| This article is part of|
the Political Philosophy
Anarchism is a political ideology which opposes any kind of hierarchy or rejects the existence of the state or government as authoritarian and oppressive. Anarchism has different branches. Some of the main Schools of thought in anarchism are anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-collectivism, and anarcho-capitalism, there is even Christian Anarchism, as an example of how contradictory the human mind can be.
Overview and Origin
Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau's arguments for the moral centrality of freedom. Although by the turn of the 19th century the term "anarchist" had lost its initial negative connotation, it first entered the English language in 1642 during the English Civil War as a term of abuse used by Royalists to damn those who were fomenting disorder. By the time of the French Revolution some, such as the Enragés, began to use the term positively, in opposition to Jacobin centralisation of power, seeing "revolutionary government" as oxymoronic.
From this climate William Godwin developed what many consider the first expression of modern anarchist thought. Godwin was, according to Peter Kropotkin, "the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work", while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke. Benjamin Tucker instead credits Josiah Warren, an American who promoted stateless and voluntary communities where all goods and services were private, with being "the first man to expound and formulate the doctrine now known as Anarchism." The first to describe himself as an anarchist was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a French philosopher and politician, which led some to call him the founder of modern anarchist theory.
Anarchism as a social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. Its classical period, which scholars demarcate as from 1860 to 1939, is associated with the working-class movements of the nineteenth century and the Spanish Civil War-era struggles against fascism. Anarchists were heavilly involved in the abolition of slavery, and continue to be active in the labour movement, civil rights, women's liberation, both anti-capitalism and pro-capitalism (with varying definitions of capitalism), the anti-war movement, LGBT rights, both anti-globalization and pro-globalization (with varying definitions of globalization), tax resistance, and other areas.
Anarchist schools of thought
Anarchism is a political philosophy with many heterogeneous and diverse schools of thought, united by a common opposition to compulsory government. Anarchist schools of thought are characterised by "the belief that government is both harmful and unnecessary", but may differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. The individualist wing of anarchism emphasises negative liberty, i.e. opposition to state or social control over the individual, while those in the collectivist wing emphasise positive liberty to achieve one's potential and argue that humans have needs that society ought to fulfill, "recognizing equality of entitlement". Another distinction is that the social wing advocates market abolitionism and common ownership as a means to eliminate unequal economic power, and individualist anarchism is supportive of means of production being held privately, and in the case of the most prevalent strain of anarcho-individualism, advocates that goods and services be distributed through markets.
Anarchist communism is the only branch of anarchism which has most similarity with communism. However it is different from Marxism, it is a non-Marxist version of communism. It rejects the Marxist dogma of "Dictatorship of Proletariat" as authoritative and oppressive. Some notable anarchist-communists are Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Nestor Makhno.
The basic tenets of anarchist communism are:
- Society should be made up of many self-governing communes.
- Means of production will be used collectively.
- Any individual will not receive wage or salary, but they will have completely free access to all the resources in a commune.
Anarcho-syndicalism emphasizes on the labor movement. According to anarcho-syndicalism, trade unions are potential forces for a revolutionary social change. This social change will abolish capitalism and the State, and a new society will be formed which will be self-managed by workers. Anarcho-syndicalists rejects the wage system which they view as "wage slavery", however they are in favour of salary: "from each according to ability, to each according to work done" Rudolf Rocker was a prominent figure in anarcho-syndicalism.
All workers irrespective of their gender or ethnicity are in a more uncomfortable and unprivileged position than their bosses. Any profit or loss in the relationship between workers and boss affect all workers. Hence all workers must support one another to make themselves independent in a class conflict.
Anarcho-syndicalists emphasize on direct action. Direct action seeks immediate solution for perceived evils. It may be violent or nonviolent. Nonviolent means of direct action are strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations. Violent means include revolution and guerrilla warfare.
According to anarcho-syndicalism, workers’ organizations struggle against the wage system, and will form the root of a new society. The workers’ organizations should be self-managing and should not have bosses.
Anarcho-capitalism is the only branch of anarchism which does not reject capitalism. It supports capitalism, only rejects the existence of the state.
The basic tenets of anarcho-capitalism are:
- Individuals should have the right to own private property.
- Government intervention in business is undesirable and the state should be abolished.
- Voluntary market processes will form the provision of social institutions like law enforcement, courts, defence and infrastructure by competing for-profit firms, charities or voluntary associations.
- There should not be any compulsory taxation.
Notable anarcho-capitalists are Murray Rothbard, Gustave de Molinari, David D. Friedman, Roderick T. Long.
All other tendencies of anarchism reject anarcho-capitalism as a contradiction in terms and non-anarchist.
See also, Libertarianism
Mutualism is a type of anarchism which supports markets, but unlike anarcho-capitalism, opposes capitalism and prefers a type of Socialism. Mutualism is associated with an occupancy and use or possession' based conception of property, which does not allow for rent or absentee ownership, support for cooperatives and worker's self-management, the Labor Theory of Value, and credit unions as opposed to for-profit banks.
Mutualists include Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Kevin Carson, Benjamin Tucker, Josiah Warren and Shawn P. Wilbur.
Collectivist anarchism, also referred to as revolutionary socialism or a form of such, is a revolutionary form of anarchism, commonly associated with Mikhail Bakunin and Johann Most.It is a specific tendency, not to be confused with the broad category sometimes called collectivist or communitarian anarchism. Unlike mutualists, collectivist anarchists oppose all private ownership of the means of production, instead advocating that ownership be collectivized.
This was to be achieved through violent revolution, first starting with a small cohesive group through acts of violence, or "propaganda by the deed," which would inspire the workers as a whole to revolt and forcibly collectivize the means of production. However, collectivization was not to be extended to the distribution of income, as workers would be paid according to time worked, rather than receiving goods being distributed "according to need" as in anarcho-communism. This position was criticised by later anarcho-communists as effectively "uphold[ing] the wages system".
Anarchist communist and collectivist ideas were not mutually exclusive; although the collectivist anarchists advocated compensation for labor, some held out the possibility of a post-revolutionary transition to a communist system of distribution according to need. Collectivist anarchism arose contemporaneously with Marxism but opposed the Marxist dictarorship of the proletariat, despite the stated Marxist goal of a collectivist stateless society.