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Fields, Factories and Workshops: or Industry Combined with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work
is a landmark anarchist text by Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...
, and arguably one of the most influential and positive statements of the anarchist political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...
. It is viewed by many as the central work of his writing career. It was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, London, Edinburgh, Dublin and New York, in 1912. In this work, Kropotkin shares his vision of a more harmonious way of living based on cooperation instead of competition. It is often positioned as a counter to the socialist thinking of Lenin and Trotsky, which tended to imply centralised planning and control. To a large degree, Kropotkin's emphasis is on local organisation, local production obviating the need for central government. Kropotkin's vision is also on agriculture and rural life, making it a contrasting perspective to the largely industrial thinking of communists and socialists.
Kropotkin's focus on local production leads to his view that communities should strive for self-sufficiency
Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic policies. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance. Autarky is not necessarily economic. For example, a military autarky...
, the production of a community's own goods and food, thus making import and export unnecessary. To these ends, Kropotkin advocates irrigation and growth under glass and in fields to boost local food production.
The book presents arguments to its ends, and is generally persuasive in tone rather than dogmatic. The work is structured as a series of essays, together with a large number of appendices of supporting evidence. While some critics have complained that Kropotkin is overly optimistic, the problems arising from industrialization and its reliance on fossil fuels have shown Kropotkin's ideas to be far sighted and possibly appropriate for the post-fossil fuel age.