Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/37

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We are about to reply to that question, but with a reservation. We have no intention of tracing out the plans of expropriation in their smallest details. We know beforehand that all that any man, or group of men, could suggest to-day would be far surpassed by the reality when it comes. The human spirit will accomplish greater things, and accomplish them better and in a simpler way than any one could dictate beforehand. Thus we are content to indicate the methods by which expropriation might be accomplished without the intervention of government. We do not propose to go out of our way to answer those who declare that the thing is impossible. We confine ourselves to replying that we are not the upholders of any particular method of organisation. We are only concerned to demonstrate that expropriation could be effected by popular initiative, and could not be effected by any other means whatever.

It seems very likely that, as soon as expropriation is fairly started, groups of volunteers will spring up in every district, street, and block of houses, and undertake to enquire into the number of flats and houses which are empty and of those which are overcrowded, the unwholsome slums and the houses which are too spacious for their occupants, and might well be used to house those who are stifled in swarming tenements. In a few days, these volunteers would have drawn up complete lists for the street and the district, of all the flats, tenements, family mansions and villa residences, all the rooms and suites of rooms, healthy and unhealthy, small and large, fœtid dens and homes of luxury.

Freely communicating with each other, these volunteers would soon have their statistics complete. False statistics can be manufactured in board rooms and offices, but true and exact statistics must begin with the individual, and mount up from the simple to the complex.

Then, without waiting for any one's leave, those citizens will probably go and find their comrades who were living in miserable garrets and hovels and will say to them simply: "It is a real Revolution this time, comrades, and no mistake about it. Come to such a place this evening; all the neighborhood will be there; we are going to re-distribute the dwelling houses. If you are tired of your slum -garret come and choose one of the flats of five rooms that are to be disposed of, and when you have once moved in you shall stay, never fear. The people are up in arms, and he who would venture to evict you will have to answer to them."

"But every one will want a fine house or a spacious flat!" we are told. No, you are mistaken. It is not the people's way to clamour for the moon. On the contrary, every time we have seen them set about