Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Impact of the Cost Principle (and Archive Upgrades, VII)

It's been sort of a hard week to stay on task, with constant new developments in the Occupy movement and multiple live streams to follow. I've also been approached, out of the blue, to collaborate on a Charles Fourier translation that sounds like enough fun to shuffle some things to make room for it in my workflow. As it happens, more of a focus on Fourier will undoubtedly help with projects like Dejacque's Humanisphere and Proudhon's Creation of Order, so I'm grateful for the distraction.

And work on the archive is still moving right along. I'm at about 525 COinS-equipped entries, and I'm seeing that a lot of articles from The Radical Review and Liberty are already transcribed, which will speed things up as I turn most of my attention to the Tucker archive project. New additions are not a top priority at the moment, but they always seem to turn up if I do any research at all—and I'm always doing at least some research. If nothing else, completing citations has me searching archives constantly, and, as I've mentioned before, sometime even failed searches bring new successes.

Late last night, for example, I ran across an interesting news article from The Kansas Herald of Freedom, which describes an early trades-education experiment, which resembles Josiah Warren's school at Spring Hill, Ohio. There's probably good reason for that, as the article declares one of the goals of the school to be "to make cost the limit of price." It has become gradually more and more obvious to me that, if individualist anarchism never had a "mass" impact, it certainly did have a hard-to-measure impact on a wide range of small experiments. Here's one of them:

Education.    
Henry Hiatt and others, living in the vicinity of Bloomington, have made a beginning for a Manual Labor School. It is intended to introduce a new principle: that is, to make cost the limit of price,—to arrange so that indigent young men, as well as the wealthy, can obtain a liberal education; that teachers, as well as pupils, shall labor a part of each day for their health and daily bread; that after buildings are erected and the land brought under cultivation, enough shall be produced on the domain to supply the current demands of both pupils and teachers.    
On the old system of education, multitudes of young men are unable to attend the schools and colleges, principally on account of the expense of boarding. While the tuition is not over from twenty to fifty dollars per year, boarding amounts to five times that sum. The Manual Labor School meets this contingency. The expense of boarding can be met every day by three hours’ labor, and as much time as usual devoted to study. Cheap tenements can be erected also in the vicinity, where those living near by can board themselves, bringing their provisions from home.    
For further particulars, address Henry Hiatt, Bloomington, K. T.    
“Education,” The Kansas Herald of Freedom 2, no. 31 (February 28, 1857): 1. 
_________________________
And here's another listing of newly updated articles. I've hyperlinked a letter by Lysander Spooner that was new to me:
Joseph H. Allen, “Current Literature—The Principles of Sociology. By Herbert Spencer,” The Radical Review 1, no. 2 (August 1877): 352.
William Bailie, “Problems of Anarchism: Introduction, 1. Social and Individual Liberty,” Liberty 1, no. 19 (April 1916): 1.
Alexander Berkman, “Prisons and Crime,” Mother Earth 1, no. 6 (August 1906): 23-29.
Warren Edwin Brokaw, “The Only Unpardonable Sin,” The Pacific Monthly 15, no. 6 (June 1906): 763-767.
Warren Edwin Brokaw, “Who Should Possess the Wealth of the World?,” The North American Review 214, no. 3 (September 1921): 431-432.
Steven T. Byington, “The Function of the Church,” The New Republic 27, no. 340 (June 8, 1921): 50.
Steven T. Byington, “Preventing Wires from Sinking into End-bars,” Gleanings in Bee Culture 45, no. 1 (January 1917): 62-63.
William Henry Channing, “Prospectus for Volume II. of the Present,” The Present 1, no. 7-8 (January 15, 1844): 288.
I. Crane Clark, “Where is Robert Palmer?,” The Black Cat 9, no. 5 (February 1904): 19-24.
Henry Edger, “Prostitution and the International Woman’s League,” The Radical Review 1, no. 3 (November 1877): 397-418.
C. W. Ernst, “Practical Socialism in Germany,” The Radical Review 1, no. 1 (May 1877): 25-45.
W. B. G., “What Is the Minus Quantity?,” Massachusetts Teacher and Journal of Home and School Education 13, no. 9 (September 1860): 330-333.
Emma Goldman, “Preparedness, the Road to Universal Slaughter,” Mother Earth 10, no. 10 (December 1915): 331-338.
Bolton Hall, “The Fond Father,” Life 38, no. 977 (July 25, 1901): 68.
Bolton Hall, “The God of Evil,” The American Theosophist 15, no. ?? (n.d.): 712-714.
Bolton Hall, "The Good of Evil," in International Metaphysical League, Proceedings of the 2d Annual Convention, Held at New York, N.Y., October 23-26, 1900 (Boston: International Metaphysical League, 1901).
Bolton Hall, “The Gospel Of Wealth,” Life 38, no. 978 (August 1, 1901): 85.
Bolton Hall, “The Gospel Of Wealth,” The Independent 53, no. 2749 (August 8, 1901): 1869.
Bolton Hall, “The Gospel Of Wealth,” The Public 4, no. 185 (October 19, 1901): 442-443.
Bolton Hall, “Remedial Measures,” The Public 1, no. 51 (March 25, 1899): 12.
Edward Henry, “What is the Use in Building Laws? Wherein they are Useful—A Criticism,” Engineering Magazine 2, no. 2 (November 1891): 238-246.
Joshua King Ingalls, “The Grave of the Landless,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 8 (August 25, 1849): 113.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Profession,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 2, no. 12 (August 19, 1848): 186.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Property and Its Rights,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 10 (September 8, 1849): 146-148.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Property and Its Rights,” The Journal of Progress 1, no. 11 (July 9, 1853): 1-3.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Property Rights in Debt and Contract,” The Twentieth Century 12, no. 15 (April 12, 1894): 8-9.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Protective Unions,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 4, no. 2 (June 9, 1849): 24-25.
Joshua King Ingalls, "Relation of Labor to Land," Report of the Committee of the Senate upon the Relations between labor and Capital, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1885).
Joshua King Ingalls, “Relations, Existing and Natural, between Man and Property,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 16 (October 20, 1849): 243-246.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Relations, Existing and Natural, between Man and Property,” The Journal of Progress 1, no. 11 (July 9, 1853): 3.
Joshua King Ingalls, “What Is Economic Rent?,” The Twentieth Century 9, no. 26 (December 29, 1892): 6-8.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Who Will Be an Oberlin? Who Will Go to New Jersey?,” Universalist Union 8, no. 11 (January 28, 1843): 167.
Alan P. Kelly, “The Foundations of Trade,” Liberty 2, no. 24 (September 6, 1884): 4.
Peter Kropotkin, “The Fortress Prison of St. Petersburg,” The Nineteenth Century 13, no. 76 (June 1883): 928-949.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Political Liberalism,” Liberty 3, no. 18 (November 28, 1885): 5.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Rational Communism,” Liberty 4, no. 6 (July 17, 1886): 5. [review]
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Relative Longevity of the Negro and Mulatto,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 23 (December 8, 1849): 355.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus and Benjamin R. Tucker, “Rent: Parting Words,” Liberty 4, no. 19 (December 12, 1885): 3.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Whom to Kill?,” Liberty 3, no. 23 (February 6, 1886): 8.
Hughes Le Roux, and Benjamin R. Tucker (translator), “A Sheriff’s Sale in Paradise,” The Freethinker 10, no. 4 (February 2, 1890): 57-58.
J. William Lloyd, “Plumb-Centre,” Liberty 4, no. 4 (June 19, 1886): 1.
Dyer D. Lum, “Prognostications,” The Index 6, no. 296 (September 9, 1875): 429.
Errico Malatesta, “Pro-Government Anarchists,” Freedom 30, no. 324 (April 1916): 28.
Lewis Masquerier, "Progressive and Rotary Motion," in American Institute of the City of New York, Transactions of the American Institute of the City of New York, for the Years 1860-61 (Albany, NY: C. Van Benthuysen, 1861): 576-578.
Lewis Masquerier, “Propagandists,” The Boston Investigator 32, no. 35 (December 31, 1862): 275.
Sidney H. Morse, “Political Evolution,” Liberty 3, no. 14 (September 12, 1885): 4.
William C. Owen, “Proudhon Condensed,” Freedom 34, no. 369 (February 1920): 11.
J. Stahl Patterson, “Current Literature—The Religious Sentiment: Its Source and Aim. A Contribution to the Science and Philosophy of Religion. By D. G. Brinton,” The Radical Review 1, no. 3 (August 1877): 364-366.
John Beverley Robinson, “Why I Oppose Building Laws.—A Rejoinder,” Engineering Magazine 2, no. 2 (November 1891): 246-251.
Lysander Spooner and Joseph Barker, “Free Soil Inconsistency,” The Liberator 24, no. 8 (February 24, 1854): 31.
Benjamin R. Tucker, “Moral Courage,” The Boston Investigator 43, no. 38 (January 14, 1874): 6.
Benjamin R. Tucker, “Proudhon and Fraternity,” Liberty 5, no. 21 (May 26, 1888): 11.
Benjamin R. Tucker, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Edmond Lepelletier, “Proudhon as a Dramatic Author,” Liberty 10, no. 23 (March 23, 1895): 4-8.
Benjamin R. Tucker, “What We Mean,” Liberty 1, no. 19 (April 15, 1882): 2-3.
Benjamin R. Tucker, “Who Is the Somebody?,” Liberty 1, no. 1 (August 6, 1881): 3.
James L. Walker, “Proudhon’s Works a Source of Health,” Liberty 4, no. 6 (February 26, 1887): 1.
James L. Walker, “Regicides and Republicans,” Liberty 4, no. 11 (November 20, 1886): 5.
James L. Walker, “What is Justice?,” Liberty 3, no. 25 (March 6, 1886): 8.
Robert Dale Owen and Josiah Warren, “Printing in Private Families,” The Free Enquirer 2, no. 20 (March 13, 1830): 157.
John Weiss, “Preacher’s Love-Vacation,” The Radical Review 1, no. 3 (November 1877): 443-446.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Archive upgrades, VI

Some days the archive work seems to go very slowly, despite the fact that I'm spending 40+ hours each week now doing very little but research, data entry, COinS generation and other tasks directly related to getting the Labyrinth archive straightened out and hammered into a more usable shape. And, ultimately, that's coming along well enough that I can probably turn most of my attention towards the now-looming Benjamin R. Tucker archive project, and start puttering away at translations again. So here's your archive update:



Max Baginski, “Without Government,” Mother Earth 1, no. 1 (March 1906): 20-26.
B. W. Ball, “To Benedict Spinosa,” The Radical Review 1, no. 1 (May 1877): 24.
I. G. Blanchard, “The Warfare,” The Radical Review 1, no. 3 (November 1877): 522.
Steven T. Byington, “Martin and Bee-Martin Very Different,” Gleanings in Bee Culture 44, no. 21 (November 1, 1916): 1038.
Steven T. Byington, “Non-Resistance; and Did Jesus Mean to Say that We Should Not Protect Ourselves as a People and as a Nation?,” Gleanings in Bee Culture 44, no. 5 (March 1, 1916): 213.
Steven T. Byington, “The Super-Spring Fixes It,” Gleanings in Bee Culture 44, no. 12 (June 15, 1916): 499.
William Henry Channing, “The State Agricultural Fair,” The Present 1, no. 2 (October 15, 1843): 68-70.
François Coignet, “The Ways and Means of Free Exchange and Credit.,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 6 (August 11, 1849): 81-82.
Voltairine de Cleyre, “To Strive and Fail,” Mother Earth 3, no. 9 (November 1908): 360-363.
Jean Deroin, “Woman—Her Position and Duties,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 2 (July 14, 1849): 27-28.
Jean Deroin, “Woman—Her Position and Duties,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 4 (July 28, 1849): 59.
Editor, “To Correspondents,” The Boston Investigator 19, no. 11 (July 18, 1849): 3.
Emily E. Ford, “To a Man about Town,” The Radical Review 1, no. 4 (February 1878): 688-689.
Jay Fox, “Trade Unionism and Anarchism,” Mother Earth 2, no. 9 (November 1907): 395-405.
Emma Goldman, “The Woman Suffrage Chameleon,” Mother Earth 12, no. 3 (May 1917): 78-80.
Covington Hall, “Why I am a Socialist,” The International Socialist Review 5, no. 6 (December 1904): 347.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Tolstoi on Henry George and Single Tax,” The Twentieth Century 20, no. 11 (March 12, 1898): 9-12.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Woman’s Industrial Subjection.—No. 1.—Its Origin,” The Woman’s Tribune ??, no. ?? (February 23, 1889): 82-??.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Woman’s Industrial Subjection.—No. 2.—Its Gradual Development Under Governments of Force,” The Woman’s Tribune ??, no. ?? (March 23, 1889): 114-115.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Woman’s Industrial Subjection.—No. 3.—In Relation to Land Ownership,” The Woman’s Tribune ??, no. ?? (April 20, 1889): 147.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Woman’s Industrial Subjection.—No. 4.—In Exchanges of Labor and its Product,” The Woman’s Tribune ??, no. ?? (May 18, 1889): 174.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Work and Wealth,” The Radical Review 1, no. 4 (February 1878): 650-660.
C. L. James, “The Subliminal Self,” Popular Science News 32, no. 12 (December 1898): 280.
Samuel Johnson, “Transcendentalism,” The Radical Review 1, no. 3 (November 1877): 447-478.
Peter Kropotkin, “The Sterilization of the Unfit,” Mother Earth 7, no. 10 (December 1912): 354-357.
[Announcement of ‘The Wife of Number 4,237’], Liberty 3, no. 24 (February 20, 1886): 4.
Sophie Kropotkin, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” Liberty 3, no. 25 (March 6, 1886): 2-3.
Sophie Kropotkin, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” Liberty 3, no. 26 (March 27, 1886): 7.
Sophie Kropotkin, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” Liberty 4, no. 1 (April 17, 1886): 2-3.
Sophie Kropotkin, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” Liberty 4, no. 2 (May 1, 1886): 7.
Sophie Kropotkin, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” Liberty 4, no. 3 (May 22, 1886): 3.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “To the Radical Review,” Liberty 2, no. 44 (June 14, 1884): 8.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Too Much Devotion,” Liberty 4, no. 5 (July 3, 1886): 7.
sJ. William Lloyd, “The World’s Future—A Prophecy,” The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health 75, no. 4 (October 1882): 180-183.
Edwin Markham, "To Louise Michel," The Man with the Hoe (New York: Doubleday and McClure, 1899): 65.
Lewis Masquerier, “To Robert Owen,” The Crisis, and National Co-Operative Trades’ Union Gazette 4, no. 13 (July 5, 1834): 99-100.
“[Response]” The Crisis, and National Co-Operative Trades’ Union Gazette 4, no. 15 (July 19, 1834): 118.
Hugh O. Pentecost, “The Crime of Capital Punishment,” The Arena 1, no. 2 (January 1890): 175-183.
Hugh O. Pentecost, “The Tap-Root of Industrial Discontent,” Engineering Magazine 1, no. 4 (July 1891): 498-504.
John Beverley Robinson, “What is the Use of a Building Law?,” Engineering Magazine 1, no. 5 (August 1891): 656-662.
Benjamin R. Tucker, “The State Its Own Outlaw,” Liberty 1, no. 16 (March 4, 1882): 2.
John Turner, “The Struggle in England,” The Rebel 1, no. 1 (September 20, 1895): 6.
William Henry Van Ornum, “The Study and Needs of Sociology,” The Arena 24, no. 3 (September 1900): 328-336.
“An Investigator” [Josiah Warren?], “The ‘Rappings’,” The Boston Investigator 20, no. 51 (April 23, 1851): 1.
Josiah Warren, “To the Friends of the Equal Exchange of Labor in the West,” The Free Enquirer 23, no. 38 (July 17, 1830): 301-302.
Josiah Warren, “Written on Hearing of the Death of Camilla Wright,” The Free Enquirer 5, no. 18 (February 23, 1833): 144.
David A. Wasson, “Theodore Parker as Religious Reformer,” The Radical Review 1, no. 1 (May 1877): 46-73.
J. W, “The Word is the Ark,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 17 (October 27, 1849): 267-268.
“The Stores of Protective Unions and Workingmen,” Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review 35, no. 1 (July 1856): 133-134.
“To Correspondents,” The Boston Investigator 20, no. 48 (April 2, 1851): 3.
William Henry Channing, “Victor Considerant,” The Spirit of the Age 1, no. 6 (August 11, 1949): 89-90.
Bjorkman Maulk Frances, “Vive le Roi,” Mother Earth 1, no. 1 (March 1906): 27.
Emma Goldman, “Victims of Morality,” Mother Earth 8, no. 1 (March 1913): 19-24.
Joshua King Ingalls, “Uprightness the Only Path to Safety,” Univercoelum and Spiritual Philosopher 3, no. 13 (February 24, 1849): 193-195.
Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “True Principles of Emancipation,” The Dial 1, no. 4 (April 1860): 219-228.
Pierre Leroux and W. C. R. (translator), “Universal Regeneration,” The Present 1, no. 7-8 (January 15, 1844): 237-242.
Dyer D. Lum, “Wendell Phillips’s Grave,” Liberty 3, no. 11 (June 20, 1885): 1.
Joseph B. Marvin, “Walt Whitman,” The Radical Review 1, no. 2 (August 1877): 224-259.
Grace Potter, “Try Love,” Mother Earth 1, no. 1 (March 1906): 18-19.
James L. Walker, “Truth and Belief,” Liberty 4, no. 17 (March 12, 1887): 7.
Charles Erskine Scott Wood, “Transmutation of Virtues into Vices,” The Pacific Monthly 20, no. 4 (October 1908): 454-455.
Charles Erskine Scott Wood, “Transmutation of Virtues into Vices,” Journal of the Switchmen’s Union 11, no. 2 (December 1908): 911-913.
“Was Proudhon a Hypocrite?,” Liberty 5, no. 22 (June 9, 1888): 7.
 

Monday, November 07, 2011

A low place to haunt, should you be so inclined...

Rand, McNally & Co.'s Handy Guide to Chicago and World's Columbian Exposition (1893) contains the following entry among its sightseeing options:
Socialists and Anarchists.—These gentry, who received such a salutary lesson in the execution of their leaders, may be found in some of the beer halls of the West Side—beer, anarchy, and socialism being seemingly inseparable companions. Longhaired, of alien birth, entirely innocent of honest work or any kind of bathing, they "haunt low places and herd with the ignorant, possessing just enough knowledge to be mischievous." They met their Waterloo in the Haymarket Square on that memorable 4th of May. 1886. Now, other than for occasional fatuous and firebrand utterances, the public would be entirely ignorant of their existence. To use a now celebrated phrase, they seem to have fallen (perhaps fortunately for their fraternity) '' into a state of innocuous desuetude."
Those who can attest to the inseparability of beer and anarchy may enjoy Well-Aged & Slightly Bitter, with Just a Touch of Funk, the beer review blog that I have, after much arm-twisting, decided to give a try.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Property and the Essence of Mutualism — I

"My principle, which will appear astonishing to you, citizens, my principle is yours; it is property itself."—P.-J. Proudhon
In my writings on mutualist property theory, I have been attempting to supplement a somewhat strange lacuna in Proudhon's theory, his failure—in at least one important sense—to ever really directly answer the question posed in his first major work, What is Property? In order to do that, I've been drawing on the work of Max Stirner, which, despite Stirner's sense that he was opposing Proudhon's position, seems to primarily address "property" in precisely the senses that Proudhon didn't even make much attempt to do justice to. And I've been drawing on Locke, and conventional propertarian theories, however much I have been reading them "against the grain." The "gift economy of property" project has been explicitly an attempt to move beyond Proudhon's "new theory" in The Theory of Property, and to take up directly his challenge that "property must justify itself of disappear," with a justification of "property" that does not simply treat it as a weapon that everyone should be allowed to wield, which is essentially where Proudhon left things. 

Proudhon started by defining "property" as "the sum of the abuses of property"—a point he made explicit in his introduction to the second edition of What is Property?—and really not defining "possession," which appeared to be his chosen alternative, at all. That makes Proudhon's famous phrase translate to something more like "the abuse of property is theft," which certainly casts things in a different light than we usually assume—and takes the wind out of some of the cruder critics' sails. The "property" that would not be theft—towards which Proudhon gestures in his discussions of of equal possession—remains a desideratum for him. What I have been suggesting is that it need not remain one for us, and that, however much that might seem a wild deviation from the majority of anarchist or even mutualist thought, it is really just a step forward in the development that began with "property is theft!"

Now, one of the problems that has faced students of Proudhon's thought has been the widespread contention that either: 1) he substantially altered his project when he began to explore property in its relation to liberty; or, 2) he meant something different by "property" in those contexts—the ill-defined "possession," perhaps—when he was speaking in those terms than he did when he referred to property as "theft" or as "impossible." Frankly, the first claim seems hard to sustain. After all, Proudhon didn't even get through What is Property? without reintroducing "property" into his project, defining "liberty" as a "synthesis of community and property." As I've argued elsewhere, there's very little in the posthumously published work that differs from what he suggested in 1840-1842, except to the extent that it reflects changes in his understanding of "synthesis" and its alternatives. The development of his understanding of property is fairly simple. The somewhat unpromising start, defining "property" as "the abuse of property," is consistent with his critique of property's existing justifications, all of which seem to come apart, to reveal themselves as abuses of the principle they are supposed to uphold. But then, as he begins to develop his own philosophy—for "progress" and against "the absolute"—he raises possibilities which he may never have fully explored himself, having already identified property with absolutism. We know that the "new theory" posits evenly distributed property as one means of balancing the absolutist tendencies of individuals—but also of opening a space in which those tendencies might be to some extent overcome. We know that in The Theory of Property, property is able to contribute to liberty precisely because Proudhon has not changed his terms, precisely because property is absolutist and potentially abusive. And the more we explore the relationship between absolutism, property and liberty, the less likely it seems that there was really any change in meaning across the various writings—even if it seems likely that some of Proudhon's consistency was more intuitive than explicitly thought through.

What is property? If we step back from Proudhon, who was increasingly aware that the term covered a variety of dissimilar concepts, we find quite a number of connected kinds of uses, which then lead to an even greater proliferation of particular applications and definitions. Proudhon's work is actually remarkable for the care that he showed in separating out the varieties of "property." About a year ago, I made an attempt to inventory the kinds of uses either explicitly recognized by Proudhon or suggested by his analyses, and came up with these: 
  1. "Property" is its broadest sense, as a "social problem," involving by the issue of the "mine and thine" and that of the "you and me;"
  2. "Property" as "ownness," relating to "the circle of self-enjoyment," that defines the unique individual, and which refers both the the material resources involved in specific instances of self-enjoyment (the facts of "possession") and the principle of organization by which they are thus involved;
  3. "Property" or "properties," referring to those material resources;
  4. "Properties," referring to the component characteristics of the individual (which both Stirner and Proudhon may encourage us to treat as "uniques" in their own right and at their own scale, and which some theories of property have treated as "property," in the sense of #3, in order to argue that everyone is a "proprietor" or "capitalist");
  5. "Property rights," as social and/or legal attempts to formalize standards for answering some one or more of the question posed by the other senses of "property;"
  6. "Propriety," in the general sense that each should have and respect its own in a well-managed society;
and a bunch of subordinate distinctions (real property, chattel property, products, allod, usufruct, etc., etc., etc.), referring to specific property norms and forms proposed in the course of our long engagement with the general problem of "property."  
 And I suggested that:
a coherent property theory needs to be able to carry the same terms across the terrain of appropriation, maintenance, abandonment or expropriation, exchange, exclusive and shared domain, the possibilities of "intellectual property," the relation between theories of property and their abuses, the relation between property and gift, etc. 
The lacuna in Proudhon seems to be in the treatment of "ownness," which is also arguably the place to look for an equivalent of "self-ownership," and it's been in my attempt to fill that conceptual gap that I've turned to Stirner, who is almost exclusively concerned with the "self-enjoyment" of unique selves. 
Now, there is nothing simple about bringing the thought of Stirner and Proudhon into play in a single scheme. There are good reasons for not making the attempt, and equally compelling reasons to think that perhaps there are other aspects of Proudhon's thought which can be used to supply what seems to be missing in his property theory. As I've suggested before, Proudhon's "positive" theory of liberty is enormously suggestive in this regard, since it is, in essence, a theory of how individuals—and not just human individuals, but all sorts of individualities—are constituted: as collectivities, organized according to an individual law. And this description of the nature of individuality really takes us most of the way towards a theory of what is proper to individuals, at least in that sense of "ownness" or "self-enjoyment"—except for the fact that the account looks a lot more like physics than any of the more social sciences. Proudhon provides us with the means to introduce agency into our model, since the playing out of the individual law is always, in his view, a play of antinomies. The fact that each individuality is at the same time an organized group, composed of other individualities, each driven by their own imperative law of organization and development, means that "life" and "health" for the individual depend on the strength and balance of the ensemble of constituent individualities—something which may even take the form, particularly at "higher" scales of organization, of an increasing conflict. As the clash of ideas casts the light, so the balanced intensification of the function of the various faculties of the individual produces life, health, and an increase in the play of deterministic systems, experienced by the individual as freedom. But in all this description of mechanisms, it remains more than a little bit difficult to identify wills and persons. For that, however, we can certainly count on Stirner—but not quite yet.

I will admit that I came to see Stirner as a means to supplement Proudhon reluctantly, and by a rather peculiar route. As much as I appreciate a certain relentlessness in egoist thought, and as much pleasure as I have had in reading and rereading Stirner, James L. Walker, John Badcock and others—as good to think with as I have found them—like Proudhon, I find that there is something in egoistic thinking which does not ultimately speak to me. The same is true, of course, of most forms of collectivism, or, on another register, of altruistic philosophy. What I have dubbed the "two-gun" approach, by which I've sought what really does speak to me in the play of various "individualisms" and "socialisms," has nonetheless committed me to an immersion in a number of approaches, which I can only really take on as useful disciplines and occasions for experiment. But it has also committed me to an engagement with the thinker arguably responsible for the terms "individualism" and "socialism"—Pierre Leroux, Proudhon's antagonist and influence, and possibly William B. Greene's most important philosophical source, philosopher of "humanity," and defender of property (but a non-exclusive property which included a sort of natural right in other people.) 

With "Two-Gun Mutualism" I have elevated this decidedly challenging character to a sort of central place, both in my reading of mutualism's past and in my attempt to advance it into the future. The metaphor of the two guns is drawn from his essay on "Individualism and Socialism" (and if readers of this essay have not yet read that and my essay on "Two-Gun Mutualism and the Golden Rule," perhaps that would be in order before I try to produce too much more light from clashing ideas.)

[to be continued...]

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Was Josiah Warren a spiritualist?

We know that there were plenty of spiritualists in Josiah Warren's circle—including his wife, Stephen Pearl Andrews and his wife Esther, Ezra and Angela Heywood, and Mary and Thomas Nichols—we have the claim of Clarence L. Swartz that "not only in his later life, but almost from the beginning of modern Spiritualism, Warren was a believer in it." But there's been a real lack of testimony from Warren himself on the subject, at least in the sources I've been able to dig up. But I may have finally found an article by Warren addressing the question of "spiritual rappings" and "manifestations." Have a look, and judge for yourself.

Archive upgrades, V

There's no escaping the fact that some of what is necessary in this process of turning my online filing cabinet into a working archive is pretty slow going, and pretty dull stuff. That's undoubtedly apparent to readers who see dump after dump of bibliographic listings without necessarily seeing much change in the Libertarian Labyrinth itself. But there's a kind of geometric progression involved in the transformation of data into information, and more and more often now I'm finding that when I consult my various sources for something simple, like a volume or page number, I'm coming back with completely new articles. The recent Eliphalet Kimball finds were actually the result of a failed bibliographic reference search. And while I was dotting i's and crossing t's on those, I ran across what may be a fairly significant, and pseudonymous, Josiah Warren article. Anyway, the 1873 Kimball article pushed the number of standardized entries in the archive up to 400. And here's another update:


Francis E. Abbott, “Casting the Horoscope,” The Index 6, no. 298 (September 9, 1875): 426-427.
Stephen Pearl Andrews, Constitution or Organic Basis of the Pantarchy (New York: Baker & Godwin, printers, 1860).
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