Note and Content Warning from the Agency Collective: We post this article because we believe it to be a robust and substantial example of contemporary anarchist work being covered by a mainstream media outlet. However, we are dismayed to see the individual with the initials T.U. (affiliated with A New World in Our Hearts, Bombs and Shields blog and other projects historically) featured who has a long history in anarchist communities, particularly in NYC, as being associated with multiple allegations of abuse and consent violations. We are deeply concerned that this individual continues to pose a risk to the communities he works in.
Emily Faber, February 5th, 2021
In 1882, a Russian zoologist and philosopher by the name of Peter Kropotkin visited the Brighton Aquarium. Here, Kropotkin would observe a key piece of evidence supporting his belief that mutually beneficial cooperation, not competition, played the greatest role in the sustainment and continuing evolution of animal species — a revolutionary idea that ultimately became a fundamental tenet of the anarchist movement.
To the average New Yorker, any connection between the Russian philosopher and the colorfully painted outdoor fridges popping up all over the city to offer free food to anyone passing by, no questions asked, may go unrecognized. But in fact, the community fridge movement is a prime example of mutual aid and a modern-day extension of the anarchist concepts made famous by Kropotkin over a century earlier.
Kropotkin, born to a wealthy Russian family of noble lineage and draw to anarchist ideas from a fairly young age, was arrested and imprisoned in his home country for his subversive political writings in his early 30s. Following his 1876 escape from the St. Petersburg Military Hospital and his 1881 expulsion from Switzerland, he ended up in England for a brief period in 1882. That’s the short story of how he ended up standing in front of the horseshoe crab tank at the Brighton Aquarium and watching as several crabs attempted to upright one who had fallen upon its back.