Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/14

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Freedom Pamphets.

other shelter than the branches. The civilised man needs a roof-tree and a hearth, a bed-chamber and a bed. It is true that the bed, the room and the house of the non-producer are only part of the paraphernalia of idleness. But for the worker a room, properly heated and lighted, is as much an instrument of production as the tool or the machine. It is the place where the nerves and sinews gather strength for the work of the morrow. The rest of the workman is the daily repairing of the machine.

The same argument applies even more obviously to food. The so-called economists of whom we speak would hardly deny that the coal burnt in a machine is as necessary to production as the raw material itself. How then can food, without which the human machine could do no work, be excluded from the list of things indispensable to the producer? Such hair-splitting is worthy of the metaphysic of the schoolmen. The rich man's feast is indeed a matter of luxury, but the food of the worker is just as much a part of production as the fuel burnt by the steam engine.

The same with clothing: if the economists who draw this distinction between articles of production and of consumption dressed themselves in the fashion of New Guinea we could understand their objection. But men who could not write a word without a shirt on their back are not in a position to draw such a hard and fast line between their shirt and their pen. And though the dainty gowns of their dames must certainly rank as objects of luxury, there is nevertheless a certain quantity of linen, cotton and woollen stuff which is a necessity of life to the producer. The shirt and shoes in which he goes to his work, his cap and the jacket he slips on after the day's toil is over, these are as necessary to him as the hammer to the anvil.

Whether we like it or not, that is what the people mean by a revolution. As soon as they have made a clean sweep of the Government, they will seek first of all to insure to themselves decent dwellings and sufficient food and clothes—free of rent and taxes.

And the people will be right. The methods of the people will be much more in accordance with science than those of the economists who draw so many distinctions between instruments of production and articles of consumption. The people understand that this is just the point where the Revolution ought to begin; and they will lay the foundations of the only economic science worthy the name—a science which might be called: "The Study of the Needs of Humanity, and of the Economic Means to satisfy them."