Core Values of Anarchism

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A2 Government & Politics Anarchism
Core Themes
Against the State
Opposition to state and accompanying institutions of government and law
Preference for stateless society in which free individuals manage their affairs by voluntary
Ideological character blurred by two factors
o Stronger on moral assertion than on analysis and explanation
Based on assumption humans are naturally moral creatures drawn to
freedom and autonomy
o Not a unified and coherent ideology in own right; overlap of liberalism and socialism
`Ultra-liberalism' extreme liberal individualism individualist anarchism
`Ultra-socialism extreme social collectivism collectivist anarchism
United by broader principles:
o Anti-statism
o Natural order
o Anti-clericalism
o Economic freedom
Sébastien Faure, Encyclopédia anarchiste, "the negation of the principle of Authority"
Authority is an offence against the principles of freedom and equality
Endorses principles of absolute freedom and unrestrained political equality
Political authority damages those who are subject and those who are authority
Humans are free and autonomous, therefore authority diminishes them
Radical rejection of state power, a stance that sets anarchism apart from all other political
ideologies except Marxism
Emphasise that that the authority of the state is absolute, unlimited and compulsory
Reject liberal notion of social contract
Goldman: "the club, the gun, the handcuff, or the prison"
State is exploitative through tax
State acts in alliance with wealthy and privileged, serving to oppress the poor and weak
Randolph Bourne: "War is the health of the State"
Deeply pessimistic about corrupting influence of political authority and economic inequality
Power in any shape or form will corrupt absolutely
How did political authority arise in the first place then?
Natural Order
State is unnecessary
Hobbes' and Locke's social contract argument states that the natural order amounts to a civil
war of each against all, making orderly and stable life impossible. Godwin argued that
humans are naturally rational creatures inclined by education and enlightened judgement to
live in accordance with truth and universal moral laws.
Unit 3 ­ Introducing Political IdeologiesPage 1

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A2 Government & Politics Anarchism
Natural propensity to organise their own lives in a harmonious and peaceful fashion
Jean-Jacques Rosseau: "Man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains"
Heart of anarchism unashamed utopianism
o Natural (or potential) goodness
o Social order arises naturally and spontaneously
o Collectivist anarchists stress human capacity for sociable and cooperative behaviour
o Individual anarchists highlight importance of enlightened human reason
Spontaneous harmony within human nature linked to the belief that nature and the universe
are biased in favour…read more


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