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Mutual solidarity

Mutual Aid – The Other Law of the Jungle
MUTUALITY / Competition and cooperation are like nature's yin and yang, claim two French biologists. Today, recent biological and psychological research on reciprocity is based on both biochemistry, game theory, empirical examination of symbiotic relationships and the new sociobiology's theories of group selection.

What about mutual aid and solidarity, both between people and nature, and between nations acting as selfish individuals?

The title of this new book, Mutual Aid, is a direct reference to fyrst Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist, geographer and biologist who 120 years ago published his book "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution" (1902). Both authors are biologists and activists, which makes this book a unique publication, entirely in Kropotkin's spirit.

Pablo Servigne is known for his radical contributions to the so-called collapseology with the book How Everything Can Collapse (2020) and the sequel Another End of the World is Possible (2021). Gauthier Chapelle, for his part, is a sociobiologist and sociologist and even heads an academic institution that promotes the work of Marcel Mauss – who wrote about the role of the gift in social life. Generosity can be spontaneous but also regulated by norms, a dual relationship that proves to be an excellent starting point for writing about mutual aid.

Merciless compulsion

Kropotkin's poignant autobiography, Memoirs of a Revolutionist (1899), which is highly recommended, tells of growing up in the Russian aristocracy, on a huge country estate that also owned thousands of "souls" – serf peasants. The father administered floggings like everyone else, but he wasn't even . . .

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Anders Dunker
Philosopher. Regular literary critic in Ny Tid. Translator.

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