Fields, Factories, and Workshops : Appendix Y : The Domestic Industries in Switzerland

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(1842 - 1921) ~ Russian Father of Anarcho-Communism : As anarchism's most important philosophers he was in great demand as a writer and contributed to the journals edited by Benjamin Tucker (Liberty), Albert Parsons (Alarm) and Johann Most (Freiheit). Tucker praised Kropotkin's publication as "the most scholarly anarchist journal in existence." (From : Spartacus Educational Bio.)
• "The communes of the next revolution will proclaim and establish their independence by direct socialist revolutionary action, abolishing private property. When the revolutionary situation ripens, which may happen any day, and governments are swept away by the people, when the middle-class camp, which only exists by state protection, is thus thrown into disorder, the insurgent people will not wait until some new government decrees, in its marvelous wisdom, a few economic reforms." (From : "The Commune of Paris," by Peter Kropotkin, Freedo....)
• "To recognize all men as equal and to renounce government of man by man is another increase of individual liberty in a degree which no other form of association has ever admitted even as a dream." (From : "Communism and Anarchy," by Peter Kropotkin, 1901.)
• "ANARCHISM, the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being." (From : "Anarchism," by Peter Kropotkin, from the Encyclop....)


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Appendix Y

 Photo by tmbg37, CC BY-SA License

Photo by tmbg37,
CC BY-SA License


We have most interesting monographs dealing with separate branches of the small industries of Switzerland, but we have not yet such comprehensive statistical data as those which have been mentioned in the text in speaking of Germany and France. It was only in the year 1901 that the first attempt was made to get the exact numbers of work people employed in what the Swiss statisticians describe as Hausindustrie, or "the domestic industries' extension of the factory industries "(der hausindustrielle Anhang der Fabrikindustrie). Up till then these numbers remained "an absolutely unknown quantity." For many it was, therefore, a revelation when a first rough estimate, made by the factory inspectors, gave the figure of 52,291 work people belonging to this category, as against 243,200 persons employed in all the factories, large and small, of the same branches. A few years later, Schuler, in Zeitung für Schweizerische Statistik, 1904 (reprinted since as a volume), came to the figure of 131,299 persons employed in the domestic industries; and yet this figure, although it is much nearer to reality than the former, is still below the real numbers. Finally, an official census of the industries, made in 1905, gave the figure of 92,162 persons employed in the domestic industries in 70,873 establishments, in the following branches- textiles, watches and jewelry, straw-plaiting, clothing and dress, wood-carving, tobacco. They thus represent more than one-fourth (28.5 per cent.) of the 317,027 operatives employed in Switzerland in these same branches, and 15.7 per cent of all the industrial operatives, who numbered 585,574 in 1905.

Out of the just-mentioned 92,162 work people, registered as belonging to the domestic trades, nearly three-quarters (66,061 in 49,168 establishments) belong to the textile industry, chiefly knitting and the silks; then comes the watch-trade (12,871 persons in 9,186 establishments), straw-plaiting, and dress. However, these figures are still incomplete. Not only several smaller branches of the domestic trades were omitted in the census, but also the children under fourteen years of ago employed in the domestic trades, whose numbers are estimated at 32,300, were not counted. Besides, the census having been made in the summer, during the "strangers' season," a considerable number of persons employed in a variety of domestic trades during the winter did not appear in the census.

It must also be noted that the Swiss census includes under the name of Heimarbeit (domestic trades) only those "dependencies of the industrial employers" which do not represent separate factories placed under the employer's management; so that those workshops and small factories, the produce of which is sold directly to the consumers, as also the small factories directly managed by small employers, are not included in this category. If all that be taken into consideration, we must agree with the conclusion that the "domestic trades have in Switzerland a much greater extension than in any other country of Europe" (save Russia), which we find in an elaborate recent work, published in connection with the 1910 exhibition of Swiss domestic industries, and edited by Herr Jac. Lorenz (Die wirtschaflichen und sozialen Verhältnisse in der Schweizerischen Heimarbeit, Zurich, 1910-1911, p. 27).

A feature of importance which appears from this last work is, that more than one-half of the workers engaged in domestic trades have some other source of income besides these trades. Very many of them carry on agriculture, so that it has been said that in Switzerland "the domestic trades' question is as much a peasant question as a labor question."

It would be impossible to sum up in this place the interesting data contained in the first four fascicles published by Herr Lorenz, which deal with the cotton, the silk, and the linen domestic industries, their struggles against the machine, their defeats in some branches and their holding the ground in other branches, and so on. I must therefore refer the reader to this very instructive publication.


From : Anarchy Archives


November 30, 1911 :
Appendix Y -- Publication.

January 17, 2017 19:23:00 :
Appendix Y -- Added to

March 15, 2020 13:34:41 :
Appendix Y -- Last Updated on


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