L. Susan Brown

For other people named Susan Brown, see Susan Brown (disambiguation).

L. Susan Brown (born 1959) is a Canadian anarchist communist[1] writer and theoretician.

Brown is best known for her book The Politics of Individualism (1993)[2] and for her article "Does Work Really Work?".[3] In The Politics of Individualism, she makes a distinction between "existential individualism" and "instrumental individualism" and examines how these forms are utilized in liberalism (particularly liberal feminism) and anarchism. She argues for a new vision of human freedom which incorporates the insights of feminism and liberalism into a form of anarchism based on what she calls "existential individualism". The work focuses specifically on the similarities and differences of these political philosophies, by critically examining the liberal feminist writings of John Stuart Mill, Betty Friedan, Simone de Beauvoir and Janet Radcliffe Richards, especially focusing on the issues of employment, education, marriage and the family, and governmental politics. These works are, in turn, compared to the anarcha-feminism of Emma Goldman.

In both The Politics of Individualism[2] and "Does Work Really Work?",[3] Brown's conception of libertarian socialism is that all social bonds should be developed by individuals who have an equal amount of bargaining power, because, in Brown's view, an accumulation of monetary wealth leads to the centralization of economic and political power in the hands of a small elite, reducing the bargaining power—and thus the liberty—of the other individuals in society.[3][4] She provides an in-depth analysis of why, in her view, the wage labor system is inherently corrupt and unreformable and why it must be abolished and replaced with a system in which people would be completely free to choose to perform (or not to perform) voluntary activities, a system that would, in Brown's view, encourage people to be creative and self-directed, that would celebrate enjoyment and fulfillment.[3]

Brown has published many articles on the political philosophy of anarchism and feminism, and has had her work translated into Dutch, French, German and Finnish.

Brown works and lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and holds a PhD from the University of Toronto.



  1. Bookchin, Murray. Communalism: The Democratic Dimensions of Social Anarchism. Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left: Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998, AK Press 1999, Footnote #1, p. 156 "I do not question the sincerity of Brown's libertarian views; she regards herself an anarcho-communist, as do I. But she makes no direct attempt to reconcile her individualistic views with communism in any form."
  2. 1 2 Brown, L. Susan. 'The Politics of Individualism,' Black Rose Books (2002)
  3. 1 2 3 4 Brown, L. Susan. "Does Work Really Work?"
  4. Brown, L. Susan. 'The Politics of Individualism,' pp. 117
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