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Are -actual- anarchists socialists?

+2 votes
Sourced from Libcom: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/whay-anarchism-marginalised-10052009?page=3#comment-371789

No need to start a flamewar. Just looking for commentary that isn't half-baked.
asked Apr 25, 2010 by anonymous
edited Apr 27, 2010 by dot
I'm hung up on "actual anarchists". By what criteria are we deciding who is not actually anarchist?
yea, i'd like to know that too.

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
The link is irrelevant; the person who wrote that comment refers to himself as a Marxist-anarchist. And I would add that he's taken the most vulgar aspects of each and attempted to create an impossible hybrid.

But to get to the heart of your question: depends how you define/understand "socialism" (and "anarchism" for that matter). If socialism is characterized by a generic opposition to capitalism, then sure, anarchists are socialists. If socialism means that the state controls the production and distribution of goods and services, then no, anarchists are not socialists. If socialism means that people who have no direct access to or control of the means of survival without working or getting economic support from the state will get to have that access and control, then sure, anarchists are socialists. If socialism means that hierarchical institutions that foster a division of labor will continue under the control and direction of the best and brightest, then no, anarchists are not socialists.

As is the case with many of the questions being posed, there are at least two or three more questions that need to be asked before a proper answer is attempted, let alone agreed upon.
answered Apr 25, 2010 by lawrence (18,030 points)
–6 votes
Yes, in fact, anarchists are a type of socialist.  Specifically anarchists are anti-state, anti-hierarchy, socialists.

Socialists are people who believe in economic equality and the destruction of private property.
answered Apr 25, 2010 by Taigarun (1,890 points)
"Socialists are people who believe in economic equality and the destruction of private property."

This is precisely why the question is vague. This definition of socialism ignores the role of the state, and the explicit negation of the state is one of the core defining aspects of anarchism.
Right, but if you characterize Anarchists as simply being against the government, then we wind up in the same boat as the "anarcho-capitalists."  I would say that economic equality is as important as smashing the state and that we should be wary of anyone that wants one without the other.
“We are convinced that freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice, and that Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality."
-Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin
I clearly said that "the explicit negation of the state is one of the core defining aspects of anarchism." Get it? **One of the core** not THE core. The failure of basic reading comprehension skills among anarchists (we'll leave the rest of our supposed allies out of it for now) is one of the core defining aspects of needless squabbles.

Quoting Bakunin (or any other alleged authority on anarchism) to prove your point is beside the point. Bakunin's writings are more than a century old, and while often inspiring and witty, they are dated. Bakunin and Kropotkin (along with innumerable other anarchists) have referred favorably to socialism, but those positive references were contextual. There have been a few important events surrounding the term socialism in the past century you know, and many (if not most) of them have not been positive for anarchists.

You can fight over the meaning and ownership of socialism if you want, but please don't pretend that your fight is my fight.
I think the problem with our communication has less to do with my reading comprehension and more with inherent problems of trying to explain large ideas in a few short paragraphs over the internet.
I was not trying to make a personal attack against you in my last comment.

I included the Bakunin quote, not because I dogmatically believe everything Bakunin said, but because it was relevant to the conversation.  The anarchist belief that we need both freedom and equality makes us distinct from both Ron Paul libertarians and Leninist/Maoist/Stalinist socialists.
It is my understanding that this makes anarchist both a type of libertarians and a type of socialist.  We just don't tend to get along with many other types of libertarians or socialists.  (and for good reason)
0 votes
If socialism is defined as worker's control of the means of production, then I'd have to say yes. Everyone from Tucker to Kropotkin is a socialist.
answered Mar 12, 2011 by vaguelyhumanoid (370 points)