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Property is Theft!

category international | history of anarchism | press release author Wednesday February 10, 2010 05:51author by Anarcho - An Anarchist FAQ and Black Flag Magazine Report this post to the editors

A new Proudhon Anthology

Property is Theft! is a new anthology of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first person to call themselves an anarchist. It is due out later this year. A webpage ( has been launched to make the book's material available to the world


Property is Theft!

A new Proudhon Anthology

This year marks the 170th anniversary of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's classic work "What is Property?" Within its pages two short expressions, a mere seven words, transformed socialist politics forever. One, only four words long, put a name to a tendency within the working class movement: “I am an Anarchist.” The other, only three words long, presented a critique and a protest against inequality which still rings: “Property is Theft!”

To mark this event, AK Press is publishing "Property is Theft!", the first comprehensive anthology of Proudhon's work. Find out more about the ideas of the leading French socialist of his time, the man Bakunin called "the master of us all" and his own ideas as "Proudhonism widely developed and pushed right to these, its final consequences."

The Proudhon Anthology should be out in November this year. It contains extracts from all of Proudhon's key works already available in English, including articles never before included in book format. In addition, substantial new material has been translated specifically for this anthology including articles from the 1848 Revolution, letters and chapters from important works like Confessions of a Revolutionary, The Political Capacity of the Working Classes and Solution of the Social Problem.

Material will be placed on line as from now at:

More detailed contents can be found here:

There is a blog related to the book, which will announce new updates to the website and comment on Proudhon related news and developments:

A selection of Proudhon's more memorable quotes can found on it:

And the first four extracts are now on-line, with more to come as the year progresses. As is the introduction:

Compiled, edited and introduced by Iain McKay, the author of An Anarchist FAQ and an editor of the UK's leading anarchist magazine Black Flag, the anthology will be essential reading for all those seeking to know about Proudhon and how his ideas influenced the evolution of anarchism.

“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)

“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)

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