Issues in anarchism
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Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations.
There are many philosophical differences among anarchists concerning questions of ideology, values and strategy. Ideas about how anarchist societies should work vary considerably, especially with respect to economics. There are also disagreements about how such a society might be brought about—with some anarchists being committed to a strategy of nonviolence, while others advocate armed struggle.
- 1 Definitional concerns
- 2 Ends and means
- 3 Identity politics
- 4 Capitalism
- 5 Nationalism
- 6 The environment
- 7 Relations with the left
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Anarchist schools of thought encompass not only a range of individual schools, but also a considerable divergence in the use of some key terms. Some terms, such as "socialism", have been subject to multiple definitions and ideological struggle throughout the period of the development of anarchism. Others, such as "capitalism", are used in divergent and often contradictory ways by different schools within the tradition. In addition, the meanings of terms such as "mutualism" have changed over time, sometimes without spawning new schools. All of these terminological difficulties contribute to misunderstandings within and about anarchism.
A central concern is whether the term "anarchism" is defined in opposition to hierarchy, authority, the state or state and capitalism. Debates over the meaning of the term emerge from the fact that it refers to both an abstract philosophical position and to intellectual, political and institutional traditions, all of which have been fraught with conflict. Some minimal, abstract definitions encourage the inclusion of figures, movements and philosophical positions which have historically positioned themselves outside, or even in opposition to, individuals and traditions that have identified themselves as "anarchist".
Anti-capitalism is considered a necessary element of anarchism by most anarchists.q Usages in political circles have varied considerably. In 1894, Richard T. Ely noted that the term had "already acquired a variety of meanings". In its most general sense, these included the view that society is "a living, growing organism, the laws of which are something different from the laws of individual action". Several years earlier (1888), the individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker included the full text of a "Socialistic Letter" by Ernest Lesigne in his essay on "State Socialism and Anarchism". According to Lesigne, there are two socialisms: "One is dictatorial, the other libertarian".
Ends and means
Among anarchists, there is no consensus on the legitimacy or utility of violence in revolutionary struggle. For example, Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman and Errico Malatesta wrote of violence as a necessary and sometimes desirable force in revolutionary settings. At the same time, they denounced acts of individual terrorism, see Bakunin's "The Program of the International Brotherhood" (1869) and Malatesta's "Violence as a Social Factor" (1895). Other anarchists such as Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day and Mahatma Gandhi have been advocates of pacifism.
Anarchists have often been portrayed as dangerous and violent, possibly due to a number of high-profile violent actions, including riots, assassinations, insurrections and terrorism committed by some anarchists as well as persistently negative media portrayals. Late 19th-century revolutionaries encouraged acts of political violence, called "propaganda of the deed", such as bombings and the assassinations of heads of state to further anarchism. However, the term originally referred to exemplary forms of direct action meant to inspire the masses to revolution. Propaganda of the deed may be violent or nonviolent.
While all anarchists consider antimilitarism (opposition to war) to be inherent to their philosophy, anarcho-pacifists take this further, following Tolstoy's belief in pacifism. Although numerous anarchist-related initiatives have been based on the tactic of nonviolence (see Earth First! and Food Not Bombs), many anarchists reject pacifism as an ideology, instead supporting a "diversity of tactics". Authors Ward Churchill (Pacifism as Pathology, 1986) and Peter Gelderloos (How Nonviolence Protects the State, 2005; "The Failure of Nonviolence", 2013) have published influential books critical of pacifist doctrine, which they view as ineffectual and hypocritical. In a 2010 article, author Randall Amster argued for the development of a "complementarity of tactics" to bridge the pacifist and more militant aspects of anarchism.
As a result of anarchism's critical view of certain types of private property, many anarchists see the destruction of property as an acceptable form of violence or argue that it is not in fact violence at all. In her widely cited 1912 essay Direct Action, Voltairine de Cleyre drew on American historical events, including the destroying of revenue stamps and the Boston Tea Party as a defense of such activities.
Many anarchists participate in subversive organizations as a means to undermine the establishment, such as Food Not Bombs, radical labor unions, alternative media and radical social centers. This is in accordance with the anarchist ideal that governments are intrinsically evil: only by destroying the power of governments can individual freedoms and liberties be preserved. However, some anarchist schools in theory adopt the concept of dual power: creating the structures for a new anti-authoritarian society in the shell of the old, hierarchical one.
Participation in statist democracy
While most anarchists firmly oppose voting, or otherwise participating in the state institution, there are a few that disagree. The prominent anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon stood for election to the French Constituent Assembly twice in 1848. Paul Brousse developed the concept of libertarian municipalism in Switzerland in the 1890s which involved participating in local elections. Anarchists have opposed voting for multiple reasons. Taking part in elections has historically resulted in radicals becoming part of the system they oppose rather than ending it. Voting acknowledges the state's legitimacy.
During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the anarchist collective CrimethInc. launched "Don't Just Vote, Get Active", a campaign promoting the importance of direct action rather than electoral change. Anarchists in other countries often engage in similar anti-voting campaigns. Others advocate a more pragmatic approach, including voting in referenda, while other prominent anarchists like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have pledged their support for progressive candidates such as Ralph Nader. In addition to merely voting, some anarchists such as Proudhon and more recently Icelandic activist Smari McCarthy have stood for and won elections to national legislative bodies.
The individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner argued that voting was a legitimate means of self-defense against the state and noted that many supporters of the state consider both voting and abstention to be acknowledgments of the state's legitimacy. Spooner's essay "No Treason" offers an individualist anarchist rebuttal to the argument that existing democratic governments are justified by majority consent.
During the 2014 Scottish independence referendum there was debate within anarchist circles about whether to take an abstentionist position, vote for independence or to vote to remain in the United Kingdom and anarchists rarely fitted into the easy binary of Yes/No voters of the referendum, with all seeking to go beyond the choices offered at the ballot box. There was also a debate about what Scottish independence would mean for the anarchist movement and social struggle. Groups like The Anarchist Federation in Scotland (mainly in Edinburgh and Glasgow) took a critical stance skeptical of the benefits of Scottish independence.
In 2016 within the United Kingdom, there was considerable debate around the Brexit vote. Anarchists are traditionally opposed to the European Union, yet the vote was seen as one imposed by two factions of the right-wing. Yet again there was debate about whether to vote to Remain in the European Union, abstain (some left communists argued for abstaining) or vote to Leave since the United Kingdom government (the Conservative Party) was mostly in favour of remain while UK Independence Party and far-right parties favoured Leave. There was also debate within the left amongst anarchists and those who considered themselves to have a Lexit (Left Exit position) The victory of the Leave side united anarchists whether voters or abstainers against the racist incidents and rise of fascism and nationalism which was considered to have happened following the result of the vote. Many anarchists and anti-authoritarian leftists argue Brexit was negative for social struggles and migrants in particular and considerable efforts were made to analyze why the Leave result happened.
Democracy in anarchism
For individualist anarchists, "the system of democracy, of majority decision, is held null and void. Any impingement upon the natural rights of the person is unjust and a symbol of majority tyranny". Libertarian municipalist Murray Bookchin criticized individualist anarchists for opposing democracy and said "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism, but he also preferred the term assembly rather than democracy. Bookchin has in turn been accused of "municipal statism", i.e. non-anarchism. Later, Bookchin renounced anarchism to identify himself as an advocate of Communalism.
Violence and non-violence
Anarchists have often been portrayed as dangerous and violent, due mainly to a number of high-profile violent acts including riots, assassinations and insurrections involving anarchists. However, the use of terrorism and assassination is condemned by most anarchist ideology, though there remains no consensus on the legitimacy or utility of violence. Some anarchists have opposed coercion while others have supported it, particularly in the form of violent revolution on the path to anarchy or utopia.
Some anarchists share Leo Tolstoy's Christian anarchist belief in nonviolence. These anarcho-pacifists advocate nonviolent resistance as the only method of achieving a truly anarchist revolution. They often see violence as the basis of government and coercion and argue that as such violence is illegitimate, no matter who is the target. Some of Proudhon's French followers even saw strike action as coercive and refused to take part in such traditional socialist tactics.
Other anarchists advocate Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication that relates to peoples fundamental needs and feelings using strategies of requests, observations and empathy yet providing for the use of protective force while rejecting pacifism as a compromising strategy of the left that just perpetuates violence.
Other anarchists, such as Mikhail Bakunin and Errico Malatesta, saw violence as a necessary and sometimes desirable force. Malatesta took the view that it is "necessary to destroy with violence, since one cannot do otherwise, the violence which denies [the means of life and for development] to the workers" (Umanità Nova, number 125, 6 September 1921).
Between 1894 and 1901, individual anarchists assassinated numerous heads of state, including:
- French President Sadi Carnot (1894)
- Empress consort Elisabeth of Austria (1898)
- King Umberto I of Italy (1900)
- United States President William McKinley (1901)
Such "propaganda of the deed" was not popular among anarchists and many in the movement condemned the tactic. President William McKinley's assassin Leon Czolgosz claimed to be a disciple of Emma Goldman. Goldman disavowed the act, although she did not condemn Czolgosz's motivations in doing it.
Goldman included in her definition of anarchism the observation that all governments rest on violence and this is one of the many reasons they should be opposed. Goldman herself did not oppose tactics like assassination until she went to Russia, where she witnessed the violence of the Russian state and the Red Army. From then on, she condemned the use of terrorism, especially by the state, but Goldman still supported most other forms of revolutionary violence throughout her life. In a debate with a pacifist five years before her death, she countered that "the organized force used against the followers of Gandhi has finally forced them to use violence, much to the distress of Gandhi" and concluded that "as a method of combating the complex social injustices and inequalities, non-resistance cannot be a decisive factor" ("non-resistance" was the term for nonviolence used by Tolstoy and other early 20th century pacifists). Goldman at this time was an information officer for the anarchist militias of the Spanish Revolution, which were committed to armed struggle.
Depictions in the press and popular fiction (for example, a malevolent bomb-throwing anarchist in Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent) helped create a lasting public impression that anarchists are violent terrorists. This perception was enhanced by events such as the Haymarket riot, where anarchists were blamed for throwing a bomb at police who came to break up a public meeting in Chicago.
More recently, anarchists have been involved in protests against World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings across the globe, which the media has described as violent or riots. Traditionally, May Day in London has also been a day of marching, but in recent years the Metropolitan Police have warned that a "hardcore of anarchists" are intent on causing violence. Anarchists often respond that it is the police who initiate violence at these demonstrations, with anarchists who are otherwise peaceful sometimes forced to defend themselves. The anarchists involved in such protests often formed black blocs at these protests and some engaged in property destruction, vandalism, or in violent conflicts with police, though others stuck to non-violent principles.
Those participating in black blocs distinguish between "violence" and "property destruction": they claim that violence is when a person inflicts harm to another person while property destruction or property damage is not violence, although it can have indirect harm such as financial harm. Most anarchists do not consider the destruction of property to be violent as do most activists who believe in non-violence.
Most anarchists consider opposition to militarism to be inherent in their philosophy. Some anarchists take it further and follow Leo Tolstoy's belief in non-violence (note that these anarcho-pacifists are not necessarily Christian anarchists as Tolstoy was), advocating non-violent resistance as the only method of achieving a truly anarchist revolution.
Anarchist literature often portrays war as an activity in which the state seeks to gain and consolidate power, both domestically and in foreign lands. Many anarchists subscribe to Randolph Bourne's view that "war is the health of the state". Anarchists believe that if they were to support a war they would be strengthening the state—indeed, Peter Kropotkin was alienated from other anarchists when he expressed support for the British in World War I.
Individualism vs. collectivism
While some anarchists favour collective property or no property, others such as some individualist anarchists of historical note (e.g. Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner) support private property. Tucker argues that collectivism in property is absurd: "That there is an entity known as the community which is the rightful owner of all land, Anarchists deny...I...maintain that 'the community' is a non-entity, that it has no existence" and he was particularly adamant in his opposition to "communism", even to the point of asserting that those who opposed private property were not anarchists: "Anarchism is a word without meaning, unless it includes the liberty of the individual to control his product or whatever his product has brought him through exchange in a free market– that is, private property. Whoever denies private property is of necessity an Archist". However, some of these individuals opposed property titles to unused land.
Anarcha-feminism is a kind of radical feminism that espouses the belief that patriarchy is a fundamental problem in society. However, it was not explicitly formulated as anarcha-feminism until the early 1970s during the second-wave feminist movement.
Early first-wave feminist Mary Wollstonecraft held proto-anarchist views and William Godwin is often considered a feminist anarchist precursor. While most anarchists of the period did not take these ideas seriously, others such as Florence Finch Kelly and Moses Harman held gender equality as a topic of significant importance. Anarcha-feminism garnered further attention through the work of early 20th-century authors and theorists including Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre. In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres (English: Free Women), organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas.
Black anarchism opposes the existence of a state, capitalism and subjugation and domination of people of color and favors a non-hierarchical organization of society. Theorists include Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Komboa Ervin and Sam Mbah. Some of these theorists have had past experiences with the Black Panther Party and came to anarchism after they became critical of the Black Panther Party's brand of Marxist–Leninism. Anarchist People of Color (APOC) was created as a forum for non-Caucasian anarchists to express their thoughts about racial issues within the anarchist movement, particularly within the United States. Anti-Racist Action is not an anarchist group, but many anarchists are involved. It focuses on publicly confronting antisemites, racists, supremacists and others, such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi groups and the like.
Most modern and historical anarchists describe themselves as anti-racists. Many early anarchists, notably Lucy Parsons (a person of color and formerly an enslaved American) viewed racism as one of many negative side-effects of capitalism and expected that it would vanish in a post-capitalist world. However, among modern anarchists anti-racism plays a more prominent role and racism is typically viewed as one of several forms of social hierarchy and stratification which must be destroyed. No anarchist organizations has ever included racism as part of its platform and many—particularly modern formations—include explicit anti-racism. For instance, American anarchists were alone in opposing racism against Chinese and Mexican workers in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Since the late 1970s, anarchists have been involved in fighting the rise of neo-fascist groups. In Germany and the United Kingdom, some anarchists worked within militant anti-fascist groups alongside members of the Marxist left. They advocated directly combating fascists with physical force rather than relying on the state. Since the late 1990s, a similar tendency has developed within anarchism in the United States.
Anti-Racist Action is one of the largest grassroots anti-fascist and anti-racist organizations in North America today and counts many anarchists among its members. Their tactics, centered around directly confronting neo-fascist and white-supremacist groups, are considered controversial both within the anarchist movement (where they are sometimes portrayed as well-intentioned but ineffective) and in mainstream society (where they are often portrayed as violent and disruptive).
Many anarchists also oppose the concept of race itself, arguing that it has no biological basis in science and is a social construction designed to divide the working class and preserve capitalism.
Black anarchism opposes the existence of a state, capitalism and subjugation and domination of people of African descent and favours a non-hierarchical organization of society. Theorists include Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, Sam Mbah, Aragorn! and Martin Sostre. APOC emerged in the United States as a tendency which theorized anarchism in the broader context of race. Founded by writer and organizer Ernesto Aguilar, an APOC email list became the basis for collectives composed of people of colour to form in several American cities. APOC held a conference in Detroit, Michigan in 2003. In 2005, the first APOC journal (Wildfire) was launched, but folded a few months later. In 2007, Roger White and the Oakland, California APOC group founded the Jailbreak Press blog.
From Proudhon and Bakunin to the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, most anarchists have questioned or opposed organized religion, believing that most organized religions are hierarchical or authoritarian and more often than not aligned with contemporary power structures like the state and capital. Nonetheless, others reconcile anarchism with religion.
Christian anarchists believe that there is no higher authority than God and oppose earthly authority such as government and established churches. They believe that Jesus' teachings and the practice of the early Church were clearly anarchistic. Some of them feel that the teachings of the Nazarenes and other early groups of followers were corrupted by contemporary religious views, most notably when Theodosius I declared Nicene Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Christian anarchists, who follow Jesus' directive to "turn the other cheek", are usually strict pacifists, although some believe in a limited justification of defense, especially defense of others. The most famous advocate of Christian anarchism was Leo Tolstoy, author of The Kingdom of God Is Within You, who called for a society based on compassion, nonviolent principles and freedom. Christian anarchists tend to form experimental communities (such as the Catholic Worker). They also occasionally resist taxation.
Buddhist anarchism originated in the influential Chinese anarchist movement of the 1920s. Taixu, one of the leading thinkers and writers of this school, was deeply influenced by the work of Christian anarchists like Tolstoy and by the ancient Chinese well-field system. In the late 19th century, the Ghadar movement in India (see Har Dayal), influenced by Buddhist thought and by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (founder of Arya Samaj), saw anarchism as a way of propagating the ancient culture of the Arya (not to be confused with the much later appropriation of "Aryan" identity by Nazism). Buddhist anarchism was later revived in the 1960s by writers such as Gary Snyder; an incarnation of this school of thought was popularized by Jack Kerouac in his book The Dharma Bums.
With its focus on the environment and equality, along with its often decentralized nature, neopaganism, has led to a number of neopagan anarchists. One of the most prominent is Starhawk, who writes extensively about both spirituality and activism.
Discussing the anarchist movement in Britain in 2002, Adam K. has argued that it "has an especially ignorant and hegemonistic perception of the Muslim community", which he attributed to "the anglo-centric nature of the movement". Quoting the statement that "Islam is an enemy of all freedom loving people" from an anarchist magazine, he argues that this is "no different to the bigoted rhetoric of George Bush or even BNP leader Nick Griffin".
Throughout most of its history, anarchism has been defined by its proponents in opposition to capitalism, which they believe can be maintained only by state violence. Most non-capitalist anarchists follow Proudhon in opposing ownership of workplaces by capitalists and aim to replace wage labour with workers' associations. These anarchists agree with Kropotkin's comment that "the origin of the anarchist inception of society… [lies in] the criticism… of the hierarchical organisations and the authoritarian conceptions of society" rather than in simple opposition to the state or government. They argue that the wage system is hierarchical and authoritarian in nature and consequently capitalism cannot be anarchist.
Most early individualist anarchists considered themselves "fervent anti-capitalists… [who see] no contradiction between their individualist stance and their rejection of capitalism". Many defined themselves as socialists. These early individualist-anarchists defined "capitalism" in various ways, but often it was discussed in terms of usury: "There are three forms of usury, interest on money, rent on land and houses, and profit in exchange. Whoever is in receipt of any of these is a usurer".
Excluding these, they tended to support free trade, free competition and varying levels of private property such as mutualism and homesteading. It is this distinction which has led to the rift between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Historically, anarchists considered themselves socialists and opposed to capitalism, thus anarcho-capitalism is considered by many anarchists today as not being true anarchism.
Anarchist organisations, for example the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (Spain) and the Anarchist Federation (Britain and Ireland), generally take an explicitly anti-capitalist stance. In the 20th century, several economists began to formulate a form of radical American libertarianism known as anarcho-capitalism. This has met resistance from those who hold that capitalism is inherently oppressive or statist and many anarchists and scholars do not consider anarcho-capitalism to properly cohere with the spirit, principles, or history of anarchism. However, other anarchists and scholars regard anarchism as referring only to opposition to the non-privatisation of all aspects of the state and thus do consider anarcho-capitalism to be a form of anarchism.
Many anarchists are actively involved in the anti-globalization movement, seeing corporate globalization as a neocolonialist attempt to use economic coercion on a global scale, carried out through state institutions such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, Group of Eight and the World Economic Forum. Globalization is an ambiguous term that has different meanings to different anarchist factions. Many anarchists use the term to mean neocolonialism and/or cultural imperialism (which they may see as related). Others, particularly anarcho-capitalists, use "globalization" to mean the worldwide expansion of the division of labor and trade, which they see as beneficial so long as governments do not intervene. Market anarchists and anarcho-capitalists see the worldwide expansion of the division of labor through trade ("globalization") as a boon, but oppose the regulation and cartelization imposed by the World Bank, World Trade Organization and "managed trade" agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Many also object to fiat money issued by central banks and resulting debasement of money and confiscation of wealth.
Groups such as Reclaim the Streets were among the instigators of the so-called anti-globalization movement. The Carnival Against Capitalism on 18 June 1999 is generally regarded as the first of the major anti-globalization protests. Anarchists, such as the WOMBLES, have on occasion played a significant role in planning, organising and participating in subsequent protests. The protests tended to be organised on anarchist direct action principles with a general tolerance for a range of different activities ranging from those who engage in tactical frivolity to the black blocs.
Anarchism has a long history of opposing imperialism, both in the core nations (the colonizers) and the periphery nations (the colonized). In general, anarchists have preferred to focus on building revolutions at home and doing solidarity work for comrades in other countries, e.g. Guy Aldred was jailed for printing Shyamji Krishnavarma's The Indian Sociologist.
Another example of this was Rudolf Rocker, a prominent German anarchist and anti-fascist who was particularly active amongst Jewish workers. In his Nationalism and Culture, he argued for a "federation of European peoples" which would include Jews. Rejecting biological theories of race and rejecting the concept of nation, he argued that since it was European states that had conquered and colonized the rest of the world, successful libertarian organization amongst Europeans was "the first condition for the creation of a world federation, which will also secure the so-called colonial peoples the same rights for the pursuit of happiness. Many modern anarchists and other anti-imperialists share this approach.
During the 2014 Scottish independence referendum there was debate within anarchist circles about either to take an abstentionist position, vote for independence or to vote to remain in the United Kingdom and anarchists rarely fit into the easy binary of Yes/ No voters of the referendum with all seeking to go beyond the choices offered at the ballot box. There was also a debate about what Scottish independence would mean for the anarchist movement and social struggle. Groups like The Anarchist Federation in Scotland (mainly in Edinburgh and Glasgow) took a critical stance skeptical of the benefits of Scottish independence  Scottish anarchists argued that Scottish independence and Scottish nationalism diverted energy away from grassroots struggles and that the movement for Scottish independence sucked people towards Scottish nationalism and electoral politics
Historically anarchism was supportive of the anationalist movement as well as of the Esperanto language, a language constructed to serve as a politically and ethnically neutral international language. After the Spanish Civil War, Francoist Spain persecuted anarchists and Catalan nationalists, among whom the use of Esperanto was extensive.
The environment and sustainability have been an issue for anarchists from at least as far back as Kropotkin's 1899 book Fields, Factories and Workshops, but since the late 1970s anarchists in English-speaking world and European countries have been agitating for the natural environment. Eco-anarchists or green anarchists often embrace deep ecology, a worldview that strives to cultivate biodiversity and sustainability. Eco-anarchists often use direct action against what they see as Earth-destroying institutions. Of particular importance is the Earth First! movement that takes action such as tree sitting. The more militant Earth Liberation Front, which grew out of Earth First!, also has connections with the anarchist movement. Another important component is ecofeminism, which sees the domination of nature as a metaphor for the domination of women.
Murray Bookchin's work on social ecology, David Watson's work with Fifth Estate magazine, Steve Booth's work in the United Kingdom publication Green Anarchist and Graham Purchase's writings on green syndicalism have all contributed to the broad variety and scope of green anarchist/eco-anarchist thought and action. Green anarchism also involves a critique of industrial capitalism and for some green anarchists civilization itself.
Relations with the left
While many anarchists (especially those involved in the anti-globalization movement) continue to see themselves as a leftist movement, some thinkers and activists believe it is necessary to re-evaluate anarchism's relationship with the traditional left. Like many radical ideologies, most anarchist schools of thought are to some degree sectarian. There is often a difference of opinion within each school about how to react to, or interact with, other schools. Many anarchists draw from a wide range of political perspectives, such as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, the Situationists, "ultra leftists", autonomist Marxism and various indigenous cultures.
A movement called post-left anarchy seeks to distance itself from the traditional "left"—communists, socialists, social democrats and the like—and to escape the confines of ideology in general. Post-leftists argue that anarchism has been weakened by its long attachment to contrary "leftist" movements and single issue causes (anti-war, anti-nuclear and so on). It calls for a synthesis of anarchist thought and a specifically anti-authoritarian revolutionary movement outside of the leftist milieu. Important groups and individuals associated with post-left anarchy include CrimethInc., the magazine Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed and its editor Jason McQuinn, Bob Black, Hakim Bey and others.
The term post-anarchism was originated by Saul Newman, first receiving popular attention in his book From Bakunin to Lacan, a synthesis of classical anarchist theory and poststructuralist thought. Subsequent to Newman's use of the term, it has taken on a life of its own and a wide range of ideas including autonomism, post-left anarchy, situationism, postcolonialism and Zapatismo. By its very nature, post-anarchism rejects the idea that it should be a coherent set of doctrines and beliefs. Key thinkers nonetheless associated with post-anarchism include Saul Newman, Todd May, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Some activists, calling themselves "insurrectionary anarchists", are critical of formal anarchist labor unions and federations and advocate informal organization, carrying out acts of resistance in various struggles. Proponents include Wolfi Landstreicher and Alfredo M. Bonanno, author of works including Armed Joy and The Anarchist Tension. This tendency is represented in the United States in magazines such as Willful Disobedience and Killing King Abacus.
While communism is proposed as a form of social and economic organisation by many anarchists, other anarchists consider it a danger to the liberty and free development of the individual. Most schools of anarchism have recognized a distinction between libertarian and authoritarian forms of communism. Proudhon said of communism that "whether of the utopian or the Marxist variety, that it destroyed freedom by taking away from the individual control over his means of production" and "Communism is exploitation of the strong by the weak". Mikhail Bakunin stated: "I hate Communism because it is the negation of liberty and because for me humanity is unthinkable without liberty. I am not a Communist, because Communism concentrates and swallows up in itself for the benefit of the State all the forces of society, because it inevitably leads to the concentration of property in the hands of the State". Bakunin was speaking of "state communism" (authoritarian Marxism) as verified by the last line which mentions state property—anarcho-communists explicitly reject state property and authority, especially centralized authority.
Although Peter Kropotkin, one of the leading proponents of anarcho-communism while also opposing state communism, argued for an economic model of free distribution between all individuals, many individualist anarchists oppose communism in all its forms on the grounds that voluntary communism is not practicable. Individualist such as Benjamin Tucker, Victor Yarros and Henry Appleton have denied that anarcho-communism is a genuine form of anarchism. They rejected its strategies and argued that it is inherently authoritarian. In the opinion of individualist Henry Appleton, "Communism, being opposed to natural law, must necessarily call upon unnatural methods if it would put itself into practice" and employ "pillage, brute force, and violence".
Anarcho-communists reject the criticism, pointing to the principle of voluntary association that underpins their theory and differentiates it from state communism. Some individualist anarchists are also willing to recognize anarcho-communism as a legitimate form. Kevin Carson writes that "free market, libertarian communist, syndicalism, and other kinds of collectivist anarchists must learn to coexist in peace and mutual respect today, in our fight against the corporate state, and tomorrow, in the panarchy that is likely to succeed it".
Notes and references
- Malatesta, Errico. "Towards Anarchism". MAN!. Los Angeles: International Group of San Francisco. OCLC 3930443. Agrell, Siri (2007-05-14). "Working for The Man". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "Anarchism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 2006. Archived from the original on 14 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-29. "Anarchism". The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: 14. 2005.
Anarchism is the view that a society without the state, or government, is both possible and desirable.The following sources cite anarchism as a political philosophy: Mclaughlin, Paul (2007). Anarchism and Authority. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 59. ISBN 0-7546-6196-2. Johnston, R. (2000). The Dictionary of Human Geography. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers. p. 24. ISBN 0-631-20561-6.
- Slevin, Carl. "Anarchism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003.
- "The IAF - IFA fights for : the abolition of all forms of authority whether economical, political, social, religious, cultural or sexual". "Principles of The International of Anarchist Federations". Archived 2012-01-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations". Emma Goldman. "What it Really Stands for Anarchy" in Anarchism and Other Essays.
- Individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker defined anarchism as opposition to authority as follows: "They found that they must turn either to the right or to the left, — follow either the path of Authority or the path of Liberty. Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the other. Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism...Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes: first, those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress, opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally; second, those who profess to believe in her as a means of progress, but who accept her only so far as they think she will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her blessings to the rest of the world; third, those who distrust her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and outraging her. These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church and the Russian autocracy; of the second, in the Protestant Church and the Manchester school of politics and political economy; of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the socialism of the socialism off Karl Marg". Benjamin Tucker. Individual Liberty.
- Ward, Colin (1966). "Anarchism as a Theory of Organization". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
- Anarchist historian George Woodcock report of Mikhail Bakunin's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it". (p. 9) "[...] Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State".
- Brown, L. Susan (2002). "Anarchism as a Political Philosophy of Existential Individualism: Implications for Feminism". The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism and Anarchism. Black Rose Books Ltd. Publishing. p. 106.
- "That is why Anarchy, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement — at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist". Peter Kropotkin. "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal".
- "Anarchists are opposed to irrational (e.g., illegitimate) authority, in other words, hierarchy — hierarchy being the institutionalisation of authority within a society". "B.1 Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?" in An Anarchist FAQ.
- "ANARCHISM, a social philosophy that rejects authoritarian government and maintains that voluntary institutions are best suited to express man's natural social tendencies". George Woodcock. "Anarchism" at The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- "In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions". "Anarchism". Peter Kropotkin. The Encyclopædia Britannica.
- anarchist survey highlighting a general opposition to capitalism "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2010-11-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Chomsky, Noam (1991). "On Capitalism". Chomsky.info. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
catastrophe of capitalism
- Anarchist FAQ collective. "Is "anarcho-capitalism" a form of capitalism?". Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Richard Theodore Ely, Socialism: An Examination of Its Nature, Its Strength and Its Weakness (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1894), p.3
- Benjamin Tucker, State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ
- Bakunin, Mikhail. "Works of Mikhail Bakunin 1869". marxists.org. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
-  "The Message of Gandhi", Edgar Snow
- Albert, Michael Anarchism?!, Z Communications retrieved 6 September 2006
- Anarchists see war as an activity in which the state seeks to gain and consolidate power, both domestically and in foreign lands, and subscribe to Randolph Bourne's view that "war is the health of the state."War is the Health of the State
- "The Failure of Nonviolence"
- de Cleyre, Voltairine. Direct Action, 1912.
- The Ethics of Voting by George H. Smith. Archived 4 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine
- "J.2 What is direct action?". Archived 27 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- *Peacott, Joe, "Voting Anarchists: An Oxymoron or What?" BAD Broadside #8, Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade 1992
- Ward, Colin "The Case Against Voting", originally published in New Society 15 May 1987; reprinted in Freedom Vol 48 No 6 June 1987.
- Choose and Lose - The anarchist case against voting and electoralism infoshop.org.
- Thinking about anarchism - Referendums Workers Solidarity No 69, published in March 2002 retrieved 7 September 2006
- "chomsky.info : The Noam Chomsky Website". chomsky.info. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- Henley, Jon (30 October 2016). "Iceland elections leave ruling centre-right party in driving seat". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- Lysander Spooner, No Treason, no. 2, part 1.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2002-10-04. Retrieved 2006-07-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) No Treason, Lysander Spooner, 1867
- "The Anarchist Vote". Bella Caledonia. 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Independent and free? A Glasgow anarchist's take on Scottish independence". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Some quick thoughts on Scottish independence". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- Afedscotland (2014-09-19). "Don't Mourn. Organise. | Edinburgh anarchist statement on the referendum result". AFed Scotland. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Appeal to Yes Voters for Direct Action". edinburghanarchists.noflag.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "14 observations on Brexit and Lexit in the UK EU membership referendum". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Brexit vote: another sign of global capitalism's deepening crisis". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
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- "Making sense of the Brexit tide of reaction and the reality of the racist vote - Andrew Flood". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Brexit means… what? Hapless ideology and practical consequences". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Taking Leave of their senses – What does the Brexit vote mean? - Mouvement Communiste and Kolektivně proti kapitálu". libcom.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- Horowitz, Irving Louis. The Anarchists. Aldine Transaction 2005, p. 49
- Bookchin, Murray. The Democratic Dimensions of Anarchism
- Bookchin, Murray. Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm
- http://lemming.mahost.org/library/municipalstatist.htm Anarchy after Leftism (chapter 5), Bob Black
- Fowler, R.B. The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4. (Dec., 1972), pp. 743-744
- The Revolutionary "Haste" Archived 2003-02-10 at the Wayback Machine
- David Porter, editor, Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution (AK Press, 2006) p226-228
- "War Is the Health of the State by Randolph Bourne". struggle.ws. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- Anarcho-Feminism - Two Statements - Who we are: An Anarcho-Feminist Manifesto Archived 2006-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Marsh, Margaret S. Anarchist Women, 1870-1920. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981.
- Schapiro, J. Salwyn (1945). "Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Harbinger of Fascism". American Historical Review. The American Historical Review, Vol. 50, No. 4. 50 (4): 714–737. doi:10.2307/1842699. JSTOR 1842699.
- Bakunin, quoted by Shlomo Avineri, in Radical Theology, the New Left, and Israel, p. 245-246 [an article in Auschwitz. Beginning of a New Era? Reflections on the Holocaust, edited by Eva Fleishner], KTAV Publishing House, Inc.; The Cathedral Church of St. John Divine; Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1977, p. 241-254
- Ghadar Movement: Ideology, Organisation and Strategy, Harish K. Puri, Guru Nanak Dev University Press, Amritsar: "The only account of Hardayal's short stay in that island Martinique, comes from Bhai Parmanand, a self exiled Arya Samajist missionary from Lahore, who stayed a month with him there. Har Dayal used that time, says Parmanand, to discuss plans to found a new religion: his model was the Buddha. He ate mostly boiled grain, slept on the bare floor and spent his time in meditation in a secluded place. Guy Aldred, a famous English radical and friend, tells us of Hardayal's proclaimed belief at that time in the coming republic "which was to be a Church, a religious confraternity ... its motto was to be: atheism, cosmopolitanism and moral law' Parmamand says that Har Dayal acceded to his persuasion to go to the USA and decided to make New York a centre for the propagation of the ancient culture of the Aryan." (page 55) and "the ideal social order would be the one which approximated to the legendary Vedic period of Indian history because, as Har Dayal affirmed, practical equality existed only in that society, where there were no governors and no governed, no priests and no laymen, no rich and no poor." (page 112), referencing The Social Conquest of the Hindu Race and Meaning of Equality.
- Anarchist Orientalism and the Muslim Community in Britain Accessed 3 May 2007.
- Fernandez, Frank 'Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement' See Sharp Press (2001) p.6
- Anarchism, p. 158
- Morris, Brian, Anthropology and Anarchism, "Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed" (no. 45); Mckay, Iain, The legacy of Voltairine De Cleyre, Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, no. 44; L. Susan Brown, The Politics of Individualism
- Brown, Susan Love, The Free Market as Salvation from Government: The Anarcho-Capitalist View, Meanings of the Market: The Free Market in Western Culture, edited by James G. Carrier, Berg/Oxford, 1997, p. 107 and p. 104)
- James J. Martin. Men against the State. p. 208.
- Madison, Charles A. (1945). "Anarchism in the United States". Journal of the History of Ideas. Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 6, No. 1. 6 (1): 46–66. doi:10.2307/2707055. JSTOR 2707055.
- Madison, Charles A. (1943). "Benjamin R. Tucker: Individualist and Anarchist". New England Quarterly. The New England Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 3. 16 (3): 444–467. doi:10.2307/361029. JSTOR 361029.
- Non-capitalist market anarchists support private possession along Warren's, Proudhon's, or similar lines. In contrast, anarcho-capitalists support private property along Lockean or similar lines.
- As Peter Marshall notes in his history of anarchism, "few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice." Demanding the Impossible, p. 565
- Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible; John Clark, The Anarchist Moment; Albert Meltzer, Anarchism: Arguments for and Against; Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, David Weick, Anarchist Justice; Brian Morris, "Anthropology and Anarchism," Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed (no. 45); Peter Sabatini, Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy; Donald Rooum, What is Anarchism?; Bob Black, Libertarian as Conservative
- 1) Perlin, Terry M. Contemporary Anarchism. Transaction Books, New Brunswick, NJ 1979, p. 7. 2) Sylvan, Richard. Anarchism. A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, editors Goodin, Robert E. and Pettit, Philip. Blackwell Publishing, 1995, p.231.
- Reclaim the Streets Donnacha DeLong, RTÉ News Online 2002 retrieved 5 September 2006
- The New Anarchists David Graeber, New Left Review 13, January–February 2002 retrieved 6 September 2006
- G8 Summit - J18: Global Carnival Against Corporate Tyranny, London, England C. L. Staten, EmergencyNet News journalist, writing for RTÉ's website in 2002 retrieved 5 September 2006
- WOMBLES wandering free Josie Appleton, spiked-politics, 2002 retrieved 5 September 2006
- Anarchism as a Scapegoat of the 21st century: violence, anarchism and anti-globalisation protests Thrall issue #21, 2001 retrieved 5 September 2006
- Daily Kos, Euromayday website accessed 3 May 2007.
- Afedscotland (2014-09-18). "Referendum rant from an immigrant". AFed Scotland. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "The SNP, Scottish Nationalism, and the Class Struggle: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow". afed.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
- "Anarkiistoj estis inter la pioniroj de la disvastigo de Esperanto. En 1905 fondiĝis en Stokholmo la unua anarkiisma Esperanto-grupo. Sekvis multaj aliaj: en Bulgario, Ĉinio kaj aliaj landoj. Anarkiistoj kaj anarki-sindikatistoj, kiuj antaŭ la Unua Mondmilito apartenis al la nombre plej granda grupo inter la proletaj esperantistoj, fondis en 1906 la internacian ligon Paco-Libereco, kiu eldonis la Internacian Socian Revuon. Paco-libereco unuiĝis en 1910 kun alia progresema asocio, Esperantista Laboristaro. La komuna organizaĵo nomiĝis Liberiga Stelo. Ĝis 1914 tiu organizaĵo eldonis multe da revolucia literaturo en Esperanto, interalie ankaŭ anarkiisma. Tial povis evolui en la jaroj antaŭ la Unua Mondmilito ekzemple vigla korespondado inter eŭropaj kaj japanaj anarkiistoj. En 1907 la Internacia Anarkiisma Kongreso en Amsterdamo faris rezolucion pri la afero de internacia lingvo, kaj venis dum la postaj jaroj similaj kongresaj rezolucioj. Esperantistoj, kiuj partoprenis tiujn kongresojn, okupiĝis precipe pri la internaciaj rilatoj de la anarkiistoj.""ESPERANTO KAJ ANARKIISMO" by Will Firth
- "Proliferarán así diversos grupos que practicarán el excursionismo, el naturismo, el nudismo, la emancipación sexual o el esperantismo, alrededor de asociaciones informales vinculadas de una manera o de otra al anarquismo. Precisamente las limitaciones a las asociaciones obreras impuestas desde la legislación especial de la Dictadura potenciarán indirectamente esta especie de asociacionismo informal en que confluirá el movimiento anarquista con esta heterogeneidad de prácticas y tendencias. Uno de los grupos más destacados, que será el impulsor de la revista individualista Ética será el Ateneo Naturista Ecléctico, con sede en Barcelona, con sus diferentes secciones la más destacada de las cuales será el grupo excursionista Sol y Vida."["Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2014-06-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2011-05-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "La insumisión voluntaria: El anarquismo individualista español durante la Dictadura y la Segunda República (1923–1938)" by Xavier Díez
- La utilización del esperanto durante la Guerra Civil Española, Toño del Barrio and Ulrich Lins. Paper for the International Congress on the Spanish Civil War, (Madrid, 27–29 November 2006).
- Clifford Harper, ed. (1994). Prolegomena: To a Study of the Return of the Repressed in History. London: Rebel Press. ISBN 0-946061-13-0.
- "Post anarchist clearing house".
- Kropotkin, Peter, "Communism and Anarchy".
- Liberty (Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order) (1881-1908); 3 September 1881; 1, 3; APS Online, pg. 3; Tucker uses the terms "voluntary" and "compulsory" communisms. Some market anarchists reject the distinction.
- "Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph" (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. "What Is Property?" ISBN 1-4191-9353-8 p. 221.
- Quoted in Paul Thomas, Karl Marx and the Anarchists, Routledge (1980), p. 303.
- For instance, Benjamin Tucker says: "Yes, genuine Anarchism is consistent Manchesterism, and Communistic or pseudo-Anarchism is inconsistent Manchesterism". Tucker, Benjamin. "Labor and Its Pay". Archived 2005-04-07 at the Wayback Machine. From Individual Liberty: selections from the writings of Benjamin T. Tucker); Victor Yarros says: "There is no logical justification, no rational explanation, and no scientific reasoning has been, is, will be, or can be advanced in defence of that unimaginable impossibility, Communistic Anarchism". Yarros, Victor S. "A Princely Paradox" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Liberty. Vol 4. No. 19. Saturday, April 9, 1887. whole number 97. Henry Appleton says: "All Communism, under whatever guise, is the natural enemy of Anarchism, and a Communist sailing under the flag of Anarchism is as false a figure as could be invented". Appleton, Henry. "Anarchism, True and False". Liberty 2.24. no. 50. 6 September 1884. p. 4.; Clarence Lee Swartz says: "One of the tests of any reform movement with regard to personal liberty is this: Will the movement prohibit or abolish private property? If it does, it is an enemy of liberty. For one of the most important criteria of freedom is the right to private property in the products of ones labor. State Socialists, Communists, Syndicalists and Communist-Anarchists deny private property". Swartz, Clarence Lee. "What is Mutualism?".
- Brooks, Frank H. (ed) (1994) The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881-1908), Transaction Publishers, p. 76.
- Appleton, Henry. "The Boston Anarchists". Archived 2005-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. Liberty, Vol. 4, No. 3, May 26, 1886, Whole No. 81.
- "An Anarchist FAQ: A.3.1 What are the differences between individualist and social anarchists?". Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
- Carson, Kevin. "Mutualist FAQ: Getting There".
- Gordon, Uri (2007). Anarchy Alive!: Anti-Authoritarian Politics from Practice to Theory. Sydney: Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-2683-2. OCLC 154769337.
- "Anarchism and Political Theory: Contemporary Problems".
- "Contemporary anarchism".
- Media related to Issues in anarchism at Wikimedia Commons