Constructing an Anarchism: Aubaine

from Libertarian Labyrinth

Aubaine is not, like anarchy, one of those notions that anarchists could hardly do without. It perhaps not even, like governmentalism, an old term that anarchists might consider reviving. Proudhon settled on the term in his early critique of property, but his usage was, I think, somewhat idiosyncratic and led Benjamin Tucker in some odds directions in his translation. Frédéric Tufferd made good, if perhaps equally idiosyncratic use of the term in “Unity in Socialism,” but the shift in anarchist language he discussed there would continue—and within a few decades it appears that the term was used in the anarchist press primarily in its more general sense of “windfall” or even “godsend.” So, rather than building this concept into the foundation of the anarchism under construction, it probably makes sense to use our encounter with it as an occasion to clarify a few points already on the table—and then let it go.

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