Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/28

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Freedom Pamphets.

will take a different character in each of the different European nations; the point attained in the socialisation of wealth will not be everywhere the same.

Will it therefore be necessary, as is sometimes suggested, that the nations in the vanguard of the movement should adapt their pace to those who lag behind? Must we wait till the Communist Revolution is ripe in all civilised countries? Clearly not! Even if it were a thing to be desired it is not possible. History does not wait for the laggards.

Besides, we do not believe that in any one country the Revolution will be accomplished at a stroke, in the twinkling of an eye, as some Socialists dream. It is highly probable that if one of the five or six large towns of France—Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Lille, Saint Etienne, Bordeaux—were to proclaim the Commune, the others would follow its example, and that many smaller towns would do the same. Probably also various mining districts and industrial centres would hasten to rid themselves of "owners" and "masters," and form themselves into free groups.

But many country places have not advanced to that point. Side by side with the revolutionised communes such places would remain in an expectant attitude and would go on living on the Individualist system. Undisturbed by visits of the bailiff or the tax-collector, the peasants would not be hostile to the revolutionaries, and thus, while profiting by the new state of affairs, they would defer the settlement of accounts with the local exploiters. But with that practical enthusiasm which always characterises agrarian uprisings (witness the passionate toil of 1792) they would throw themselves into the task of cultivating the land, which, freed from taxes and mortgages, would become so much dearer to them.

As to foreign countries, there would be Revolution everywhere, but Revolution under various aspects; here State Socialism, there Federation; everywhere more or less of Socialism, but uniformity nowhere.


Let us now return to our city in revolt and consider how its folk are to be fed. How are the necessary provisions to be obtained if the nation as a whole has not accepted Communism? That is the question to be solved. Take for example one of the large French towns—take the capital itself, for that matter. Paris consumes every year thousands of tons of grain, 350,000 head of oxen, 200,000 calves, 00,000 swine, and more than two millions of sheep, besides great