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The text is from my copy of Peter Kropotkin, Ethics: Origins and Development, London: George E Harrap Co, Ltd.

Ethics: Origin and Development

by Peter Kropotkin

Introduction by the Russian Editor

"ETHICS" is the swan song of the great humanitarian scientist and revolutionist-anarchist, and constitutes, as it were, the crowning work and the résumé of all the scientific, philosophical, and sociological views of Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin, at which he arrived in the course of his long and unusually rich life. Unfortunately, death came before he could complete his work, and, according to the will and desire of Peter Alekseyevich, the responsible task of preparing "Ethics" for the press fell upon me.

In issuing the first volume of "Ethics", I feel the necessity of saying a few words to acquaint the reader with the history of this work.

In his "Ethics" Kropotkin wished to give answers to the two fundamental pr...


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Modern Science and Anarchism

Peter Kropotkin

This text was taken from my copy translated from the Russian original by David A. Modell and published by The Social Science Club of Philadelphia in 1903.

I.

Anarchism, like Socialism in general, and like every other social movement, has not, of course, developed out of science or out of some philosophical school. The social sciences are still very far removed from the time when they shall be as exact as are physics and chemistry. Even in meteorology we cannot yet predict the weather a month, or even one week, in advance. It would be unreasonable, therefore, to expect of the young social sciences, which are concerned with phenomena much more complex than winds and rain, that they should foretell social events with any approach to certainty. Besides, it must not be forgotten that men of science, too, are but human, and that most of them either belong by de...

This text is from my copy of Kropotkin, P. "The State: Its Historic Role," London: Freedom Press, 1946.

Section III


The village community consisted then, as it still does, of individual families. But all the families of the same village owned the land in common. They considered it as their common heritage and shared it out among themselves on the basis of the size of each family - their needs and their potential. Hundreds of millions of human beings still live in this way in Eastern Europe, India, Java, etc. It is the same kind of system that has been established in our time by Russian peasants, freely in Siberia, as soon as the State gave them a chance to occupy the vast Siberian territory in their own way.

Today the cultivation of the land in a village community is carried out by each individual household independently. Since all the arable land is shared out between the families (and further shared out when ne...

III

WAR AS AN INSTITUTION

IN spite of the fact that most nations at most times, are at peace, war is one of the permanent institutions of all free communities, just as Parliament is one of our permanent institutions in spite of the fact that it is not always sitting. It is war as a permanent institution that I wish to consider: why men tolerate it; why they ought not to tolerate it; what hope there is of their coming not to tolerate it; and how they could abolish it if they wished to do so.

War is a conflict between two groups, each of which attempts to kill and maim as many as possible of the other group in order to achieve some object which it desires. The object is generally either power or wealth. It is a pleasure to exercise authority over other men, and it is a pleasure to live on the produce of other men's labor. The victor in war can enjoy more of these delights than the vanquished. But war, like all other natural activities, is not so much prompte...

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