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Anyone who has followed political discussion on the net has probably come across people calling themselves "libertarians" but arguing from a right-wing, pro-capitalist perspective. For most people outside of North America, this is weird as the term "libertarian" is almost always used in conjunction with "socialist" or "communist" (particularly in Europe and, it should be stressed, historically in America). In the US, though, the Right has partially succeeded in appropriating the term "libertarian" for itself. Even stranger is that a few of these right-wingers have started calling themselves "anarchists" in what must be one of the finest examples of an oxymoron in the English language: "Anarcho-capitalist"!!!
Arguing with fools is seldom rewarded, but to let their foolishness to go unchallenged risks allowing them to deceive those who are new to anarchism. This is what this section of the FAQ is for, to show why the claims of these "anarchist" capitalists are false. Anarchism has always been anti-capitalist and any "anarchism" that claims otherwise cannot be part of the anarchist tradition. It is important to stress that anarchist opposition to the so-called capitalist "anarchists" do not reflect some kind of debate within anarchism, as many of these types like to pretend, but a debate between anarchism and its old enemy, capitalism. In many ways this debate mirrors the one between Peter Kropotkin and Herbert Spencer (an English capitalist minimal statist) at the turn the 19th century and, as such, it is hardly new.
Jan 30, 2019
The short answer is, no, it is not. While a diverse tendency, the individualist anarchists were opposed to the exploitation of labour, all forms of non-labour income (such as profits, interest and rent) as well as capitalist property rights (particularly in land). While aiming for a free market system, they considered laissez-faire capitalism to be based on various kinds of state enforced class monopoly which ensured that labour was subjected to rule, domination and exploitation by capital. As such it is deeply anti-capitalist and many individualist anarchists, including its leading figure Benjamin Tucker, explicitly called themselves socialists (indeed, Tucker often referred to his theory as "Anarchistic-Socialism").
So, in this section of our anarchist FAQ we indicate why the individualist anarchists cannot be classified as "ancestors" of the bogus libertarians of the "anarcho"-capitalist school. Rather, they must be classified as libertarian socialists due to their opposition to exploitation, critique of capitalist property rights and concern for equality, albeit being on the liberal wing of anarchist thought. Moreover, while all wanted to have an economy in which all incomes were based on labour, many also opposed wage labour, i.e. the situation where one person sells their labour to another rather than the product of that labour (a position which, we argue, their ideas logically imply). So while some of their ideas do overlap with those of the "anarcho"-capitalist school they are not capitalistic, no more than the overlap between their ideas and anarcho-communism makes them communistic.
Jan 30, 2019
The socialist movement has been continually divided, with various different tendencies and movements. The main tendencies of socialism are state socialism (Social Democracy, Leninism, Maoism and so on) and libertarian socialism (anarchism mostly, but also libertarian Marxists and others). The conflict and disagreement between anarchists and Marxists is legendary. As Benjamin Tucker noted:
"it is a curious fact that the two extremes of the [socialist movement] . . . though united . . . by the common claim that labour should be put in possession of its own, are more diametrically opposed to each other in their fundamental principles of social action and their methods of reaching the ends aimed at than either is to their common enemy, existing society. They are based on two principles the history of whose conflict is almost equivalent to the history of the world since man came into it . . .
"The two principles referred to are AUTHORITY and LIBERTY, and the names of the two schools of Socialistic thought which fully and unreservedly represent one or the other are, respectively, State Socialism and Anarchism. Whoso knows what these two schools want and how they propose to get it understands the Socialistic movement. For, just as it has been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between State Socialism and Anarchism." [The Individualist Anarchists, pp. 78-9]
Jan 30, 2019
So far this FAQ has been largely critical, focusing on hierarchy, capitalism, the state and so on, and the problems to which they have led, as well as refuting some bogus "solutions" that have been offered by authoritarians of both the right and the left. It is now time to examine the constructive side of anarchism – the libertarian-socialist society that anarchists envision. This is important because anarchism is essentially a constructive theory, in stark contradiction to the picture usually painted of anarchism as chaos or mindless destruction.
In this section of the FAQ we will give an outline of what an anarchist society might look like. Such a society has basic features – such as being non-hierarchical, decentralised and, above all else, spontaneous like life itself. To quote Glenn Albrecht, anarchists "lay great stress on the free unfolding of a spontaneous order without the use of external force or authority." ["Ethics, Anarchy and Sustainable Development", pp. 95-117, Anarchist Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 110] This type of development implies that anarchist society would be organised from the simple to the complex, from the individual upwards to the community, the bio-region and, ultimately, the planet. The resulting society, which would be the outcome of nature freely unfolding toward greater diversity and complexity, is ethically preferable to any other sort of order simply because it allows for the highest degree of organic solidarity and freedom. Kropotkin described this vision of a truly free society as follows:
Jan 30, 2019
This section discusses what anarchists get up to. There is little point thinking about the world unless you also want to change it for the better. And by trying to change it, you change yourself and others, making radical change more of a possibility. Therefore anarchists give their whole-hearted support to attempts by ordinary people to improve their lives by their own actions. We urge "emancipation through practical action" recognising that the "collective experience" gained in "the collective struggle of the workers against the bosses" will transform how they see the world and the world itself. [Bakunin, The Basic Bakunin, p. 103] Ultimately, "[t]he true man does not lie in the future, an object of longing, but lies, existent and real, in the present. [Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, p. 327]
Anarchism is more than just a critique of statism and capitalism or a vision of a freer, better way of life. It is first and foremost a movement, the movement of working class people attempting to change the world. Therefore the kind of activity we discuss in this section of the FAQ forms the bridge between capitalism and anarchy. By self-activity and direct action, people can change both themselves and their surroundings. They develop within themselves the mental, ethical and spiritual qualities which can make an anarchist society a viable option. As Noam Chomsky argues:
Jan 30, 2019
- ANARCHISME n. m.
Il faut entendre par « Anarchisme », le mouvement social qui se propose de poursuivre la réalisation de l'idéal anarchiste. Ce mouvement embrasse toute l'action libertaire. Vivante, cette action s'inspire des événements et circonstances de temps et de milieu ; souple, elle met à profit toutes les possibilités qui se dégagent au jour le jour de la vie sociale ; vigilante, elle surveille et utilise, avec adresse et méthode, les courants multiples qui traversent et pénètrent l'opinion, l'impulsent ou la dirigent. Elle a pour but d'acheminer les individus et la Société vers l'Anarchie par les voies les plus sûres et les moins lentes, grâce à des moyens de combat et des formes de lutte toujours en accord avec les principes et l'objectif libertaires.
« L'Anarchie » c'est ce que nous entrevoyons ; « l'Anarchisme », c'est ce que nous vivons et réalisons pied à pied ; c'est la lutte incessante des militants libertaires contre toutes les institutions qu'ils veulent abattre ; c'est, sous les formes les plus variées, la bataille sans trêve ni repos que les compagnons et les milieux anarchistes mènent contre les préjugés, la routine, la tradition, les enseignements, les erreurs et le fait autoritaire qu'ils ambitionnent de supprimer ; c'est, pour tout dire, l'ensemble des efforts qui ont pour but de préparer et hâter l'éclosion de la période révolutionnaire proprement dite et d'assurer au mouvement anarchiste, dès la Révolution, la plus puissante vitalité et les meilleures conditions de développement.
May 12, 2016
Louise Michel fue probablemente la portavoz más conocida y popular del socialismo y del anarcosocialismo durante los años 80 y 90 del siglo XIX, hasta su muerte en 1905. A través de su actividad como oradora en inglés y francés llegó literalmente a cientos de miles de personas, iniciándolas en el socialismo. A su entierro acudió una inmensa cantidad de parisinos pobres y fue el segundo funeral más multitudinario en la historia de Francia hasta la fecha, superado solamente por el de Victor Hugo. Todavía hoy —ya que su visión del mundo a menudo parece demasiado melodramática para la mente moderna, y porque los historiadores socialistas con frecuencia se dejan impresionar más por estudios extensos sobre nimiedades teóricas que por las verdaderas relaciones con la población oprimida—, es prácticamente desconocida.
Como muchas de sus homólogas y contemporáneas, Louise Michel parecía más una monja devota que una «mujer emancipada», como se dice actualmente. Pauline Roland (una comunerade 1848), Nathalie Lemel (combatiente con Michel en la Comuna de 1871) y Louise Michel, se identificaron seriamente con su causa y rechazaron diferenciar su vida pública de su vida privada. No era atípico, para tales revolucionarias de apariencia monjil, la entrega a la gente, la extrema degradación física, el ascetismo y moralismo sexual y unas vidas tranquilas y modestas —a menudo como «solteronas»—. Las vidas de estas mujeres estuvieron marcadas no sólo por el altruismo, sino también por la creencia de trascender una existencia «realista» hasta el nivel de convertirse en un símbolo. Así, también mostraban un marcado desdén por el ejercicio del poder en el sentido político ordinario y exhibían una considerable propensión hacia las visiones que transportaran a un plano etéreo/inspirador, por el cual se obtenía una comprensión del significado puro de la revolución. En muchos casos, su ideal consciente por la emulación estaba basado en Juana de Arco, Jesucristo, o —como en el caso de Louise Michel— en las antiguas vírgenes guerreras y las druidas gaélicas que ayudaron a derrocar a los invasores romanos de las Galias con sus primitivos talentos físicos y su sabiduría sobrenatural.
Dec 4, 2018
ć Đ š à è éÈÉ This is the age of disembodiment, when our sense of separateness from the earth grows and we are meant to forget our animality. But we are animals and we co-evolved, like all animals, in rapport with other bodily forms and aspects of the world. Minds as well as senses arise from embodiment, just as other animals conveyed meaning—until modernity, that is. We are the top of the food chain, which makes us the only animal nobody needs. Hamlet was very much off the mark in calling humans “the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.” Mark Twain was much closer: “the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” The life form that is arguably least well adapted to reality, that has weaker chances for survival among the at least 10 million animal (mostly insect) species. Humans are among the very few mammals who will kill their own kind without the provocation of extreme hunger.
The human species is unique but so is every other species. We differ from the rest no more, it seems, than do other species from each other. Non-human animals have routinely amazing facilities for accomplishing things by acting on information they receive from their environments. They are creatures of instinct, but so are we. As Joseph Wood Krutch asked, “who is the more thoroughly acquainted with the world in which he lives?” Adaptation to one’s world is a cognitive process. If we wonder which species is the smartest, the best answer is, most likely: they all are.
Dec 26, 2014
Nov 1, 2018