Property is Theft! Book Launch - London - 21/05/2011

Freedom Bookshop is hosting the book launch of Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology.

This is the new comprehensive anthology of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's writings published by AK Press. Proudhon was the first person to call themselves an anarchist and his ideas on property, state, exploitation, workers self-management, federalism and anarchy defined anarchism as a socio-economic theory.

Join Iain McKay, the editor of Property is Theft! and author of An Anarchist FAQ, to discuss Proudhon's ideas and why they are still important today.

Property is Theft! book launch:

2pm to 4pm,
21st May 2011

Freedom Bookshop
Angel Alley
84b Whitechapel High Street
E1 7QX

Extracts from "Property is Theft!" are on-line:

Proudhon's ideas are discussed on the Property is Theft! blog

Property is Theft! is available from AK Press in UK and USA.

Advance praise for Property is Theft!

“Iain McKay has done a superb job collecting Proudhon's most important, provocative and influential writings in one volume, many of which have not previously appeared in English. This collection will become an indispensable source book for anyone interested in Proudhon’s ideas and the origins of the socialist and anarchist movements in 19th century Europe.” (Robert Graham, editor of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas)

“Even Proudhon’s harshest critics, including Marx, agreed that his passion for liberty and equality was inspiring, and it’s time to re-evaluate his substantive work. This reader is the ideal place to begin. Iain McKay’s introduction offers a sure-footed guide through the misconceptions surrounding Proudhon’s thought, and the rich collection spans his years as an activist and theorist. Unlike much of the polemical argument around Proudhon, this volume will open up debate, rather than shut it down; it will let readers make up their own minds about the ‘father of anarchism.’” (Mark Leier, author of Bakunin: The Creative Passion, Simon Fraser University)

“Publisher, political prisoner, political economist, and (briefly) parliamentarian, Proudhon was a pillar of nineteenth century socialism. His insights into economic and political issues led the young Karl Marx to call him ‘the most consistent and wisest of socialist writers.’ His libertarian vision of an egalitarian society based on self-management and federalism deeply influenced Mikhail Bakunin, founder of anarchism, who called him ‘the master of us all.’ Today, Proudhon's strategy for change – the creation of an alternative economy, created from below, through co-operatives – influences movements across the world. Yet his enduring influence and importance has been shrouded by caricature and his works remain difficult to obtain. This remarkable collection thus makes a vital contribution to the task of left and labour renewal in the post-Soviet world. Iain McKay has provided, at last, the definitive English-language collection of the master's masterworks, framed by a powerful introduction and insightful notes.” (Lucien van der Walt, co-author of Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism, University of the Witwatersrand)

“In the English-speaking world, Proudhon is one of the best known but least well understood anarchists, largely because the bulk of his work is not available in translation.  Iain McKay's comprehensive anthology, which draws on Proudhon's correspondence as well as his published work, fills a real gap and should encourage new readers to engage with his work and appreciate both the positive contribution he has made to anarchist thinking and the enormity of his influence on the anarchist movement.” (Ruth Kinna, author of Anarchism: A Beginner’s Guide and editor of Anarchist Studies, Loughborough University)

“Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a hugely influential figure in French working-class history and in the history of the French Left, as well as being widely acknowledged as the ‘father of anarchy’, as Kropotkin once put it. Yet the precise nature of his political thought, his relation to anarchism as it came to be understood after his death, and the value of his contribution have been the focus of much (often acrimonious) debate. He has over the years been accused of being eclectic, inconsistent, self-contradictory and reactionary – not to mention the reductionist Marxist criticism of being a petit bourgeois. A number of scholars in recent years (notably, in the English-speaking world, K. Steven Vincent and Alex Prichard) have argued – as does Iain McKay in his introduction to this volume - that much of what has been said about Proudhon has been based on ignorance and received ideas, as well as questionable methodological approaches, and they have proposed a re-evaluation of his ideas. However, one of the problems hitherto for those wishing to return to the sources to see for themselves what Proudhon actually wrote has been the lack of English translations of most of his works. This anthology of Proudhon’s writings, the most comprehensive yet published, is therefore extremely welcome and an important addition to the growing literature on Proudhon, and will hopefully make possible a more rigorous and fruitful engagement with this important figure.” (David Berry, author of The History of the French Anarchist Movement 1917-1945, Loughborough University)

“From Iain McKay, principal author of the standard anarchist educational resource An Anarchist FAQ, comes Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. Besides replacing Stewart Edwards’ Selected Writings as the definitive Proudhon reader after several decades, it is clearly superior to Edwards’ collection. First, instead of Edwards’ unsatisfactory approach of compiling snippets of text under subject headings in a sort of Bartlett’s quotations format, McKay’s anthology provides complete digests of Proudhon’s texts with important passages in unbroken form. Second, this collection includes a wide variety of new texts, many of them translated especially for the present effort. This new anthology may well serve as the definitive reference source for as long as Selected Writings did. This should be cause for excitement and eager anticipation among Proudhon enthusiasts everywhere.” (Kevin Carson, author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy)