Peter Kropotkin

Mutual Aid
  • Mutual Aid

  • 'Don't compete! - competition is always injurious to the species, and you have plenty of resources to avoid it!'

    Welcome to the anarchist history of the world. In this lively, provocative work, Peter Kropotkin argues that 'mutual aid' is a natural instinct in all of us, animal and human. Cooperation, reciprocity, support: these, for Kropotkin, are the overlooked foundations of our history.

    From the earliest days of evolution through to artisanal guilds, indigenous nomads and even the Royal National Lifeboat Association, it is a pragmatic, mutually beneficial bond to our fellow humans that has allowed us to survive. In this, Kropotkin challenges all the major orthodoxies of his age, from individualism and social Darwinism to Marxist theories of the saviour state. Instead, these essays insist that a better life for all of us - and our planet - begins when we reject competition, and embrace the local, the mutual and the collective.

Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) came from a major aristocratic Russian family but turned his back on it to embrace a life of imprisonment and exile in pursuit of his beliefs. His major works are The Conquest of Bread and Mutual Aid. His funeral was marked by the last permitted gathering of anarchists in the USSR.

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