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 Заголовок сообщения: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon . The Federative Principle
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Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

and the Need to Reconstitute the Party of Revolution

Part One

Chapter I: Political Dualism — Authority and Liberty: Opposition and Interconnection of the Two Ideas
Chapter II: A Priori Conceptions of Political Order: Regime of Authority, Regime of Liberty
Chapter III: Forms of Government
Chapter IV: Compromise Between the Principles: Origins of Political Contradictions
Chapter V: De Facto Governments: Social Dissolution
Chapter VI: The Political Problem Posed: The Principle of a Solution
Chapter VII: Isolation of the Idea of Federation
Chapter VIII: A Progressive Constitution
Chapter IX: What Has Delayed Federation; Factors Hindering the Idea
Chapter X: Political Idealism: Efficacy of Federal Guarantees
Chapter XI: Economic Sanctions: The Agro-Industrial Federation

Part Two

Chapter I: The Jacobin Tradition: Federalist Gaul, Monarchical France

Part Three

Chapter IX: Slavery and the Proletariat


Part One

Chapter I: Political Dualism — Authority and Liberty: Opposition and Interconnection of the Two Ideas

Before saying what is meant by federation, it is as well to devote a few pages to the origin and context of the idea. The theory of the federal system is quite new; I think I may even say that no one has ever presented it before. But it is intimately bound up with the theory of government in general -- to speak more precisely, it is its necessary conclusion.

Among the many constitutions proposed by philosophy and put to the test by history, one alone reconciles the demands of justice, order, liberty, and stability, without which neither society nor the individual can live. Truth, like nature, is one. It would be strange if it were otherwise for the mind and for its grandest work, society. All writers have recognized the unity of human legislation; and, without denying the diversity in application dictated by time and place and the special character of each nation, or neglecting the scope of discretion in every political system, all have been obliged to accommodate their doctrines to it. I shall undertake to show that this one constitution, which it will be the greatest triumph of human reason to have grasped, is nothing other than the federal system. Every form of government which departs from it must be considered an empirical creation, a preliminary sketch, more or less useful, under which society finds shelter for a moment, and which, like the Arab's tent, is folded up the morning after it has been erected. Rigorous analysis is therefore essential here, and the first truth which this account should impress upon the reader is that politics, though infinitely flexible as an applied art, is an exact science in its regulative principles, no more or less so than geometry or algebra.

Political order rests fundamentally on two contrary principles: authority and liberty. The one initiates, the other concludes; the one goes hand-in-hand with obedient faith, the other with free reason.

I doubt that a single voice will be raised against this first proposition. Authority and liberty are as old as the human race; they are born with us, and live on in each of us. Let us note but one thing, which few readers would notice otherwise: these two principles form a couple, so to speak, whose two terms, though indissolubly linked together, are nevertheless irreducible one to the other, and remain, despite all our efforts, perpetually at odds. Authority necessarily presupposes a liberty which recognizes or denies it; in turn liberty, in its political sense, likewise presupposes an authority which confronts it, repressing or tolerating it. Suppress one of the two, and the other has no sense: authority, without a Liberty to examine it, to resist or submit to it, is an empty word; liberty, without an authority as counterweight, is meaningless.

The principle of authority, familial, patriarchal, magisterial, monarchical, theocratic, tending to hierarchy, centralization, absorption, is given by nature, and is thus essentially predestined, divine, as you will. Its scope, resisted and impeded by the opposing principle, may expand or contract indefinitely, but can never be extinguished.

The principle of liberty, personal, individualist, critical, the instrument of dividing, choosing, arranging, is supplied by the mind. Essentially a principle of judgment, then, it is superior to the nature which it makes use of, and to the necessity which it masters. Its aspirations are unbounded; it is, like its contrary, subject to extension or restriction, but it likewise cannot be exhausted as it grows, nor can it be nullified by constraint.

It follows that in every society, even the most authoritarian, liberty necessarily plays some part; likewise in every society, even the most liberal, some portion is reserved for authority. This requirement is absolute; no political arrangement is exempt. Despite the efforts of the understanding to resolve diversity into unity, the two principles persist, always in opposition to each other. Political development arises from their inescapable logic and their mutual interaction.

All this, I confess, may contain little that is really new, and some readers will ask me if that is all I have to offer them. No one denies nature or mind, whatever the obscurity that may surround them; not one writer rejects either authority or liberty, even though their reconciliation, separation, or elimination seem equally impossible. What, then, is my purpose in reciting this commonplace?

What I have to say is this: that all political constitutions, all systems of government, including federations, fall within the scope of one formula, the balancing of authority by liberty, and vice versa; that in consequence the categories adopted by the great majority of writers, since Aristotle's time, in order to classify governments, differentiate states, and distinguish among the nations, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, etc. -- the federation excepted here -- are reduced to hypothetical, empirical constructs, in which reason and justice find only imperfect satisfaction; that all established orders, founded upon these incomplete ideas, differ only from the standpoint of interest, prejudice, and habit, and are at bottom similar and equivalent; that were it not for the harm done by these false systems, in which ruffled passions, affronted interests, and vain self-deceptions are at odds with one another, we would be very close to agreement on fundamentals; that, finally, all those partisan divisions which we imagine to be so profound, all those conflicts of opinion which seem insoluble to us, all those random hostilities for which there appears to be no remedy, will instantly find a definitive solution in the theory of federal government.

Is there so much, you will ask, in a semantic opposition, authority-liberty? Indeed, yes! I have observed that the ordinary mind, even the child, can better grasp the truth cast in an abstract formula than when it is inflated with a mass of explanations and facts. I wished both to condense this study for those who cannot read books, and to make it more compelling by appealing to simple ideas. Authority and liberty: two concepts opposed to another, destined to live in struggle or to perish together; here, indeed, is something not very hard to grasp. Have the patience to continue, dear reader, and if you have understood this first and very short chapter, you will tell me your opinion afterward

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 Заголовок сообщения: Re: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon . The Federative Principle
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Chapter II: A Priori Conceptions of Political Order: Regime of Authority, Regime of Liberty

We know the two fundamental and antithetical principles of all governments: authority and liberty.

Because of the tendency of the human mind to bring all its ideas under a single principle, proceeding to eliminate those which seem to be incompatible with it, two different regimes are derived, a priori, from these two primordial ideas, according to the preference or partiality accorded one or the other: the regime of authority and the regime of liberty.

Moreover, since society is composed of individuals, and the relation of the individual to the group may be conceived, from a political standpoint, in four different ways, four forms of government result, two for each regime:

Regime of authority

A) Government of all by one -- monarchy or patriarchy;

a) Government of all by all -- panarchy or communism.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the non-division of power.

Regime of liberty

B) Government of all by each -- democracy;

b) Government of each by each -- an-archy or self-government.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the division of power.

Nothing more, nothing less. This classification, which derives a priori by deduction from the nature of things, is mathematical. In so far as politics is thought to rest upon a logical construct, as all the ancient legislators naturally assumed, it cannot stop short of this or go beyond it. Its simplistic character is striking; it shows us that from the very beginning, in each regime, the head of state strives to derive the constitution from a single premise. Logic and ingenuousness are primordial in politics: and that is exactly where the trap lies.


I. We know how monarchical government, the original expression of the principle of authority, arises. De Bonald has told us: by paternal authority.

The family is the embryo of monarchy. The first states were generally families or tribes governed by their natural leader -- husband, father, patriarch, finally a king.

Under this regime, the state develops in two ways: 1. by generation, or the natural increase of the family, 2. by adoption, that is, the voluntary or forced incorporation of neighbouring families and tribes, but in such a way that the united tribes, together with the mother tribe, form but one family, a single domesticity. The monarchical state may develop thus to an enormous size, reaching a population of hundreds of millions, spread over hundreds of square leagues.

Panarchy, pantocracy, or communism, arises naturally through the death of the monarch or family head, and by the declared intention of the subjects, brothers, children, or members to remain together, without choosing a new leader. This political form is rare -- if indeed there are any examples of it at all -- authority here being more oppressive and individuality more crushed than in any other form. It has scarcely ever been adopted except by religious associations, which, of whatever country and whatever faith, have tended to extinguish liberty. But all the same the idea is given a priori, like the idea of monarchy; it will find its application in existing governments, and we must mention it if only for the record.

Thus monarchy, founded upon nature, justified, therefore, on its own terms, has its own legitimacy and morality; and the same goes for communism. But we shall soon see that these two varieties of the one regime, despite their concrete basis and logical derivation, cannot maintain themselves in the full rigour of their principles and their essential purity, that they are condemned as a result to a hypothetical status. In truth, despite their patriarchal origin, their complacent mood, their pretences to absolutism and divine right, monarchy and communism, as developed expressions of a type, exist nowhere.

II. How, in turn, does democratic government arise, that spontaneous expression of the principle of liberty? Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Revolution have taught us: by agreement. Here physiology counts for nothing; the state figures as the product, not of organic nature, of the flesh, but of intelligible nature, that is, the mind.

Under this regime, the state develops by free accession or adhesion. Just as all the citizens are held to have signed a contract, so the foreigner who joins the city is held to agree to it in his turn; it is on this condition that he acquires his rights and privileges as citizen. If the state goes to war and is victorious, its principle leads it to accord to the conquered peoples the same rights as its own nationals enjoy; this is called isonomy. Such, among the Romans, was the granting of civic right. Even children are held to have sworn to the pact on coming of age; it is not because they are sons of citizens that they become citizens in turn, as in monarchies a subject's children are subjects by birth, or, as in Lycurgus' or Plato's cities, because they belong to the state.

To be a member of a democracy, one must, by right, quite apart from the qualification of birth, have chosen the liberal system.

The same goes for the accession of a family, a city, or a province; it is always liberty which constitutes its principles and supplies its motives.

Thus the development of the authoritarian state, patriarchal, monarchical, or communist, confronts the development of the liberal, contractual, democratic state. Just as there is no natural limit to the scale of a monarchy, so that throughout time and among all peoples the idea of a universal or messianic monarchy has arisen, so there is no natural limit to the scale of the democratic state, which has prompted the idea of a universal democracy or republic.

As a variety of the liberal regime I have mentioned anarchy -- the government of each by himself, self-government. Since the phrase anarchic government involves a kind of contradiction, the thing seems impossible and the idea absurd. However, there is nothing to find fault with here but language; politically, the idea of anarchy is quite as rational and concrete as any other. What it means is that political functions have been reduced to industrial functions, and that social order arises from nothing but transactions and exchanges. Each may then say that he is the absolute ruler of himself, the polar opposite of monarchical absolutism.

Just as monarchy and communism, founded in nature and reason, have their legitimacy and morality, though they can never be realized as absolutely pure types, so too democracy and anarchy, founded in liberty and justice, pursuing an ideal in accordance with their principle, have their legitimacy and morality. But we shall see that in their case too, despite their rational and juridical origin, they cannot remain strictly congruent with their pure concepts as their population and territory develop and grow, and that they are fated to remain perpetual desiderata. Despite the powerful appeal of liberty, neither democracy nor anarchy has arisen anywhere, in a complete and uncompromised form.

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 Заголовок сообщения: Re: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon . The Federative Principle
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Chapter III: Forms of Government

Nevertheless, it is with the help of these metaphysical toys that governments have been established since the beginning of the world, and it is with their help that we shall come to resolve the enigma of politics, if we are willing to make the slightest effort to do so. I hope I will be forgiven, then, for labouring this point, as one does in teaching the rudiments of grammar to children.
In the above discussion, there is not a word that does not have perfect precision. One reasons no differently in pure mathematics. It is not in the use which we make of ideas that the source of our errors lies; it is in the omissions which we permit ourselves, under the pretext of being logical, in applying them.
a) Authority and liberty: here indeed are the two poles of politics. Their opposition -- antithetical, diametrical, contradictory -- is our certain guarantee that a third term is impossible, that it does not exist. Between yes and no, between being and non-being, logic permits nothing.
b) The interconnection of these two ideas, their irreducibility, their life, have also been displayed. One does not come without the other; one cannot suppress one or the other, or resolve the two into a single expression. As to their life, one has only to confront them together, and, tending to absorb one another, to develop at one another's expense, they at once spring into action.
c) From these two ideas society receives two different regimes which we have called the regime of authority and the regime of liberty; each of these may then adopt two different forms, no more, no less. Authority appears in all its splendour only in the collectivity; hence it cannot express itself or act except in the collectivity itself or through an agent which personifies it; likewise, liberty is perfect only when it is guaranteed to all, either by all men taking part in government, or else by their delegating the trust to no one. It is impossible to escape these alternatives: government of all by all or government of all by one, in the case of the regime of authority; participation of each in the government of all or government of each by himself, in the case of the regime of liberty. All this is as necessary as unity and plurality, heat and cold, light and shadow.
But, I will be asked, have we never seen government become the property of some part, large or small, of the nation, the rest being excluded: aristocracy, government by the upper classes, ochlocracy, government by the poor, oligarchy, government by a faction? A fair objection, granted. But such governments are de facto, the work of usurpation, violence, reaction, transition, empiricism, in which all the principles are simultaneously adopted, and then all violated, misunderstood, confused; and we are dealing here with a priori governments, conceived according to logic, and upon a single principle.
There is nothing arbitrary, to repeat, in the politics of reason, which sooner or later must cease to separate itself from practical politics. The arbitrary belongs neither to nature nor to the mind; it is generated neither by the necessity of things nor by the infallible logic of concepts. The arbitrary is the child -- of what? Its name will tell you: of free will, of liberty. How fine! The only enemy liberty has to fear is not, at bottom, authority, which all men adore as though it were justice; it is liberty itself, the liberty of the prince, of the great, of the mass, disguised under the mask of authority.
From the a priori definition of the various types of government, let us now turn to their forms.
What is called the form of government is the manner in which power is distributed and exercised. By nature and logic these forms are related to the principle, origin, and law of each regime.
Just as the father of the primitive family and the patriarch of the tribe are at once master of the household, of the chariot, or the tent, herus, dominus, owner of the land, and beasts, and the crops, farmer, craftsman, manager, trader, performer of sacrifices, warrior; so too, in a monarchy, the prince is at once legislator, administrator, judge, general, high priest. He has the eminent domain in land and rent; he rules over the arts and professions, commerce, agriculture, navigation, public education, and is invested with every right and all authority. In short, the king is representative of the society, its incarnation; he is the state. The union or non-division of powers is characteristic of royalty. To the principle of authority which distinguishes the father and the king, there is added as corollary the principle of unlimited attribution. A military chieftain, like Joshua; a judge, like Samuel; a priest, like Aaron; a king, like David; a legislator, like Moses, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa -- all these titles are united in the same bearer. That is the spirit of monarchy, those are its forms.
Soon, due to the growth of the state, the exercise of authority surpasses the capacity of one man. The prince thus equips himself with the aid of counsellors, officers, or ministers, chosen by him, who act in his place as his delegates, or attorneys, in relation to the people. As much as the prince whom they represent, these envoys, satraps, proconsuls, or prefects acquire through their mandate all the attributes of authority. But it is understood that they must give account of their conduct to the king their master, in whose interest and name they govern, who directs them, and who makes them watch over one another in such a way as to ensure that he retains the highest authority, the honour of commanding, and the profits of the state, and that he is secure from any usurpation or sedition. As for the nation, it has no right to demand an account, nor do the agents of the prince have to give it one. In this system, the subjects' only security is the interest of the sovereign, who, however, knows no law but his own good pleasure.
In the communist regime, the forms of government are the same, that is, power is exercised in an undivided fashion by the collectivity just as it was before by the king alone. Thus it was that among the Germans, in May, the whole people, without distinction of age and sex, deliberated and judged; thus the Cimbri and Teutons, accompanied by their women, fought against Marius.
Knowing nothing about strategy or tactics, what need had they of generals? There was a vestige of this communism in Athens, where criminal judgments were rendered by the whole mass of citizens; and it was through an inspiration of the same kind that in 1848 the Republic gave itself nine hundred legislators, regretting that it could not bring together into one assembly the ten million electors, who had to content themselves with casting votes. Projects today for direct legislation, by yes and no, spring from the same source.
The forms of the liberal or democratic state likewise correspond to the generative principle and developmental law of this system; as a result, they differ radically from that of monarchy. They consist in the fact that power, instead of being collectively and indivisibly exercised as in the primitive community, is dispersed among the citizens, in one of two ways. In the case of a task which is physically divisible, such as the construction of a road, the commanding of a fleet, the policing of a town, or the education of the young, one divides the work into segments, the fleet into squadrons or even single ships, the town into districts, the teaching into classes, to each of which one assigns a contractor, manager, admiral, captain, or master. The Athenians were in the habit of appointing ten or twelve generals in wartime, each of whom in turn commanded for a day -- a practice which now seems distinctly odd, but the Athenian democracy would stand for nothing more. If the function is not divisible, it is left intact. Several officials may be appointed to deal with it (despite Homer's precept that more than one commander is a bad thing) -- thus, where we send but one ambassador, the ancients sent a whole company of them; or else one may assign each function to a single official who makes it his profession, his skill -- which tends to introduce into the body politic a special class of citizens, public functionaries. From that moment, democracy is in danger: the state separates itself from the nation; its personnel almost become what they were under the monarchy, more loyal to the prince than to nation or state. In reaction, a great idea is born, one of the greatest ideas of science: that of the division or separation of powers. Thanks to this idea, society takes a strongly organic form; revolutions may come and go like the seasons, but there is something which will never perish, this fine organization of the public power by categories: justice, administration, war, finance, religion, education, commerce, etc.
The organization of liberal or democratic government is more complicated and more sophisticated, its practice more laborious and less dramatic than that of monarchical government; consequently, it is less popular. Almost always the masses have regarded forms of free government as aristocratic, and they have preferred absolute monarchy. Hence that vicious circle in which progressives are trapped, and which will trap them still for many years to come. Naturally, it is in order to improve the lot of the masses that republicans demand liberties and securities; it is, therefore, upon the people that they must rely. But is is always the people who, through their distrust of or indifference to democratic forms, stand in the way of liberty.
The forms of anarchy depend upon the will of each individual, within the limits of his rights, and are indifferently monarchical or democratic.
Such are, in principle and form, the four fundamental governments, supplied a priori by the human understanding as a basis for all the political establishments of the future. But, to repeat, these four types, though suggested by the nature of things as well as by the sense of liberty and justice, are not in themselves, strictly conceived, ever to be realized. They are ideal conceptions, abstract formulas, in the light of which real governments will emerge empirically and by intuition, but they themselves can never become real. Reality is inherently complex; the simple never leaves the realm of the ideal, never arrives at the concrete. In these antithetic formulas we have the foundation for a correct constitution, the future constitution of man; but centuries must have passed, a series of revolutions must have unfolded, before the definitive formula can spring from the mind which must conceive it, the mind of humanity.

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