There is a lot of interesting material in Proudhon’s unpublished manuscripts, not all of which is vital to understanding his project, but there are two sets of texts in particular that any serious student should at least be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. […]
This is the most complete and exact map that has been drawn of the human soul to date; consequently, and if our title is true, it is the system of the world. Any man can grasp the whole of it, but no one has sounded its depths. […]
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. […]
It is this lack of definitions that establishes, as we will see, that Economy has been unable thus far to posit axioms, to demonstrate a method, to indicate its limits, and make known its object, that is to say to respond to that question, without which it cannot rank among the sciences: What is your name? Who are you? […]
At the beginning of a new work, we should explain our title and our intentions.
Ever since humanity entered the period of civilization, for as long as anyone can recall, the people, said Paul Louis Courier, have prayed and paid.
They pray for their princes, for their magistrates, for their exploiters and their parasites;
They pray, like Jesus Christ, for their executioners;
They pray for the very ones who should, by rights, pray for them. […]
One of the things that makes those later works so difficult for anarchists to understand and use is that, while they are the occasion for some of the most interesting developments of Proudhon’s anarchistic social science, they are, almost without exception, addressed to problems within clearly archic social systems. […]
“Humanity proceeds by approximations.” — Proudhon, Theory of Property — This statement by Proudhon was one of the central elements of what was, in retrospect, the first attempt to understand mutualism as a neo-Proudhonian anarchism in the unfinished series on “The Anarchism of Approximations,” way back in 2007. […]