Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/32

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Freedom Pamphets.

tares with his flour for three months, if it has been a good year, and for six if it has been bad, while in London they are eating biscuits made of his wheat.

But as soon as the Revolution comes the Russian peasant will keep bread enough for himself and his children, the Italian and Hungarian peasants will do the same, and the Hindoo, let us hope, will profit by these good examples, as well as the workers on the Bonanza-farms of America, if indeed these domains are not immediately disorganised by the crisis. So it will not do to count on contributions of wheat and maize coming from abroad.

Since all our middle-class civilisation is based on the exploitation of inferior races and countries with less advanced industrial systems, the Revolution will confer a boon at the very outset, by menacing that "civilisation," and allowing so-called inferior races to free themselves.

But this great benefit will manifest itself by a steady and marked diminution of the food supplies pouring into the great cities of western Europe.

It is difficult to predict the course of affairs in the provinces. On the one hand the slave of the soil will take advantage of the Revolution to straighten his bowed back. Instead of working fourteen or fifteen hours a day, as he does at present, he will be at liberty to work only half that time, which of course would have the effect of decreasing the production of the principal articles of consumption, grain and meat.

But, on the other hand, there will be an increase of production as soon as the peasant realises that he is no longer forced to support the idle rich by his toil. New tracts of land will be cleared, new and improved machines set agoing.

"Never was the land so energetically cultivated as in 1792, when the peasant had taken back from the landlord the soil which he had coveted so long," Michelet tells us, speaking of the Great Revolution.

Before long, intensive culture would be within the reach of all. Improved machinery, chemical manures, and all such matters would be common property. But everything tends to indicate that at the outset there would be a falling off in agricultural products, in France as elsewhere.

In any case it would be wisest to count upon such a falling off of contributions from the provinces as well as from abroad.

And how is this falling off to be made good? Why, in heaven's name, by setting to work ourselves! No need to rack our brains for far-fetched panaceas when the remedy lies close at hand!