Mark your calendars: July 1-14, mutualschool.org will be hosting its first educational event, a close look at the first memoir of Proudhon’s What Is Property? I’m preparing an annotated wiki version of the texts, a series of notes and “lectures” on various aspects of the text, and some short translations from related works. Proudhon’s first work on property was not his final word on the matter, and it was written at a time when he was still developing his understanding of the issues involved. There are, I think, some pretty serious problems with the text. It is, nonetheless, and deservedly so, considered one of great works of the anarchist tradition. It’s basic claim—that “property is theft”—was one which Proudhon never abandoned, even as he came to embrace property “in its aims” in his later works.
Market anarchists or anti-propertarians—we will make no headway in dealing historically with the question of “property” (or “possession” or “occupancy and use,” etc.) without coming to terms with Proudhon’s original work.
The form of the event is largely open. I can provide a discussion list, but we already have discussion lists (anarchy-list, leftlibertarian2, etc), forums (leftlibertarian.org, infoshop.org, libertarian-labyrinth.org, etc), wikis, blogs, etc. While more traditional courses will probably require the use of mutualschool.org’s Moodle “classrooms,” these “open classroom” events are perhaps best tackled as an extension of the sorts of communication we are already engaged in, and may be organized rather differently. I’m open to suggestions, and will make the resources on my sites available to facilitate things. At minimum, I’ll be setting up some wiki pages to track things, and to establish a basic path through the material, and we ought to be able to figure out a way to generate an RSS feed of material.
“Tutition” for these events will be purely voluntary. If you think that the organizing work merits compensation, then there will be opportunities to contribute to the cause. If other forums serve the project well, I would encourage contributions to support them. The formal courses, with set fees, will come in time, but these exploratory projects might as well explore our inclination and ability to create self-supporting institutions, as they explore our historical and theoretical legacy.
Spread the word. Leave a comment if you are interested in participating, or if you have suggestions. I would love to see a variety of perspectives involved in the discussion, though things will obviously work best if we all attempt to really understand the work before we critique it, or its alternatives, too much.