Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pierre Leroux "De l'égalité" (1838)

Pierre Leroux's book De l'égalité is one of those sources of the mutualist tradition seldom read by anyone these days, despite the fact that it was one of the primary inspirations and sources for William Batchelder Greene's own Equality, as well as his Mutual Banking. The first three articles in the Worcester Palladium took their title from Leroux's work, and began with a fragmentary translation of part of it.

One reason for its neglect has been its untranslated status, another, its scarcity. It will take some time to fix the first problem, but the pdf linked above should alleviate the second.

Leroux was a very interesting writer, and an influence on Joseph Dejacque, as well as Greene, William Henry Channing, and Orestes Brownson. Also included in the pdf is a set of "Aphorisms" on Leroux's philosophy, compiled by his followers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Proudhon in digital editions

I have updated my somewhat haphazard list of Proudhon's works in pdf, so that it now consists of the complete "Lacroix" edition (with perhaps a posthumous volume missed somewhere.) I will attempt to compile a listing of the other major editions of Proudhon in the near future.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The hunt begins again

Well, I started out the new semester with a bad case of something flu-like—just one of several slightly inauspicious signs for 2008. But the tea leaves are thus far pleasantly mixed. Having batted 0 for 2 (or 3) on teaching this semester, I am, under the circumstances, pleasantly ensconced as an unfunded Visiting Faculty Fellow of the Center for Popular Culture Studies, here at BGSU. It's a chance to keep at my scholarly work, end in connection with one of the programs that brought me here in the first place, 18 years ago, and do a last little bit of lecturing and the like before the Big Move West in the Spring. As a late applicant to a small center, I'm working with a somewhat rustic office, but it certainly beats the picnic table I used most of last semester, when I actually did have a student to teach. I have a phone, a computer, and interlibrary loan privileges. I'm a somebody around here—more or less.

I've spent the less feverish and more coherent moments of the last ten days working through about eight years worth of The Banner of Light, a Boston spiritualist magazine. My official project for the semester is to continue the search for libertarian materials in popular periodicals. Access will be very different once I leave this region, so I'll be trying to cover a lot of ground. The spiritualist papers are very interesting ground. Sometimes we forget how many radicals embraced the spiritualist movement to at least some degree. Of the "big names" of individualist anarchism, Stephen Pearl Andrews, Victoria Woodhull and Ezra Heywood come to mind immediately. Of the broader group associated with the New England Labor Reform League, John Orvis (who proposed a spirit-inspired, gold-bug version of "equitable commerce" in 1855, much to Josiah Warren's chagrin) stands out. The Banner of Light followed the NELRL from its beginnings, reporting on its conventions in some detail. In the early 1870s, Victoria Woodhull caused considerable friction in spiritualist circles. Andrews' universology was criticized on feminist grounds. Warren wrote in to the Banner in defense of Woodhull. Dyer D. Lum and Henry C. Wright contributed numerous articles. The Banner followed all sorts of local reform efforts, and in their coverage some interesting details about William B. Greene emerge. It appears that women were elected to the school boards of Boston in the early 1970s, but were then forbidden to take the positions. Greene led one of the indignation meetings protesting the events. And it appears that Greene appeared at one of the spiritualist conventions, perhaps at the invitation of Woodhull, to appear on a panel about stirpiculture. Last, but certainly not least, among the things I've found in the Banner are some mentions of the Hygienic Home School Association, which advocated a kind of "associative familism," mixing elements of Fourier and Josiah Warren(!?) in a somewhat unlikely stew. I'll get this stuff into the archive ASAP.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Proudhon as a dramatist

From the pages of Liberty, an unfinished play by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, "Galileo: A Drama."

The Liberty archive is now also linked from the LabyrinthWiki, where the full-text archive will eventually reside.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lessons from the Worcester Palladium

I finally sat down to collate some of the "Omega" articles (which William B. Greene wrote for the Worcester Palladium in 1949) against Equality and the 1850 Mutual Banking. In his scan through the paper Brady Campbell identified six articles under the "Omega" pen name.
  1. Equality - - No.1 by OMEGA. - Wednesday 18 July 1849 - Deals with Moses, and equality among Christian brotherhood
  2. Equality - - No.2 by OMEGA. - Wednesday 25 July 1849 - Deals with the banking system
  3. Equality - - No.3 by OMEGA. - Wednesday 1 August 1849 - Deals the repeal of usury laws
  4. Capital and Labor - - No. 1 by OMEGA. Wednesday 12 September 1849 - Deals with Transcendentalism
  5. Capital and Labor - - No. 2 by OMEGA. Wednesday 19 September 1849 - Deals with pantheism and is subtitled "Socialism in Massachusetts"
  6. Plutocracy by OMEGA. Wednesday 7 November 1849 - Deals with government by the wealthy - Mammonocracy
I now have four of the six articles in-hand, and will have the other two soon. Already, however, there are some surprises. The publishing history of the mutual bank writings is, as readers here know, complex. And now it requires a bit of revision. All accounts that I am aware of, which acknowledge the Palladium articles, identify them as the building blocks of Equality, Greene's 1949 work. And that work ends with a somewhat cryptic note: "The foregoing articles—with the exception of the third, the fourth, the fifth, and the ninth—were originally published in the WORCESTER PALLADIUM." Depending on how many "articles" we think make up Equality—and that's not so easily decided—that leaves five, or perhaps more Palladium articles to be accounted for. The chapters in Equality are:
  1. "The Banking System" (based on #2 above)
  2. "The Usury Laws" (probably based on #3 above)
  3. "Equal Laws and Equality Before The Laws"
  4. "The Currency" + "The Currency—Its Evils—And Their Remedy" (probably counted as one "article" in Greene's tally)
  5. "Solidarity"
  6. "The Formula of Labor"
  7. "Communism—Capitalism—Socialism" (probably based on #4 above)
  8. Socialism in Massachusetts (based on #5 above)
  9. Liberty
That leaves a question to be answered in the next week or so: Is #6 in the Palladium a source for "The Formula of Labor" or, as seems more likely from Brady's description, is "Communism—Capitalism—Socialism" perhaps drawn from two earlier articles? (The only references to "plutocracy" are in that section of Equality.) Or are we missing a Palladium article and/or does "Plutocracy" cover at least some material, such as "Mammonocracy" (a term not used in Greene's book-length works) ultimately not included in Equality. Stay tuned. The request for the remaining articles has been made.
All of that, of course, leaves the first Palladium article unaccounted for. And that's where the publishing history revision comes in. "Equality--No. 1" became the "Introduction" of the 1850 Mutual Banking. It's an interesting essay, which has already posed a set of bibliographical and interpretive problems, because it draws so heavily on Pierre Leroux's work De l'Egalité (coming soon to the Labyrinth in pdf), being at times simply a partial translation and gloss of that work (though at others it seems to diverge from it.) I have been arguing for some time now that Equality and the 1850 Mutual Banking, taken together, make up the fullest expression of Greene's mutualism that we possess (as The Blazing Star and the Socialistic, Communistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments, taken together, give us a final summary of his concerns.) Now we know that parts of both early works were initially conceived by Greene as parts of a single work, the "Equality" of the Palladium. I've made some stabs at compiling a comprehensive, one-volume edition of the mutual banks writings before, and the haphazard arrangement of sections in those early works has occasionally baffled me. However, if the Palladium "Equality" articles appear in sequence, the offhand references to "model fraternity" in "The Banking System"
A bank is a model equality, a model community, a model fraternity, if we consider the stockholders only; but it is a horrible inequality, if we consider it in its relations to the mass of the people.
appear as a continuation of themes addressed in the first essay in the context of the institution of the "repast in common" and Christian communion.
It's these lost connections that I hope to recover as I work, in 2008, to complete a scholarly edition of the early mutual bank writings.