Sunday, January 28, 2007

Eliphalet Kimball on Anarchy, part 2

Here's the second half of Eliphalet Kimball's essay "Civilization--Anarchy," from the August 26, 1863 Boston Investigator. There is a great deal here that may seem naive, and out of step with the anarchist movement generally. This shouldn't surprise us. In 1863, it would be hard to say that there was an anarchist movement, particularly in America, where most of the strong proponents of libertarian thought still avoided the term anarchy. Ten years later, things would be different, but Kimball, writing in the period of the Civil War, is really pretty well out on his own in celebrating anarchy. Primitivists and zero-workers may be amused to find some anticipations here, twenty years before the publication of The Right to Be Lazy.

For the Boston Investigator
Abolish all public schools. Children are literally schooled to death. The growing brain is tender and unable without injury to bear much labor. It needs quietude to grow and strengthen. The mind and the whole system are weakened by close attention to study in youth. In the schools of this country the minds of the young are crammed with what they are not old enough to understand. Little that is useful is taught at school or college. Napoleon said that he never learned anything at school that was ever of use to him, except mathematics. Confinement in school is violence to nature, and great injury to the health. Freedom in the open air is the place for children, and they have no business with much learning. Through the influence of the clergy, children are not allowed a day of rest from study—their brain labor is kept up in Sunday schools. To cram nursing infants with beef steak and baked beans would not be more unreasonable and injurious than the school system of the United States. Under anarchy all would be producers with no useless and injurious classes. Consequently nobody would need to work more than three or four hours a day, and parents would have leisure to teach their children, and improve their own minds by reading and reflecting. Except learning to read and write, study ought to be put off till the age of maturity, both for the sake of health, and that they may have judgment to choose their own studies, and understand them. The riper the mind, the more progress is made. Good education, of course, is of great importance, but it is a shallow opinion that education preserves virtue and freedom.

Learning makes nobody good nor free. The uneducated laboring class have the most virtue. Masters might safely educate their slaves, for they could gain their freedom no sooner by it. Even without education, anarchy would preserve virtue and freedom. Laboring people with little learning use more good sense than those who are called educated, and savages more than civilized people. No person's education is finished until death.

Luxury and show are enemies to virtue and freedom. They are ruin to any people. Human Government is their case, and anarchy or the course of Nature would abolish and prevent them. Almost everything in this country is spoiled with what is called "ornament." Whatever is added to an object only for ornament is in reality deformity. Nature adds nothing for ornament. Painted houses and papered rooms are not pleasing to persons of good mind. All beauty is plain. All truly handsome faces are plain. Beautiful flowers are plain.—Nature never changed the style of its dress. A good style is always good. Any old dress, if clean, is decent and respectable. A rich and showy one is not decent. The most respectable dress is a ragged one covered with dirt and sweat, and worn by an honest laboring man. Great principles are connected with the subject of dress.

A weekly day of rest is part of civilization, as it is enforced by law. It is unnatural and unsuitable.—No person can labor all day without injury to his constitution—to say nothing of six days. Instead of a weekly day of rest, it ought to be hours of rest every day. Healthy and strong persons who do but little labor, are injured by a day of rest, for they need labor enough for exercise every day. With regard to the religious character of the day, no line can be drawn between works of necessity and those which are not. Either all work is necessary on the Sabbath, or none is, not even "boiling a teakettle," or making a bed. It might be necessary for a poor man with a family to labor on Sunday. Anarchy would abolish a weekly day of rest, for no person would need to labor more than three or four hours a day.

Mexico is about to have a monarchy forced upon her by Napoleon. In that country a few men hold all the land. A man's land there sometimes reaches eighty miles. In some parts of the country in a week's travel, all the land on both sides of the road belongs to the church. Two brothers named Sanches own the whole State of Coahuila. Mexico needs anarchy to break up land ownership, and give the people each one a chance to take what land he needs. Monarchy, of course, will fasten the evil stronger upon them.

The world may be safely challenged for arguments in favor of the need or innocence of human law.
Jersey City, (N. J.,) Aug 3, 1863.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Eliphalet Kimball on Anarchy, 1863

Here's another mid-19th-century anarchist, writing in the pages of the Boston Investigator (XXXIII, 15, Aug. 18, 1863, p. 114). I'll post the second half soon, along with some additional material from Eliphalet Kimball.

For the Boston Investigator

The word civilization from the Latin word civitas, "a city,"—or civis, a "citizen," and signifies Government, and its effect on society. The effect of government is ignorance, falsehood, luxury, inequality, aristocracy, crime, and unhappiness. Such, then, is civilization. It is evil and progress in evil. Culture of science, enlightenment, and progress in agriculture and art, are not effects of made-Governments. They are not civilization, and have no connection with it. Born-Government is their genial soil, in which they would best flourish.

To call civilization good, and anarchy evil, is a want of reflection, and with aristocrats it is connected with a want of goodness. The advocates of law, like the advocates of religion, have got everything wrong end first. The word anarchy is derived from two Greek words a or an, "without," and arche, a "head" or "beginning." The Universe is in a state of anarchy, always was, and ever will be so. Order is a sure effect of anarchical Government, and under any other Government it is impossible. The effects of anarchy on society is visible in a hive of bees, a village of beavers, a hill of ants, a flock of wild pigeons, or geese, in their passage, and among all other animals. The story that honey bees are governed by a queen is not true. All Nature contradicts it. The social life of beasts is good. Beasts are worthy of respect. Mankind in general believe in great falsehoods and wrongs for truth and right, but beasts do not. In some kinds of knowledge they are superior to man. For my part I never kill any of them except bed-bugs and mosquitoes. I consider they have the same rights that I have. Even the trees of the forest avoid injuring each other—they put forth few or no branches that can interfere with their neighbors. Undoubtedly, it is the same with their roots. By injuring their neighbors they would injure themselves.

Nature has no straight lines for matter, nor for mind and morals. If the stars in the sky, and the trees in the woods, were to be arranged in straight row, it would be disorder to them. A river forced to run in a straight line would be in disorder.—Man-made law is straight lines for mind and morals. That moral disorder is the consequence, is attested by the social condition of every civilized and half-civilized people. The regularity of art is irregularity, when applied to Nature. To make straight rules beforehand for all future occasions, is the extreme of folly and harm. Leave it all until the occasion comes, and then everything would naturally settle itself easy and right. The attempt of man to regulate society by art, concurs with the religious idea that the Universe is a work of art from the hands of a God. If there is a God, and the Universe is his work, then there is no Nature. If there is a Nature, it proves there is no God. God and Nature cannot both be.

It is the fault of the radical reformers, that they are no radical enough. They think something must be done to regulate society, when in truth doing anything is doing too much. Any general arrangement or organization whatever by man is sure to bring evil without good, because it conflicts with the laws of order and harmony which prevail in the anarchical Universe. "Building up" has done all the mischief. Made-rules of any kind are like a board put over the top of a chimney which fills the house with smoke. To settle a bucket of riley water, it must be left alone. There is no such thing as being too radical unless a person can be too rational. No society can ever be in good condition in which are men of large capital. Under born-Governments an accumulation of great wealth by any one man would be impossible. Occupation of the land would be just what it ought to be. Every person would cultivate what he needed for a plain support, and would not in general wish for more. All would be willing he should have it. Where nobody claimed our land, there could be no disputes about it. All or nearly all would be disposed to do as they would be done by. The dispositions of mankind would be entirely different, and better than they are under made-Government. A wrong if attempted could not in general be carried out against the general sentiments of the community. Under anarchy, all would turn out cheerfully to do their part in making roads. Whatever is necessary for the people to do unitedly can be done better with out law than with it. It is to be hoped the people would have good sense enough to abolish all public schools. They are a great injury to the young. At home and alone is the place to study, and parents are the proper teachers of their children. Nobody can study well in company.

Jersey City, (N. J.,) Aug. 3, 1863.

Carnival of Anarchy #2

My contribution to the second Carnival of Anarchy, Old names and new positions, is now available on the Carnival blog.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Anarchist Church, Anarchist State. . . Anarchist Inquisition?

Stephen Pearl Andrews, "Andrusius," The Pantarch—the history of radical reform in the United States is full of colorful characters and extravagant projects, but Andrews and his Pantarchy (complete with the philosophy of Universology, universal languages Alwato and Tīkīwā, and New Catholic Church) stands out, even in a crowd which includes Lewis Masquerier and his "compulsory homestead" scheme or Edgar Chambless' Roadtown.

In anarchist circles, Andrews is probably most respected and best remembered for his advocacy of Josiah Warren's cost principle and doctrine of individual sovereignty, or for his agitations in the cause of "free love." But our picture is not complete if we do not consider Andrews in his roles as philologist, abolitionist, phonographer, associationist, spiritualist, student of Comte, etc., etc. The Universological texts, which Andrews considered his major works, are daunting, and organized according to principles that simply don't have much currency in our day and age.

The synthesis that Andrews attempts is remarkable, and bears some resemblance to other early anarchist philosophies. There are, perhaps, two primary types among the early American anarchists. One, common to the ex-Owenites Warren and Masquerier, focuses on just a few basic principles, and constructs its systems and experiments from those. The other, characteristic of Greene, with his Saint-Simonian influences, and Andrews, who never, it seems, really stopped being a student of Fourier and Comte, seeks its basic principles in analogies and syntheses, drawing more and more into its system as it is elaborated. This second approach is prone to producing dialectical relationships between ideas, to flirtations with paradox, and to complex rhetorical shifts. In this tradition, Proudhon's turn to the treatment of the "aims" of property and the state might be considered exemplary in many ways. We might not be too far out of line in thinking of the project of the later Proudhon as an attempt at the transvaluation of these concepts and their attached values.

The potential paradoxes introduced in Proudhon's developing system come into a sort of full bloom in Stephen Pearl Andrews' Constitution or Organic Basis of the Pantarchy, published as by "Andrusius, Pantarch" in 1860, with copyright registered in the name of William S. Andrews (probably the son of S. P. A.) The political organization described therein mixes the philosophy of individual sovereignty with the form of a benevolent dictatorship—and pulls the trick off with a rather remarkable degree of success. Article IX gives a theoretical explanation:

The Pantarchy is a Grand Composite Order of Government, reaching with its influences every department of human affairs, and involving in itself, and reconciling with each other, in a compound harmony, the Monarchical, the Aristocratic, and the Democratic Principles; hitherto deemed irreconcilable with each other; or, at best, but partially reconciled and actually hindering each other in the so-called Mixed Governments of the past.

Andrews gives us an anarchist state, an anarchist church, all the pomp and circumstance of the most hierarchical societies organized according to a strict voluntarism. We even get an Anarchist Inquisition:

More immediately connected with the Legislature and the Supreme Government, will be the Grand Court of the Inquisition, re-established with more than all the rigor and efficiency of its history in the past; but with this difference, that the Inquisition of the Pantarchy, instead of applying its tortures to the bodies of men, will put to the question the principles of Nature and Nature herself, compelling them to confess their most hidden secrets through the severest trials
which they are able to endure. It will be the business of the Inquisition to bring to every variety of test all pretended new Principles, Discoveries, and Inventions, in every department of life; to force from them the fullest disclosure of their promise of value to mankind; and to report to the government all such as survive the trial, for promulgation to the world, with a recommendation to governmental aid of the most valuable and the most needy. The Inquisition will be, therefore, the patron institution and the foster-parent of the discoverers, inventors, and reformers.

To select more pieces of the Andrusian plan would be simply to invite their ridicule, while the whole document presents a rather more positive appearance. Reading it, I am reminded of the various competing governmental forms in Paul Emile De Puydt's Panarchy. I have criticized that scheme in the past, on the basis that its operation really depends at base on a widely shared concern with liberty, without which the "free market in governments" is likely to collapse into something more authoritarian. What Andrews' Pantarchy suggests is the extent to which forms which are currently authoritarian in practice might, from that shared libertarian base, be transfigured. Several steps on beyond the late Proudhon, Andrews dares to rethink virtually all the trappings of authoritarian government according to the best among their possible aims. I'm not certain I would want to live in the Pantarchy, but it is at the very least an intriguing thought experiment, perhaps not so far removed from the mainstream of anarchist tradition as we might have thought.

Armies that Overlap - Tucker on Anarchism and Socialism

Here's another statement from Liberty on the relationship between anarchism and socialism (the topic of this weekend's Carnival of Anarchy), which originally appeared in the issue of March 8, 1890 (p.4).

Armies that Overlap.

Of late the "Twentieth Century " has been doing a good deal in the way of definition. Now, definition is very particular business, and it seems to me that it is not always performed with due care in the "Twentieth Century" office.

Take this, for instance: A Socialist is "one who believes that each industry should be coordinated for the mutual benefit of all concerned under a government by physical force."

It is true that writers of reputation have given definitions of Socialism not differing in any essential from the foregoing,—among others, General Walker. But it has been elaborately proven in these columns that General Walker is utterly at sea when he talks about either Socialism or Anarchism. As a matter of fact this definition is fundamentally faulty, and correctly defines only State Socialism.

An analogous definition in another sphere would be this: Religion is belief in the Messiahship of Jesus. Supposing this to be a correct definition of the Christian religion, none the less it is manifestly incorrect as a definition of religion itself. The fact that Christianity has overshadowed all other forms of religion in this part of the world gives it no right to a monopoly of the religious idea. Similarly, the fact that State Socialism during the last decade or two has overshadowed other forms of Socialism gives it no right to a monopoly of the Socialistic idea.

Socialism, as such, implies neither liberty nor authority. The word itself implies nothing more than harmonious relationship. In fact, it is so broad a term that it is difficult of definition. I certainly lay claim to no special authority or competence in the matter. I simply maintain that, the word Socialism having been applied for years, by common usage and consent, as a generic term, to various schools of thought and opinion, those who try to define it are bound to seek the common element of all these schools and make it stand for that, and have no business to make it represent the specific nature of any one of them. The "Twentieth Century" definition will not stand this test at all.

Perhaps here is one that satisfies it: Socialism is the belief that progress is mainly to be effected by acting upon man through his environment rather than through man upon his environment.

I fancy that this will be criticised as too general, and I am inclined to accept the criticism. It manifestly includes all who have any title to he called Socialists, but possibly it does not exclude all who have no such title.

Let ns narrow it a little: Socialism is the belief that the next important step in progress is a change in man's environment of an economic character that shall include the abolition of every privilege whereby the holder of wealth acquires an anti-social power to compel tribute.

I doubt not that this definition can be much improved, and suggestions looking to that end will be interesting; but it is at least an attempt to cover all the forms of protest against the existing usurious economic system. I have always considered myself a member of the great body of Socialists, and I object to being read out of it or defined out of it by General Walker, Mr. Pentecost, or anybody else, simply because I am not a follower of Karl Marx.

Take now another "Twentieth Century " definition,—that of Anarchism. I have not the number of the paper in which it as given, and cannot quote it exactly. But it certainly made belief in cooperation an essential of Anarchism. This is as erroneous as the definition of Socialism. Cooperation isno more an essential of Anarchism than force is of Socialism. The fact that the majority of Anarchists believe in cooperation is not what makes them Anarchists, just as the fact that the majority of Socialists believe in force is not what makes them Socialisrs. Socialism is neither for nor against liberty; Anarchism is for liberty, and neither for nor against anything else. Anarchy is the mother of cooperation,— yes, just as liberty is the mother of order; hut, as a matter of definition, liberty is not order nor is Anarchism cooperation.

I define Anarchism as the belief in the greatest amount of liberty compatible with equality of liberty; or, in other words, as the belief in every liberty except the liberty to invade.

It will be observed that, according to the "Twentieth Century" definitions, Socialism excludes Anarchism, while, according to Liberty's definitions, a Socialist may or may not be an Anarchist, and an Anarchist may or may not he a Socialist. Relaxing scientific exactness, it may be said, briefly and broadly, that Socialism is a battle with usury and that Anarchism is a battle with authority. The two armies— Socialism and Anarchism—are neither coextensive nor exclusive; but they overlap. The right wing of one is the left wing of the other. The virtue and superiority of the Anarchistic Socialist—or Socialistic Anarchist, as he may prefer to call himself—lies in the fact that he fights in the wing that is common to both. Of course there is a sense in which every Anarchist may be said to be a Socialist virtually, inasmuch as usury rests on authority and to destroy the latter is to destroy the former. But it scarcely seems proper to give the name Socialist to one who is such unconsciously, neither desiring, intending, nor knowing it. T.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Milo Hastings entry at Wikipedia

Congratulations are in order to the very busy editor who has been working on the Milo Hastings article on Wikipedia. I did a little work on it back in December, shortly after my post on Hastings here. The original editor, who has access to family pictures and other material, has now worked the page up into something very nice. Among the new details: Hastings was the grandson of abolitionist preacher Pardee Butler.

Ernest Lesigne on "The Two Socialisms"

The third Carnival of Anarchy, scheduled for the upcoming weekend, is on "Anarchism and Socialism." I'll probably be posted related items off and on all week. Here's an important item from the pages of Liberty. Ernest Lesigne wrote a series of Socialistic letters for Le Radical, and Benjamin R. Tucker printed some in translation. This one is certainly on-topic this week.

Socialistic Letter
[Le Radical]
There are two Socialisms.
One is communistic, the other solidaritarian.
One is dictatorial, the other libertarian.
One is metaphysical, the other positive.
One is dogmatic, the other scientific.
One is emotional, the other reflective.
One is destructive, the other constructive.
Both are in pursuit of the greatest possible welfare for all.
One aims to establish happiness for all, the other to enable each to be happy in his own way.
The first regards the State as a society sui generis, of an especial essence, the product of a sort of divine right outside of and above all society, with special rights and able to exact special obediences; the second considers the State as an association like any other, generally managed worse than others.
The first proclaims the sovereignty of the State, the second recognizes no sort of sovereign.
One wishes all monopolies to be held by the State; the other wishes the abolition of all monopolies.
One wishes the governed class to become the governing class; the other wishes the disappearance of classes.
Both declare that the existing state of things cannot last.
The first considers revolutions as the indispensable agent of evolutions; the second teaches that repression alone turns evolutions into revolution.
The first has faith in a cataclysm.
The second knows that social progress will result from the free play of individual efforts.
Both understand that we are entering upon a new historic phase.
One wishes that there should be none but proletaires.
The other wishes that there should be no more proletaires.
The first wishes to take everything away from everybody.
The second wishes to leave each in possession of its own.
The one wishes to expropriate everybody.
The other wishes everybody to be a proprietor.
The first says: ‘Do as the government wishes.’
The second says: ‘Do as you wish yourself.’
The former threatens with despotism.
The latter promises liberty.
The former makes the citizen the subject of the State.
The latter makes the State the employee of the citizen.
One proclaims that labor pains will be necessary to the birth of a new world.
The other declares that real progress will not cause suffering to any one.
The first has confidence in social war.
The other believes only in the works of peace.
One aspires to command, to regulate, to legislate.
The other wishes to attain the minimum of command, of regulation, of legislation.
One would be followed by the most atrocious of reactions.
The other opens unlimited horizons to progress.
The first will fail; the other will succeed.
Both desire equality.
One by lowering heads that are too high.
The other by raising heads that are too low.
One sees equality under a common yoke.
The other will secure equality in complete liberty.
One is intolerant, the other tolerant.
One frightens, the other reassures.
The first wishes to instruct everybody.
The second wishes to enable everybody to instruct himself.
The first wishes to support everybody.
The second wishes to enable everybody to support himself.
One says:
The land to the State.
The mine to the State.
The tool to the State.
The product to the State.
The other says:
The land to the cultivator.
The mine to the miner.
The tool to the laborer.
The product to the producer.
There are only these two Socialisms.
One is the infancy of Socialism; the other is its manhood.
One is already the past; the other is the future.
One will give place to the other.
Today each of us must choose for the one or the other of these two Socialisms, or else confess that he is not a Socialist.”

Liberty V, 10 (December 17, 1887), No. 114, p. 5.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Josiah Warren - Letter to Louis Kossuth

[This is the first fruits of an expedition through the microfilm available to me of the Boston Investigator. I was particularly in search of the contributions of Lewis Masquerier, many of which ended up in his "instead of a book" compilation, Sociology. Working through an unfortunately fragmentary archive, I have indeed dug up some of those items—including the first two "Godology" essays—as well as quite a few uncollected pieces—such as an exchange on the merits of different phonotypic systems. But I also found several contributions by Josiah Warren, including this "open letter" to Kossuth, which is, in many ways, a really remarkable statement.]

For the Boston Investigator.
A Letter to Louis Kossuth
Governor of Hungary
Boston, Feb. 1, 1864.
Beloved and Honored Man:—When you visited this country years ago, and put forth those heart-stirring appeal in behalf of your bleeding country, my sympathies went out towards you with more than a brother’s yearning, with an intensity that no other man in the political sphere ever commanded from me. This almost idolatry, however, was mixed with a tinge of sadness from the fear of your ultimate disappointment from a cause apparently too subtle for ready detection. This was, that in resisting tyranny, your National policy might include the mistake which would convert itself into a tyranny! My fears are already confirmed at the very first step taken by your committee in their report of the 24th December. They say, on your responsibility, that they “will know how, and are determined to secure obedience to its (their) orders and the accomplishment of the measures which it (they) must take.” Here is, again, the whole issue between the freedom to differ, (or the right of individuality,) and the demand for conformity; the latter being the very essence of tyranny, against which you would array your countrymen, and ask for the sympathies of the civilized world.

That you, with your great heart and deep humanity yearnings should fall into this common error, confirms, more than anything else ever did, my standing excuse for Robespierre, Marat, Danton, and despots and tyrants all over the world, and through all the ages. It is simply a mistake—a fatal oversight. The mistake is inventing well meant systems or theories, and then endeavoring to enforce obedience thereto, by treating involuntary dissent as a crime.

Opinions and preferences are as involuntary in their action as the circulation of the blood; and to threaten dissenters with the “fate of traitors,” as your Committee have done, is to proclaim that your cause is, for the present, already lost. Remember that the freedom of dissent in subordinates might have saved Gorgey’s army—obedience to Gorgey’s “orders” lost it, and perhaps defeated your cause at that time.

Look, my brother, at this distracted and already desolate country! (America,) and behold the consequences of this same fatal error! The people here, in 1776, arrayed themselves against despotism, and resolved on having “Free Institutions;” but no sooner are these institutions put into words on paper than it is found that no two persons understand them alike! In order to have them administered at all, they must be administered by some one person, according to his particular interpretation of them, which is a return to despotism; and which, as usual, threatens the “fate of traitors” to all who remain faithful to the original idea of American freedom! Are we never to see a prospective end to the blind imitation of barbarian precedents?

You and your committee will soon find grave subjects arising, upon which you will find it impossible to agree, and no external power on earth can make any two persons agree when their mental capacities make them to differ. Difference is inevitable. It grows our of the inherent and “inalienable” INDIVIDUALITY of every person and every thing; and the true statesman, instead of making war upon this diversity, will foster and cherish difference of opinion and preferences as the very balance wheel of society; and will provide for this diversity and its full exercise to the greatest practical extent; and instead of threatening dissenters from political creeds with “the fate of traitors,” the true statesman will see that when two parties differ, one is as much a dissenter or traitor (in the vulgar sense in which the latter word is commonly used) as the other.

This word “traitor,” so flippantly and ignorantly used in this country just now, against some of its very best and wisest citizens, (because they dissent from the policy of our centralized government,) has, as it appears to me, no proper application to any person who has not voluntarily accepted some specific, definite trust, and betrayed that trust; and in this sense, it is applicable to those who being entrusted with power in order to promote public peace and prosperity, defeat these very ends, and bring on war and destruction instead; but, as this may happen through incompetency, I do not use the offensive word traitor even towards them.

I must not trouble you here with an essay on the true form and function of government; but I will endeavor to forward to you a work lately published, entitled “TRUE CIVILIZATION,” the first chapter of which is devoted to that subject.

I entreat you to hesitate in forming any institutions. You cannot form any that will work successfully any more than you can form fruit upon a tree. To be successful they must be allowed to grow, like fashions, customs, or the use of the railroad, according to their demonstrated utility, or the preferences felt for them.

A child may lead where a god cannot govern; and KOSSUTH should be the COUNSELLOR—not the governor of Hungary.

With most respectful and fraternal regard, I give you my particular address:—

Counsellor in Equity
15 Scollay’s Building
Boston, Mass., America.

[Boston Investigator, XXXIII, 41 (Feb. 17, 1864)]

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Travelling in Liberty" update, etc.

I've finally getting things rolling over at Travelling in Liberty, my examination of Benjamin R. Tucker's thought and journal, and have already drawing a good question on Tucker's relation to the rest of the anarchist tradition, with regard to wages. (Thanks, Iain!)

Joshua King Ingalls' Reminiscences is taking lots of work to annotate, but it is extremely agreeable work. Ingalls seems to have known everyone, including quite a few folks I was unfamiliar with. When I'm done with the notes on this, libertarians can take up "Three Degrees of Separation from J. K. Ingalls" as our new game. Social Wealth is nearly scanned, and will be a much quicker job to finish. There's some really remarkable material in these two works.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guinea-Pig Fleet: VLR

Another Guinea-Pig Fleet video, from the Fire Raids: Toyama disc:

Guinea-Pig Fleet - VLR

Our ideas are in everyone's archives

From the Support from Unexpected Quarters Department:

I'm a big fan of's moving pictures collection, but hadn't spent a lot of time looking at their texts. There are some gems tucked away there, including:

Both of these are, amusingly enough, sponsored by MSN.

Other finds:

There are quite a number of Looking Backward-era utopias in here, including a couple of very obscure titles.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Guinea-Pig Fleet: Hiroshima Tattoo

A little something from one of the other parts of my life:

When I'm not researching and teaching, I work as a live sound tech and karaoke jockey at a local bar. I also do some electronic music, some of which is at least partially related to the stuff readers here are more familiar with: radical history, etc. Guinea-Pig Fleet is a more or less "ambient" project—but one that serves as a periodical cleansing of the brain when my research on modern warfare, technological risk and the like gets to that overwhelming point. The video below is a very abstract accompaniment to a nearly 42-minute-long meditation on the bombing of Hiroshima. It incorporates segments from the 1945 anti-Japanese propaganda film My Japan, and various still images.

Guinea-Pig Fleet: Hiroshima Tattoo

Friday, January 05, 2007

January 6: Anniversary of the Fifth Monarchist uprising

From the Wikipedia entry:

. . . on January 6, 1661, 50 Fifth Monarchists, headed by a wine-cooper named Thomas Venner, made an effort to attain possession of London in the name of "King Jesus." Most of the fifty were either killed or taken prisoner, and on January 19 and 21, Venner and ten others were hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason.>

Also of interest: J. F. Maclear, New England and the Fifth Monarchy.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Report on Lab Reports

What's a plan if you don't change it a few times on the way to fruition? After weighing the costs in time and hassle of trying to put the new Lab Reports together as a DIY 'zine, I've decided to take the project to Lulu, which seems to be the most inexpensive and flexible of the low-to-no-initial-cost print on demand operations (hardcover options, ebook options, audio download options, etc). My goal with this project is to make as much material available in as inexpensive and usable a form as possible. I expect volumes to range between 350 and 500 pages in length, and to be a large, 8.5 x 11 format. Price tag: somewhere under $25 for the largest, thickest of the paperbacks.

Looking around my living room (and my office, and my office at the university, and my storage unit), the virtues of bindings are immediately apparent. Even in file cabinets, photocopies and print-outs are messy. Original papers, pamphlets and such are equally hard to work with. If the end result of some of these volumes is only that I can reduce some of the clutter in my life, I'll count it worth the time. But I think the payoff is going to be much greater than that.

Report #1 will be devoted to land reformer Joshua King Ingalls, and will include at least the following items:
  • Reminiscences of an Octogenarian in the Fields of Industrial and Social Reform (1897)
  • Work and Wealth (1878)
  • Economic Equities (1887)
  • "Photography" (1850)
  • "The Exodus of Labor" (1851)
  • “Books—Their Sphere and Influence" (1852)
  • "Labor, Wages, and Capital: Division of Profits Scientifically Considered" (1873)
  • contributions to The Twentieth Century
  • contributions to The American Socialist (1877)
  • contributions and debates from Liberty (1882-1895), including "Henry George Examined"
  • "Pulpit Portraits: Rev. J. K. Ingalls" (1848)
  • S. B. Brittan, "J. K. Ingalls" (1874)
  • information and illustrations on patents and inventions
  • clippings and notes relating to Ingalls' career as a Universalist minister
  • working bibliography and notes for further research
  • annotations and related texts

We'll see how many pages this comes to, once the annotations for Reminiscences are complete. I'm working on scanning Social Wealth: the Sole Factors and Exact Ratios in its Acquirement and Apportionment (1885), but I'm inclined to think that the soundest strategy is to build a second volume around that work, including the articles from The Spiritual Age and The Univercoelum, and whatever else can be collected from the Fair Play publications (Social Wealth and whatever articles followed it) and miscellaneous sources. If anyone has access to Periodical Business Crises (1878) or Land and Laborer (?), or anything that doesn't appear to be covered in my lists, I would love to hear from you.

I would like to do 8-12 of these volumes this year, but we'll play it by ear. I have quite a backlog of material. Report #2 is likely to be a Stephen Pearl Andrews/Edward B. Freeland collection, including at least:

  • Andrews, The Science of Universology (from The Index)
  • Andrews, The Great American Crisis (1863-4)
  • Andrew and Freeland on universal language (from Continental Monthly)
  • Freeland on the science of history (from Continental Monthly)
  • Andrews and the Gwynne-Sawyer Pressure Engine debate (articles from Scientific American and elsewhere)

There is so much uncollected material by and about Andrews, that it's impossible to do much more than scoop up a good-sized handful of material that is interesting, but little-known.

Beyond that, the obvious pick is Alfred B. Westrup. I have made most of the material I have available online, but The New Philosophy of Money desparately needs annotation, and the addition of related texts, Sex Slavery still needs to be tracked down and scanned, and it would be really nice to get all of the texts already in-hand collected in one handy volume. Herman Kuehn's pseudonymous Thoughts of a Fool and William Henry Van Ornum's Why Government at All? are also high on the list of works that need the treatment. I have about a dozen volumes tentatively outlined, including a couple without obviously anarchist connections, but first things first.

Does Report #1 sound tasty to anyone?

Carnival of Anarchy: Anarchist Blogging

The first go-round of the Carnival of Anarchy took place this last weekend, on the topic of "Anarchist Blogs, Anarchist Blogging." I contributed a piece called Getting Here: confessions of a mutualist blogger. Check it out!

Enclaves of Single Tax Or Economic Rent, 1921

Here's a very useful resource, available from Google Books : Enclaves of Single Tax Or Economic Rent, Being a compendium of the legal documents involved, together with a historical description, by Charles White Huntington. Covering the "single tax colonies" of Fairhope, Arden, Tahanto, Halidon, Free Acres, and Saint Jordi, this is a collection of the communities charters and reports of the status of each. There appear to have been 10 volumes released annually between 1921 and 1930. Some of you may remember these volumes being mentioned on Kevin Carson's Mutualist Blog back in June, 2005.

Stephen Pearl Andrews' "New Catholic Church"

[Here is a very nice account of a visit with Stephen Pearl Andrews, including excerpts that appear to come from his Constitution or Organic Basis of the New Catholic Church (1860). From Spiritualism in American, by Benjamin Coleman (1861), pages 82-4.]

Mr. Freeland, an intelligent, gentlemanly young man, called on me at my hotel, explaining the object of his visit to be, that hearing of my visit to New York, and that I was enquiring into the subject of Spiritualism, he was anxious that I should make the acquaintance of his friend Mr. Andrews. I ought not, he said, to leave the country without seeing Mr. Andrews, and hearing his peculiar views; and he thought I should also be interested with Mrs. Andrews, who is a remarkable trance medium. I accordingly accompanied Mr. Freeland at once, and was introduced to this gentleman and his wife, who reside in a superior house, with all comforts about them. The walls of the room in which we sat were hung with a variety of frames, containing trite aphorisms and moral exhortations. Mr. Andrews, who is a man of education, past the middle age, of grave mien, and evidently a serious and deep thinker, explained to me that he and a few others were engaged in organizing a society, spiritually originated, and guided, for the universal regeneration of mankind, which embraced the establishment of a Catholic Church, in the broadest sense of the word. "Of course," he remarked with a smile, "I and my followers are looked upon by the multitude as a band of madmen." The plan of this party proposes a new SPIRITUAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE WORLD, called THE PANTARCHY, which includes a NEW CHURCH and a NEW STATE, with, to use his own language, "all other subordinate institutions, educational, informational, &c., which are universal in their scope and nature, and which can be devised and established as subservient to the collective wants of mankind."

The new church called "THE NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH," as described by Mr. Andrews, is "to concern itself especially with the culture of the EMOTIONAL and SENSATIONAL attributes of man, and more especially of these in their higher and universal aspect, known as religion," &c. &c.

From a printed pamphlet, describing the constitution and organic basis of this NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH, I extract the following:—


"The Church is the world. The Church universal can do no less than embrace all mankind. This is in the largest or most extended meaning of the term. In another sense, the true CATHOLIC CHURCH is an interior organized body, which should be the spiritual mother of the race. The relation between mother and child exists equally, whether the children have so grown as to recognize the mother's face or not; so, in the world, great numbers of men and women have not hitherto known any spiritual mother, nor consciously recognized their need of one. Others, following legitimately the analytical process of the intellect, or the self-assertive instinct of individuality, have been led to deny and abjure all relation to the Church; the truth of their essential and spiritual unity with the race and hence with the true spiritual Church, is not however affected thereby. These two classes of persons, the uninformed or ignorant and the intelligently infidel, belonging, equally with the most spiritualized or sanctified persons, to the CHURCH UNIVERSAL, should be the especial objects of the labours and care of the more interior body," &c.

In Article VII., entitled "FAITH AND PRACTICE," it is prescribed—

"That unity of the FAITH of the CHURCH is not to be found in the truths apprehended and accepted by any single or individual mind, but in all the truths apprehended and accepted by all minds. Hence the creeds of the Church are not one, but many; different and even opposite faiths, combining, balancing, and harmonizing with each other in the bosom of the greater truth—INFINITE VARIETY in UNITY. As in the constitution of the Church, so in its faith' all truths derived from all sources—or the universe of truth, observational, scientific, institutional, and inspirational—constitute the universal creed of the Church—a creed which is therefore progressively developing in time; but, in a special or interior sense, the creed of the Church is the aggregate of the TRUTH, known or believed, in relation to the highest sphere of thought and feeling, and in relation to the outworking of DIVINE LOVE and WISDOM in beneficent action.

"Every pastor of a Church congregation will rally his flock under that creed, which will best express the aggregate unity of his and their sentiments or religious beliefs; or under no written or formally constituted creed, if that method is more highly approved—the religious unity consisting of love, and of that knowledge of principles which not merely tolerates but accepts and approves of diversity of opinion as necessary and beautiful, resulting from diversity of organization and development."


During my visit, and whilst in conversation with Mr. Andrews, his wife passed into the trance state. Laying her hand on my breast and her head on my shoulder, she addressed her husband and Mr. Freeland, and gave them a minute description of my character. It will be sufficient for me to say on thus head, that her remarks were very flattering. I said, "Her language is glowing; but I am afraid the picture is too highly coloured." Mr. Andrews replied in a very serious tone, "Mr. Coleman, her words have a deep significance with us. We are almost entirely guided by the precepts which fall from her lips, inspirationally influenced as we believe her to be whilst in that state, and we never think of acting contrary to her dictum."

I mention the fact of this visit to Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, to show my friends at home one of the many, and certainly not the least curious phase of American Spiritualism. I make no comment on Mr. Andrews' scheme of universal regeneration, for, indeed, I do not, as I candidly told him, fully comprehend it. My experience, however, teaches me to be humble in my judgments of other men's philosophy, and rather at all times to mistrust my own wisdom, than deride what I do not understand. I recollect the words of that eminently learned and pious prelate, Jeremy Taylor, who said—"Although I be as desirous to know what I should, and what I should not, as any of my brethren, the sons of Adam, yet I find that the more I search, the further I am from being satisfied, and make but few discoveries, save of my own ignorance."