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Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 - 1865)
Lifespan: 1809 - 1865
Personal relationships: Gustave Courbet (friend)
Anarchism had a large influence on French Symbolism of the late 19th century, such as that of Stéphane Mallarmé, who was quoting as saying "Je ne sais pas d'autre bombe, qu'un livre." (I know of no bomb other than the book.) Its ideas infiltrated the cafes and cabarets of turn of the century Paris.
Related: avant-garde - anarchism - government - French theory
Proudhon and his children (1865) Gustave Courbet
The painter Gustave Courbet was friends with Proudhon and supported the latter's views on societal change. Proudhon was avant-garde in politics, Courbet in the visual arts. One of Proudhon's most poetic and prophetic exposés was "To be GOVERNED is ..." which is reproduced on this page.
"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality." (P.-J. Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294.)
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (January 15, 1809 - January 19, 1865) was a French anarchist of the 19th century. Born in Besançon, Doubs, France, he is most famous for asserting "Property is theft", in his missive What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right of Government. In the same book, he became the first person to call himself an anarchist, a word which had previously been used as a term of abuse during the French Revolution. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proudhon [Oct 2004]
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