Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

How can anarchists be both anti-capitalist and anti-communist?

+1 vote
To be concise, is it possible to have a post-capitalist society without communism?
asked Sep 8, 2015 by anonymous
there were pre-capitalist societies that weren't communist, so I'm speculating maybe?
Is there any reason to believe that those two options exhaust the possibilities?

Human, I agree with you about the binary of capitalism and communism, but to give the OP credit, what is a non-statist, non-hierarchal, and non-capitalist set of social relations if not communism? 

Ingrate, I understand where you are coming from, but some pre-capitalist societies had hierarchies, which anarchists would disdain. As for the ones that didn't, they might not have been big "C" communist societies, but they they certainly were "communistic."

I'm not sure it's a given that "communism" describes a non-statist or non-hierarchical set of social relations. It certainly may, but I there are far too many ways for the "common" to be elevated into a position above the constituent individuals. I guess everything depends on how you're defining your terms. Either "capitalism" refers to a specific system that involves systematic exploitation, with can be differentiated from other systems that involve trade, in which case there seem to be any number of possible alternatives, or else "capitalism" refers to everything that is, well, not "communism," and the question is answered in the asking. Anarchists started with an analysis of capitalism ("property is theft" and all that) that doesn't beg the question, while the introduction of marxist economics seems to drive the other analysis. So, I would be inclined to point to "mutualism," "collectivism" and the like as examples of non-capitalist and non-communist arrangements, provided the definitions leave the question open to answers.

what if i were to also tell you that neither of those two things exist?

1 Answer

+2 votes
this should have an answer, i think, so here goes.

as comments have noted, capitalism and communism are not opposite ends of a single line. especially not when communism means quite different things depending on who's talking about it, for example it can mean the authoritarian state/dictatorship of the proletariat (dicpro to its friends), which it has mostly meant in practice (so far), or it can mean a post revolutionary state of utopia (minor snark there), or it can mean any time any colleagues share something good with each other, etc.

capitalism is a particular way of being in the world, also varying widely from tendency to tendency: from any kind of exchange of goods at any scale of individual-to-group, to a hegemonic world view that requires expansion, alienates people from each other and the rest of the world, etc.

anarcho-communists, as far as i understand it, accepted some kind of communal vision of a post-revolutionary society, and differed from Communists (who also said they were aiming for a stateless society) primarily by refusing that the state could be a tool in the change to that society (that was the main theory difference. there were also differences in action, of course).

so, tl/dr: anarchists can reject a single world view as being the goal of our activity, which i would say is the easiest example of being against both communism and capitalism.
answered Jun 16, 2016 by dot (57,680 points)