Elisee Reclus, 1894

In his time, Elisee Reclus (1830- 1905) was as venerated as Kropotkin by the international anarchist movement. Reclus had been associated with Bakunin in the First International and fought for the Paris Commune. He was one of the first anarchists to advocate libertarian communism, and to adapt Darwinian ideas regarding evolution to anarchist notions of revolution, seeing the latter as the outcome of multifarious, gradual, sometimes imperceptible and unconscious changes in society.

“Generally, no one has dared to prepare for a change of princes or dynasties without having paid homage or pledged obedience to some future sovereign. ”The king is dead! Long live the king!” cried the eternally loyal subjects even as they revolted. For many centuries this has been the unvarying course of history. “How could one possibly live without masters!” said the slaves, the spouses, the children, and the workers of the cities and countryside, as they quite deliberately placed their shoulders under the yoke, like the ox that pulls the plow …

In contrast to this instinct, anarchy truly represents a new spirit. ..

But where anarchist practice really triumphs is in the course of everyday life among common people who would not be able to endure their dreadful struggle for existence if they did not engage in spontaneous mutual aid, putting aside differences and conflicts of interest. When one of them falls ill, other poor people take in his children, feeding them, sharing the meager sustenance of the week, seeking to make ends meet by doubling their hours of work. A sort of communism is instituted among neighbors through lending, in which there is a constant coming and going of household implements and provisions. Poverty unites the unfortunate in a fraternal league. Together they are hungry; together they are satisfied. “

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