Anarchism Criticism: The French Anarchist Tradition - Essay

S. Y. Lu (essay date 1922)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Proudhon's Theory of the State from the Standpoint of an Anarchist-Creative,” in The Political Theories of P. J. Proudhon, M. R. Gray, Inc., 1922, pp. 95-121.

[In the following essay, Lu studies the development of Proudhon's anarchist political theory.]

As has already been said, Proudhon was the father of anarchism.1 From 1840 to 1863, he repeatedly declared himself an anarchist.2 In discussing his theory of anarchy, we may, for the sake of clearness, divide the work into three parts: (1) why he preferred anarchy to the other forms of government, (2) how it can be realized, and (3) what are its general characteristics.


(The entire section is 8335 words.)

Alan B. Spitzer (essay date 1957)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Life and Historical Role of Blanqui,” in The Revolutionary Theories of Louis Auguste Blanqui, Columbia University Press, 1957, pp. 3-27.

[In the following essay, Spitzer describes the life and evaluates the influence of the martyred anarchist and precursor of modern revolutionary socialism, Louis Auguste Blanqui.]

The fact and idea of revolution have been crucial to French political history ever since 1789. Throughout the nineteenth century an articulate minority advocated the revolutionary solutions of political problems and actively fostered the resolution of ideological conflicts by physical violence. However, the great French theorists of...

(The entire section is 7093 words.)

Alan Ritter (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Proudhon as a Radical Critic of Established Institutions,” in The Political Thought of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Princeton University Press, 1969, pp. 94-117.

[In the following essay, Ritter examines Proudhon's critique of hierarchy, government, law, and political rule.]

A critic qualifies as radical by carrying his assault on the status quo beyond its surface defects to their hidden sources. He grabs matters by the root, as Marx said, while others are content to prune their leaves and branches. Proudhon wants to grab by the root what he regards as the present world's most potent instruments of oppression: hierarchy and government.1


(The entire section is 6323 words.)

Louis Patsouras (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Road to Revolution,” in Jean Grave and the Anarchist Tradition in France, The Caslon Company, 1995, pp. 79-89.

[In the following excerpt, Patsouras investigates the theoretical views of the anarcho-communist Jean Grave.]

The theoretical views of [Jean] Grave and anarchism in certain key areas—criticism of bourgeois society, revolution, and other related topics—are the focus of this section. More developed restatements are needed in order to better understand the anarchist position.

Grave's thought is greatly indebted to Proudhon, Bakunin, contemporary anarcho-communism (Kropotkin's and Elisée Reclus' influence is obvious), and to...

(The entire section is 6065 words.)