Anarchism 15 Markers

  • Created by: Elena.S
  • Created on: 07-02-17 19:34

Grounds for a stateless society

positive view; humans are naturally rational and follow natural rules which would lead to harmonious society with natural order

humankind is naturally good leading to order/harmony so no social contract; state not needed to prevent state of nature; collectivists: humans are sociable/co-operative; individualists: enlightened human reason

not all institutions are inherently oppressive in regulating society in place of state; collectivists: common ownerships/mutualist instititions; individualists: free market

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Link between anarchism and individualism

1) define utopianism: political theorising developing a critique of the existing social order through the construction of a model of an ideal/perfect alternative

2) human nature - v optimistic view so any anarchist society will be close to perfect; no corruption due to no corrupting state; equality, no oppression, liberty etc

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State as inherently evil/oppressive

1) define state: a politician association that establishes sovereign juridiction within defined territorial borders
2) state establishes sovereignty over individuals, ridding them of freedom/equality
3) ANY kind of power will eventually corrupt due to plasticity and power wielded will eventually make anyone corrupt despite liberal efforts
4) state is sovereign (against indiv.), coercive/compulsory (holds power through laws/punishment, Goldman: state can deprive of life/liberty/property), exploitative (serves interests of wealthy/privileged through exploitation of working class, Malatesta: the state's instruments are the police agent, the tax collector, the solder and the gaoler), destructive (requires citizens to fight/die/kill in state quest for expansion/national glory, Bourne: "war is the health of the state"

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Individualism - anarchists VS socialists

Anarchist HOW - individual sovereignty (indiv. is most important)
Socialist HOW - individuals are social (group is most important)

Anarchist WHY - individuals are independent of all others
Socialist WHY - natural interdependence between people -> achieving goals collectively

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Justification for view of freedom

View of freedom - complete liberty with no state interference

Optimistic view of human nature - as moral/enlightened/empathetic creatures, we will take interests of others into account

Internal restraint/Godwin: private judgement - natural state free of state corruption replacing artificial laws; Bakunin: natural laws to govern conduct without feeling constrained

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How the state is evil

Compulsory/coercive - laws packed by punishment restraining freedom; Goldman: state can deprive of liberty/property/life

Exploitative: taxation backed by law/punishment, serves interests of wealthy/privileged, oppresses poor/disadvantaged

Destructive: indiv. required to fight/kill/die in state quest for expansion/plunder/national glory; Bourne: war is the health of the state

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Traits of the state

Oppressive - ruling class exploits working classes; Malatesta: "oppressing the exploiting the masses, of defending the oppressors and exploiters and its principle, characteristic and indispensable, instruments are the police agent, the tax collector, the soldier and the gaoler"

Removes freedom - artificial laws/controls against individual sovereignty; Proudhon: "to be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered" etc

Corrupting - politicians will eventually exploit due to corrupting nature of authority; Bakunin: "nothing is as dangerous for man's morality as the habit of commands"

Unnatural - state denies freedom of assembly/forces unnatural communities, voluntary communities come along with accepted laws therefore no need for state; Kropotkin: humans should form self-governing communes

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Rejection of social contract theory

A) liberty is birthright which cannot be conceded; abandonment through consent is denial of humanity
B) Thoreau: consent theory implies majority/minority, majority would oppress minority
C) any consent would have to have continuous support through direct democracy,only practical in small communities i.e Israeli kibbutz

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Positive view of human nature

1) human plasticity - people are shaped by social/political circumstances so potential for unlimited human development in correct circumstances without state
2) collectivists: human are naturally co-operative and socially solidariate
3) individualists: rational capacities to ensure decisions made won't adversely affect other people

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Link to utopianism

1) define utopianism: political theorising developing critique of existing order through construction of positive model of perfect alternative

2) optimistic view of human nature - perfect humans will create perfect society characterised by unlimited freedom/absolute equality/peace/harmony so stateless society = perfect society (rejection of social contract theory); Godwin: rational humans capable of making decision inclined towards truth + universal moral laws; natural order of universe that humans will follow without corruptive state; humans can be corrupted; plastic human nature shaped by political + socioeconomic circumstances

3) criticism - unrealistic if assumption about human nature is wrong

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Link between anarchism and collectivism

1) define collectivism: belief that collective human endeavour is of greater practical/moral value than individual self-striving; human nature has social core and any social group is a meaningful political entities
2) stresses human capacity for social solidarity (Kropotkin: mutual aid); humans are sociable/gregarious/co-operative; relationship between humans is sympathetic/affectionate/harmonious; linked together by common humanity therefore no need for state regulation/control which makes social solidarity impossible

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Difference between anarchist/Marxist view of state

1) both see state as oppressive but differ about origins/nature
2a) anarchists: state oppression from human corruption from holding authority therefore state always oppressive/evil
2b) Marxists: state is instrument of class oppression and acting in bourgeoisie interest therefore not always oppressive/evil
3a) anarchist rejection of dictatorship of proletariat due to oppressive state even if socialist
3b) Marxists argue state will wither away when class politics is gone but anarchists argue proletariat state will have to be abolished

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Rejection of constitutionalism/consent

1) define constitutionalism: imposition of checks on exercise of government power through formal rules (codifiied constitution) or institutional fragmentation (devolution/federalism)
2) define consent: principle that government should be based on will of people through regular/democratic elections
3) ineffective bc all systems of rule, even democratic, are evil/oppressive due to to human nature being corrupted by authority
4) promotes subservience/recruits citizens into their own oppression bc they invest in governments with bogus legitimacy

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Anarchist spirituality and its view of religion

1) anarchist spiritual conception of human nature; utopian and limitless in human self-development/bonds/everything that lives
2a) religion seen as source of authority (opposed by anarchists based on idea of corruptive power) in conjunction with state; Bakunin: "the abolition of the church and state must be the first and indispensable condition of the true liberation of society"; earthly leaders look to religion for legitimisation
2b) attempts to impose set of moral principles to establish code of acceptable behaviour which robs indiv. of moral autonomy/capacity to make ethical judgements

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Link between anarchism and collectivism

1) define anarchism: belief that collective human endeavour is of greater practical/moral value than indiv. self-striving due to humans as naturally social therefore social groups i.e classes/nations/races are meaningful political entities
2) stresses human capacity for social solidarity (Kropotkin: mutual aid); humans are naturally social/gregarious/co-operative with bonds being that of sympathy/affection/harmony; therefore with link of common humanity, no need for regulation/control by govt.; with govt there is oppression so social solidarity is impossible

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How and why - association with collectivism

1) define collectivism: belief that collective human action is morally/economically superior to indiv. self-striving
2) how? Collectivist anarchism with philosophical/ideological overlap with socialism through mutualism/anarcho-syndicalism/anarcho-communism
3) why? Anarchist conclusions can be reached fly pushing socialist collectivism to limits; collectivism implies humans as social animals working together for common good so natural/proper relationship is that of sympathy/affection/harmony -> order/harmony arises spontaneously from below not from state/above therefore state is unnecessary and due to imposing political order > natural order, it is evil

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How and why - association with communism

1) define communism: principle of collective ownership of wealth and therefore abolition of private property
2) how? Anarcho-communism (Kropotkin) fusing collective wealth with anarchist belief in self-management/natural order
3a) why? Both believe humans to be naturally socialable/co-operative/gregarious
3b) why? Common ownership has anarchic implications; collective wealth strengths social bonds/foster sympathy between + amongst people; communism creates conditions in which anarchist goals can be achieved
3c) Marx: withering away of the state is what anarchists want

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The state - anarchists vs Marxists

1) define state: association that establishes sovereign power within defined territorial area possessing monopoly of coercive power
2) anarchists - state as form of concentrated evil due to any form of political power being absolutely corrupting; oppressive in that citizen don't choose to be members of state; coercive in that state punishes any challenges authority; all-encompassing in that state's authority knows no limits; exploitative in that taxation; destructive in that state wages war which requires fighting/death/killing
3) Marxists - oppressive nature from class warfare, bourgeoisie oppresses proletariat; dictatorship of the proletariat required post-revolution to smooth transition with suppression of dispossessed bourgeoisie; state will eventually wither away once full communism emerges so state doesn't need to be abolished nor can it be destroyed whilst class system survives

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Preference for capitalism

1) define capitalism: economic system in which wealth is owned by private indiv./firms with goods produced for exchange according to dictates of market
2) individualist anarchists favour it into form of anarcho-capitalism
3a) associated in eyes of free market economists with person freedom; freedom as core principle of anarchism which grants individual freedom of choice over economic/social matters
3b) self-regulating market competition tending towards equilibrium (Smith: "invisible hand") so doens't require state regulation to ensure order

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Preference for capitalism

1) define capitalism: economic system in which wealth is owned by private indiv./firms with goods produced for exchange according to dictates of market
2) individualist anarchists favour it into form of anarcho-capitalism
3a) associated in eyes of free market economists with person freedom; freedom as core principle of anarchism which grants individual freedom of choice over economic/social matters
3b) self-regulating market competition tending towards equilibrium (Smith: "invisible hand") so doens't require state regulation to ensure order

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Extent of justification of violence to acheive soc

1) revolutionary violence - propaganda by deed to reveal oppressive nature of state with counter-violence i.e assassination of Tsar Alexander II, Baader Meinhof in BRD
2) non-violent protest - humans as moral/autonomous creatures who will treat others with compassion/respect (optimistic view of human nature)
3) direct action - uncontaminated by process of corrupt politics; based on decentralisation; part of new politics

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Economic freedom

  • Bakunin: "political power and wealth are inseparable"
  • social revolution required to remove exploitation
  • exploiters not just bourgeoise i.e state officials, judges, police, industrialists, bankers
  • disagreement between an-com (support co-op + collective ownership) + an-cap (market + private property)
  • opposition to managed capitalism (collectivists: state intervention props up system of class exploitation with human face - individualists: intervention distorts competitive market + creates economies dominated by monopolies)
  • opposition to state socialism (collectivists: contradiction in terms bc state replaces capitalist class as main source of exploitation - individualists: violation of property rights + indiv. freedom)
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Collectivist anarchism

  • roots in socialism
  • define collectivism: belief that humans are social beings better suited for working together for common good > striving for indiv. self-interest
  • Kropotkin: mutual aid naturally inclines humans to help each other bc humans are naturally sociable + gregarious + co-operative ∴ natural relationship is that of sympathy + affection + harmony
  • crosses over with socialism:
    1) fundamental rejection of capitalism due to class exploitation + structural injustice
    2) endorsement of revolution to bring about political change
    3) fully communist society is anarchic due to withering away of state
    4) humans have ultimate capacity to order affairs without political authority
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  • define mutualism: system of fair + equitable exchange in which indiv. or groups bargain with one another trading goods + services without profiteering/exploitation
  • Proudon: property is theft but accepted possessions + system of property ownership avoiding exploitation + promoting social harmony
  • i.e watchmakers of Switzerland managing affairs on basis on mutual co-op, French + Swiss mutual credit banks providing cheap loans for investors with interest rate enough to cover running without profit
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  • based on syndicalism: revolutionary trade unionism
  • crude notion of class war (workers as oppressed class + industrialists/landlords/politicians/judges/police as exploiters)
  • organised based on craft/industry/profession
  • short term goal: raising wages, shortening hours, improving working conditions
  • long term goal: overthrow of capitalism + seizure of power by workers in general strike
  • crosses over with anarchism:
    1) rejection of conventional politics as corrupting + pointless bc working class power should be exerted through direct action (political action taken outside constitutional/legal framework i.e passive resistance, terrorism), general strike etc
    2) syndicate as model for decentralised + non-hierarchic society with grassroots democracy
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  • radical belief in social solidarity leading to collectivism + full communism
  • social humans should lead shared + communal existence i.e working together + collective ownership
  • all private property is theft bc it represents capitalist exploitation + selfishness + promotes conflict/social disharmony
  • inequality fosters greed + envy + resentment ∴ crime + disorder
  • Kropotkin: mutual aid allowed survival of species + flourished in Ancient Greece + medieval Europe
  • Malatesta: possible for true communism to occur through abolition of state (Proudhon: true communism only possible with authoritarian state)
  • future of an-com society - collection of self-sufficient communes owning wealth in common; advantages:
    1) strengthens bonds of compassion + solidarity, based on principles of sharing + collective behaviour preventing greed + selfishness
    2) decisions made through direct democracy/popular self-gov.
    3) small-/human-scale communities preventing centralisation with depersonalised/bureaucratic social processes
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Individualist anarchism

  • basis in liberal indiv. sovereignty by pushing it to logical extremes
  • central importance of indiv. implying negative freedom implying no constraints by gov.
  • Wolff: "the autonomous man, insofar as he is autonomous, is not subject to the will of another"

1a) liberals: minimal state necessary to prevent self-seeking indiv. from wielding licence; interventionist state necessary for positive freedom
1b) anarchists: indiv. can conduct themselves peacefully/harmoniously/prosperously without gov. due to reason + morality preventing violent conflict

2a) liberals: gov. power can be contained by constitutional/representative institutions intending to perform checks and balances + elections to force accountability to electorate
2b) anarchists: all laws infringe upon indiv. liberty; constitutionalism + democracy façades for political oppression

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  • key thinker: Stirner
  • indiv. concerned with self potentially leading to conflict justifying existence of state
  • Stirner: egoism as philosophy placing indiv. self at centre of moral universe; indiv. should act as they choose without consideration for laws + social conventions + religious + moral principles
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  • key thinkers: Thoreau, Spooner, Tucker, Warren
  • define libertarianism: belief that indiv. should enjoy widest possible realm of freedom with removal of both external + internal restraints
  • Tucker - how autonomous indiv. could work without conflict
    1) human rationality - conflict resolved by reasoned discussion (Godwin: truth will always tend to displace falsehood)
    2) harmony between actions of free indiv. - system of market exchange "time stores" in which one's labour can be exchanged for a promise to return labour in kind
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  • key thinkers: Rand, Rothbard, Friedman
  • gov. replaced by unregulated market competition in which property is owned by sovereign indiv. who can enter voluntary contracts with others in pursuit of self-interest - market fundamentalism


  • liberals: market is effective but public goods (i.e maintenance of public order, enforcement of contracts, protection against external attack) must be provided by state
  • an-caps: such protection delivered by privately owned protection associations + private courts (competition would offer better services at lower costs + reputation for fairness) i.e privatisation of prisons in UK + USA
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Roads to anarchy (1/2)

  • cannot use parliamentary system bc corruptive
  • cannot use political parties bc bureaucratic + hierarchic


  • increase in anarchist terrorism (use of violence to induce climate of fear to further political ends) in 1890s i.e Tsar Alexander II (1881) Empress Elizabeth of Austria (1898) McKinley (1901) + 1970s i.e Baader-Meinhof (BRD)
  • anarchist violence mirroring everyday violence of state against working masses + demoralising ruling classes + raises political consciousness (propaganda by deed)
  • counterproductive by provoking public outrage + encourages state to expand repressive machinery with public backing

1) respect for humans as moral + autonomous dictating that humans are to be treated with compassion + respect
2) refraining from violence in face of violence demonstrates strength + moral purity of one's convictions

  • pacifist anarchists tend to shy away from mass political activism by building model communities based on co-op + mutual respect
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Roads to anarchy (2/2)


  • passive resistance to terrorism
  • used by an-syn i.e refusing to take part in conventional politics + exerting direct pressure on employers i.e boycotts of products, striking etc
    1) uncontaminated by process of gov. so political opposition can be expressed openly without channeling into constitutional directions
    2) form of popular political activism organised on basis of decentralisation + participatory decision making (new politics: style of politics distrusting representative mechanism + bureaucratic processes in favour of popular mobilisation + direct action)
  • damages public support through irresponsibility + extremism
  • groups become political outsiders
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