Anarchist organization : Kropotkin's scientific theory
This thesis approaches anarchist organisation in practical and revolutionary terms. Its theme is Kropotkin's conception of the relationship between the end of anarchy and the process of anarchist transformation. The thesis examines this relationship as a continuous theoretical development, questioning the existing interpretations of his thought which identify a revision of his ideas in his formulation of the theory of mutual aid. It finds that these interpretations of his work are mistaken and based on a misunderstanding of his use of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Rejecting the beliefs that Kropotkin's scientific anarchism is based either on a desire to prove the necessity of anarchy or to replace revolution with a process of gradual evolutionary reform, the thesis suggests that questions of strategy have a secondary importance in his work. Kropotkin's anarchism is directed toward securing moral behaviour by restructuring society. Rejecting the alleged discontinuity of his thought, the thesis acknowledges that there are differences between Kropotkin's early and late writings. In his early work, Kropotkin's understanding of anarchist organisation is based on a commitment to communism and on an expectation of revolution. In the theory of mutual aid Kropotkin subordinates communism to an ideal of community and resolves the problem of change by the force of his scientific ideology. But his conrmitment to anarchy is affirmed. Formulating the concept of mutual aid, the thesis finds that Kropotkin uses science as a theoretical incentive, promising practical and spiritual well-being, for the masses to hasten the realisation of the anarchist society. In conclusion the thesis reviews the existing interpretations of Kropotkin's commitment to Victorian positivism and suggests that his adherence to the standards of natural scientific research are compromised by the radicalism of his liberatory desires.