Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/20

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Freedom Pamphets.

risks it may involve, and for the fluctuations of price in the market value of the wares.

To preserve this system, those who now monopolise capital would be ready to make certain concessions: to share, for example, a part of the profits with the workers, or rather to establish a "sliding scale," which would oblige them to raise wages when prices were high; in brief, they would consent to certain sacrifices on condition that they were still allowed to direct industry and to take its first fruits.

Collectivism, as we know, does not abolish wages, though it introduces considerable modifications into the existing order of things. It only substitutes the State, that is to say, Representative Government, National or Local, for the individual employer of labor. Under collectivism, it is the representatives of the nation, or of the district, and their deputies and officials, who are to have the control of industry. It is they who reserve to themselves the right of employing the surplus of production—in the interests of all. Moreover, Collectivism draws a very subtle but very far-reaching distinction between the work of the laborer and of the man who has learned a craft. Unskilled labor in the eyes of the Collectivist is simple labor, while the work of the craftsman, the mechanic, the engineer, the man of science etc. is what Marx calls complex labor, and is entitled to a higher wage. But laborers and craftsmen, weavers and men of science, are all wage-servants of the State—"all officials," as has been said lately, to gild the pill.

The coming Revolution can render no greater service to humanity than to make the wage system, in all its forms, an impossibility, and to render Communism, which is the negation of wage -slavery, the only possible solution.

For even admitting that the Collectivist modification of the present system is possible, if introduced gradually during a period of prosperity and peace—though for my part I question its practicibility even under such conditions—it would become impossible in a period of Revolution, when the need of feeding hungry millions springs up with the first call to arms. A political revolution can be accomplished without shaking the foundations of industry, but a revolution where the people lay hands upon property will inevitably paralyse exchange and production. Millions of public money would not suffice for wages to the millions of out-o'-works.

This point cannot be too much insisted upon: the reorganisation of industry on a new basis (and we shall presently show how tremendous this problem is) cannot be accomplished in a few days, nor, on the other hand, will the people submit to be half-starved for years in order to oblige the theorists who uphold the wage-system. To tide over the