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Margins and Problems: Disquisitions and Demands

This is obviously a narrow conception of anarchism, but also one that we will find, combined with other elements, in quite a number of the works he will examine moving forward. In 1840, for example, Proudhon will assure us that, thanks in part to his anarchistic analysis, “the despotism of the will will be succeeded by the reign of reason”—but it isn’t at all clear that the transition will be rapid or the road smooth. […]

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Margins and Problems: A Philosophical Anarchism

We’re concerned, in these early phases of the survey, with the means by which we might recognize an anarchism emerging in contexts where that term did not yet have any of its familiar associations. What are the conditions for an emerging body of thought to inspire in us the same responses we have to the sorts of anarchism we presently espouse? […]

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Margins and Problems: Questions of Nature and Artifice

As we move forward, let’s propose some distinctions between the various varieties of anarchism and near-anarchism that we might encounter. Let’s start with an ideal and probably nonexistent integral anarchism, which would represent a successful synthesis or distillation of the various attempts to express basic anarchist principles in a way that would simply allow us to apply them. That sort of anarchism might require a significant body of work to express—or it might be the sort of thing that, finally clarified, could be comfortably scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin. […]

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Anarchist History: Margins and Problems

The best and the worst thing about anarchist history—or the anarchist past, fodder for various anarchist histories—is probably just the fact that there is so much of it. It’s no simple thing just to establish a general sense of the progression of events in time. So the first thing we’ll try to accomplish in this part of the course is to just make our way, decade by decade, from the 1830s to the 1930s, noting the general state of anarchist ideas and movements, together with some of the contexts that seem most useful for understanding the work of anarchists in each period. […]