Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/6

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Freedom Pamphets.

owner, and without handing over to landlord or capitalist the lion's share of what he produces. As to the wealth held by the Rothschilds or the Vanderbilts, it will serve us to organise our system of communal production.

The day when the laborer may till the ground without paying away half of what he produces, the day when the machines necessary to prepare the soil for rich harvests are at the free disposal off the cultivators, the day when the worker in the factory produces for the community and not for the monopolist—that day will see the workers clothed and fed; and there will be no more Rothschilds or other exploiters.

No one will then have to sell his working power for a wage that only represents a fraction of what he produces.

"So far good," say our critics, "but you will have Rothschilds coming in from outside. How are you to prevent a person from amassing millions in China and then settling amongst you? How are you going to prevent such an one from surrounding himself with lackeys and wage-slaves—from exploiting them and enriching himself at their expense?"

"You cannot bring about a Revolution all over the world at the came time. Well then, are you going to establish Custom Houses on your frontiers, to search all who enter your country, and confiscate the money they bring with them?—Anarchist policemen firing on travellers would be a fine spectacle!"

But at the root of this argument there is a great error. Those who propound it have never paused to inquiie whence come the fortunes of the rich. A little thought would suffice to show them that these fortunes have their beginnings in the poverty of the poor. When there are no longer any destitute there Avill no longer be any rich to exploit them.

Let us glance for a moment at the middle ages, when great fortunes began to spring up.

A feudal baron seizes on a fertile valley. But as long as the fertile valley is empty of folk our baron is not rich, His land brings him in nothing, he might as well possess a property in the moon. Now what does our baron do to enrich himself? He looks out for peasants!

But if every peasant-farmer had a piece of land, free from rent and taxes, if he had in addition the tools and the stock necessary for farm labor, who would plough the lands of the baron? Each would look after his own. But there are whole tribes of destitute persons ruined by wars, or drought, or pestilence. They have neither horse nor plough. (Iron was costly in the middle ages, and a draught-horse still more so.)