“Mutual aid is as much a law of animal life as mutual struggle” – a reading from Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid

Lennox Johnson reading

Peter Kropotkin was a Russian naturalist and anarchist born into an aristocratic Russian family in 1842. In this passage from his classic work Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Kropotkin argues against a narrow reading of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution promoted by Social Darwinists such as T. H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer. Huxley and Spencer saw the process of evolution as a cutthroat struggle of every individual against all others in which only the strongest survive. They argued that this principle of mutual struggle applies not just to animals …