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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mutualist Library

As some readers probably already know, I've got another long-term project in the works: the mutualist library. I envisioned it as a CD-Rom reference library of the major texts of individualist anarchism, its precursors (Paine, Godwin, Hodgskin, etc.), and fellow travellers (Henry George, the panarchists, etc.). I'd also like to include as much of the late stuff as possible by members of the Tucker circle, like Yarros and Swartz. And of course, out of sheer vanity, I'll throw in a pdf of Mutualist Political Economy.

There's already so much stuff by Proudhon, Warren, Spooner, etc., that's already online, that just downloading it and reformatting it will keep me pretty busy. In the last couple of weeks, I've reformatted the online chapters (5 and 6) of Martin's Men Against the State that are up at The Memory Hole (the main work was keying in footnotes to ch. 5), and put together a pretty good pdf of Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice with a new pagination and table of contents. Just finding out what all's hidden away in the nooks and crannies of Project Gutenberg, Questia, and the Anarchist Archives could eat up a lot of time.

But as much as there already is, there's plenty of centrally important texts that don't (as far as I know) exist in digitized form. Some of the most important would be English translations of Proudhon's The Federative Principle and General Idea of the Revolution, and J.K. Ingalls' land reform stuff. And anything by Ezra Heywood. I've got an etext of the first half of Andrews' Science of Society, and jpeg images of the pages of the second half (both thanks to Joe Kelley), but no digitized version of the second half. Of course, that's just some of the biggest stuff, thrown out as an example of how big the gaps are.

So (I'm sure you saw it coming) here's the pitch. A project like this will require a distributed scanning network to fill in some of those gaps. I don't have a scanner, myself, although I'll probably be in the market for one in the next few months. In the meantime, I'm more than willing to put in the sweat equity editing the raw files from anyone else's scanning efforts. Shawn Wilbur is already doing a lot of scanning from the money writings of Greene, Kellogg, and Westrup. He's also interested in eventually getting as much as possible digitized from the entire runs of Liberty and The Word, probably the two most important periodicals to nineteenth century Boston anarchism.

I'm also curious as to just how much important material is already digitized and just sitting around on people's hard drives, but not available online. There are quite a few good scholars of the history of individualist anarchism out there, who are probably sitting on some really good stuff. If you're one of them, please, please, please--just click "attach" and "send"! Any contributions will be greatly appreciated.


Blogger freeman said...

Hey Kevin,

I wrote down the stuff that you're looking for. If there is anything else, send me an email (jfreemanlc@yahoo.com).

An English translation of Proudhon's General Idea of the Revolution is available on microfilm at the library I work at. I should be able to scan it to a computer there and then burn it onto a disc and send it to you.

I should be able to do that with anything that is on microfilm (there is also some Ezra Heywood stuff on microfilm). Some of the other stuff you're looking for could be there as well, but in print form (Proudhon, Ingalls, Liberty v. 1-17). I could make photocopies and send them to you or someone with a scanner (I don't have one either).

Oh, and what is The Word. I did a search for it, and the only thing that seemed relevant that came up is something involving Guy Alfred Aldred. I doubt that that's what you're looking for.

November 14, 2005 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin, sorry I don't have a scanner, but my question is once you have finished collecting the information onto CD-ROM, are there are any plans to manufacture and sell a printed version of the library. If so, I would be very interested in at least purchacing this libarary, but also in perhaps setting up a distribution syndicate of some sort to get this material out there.

BTW, do you plane to inlclude stuff that is not technically Mutualist, but of interest none the less, such as Thomas Hodgskin, Henry George, Silvio Gesell, and Gustav Landaur?


November 15, 2005 6:32 AM  
Blogger Wally Conger said...

This sounds like a terrific project. If you do make it available on CD-Rom to the "rest of us," I'll be looking forward to it.

November 15, 2005 7:34 AM  
Blogger Shawn P. Wilbur said...

The Word: A Monthly Journal of Reform was published in Princeton, MA, by Ezra Heywood, from 1872 to 1893. It was the organ for the New England Labor Reform League, and featured contributions from nearly all the "Boston anarchists" as well as plenty of other folks. William B. Greene contributed some translations and reminiscences of Proudhon - and debated the free love faction. Wendy McElroy's book on individual feminism in the 19th century has an index of the women who contributed. There is a microfilm file at U. Mich, in the Labadie Collection. (Special Collections - Labadie Collection - Rm. 711 Hatcher S | HX 1 .W92) I'm actually planning on going up to Ann Arbor in a couple of weeks to hunt down Greene's contributions, and look at a couple of other things. I was considering talking to the archivist about the possibility of volunteers providing the labor to set up a Word archive which the Labadie could host, if they desired, so that the material was better known, but the Collection still got its share of glory.

November 15, 2005 11:13 AM  
Blogger freeman said...

Thanks for the info, Shaun. I suppose that microfilm file was one of the ones that came up on the Heywood search I did last night (I work @ Hatcher).

I haven't been up to the Labadie Collection in awhile, so I don't know if they have any new digital scanners, but the Serials and Microfilm department on the 2nd floor has 3 new computers with digital scanners for microfilm that'll allow you to scan microfilm and then burn to cd or dvd-rom.

November 15, 2005 3:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Many thanks, freeman. I'd certainly appreciate that (understatement of the year). I'll probably have to figure out myself one of these days how to set up a digital fiche scanner, and start ordering heavily from John Zube.


I don't think there's any way to make a hard copy pay for itself. For one thing, a single CD-Rom will hold the equivalent of hundreds of books. And considering the printing cost, I don't think it would work.

November 15, 2005 6:55 PM  
Blogger Shawn P. Wilbur said...

I have access to digital fiche and film scanning here, and can help get things into a form folks can work from if need be. We should all compare notes about what in Zube's catalog seems "must-have."


I will be doing some hardcopy reprinting of mutualist materials, both no-frills pamphets and limited, hand-assembled books. I much prefer working with old-fashioned "bound printed matter," and I know I'm not yet entirely alone. But Kevin is right that the CD publishing idea is much, much, much more economical in all sorts of ways.

November 16, 2005 5:16 PM  

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