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Anarchism

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Title: Anarchism


1
Anarchism
2
A definition
  • Political authority in all its forms and
    especially in the form of the state is both evil
    and unnecessary.
  • Anarchists look to a stateless society through
    abolition of law and government.
  • The state is evil because as repository of
    sovereign ,compulsory and coercive authority it
    is an offence against principles freedom and
    equality.
  • Core value of anarchism is unrestricted personal
    autonomy..
  • State is unnecessary because order and social
    harmony can arise naturally and spontaneously
    requiring no direction from above.
  • It is utopian and has highly optimistic
    assumptions regarding human behaviour but draws
    on two different ideological traditions-
    liberalism and socialism hence rival
    individualist and collective forms of anarchism.
  • First classic statement anarchist principles
    William Godwin Enquiry Concerning Political
    Justice (1793).
  • C19 anarchism significant component growing
    socialist movement..
  • Late C19 anarchists sought support amongst
    landless peasants Russia and southern Europe but
    more successfully through anarcho-syndicalism
    industrial working classes. Syndicalism is a
    form of revolutionary trades unionism based on
    class war and emphasises use direct action and
    general strike..
  • Syndicalism popular France, Italy and Spain and a
    genuine mass movement early C20 CGT union France
    and CNT Spain and anarcho syndicalism movements
    spread to South America.
  • However, undermined both South America and Europe
    by repressive authoritarianism and by influence
    and success of Bolsheviks in Russia.
  • The one ideology which has never achieved power
    at a national level hence anarchists look to
    historical societies that reflect their
    principles such as cities Ancient Greece,
    Medieval Europe traditional peasant communes
    Russian Mir or egalitarian nature many
    traditional societies.
  • Anarchism undermine by fact its goal of overthrow
    state and dismantle all forms political authority
    considered unrealistic.
  • Anarchists reject as corrupting conventional
    means exercise political influence- forming
    political parties standing for elections-
    depriving themselves in this way advantages
    political organisation and strategic planning
    placing faith in mass spontaneity

3
Anti statism
  • Sebastien Faure in Encyclopedie anarchiste
    defined anarchism as the negation of the
    principle of Authority
  • Why do anarchists oppose authority?
  • An offence against principles of freedom and
    equality.
  • Anarchism unique as it endorses principles
    absolute freedom and political equality.
  • Authority is based on political inequality as it
    gives the alleged right of one person to dominate
    another and in the process corrupts and damages
    both authority and those under it.
  • Since humans are free and autonomous creatures,
    being subject to authority diminishes the subject
    and suppresses their essential nature and forces
    them to succumb to debilitating dependency.
  • To be in authority gives rise to a psychology of
    power based on a pattern dominance and
    submission. The US anarchist Paul Goodman
    (1911-1972) described such society many are
    ruthless and most live in fear .
  • Anarchism defined by rejection of state power.
  • Anarchists reject liberal notion that political
    authority arises from voluntary agreement . The
    state is a coercive body enforcing obedience to
    its laws on fear punishment. Emma Goldman
    (1869-1940) government symbolised by the club,
    the gun, the handcuff or the prison.
  • The state is exploitative in that it robs
    individuals of property via taxation. The state
    in alliance with wealthy and privileged serves to
    oppress poor and weak.
  • The state is destructive, Randolph Bourne
    (1886-1918) war is the health of the state
    individuals required to ght in wars invariably
    about territorial expansion, plunder, national
    glory.
  • Anarchist view of state also triggered by concern
    of corrupting influence political authority and
    economic inequality- Circumstances in which they
    live. Power in any shape or form will corrupt
    absolutely

4
Natural order
  • Anarchists believe the state unnecessary William
    Godwin (1756-1836) in Enquiry Concerning
    political Justice (1773) argued that via
    education and social conditioning humans capable
    genuinely disinterested benevolence. As rational
    beings, humans inclined by education and
    enlightenment to live in accordance with truth
    and universal moral laws. In his view, it is
    corrupting influence of government and unnatural
    laws rather than original sin that creates
    injustice, greed and aggression- government is
    the cause and not the solution.
  • At heart of anarchism is utopianism- social order
    arises naturally and requires no machinery of
    law and order. Collectivist anarchists stress
    human capacity for sociable cooperative behaviour
    whilst individualist anarchists highlight
    importance of enlightened reason.
  • Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin accept that a
    capacity for corruption lurks within each
    individual.
  • Human nature is plastic. Opponents of anarchism
    have argued that however socially enlightened
    institutions may be, if selfish or negative
    impulses are basic to human nature the prospect
    of natural order is utopian dream.

5
Anti clericalism
  • Historically, anarchists expressed as much
    bitterness towrds the church as the state-
    prospered therefore in countries with strong
    religious traditions such as Spain, France and
    Italy.
  • Idea of God represents the notion of a supreme
    being who commands absolute obedience. For
    Proudhon and Bakunin only with rejection of
    Christianity could human beings be free and
    independent. Also earthly rulers often look to
    religion to legitimise power.
  • Religion seeks to impose set moral principles on
    individual robbing the individual of moral
    autonomy.
  • However, anarchists do not reject religious
    impulse entirely- holding essentially spiritual
    conception human nature a utopian belief in
    virtual unlimited possibilities human self
    development. Early anarchists sometimes
    influenced by millenarianism a sudden and
    complete emancipation from misery and oppression.

6
Economic freedom
  • Aim of anarchism is not just overthrow of state
    but social/economic transformation.
  • Bakunin (1814-1876) political power and wealth
    are inseparable.
  • Capitalism was understood in terms of class-
    ruling class exploits and oppresses however
    Bakunin defined it more broadly- anyone who
    exercised wealth, privilege and power so included
    Kings, police and judges etc
  • According to Bakunin society was divided into an
    exploited class which exploited others, a ruling
    elite at the top and the vast majority who were
    exploited.
  • All anarchists opposed managed capitalism of post
    1945 as propping up a system class exploitation.
    Individualist anarchists suggest state
    intervention distort competitive market creating
    public and private monopolies. Both
    individualist and collectivist anarchists oppose
    state socialism of Soviet model as a
    contradiction as the state replaces capitalism as
    the means of exploitation.
  • Anarchists of all kinds preference for an economy
    where free individuals manage affairs without
    state regulation but this does not preclude very
    different economic models under anarchism.

7
Collectivist (social) anarchism
  • Philosophical roots of this lie in socialism.
  • At heart humans are sociable, gregarious and
    cooperative- when people are linked together by
    recognition of common humanity they do not
    require regulation by government.. Bakunin
    Social solidarity is the first human law freedom
    is the second law.
  • Government only makes social solidarity
    impossible by replacing freedom with oppression.
  • Like Marxism, anarchism rejection of capitalism
    as system class exploitation and structural
    injustice. Also believe in revolution as means
    to bring about political change, a preference for
    collective ownership, a communist society would
    be anarchic, humans have no need for political
    authority.
  • Anarchism differs from socialism on dismissal
    parliamentary socialism as a contradiction in
    terms. It is impossible to humanise capitalism
    and any expansion of role of the state will
    entrench oppression. Anarchists reject
    proletarian dictatorship as another form of evil
    and oppression. The state cannot be allowed to
    wither away, it must be abolished.

8
Mutualism
  • A system of fair and equitable exchange in which
    individuals/ groups bargain with one another,
    trading goods and services without
    profit/exploitation.
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-65) in What is
    Property? (1840) rejected traditional property
    rights and communism ( not opposed to all forms
    private property admired independence and
    initiative small holding peasants, craftsmen and
    artisans- admired the watchmakers of Switzerland
    who managed their affairs on basis mutual
    cooperation), arguing for mutualism a cooperative
    productive system geared towrds need not profit
    and organised in self governing communities.
    Also Property is theft.
  • Mutualism would produce social interaction in a
    system which was voluntary, mutually beneficial
    and harmonious requiring no government
    intervention

9
Anarcho-syndicalism
  • Anarcho syndicalism was the only way anarchism
    developed into a mass movement C19 and C20.
  • Syndicalism is a form of revolutionary trades
    unionism from French syndicat.
  • First emerge in France CGT pre 1924 and spread
    to Italy, S. America, USA and Spain
  • Workers and peasants oppressed and
    industrialists, landlords, politicians, judges,
    police as exploiters. Workers would from
    syndicats which would act in same way as trades
    unions but were revolutionary. Georges Sorel
    (1847-1922) in Reflections on Violence (1908) a
    revolution would come via general strike
    revolution of empty hands. For Sorel the general
    strike was a myth a symbol of working class
    power.
  • Two features inspired anarchists about
    syndicalism- reject conventional politics as
    corrupting and pointless, working class power
    exerted through direct action- ultimately the
    general strike. Secondly, the syndicates a model
    for democratic, grass roots decentralised
    society of the future.
  • Anarcho syndicalism had genuine mass support e.g.
    pre SCW but failed to develop a clear political
    theory of revolution relying on spontaneous
    uprising of the masses. It was also criticised
    for over concentrate on short term trade union
    goals.

10
Anarcho-Communism
  • In most radical form a belief in social
    solidarity leads to full communism (common
    ownership of wealth). All forms of private
    property is theft as it represents exploitation
    of the workers who produce the wealth, and
    encourages selfishness and promotes conflict.
  • Anarcho-Communism is highly optimistic about
    human capacity for cooperation or mutual aid
    Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921)- drawing on theory of
    evolution he saw mutual aid as principal means of
    human and animal development i.e. challenges
    Darwin.
  • Arguing against social Darwinist theory of
    Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) who saw humans as
    naturally competitive and aggressive, successful
    species must have a propensity for mutual aid.
    Mutual aid flourished in Ancient Greece and city
    states Medieval Europe but was subverted by
    capitalism.
  • Proudhon argued that communism could only be
    brought about by authoritarian state anarchists
    like Kropotkin argue that true communism
    requires the abolition of the state, a collection
    of self sufficient communes.
  • For anarcho communist the communal organisation
    of social and economic life has three key
    advantages communes are based on principle
    sharing and collective endeavour, strengthen
    bonds compassion/solidarity, keep greed and
    selfishness at bay, Secondly, decisions are made
    via process participatory or direct democracy
    which guarantees high level popular participation
    and political equality. Third they are small
    scale communities allowing humans to manage
    affairs via face to face interaction.
    Centralisation always asscoaited with
    depersoanlised bureaucratic social process.

11
Individualistic anarchism
  • Philosophical basis of individualist anarchism
    lies in liberal idea of the sovereign individual
    but pushes it to logical extreme- i.e. individual
    sovereignty- absolute and unlimited sovereignty.
  • Any constraint on the individual is evil, the
    individual cannot be sovereign in a society ruled
    by law and government.
  • Unlike anarchists liberals believe that
    individual liberty cannot be guaranteed in
    stateless society. However anarchists believe
    that individuals can conduct themselves
    peacefully, harmoniously and prosperously without
    government individuals are rational and moral
    creatures.
  • Unlike liberals who believe that government can
    be tamed by development of representative
    institutions, constitutions which limit
    government power, checks and balances, regular
    elections which anarchists see all this as façade
    as all laws infringe liberty and all states an
    offence against individual liberty.

12
Egoism
  • Max Stirner (1806-56) in The Ego and His Own
    (1845).
  • Egoism can mean all individuals are self seeking-
    this was accepted by Hobbes and Locke and because
    it can generate conflict amongst individuals can
    justify existence of state
  • Or
  • In Stirner view individual self is at centre of
    moral universe who can act as he chooses
    without consideration for law, social
    conventions, religious/moral principles. It
    points towrds nihilism or a belief in nothing.
    It also points to atheism and extreme form of
    individualist anarchism

13
Libertarianism
  • The belief that the individual should enjoy
    widest possible realm of freedom. David Thoreau
    (1817-62) adapted Tho. Jefferson motto that
    government is best which governs least to that
    government is best which governs not at all. The
    individual has to be faithful only to his
    conscience and do what he believes right
    irrespective of social demands or laws and can
    lead to a justification for civil disobedience.
  • Benjamin Tucker (1854-1939) believed that
    autonomous individuals could live and work
    together without danger of conflict or disorder.
    Godwin argued that human rationality meant that
    disagreement could be resolved by reasoned
    discussion. Extreme individualists such as
    Tucker op cit and Josiah Warren argued some sort
    of mechanism through which independent actions of
    free individuals could be harmonised. Tucker and
    Warren said this could be done via system market
    exchange. Warren said whilst individuals a
    sovereign right to property they produce by logic
    are forced to work with others to gain advantages
    of division of labour- labour for labour
    exchange and creation time stores through which
    one persons labour exchanged for promise for
    labour in kind. Tucker said genuine anarchism is
    consistent anarchism referring to C19 free
    market principles Cobden/Bright

14
Anarcho-capitalism
  • Murray Rothbard (1926-95) and Ayn Rand (1905-82)
    and David Friedman pushing free market principles
    to the limit have developed a form of anarcho
    capitalism, government should be abolished and
    replaced by unregulated market competition.
  • Property should be owned by private individuals
    who may choose to enter into contracts in pursuit
    of self interest. The market beyond control of
    any individual or group regulates all social
    interaction.
  • Free market liberals argue that some services
    maintenance domestic order, protection against
    external attack, enforcement contracts are
    public goods cannot be supplied via market
    competition but by the state.
  • Rothbard however recognised that individuals will
    seek protection from one another and can be
    delivered competitively by privately owned
    protection associations or private courts.
  • Profit making protection agencies better service
    than present police because competition provides
    consumers with choice forcing agencies to be
    cheap, efficient and responsive to consumer
    needs. Private courts would develop a reputation
    for fairness to attract custom from individuals
    to resolve conflict. Unlike the state, contracts
    made with private agencies would be entirely
    voluntary regulated only by impersonal market
    forces. In the USA several states use private
    prisons, in UK private prisons and use of
    private protection agencies. Schemes such as
    Neighbourhood Watch transfer responsibility for
    public order from police to neighbourhood.

15
Anarchism
  • Individualist
  • Ultra-liberalism
  • Extreme Individualism
  • Sovereign individual
  • Civil disobedience
  • Atomism
  • Egoism
  • Contractual obligation
  • Market mechanism
  • Private property
  • Anarcho-capitalism
  • Collectivist
  • Ultra-socialism
  • Extreme collectivism
  • Common humanity
  • Social revolution
  • Class politics
  • Cooperation/mutualism
  • Social duty
  • Communal organization
  • Common ownership
  • Anarcho-communism

16
Roads to anarchy
  • Traditionally turned away from active politics
    concentrating on writing or experiments in
    communal living.
  • As state regarded as evil anarchists reject
    attempts to win power.
  • Anarchists also reject political parties as
    bureaucratic and hierarchic

17
Revolutionary violence
  • C19 anarchist leaders try to induce oppressed
    masses to revolt. Bakunin led The Alliance for
    Social democracy took part in risings France,
    Italy. Others such as Malatesta in Italy,
    Populists (Russia) and Zapata in Mexico worked
    for peasant revolution- however filed as the
    uprisings having faith in spontaneous uprising
    lack organisation- instead turn towrds
    syndicalist and more disciplined communist
    movement.
  • Late 1890s and 1970s peak in terrorist violence
    (clandestine violence). Terrorism designed to
    induce climate of fear for political ends.
    Typical anarchist terrorist lone or small group-
    Peoples Will in Russia. 1970s Baader-Meinhof
    West Germany, Italian Red Brigades, Japanese Red
    Army, Angry Brigade in UK.
  • Why? Violence is a form of revenge or
    retribution originating in oppression by state
    against oppressed masses, therefore a form of
    revolutionary justice. Also aims to demoralise
    ruling classes and a way of stimulate masses to
    revolt.
  • It has failed because anarchist violence is
    counterproductive provoking public horror and
    outrage and failed to persuade ruling class to
    relinquish power. Violence challenge the state
    on the territory on which its superiority is
    clearly overwhelming. In 1890s and 1970s only
    encouraged state to expand and strengthen
    repressive machinery generally with public
    backing.

18
Direct Action
  • Political action taken outside the constitutional
    and legal framework- can be passive resistance or
    terrorism.
  • Anarcho syndicalists refusing to take part in
    conventional representative politics, pressure
    their employers by boycott products, industrial
    sabotage, strike action. Modern anti
    globalisation movement strategy mass popular
    protest and direct political engagement. For
    anarchist such action has two advantages
  • Firstly uncontaminated by processes of government
    and machinery of state therefore opposition can
    be expressed openly and honestly rather than be
    diverted in constitutional direction or managed
    by professional politicians.
  • Secondly, it can be organised on basis
    decentralisation and participatory decision
    making. This is sometimes seen as new politics
    turning away from more conventional politics of
    established parties/pressure groups,
    representative institutions towrds
    innovative/theatrical forms protest examples new
    social movements.
  • However it may damage public reputation by
    opening it to charge of extremism, and while
    attract media attention may restrict political
    influence because leads to group being defined as
    outsider.

19
Non-violence
  • Most anarchists see violence as tactically
    misguided. Godwin and Proudhon condemn it in
    principle
  • Non violence reflects a respect for human beings
    as moral and autonomous creatures. Optimistic
    view of human nature therefore dictates other
    people are treated with compassion and respect.
  • To refrain from force especially when subjected
    to intimidation and provocation demonstrates
    strength and moral purity of ones convictions.
    However, anarchists who attracted to principles
    pacifism and non-violence shy away from mass
    political activism, preferring to build model
    communities which reflect principles cooperation
    and mutual respect. They hope that anarchist
    ideas will be spread not by political campaigns
    and demonstrations but via contrast between peace
    and contentment in such communities and the quiet
    desperation (Thoreau) that typifies life in
    conventional society.

20
The 21st Century
  • Anarchism has challenged and thereby fertilised
    other political creeds.
  • Anarchists have highlighted coercive and
    destructive nature of political power thereby
    countering statist tendencies within other
    ideologies e.g. liberalism, socialism
    ,conservatism.
  • Anarchism a growing influence on modern political
    thought- left and right exhibited libertarian
    tendencies which bear imprint anarchist thought.
  • New left encompassed wide range movements
    1960s/70s e.g. student activism, anti
    colonialism, feminism, environmentalism.
    Unifying theme new left was goal of liberation
    to mean personal fulfilment, endorsing an
    activist style of politics based on popular
    protest and direct action.
  • New right also emphasise importance individual
    freedom but via market competition.
    Anarcho-capitalists sought to highlight what they
    see as evils state intervention.
  • Anarchists have addressed issues such as
    pollution, environmental destruction, consumerism
    ( personal happiness equated with material
    possessions) urban development, gender, global
    inequality. Many of these concerns expressed via
    modern social movements such as anti-capitalist
    or anti-globalisation. T argue that anarchism is
    over because no longer a mass movement is to
    forget that as world becomes more complex and
    fragmented mass politics is over. By association
    with values such as individualism, participation,
    decentralisation and equality anarchism may be
    better equipped than other political creeds to
    respond to challenges post modernity.
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