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Flashcards in Anarchism Deck (55):

Simplistic Anarchist view of the State?

The state must be abolished. This is for two reasons:either the state is unnecessary or it is evil and corrupting


What do anarchists mean in their view that the state is unnecessary?

- Anarcho-Communist view along with some philosophical anarchists like Godwin
- They believe it can be replaced by voluntary associations. These may be small communes (suggested by Kropotkin) or large workers federations (one of Bakunin's ideas)
- This is key as voluntary organisations where people come together in cooperative units, preserve the freedom of individuals
- By contrast the state subjects individuals to laws.


What do anarchists mean in their view that the state is evil ?

- Sorel, Bakunin, Proudhon and Thoreau see the state as corrupting. They want it destroyed whether by violent or peaceful means.


What is Bakunin's view on the state being evil?

- The state is the agent of the capitalist ruling class, replacing it is the only way to get economic justice
- He claimed those who command the state will themselves be corrupted
- State and Revolution (1970) "Nothing is as dangerous for man's personal morality as the habit of commanding. The best of men will inevitably be corrupted by this approach"


Proudhon quote on the State is evil?

- Quote from What is Property? (1840)
- 'To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled and controlled by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom to do so'


What is the Anarchist view anti-clericalism?

- Anarchism's anti-religious stance
- They see religion as an artificial construct of mankind, an additional way in which individuals are oppressed and in which their individualism is suppressed
- Anarchists view religion as the 'opium of the people', a device for deflecting attention away from the true nature of the state by promising a better afterlife
Bakunin - "If God existed, it would be necessary to abolish him'


What is the anarchist opposition to the liberal state?

- Liberals allow the existence of the state if it was formed with the consent of the people.
- Anarchists disagree with this as they don't believe individuals can give up their sovereignty to a higher authority even if they believe they are doing so freely, it goes against their nature.
- Just because on generation thought the state was good, the next generation shouldn't have to as well.
- Goldman said - 'if voting changed anything, they'd abolish it'


What is Rousseau's view on democracy?

'If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.'
- He means democracy is only suited to people who understand everyone's view not just their own. He dismisses direct democracy as people would vote in their self interest.
- The only justification for democracy is in small communities where all understand the views of one another.


What is Bakunin's view on democracy?

- Democracy is an illusion, same as Marxist view
- Democracy is a device to hide authoritarian nature f the state.
- Mankind might imagine itself free if it is granted democratic rights and political equality, but unless there is economic equality there can be no political equality, those with economic power will also yield political power.


What is the anarchist view on a capitalist state?

- Modern anarchy-capitalists propose a capitalist economic system with no state.
- The vast majority of anarchists are opposed to capitalism and believe the state is the creator of modern capitalism.


Why are anarchists opposed to the existence of the state?

- It's an artificial way of grouping people into political communities and should be replaced by self-governing communities
- It's an agent of capitalism which oppresses workers and promotes inequality
- It exercises power over people and so is a denial of individual liberty
- It defend private property and so oppresses those without property.


Anarchism view on society

- Wish to create an ordered society, the modern capitalist, by contrast, threatens order because it creates a revolutionary class that is bound to rise up against it.
- Order promotes freedom and security
Even individual anarchists promote order as they envisage individuals cooperating in a mutually beneficial way.


Anarchist view on how private property affects society?

- It is a threat to social order
- It promotes inequality and inequality causes social conflict
- This is why anarchists support common ownership of property and the profits of these properties being shared.


What is Bakunin's vision of society?

- Order within society can be created without a state - 'The liberty of man consists solely in this, that he obeys the laws of nature because he has himself recognised them as imposed upon him'
- Meaning it's natural for people to follow rules and they don't need to be forced upon them.
- His vision is known as federalism, he saw groups of workers joining together in voluntary communities and believed as long as people group together with common ownership of property and equal distribution of rewards there is no coercion.
- A system of free negotiation and exchange on the basis of the true value of goods and services.


How does Kropotkin's views on social order differ to Bakunin's?

- Similar ideas but he stressed the need for smaller scale communities.
- It was difficult to see Bakunin's larger scale federations working without some kind of system of rule being adopted.
- He based his vision on the Swiss watchmakers Jura. These communities are joined by a single occupation, were self-governing cooperatives where there was no leader and the fruits of their production were shared equally.


What is the anarchy-capitalist view on society?

- Developed by Murray Rothbard and David Friedman
- They have proposed the retention of capitalism but the virtual abolition of the state.
- Capitalism can operate in an ordered way without regulation by a state.
The functions of the state such as law and order can be carried out by private enterprise companies.


Reasons we CAN reconcile individualist and collectivist forms of anarchism?

- Both forms claim to be restoring freedom
- Both forms believe that human nature can be positive and order can be maintained without a state
- Both forms envisage mutual cooperation between people. Communities are formed freely and independently
- Whether in an individualist world or a collective one, liberty is created as coercion is abolished.


Reasons we CANNOT reconcile individualist and collectivist forms of anarchism?

- Many individualist anarchists suggest that any form of social order restricts liberty
- Individualist anarchists claim that social organisation is a denial of ego
- Individual anarchists suggest that collectivist forms of society will inevitably lead to the return of some exercising power over others.
- There is a fundamental disagreement over human nature


What is the Anarchist view on Communism and economic freedom?

- Most anarchists argue the main reason for conflict is economic inequality which is caused by capitalism's free-market value for goods leading to certain members of society being underpaid.
- Most anarchists wish to see labour valued on true value, e.g. how much work has gone into it.
Main advocate was Proudhon


What is Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's economic structure?

- Proposed a voucher system to indicate the real value of goods, based on labour input and a national bank to supply funds to independent workers. These funds were to replace the need to make profit.
- 'When economic problems have been solved in such a way that individual and collective interest are identical it is evident that we will be in a state of liberty.'
(What is Property?, 1840)


What is Emma Goldman's view on anarcho-capitalism and economic freedom?

- Emma Goldman advocated the abolition of capitalism without expressing any particular preference for what would replace it. All she was concerned with was that no one could be free within capitalism.


What is Henry Thoreau and Josiah Warren's view on anarcho-capitalism and economic freedom?

- Advocated a withdrawal of the individual from the capitalist world
- Rather than selling their labour to capitalist employers, people could obtain their freedom both from the state and economic system
- Warren, in particular, devised a system in which whereby all goods could be sold at a price which reflected the amount of labour that went into them.


What is Murray Rothbard and David Friedman's view on anarcho-capitalism and economic freedom?

- Both envisage a world in which free-market can flourish without any regulation by the state. In fact, both oppose the existence of any state at all.
- Economic freedom can exist only in the context of free competition with no external influence.
- Rothbard - 'Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism. Not only are they compatible, but you can't really have one without the other'


Anarchism and utopianism?

- The idea of utopianism is that it's possible to create a society which can accord with true human nature and bring conflicts to an end. In a 'utopia' there is no alienation and social harmony reigns.


Positive view of anarchist utopia?

- All anarchists have a vision of what they consider a perfect society. While conservatives wish to see society develop naturally.
- Different branches of anarchism have different visions but they all have a common belief that an ideal society can be brought about as long as the state is abolished.


How do individual anarchists plan to achieve utopia?

- The abolition of the state and any kind of economic and social organisation.


How do collectivist and anarchy-capitalists plan to achieve utopia differently?

- Propose a new social system to replace both capitalism and the state itself.
- In contrast to individuals they have proposed a new social order based on mutual aid, common ownership of property, economic equality and above all natural communities which people are free to form.


What is the anarchy-capitalist vision of utopia?

- Their utopia is also a society without a state but one where there is a balance between individuals' competing interests.
- They see the accumulation of property as natural, so in their version of capitalism, everyone will receive what they are entitled to as long as it it honestly obtained through work.


Conservative view against Anarchist view on human nature?

- Argue that anarchists are over-optimistic about human nature.
- Conservatives say we are born self-interested and not capable of being perfect.
- Catholics refer to 'original sin' as the reason why we will never be perfect.


Why do socialists oppose Anarchist's utopia?

- First, they believe the abolition of the state to be incompatible with the aims they hold in common - equality and common ownership can only be achieved with a state as without one, people will pursue unequal share of rewards.

- Second, they see anarchism as unscientific, based on a series of generalisations and unsustained assumptions.


Is anarchism merely unscientific utopianism?

- Anarchists share neither a theory of history nor a scientific analysis of human society
- Anarchists have an over-optimistic view of the perfectibility of human nature
- Anarchists have no clear vision of what kind of society should replace the contemporary state.
- There has never been an established form of anarchism society.


Is anarchism merely unscientific utopianism?

- Anarchists argue their aims are attainable as long as the corrupt reality of the modern state is abolished
- Anarchists argue that is conventional ideological beliefs that are unscientific


What do collectivist anarchists say about 'man'?

- Man is a social animal. They do not agree with the individualist anarchists who stressed mankind's ego. Rather than believing people to be self-seeking
- Kropotkin, in particular, likened human society to the animal kingdom, stressing most species live in social groups.


Kropotkin quote about self-government?

'Practise mutual aid! That is the surest means for giving to each and to all the greatest safety, the best guarantee of existence and progress"


What do collectivist anarchists say about mutualism?

- Key aspect of human nature
- People will naturally seek to help each other.
- French anarchist Elisee Reclus - 'Whether it (mutual aid) is a question of small or large groups of the human species, it is always through solidarity'
- Based on the notion of solidarity, the communist branch of anarchism sees the state as unnecessary. If free individuals form groups they will tend towards creating communes that are self-governing In other words, mutual aid can replace the need for a state.


Anarcho-Communism view on democracy?

- Shares its view with conventional ideologies.
- Within the communes, decisions could be reached collectively through a natural democratic process.
- Other ideologies preferred either representative systems or national direct democracy, both of which are flawed according to the communists.


Is anarchism merely socialism without a state?

- Both anarchism and socialism are critiques of the capitalist state
- The two ideologies share an optimistic view of human nature - that mankind is capable of cooperation without coercion
- Most anarchists propose economic equality and common ownership of property


Is anarchism merely socialism without a state?

- Socialism is a doctrine of social solidarity while anarchists mainly wish to restore individual liberty
- While communists and collectivists anarchists propose collective ownership, anarchs-individualists accept the existence of private property
- While socialism is a class-based ideology, anarchists are concerned less with class and more with the restoration of individual sovereignty


What do Anarco-Communists think society should be like?

- Society must be based upon the ties that people have as a result of economic cooperation
- Capitalist society is oppressive because it pits people against each other


Anarcho-Communist view on wage value?

- Capitalism places a false value upon labour.
- Where labour is scarce it will be highly paid, when it is not scarce (the normal situation) it will be low paid.
- Since the capitalist class (who own the means of production) control the market system, they ensure they earn high wages for economic activity.


Anarcho-Communist view on the state?

- Like socialists, most anarchists propose the destruction of capitalism and its replacement by some form of common ownership.
- This would not be led by the state as socialism proposes instead by natural communities who would trade goods with each other based on real value. The trade between the two communities would be of mutual and equal benefit hence the term mutualism.


What is anarcho-syndicalism based upon?

- A natural tendency for workers who have a similar occupation to group themselves together in an act of solidarity to resist the oppression caused by capitalism.


How does anarcho-syndicalism think people should group themselves?

- The creation of trade unions
- The main attribute of the working class was its solidarity, which could be used to abolish capitalism and the state.


How does anarcho-syndicalism think workers should bring down the state?

- Sorel referred to the 'myth of general strike', basically they should just use refuse to work and carry out acts of violence


What is Noam Chomsky's views on anarcho-syndicalism?

- He sees syndicalism more as an aspiration for workers to regain control of their own labour, this can be done in a number of ways, but what is important is workers should free themselves from external control


What is the anarcho-syndicalism view on human nature?

- Similar to the other Collective anarchists
- Lay great importance on mankind's potential capacity for social solidarity.


What is the main proposal of anarcho-capitalism?

- Known as libertarianism, which as an extreme form of conservatism whose main leader was Robert Nozick.
- Propose the transition to a society where the state should be shrunk to such a limited role that it would scarcely exist at all.
- Most laws would be abolished and a free society created
- Nozick not actually an anarchist but shares many views with members of the movement


Who are the key figures in anarcho-capitalism?

Murray Rothbard and David Friedman


Rothbard's view on economic freedom?

- Is a fundamental value, but is in every way threatened by the power of the state.
He says political and economic freedom cannot be separated
- He attacked taxation, if we are entitled to everything we earn with our labour, then taxation is institutionalist theft.


Rothbard view on human nature?

- Pursuing one's self interest is natural and good for the economy. capitalism relies on free competition between self-serving individuals, giving it its incentives
- 'I don't see anything wrong with greed. Greed simply means that you are trying to relieve the nature given scarcity that man was born with'


Friedman view on free-market economics?

- People are fundamentally economic animals (as opposed to social animals)
- We have an innate sense of entitlement, mankind is born with a belief that we are entitled to anything if we've worked to get it.
- We must be free to enter economic negotiations with others, must be unregulated if it is to be mutually beneficial.


Is anarchism merely an extreme form of liberalism?

- Both anarchists and liberals place individual liberty at the centre of their belief system
Both anarchists and liberals see the state s the potential enemy of individual liberty
- Both have adopted an optimistic view of human nature, believing that mankind can potentially use freedom for good ends.


Is anarchism merely an extreme form of liberalism?

- Anarchists insist on the abolition of the state, while liberals see the state as the guarantor of liberty
- Liberals broadly support free-market capitalism
- Liberals see property ownership as natural, while most anarchists propose common ownership of property.


What's egoism based upon?

- Similar to anarcho-capitalists it is based on self-interest and the desire for complete personal autonomy
- For egoist's like Stirner, people see themselves as the centre of their own universe, the state must be abolished as it denies autonomy.


Stirner view on society?

- A union of egoists is a collection of individuals held together by their common desire to serve their own interests.