A2 Government and Politics revision cards - Anarchism

  • Created by: Jessica
  • Created on: 06-05-12 15:38

Origins and development

- Linked to Buddhist ideas

- First anarchist principles were expressed by Godwin

- 19th century - anarchy is a key component in the growing socialist movement

- 19th century - anarchy gains support amongst the industrial working classes through anarcho - syndicalism

- 20th century - anarchism becomes a genuine mass movement, helped by syndicalism

- Has never succeeded in winning power at a national level

- No society or nation has been modelled on anarchist principles

- Have stressed the non - hierachic nature of many traditional societies like Nuer, Africa where people live in small communities

- Have supported small scale communal living in the West

- Goal of anarchism - overthrow the state and dismantle all forms of political authority. This is regarded as unrealistic & practically impossible

- Most people view the idea of a stateless society as a utopian dream

- Particularly appeals to young people, has strong moral appeal

- Deprives itself of political organisation and its advantages because they see conventional means of exercising political influence (political parties, elections etc.) as corrupt & corrupting

- Place their faith in mass spontaneity & thirst for freedom

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Against the state

- Are opposed to the state and accompanying institutions

- Want a stateless society where free people manage affairs by voluntary agreement

- Stronger on moral assertion than explanation and analysis

- Based on the assumption that humans are moral creatures

- Tries to awaken autonomous instincts rather than analysing state oppression and trying to challenge it

- Point of overlap b/w liberalism & socialism

- ultra liberal because of its emphasis on the free individual

- ultra socialist because of its extreme socialist collectivism

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Anti - statism

- Faure: anarchism is the negation of the principle of authority

- Anarchists think authority offends freedom & equality

- Wants absolute freedom & unrestrained political equality - unlike liberals who want controls on freedom so that it cannot be used by people against people

- Authority = political inequality and enables one person to influence behaviour of others. Therefore, authority oppresses human life

- Authority is bad for the giver & the receiver. Humans are naturally free, to be under authority is to be oppressed. To be in authority gives somebody an appetite for control & domination

- Authority gives rise to the 'psychology of power ' based on a pattern of 'dominance and submission' - produces a society where many are ruthless & most live in fear

- Anarchism's radical rejection of state power sets it apart from all ideologies apart from Marxism

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Anti - statism continued...

- State is sovereign. People have to obey it because its laws are backed up by punishment

- State can deprive people of their liberty and exploits them through taxation

- Goldman: government is symbolised by the club, the gun, the handcuff, or the prison

- Anarchists agree with Marxists that the state acts in alliance with the wealthy and oppresses the poor & weak

- State is destructive. It sends people to war. Seeks national glory for one state at the expense of others

- Anarchists have a highly optimistic view of human potential

- Are deeply pessimistic about how political authority & economic inequality can oppress

- Humans are good or evil depending on their political & social circumstances - like Socialism that sees people as moulded by the state

- Co-operative, sympathetic & sociable people will become oppressive tyrants if they are given power in some form

- Power in any shape or form will corrupt absolutely

- State is evil because it has sovereign, compulsory and coercive authority

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Anti - clericalism

- anarchism dislikes all forms of compulsory authority

- express bitterness towards the church in the same way they do towards the state

- anarchism has prospered in countries with strong religious traditions e.g. Italy & Catholic Spain. It has helped to articulate anti - clerical sentiments

- anarchists object to organised religion because they criticize authority for oppressing the individual - God is a supreme being who commands unquestionable authority

- Anarchists think religious and political authority work hand in hand

- Religion is one of the pillars of the state, it propagates an ideology of obedience and submission

- Religion seeks to impose a set of moral principles on the individual

- Religion requires conformity

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Anti clericalism continued

- religion robs an individual of moral autonomy and capacity to make moral judgements

- Anarchists do not reject the religious impulse altogether

- It can be said that anarchists hold a spiritual view of human nature because they think there are unlimited possibilities for human development 

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