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In my August 20th post i referred to "Proust" (Marcel - 1811-1922) as a philosopher who believed in anarchy and violence and who influenced Georges Sorel.  Proust was not a philosopher nor was he born early enough to have much influence on Sorel.  Whatever his views on anarchy or violence might have been, i am not privy to them.  I intended to refer to Proudhon (Pierre - 1809-1865) who was a philosopher (and politician), an anarchist, and someone who influenced Sorel.

My biggest mistake was to get my information about Proudhon mostly from Sorels and hardly at all from Proudhon himself.  The Wikipedia artical and Proudhon quotes cited below make no reference to violenc and specifically stated that Proudhon believed that anarchy could be achieved by peaceful means.  After all. workers outnumber owners and could  outvote them in any democracy.  Here is Proudhon on Politics and Economics.

"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.[29]
                                            .................................................

"Capital"... in the political field is analogous to "government"... The economic idea of capitalism, the politics of government or of authority, and the theological idea of the Church are three identical ideas, linked in various ways. To attack one of them is equivalent to attacking all of them . . . What capital does to labour, and the State to liberty, the Church does to the spirit. This trinity of absolutism is as baneful in practice as it is in philosophy. The most effective means for oppressing the people would be simultaneously to enslave its body, its will and its reason.[30]."

Proudhon in his earliest works analyzed the nature and problems of the capitalist economy. While deeply critical of capitalism, he also objected to those contemporary socialists who advocated centralized, hierarchical forms of association or state control of the economy. In a sequence of commentaries, from What is Property? (1840), posthumously published in the Théorie de la propriété (Theory of Property, 1863–64), he declared in turn that "property is theft", "property is impossible", "property is despotism", and "property is freedom". When he said "property is theft", he was referring to the landowner or capitalist who he believed "stole" the profits from laborers. For Proudhon, the capitalist's employee was "subordinated, exploited: his permanent condition is one of obedience".[31]

In asserting that property is freedom, he was referring not only to the product of an individual's labor, but to the peasant or artisan's home and tools of his trade and the income he received by selling his goods. For Proudhon, the only legitimate source of property is labor. What one produces is one's property and anything beyond that is not. He advocated worker self-management and was opposed to the private ownership of the means of production. As he put it in 1848:

Under the law of association, transmission of wealth does not apply to the instruments of labour, so cannot become a cause of inequality... We are socialists... under universal association, ownership of the land and of the instruments of labour is social ownership... We want the mines, canals, railways handed over to democratically organised workers' associations... We want these associations to be models for agriculture, industry and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies and societies, joined together in the common bond of the democratic and social Republic.[32]

Proudhon called himself a socialist, but he opposed state ownership of capital goods in favour of ownership by workers themselves in associations. This makes him one of the first theorists of libertarian socialism. Proudhon was one of the main influences on the theory of workers' self-management (autogestion), in the late 19th and 20th century.

Proudhon strenuously rejected the ownership of the products of labor by society or the state, arguing in What is Property? that while "property in product ... does not carry with it property in the means of production"[33] "The right to product is exclusive ... the right to means is common" and applied this to the land ("the land is [...] a common thing"[34]) and workplaces ("all accumulated capital being social property, no one can be its exclusive proprietor".[35]) He argued that while society owned the means of production or land, users would control and run them (under supervision from society), with the "organising of regulating societies" in order to "regulate the market".[36]


This use-ownership he called "possession", and this economic system mutualism. Proudhon had many arguments against entitlement to land and capital, including reasons based on morality, economics, politics, and individual liberty. One such argument was that it enabled profit, which in turn led to social instability and war by creating cycles of debt that eventually overcame the capacity of labor to pay them off. Another was that it produced "despotism" and turned workers into wage workers subject to the authority of a boss.

In What Is Property? Proudhon wrote:

Property, acting by exclusion and encroachment, while population was increasing, has been the life-principle and definitive cause of all revolutions. Religious wars, and wars of conquest, when they have stopped short of the extermination of races, have been only accidental disturbances, soon repaired by the mathematical progression of the life of nations. The downfall and death of societies are due to the power of  accumulation possessed by property.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Work is giving, property is taking.

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