Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin was born in Moscow in 1842 to a wealthy and aristocratic family. After a luxurious childhood, he joined the military and rose through the ranks before fielding several geographical expeditions into Eastern Siberia. It was during these years that Kropotkin’s theories first took hold with his experience of the Siberian wilderness, one of the harshest environments on Earth, failing to match up to the heralded ‘survival of the fittest’ proclaimed by Darwin. Instead, wherever Kropotkin looked he saw cooperation, solidarity, community and support, traits he would group together under the term ‘mutual aid’.
Realizing that Darwin’s struggle had been applied by the state to justify the struggles and power structures in society, Kropotkin would spend the rest of his life rebelling against authority, a position that soon saw him end up in a Russian prison. After an extravagant escape, Kropotkin spent most of his life in exile throughout Europe in Switzerland, France and England. After the 1917 revolution, he returned to the Soviet Union but was dismayed with the eventual outcome. He would continue writing up until his death in 1921 and was given a state funeral which saw over 30,000 people line the streets.
Over the course of his life, Kropotkin would cover a wide range of fields including biology, philosophy, geography, economics, politics, sociology and many more. His major works include Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), The Conquest of Bread (1906), Fields, Factories and Workshops (1912) and the unfinished Ethics: Origins and its Development. As well as contributing to a variety of magazines, newspapers and pamphlets, he also helped found the anarchist journals Freedom and Le Révolté, the former which continues running to this day. To view our evergrowing collection of Kropotkin’s works please click here.
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