The Conquest of Bread is an 1892 book by the Russian anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin: (Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin, December 9, 1842 - February 8, 1921) a Russian activist, revolutionary, scientist, geographer and philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism.
Originally written in French, it first appeared as a series of articles in the anarchist journal Le Révolté. It was first published in Paris with a preface by Élisée Reclus, who also suggested the title. Between 1892 and 1894, it was serialized in part in the London journal Freedom, of which Kropotkin was a co-founder. In the work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the defects of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism and why he believes they thrive on and maintain poverty and scarcity. He goes on to propose a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.
The Conquest of Bread has become a classic of political anarchist literature. It was heavily influential on both the Spanish Civil War and the Occupy movement as well as Rojava (the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria).
The publication of The Conquest of Bread was a watershed moment in anarchist history since it was the first time that a completed and in-depth theoretical work of anarcho-communist theory was available to the public. The publication of the text shifted the focus of anarchism from individualist, mutualist and collectivist strains to social and communist tendencies. This shift would prove to be one of the most enduring changes in the history of anarchism as anarchism developed throughout the 20th century with Kropotkin and The Conquest of Bread as firm reference points.