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A Factor of Evolution

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,...

This text is from my copy of Kropotkin, P. "The State: Its Historic Role," London: Freedom Press, 1946; The Translator notes are from the Vanguard version.

Translator's Notes


When Kropotkin was invited by Jean Grave, editor of Les Temps Nouveaux, to take part in a series of lectures to be held in the Milles Colonnes Hall in Paris in March 1896, he chose two subjects: The State: Its Historic Role and Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Its Ideal. Bearing in mind that his greatest work, Mutual Aid, had been appearing as a series of articles in The Nineteenth Century from 1890-1896 his choice of subjects for these lectures is not surprising. Kropotkin explains in the French edition of his Memoirs "The research that I carried out in the course of familiarizing myself with the institutions of the barbarian period and t...


The text is from my copy of Emma Goldman's Anarchism and Other Essays. Second Revised Edition. New York & London: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1911. pp. 183-200. THE TRAFFIC IN WOMEN       OUR REFORMERS have suddenly made a great discovery--the white slave traffic. The papers are full of these "unheard-of conditions," and lawmakers are already planning a new set of laws to check the horror.       It is significant that whenever the public mind is to be diverted from a great social wrong, a crusade is inaugurated against indecency, gambling, saloons, etc. And what is the result of such crusades? Gambling is increasing, saloons are doing a lively business through back en... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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