Anarchism is political philosophy which is skeptical of authority and rejects coercive hierarchies, including the very existence of a state. While Marxists also advocate for a stateless society (a communist society), Marxists tend to criticize anarchism as utopian and unscientific for rejecting the transitionary phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The philosophical basis of anarchism is individualism, subjectivism and voluntarism, which can be categorized as petty-bourgeois deviations from proletarian struggle. Anarchism is apart of the broader trend of libertarian socialism.
The advent of anarchism is tied to the names of Schmidt (Stirner), Proudhon and Bakunin, whose utopian theories were subjected to criticism in the works of Marx and Engels. In the nineteenth century, anarchism spread through France, Italy and Spain.
Variations of anarchism
Post-classical and modern anarchism
- Queer Anarchism
* Post-Leftism and Post-Anarchism reject political philosophy altogether as a reactionary force, but they practically advocate for anarchism.
** Contrary to its name, Anarcho-capitalism is based in right-libertarian principles and has nothing to do with Anarchism. The leading theoretician and founder of anarcho-capitalism, Murray Rothbard, denied any identification with anarchism.
Anarchism does not go beyond general phrases against exploitation, it does not understand what the causes of exploitation are, nor the class struggle as a creative force for the realization of socialism. The anarchist denial of political struggle contributes objectively to the subordination of the working class to bourgeois politics.
The most essential thing in the struggle against anarchism lies in the problem of how the revolution should proceed in relation to the State and in the problem of the State in general. Anarchists advocate for the immediate annihilation of the State. They do not recognize that it is possible to take advantage of the bourgeois State to prepare the proletariat for the revolution.
After 1917, anarchism in Russia became a counter-revolutionary tendency. Historically, Anarchism saw brief surges in popularity in Catalonia, the Free Territory in Ukraine and in the Korean Peninsula. Today, it enjoys a certain influence in the United States and Europe.
Distinctions between Marxists and Anarchists
The essential distinctions in the criteria of Marxists and anarchists were reduced by Lenin to three fundamental points:
- In that the first, whose end is the complete withering away of the State, acknowledge that this end can only be achieved after the socialist revolution has abolished classes as a result of the establishment of socialism. The latter, on the other hand, want to completely destroy the State overnight, without understanding the conditions in which this destruction can take place.
- The first acknowledge the need for the proletariat, after conquering political power, to totally destroy the former State machine, replacing it with a new one. The latter advocate the destruction of the state machine and have an absolutely confused idea of what the proletariat must replace the machine with and how it will exercise revolutionary power. Anarchists reject even the use of state power by the revolutionary proletariat, their revolutionary dictatorship.
- The first demand that the proletariat prepare for revolution by taking advantage of the modern State, while anarchists reject it.
In the State & Revolution, it has been clearly laid further when Marx emphasised of the "revolutionary and transient form" of the state that the proletariat still needs. Instead of immediately abolishing the state as the anarchists desire, the Marxist stance remains that the proletariat still needs the state as well as the resources and methods of state power to use against the oppressor class or exploiters. The keypoint here is "temporary", for eventually, the state will eventually wither away.
Examples of anarchist experiments
- Rosental, M.; e Iudin, P. (1973): Diccionario filosófico (p. 13). Buenos Aires: Universo, 1973.
- “We must therefore turn to history for enlightenment; here we find that none of the proclaimed anarchist groups correspond to the libertarian position, that even the best of them have unrealistic and socialistic elements in their doctrines. Furthermore, we find that all of the current anarchists are irrational collectivists, and therefore at opposite poles from our position. We must therefore conclude that we are not anarchists, and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical.”
Murray N. Rothbard (July 4th, 2022). "Are Libertarians "Anarchists"?" Mises Institute. Archived from the original.
- Rumiántsev, A. (1981): Comunismo científico (diccionario), p. 14-17. Moscú: Progreso, 1981.