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P.-J. Proudhon, Proposal for a Society of the Perpetual Exhibition (1855)

The newest draft translation added to the New Proudhon Library project is the proposal for a Society of the Perpetual Exhibition, in answer to a call by Emperor Napoleon III for uses for the Palais de l’Industrie built in Paris for the 1855 World Fair. The project resembles Proudhon’s mutual credit proposals, as well as the various schemes for association proposed by Bellegarrigue in the 1850s. […]

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Emile Gautier, “Social Darwinism” (1877 / 1880)

Emile Gautier’s 1880 pamphlet, Le Darwinisme sociale, is often cited as the first French use of the term “social Darwinism,” three years after the term was first used in English. Gautier was an anarchist, the a political prisoner, and finally a popular science writer and novelist. He was tried alongside Kropotkin in the “Trial of the 66,” collaborated with Louise Michel, and provided the preface for Sébastien Faure’s La douleur universelle. Drawn into a debate about the application of Darwin’s theories to the solution of social problems, he championed a pro-socialist interpretation of the science, anticipating Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid in some ways. A translation of the pamphlet can be found in the pdf linked in the sidebar, but the research for that task also turned up an earlier essay, with the same name and much the same argument, in a periodical, Le Mot d’Ordre, in which Gautier was one of the principal contributors. That essay (also included in the pdf) is presented below. […]

Black and Red Feminism

Jenny P. d’Héricourt in the Messager Franco-Americain (1865-1869)

Now, what makes war possible and produces the disastrous results I am pointing out? A lack of equilibrium in social forces. Woman is one of these forces, and she has neither her place nor her liberty of action. If, as I believe, the government of women alone should be bad, it does not seem surprising to me that the government of men alone has produced what we see. It takes the equal influence of both sexes to produce balance, because they are equal by “difference” as much as by philosophically defined law. […]

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Georges Duchêne, “Government” (1849-50)

Six thousand years of government have proven abundantly that power is, by its nature, spendthrift, prodigal, unproductive, invasive, despotic. Experience does not seem decisive for certain intelligences; and we are in the necessity, — if we do not want to attempt a new dictatorship, — of combatting the idea of authority, not by its historical antecedents, but in its very principle. […]

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Proudhon, “The Philosophy of Progress” (revised and expanded translation)

Proudhon’s Philosophy of Progress is one of those books that has simply become part of my basic intellectual toolkit, but in ways that I often forget — at least until I read it again and re-encounter all the delightful ideas and turns of phrase it contains. Returning to it over the last week has been a pleasure, but I’ve also felt a bit pressured to wrap up the preliminaries and get on to the notes on Justice in the Revolution and in the Church. […]

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Proudhon, “The Celebration of Sunday” (revised and expanded translation)

I’m a few days behind schedule getting the first notes on Justice together. Among other things, I’ve been trying to make the most of a narrow fall window to get our yard a little bit better adapted to changing conditions. But work is progressing. I should have test prints of the “text” editions of the first two volumes within a week, at which point I’ll make ordering copies an option for others, and I’ve been trying to shoehorn in the time to put together a companion volume collecting some pre-1858 texts that provide useful context. […]

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Readings in Popular and Practical Philosophy

With the translation of Proudhon’s Of Justice in the Revolution and in the Church now halfway through its first major revision, the time appears ripe for a more active sort of sharing of the text, in the form of a group reading. That is, however, no small task, given the length and complexity of the work — and the fact that I’m still wrestling the other half into shape, along with a variety of other related texts. So I’m going to try to take my cues from what work during the Constructing Anarchisms project, set myself a task that ought to facilitate the readings of others, establish some forums in which discussion is encouraged and then extend a general invitation to others to play along to whatever extend suits them. […]


Notes on Anarchy and Hegemony in the Realm of Definitions

The notes that follow are preliminary, as I try to bring together a number of considerations regarding vocabulary, definition, theoretical clarity and such. They begin with some questions raised about the translation of Proudhon’s work, pass through a discussion of Proudhon’s own approach to the definition of key terms — which I hope will be useful as we begin reading and discussion of Justice in the Revolution and in the Church — and end with some general thoughts about anarchists’ engagement with the question of definition in the present. […]

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Justice in the Revolution and in the Church, Volume Two: Translator’s Notes

I have now uploaded the second volume of my working translation of Proudhon’s Of Justice in the Revolution and in the Church, which includes the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Studies, the second part of the essay “Bourgeoisie and Plebs” and two passages from the 1858 edition not included in the revised edition. These are revised drafts, with most of the problem passages resolved, but, as with the first volume, some notes will probably help to orient readers. […]