THE GENERAL IDEA OF THE REVOLUTION IN THE 19th Century by P. J. Proudhon. Reviewed by Robert Anton Wilson.

Pierre-Joseph_Proudhon_0The General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century, by P. J. Proudhon. Reviewed by Robert Anton Wilson. (With thanks to the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan)

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Benjamin Tucker considered this Proudhon’s best book — “the most wonderful of all the wonderful books of Proudhon”— and he may well have been right in that judgment. Like many of the greatest works of the last century’ this “most wonderful book” comes to us from a prison cell: a fact which is probably far from insignificant. It is not without cause that the letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” Nietzsche’s Antichrist, the best poems of Antonin Artaud, Van Gogh’s two or three greatest canvases, Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, and several other of the most significant cultural products of this age, were produced by men who were at the time unwilling “guests of the State.” Nor is it idle to note that some time has been served (unproductively, alas!) by Ford Madox Ford, Nijinsky, Seymour Krim, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jim Peck, and almost everybody else worth a damn as a serious thinker or artist. It is getting to the point where, as Eustace Mullins noted in his biography of Ezra Pound, lack of a police or psychiatric record is looked on, by avante garde, as a sign that a man has sold out.

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GENERAL IDEA of the REVOLUTION in the NINETEENTH CENTURY by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1851). Translated by John Beverley Robinson. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

Revolution19thcenturyGENERAL IDEA of the REVOLUTION in the NINETEENTH CENTURY by P. J. Proudhon

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 See  Robert Anton Wilson’s review of ‘General Idea...’

The General Idea of Proudhon’s Revolution by Robert Graham

The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century is one of the classics of anarchist literature.[1] Written in the aftermath of the 1848 French Revolution, it sets forth a libertarian alternative to the Jacobinism which at that time still dominated the republican and revolutionary movements in France. It contains a critique of existing society and its institutions, a vision of a free society based on equality and justice, and a detailed strategy for revolutionary change. Despite its ambivalent position regarding government initiated reforms, it set the tone for subsequent anarchist propaganda as anarchism began to emerge as a significant force on the revolutionary left.

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Proudhonist Materialism and Revolutionary Doctrine by Stephen Condit see eBookshelf

Proudhoncover2Proudhonist Materialism and Revolutionary Doctrine by Stephen Condit First published in 1982 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney. This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks, ISBN 978-0-904564-49-5  

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Few historians of ideas have questioned Proudhon’s impact in his own time. Yet his affinities with and contributions to some of the most important trends in modern political philosophy, and his relevance to the problems which increasingly reveal the failures of existing political doctrines and systems, have been neglected.

‘… in general, regimentation was the passion common to all socialists prior to 1848. Cabet, Louis Blanc, the Utopians — all were possessed by the passion to indoctrinate and to organise the future. All were authoritarians to some degree. The one exception was Proudhon. The son of a peasant, and by instinct a hundred times more revolutionary than all the doctrinaire and bourgeois socialists, Proudhon developed a critical viewpoint, as ruthless as it was profound and penetrating, in order to destroy all their systems. Opposing liberty to authority, he proclaimed himself an anarchist as distinct from state socialists, and in the face of their deism or pantheism he also had the courage to declare himself an atheist . . .’ Michael Bakunin, ‘A Critique of State Socialism’ (Review)