Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/22

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Freedom Pamphets.

men and women both, will form themselves into bands of volunteers, and address themselves to the task of making a rough general inventory of the contents of each shop and warehouse. In twenty-four hours the revolted town or district will know what Paris has not found out yet, in spite of the statistical commission, and what it never did find out during the siege—the quantity of provisions it contains. In forty-eight hours, millions of copies will be printed of the tables giving a sufficiently exact account of the available food, the places where it is stored, and the means of distribution.

In every block of houses, in every street, in every town ward, bands of volunteers will have been organised. These commissariat volunteers will work in unison and keep in touch with each other. If only the Jacobin bayonets do not get in the way; if only the self-styled "scientific" theorists do not thrust themselves in to darken counsel! Or rather let them expound their muddle-headed theories as much as they like, prodded they have no authority, no power! And that admirable spirit of organisation inherent in tho people, above all in every social grade of the French nation,[1] but which they have so seldom been allowed to exercise, will initiate, even in so huge a city as Paris, and in the midst of a Revolution, an immense guild of free workers, ready to furnish to each and all the necessary food.

Give the people a free hand, and in ten days the food service will be conducted with admirable regularity. Only those who have never seen the people hard at work, only those who have passed their lives buried among documents, can doubt it. Speak of the organising genius of the "Great Misunderstood," the people, to those who have seen it in Paris in the days of the barricades, or in London during the last great strike, when half-a-million of starving folk had to be fed, and they will tell you how superior it is to the official ineptness of Bumbledom,

And even supposing we had to endure a certain amount of discomfort and confusion for a fortnight or a month; surely that would not matter very much. For the mass of the people it could not but be an improvement on their former condition, and, besides, in times of Revolution one can dine contentedly enough on a bit of bread and cheese, while eagerly discussing events.

In any case, a system which springs up spontaneously, under stress of immediate need, will be infinitely preferable to anything invented between four walls, by hide-bound theorists sitting on any number of committees.

  1. Kropotkine is here supposing the Revolution to break out first in France.