It was a good day for a variety of reasons. I got a chance to hike around Mt. Tabor, the extinct volcano that sits in the middle of Portland’s eastside, wandering around the top as the fog burned off over the city. And I completed, except for a few thorny passages here and there, a draft of my translation of Proudhon’s Philosophy of Progress. I actually tapped in the last couple of pages on my Nokia tablet while riding into town. I’m excited about the translation for a number of reasons. Although there have been a couple of important partial translations — most notably Richard Vernon’s translation of much of The Principle of Federation and the portions of La Révolution sociale, démontrée par le coup d’état du 2 décembre that appeared in John Burt Halsted’s generally overlooked December 2, 1851: Contemporary Writings on the Coup D’etat of Louis Napoleon — some bits and pieces, and a subtantial job of unearthing and completing the Proudhon-Bastiat debate by Roderick Long, and there are unpublished treasures like Jesse Cohn’s translations that are just starting to see the light of day at Collective Reason, it looks to me like the last complete translation of a book-length work by Proudhon into English was the 1923 John Beverly Robinson translation of The General Idea of the Revolution. It should come as no surprise that the waning of the Tuckerite individualist tradition meant a waning in Proudhon translations. It will be a pleasure to feature Philosophy of Progress in LeftLiberty, a periodical which seeks, among other things, to pick up a number of the dropped threads of that tradition.
LeftLiberty has gone through a lot of changes since I proposed it. So have I, and so has the left-libertarian alliance. I initially rushed forward, hoping to catch a swell of enthusiasm that did quite turn into contributions, targeting some specific debates which were important for awhile, but probably aren’t the most important thing to foreground in a movement journal. And, despite the fact that it is largely a one-man show at the moment, LeftLiberty is going to have “journal” heft, even if it is probably more accurately a big, nerdy zine.
The first issue will be out when it’s finished, probably in March. It will feature a rather different slate of features than originally announced: a front section, “ALLigations,” featuring editorial commentary on the historical and theoretical material included in the central section, plus more contemporary writing about the issues currently facing the anarchist movement; the theory/history section, which will include large chunks of new translation, previously unpublished materials, and occasional educational materials to go with them, with a heavy emphasis on historical mutualism and its sources; a section of fiction, aimed in part at illustrating some of the theoretical material, beginning with section of “Another World is Possible,” the introductory volume for The Distributive Passions; and a section about the ALLiance itself, with news and reviews.
It is the last section that I would like help with at the outset. Although it was not what I initially set out to put together, I have grown comfortable with the very Tuckerite notion of a periodical written to suit its editor, particularly as I, the editor, think I have some good stuff to share, and as the ALLiance itself is more a collection of strong, mutually engaged voices than anything else, making it not unreasonable to be very individual and relatively representative at the same time. With the historical sections, I want to solve once and for all some of the problems posed by the simple unavailability of key theoretical texts. If I can compile even three issues a year, five years’ output would fill most of the gaping holes in our understanding of Proudhon, Leroux, Greene, Bellegarrigue, Dejacque, etc. (just to mention the work that is in-progress, and there really is a remarkable snowball of stuff nearing completion.)
But one strong voice alone isn’t really enough, even for the fairly specialized role I imagine LeftLiberty filling. While I’m filling in backstory, it would be nice if we could clarify our joint present. So…
If anyone in the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left, or the responsible parties at any other left-libertarian blog or website, would like to send me a short description of their blog or site, their goals with regard to the ALL, etc., email it to me through the profile page on blogger, put it in the comments thread for this post, or email it to me directly.
And if anyone would like to try their hand at the sort of internal communication or exhortation that I have done from time to time at On ALLiance, email those to me as well, or post them and let me know where to find them.
If you have any questions about what I’m looking for, ask, or just send me something anyway.