Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Biography
(French Socialist and Politician Regarded as the 'Father of Anarchism')
Birthday: January 15, 1809 (Capricorn)
Born In: Besançon, France
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, socialist, libertarian, and journalist, who founded the mutualist philosophy. His doctrines laid the foundation for the later anarchist theories. He proclaimed himself as an anarchist and was the first person to do so. Many regard him as the "father of anarchism.” Following the Revolution of 1848, he served as a member of the ‘French Parliament.’ He then started calling himself a federalist. Some of his notable ideas were “order without power,” “economic federalism,” “anarchist gradualism,” “dual power,” “mutualism,” and the belief that “property is theft.” Of these, the assertion that “property is theft” was included in his first major work, ‘What Is Property?’ It not only gained him the attention of French authorities but also that of Karl Marx, who eventually became a close friend of his. The two, however, parted ways later. This contributed to the rift between the anarchist and Marxist wings of the ‘International Working Men's Association.’ Proudhon supported co-operatives and workers’ councils instead of nationalization or private ownership of land and workplaces. He also believed that social revolution could be attained peacefully.