On the emancipation of women

And here I will let Kropotkin speak for himself

Why has woman’s work never been of any account? Why in every family are there mother and three or four servants obliged to spend so much time at what pertains to cooking? Because those who want to emancipate mankind have not included woman in their dream of emancipation and consider it beneath their superior masculine dignity to think ” of those kitchen arrangements”, which they have put in the shoulders of that drudge- woman.

To emancipate woman is to free her from the brutalizing toil of kitchen and washhouse; it is to organise your household in such a way as to enable her to rear her children, if she is so minded, while still retaining sufficient leisure to take her share of social life.

On patents

Kropotkin argues that patents slow down human progress. He noted that inventors always relied on the accumulated knowledge of the race and as such owe it to posterity to allow access to their invention.

The question to be asked is how to pay back these individuals for their work. How do developers who share their work on open source make money? Could this be the way to go? Would we, by doing this improve on the inventions of those before us?

on the need for luxury

Continuing with the discussion we begun on this post, Kropotkin argued that once the commune had provided food for everyone, luxury goods could then be sought for, but first we must provide food for everyone. 

He also argued that if every person who could work was engaged in productive work, a workday of 4 to 5 hours was sufficient to produce all our material needs and that the rest of the time could be spent in art, music and other hobbies. Thinking about this, I don’t see why with the advance in machine technology, most people work for so many hours a day and in some places keep two or three jobs just to make ends meat.

He argued at the same time that the commune had to provide housing and clothing to everyone. The rallying call was not just a right to work but a right to well being and in this is covered dignity in work, housing and shelter. And he says this will be done by the people themselves. He rules out committees of eminent citizens or loudmouths or whatever you want to call them.

My biggest question in all this is the practicability of it all. I think they were grand ideas, especially the short workdays ( and I think some countries are experimenting with this), social housing and dignified work; things we should aspire to even today.