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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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Property is Theft! A Proudhon Anthology

Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. Edited by Iain McKay (AK Press, 2011).

Every time I look through this book, I'm amazed at the sheer amount and quality of material in it, and the scholarly apparatus included with it.

As I keep telling people, the last major Proudhon anthology out there -- if you can call it that -- was Stewart Edwards' Selected Writings of P. J. Proudhon. Calling Selected Writings an anthology is generous. Its format was actually more like that of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, with a long series of short excerpts from assorted works grouped together under topic headings. It totalled 262 pages, which meant that even if someone took the trouble to assemble all the scattered excerpts from any particular book in order in a single place, the result would hardly qualify as an abridgement.

On the other hand, this effort by Iain McKay -- widely familiar as the principal author of An Anarchist FAQ -- is over 800 pages, with almost twice as many words per page. It includes modestly abridged versions of almost all of Proudhon's major works, along with dozens of shorter works in their entirety. The abridgements of longer works include What is Property?, both volumes of System of Economic Contradictions, Solution of the Social Problem, Organisation of Credit and Circulation, Bank of the People, Confessions of a Revolutionary, Interest and Principal, General Idea of the Revolution, The Federative Principle, The Political Capacity of the Working Classes, and The Theory of Property. The excerpted material from General Idea of the Revolution, for example, is over fifty pages, and over forty pages are excerpted from Political Capacity of the Working Classes.

A considerable portion of the material is in English translation for the first time, some of it translated by Proudhon scholar Shawn Wilbur.

Iain McKay's fifty-page Introduction is not only a studied bibliographic essay on Proudhon, but also a closely argued thesis regarding the place of markets in the anarchist movement and anarchism in the socialist movement. As such, it is the latest contribution to the ongoing and often heated "Who is an anarchist?" debates, and will no doubt attract careful attention from my market anarchist comrades at Center for a Stateless Society.

Edwards' venture at a Proudhon anthology, for better or worse, was pretty much it for thirty years or so. I expect this one will stand -- far more deservedly -- as the standard anthology for at least that long.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alleluia, Nunc Dimittis, and Glory Be!

Something to celebrate, in the five-thousand-year war between the people who own the world and the people who live in it. Read here if you want to know why I'm so happy.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fourth Quarter 2011 C4SS Fundraiser

The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) just began its Fourth Quarter Fundraiser. It's a pretty big target, since it includes a rollover of all our shortfalls for the previous fundraisers.

The rate of contributions has fallen way, way down over the last year or so, even as the readership continues, presumably either because former contributors no longer consider us worth supporting or because they're no longer able to do so. So we've been working mostly for free -- getting considerably less than half our pay -- for a long time.

The thing is, C4SS will keep on going no matter what. We keep writing -- and doing our media relations, social media, and other work -- regardless of whether we get paid, because we believe in it. Our director, Brad Spangler, doesn't get any pay at all, aside from coverage of bare webhosting costs he pays. Our media director, Tom Knapp, usually gives back a considerable portion of his salary. And with my actual pay down to about a hundred or less a month on average, I'm still contributing $20 a month to the fundraiser.

If you can't afford to contribute, or don't like most of what we do, you obviously have no obligation to support us. But if you're one of the people who used to contribute, just fell out of the habit, and can still afford to do so, please consider helping us out again on a regular basis.

You can donate here.