Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/10

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Freedom Pamphets.

Now-a-days the method is simpler. A merchant who has some capital need not stir from his desk to become wealthy. He telegraphs to an agent telling him to buy a hundred tons of tea, he freights a ship, and in a few weeks, in three months, if it is a sailing ship, the vessel brings him his cargo. He does not even take the risks of the voyage, for his tea and his vessel are insured, and if he has expended four thousand pounds he will receive more than five thousand; that is to say, if he has not attempted to speculate in some novel commodities, in which case he runs a chance of either doubling his fortune or losing it altogether.

Now, how could he find men willing to cross the sea, to travel to China and back, to endure hardship and slavish toil and to risk their lives for a miserable pittance? How could he find dock-laborers willing to load and unload his ships for "starvation wages?" How? Because they are needy and starving. Go to the sea-ports, visit the cook-shops and taverns on the quays, and look at these men who have come to hire themselves crowding round the dock-gates, which they besiege from early dawn, hoping to be allowed to work on the vessels. Look at these sailors, happy to be hired for a long voyage, after weeks and months of waiting. All their lives long they have gone down to the sea in ships, and they will sail in others still, until the day when they perish in the waves.

Enter their cabins, look at their wives and children in rags, living one knows not how till the father's return, and you will have the answer to the question. Multiply examples, choose them where you will, consider the origin of all fortunes, large or small, whether arising out of commerce, finance, manufactures, or the land. Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. An Anarchist society need not fear the advent of an unknown Rothschild who would seek to settle in its midst. If every member of the community knows that after a few hours of productive toil he will have a right to all the pleasures that civilisation procures, and to those deeper sources of enjoyment which art and science offer to all who seek them, he will not sell his strength for a starvation wage. No one will volunteer to work for the enrichment of your Rothschild. His golden guineas will be only so many pieces of metal—useful for various purposes, but incapable of breeding more.

In answering the above objection we have at the same time indicated the scope of Expropriation. It must extend to all that permits any one, no matter whom—financier, mill-owner, or landlord—to appropriate the, product of others' toil. Our formula is simple and comprehensive.

We do not want to rob any one of his coat, but we wish to give to