LIBERAL bluebloods had palpitations when Kelly O’Dywer won pre-selection for Peter Costello’s Higgins seat, and now bring out the defibrillator. The Australian Sex Party (cough, splutter) candidate is Fiona Patten, the anti-censorship convener who wants a national sex-education curriculum in schools. And Anarchist Media Institute warrior Joseph Toscano is a ”Radical Independent” campaigning for a ”New People’s Bank”. Toscano will launch his Higgins tilt by doing what he does best – holding a rally – outside the King Street office of Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. The placards will wave tomorrow [November 11], Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of Ned Kelly’s hanging and Gough’s dismissal. A historic date for uprising.
November 11 is also the date upon which the Haymarket Martyrs – George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons & August Spies, all anarchists – were executed in Chicago. 250,000 people lined Chicago’s streets during Parson’s funeral procession. “There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are strangling to-day” Albert Spies famously remarked. Rather than be executed by the state, Louis Lingg, another anarchist condemned to death, committed suicide.
Obviously, the idea of a “People’s Bank” is not new. In fact, one of its major proponents in the nineteenth century was the French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. In 1922, David Tucker wrote (The Evolution of People’s Banks [PDF]):
Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) was one of the founders of anarchism. In a history of nineteenth century France, his figure would be a more conspicuous one than that of Buchez. But within the narrower field of cooperation, Proudhon is important for only one reason. In 1848 he launched a grandiloquent scheme for a “People’s Bank” with a structure that was by no means cooperative. His bank collapsed within a few months and by its collapse did much to prevent the development within France of any genuine cooperative banking movement.
See also : Proudhon’s Ghost: petit-bourgeois anarchism, anarchist businesses, and the politics of effectiveness, Lawrence Jarach, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, No.64, 2007.