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<TITLE>Section G - Introduction</TITLE>
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<p>

<H1>Section G - Is individualist anarchism capitalistic?</H1>
<p>
The short answer is, no, it is not. All the individualist anarchists
were opposed to the exploitation of labour and all forms of non-labour
income (such as profits, interest and rent) and property. As such it is 
deeply <b>anti</b>-capitalist and many individualist anarchists, including 
Benjamin Tucker, considered themselves as socialists (indeed, Tucker 
often called his theory <b><i>"Anarchistic-Socialism"</i></b>).
<p>
So, in this section of our anarchist FAQ we indicate why the individualist 
anarchists cannot be classified as "ancestors" of the bogus libertarians 
of the "anarcho"-capitalist school. Instead they must be (due to their
opposition to wage slavery, capitalist property, interest, rent and profit
as well as their concern for equality and co-operation) classified as
libertarian <b>socialists</b>, albeit being on the liberal wing of anarchist
thought. So while <b>some</b> of their ideas do overlap with those of the 
"anarcho"-capitalist school they are not capitalistic, no more than 
the overlap between their ideas and anarcho-communism makes them 
communistic. 
<p>
In this context, the creation of "anarcho"-capitalism may be regarded as
yet another tactic by capitalists to reinforce the public's perception
that there are no viable alternatives to capitalism, i.e. by claiming that
"even anarchism implies capitalism." In order to justify this claim, they
have searched the history of anarchism in an effort to find some thread in
the movement that can be used for this purpose. They think that with the
individualist anarchists they have found such a thread. 
<p>
However, as we've already seen, by its very definition -- as opposition 
to hierarchical authority -- <b>all</b> threads of anarchism are <b>incompatible</b>
with capitalism. As Malatesta argued, <i>"anarchy, as understood by the
anarchists and as only they can interpret it, is based on socialism. 
Indeed were it not for those schools of socialism which artificially
divide the natural unity of the social question, and consider some 
aspects out of context . . . we could say straight out that anarchy
is synonymous with socialism, for both stand for the abolition of
the domination and exploitation of man by man, whether exercised 
at bayonet point or by a monopoly of the means of life."</i> Without 
socialism, liberty (i.e. liberalism) is purely <i>"liberty . . . for 
the strong and the property owners to oppress and exploit the weak, 
those who have nothing . . . [so] lead[ing] to exploitation and 
domination, in other words, to authority . . . for freedom is not
possible without equality, and real anarchy cannot exist without
solidarity, without socialism."</i> [<b>Anarchy</b>, p. 47 and p. 46]
<p>
Nevertheless, in the individualists we find anarchism
coming closest to "classical" liberalism and being influenced by the ideas
of Herbert Spencer, a classical liberal and proto-libertarian capitalist.
This influence, as was noted by Peter Kropotkin at the time (e.g. in
<b>Modern Science and Anarchism</b>), led individualist anarchists like 
Benjamin Tucker to support contract theory in the name of freedom, 
apparently without being aware of the authoritarian social relationships 
that could be implied by it, as can be seen under capitalism. Therefore, 
this section can also be considered, in part, as a continuation of the 
discussion begun in <a href="secA3.html">section A.3</a>.
<p>
Few thinkers are completely consistent. Given Tucker's adamant
anti-statism and anti-capitalism, it is likely that had he realised 
the statism implicit in contract theory, he would have modified
his views in such a way as to eliminate the contradiction. It is
understandable why he failed to do so, however; for he viewed
individualist anarchism as a society of workers, not one of capitalists
and workers. His opposition to usury logically implies artisan and 
co-operative labour -- people selling the products of their labour, as 
opposed to the labour itself -- which itself implies self-management 
in production (and so society), not authoritarianism. Nevertheless, 
it is this inconsistency -- the non-anarchist aspect of individualist 
anarchism -- which right "libertarians" like Murray Rothbard select 
and concentrate on, ignoring the anti-capitalist context in which 
this aspect of individualist thought exists within. As David Wieck 
points out: 
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Out of the history of anarchist thought and action Rothbard has pulled 
forth a single thread, the thread of individualism, and defines that 
individualism in a way alien even to the spirit of a Max Stirner or a 
Benjamin Tucker, whose heritage I presume he would claim -- to say 
nothing of how alien is his way to the spirit of Godwin, Proudhon, 
Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, and the historically anonymous persons 
who through their thoughts and action have tried to give anarchism a 
living meaning. Out of this thread Rothbard manufactures one more 
bourgeois ideology."</i> [David Wieck, <i>"Anarchist Justice"</i>, <b>Nomos XIX</b>,
pp. 227-228]
</blockquote><p>
It is with this in mind that we discuss the ideas of people like Tucker.
As this section of the FAQ will indicate, even at its most liberal, 
individualist, extreme anarchism was fundamentally <b>anti</b>-capitalist. 
Any concepts which "anarcho"-capitalism imports from the individualist
tradition ignore the social context of self-employment and artisan
production within which those concepts arose, thus turning them into
something radically different from what was intended by their originators.
<p>
It is not a fitting tribute to the individualist anarchists that their
ideas are today being associated with the capitalism that they so clearly
despised and wished to abolish.
<p>

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