Tribute to Kropotkin

April 2024 Forums General discussion Tribute to Kropotkin

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  • #238281
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    “…Kropotkin’s importance for us has only grown because the material conditions, the post-scarcity, the technological advances, have made it possible, no doubt for the first time in history…”

    Pyotr Kropotkin, 180 Years Later

    When i was still a youth and learning politics it was the advert for Mutual Aid in the Western Socialist that drew my attention to Kropotkin. Sad that at the end of his life he would become a pro-war advocate

    #238363
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Just got round to reading this. It’s not bad but I am not sure that his views should be described as “Russian thought”. He was of course from Russia but his anarchist-communist views were formed when living in France and the French-speaking part of Switzerland. You could more accurately describe his views as an expression of “French thought”, which partly explains why, to his shame, he took the French side in the WW1 and urged workers to die for the French state

    Like most anarchists, Kropotkin tended to identify the state with central government so that any central body, even if unarmed, was still a state.

    That might be behind the author’s distinction between the state and government (which he claims Kropotkin was not opposed to as such). Engels’s distinction between “government” (over people) and “administration” (of things) was better. Even we balk at talking about government in socialism. Plus anarchiste que les anarchistes.

    #238398
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Oui, c’est vrai.

    Makhno confronted Kropotkin face to face over the latter’s support for the war.
    Makhno’s life was fighting, but not for any state.

    #238399
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Kropotkin’s secretary was Elisee Reclus, and Reclus’ secretary was Alexandra David-Neel, who became a Buddhist. 😀

    #238405
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I would have thought that Kropotkin would have been Reclus’s Secretary rather than the other way round !

    Incidentally, Reclus’s brother Paul was one of the other leading anarchists who signed the Manifesto of the Sixteen calling on workers to get kill and get killed fighting for the French and even the Tsarist state. A reminder that it wasn’t only the leaders of the various “Marxist” parties that betrayed the interests of the workers over that war.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifesto_of_the_Sixteen

    #238406
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Kautsky too.

    #238430
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Actually, Kautsky didn’t support the war. That’s a Leninist calumny against him for not supporting the Bolshevik coup and so becoming, in their view, the greatest “renegade” since Judas Iscariot.

    He was not a member of the Reichstag and so didn’t vote for the war credits. This is what Wikipedia says about his attitude:

    “In 1914, when the German Social-Democrat deputies in the Reichstag voted for war credits, Kautsky (who was not a deputy but attended their meetings) suggested abstaining. Kautsky claimed that Germany was waging a defensive war against the threat of Czarist Russia. However, in June 1915, about ten months after the war had begun and when it had become obvious that this was going to be a sustained, appallingly brutal and costly struggle, he issued an appeal with Eduard Bernstein and Hugo Haase against the pro-war leaders of the SPD and denounced the German government’s annexationist aims. In 1917 he left the SPD for the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) with united socialists who opposed the war.”

    #238437
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Thanks. I didn’t know. He has gone back up in my estimation.

    Jean Jaures was murdered by a patriot for opposing the war. And yet, I believe Jaures was a pioneer of “socialist” reformism (?)

    It is evident that contradictions were about long before the internet.

    #238438
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Why was Anarchism more popular in Latin southern Europe, and Marxism associated more with the north?

    #238439
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    The usual explanation is that Anarchism’s small production and the way some of the Anarchists championed small independent cooperatives as a form of production appealed more to the peasant mind set, whereas the Marxist viewpoint was more appealing to the proletariat.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Bijou Drains.
    #238441
    ALB
    Keymaster

    One guess would be that, everywhere, the working class movement tended to grow out of the radical wing of the “bourgeoisie”. In Northern Europe (Britain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia) these were not insurrectionary like they were in Southern Europe (France, Spain, Italy). Another might be that, as Bijou mentions, reformist Social Democracy reflected the attitudes of industrial workers and Anarchism those of artisans and rural workers.

    #238443
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Jaurès was murdered before the war had actually war started and was killed for calling for a general strike to try to stop it breaking out. It is inconceivable, had he lived until after the war broke out, that he would not have supported the French government and even joined it, as did his long-standing Marxist rival Jules Guesde.

    #238446
    Lew
    Participant

    Why was Anarchism more popular in Latin southern Europe, and Marxism associated more with the north?

    George Lichtheim dealt with this issue at some length in his A Short History of Socialism (1970). His argument, in essence, is that anarchism flourishes wherever capitalism fails to develop.

    #238454
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Thank you. Anarchist sympathies still prevail in southern France, where Marx is not liked so much.

    The rural population seemed to divide as either Anarchist or royalist.

    #238467
    DJP
    Participant

    The “usual explanations” about anarchism generally aren’t that good because there’s so much bad and inaccurate history written about anarchism, usually written by hostile or uncomprehending parties. The idea that anarchism mainly appealed to peasants or appears where capitalism hasn’t developed just doesn’t fit with the facts.

    The best studies include:

    “Black Flame” by Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt. Which is unfortunately out of print. Though the text overly equates anarchism with syndicalism.

    This, as yet unpublished, PhD thesis by Oscar Addis: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=1&uin=uk.bl.ethos.843328

    And, “Making Sense of Anarchism: Errico Malatesta’s Experiments with Revolution” by Davide Turcato.

    This podcast about Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘Primitive Rebels’ is worth listening too: https://podtail.com/en/podcast/abc-with-danny-and-jim/episode-27-eric-hobsbawm-s-primitive-rebels/

    Incidentally, why isn’t the party making its own podcast? Something that would be easy to do to reach out to people.

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