Peter Ryley
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The Manifesto of the Sixteen
Kropotkin’s rejection of anti
in Anarchism, 1914–18
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Peter Kropotkin launched a provocative challenge to the anti-war consensus of the anarchist movement. Instead of the denunciation of the war that would have been expected, Kropotkin's open letter to the Swedish intellectual Gustav Steffen demanded support for the Entente powers to defend France and to destroy German militarism for good. Pacifism and pacific-ism engaged with the emerging social sciences to develop theories that would explain how wars arose and what was needed to stop them. These explanations fell into four main groups: free trade and non-intervention; anti-statism and anti-imperialism; international law and arbitration; and radical social change, notably socialism and feminism. Having spoken up in favour of the war against Germany, Kropotkin now moved against a peace deal. On 28 February 1916 he issued The Manifesto of the Sixteen; oddly carrying only fifteen signatures and largely written by himself, it argued that peace moves were neither possible nor desirable.

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Anarchism, 1914–18

Internationalism, anti-militarism and war


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