Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/30

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Freedom Pamphets.

them up to the lamp-posts at the street corners. All the same the corn was not forthcoming and the towns-folk suffered from famine.

But what was offered to the husbandman in exchange for the fruit of his toil? Assignats, scraps of paper decreasing in value every day, nominal £20 notes of no real worth! A £40 note would not purchase a pair of boots, and the peasant, very naturally, was not anxious to barter a year's toil for a piece of paper with which he could not even buy a blouse.

As long as worthless paper-money—whether called assignats or labor notes—is offered to the peasant-producer it will always be the same. The country will withhold its produce, and the towns will suffer want, even if the recalcitrant peasants are drowned and guillotined as before.

We must offer to the peasant in exchange for his toil not worthless paper-money, but the manufactured articles of which he stands in immediate need. He lacks the proper implements to till the land, clothes to protect him properly from the inclemencies of the weather, lamps and oil to replace his miserable rushlight or tallow dip, spades, rakes, ploughs. All these things, under present conditions, the peasant is forced to do without, not because he does not feel the need of them, but because, in his life of struggle and privation, a thousand useful things are beyond his reach; because he has no money to buy them.

Let the town apply itself, without loss of time, to manufacturing all that the peasant needs, instead of fashioning gewgaws for the wives of rich citizens. Let the sewing machines of Paris be set to work on clothes for the country folk: work-a-day clothes and clothes for Sunday too, instead of making wedding outfits; let the factories and foundries turn out agricultural implements, spades, rakes, and such like, instead of waiting till the English send them in exchange for French wines!

Let the towns send no more inspectors to the villages with red, blue, or rainbow-colored scarves, to convey to the peasant orders to take his produce to this place or that, but let them send friendly embassies to the country folk and bid them in brotherly fashion: "Bring us your produce, and take from our stores and shops all the manufactured articles you please." Then provisions would pour in on every side. The peasant would only withhold what he needed for his own use, and would send the rest into the cities, feeling for the first time in the course of history, that these toiling townsfolk were his comrades—his brethren, and not his exploiters.

We shall be told, perhaps, that this would necessitate a complete transformation of industry. Well, yes, that is true of certain depart-