I'm not sure I understood mutualism.
Is it the sort of thing that can be summed up easily in order for me to better understand it?
See below. Of course, to fully understand these principles, you need to follow the arguments that lead up to them. Personally, I don't agree with them all, but I find points 2, 5, 8 and 10 particularly convincing and points 3 and 4 particularly dodgy. They are all worthy of serious consideration.
Now, I would call myself a Modern Mutualist and not a Proudhonian Mutualist. I'm not a mutualist in the original sense because think Proudhon is both wrong about a lot of things and I hate his language. A lot of times I can't tell what the hell he is saying. It's sounds autistic to me. To me mutualism simply is worker's ownership of the means of production in the contex of a LF free market.
From pages 198-199, What is Property? by Pierre Joseph Proudhon, published by IndyPublish.com, McLean, Virginia, ISBN 1-4043-3907-8, no date:
"1. Individual possession is the condition of social life; five thousand years of property demonstrated it. Property is the suicide of society. Possession is a right; property is against right. Suppress property while maintaining possession, and, by this simple modification of the principle, you will revolutionize the law, government, economy, and institutions; you will drive evil from the face of the earth.
I make a distinction between what I call "capitalist property" and "socialist property". I don't try to make a distinction between property and possession since those sound instinctively the same. I agree that basing ownership on use and occupancy is a much better way for society to run than having property based on first use, perpetual ownership regardless of use.
2. All having an equal right of occupancy, possession varies with the number of possessors; property cannot establish itself.
This presents problems both to home and the workplace. Is Proudhon saying that everyone has an equal right to enter my house and take my property even though I have been using my property and have been occupying my house? What about workers owning the means of production. Is Proudhon saying the workers who currently own their business cannot decide who gets join the cooperative effort and who doesn't. What if there is a free loader? Do the responsible workers just simply have to accept him even though he is doing no work or is stealing company equipment? If Proudhon is argueing for either of these things I'm am against what he is saying here.
3. The effect of labour being the same for all, property is lost in the common prosperity.
To foster efficiency, you need a division of labor. To have a division of labor, you need a division of profit. Equality of outcomes is a horrible idea.
4. All human labour being the result of collective force, all property becomes, in consequence, collective and unitary. To speak more exactly, labor destroys property.
I agree. Workers should own the means of production. Labor doesn't destroy property, they just take it for themselves to manage. Again, I don't like Proudhon's language even thouhg I agree with what he is saying here.
5. Every capacity for labor being, like every instrument of labor, an accumulated capital, and a collective property, inequality of wages and fortunes (on the ground of inequality of capacities) is, therefore, injustice and robbery.
Shouldn't the people who are more skilled in doing X get paid more than people who are less skilled in doing X? Again, you can't have a division of labor without a division of profit.
6. The necessary conditions of commerce are the liberty of the contracting parties and the equivalence of the products exchanged. Now, value being expressed by the amount of time and outlay which each product costs, and liberty being inviolable, the wages of labourers (like their rights and duties) should be equal.
No, the necessariy condition for commerce is the liberty of the contracting parties and the mutuality of the transaction. If the thing you trying to get from another person is either 1) scientifically equal or 2) equal in value than you will not make a transaction. Both sides of a trade percieves an inequality of value. I believe wages should be determined by the free market. They should not be forced to be equal.
7. Products are bought only by products. Now, the condition of all exchange being equivalence of products, profit is impossible and unjust. Observe this elementary principle of economy, and pauperism, luxury, oppression, vice, crime, and hunger will disappear from our midst.
1) Proudhon is using the word "profit" in a way that is not typically used.
2) I allready explained why Proudhon is wrong on the nature of exchange.
So Proudhon is just plain wrong here.
8. Men are associated by the physical and mathematical law of production, before they are voluntarily associated by choice. Therefore, equality of conditions is demanded by justice; that is, by strict social law: esteem, friendship, gratitude, admiration, all fall within the domain of equitable or proportional law only.
So what? Is Proudhon really expecting us at the point of a gun to lift other people's self-esteem, be friends, express gratitude and admiration? How can that possibly be an anarchist poltiical postion? I'm assuming this just a social preference, but I could be wrong. I can never tell what the hell Proudhon is saying because his language is so bad.
9. Free association, liberty - whose sole function is to maintain equality in the means of production and equivalence in exchanges - is the only possible, the only just, the only true form of society.
I believe liberty and free association is important, but I don' think it is subject solely to preserving workers ownership of the means of production.
10. Politics is the science of liberty. The government of man by man (under whatever name it be disguised) is oppression. Society finds its highest perfectin in the union of order with anarchy."
Politics is just the disputes of madmen.