File: secA2.html

package info (click to toggle)
anarchism 9.5-1
  • links: PTS
  • area: main
  • in suites: woody
  • size: 12,192 kB
  • ctags: 493
  • sloc: makefile: 40; sh: 8
file content (2422 lines) | stat: -rw-r--r-- 148,742 bytes parent folder | download
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293
294
295
296
297
298
299
300
301
302
303
304
305
306
307
308
309
310
311
312
313
314
315
316
317
318
319
320
321
322
323
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
333
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347
348
349
350
351
352
353
354
355
356
357
358
359
360
361
362
363
364
365
366
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377
378
379
380
381
382
383
384
385
386
387
388
389
390
391
392
393
394
395
396
397
398
399
400
401
402
403
404
405
406
407
408
409
410
411
412
413
414
415
416
417
418
419
420
421
422
423
424
425
426
427
428
429
430
431
432
433
434
435
436
437
438
439
440
441
442
443
444
445
446
447
448
449
450
451
452
453
454
455
456
457
458
459
460
461
462
463
464
465
466
467
468
469
470
471
472
473
474
475
476
477
478
479
480
481
482
483
484
485
486
487
488
489
490
491
492
493
494
495
496
497
498
499
500
501
502
503
504
505
506
507
508
509
510
511
512
513
514
515
516
517
518
519
520
521
522
523
524
525
526
527
528
529
530
531
532
533
534
535
536
537
538
539
540
541
542
543
544
545
546
547
548
549
550
551
552
553
554
555
556
557
558
559
560
561
562
563
564
565
566
567
568
569
570
571
572
573
574
575
576
577
578
579
580
581
582
583
584
585
586
587
588
589
590
591
592
593
594
595
596
597
598
599
600
601
602
603
604
605
606
607
608
609
610
611
612
613
614
615
616
617
618
619
620
621
622
623
624
625
626
627
628
629
630
631
632
633
634
635
636
637
638
639
640
641
642
643
644
645
646
647
648
649
650
651
652
653
654
655
656
657
658
659
660
661
662
663
664
665
666
667
668
669
670
671
672
673
674
675
676
677
678
679
680
681
682
683
684
685
686
687
688
689
690
691
692
693
694
695
696
697
698
699
700
701
702
703
704
705
706
707
708
709
710
711
712
713
714
715
716
717
718
719
720
721
722
723
724
725
726
727
728
729
730
731
732
733
734
735
736
737
738
739
740
741
742
743
744
745
746
747
748
749
750
751
752
753
754
755
756
757
758
759
760
761
762
763
764
765
766
767
768
769
770
771
772
773
774
775
776
777
778
779
780
781
782
783
784
785
786
787
788
789
790
791
792
793
794
795
796
797
798
799
800
801
802
803
804
805
806
807
808
809
810
811
812
813
814
815
816
817
818
819
820
821
822
823
824
825
826
827
828
829
830
831
832
833
834
835
836
837
838
839
840
841
842
843
844
845
846
847
848
849
850
851
852
853
854
855
856
857
858
859
860
861
862
863
864
865
866
867
868
869
870
871
872
873
874
875
876
877
878
879
880
881
882
883
884
885
886
887
888
889
890
891
892
893
894
895
896
897
898
899
900
901
902
903
904
905
906
907
908
909
910
911
912
913
914
915
916
917
918
919
920
921
922
923
924
925
926
927
928
929
930
931
932
933
934
935
936
937
938
939
940
941
942
943
944
945
946
947
948
949
950
951
952
953
954
955
956
957
958
959
960
961
962
963
964
965
966
967
968
969
970
971
972
973
974
975
976
977
978
979
980
981
982
983
984
985
986
987
988
989
990
991
992
993
994
995
996
997
998
999
1000
1001
1002
1003
1004
1005
1006
1007
1008
1009
1010
1011
1012
1013
1014
1015
1016
1017
1018
1019
1020
1021
1022
1023
1024
1025
1026
1027
1028
1029
1030
1031
1032
1033
1034
1035
1036
1037
1038
1039
1040
1041
1042
1043
1044
1045
1046
1047
1048
1049
1050
1051
1052
1053
1054
1055
1056
1057
1058
1059
1060
1061
1062
1063
1064
1065
1066
1067
1068
1069
1070
1071
1072
1073
1074
1075
1076
1077
1078
1079
1080
1081
1082
1083
1084
1085
1086
1087
1088
1089
1090
1091
1092
1093
1094
1095
1096
1097
1098
1099
1100
1101
1102
1103
1104
1105
1106
1107
1108
1109
1110
1111
1112
1113
1114
1115
1116
1117
1118
1119
1120
1121
1122
1123
1124
1125
1126
1127
1128
1129
1130
1131
1132
1133
1134
1135
1136
1137
1138
1139
1140
1141
1142
1143
1144
1145
1146
1147
1148
1149
1150
1151
1152
1153
1154
1155
1156
1157
1158
1159
1160
1161
1162
1163
1164
1165
1166
1167
1168
1169
1170
1171
1172
1173
1174
1175
1176
1177
1178
1179
1180
1181
1182
1183
1184
1185
1186
1187
1188
1189
1190
1191
1192
1193
1194
1195
1196
1197
1198
1199
1200
1201
1202
1203
1204
1205
1206
1207
1208
1209
1210
1211
1212
1213
1214
1215
1216
1217
1218
1219
1220
1221
1222
1223
1224
1225
1226
1227
1228
1229
1230
1231
1232
1233
1234
1235
1236
1237
1238
1239
1240
1241
1242
1243
1244
1245
1246
1247
1248
1249
1250
1251
1252
1253
1254
1255
1256
1257
1258
1259
1260
1261
1262
1263
1264
1265
1266
1267
1268
1269
1270
1271
1272
1273
1274
1275
1276
1277
1278
1279
1280
1281
1282
1283
1284
1285
1286
1287
1288
1289
1290
1291
1292
1293
1294
1295
1296
1297
1298
1299
1300
1301
1302
1303
1304
1305
1306
1307
1308
1309
1310
1311
1312
1313
1314
1315
1316
1317
1318
1319
1320
1321
1322
1323
1324
1325
1326
1327
1328
1329
1330
1331
1332
1333
1334
1335
1336
1337
1338
1339
1340
1341
1342
1343
1344
1345
1346
1347
1348
1349
1350
1351
1352
1353
1354
1355
1356
1357
1358
1359
1360
1361
1362
1363
1364
1365
1366
1367
1368
1369
1370
1371
1372
1373
1374
1375
1376
1377
1378
1379
1380
1381
1382
1383
1384
1385
1386
1387
1388
1389
1390
1391
1392
1393
1394
1395
1396
1397
1398
1399
1400
1401
1402
1403
1404
1405
1406
1407
1408
1409
1410
1411
1412
1413
1414
1415
1416
1417
1418
1419
1420
1421
1422
1423
1424
1425
1426
1427
1428
1429
1430
1431
1432
1433
1434
1435
1436
1437
1438
1439
1440
1441
1442
1443
1444
1445
1446
1447
1448
1449
1450
1451
1452
1453
1454
1455
1456
1457
1458
1459
1460
1461
1462
1463
1464
1465
1466
1467
1468
1469
1470
1471
1472
1473
1474
1475
1476
1477
1478
1479
1480
1481
1482
1483
1484
1485
1486
1487
1488
1489
1490
1491
1492
1493
1494
1495
1496
1497
1498
1499
1500
1501
1502
1503
1504
1505
1506
1507
1508
1509
1510
1511
1512
1513
1514
1515
1516
1517
1518
1519
1520
1521
1522
1523
1524
1525
1526
1527
1528
1529
1530
1531
1532
1533
1534
1535
1536
1537
1538
1539
1540
1541
1542
1543
1544
1545
1546
1547
1548
1549
1550
1551
1552
1553
1554
1555
1556
1557
1558
1559
1560
1561
1562
1563
1564
1565
1566
1567
1568
1569
1570
1571
1572
1573
1574
1575
1576
1577
1578
1579
1580
1581
1582
1583
1584
1585
1586
1587
1588
1589
1590
1591
1592
1593
1594
1595
1596
1597
1598
1599
1600
1601
1602
1603
1604
1605
1606
1607
1608
1609
1610
1611
1612
1613
1614
1615
1616
1617
1618
1619
1620
1621
1622
1623
1624
1625
1626
1627
1628
1629
1630
1631
1632
1633
1634
1635
1636
1637
1638
1639
1640
1641
1642
1643
1644
1645
1646
1647
1648
1649
1650
1651
1652
1653
1654
1655
1656
1657
1658
1659
1660
1661
1662
1663
1664
1665
1666
1667
1668
1669
1670
1671
1672
1673
1674
1675
1676
1677
1678
1679
1680
1681
1682
1683
1684
1685
1686
1687
1688
1689
1690
1691
1692
1693
1694
1695
1696
1697
1698
1699
1700
1701
1702
1703
1704
1705
1706
1707
1708
1709
1710
1711
1712
1713
1714
1715
1716
1717
1718
1719
1720
1721
1722
1723
1724
1725
1726
1727
1728
1729
1730
1731
1732
1733
1734
1735
1736
1737
1738
1739
1740
1741
1742
1743
1744
1745
1746
1747
1748
1749
1750
1751
1752
1753
1754
1755
1756
1757
1758
1759
1760
1761
1762
1763
1764
1765
1766
1767
1768
1769
1770
1771
1772
1773
1774
1775
1776
1777
1778
1779
1780
1781
1782
1783
1784
1785
1786
1787
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
1796
1797
1798
1799
1800
1801
1802
1803
1804
1805
1806
1807
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813
1814
1815
1816
1817
1818
1819
1820
1821
1822
1823
1824
1825
1826
1827
1828
1829
1830
1831
1832
1833
1834
1835
1836
1837
1838
1839
1840
1841
1842
1843
1844
1845
1846
1847
1848
1849
1850
1851
1852
1853
1854
1855
1856
1857
1858
1859
1860
1861
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877
1878
1879
1880
1881
1882
1883
1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
2025
2026
2027
2028
2029
2030
2031
2032
2033
2034
2035
2036
2037
2038
2039
2040
2041
2042
2043
2044
2045
2046
2047
2048
2049
2050
2051
2052
2053
2054
2055
2056
2057
2058
2059
2060
2061
2062
2063
2064
2065
2066
2067
2068
2069
2070
2071
2072
2073
2074
2075
2076
2077
2078
2079
2080
2081
2082
2083
2084
2085
2086
2087
2088
2089
2090
2091
2092
2093
2094
2095
2096
2097
2098
2099
2100
2101
2102
2103
2104
2105
2106
2107
2108
2109
2110
2111
2112
2113
2114
2115
2116
2117
2118
2119
2120
2121
2122
2123
2124
2125
2126
2127
2128
2129
2130
2131
2132
2133
2134
2135
2136
2137
2138
2139
2140
2141
2142
2143
2144
2145
2146
2147
2148
2149
2150
2151
2152
2153
2154
2155
2156
2157
2158
2159
2160
2161
2162
2163
2164
2165
2166
2167
2168
2169
2170
2171
2172
2173
2174
2175
2176
2177
2178
2179
2180
2181
2182
2183
2184
2185
2186
2187
2188
2189
2190
2191
2192
2193
2194
2195
2196
2197
2198
2199
2200
2201
2202
2203
2204
2205
2206
2207
2208
2209
2210
2211
2212
2213
2214
2215
2216
2217
2218
2219
2220
2221
2222
2223
2224
2225
2226
2227
2228
2229
2230
2231
2232
2233
2234
2235
2236
2237
2238
2239
2240
2241
2242
2243
2244
2245
2246
2247
2248
2249
2250
2251
2252
2253
2254
2255
2256
2257
2258
2259
2260
2261
2262
2263
2264
2265
2266
2267
2268
2269
2270
2271
2272
2273
2274
2275
2276
2277
2278
2279
2280
2281
2282
2283
2284
2285
2286
2287
2288
2289
2290
2291
2292
2293
2294
2295
2296
2297
2298
2299
2300
2301
2302
2303
2304
2305
2306
2307
2308
2309
2310
2311
2312
2313
2314
2315
2316
2317
2318
2319
2320
2321
2322
2323
2324
2325
2326
2327
2328
2329
2330
2331
2332
2333
2334
2335
2336
2337
2338
2339
2340
2341
2342
2343
2344
2345
2346
2347
2348
2349
2350
2351
2352
2353
2354
2355
2356
2357
2358
2359
2360
2361
2362
2363
2364
2365
2366
2367
2368
2369
2370
2371
2372
2373
2374
2375
2376
2377
2378
2379
2380
2381
2382
2383
2384
2385
2386
2387
2388
2389
2390
2391
2392
2393
2394
2395
2396
2397
2398
2399
2400
2401
2402
2403
2404
2405
2406
2407
2408
2409
2410
2411
2412
2413
2414
2415
2416
2417
2418
2419
2420
2421
2422
<html>
<HEAD>

<TITLE>A.2 What does anarchism stand for? </TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<a name="secA2"><H1>A.2 What does anarchism stand for?</H1>
<p>

These words by Percy Bysshe Shelley gives an idea of what anarchism stands
for in practice and what ideals drive it: 
<p>
<CENTER> <B><I>The man <br>
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys:<br>
Power, like a desolating pestilence,<br>
Pollutes whate'er it touches, and obedience,<br>
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,<br>
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,<br>
A mechanised automaton.<br></I></B>
</CENTER>
<p>
As Shelley's lines suggest, anarchists place a high priority on liberty,
desiring it both for themselves and others. They also consider
individuality -- that which makes one a unique person -- to be a most
important aspect of humanity. They recognise, however, that individuality
does not exist in a vacuum but is a <B>social</B> phenomenon. Outside of
society, individuality is impossible, since one needs other people in
order to develop, expand, and grow. 
<p>
Moreover, between individual and social development there is a reciprocal 
effect: individuals grow within and are shaped by a particular society, 
while at the same time they help shape and change aspects of that society 
(as well as themselves and other individuals) by their actions and thoughts. 
A society not based on free individuals, their hopes, dreams and ideas would 
be hollow and dead. Thus, <I>"the making of a human being. . . is a collective process, a process in which both community and the individual <B>participate</B>."</I> [Murray Bookchin, <B>The Modern Crisis</B>, p. 79] Consequently, any political 
theory which bases itself purely on the social or the individual is false. 
<p>
In order for individuality to develop to the fullest possible extent,
anarchists consider it essential to create a society based on three
principles: <B>liberty</B>, <B>equality</B> and <B>solidarity</B>, which are interdependent. 
<p>
Liberty is essential for the full flowering of human intelligence,
creativity, and dignity. To be dominated by another is to be denied the
chance to think and act for oneself, which is the only way to grow and
develop one's individuality. Domination also stifles innovation and
personal responsibility, leading to conformity and mediocrity. Thus the
society that maximises the growth of individuality will necessarily be
based on voluntary association, not coercion and authority. To quote
Proudhon, <I>"All associated and all free."</I> Or, as Luigi Galleani puts it,
anarchism is <I>"the autonomy of the individual within the freedom of association"</I> [<B>The End of Anarchism?</B>, p. 35] (See further 
section A.2.2 - <A HREF =secA2.html#seca22> Why do anarchists emphasise liberty?</A>).
<p>
If liberty is essential for the fullest development of individuality, then
equality is essential for genuine liberty to exist. There can be no real
freedom in a class-stratified, hierarchical society riddled with gross
inequalities of power, wealth, and privilege. For in such a society only
a few -- those at the top of the hierarchy -- are relatively free, while
the rest are semi-slaves. Hence without equality, liberty becomes a
mockery -- at best the "freedom" to choose one's master (boss), as under
capitalism. Moreover, even the elite under such conditions are not really
free, because they must live in a stunted society made ugly and barren by
the tyranny and alienation of the majority. And since individuality
develops to the fullest only with the widest contact with other free
individuals, members of the elite are restricted in the possibilities for
their own development by the scarcity of free individuals with whom to
interact. (See also section A.2.5 - <A HREF =secA2.html#seca25>Why are anarchists in favour of equality?</A>) 
<p>
Finally, solidarity means mutual aid: working voluntarily and
co-operatively with others who share the same goals and interests. But
without liberty and equality, society becomes a pyramid of competing
classes based on the domination of the lower by the higher strata. In
such a society, as we know from our own, it's "dominate or be dominated,"
"dog eat dog," and "everyone for themselves." Thus "rugged individualism"
is promoted at the expense of community feeling, with those on the bottom
resenting those above them and those on the top fearing those below them. 
Under such conditions, there can be no society-wide solidarity, but only a
partial form of solidarity within classes whose interests are opposed,
which weakens society as a whole. (See also section A.2.6 - <A HREF =secA2.html#seca26>Why is solidarity important to anarchists?</A>)
<p>
It should be noted that solidarity does not imply self-sacrifice or 
self-negation. As Errico Malatesta makes clear:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"we are all egoists, we all seek our own satisfaction. But the anarchist  finds his greatest satisfaction in struggling for the good of all, for the achievement of a society in which he [sic] can be a brother among brothers, and among healthy, intelligent, educated, and happy people. But he who is adaptable, who is satisfied to live among slaves and draw profit from the labour of slaves, is not, and cannot be, an anarchist."</I> [<B>Life and Ideas</B>, p. 23]
<p></blockquote>
For anarchists, <B>real</B> wealth is other people and the planet on which we live. 
<p>
Also, honouring individuality does not mean that anarchists are
idealists, thinking that people or ideas develop outside of society. 
Individuality and ideas grow and develop within society, in response to
material and intellectual interactions and experiences, which people
actively analyse and interpret. Anarchism, therefore, is a <B>materialist</B>
theory, recognising that ideas develop and grow from social interaction
and individuals' mental activity (see Michael Bakunin's <B>God and the</B>
<B>State</B> for the classic discussion of materialism verses idealism).
<p>
This means that an anarchist society will be the creation of human beings,
not some deity or other transcendental principle, since <I>"[n]othing ever arranges itself, least of all in human relations. It is men [sic] who do the arranging, and they do it according to their attitudes and understanding of things."</I> [Alexander Berkman, <B>ABC of Anarchism</B>, page 42]
<p>
Therefore, anarchism bases itself upon the power of ideas and the ability
of people to act and transform their lives based on what they consider to
be right. In other words, liberty. 
<p>
<a name="seca21"><H2>A.2.1 What is the essence of anarchism?</H2>
<p>
As we have seen, <I>"an-archy"</I> implies <i>"without rulers"</i> or 
<I>"without (hierarchical) authority."</I> 
Anarchists are not against "authorities" in the sense of experts who are
particularly knowledgeable, skillful, or wise, though they believe that
such authorities should have no power to force others to follow their
recommendations (see <A HREF =secB1.html#secB1> section B.1</A> for more 
on this distinction). In a nutshell, then, anarchism is anti-authoritarianism.
<p>
Anarchists are anti-authoritarians because they believe that no human
being should dominate another. Anarchists, in L. Susan Brown's words,
<i>"believe in the inherent dignity and worth of the human individual."</i>
[<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 107] Domination is inherently 
degrading and demeaning, since it submerges the will and judgement of the 
dominated to
the will and judgement of the dominators, thus destroying the dignity and
self-respect that comes only from personal autonomy. Moreover, domination
makes possible and generally leads to exploitation, which is the root of
inequality, poverty, and social breakdown.
<p>
In other words, then, the essence of anarchism (to express it positively) 
is free co-operation between equals to maximise their liberty and 
individuality. 
<p>
Co-operation between equals is the key to anti-authoritarianism. By 
co-operation we can develop and protect our own intrinsic value as unique 
individuals as well as enriching our lives and liberty for <i>"[n]o individual 
can recognise his own humanity, and consequently realise it in his lifetime, 
if not by recognising it in others and co-operating in its realisation for 
others."</i> [Michael Bakunin, cited by Malatesta in <b>Anarchy</b>, p. 27] 
<p>
While being anti-authoritarians, anarchists recognise that human beings
have a social nature and that they mutually influence each other. We
cannot escape the "authority" of this mutual influence, because, as
Bakunin reminds us: 
<p><blockquote>
<I>"[t]he abolition of this mutual influence would be death. And when we advocate the freedom of the masses, we are by no means suggesting the abolition of any of the natural influences that individuals or groups of individuals exert on them. What we want is the abolition of influences which are artificial, privileged, legal, official"</I>[quoted by 
Malatesta, in <B>Anarchy</B>, p. 50]
</blockquote><p>
In other words, those influences which stem from hierarchical authority.
<p>
<a name="seca22"><H2><B>A.2.2 Why do anarchists emphasise liberty?</B></H2>
<p>
An anarchist can be regarded, in Bakunin's words, as a <i>"fanatic lover 
of freedom, considering it as the unique environment within which the
intelligence, dignity and happiness of mankind can develop and increase."</i> 
[<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 196] Because human beings are thinking 
creatures, to deny them liberty is to deny them the opportunity to think 
for themselves, which is to deny their very existence as humans. For 
anarchists, freedom is a product of our humanity, because: 
 <p><i><blockquote>
"the very fact. . . that a person has a consciousness of self, of being  
different from others, creates a desire to act freely. The craving for  
liberty and self-expression is a very fundamental and dominant trait."</i>  
[Emma Goldman, <b>Red Emma Speaks</b>, p. 393] 
 <p></blockquote>
For this reason, anarchism <i>"proposes to rescue the self-respect and 
independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority.  
Only in freedom can man [sic!] grow to his full stature. Only in freedom 
will he learn to think and move, and give the very best of himself. Only 
in freedom will he realise the true force of the social bonds which tie 
men together, and which are the true foundations of a normal social life."</i>  
[<b>Ibid.</b>, p. 59] 
</blockquote><p>
Thus, for anarchists, freedom is basically individuals pursuing their  
own good in their own way. Doing so calls forth the activity and power  
of individuals as they make decisions for and about themselves and their  
lives. Only liberty can ensure individual development and diversity. This 
is because when individuals govern themselves and make their own decisions 
they have to exercise their minds and this can have no other effect 
than expanding and stimulating the individuals involved. 
 <p>
So, liberty is the precondition for the maximum development of 
one's individual potential, which is also a social product and can be 
achieved only in and through community. A healthy, free community will 
produce free individuals, who in turn will shape the community and enrich 
the social relationships between the people of whom it is composed.  
Liberties, being socially produced, <i>"do not exist because they have been 
legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the 
ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet 
with the violent resistance of the populace . . . One compels respect from 
others when one knows how to defend one's dignity as a human being. 
This is not only true in private life; it has always been the same in 
political life as well."</i> [Rudolf Rocker, <b>Anarcho-syndicalism</b>, p. 64] 
 <p>
In short, liberty develops only within society, not in opposition to it.  
Thus Murray Bookchin writes:  
 <p><blockquote>
<i>"What freedom, independence, and autonomy people have in a given 
historical period is the product of long social traditions and . . . a 
<b>collective</b> development -- which is not to deny that individuals play 
an important role in that development, indeed are ultimately obliged 
to do so if they wish to be free."</i> [<b>Social Anarchism or Lifestyle 
Anarchism</b>, p. 15] 
 </blockquote><p>
But freedom requires the right <b>kind</b> of social environment in which 
to grow and develop. Such an environment <b>must</b> be decentralised 
and based on the direct management of work by those who do it. 
For centralisation means coercive authority (hierarchy), whereas 
self-management is the essence of freedom. Self-management 
ensures that the individuals involved use (and so develop) all 
their abilities -- particularly their mental ones. Hierarchy, in 
contrast, substitutes the activities and thoughts of a few for the 
activities and thoughts of all the individuals involved. Thus, 
rather than developing their abilities to the full, hierarchy 
marginalises the many and ensures that their development 
is blunted.  
 <p>
It is for this reason that anarchists oppose both capitalism and statism. 
As the French anarchist Sebastien Faure noted, authority <i>"dresses
itself in two principal forms: the political form, that is the State;
and the economic form, that is private property."</i> [cited by Peter
Marshall, <b>Demanding the Impossible</b>, p. 43] Capitalism, like 
the state, is based on centralised authority (i.e. of the boss over
the worker), the very purpose of which is to keep the management 
of work out of the hands of those who do it. This means <i>"that the 
serious, final, complete liberation of the workers is possible only 
upon one condition: that of the appropriation of capital, that is, 
of raw material and all the tools of labour, including land, by the 
whole body of the workers."</i> [Michael Bakunin, cited by Rudolf
Rocker, <b>Anarcho-Syndicalism</b>, p. 45]  
 <p>
Hence, as Noam Chomsky argues, a <i>"consistent anarchist must oppose 
private ownership of the means of production and the wage slavery 
which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle 
that labour  must be freely undertaken and under the control of the 
producer."</i> [<i>"Notes on Anarchism"</i>, <b>For 
Reasons of State</b>, p. 158] 
 <p>
Thus, liberty for anarchists means a non-authoritarian society in  
which individuals and groups practice self-management, i.e. they  
govern themselves. The implications of this are important. First, it  
implies that an anarchist society will be non-coercive, that is, one  
in which violence or the threat of violence will not be used to "convince" 
individuals to do anything. Second, it implies that anarchists are firm 
supporters of individual sovereignty, and that, because of this support, 
they also oppose institutions based on coercive authority, i.e. hierarchy.  
And finally, it implies that anarchists' opposition to "government" means  
only that they oppose centralised, hierarchical, bureaucratic organisations  
or government. They do not oppose self-government through confederations  
of decentralised, grassroots organisations, so long as these are based on  
direct democracy rather than the delegation of power to "representatives."  
For authority is the opposite of liberty, and hence any form of organisation  
based on the delegation of power is a threat to the liberty and dignity of  
the people subjected to that power.  
 <p>
Anarchists consider freedom to be the only social environment within 
which human dignity and diversity can flower. Under capitalism and 
statism, however, there is no freedom for the majority, as private property 
and hierarchy ensure that the inclination and judgement of most individuals 
will be subordinated to the will of a master, severely restricting their 
liberty and making impossible the <i>"full development of all the material, 
intellectual and moral capacities that are latent in every one of us"</i> 
[Bakunin, <b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>,  p. 261] (see 
<a href="secBcon.html">section B</a> for further discussion 
of the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of capitalism and statism). 
<p>
<a name="seca23"><H2>A.2.3 Are anarchists in favour of organisation?</H2>
<p>
Yes. Without association, a truly human life is impossible. Liberty
<B>cannot</B> exist without society and organisation. As George Barrett, in
<B>Objections to Anarchism</B>, points out:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"[t]o get the full meaning out of life we must co-operate, and to 
co-operate we must make agreements with our fellow-men. But to suppose 
that such agreements mean a limitation of freedom is surely an absurdity; 
on the contrary, they are the exercise of our freedom.
<p>
"If we are going to invent a dogma that to make agreements is to damage 
freedom, then at once freedom becomes tyrannical, for it forbids men to 
take the most ordinary everyday pleasures. For example, I cannot go for a 
walk with my friend because it is against the principle of Liberty that I 
should agree to be at a certain place at a certain time to meet him. I 
cannot in the least extend my own power beyond myself, because to do so I 
must co-operate with someone else, and co-operation implies an agreement, 
and that is against Liberty. It will be seen at once that this argument is 
absurd. I do not limit my liberty, but simply exercise it, when I agree 
with my friend to go for a walk."</I>
</blockquote><p>
As far as organisation goes, anarchists think that <I>"far from 
creating authority, [it] is the only cure for it and the only 
means whereby each of 
us will get used to taking an active and conscious part in collective 
work, and cease being passive instruments in the hands of leaders."</I> 
[Errico Malatesta, <B>Life and Ideas</B>, p. 86]
<p>
The fact that anarchists are in favour of organisation may seem strange at
first, but this is because we live in a society in which virtually all
forms of organisation are authoritarian, making them appear to be the
only kind possible. What is usually not recognised is that this mode of 
organisation is historically conditioned, arising within a specific 
kind of society -- one whose motive principles are domination and 
exploitation. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, this kind
of society has only existed for about 5,000 years, having appeared with
the first primitive states based on conquest and slavery, in which the
labour of slaves created a surplus which supported a ruling class. 
<p>
Prior to that time, for hundreds of thousands of years, human and proto-human
societies were what Murray Bookchin calls <I>"organic,"</I> that is, based on
co-operative forms of economic activity involving mutual aid, free access
to productive resources, and a sharing of the products of communal labour
according to need. Although such societies probably had status rankings
based on age, there were no hierarchies in the sense of institutionalised
dominance-subordination relations enforced by coercive sanctions and
resulting in class-stratification involving the economic exploitation of
one class by another (see Murray Bookchin, <B>The Ecology of Freedom</B>). 
<p>
It must be emphasised, however, that anarchists do <B>not</B> advocate 
going "back to the Stone Age." We merely note that since the
hierarchical-authoritarian mode of organisation is a relatively recent
development in the course of human social evolution, there is no reason to
suppose that it is somehow "fated" to be permanent. We do not think that
human beings are genetically "programmed" for authoritarian, competitive,
and aggressive behaviour, as there is no credible evidence to support this
claim. On the contrary, such behaviour is socially conditioned, or
<B>learned</B>, and as such, can be <B>unlearned</B> (see Ashley Montagu, 
<B>The Nature of Human Aggression</B>). We are not fatalists or genetic
determinists, but believe in free will, which means that people can change
the way they do things, including the way they organise society. 
<p>
And there is no doubt that society needs to be better organised, because
presently most of its wealth -- which is produced by the majority -- and 
power gets distributed to a small, elite minority at the top of the social 
pyramid, causing deprivation and suffering for the rest, particularly for 
those at the bottom.  Yet because this elite controls the means of coercion 
through its control of the state (see <A HREF =secB2.html#secb23> section 
B.2.3</A>), it is able to suppress 
the majority and ignore its suffering -- a phenomenon that occurs on a 
smaller scale within all hierarchies. Little wonder, then, that people 
within authoritarian and centralised structures come to hate them as a 
denial of their freedom. As Alexander Berkman puts it:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"capitalist society is so badly organised that its various members 
suffer: just as when you have a pain in some part of you, your whole 
body aches and you are ill. . . , not a single member of the organisation or union 
may with impunity be discriminated against, suppressed or ignored. To do 
so would be the same as to ignore an aching tooth: you would be sick all over."
</I>[Alexander Berkman, <B>ABC of Anarchism</B>, p. 53]
</blockquote><p>
Yet this is precisely what happens in capitalist society, with the 
result that it is, indeed, <I>"sick all over."</I> 
<p>
For these reasons, anarchists reject authoritarian forms of organisation
and instead support associations based on free agreement. Free agreement 
is important because, in Berkman's words, <I>"[o]nly when each is a 
free and independent unit, co-operating with others from his own choice because of 
mutual interests, can the world work successfully and become powerful."</I> 
[<B>Op. Cit.</B>, p. 53] In the "political" sphere, this means direct 
democracy and confederation, which are the expression and environment of liberty. 
Direct (or participatory) democracy is essential because liberty and 
equality imply the need for forums within which people can discuss and 
debate as equals and which allow for the free exercise of what Murray 
Bookchin calls <I>"the creative role of dissent."</I> 
<p>
Anarchist ideas on libertarian organisation and the need for direct
democracy and confederation will be discussed further in sections <A HREF =secA2.html#seca29> A.2.9</A>
and <A HREF =secA2.html#seca210> A.2.10</A>.
<p>
<a name="seca24"><H2>A.2.4 Are anarchists in favour of "absolute" liberty?</H2>
<p>
No. Anarchists do not believe that everyone should be able to <I>"do</I>
<I>whatever they like,"</I> because some actions invariably involve the denial of the liberty of others. 
<p>
For example, anarchists do not support the "freedom" to rape, to exploit, or 
to coerce others. Neither do we tolerate authority. On the contrary, since 
authority is a threat to liberty, equality, and solidarity (not to mention 
human dignity), anarchists recognise the need to resist and overthrow it. 
<p>
The exercise of authority is not freedom. No one has a "right" to rule 
others. As Malatesta points out, anarchism supports <I>"freedom for 
everybody. . .with the only limit of the equal freedom for others; which 
does <B>not</B> mean. . . that we recognise, and wish to respect, the 
'freedom' to exploit, to oppress, to command, which is oppression and 
certainly not freedom." </I>[Errico Malatesta, <B>Life and Ideas</B>, p. 53]
<p>
In a capitalist society, resistance to all forms of hierarchical authority
is the mark of a free person -- be it private (the boss) or public (the
state). As Henry David Thoreau pointed out in his essay on <B>"Civil</B>
<B>Disobedience"</B> (1847)
<p><blockquote>
<I>"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves."</I>
</blockquote>
<p>
<a name="seca25"><H2>A.2.5 Why are anarchists in favour of equality?</H2>
<p>
As mentioned in <a HREF=secA2.html>above</a>, anarchists are dedicated to 
social equality because it is the only context in which individual liberty 
can flourish. However, there has been much nonsense written about 
"equality," and much
of what is commonly believed about it is very strange indeed. Before
discussing what anarchist <B>do</B> mean by equality, we have to indicate what
we <B>do not</B> mean by it.
<p>
Anarchists do <B>not</B> believe in <I>"equality of endowment,"</I> which is not only 
non-existent but would be <B>very</B> undesirable if it could be brought
about. Everyone is unique. Biologically determined human differences
not only exist but are <I>"a cause for joy, not fear or regret."</I> Why? 
Because <I>"life among clones would not be worth living, and a sane 
person will only rejoice that others have abilities that they do not share." 
</I>[Noam Chomsky, <i>"Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future"</i>, 
<B>Red and Black Revolution</B>, No. 2]
<p>
That some people <B>seriously</B> suggest that anarchists means by "equality" that 
everyone should be <B>identical</B> is a sad reflection on the state of present-day 
intellectual culture and the corruption of words -- a corruption used to divert
attention from an unjust and authoritarian system and side-track people
into discussions of biology. 
<p>
Nor are anarchists in favour of so-called <I>"equality of outcome."</I> We have
<B>no</B> desire to live in a society were everyone gets the same goods, lives
in the same kind of house, wears the same uniform, etc. Part of the
reason for the anarchist revolt against capitalism and statism is that
they standardise so much of life (see George Reitzer's <B>The McDonaldisation 
of Society</B> on why capitalism is driven towards standardisation and 
conformity). In the words of Alexander Berkman:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The spirit of authority, law, written and unwritten, tradition and
custom force us into a common grove and make a man [or woman]
a will-less automation without independence or individuality. . . 
All of us are its victims, and only the exceptionally strong succeed
in breaking its chains, and that only partly."</i> [<b>The ABC of 
Anarchism</b>, p., 26]
</blockquote>
<p>
Anarchists, therefore, have little to desire to make this <i>"common
grove"</i> even deeper. Rather, we desire to destroy it and every social
relationship and institution that creates it in the first place.
<P> 
<I>"Equality of outcome"</I> can only be introduced and maintained by force, which 
would <B>not</B> be equality anyway, as some would have more power than others! 
<I>"Equality of outcome"</I> is particularly hated by anarchists, as we recognise 
that every individual has different needs, abilities, desires and interests. 
To make all consume the same would be tyranny. Obviously, if one person needs 
medical treatment and another does not, they do not receive an "equal" amount 
of medical care. The same is true of other human needs. As Alexander 
Berkman put it:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"equality does not mean 
an equal amount but equal <b>opportunity</b>. . . Do not make the mistake
of identifying equality in liberty with the forced equality of the convict
camp. True anarchist equality implies freedom, not quantity. It does not
mean that every one must eat, drink, or wear the same things, do the
same work, or live in the same manner. Far from it: the very reverse
in fact."</i> He goes on to argue that <i>"[i]ndividual needs and tastes 
differ, as appetites differ. It is <b>equal opportunity</b> to satisfy them
that constitutes true equality. . . Free opportunity of expressing and
acting out your individuality means development of natural dissimilarities
and variations."</i> [<b>The ABC of Anarchism</b>, p. 25]
</blockquote><p>
For anarchists, the "concepts" of "equality" as "equality of outcome" or
"equality of endowment" are meaningless. However, in a hierarchical
society, "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome" <b>are</b> 
related. Under capitalism, for example, the opportunities each 
generation face are dependent on the outcomes of the previous ones. 
This means that under capitalism "equality of opportunity" without 
a rough "equality of outcome" (in the sense of income and resources)
becomes meaningless, as there is no real equality of opportunity for 
the off-spring of a millionaire and that of a road sweeper. Those 
who argue for "equality of opportunity" while ignoring the barriers 
created by previous outcomes indicate that they do not know what 
they are talking about -- opportunity in a hierarchical society 
depends not only on an open road but also upon an equal start. 
From this obvious fact springs the misconception that anarchists 
desire "equality of outcome" -- but this applies to a hierarchical 
system, in a free society this would not the case (as we will see). 
<p>
Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual 
diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes: 
 <p><blockquote><i>
"once equality has triumphed and is well established, will various 
individuals' abilities and their levels of energy cease to differ? Some
will exist, perhaps not so many as now, but certainly some will
always exist. It is proverbial that the same tree never bears two 
identical leaves, and this will probably be always be true. And
it is even more truer with regard to human beings, who are much 
more complex than leaves. But this diversity is hardly an evil. On
the contrary. . . it is a resource of the human race. Thanks to this
diversity, humanity is a collective whole in which the one individual  
complements all the others and needs them. As a result, this infinite  
diversity of human individuals is the fundamental cause and the
very  basis of their solidarity. It is all-powerful argument for 
equality."</i> [<i>"All-Round Education"</i>, <b>The Basic 
Bakunin</b>, pp. 117-8] 
 </blockquote><p>
Equality for anarchists means <b>social</b> equality, or, to use Murray 
Bookchin's term, the <i><b>"equality of unequals"</i></b> (some like Malatesta
used the term <b><i>"equality of conditions"</i></b> to express the same idea). By 
this he means that an anarchist society recognises the differences in 
ability and need of individuals but does not allow these differences to 
be turned into power. Individual differences, in other words, <i> "would 
be of  no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the 
collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution."</i> 
[Michael Bakunin, <b>God and the State</b>, p. 53] 
<p>
If hierarchical social relationships, and the forces that create them, 
are abolished in favour of ones that encourage participation and 
are based on the principle of "one person, one vote" then natural 
differences would not be able to be turned into hierarchical power. 
For example, without capitalist property rights there would not be 
means by which a minority could monopolise the means of life 
(machinery and land) and enrich themselves by the work of 
others via the wages system and usury (profits, rent and interest). 
Similarly, if workers manage their own work, there is no class of 
capitalists to grow rich off their labour. Thus Proudhon:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Now, what can be the origin of this inequality?
<p>
"As we see it, . . . that origin is the realisation within society of
this triple abstraction: capital, labour and talent.
<p>
"It is because society has divided itself into three categories of
citizen corresponding to the three terms of the formula. . . that
caste distinctions have always been arrived at, and one half of
the human race enslaved to the other. . . socialism thus consists
of reducing the aristocratic formula of capital-labour-talent into
the simpler formula of labour!. . . in order to make every
citizen simultaneously, equally and to the same extent capitalist,
labourer and expert or artist."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, 
pp. 57-8]
</blockquote><p>
Like all anarchists, Proudhon saw this integration of functions
as the key to equality and freedom and proposed self-management
as the means to achieve it. Thus self-management is the key to 
social equality. Social equality in the workplace, for example, 
means that everyone has an equal say in the policy decisions on 
how the workplace develops and changes. Anarchists are strong 
believers in the maxim "that which touches all, is decided by all."
<p>
This does not mean, of course, that expertise will be ignored or that
everyone will decide everything. As far as expertise goes, different
people have different interests, talents, and abilities, so obviously they
will want to study different things and do different kinds of work. It is
also obvious that when people are ill they consult a doctor -- an expert
-- who manages his or her own work rather than being directed by a
committee. We are sorry to have to bring these points up, but once the
topics of social equality and workers' self-management come up, some
people start to talk nonsense. It is common sense that a hospital managed
in a socially equal way will <B>not</B> involve non-medical staff voting on 
how doctors should perform an operation!
<p>
In fact, social equality and individual liberty are inseparable. Without
the collective self-management of decisions that affect a group (equality)
to complement the individual self-management of decisions that affect the
individual (liberty), a free society is impossible. For without both,
some will have power over others, making decisions <B>for</B> them (i.e.
governing them), and thus some will be more free than others.
<p>
Social equality is required for individuals to both govern and express 
themselves, for the self-management it implies means <i>"people working 
in face-to-face relations with their fellows in order to bring the 
uniqueness of their own perspective to the business of solving 
common problems and achieving common goals."</i> [George Benello, 
<b>From the Ground Up</b>, p. 160] Thus equality allows the expression 
of individuality and so is a necessary base for individual liberty.
<p>
Section F.3 (<A HREF =secF3.html> "Why do 'anarcho'-capitalists 
generally place little or no value on 'equality,' and what do 
they mean by that term?</A>) discusses anarchist ideas on equality further.
<p>
<a name="seca26"><H2>A.2.6 Why is solidarity important to anarchists?</H2>
<p>
Solidarity, or mutual aid, is a key idea of anarchism. It is the link
between the individual and society, the means by which individuals can
work together to meet their common interests in an environment that
supports and nurtures both liberty and equality. For anarchists, mutual
aid is a fundamental feature of human life, a source of both strength and
happiness and a fundamental requirement for a fully human existence.
<p>
Erich Fromm, noted psychologist and socialist humanist, points out that the
<I>"human desire to experience union with others is rooted in the specific conditions of existence that characterise the human species and is one of the strongest motivations of human behaviour."</I> [<B>To Be or To Have</B>, p.107]
<p>
Therefore anarchists consider the desire to form "unions" (to use
Max Stirner's term) with other people to be a natural need. These unions,
or associations, must be based on equality and individuality in order to
be fully satisfying to those who join them -- i.e. they must be organised
in an anarchist manner, i.e. voluntary, decentralised, and
non-hierarchical.
<p>
Solidarity -- co-operation between individuals -- is necessary for life 
and is far from a denial of liberty. <I>"What wonderful results this 
unique force of man's individuality has achieved when strengthened by 
Co-operation with other individualities," </I>Emma Goldman observes. 
<I>"Co-operation -- as opposed to internecine strife and struggle -- has 
worked for the survival and evolution of the species. . . . [O]nly mutual 
aid and voluntary co-operation. . . can create the basis for a free 
individual and associational life."</I> [<B>Red Emma Speaks</B>, p. 95]
<p>
Solidarity means associating together as equals in order to satisfy our
common interests and needs. Forms of association not based on solidarity
(i.e. those based on inequality) will crush the individuality of those
subjected to them. As Ret Marut points out, liberty needs solidarity, the
recognition of common interests: 
<p><blockquote>
<I>"The most noble, pure and true love of mankind is the love 
of oneself. <B>I</B> want to be free! <B>I</B> hope to be 
happy! <B>I</B> want to appreciate all the beauties of the 
world. But my freedom is secured <B>only</B> when all 
other people around me are free. I can only be happy when all other people 
around me are happy. I can only be joyful when all the people I see and 
meet look at the world with joy-filled eyes. And <B>only</B> then 
can I eat my fill with pure enjoyment when I have the secure knowledge that other 
people, too, can eat their fill as I do. And for that reason it is a 
question of <B>my own contentment</B>, only of <B>my own 
self</B>, when I rebel against every danger which threatens 
my freedom and my happiness. . ."</I> [Ret Marut (a.k.a. B. Traven), 
<B>The BrickBurner</B> magazine quoted by
Karl S. Guthke, <b>B. Traven: The life behind the legends</b>, pp. 133-4]
</blockquote><p>
To practice solidarity means that we recognise, as in the slogan of
<B>Industrial Workers of the World</B>, that <I>"an injury to one 
is an injury to all."</I>  Solidarity, therefore, is the means to protect individuality and 
liberty and so is an expression of self-interest. As Alfie Kohn points out: 
<p><blockquote>
<i>"when we think about co-operation. . . we tend to associate the concept 
with fuzzy-minded idealism. . . This may result from confusing co-operation 
with altruism. . . Structural co-operation defies the usual egoism/altruism 
dichotomy. It sets things up so that by helping you I am helping myself at 
the same time. Even if my motive initially may have been selfish, our fates 
now are linked. We sink or swim together. Co-operation is a shrewd and highly 
successful strategy - a pragmatic choice that gets things done at work and 
at school even more effectively than competition does. . . There is also 
good evidence that co-operation is more conductive to psychological health 
and to liking one another."</i> [<b>No Contest: The Case Against 
Competition</b>, p. 7]
</blockquote><p>
And, within a hierarchical society, solidarity is important not only
because of the satisfaction it gives us, but also because it is necessary
to resist those in power. By standing together, we can increase our
strength and get what we want. Eventually, by organising into groups, we
can start to manage our own collective affairs together and so replace the
boss once and for all. <I>"<B>Unions</B> will. . . multiply the individual's means and secure his assailed property."</I> [Max Stirner, <B>The Ego and Its Own</B>, p. 258] By acting in solidarity, we can also replace the current
system with one more to our liking. There is power in "union." 
<p>
Solidarity is thus the means by which we can obtain and ensure our own
freedom. We agree to work together so that we will not have to work for
<B>another</B>. By agreeing to share with each other we increase our options so
that we may enjoy <B>more</B>, not less. Mutual aid is in my self-interest -- 
that is, I see that it is to my advantage to reach agreements with others 
based on mutual respect and social equality; for if I dominate someone, 
this means that the conditions exist which allow domination, and so in 
all probability I too will be dominated in turn.
<p>
As Max Stirner saw, solidarity is the means by which we ensure that our
liberty is strengthened and defended from those in power who want to rule
us: <I>"Do you yourself count for nothing then?", he asks. "Are you bound to let anyone do anything he wants to you? Defend yourself and no one will touch you. If millions of people are behind you, supporting you, then you are a formidable force and you will win without difficulty."</I> [quoted in Luigi Galleani's 
<b>The End of Anarchism?</b>, p. 79 - different translation in <b>The Ego 
and Its Own</b>, p. 197]
<p>
Solidarity, therefore, is important to anarchists because it is the means
by which liberty can be created and defended against power. Solidarity is
strength and a product of our nature as social beings. However, solidarity 
should not be confused with "herdism," which implies passively following a
leader. In order to be effective, solidarity must be created by free people, 
co-operating together as <B>equals</B>. The "big WE" is <B>not</B> solidarity, although 
the desire for "herdism" is a product of our need for solidarity and union. 
It is a "solidarity" corrupted by hierarchical society, in which people are 
conditioned to blindly obey leaders. 
<p>
<a name="seca27"><H2>A.2.7 Why do anarchists argue for self-liberation?</H2>
<p>
Liberty, by its very nature, cannot be given. An individual cannot be
freed by another, but must break his or her own chains through
their own effort. Of course, self-effort can also be part of collective
action, and in many cases it has to be in order to attain its ends. As
Emma Goldman points out:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"history tells us that every oppressed class [or group or individual] 
gained true liberation from its masters by its own efforts." </I>
[<B>Red Emma Speaks</B>, p. 142]
</blockquote><p>
Anarchists have long argued that people can only free themselves
by their own actions. The various methods anarchists suggest to aid this
process will be discussed in section J (<a HREF=secJcon.html>"What Do 
Anarchists Do?"</a>) and will
not be discussed here. However, these methods all involve people
organising themselves, setting their own agendas, and acting in ways that
empower them and eliminate their dependence on leaders to do things for
them. Anarchism is based on people <I>"acting for themselves"</I> (performing what anarchists call <B><I>"direct action"</I></B>).
<p>
Direct action has an empowering and liberating effect on those involved in
it. Self-activity is the means by which the creativity, initiative,
imagination and critical thought of those subjected to authority can be
developed. It is the means by which society can be changed. As Errico
Malatesta points out <I>"[b]etween man and his social environment there is a reciprocal action. Men make society what it is and society makes men what they are, and the result is therefore a kind of vicious circle. . . . Fortunately existing society has not been created by the inspired will of a dominating class, which has succeeded in reducing all its subjects to 
passive and unconscious instruments. . . . It is the result of a thousand 
internecine struggles, of a thousand human and natural factors. . . . " </I>
[<B>Life and Ideas</B>, p. 188]
<p>
Society, while shaping all individuals, is also created by them, through
their actions, thoughts, and ideals. Challenging institutions that
limit one's freedom is mentally liberating, as it sets in motion the
process of questioning authoritarian relationships in general. This
process gives us insight into how society works, changing our ideas and
creating new ideals. To quote Emma Goldman again: <I>"True emancipation begins. . . in woman's soul."</I> And in a man's too, we might add. It is
only here that we can <I>"begin [our] inner regeneration, [cutting] loose from the weight of prejudices, traditions and customs."</I> [<B>Op. Cit.</B>, p.
142] But this process must be self-directed, for as Max Stirner notes,
<I>"the man who is set free is nothing but a freed man. . . a dog dragging a piece of chain with him"</I> [Max Stirner, <B>The Ego and Its Own</B>, p. 168]
<p>
In an interview during the Spanish Revolution, the Spanish anarchist
militant Durutti said, <I>"we have a new world in our hearts."</I> Only
self-activity and self-liberation allows us to create such a vision in our
hearts and gives us the confidence to try to actualise it in the real
world.
<p>
Anarchists, however, do not think that self-liberation must wait 
for the future, after the "glorious revolution." The personal is political,
and given the nature of society, how we act in the here and now will
influence the future of our society and our lives. Therefore, even in 
pre-anarchist society anarchists try to create, as Bakunin puts it, 
<I>"not only the ideas but also the facts of the future itself."</I> 
We can do so by creating alternative social 
relationships and organisations, acting as free people in a 
non-free society. Only by our actions in the here and now can 
we lay the foundation for a free society. Moreover, this process 
of self-liberation goes on all the time:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Subordinates of all kinds exercise their capacity for critical 
self-reflection every day -- that is why masters are thwarted,
frustrated and, sometimes, overthrown. But unless masters are
overthrown, unless subordinates engage in political activity,
no amount of critical reflection will end their subjection and
bring them freedom."</i> [Carole Pateman, <b>The Sexual Contract</b>, 
p. 205]
</blockquote><p>
Anarchists aim to encourage these tendencies in everyday life 
to reject, resist and thwart authority and bring them to their
logical conclusion -- a society of free individuals, co-operating
as equals in free, self-managed associations. Without this process
of critical self-reflection, resistance and self-liberation a
free society is impossible. Thus, for anarchists, anarchism comes
from the natural resistance of subordinated people striving to
act as free individuals within a hierarchical world. This process
of resistance is called by many anarchists the <i><b>"class 
struggle"</i></b> (as 
it is working class people who are generally the most subordinated 
group within society) or, more generally, <i><b>"social struggle."</i></b> It is
this everyday resistance to authority (in all its forms) and the 
desire for freedom which is the key to the anarchist revolution.
It is for this reason that <i>"anarchists emphasise over and over 
that the class struggle provides the only means for the workers 
[and other oppressed groups] to achieve control over their
destiny."</i> [Marie-Louise Berneri, <b>Neither East Nor West</b>, 
p. 32]
<p>
Revolution is a process, not an event, and every 
<I>"spontaneous revolutionary action"</I> is usually results 
from and is based upon the patient work of many years of 
organisation and education by people with "utopian" ideas. The 
process of "creating the new world in the shell of the old" (to use 
another <B>I.W.W.</B> expression), by building alternative 
institutions and relationships, is but one component of what 
must be a long tradition of revolutionary commitment and 
militancy.
<p>
As Malatesta made clear, <I>"to encourage popular 
organisations of all kinds is the logical consequence 
of our basic ideas, and should therefore be an integral 
part of our programme. . . anarchists do not want to emancipate 
the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. . . , 
we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the 
people and correspond to the state of their development 
and advance as they advance."</I> [<B>Op. Cit.</B>, p. 90]
<p>
Unless a process of self-emancipation occurs, a free society is 
impossible. Only when individuals free themselves, both materially 
(by abolishing the state and capitalism) and intellectually (by 
freeing themselves of submissive attitudes towards authority), 
can a free society be possible. We should not forget that capitalist 
and state power, to a great extent, is power over the minds of those 
subject to them (backed up, of course, with sizeable force if the
mental domination fails and people start rebelling and resisting). In 
effect, a spiritual power as the ideas of the ruling class dominate 
society and permeate the minds of the oppressed. As long as this 
holds, the working class will acquiesce to authority, oppression 
and exploitation as the normal condition of life. Minds submissive 
to the doctrines and positions of their masters cannot hope to win 
freedom, to revolt and fight. Thus the oppressed must overcome the 
mental domination of the existing system before they can throw 
off its yoke (and, anarchists argue, direct action is the means 
of doing both -- see sections <a href="secJ2.html">J.2</a> 
and <a href="secJ4.html">J.4</a>). Capitalism and statism 
must be beaten spiritually and theoretically before it is beaten 
materially (many anarchists call this mental liberation <i><b>"class
consciousness"</i></b> -- see <a href="secB7.html#secb73">section B.7.3</a>). And self-liberation through 
struggle against oppression is the only way this can be done. Thus
anarchists encourage (to use Kropotkin's term) <i><b>"the spirit of
revolt."</i></b>
<p>
Self-liberation is a product of struggle, of self-organisation,
solidarity and direct action. Direct action is the means of creating 
anarchists, free people, and so <i>"Anarchists have always advised 
taking an active part in those workers' organisations which carry 
on the <b>direct</b> struggle of Labour against Capital and its protector, 
-- the State."</i> This is because <i>"[s]uch a struggle . . . better than 
any indirect means, permits the worker to obtain some temporary 
improvements in the present conditions of work, while it opens his 
[or her] eyes to the evil that is done by Capitalism and the State 
that supports it, and wakes up his [or her] thoughts concerning the 
possibility of organising consumption, production and exchange without 
the intervention of the capitalist and the state,"</i> that is, see the
possibility of a free society. Kropotkin, like many anarchists,
pointed to the Syndicalist and Trade Union movements as a means of
developing libertarian ideas within existing society (although he,
like most anarchists, did not limit anarchist activity exclusively
to them). Indeed, any movement which <i>"permit[s] the working men
[and women] to realise their solidarity and to feel the community
of their interests . . . prepare[s] the way for these conceptions"</i> 
of communist-anarchism, i.e. the overcoming the spiritual domination of
existing society within the minds of the oppressed. [<b>Evolution and 
Environment</b>, p. 83 and p. 85]
<p>
For anarchists, in the words of a Scottish Anarchist militant, the 
<i>"history of human progress [is] seen as the history of rebellion and 
disobedience, with the individual debased by subservience to authority 
in its many forms and able to retain his/her dignity only through 
rebellion and disobedience."</i> [Robert Lynn, <b>Not a Life Story, Just a 
Leaf from It</b>, p. 77] This is why anarchists stress self-liberation 
(and self-organisation, self-management and self-activity). Little
wonder Bakunin considered <i>"rebellion"</i> as one of the 
<i>"three fundamental principles [which] constitute the essential 
conditions of all human development, collective or individual, in 
history."</i> [<b>God
and the State</b>, p. 12] This is simply because individuals and 
groups cannot be freed by others, only by themselves. Such 
rebellion (self-liberation) is the <b>only</B> means by which existing 
society becomes more libertarian and an anarchist society a possibility.
<p>
<a name="seca28"><H2>A.2.8 Is it possible to be an anarchist without opposing hierarchy?</H2>
<p>
No. We have seen that anarchists abhor authoritarianism. But if
one is an anti-authoritarian, one must oppose all hierarchical institutions, 
since they embody the principle of authority. The argument for this 
(if anybody needs one) is as follows:
<p>
A hierarchy is a pyramidally-structured organisation composed of a series
of grades, ranks, or offices of increasing power, prestige, and (usually)
remuneration. Scholars who have investigated the hierarchical form have
found that the two primary principles it embodies are domination and
exploitation. For example, in his article <I>"What Do Bosses Do?"</I> 
(<B>Review of Radical Political Economics</B>, 6, 7), a study of the 
modern factory, 
Steven Marglin found that the main function of the corporate hierarchy 
is not greater productive efficiency (as capitalists claim), but greater
control over workers, the purpose of such control being more effective
exploitation.
<p>
Control in a hierarchy is maintained by coercion, that is, by the threat
of negative sanctions of one kind or another: physical, economic,
psychological, social, etc. Such control, including the repression of 
dissent and rebellion, therefore necessitates centralisation: a set 
of power relations in which the greatest control is exercised by the 
few at the top (particularly the head of the organisation), while those 
in the middle ranks have much less control and the many at the bottom 
have virtually none.
<p>
Since domination, coercion, and centralisation are essential
features of authoritarianism, and as those features are embodied in
hierarchies, all hierarchical institutions are authoritarian. Moreover, 
for anarchists, any organisation marked by hierarchy, centralism and
authoritarianism is state-like, or "statist." And as anarchists oppose
both the state and authoritarian relations, anyone who does not seek to
dismantle <B>all</B> forms of hierarchy cannot be called an anarchist.
This applies to capitalist firms. As Noam Chomsky points out, the structure
of the capitalist firm is extremely hierarchical, indeed fascist, in 
nature:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"a fascist system. . . [is] absolutist - power goes from top down. . . 
the ideal state is top down control with the public essentially
following orders.
<p>
"Let's take a look at a corporation. . . [I]f you look at what they
are, power goes strictly top down, from the board of directors to
managers to lower managers to ultimately the people on the shop
floor, typing messages, and so on. There's no flow of power or
planning from the bottom up. People can disrupt and make
suggestions, but the same is true of a slave society. The structure
of power is linear, from the top down."</i> [<b>Keeping the Rabble in
Line</b>, p. 237]
</blockquote><p>
<p>
David Deleon indicates these similarities between the company
and the state well when he writes:
<p><blockquote><i>
"Most factories are like military dictatorships. Those at the
bottom are privates, the supervisors are sergeants, and on up
through the hierarchy. The organisation can dictate everything
from our clothing and hair style to how we spend a large portion
of our lives, during work. It can compel overtime; it can require
us to see a company doctor if we have a medical complaint; it
can forbid us free time to engage in political activity; it
can suppress freedom of speech, press and assembly -- it can use
ID cards and armed security police, along with closed-circuit
TVs to watch us; it can punish dissenters with 'disciplinary
layoffs' (as GM calls them), or it can fire us. We are forced,
by circumstances, to accept much of this, or join the millions
of unemployed. . . In almost every job, we have only the 'right'
to quit. Major decisions are made at the top and we are expected
to obey, whether we work in an ivory tower or a mine shaft."</i>
[<i>"For Democracy Where We Work: A rationale for social 
self-management"</i>, <b>Reinventing Anarchy, Again</b>, 
Howard J. Ehrlich (ed.), pp. 193-4]
</blockquote>
<p>
Thus the consistent anarchist must oppose hierarchy in all its
forms, including the capitalist firm. Not to do so is to support
<i><b>archy</i></b> -- which an anarchist, by definition, 
cannot do. In other words, for anarchists, <i>"[p]romises to obey, 
contracts of (wage) 
slavery, agreements requiring the acceptance of a subordinate 
status, are all illegitimate because they do restrict and 
restrain individual autonomy."</i> [Robert Graham, <i>"The Anarchist 
Contract</i>, <b>Reinventing Anarchy, Again</b>, Howard J. Ehrlich 
(ed.), p. 77]
<p>
Some argue that as long as an association is voluntary, whether it has an 
hierarchical structure is irrelevant. Anarchists disagree. This is for 
two reasons. Firstly, under 
capitalism workers are
driven by economic necessity to sell their labour (and so liberty)
to those who own the means of life. This process re-enforces the
economic conditions workers face by creating <i>"massive disparities
in wealth . . . [as] workers. . . sell their labour to the 
capitalist at a price which does not reflect its real value."</i>
[Robert Graham, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 70] Therefore:
<p><blockquote><I>
"To portray the parties to an employment contract, for example,
as free and equal to each other is to ignore the serious
inequality of bargaining power which exists between the worker
and the employer. To then go on to portray the relationship
of subordination and exploitation which naturally results as
the epitome of freedom is to make a mockery of both individual
liberty and social justice."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
</blockquote>
<P>
It is for this reason that anarchists support collective action
and organisation: it increases the bargaining power of working
people and allows them to assert their autonomy (see 
<a href="secJcon.html">section J</a>).
<p>
Secondly, if we take
the key element as being whether an association is voluntary or not we
would have to argue that the current statist system must be considered as 
"anarchy" - no one forces an individual to live in a specific state. We 
are free to leave and go somewhere else. By ignoring the hierarchical 
nature of an association, you can end up supporting organisations based 
upon the denial of freedom (including capitalist companies, the armed
forces, states even) all because they are "voluntary." As Bob Black 
argues, <i>"[t]o demonise state authoritarianism while ignoring 
identical albeit contract-consecrated subservient arrangements 
in the large-scale corporations which control the world economy 
is fetishism at its worst."</i> [<b>Libertarian as Conservative</b>] 
Anarchy is more than being free to pick a master.
<p>
Therefore opposition to hierarchy is a key anarchist position, otherwise
you just become a "voluntary archist" - which is hardly anarchistic.
For more on this see section A.2.14 (<a href="secA2.html#seca214">
Why is voluntarism not enough?</a>).
<p>
Anarchists argue that organisations do not need to be hierarchical, they 
can be based upon co-operation between equals who manage their own affairs 
directly. In this way we can do without without hierarchical structures 
(i.e. the delegation of power in the hands of a few). Only when an 
association is self-managed by its members can it be considered truly
anarchistic.
<p>
We are sorry to belabour this point, but some capitalist apologists,
apparently wanting to appropriate the "anarchist" name because of its
association with freedom, have recently claimed that one can be both a
capitalist and an anarchist at the same time (as in so-called "anarcho"
capitalism). It should now be clear that since capitalism is based on
hierarchy (not to mention statism and exploitation), "anarcho"-capitalism 
is a contradiction in terms. (For more on this, see <A HREF =secFcon.html>
Section F</A>)
<p>
<a name="seca29"><H2>A.2.9 What sort of society do anarchists want?</H2>
<p>
Anarchists desire a decentralised society, based on free association. We
consider this form of society the best one for maximising the values we
have outlined above -- liberty, equality and solidarity. Only by a
rational decentralisation of power, both structurally and territorially,
can individual liberty be fostered and encouraged. The delegation of power
into the hands of a minority is an obvious denial of individual liberty
and dignity. Rather than taking the management of their own affairs away
from people and putting it in the hands of others, anarchists favour
organisations which minimise authority, keeping power at the base, in
the hands of those who are affected by any decisions reached.
<p>
Free association is the cornerstone of an anarchist society. Individuals
must be free to join together as they see fit, for this is the basis of
freedom and human dignity. However, any such free agreement must be based
on decentralisation of power; otherwise it will be a sham (as in capitalism), 
as only equality provides the necessary social context for freedom to grow
and development. Therefore anarchists support directly democratic
collectives, based on "one person one vote" (for the rationale of direct
democracy as the political counterpart of free agreement, see section A.2.11 -
<A HREF =secA2.html#seca211> Why do most anarchists support direct 
democracy?</A>). 
<p>
We should point out here that an anarchist society does not imply some
sort of idyllic state of harmony within which everyone agrees. Far from
it! As Luigi Galleani points out, <i>"[d]isagreements and friction will 
always exist. In fact they are an essential condition of unlimited progress.
But once the bloody area of sheer animal competition - the struggle for
food - has been eliminated, problems of disagreement could be solved 
without the slightest threat to the social order and individual liberty." </i>
[<b>The End of Anarchism?</b>, p. 28]
<p>
Therefore, an anarchist society will be based upon co-operative conflict
as <i>"[c]onflict, per se, is not harmful. . . disagreements exist [and should
not be hidden] . . . What makes disagreement destructive is not the fact of
conflict itself but the addition of competition."</i> [Alfie Kohn, <b>No 
Contest: The Case Against Competition</b>, p. 156] Indeed, <i>"a rigid 
demand for agreement means that people will effectively be prevented from 
contributing their wisdom to a group effort."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>] It is 
for this reason that most anarchists reject consensus decision making in 
large groups (see section <a href="secA2.html#seca212">A.2.12</a>).
<p>
So, in an anarchist society associations would be run by mass assemblies of 
all involved, based upon extensive discussion, debate and co-operative 
conflict between equals, with purely administrative tasks being handled by 
elected committees. These committees would be made up of mandated, recallable 
and temporary delegates who carry out their tasks under the watchful eyes of
the assembly which elected them. If the delegates act against their mandate 
or try to extend their influence or work beyond that already decided by the 
assembly (i.e. if they start to make policy decisions), they can be instantly 
recalled and their decisions abolished. In this way, the organisation remains 
in the hands of the union of individuals who created it.
<p>
This self-management by the members of a group at the base and the power 
of recall are essential tenets of any anarchist organisation. 
The <b>key</b> difference between a statist or hierarchical system and an 
anarchist community is who wields power. In a parliamentary system, for 
example, people give power to a group of representatives to make decisions for 
them for a fixed period of time. Whether they carry out their promises 
is irrelevant as people cannot recall them till the next election. Power 
lies at the top and those at the base are expected to obey. Similarly, 
in the capitalist workplace, power is held by an unelected minority of 
bosses and managers at the top and the workers are expected to obey. 
<p>
In an anarchist society this 
relationship is reversed. No one individual or group (elected or unelected) 
holds power in an anarchist community. Instead decisions are made using direct 
democratic principles and, when required, the community can elect or appoint 
delegates to carry out these decisions.  There is a clear distinction between 
policy making (which lies with everyone who is affected) and the co-ordination 
and administration of any adopted policy (which is the job for delegates).
<p>
These egalitarian communities, founded by free agreement, also freely
associate together in confederations. Such a free confederation would be
run from the bottom up, with decisions following from the elemental
assemblies upwards. The confederations would be run in the same manner as
the collectives. There would be regular local regional, "national" and 
international conferences in which all important issues and problems 
affecting the collectives involved would be discussed. In addition, 
the fundamental, guiding principles and ideas of society would
be debated and policy decisions made, put into practice, reviewed, 
and co-ordinated. 
<p>
Action committees would be formed, if required, to co-ordinate and 
administer the decisions of the assemblies and their congresses, under 
strict control from below as discussed above. Delegates to such bodies  
would have a limited tenure and, like the delegates to the congresses,
have a fixed mandate -- they are not able  to make decisions on behalf 
of the people they are delegates for. In addition, like the delegates 
to conferences and congresses, they would be subject to instant recall 
by the assemblies and congresses from which they emerged in the first 
place. In this way any committees required to
co-ordinate join activities would be, to quote Malatesta's words, <i>"always
under the direct control of the population."</i> [<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 175]
<p>
Most importantly, the basic community assemblies can overturn any decisions 
reached by the conferences and withdraw from any confederation. Any 
compromises that are made by a delegate during negotiations have to go 
back to a general assembly for ratification. Without that ratification 
any compromises that are made by a delegate are not binding on the 
community that has delegated a particular task to a particular 
individual or committee. In addition, 
they can call confederal conferences to discuss new developments and to 
inform action committees about changing wishes and to instruct them on 
what to do about any developments and ideas.
<p>
In other words, any delegates required within an anarchist organisation 
or society are <b>not</b> representatives (as they are in a democratic 
government). Kropotkin makes the difference clear:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The question of true delegation versus representation can be better
understood if one imagines a hundred or two hundred men [and women],
who meet each day in their work and share common concerns . . . who
have discussed every aspect of the question that concerns them and
have reached a decision. They then choose someone and send him [or
her] to reach an agreement with other delegates of the same kind. . . 
The delegate is not authorised to do more than explain to other
delegates the considerations that have led his [or her] colleagues
to their conclusion. Not being able to impose anything, he [or she]
will seek an understanding and will return with a simple proposition
which his mandatories can accept or refuse. This is what happens
when true delegation comes into being."</i> [<b>Words of a 
Rebel</b>, p. 132] 
</blockquote><p>
Unlike in a representative system, <b>power</b> is not delegated into the
hands of the few. Rather, any delegate is simply a mouthpiece for
the association that elected (or otherwise selected) them in the
first place. All delegates and action committees would be mandated
and subject to instant recall to ensure they express the wishes of 
the assemblies they came from rather than their own. In this way 
government is replaced by anarchy, a network of free associations 
and communities co-operating as equals based on a system of mandated 
delegates, instant recall, free agreement and free federation from 
the bottom up.
<p>
This network of anarchist communities would work on three levels. There
would be <i>"independent Communes for the territorial organisation, and of
federations of Trade Unions [i.e. workplace associations] for the 
organisation of men [and women] in accordance with their different
functions. . . [and] free combines and societies . . . for the
satisfaction of all possible and imaginable needs, economic, sanitary,
and educational; for mutual protection, for the propaganda of ideas,
for arts, for amusement, and so on."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Evolution and
Environment</b>, p. 79] All would be based on self-management, free
association, free federation and self-organisation from the bottom up.
<p>
By organising in this manner, hierarchy is abolished in all aspects of
life, because the people
at the base of the organisation are in control, <B>not</B> their delegates. 
Only this form of organisation can replace government (the initiative and
empowerment of the few) with anarchy (the initiative and empowerment of
all). This form of organisation would exist in all activities which
required group work and the co-ordination of many people. It would be, as
Bakunin said, the means <I>"to integrate individuals into structures which 
they could understand and control."</I> For individual initiatives, the
individual involved would manage them.
<p>
As can be seen, anarchists wish to create a society based upon structures 
that ensure that no individual or group is able to wield power over others. 
Free agreement, confederation and the power of recall, fixed mandates and 
limited tenure are mechanisms by which power is removed from the hands of 
governments and placed in the hands of those directly affected by the 
decisions. For a fuller discussion on what an anarchist society would
look like see <a HREF="secIcon.html">section I</a>.
<p>
<a name="seca210"><H2><B>A.2.10 What will abolishing hierarchy mean and achieve?</B></H2>
<p>
The creation of a new society based upon libertarian organisations will
have an incalculable effect on everyday life. The empowerment of millions
of people will transform society in ways we can only guess at now. 
However, many consider these forms of organisation as impractical and
doomed to failure.
<p>
To those who say that such confederal, non-authoritarian organisations
would produce confusion and disunity, anarchists maintain that the
statist, centralised and hierarchical form of organisation produces
indifference instead of involvement, heartlessness instead of solidarity,
uniformity instead of unity, and privileged elites instead of equality. 
More importantly, such organisations destroy individual initiative and
crush independent action and critical thinking. (For more on hierarchy,
see section B.1- <A HREF =secB1.html>"Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?"</A> - and related sections). 
<p>
That libertarian organisation can work and is based upon (and promotes)
liberty was demonstrated in the Spanish Anarchist movement. Fenner
Brockway, Secretary of the British Independent Labour Party, when visiting
Barcelona during the 1936 revolution, noted that <I>"the great solidarity that existed among the Anarchists was due to each individual relying on his [sic] 
own strength and not depending upon leadership. . . . The organisations 
must, to be successful, be combined with free-thinking people; not a 
mass, but free individuals"</I> [quoted by Rudolf Rocker, <B>Anarcho-syndicalism</B>, p. 58]
<p>
As sufficiently indicated already, hierarchical, centralised structures
restrict freedom. As Proudhon noted: <I>"the centralist system is all 
very well as regards size, simplicity and construction: it lacks but one 
thing -- the individual no longer belongs to himself in such a system, he 
cannot feel his worth, his life, and no account is taken of him at all."</I>
[quoted in <B>Paths in Utopia</B>, Martin Buber, p. 33]
<p>
The effects of hierarchy can be seen all around us. It does not work. 
Hierarchy and authority exist everywhere, in the workplace, at home, in 
the street. As Bob Black puts it, <I>"If you spend most of your waking life taking orders or kissing ass, if you get habituated to hierarchy, you will 
become passive-aggressive, sado-masochistic, servile and stupefied, and 
you will carry that load into every aspect of the balance of your life."</I> [<B>The Libertarian as Conservative</B>]
<p>
This means that the end of hierarchy will mean a <B>massive</B> transformation
in everyday life. It will involve the creation of individual-centred
organisations within which all can exercise, and so develop, their 
abilities to the fullest. By involving themselves and participating 
in the decisions that affect them, their workplace, their community and
society, they can ensure the full development of their individual 
capacities.
<p>
Only self-determination and free agreement on every level of
society can develop the responsibility, initiative, intellect and
solidarity of individuals and society as a whole. Only anarchist
organisation allows the vast talent which exists within humanity to be
accessed and used, enriching society by the very process of enriching and
developing the individual. Only by involving everyone in the process of
thinking, planning, co-ordinating and implementing the decisions that
affect them can freedom blossom and individuality be fully developed and
protected. Anarchy will release the creativity and talent of the mass of
people enslaved by hierarchy. 
<p>
Anarchy will even be of benefit for those who are said to benefit from
capitalism and its authority relations. Anarchists <I>"maintain that <B>both</B> rulers and ruled are spoiled by authority; <B>both</B> exploiters and exploited are spoiled by exploitation."</I> [Peter Kropotkin, <B>Act for Yourselves</B>, 
p. 83] This is because <I>"[i]n any hierarchical relationship the dominator as well as the submissive pays his dues. The price paid for the 'glory of 
command' is indeed heavy. Every tyrant resents his duties. He is relegated 
to drag the dead weight of the dormant creative potential of the 
submissive all along the road of his hierarchical excursion."</I> 
[For Ourselves, <B>The Right to Be Greedy</B>]
<p>
<a name="seca211"><H2>A.2.11 Why are most anarchists in favour of direct democracy?</H2>
<p>
For most anarchists, direct democratic voting on policy decisions within free
associations is the political counterpart of free agreement. The reason
is that <I>"many forms of domination can be carried out in a 'free, 
'non-coercive, contractual manner. . . and it is naive. . . to think that 
mere opposition to political control will in itself lead to an end of 
oppression."</I> [John P. Clark, <B>Max Stirner's Egoism</B>, p. 93]
<p>
It is obvious that individuals must work together in order to lead a fully
human life. And so, <i>"[h]aving to join with others humans . . . [the
individual has three options] he [or she] must submit to the will of
others (be enslaved) or subject others to his will (be in authority) or
live with others in fraternal agreement in the interests of the greatest
good of all (be an associate). Nobody can escape from this necessity."</i>
[Errico Malatesta, <b>The Anarchist Revolution</b>, p. 85]
<p>
Anarchists obviously pick the last option, association, as the only means 
by which individuals can work together as free and equal human beings, 
respecting the uniqueness and liberty of one another. Only within direct
democracy can individuals express themselves, practice critical thought and 
self-government, so developing their intellectual and ethical capacities 
to the full. In terms of increasing an individual's freedom and their 
intellectual, ethical and social faculties, it is far better to be sometimes 
in a minority than be subject to the will of a boss all the time. So what 
is the theory behind anarchist direct democracy?
<p>
Once an individual joins a community or workplace, he or she becomes 
a "citizen" (for want of a better word) of that association. The association 
is organised around an assembly of all its members (in the case of large 
workplaces and towns, this may be a functional sub-group such as a specific 
office or neighbourhood). In this assembly, in concert with others, the content 
of his or her political obligations are defined. In acting within the 
association, people must exercise critical judgement and choice, i.e. manage 
their own activity. This means that political obligation is not owed to a 
separate entity above the group or society, such as the state or company, but 
to one's fellow "citizens." 
<p>
Although the assembled people collectively legislate the rules governing
their association, and are bound by them as individuals, they are also
superior to them in the sense that these rules can always be modified or
repealed. Collectively, the associated "citizens" constitute a political
authority, but as this authority is based on horizontal relationships
between themselves rather than vertical ones between themselves and an
elite, the "authority" is non-hierarchical ("rational" or "natural," see
section B.1 - <A HREF="secB1.html">"Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?"</A> - for more on this). Thus Proudhon:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"In place of laws, we will put contracts [i.e. free agreement]. - No 
more laws voted by a majority, nor even unanimously; each citizen, 
each town, each industrial union, makes its own laws."</i> [<b>The General
Idea of the Revolution</b>, pp. 245-6]
</blockquote><p>
Such a society would be based upon industrial democracy, for within the
workers' associations <i>"all positions are elective, and the by-laws subject
to the approval of the members."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 222] Instead of capitalist
or statist hierarchy, self-management (i.e. direct democracy) would be the 
guiding principle of the freely joined associations that make up a free 
society.
<p>
Of course it could be argued that if you are in a minority, you are
governed by others (<i>"Democratic rule is still rule"</i> [L. Susan Brown, 
<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 53]). Now, the concept of 
direct democracy as we have
described it is not necessarily tied to the concept of majority rule.
If someone finds themselves in a minority on a particular vote, he or she
is confronted with the choice of either consenting or refusing to
recognise it as binding. To deny the minority the opportunity to exercise
its judgement and choice is to infringe its autonomy and to impose
obligation upon it which it has not freely accepted. The coercive
imposition of the majority will is contrary to the ideal of self-assumed
obligation, and so is contrary to direct democracy and free association.
Therefore, far from being a denial of freedom, direct democracy within the
context of free association and self-assumed obligation is the only means
by which liberty can be nurtured. Needless to say, a minority, if it remains
in the association, can argue its case and try to convince the majority of 
the error of its ways.
<p>
And we must point out here that anarchist support for direct democracy does 
not suggest we think that the majority is always right. Far from it! The case 
for democratic participation is not that the majority is always right, but 
that no minority can be trusted not to prefer its own advantage to the
good of the whole. History proves what common-sense predicts, namely that
anyone with dictatorial powers (by they a head of state, a boss, a husband,
whatever) will use their power to enrich and empower themselves at the
expense of those subject to their decisions.
<p>
Anarchists recognise that majorities can and do make mistakes and that is
why our theories on association place great importance on minority rights.
This can be seen from our theory of self-assumed obligation, which bases
itself on the right of minorities to protest against majority decisions
and makes dissent a key factor in decision making. Thus Carole Pateman:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"If the majority have acted in bad faith. . . [then the] minority will have
to take political action, including politically disobedient action action
if appropriate, to defend their citizenship and independence, and the
political association itself. . . Political disobedience is merely one
possible expression of the active citizenship on which a self-managing
democracy is based . . . The social practice of promising involves the
right to refuse or change commitments; similarly, the practice of
self-assumed political obligation is meaningless without the practical
recognition of the right of minorities to refuse or withdraw consent,
or where necessary, to disobey."</i> [<b>The Problem of Political 
Obligation</b>, p. 162]
</blockquote>
<p>
Moving beyond relationships within associations, we must highlight how
different associations work together. As would be imagined, the links between 
associations follow the same outlines as for the associations themselves. 
Instead of individuals joining an association, we have associations
joining confederations. The links between associations in the confederation 
are of the same horizontal and voluntary nature as within associations, with 
the same rights of "voice and exit" for members and the same rights for
minorities. In this way society becomes an association of associations,
a community of communities, a commune of communes, based upon maximising 
individual freedom by maximising participation and self-management.
<p>
The workings of such a confederation are outlined in section A.2.9 
(<a HREF=secA2.html#seca29> What sort of society do anarchists want?</a>) 
and discussed in greater detail in section I (<a HREF=secIcon.html>What 
would an anarchist society look like?</a>).
<p>
This system of direct democracy fits nicely into anarchist theory. Malatesta 
speaks for all anarchists when he argued that <i>"anarchists deny the right of
the majority to govern human society in general."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 100] As can 
be seen, the majority has no right to enforce itself on a minority -- the 
minority can leave the association at any time and so, to use Malatesta's 
words, do not have to <i>"submit to the decisions of the majority before they 
have even heard what these might be."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 101] Hence, direct 
democracy within voluntary association does not create "majority rule" 
nor assume that the minority must submit to the majority no matter what.
In effect, anarchist supporters of direct democracy argue that it
fits Malatesta's argument that:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Certainly anarchists recognise that where life is lived in common it
is often necessary for the minority to come to accept the opinion of
the majority. When there is an obvious need or usefulness in doing
something and, to do it requires the agreement of all, the few should
feel the need to adapt to the wishes of the many . . . But such adaptation
on the one hand by one group must be on the other be reciprocal, 
voluntary and must stem from an awareness of need and of goodwill to
prevent the running of social affairs from being paralysed by obstinacy.
It cannot be imposed as a principle and statutory norm. . ."</i> [<b>Op. 
Cit.</b>,
p. 100]
</blockquote><p>
As the minority has the right to secede from the association as well as
having extensive rights of action, protest and appeal, majority rule 
is not imposed as a principle. Rather, it is purely a decision making
tool which allows minority dissent and opinion to be expressed (and
acted upon) while ensuring that no minority forces its will on the
majority. In other words, majority decisions are not binding on the
minority. After all, as Malatesta argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"one cannot expect, or even wish, that someone who is firmly convinced
that the course taken by the majority leads to disaster, should sacrifice
his [or her] own convictions and passively look on, or even worse, should
support a policy he [or she] considers wrong."</i> [<b>Life and Ideas</b>, 
p. 132]
</blockquote>
<p>
Even the Individual Anarchist Lysander Spooner acknowledged that direct 
democracy has its uses when he noted that <i>"[a]ll, or nearly all, voluntary 
associations give a majority, or some other portion of the members less 
than the whole, the right to use some <b>limited</b> discretion as to the 
<b>means</b> to be used to accomplish the ends in view."</i> However, only the 
unanimous decision of a jury (which would <i>"judge the law, and the justice 
of the law"</i>) could determine individual rights as this <i>"tribunal fairly 
represent[s] the whole people"</i> as <i>"no law can rightfully be enforced
by the association in its corporate capacity, against the goods, rights,
or person of any individual, except it be such as <b>all</b> members of the
association agree that it may enforce"</i> (his support of juries results
from Spooner acknowledging that it <i>"would be impossible in practice"</i> for
<b>all</b> members of an association to agree) [<b>Trial by Jury</b>, p. 130-1f,
p. 134, p. 214, p. 152 and p. 132]
<p>
Thus direct democracy and individual/minority rights need not clash. 
In practice, we can imagine direct democracy would be used to make most
decisions within most associations (perhaps with super-majorities required
for fundamental decisions) plus some combination of a jury system and 
minority protest/direct action and evaluate/protect minority claims/rights 
in an anarchist society. The actual forms of freedom can only be created
through practical experience by the people directly involved.
<p>
Lastly, we must stress that anarchist support for direct democracy does
not mean that this solution is to be favoured in all circumstances. For
example, many small associations may favour consensus decision making 
(see the <a href="secA2.html#seca212">next section</a> on consensus and 
why most anarchists do not think 
that it is a viable alternative to direct democracy). However, most 
anarchists think that direct democracy within free association is the 
best (and most realistic) form of organisation which is consistent with 
anarchist principles of individual freedom, dignity and equality.
<p>
<a name="seca212"><H2>A.2.12 Is consensus an alternative to direct democracy?</H2>
<p>
The few anarchists who reject direct democracy within free associations
generally support consensus in decision making. Consensus is based
upon everyone on a group agreeing to a decision before it can be put
into action. Thus, it is argued, consensus stops the majority ruling 
the minority and is more consistent with anarchist principles.
<p>
Consensus, although the "best" option in decision making, as all agree,
has its problems. As Murray Bookchin points out in describing his
experience of consensus, it can have authoritarian implications, because
<p><blockquote>
<I>"[i]n order. . . to create full consensus on a decision, minority 
dissenters were often subtly urged or psychologically coerced to decline 
to vote on a troubling issue, inasmuch as their dissent would essentially 
amount to a one-person veto. This practice, called 'standing aside' in 
American consensus processes, all too often involved intimidation of the 
dissenters, to the point that they completely withdrew from the 
decision-making process, rather than make an honourable and continuing 
expression of their dissent by voting, even as a minority, in accordance 
with their views. Having withdrawn, they ceased to be political beings--so 
that a 'decision' could be made. . . . '[C]onsensus' was ultimately achieved only after dissenting members nullified themselves as 
participants in the process.</I>
<p>
<I>"On a more theoretical level, consensus silenced that most vital aspect of 
all dialogue, <b>dissensus</b>. The ongoing dissent, the passionate dialogue that 
still persists even after a minority accedes temporarily to a majority 
decision,. . . [can be] replaced. . . .by dull monologues -- and the
uncontroverted and deadening tone of consensus. In majority decision-making, 
the defeated minority can resolve to overturn a decision on which they have 
been defeated -- they are free to openly and persistently articulate reasoned 
and potentially persuasive disagreements. Consensus, for its part, honours 
no minorities, but mutes them in favour of the metaphysical  'one' 
of the  'consensus' group."</I> [<i>"Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism"</i>, <b>Democracy and Nature</b>, no. 8, p. 8]
</blockquote><p>
Bookchin does not <I>"deny that consensus may be an appropriate form of 
decision-making in small groups of people who are thoroughly familiar with 
one another." </I>But he notes that, in practical terms, his own experience
has shown him that <I>"when larger groups try to make decisions by
consensus, it usually obliges them to arrive at the lowest common 
intellectual denominator in their decision-making: the least 
controversial or even the most mediocre decision that a sizable assembly
of people can attain is adopted-- precisely because everyone must agree
with it or else withdraw from voting on that issue"</I> [<B>Op. Cit.</B>, p.7]
<p>
Therefore, due to its potentially authoritarian nature, most anarchists 
disagree that consensus is the political aspect of free association.
While it is advantageous to try to reach consensus, it is usually
impractical to do so -- especially in large groups -- regardless of its
other, negative effects. Often it demeans a free society or association 
by tending to subvert individuality in the name of community and dissent
in the name of solidarity. Neither true community nor solidarity are
fostered when the individual's development and self-expression are aborted
by public disapproval and pressure. Since individuals are all unique,
they will have unique viewpoints which they should be encouraged to
express, as society evolves and is enriched by the actions and ideas of
individuals. 
<p>
In other words, anarchist supporters of direct democracy stress the 
<i>"<b>creative</b> role of dissent"</i> which, they fear, <i>"tends 
to fade away in the gray uniformity required by consensus."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 8] 
<p>
We must stress that anarchists are <b>not</b> in favour of a mechanical 
decision making process in which the majority just vote the minority away 
and ignore them. Far from it! Anarchists who support direct democracy see
it as a dynamic debating process in which majority and minority listen
to and respect each other as far possible and create a decision which
all can live with (if possible). They see the process of participation 
within directly democratic associations as the means of creating common 
interests, as a process which will encourage diversity, individual and
minority expression and reduce any tendency for majorities to marginalise 
or oppress minorities by ensuring discussion and debate occurs on important 
issues.
<p>
<a name="seca213"><H2><B>A.2.13 Are anarchists individualists or collectivists?</B></H2>
<p>
The short answer is: neither. This can be seen from the fact that
liberal scholars denounce anarchists like Bakunin for being
"collectivists" while Marxists attack Bakunin and anarchists in general
for being "individualists." 
<p>
This is hardly surprising, as anarchists
reject both ideologies as nonsense. Whether they like it or not,
non-anarchist individualists and collectivists are two sides of the same
capitalist coin. This can best shown be by considering modern capitalism,
in which "individualist" and "collectivist" tendencies continually
interact, often with the political and economic structure swinging from
one pole to the other. Capitalist collectivism and individualism are both
one-sided aspects of human existence, and like all manifestations of
imbalance, deeply flawed.
<p>
For anarchists, the idea that individuals should sacrifice themselves for
the "group" or "greater good" is nonsensical. Groups are made up of
individuals, and if people think only of what's best for the group, the
group will be a lifeless shell. It is only the dynamics of human
interaction within groups which give them life. "Groups" cannot think,
only individuals can. This fact, ironically, leads authoritarian
"collectivists" to a most particular kind of "individualism," namely the
<I>"cult of the personality" </I>and leader worship. This is to be expected,
since such collectivism lumps individuals into abstract groups, denies
their individuality, and ends up with the need for someone with enough
individuality to make decisions -- a problem that is "solved" by the
leader principle. Stalinism and Nazism are excellent examples of this
phenomenon. 
<p>
Therefore, anarchists recognise that individuals are the basic unit of
society and that only individuals have interests and feelings. This 
means they oppose "collectivism" and the glorification of the group.
In anarchist theory the group exists only to aid and develop the
individuals involved in them. This is why we place so much stress 
on groups structured in a libertarian manner -- only a libertarian 
organisation allows the individuals within a group to fully express
themselves, manage their own interests directly and to create social
relationships which encourage individuality and individual freedom.
So while society and the groups they join shapes the individual, the
individual is the true basis of society. Hence Malatesta:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Much has been said about the respective roles of individual initiative
and social action in the life and progress of human societies . . . 
[E]verything is maintained and kept going in the human world thanks to
individual initiative . . . The real being is man, the individual. Society
or the collectivity - and the <b>State</b> or government which claims 
to represent it - if it is not a hollow abstraction, must be made up of
individuals. And it is in the organism of every individual that all 
thoughts and human actions inevitably have their origin, and from being
individual they become collective thoughts and acts when they are or
become accepted by many individuals. Social action, therefore, is neither
the negation nor the complement of individual initiatives, but is the 
resultant of initiatives, thoughts and actions of all individuals who
make up society . . . [T]he question is not really changing the 
relationship between society and the individual . . . [I]t is a question
of preventing some individuals from oppressing others; of giving
all individuals the same rights and the same means of action; and of
replacing the initiative to the few [which Malatesta defines as a
key aspect of government/hierarchy], which inevitably results in the
oppression of everyone else . . . "</i> [<b>Anarchy</b>, pp. 36-37]
</blockquote><p>
These considerations do not mean that "individualism" finds favour with
anarchists. As Emma Goldman pointed out, <I>"'rugged individualism'. . . 
is only a masked attempt to repress and defeat the individual and his
individuality. . . . [It] has inevitably resulted in the crassest class
distinctions. . . [and] has meant all the 'individualism' for the masters,
while the people are regimented into a slave caste to serve a handful of
self-seeking 'supermen.'" </I>[<B>Red Emma Speaks</B>, p. 89]
<p>
While groups cannot think, individuals cannot live or discuss by 
themselves. Groups and associations are an essential aspect of 
individual life. Indeed, as groups generate social relationships 
by their very nature, they help <b>shape</b> individuals. In other words, 
groups structured in an authoritarian way will have a negative impact 
on the freedom and individuality of those within them. However, due to
the abstract nature of their "individualism," capitalist individualists 
fail to see any difference between groups structured in a libertarian 
manner rather than in an authoritarian one -- they are both "groups". 
Because of their one-sided perspective on this issue, "individualists" 
ironically end up supporting some of the most "collectivist" institutions 
in existence -- capitalist companies -- and, moreover, always find a 
need for the state despite their frequent denunciations of it. These 
contradictions stem from capitalist individualism's dependence on 
individual contracts in an unequal society, i.e. <B>abstract</B> individualism.
<p>
In contrast, anarchists stress <b>social</b> "individualism" (another, perhaps
better, term for this concept could be <i><b>"communal individuality"</b></i>). 
Anarchism <I>"insists that the centre of gravity in society is the 
individual -- that
he [sic] must think for himself, act freely, and live fully. . . . If he 
is to develop freely and fully, he must be relieved from the interference 
and oppression of others. . . . [T]his has nothing in common with. . . 
'rugged individualism.' Such predatory individualism is really flabby, 
not rugged. At the least danger to its safety, it runs to cover of the 
state and wails for protection. . . .Their 'rugged individualism' is 
simply one of the many pretences the ruling class makes to mask unbridled
business and political extortion."</I> [Emma Goldman, <B>Ibid.</B>, p. 397]
<p>
Anarchism rejects the <B>abstract</B> individualism of capitalism, with its 
ideas of "absolute" freedom of the individual which is constrained by 
others. This theory ignores the social context in which freedom exists 
and grows. 
<p>
A society based on "individual contracts" usually results in an inequality
of power between the contracting individuals and so entails the need for 
an authority based on laws above them and organised coercion to enforce the 
contracts between them. This consequence is evident from capitalism and,
most notably, in the "social contract" theory of how the state developed.
In this theory it is assumed that individuals are "free" when they are 
isolated from each other, as they allegedly were originally in the 
"state of nature." Once they join society, they supposedly create a 
"contract" and a state to administer it. However, besides being a fantasy
with no basis in reality (human beings have <B>always</B> been social 
animals), this "theory" is actually a justification for the state's having extensive 
powers over society; and this in turn is a justification of the capitalist 
system, which requires a strong state. It also mimics the results of the 
capitalist economic relations upon which this theory is built. Within 
capitalism, individuals "freely" contract together, but in practice the 
owner rules the worker for as long as the contract is in place. (See 
sections <A HREF =secA2.html#seca214>A.2.14</A> and 
<A HREF = secB4.html>B.4</A> for further details).
<p>
In practice, both individualism and collectivism lead to a denial of both
individual liberty and group autonomy and dynamics. In addition, each
implies the other, with collectivism leading to a particular form of
individualism and individualism leading to a particular form of
collectivism. 
<p>
Collectivism, with its implicit suppression of the individual, ultimately
impoverishes the community, as groups are only given life by the
individuals who comprise them. Individualism, with its explicit
suppression of community (i.e. the people with whom you live),
ultimately impoverishes the individual, since individuals do not exist
apart from society but can only exist within it. In addition, individualism 
ends up denying the "select few" the insights and abilities of the 
individuals who make up the rest of society, and so is a source of
self-denial. This is Individualism's fatal flaw (and contradiction), 
namely <I>"the impossibility for the individual to attain a really full development in the conditions of oppression of the mass by the 'beautiful aristocracies'. His [or her] development would remain uni-lateral."</I> [Peter
Kropotkin, <B>Revolutionary Pamphlets</B>, p. 293]
<p>
True liberty and community exist elsewhere.
<p>
<a name="seca214"><H2>A.2.14 Why is voluntarism not enough?</H2>
<p>
Voluntarism means that association should be voluntary in order maximise 
liberty. Anarchists are, obviously, voluntarists, thinking that only in
free association, created by free agreement, can individuals develop,
grow, and express their liberty. However, it is evident that under
capitalism voluntarism is not enough in itself to maximise liberty. 
<p>
Voluntarism implies promising (i.e. the freedom to make agreements), and
promising implies that individuals are capable of independent judgement
and rational deliberation. In addition, it presupposes that they can
evaluate and change their actions and relationships. Contracts under
capitalism, however, contradict these implications of voluntarism. For,
while technically "voluntary" (though as we show in 
<A HREF =secB4.html>section B.4,</a> this is
not really the case), capitalist contracts result in a denial of liberty. 
This is because the social relationship of wage-labour involves promising
to obey in return for payment. And as Carole Pateman points out, <i>"to promise 
to obey is to deny or to limit, to a greater or lesser degree, individuals'
freedom and equality and their ability to exercise these capacities [of
independent judgement and rational deliberation]. To promise to obey is to
state, that in certain areas, the person making the promise 
is no longer free to exercise her capacities and decide upon her own 
actions, and is no longer equal, but subordinate."</i> [<b>The Problem of 
Political Obligation</b>, p. 19] This results in those obeying no longer
making their own decisions. Thus the rational for voluntarism (i.e.
that individuals are capable of thinking for themselves and must be 
allowed to express their individuality and make their own decisions) is
violated in a hierarchical relationship as some are in charge and the
many obey (see also <a href="secA2.html#seca28">section A.2.8</a>). Thus any voluntarism which generates
relationships of subordination is, by its very nature, incomplete and
violates its own justification.
<p>
This can be seen from capitalist society, in which workers sell their
freedom to a boss in order to live. 
In effect, under capitalism you are only free to the extent that you can
choose whom you will obey! Freedom, however, must mean more than the
right to change masters. Voluntary servitude is still servitude.  To
paraphrase Rousseau: 
<p>
<blockquote>Under capitalism the worker regards herself as free; but she is grossly 
mistaken; she is free only when she signs her contract with her boss. As 
soon as it is signed, slavery overtakes her and she is nothing but an order taker.</blockquote>
<p>
Hence Proudhon's comment that <i>"Man may be made by property a slave 
or a despot by turns."</i> [<b>What is Property?</b>, p. 371] Little wonder
we discover Bakunin rejecting <i>"any contract with another individual on 
any footing but the utmost equality and reciprocity"</i> as this would 
<i>"alienate his [or her] freedom"</i>  and so would be a <i>"a relationship of 
voluntary servitude with another individual."</i> Anyone making such a
contract in a free society (i.e. anarchist society) would be <i>"devoid of
any sense of personal dignity."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, 
pp. 68-9] Only self-managed associations can create relationships of
equality rather than of subordination between its members.
<p>
Therefore anarchists stress the need for direct democracy in voluntary
associations in order to ensure that the concept of "freedom" is not a
sham and a justification for domination, as it is under capitalism.
<p>
Any social relationships based on abstract individualism are likely to be
based upon force, power, and authority, <B>not</B> liberty. This of course
assumes a definition of liberty according to which individuals exercise
their capacities and decide their own actions. Therefore, voluntarism is
<B>not</B> enough to create a society that maximises liberty. This is why 
anarchists think that voluntary association <b>must</b> be complemented by 
self-management (direct democracy) <b>within</b> these associations. For 
anarchists, the assumptions of voluntarism imply self-management. Or, 
to use Proudhon's words, <i>"as individualism is the primordial fact of 
humanity, so association is its complementary term."</i> [<b>System of 
Economical Contradictions</b>, p. 430] 
<p>
Of course, it could be objected that anarchists value some forms of social
relationships above others and that a true libertarian must allow people
the freedom to select their own social relationships. To answer the second
objection first, in a society based on private property (and so statism),
those with property have more power, which they can use to perpetuate
their authority. And why should we excuse servitude or tolerate those who
desire to restrict the liberty of others? The "liberty" to command is the
liberty to enslave, and so is actually a denial of liberty. 
<p>
Regarding the first objection, anarchists plead guilty. We <B>are</B>
prejudiced against the reduction of human beings to the status of robots. 
We are prejudiced in favour of human dignity and freedom. We are
prejudiced, in fact, in favour of humanity and individuality. 
<p>
<A HREF =secA2.html#seca211> Section A.2.11 </A> discusses why direct democracy is the necessary social
counterpart to voluntarism (i.e. free agreement). <A HREF =secB4.html> Section B.4</A> discusses
why capitalism cannot be based on equal bargaining power between property
owners and the propertyless.

<p>
<a name="seca215"><H2>A.2.15 What about "human nature"?</H2>
<p>

Anarchists, far from ignoring "human nature," have the only political
theory that gives this concept deep thought and reflection. Too often,
"human nature" is flung up as the last line of defence in an argument
against anarchism, because it is thought to be beyond reply. This is not
the case, however.
<p>
First of all, human nature is a complex thing. If, by human nature, it is
meant <I>"what humans do,"</I> it is obvious that human nature is contradictory
-- love and hate, compassion and heartlessness, peace and violence, and so
on, have all been expressed by people and so are all products of "human
nature." Of course, what is considered "human nature" can change with
changing social circumstances. For example, slavery was considered part of
"human nature" and "normal" for thousands of years, and war only become
part of "human nature" once states developed. Therefore, environment
plays an important part in defining what "human nature" is. 
<p>
This does not mean that human beings are infinitely plastic, with each
individual born a <B>tabula rasa</B> (blank slate) waiting to be formed by
"society" (which in practice means those who run it). We do not wish to
enter the debate about what human characteristics are and are not
"innate." All we will say is that human beings have an innate ability to
think and learn -- that much is obvious, we feel -- and that humans are
sociable creatures, needing the company of others to feel complete and to
prosper. 
<p>
These two features, we think, suggest the viability of an
anarchist society. The innate ability to think for oneself automatically
makes all forms of hierarchy illegitimate, and our need for social
relationships implies that we can organise without the state. The deep
unhappiness and alienation afflicting modern society reveals that the
centralisation and authoritarianism of capitalism and the state is denying
some innate needs within us.
<p>
In fact, as mentioned earlier, for the great majority of its existence the
human race <B>has</B> lived in anarchic communities, with little or no
hierarchy. That modern society calls such people "savages" or "primitive"
is pure arrogance. So who can tell whether anarchism is against "human
nature"? Anarchists have accumulated much evidence to suggest that it may
not be.
<p>
As for the charge the anarchists demand too much of <I>"human nature,"</I> it
is often <B>non</B> anarchists who make the greatest claims on it. For <I>"while our opponents seem to admit there is a kind of salt of the 
earth -- the rulers, the employers, the leaders -- who, happily enough, 
prevent those bad men -- the ruled, the exploited, the led -- from becoming 
much worse than they are. . . , there is [a] difference, and a very important 
one. <B>We</B> admit the imperfections of human nature, but we make no exception for the rulers. <B>They</B> make it, although sometimes 
unconsciously"</I> [Peter Kropotkin, <B>Act for Yourselves</B>, p. 83] If 
human nature is so bad, then
giving some people power over others and hoping this will lead to justice
and freedom is hopelessly utopian. 
<p>
Today, however, with the rise of "sociobiology," some claim (with very
little <B>real</B> evidence) that capitalism is a product of our "nature,"
which is determined by our genes. These claims have been leapt upon by
the powers that be. Considering the dearth of evidence, their support for
this "new" doctrine must be purely the result of its utility to those in
power -- i.e. the fact that it is useful to have an <I>"objective"</I> and
<I>"scientific"</I> basis to rationalise that power. Like the social Darwinism
that preceded it, sociobiology proceeds by first projecting the dominant
ideas of current society onto nature (often unconsciously, so that
scientists mistakenly consider the ideas in question as both <I>"normal"</I> and
<I>"natural"</I>). Then the theories of nature produced in this manner are
transferred <B>back</B> onto society and history, being used to "prove" that
the principles of capitalism (hierarchy, authority, competition, etc.) are
eternal <B>laws</B>, which are then appealed to as a justification for the
status quo! Amazingly, there are many supposedly intelligent people who
take this sleight-of-hand seriously. 
<p>
This sort of apologetics is natural, of course, because every ruling class
has always claimed that their right to rule was based on <I>"human nature,"</I>
and hence supported doctrines that defined the latter in ways appearing to
justify elite power -- be it sociobiology, divine right, original sin,
etc. Obviously, such doctrines have always been wrong . . . until now,
of course, as it is obvious our current society truly conforms to "human 
nature" and it has been scientifically proven by our current scientific 
priesthood! 
<p>
The arrogance of this claim is truly amazing. History hasn't stopped. One 
thousand years from now, society will be completely different from what it 
is presently or from what anyone has imagined. No government in place at the 
moment will still be around, and the current economic system will not exist. 
The only thing that may remain the same is that people will still be claiming 
that their new society is the "One True System" that completely conforms to 
human nature, even though all past systems did not.
<p>
Of course, it does not cross the minds of supporters of capitalism that
people from different cultures may draw different conclusions from the
same facts -- conclusions that may be <B>more</B> valid. Nor does it occur to
capitalist apologists that the theories of the "objective" scientists may
be framed in the context of the dominant ideas of the society they live
in. It comes as no surprise to anarchists, however, that scientists
working in Tsarist Russia developed a theory of evolution based on
<B>cooperation</B> within species, quite unlike their counterparts in
capitalist Britain, who developed a theory based on <B>competitive struggle</B>
within and between species. That the latter theory reflected the dominant
political and economic theories of British society (notably competitive
individualism) is pure coincidence, of course. Kropotkin's <B>Mutual Aid</B>
was written in response to the obvious inaccuracies that British Social
Darwinism projected onto nature and human life.
<p>
<a name="seca216"><H2>A.2.16 Does anarchism require "perfect" people to work?</H2>
<p>
No. Anarchy is not a utopia, a <I>"perfect"</I> society. It will be a <B>human</B>
society, with all the problems, hopes, and fears associated with human
beings. Anarchists do not think that human beings need to be
<I>"perfect"</I> for anarchy to work. They only need to be free. 
<p>
Obviously, though, we think that a free society will produce people who 
are more in tune with both their own and others individuality and needs, 
thus reducing individual conflict. Remaining disputes would be solved by 
reasonable methods, for example, the use of juries, mutual third parties, 
or community and workplace assemblies.
<p>
Like the <I>"anarchism-is-against-human-nature"</I> argument (see <A HREF =secA2.html#seca215> section A.2.15</A>), opponents of anarchism usually assume "perfect" people -- people
who are not corrupted by power when placed in positions of authority,
people who are strangely unaffected by the distorting effects of
hierarchy, privilege, and so forth. However, anarchists make no such 
claims about human perfection. We recognise that vesting power in the 
hands of one person or an elite is never a good idea, as people are not
perfect and need to be accountable to others. 
<p>
It should be noted that the idea that anarchism requires a "new" man or
woman is often raised by the right-wing "anarcho"-capitalists to discredit
real anarchism and justify the retention of hierarchical authority,
specifically in capitalist relations of production. However, a moment's
reflection will show that their "objection" discredits their own claim to
be anarchists for they explicitly assume an anarchist society without
anarchists! Needless to say, an "anarchy" made up of people who still
needed authority and statism would soon become authoritarian and statist
(i.e. non-anarchist) again.
<p>
This is because even if the government were overthrown tomorrow, the same 
system would soon grow up again, because <I>"the strength of the government rests not with itself, but with the people. A great tyrant may be a fool and not a superman. His strength lies not in himself, but in the superstition of the people who think that it is right to obey him. So long as that superstition exists it is useless for some liberator to cut off the head of tyranny; the people will create another, for they have grown accustomed to rely on something outside themselves."</I> [George Barret, <B>Objections to Anarchism</B>]
<p>
In other words, anarchy needs <B>anarchists</B> in order to be created and
survive. But these anarchists need not be perfect, just people who have
freed themselves, by their own efforts, of the superstition that
command-and-obedience relations are necessary. The implicit assumption in
the idea of a "new" anarchist person is that freedom will be given, not
taken; hence the obvious conclusion follows that an anarchy requiring
"perfect" people will fail. But this argument ignores the need for
self-activity and self-liberation in order to create a free society. 
<p>
Anarchists do not conclude that "perfect" people are necessary, because
the anarchist is <i>"no liberator with a divine mission to free humanity,
but he is a part of that humanity struggling onwards towards liberty.
<p>
"If, then, by some external means an Anarchist Revolution could 
be, so to speak, supplied ready-made and thrust upon the people, it is 
true that they would reject it and rebuild the old society. If, on the 
other hand, the people develop their ideas of freedom, and they themselves 
get rid of the last stronghold of tyranny --- the government -- then 
indeed the revolution will be permanently accomplished."</I> [<B>Ibid.</B>]
<p>
<a name="seca217"><H2>A.2.17 Aren't most people too stupid for a free society to work?</H2>
<p>
We are sorry to have to include this question in an anarchist FAQ, but we
know that many political ideologies explicitly assume that ordinary people
are too stupid to be able to manage their own lives and run society. All
aspects of the capitalist political agenda, from Left to Right, contain
people who make this claim. Be it Leninists, Fabians or Objectivists, it
is assumed that only a select few are creative and intelligent and that
these people should govern others. Usually, this elitism is masked by
fine, flowing rhetoric about "freedom," "democracy" and other platitudes
with which the ideologues attempt to dull people's critical thought by
telling them want they want to hear.
<p>
It is, of course, also no surprise that those who believe in "natural"
elites always class themselves at the top. We have yet to discover an
"objectivist", for example, who considers themselves part of the great
mass of "second-handers" or who will be a toilet cleaner in the unknown
"ideal" of "real" capitalism. Everybody reading an elitist text will
consider him or herself to be part of the "select few." It's "natural" in
an elitist society to consider elites to be natural and yourself a
potential member of one!
<p>
Examination of history shows that there is a basic elitist ideology which
has been the essential rationalisation of all states and ruling classes
since their emergence at the beginning of the Bronze Age. This ideology
merely changes its outer garments, not its basic inner content. 
<p>
During the Dark Ages, for example, it was coloured by Christianity, being 
adapted to the needs of the Church hierarchy. The most useful "divinely 
revealed" dogma to the priestly elite was "original sin": the notion that 
human beings are basically depraved and incompetent creatures who need
"direction from above," with priests as the conveniently necessary
mediators between ordinary humans and "God." The idea that average people
are basically stupid and thus incapable of governing themselves is a
carry over from this doctrine, a relic of the Dark Ages. 
<p>
In reply to all those who claim that most people are "second-handers" or
cannot develop anything more than "trade union consciousness," all we can
say is that it is an absurdity that cannot withstand even a superficial
look at history, particularly the labour movement. The creative powers of
those struggling for freedom is often truly amazing, and if this
intellectual power and inspiration is not seen in "normal" society, this
is the clearest indictment possible of the deadening effects of hierarchy
and the conformity produced by authority. (See also <A HREF =secB1.html> 
section B.1</A> for more on the effects of hierarchy). As Bob Black points 
outs:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, 
monotonous work, chances are you'll end up boring, stupid, and 
monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping 
cretinisation all around us than even such significant moronising 
mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all 
their lives, handed to work from school and bracketed by the family in the 
beginning and the nursing home in the end, are habituated to hierarchy and 
psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that 
their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias. 
Their obedience training at work carries over into the families <B>they</B> 
start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into 
politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from 
people at work, they'll likely submit to hierarchy and expertise in 
everything. They're used to it." </I>[<B>The Abolition of Work</B>]
</blockquote><p>
When elitists try to conceive of liberation, they can only think of it
being <B>given</B> to the oppressed by kind (for Leninists) or stupid (for
Objectivists) elites. It is hardly surprising, then, that it fails. Only
self-liberation can produce a free society. The crushing and distorting 
effects of authority can only be overcome by self-activity. The few examples
of such self-liberation prove that most people, once considered incapable
of freedom, are more than up for the task.
<p>
Those who proclaim their "superiority" often do so out of fear that their
authority and power will be destroyed once people free themselves from the
debilitating hands of authority and come to realise that, in the words
of Max Stirner, <I>"the great are great only because we are on our knees."</I>
<p>
As Emma Goldman remarks about women's equality, <I>"[t]he extraordinary achievements of women in every walk of life have silenced forever the 
loose talk of women's inferiority. Those who still cling to this fetish do 
so because they hate nothing so much as to see their authority challenged. 
This is the characteristic of all authority, whether the master over his 
economic slaves or man over women. However, everywhere woman is escaping 
her cage, everywhere she is going ahead with free, large strides."</I>
[<b>Vision on Fire</b>, p. 256]
<p>
The same comments are applicable, for example, to the very successful
experiments in workers' self-management during the Spanish Revolution, To
quote Rousseau: 
<blockquote>
<I>"when I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword, and death to preserve 
only their independence, I feel that it does not behove slaves to reason 
about freedom." </I>[quoted by Noam Chomsky, <i>"Anarchism, Marxism and
Hope for the Future"</i>, <B>Red and Black Revolution</B>, No. 2]
</blockquote>
<p>
<a name="seca218"><H2>A.2.18 Do anarchists support terrorism?</H2>
<p>
No, and this is for three reasons. Terrorism means either targeting or not 
worrying about killing innocent people. For anarchy to exist, it must be 
created by ordinary people. One does not convince people of one's ideas 
by blowing them up. Secondly, anarchism is about self-liberation. One 
cannot blow up a social relationship. Freedom cannot be created by the 
actions of an elite few destroying rulers <b>on behalf of</b> the majority.  
For so long as people feel the need for rulers, hierarchy will exist (see 
<a href="secA2.html#seca216">section A.2.16</a> for more on this). As we have stressed earlier, freedom 
cannot be given, only taken. Lastly, anarchism aims for freedom. Hence
Bakunin's comment that <i>"when one is carrying out a revolution for the
liberation of humanity, one should respect the life and liberty of
men [and women]."</i> [quoted by K.J. Kenafick, <b>Michael Bakunin and 
Karl Marx</b>, p. 125] For anarchists, means determine the ends and 
terrorism by its very nature violates life and liberty of individuals
and so cannot be used to create an anarchist society.
<p> 
Moreover anarchists are <b>not</b> against individuals but the institutions 
and social relationships that cause certain individuals to have power 
over others and abuse (i.e. use) that power. Therefore the anarchist 
revolution is about destroying structures, not people. As Bakunin 
pointed out, <i>"we wish not to kill persons, but to abolish status 
and its perquisites"</i> and anarchism <i>"does not mean the death of 
the individuals who make up the bourgeoisie, but the death of the 
bourgeoisie as a political and social entity economically distinct 
from the working class."</i> [<b>The Basic Bakunin</b>, p. 71 and p. 70] In 
other words, <i><b>"You can't blow up a social relationship"</i></b> (to quote 
the title of an anarchist pamphlet which presents the anarchist 
case against terrorism).
<p>
How is it, then, that anarchism is associated with violence? Partly 
this is because the state and media insist on referring to terrorists 
who are <b>not</b> anarchists as anarchists. For example, the German 
Bader-Meinhoff gang were often called "anarchists" despite their 
self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninism. Smears, unfortunately, work. 
Similarly, as Emma Goldman pointed out, <i>"it is a known fact known
to almost everyone familiar with the Anarchist movement that a
great number of [terrorist] acts, for which Anarchists had to
suffer, either originated with the capitalist press or were
instigated, if not directly perpetrated, by the police."</i> 
[<b>Red Emma Speaks</b>, p. 216] 
<p>
This does not mean that Anarchists have not committed acts of 
violence. They have (as have members of other political and 
religious movements). The main reason for the association of 
terrorism with anarchism is because of the <i><b>"propaganda by the 
deed"</i></b> period in the anarchist movement. 
<p>
This period -- roughly from 1880 to 1900 -- was marked by a small 
number of anarchists assassinating members of the ruling class 
(royalty, politicians and so forth). At its worse, this period saw 
theatres and shops frequented by members of the bourgeoisie targeted. 
These acts were termed <i>"propaganda by the deed."</i> Anarchist support for 
the tactic was galvanised by the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 
1881 by Russian Populists (this event prompted Johann Most's famous 
editorial in <b>Freiheit</b>, entitled <i>"At Last!"</i>, celebrating regicide 
and the assassination of tyrants). However, there were deeper reasons 
for anarchist support of this tactic: firstly, in revenge for acts 
of repression directed towards working class people; and secondly, 
as a means to encourage people to revolt by showing that their 
oppressors could be defeated.
<p>
Considering these reasons it is no coincidence that propaganda by 
the deed began in France after the 20 000-plus deaths due to the 
French state's brutal suppression of the Paris Commune, in which 
many anarchists were killed. It is interesting to note that while 
the anarchist violence in revenge for the Commune is relatively well 
known, the state's mass murder of the Communards is relatively unknown.
Similarly, it may be known that the Italian Anarchist Gaetano Bresci
assassinated King Umberto of Italy in 1900 or that Alexander Berkman
tried to kill Carnegie Steel Corporation manager Henry Clay Frick in
1892. What is often unknown is that Umberto's troops had fired upon 
and killed protesting peasants or that Frick's Pinkertons had also
murdered locked-out workers at Homestead. 
<p>
Such downplaying of statist and capitalist violence is hardly 
surprising. <i>"The State's behaviour is violence,"</i> points out
Max Stirner, <i>"and it calls its violence 'law'; that of the
individual, 'crime.'"</i> [<b>The Ego and Its Own</b>, p. 197] Little
wonder, then, that anarchist violence is condemned but the
repression (and often worse violence) that provoked it ignored 
and forgotten.
<p>
We can get a feel of the hypocrisy surrounding condemnation of 
anarchist violence by non-anarchists by considering their response 
to state violence. For example, many capitalist papers and individuals 
in the 1920s and 1930s celebrated Fascism as well as Mussolini and 
Hitler. Anarchists, in contrast, fought Fascism to the death and 
tried to assassinate both Mussolini and Hitler. Obviously supporting
murderous dictatorships is not "violence" and "terrorism" but 
resisting such regimes is! Similarly, non-anarchists can support 
repressive and authoritarian states, war
and the suppression of strikes and unrest by violence ("restoring
law and order") and not be considered "violent." Anarchists, in
contrast, are condemned as "violent" and "terrorist" because a
few of them tried to revenge such acts of oppression and 
state/capitalist violence!
<p>
It must be noted that the majority of anarchists did not support 
this tactic. Of those who committed "propaganda by the deed" 
(sometimes called <i>"attentats"</i>), as Murray Bookchin points out,
only a <i>"few . . .  were members of Anarchist groups. The majority
. . . were soloists."</i> [<b>The Spanish Anarchists</b>, p. 102] Needless
to say, the state and media painted all anarchists with the same
brush. They still do, sometimes inaccurately (such as blaming
Bakunin for such acts even though he had been dead 5 years before
the tactic was even discussed in anarchist circles!).
<p>
All in all, the "propaganda by the deed" phase of anarchism was 
a failure, as the vast majority of anarchists soon came to see. 
Kropotkin can be considered typical. He initially approved acts
of violence directed against repressive members of the ruling class.
However, by the 1890s he came to disapprove of acts of violence
unless committed in self-defence during the defence of a revolution. 
This was partly due to simple revulsion at the worse of the acts
(such as the Barcelona Theatre bombing in response to the state
murder of anarchists involved in the Jerez uprising of 1892 and 
Emile Henry's bombing of a cafe in response to state repression)
and partly due to the awareness that it was hindering the anarchist
cause. More and more anarchists came to see "propaganda by the deed" 
as giving the state an excuse to clamp down on both the anarchist 
and labour movements. Moreover, it gave the media (and opponents of 
anarchism) a chance to associate anarchism with mindless violence, 
thus alienating much of the population from the movement. This
false association is renewed at every opportunity, regardless of 
the facts (for example, even though Individualist Anarchists 
rejected "propaganda by the deed" totally, they were also 
smeared by the press as "violent" and "terrorists").
<p>
In addition, the assumption behind propaganda by the deed, 
i.e. that everyone was waiting for a chance to rebel, was 
false. In fact, people are products of the system in which 
they live; hence they accepted most of the myths used to 
keep that system going. With the failure of propaganda by 
deed, anarchists turned back to what most of the movement 
had been doing anyway: encouraging the class struggle and 
the process of self-liberation. This turn back to the roots 
of anarchism can be seen from the rise in anarcho-syndicalist 
unions after 1890 (see <a href="secA2.html#seca53">section A.5.3</a>). 
<p> 
Despite most anarchists' tactical disagreement with propaganda by 
deed, few would consider it to be terrorism or rule out assassination 
under all circumstances. Bombing a village during a war because there 
<b>might</b> be an enemy in it is terrorism, whereas assassinating a murdering 
dictator or head of a repressive state is defence at best and revenge 
at worst. As anarchists have long pointed out, if by terrorism it is 
meant "killing innocent people" then the state is the greatest terrorist 
of them all (as well as having the biggest bombs and other weapons of
destruction available on the planet). If the people committing "acts 
of terror" are really anarchists, they would do everything possible 
to avoid harming innocent people and never use the statist line that 
"collateral damage" is regrettable but inevitable. This is why the
vast majority of "propaganda by the deed" acts were directed towards
individuals of the ruling class, such a Presidents and Royalty, and
were the result of previous acts of state and capitalist violence.
<p>
So "terrorist" acts have been committed by anarchists. This is a fact. 
What is often forgotten is that members of <b>other</b> political and 
religious 
groups have also committed such acts. As the Freedom Group of London 
argued:
<p><blockquote><i>
"There is a truism that the man [or woman] in the street seems 
always to forget, when he is abusing the Anarchists, or whatever
party happens to be his <b>bete noire</b> for the moment, as the 
cause of some outrage just perpetrated. This indisputable
fact us that homicidal outrages have, from time immemorial,
been the reply of goaded and desperate classes, and goaded
and desperate individuals, to wrongs from their fellowmen [and
women], which they felt to be intolerable. Such acts are 
the violent recoil from violence, whether aggressive or
repressive . . . their cause lies not in any special 
conviction, but in the depths of . . . human nature 
itself. The whole course of history, political and social,
is strewn with evidence of this."</i> [quoted by Emma Goldman, 
<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 213]
</blockquote><p>
Terrorism has been used by many other political, social and 
religious groups and parties. For example, Christians, Marxists, 
Hindus, Nationalists, Republicans, Moslems, Sikhs, Marxists, Fascists, 
Jews and Patriots have all committed acts of terrorism. Few of these 
movements or ideas have been labelled as "terrorist by nature" or 
continually associated with violence -- which shows anarchism's 
threat to the status quo. There is nothing more likely to discredit 
and marginalise an idea than for malicious and/or ill-informed 
persons to portray those who believe and practice it as 
"mad bombers" with no opinions or ideals at all, just an 
insane urge to destroy.   
<p>
Of course, the vast majority of Christians and so on have opposed terrorism 
as morally repugnant and counter-productive. As have the vast majority of  
anarchists, at all times and places. However, it seems that in our case  
it is necessary to state our opposition to terrorism time and time again. 
<p> 
So, to summarise - only a small minority of terrorists have ever been 
anarchists, and only a small minority of anarchists have ever been 
terrorists. The anarchist movement as a whole has always recognised that 
social relationships cannot be assassinated or bombed out of existence. 
Compared to the violence of the state and capitalism, anarchist violence
is a drop in the ocean. Unfortunately most people remember the acts of
the few anarchists who have committed violence rather than the acts of
violence and repression by the state and capital that prompted those acts. 
<p>
<a name="seca219"><H2>A.2.19 What ethical views do anarchists hold?</h2>
<p>
Anarchist viewpoints on ethics vary considerably, although all share
a common belief in the need for an individual to develop within themselves
their own sense of ethics. All anarchists agree with Max Stirner that
an individual must free themselves from the confines of existing morality
and question that morality - <i>"I decide whether it is the <b>right thing</b> for
me; there is no right <b>outside</b> me."</i> [<b>The Ego and Its Own</b>, p. 189]
<p>
Few anarchists, however, would go so far as Stirner and reject <b>any</b> concept
of social ethics at all (saying that, Stirner does value some universal
concepts although they are egoistic ones). Such extreme moral relativism 
is almost as bad as moral absolutism for most anarchists (moral relativism 
is the view that there is no right or wrong beyond what suits an individual 
while moral absolutism is that view that what is right and wrong is
independent of what individuals think).
<p>
It is often claimed that modern society is breaking up because of excessive 
"egoism" or moral relativism. This is false. As far as moral relativism goes,
this is a step forward from the moral absolutism urged upon society by various 
Moralists and true-believers because it bases itself, however slimly, upon
the idea of individual reason. However, as it denies the existence (or 
desirability) of ethics it is but the mirror image of what it is rebelling 
against. Neither option empowers the individual or is liberating.
<p>
Consequently, both of these attitudes hold enormous attraction to
authoritarians, as a populace that is either unable to form an opinion about
things (and will tolerate anything) or who blindly follow the commands of 
the ruling elite are of great value to those in power. Both are rejected by 
most anarchists in favour of an evolutionary approach to ethics based upon 
human reason to develop the ethical concepts and interpersonal empathy to 
generalise these concepts into ethical attitudes within society as well as 
within individuals. An anarchistic approach to ethics therefore shares the
critical individual investigation implied in moral relativism but grounds
itself into common feelings of right and wrong. As Proudhon argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"All progress begins by abolishing something; every reform rests upon
denunciation of some abuse; each new idea is based upon the proved
insufficiency of the old idea."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Most anarchists take the viewpoint that ethical standards, like life itself,
are in a constant process of evolution. This leads them to reject the various
notions of <i>"God's Law,"</i> <i>"Natural Law,"</i> and so on in favour of theory of 
ethical development based upon the idea that individuals are entirely 
empowered to question and assess the world around them - in fact, they 
require it in order to be truly free. You cannot be an anarchist and blindly 
accept <b>anything</b>! Michael Bakunin, one of the founding anarchist thinkers, 
expressed this radical scepticism as so:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"No theory, no ready-made system, no book that has ever been written will
save the world. I cleave to no system. I am a true seeker."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Therefore Anarchists take, essentially, a scientific approach to problems. 
Anarchists arrive at ethical judgements without relying on the mythology of 
spiritual aid, but on the merits of their own minds. This is done through 
logic and reason, and is a far better route to resolving moral questions 
than obsolete, authoritarian systems like orthodox religion and certainly 
better than the "there is no wrong or right" of moral relativism.
<p>
So, what are the source of ethical concepts? For Kropotkin, <i>"nature has thus 
to be recognised as the <b>first ethical teacher of man.</b> The social instinct,
innate in men as well as in all the social animals, - this is the origin
of all ethical conceptions and all subsequent development of morality."</i>
[<b>Ethics</b>, p. 45]
<p>
Life, in other words, is the basis of anarchist ethics. This means that, 
essentially (according to anarchists), an individual's ethical viewpoints 
are derived from three basic sources:
<p>
<blockquote>
1) from the society an individual lives in. As Kropotkin pointed out, 
<i>"Man's conceptions of morality are completely dependent upon the form that 
their social life assumed at a given time in a given locality. . . this 
[social life] is reflected in the moral conceptions of men and in the moral 
teachings of the given epoch."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 315] In other words, experience 
of life and of living.
<p>
2) A critical evaluation by individuals of their society's ethical norms,
as indicated above. This is the core of Erich Fromm's argument that <i>"Man 
must accept the responsibility for himself and the fact that only using his 
own powers can he give meaning to his life. . .<b>there is no meaning to life 
except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers, by 
living productively.</b>"</i> [<b>Man for Himself</b>, p. 45] In other words, individual
thought and development.
<p>
3) The feeling of empathy - <i>"the true origin of the moral sentiment.. .[is] 
simply in the feeling of sympathy."</i> [<i>"Anarchist Morality"</i>, <b>Kropotkin's 
Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 94] In other words, an individual's ability to 
feel and share experiences and concepts with others.
</blockquote>
<p>
This last factor is very important for the development of a sense of
ethics. As Kropotkin argued, <i>"[t]he more powerful your imagination, the 
better you can picture to yourself what any being feels when it is made 
to suffer, and the more intense and delicate will your moral sense be. . .
And the more you are accustomed by circumstances, by those surrounding you, 
or by the intensity of your own thought and your imagination, to <b>act</b> as 
your own thought and imagination urge, the more will the moral sentiment grow 
in you, the more will it became habitual"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 95]
<p>
So, anarchism is based (essentially) upon the ethical maxim <i>"treat others as
you would like them to treat you under similar circumstances."</i> Anarchists
are neither egoists nor altruists when it come to moral stands, they are
simply <b>human.</b>
<p>
As Kropotkin noted, <i>"egoism"</i> and <i>"altruism"</i> both have their roots in the 
same motive - <i>"however great the difference between the two actions in 
their result of humanity, the motive is the same. It is the quest for 
pleasure."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 85]
<p>
For anarchists, a person's sense of ethics must be developed by themselves
and requires the full use of an individual's mental abilities as part of
a social grouping, as part of a community. As capitalism and other forms of 
authority weaken the individual's imagination and reduce the number of 
outlets for them to exercise their reason under the dead weight of hierarchy 
as well as disrupting community, little wonder that life under capitalism 
is marked by a stark disregard for others and lack of ethical behaviour. 
<p>
Combined with these factors is the role played by inequality within 
society. Without equality, there can be no real ethics for <i>"Justice 
implies Equality. . . only those who consider <b>others</b> as their
<b>equals</b> can obey the rule: 'Do not do to others what you do not wish 
them to do to you.' A serf-owner and a slave merchant can evidently
not recognise . . . the 'categorial imperative' [of treating people as
ends in themselves and not as means] as regards serfs [or slaves] because
they do not look upon them as equals."</i> Hence the <i>"greatest obstacle
to the maintenance of a certain moral level in our present societies
lies in the absence of social equality. Without <b>real</b> equality, the
sense of justice can never be universally developed, because <b>Justice
implies the recognition of Equality.</b>"</i> [_Peter Kropotkin, <b>Evolution
and Environment</b>, p. 88 and p. 79]
<p>
Capitalism, like any society, gets the ethical behaviour it deserves..
<p>
In a society which moves between moral relativism and absolutism it is 
little wonder that egoism becomes confused with egotism. By disempowering
individuals from developing their own ethical ideas and instead encouraging
blind obedience to external authority (and so moral relativism once 
individual's think that they are without that authority's power), capitalist
society ensures an impoverishment of individuality and ego. As Erich Fromm
puts it:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The failure of modern culture lies not in its principle of individualism, 
not in the idea that mortal virtue is the same as the pursuit of 
self-interest, but in the deterioration of the meaning of self-interest; 
not that they are <b>not concerned with their self-interest,</b> but that they 
are <b>not</b> concerned enough with the interest of their real self; <b>not</b> in 
the fact that they are too selfish, but that they do not love themselves."</i> 
[<b>Man for Himself</b>, p. 139]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, strictly speaking, anarchism is based upon an egoistic frame
of reference - ethical ideas must be an expression of what gives us pleasure
as a whole individual (both rational and emotional, reason and empathy).
This leads all anarchists to reject the false division between egoism and
altruism and recognise that what many people (for example, capitalists)
call "egoism" results in individual self-negation and a reduction of
individual self-interest. As Kropotkin argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"What was it that morality, evolving in animal and human societies, was
striving for, if not for the opposition to the promptings of narrow
egoism, and bringing up humanity in the spirit of the development of
altruism? The very expressions 'egoism' and 'altruism' are incorrect,
because there can be no pure altruism without an admixture of personal
pleasure - and consequently, without egoism. It would therefore be more
nearly correct to say that ethics aims at <b>the development of social
habits and the weakening of the narrowly personal habits.</b> These last
make the individual lose sight of society through his regard for his own
person, and therefore they even fail to attain their object, i.e. the
welfare of the individual, whereas the development of habits of work
in common, and of mutual aid in general, leads to a series of beneficial
consequences in the family as well as society."</i> [<b>Ethics</b>, pp. 307-8]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore anarchism is based upon the rejection of moral absolutism
(i.e. <i>"God's Law,"</i> <i>"Natural Law,"</i> <i>"Man's Nature,"</i> 
<i>"A is A"</i>) and the 
narrow egotism which moral relativism so easily lends itself to. Instead, 
anarchists recognise that there exists concepts of right and wrong which 
exist outside of an individual's evaluation of their own acts.
<p>
This is because of the social nature of humanity. The interactions between
individuals does develop into a social maxim which, according to Kropotkin,
be summarised as <i>" Is it useful to society? Then it is good. Is it hurtful?
Then it is bad."</i> [<i>"Anarchist Morality"</i>, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 91] What acts human
beings think of as right or wrong is not, however, unchanging and the 
<i>"estimate of what is useful or harmful . . .changes, but the foundation
remains the same."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 92]
<p>
This sense of empathy, based upon a critical mind, is the fundamental basis
of social ethics - the 'what-should-be' can be seen as an ethical criterion
for the truth or validity of an objective 'what-is.' So, while recognising 
the root of ethics in nature, anarchists consider ethics as fundamentally a
<b>human</b> idea - the product of life, thought and evolution created by 
individuals and generalised by social living and community.
<p>
So what, for anarchists, is unethical behaviour? Essentially anything
that denies the most precious achievement of history: the liberty,
uniqueness and dignity of the individual.
<p>
Individuals can see what actions are unethical because, due to empathy, they 
can place themselves into the position of those suffering the behaviour.
Acts which restrict individuality can be considered unethical for two 
(interrelated) reasons:
<p>
Firstly, the protection and development of individuality in all enriches the
life of every individual and it gives pleasure to individuals because of
the diversity it produces. This egoist basis of ethics reinforces the
second (social) reason, namely that individuality is good for society for 
it enriches the community and social life, strengthening it and allowing 
it to grow and evolve. As Bakunin constantly argued, progress is marked by
a movement from <i>"the simple to the complex"</i> or, in the words of Herbert
Read, it <i>"is measured by the degree of differentiation within a society.
If the individual is a unit in a corporate mass, his [or her] life will be 
limited, dull, and mechanical. If the individual is a unit on his [or her] 
own, with space and potentiality for separate action . . .he can develop -
develop in the only real meaning of the word - develop in consciousness of
strength, vitality, and joy."</i> [<i>"The Philosophy of Anarchism,"</i> 
in <b>Anarchy and Order</b>, p. 37]
<p>
This defence of individuality is learned from nature. In an ecosystem, 
diversity is strength and so biodiversity becomes a source of basic ethical 
insight. In its most basic form, it provides a guide to <i>"help us distinguish 
which of our actions serve the thrust of natural evolution and which of them 
impede them."</i> [Murray Bookchin, <b>The Ecology of Freedom</b>, p. 342]
<p>
So, the ethical concept <i>"lies in the feeling of sociality, inherent in the 
entire animal world and in the conceptions of equity, which constitutes one 
of the fundamental primary judgements of human reason."</i> [<b>Ethics</b>, pp. 311-2]
Therefore anarchists embrace <i>"the permanent presence of a <b>double tendency</b>
- towards greater development on the one side, of <b>sociality</b>, and, on the 
other side, of a consequent increase of the intensity of life which results 
in an increase of happiness for the <b>individuals</b>, and in progress - 
physical, intellectual, and moral."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 19-20]
<p>
Anarchist attitudes to authority, the state, capitalism, private property 
and so on all come from our ethical belief that the liberty of individuals 
is of prime concern and that our ability to empathize with others, 
to see ourselves in others (our basic equality and common individuality, 
in other words).
<p>
Hence anarchism combines the subjective evaluation by individuals of a given
set of circumstances and actions with the drawing of objective interpersonal 
conclusions of these evaluations based upon empathic bounds and discussion 
between equals. Hence anarchism is based on a humanistic approach to ethical 
ideas, one that evolves along with society and individual development.
<p>
Hence an <b>ethical</b> society is one in which <i>"[d]ifference among people will
be respected, indeed fostered, as elements that enrich the unity of 
experience and phenomenon . . . [the different] will be conceived of as 
individual parts of a whole all the richer because of its complexity."</i> 
[Murray Bookchin, <b>Post Scarcity Anarchism</b>, p. 82]
<p>

</BODY>
</HTML>