The following quotations are from:
Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, pp. 12-37, 43-50, 83-85.
“All that is necessary for production—the land, the mines, the. Highways, machinery, food, shelter, education, knowledge—all have been seized by the few in the course of that long story of robbery, enforced migration and wars, of ignorance and oppression…” 12
“There is not even a thought, or an invention, which is not common property, born of the past and the present. Thousands of inventors, known and unknown, who have died in poverty, have cooperated in the invention of each of these machines which embody the genius of man.” 14
“Every new invention is a synthesis, the resultant of innumerable inventions which have preceded it in the vast fields of mechanics and industry.” 15
“All that enables man to produce, and to increase is power of production, has been seized by the few.” 16
“The result of this state of things is that all our production tends in a wrong direction. Enterprise takes no thought for the needs of the community. Its only aim is to increase the gains of the speculator.” 18
“…the consequences which spring from the original act of monopoly spread through the whole of social life. Under pain of death, human societies are forced to return to first principles: the means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure of their strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one’s part in the production of the world’s wealth.
All things are for all.” 19
“We must take possession, in the name of the people, of the granaries, the shops full of clothing, and the dwelling houses. Nothing must be wasted. We must organize without delay to feed the hungry, to satisfy all wants, to meet all needs, to produce, not for the special benefit of this one or that one, but to ensure that society as a whole will live and grow.
Enough of ambiguous words like ‘the right to work,’ with which the people were misled in 1848, and which are still used to mislead them. Let us have the courage to recognize that Well-being for all, henceforward possible, must be realized.” 30
“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 nothing; he might as well possess a property in the moon.
What does our baron do to enrich himself? He looks out for peasants—for poor peasants!
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 labour, who would plough the lands of the baron? Everyone would look after his own. But there are thousands of destitute persons ruined by wars, or drought, or pestilence. They have neither horse nor plough…
All these destitute creatures are trying to better their condition. One day they see on the road at the confines of our baron’s estate a notice-board indicating by certain signs adapted to their comprehension that the labourer who is willing to settle on this estate will receive the tools and materials to build his cottage and sow his fields, and a portion of land rent free for a certain number of years. The number of years is represented by so many crosses on the sign-board, and the peasant understands the meaning of these crosses.
So the poor wretches swarm over the baron’s lands, making roads, draining marshes, building villages. In nine years he begins to tax them. Five years later he increases the rent. Then he doubles it. The peasant accepts these new conditions because he cannot find better ones elsewhere; and little by little, with the aid of laws made by the barons, the poverty of the peasant becomes the source of the landlord’s wealth. And it is not only the lord of the manor who preys upon him. A whole host of usurers swoop down upon the villages, multiplying as the wretchedness of the peasants increases. That is how things went in the Mddle Ages. And today is it not still the same thing?” 44-45