Despite the potentially daunting number of research and publishing projects I have in progress, I really don’t get overwhelmed by the variety.
That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t get overwhelmed. I do, at fairly frequent intervals, but what is truly daunting about the project-load that I’ve accumulated over the last decade or so is the fact that it is all really just one big project.
Somehow — for my sins, as like as not — I’ve found myself committed to some deep explorations of just how the anarchist tradition developed in its earliest, formative years […]
The more we learn about the history of mutualism, the clearer it becomes that the conception we have inherited was conceived—primarily by rivals of Proudhon’s thought—as a sort of theoretical foil for the communist “modern anarchism” of the late 19th century. It’s a rather complicated tale, since what Kropotkin called “modern anarchism” was, in fact, anarchism emerging for the first time, unless we count the purely literary emergence of the term in the works of Joseph Déjacque. There had, of course, been anarchists and theories of anarchy. […]
My dear Villiaumé, it is too warm for me to venture, with my sick head, all the way to Rue Marsollier. I am thinking instead of fleeing for ten or twelve days to some hole in Franche-Comté, where the devil may perhaps not come to torment me with his pomps and work. But you, who are spry, come some evening after your dinner and we will have a mug at the local cabaret, which will do you as much good as an ample banquet. Friendship, and understanding as well, is surely found in a modest “to your health.” […]
If we want a clear indication of the gulf between the possible (resultant) anarchism suggested by Proudhon’s mature work and the historical anarchism that emerged in the late 19th century, we probably don’t have to look beyond the almost universal suspicion that Proudhon’s final works themselves mark a retreat from the anarchist project — and the fact that the resultant anarchy that seems to occupy a central place in that work simply does not seem to register among our theoretical options. […]