Pierre Joseph Proudhon and AnarchismJune 27, 2021
Proudhon’s basic idea is justice. The idea of justice in Proudhon transcends individual boundaries and encompasses social life. However, the justice that he speaks of appears rather as divine justice. “It is this justice that governs societies, and it is the center of political life.
“Proudhon, acting on the requirements of this justice, opposes private property. Property is to the detriment of people, because it causes unemployment, excess production, bankruptcies, destructions. Proudhon, on the one hand, opposes private property, on the other hand, criticizes the concept of collective property. According to him, liberal In the regime, the strong exploit the weak, while in the communist regime, the weak oppress the strong.Therefore, there should be no property.
According to Proudhon, the only relationship between people who respect each other’s freedoms is one based on the obligations of a freely concluded contract. The state, which was established according to its own rules of law and exceeds the authority of individuals, is devoid of any legitimate basis. After all, authority means pressure; Supreme power means absolute power. Taken as such, it doesn’t matter that much whether the defenders of authority are conservative or socialist. “The rule of man by man is slavery,” says Proudhon, and adds, “There must be no party, no authority, but absolute freedom of man and citizen.” These words are exemplifications of Proudhon’s anarchism.
Proudhon’s assertive anarchism is not without foundation, as evidenced by his writings on property. Anarchy is “positive”. In this anarchy, “freedom is not the daughter of order, but the mother of order”.
Proudhon takes opposition, antagonism, as the basic rule of life. He opposes Hegel’s idea that contradictions are resolved in a synthesis. Proudhon says that “the opposition is not resolved”. According to him, the state seeks to destroy all private attempts to dominate social forces against each other. However, a balance can be established in a society freed from all kinds of external interventions and protectors. Positive Anarchy will be achieved by the supremacy of the economy over politics, the government will dissolve into the economic organism.
Proudhon is an ardent defender of the family, of customs. It is conservative when it comes to the inviolability of customs, the sanctity of marriage, and the order of the family. He says, “Any attack on the institution of the family is an attack on justice, on the people, on freedom and on the revolution.” He criticizes the bourgeoisie not for holding morality, but for separating it from its essence, and blames it for humiliating the family.
On the other hand, his unwavering belief in justice also prevents him from proposing a violent revolution. Positive Anarchism presupposes a peaceful evolutionism. Proudhon says, “It is in our hands to accelerate this evolution by bringing about justice within our means.”
Proudhon, whose influence was profound and lasting, is considered the “father of Anarchism” and its most influential representative. Proudhon’s defense of individual autonomy still makes its impact. For those who opposed Marxism, Proudhon’s ideas became a pillar. Proudhon differs from Karl Marx by putting balance against synthesis and freedom against coercion.
Development Publications, Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions