Quim Gil on Thu, 28 Jun 2001 12:20:20 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Anarchism, Kropotkin, Darwin, McLuhan, the Internet

Bill Spornitz wrote:
> Okay. The anarchists threw bombs, right? And Trotsky talked of *perpetual revolution* or something?

Trotsky and trotskists had some thoughts about anarchism but they were
quite busy escaping from their communist brothers (specially Brother
Stalin). Some anarchists threw bombs. True. Many others were bombed.
Some others tried to build new societies. Some of them were very good
theorists analysing their societies. And most of the anarchist theorists
inspired other non anarchist theorists that brought some of the
originally anarchist theories into more mainstream and socially
acceptable ideas.

Piotr Kropotkin defined "Anarchism" in The Encyclopaedia Britannica in
1910 (
). This definition is still present in most printed editions of the
Encyclopaedia available in libraries, although the entry in the online
version has evolved and being updated (
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=127633 ).

On his time, Kropotkin were known in scientist circles for his
disagreements on Darwin's (and specially darwinists') conclusions on
evolution theory. He basically pointed out that even when it's
demonstrable that most animals compete in Nature, it's also demonstrable
that most animals from the same specie collaborate between themselves. 

This is not a small detail considering that "The survival of the
fittest" has been one of the foundations of capitalism as the "natural"
competition between animals of the same specie (human beings).

There is another link, less obvious, and I wonder if anyone in this list
has been investigating it. Kropotkin also studied the paradigm of the
network, combined with sustainable economies, decentralized knowledge
sharing and co-operation. In the beginning of the century, his
references were the growing electric and phone networks, much more
decentralized than the railway networks that had excited most theorists
in the XIX century.

It seems that Marshall McLuhan found in Kropotkin a good source of
inspiration moving these concepts from electric networks to
communicational networks, generating the popular concept of Global
Village. Actually, reading some Kropotkin's articles on networks and
communities one might think that the guy had envisioned one century ago
something very similar to the Internet. Without the computers, though.
And also without the so-called natural capitalism.

Quim Gil

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