Constitutions and Organic Bases

Tomorrow night’s discussion at Laughing Horse Books will be on “Panarchy and Pantarchy, with a brief look at Proudhon’s theory of the state.” As I told the collective yesterday, “It will be breezier than it sounds.” I had initially meant to pair Paul Émile de Puydt’s 1860 “Panarchy,” which proposes a free market in governments, just with some documents relating to Stephen Pearl Andrews’ Pantarchy, which was an anarchistic outlier, from roughly the same year, strongly influenced by August Comte and heavy on voluntary hierarchy, with Andrews expecting to find himself, voluntarily, pretty much at the top of the heap. I have written about the Pantarchy and New Catholic Church, in “Anarchist Church, Anarchist State. . . Anarchist Inquisition?” and “Stephen Pearl Andrews’ ‘New Catholic Church’.” I have issues with both projects: Panarchy seems to be impracticable except as a kind of dress-up game for anarchism (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and Pantarchy seems a little less than inviting, though it seems to me fairly consistent. Certainly, both are worth looking at. If you want to look at Panarchy, follow the link above to John Zube’s site. For the Pantarchy, check out the links below. I have finally transcribed the New Catholic Church document.


I have a number of sermons from the New Catholic Church, gathered from various sources, which I will eventually transcribe. I have begun to type in “The Science of Universology,” from The Index, which followed the Andrews-Tucker debate on Proudhon.

Which brings us back around to Proudhon, who is just full of surprises, if you’re willing to wade in. We know that Proudhon admitted the inevitability of some sort of “state,” or state-like “concentration,” and that it was to counterbalance this that he proposed simple, individual property within anarchy. And we have some indications of what the word “state” meant to him, from The Theory of Property. But Proudhon had a habit of tucking important details in unlikely places, and I only just tracked down the pages from The Theory of Taxation where he engages in his most radical reconstruction of the notion of the “state.” There, “the State” is closely identified with that “collective force” which was so important to Proudhon’s initial critiques of property and governmentalism. And, there, it becomes clearer just what the “late” Proudhon is on about – and it is exciting, if hardly orthodox anarchism. I’ll try to finish up some translations and see if I can get that excitement across. . .

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.