INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ORGANIZATION RESEARCH
http://www.anarchy.no/iifor.html - IIFOR P.B. 4777 Sofienberg N- 0506 Oslo - Norway
MODERN SCIENCE AND ANARCHISM
by Peter Kropotkin
SUMMARY OF HIGHLIGHTS
selected by IIFOR
An anarchist classic and a contribution to the history of political economy
This report presents a summary of the preliminary 1903 edition of Modern Science and Anarchism published by Social Science Club of Philadelphia in USA, translated from Russian by David A. Modell. In this work IIFOR has also used the Swedish translation "Anarkism och modern vetenskap" (1914) based on the edition with preface from Brighton, February 1913. The Swedish 1914-edition is quite different from the US 1903-edition on several items, and is generally a more mature scientifical work, less vague and with less contradictive error tendencies. IIFOR would have liked to use the 1913 edition, but only the 1903 preliminary version was available on data-files at Internet, so to save worktime this was used as a basis for this summary.
Peter (Pyotr, Pjotr) Alexeyevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) was a Russian born geographer, zoologist, an evolutionary theorist and researcher in libertarian political economy broadly defined. More about Kropotkin's contributions to political economy and more, also in a critical perspective, see System theory - Chapter V. C.: ANARCHISM AND MODERN SCIENCE UPDATED - HISTORY OF THOUGHT - METHODOLOGY. Kropotkin was also a libertarian politician, and was the founder of communist/commune Anarchism, one of the main libertarian tendencies and an approximation to the anarchist ideal society, see the four main economic-political systems of anarchism.
Kropotkin developed Proudhon's social individualist anarchism, see Proudhon's basic ideas, in progressive direction, upwards on the economic-political map, see System theory. Kropotkin was also somewhat influenced by Michael (Mikhail) Bakunin's collectivist anarchism, see Bakunin's basic ideas, but replaced the collectivist remuneration principle"from each according to ability, to each according to the product of his labor", with the communist remuneration principle "from each according to ability, to each according to needs", at least for a society close to anarchist ideal. Kropotkin was also to a lesser extent influenced by individualist anarchism, which he recognized as one of the main libertarian tendencies, see, Kropotkin: Anarchism, an article published in The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910. A main theorist of individualist anarchism was Benjamin Tucker, see Tucker's basic ideas, he however was hostile to Kropotkin's communist anarchism, but his criticism was exaggerated. Today commune/communist anarchism, also with a green libertarian tendency, etc., is seen as an ideal society, or close to -- and a long term aim -- by anarchists at large.
The book's contents is directly rooted back to 1887, when Kropotkin wrote an article entitled "The Scientific Bases of Anarchy," for the Nineteenth Century, the magazine edited by James Knowles which published most of Kropotkin's major works in essay form before they appeared as books. Modern Science and Anarchism originated out of a burst of activity on Kropotkin's part related to the clandestine anarchist movement in Russia. It first appeared in Russian, printed in London, in 1901. A later, German edition, appeared in 1904. An American translation was introduced in 1903 as mentioned. The English and French versions did not appear until 1912/13. The principal role of Modern Science and Anarchism was mainly to clearify the basic methodological principle of anarchism, and the fact that anarchism is a broad based modern sociological science, i.e. political economy broadly defined, including politoligy and psychology, law, etc. (quoting):
"Anarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society. This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it... Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases [= metodhology] which have served for the revision of all natural sciences. Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases [i.e. the anarchist principles in general, the basic libertarian working hypothesis and theories updated] and by the practical life...
But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included
the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific
investigations; and makes use of the method by
which modern natural science ... were developed. Owing
to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its
researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions
can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive
method by which every science and every
scientific concept of the universe is created. Anarchism
does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific.
No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if
it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim...
[The method is a part of Anarchism]: Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science. Whithout entering into further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action [called Anarchist praxeologi, human action research, today], enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences." [Thus Anarchism is a modern sociological science broadly defined, including political economy etc, based on the methodology of modern natural sciences. The principles of Anarchism in general, updated and summarized, are found at the System theory and at the Basic course. See also Kropotkin's arcticle "Anarchism" from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910.]
Modern Science and Anarchism was so popular and widely read that it was reprinted in England in 1923, although the British anarchist movement had slipped into the period of apparent moribundity that preceded its revival during the Spanish Civil War. By the time that last edition appeared, the practical natural scientifical research results mentioned in the book was a bit outdated, since the updated theories of Mendel and Einstein, etc. were not included, but of course the basic methodological principles of anarchism declared in the book was still valid anarchism, as it is today.
Later on anarchist thinkers as, say, Ragnar Frisch, Diego Abad de Santillan, etc., used the method introduced by Kropotkin, to develope the libertarian research front - the third alternative, road and social form - further. The method of the natural sciences is the hypothetical deductive method, a.k.a. hypothetico-deductive model, see "Think scientific - HDM". Inductive-deductive and logic-deductive reasoning within the framework of the hypothetical deductive method, testable hypothesis, is essential to real science.
The method of modern natural science, the hypothetico-deductive model, was first introduced in William Whewell (1837): "History of the Inductive Sciences" and William Whewell (1840): "Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences". It was popularized by Karl Popper, the term 'hypothetico-deductive system' indexed in Popper (1963), "Conjectures and Refutations". According to it, scientific inquiry proceeds by formulating a hypothesis in a form that could conceivably be falsified by a test on observable data. A test that could and does run contrary to predictions of the hypothesis is taken as a falsification of the hypothesis. A test that could but does not run contrary to the hypothesis corroborates the theory. It is then proposed to compare the explanatory value of competing hypotheses by testing how stringently they are corroborated by their predictions, etc. More information about the HDM and related items, see System theory - Chapter V. B. & C.
Anarchism, theory and practice, is based on the non-dogmatic, non-dialectical, scientifical method suggested in Peter Kropotkin's "Modern Science and anarchism" (1903-13), i.e. the hypothetical deductive method. Marxism in all forms, i.e. based on the materialist dialectical framework, is in general not compatible with the hypothetical deductive method, and is thus non-scientific and pseudo-science. All the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, as well as Bernstein and Pannekoek, etc, are non-scientific and pseudo-science. Also the works of the "New Left", including "Cohn Bendit et autres gauchistes", also called "the children of Marx", are marxist, marxism, and non-scientific and pseudo-science. Also the left-Hegelian dialectical ideas of, say, Bakunin and Max Stirner, and later Daniel Guerin, Sam Dolgoff and Murray Bookchin, must principally be rejected as pseudo-science, similar to Marx and his followers' ideology. However their non-dialectical ideas are in general anarchist. Also central theorems in marxist economics are not compatible with the hypothetical deductive method, and thus are pseudo-science.
In the book "Modern Science and Anarchism" (1903-13) a.o.t. Peter Kropotkin declares - and gives the reason why - anarchism is defined as an updated research front of libertarian social scientifical research, using the methods of modern natural sciences. Anarchism: "Its method of investigation is that of the exact natural sciences, by which every scientific conclusion must be verified... (using) ... the concrete language of natural sciences, -- so we proceed in dealing with the facts of social life. They (the anarchists/anarchism) therefore pass on and continue their study of past and present social ideas and institutions according to the scientific method of induction" (and deduction etc. i.e. the whole methodology of natural sciences, consistency, testable hypothesis, including the support sciences of mathematics and logic broadly defined, in short the hypothetical deductive method; ed. note.).
We have heard much of late about "the dialectic method," which was recommended for formulating the socialist ideal (i.e. marxism, ed. note). Such a method we do not recognize, neither would the modern natural sciences have anything to do with it. "The dialectic method" reminds the modern naturalist of something long since passed -- of something outlived and now happily forgotten by science. The discoveries of the nineteenth century in mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, physical psychology, anthropology, psychology of nations, etc., were made -- not by the dialectic method, but by the natural-scientific method, the method of induction and deduction.
Every time ... the anarchist movement sprang up in response to the lessons of actual life and originated from the practical tendencies of events. And, under the impulse thus given it, Anarchism set to work out its theoretic, scientific basis. ... we had better give up using the sonorous words which only conceal the superficiality of our semi-learning. In their time the use of these words was, perhaps, unavoidable -- their application could never have been useful; but now we are able to approach the study of burning social questions in exactly the same manner as the gardener and the physiologist take up the study of the conditions most favorable for the growth of a plant -- let us do so! Moreover, the whole of political economy appears to us in a different light from that in which it is seen by modern economists of both the middle-class and the social-democratic camps.
The scientific method (the method of natural scientific induction) being utterly unknown to them, they fail to give themselves any definite account of what constitutes "a law of nature," although they delight in using the term. They do not know -- or if they know they continually forget -- that every law of nature has a conditional character. It is always expressed thus: "If certain conditions in nature meet, certain things will happen. ... In every case there is an "if" -- a condition." (Ragnar Frisch, the famous Norwegian anarchist about 20 years later introduced the Kropotkinian method of political economy broadly defined in practice, introducing the term econometrics/econometrie)... No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim.
Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science. Whithout entering into further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action, enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences. (The "Anarchist programme of action" is today related to anarchist praxeology, i.e. human actions research. Ed. note)
Anarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society. In Anarchism there is no room for those pseudo-scientific laws with which the German metaphysicians of the twenties and thirties had to consent themselves. Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific.
This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it, Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases which have served for the revision of all natural sciences. Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases and by the practical life of the future. But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific investigations; has forever parted company with metaphysics; and makes use of the method by which modern natural science and modern material philosophy were developed. Owing to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every scientific concept of the universe is created. (Bold lettering by ed.)
SUMMARY OF HIGHLIGHTS:
What position, then, does Anarchism occupy in the great intellectual movement of the nineteenth century? Anarchism is ... including in it the life of human societies and their economic, political, and moral problems. Its method of investigation is that of the exact natural sciences, by which every scientific conclusion must be verified. Its aim is to construct a synthetic ... generalization (of) ... the life of societies, - avoiding, however, the errors (of) Comte and Spencer... It is therefore natural that to most of the questions of modern life Anarchism should give new answers, and hold with regard to them a position differing from those of all political and, to a certain extent, of all socialistic parties, which have not yet freed themselves from the metaphysical fictions of old.
Of course, the elaboration of a complete ... conception has hardly been begun in its sociological part -- in that part, that is, which deals with the life and the evolution of societies. But the little that has been done undoubtedly bears a marked -- though often not fully conscious -- character. In the domain of philosophy of law, in the theory of morality, in political economy, in history, (both of nations and institutions), Anarchism has already shown that it will not content itself with metaphysical conclusions, but will seek, in every case a natural-scientific basis. It rejects the metaphysics of Hegel, of Schelling, and of Kant; it disowns the commentators of Roman and Canon Law, together with the learned apologists of the State; it does not consider metaphysical political economy a science; and it endeavors to gain a clear comprehension of every question raised in these branches of knowledge, basing its investigations upon the numerous researches that have been made during the last thirty or forty years from a naturalist point of view.
In the same way as the metaphysical conceptions of a Universal Spirit, or of a Creative Force in Nature, the Incarnation of the Idea, Nature's Goal, the Aim of Existence, the Unknowable, Mankind (conceived as having a separate spiritualized existence), and so on -- in the same way as all these have been brushed aside by the materialist philosophy of to-day, while the embryos of generalizations concealed beneath these misty terms are being translated into the concrete language of natural sciences, -- so we proceed in dealing with the facts of social life. Here also we try to sweep away the metaphysical cobwebs, and to see what embryos of generalizations -- if any -- may have been concealed beneath all sorts of misty words.
When the metaphysicians try to convince the naturalist that the mental and moral life of man develops in accordance with certain "Immanent (in-dwelling) Laws of the Spirit," the latter shrugs his shoulders and continues his physiological study of the mental and moral phenomena of life, with a view to showing that they can all be resolved into chemical and physical phenomena. He endeavors to discover the natural laws on which they are based. Similarly, when the Anarchists are told, for instance, that -- as Hegel says -- every development consists of a Thesis, an Antithesis, and a Synthesis; or that "the object of Law is the establishment of Justice, which represents the realization of the Highest Idea;" or, again, when they are asked, -- What, in their opinion, is "the Object of Life?" they, too, simply shrug their shoulders and wonder how, at the present state of development of natural science, old fashioned people can still be found who believe in "words" like these and still express themselves in the language of primitive anthromorphism (the conception of nature as of a thing governed by a being endowed with human attributes).
High-flown words do not scare the Anarchists, because they know that these words simply conceal ignorance -- that is, uncompleted investigation -- or, what is much worse, mere superstition. They therefore pass on and continue their study of past and present social ideas and institutions according to the scientific method of induction (and deduction etc. as mentioned later by Kropotkin in this book, i.e. the whole methodology of natural sciences including the support sciences of mathematics and logic broadly defined, in short the hypothetical deductive method; ed. note.) And in doing so they find, of course, that the development of a social life is incomparably more complicated -- and incomparably more interesting for practical purposes -- than it would appear from such formulæ (i.e. based on dialectical and/or metaphysical, antropomorphism, etc. quasi-scientifical methods, ed. note)
We have heard much of late about "the dialectic method," which was recommended for formulating the socialist ideal (i.e. marxism, ed. note). Such a method we do not recognize, neither would the modern natural sciences have anything to do with it. "The dialectic method" reminds the modern naturalist of something long since passed -- of something outlived and now happily forgotten by science. The discoveries of the nineteenth century in mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, physical psychology, anthropology, psychology of nations, etc., were made -- not by the dialectic method, but by the natural-scientific method, the method of induction and deduction...
The inductive-deductive method has proved its merits so well, in that the nineteenth century, which has applied it, has caused science to advance more in a hundred years than it had advanced during the two thousand years that went before. And when, in the second half of this century, this method began to be applied to the investigation of human society, no point was ever reached where it was found necessary to abandon it and again adopt mediæval scholasticism -- as revised by Hegel. Besides, when, for example, philistine naturalists, seemingly basing their arguments on "Darwinism," began to teach, "Crush everyone weaker than yourself; such is the law of nature," it was easy for us to prove by the same scientific method that no such law exists: that the life of animals teaches us something entirely different, and that the conclusions of the philistines were absolutely unscientific. (Kropotkin was among the first to point out that "mutal aid" was one of several tendencies within biological evolution. This is later confirmed by other scientists, but within the framework of modern genetical research, not Lamarckism. Anyway, to use analogies from biological research in social sciences and politics, is a quasiscientifical generalization, proved wrong, and not a valid "law"., ed. note)
They were just as unscientific as, for instance, the assertion that the inequality of wealth is a law of nature, or that capitalism (plutarchy, ed.note.) is the most convenient form of social life calculated to promote progress. Precisely this natural-scientific method, applied to economic facts, enables us to prove that the so-called "laws" of middle-class sociology, including also their political economy, are not laws at all, but simply guesses, or mere assertions which have never been verified at all. Moreover, every investigation only bears fruit when it has a definite aim -- when it is undertaken for the purpose of obtaining an answer to a definite and clearly worded question. And it is the more fruitful the more clearly the observer sees the connect that exists between his problem and his general concept of the universe -- the place which the former occupies in the latter.
The better he understands the importance of the problem in the general concept, the easier will the answer be. The question, then, which Anarchism puts to itself may be stated thus: "What forms of social life assure to a given society, and then to mankind generally, the greatest amount of happiness, and hence also of vitality?" "What forms of social life allow this amount of happiness to grow and to develop, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, -- that is, to become more complete and more varied?" (from which, let us note in passing, a definition of progress is derived). The desire to promote evolution in this direction determines the scientific as well as the social and artistic activity of the Anarchist. (Quoted from chapter VII, ed.note)
Anarchism originated, as has already been said, from the demands of practical life.
At the time of the great French Revolution of 1789-1793, Godwin had the opportunity of himself seeing how the governmental authority created during the revolution itself acted as a retarding force upon the revolutionary movement. And he knew, too, what was then taking place in England, under the cover of Parliament (the confiscation of public lands, the kidnapping of poor workhouse children by factory agents and their deportation to weavers' mills, where they perished wholesale, and so on). He understood that the government of the "One and Undivided" Jacobinist Republic would not bring about the necessary revolution; that the revolutionary government itself, from the very fact of its being a guardian of the State, was an obstacle to emancipation. And with this purpose in view he wrote "Political Justice. " (A preanarchist book considered quite naive on the constructive elements, seen from today's research front on anarchism, ed. note)
The theorist of Anarchism who followed Godwin, Proudhon, had himself lived through the Revolution of 1848 and had seen with his own eyes the crime perpetrated by the revolutionary republican government, and the inapplicability of the state socialism of Louis Blanc. Fresh from the impressions of what he had witnessed, Proudhon penned his admirable works, "A General Idea of the Social Revolution" and "Confessions of a Revolutionist," in which he boldly advocated the abolition of the State and proclaimed Anarchy. (See the concept of State and statism in Economic-political map, ed. note)
And finally, the idea of Anarchism reappeared again in the International Working Men's Association, after the revolution that was attempted in the Paris Commune of 1871. The complete failure of the Council of the Commune and its capacity to act as a revolutionary body -- although it consisted, in due proportion, of representatives of every revolutionary faction of the time (Jacobinists, the followers of Louis Blanc, and members of the International Working Men's Association), and, on the other hand, the incapacity of the London General Council of the International and its ludicrous and even harmful pretension to direct the Paris insurrection by orders sent from England, -- opened the eyes of many. They forced many members of the International, including Bakunin, to reflect upon the harmfulness of all sorts of government -- even such as had been freely elected in the Commune and in the International Working Men's Association.
A few months later, the resolution passed by the same general Council of the Association, at a secret conference held in London in 1871 instead of an annual congress, proved still more the inconvenience of having a government in the International. By this dire resolution they decided to turn the entire labor movement into another channel and convert it from an economic revolutionary movement -- into an elective parliamentary and political movement. This decision led to open revolt on the part of the Italian, Spanish, Swiss, and partly also of the Belgian, Federations against the London General Council, out of which movement modern Anarchism subsequently developed. (See The history of the Anarchist International for a brief update on the development afterwards, ed. note)
Every time, then, the anarchist movement sprang up in response to the lessons of actual life and originated from the practical tendencies of events. And, under the impulse thus given it, Anarchism set to work out its theoretic, scientific basis.
No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim. No destruction of the existing order is possible, if at the time of the overthrow, or of the struggle leading to the overthrow, the idea of what is to take place of what is to be destroyed is not always present in the mind....
To tell people, "First let us abolish autocracy or capitalism, and then we will discuss what to put in its place," means simply to deceive oneself and others... Among those who work for the abolition -- let us say, of autocracy -- some ... think of a constitution like that of England or Germany, while others think of a republic, either placed under the powerful dictatorship of their own party or modeled after the French empire-republic, or, again, of a federal republic like that of the United States or Switzerland; while others again strive to achieve a still greater limitation of government authority; a still greater independence of the towns, the communes, the working men's associations, and all other groups united among themselves by free agreements. (There are centralists vs federalists, i.e. authoritarians vs real democrats - anarchists. Among the authoritarians are also mob rule adherents, i.e. ochlarchists, ed. note)
Every party thus has its ideal of the future, which serves it as a criterion in ... events of political and economic life, as well as a basis for determining its proper modes of action. Anarchism, too, has conceived its own ideal; and this very ideal has led it to find its own immediate aims and its own methods of action different from those of the socialist parties, which have retained the old Roman and ecclesiastic ideals of governmental organization. (Quoted from chapter VIII, ed.note)
This is not the place to enter into an exposition of Anarchism. The present sketch has its own definite aim -- that of indicating the relation of Anarchism to modern science, -- while the fundamental views of Anarchism may be found stated in a number of other works (See, say, www.anarchy.no for an updated summary of the research front on anarchism and other -isms, ed. note). But two or three illustrations will help us to define the exact relation of our views to modern science and the modern social movement.
When, for instance, we are told that Law (written large) "is the objectification of Truth;" or that "the principles underlying the development of Law are the same as those underlying the development of the human spirit;" or that "Law and Morality are identical and differ only formally;" we feel ... little respect for these assertions... We are aware that those who make such seemingly profound statements as these have expended much thought upon these questions. But they have taken a wrong path; and hence we see in these high-flown sentences mere attempts at unconscious generalization, based upon inadequate foundations and confused, moreover, by words of hypnotic power. In olden times they tried to give "Law" a divine origin; later they began to seek a metaphysical basis for it; now, however, we are able to study its anthropological origin. And, availing ourselves of the results obtained by the anthropological ... (research)..., we take up the study of social customs, beginning with those of the primitive savages, and trace the origin and the development of laws at different epochs.
In this way we come to the conclusion already expressed on a preceding page -- namely, that all laws have a two-fold origin, and in this very respect differ from those institutions established by custom which are generally recognized as the moral code of a given society. Law confirms and crystallizes these customs, but, while doing so, it takes advantage of this fact to establish (for the most part in a disguised form) the germs of slavery and class distinction, the authority of priest and warrior, serfdom and various other institutions, in the interest of the armed and would be ruling minority. In this way a yoke has imperceptibly been placed upon man, of which he could only rid himself by means of subsequent ... revolutions... (Here also mob rule, ochlarchy, with mafiotic unwritten and written laws, chaotic rivaling "states within the state" an polyarchy, "lawlessness" and no real law and order, should be taken in account as authoritarian, non-anarchist laws, ed. note)
It is plain, therefore, why Anarchism -- which aspires to Justice (a term synonymous with equality) more than any other lawgiver in the world -- has ... rejected ... written laws. (Kropotkin however puts up a written law in the same chapter, so he in fact doesn't absolutely reject it, writing the following law: "Do not to others what you would not have done to yourself". In modern anarchism more written principles and laws are introduced, search for law in System theory for the research front on anarchist law, ed. note.)
Now, what does a man who takes his stand on "universal law" or "the categorical imperative" really mean? Does he mean that there is in all men the conception that one ought not to do to another what he would not have done to himself -- that it would be better even to return good for evil? If so, well and good. Let us, then, study (as Adam Smith and Hutcheson have already studied) the origin of these moral ideas in man, and their course of development. Let us extend our studies to pre-human times (a thing Smith and Hutcheson could not do). Then, we may analyze the extent to which the idea of Justice implies that of Equailty.
The question is an important one, because only those who regard others as their equals can accept the rule, "Do not to others what you would not have done to yourself." The landlord and the slave-owner, who did not look upon "the serf" and the negro as their equals, did not recognize the "categorical imperative" and the "universal law" as applicable to these unhappy members of the human family. And then, if this observation of ours be correct, we shall wee whether it is at all possible to inculcate morality while teaching the doctrine of inequality.
We shall finally analyze, as Mark Guyau did, the facts of self-sacrifice. And then we shall consider what has promoted the development in man of moral feelings -- first, of those which are intimately connected with the idea of equality, and then of the others; and after this consideration we should be able to deduce from our study exactly what social conditions and what institutions promise the best results for the future. Is this development promoted by religion, and to what extent? Is it promoted by inequality -- economic and political -- and by a division into classes? Is it promoted by law? By punishment? By prisons? By the judge? The jailer? The hangman?
Let us study all this in detail, and then only may we speak again of Morality and moralization by means of laws, law courts, jailers, spies, and police. But we had better give up using the sonorous words which only conceal the superficiality of our semi-learning. In their time the use of these words was, perhaps, unavoidable -- their application could never have been useful; but now we are able to approach the study of burning social questions in exactly the same manner as the gardener and the physiologist take up the study of the conditions most favorable for the growth of a plant -- let us do so! (Here we have a slight tendency of mechanical- biological "anarchosophy", that is later rejected by anarchists scientists. Humans are not ants or similar, but acting more or less with purpose, that is only partly biologically founded. Thus, politics and human actions in general are usually not predetermined, made by destiny, - but by more or less rational choice within different constraints, ed. note).
Likewise, when certain economists tell us that "in a perfectly free market the price of commodities is measured by the amount of labor socially necessary for their production," (mainly Ricardo, Marx and later marxists, ed. note.) we do not take this assertion on faith because it is made by certain authorities or because it may seem to us "tremendously socialistic." It may be so, we say. But do you not notice that by this very statement you maintain that value and the necessary labor are proportional to each other -- just as the speed of a falling body is proportional to the number of seconds it has been falling? Thus you maintain a quantitative relation between these two magnitudes; whereas a quantitative relation can be proved only by quantitative measurements.
To confine yourself to the remark that the exchange-value of commodities "generally" increases when a greater expenditure of labor is required, and then to assert that therefore the two quantities are proportional to each other, is to make as great a mistake as the man who would assert that the quantity of rainfall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height. He who first observed that, generally speaking, when the barometer is falling a greater amount of rain falls than when it is rising; or, that there is a certain relation between the speed of a falling stone and the height from which it fell -- that man surely made a scientific discovery. (This reflection, together with use of the hypothetical deductive method, indicates that Kropotkin's ideas of political economy are compatible with the marginal cost principle, and marginalist theory in general, ed. note)
But the person who would come after him and assert that the amount of rain fall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height, or that the space through which a falling body has passed is proportional to the time of fall and is measured by it, -- that person would not only talk nonsense, but would prove by his very words that the method of scientific research is absolutely strange to him; that his work is unscientific, full as it may be of scientific expressions. The absence of data is, clearly, no excuse. Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar relationships are known to science in which we see the dependence of one magnitude upon another -- for example, the recoil of a cannon depending upon the quantity of powder in the charge, or the growth of a plant depending upon the amount of heat or light received by it; but no scientific man will presume to affirm the proportionality of these magnitudes without having investigated their relations quantitatively, and still less would he represent this proportionality as a scientific law. In most instances the dependence is very complex -- as it is, indeed, in the theory of value. The necessary amount of labor and value are by no means proportional.
The same remark refers to almost every economic doctrine that is current to-day in certain circles and is being presented with wonderful naivety as an invariable law. We not only find most of these so-called laws grossly erroneous, but maintain also that those who believe in them will themselves become convinced of their error as soon as they come to see the necessity of verifying their quantitative deductions by quantitative investigation. (This optimistic view on mankind and research is generally not seen as valid by today's anarchist researchers, as there are lots of marxist and plutarchist economists, semilibertarian to the left and right included, who still have a dogmatic, non-scientifical approach in these questions; ed. note).
(Economics have two main types of quantitave relations, 1. a priori type based on general assumptions plus political, i.e. ecocirc, that, say, may be based on nationalist vs democratic assumptions, see Anarchist economics, and 2. relations similar to physics and meteorology. The ecocirc relations are close to pure, a priori, based mathematical and logical relations, they are in a way practically cetain relations, and may not meaningfully be tested by statistical methods, because, say, tested by regression-analysis on consistent data they will always give 100% proof. If not 100% correlation, there are something wrong with the data in the ecocirc, i.e. inconsistency. Ecocirc-relations are however not tautologies, absolutely certain, i.e. universal unconditioned truth, always valid; and ecocirc may be used to form testable hypothesis, and are thus scientific relations. Say the ecocirc R = C + I + A - B, may be used to reject the hypothesis R = 5, if C = 2, I = 1, A = 1 and B = 1, because C + I + A - B = 3, and not 5. Another example of testability for ecocirc, i.e. the formulas of anarchism related to the economic-political map, is mentioned in System theory, chapter V.B.
The relations of type 2. however, say, as the relation between food-production/consumption, population and death by starvation, is dependent on biology etc, i.e. not 100% certain statistically. The ecocirc is however as mentioned not 100% certain in the meaning of absolutely and unconditional truths, they are dependent on, say, the principles of book-keeping by double entry, and politically influenced assumptions, say, nationalist vs democratic, as mentioned above. An alternative to ecocirc-accounting systems may as an example be based on single-entry bookkeeping. Kropotkin accounts for both 1. and 2. types of relations, see below; as he accounts for a priori mathematical type relations (1) , as well as the ones similar to the physical or meteorological type relations (2) in the concept of natural science method, see below; ed. note).
Moreover, the whole of political economy appears to us in a different light from that in which it is seen by modern economists of both the middle-class and the social-democratic camps. The scientific method (the method of natural scientific induction) being utterly unknown to them, they fail to give themselves any definite account of what constitutes "a law of nature," although they delight in using the term. They do not know -- or if they know they continually forget -- that every law of nature has a conditional character. It is always expressed thus: "If certain conditions in nature meet, certain things will happen." "If one line intersects another, forming right angles on both sides of it, the consequences will be these or those." If two bodies are acted upon by such movements only as exist in interstellar space, and there is no third body within measurable distance of them, then their centres of gravity will approach each other at a certain speed (the law of gravitation)." And so on. In every case there is an "if" -- a condition.
In consequence of this, all the so-called laws and theories of political economy are in reality no more than statements of the following nature: "Granting that there are always in a country a considerable number of people who cannot subsist a month, or even a fortnight, without accepting the conditions of work imposed upon them by the State, or offered to them by those whom the State recognizes as owners of land, factories, railways, etc., then the results will be so and so." So far middle-class political economy has been only an enumeration of what happens under the just-mentioned conditions -- without distinctly stating the conditions themselves. And then, having described the facts which arise in our society under these conditions, they represent to us these facts as rigid, inevitable economic laws. As to socialist political economy, although it criticises some of these deductions, or explains others somewhat differently, -- it has not yet been original enough to find a path of its own. It still follows in the old grooves, and in most cases repeats the very same mistakes.
And yet, in our opinion, political economy must have an entirely different problem in view. It ought to occupy with respect to human societies a place in science similar to that held by physiology in relation to plants and animals. It must become the physiology of society. It should aim at studying the needs of society and the various means, both hitherto used and available under the present state of scientific knowledge, for their satisfaction. It should try to analyze how far the present means are expedient and satisfactory, economic or wasteful and then, since the ultimate end of every science (as Bacon had already stated) is obviously its practical application to life, it should concern itself with the discovery of means for the satisfaction of these needs with the smallest possible waste of labor and with the greatest benefit to mankind in general.
Such means would be, in fact, mere corollaries from the relative investigation mentioned above, provided this last had been made on scientific lines. (Here Kropotkin in a bit vague way introduces the principles of efficiency and fairness, the two most basic principles of anarchist economics, to libertarian science, as well as a planned economical consept, without taking a predetermined view on the plan vs market mix, i.e. market regulated in a libertarian way may be used to implement the general, consistent, economical plan. These two principles, and the plan and market consept, are defined more precisely in updated anarchist economics, see General theory , ed.note.)
It will be clear, even from the hasty hints given already, why it is that we come to conclusions so different from those of the majority of economists, both of the middle class and the social-democratic schools (The anarchist class analysis is further developed in later anarchist research, see Class analysis, ed .note); why we do not regard as "laws" certain of the temporary relations pointed out by them; why we expound socialism entirely differently; and why, after studying the tendencies and developments in the economic life of different nations, we come to such radically different conclusions as regards that which is desirable and possible; why we come to Free Communism, while the majority of socialists arrive at State-capitalism and Collectivism.
(Here it may be mentioned that the concept "Free Communism" here means a form of anarchism, and not communism, i.e. without adjective, as such. It must not be mixed up with, say, a) so called "anarchist" communism, i.e. communism with an insignificant touch of anarchism, platformism, council communism, say, related to Pannekoek's theories, in reality marxian collectivism on the economic-political map, see System theory, or b) marxist-lubbeism, not to say c) leninist state-communist soviet = "workers-councils" communism. In fact "free communism" is about commune/communist anarchism, also called anarcho-communism, anarchist-communism, a.s.o. i.e. 'free communism' here means just a special form of anarchism. Say, in the IFA-principles "libertarian communism" is just one among several other principles, one condition among many, and communism standing alone is not one of the principles, but "communisme libertaire". Thus, anarchism is in reality not communism and anarchists are not communists, but some forms of anarchism, especially ideal types, have "libertarian communism" as one among several conditions/principles. Ed. note.)
Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science.3
Pursuing the same method, Anarchism arrives also at its own conclusions concerning the State. It could not rest content with current metaphysical assertions like the following:
"The State is the affirmation of the idea of the highest Justice in Society;" or "The State is the instigation and the instrument of progress;" or, "without the State, Society is impossible." Anarchism has approached the study of the State exactly in the manner the naturalist approaches the study of social life among bees and ants, or among the migratory birds which hatch their young on the shores of sub-arctic lakes. It would be useless to repeat here the conclusions to which this study has brought us with reference to the history of the different political forms (and to their desirable or probable evolution in the future); if I were to do so, I should have to repeat what has been written by Anarchists from the time of Godwin, and what may be found, with all necessary explanations, in a whole series of books and pamphlets.
Furthermore, the State (State-Justice, State-Church, State-Army) and Capitalism are, in our opinion, inseparable concepts (i.e. the state defined as a social concept includes bot statism and/or economical plutarchy, see the modern concept of state, based on Malatesta's organizational concept of State, and later research, see System theory, ed. note)
In history these institutions (tendencially, ed. note) developed side by side, mutually supporting and reenforcing each other. They are bound together, not by a mere coincidence of contemporaneous development, but ( more or less , ed. note) by the bond of cause and effect, effect and cause. Thus, the State appears to us as a society for the mutual insurance of the landlord, the warrior, the judge, and the priest, constituted in order to enable every one of them to assert his respective authority over the people and to exploit the poor. To contemplate the destruction of Capitalism without the abolition of the State ... is just as absurd, in our opinion, as it is to hope that the emancipation of the laborer will be accomplished through the action of the Christian church or of Caesarism. Many socialists of the thirties and forties, and even the fifties, hoped for this; but for us, who have entered upon the twentieth century, it is ridiculous to cherish such hopes as this!
1 "Compulsory arbitration"--What a glaring contradiction! (this note relates to a rather trivial discussion on collectivist uniformity related to the 8 hour work day, etc, that is ommited here, a.o.t. because part time work is usual today.)
2I am not quoting an imaginery example, but one taken from a correspondence which I have recently carried on with a German doctor of law.
3A few extracts from a letter written by a renowned Belgian biologist and received when these lines were in print, will help me to make my meaning clearer by a living illustration. The letter was not intended for publication, and therefore I do not name its author: "The further I read [such and such a work] -- he writes -- the surer I become that nowadays only those are capable of studying economic and social questions who have studied the natural sciences and have become imbued with their spirit. Those who have received only a so-called classical education are no longer able to understand the present intellectual movement and are equally incapable of studying a mass of social questions. . . . .
The idea of the integration of labor and of division of labor in time only [the idea that it would be expedient for society to have every person cultivating the land and following industrial and intellectual pursuits in turn, thus varying his labor and becoming a variously-developed individual] will become in time one of the cornerstones of economic science. A number of biological facts are in harmony with the thought just underlined, which shows that we are here dealing with a law of nature [that in nature, in other words, an economy of forces may frequently result in this way]. If we examine the vital functions of any living being at different periods of its life, and even at different times of the year, and sometimes at different moments of the day, we find the application of the division of labor in time, which is inseparably connected with the division of labor among the different organs (the law of Adam Smith) (with "organs" activities are probably meant, ed. note).
"Scientific people unacquainted with the natural sciences, are frequently unable to understand the true meaning of a law of nature; the word law blinds them, and they imagine that laws, like that of Adam Smith, have a fatalistic power from which it is impossible to rid oneself. When they are shown the reverse side of this last -- the sad results of individualism, from the point of view of development and personal happiness, -- they answer: this is an inexorable law, and sometimes they give this answer so off-handedly that they thereby betray their belief in a kind of infallibility. The naturalist, however, knows that science can paralyze the harmful consequences of a law; that frequently he who goes against nature wins the victory."
The force of gravity compels bodies to fall, but it also compels the balloon to rise. To us this seems so clear; but the economists of the classical school appear to find it difficult to understand the full meaning of this observation.
"The law of the division of labor in time will counter-balance the law of Adam Smith, and will permit the integration of labor to be reached by every individual."
4 An analysis of which may be found -- say -- in the pamphlet, " The State and its Historic Role " (Freedom pamphlets). (Kropotkin is a bit unclear on the origins of the state, and his ideas are mainly rejected here. The idea of an early primitive libertarian communist paradise, is today rejected. Today's view is that the primitive societies, the archi-societies typically were polyarchical, with rivaling tribes, clans and states within the state, rather chaotic and ochlarchical, population often ruled by overpopulation due to lack of birthcontrol, death by starvation and hunger-related illnessess, tribal and similar wars, etc. Kropotkins idea that the state in Europe is a relatively new invention is rejected. The hypothesis that the social organizations have variated a lot in authoritarian degree over time and place is however confirmed by updated research. Quoted from chapter IX, ed. note.)
... We cannot see a guarantee of progress in a still greater submission of all to the State. We seek progress in the fullest emancipation of the Individual from the authority of the State; in the greatest development of individual initiative and in the limitation of all the governmental functions, but surely not in the extension thereof. The march forward in political institutions appears to us to consist in abolishing, in the first place, the (significant, ed. note) State authority which has fixed itself upon society, and which now tries to extend its functions more and more; and, in the second place, in allowing the broadest possible development for the principle of free agreement, and in acknowledging the independence of all possible associations formed for definite ends, embracing in their federations the whole of society. The life of society itself we understand, not as something complete and rigid, but as something never perfect -- something ever striving for new forms, and ever changing these forms in accordance with the needs of the time. .. (see definitions of state, statism and economical plutarchy (capitalism) at Economic-political map, ed.note).
Such a conception of human progress and of what we think desirable in the future (what, in our opinion, can increase the sum of happiness) leads us inevitably to our own special tactics in the struggle. It induces us to strive for the greatest possible development of personal initiative in every individual and group, and to secure unity of action, not through discipline (i.e. not cadaver dicipline, but with self-dicipline, ed. note), but through the unity of aims and the mutual confidence which never fail to develop when a area number of persons have consciously embraced some common idea. This tendency manifest; itself in all the tactics and in all the internal life of every Anarchist group, and so far we have never had the opportunity of seeing these tactics fail.
Then, we assert and endeavor to prove that it devolves upon every new economic form of social life to develop its own new form of political relations. It has been so in the past, and so it undoubtedly will be in the future. New forms are already germinating all round.
Feudal right and autocracy, or, at least, the almost unlimited power of a tsar or a king, have moved hand in hand in history. They depended on each other in this development. Exactly in the same way the rule of the capitalists (plutarchy. ed. note) has evolved its own characteristic political order -- representative government -- both in strictly centralized monarchies and in republics. (A central question is if the influence on the societal management goes more from the bottom, the people, upwards than from the top downwards, that is federalism vs centralism, anarchistic vs authoritarian management, ed. note)
Socialism, whatever may be the form in which it will appear, and in whatever degree it may approach to its unavoidable goal -- (Libertarian, ed. note) Communism, -- will also have to choose its own form of political structure. Of the old form it cannot make use, no more than it could avail itself of the hierarchy of the Church or of autocracy. The State bureaucracy and centralization are as irreconcilable with Socialism as was autocracy with capitalist rule. One way or another, Socialism must become more popular, more communalistic, and less dependent upon indirect government through elected representatives. It must become more self- governing. The future revolutions ... will be communalist -- not centralist (i.e. the authoritarian tendencies of statism and economical plutarchy should over time be replaced by both more autonomy and socialism, towards the ideal of commune/communist anarchism, ed. note).
On the strength of all this, we are convinced that to work in favor of a centralized State-capitalism and to see in it a desideratum, means to work against the tendency of progress already manifest... To assure the laborers that they will be able to establish Socialism, or even to take the first steps on the road to Socialism, by retaining the entire government machinery, and changing only the persons who manage it; not to promote, but even to retard the day on which the working people's minds shall be bent upon discovering their own, new forms of political life, -- this is in our eyes a colossal historical blunder which borders upon crime.
We understand the revolution (see updated definition of the concept of revolution at System theory, ed. note) as a widespread popular movement, during which, in every town and village within the region ... the masses will have to take upon themselves the task of rebuilding society (in the meaning of making better social organizations, say, creating new co-ordinating, less hierarchical institutions, things that make the influence on the societal management, the system, work more from the grassroots, the people, upwards, than from the top, downwards, etc, ed. note) -- will have to take up themselves the work of construction ... without awaiting any orders and directions from above; that is, first of all, they will have to organize, (i.e. improve the organizations, ed. note) one way or another, the means of supplying ..., and ... produce whatever will be found necessary for feeding, clothing, and sheltering everybody (...etc. i.e. in a modern society with thousand of goods of services, this may be done according to updated anarchist economics, ed. note, see General theory ).
As to the representative government, whether self-appointed or elected -- be it "the dictatorship of the proletariat," as they said in the forties in France and are still saying in Germany, or an elected "temporary government," or, again, a Jacobinist "convention," -- we place in it no hopes whatever.
Looking upon the problems of the revolution in this light, Anarchism, obviously, cannot take a sympathetic attitude toward the programme which aims at "the conquest of power in present society" -- la conquête des pouvoirs as it is expressed in France....
Finally, our studies of the preparatory stages of all revolutions (i.e. a significant change of a society's system coordinates on the economic-political map, small or large, see System theory, ed. note) bring us to the conclusion that not a single revolution has originated in parliaments or in any other representative assembly. All began with the people... And the awakening of the revolutionary spirit always took place in such a manner that, at first, single individuals, deeply moved by the existing state of things, protested against it, one by one.
Then, little by little, small groups came to be imbued with the same spirit ... sometimes in the hope of local success -- in strikes or in small revolts against some (authoritarian/incompetent, ed. note) official whom they disliked ... And it maybe stated as a general rule that the character of every revolution is determined by the character and the aim of the uprisings by which it is preceded. (Say , the revolutionary change of the system in Norway 1994 in anarchist direction, was initated as a combination of the domestic economic-political megatrend, the popular protest against the marxist matriarchy in the EU-referendum and other actions, also the actions related to the Anarchist Federation (AFIN) and other libertarian and semilibertarian groups in Norway and internationally; ed. note)
To wait, therefore, for a social revolution to come as a birthday present, without a whole series of protests on the part of the individual conscience ..., by which the very nature of the revolution is determined, is, to say the least, absurd. But to assure the working people that they will gain all the benefits of a socialist revolution by confining themselves to electoral agitation, ... means to become as great an obstacle to the development of the revolutionary spirit and to all progress as was and is the Christian hurch.
Whithout entering into further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action, enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences. (The "Anarchist programme of action" is today related to anarchist praxeology, i.e. human actions research. Ed. note)
Anarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society.
In Anarchism there is no room for those pseudo-scientific laws with which the German metaphysicians of the twenties and thirties had to consent themselves. Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific. This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it, Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases which have served for the revision of all natural sciences.
This ... concept determines the position Anarchism has taken in practical life. In the struggle between the Individual and the State, Anarchism, like its predecessors of the eighteenth century, takes the side of the Individual as against the State, of Society as against the Authority which oppresses it. And, availing itself of the historical data collected by modern science, it has shown that the State -- whose sphere of authority there is now a tendency among its admirers to increase, and a tendency to limit in actual life -- is, in reality, a superstructure, -- as harmful as it is unnecessary, and, for us Europeans, of a comparatively recent origin; a superstructure in the interests of Capitalism -- agrarian, industrial, and financial...
In the economic field, Anarchism has come to the conclusion that the root of modern evil lies, not in the fact that the capitalist appropriates the profits or the surplus-value, but in the very possibility of these profits, which accrue only because millions of people have literally nothing to subsist upon without selling their labor-power at a price which makes profits and the creation of "surplus values" possible.
Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases and by the practical life of the future. But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific investigations; has forever parted company with metaphysics; and makes use of the method by which modern natural science and modern material philosophy were developed. Owing to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every scientific concept of the universe is created.
in studies on anarchism,
liberalism, marxism and populism/fascism updated?
Basic course of economic-political systems
P.S. Look forward to hear from you soon.