Shawn P. Wilbur

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About Shawn P. Wilbur

Shawn P. Wilbur is an independent scholar and translator. His current projects include translations of the works of Bakunin and Proudhon into English, and the forthcoming Emma Goldman collection, "Anarchy and the Sex Question: Essays on Women and Emancipation, 1896-1917." More of his work, and a large collection of documents and translations from anarchist history, can be found at

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This person has authored 19 documents, with 132,048 words or 842,154 characters.

It’s a question again of “legitimate authority” and “justified hierarchy,” and specifically of the favorite example used by those who want to leave a space within anarchist theory for those things: the care of very young children. The argument I have encountered repeatedly is that parenting is, at least in the case of those very young children, a necessarily authoritarian relation: children must be ordered about in order to protect them from hazards; parents have a duty and presumably also a right to dictate to their children; and children have an obligation to obey. It’s one of those debates that all too often comes down to: “WHY WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” And... (From :
Introduction by Shawn P. Wilbur Proudhon was fond of scandal and provocation — and it got him, and his friends, into hot water. In his System of Economic Contradictions, he wrapped his already provocative thesis about the evolution of institutions around a scandalous narrative about “the hypothesis of God.” Proudhon was fascinated with Christianity, and wrote about it from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of tones, but he is probably best remembered for writings like his “Hymn to Satan” and the final chapter of the first volumes of the Economic Contradictions, where he worked himself up to a sort of declaration of war against the very idea of God: “If God did not exist” ... (From :
I have always been the one that I was, and I will always be the one that I could be; for two relative subjects alone are true: the sun could not become the moon, but if by some chance it should become it, it would no longer be the sun. So who is it that wishes to divert my course? Do not dam the river, if you have good sense. Let the joyous violence rush along its tranquil bed. Don’t you see how merrily it sings as it hastens towards its ocean? I say to you, wise ones: Do not make tragic what can be cheerful. That would be an injury to everything, but the worst harm would be at the expense of human beauty. And let this be said once again to the too-long ears of the ancient aristocracy, for it is not only a ... (From :
In the biographical introduction to Tucker’s edition of What is Property? is a brief mention that around 1851 Proudhon’s “entertained the idea of writing a universal history entitled “Chronos.” This project was never fulfilled.” There was probably no shortage of “universal history” in France by 1850, although an entry by Proudhon would no doubt have been novel and interesting. The Saint-Simonians and their allies, including P. J. B. Buchez, Auguste Ott, Pierre Leroux, had written volume after volume on the subject. In 1849, William B. Greene published his Remarks On The History Of Science; Followed By An Apriori Autobiography, which was greeted by Boston’s radical ministers with “i... (From :
Besançon, August 3, 1840 TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMY OF BESANÇON Gentlemen, I have learned through the confidences of some of my friends that the publication of my Memoir on Propriété, and especially the preface addressed to the Academy of Besançon, which appears at the beginning of that Memoir, have roused your displeasure, not to mention you indignation, against me. That is the motive that enlists me to explain to you here, in few words and in all their simplicity, my conduct and my intentions. First of all, what has been taken for a dedication is only a simple report, which my condition as the Suard pensionnaire and the obligation imposed on me to make known each year the progress... (From :
My dear Villiaumé, it is too warm for me to venture, with my sick head, all the way to Rue Marsollier. I am thinking instead of fleeing for ten or twelve days to some hole in Franche-Comté, where the devil may perhaps not come to torment me with his pomps and work. But you, who are spry, come some evening after your dinner and we will have a mug at the local cabaret, which will do you as much good as an ample banquet. Friendship, and understanding as well, is surely found in a modest to your health. I regret to learn of the illness of Béranger, whom I have not seen. I had intended to pay tribute to him this year with a copy of my next book: it is an honor that will be denied me. It occurs to ... (From :
[Undated fragment from Ms. 2971, Ville de Besançon] I always see the fathers of families, sufficiently enlightened regarding the value of religious fables, worry nonetheless about the Education to give their children, and ask on what the moral principles that they will be taught will rest. Morals and superstition have been so thoroughly mixed together that the majority of men do not manage to separate them, and, for them, to destroy the latter it is always a matter of compromising the former. I am an honest man, says a father, and I know where I stand on the question of the cults. I do not need religion to lead me as a man of honor. But my children must be educated, and I know what that costs. It disgusts me to p... (From :
FOREWORD France has exhausted the principles that once sustained it. Its conscience is empty, just like its reason. All the famous writers that it has produced in the last half-century,—the de Maisters, the Chateaubriands, the Lamennais, the de Bonalds, the Cousins, the Guizots, the Lamartines, the Saint-Simons, the Michelets, Catholics, eclectics, economists, socialists, and members of parliament,—have not ceased to predict that moral collapse which, thanks to God's mercy, man's foolishness, and the necessity of things, has finally arrived. The philosophers of Germany have echoed the prophets of France, as finally the destiny of our homeland has become common to all the old world; for it is written that as French societ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
[The State] is itself, if I may put it this way, a sort of citizen…” —Pierre-Joseph Proudhon[2] For more than a hundred years, anti-statism has been a key principle of anarchism. But this was not always the case. A search of English- and French-language sources suggests that for much of the nineteenth century, the term “statism” (or “étatisme”) did not have its present meaning. In the political realm, it simply meant “statesmanship.” As late as the 1870s, the American anarchist Stephen Pearl Andrews used the term to mean “a tendency to immobility,” without apparent fear of confusion, and the American Dental Association considering adopting Andrews&... (From :
Translator’s Introduction: I’ve been working through the texts in Ms. 2867, part of Economie, looking for material to include in the forthcoming edition of The Philosophy of Progress, and I’ve been finding all sorts of interesting things. The following section comes immediately after the “New Propositions Demonstrated in the Practice Of Revolutions,” so we should perhaps understand by “this organization” the program laid out at the end of that section: “To set aside the notion of substance and Cause, and move onto the terrain of Phenomena and Law, or of the Group.” While the translation here has a fair number of gaps in it (which can hopefully be filled by some more work with the manuscr... (From :
Modern right, by introducing itself in the place of the ancient right, has done one new thing: it has put in the presence of one another, on the same line, two powers which until now had been in a relation of subordination. These two powers are the State and the Individual, in other words Government and Liberty. The Revolution, indeed, has not suppressed that occult, mystical presence, that one called the sovereign, and that we name more willingly the State; it has not reduced society to lone individuals, compromising, contracting between them, and of their free transaction making for themselves a common law, as the Social Contract of J.-J. Rousseau gave us to understand. No, Government, Power, State, as on wishes to call it, ... (From :
CARNETS, VOLUME 1 Carnets, Vol. 1 (Carnet No. 1, 17): 27. Serial law. Everything in nature is simple and complex. What we call a simple idea or element is nothing but the term with which we ended our analysis. Each day I experience the truth of that observation, […] Carnets, Vol. 1 (Carnet 2, 38): 133. In order to organize society, to reestablish order, we must not wish to escape antinomic principles; we must seek one that coordinates with them. This principle exists, simpler and more common than anything the laws have ever prescribed: return it to its rank. Let us not seek a way out of the contradictions that’s press us; there is no way out. Let us manage ourselves [or come to an agreement] with th... (From :
Quote: Property is robbery. Slavery is murder. - P. J. Proudhon Quote: We are Abolitionists from the North, come to take and release your slaves; our organization is large, and must succeed. I suffered much in Kansas, and expect to suffer here, in the cause of human freedom. Slaveholders I regard as robbers and murderers; and I have sworn to abolish slavery and liberate my fellow-men. - John Brown A handful of free soilers have just attempted a relief of slaves on the frontiers of Virginia and Maryland. They have not won and they are dead, but they have at least died fighting; they have sown the future victory in the fields of defeat. John Brown, who had previously fought in K... (From :
One of the things that ought to be clear from recent developments here is that sometimes the most interesting, and also the most unexpected, insights into Proudhon’s work come from double-checking those things that “everyone knows” about his work. It was, after all, in the context of tracking down how close he came to saying “anarchy is order” that I ran across the dubious translations in The General Idea of the Revolution, and that has led to a general scouring of his work for discussions of “anarchy” and “anarchism,” which keeps raising interesting points about the early uses of that term. When I started working through what I was finding, I was reminded that some of Proudhon&rs... (From :
P.-J. Proudhon’s Solution du Problème Social consists of five sections: “Solution du Problème Social;” “Organization du Crédit et de la Circulation;” “Résumé de la Question Social;” “Banque d’Échange;” and “Banque du Peuple.” The collection does not seem to have been included in the Rivière edition of the Oeuvres Complète, so the standard French edition is vol. 8 of the edition by A. Lacroix, Verboeckhoven and Co. (1868) This edition is available on microfiche from John Zube’s Libertarian Microfiche Project, and the major untranslated sections will also soon be available in pdf form from the Libertarian Labyr... (From :
It seems to me that our old pro-revolutionary Anarchist literature has ceased to answer the demands of the modern day. Without going now into any discussion as to whether Anarchist literature has ever adequately dealt with the practical application of our ideas, the question at issue now is whether the time has not come for a new and more popular interpretation of our ideas, particularly in light of the World War, the Russian Revolution and the subsequent vital social developments. I feel that with the almost generally admitted fact of the bankruptcy of Socialism and the growing conviction of the failure of Bolshevism and of revolutionary party dictatorship, the opportunities for Anarchist propaganda have immeasurably increased. Peop... (From :
Relation of the State and Liberty, according to modern right. Modern right, by introducing itself in the place of the ancient right, has done one new thing: it has put in the presence of one another, on the same line, two powers which until now had been in a relation of subordination. These two powers are the State and the Individual, in other words Government and Liberty. The Revolution, indeed, has not suppressed that occult, mystical presence, that one called the sovereign, and that we name more willingly the State; it has not reduced society to lone individuals, compromising, contracting between them, and of their free transaction making for themselves a common law, as the Social Contract of J.-J. Rousseau gave us to under... (From :
Translator’s note This passage is generally known as part of “God and the State” (Dieu et l’État, first published in 1882), but it appears in Bakunin’s manuscript as part of “Sophismes historiques de l’école doctrinaire des communistes allemands,” the second section of the unfinished book L’Empire Knouto-Germanique et la Révolution Sociale (The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution.) This new translation seeks to clarify some passages that may appear contradictory in existing translations. In particularly the verb repousser, which previous translators have tended to simply render as “reject,” has been brought closer to its literal... (From :
What is now being called “postanarchism” by some thinkers, including Saul Newman, can take on many forms, but the term generally refers to an attempt to marry the best aspects of poststructuralist philosophy and the anarchist tradition. One way to read the word, thus, is as a composite: poststructuralism and anarchism. However, the term also suggests that the post- prefix applies to its new object as well — implying that anarchism, at least as heretofore thought and practiced, is somehow obsolete. Together, these two senses of the word form a narrative: an aging, spent force (anarchism) is to be saved from obsolescence and irrelevance by being fused with a fresh, vital force (poststructuralism). We would like to question t... (From :


April 27, 2020 ; 6:41:09 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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