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P. J. Proudhon: A Prophet of 1848. Part I: Life and Works

Dorothy W. Douglas
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 34, No. 5 (Mar., 1929), pp. 781-803
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2765345
Page Count: 23
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P. J. Proudhon: A Prophet of 1848. Part I: Life and Works
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Abstract

Though not a pure anarchist, Proudhon was the forerunner of anarchism. Though not a militant trade unionist, he was the foreunner of syndicalism. Human relationships, he held, must be built on free individual initiative and mutual justice and respect-impossible in the present social order based on exploitation. The new social order demands special interests groups, which, on the economic side, would faciliate the direct exchange of goods and eliminate most of the credit system, and, on the political side, would supply the minimum degree of federal sovereignty necessary for social balance. Proudhon's life was busy and dramatic; his writings were prolific and influential out of all proportion to their coherence. His influence was felt in the Paris Commune; in the establishment of mutualistic banks in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany; in the anarchism of Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Herzen; in the social theory of DeGreef; and in the present-day syndicalist movement, which looks to Proudhon as its prophet, in spite of wide divergence from his doctrines.

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