Shawn P. Wilbur

Positive Anarchy and Collective Force

Positive Anarchy and Collective Force

From The Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

"A distinct, anarchy-centered anarchism is not just possible, but necessary, if we are to confront the systemic challenges facing us, and that anarchism seems likely, if seriously pursued, to be adequate to the task."

We’re off to a good start, having defined anarchy in terms of a complete break with legal and governmental order. Any anarchism taking this concept of anarchy as a focus or ideal is certainly likely to be distinct from the full range of governmentalisms.

The Uses of a Lost Continent

From The Libertarian Labyrinth

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the reception of Our Lost Continent and the Journey Back—particularly as it has been a matter of draft sections distributed through social media without much in the way of rhyme or reason. It appears that some of the method in my madness has shown through.

Distributaries: “Modern Anarchism”

From The Libertarian Labyrinth

Our fast-moving mountain current has spread out across the a decade’s worth of terrain, splitting off into various distributary currents. We know—or at least the driving metaphor of this work suggests—that the various currents will never unite as fully as perhaps they were mingled before Proudhon’s death. We can certainly point to instances where some form of direct influence seems to carry forward from the earliest period examined through to the anarchism of the 1880s—but we have also inherited narratives that at least flirt with the notion of a rather complete reinvention of anarchist thought in what Kropotkin called “modern anarchism.”


From The Libertarian Labrynth

The question, raised again in the last installment of this series, of how contexts have shaped our perception of anarchist history is one that will be hard to avoid when we turn our attention to developments in English-speaking circles in North America. In that context, 1865 marks the end of the American Civil War and the return to civilian life of a number of key figures in the story to come.

Anarchist History: No End of Beginnings

From The Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

After a couple of decades in the wilderness of history, in search of the elusive headwaters of the anarchist tradition, you stop beside some particularly active mountain spring and think that, while no serious seeker would every claim a single source for that tradition, you’ve probably been in the right neighborhood for some time now. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about the return trip.

Anarchist History: Streamside Reflections and Preparations for the Journey

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

I expect that anyone who has made the experiment—on any scale, really—can attest that it is often much easier to venture out into the wilderness than it is to find our way home again. There is undoubtedly a lesson here for historians of what we call “the anarchist tradition,” and particularly for those of us whose researches have taken us deep into the interior, in search of the more-or-less mythic headwaters of that tradition. But perhaps the difficulties are not quite as great as some critics of broadly, deeply inclusive anarchist history can make them seem.

Anarchist History: The Metaphor of the Main Stream

From Libertarian Labyrinth

As tools for historical and cultural understanding, metaphors are obviously in the “use with great care” category and, as often as not, reveal more about our interpretive preconceptions than they do about the material we seek to interpret. But sometimes that’s just what is called for, as what needs to be more closely examined is at least as much the lens through which we are looking as it is the object of our scrutiny.

Notes on “What is Property?” (2019)

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

These notes are from a group reading of the book on Reddit. While fragmentary, they do raise a number of questions that I haven’t had a chance to raise elsewhere. If nothing else, I’m archiving them to use in a future revision of Tucker’s translation.


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