Saturday, August 30, 2008

RNC news, Longhaul infoshop raid

There's a lot going on out there, and a lot of it appears to be aimed at discouraging dissent. I've added feeds for Infoshop.org's I-News and recent videos from Theuptake.org to the sidebar of this blog, but go ahead and add them to your own feedreader or bookmark list. The breadth of the warrants being issued, and the apparently low standards for probable cause, mean that very few of us who engage in organized dissent of any sort can afford to imagine it can't happen wherever we are.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A little house-cleaning

I've put up a "Books for sale" link in the sidebar, and will be listing some things on Half.com, as I sort through the library a bit. Have a look. Most things are priced to move.

The Ethics of the Homestead Strike

In his Liberty review of William Bailie's The First American Anarchist, Clarence L. Swartz noted that, "Sidney H. Morse, the sculptor, was, during the last two years of Warren's life, his most active propagandist. Furthermore, Morse's efforts were so great that they did not fail of appreciation by Warren, and the latter showed his full recognition of their value by making Morse his literary executor." Morse is one of those major figures who never seems to get quite the attention he deserves. He was the editor of The Radical, a contributor to The Radical Review, as well as to Liberty, The Irish World, The Conservator, etc. He was an artist and sculptor, and, it seems, gave lectures on the transcendentalists and other topics while simultaneously sketching or sculpting. He is the least frequently remembered of the formative influences on Benjamin R. Tucker, but probably not an unimportant one. His contributions to Tucker's periodicals included "So the Railway Kings Itch for an Empire, Do They?" by "A red-hot striker," in The Radical Review and the serial "Liberty and Wealth, in Liberty. The latter is a peculiar alternate history of New Harmony, where the ideas of a "Joseph Warden" (familiar ideas on the cost principle and individual sovereignty) are accepted and things turn out a bit differently than they did in our history.

Some recent searching turned up his Ethics of the Homestead Strike: A Narrative by the Wayside, published by the press of The Conservator, Horace Traubel's journal, which championed a kind of "Whitmanesque socialism" (according to one critic, certainly Traubel championed Whitman) and had some single-tax leanings. Unfortunately, once again, the Google Books edition is lacking pages, but I'm already working on getting those from another library. In the meantime, here is Morse's 1892 summary of equitable commerce, from this very interesting addition to the Warrenite literature:

FIRST MEMORANDA.

1. Homestead strike not in it. Successful or not, no result affecting solution of labor issue.

2 (Aside.) Pinkerton's band should be broken up like other private bands that let themselves to do murderous work. This, or else free competition, and the whole police work of the country turned over to private enterprise — answerable in their work for all manner of misdemeanor.

3. The labor issue turns on the usurpations of capital. The gist of which is — the demand for hours of labor without, so to speak, a labor-return.

4. Capital used at cost. Whatever labor it costs to manipulate it, enters into price, nothing more. No price for benefits or favors.

5. Settles the land question. Price of land — cost of labor improvement. Put posts around a thousand acres and call them yours? Nonsense! You are not even entitled to pay for your labor in planting your posts. No earthly use to any one else;, no, nor to yourself. You can ask another to pay for your folly. Land to be sold or exchanged must have a labor- basis No labor, no price. Not land sold or exchanged, after all, but labor.

So with everything. Not the thing, but the labor in it, should settle price.

6. "My necessities are great. I must have it at any price."

Honest answer : "I know nothing of your necessities. I measure my price by my own sacrifice."

This idea of a cost-price as against a value-price starts a thousand questions, most of them arising, however, from the state of things under the old or value system. To say, "I set price according to cost to me, not value to you," upsets all the calculations of the present piratical business program.

7. No matter — since it furnishes, approximately, at least, an answer to the question, what is a fair day's pay for a fair day's work? The reply being, "Another fair day's work, of course." The Carnegies take heed.

8. Equality, liberty, fraternity, to be realized politically, socially, industrially, if ever Democracy is triumphant.

9. What equality, what liberty, what fraternity are : studies for everybody.

10. Warren's idea — that to harmonize you must first individualize everybody and everything — worthy of profound consideration.

11. Instead of union, we must look for harmony. The individual notes must preserve their separate individual tones : so together co-operating, sound the grand anthem of Democratic life, liberty, peace.

Consider the matter at length under the following heads:

  1. Exchange of labor, including time and skill.
  2. Competition under cost-system.
  3. Money.
  4. Organization.
  5. Co-operation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Constitutions and Organic Bases

Tomorrow night's discussion at Laughing Horse Books will be on "Panarchy and Pantarchy, with a brief look at Proudhon's theory of the state." As I told the collective yesterday, "It will be breezier than it sounds." I had initially meant to pair Paul Émile de Puydt's 1860 "Panarchy," which proposes a free market in governments, just with some documents relating to Stephen Pearl Andrews' Pantarchy, which was an anarchistic outlier, from roughly the same year, strongly influenced by August Comte and heavy on voluntary hierarchy, with Andrews expecting to find himself, voluntarily, pretty much at the top of the heap. I have written about the Pantarchy and New Catholic Church, in "Anarchist Church, Anarchist State. . . Anarchist Inquisition?" and "Stephen Pearl Andrews' 'New Catholic Church'." I have issues with both projects: Panarchy seems to be impracticable except as a kind of dress-up game for anarchism (not that there's anything wrong with that), and Pantarchy seems a little less than inviting, though it seems to me fairly consistent. Certainly, both are worth looking at. If you want to look at Panarchy, follow the link above to John Zube's panarchy.org site. For the Pantarchy, check out the links below. I have finally transcribed the New Catholic Church document.

I have a number of sermons from the New Catholic Church, gathered from various sources, which I will eventually transcribe. I have begun to type in "The Science of Universology," from The Index, which followed the Andrews-Tucker debate on Proudhon.

Which brings us back around to Proudhon, who is just full of surprises, if you're willing to wade in. We know that Proudhon admitted the inevitability of some sort of "state," or state-like "concentration," and that it was to counterbalance this that he proposed simple, individual property within anarchy. And we have some indications of what the word "state" meant to him, from The Theory of Property. But Proudhon had a habit of tucking important details in unlikely places, and I only just tracked down the pages from The Theory of Taxation where he engages in his most radical reconstruction of the notion of the "state." There, "the State" is closely identified with that "collective force" which was so important to Proudhon's initial critiques of property and governmentalism. And, there, it becomes clearer just what the "late" Proudhon is on about - and it is exciting, if hardly orthodox anarchism. I'll try to finish up some translations and see if I can get that excitement across. . .

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Missing pieces

I've been working on a collection of short biographies of radical figures, sort of an introductory miscellany, and had been translating Elisée Reclus' "John Brown" to include there. Gallica has a rough, but readable scan of what appears to be a pamphlet version of the text. Now that I've translated it, it also appears to be an incomplete version. Some text, probably at least a few lines, is pretty clearly missing. Brown's capture, trial and death seem to have disappeared between one line and the next. This looks like an "original" error, rather than a recent scanning error. It's still unfortunate. And I can't seem to track the original down: "John Brown." La Cooperation. 14 July 1867. I anyone has access to that journal, I would love to complete the translation work.

Of course, the problem of missing bits and pieces is a fairly common one. Voltairine de Cleyre's translation of Jean Grave's Moribund Society and Anarchy is one of those texts that are mostly available online, but have unreadable pages in the scans. One of these days, we'll be able to get all this stuff available in complete form.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two Proudhon-related tidbits

A lengthy review of Proudhon's Du principe de l'art et de sa destination social, and a rough translation of the final, summary chapter of Theory of Property.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Radical History night at Laughing Horse

A new weekly event, at Laughing Horse Books!

R@dical History Series

MAJOR MOMENTS, MINOR MOVEMENTS, LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS, CONTROVERSIES, AND CHARACTERS. EACH WEEK: A SHORT, INFORMAL PRESENTATION, FOLLOWED BY COFFEE-DRINKING AND DISCUSSION.

AUGUST TOPICS:
  • 8/12: P.-J. Proudhon and "Property is theft!" (Theme and Variations)
A survey of the uses to which Proudhon put his famous phrase.
  • 8/19: Panarchy and Pantarchy: Hierarchy in a free society
P. E. Depuydt and Stephen Pearl Andrews push the envelope of anarchy.
  • 8/26: Anarchists as Inventors:
From desk-top publishing 1830-style to the Lysander Spooner's "elastic bottom."

With Shawn P. Wilbur (Laughing Horse Collective, Alliance of the Libertarian Left)

Tuesdays, 7-9 pm, Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th, Portland, OR
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We'll see what, if anything, develops out of these meetings. Things will be very informal, while we figure out whether there is interest in a more formal study group. I'll be focusing on good stories with larger implications for understanding movement history and our present possibilities.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

August 6, 1945

A repost, but one appropriate for the day:

Guinea-Pig Fleet: Hiroshima Tattoo