Publisher: PM Press
Released: March 15, 2022
Peter Kropotkin remains one of the best-known anarchist thinkers, and Words of a Rebel was his first libertarian book. Published in 1885, while he was in a French jail for anarchist activism, this collection of articles from the newspaper Le Revolté sees Kropotkin criticize the failings of capitalism and those who seek to end it by means of its main support, the state. Instead, he urged the creation of a mass movement from below that would expropriate property and destroy the state, replacing their centralized hierarchies with federations of self-governing communities and workplaces.
Kropotkin’s instant classic included discussions themes and ideas he returned to repeatedly during his five decades in the anarchist movement. Unsurprisingly, Words of a Rebel was soon translated into numerous languages—including Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Russian, and Chinese—and reprinted time and time again. But despite its influence as Kropotkin’s first anarchist work, it was the last to be completely translated into English.
This is a new translation from the French original by Iain McKay (except for a few chapters previously translated by Nicolas Walter.) It includes all the original 1885 text along with the preface to the 1904 Italian as well as the preface and afterward to the 1919 Russian editions. In addition, it includes many articles on the labor movement written by Kropotkin for Le Revolté, which show how he envisioned getting from criticism to a social revolution.
Along with a comprehensive glossary and an introduction by Iain McKay placing this work within the history of anarchism as well as indicating its relevance to radicals and revolutionaries today.