I’m Old, But Not as Old as Proudhon Would Have Been

When I saw that Proudhon was born this day in 1809, I remembered how he was one of the first anarchists I read when I was first becoming interested in anarchism, and how exciting his ideas were. A whole new world opened up, and I dove right in. What is Property? (theft!) was dense and bland at points, but I still read the whole thing and then worked my way through other anarchist writings. Fast forward half a lifetime, and even though Proudhon is the one who claimed the word “anarchist” as a positive label, I now think of him as more of a proto-anarchist, probably in large part due to the influence of Black Flame. I think Bakunin and others like him are a better representation of the maturation of what anarchism is as a social movement, political philosophy, whatever you want to call it. But nonetheless, they built off Proudhon, and anarchists today owe him many thanks. So, cheers Proudhon! Go read some of his work.

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