Article mis en ligne le 10 janvier 2020
dernière modification le 18 juin 2020

par Eric Vilain

Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt often evoke Proudhon, sometimes in a contradictory way. But Black Flame’s point of view on the man Kropotkin qualified as “the father of anarchism” is, in my opinion, one of the main drawbacks of the book. Black Flame’s bibliography is limited to a collection of selected texts by Proudhon and to a 96 pages long book about him written in 1934.

I had mentioned this in an exchange of mails with Lucien years ago, as well as Proudhon’s methodological contribution to the analysis of the capitalist system, but things remained there.

I can’t help but think that such a process is not serious. Brogan’s small book is not absolutely bad, but it reflects a lot of the preconceived notions about Proudhon that one might have had about him in academic circles in the 1930s. Above all, it is particularly sad to see a book like Black Flame, destined to be a reference in the international libertarian movement and beyond, pay so little attention to contemporary bibliographical research on such an essential author.

Although I do not qualify myself at all as “Proudhonian”, I find it distressing to note that none of Proudhon’s own writings are mentioned in the bibliography of the book while there are 5 texts by Lenin and 4 by Mao Tsetung. All this seems to me to be the symptom of an extraordinary weakness in the way the authors of Black Flame approach anarchist history and doctrine. Their opinions on Proudhon fluctuate and are based more on second-hand preconceived ideas than on serious and well-argued work.