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Is anarchism the total abolishment of the state?

+2 votes
I've only recently begun to read about anarchism and I've been quite intrigued. Though no governance, egalitarian religion, people having a say in their means of production and labour, no geographically defined boarders and states, and an end to the exploitive capitalism is very intriguing, I can't help but wonder about the social systems put in place. If governments were abolished, then there would essentially be no rules conducts to abide by. How, then, would we know if our morality lines up with our neighbours? Considering there is no coercive forces at play such as the police or government to enforce laws, where is the line drawn?

I apologize if this question seems odd and primitive. Just thought I would give it a shot, thank you!
asked May 29 by Luna
I just want to comment on what you said, "

"How, then, would we know if our morality lines up with our neighbours?", I would have to say that our morality will never line up completely with our neighbors. It would appear to me that beyond a legalistic state morality, the standards that you have for behavior are based off of experiences and conventions. For example, I would never visibly step foot on someone elses property based on the reaction that that might inspire . Even though this ultimately boils down to private property as a legal social convention, the reactions that people have to this are pretty intimidating. Also as a personal preference, I'm slow to judge other people out of not wanting to be judged, but to condemn judgment would strip away a lot of personal power.

I think that the only reasonable and absolute measure for the way that you act around other  people is emotion, or "gut reaction". Many philosophers have tried to come up with moral systems that work for every situation but this becomes silly and absurd upon examination.

1 Answer

+4 votes
this site is for this kind of question, so... good job!

there are lots of different theories about what would be (and what would get to) an anarchist society. some of the components you mention, egalitarian religion and self-managed production/labor, are specific to one branch of anarchism.
as to whether all anarchists support the total abolishment of the state--it depends on how you define the state. some anarchists think that there would be lots and lots of meetings, based on neighborhoods or regions and/or types of work. others think that people would live in smaller groups, so there would be no need/desire for wide-spread systems of conformity.

people have always lived in groups, and we have always had rules that we lived by. we don't need a government for social rules. how do we know now that our values align with our neighbors? either we're friendly with them and we talk about stuff, or we wait til there's a conflict, and then we figure it out. what that "figuring out" would look like in an anarchist situation, again, depends a lot on what kind of anarchist you are. some would say that the neighbors would get together and talk through the conflict, others would say that the two households can deal with it how they like until/unless it affects more people... and others would say that if people are living in communities that depend on each other for their lives, then the kinds of conflict that would arise would be really different.

i hope that clarified something, leaving room for the reactions of anarchists who disagree with each other can lead to some vagueness. :)

edit: to be clear, anarchy would mean an end to capitalism, since capitalism is exploitive and can't really be broken into pieces of ok and not-ok. (that's the definition/understanding of capitalism  used on this site, and that i think makes sense.)
answered May 30 by dot (50,320 points)
edited Jun 7 by dot