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.


0 votes
I'm trying to get into Anarchism, I find it very intriguing, but alot of it is confuseing to me, it seems that (to me) Anarchism is split between the two extremes, and that the only common idea is a society free of rule. Like i said I'm just trying to understand, please dont bash me for any offence I may have caused.
An answer really hinges upon which "extremes" you are referring to.

5 Answers

–3 votes
According to George Woodcock, "anarchism is a doctrine which poses a criticism of existing society; a view of a desirable future society' and a means of passing from one to the other". He adds that it means "the replacement of the authoritarian state by some form of non-governmental cooperation between free individuals".


by (130 points)
+3 votes
i also am curious about what extremes you're talking about.

the basics of anarchist thought are very simple to say, though (of course the devil is in the details).
anarchists are anti-state and anti-capitalism--anti-state with a small s (as in, *any* state, not one particular state), and anti-capitalism in the meta sense (not necessarily anti-trade or -exchange).

it's also safe to say that we're for mutual aid (taking care of each other according to horizontal relationships, not vertical ones), and direct action (doing things ourselves rather than relying on people who we give power to, to do things for us).
by (52.9k points)
–1 vote
Anarchism is opposition to any and all manifestations of authoritarianism. This includes the state, property absolutism, all forms of privilege for particular groups (whites, heterosexuals, men, etc.), and authoritarian religion. Anarchists disagree on the ideal society and how to get there, but keep in mind that anarchist schools of thought can coexist, considering the decentralized and non-coercive nature of anarchy and the anarchist movement.
by (390 points)
So privilege = authoritarianism?
Well, I've seen it as rooted in the idea of whites having authority over other races, males having authority over other genders, etc. So, authoritarian.
–4 votes
According to this site, and most anarchist sites of the the European tradition,  anarchism is communism without oppression. To them, anarchism is communism done right. No capitalism, or less capitalism and more socialism.

But to me, communism is a form or leftist fascism, proven so by Russian history. And anarchism is simply a rejection of authority, or rather, the idea that: "Every man is free to do what he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man."
gonna have to disagree with ya there.  i guess i'd have to say that communism, if it is to have a significant meaning, cant just mean something like 'helping people you like'.  generally, communism provides the answer for how to live with other people, and creates 'a priori' sets of values for such a society, while also tending to view society from an 'objective' viewpoint. remember, the 'voluntary association' in the trifecta of anarchy comes from stirner
I haven't seen much on this site indicating that anarchism equals communism, at least not from most of the regular posters - myself included. Historically, anarchism has been part of a broad socialist tradition, but there have always been anarchists who were not interested in socialism, or in any other specific economic arrangement.

The socio-economic system that existed in "Russian history" (I'm presuming you mean 1917-1989) was called "communism" by its partisans and pro-capitalist enemies. But how accurate of an analysis was that? Not very; critics to the left of Leninism referred to it either as "state communism" or "state capitalism" depending on their particular analysis of capitalism.

Don't know where that quote you cited comes from, but it sounds like it could have been written by David Hume or John Locke, neither of whom was much of an anarchist. There are tons of assumptions behind the terms "freedom," "will," and "infringe," and almost all of them are wedded to the history of bourgeois economics and philosophy. As such, they don't have much to do with principled and critical anarchist discourse.  

And "man" doesn't begin to describe the whole of humanity...
Well said indeed. What existed in soviet Russia was certainly not any kind of true communism. I would say it is best described as state capitalism, though I would also say it is the fundamental flaw in all statist forms of communism. Human beings are essentially not selfish, but power corrupts. Statist communism will always create a ruling class who will likely exploit the ruled over classes and increase their own wealth and power. Also I love the bit at the end, every man is free? and what of every woman and what of everybody else?
ditto the "well said", lawrence.

but to A-G...

"Human beings are essentially not selfish"

ouch. HUGE assumption, completely unprovable, and purely essentialist. not at all part of my anarchy.
Yes, your right it is indeed completely unprovable, its very much my personal belief or perhaps my hope. What would your anarchy be?
+1 vote
ANARCHISM: beliefs or behavior opposing hierarchical power, exploitation, and alienation, instead advocating collaborative self-determination and intentional resistance, historically through diverse means.

ANARCHY: absence of hierarchical power, exploitation, and alienation, especially through collaborative self-determination and intentional resistance; a society without rulers.
by (8.9k points)