The Conquest of Bread : Notes

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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.)
• "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.)
• "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....)
• "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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 Photo by Aaron Morton, CC BY-NC-ND License

Photo by Aaron Morton,
CC BY-NC-ND License


by P. Kropotkin


(1) Consult "La Répartition métrique des impôts," by A. Toubeau, two vols., published by Guillaumin in 1880. (We do not in the least agree with Toubeau's conclusions, but it is a real encyclopædia, indicating the sources which prove what can be obtained from the soil.) "La Culture maraîchere," by M. Ponce, Paris, 1869. "Le Potager Gressent," Paris, 1885, an excellent practical work. " Physiologie et culture du blé," by Risler, Paris, 1881. "Le blé, sa culture intensive et extensive," by Lecouteux, Paris, 1883. " La Cité Chinoise," by Eugène Simon. " Le dictionnaire d'agriculture, " by Barral (Hachette, editor). "The Rothamstead Experiments," by Wm. Fream, London, 1888--culture without manure, etc. (the " Field " office, editor). "Fields, Factories, and Workshops," by the author. London (Swan Sonnenschein); cheap editions at 6d. and 1s.

(2) Summing up the figures given on agriculture, figures proving that the inhabitants of the two départements of Seine and Seine-et-Oise can perfectly well live on their own territory by employing very little time annually to obtain food, we have:--

Number of inhabitants in 1889 3,900,000
Area in acres 1,507,300
Average number of inhabitants per acre 2.6
Areas to be cultivated to feed the inhabitants (in acres):--
Corn and cereals 494,000
Natural and artificial meadows 494,000
Vegetables and fruit from 17,300 to 25,000
Leaving a balance for houses, roads, parks, forests 494,000
Quantity of annual work necessary to improve and cultivate the above surfaces in five-hour work-days:--
Cereals (culture and crop) 15,000,000
Meadows, milk, rearing of cattle 10,000,000
Market-gardening culture, high-class fruit, 33,000,000
Extras 12,000,000
Total 70,000,000

If we suppose that half only of the able-bodied adults (men and women) are willing to work at agriculture, we see that 70 million work-days must be divided among 1,200,000 individuals, which gives us 58 work-days of 5 hours for each of these workers. With that the population of the two departments would have all necessary bread, meat, milk, vegetables, and fruit, both ordinary and luxury. To-day a workman spends for the necessary food of his family (generally less than what is necessary) at least one-third of his 300 work-days a year, about 1,000 hours be it, instead of 290. That is, he thus gives about 700 hours too much to fatten the idle and the would-be administrators, because he does not produce his own food, but buys it of middlemen, who in their turn buy it of peasants who exhaust themselves by working with bad tools, because, being robbed by the landowners and the State, they cannot procure better ones.

This text was taken from a 1st edition of The Conquest of Bread, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1906.

From : Anarchy Archives


November 30, 1905 :
Notes -- Publication.

January 13, 2017 17:34:18 :
Notes -- Added to

December 31, 2019 17:26:42 :
Notes -- Last Updated on


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