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Title: Kropotkin: Evolution, revolutionary change and the end of history
Authors: Adams, Matthew S.
Keywords: Kropotkin
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Lawrence and Wishart
Citation: ADAMS, M.S., 2011. Kropotkin: Evolution, revolutionary change and the end of history. Anarchist Studies, 19(1), pp. 56-81.
Abstract: Kropotkin’s commitment to a concept of evolution has often been viewed as a problematic aspect of his political thought, and the adoption of the evolutionary metaphor has led to the marginalisation of his historical works. Mainstream readings suggest that he adhered to a fatalist position, seeing anarchism as an inevitable future state, revealed by a careful reading of the historical record. It is argued here that Kropotkin’s use of evolution is more subtle. A closer analysis of his historical writing reveals that he did not adopt a straightforward notion of progression, and that reaction played a central role in his analysis of history. Thus, for Kropotkin, anarchism was not the inevitable culmination of the historical process, and active revolutionary activity remained essential. Moreover, Kropotkin did not see anarchism as representing an end to history. As a potential mode of future organisation Kropotkin’s image of anarchism enshrined a principle of flux, concomitant with an anarchist emphasis on maximising freedom. Far from conflicting with his anarchist politics, Kropotkin’s approach to history reflects its central principles.
Description: This paper is in closed access.
Version: Published
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/22110
Publisher Link: https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/anarchist-studies/19-1
ISSN: 0967-3393
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (PHIR)

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