Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin was born in Moscow on December the 9th in1842 within a royal family that could trace its origins to the founders of the Tsarist regime. As a member of the Russian ruling class, he received the best education his father’s exploitation of his serfs could provide. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Corps of Pages in St. Petersburg, an elite Court institution attached to the imperial household.
This is a write up of a talk I did at the 2012 London anarchist bookfair. It explores the interwoven nature of revolutionary anarchism and syndicalism, showing how the standard Leninist account of both is false. It shows how syndicalism evolved as a key anarchist tactic within the First International and how revolutionary anarchists like Bakunin and Kropotkin advocated syndicalist ideas and tactics. Suffice to say, this is the talk I hoped to give – the actual one may not have equalled these hopes! The title is a Kropotkin quote, one much repeated in his works
This will of necessity be a short posting. Life, as always these days, seems far too busy! Email and article/review writing has suffered, so apologies if you are expecting a reply or wondering why I’ve not posted any pieces here for a while. Just now I’m working on my Kropotkin anthology and two talks for this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair on October 27th at Queen Mary, University of London (Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS).
I've been working on the new Kropotkin Anthology, concentrating on listing the various works by Kropotkin. This is the first draft of my activities. As will become clear, there is a significant amount of articles which have never been translated or have not been republished from Freedom.
A few months ago, I announced that I was starting to work on an anthology of Kropotkin’s works for AK Press (A Peter Kropotkin Anthology). This is an update – and as well as an update, I’m including a rare letter from Kropotkin to the British syndicalist paper The Voice of Labour as a taster.
This is an excellent, if occasionally frustrating, book. Written by leading Primatologist Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy summarises the research into the evolution of cooperation, social feelings and empathy. If I were to sum it up in a few words it would be: “Kropotkin was right.”
Well, last Saturday was the London Anarchist Bookfair. I spent most of it behind the Black Flag stall and I'm happy to say we sold out of the new issue (no. 234)! Rest assured, we still have copies and they will be appearing in good bookshops soon. An announcement will be made on the Black Flag blog shortly, I assume.
Well, the sections that will make up An Anarchist FAQ have been proof-read and trimmed. I’ve written the introduction to volume 2 and now can have a rest AFAQ wise. It should be out early 2012. Work is busy (as is my work as a union rep) so I don’t think I’m going to be blogging or writing as much as I would like.
“Iain McKay’s excellent, readable, and very thorough pamphlet helps put Kropotkin and Mutual Aid into proper context . . . grab yourself a copy of this extended introduction and evaluation.” (Paul Petard, Black Flag No. 233)
Iain McKay, AK Press, 2010, £3
As long term readers of this blog will be aware, I wrote an introduction and evaluation for the new edition of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid by Freedom Press. Perhaps unsurprisingly given my previous work record, it got a bit long and only the biographical sketch and further reading bits of it were included in the final book.