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Anarchism Common usage and definition Anarchism, liberalism and socialism Human nature and the need for government Individualist (philosophical) anarchism.

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Presentation on theme: "Anarchism Common usage and definition Anarchism, liberalism and socialism Human nature and the need for government Individualist (philosophical) anarchism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anarchism Common usage and definition Anarchism, liberalism and socialism Human nature and the need for government Individualist (philosophical) anarchism Goodwin Stirner Tucker Socialist anarchism Proudhon Bakunin Kropotkin

2 Usage and definition Anarchy from Greek: anarkhia "lack of a leader, (from an- "without" + arkhos "leader) Commonly associated with disorder, chaos, lawlessness E.g. used to describe situation in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina Temporary state of uncertainty in times of regime change Political ideal/ideology Anarchist Often used as if synonymous with terrorist Regularly in media applied to describe violent mobs (e.g. anti- globalization movement and other militant protesters) Proponents of anarchist ideology

3 Anarchism, liberalism and socialism Anarchism = negation of state authority Social networks, comprised of voluntary associations, to replace government State/government understood as monopolies established in favour of ruling minorities Anarchism = radical liberalism Liberals (e.g. JS Mill) view state as necessary evil Anarchists view state as unnecessary evil Individualization instead of individualism Anarchism = antiauthoritarian socialism Identical goals (society without state), but different means Socialists: need for transitory regime, to educate socialists Anarchists: unity of means and ends Similar understanding of human nature Human nature is essentially good, but corrupted by society

4 Government and human nature Ancient Greece Encyclopedia Britannia article on anarchism (Kropotkin 1910) Referring back to stoics in Greece as early exponents of anarchist philosophy (around 300BC) Instinct of self-preservation leading to egotism Corrective instinct – sociability Early Christian political thought St. Augustine of Hippo ( AD) Need for government because of corrupt human nature Government should become obsolete when human nature could be freed from corruption James Madison there is a degree of depravity in mankind that requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust… But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. (Federalist papers)

5 Individualist anarchism Early anarchist thought an offspring of enlightenment Optimistic view of human nature Evil in the world not caused by original sin but a consequence of government William Godwin ( ) Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) Positivist view of human nature Emphasising potential to improve through education State authority an obstacle to improvement, indeed an intended obstacle, through which ancient regime aims to conserve itself Radical rather than revolutionary Solution is intellectual progress, not political activism of any kind

6 Anarchism and nihilism Max Stirner ( ) Student of Hegel One of key targets for Marx in his German Ideology The Ego and his Own (1843) Pure, violent individualism Advocating uninhibited free will Glorifying rebellion, crime and violence Core value: assertion of the self Destruction of state necessary Cooperation possible, but only on ad-hoc basis, for instrumental purposes Critic of liberal thinkers, accusing their individualism as inconsequential, basically a smokescreen for continued state domination Similarities with Nietzsche

7 Philosophical anarchism Josiah Warren Founder of autonomous communities (Village of Equity, Utopia, Modern Times Outlining and establishing cooperative economic system Henry David Thoreau The Duty of Civil Disobedience Influential in 20 th century, impacting on, for example, Gandhi Benjamin R. Tucker Defined the individualistic anarchist as an unterrified Jeffersonian Democrat Argued that not free markets in general lead to exploitation, but rather that markets are distorted by monopolies, holding governments responsible for this

8 Socialist anarchism Emphasizing cooperation instead of exchange Pierre-Joseph Proudhon ( ) Property is theft Not advocating dispossessing people Property only becomes problematic as soon as it gives power over others My conscience is mine, my justice is mine, and my freedom is a sovereign freedom […]. Whoever puts his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and tyrant; I declare him my enemy. Influential in the Paris Commune of 1871, and on American philosophical anarchists Inconsistencies in Proudhons thoughts Promoting society based on mutualism, free bargaining, small communities; hence anti-capitalist More individualist than collectivist

9 Bakunin Mikhail Bakunin ( ) Combining radical theory with radical practice Inspiration for anarchist terrorists (like Nechaev) Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life. The urge to destroy is also a creative urge. (The Reaction in Germany, 1842) First explicitly revolutionary anarchist theory Still, like Proudhon, opposed to mass political parties Envisaging a vanguard model of revolutionary and revolutionising elite Myth of human selfishness (instrumental for dual power of church an state in old regime) Emphasizing science, enlightenment Conflicting with Marx over question of dictatorship of proletariat

10 Kropotkin Peter Kropotkin ( ) Aristocrat, scientist, geographer Converted by Bakunin in Switzerland to anarchism Most systematic anarchist thinker Building on Darwins theory of evolution, applying it to social development In contrast with Social Darwinism (e.g. Herbert Spencer), Kropotkin argued that co-operation was key to evolutionary success Arguing that anarchism is not a utopia, constructed on the a priori method […]. It is derived … from an analysis of tendencies that are at work already Proposing that anarchism is the most logical, scientific political theory Anarchist-communism vs. collectivism

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