Proudhon has been interpreted in many ways, some more honestly and accurately than others. Two of the most dishonest and, sadly, influential have been by Karl Marx and American liberal J. Salwyn Schapiro. While the former’s work is discussed in the introduction of Property is Theft!, space preluded discussion the latter’s attempt to portray Proudhon as a fascist.
“Property is Theft!… is in many ways quite successful… the critical work of the 1840s [is] presented with a depth that is unfamiliar, refreshing and enlightening... this is a work designed to introduce Proudhon to an anarchist mainstream that has largely written off his particular form of anarchism… It is a powerful corrective to the second-hand Proudhon we have inherited from Marx… it is an important contribution. ” (Shawn P. Wilbur, Black Flag, no. 236)
“The collection offers rare and often difficult to obtain excerpts from the voluminous works of Proudhon… in a single (if hefty) volume. These sources are essential in the study the intellectual history of the revolutions in France between 1830 and 1871… Both the casual reader, as well as the scholar, should find Property is Theft! a comprehensive and invaluable source” (Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, no. 57)
First off, sorry for the large gap since the last Proudhon update. I’ve been busy on numerous things, not least my new Kropotkin anthology Direct Action Against Capital. The best that can be said is that the Proudhon blog suffered equally along with replying to emails and writing articles. No excuse, other than I’m just human with a lot of responsibilities and things to do. However, I plan to be a bit more focused this year and I am starting with Proudhon.
"All those who wish to see the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon … achieve wider appreciation and recognition will welcome this new anthology … This is the most comprehensive English-language collection ever published…The primary function of this impressive collection is to make Proudhon’s writings accessible…and to dismantle the superficial misconceptions that have surrounded Proudhon’s theories. It does this marvellously…" (K. Steven Vincent)
“[Property is Theft!] really is a welcome addition to the literature. Comprehensive, with a well-researched and substantial introduction… including not only the most important of Proudhon’s political writings, but many of his manifestos and letters… Proudhon outlined… the basic tenets of anarchism… Iain McKay and A.K. Press are therefore to be warmly congratulated on this very satisfying and much needed anthology” (Brian Morris, Freedom)
As with any book, particularly one which is as long as Property is Theft!, some errors were not spotted before publication. Since getting my copy, I’ve discovered a few minor mistakes and have listed them on the book’s website, plus corrections as both html and pdf. I include them here as well, before discussing my thoughts on additions to any second edition. As will become obvious, the errors are few and far between and not that significant.
Freedom Bookshop is hosting the book launch of Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology.
This is the new comprehensive anthology of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's writings published by AK Press. Proudhon was the first person to call themselves an anarchist and his ideas on property, state, exploitation, workers self-management, federalism and anarchy defined anarchism as a socio-economic theory.
Time has not been kind and I’ve not been able to work on my planned release of a new chapter of Property is Theft! and blog on “Proudhon and Market Socialism”. I have, however, decided to expand the Supplemental Material (online only), specifically material about Proudhon and his ideas.
At long last, Property is Theft! is now at the printers. You can buy it at AK Press ( USA and UK). A little over 2 months late, but still not too bad considering how much material it contains (it comes in at 840 pages). The advance praise for the anthology is included below -- comments coming from the likes of Robert Graham, Lucien van der Walt, David Berry and Mark Leier. There is also a new cover: