Reading Proudhon Today

There is a lot of interesting material in Proudhon’s unpublished manuscripts, not all of which is vital to understanding his project, but there are two sets of texts in particular that any serious student should at least be aware of—if only to know what we don’t know. […]

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A Schematic Anarchism: Notes on Application

It’s no very great leap from the position I had already taken in “A Schematic Anarchism” to the one I’ve been exploring in Proudhon’s manuscripts. In general, I have been proposing that we shift our approach from endless, more or less interminable arguments about whether or not a given ideology or practice is anarchism or not to analyses of proposed anarchisms that ask: “If we treat X as an instance of anarchism, in what sense is that claim true and how does it compare to other instances?” The answers to that question ought to demonstrate that some of the proposed anarchisms only qualify in the most trivial senses, on the basis of the most implausible explanations, while others can be plausibly situated among the ranks of anarchisms on the basis of a variety of plausible narratives. […]


Anarchist History: A Mutualist’s-Eye-View

My understanding of anarchist history is clearly—and quite consciously—the product of certain trajectories through the field of anarchist studies and through the sectarian landscape of the anarchist milieus. It is perhaps important to underline this fact, particular as it is such a central point of my analysis that the dominant narratives regarding anarchist history have a similar character—and that “anarchist history” might, through relatively small changes in the times and places where it was told, have looked very different and perhaps gone by different names. […]


Anarchism as a Fundamentally Unfinished Project

My argument about the anarchist tradition, in its most modest form, is that there is nothing about the history of variously “anarchist” ideas—particularly when the tale begins in 1840 or before—that precludes a real, future convergence toward an anarchism that both focuses on anarchy (in its strongest senses) and provides a vehicle for the sort of social reforms that have most often been promoted in the name of “anarchism.” […]