OK, folks. It’s time for me to start really working on the first issue of “LeftLiberty,” which I’m announcing for July 4 (about 5 weeks after I move). I’ve roughed out a logo and regular columns. You can check them out. This is the project that has grown out of the somewhat stillborn earlier discussion of an ALL zine.
The plan is to “shake the debate from both ends,” by presenting original material from early 19th-century sources, much of it newly translated, along with contemporary responses to the same issues, from a range of anarchist and libertarian positions. I’ll be translating, editing, and contributing some commentary, as well as providing some art and fiction. I have pulled a motto from Proudhon’s “Justice in the Revolution and in the Church:” “The organ of collective reason is the same as that of the collective force: it is the group…” It is, perhaps, not immediately clear why this is a great motto for an individualist journal. But the first two issues will be dealing with precisely the issues of the individual and society, and Proudhon’s “collective force” notion will get some explanation and play. The main text for Issue One will be Pierre Leroux’s 1834 “Individualism and Socialism,” basically the first comparison in modern terms of the two concepts, by the guy who claimed to have invented them both. (He was very nearly right.) From the text:
“We are again at the same point,” he wrote, in a moment of particular social tension, following the massacre in the Rue Transnonain, “with two pistols [extreme individualism and extreme socialism] charged and pointed at one another. Our soul is the prize of two equal and apparently contrary powers. Our perplexity will only cease when the social science succeeds in harmonizing the two principles, who our two tendencies have been satisfied. Then an immense contentment will replace that anguish.”
Not quite an anarchist, but essentially a mutualist before the fact, Leroux was one of Proudhon’s primary foils. He was also, par extraordinaire, the philosopher of “solidarity,” which will be the focus of the second issue.
I’ve just solicited a first round of responses to questions. The “Market Anarchist Answers” question will probably be about commerce and reciprocity.
“Slackwater and Swift” is part of an alternate history of Gilead (now Grand Rapids), OH, which is just up the road a piece from me, and which was owned by Lysander Spooner, during his 1830s land-speculation days. It deals with property rights: how to organize knowledge-work without patent law, and how to harmonize property rights with issues like wetlands preservation.