From the Archives

Victor Yarros, “Benjamin R. Tucker—The Man”

Of Benjamin R. Tucker, the founder and leading exponent of individualist. philosophical Anarchism, I have written elsewhere. Of Tucker the man, little has been written by anyone, and I propose to record here impressions and recollections of him based on many years close association with him, personal as well as intellectual and ideological. […]

From the Archives

Victor Yarros, “‘Egoism’ Bedeviling Anarchism”

Benjamin R. Tucker’s rather sudden conversion to Max Stirner’s philosophy of Egoism was a calamitous accident. There is nothing in common between individualist and philosophical Anarchism as Tucker developed it on the foundations laid by Jefferson, Thoreau, Emerson, Warren, Spooner, Spencer, Herbert, Green and Andrews, and Stirner’s German political metaphysics. Some of Tucker’s adherents uncritically swallowed. Egoism and persuaded themselves that it was a corollary, if not a logical deduction from anarchistic premises. This was a gross error. Egoism is half platitudinous, half fallacious. […]

Working Translations

Benjamin R. Tucker, “Anarchism: Communist or Individualist?” (FR/EN)

Our era demands imperatively an economic solution. No movement of social transformation will gain immense proportions if it does not first satisfy that demand. That is why the “immense movement, truly anarchist in sentiment” that Max Nettlau proclaims as “absolutely indispensable well before the question of economic remedies arises” appears to me absolutely impossible. […]

Working Translations

Ernest Lesigne, “Socialist Letters” (1887)

I have already told you, my dear friend, that the socialization of the means of production is a dogma; that a dogma is proclaimed, taught, imposed; that it has its faithful, its apostles its sectarians, its priests, its martyrs, and its visionaries; but that it is not opened, justified, demonstrated.

The dogma is by nature mysterious and obscure, and you ask me to throw some light upon it, on the ground that I have taken as my motto, “Whatsoever is not clear is not true.” […]

Working Translations

Benjamin R. Tucker on (both of) the French anarchists (1904)

— I have recently had the pleasure of paying a visit to the camarade Benj. R. Tucker, whose ideas have been made known to you through our study of the work of Mr. Paul Ghio. Benj. R. Tucker is a great admirer of Max Stirner and of Proudhon, no one will doubt it, and of Mr. Henry Maret. He does not give of himself lightly, so we can only congratulate ourselves on his cordiality, as well as the graciousness of Mme. Tucker. Benj. R. Tucker is not very affectionate toward the libertarians of this country and it was not without  a smile that he frankly declared to us that “there are not three anarchists in France.” […]

From the Archives

William Bailie in “Liberty” (1891–1906)

The series of articles from the pen of William Bailie, begun in this number under the general title of “Problems of Anarchism,” will probably continue for many months and will deal with most of the sociological questions with which the Anarchistic movement is concerned. I have seen but a small part of the manuscript as yet, but, knowing Comrade Bailie as I do and the excellent articles that he has previously written for Liberty, I feel justified in beginning its publication, regardless of any deviations from Liberty’s chosen path that future chapters may show. I do not expect that his views will differ materially from Liberty’s, but in any case Comrade Bailie’s earnestness and ability furnish a perfect guarantee that the differences which may develop will be worth considering. […]

A Good Word

Benjamin R. Tucker, “Anarchism or Anarchy” (1881)

At the center of this pamphlet is a disagreement about the use of the terms anarchy and anarchism—a topic that has grown in interest for me in recent years. W. H. Tillinghast accuses Tucker of “misusing words” when he uses the term anarchism to describe anarchist beliefs. The proper word, he claims, would be anarchy—or, more specifically, an-archy (from Proudhon’s occasional spelling, an-archie.) He would seem, from a modern perspective, to be a bit confused and Tucker’s response would be correct, if perhaps a bit excessive. It is easy to forget that in 1881 anarchism was still a “rare” word, whether in English or French. […]