From Prince to Rebel
Woodcock, George; Avakumovic, Ivan
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX4526
Abstract: First published in 1947 under the title The Anarchist Prince, this book appears to have been reprinted with little or no revision despite changes in the current political climate to which the relevance of Kropotkin's thought is assessed. For instance, the authors' view that capitalism is being replaced by managed bureaucracy had more going for it in 1947, when state socialism was riding high, than it does today.
Still of current relevance, however, is Kropotkin's discouragement as he watched the Bolsheviks destroy the liberatory goal of the Russian revolution. His conclusion, shared by the authors and equally relevant to us today, was that `vanguard' groups such as anarchists cannot themselves alter society, but can prepare the intellectual climate in which such an alteration may later occur (just as writers of the Enlightenment paved the way for the French Revolution.
The book is highly readable, and provides an unforgettable portrait of a man whose mistakes in short-term judgment were more than offset by his pivotal role in developing a long-term vision of the replacement of the all-powerful state by a world federation, composed of federations of regions and towns in which life is co-operatively organized.