Mutual Aid : A Factor of Evolution

Revolt Library >> Anarchism >> Mutual Aid


(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.)
• "...all that is necessary for production-- the land, the mines, the highways, machinery, food, shelter, education, knowledge--all have been seized by the few in the course of that long story of robbery, enforced migration and wars, of ignorance and oppression..." (From : "The Conquest of Bread," by Peter Kropotkin, 1906.)
• "The fatherland does not exist.... What fatherland can the international banker and the rag-picker have in common?" (From : "The Conquest of Bread," by Peter Kropotkin, 1906.)
• "As to parliamentary rule, and representative government altogether... It is becoming evident that it is merely stupid to elect a few men, and to entrust them with the task of making laws on all possible subjects, of which subject most of them are utterly ignorant." (From : "Process Under Socialism," by Peter Kropotkin, 188....)


This document contains 11 sections, with 104,422 words or 659,349 characters.

(3,633 Words / 21,838 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 INTRODUCTION Two aspects of animal life impressed me most during the journeys which I made in my youth in Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria. One of them was the extreme severity of the struggle for existence which most species of animals have to carry on against an inclement Nature; the enormous destruction of life which periodically results from natural agencies; and the consequent paucity of life over the vast territory which fell under my observation. And the other was, that even in those few spots where animal life teemed in abundance, I failed to find -- although I was eagerly looking for it -- that bitter struggle for the means of existence, among animals belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists (though not always by Darwin himself) as the dominant characteristic of struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution. The terrib... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(9,327 Words / 57,766 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 1: MUTUAL AID AMONG ANIMALS Struggle for existence. -- Mutual Aid -- a law of Nature and chief factor of progressive evolution. -- Invertebrates. -- Ants and Bees -- Birds: Hunting and fishing associations. -- Sociability. -- Mutual protection among small birds. -- Cranes; parrots. The conception of struggle for existence as a factor of evolution, introduced into science by Darwin and Wallace, has permitted us to embrace an immensely wide range of phenomena in one single generalization, which soon became the very basis of our philosophical, biological, and sociological speculations. An immense variety of facts: -- adaptations of function and structure of organic beings to their surroundings; physiological and anatomical evolution; intellectual progress, and moral development itself, which we formerly used to explain by so many different causes... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(13,447 Words / 84,433 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 2: MUTUAL AID AMONG ANIMALS (continued) Migrations of birds.-- Breeding associations. -- Autumn societies. -- Mammals: small number of unsociable species. -- Hunting associations of wolves, lions, etc. -- Societies of rodents; of ruminants; of monkeys. -- Mutual Aid in the struggle for life. -- Darwin's arguments to prove the struggle for life within the species. -- Natural checks to over-multiplication. -- Supposed extermination of intermediate links. -- Elimination of competition in Nature. As soon as spring comes back to the temperate zone, myriads and myriads of birds which are scattered over the warmer regions of the South come together in numberless bands, and, full of vigor and joy, hasten northwards to rear their offspring. Each of our hedges, each grove, each ocean cliff, and each of the lakes and ponds with which Northern America, Northern... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(12,316 Words / 77,586 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 3: MUTUAL AID AMONG SAVAGES Supposed war of each against all. -- Tribal origin of human society. -- Late appearance of the separate family. -- Bushmen and Hottentots. -- Australians, Papuas. -- Eskimos, Aleoutes. -- Features of savage life difficult to understand for the European. -- The Dayak's conception of justice. -- Common law. The immense part played by mutual aid and mutual support in the evolution of the animal world has been briefly analyzed in the preceding chapters. We have now to cast a glance upon the part played by the same agencies in the evolution of mankind. We saw how few are the animal species which live an isolated life, and how numberless are those which live in societies, either for mutual defense, or for hunting and storing up food, or for rearing their offspring, or simply for enjoying life in com... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(11,596 Words / 73,623 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 4: MUTUAL AID AMONG THE BARBARIANS The great migrations. -- New organization rendered necessary. -- The village community. -- Communal work. -- Judicial procedure -- Inter-tribal law. -- Illustrations from the life of our contemporaries -- Buryates. -- Kabyles. -- Caucasian mountaineers. -- African stems. It is not possible to study primitive mankind without being deeply impressed by the sociability it has displayed since its very first steps in life. Traces of human societies are found in the relics of both the oldest and the later stone age; and, when we come to observe the savages whose manners of life are still those of neolithic man, we find them closely bound together by an extremely ancient clan organization which enables them to combine their individually weak forces, to enjoy life in common, and to progress. M... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(10,926 Words / 70,787 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 5: MUTUAL AID IN THE MEDIÆVAL CITY Growth of authority in Barbarian Society. -- Serfdom in the villages. -- Revolt of fortified towns: their liberation; their charts. -- The guild. -- Double origin of the free mediæval city. -- Self-jurisdiction, self-administration. -- Honorable position of labor. -- Trade by the guild and by the city. Sociability and need of mutual aid and support are such inherent parts of human nature that at no time of history can we discover men living in small isolated families, fighting each other for the means of subsistence. On the contrary, modern research, as we saw it in the two preceding chapters, proves that since the very beginning of their prehistoric life men used to agglomerate into gentes, clans, or tribes, maintained by an idea of common descent and by worship of common ance... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(11,360 Words / 72,491 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 6: MUTUAL AID IN THE MEDIÆVAL CITY (continued) Likeness and diversity among the medi&ealig;val cities. -- The craftguilds: State-attributes in each of them. -- Attitude of the city towards the peasants; attempts to free them. -- The lords. -- Results achieved by the mediæval city: in arts, in learning. -- Causes of decay. The mediæval cities were not organized upon some preconceived plan in obedience to the will of an outside legislator. Each of them was a natural growth in the full sense of the word -- an always varying result of struggle between various forces which adjusted and re-adjusted themselves in conformity with their relative energies, the chances of their conflicts, and the support they found in their surroundings. Therefore, there are not two cities whose inner organization and destinies would have... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(11,705 Words / 75,817 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 CHAPTER 7 MUTUAL AID AMONGST OURSELVES Popular revolts at the beginning of the State-period. -- Mutual Aid institutions of the present time. -- The village community; its struggles for resisting its abolition by the State. -- Habits derived from the village-community life, retained in our modern villages. -- Switzerland, France, Germany, Russia. The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that it has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history. It was chiefly evolved during periods of peace and prosperity; but when even the greatest calamities befell men -- when whole countries were laid waste by wars, and whole populations were decimated by misery, or groaned under the yoke of tyranny -- the same tendency continued to live in the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(9,816 Words / 60,541 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 CHAPTER 8 MUTUAL AID AMONGST OURSELVES (continued) Labor-unions grown after the destruction of the guilds by the State. -- Their struggles. -- Mutual Aid in strikes. -- Co-operation. -- Free associations for various purposes. -- Self-sacrifice. -- Countless societies for combined action under all possible aspects. -- Mutual Aid in slum-life. -- Personal aid. When we examine the every-day life of the rural populations of Europe, we find that, notwithstanding all that has been done in modern States for the destruction of the village community, the life of the peasants remains honeycombed with habits and customs of mutual aid and support; that important vestiges of the communal possession of the soil are still retained; and that, as soon as the legal obstacles to rural association were lately removed, a network of free... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(2,173 Words / 13,087 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 CONCLUSION If we take now the teachings which can be borrowed from the analysis of modern society, in connection with the body of evidence relative to the importance of mutual aid in the evolution of the animal world and of mankind, we may sum up our inquiry as follows. In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense -- not as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavorable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

(8,123 Words / 51,380 Characters)
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 APPENDIX I -- SWARMS OF BUTTERFLIES, DRAGON-FLIES, ETC. (To p. 10) M.C. PIEPERS has published in Natuurkunding Tijdschrift voor Neederlandsch Indië, 1891, Deel L. p. 198 (analyzed in Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau, 1891, vol. vi. p. 573), interesting researches into the mass-flights of butterflies which occur in Dutch East India, seemingly under the influence of great drafts occasioned by the west monsoon. Such mass-flights usually take place in the first months after the beginning of the monsoon, and it is usually individuals of both sexes of Catopsilia (Callidryas) crocale, Cr., which join in it, but occasionally the swarms consist of individuals belonging to three different species of the genus Euphœa. Copulation seems also to be the purpose of such flights. That these flights are not the resul... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


January 21, 2017 ; 7:09:23 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to

March 26, 2019 ; 5:51:21 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on


Permalink for Sharing :
Share :


Login to Comment

0 Dislikes

No comments so far. You can be the first!



<< Last Work in Anarchism
Current Work in Anarchism
Mutual Aid
Next Work in Anarchism >>
All Nearby Works in Anarchism
Home|About|Contact|Search|Privacy Policy