The Conquest of Bread () by Peter Kropotkin · Sister Projects. sister projects: Wikipedia article, Commons category, Wikidata item. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. The fourth in AK Press’ Working Classics series, The Conquest of Bread is Peter Kropotkin’s most extensive study of human needs and his outline of the most. Cambridge Core – European Studies – Kropotkin: ‘The Conquest of Bread’ and Other Writings – edited by Marshall S. Shatz.

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Despite amazing technological advances in the last years, the same fight is being had and many people are still living impoverished.

Its amazing that so much of this still rings true today. From the very commencement of the Revolution industry inevitably came to a stop — the circulation of produce was checked, and capital concealed itself.

The alternative vision that he provides is still very much painted from the perspective of homo economicus–a society that minimizes work which is disutility, natch and studies “the needs of humanity, and the economic means to satisfy them.

We must acknowledge this, and proclaim it aloud, and act up to it. It’s true that the needs that Kropotkin emphasizes–food, clothing, shelter–are hardly open to reasonable critique, but nonetheless I think that any system that focuses wholly on the fulfillment of “needs” without giving attention to the construction of those needs is dangerously incomplete. If he turns to industry, he is allowed to work — though not always even that — only on condition that he yield a half or two-thirds of the product to him whom the land recognizes as the owner of the machine.

The “decision makers” begin to argue about what needs to be done, what rules and regulations need to be effected and put into place, and meanwhile … the people STARVE because their immediate daily NEEDS which are of course provided for the decision makers in their own privileged ways are completely disregarded.

The independence of each small territorial unit becomes a pressing need; mutual agreement replaces law, and everywhere regulates individual interests in view of a common object. Like any decent theorist, utopian or not, Kropotkin always provides the caveat that his ideas are ideas, neither absolute truth nor guaranteed.

He is also genuinely decentralist, and voluntarist although jropotkin would dispute this. Each discovery, each advance, each increase in the sum of human riches, owes its being to the physical and mental travail of the past and the present.

Its only aim is to increase the gains of the speculator. Honest men come into contact with ambitious ones, whose only dream is power and who spurn the crowd whence they sprung. It would be necessary to communalize the railways, that the citizens might get food and work, and lastly, to prevent the waste of supplies, and to guard against the trust of corn-speculators, like those to whom the Commune of fell a prey, it would have to place in the kropptkin of the City the work of stocking its warehouses with commodities, and apportioning the produce.


In visited Switzerland and joined the anarchist International Workers Association. Like all evolutions, it only waits a revolution to overthrow the old obstacles which block the way, that it may find free scope in a regenerated society.

Take for example a peasant commune, no matter where, even in France, where the Jacobins have, done their best to destroy all communal usage. Dec 09, Timothy Wood rated it it was amazing. They proclaim their right to all wealth — fruit of the labour of past and present generations — and learn by its means to enjoy those higher pleasures of art and science too long monopolized by the middle classes.

It becomes an active force every time a great idea comes to oust the mean preoccupations of everyday life. In all these innovations, and a thousand others, the tendency is not to measure the individual consumption. The wild plants, which yielded nought but acrid berries, or uneatable roots, have tue transformed by generations of culture into kropohkin vegetables, or trees covered with delicious fruits. Because they are needy and starving.

It was less the love of money than the thirst of travel and adventure that inspired his undertakings. Anarchy leads to Communism, and Communism to Anarchy, both alike being expressions of the predominant tendency in modern societies, the pursuit of equality.

And what need to know them? It has cleared the land, dried the marshes, pierced the forests, made roads; it has been building, inventing, observing, reasoning; it has created a complex machinery, wrested her secrets from Nature, and finally it has made a servant of steam.

The Conquest of Bread – Wikisource, the free online library

The roar of the cannon never ceases in the world, whole races are massacred, the states of Europe spend a third of their budgets in armaments; and we know how heavily these taxes fall on the workers. But this fight, this first skirmish, is soon ended, and it is only after the overthrow of the old constitution that the real work of revolution can be said to begin.

No one will volunteer to work for the enrichment of your Rothschild.

Explore the Home Gift Guide. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. What makes it so successful? A Factor of Evolution”.


But over and above this we must take into account all the labour that goes to sheer waste, in keeping up the stables, the kennels, and the retinue of the rich, for instance; in pandering to the caprices of society and to the depraved tastes of the fashionable mob; in forcing the consumer on the one hand to buy what he does not need, or foisting an inferior article upon him by means of puffery, and in producing on the other hand wares which are absolutely injurious, but profitable to the manufacturer.

The Conquest of Bread

V Food VI Dwellings VII Clothing – These three chapters lay out the reasons, methods, and justifications by which the common people may, on their own initiative and action, provide the essentials of food, dwellings, and clothing to all VIII Ways and Means – Why the current system will not and cannot supply for all IX The Need for Luxury – By no means will items of “luxury” be no longer available in an anarchist society.

Things have been seething for half a century now, and can only go from bad to worse. I have also seen the roots of Stalinism in this rather pointless evangelium. To attain a new end, new means are required.

Time was when a peasant family could consider the corn which it grew, or the woollen garments woven in the cottage, as the products of its own toil. If the people are not strong enough to carry all before them, they will be shot down to give Collectivism a fair field for experiment. Therefore, he argues, it is only right that the people should expropriate property from its present claimants.

Governmental prerogatives were adapted to the real experiences of ordinary people, whereas the French revolutionaries were attempting to do the opposite; to impose an abstract social geometry from the top down and force the people to conform to it. This tendency exists and is felt as soon as the most pressing needs of each are satisfied, and in proportion as the productive power of the race increases.

Why kropotikn are the many poor?

Anarchism has always been a question mark for me. Every economic phase has a political phase corresponding to it, and it would be impossible to touch property without finding at the same time a new mode of political life.

They must be vast agglomerations, like Paris, or, still better, small territories.