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on 20 October 2003
Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread is probably the best and easiest to read book yet written on how a libertarian and communist society could function. My recommendation would be to forget Marx and Engels, if you'd ever considered reading them, and read this book instead.
Even though I don't agree with all that Kropotkin said, his is a very interesting and thought provoking work. It wasn't written for academics and intellectuals, but for the common working men and women of the late 19th century. As such, it is one of the easiest political books to read, and if you don't learn something from it, or feel enriched by the experience, then I'd be very surprised.
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on 17 August 2012
Many books written by Revolutionary Left philosophers tends to have the tone and message of "I rebel because I can" or "All are equal but some are more equal that others" which I sadly fine with Bakunin and Goldman.
Conquest of Bread is different. I provides not only a reason why people should take control of their life's and works but why it is better to work together, how it should be done, the benefits it provides all and is wrote with a level-headed and hopeful tone.
Food, housing, education, luxury,production, all of it is discussed in the clearest manner and argues the pragmatic as well as the moral need for collective society. It also looks at the failures of previous revolts and what can be learnt from them as well as warning us plebs from blindly flowing a middle-class revolutionary (Robespierre, Paris Commune leaders etc) when any revolution must be the peoples, lead by the people for the people, not some vanguard which sadly came to dominant most socialist revolts from the 1910's onwards.
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on 17 July 2011
An anti-democracy, anti-capitalism and anti-marxist manifesto, advocating a view of socio-economic management based on free association amongst people in pursuit of the satisfaction of the material needs of society. Kropotkin believes people can do it by themselves, if they freely associate, in a way that is both enriching and reduces the working day.
A refreshing and interesting read, which shows a preference for and a faith in the ability of human beings for effective and efficient self-organisation in pursuit of human welfare. I would hazard to say that this book is similar in spirit to Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful".Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People MatteredGod and the State
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on 15 April 2013
Changed my thinking and now think everyone should read this book. Gives a new positive perspective on communities and all the more relevant now with more freedoms for people to act together - although the current political climate is coming from a different place entirely and not to be confused with anarchism.
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on 6 February 2016
Great book. Delivered ahead of schedule and as described. This is a good edition, with decent size print, as well as reasonable margins for annotation. Will both look for more Dover editions and this supplier. The book is life-changing if you realise the journey Kropotkin undertook - think Tolstoy and Count Bezuhov
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on 11 November 2001
Karl Marx. Highpoint of communist philosophy? Wrong. Kropotkin takes communism to its logical conclusion far more concisely and with a lucidity that Marx could only allude to. Kropotkin guides us through the implausibility of private property and the state, highlighting the inherent inadequacies and misery they inevitably cause. Having used Mutual Aid and the unfinished Ethics to show the irrefutability of mans social nature, the Conquest of Bread enables Kropotkin to show us what, once having read it, seems so glaringly obvious- that political society works against man and not for him.
Its a radical conclusion reached through a series of logical statements and progressions, containing so much truth that it is almost impossible to argue against him, untill you are left with no other option but to agree with him.
Where he differs the most in his philosophy from Marx is with the organisation of society once the existing one has collapsed. Marx offered the communist party, the party of the workers which would take the place of capitalists and the bourgeois, who would take control of society, safeguarding the principles of Communism before somehow melting away. Or not. Kropotkin however, sees all authority as corrupting and so suggests that with the corrupting influence completely irradicated, man would be able to flourish. In other words Anarchist Communism. Leave man to work together and all will be well. Whether this is a naieve and even romantic view of human nature is up to the individual to decide. The conquest of Bread is however, a beautiful work of political philosophy and is one that deserves to be read by those that share his beliefs and those that dismiss his conclusions alike.
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on 21 July 2015
Some nonsensical assumptions about human behaviour confuse the presentation of both relevant and practical ideas.
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