and French Prisons

Are We Good Enough? (Act for Yourselves)

The Permanence of Society after the Revolution (Act for Yourselves)

The Wage System (Conquest of Bread)

  • I. Representative Government and Wages
  • II. The Collectivist Wage System
  • III. Unequal Remuneration
  • IV. Equal Wages versus Communism

Communism and Anarchy (Freedom, first time in book)

The Reformed School (Freedom, first time in book)

From Fields, Factories and Workshops

  • Preface to the Second Edition (1913)
  • Preface to the First Edition (1898)
  • The Decentralisation of Industries
  • The Possibilities of Agriculture
  • Small Industries and Industrial Villages
  • Brain Work and Manual Work
  • Conclusion


Mutual Aid: An Important Factor in Evolution (Anarchy! An Anthology of Emma Goldman's Mother Earth)


The major difference is that my updated incomplete bibliography of Kropotkin’s work is not being included. Hopefully this will appear in a forthcoming edition of Anarchist Studies. It would be helpful for others, I think, as it gives a task of his productive Kropotkin was and how little has actually been translated into English and how many articles published in Freedom are not known.

In terms of the included works, extracts from most of his books are there as well as significant pamphlets. In terms of his Memoirs of a Revolutionist, the extracts were identified when I was working on volume 2 of An Anarchist FAQ and give an interesting insight into his politics which many may not realise were in an autobiography. The key sections are those on the labour movement and social revolution. The former dispells the myth of Kropotkin as ignoring class struggle as well as claims that communist-anarchism is fundamentally different from syndicalism. As will be seen from these articles, he had been arguing for anarchist involvement in the labour movement from the time he became an anarchist (in this he was following the mainstream of the movement, as expressed by Bakunin in the First International). When many libertarians in France became infatuated with ultra-revolutionary language, he wrote many important articles urging a return to the syndicalist position of the late 1860s and 1870s. He even pointed to the Spanish movement as something to follow. Obviously getting arrested and imprisoned limited his ability to influence the movement, as did exile in Britain. However, he returned to this syndicalist theme in 1889 onwards and played a key part in getting anarchists back into the labour movement. Nor did stop arguing this, it is a recurring theme - and he recommended the same approach to the Russian anarchist movement during and after the 1905 revolution. The same can be said of his views on social revolution, he saw it as a lengthy process which would not be communist from the start. Rather it would be struggle marked by economic disruption, counter-revolutionary attempts and experimentation to see what works. So a realistic and practical vision of social revolution and how to get there.

So this anthology will show Kropotkin for what he was - a practical anarchist militant who urged active participation in the labour movement as the means of spreading libertarian ideas and achieving a social revolution. He differed from syndicalists only in-so-far as he refused to limit anarchist activitism to just economic struggles and recognised that unions were not automatically revolutionary. He saw the need for specifically anarchist groups to spread the anarchist message within and outwith the trade unions. In terms of social revolution, he was equally as realistic and saw it as a long and difficult process -- no over-night revolutions for him. As such, the notion sometimes suggested (usually by Marxists) that anarchists think a fully classless (libertarian) communist society would be produced instantly is alien to his (and our!) ideas.

Hopefully its readers will agree! So that it is – as promised, a short update.

Until I blog again, be seeing you…


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