At long last, Crispin Sartwell’s Josiah Warren anthology, “The Practical Anarchist,” has been published by Fordham University Press. It’s a very nice collection, the sort of thing that will give readers insight into both Warren’s key ideas and the breadth of his contributions. I got to play research assistant for the project for awhile, and a number of my favorite finds from that period made the cut for inclusion. This is a hardcover volume, at a hardcover price, but it is a well-designed, well-bound book that fills a big gap in the literature. Have your library grab it if you can’t—in either case, it will be money well spent. Readers should also be aware, as Crispin explains in his introduction, that he has done a touch of editing and modernizing of the main texts, in order to make them a bit more accessible to modern readers. I think the result is very successful, although, as a fan of Warren’s writing and more than a bit of a purist on these matters, it pains me just a little.
“Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty,” edited by Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson, will start shipping November 5. It’s an anthology of “the market anarchist tradition,” published by Minor Compositions, featuring work by historical figures such as Voltairine de Cleyre, Dyer D. Lum, and Benjamin R. Tucker, and a sort of who’s who of contemporary left-libertarians, such as Charles and Gary, Roderick Long, Sheldon Richman, Kevin Carson, William Gillis, Jeremy Weiland, etc. The material is worth wrestling with, whether or not you’re inclined to agree with it, if you haven’t encountered it before. My own essay on “The Gift Economy of Property” also made the cut, and a couple of essays I unearthed and/or drew attention to back in my left-libertarian days are included—which is, honestly, a mix of gratifying and awkward, given my own increasing distance from the notion of “market anarchism.” Minor personal awkwardness aside, however, this is a well-selected collection of sharp essays, and the “tradition” proposed deserves consideration.
Congratulations to my friends on their publications.
Incidentally, when you’ve got the book, here’s a fun exercise you can do at home: take the excerpts from General Idea of the Revolution in our book, and then take the excerpts in Iaian’s big new reader, and put them next to each other, so you can see how often the bits that Iaian chose to omit are the parts that we chose to include, and how often the parts we chose to include are parts that Iaian chose to omit. Of course, in both cases we have the excuse that it is but one piece in a much larger collection, and at least in our case we had the the overarching task of trying to select and present some specific threads in Proudhon’s writing — not the whole tapestry — and in particular those threads that were especially prominent in the conversation that the book is intended to introduce. But, the comparison is fun and probably instructive nevertheless.
(* When we prepared the excerpt, we explicitly set about making an excerpt that would try to present something like “the individualists’ Proudhon,” i.e., something representative of the thread in Proudhon’s thought that Tucker and his correspondents most sympathized with and drew the most from; hence the explicit disclaimer in the Introduction about what’s in the excerpt and what’s not in the excerpt.)