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Anarchist Morality

by Peter Kropotkin

This study of the origin and function of what we call “morality” was written for publication as a result of an amusing situation. An anarchist who ran a store in England found that his comrades in the movement regarded it as perfectly right to take his goods without paying for them. “To each according to his need” seemed to them to justify letting those who were best able foot the bills. Kropotkin was appealed to, with the result that he not only condemned such doctrine, but was moved to write the comrades this sermon.

Its conception of morality is based on the ideas set forth in Mutual Aid and later developed in his Ethics. Here they are given special application to “right and wrong” in the business of social living. The job is done with fine feeling and with acute shafts at the shams of current morality.

Kropotkin sees the source of all so-called moral ideas in primitive superstitions. The real moral sense which guides our social behavior is instinctive, based on the sympathy and unity inherent in group life. Mutual aid is the condition of successful social living. The moral base is therefore the good old golden rule “Do to others as you would have others do to you in the same circumstances,” – which disposed of the ethics of the shopkeeper’s anarchist customers.

90 pp. pocket size with illustrations, notes.

ISBN 978-0-9737827-4-5 $4.95