File: sectionA.txt

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anarchism 9.5-1
  • links: PTS
  • area: main
  • in suites: woody
  • size: 12,192 kB
  • ctags: 493
  • sloc: makefile: 40; sh: 8
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Section A - What is Anarchism? 
 
A.1 What is anarchism?  
	A.1.1		What does "anarchy" mean? 
	A.1.2 	What does "anarchism" mean? 
	A.1.3		Why is anarchism also called libertarian socialism?	 
	A.1.4 	Are anarchists socialists?  
	A.1.5 	Where does anarchism come from? 
 
A.2 What does anarchism stand for? 
	A.2.1 	What is the essence of anarchism?  
	A.2.2 	Why do anarchists emphasise liberty? 
	A.2.3 	Are anarchists in favour of organisation? 
	A.2.4 	Are anarchists in favour of "absolute" liberty? 
	A.2.5 	Why are anarchists in favour of equality?  
	A.2.6 	Why is solidarity important to anarchists? 
	A.2.7 	Why do anarchists argue for self-liberation? 
	A.2.8 	Is it possible to be an anarchist without opposing hierarchy? 
	A.2.9 	What sort of society do anarchists want? 
	A.2.10 	What will abolishing hierarchy mean and achieve? 
	A.2.11 	Why do most anarchists support direct democracy? 
	A.2.12 	Is consensus an alternative to direct democracy? 
	A.2.13 	Are anarchists individualists or collectivists? 
	A.2.14 	Why is voluntarism not enough? 
	A.2.15 	What about Human Nature? 
	A.2.16 	Does anarchism require "perfect" people to work? 
	A.2.17 	Aren't most people too stupid for a free society to work? 
	A.2.18 	Do anarchists support terrorism? 
	A.2.19 	What ethical views do anarchists hold? 
 
A.3 What types of anarchism are there? 
	A.3.1 	What are the differences between individualist and 
	        	social anarchists? 
	A.3.2 	Are there different types of social anarchism? 
	A.3.3 	What kinds of Green anarchism is there? 
	A.3.4 	Is anarchism pacifistic? 
	A.3.5 	What is anarcha-feminism? 
	A.3.6		What is Cultural Anarchism? 
	A.3.7 	Are there religious anarchists? 
	A.3.8 	What is "anarchism without adjectives"? 
 
A.4 Who are the major anarchist thinkers? 
 
A.5 What are some examples of "Anarchy in Action"? 
	A.5.1		The Paris Commune 
	A.5.2 	The Haymarket Martyrs 
	A.5.3 	Building the Syndicalist Unions 
	A.5.4 	Anarchists in the Russian Revolution. 
	A.5.5 	Anarchists in the Italian Factory Occupations 
	A.5.6 	Anarchism and the Spanish Revolution. 
	A.5.7 	The May-June revolt in France, 1968. 
 
Section A - What is Anarchism? 
 
Modern civilisation faces three potentially catastrophic crises:  
(1) social breakdown, a shorthand term for rising rates of poverty, 
homelessness, crime, violence, alienation, drug and alcohol 
abuse, social isolation, political apathy, dehumanisation, the 
deterioration of community structures of self-help and mutual 
aid, etc.; (2) destruction of  the planet's delicate ecosystems on 
which all complex forms of life depend; and (3) the proliferation 
of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.  
 
Orthodox opinion, including that of Establishment "experts," mainstream 
media, and politicians, generally regards these crises as separable, each 
having its own causes and therefore capable of being dealt with on a 
piecemeal basis, in isolation from the other two. Obviously, however, this 
"orthodox" approach isn't working, since the problems in question are 
getting worse. Unless some better approach is taken soon, we are clearly  
headed for disaster, either from catastrophic war, ecological Armageddon, 
or a descent into urban savagery -- or all of the above.  
 
Anarchism offers a unified and coherent way of making sense of these 
crises, by tracing them to a common source. This source is the principle 
of *hierarchical authority,* which underlies the major institutions of all 
"civilised" societies, whether capitalist or "communist." Anarchist 
analysis therefore starts from the fact that all of our major institutions 
are in the form of hierarchies, i.e. organisations that concentrate power 
at the top of a pyramidal structure, such as corporations, government 
bureaucracies, armies, political parties, religious organisations, 
universities, etc. It then goes on to show how the authoritarian 
relations inherent in such hierarchies negatively affect individuals, 
their society, and culture. In the first part of this FAQ (sections A - 
E) we will present the anarchist analysis of hierarchical authority and 
its negative effects in greater detail.  
 
It should not be thought, however, that anarchism is just a critique of 
modern civilisation, just "negative" or "destructive." Because it is much 
more than that. For one thing, it is also a proposal for a free society.  
Emma Goldman expressed what might be called the "anarchist question" as 
follows: "The problem that confronts us today. . . is how to be one's 
self and yet in oneness with others, to feel deeply with all human beings 
and still retain one's own characteristic qualities." [_Red Emma Speaks_, 
pp. 133-134] In other words, how can we create a society in which the 
potential for each individual is realised but not at the expense of 
others? In order to achieve this, anarchists envision a society in which, 
instead of being controlled "from the top down" through hierarchical 
structures of centralised power, the affairs of humanity will "be managed 
by individuals or voluntary associations." [Ben Tucker, _Anarchist Reader_, 
p. 149] Later sections of the FAQ (sections I and J) will describe  
anarchism's positive proposals for organising society in this way, "from  
the bottom up." However, some of the constructive core of anarchism will  
be seen even in the earlier sections.  
 
As Clifford Harper elegantly puts it, "[l]ike all great ideas, anarchism is 
pretty simple when you get down to it -- human beings are at their best 
when they are living free of authority, deciding things among themselves 
rather than being ordered about." [_Anarchy: A Graphic Guide_, p. vii] 
Due to their desire to maximise individual and therefore social freedom, 
anarchists wish to dismantle all institutions that repress people: 
 
"Common to all Anarchists is the desire to free society of all political 
and social coercive institutions which stand in the way of the development 
of a free humanity" [Rudolf Rocker, _Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 16]  
 
As we'll see, all such institutions are hierarchies, and their repressive 
nature stems directly from their hierarchical form.  
 
Anarchism is a socio-economic and political theory, but not an ideology. 
The difference is *very* important. Basically, theory means you have 
ideas; an ideology means ideas have you. Anarchism is a body of ideas, 
but they are flexible, in a constant state of evolution and flux, and open 
to modification in light of new data. As society changes and develops, so 
does anarchism. An ideology, in contrast, is a set of "fixed" ideas which 
people believe dogmatically, usually ignoring reality or "changing" it so 
as to fit with the ideology, which is (by definition) correct. All such 
"fixed" ideas are the source of tyranny and contradiction, leading to 
attempts to make everyone fit onto a Procrustean Bed. This will be true 
regardless of the ideology in question -- Leninism, Objectivism, 
"Libertarianism," or whatever -- all will all have the same effect: the 
destruction of real individuals in the name of a doctrine, a doctrine that 
usually serves the interest of some ruling elite. Or, as Michael Bakunin 
puts it:  
 
"Until now all human history has been only a perpetual and bloody 
immolation of millions of poor human beings in honour of some 
pitiless abstraction -- God, country, power of state, national honour, 
historical rights, judicial rights, political liberty, public welfare."  
[_God and the State_, p. 59]
 
Dogmas are static and deathlike in their rigidity, often the work of some 
dead "prophet," religious or secular, whose followers erect his or her 
ideas into an idol, immutable as stone. Anarchists want the living to 
bury the dead so that the living can get on with their lives. The living 
should rule the dead, not vice versa. Ideologies are the nemesis of 
critical thinking and consequently of freedom, providing a book of rules 
and "answers" which relieve us of the "burden" of thinking for ourselves. 
 
In producing this FAQ on anarchism it is not our intention to give you 
the "correct" answers or a new rule book. We will explain a bit about 
what anarchism has been in the past, but we will focus more on its modern 
forms and why *we* are anarchists today. The FAQ is an attempt to provoke 
thought and analysis on your part. If you are looking for a new ideology, 
then sorry, anarchism is not for you. 
 
While anarchists try to be realistic and practical, we are not "reasonable" 
people. "Reasonable" people uncritically accept what the "experts" and 
"authorities" tell them is true, and so they will always remain slaves! 
Anarchists know that, as Bakunin wrote:  
 
"[a] person is strong only when he stands upon his own truth, when he speaks  
and acts from his deepest convictions. Then, whatever the situation he may be  
in, he always knows what he must say and do. He may fall, but he cannot bring 
shame upon himself or his causes." [_Statism and Anarchy_ - cited in Albert  
Meltzer, _I couldn't Paint Golden Angels_, p. 2] 
 
What Bakunin describes is the power of independent thought, which is the 
power of freedom. We encourage you not to be "reasonable," not to accept 
what others tell you, but to think and act for yourself! 
 
One last point: to state the obvious, this is *not* the final word on 
anarchism. Many anarchists will disagree with much that is written here, 
but this is to be expected when people think for themselves. All we wish 
to do is indicate the *basic* ideas of anarchism and give our analysis of 
certain topics based on how we understand and apply these ideas. We are 
sure, however, that all anarchists will agree with the core ideas we 
present, even if they may disagree with our application of them here and 
there. 
 
A.1 What is anarchism? 
 
Anarchism is a political theory which aims to create anarchy, "the 
absence of a master, of a sovereign." [P-J Proudhon, _What is Property_, 
p. 264] In other words, anarchism is a political theory which aims 
to create a society within which individuals freely co-operate together  
as equals. As such anarchism opposes all forms of hierarchical 
control -- be that control by the state or a capitalist -- as harmful 
to the individual and their individuality as well as unnecessary. 
 
In the words of anarchist L. Susan Brown: 
 
"While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State 
movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a 
simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that 
power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate 
more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and 
economic organisation." [_The Politics of Individualism_, p. 106] 
 
However, "anarchism" and "anarchy" are undoubtedly the most misrepresented  
ideas in political theory. Generally, the words are used to mean "chaos" or 
"without order," and so, by implication, anarchists desire social chaos 
and a return to the "laws of the jungle." 
 
This process of misrepresentation is not without historical parallel. For 
example, in countries which have considered government by one person 
(monarchy) necessary, the words "republic" or "democracy" have been used 
precisely like "anarchy," to imply disorder and confusion. Those with a 
vested interest in preserving the status quo will obviously wish to imply 
that opposition to the current system cannot work in practice, and that a 
new form of society will only lead to chaos. Or, as Errico Malatesta 
expresses it:  
 
"since it was thought that government was necessary and that without  
government there could only be disorder and confusion, it was natural  
and logical that anarchy, which means absence of government, should  
sound like absence of order." [_Anarchy_, p. 12] 
 
Anarchists want to change this "common-sense" idea of "anarchy," so people 
will see that government and other hierarchical social relationships are 
both harmful *and* unnecessary: 
 
"Change opinion, convince the public that government is not only  
unnecessary, but extremely harmful, and then the word anarchy, just  
because it means absence of government, will come to mean for everybody:  
natural order, unity of human needs and the interests of all, complete  
freedom within complete solidarity." [Ibid., pp. 12-13]

This FAQ is part of the process of changing the commonly-held ideas  
regarding anarchism and the meaning of anarchy. 
 
A.1.1 What does "anarchy" mean? 
 
The word "anarchy" is from the Greek, prefix *an* (or *a*), meaning 
"not," "the want of," "the absence of," or "the lack of", plus *archos*, 
meaning "a ruler," "director", "chief," "person in charge," or "authority." 
Or, as Peter Kropotkin put it, Anarchy comes from the Greek words meaning
"contrary to authority." [_Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 284]

While the Greek words *anarchos* and *anarchia* are often taken to
mean "having no government" or "being without a government," as can be 
seen, the strict, original meaning of anarchism was not simply "no 
government." "An-archy" means "without a ruler," or more generally, 
"without authority," and it is in this sense that anarchists have 
continually used the word. For example, we find Kropotkin arguing
that anarchism "attacks not only capital, but also the main sources
of the power of capitalism: law, authority, and the State." [Op. Cit.,
p. 150] For anarchists, anarchy means "not necessarily absence of 
order, as is generally supposed, but an absence of rule." [Benjamin 
Tucker, _Instead of a Book_, p. 13] Hence David Weick's excellent 
summary:

"Anarchism can be understood as the *generic* social and political
idea that expresses negation of *all* power, sovereignty, domination,
and hierarchical division, and a will to their dissolution. . . 
Anarchism is therefore more than anti-statism . . . [even if] 
government (the state) . . . is, appropriately, the central focus 
of anarchist critique." [_Reinventing Anarchy_, p. 139]

For this reason, rather than being purely anti-government or anti-state, 
anarchism is primarily a movement against *hierarchy.* Why? Because 
hierarchy is the organisational structure that embodies authority. Since 
the state is the "highest" form of hierarchy, anarchists are, by definition, 
anti-state; but this is *not* a sufficient definition of anarchism. This 
means that real anarchists are opposed to all forms of hierarchical 
organisation, not only the state. In the words of Brian Morris:

"The term anarchy comes from the Greek, and essentially means 'no
ruler.' Anarchists are people who reject all forms of government
or coercive authority, all forms of hierarchy and domination. 
They are therefore opposed to what the Mexican anarchist Flores
Magon called the 'sombre trinity' -- state, capital and the
church. Anarchists are thus opposed to both capitalism and to
the state, as well as to all forms of religious authority. But
anarchists also seek to establish or bring about by varying means,
a condition of anarchy, that is, a decentralised society without
coercive institutions, a society organised through a federation
of voluntary associations." ["Anthropology and Anarchism," 
_Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed_ no. 45, p. 38]

Reference to "hierarchy" in this context is a fairly recent development -- 
the "classical" anarchists such as Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin did use  
the word, but rarely (they usually preferred "authority," which was used as 
short-hand for "authoritarian"). However, it's clear from their writings  
that theirs was a philosophy against hierarchy, against any inequality of  
power or privileges between individuals. Bakunin spoke of this when he
attacked "official" authority but defended "natural influence," and also 
when he said: 
 
"Do you want to make it impossible for anyone to oppress his fellow-man?  
Then make sure that no one shall possess power." [_The Political Philosophy  
of Bakunin_, p. 271]  
 
As Jeff Draughn notes, "while it has always been a latent part of the 
'revolutionary project,' only recently has this broader concept of  
anti-hierarchy arisen for more specific scrutiny. Nonetheless, the root 
of this is plainly visible in the Greek roots of the word 'anarchy.'"  
[_Between Anarchism and Libertarianism: Defining a New Movement_] 
 
We stress that this opposition to hierarchy is, for anarchists, not  
limited to just the state or government. It includes all authoritarian  
economic and social relationships as well as political ones, particularly  
those associated with capitalist property and wage labour. This can be 
seen from Proudhon's argument that "*Capital* . . . in the political field 
is analogous to *government* . . . The economic idea of capitalism . . .  
[and] the politics of government or of authority . . . [are] identical . . .  
[and] linked in various ways. . . What capital does to labour . . . the  
State [does] to liberty . . ." [quoted by Max Nettlau, _A Short History  
of Anarchism_, pp. 43-44] Thus we find Emma Goldman opposing capitalism
as it involved people selling their labour and so ensuring that "the 
worker's inclination and judgement are subordinated to the will of a
master." [_Red Emma Speaks_, p. 36] Forty years earlier Bakunin made
the same point when he argued that under the current system "the worker 
sells his person and his liberty for a given time" to the capitalist 
in exchange for a wage [Op. Cit., p. 187].
 
Thus "anarchy" means more than just "no government," it means opposition 
to all forms of authoritarian organisation and hierarchy. In Kropotkin's 
words, "the origin of the anarchist inception of society . . . [lies in] 
the criticism . . . of the hierarchical organisations and the authoritarian 
conceptions of  society; and . . . the analysis of the tendencies that are 
seen in the progressive movements of mankind." [_Kropotkin's Revolutionary 
Pamphlets_, p. 158] Thus any attempt to assert that anarchy is purely
anti-state is a misrepresentation of the word and the way it has been 
used by the anarchist movement. As Brian Morris argues, "when one 
examines the writings of classical anarchists . . . as well as the 
character of anarchist movements . . . it is clearly evident that it 
has never had this limited vision [of just being against the state]. It 
has always challenged all forms of authority and exploitation, and has 
been equally critical of capitalism and religion as it has been of the 
state." [Op. Cit., p. 40]

And, just to state the obvious, anarchy does not mean chaos nor do anarchists 
seek to create chaos or disorder. Instead, we wish to create a society  
based upon individual freedom and voluntary co-operation. In other words, 
order from the bottom up, not disorder imposed from the top down by  
authorities. 

A.1.2 What does "anarchism" mean? 
 
To quote Peter Kropotkin, Anarchism is "the no-government system of  
socialism." [_Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 46] In other 
words, "the abolition of exploitation and oppression of man by man, 
that is the abolition of private property [i.e. capitalism] and 
government." [Errico Malatesta, "Towards Anarchism," in _Man!_, 
M. Graham (ed.), p. 75] 
 
Anarchism, therefore, is a political theory that aims to create a society  
which is without political, economic or social hierarchies. Anarchists  
maintain that anarchy, the absence of rulers, is a viable form of social  
system and so work for the maximisation of individual liberty and social  
equality. They see the goals of liberty and equality as mutually  
self-supporting. Or, in Bakunin's famous dictum:  
 
"We are convinced that freedom without Socialism is privilege and  
injustice, and that Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality."  
[_The Political Philosophy of Bakunin_, p. 269] 
 
The history of human society proves this point. Liberty without equality 
is only liberty for the powerful, and equality without liberty is 
impossible and a justification for slavery.  
 
While there are many different types of anarchism (from individualist  
anarchism to communist-anarchism -- see section A.3 for more details), 
there has always been two common positions at the core of all of them --  
opposition to government and opposition to capitalism. In the words of  
the individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker, anarchism insists on "the  
abolition of the State and the abolition of usury; on no more government  
of man by man, and no more exploitation of man by man." [cited in  
_Native American Anarchism: A Study of Left-Wing American Individualism_  
by Eunice Schuster, p. 140] All anarchists view profit, interest and rent  
as *usury* (i.e. as exploitation) and so oppose them and the conditions  
that create them just as much as they oppose government and the State. 
 
More generally, in the words of L. Susan Brown, the "unifying link" within  
anarchism "is a universal condemnation of hierarchy and domination and  
a willingness to fight for the freedom of the human individual." [_The 
Politics of Individualism_, p. 108] For anarchists, a person cannot be 
free if they are subject to state or capitalist authority. 
 
So Anarchism is a political theory which advocates the creation of 
anarchy, a society based on the maxim of "no rulers." To achieve this, 
"[i]n common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private 
ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is 
condemned to disappear: and that all requisites for production must, and 
will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common 
by the producers of wealth. And . . . they maintain that the ideal of the 
political organisation of society is a condition of things where the 
functions of government are reduced to minimum. . . [and] that the 
ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government  
to nil -- that is, to a society without government, to an-archy." [Peter 
Kropotkin, Op. Cit., p. 46] 
 
Thus anarchism is both positive and negative. It analyses and critiques 
current society while at the same time offering a vision of a potential 
new society -- a society that fulfils certain human needs which the 
current one denies. These needs, at their most basic, are liberty, 
equality and solidarity, which will be discussed in section A.2. 
 
Anarchism unites critical analysis with hope, for, as Bakunin pointed  
out, "the urge to destroy is a creative urge." One cannot build a better 
society without understanding what is wrong with the present one.  
 
A.1.3 Why is anarchism also called libertarian socialism? 
 
Many anarchists, seeing the negative nature of the definition of 
"anarchism," have used other terms to emphasise the inherently positive 
and constructive aspect of their ideas. The most common terms used are 
"free socialism," "free communism," "libertarian socialism," and 
"libertarian communism." For anarchists, libertarian socialism, 
libertarian communism, and anarchism are virtually interchangeable.  
 
Considering definitions from the _American Heritage Dictionary_, 
we find: 
 
LIBERTARIAN: one who believes in freedom of action and thought; 
one who believes in free will. 
 
SOCIALISM: a social system in which the producers possess both 
political power and the means of producing and distributing goods. 
 
Just taking those two first definitions and fusing them yields: 
 
LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM: a social system which believes in 
freedom of  action and thought and free will, in which the producers 
possess both political power and the means of producing and 
distributing goods. 
 
(Although we must add that our usual comments on the lack of political 
sophistication of dictionaries still holds. We only use these definitions 
to show that "libertarian" does not imply "free market" capitalism nor 
"socialism" state ownership. Other dictionaries, obviously, will have 
different definitions -- particularly for socialism. Those wanting to 
debate dictionary definitions are free to pursue this unending and 
politically useless hobby but we will not). 
 
However, due to the creation of the Libertarian Party in the USA,  
many people now consider the idea of "libertarian socialism" to be a 
contradiction in terms. Indeed, many "Libertarians" think anarchists are 
just attempting to associate the "anti-libertarian" ideas of "socialism" 
(as Libertarians conceive it) with Libertarian ideology in order to make 
those "socialist" ideas more "acceptable" -- in other words, trying to 
steal the "libertarian" label from its rightful possessors.  
 
Nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists have been using the term 
"libertarian" to describe themselves and their ideas since the 1850's. The  
revolutionary anarchist Joseph Dejacque published _Le Libertaire, Journal  
du Mouvement social_ in New York between 1858 and 1861 [Max Nettlau, 
_A Short History of Anarchism_, p. 75]. According to anarchist historian Max  
Nettlau, the use of the term "libertarian communism" dates from November,  
1880 when a French anarchist congress adopted it [Ibid., p. 145]. The use 
of the term "Libertarian" by anarchists became more popular from the 1890s 
onward after it was used in France in an attempt to get round anti-anarchist  
laws and to avoid the negative associations of the word "anarchy" in the  
popular mind (Sebastien Faure and Louise Michel published the paper  
_Le Libertaire_  -- _The Libertarian_ -- in France in 1895, for example).  
Since then, particularly outside America, it has *always* been associated  
with anarchist ideas and movements.  Taking a more recent example, in the  
USA, anarchists organised "The Libertarian League" in July 1954, which had  
staunch anarcho-syndicalist principles and lasted until 1965. The US-based  
"Libertarian" Party, on the other hand has only existed since the early  
1970's, well over 100 years after anarchists first used the term to describe  
their political ideas (and 90 years after the expression "libertarian  
communism" was first adopted). It is that party, not the anarchists, who  
have "stolen" the word. Later, in Section B, we will discuss why the idea  
of a "libertarian" capitalism (as desired by the Libertarian Party) is  
a contradiction in terms.  
 
As we will also explain in Section I, only a libertarian-socialist system 
of ownership can maximise individual freedom. Needless to say, state 
ownership -- what is commonly *called* "socialism" -- is, for anarchists, 
not socialism at all. In fact, as we will elaborate in Section H, state 
"socialism" is just a form of capitalism, with no socialist content 
whatever. 
 
A.1.4 Are anarchists socialists? 
 
Yes. All branches of anarchism are opposed to capitalism. This is because 
capitalism is based upon oppression and exploitation (see sections B and C).  
Anarchists reject the "notion that men cannot work together unless they  
have a driving-master to take a percentage of their product" and think 
that in an anarchist society "the real workmen will make their own  
regulations, decide when and where and how things shall be done." By 
so doing workers would free themselves "from the terrible bondage of 
capitalism." [Voltairine de Cleyre, "Anarchism," pp. 30-34, _Man!_,  
M. Graham (ed.), p. 32, p. 34] 
 
(We must stress here that anarchists are opposed to *all* economic forms  
which are based on domination and exploitation, including feudalism,  
Soviet-style "socialism" and so on. We just concentrate on capitalism 
because that is what is dominating the world just now). 
 
Individualists like Benjamin Tucker along with social anarchists like 
Proudhon and Bakunin proclaimed themselves "socialists." They did so 
because, as Kropotkin put it in his classic essay "Modern Science and 
Anarchism," "[s]o long as Socialism was understood in its wide, generic, 
and true sense -- as an effort to *abolish* the exploitation of Labour by 
Capital -- the Anarchists were marching hand-in-hands with the Socialists 
of that time." [_Evolution and Environment_, p. 81] Or, in Tucker's words, 
"the bottom claim of Socialism [is] that labour should be put in possession 
of its own," a claim that both "the two schools of Socialistic thought . . . 
State Socialism and Anarchism" agreed upon. [_The Anarchist Reader_, p. 144] 
Hence the word "socialist" was originally defined to include "all those 
who believed in the individual's right to possess what he or she produced." 
[Lance Klafta, "Ayn Rand and the Perversion of Libertarianism," in 
_Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed_, no. 34] This opposition to 
exploitation (or usury) is shared by all true anarchists and places 
them under the socialist banner.

For most socialists, "the only guarantee not to be robbed of the fruits
of your labour is to possess the instruments of labour." [Peter Kropotkin,
_The Conquest of Bread_, p. 145] For this reason Proudhon, for example,
supported workers' co-operatives, where "every individual employed in the
association . . . has an undivided share in the property of the company"
because by "participation in losses and gains . . . the collective force
[i.e. surplus] ceases to be a source of profits for a small number of 
managers: it becomes the property of all workers." [_The General Idea
of the Revolution_, p. 222 and p. 223] Thus, in addition to desiring the 
end of exploitation of labour by capital, true socialists also desire a 
society within which the producers own and control the means of production. 
The means by which the producers will do this is a moot point in anarchist
and other socialist circles, but the desire remains a common one. Anarchists
favour direct workers' control and either ownership by workers' associations
or by the commune (see section A.3 on the different types of anarchists). 

Moreover, anarchists also reject capitalism for being authoritarian *as
well as* exploitative. Under capitalism, workers do not govern themselves 
during the production process nor have control over the product of their 
labour. Such a situation is hardly based on equal freedom for all, nor 
can it be non-exploitative, and is so opposed by anarchists. This 
perspective can best be found in the work of Proudhon's (who inspired 
both Tucker and Bakunin) where he argues that anarchism would see 
"[c]apitalistic and proprietary exploitation stopped everywhere 
[and] the wage system abolished" for "either the workman. . . will 
be simply the employee of the proprietor-capitalist-promoter; or he 
will participate . . . In the first case the workman is subordinated, 
exploited: his permanent condition is one of obedience. . . In the 
second case he resumes his dignity as a man and citizen. . . he forms 
part of the producing organisation, of which he was before but the 
slave . . . we need not hesitate, for we have no choice. . . it is 
necessary to form an ASSOCIATION among workers . . . because without 
that, they would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and 
there would ensue two. . . castes of masters and wage-workers, which 
is repugnant to a free and democratic society." [Op. Cit., p. 233 and 
pp. 215-216]

Therefore *all* anarchists are anti-capitalist ("If labour owned the 
wealth it produced, there would be no capitalism" [Alexander Berkman, 
_What is Communist Anarchism?_, p. 37]). Benjamin Tucker, for example 
-- the anarchist most influenced by liberalism (as we will discuss 
later) -- called his ideas "Anarchistic-Socialism" and denounced 
capitalism as a system based upon "the usurer, the receiver of 
interest, rent and profit." Tucker held that in an anarchist, 
non-capitalist, free-market society, capitalists will become redundant 
and exploitation of labour by capital would cease, since "labour. . . 
will. . . secure its natural wage, its entire product." [_The 
Individualist Anarchists_, p. 82 and p. 85] Such an economy would 
be based on mutual banking and the free exchange of products between 
co-operatives, artisans and peasants. For Tucker, and other 
Individualist anarchists, capitalism is not a true free market, 
being marked by various laws and monopolies which ensure that 
capitalists have the advantage over working people, so resulting in 
the latters exploitation via profit, interest and rent (see section 
G for a fuller discussion). Even Max Stirner, the arch-egoist, had 
nothing but scorn for capitalist society and its various "spooks," 
which for him meant ideas that are treated as sacred or religious, 
such as private property, competition, division of labour, and so 
forth. 
 
So anarchists consider themselves as socialists, but socialists of a 
specific  kind -- *libertarian socialists*. As the individualist 
anarchist Joseph A. Labadie puts it (echoing both Tucker and Bakunin): 
 
"[i]t is said that Anarchism is not socialism. This is a mistake. 
Anarchism is voluntary Socialism. There are two kinds of Socialism, 
archistic and anarchistic, authoritarian and libertarian, state and 
free. Indeed, every proposition for social betterment is either to 
increase or decrease the powers of external wills and forces over 
the individual. As they increase they are archistic; as they decrease 
they are anarchistic." [_Anarchism: What It Is and What It Is Not_] 
 
Labadie stated on many occasions that "all anarchists are socialists,  
but not all socialists are anarchists." Therefore, Daniel Guerin's  
comment that  "Anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The  
anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the  
exploitation of man by man" is echoed throughout the history  
of the anarchist movement, be it the social or individualist wings 
[_Anarchism_, p. 12]. Indeed, the Haymarket Martyr Adolph Fischer 
used almost exactly the same words as Labadie to express the same
fact -- "every anarchist is a socialist, but every socialist is not 
necessarily an anarchist" -- while acknowledging that the movement
was "divided into two factions; the communistic anarchists and the
Proudhon or middle-class anarchists." [_The Autobiographies of the
Haymarket Martyrs_, p. 81]
 
So while social and individualist anarchists do disagree on many 
issues -- for example, whether a true, that is non-capitalist, 
free market would be the best means of maximising liberty -- they 
agree that capitalism is to be opposed as exploitative and oppressive 
and that an anarchist society must, by definition, be based on 
associated, not wage, labour. Only associated labour will "decrease 
the powers of external wills and forces over the individual" during 
working hours and such self-management of work by those who do it 
is the core ideal of real socialism. This perspective can be seen 
when Joseph Labadie argued that the trade union was "the 
exemplification of gaining freedom by association" and that 
"[w]ithout his union, the workman is much more the slave of 
his employer than he is with it." [_Different Phases of the 
Labour Question_]  
 
However, the meanings of words change over time. Today "socialism"  
almost always refers to *state* socialism, a system that all anarchists  
have opposed as a denial of freedom and genuine socialist ideals.  
All anarchists would agree with Noam Chomsky's statement on this 
issue:  
 
"If the left is understood to include 'Bolshevism,' then I would 
flatly dissociate myself from the left. Lenin was one of the greatest 
enemies of socialism." ["Anarchism, Marxism & Hope for the Future",
_Red and Black Revolution_, no. 2]
 
Anarchism developed in constant opposition to the ideas of Marxism, 
social democracy and Leninism. Long before Lenin rose to power, Michael 
Bakunin warned the followers of Marx against the "Red bureaucracy" that 
would institute "the worst of all despotic governments" if Marx's 
state-socialist ideas were ever implemented. Indeed, the works of 
Stirner, Proudhon and especially Bakunin all predict the horror of 
State Socialism with great accuracy. In addition, the anarchists were 
among the first and most vocal critics and opposition to the Bolshevik 
regime in Russia. 
 
Nevertheless, being socialists, anarchists do share *some* ideas with  
*some* Marxists (though none with Leninists). Both Bakunin and Tucker  
accepted Marx's analysis and critique of capitalism as well as his  
labour theory of value (see section C). Marx himself was heavily  
influenced by Max Stirner's book _The Ego and Its Own_, which contains  
a brilliant critique of what Marx called "vulgar" communism as well as  
state socialism. There have also been elements of the Marxist movement  
holding views very similar to social anarchism (particularly the  
anarcho-syndicalist branch of social anarchism) -- for example,  
Anton Pannekoek, Rosa Luxembourg, Paul Mattick and others, who are  
very far from Lenin. Karl Korsch and others wrote sympathetically of  
the anarchist revolution in Spain. There are many continuities from  
Marx to Lenin, but there are also continuities from Marx to more  
libertarian Marxists, who were harshly critical of Lenin and 
Bolshevism and whose ideas approximate anarchism's desire for the  
free association of equals. 
 
Therefore anarchism is basically a form of socialism, one that stands 
in direct opposition to what is usually defined as "socialism" (i.e. 
state ownership and control). Instead of "central planning," which 
many people associate with the word "socialism," anarchists advocate 
free association and co-operation between individuals, workplaces and 
communities and so oppose "state" socialism as a form of state capitalism 
in which "[e]very man [and woman] will be a wage-receiver, and the
State the only wage payer." [Benjamin Tucker, _The Individualist
Anarchists_, p. 81] Thus anarchist's reject Marxism (what most
people think of as "socialism") as just "[t]he idea of the State 
as Capitalist . . . which the Social-Democratic fraction of the 
great Socialist Party is now trying to reduce Socialism." [Peter
Kropotkin, _The Great French Revolution_, p. 31] The anarchist 
objection to the identification of Marxism, "central planning" 
and State Socialism/Capitalism with socialism will be discussed 
in section H.  
 
It is because of these differences with state socialists, and to reduce 
confusion,  most anarchists just call themselves "anarchists," as it is 
taken for granted  that anarchists are socialists. However, with the rise 
of the so-called "libertarian" right in the USA, some pro-capitalists 
have taken to calling themselves "anarchists" and that is why we have 
laboured the point somewhat here.  Historically, and logically, anarchism 
implies anti-capitalism, i.e. socialism, which is something, we stress, 
that all anarchists have agreed upon (for a fuller discussion of why 
"anarcho"-capitalism is not anarchist see section F). 
 
A.1.5 Where does anarchism come from? 
 
Where does anarchism come from? We can do no better than quote the 
_The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists_ produced 
by participants of the Makhnovist movement in the Russian Revolution  
(see Section A.5.4). They point out that: 
 
"The class struggle created by the enslavement of workers and their  
aspirations to liberty gave birth, in the oppression, to the idea of  
anarchism: the idea of the total negation of a social system based on  
the principles of classes and the State, and its replacement by a free  
non-statist society of workers under self-management. 
 
"So anarchism does not derive from the abstract reflections of an  
intellectual or a philosopher, but from the direct struggle of workers  
against capitalism, from the needs and necessities of the workers, from  
their aspirations to liberty and equality, aspirations which become  
particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggle  
of the working masses. 
 
"The outstanding anarchist thinkers, Bakunin, Kropotkin and others,  
did not invent the idea of anarchism, but, having discovered it in  
the masses, simply helped by the strength of their thought and  
knowledge to specify and spread it." [pp. 15-16] 
 
Like the anarchist movement in general, the Makhnovists were a mass  
movement of working class people resisting the forces of authority, both  
Red (Communist) and White (Tsarist/Capitalist) in the Ukraine from 1917  
to 1921. As Peter Marshall notes "anarchism . . . has traditionally 
found its chief supporters amongst workers and peasants." [_Demanding 
the Impossible_, p. 652] 
 
Anarchism was created in, and by, the struggle of the oppressed for 
freedom. For Kropotkin, for example, "Anarchism . . . originated in 
everyday struggles" and "the Anarchist movement was renewed each 
time it received an impression from some great practical lesson: 
it derived its origin from the teachings of life itself" (see also
section J.5). [_Evolution and Environment_, p. 58 and p. 57] For 
Proudhon, "the proof" of his mutualist ideas lay in the "current 
practice, revolutionary practice" of "those labour associations . . . 
which have spontaneously . . . been formed in Paris and Lyon . . . 
[show that the] organisation of credit and organisation of labour 
amount to one and the same." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, 
pp. 59-60] Indeed, as one historian argues, there was "close 
similarity between the associational ideal of Proudhon . . . and 
the program of the Lyon Mutualists" and that there was "a remarkable 
convergence [between the ideas], and it is likely that Proudhon was 
able to articulate his positive program more coherently because of 
the example of the silk workers of Lyon. The socialist ideal that 
he championed was already being realised, to a certain extent, by 
such workers." [K. Steven Vincent, _Piere-Joseph Proudhon and the 
Rise of French Republican Socialism_, p. 164]

Thus anarchism comes from the fight for liberty and our desires to lead 
a fully human  life, one in which we have time to live, to love and to 
play. It was not created by a few people divorced from life, in ivory 
towers looking down upon society and making judgements upon it based 
on their notions of what is right and wrong. Rather, it was a product
of working class struggle and resistance to authority, oppression and
exploitation. As Albert Meltzer put it, "[t]here were never theoreticians
of Anarchism as such, [a] writer comes along and writes down what has
already been worked out in practice by workers and peasants; he/she is
attributed by bourgeois historians as being a leaders, and by successive
bourgeois historians as being a leader, and by successive bourgeois
writers (citing the bourgeois historians) as being one more case that
proves the working class relies on the bourgeois leaders." [_Anarchism:
Arguments for and against_, pp. 10-12] In Kropotkin's eyes, all 
anarchist writers did was to "work out a general expression of 
[anarchism's] principles, and the theoretical and scientific basis 
of its teachings" derived from the experiences of working class people 
in struggle as well as analysing the evolutionary tendencies of society 
in general. [Op. Cit., p. 57]

However, anarchistic tendencies and organisations in society have existed 
long before Proudhon put pen to paper in 1840 and declared himself an
anarchist. While anarchism, as a specific political theory, was born with 
the rise of capitalism (Anarchism "emerged at the end of the eighteenth
century . . .[and] took up the dual challenge of overthrowing both
Capital and the State." [Peter Marshall, Op. Cit., p. 4]) anarchist
writers have analysed history for libertarian tendencies. Kropotkin
argued, for example, that "from all times there have been Anarchists
and Statists." [Op. Cit., p. 16] In _Mutual Aid_ (and elsewhere) 
Kropotkin analysed the libertarian aspects of previous societies
and noted those that successfully implemented (to some degree) 
anarchist organisation or aspects of anarchism. This was particularly 
the case with indigenous peoples, for example most Native American
tribes organised themselves in a very anarchistic manner. 

Kropotkin recognised this tendency of actual examples of anarchistic 
ideas to predate the creation of the "official" anarchist movement 
and argued that:

"From the remotest, stone-age antiquity, men [and women] have realised
the evils that resulted from letting some of them acquire personal
authority. . . Consequently they developed in the primitive clan,
the village community, the medieval guild . . . and finally in the
free medieval city, such institutions as enabled them to resist
the encroachments upon their life and fortunes both of those strangers
who conquered them, and those clansmen of their own who endeavoured
to establish their personal authority." [_Kropotkin's Revolutionary
Pamphlets_, pp. 158-9]

Kropotkin placed the struggle of working class people (from which modern
anarchism sprung) on par with these older forms of popular organisation.
He argued that "the labour combinations. . . were an outcome of the same
popular resistance to the growing power of the few -- the capitalists
in this case" as were the clan, the village community and so on, as
were "the strikingly independent, freely federated activity of the 
'Sections' of Paris and all great cities and many small 'Communes'
during the French Revolution" in 1793. [Op. Cit., p. 159]

Thus, while anarchism as a political theory is an expression of working
class struggle and self-activity against capitalism and the modern state, 
the ideas of anarchism have continually expressed themselves in action 
throughout human existence. Most indigenous peoples in North America and 
elsewhere, for example, practised anarchism for thousands of years before 
anarchism as a specific political theory existed. Similarly, anarchistic 
tendencies and organisations have existed in every major revolution -- 
the New England Town Meetings during the American Revolution, the Parisian 
'Sections' during the French Revolution, the workers' councils and factory 
committees during the Russian Revolution to name just a few examples (see 
Murray Bookchin's _The Third Revolution_ for details). This is to be expected 
if anarchism is, as we argue, a product of resistance to authority then 
any society with authorities will provoke resistance to them and generate 
anarchistic tendencies (and, of course, any societies without authorities 
cannot help but being anarchistic).

In other words, anarchism is an expression of the struggle against oppression  
and exploitation, a generalisation of working people's experiences and  
analyses of what is wrong with the current system and an expression of our  
hopes and dreams for a better future. This struggle existed before it was
called anarchism, but the historic anarchist movement (i.e. groups of people
calling their ideas anarchism and aiming for an anarchist society) is
essentially a product of working class struggle against capitalism and
the state, against oppression and exploitation, and *for* a free society
of free and equal individuals. 
 
A.2 What does anarchism stand for? 
 
These words by Percy Bysshe Shelley gives an idea of what anarchism stands 
for in practice and what ideals drive it:  
 
	 The man 
	 Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys: 
	 Power, like a desolating pestilence, 
	 Pollutes whate'er it touches, and obedience, 
	 Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, 
	 Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame, 
	 A mechanised automaton. 
 
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 *social* phenomenon. Outside of 
society, individuality is impossible, since one needs other people in 
order to develop, expand, and grow.  
 
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, "the making of a human being. . . is a collective  
process, a process in which both community and the individual *participate.*"  
[Murray Bookchin, _The Modern Crisis_, p. 79] Consequently, any political  
theory which bases itself purely on the social or the individual is false.  
 
In order for individuality to develop to the fullest possible extent, 
anarchists consider it essential to create a society based on three 
principles: liberty, equality and solidarity, which are interdependent.  
 
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, "All associated and all free." Or, as Luigi Galleani puts it, 
anarchism is "the autonomy of the individual within the freedom of 
association" [_The End of Anarchism?_, p. 35] (See further section 
A.2.2, "Why do anarchists emphasise liberty?"). 
 
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 A.2.5 "Why are anarchists in favour of equality?)  
 
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 A.2.6, "Why is solidarity 
important to anarchists?") 
 
It should be noted that solidarity does not imply self-sacrifice or  
self-negation. As Errico Malatesta makes clear: 
 
"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." [_Life and Ideas_,  
p. 23]
 
For anarchists, *real* wealth is other people and the planet on which  
we live.  
 
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 *materialist* 
theory, recognising that ideas develop and grow from social interaction 
and individuals' mental activity (see Michael Bakunin's _God and the 
State_ for the classic discussion of materialism verses idealism). 
 
This means that an anarchist society will be the creation of human beings, 
not some deity or other transcendental principle, since "[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." [Alexander Berkman, _ABC of Anarchism_, p. 42] 
 
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.  
 
A.2.1 What is the essence of anarchism? 
 
As we have seen, "an-archy" implies "without rulers" or "without (hierarchical)  
authority." Anarchists are not against "authorities" in the sense of experts  
who are particularly knowledgeable, skilful, or wise, though they believe  
that such authorities should have no power to force others to follow their 
recommendations (see section B.1 for more on this distinction). In a  
nutshell, then, anarchism is anti-authoritarianism. 
 
Anarchists are anti-authoritarians because they believe that no human 
being should dominate another. Anarchists, in L. Susan Brown's words, 
"believe in the inherent dignity and worth of the human individual." 
[_The Politics of Individualism_, 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 alienation, inequality, poverty, and social breakdown. 
 
In other words, then, the essence of anarchism (to express it positively)  
is free co-operation between equals to maximise their liberty and  
individuality.  
 
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 "[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." [Michael Bakunin, cited by Malatesta in _Anarchy_, p. 27]  
 
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:  
 
"[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."  
[quoted by Malatesta, in _Anarchy_, p. 50] 
 
In other words, those influences which stem from hierarchical authority. 
 
A.2.2 Why do anarchists emphasise liberty? 
 
An anarchist can be regarded, in Bakunin's words, as a "fanatic lover 
of freedom, considering it as the unique environment within which 
the intelligence, dignity and happiness of mankind can develop and 
increase." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, 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: 
 
"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."  
[Emma Goldman, _Red Emma Speaks_, p. 393] 
 
For this reason, anarchism "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."  
[Ibid., p. 59] 
 
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. 
 
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, "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." [Rudolf Rocker, _Anarcho-syndicalism_, p. 64] 
 
In short, liberty develops only within society, not in opposition to it.  
Thus Murray Bookchin writes:  
 
"What freedom, independence, and autonomy people have in a given 
historical period is the product of long social traditions and . . . a 
*collective* 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." [_Social Anarchism or Lifestyle 
Anarchism_, p. 15] 
 
But freedom requires the right *kind* of social environment in which 
to grow and develop. Such an environment *must* 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.  
 
It is for this reason that anarchists oppose both capitalism and statism. 
As the French anarchist Sebastien Faure noted, authority "dresses
itself in two principal forms: the political form, that is the State;
and the economic form, that is private property." [cited by Peter
Marshall, _Demanding the Impossible_, 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 "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." [Michael Bakunin, cited by Rudolf
Rocker, _Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 45]  
 
Hence, as Noam Chomsky argues, a "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." ["Notes on Anarchism", _For Reasons of State_, p. 158] 
 
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.  
 
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 "full development of all the material, 
intellectual and moral capacities that are latent in every one of us" 
[Bakunin, _Bakunin on Anarchism_,  p. 261] (see section B for further 
discussion of the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of capitalism 
and statism). 
 
A.2.3 Are anarchists in favour of organisation? 
 
Yes. Without association, a truly human life is impossible. Liberty 
*cannot* exist without society and organisation. As George Barrett, 
in _Objections to Anarchism_, points out: 
 
"[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. 
 
"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." 
 
As far as organisation goes, anarchists think that "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." [Errico 
Malatesta, _Life and Ideas_, p. 86]
 
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.  
 
Prior to that time, for hundreds of thousands of years, human and proto-human 
societies were what Murray Bookchin calls "organic," 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, _The Ecology of Freedom_).  
 
It must be emphasised, however, that anarchists do *not* 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 
*learned,* and as such, can be *unlearned* (see Ashley Montagu, 
_The Nature of Human Aggression_). 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.  
 
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 B.2.4), 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: 
 
"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." [Alexander Berkman, Op. Cit., p. 53]
 
Yet this is precisely what happens in capitalist society, with the result 
that it is, indeed, "sick all over."  
 
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, "[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."  
[Op. Cit., 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 "the creative role of dissent."  
 
Anarchist ideas on libertarian organisation and the need for direct 
democracy and confederation will be discussed further in sections 
A.2.9 and A.2.10. 
 
A.2.4 Are anarchists in favour of "absolute" liberty? 
 
No. Anarchists do not believe that everyone should be able to "do 
whatever they like," because some actions invariably involve the 
denial of the liberty of others.  
 
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.  
 
The exercise of authority is not freedom. No one has a "right" to rule 
others. As Malatesta points out, anarchism supports "freedom for 
everybody. . .with the only limit of the equal freedom for others; 
which does *not* mean. . . that we recognise, and wish to respect, the 
'freedom' to exploit, to oppress, to command, which is oppression and 
certainly not freedom." [Errico Malatesta, _Life and Ideas_, p. 53]
 
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 "Civil 
Disobedience" (1847) 
 
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." 
 
A.2.5 Why are anarchists in favour of equality? 
 
As mentioned in A.2, 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 *do* mean by equality, we have to indicate 
what we *do not* mean by it. 
 
Anarchists do *not* believe in "equality of endowment," which is not 
only  non-existent but would be *very* undesirable if it could be brought 
about. Everyone is unique. Biologically determined human differences 
not only exist but are "a cause for joy, not fear or regret." Why? Because 
"life among clones would not be worth living, and a sane person will 
only rejoice that others have abilities that they do not share." [Noam 
Chomsky, "Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future", _Red and Black 
Revolution_, No. 2]
 
That some people *seriously* suggest that anarchists mean by "equality" 
is at everyone should be *identical* 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.  
 
Nor are anarchists in favour of so-called "equality of outcome." We 
have *no* 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 
_The McDonaldization of Society_ on why capitalism is driven 
towards standardisation and conformity, for example). In the
words of Alexander Berkman:

"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." [_The ABC of 
Anarchism_, p., 26]

Anarchists, therefore, have little to desire to make this "common
grove" even deeper. Rather, we desire to destroy it and every social
relationship and institution that creates it in the first place.
 
"Equality of outcome" can only be introduced and maintained by force, 
which would *not* be equality anyway, as some would have more power 
than others! "Equality of outcome" 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: 

"equality does not mean an equal amount but equal *opportunity*. . . 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." He goes on to argue that "[i]ndividual 
needs and tastes differ, as appetites differ. It is *equal opportunity* 
to satisfy them that constitutes true equality. . . Free opportunity of 
expressing and acting out your individuality means development of natural 
dissimilarities and variations." [Op. Cit., p. 25]
 
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" *are* 
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). 

Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual 
diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes: 
 
"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." ["All-Round Education", _The Basic Bakunin_, pp. 117-8] 
 
Equality for anarchists means *social* equality, or, to use Murray 
Bookchin's term, the "equality of unequals" (some like Malatesta
used the term "equality of conditions" 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,  "would 
be of  no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the 
collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution." 
[Michael Bakunin, _God and the State_, p. 53] 

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:

"Now, what can be the origin of this inequality?

"As we see it, . . . that origin is the realisation within society of
this triple abstraction: capital, labour and talent.

"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." [_No Gods, No Masters_, pp. 57-8]

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." 
 
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 *not* involve non-medical staff voting on how 
doctors should perform an operation! 
 
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 *for* them (i.e. 
governing them), and thus some will be more free than others.

Social equality is required for individuals to both govern and express 
themselves, for the self-management it implies means "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." [George Benello, 
_From the Ground Up_, p. 160] Thus equality allows the expression 
of individuality and so is a necessary base for individual liberty.
 
Section F.3 ("Why do 'anarcho'-capitalists generally place little or no 
value on 'equality,' and what do they mean by that term?) discusses 
anarchist ideas on equality further. 
 
A.2.6 Why is solidarity important to anarchists? 
 
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. 
 
Erich Fromm, noted psychologist and socialist humanist, points out that the 
"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." [_To Be or To Have_, 
p. 107] 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. 
 
Solidarity -- co-operation between individuals -- is necessary for life and 
is far from a denial of liberty. "What wonderful results this unique 
force of man's individuality has achieved when strengthened by co-operation 
with other individualities," Emma Goldman observes. "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." [_Red Emma Speaks_, p. 95]
 
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:  
 
"The most noble, pure and true love of mankind is the love of oneself. *I* 
want to be free! *I* hope to be happy! *I* want to appreciate all the 
beauties of the world. But my freedom is secured *only* 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 *only* 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 *my own contentment,* only of *my own self,* when I rebel 
against every danger which threatens my freedom and my happiness. . ." 
[Ret Marut (a.k.a. B. Traven), _The BrickBurner_ magazine quoted by 
Karl S. Guthke, _B. Traven: The life behind the legends_, pp. 133-4] 
 
To practice solidarity means that we recognise, as in the slogan of 
Industrial Workers of the World, that "an injury to one is an injury to 
all." Solidarity, therefore, is the means to protect individuality and  
liberty and so is an expression of self-interest. As Alfie Kohn points out:  
 
"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." [_No Contest: The Case Against Competition_,  
p. 7] 
 
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. "*Unions* will. . . multiply the individual's 
means and secure his assailed property." [Max Stirner, _The Ego and Its 
Own, p. 258] By acting in solidarity, we can also replace the current 
system with one more to our liking. There is power in "union."  
 
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 
*another.* By agreeing to share with each other we increase our options so 
that we may enjoy *more,* 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. 
 
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: "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." [quoted in 
in Luigi Galleani's _The End of Anarchism?_, p. 79 -- different translation  
in _The Ego and Its Own_, p. 197] 
 
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 *equals.* The "big WE" is *not* 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.  
 
A.2.7 Why do anarchists argue for self-liberation? 
 
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: 
 
"history tells us that every oppressed class [or group or individual]  
gained true liberation from its masters by its own efforts."  
[_Red Emma Speaks_, p. 142]
 
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 ("What Do Anarchists Do?") 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 "acting for themselves" (performing  
what anarchists call "direct action"). 
 
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 "[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. . ."  
[_Life and Ideas_, p. 188] 
 
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: "True emancipation 
begins. . . in woman's soul." And in a man's too, we might add. It is 
only here that we can "begin [our] inner regeneration, [cutting] loose 
from the weight of prejudices, traditions and customs." [Op. Cit., p.
142] But this process must be self-directed, for as Max Stirner notes, 
"the man who is set free is nothing but a freed man. . . a dog dragging 
a piece of chain with him." [Max Stirner, Op. Cit., p. 168] 
 
In an interview during the Spanish Revolution, the Spanish anarchist 
militant Durutti said, "we have a new world in our hearts." 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. 
 
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, "not only the ideas but also the facts of the 
future itself." 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:

"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." [Carole Pateman, _The Sexual Contract_, 
p. 205]

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 "class struggle" (as 
it is working class people who are generally the most subordinated 
group within society) or, more generally, "social struggle." 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 "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." [Marie-Louise Berneri, _Neither East Nor West_, 
p. 32]

Revolution is a process, not an event, and every "spontaneous 
revolutionary action" 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 I.W.W. expression), 
by building alternative institutions and relationships, is but one 
component of what must be a long tradition of revolutionary 
commitment and militancy. 
 
As Malatesta made clear, "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." 
[Op. Cit. p. 90] 

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 J.2 and J.4). Capitalism and statism 
must be beaten spiritually and theoretically before it is beaten 
materially (many anarchists call this mental liberation "class
consciousness" -- see section B.7.3). And self-liberation through 
struggle against oppression is the only way this can be done. Thus
anarchists encourage (to use Kropotkin's term) "the spirit of
revolt." 

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 "Anarchists have always advised 
taking an active part in those workers' organisations which carry 
on the *direct* struggle of Labour against Capital and its protector, 
-- the State." This is because "[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," 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 "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" of
communist-anarchism, i.e. the overcoming the spiritual domination of
existing society within the minds of the oppressed. [_Evolution and 
Environment_, p. 83 and p. 85]

For anarchists, in the words of a Scottish Anarchist militant, the 
"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." [Robert Lynn, _Not a Life Story, Just a 
Leaf from It_, p. 77] This is why anarchists stress self-liberation 
(and self-organisation, self-management and self-activity). Little
wonder Bakunin considered "rebellion" as one of the "three fundamental
principles [which] constitute the essential conditions of all
human development, collective or individual, in history." [_God
and the State_, p. 12] This is simply because individuals and 
groups cannot be freed by others, only by themselves. Such 
rebellion (self-liberation) is the *only* means by which existing 
society becomes more libertarian and an anarchist society a possibility. 

A.2.8 Is it possible to be an anarchist without opposing hierarchy? 
 
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: 
 
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 "What Do Bosses Do?" (_Review  
of Radical Political Economics_, Vol. 6, No. 2), 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. 
 
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. 
 
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 *all* 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:

"a fascist system. . . It's absolutist. Power goes from top down. . . 
the ideal state is top down control with the public essentially
following orders.

"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." [_Keeping the 
Rabble in Line_, p. 237]

David Deleon indicates these similarities between the company
and the state well when he writes:

"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."
["For Democracy Where We Work: A rationale for social 
self-management", _Reinventing Anarchy, Again_, Howard J. 
Ehrlich (ed.), pp. 193-4]

Thus the consistent anarchist must oppose hierarchy in all its
forms, including the capitalist firm. Not to do so is to support
*archy* -- which an anarchist, by definition, cannot do. In other
words, for anarchists, "[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." [Robert Graham, "The Anarchist 
Contract", _Reinventing Anarchy, Again_, Howard J. Ehrlich (ed.),
p. 77]

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 "massive disparities
in wealth . . . [as] workers. . . sell their labour to the 
capitalist at a price which does not reflect its real value." 
[Robert Graham, Op. Cit., p. 70] Therefore:

"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." [Ibid.]

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 section J).

Secondly, if we take the key element as being whether an association 
is voluntary or not we would have to argue that the current state
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, "[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." [_Libertarian as Conservative_] Anarchy 
is more than being free to pick a master. 
 
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 (Why is voluntarism 
not enough?). 
 
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 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. 
 
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 section F) 
 
A.2.9 What sort of society do anarchists want? 
 
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. 
 
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, "Why are most anarchists in favour of direct democracy?").  
 
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, "[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."  
[_The End of Anarchism?_, p. 28] 
 
Therefore, an anarchist society will be based upon co-operative conflict 
as "[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." [Alfie Kohn, _No Contest: 
The Case Against Competition_, p. 156] Indeed, "a rigid demand for  
agreement means that people will effectively be prevented from contributing 
their wisdom to a group effort." [Ibid.] It is for this reason that most 
anarchists reject consensus decision making in large groups (see section 
A.2.12). 
 
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. 
 
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 *key* 
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. 

In an anarchist society this relationship is reversed. No one individual 
or group (elected or unelected) holds power in an anarchist community
or association. 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). 
 
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.  
 
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, "always under the direct control 
of the population." [_Life and Ideas_, p. 175]
 
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, the assemblies 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. 

In other words, any delegates required within an anarchist organisation 
or society are *not* representatives (as they are in a democratic 
government). Kropotkin makes the difference clear:

"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." [_Words of a Rebel_, p. 132] 

Unlike in a representative system, *power* 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.

This network of anarchist communities would work on three levels. There
would be "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." [Peter Kropotkin, _Evolution and
Environment_, p. 79] All would be based on self-management, free
association, free federation and self-organisation from the bottom up.

By organising in this manner, hierarchy is abolished in all aspects of
live, because the people at the base of the organisation are in control, 
*not* 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 "to integrate individuals into structures which they could 
understand and control." For individual initiatives, the individual 
involved would manage them. 
 
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 section I. 
 
A.2.10 What will abolishing hierarchy mean and achieve? 
 
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. 
 
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, "Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?" and 
related sections).  
 
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 "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" [quoted by Rudolf Rocker, _Anarcho-syndicalism_,  
p. 58] 
 
As sufficiently indicated already, hierarchical, centralised structures 
restrict freedom. As Proudhon noted: "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." 
[quoted in _Paths in Utopia_, Martin Buber, p. 33]
 
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, "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."  
[_The Libertarian as Conservative_]
 
This means that the end of hierarchy will mean a *massive* 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. 
 
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.  
 
Anarchy will even be of benefit for those who are said to benefit from 
capitalism and its authority relations. Anarchists "maintain that *both* 
rulers and ruled are spoiled by authority; *both* exploiters and exploited 
are spoiled by exploitation." [Peter Kropotkin, _Act for Yourselves_, p. 
83] This is because "[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." [For 
Ourselves, _The Right to Be Greedy_]
 
A.2.11 Why are most anarchists in favour of direct democracy? 
 
For most anarchists, direct democratic voting on policy decisions within  
free associations is the political counterpart of free agreement. The  
reason is that "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." [John P. Clark, _Max Stirner's Egoism_, p. 93] 
 
It is obvious that individuals must work together in order to lead a  
fully human life. And so, "[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." 
[Errico Malatesta, _The Anarchist Revolution_, p. 85] 
 
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? 
 
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." 
 
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, "Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?" for 
more on this). Thus Proudhon: 
 
"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." [_The General 
Idea of the Revolution_, pp. 245-6] 
 
Such a society would be based upon industrial democracy, for within the 
workers' associations "all positions are elective, and the by-laws subject 
to the approval of the members." [Op. Cit., 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. 
 
Of course it could be argued that if you are in a minority, you are 
governed by others ("Democratic rule is still rule" [L. Susan Brown,  
_The Politics of Individualism_, 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. 
 
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. 
 
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: 
 
"If the majority have acted in bad faith. . . [then the] minority will  
have to take political action, including politically disobedient 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." [_The Problem of Political Obligation_, 
p. 162] 
 
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. 
 
The workings of such a confederation are outlined in section A.2.9 (What  
sort of society do anarchists want?) and discussed in greater detail in  
section I (What would an anarchist society look like?). 
 
This system of direct democracy fits nicely into anarchist theory. Malatesta  
speaks for all anarchists when he argued that "anarchists deny the right of 
the majority to govern human society in general." [Op. Cit., 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 "submit to the decisions of the majority before they  
have even heard what these might be." [Op. Cit., 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: 
 
"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. . ." [Op. Cit., p. 100] 
 
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: 
 
"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." [_Life and Ideas_, p. 132] 
 
Even the Individual Anarchist Lysander Spooner acknowledged that direct  
democracy has its uses when he noted that "[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 *limited* discretion as to the  
*means* to be used to accomplish the ends in view." However, only the  
unanimous decision of a jury (which would "judge the law, and the justice  
of the law") could determine individual rights as this "tribunal fairly  
represent[s] the whole people" as "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 *all* members of the 
association agree that it may enforce" (his support of juries results 
from Spooner acknowledging that it "would be impossible in practice" for 
*all* members of an association to agree) [_Trial by Jury_, p. 130-1f, 
p. 134, p. 214, p. 152 and p. 132] 
 
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. 
 
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 next section 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. 
 
A.2.12 Is consensus an alternative to direct democracy? 
 
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. 
 
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 
 
"[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. 
 
"On a more theoretical level, consensus silenced that most vital aspect of 
all dialogue, *dissensus*. 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." ["Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism", 
_Democracy and Nature_, no. 8, p.8] 
 
Bookchin does not "deny that consensus may be an appropriate form of 
decision-making in small groups of people who are thoroughly familiar  
with one another." But he notes that, in practical terms, his own  
experience has shown him that "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 sizeable assembly 
of people can attain is adopted-- precisely because everyone must agree 
with it or else withdraw from voting on that issue." [Op. Cit., p. 7] 
 
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.  
 
In other words, anarchist supporters of direct democracy stress the  
"*creative* role of dissent" which, they fear, "tends to fade away in 
the grey uniformity required by consensus." [Op. Cit., p. 8]  
 
We must stress that anarchists are *not* 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. 
 
A.2.13 Are anarchists individualists or collectivists? 
 
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."  
 
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. 
 
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 individual 
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 
"cult of the personality" 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.  
 
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: 
 
"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 *State* 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 . . . " [_Anarchy_, pp. 36-37] 
 
These considerations do not mean that "individualism" finds favour with 
anarchists. As Emma Goldman pointed out, "'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.'" [_Red Emma Speaks_, p. 89] 
 
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 *shape* 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. *abstract* individualism. 
 
In contrast, anarchists stress *social* "individualism" (another, perhaps 
better, term for this concept could be "communal individuality"). Anarchism  
"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." [Ibid., p. 397] 
 
Anarchism rejects the *abstract* 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.  
 
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 *always* 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.2.14 and B.4 for further details). 
 
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.  
 
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 or work), 
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 "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." [Peter 
Kropotkin, _Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 293] 
 
True liberty and community exist elsewhere. 
 
A.2.14 Why is voluntarism not enough? 
 
Voluntarism means that association should be voluntary in order to 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.  
 
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 section B.4, 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, "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." [_The Problem of 
Political Obligation_, 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 section A.2.8). Thus any voluntarism which generates
relationships of subordination is, by its very nature, incomplete and
violates its own justification.

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:  
 
	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. 

Hence Proudhon's comment that "Man may be made by property a slave 
or a despot by turns." [_What is Property?_, p. 371] Little wonder
we discover Bakunin rejecting "any contract with another individual on 
any footing but the utmost equality and reciprocity" as this would 
"alienate his [or her] freedom"  and so would be a "a relationship of 
voluntary servitude with another individual." Anyone making such a
contract in a free society (i.e. anarchist society) would be "devoid of
any sense of personal dignity." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, 
pp. 68-9] Only self-managed associations can create relationships of
equality rather than of subordination between its members.
 
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. 

Any social relationships based on abstract individualism are likely to be 
based upon force, power, and authority, *not* liberty. This of course 
assumes a definition of liberty according to which individuals exercise 
their capacities and decide their own actions. Therefore, voluntarism is 
*not* enough to create a society that maximises liberty. This is why 
anarchists think that voluntary association *must* be complemented by 
self-management (direct democracy) *within* these associations. For 
anarchists, the assumptions of voluntarism imply self-management. Or, 
to use Proudhon's words, "as individualism is the primordial fact of 
humanity, so association is its complementary term." [_System of 
Economical Contradictions_, p. 430] 

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.  
 
Regarding the first objection, anarchists plead guilty. We *are* 
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.  
 
Section A.2.9 discusses why direct democracy is the necessary social 
counterpart to voluntarism (i.e. free agreement). Section B.4 discusses 
why capitalism cannot be based on equal bargaining power between property 
owners and the propertyless. 
 
A.2.15 What about "human nature"? 
 
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. 
 
First of all, human nature is a complex thing. If, by human nature, it is 
meant "what humans do," 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.  
 
This does not mean that human beings are infinitely plastic, with each 
individual born a *tabula rasa* (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.  
 
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. 
 
In fact, as mentioned earlier, for the great majority of its existence 
the human race *has* 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. 
 
As for the charge the anarchists demand too much of "human nature," it 
is often *non* anarchists who make the greatest claims on it. For "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.  
*We* admit the imperfections of human nature, but we make no exception for 
the rulers. *They* make it, although sometimes unconsciously" [Peter 
Kropotkin, _Act for Yourselves_, 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.  
 
Today, however, with the rise of "sociobiology," some claim (with very 
little *real* 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 "objective" and 
"scientific" 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 "normal" and 
"natural"). Then the theories of nature produced in this manner are 
transferred *back* onto society and history, being used to "prove" that 
the principles of capitalism (hierarchy, authority, competition, etc.) are 
eternal *laws,* 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.  
 
This sort of apologetics is natural, of course, because every ruling class 
has always claimed that their right to rule was based on "human nature," 
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!  
 
The arrogance of this claim is truly amazing. History has not 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. 
 
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 *more* 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 
*co-operation* within species, quite unlike their counterparts in 
capitalist Britain, who developed a theory based on *competitive struggle* 
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 _Mutual Aid_ 
was written in response to the obvious inaccuracies that British Social 
Darwinism projected onto nature and human life. 
 
A.2.16 Does anarchism require "perfect" people to work? 
 
No. Anarchy is not a utopia, a "perfect" society. It will be a *human* 
society, with all the problems, hopes, and fears associated with human 
beings. Anarchists do not think that human beings need to be 
"perfect" for anarchy to work. They only need to be free.  
 
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. 
 
Like the "anarchism-is-against-human-nature" argument (see section 
A.2.15), 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.  
 
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. 
 
This is because even if the government were overthrown tomorrow, the same  
system would soon grow up again, because "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." [George Barret, 
_Objections to Anarchism_]
 
In other words, anarchy needs *anarchists* 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.  
 
Anarchists do not conclude that "perfect" people are necessary, because 
the anarchist is "no liberator with a divine mission to free humanity, 
but he is a part of that humanity struggling onwards towards liberty. 
  
"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." [Ibid.]

A.2.17 Aren't most people too stupid for a free society to work? 
 
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. 
 
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! 
 
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.  
 
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.  
 
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 section B.1 for more 
on the effects of hierarchy). As Bob Black points outs: 
 
"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 *they* 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." [_The Abolition of Work_]
 
When elitists try to conceive of liberation, they can only think of it 
being *given* 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. 
 
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, "the great are great only because we are on our knees." 
 
As Emma Goldman remarks about women's equality, "[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." 
[_Vision on Fire_, p. 256]
 
The same comments are applicable, for example, to the very successful 
experiments in workers' self-management during the Spanish Revolution, To 
quote Rousseau: "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." [quoted by Noam Chomsky, "Anarchism, Marxism and
Hope for the Future", _Red and Black Revolution_, issue 2] 
 
A.2.18 Do anarchists support terrorism? 
 
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 *on behalf of* the majority.  
For so long as people feel the need for rulers, hierarchy will exist (see 
section A.2.16 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 "when one is carrying out a revolution for the
liberation of humanity, one should respect the life and liberty of
men [and women]." [quoted by K.J. Kenafick, _Michael Bakunin and 
Karl Marx_, 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.
 
Moreover anarchists are *not* 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, "we wish not to kill persons, but to abolish status 
and its perquisites" and anarchism "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." [_The Basic Bakunin_, p. 71 and p. 70] In 
other words, "You can't blow up a social relationship" (to quote 
the title of an anarchist pamphlet which presents the anarchist 
case against terrorism).

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 *not* 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, "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." 
[_Red Emma Speaks_, p. 216] 

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 "propaganda by the 
deed" period in the anarchist movement. 
 
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 "propaganda by the deed." 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 _Freiheit_, entitled "At Last!", 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.

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. 

Such downplaying of statist and capitalist violence is hardly 
surprising. "The State's behaviour is violence," points out
Max Stirner, "and it calls its violence 'law'; that of the
individual, 'crime.'" [_The Ego and Its Own_, p. 197] Little
wonder, then, that anarchist violence is condemned but the
repression (and often worse violence) that provoked it ignored 
and forgotten.

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 other forms of 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!

It must be noted that the majority of anarchists did not support 
this tactic. Of those who committed "propaganda by the deed" 
(sometimes called "attentats"), as Murray Bookchin points out,
only a "few . . .  were members of Anarchist groups. The majority
. . . were soloists." [_The Spanish Anarchists_, 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!).

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").
 
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 section A.5.3). 
 
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 
*might* 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.

So "terrorist" acts have been committed by anarchists. This is a fact. 
What is often forgotten is that members of *other* political and religious 
groups have also committed such acts. As the Freedom Group of London 
argued:

"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 *bete noire* 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." [quoted by 
Emma Goldman, Op. Cit., p. 213]

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.   
 
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. 
 
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.
 
A.2.19 What ethical views do anarchists hold? 
 
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 decide whether it is the *right thing* for 
me; there is no right *outside* me." [_The Ego and Its Own_, p. 189] 
 
Few anarchists, however, would go so far as Stirner and reject *any* 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). 
 
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. 
 
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: 
 
"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." 
 
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 "God's Law," "Natural Law," 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 *anything*! Michael Bakunin, one of the founding anarchist thinkers,  
expressed this radical scepticism as so: 
 
"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." 
 
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. 
 
So, what are the source of ethical concepts? For Kropotkin, "nature has thus  
to be recognised as the *first ethical teacher of man.* 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." 
[_Ethics_, p. 45] 
 
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: 
 
1) from the society an individual lives in. As Kropotkin pointed out,  
"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." [Op. Cit., p. 315] In other words, experience  
of life and of living. 
 
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 "Man  
must accept the responsibility for himself and the fact that only using his  
own powers can he give meaning to his life. . .*there is no meaning to life  
except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers, by  
living productively.*" [_Man for Himself_, p. 45] In other words, individual 
thought and development. 
 
3) The feeling of empathy - "the true origin of the moral sentiment.. .[is]  
simply in the feeling of sympathy." ["Anarchist Morality", _Kropotkin's  
Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 94] In other words, an individual's ability to  
feel and share experiences and concepts with others. 
 
This last factor is very important for the development of a sense of 
ethics. As Kropotkin argued, "[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 *act* as  
your own thought and imagination urge, the more will the moral sentiment 
grow in you, the more will it became habitual" [Op. Cit., p. 95] 
 
So, anarchism is based (essentially) upon the ethical maxim "treat others as 
you would like them to treat you under similar circumstances." Anarchists 
are neither egoists nor altruists when it come to moral stands, they are 
simply *human.* 
 
As Kropotkin noted, "egoism" and "altruism" both have their roots in the  
same motive -- "however great the difference between the two actions in  
their result of humanity, the motive is the same. It is the quest for  
pleasure." [Op. Cit., p. 85] 
 
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.  

Combined with these factors is the role played by inequality within 
society. Without equality, there can be no real ethics for "Justice 
implies Equality. . . only those who consider *others* as their
*equals* 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." Hence the "greatest obstacle
to the maintenance of a certain moral level in our present societies
lies in the absence of social equality. Without *real* equality, the
sense of justice can never be universally developed, because *Justice
implies the recognition of Equality.*" [_Peter Kropotkin, _Evolution
and Environment_, p. 88 and p. 79] 

Capitalism, like any society, gets the ethical behaviour it deserves. 
 
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: 
 
"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 *not concerned with their self-interest,* but that they  
are *not* concerned enough with the interest of their real self; *not* in  
the fact that they are too selfish, but that they do not love themselves."  
[_Man for Himself_, p. 139] 
 
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: 
 
"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 *the development of social 
habits and the weakening of the narrowly personal habits.* 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." [_Ethics_, pp. 307-8] 
 
Therefore anarchism is based upon the rejection of moral absolutism 
(i.e. "God's Law," "Natural Law," "Man's Nature," "A is A") 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. 
 
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 " Is it useful to society? Then it is good. Is it hurtful? 
Then it is bad." ["Anarchist Morality", Op. Cit., p. 91] What acts human 
beings think of as right or wrong is not, however, unchanging and the  
"estimate of what is useful or harmful . . .changes, but the foundation 
remains the same." [Op. Cit., p. 92] 
 
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 
*human* idea -- the product of life, thought and evolution created by  
individuals and generalised by social living and community. 
 
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. 
 
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: 
 
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 "the simple to the complex" or, in the words of Herbert 
Read, it "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." ["The Philosophy of Anarchism," in 
_Anarchy and Order_, p. 37] 
 
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 "help us distinguish  
which of our actions serve the thrust of natural evolution and which of them  
impede them." [Murray Bookchin, _The Ecology of Freedom_, p. 342] 
 
So, the ethical concept "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." [_Ethics_, pp. 311-2] 
Therefore anarchists embrace "the permanent presence of a *double tendency* 
-- towards greater development on the one side, of *sociality*, and, on the  
other side, of a consequent increase of the intensity of life which results  
in an increase of happiness for the *individuals*, and in progress -- 
physical, intellectual, and moral. [Op. Cit., pp. 19-20] 
 
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 empathise with others,  
to see ourselves in others (our basic equality and common individuality,  
in other words). 
 
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. 
 
Hence an *ethical* society is one in which "[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."  
[Murray Bookchin, _Post Scarcity Anarchism_, p. 82]
 
A.3 What types of anarchism are there? 
 
Anarchists, while all sharing a few key ideas, can be grouped into broad 
categories, depending on the economic arrangements that they consider to 
be most suitable to human freedom. However, all types of anarchists share 
a basic approach. To quote Rudolf Rocker: 
 
"In common with the founders of Socialism, Anarchists demand the 
abolition of all economic monopolies and the common ownership of 
the soil and all other means of production, the use of which must 
be available to all without distinction; for personal and social
freedom is conceivable only on the basis of equal economic advantages
for everybody. Within the Socialist movement itself the Anarchists 
represent the viewpoint that the war against capitalism must be at 
the same time a war against all institutions of political power, for 
in history economic exploitation has always gone hand in hand with 
political and social oppression. The exploitation of man by man and 
the domination of man over man are inseparable, and each is the 
condition of the other." [_Anarcho-Syndicalism_, pp. 17-18]  
 
It is within this general context that anarchists disagree. The main  
differences are between "individualist" and "social" anarchists,  
although the economic arrangements each desire are not mutually 
exclusive. Of the two, social anarchists (communist-anarchists,
anarcho-syndicalists and so on) have always been the vast majority, 
with individualist anarchism being restricted mostly to the United 
States. In this section we indicate the differences between these
main trends within the anarchist movement. As will soon become clear,
while social and individualist anarchists both oppose the state and
capitalism, they disagree on the nature of a free society (and how to
get there). In a nutshell, social anarchists prefer communal solutions 
to social problems and a communal vision of the good society (i.e. a 
society that protects and encourages individual freedom). Individualist 
anarchists, as their name suggests, prefer individual solutions and have 
a more individualistic vision of the good society. However, we must
not let these difference cloud what both schools have in common, namely
a desire to maximise individual freedom and end state and capitalist
domination and exploitation.

In addition to this major disagreement, anarchists also disagree 
over such issues as syndicalism, pacifism, "lifestylism," animal 
rights and a whole host of other ideas, but these, while important, 
are only different aspects of anarchism. Beyond a few key ideas,  
the anarchist movement (like life itself) is in a constant state of 
change, discussion and thought -- as would be expected in a movement 
that values freedom so highly. 
 
To put our cards on the table, the writers of this FAQ place  
themselves firmly in the "social" strand of anarchism. This  
does not mean that we ignore the many important ideas associated  
with individualist anarchism, only that we think social anarchism  
is more appropriate for modern society, that it creates a stronger  
base for individual freedom, and that it more closely reflects the  
sort of society we would like to live in. 
 
A.3.1 What are the differences between individualist and social anarchists? 
 
While there is a tendency for individuals in both camps to claim that  
the proposals of the other camp would lead to the creation of some  
kind of state, the differences between individualists and social  
anarchists are not very great. Both are anti-state, anti-authority 
and anti-capitalist. The major differences are twofold. 
 
The first is in regard to the means of action in the here and now
(and so the manner in which anarchy will come about). Individualists 
generally prefer education and the creation of alternative institutions, 
such as mutual banks, unions, communes, etc. They usually support 
strikes and other non-violent forms of social protest (such as rent 
strikes, the non-payment of taxes and so on). Such activity, they
argue, will ensure that present society will gradually develop out 
of government into an anarchist one. They are primarily evolutionists, 
not revolutionists, and dislike social anarchists' use of direct action 
to create revolutionary situations. They consider revolution as being
in contradiction to anarchist principles as it involves the expropriation
of capitalist property and, therefore, authoritarian means. Rather they 
seek to return to society the wealth taken out of society by property by 
means of an new, alternative, system of economics (based around mutual 
banks and co-operatives). In this way a general "social liquidation" would
be rendered easy, with anarchism coming about by reform and not by
expropriation. 

Most social anarchists recognise the need for education and to create 
alternatives (such as libertarian unions), but most disagree that this 
is enough in itself. They do not think capitalism can be reformed piece 
by piece into anarchy, although they do not ignore the importance of reforms 
by social struggle that increase libertarian tendencies within capitalism.
Nor do they think revolution is in contradiction with anarchist principles
as it is not authoritarian to destroy authority (be it state or capitalist). 
Thus the expropriation of the capitalist class and the destruction of the
state by social revolution is a libertarian, not authoritarian, act by
its very nature as it is directed against those who govern and exploit 
the vast majority. In short, social anarchists are usually evolutionists 
*and* revolutionists, trying to strengthen libertarian tendencies within 
capitalism while trying to abolish that system by social revolution. However, 
as some social anarchists are purely evolutionists too, this difference is 
not the most important one dividing social anarchists from individualists.
 
The second major difference concerns the form of anarchist economy  
proposed. Individualists prefer a market-based system of distribution  
to the social anarchists need-based system. Both agree that the current
system of capitalist property rights must be abolished and that use
rights must replace property rights in the means of life (i.e. the
abolition of rent, interest and profits -- "usury," to use the 
individualist anarchists' preferred term for this unholy trinity).
In effect, both schools follow Proudhon's classic work _What is
Property?_ and argue that possession must replace property in a
free society (see section B.3 for a discussion of anarchist 
viewpoints on property).

However, within this use-rights framework, the two schools of anarchism
propose different systems. The social anarchist generally argues for 
communal (or social) ownership and use. This would involve social
ownership of the means of production and distribution, with personal
possessions remaining for things you use, but not what was used to
create them ("your watch is your own, but the watch factory belongs
to the people." [Alexander Berkman, _The ABC of Anarchism_, p. 68]).
"Actual use," argues Berkman, "will be considered the only title --
not to ownership but to possession. The organisation of the coal
miners, for example, will be in charge of the coal mines, not as
owners but as the operating agency . . . Collective possession, 
co-operatively managed in the interests of the community, will
take the place of personal ownership privately conducted for profit."
[Op. Cit., p. 69] This system would be based on workers' self-management
of their work and (for most social anarchists) the free sharing of
the product of that labour (i.e. an economic system without money). 
Some social anarchists, like mutualists, are against such a system 
of libertarian (or free) communism, but, in general, the vast majority 
of social anarchists look forward to the end of money and, therefore, 
of buying and selling.

In contrast, the individualist anarchist denies that this system of 
use-rights should include the product of the workers labour. Instead of 
social ownership, individualist anarchists propose a more market based 
system in which workers would possess their own means of production and 
exchange the product of their labour freely with other workers. They 
argue that capitalism is not, in fact, a truly free market. Rather, by 
means of the state, capitalists have placed fetters on the market to create 
and protect their economic and social power (market discipline for the 
working class, state aid for the ruling class in other words). These state 
created monopolies (of money, land, tariffs and patents) and state 
enforcement of capitalist property rights are the source of economic 
inequality and exploitation. With the abolition of government, *real* 
free competition would result and ensure the end of capitalism and 
capitalist exploitation (see Benjamin Tucker's essay _State Socialism 
and Anarchism_ for an excellent summary of this argument).

The Individualist anarchists argue that the means of production (bar land)
are the product of individual labour and so they accept that people should 
be able to sell the means of production they use, if they so desire. 
However, they reject capitalist property rights and instead favour an
"occupancy and use" system. If the means of production, say land, is not  
in use, it reverts back to common ownership and is available to others  
for use. They think this system, called mutualism, will result in  
workers control of production and the end of capitalist exploitation  
and usury. 
 
This second difference is the most important. The individualist fears  
being forced to join a community and thus losing his or her freedom  
(including the freedom to exchange freely with others). Max Stirner
puts this position well when he argues that "Communism, by the 
abolition of all personal property, only presses me back still
more into dependence on another, to wit, on the generality or
collectivity . . . [which is] a condition hindering my free
movement, a sovereign power over me. Communism rightly revolts
against the pressure that I experience from individual proprietors;
but still more horrible is the might that it puts in the hands of
the collectivity." [_The Ego and Its Own_, p. 257] Proudhon also 
argued against communism, stating that the community becomes the 
proprietor under communism and so capitalism and communism are 
based on property and so authority (see the section "Characteristics
of communism and of property" in _What is Property?_). Thus the 
Individualist anarchist argues that social ownership places the
individual's freedom in danger as any form of communism subjects
the individual to society or the commune. They fear that as well 
as dictating individual morality, socialisation would effectively 
eliminate workers' control as "society" would tell workers what to 
produce and take the product of their labour. In effect, they argue 
that communism (or social ownership in general) would be similar to 
capitalism, with the exploitation and authority of the boss replaced 
with that of "society."

Needless to say, social anarchists disagree. They argue that 
Stirner's and Proudhon's comments are totally correct -- but 
only about authoritarian communism. As Kropotkin argued, "before
and in 1848, the theory [of communism] was put forward in such
a shape as to fully account for Proudhon's distrust as to its
effect upon liberty. The old idea of Communism was the idea of
monastic communities under the severe rule of elders or of men
of science for directing priests. The last vestiges of liberty
and of individual energy would be destroyed, if humanity ever
had to go through such a communism." [_Act for Yourselves_, p. 98]
Kropotkin always argued that communist-anarchism was a *new*
development and given that it dates from the 1870s, Proudhon's
and Stirner's remarks cannot be considered as being directed
against it as they could not be familiar with it.

Rather than subject the individual to the community, social
anarchists argue that communal ownership would provide the
necessary framework to protect individual liberty in all aspects
of life by abolishing the power of the property owner, in whatever
form it takes. In addition, rather than abolish *all* individual 
"property," communist anarchism acknowledges the importance of 
individual possessions and individual space. Thus we find Kropotkin 
arguing against forms of communism that "desire to manage the 
community after the model of a family . . . [to live] all in 
the same house and . . . thus forced to continuously meet the 
same 'brethren and sisters' . . . [it is] a fundamental error to 
impose on all the 'great family' instead of trying, on the contrary, 
to guarantee as much freedom and home life to each individual." 
[_Small Communal Experiments and Why They Fail_, pp. 8-9] The aim 
of anarchist-communism is, to again quote Kropotkin, to place "the 
product reaped or manufactured at the disposal of all, leaving to 
each the liberty to consume them as he pleases in his own home." 
[_The Place of Anarchism in the Evolution of Socialist Thought_, 
p. 7] This ensures individual expression of tastes and desires and 
so individuality -- both in consumption *and* in production, as
social anarchists are firm supporters of workers' self-management.

Thus, for social anarchists, the Individualist Anarchist opposition 
to communism is only valid for state or authoritarian communism and 
ignores the fundamental nature of communist-anarchism. Communist
anarchists do not replace individuality with community but rather
use community to defend individuality. Rather than have "society"
control the individual, as the Individualist Anarchist fears, social 
anarchism is based on importance of individuality and individual
expression:

"Anarchist Communism maintains that most valuable of all conquests
-- individual liberty -- and moreover extends it and gives it a
solid basis -- economic liberty -- without which political liberty
is delusive; it does not ask the individual who has rejected god,
the universal tyrant, god the king, and god the parliament, to
give unto himself a god more terrible than any of the proceeding
-- god the Community, or to abdicate upon its alter his [or her] 
independence, his [or her] will, his [or her] tastes, and to renew
the vow of asceticism which he formally made before the crucified 
god. It says to him, on the contrary, 'No society is free so long
as the individual is not so! . . .'" [Op. Cit., pp. 14-15]

In addition, social anarchists have always recognised the need for 
voluntary collectivisation. If people desire to work by themselves, 
this is not seen as a problem (see Kropotkin's _The Conquest of 
Bread_, p. 61 and _Act for Yourselves_, pp. 104-5 as well as Malatesta's 
_Life and Ideas_, p. 99 and p. 103). In addition, for social anarchists
an association exists solely for the benefit of the individuals that  
compose it; it is the means by which people co-operate to meet their  
common needs. Therefore, *all* anarchists emphasise the importance  
of free agreement as the basis of an anarchist society. Thus all 
anarchists agree with Bakunin: 
 
"In a free community, collectivism can only come about through the  
pressure of circumstances, not by imposition from above but by a  
free spontaneous movement from below." [_Bakunin on Anarchism_,  
p. 200]
 
If individualists desire to work for themselves and exchange goods  
with others, social anarchists have no objection. Hence our comments
that the two forms of anarchism are not mutually exclusive. Social
anarchists support the right of individual's *not* to join a commune
while Individualist Anarchists support the rights of individuals to
pool their possessions as they see fit, including communistic
associations. However, if, in the name of freedom, an individual 
wished to claim property rights so as to exploit the labour of others, 
social anarchists would quickly resist this attempt to recreate statism 
in the name of "liberty." Anarchists do not respect the "freedom" to 
be a ruler! In the words of Luigi Galleani:
 
"No less sophistical is the tendency of those who, under the comfortable  
cloak of anarchist individualism, would welcome the idea of domination  
. . . But the heralds of domination presume to practice individualism  
in the name of their ego, over the obedient, resigned, or inert ego of 
others." [_The End of Anarchism?_, p. 40] 
 
Moreover, for social anarchists, the idea that the means of production  
can be sold implies that private property could be reintroduced in an  
anarchist society. In a free market, some succeed and others fail. If
the "unsuccessful" competitors are forced into unemployment they may have 
to sell their labour to the "successful" in order to survive. This would
create authoritarian social relationships and the domination of the few
over the many via "free contracts." The enforcement of such contracts
(and others like them), in all likelihood, "opens . . . the way for  
reconstituting under the heading of 'defence' all the functions of  
the State." [Peter Kropotkin, _Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, 
p. 297]
 
Benjamin Tucker, the anarchist most influenced by liberalism and 
free market ideas, also faced the problems associated with all 
schools of abstract individualism -- in particular, the acceptance 
of authoritarian social relations as an expression of "liberty." 
This is due to the similarity of property to the state. Tucker 
argued that the state was marked by two things, aggression and 
"the assumption of authority over a given area and all within 
it, exercised generally for the double purpose of more complete 
oppression of its subjects and extension of its boundaries." 
[_Instead of a Book_, p. 22] However, the boss and landlord also 
has authority over a given area (the property in question) and 
all within it (workers and tenants). The former control the 
actions of the latter just as the state rules the citizen or 
subject. In other words, individual ownership produces the
same social relationships as that created by the state, as it
comes from the same source (monopoly of power over a given
area and those who use it).

Social anarchists argue that the Individualist Anarchists acceptance 
of individual ownership and their individualistic conception of individual
freedom can lead to the denial of individual freedom by the creation 
of social relationships which are essentially authoritarian/statist in 
nature. "The individualists," argued Malatesta, "give the greatest 
importance to an abstract concept of freedom and fail to take into 
account, or dwell on the fact that real, concrete freedom is the 
outcome of solidarity and voluntary co-operation." [_The Anarchist 
Revolution_, p. 16] Thus wage labour, for example, places the 
worker in the same relationship to the boss as citizenship places 
the citizen to the state, namely of one of domination and subjection. 
Similarly with the tenant and the landlord.

Such a social relationship cannot help but produce the other aspects 
of the state. As Albert Meltzer points out, this can have nothing but
statist implications, because "the school  of Benjamin Tucker -- by 
virtue of their individualism -- accepted the need for police to 
break strikes so as to guarantee the employer's 'freedom.' All this 
school of so-called Individualists accept . . . the necessity of 
the police force, hence for government, and the prime definition 
of anarchism is *no government.*" [_Anarchism: Arguments For and 
Against_, p. 8] It is partly for this reason social anarchists
support social ownership as the best means of protecting individual
liberty.
 
Accepting individual ownership this problem can only be "got round" 
by accepting, along with Proudhon (the source of Tucker's economic 
ideas), the need for co-operatives to run workplaces that require 
more than one worker. This naturally complements their support
for "occupancy and use" for land, which would effectively abolish 
landlords. Only when the people who use a resource own it can 
individual ownership not result in hierarchical authority (i.e.
statism/capitalism). This solution, as we argue in section G, is 
the one Individualist Anarchists *do* seem to accept. For example,
we find Joseph Labadie writing to his son urging him to get away
from wage earning and "the dominion of others." [quoted by Carlotta
Abderson, _All American Anarchist_, p. 222] As Wm. Gary Kline correctly 
points out, the US Individualist anarchists "expected a society of 
largely self-employed workmen with no significant disparity of wealth 
between any of them." [_The Individualist Anarchists_, p. 104] It is 
this vision of a self-employed society that ensures that their ideas 
are truly anarchist.

Moreover, while the individualists attack "usury," they usually
ignore the problem of capital accumulation, which results in 
*natural* barriers of entry into markets and so recreates usury 
in new forms (see section C.4 "Why does the market become dominated 
by big business?"). Hence a "free market" in banks, as advocated by 
Tucker and other Individualist Anarchists, could result in a few big 
banks dominating, with a direct economic interest in supporting 
capitalist rather than co-operative investment (as they would ensure
higher returns than co-operatives). The only real solution to this 
problem would be to ensure community ownership and management of 
banks, as originally desired by Proudhon. 
 
It is this recognition of the developments within the capitalist  
economy which make social anarchists reject individualist anarchism  
in favour of communalising, and so decentralising, production by  
freely associated and co-operative labour. (For more discussion on  
the ideas of the Individualist anarchists, see section G - "Is  
individualist anarchism capitalistic?") 
 
A.3.2 Are there different types of social anarchism? 
 
Yes. Social anarchism has four major trends -- mutualism, collectivism,  
communism and syndicalism. The differences are not great and simply 
involve differences in strategy. The one major difference that does exist 
is between mutualism and the other kinds of social anarchism. Mutualism is  
based around a form of market socialism -- workers' co-operatives exchanging 
the product of their labour via a system of community banks. This mutual 
bank network would be "formed by the whole community, not for the especial  
advantage of any individual or class, but for the benefit of all . . . 
[with] no interest . . . exacted on loans, except enough to cover risks  
and expenses." [Charles A. Dana, _Proudhon and his "Bank of the People"_,  
pp. 44-45] Such a system would end capitalist exploitation and oppression  
for by "introducing mutualism into exchange and credit we introduce it  
everywhere, and labour will assume a new aspect and become truly democratic."  
[Op. Cit., p. 45] 

The social anarchist version of mutualism differs from the individualist 
form by having the mutual banks owned by the local community (or commune) 
instead of being independent co-operatives. This would ensure that they
provided investment funds to co-operatives rather than to capitalistic
enterprises. Another difference is that some social anarchist mutualists
support the creation of what Proudhon termed an "agro-industrial federation" 
to complement the federation of libertarian communities (called communes 
by Proudhon). This is a "confederation . . . intended to provide 
reciprocal security in commerce and industry" and large scale developments 
such as roads, railways and so on. The purpose of "specific federal arrangements
is to protect the citizens of the federated states [sic!] from capitalist
and financial feudalism, both within them and from the outside." This is
because "political right requires to be buttressed by economic right." Thus
the agro-industrial federation would be required to ensure the anarchist
nature of society from the destabilising effects of market exchanges (which
can generate increasing inequalities in wealth and so power). Such a 
system would be a practical example of solidarity, as "industries are
sisters; they are parts of the same body; one cannot suffer without the
others sharing in its suffering. They should therefore federate, not
to be absorbed and confused together, but in order to guarantee mutually
the conditions of common prosperity . . . Making such an agreement 
will not detract from their liberty; it will simply gives their liberty
more security and force." [_The Principle of Federation_, p. 70, p. 67
and p. 72]
 
The other forms of social anarchism do not share the mutualists support  
for markets, even non-capitalist ones. Instead they think that freedom is  
best served by communalising production and sharing information and products  
freely between co-operatives. In other words, the other forms of social
anarchism are based upon common (or social) ownership by federations of
producers' associations and communes rather than mutualism's system of 
individual co-operatives. In Bakunin's words, the "future social organisation
must be made solely from the bottom upwards, by the free association or
federation of workers, firstly in their unions, then in the communes,
regions, nations and finally in a great federation, international and
universal" and "the land, the instruments of work and all other capital
may become the collective property of the whole of society and be 
utilised only by the workers, in other words by the agricultural and
industrial associations." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 206 
and p. 174] Only by extending the principle of co-operation beyond individual 
workplaces can individual liberty be maximised and protected (see section 
I.1.3 for why most anarchists are opposed to markets). In this they share 
some ground with Proudhon, as can be seen. The industrial confederations 
would "guarantee the mutual use of the tools of production which are
the property of each of these groups and which will by a reciprocal 
contract become the collective property of the whole . . . federation.
In this way, the federation of groups will be able to . . . regulate
the rate of production to meet the fluctuating needs of society." 
[James Guillaume, _Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 376] 

These anarchists share the mutualists support for workers' self-management 
of production within co-operatives but see confederations of these 
associations as being the focal point for expressing mutual aid, not 
a market. Workplace autonomy and self-management would be the basis 
of any federation, for "the workers in the various factories have not 
the slightest intention of handing over their hard-won control of the 
tools of production to a superior power calling itself the 'corporation.'"
[Op. Cit., p. 364] In addition to this industry-wide federation, there
would also be cross-industry and community confederations to look after 
tasks which are not within the exclusive jurisdiction or capacity of any
particular industrial federation or are of a social nature. Again, this
has similarities to Proudhon's mutualist ideas.

Social anarchists share a firm commitment to common ownership of the means  
of production (excluding those used purely by individuals) and reject the  
individualist idea that these can be "sold off" by those who use them. The  
reason, as noted earlier, is because if this could be done, capitalism and  
statism could regain a foothold in the free society. In addition, other 
social anarchists do not agree with the mutualist idea that capitalism can 
be reformed into libertarian socialism by introducing mutual banking. For  
them capitalism can only be replaced by a free society by social revolution. 
 
The major difference between collectivists and communists is over the  
question of "money" after a revolution. Anarcho-communists consider the  
abolition of money to be essential, while anarcho-collectivists consider  
the end of private ownership of the means of production to be the key. 
As Kropotkin noted, collectivist anarchism "express[es] a state of things
in which all necessaries for production are owned in common by the labour
groups and the free communes, while the ways of retribution of labour,
communist or otherwise, would be settled by each group for itself." 
[_Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 295] Thus, while communism
and collectivism both organise production in common via producers'
associations, they differ in how the goods produced will be distributed.
Communism is based on free consumption of all while collectivism is 
more likely to be based on the distribution of goods according to the 
labour contributed. However, most anarcho-collectivists think that, 
over time, as productivity increases and the sense of community becomes 
stronger, money will disappear. Both agree that, in the end, society 
would be run along the lines suggested by the communist maxim: "From each 
according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." They 
just disagree on how quickly this will come about. 

For anarcho-communists, they think that "communism -- at least partial --
has more chances of being established that collectivism" after a revolution.
[Op. Cit., p. 298] They think that moves towards communism are essential
as collectivism "begins by abolishing private ownership of the means of
production and immediately reverses itself by returning to the system
of remuneration according to work performed which means the re-introduction
of inequality." [Alexander Berkman, _The ABC of Anarchism_, p. 80] The
quicker the move to communism, the less chances of new inequalities 
developing. Needless to say, these positions are *not* that different 
and, in practice, the necessities of a social revolution and the level 
of political awareness of those introducing anarchism will determine which 
system will be applied in each area.

Syndicalism is the other major form of social anarchism. Anarcho-syndicalists,  
like other syndicalists, want to create an industrial union movement based on  
anarchist ideas. Therefore they advocate decentralised, federated unions that  
use direct action to get reforms under capitalism until they are strong  
enough to overthrow it. In many ways anarcho-syndicalism can be considered
as a new version of collectivist-anarchism, which also stressed the 
importance of anarchists working within the labour movement and creating
unions which prefigure the future free society.
 
Thus, even under capitalism, anarcho-syndicalists seek to create "free  
associations of free producers." They think that these associations would  
serve as "a practical school of anarchism" and they take very seriously  
Bakunin's remark that the workers' organisations must create "not only  
the ideas but also the facts of the future itself" in the pre-revolutionary  
period. 
 
Anarcho-syndicalists, like all social anarchists, "are convinced that a
Socialist economic order cannot be created by the decrees and statutes 
of a government, but only by the solidaric collaboration of the workers 
with hand and brain in each special branch of production; that is, 
through the taking over of the management of all plants by the producers 
themselves under such form that the separate groups, plants, and branches 
of industry are independent members of the general economic organism and  
systematically carry on production and the distribution of the products 
in the interest of the community on the basis of free mutual agreements." 
[Rudolf Rocker, _Anarcho-syndicalism_, p. 55]
 
The difference between syndicalists and other revolutionary social 
anarchists is slight and purely revolves around the question of 
anarcho-syndicalist unions. Collectivist anarchists agree that 
building libertarian unions is important and that work within the 
labour movement is essential in order to ensure "the development and
organisation . . . of the social (and, by consequence, anti-political)
power of the working masses." [Bakunin, _Michael Bakunin: Selected 
Writings_, p. 197] Communist anarchists usually also acknowledge 
the importance of working in the labour movement but they generally think 
that syndicalistic organisations will be created by workers in struggle, 
and so consider encouraging the "spirit of revolt" as more important than 
creating syndicalist unions and hoping workers will join them. They also 
do not place as great an emphasis on the workplace, considering struggles 
within it to be equal in importance to other struggles against hierarchy 
and domination outside the workplace (most anarcho-syndicalists would
agree with this, however, and often it is just a question of emphasis). 
A few communist-anarchists reject the labour movement as hopelessly
reformist in nature and so refuse to work within it, but these are
a small minority.
 
Both communist and collectivist anarchists recognise the need for  
anarchists to unite together in purely anarchist organisations.  
They think it is essential that anarchists work together as  
anarchists to clarify and spread their ideas to others. Syndicalists  
often deny the importance of anarchist groups and federations, arguing  
that revolutionary industrial and community unions are enough in themselves.  
Syndicalists think that the anarchist and union movements can be fused  
into one, but most other anarchists disagree. Non-syndicalists point  
out the reformist nature of unionism and urge that to keep syndicalist  
unions revolutionary, anarchists must work within them as part of an
anarchist group or federation. Most non-syndicalists consider the fusion 
of anarchism and unionism a source of potential *confusion* that would 
result in the two movements failing to do their respective work correctly. 
 
In practice, few anarcho-syndicalists totally reject the need for an  
anarchist federation, while few anarchists are totally anti-syndicalist.  
For example, Bakunin inspired both anarcho-communist and anarcho-syndicalist  
ideas, and anarcho-communists like Kropotkin, Malatesta, Berkman and Goldman  
were all sympathetic to anarcho-syndicalist movements and ideas. 

For further reading on the various types of social anarchism, we would
recommend the following: mutualism is usually associated with the
works of Proudhon, collectivism with Bakunin's, communism with Kropotkin's, 
Malatesta's, Goldman's and Berkman's. Syndicalism is somewhat different, 
as it was far more the product of workers' in struggle than the work of a 
"famous" name (although this does not stop academics calling George Sorel 
the father of syndicalism, even though he wrote about a syndicalist movement 
that already existed. The idea that working class people can develop their
own ideas, by themselves, is usually lost on them). However, Rudolf Rocker 
is often considered a leading anarcho-syndicalist theorist and the work's 
of Fernand Pelloutier and Emile Pouget are essential reading to understand 
anarcho-syndicalism. For an excellent overview of the development of social 
anarchism and key works by its leading lights, Daniel Guerin's excellent 
anthology _No Gods No Masters_ cannot be bettered.
 
A.3.3 What kinds of green anarchism are there? 
 
An emphasis on anarchist ideas as a solution to the ecological crisis is a 
common thread in most forms of anarchism today. The trend goes back to 
Peter Kropotkin who argued that an anarchist society would be based on  
a confederation of communities that would integrate manual and brain  
work as well as decentralising and integrating industry and agriculture (see  
his classic work _Fields, Factories, and Workshops_). This idea of an  
economy in which "small is beautiful" (to use the title of E.F. Schumacher's  
Green classic) was proposed nearly 70 years before it was taken up by what  
was to become the green movement. In addition, in _Mutual Aid_ Kropotkin  
documented how co-operation within species and between them and their  
environment is usually of more benefit to them than competition. Kropotkin's  
work, combined with that of William Morris, the Reclus brothers (both of  
whom, like Kropotkin, were world-renowned geographers), and many others  
laid the foundations for the current anarchist interest in ecological issues. 
 
However, while there are many themes of an ecological nature within 
classical anarchism, it is only relatively recently that the similarities 
between ecological thought and anarchism has come to the fore (essentially 
from the publication of Murray Bookchin's classic essay "Ecology and 
Revolutionary Thought" in 1965). Indeed, it would be no exaggeration 
to state that it is the ideas and work of Murray Bookchin that has placed 
ecology and ecological issues at the heart of anarchism and anarchist ideals 
and analysis into many aspects of the green movement. 
 
Before discussing the types of green anarchism (also called eco-anarchism) 
it would be worthwhile to explain exactly *what* anarchism and ecology 
have in common. To quote Murray Bookchin, "both the ecologist and the 
anarchist place a strong emphasis on spontaneity" and "to both the 
ecologist and the anarchist, an ever-increasing unity is achieved by 
growing differentiation. *An expanding whole is created by the 
diversification and enrichment of its parts.*" Moreover, "[j]ust 
as the ecologist seeks to expand the range of an eco-system and 
promote free interplay between species, so the anarchist seeks to 
expand the range of social experiments and remove all fetters to 
its development." [_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, p. 72, p. 78] 
 
Thus the anarchist concern with free development, decentralisation, 
diversity and spontaneity is reflected in ecological ideas and concerns. 
Hierarchy, centralisation, the state and concentrations of wealth reduce 
diversity and the free development of individuals and their communities 
by their very nature, and so weakens the social eco-system as well as 
the actual eco-systems human societies are part of. As Bookchin argues, 
"the reconstructive message of ecology. . . [is that] we must conserve 
and promote variety" but within modern capitalist society "[a]ll that 
is spontaneous, creative and individuated is circumscribed by the  
standardised, the regulated and the massified." [Op. Cit., p. 76,  
p. 65] So, in many ways, anarchism can be considered the application 
of ecological ideas to society, as anarchism aims to empower individuals 
and communities, decentralise political, social and economic power so 
ensuring that individuals and social life develops freely and so becomes 
increasingly diverse in nature. 
 
So what kinds of green anarchism is there? The eco-anarchist thread within  
anarchism has two main focal points, Social Ecology and "primitivist"  
anarchism. In addition, some anarchists are influenced by Deep Ecology, 
although not many. Undoubtedly Social Ecology is the most influential 
current. Social Ecology is associated with the ideas and works of Murray  
Bookchin, who has been writing on ecological matters since the 1950's  
and, from the 1960s, has combined these issues with revolutionary 
social anarchism. His works include _Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, _Toward 
an Ecological Society_, _The Ecology of Freedom_ and a host of others. 
 
Social Ecology locates the roots of the ecological crisis firmly in 
relations of domination between people. The domination of nature is 
seen as a product of domination within society, but this domination 
only reaches crisis proportions under capitalism. In the words of 
Murray Bookchin: 
 
"The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the 
domination of man by man. . .  But it was not until organic community 
relations. . . dissolved into market relationships that the planet itself 
was reduced to a resource for exploitation. This centuries-long tendency 
finds its most exacerbating development in modern capitalism. Owing to 
its inherently competitive nature, bourgeois society not only pits humans 
against each other, it also pits the mass of humanity against the nature 
world. Just as men are converted into commodities, so every aspect of 
nature is converted into a commodity, a resource to be manufactured 
and merchandised wantonly." [Op. Cit., p. 63]  
 
"The plundering of the human spirit by the market place is paralleled 
by the plundering of the earth by capital." [Ibid., p. 65] 
 
Therefore social ecologists consider it essential to attack hierarchy 
and capitalism, not civilisation as such as the root cause of ecological 
problems. This is one of the key areas in which they disagree with 
"Primitivist" Anarchist ideas, who tend to be far more critical of 
*all* aspects of modern life, with some going so far as calling for  
"the end of civilisation" including, apparently, all forms of technology 
and large scale organisation.  
 
At its most extreme, "Primitivist" anarchists argue in favour of a  
return to "Hunter-Gatherer" forms of human society, opposing  
technology as being hierarchical by its very nature. The British  
based "Green Anarchist" magazine is a vocal supporter of this idea. 
 
However, very few anarchists go this far. Indeed, most anarchists actually 
argue that such "Primitivism" is not anarchist at all, as the return to  
a "Hunter-Gatherer" society would result in mass starvation in almost all 
countries as the social infrastructure collapses. Due to the inherent  
unattractiveness of such "Primitivist" ideas for most people, it could  
never come about by libertarian means (i.e. by the free choice of 
individuals who create it by their own acts) and so cannot be anarchist 
as very few people would actually voluntarily embrace such a situation.  
This leads to "Green Anarchist" developing a form of eco-vanguardism in  
order, to use Rousseau's expression, to "force people to be free" (as can  
be seen from articles published in it in 1998 celebrating terrorist acts). 
In addition, such a position of "turning back the clock" is deeply flawed, 
for while aboriginal societies are generally very anarchistic, certain of 
these societies did develop into statist, propertarian ones implying that 
such "primitive anarchist" systems are not the answer.  
 
However, few eco-anarchists take such an extreme position. Most "Primitivist" 
anarchists rather than being anti-technology and anti-civilisation as such 
instead (to use David Watson's expression) believe it is a case of the 
"affirmation of aboriginal lifeways" and of taking a far more critical 
approach to issues such as technology, rationality and progress than that 
associated with Social Ecology. These eco-anarchists reject "a dogmatic 
primitivism which claims we can return in some linear way to our primordial 
roots" just as much as the idea of "progress," "*superseding* both Enlightenment 
and Counter-Enlightenment" ideas and traditions. For these eco-anarchists, 
Primitivism "reflects not only a glimpse at life before the rise of the 
state, but also a legitimate response to real conditions of life under 
civilisation" and so we should respect and learn from "palaeolithic and 
neolithic wisdom traditions" (such as those  associated with Native American 
tribes and other aboriginal peoples). While we "cannot, and would not want 
to abandon secular modes of thinking and experiencing the world. . . we 
cannot reduce the experience of life, and the fundamental, inescapable 
questions *why* we live, and *how* we live, to secular terms. . . Moreover, 
the boundary between the spiritual and the secular is not so clear. A 
dialectical understanding that we are our history would affirm an 
inspirited reason that honours not only atheistic Spanish revolutionaries 
who died for *el ideal,* but also religious pacifist prisoners of 
conscience, Lakota ghost dancers, taoist hermits and executed sufi 
mystics." [David Watson, _Beyond Bookchin: Preface for a future 
social ecology_, p. 240, p. 103, p. 240, pp. 66-67] 
 
Such "Primitivist" anarchism is associated with a range of magazines, mostly  
US -based, like _Fifth Estate_. For example, on the question of technology, 
such eco-anarchists argue that "[w]hile market capitalism was a spark 
that set the fire, and  remains at the centre of the complex, it is only part 
of something larger: the forced adaptation of organic human societies to 
an economic-instrumental civilisation and its mass technics, which are 
not only hierarchical and external but increasingly 'cellular' and internal. 
It makes no sense to layer the various elements of this process in a  
mechanistic hierarchy of first cause and secondary effects." [David 
Watson, Op. Cit., pp. 127-8] 
 
For this reason "Primitivist" anarchists are more critical of all 
aspects of technology, including calls by social ecologists for the  
use of *appropriate* technology essential in order to liberate  
humanity and the planet. As Watson argues: 
 
"To speak of technological society is in fact to refer to *the technics 
generated within capitalism,* which in turn generate new forms of 
capital. The notion of a distinct realm of social relations that  
determine this technology is not only ahistorical and undialectical, 
it reflects a kind of simplistic base/superstructure schema." [Ibid., 
p. 124]  
 
Thus it is not a case of who *uses* technology which determines its 
effects, rather the effects of technology are determined to a large 
degree by the society that creates it. In other words, technology is 
selected which tends to re-enforce hierarchical power as it is those 
in power who generally select which technology is introduced within 
society (saying that, oppressed people have this excellent habit of  
turning technology against the powerful and technological change  
and social struggle are inter-related -- see section D.10). Thus even  
the use of appropriate technology involves more than selecting from  
the range of available technology at hand, as these technologies have 
certain effects regardless of who uses them. Rather it is a question of  
critically evaluating all aspects of technology and modifying and rejecting  
it as required to maximise individual freedom, empowerment and happiness.  
Few Social Ecologists would disagree with this approach, though, and  
differences are usually a question of emphasis rather than a deep  
political point.  
 
Finally, "Primitivist" anarchists, like most other anarchists, are 
deeply critical of Social Ecology's support for running candidates in 
municipal elections. While Social Ecologists see this as a means of 
creating popular self-managing assemblies and creating a counter 
power to the state, few anarchists agree. Rather they see it as inherently 
reformist as well as being hopelessly naive about the possibilities of 
using elections to bring about social change (see section J.5.14 for 
a fuller discussion of this). Instead they propose direct action as the 
means to forward anarchist and ecological ideas, rejecting electioneering 
as a dead-end which ends up watering down radical ideas and corrupting 
the people involved (see section J.2 -- What is Direct Action?). 
 
For more on "Primitivist" Anarchism see John Zerzan's _Future 
Primitive_ and the excellent _Elements of Refusal_ as well as 
David Watson's _Beyond Bookchin_ and _Against the Mega-Machine_. 
 
Lastly, there is "deep ecology," which, because of its bio-centric nature, 
many anarchists reject as anti-human. There are few anarchists who think 
that *people,* as people, are the cause of the ecological crisis, which 
many deep ecologists seem to suggest. Murray Bookchin, for example, has 
been particularly outspoken in his criticism of deep ecology and the 
anti-human ideas that are often associated with it (see _Which Way for 
the Ecology Movement?_, for example). David Watson has also argued  
against Deep Ecology (see his _How Deep is Deep Ecology?_ written 
under the name George Bradford). Most anarchists would argue that  
it is not people but the current system which is the problem, and that  
only people can change it. In the words of Murray Bookchin: 
 
"[Deep Ecology's problems] stem from an authoritarian streak in a crude 
biologism that uses 'natural law' to conceal an ever-diminishing sense of 
humanity and papers over a profound ignorance of social reality by  
ignoring the fact it is *capitalism* we are talking about, not an abstraction 
called 'Humanity' and 'Society.'" [_The Philosophy of Social Ecology_, 
p. 160] 
 
To submerge ecological critique and analysis into a simplistic protest  
against the human race ignores the real causes and dynamics of ecological 
destruction and, therefore, ensures an end to this destruction cannot be 
found. Simply put, it is hardly "people" who are to blame when the vast 
majority have no real say in the decisions that affect their lives, 
communities, industries and eco-systems. Rather, it is an economic 
and social system that places profits and power above people and 
planet. By focusing on "Humanity" (and so failing to distinguish 
between rich and poor, men and women, whites and people of colour, 
exploiters and exploited, oppressors and oppressed) the system we live 
under is effectively ignored, and so are the institutional causes of 
ecological problems. 
 
Faced with a constant anarchist critique of certain of their spokes-persons  
ideas, many Deep Ecologists have turned away from the anti-human ideas 
associated with their movement. Deep ecology, particularly the organisation 
Earth First! (EF!), has changed considerably over time, and EF! now has a 
close working relationship with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 
a syndicalist union. While deep ecology is not a thread of eco-anarchism, it 
shares many ideas and is becoming more accepted by anarchists as EF! rejects 
its few misanthropic ideas and starts to see that hierarchy, not the human 
race, is the problem (for a discussion between Murray Bookchin and 
leading Earth Firster! Dave Foreman see the book _Defending the Earth_). 
 
A.3.4 Is anarchism pacifistic? 
 
A pacifist strand has long existed in anarchism, with Leo Tolstoy  
being one of its major figures. This strand is usually called "anarcho-pacifism"  
(the term "non-violent anarchist" is sometimes used, but this term is  
unfortunate because it implies the rest of the movement are "violent,"  
which is not the case!). The union  of anarchism and pacifism is not 
surprising given the fundamental ideals and arguments of anarchism. 
After all, violence, or the threat of violence or harm, is a key means by  
which individual freedom is destroyed. As Peter Marshall points out, 
"[g]iven the anarchist's respect for the sovereignty of the individual, in the  
long run it is non-violence and not violence which is implied by anarchist  
values." [_Demanding the Impossible_, p.637] Malatesta is even 
more explicit when he wrote that the "main plank of anarchism is the  
removal of violence from human relations" and that anarchists "are 
opposed to violence." [_Life and Ideas_, p. 53] 
 
However, although many anarchists reject violence and proclaim pacifism,  
the movement, in general, is not essentially pacifistic (in the sense of opposed  
all forms of violence at all times). Rather, it is anti-militarist, being 
against the organised violence of the state but recognising that there are 
important differences between the violence of the oppressor and the 
violence of the oppressed. This explains why the anarchist movement has 
always placed a lot of time and energy in opposing the military machine 
and capitalist wars while, at the same time, supporting and organising 
armed resistance against oppression (as in the case of the Makhnovist 
army during the Russian Revolution which resisted both Red and White 
armies and the militias the anarchists organised to resist the fascists  
during the Spanish Revolution -- see sections A.5.4 and A.5.6,  
respectively).  
 
On the question of non-violence, as a rough rule of thumb, the movement 
divides along Individualist and Social lines. Most Individualist anarchists 
support purely non-violent tactics of social change, as do the Mutualists.  
However, Individualist anarchism is not pacifist as such, as many support  
the idea of violence in self-defence against aggression. Most social anarchists,  
on the other hand, do support the use of revolutionary violence, holding 
that physical force will be required to overthrow entrenched power and to 
resist state and capitalist aggression (although it was an anarcho-syndicalist, 
Bart de Ligt, who wrote the pacifist classic, _The Conquest of Violence_).  
As Malatesta put it, violence, while being  "in itself an evil," is "justifiable  
only when it is necessary to defend oneself and others from violence" and  
that a "slave is always in a state of legitimate defence and consequently,  
his violence against the boss, against the oppressor, is always morally  
justifiable." [Op. Cit., p. 55, pp. 53-54] Moreover, they stress that, to use  
the words of Bakunin, since social oppression "stems far less from individuals  
than from the organisation of things and from social positions" anarchists aim  
to "ruthlessly destroy positions and things" rather than people, since the 
aim of an anarchist revolution is to see the end of privileged classes 
"not as individuals, but as classes." [quoted by Richard B. Saltman, 
_The Social and Political Thought of Michael Bakunin_ p. 121, p. 124 
and p. 122] 
 
Indeed, the question of violence is relatively unimportant to most anarchists, 
as they do not glorify it and think that it should be kept to a minimum 
during any social struggle or revolution. All anarchists would agree with 
the Dutch pacifist anarcho-syndicalist Bart de Ligt when he argued that 
"the violence and warfare which are characteristic conditions of the 
capitalist world do not go with the libertarian of the individual, which 
is the historic mission of the exploited classes. The greater the violence, 
the weaker the revolution, even where violence has deliberately been put 
at the service of the revolution." [_The Conquest of Violence_, p. 75] 
 
Similarly, all anarchists would agree with de Ligt on, to use the name of one 
of his book's chapters, "the absurdity of bourgeois pacifism." For de Ligt, 
and all anarchists, violence is inherent in the capitalist system and any 
attempt to make capitalism pacifistic is doomed to failure. This is because, 
on the one hand, war is often just economic competition carried out by other 
means. Nations often go to war when they face an economic crisis, what they 
cannot gain in economic struggle they attempt to get by conflict. On the other 
hand, "violence is indispensable in modern society. . . [because] without it 
the ruling class would be completely unable to maintain its privileged position 
with regard to the exploited masses in each country. The army is used first and 
foremost to hold down the workers. . . when they become discontented." [Bart de 
Ligt, Op. Cit., p. 62] As long as the state and capitalism exist, violence is 
inevitable and so, for anarcho-pacifists, the consistent pacifist must be an 
anarchist just as the consistent anarchist must be a pacifist. 
 
For those anarchists who are non-pacifists, violence is seen as an 
unavoidable and unfortunate result of oppression and exploitation as 
well as the only means by which the privileged classes will renounce 
their power and wealth. Those in authority rarely give up their power 
and so must be forced. Hence the need for "transitional" violence "to 
put an end to the far greater, and permanent, violence which keeps the 
majority of mankind in servitude." [Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 55] To 
concentrate on the issue of violence versus non-violence is to ignore 
the real issue, namely how do we change society for the better. As 
Alexander Berkman pointed out, those anarchists who are pacifists 
confuse the issue, like those who think "it's the same as if rolling 
up your sleeves for work should be considered the work  itself." To 
the contrary, "[t]he fighting part of revolution is merely rolling 
up your sleeves. The real, actual task is ahead." [_ABC of  
Anarchism_, p. 40] And, indeed, most social struggle and 
revolutions start relatively peaceful (via strikes, occupations 
and so on) and only degenerate into violence when those in power 
try to maintain their position (a classic example of this is in 
Italy, in 1920, when the occupation of factories by their workers 
was followed by fascist terror -- see section A.5.5).  
 
As noted above, all anarchists are anti-militarists and oppose both the  
military machine (and so the "defence" industry) as well as statist/capitalist  
wars (although a few anarchists, like Rudolf Rocker and Sam Dolgoff,  
supported the anti-fascist capitalist side during the second world war  
as the lesser evil). The anti-war machine message of anarchists and  
anarcho-syndicalists was propagated long before the start of the first world 
war, with syndicalists and anarchists in Britain and North America reprinting 
a French CGT leaflet urging soldiers not to follow orders and repress their 
striking fellow workers. Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman where both  
arrested and deported from America for organising a "No-Conscription League"  
in 1917 while many anarchists in Europe where jailed for refusing to join the 
armed forces in the first and second world wars. The anarcho-syndicalist 
influenced IWW was crushed by a ruthless wave of government repression  
due to the threat its organising and anti-war message presented to the powerful  
elites who favoured war. More recently, anarchists, (including people like  
Noam Chomsky and Paul Goodman) have been active in the peace movement  
as well as contributing to the resistance to conscription where it still exists. 
Anarchists took an active part in opposing such wars as the Vietnam War,  
the Falklands war as well as the Gulf war (including, in Italy, helping to 
organise strikes in protest against it). And it was during this last conflict  
when many anarchists raised the slogan "No war but the class war" which  
nicely sums up the anarchist opposition to war -- namely an evil  
consequence of any class system, in which the oppressed classes of  
different countries kill each other for the power and profits of their  
rulers. Rather than take part in this organised slaughter, anarchists  
urge working people to fit for their own interests rather than those  
of their masters: 
 
"More than ever we must avoid compromise; deepen the chasm between 
capitalists and wage slaves, between rulers and ruled; preach expropriation 
of private property and the destruction of states such as the only means of 
guaranteeing fraternity between peoples and Justice and Liberty for all; 
and we must prepare to accomplish these things." [Malatesta, Op. Cit.,  
p. 251] 
 
(We must note here that Malatesta's words were written in part against 
Peter Kropotkin who, for reasons best known to himself, rejected everything 
he had argued for decades and supported the allies in the First World War  
as a lesser evil against German authoritarianism and Imperialism. Of course,  
as Malatesta pointed out, "all Governments and all capitalist classes" do  
"misdeeds . . . against the workers and rebels of their own countries."  
[Op. Cit., p. 246]) 
 
Thus, the attraction of pacifism to anarchists is clear. Violence *is* 
authoritarian and coercive, and so its use does contradict anarchist 
principles. That is way anarchists would agree with Malatesta when he 
argues that "[w]e are on principle opposed to violence and for this reason 
wish that the social struggle should be conducted as humanely as possible." 
[Op. Cit., p. 57] Most, if not all, anarchists who are not strict pacifists  
agree with pacifist-anarchists when they argue that violence can often be 
counterproductive, alienating people and giving the state an excuse to 
repress both the anarchist movement and popular movements for social 
change. All anarchists support non-violent direct action and civil  
disobedience, which often provide better roads to radical change.  
  
So, to sum up, anarchists who are pure pacifists are rare. Most accept the 
use of violence as a necessary evil and advocate minimising its use. All 
agree that a revolution which *institutionalises* violence will just 
recreate the state in a new form. They argue, however, that it is not 
authoritarian to destroy authority or to use violence to resist violence.  
Therefore, although most anarchists are not pacifists, most reject violence 
except in self-defence and even then kept to the minimum.  
 
A.3.5 What is Anarcha-Feminism? 
 
Although opposition to the state and all forms of authority had a strong 
voice among the early feminists of the 19th century, the more recent 
feminist movement which began in the 1960's was founded upon anarchist 
practice. This is where the term anarcha-feminism came from, referring  
to women anarchists who act within the larger feminist and anarchist 
movements to remind them of their principles. 
 
Anarchism and feminism have always been closely linked. Many outstanding 
feminists have also been anarchists, including the pioneering Mary 
Wollstonecraft (author of _A Vindication of the Rights of Woman_), the 
Communard Louise Michel, Voltairine de Cleyre and the tireless champion  
of women's freedom, Emma Goldman (see her famous essays "The Traffic in 
Women", "Woman Suffrage", "The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation", "Marriage 
and Love" and "Victims of Morality", for example). _Freedom_, the world's  
oldest anarchist newspaper, was founded by Charlotte Wilson in 1886. In  
addition, all the major anarchist thinkers (bar Proudhon) were supporters  
of women's equality. The "Free Women" movement in Spain during the Spanish  
revolution is a classic example of women anarchists organising themselves  
to defend their basic freedoms and create a society based on women's  
freedom and equality (see _Free Women of Spain_ by Martha Ackelsberg  
for more details on this important organisation). 
 
Anarchism and feminism have shared much common history and a concern  
about individual freedom, equality and dignity for members of the female 
sex (although, as we will explain in more depth below, anarchists have  
always been very critical of mainstream/liberal feminism as not going 
far enough). Therefore, it is unsurprising that the new wave of feminism  
of the sixties expressed itself in an anarchistic manner and drew much  
inspiration from anarchist figures such as Emma Goldman. Cathy Levine  
points out that, during this time, "independent groups of women began  
functioning without the structure, leaders, and other factotums of the  
male left, creating, independently and simultaneously, organisations  
similar to those of anarchists of many decades and regions. No accident,  
either." [quoted by Clifford Harper, _Anarchy: A Graphic Guide_, p. 182] 
 
It is no accident because, as feminist scholars have noted, women were  
among the first victims of hierarchical society, which is thought to have  
begun with the rise of patriarchy and ideologies of domination during the  
late Neolithic era. Marilyn French argues (in _Beyond Power_) that the  
first major social stratification of the human race occurred when 
men began dominating women, with women becoming in effect a "lower"  
and "inferior" social class.  
 
Peggy Kornegger has drawn attention to the strong connections between 
feminism and anarchism, both in theory and practice. "The radical feminist 
perspective is almost pure anarchism," she writes. "The basic theory  
postulates the nuclear family as the basis of all authoritarian systems.  
The lesson the child learns, from father to teacher to boss to god, is  
to *obey* the great anonymous voice of Authority. To graduate from  
childhood to adulthood is to become a full-fledged automaton, incapable  
of questioning or even of thinking clearly." [Ibid.] Similarly, the 
Zero Collective argues that Anarcha-feminism "consists in recognising 
the anarchism of feminism and consciously developing it." [_The Raven_, 
no. 21, p. 6] 
  
Anarcha-feminists point out that authoritarian traits and values, 
for example, domination, exploitation, aggressiveness, competitiveness,  
desensitisation etc., are highly valued in hierarchical civilisations and  
are traditionally referred to as "masculine." In contrast, non-authoritarian 
traits and values such as co-operation, sharing, compassion, sensitivity, 
warmth, etc., are traditionally regarded as "feminine" and are devalued.  
Feminist scholars have traced this phenomenon back to the growth of 
patriarchal societies during the early Bronze Age and their conquest of 
co-operatively based "organic" societies in which "feminine" traits and 
values were prevalent and respected. Following these conquests, however, 
such values came to be regarded as "inferior," especially for a man, since 
men were in charge of domination and exploitation under patriarchy. (See 
e.g. Riane Eisler, _The Chalice and the Blade_; Elise Boulding, _The 
Underside of History_). Hence anarcha-feminists have referred to the 
creation of a non-authoritarian, anarchist society based on co-operation, 
sharing, mutual aid, etc. as the "feminisation of society."  
 
Anarcha-feminists have noted that "feminising" society cannot be achieved 
without both self-management and decentralisation. This is because the 
patriarchal-authoritarian values and traditions they wish to overthrow  
are embodied and reproduced in hierarchies. Thus feminism implies 
decentralisation, which in turn implies self-management. Many feminists 
have recognised this, as reflected in their experiments with collective 
forms of feminist organisations that eliminate hierarchical structure and 
competitive forms of decision making. Some feminists have even argued 
that directly democratic organisations are specifically female political 
forms [see e.g. Nancy Hartsock "Feminist Theory and the Development of 
Revolutionary Strategy," in Zeila Eisenstein, ed., _Capitalist Patriarchy 
and the Case for Socialist Feminism_, pp. 56-77]. Like all anarchists, 
anarcha-feminists recognise that self-liberation is the key to women's 
equality and thus, freedom. Thus Emma Goldman: 
 
"Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and  
through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and 
not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right of anyone over 
her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them, by 
refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the 
family, etc., by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That 
is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its 
complexities; by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and 
public condemnation." [_Anarchism and Other Essays_, p. 211] 
 
Anarcha-feminism tries to keep feminism from becoming influenced and 
dominated by authoritarian ideologies or either the right or left. It 
proposes direct action and self-help instead of the mass reformist 
campaigns favoured by the "official" feminist movement, with its  
creation of hierarchical and centralist organisations and its illusion  
that having more women bosses, politicians, and soldiers is a move 
towards "equality." Anarcha-feminists would point out that the so-called  
"management science" which women have to learn in order to become  
mangers in capitalist companies is essentially a set of techniques 
for controlling and exploiting wage workers in corporate hierarchies, 
whereas "feminising" society requires the elimination of capitalist 
wage-slavery and managerial domination altogether. Anarcha-feminists  
realise that learning how to become an effective exploiter or oppressor  
is not the path to equality (as one member of the Mujures Libres put  
it, "[w]e did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a  
masculine one" [quoted by Martha A. Ackelsberg, _Free Women of Spain_.  
p.2] -- also see section B.1.4 for a further discussion on patriarchy 
and hierarchy). 
 
Hence anarchism's traditional hostility to liberal (or mainstream)  
feminism, while supporting women's liberation and equality. Federica  
Montseny (a leading figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement) argued  
that such feminism advocated equality for women, but did not challenge  
existing institutions. She argued that (mainstream) feminism's "only  
ambition is to give to women of a particular class the opportunity to  
participate more fully in the existing system of privilege" and if these  
institutions "are unjust when men take advantage of them, they will still  
be unjust if women take advantage of them." [quoted by Martha A. Ackelsberg,  
Op. Cit.,  pp. 90-91, p. 91] 
 
So, in the historic anarchist movement, as Martha Ackelsberg notes,  
liberal/mainstream feminism was considered as being "too narrowly  
focused as a strategy for women's emancipation; sexual struggle 
could not be separated from class struggle or from the anarchist 
project as a whole." [Op. Cit., p. 91] Anarcha-feminism continues 
this tradition by arguing that all forms of hierarchy are wrong, 
not just patriarchy, and that feminism is in conflict with its 
own ideals if it desires simply to allow women to have the same 
chance of being a boss as a man does.  
 
Anarcha-feminists, therefore, like all anarchists oppose capitalism 
as a denial of liberty. The ideal that an "equal opportunity" capitalism  
would free women ignores the fact that any such system would still see 
working class women oppressed by bosses (be they male or female). For 
anarcha-feminists, the struggle for women's liberation cannot be  
separated from the struggle against hierarchy *as such.* As L. Susan  
Brown puts it: 
 
"Anarchist-feminism, as an expression of the anarchist sensibility 
applied to feminist concerns, takes the individual as its starting 
point and, in opposition to relations of domination and subordination, 
argues for non-instrumental economic forms that preserver individual 
existential freedom, for both men and women." [_The Politics of 
Individualism_, p. 144] 
 
Anarcha-feminists have much to contribute to our understanding of the 
origins of the ecological crisis in the authoritarian values of 
hierarchical civilisation. For example, a number of feminist scholars 
have argued that the domination of nature has paralleled the domination  
of women, who have been identified with nature throughout history (See, 
for example, Carline Merchant, _The Death of Nature_, 1980). Both women  
and nature are victims of the obsession with control that characterises  
the authoritarian personality. For this reason, a growing number of both 
radical ecologists and feminists are recognising that hierarchies must be 
dismantled in order to achieve their respective goals.  
 
In addition, anarcha-feminism reminds us of the importance of treating 
women equally with men while, at the same time, respecting women's  
differences from men. In other words, that recognising and respecting  
diversity includes women as well as men. Too often many male anarchists  
assume that, because they are (in theory) opposed to sexism, they are  
not sexist in practice. Such an assumption is false. Anarcha-feminism  
brings the question of consistency between theory and practice to the 
front of social activism and reminds us all that we must fight not 
only external constraints but also internal ones. 
 
A.3.6 What is Cultural Anarchism? 
 
For our purposes, we will define cultural anarchism as the promotion of 
anti-authoritarian values through those aspects of society traditionally 
regarded as belonging to the sphere of "culture" rather than "economics" 
or "politics" -- for example, through art, music, drama, literature,  
education, child-rearing practices, sexual morality, technology, and so 
forth.   
 
Cultural expressions are anarchistic to the extent that they 
deliberately attack, weaken, or subvert the tendency of most 
traditional cultural forms to promote authoritarian values and 
attitudes, particularly domination and exploitation.  Thus a 
novel that portrays the evils of militarism can be considered as 
cultural anarchism if it goes beyond the simple "war-is-hell" model 
and allows the reader to see how militarism is connected with 
authoritarian institutions (e.g. capitalism and statism) or methods 
of authoritarian conditioning (e.g. upbringing in the traditional 
patriarchal family).  Or, as John Clark expresses it, cultural anarchism 
"implies the development of arts, media, and other symbolic forms that 
expose various aspects of the system of domination and contrast them 
with a system of values based on freedom and community." [_The Anarchist 
Moment: Reflections on Culture, Nature and Power_]
 
Cultural anarchism is important -- indeed essential -- because 
authoritarian values are embedded in a total system of domination with 
many aspects besides the political and economic.  Hence those values 
cannot be eradicated even by a combined economic and political revolution 
if there it is not also accompanied by profound psychological changes in 
the majority of the population.   For mass acquiescence in the current 
system is rooted in the psychic structure of human beings (their 
"character structure," to use Wilhelm Reich's expression), which is 
produced by many forms of conditioning and  socialisation that have 
developed with patriarchal-authoritarian civilisation during the past five 
or six thousand years.   
 
In other words, even if capitalism and the state were overthrown 
tomorrow, people would soon create new forms of authority in their place.  
For authority -- a strong leader, a chain of command, someone to give 
orders and relieve one of the responsibility of thinking for oneself -- 
are what the submissive/authoritarian personality feels most comfortable 
with.  Unfortunately, the majority of human beings fear real freedom, and 
indeed, do not know what to do with it -- as is shown by a long string of 
failed revolutions and freedom movements in which the revolutionary ideals 
of freedom, democracy, and equality were betrayed and a new hierarchy and 
ruling class were quickly created.  These failures are generally 
attributed to the machinations of reactionary politicians and capitalists, 
and to the perfidy of revolutionary leaders; but reactionary politicians 
only attract followers because they find a favourable soil for the growth 
of their authoritarian ideals in the character structure of ordinary 
people.  
 
Hence the prerequisite of an anarchist revolution is a lengthy period of 
consciousness-raising in which people gradually become aware of 
submissive/authoritarian traits within themselves, see how those traits 
are reproduced by conditioning, and understand how they can be mitigated 
or eliminated through new forms of culture, particularly new child-rearing 
and educational methods.  We will explore this issue more fully in section 
B.1.5 (What is the mass-psychological basis for authoritarian 
civilisation?),  J.6 (What methods of child rearing do anarchists 
advocate?), and J.5.13 (What are Modern Schools?). 
 
Cultural anarchist ideas are shared by almost all schools of anarchist thought  
and consciousness-raising is considered an essential part of any anarchist 
movement. For anarchists, its important to <i>"build the new world in the 
shell of the old"</i> in all aspects of our lives and creating an anarchist 
culture is part of that activity. Few anarchists, however, consider 
consciousness-raising as enough in itself and so combine cultural anarchist 
activities with organising, using direct action and building libertarian 
alternatives in capitalist society. The anarchists movement is one 
that combines practical self-activity with cultural work, with both 
activities feeding into and supporting the other. 
 
A.3.7 Are there religious anarchists? 
 
Yes, there are. While most anarchists have opposed religion and the 
idea of God as deeply anti-human and a justification for earthly 
authority and slavery, a few believers in religion have taken their 
ideas to anarchist conclusions. Like all anarchists, these religious 
anarchists have combined an opposition to the state with a critical 
position with regards to private property and inequality. In other  
words, anarchism is not necessarily atheistic. Indeed, according to 
Jacques Ellul, "biblical thought leads directly to anarchism, and 
that this is the only 'political anti-political' position in  
accord with Christian thinkers." [quoted by Peter Marshall,  
_Demanding the Impossible_, p. 75] 
 
There are many different types of anarchism inspired by religious ideas. 
As Peter Marshall notes, the "first clear expression of an anarchist  
sensibility may be traced back to the Taoists in ancient China from  
about the sixth century BC" and "Buddhism, particularly in its Zen  
form, . . . has . . . a strong libertarian spirit." [Op. Cit., p. 53,  
p. 65] Some combine their anarchist ideas with Pagan and Spiritualist 
influences. However, religious anarchism usually takes the form of  
Christian Anarchism, which we will concentrate on here.  
 
Christian Anarchists take seriously Jesus' words to his followers 
that "kings and governors have domination over men; let there be  
none like that among you." Similarly, Paul's dictum that there 
"is no authority except God" is taken to its obvious conclusion 
with the denial of state authority within society. Thus, for a 
true Christian, the state is usurping God's authority and it is 
up to each individual to govern themselves and discover that 
(to use the title of Tolstoy's famous book) _The Kingdom of  
God is within you_. 
 
Similarly, the voluntary poverty of Jesus, his comments on the 
corrupting effects of wealth and the Biblical claim that the 
world was created for humanity to be enjoyed in common have all 
been taken as the basis of a socialistic critique of private 
property and capitalism. Indeed, the early Christian church (which 
could be considered as a liberation movement of slaves, although 
one that was later co-opted into a state religion) was based upon  
communistic sharing of material goods, a theme which has continually  
appeared within radical Christian movements (indeed, the Bible 
would have been used to express radical libertarian aspirations  
of the oppressed, which, in later times, would have taken the form 
of anarchist or Marxist terminology). Thus clergyman's John Ball's  
egalitarian comments during the Peasant Revolt in 1381 in England: 
 
		"When Adam delved and Eve span, 
		 Who was then a gentleman?" 
 
The history of Christian anarchism includes the *Heresy of the  
Free Spirit* in the Middle Ages, numerous Peasant revolts and the  
*Anabaptists* in the 16th century. The libertarian tradition within  
Christianity surfaced again in the 18th century in the writings of  
William Blake and the American Adam Ballou reached anarchist conclusions  
in his _Practical Christian Socialism_ in 1854. However, Christian  
anarchism became a clearly defined thread of the anarchist movement 
with the work of the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy. 
 
Tolstoy took the message of the Bible seriously and came to consider 
that a true Christian must oppose the state. From his reading of 
the Bible, Tolstoy drew anarchist conclusions: 
 
"ruling means using force, and using force means doing to him whom  
force is used, what he does not like and what he who uses force would 
certainly not like done to himself. Consequently ruling means doing 
to others what we would not they should do unto us, that is, doing 
wrong." [_The Kingdom of God is Within You_, p. 242] 
 
Thus a true Christian must refrain from governing others. From this  
anti-statist position he naturally argued in favour of a society  
self-organised from below: 
 
"Why think that non-official people could not arrange their life for  
themselves, as well as Government people can arrange it nor for 
themselves but for others?" [_The Anarchist Reader_, p. 306] 
 
Tolstoy urged non-violent action against oppression, seeing a spiritual 
transformation of individuals as the key to creating an anarchist 
society. As Max Nettlau argues, the "great truth stressed by Tolstoy  
is that the recognition of the power of  the good, of goodness, of  
solidarity - and of all that is called love - lies within *ourselves*,  
and that it can and must be awakened, developed and exercised *in our  
own behaviour.*" [_A Short History of Anarchism_, pp. 251-2]  
 
Like all anarchists, Tolstoy was critical of private property and 
capitalism. Like Henry George (whose ideas, like those of Proudhon,  
had a strong impact on him) he opposed private property in land,  
arguing that "were it not for the defence of landed property, and  
its consequent rise in price, people would not be crowded into such  
narrow spaces, but would scatter over the free land of which there  
is still so much in the world." Moreover, "in this struggle [for  
landed property] it is not those who work in the land, but always  
those who take part in government violence, who have the advantage."  
[Op. Cit., p. 307] Thus Tolstoy recognised that property rights in  
anything beyond use require state violence to protect them (possession 
is "always protected by custom, public opinion, by feelings of justice  
and reciprocity, and they do not need to be protected by violence." 
[Ibid.]). Indeed, he argues that: 
 
"Tens of thousands of acres of forest lands belonging to one proprietor 
-- while thousands of people close by have no fuel -- need protection 
by violence. So, too, do factories and works where several generations 
of workmen have been defrauded and are still being defrauded. Yet more 
do the hundreds of thousands of bushels of grain, belonging to one 
owner, who has held them back to sell at triple price in time of 
famine." [Ibid.] 
 
Tolstoy argued that capitalism morally and physically ruined individuals  
and that capitalists were "slave-drivers." He considered it impossible  
for a true Christian to be a capitalist, for a "manufacturer is a man  
whose income consists of value squeezed out of the workers, and whose  
whole occupation is based on forced, unnatural labour" and therefore, 
"he must first give up ruining human lives for his own profit." [_The  
Kingdom Of God is Within You_, p. 338, p. 339] Unsurprisingly, Tolstoy 
argued that co-operatives were the "only social activity which a moral, 
self-respecting person who doesn't want to be a party of violence can 
take part in." [quoted by Peter Marshall, Op. Cit., p. 378] 
 
From his opposition to violence, Tolstoy rejects both state and 
private property and urged pacifist tactics to end violence within 
society and create a just society. In Nettlau's words, he "asserted  
. . . *resistance to evil*; and to one of the ways of resistance -  
by active force - he added another way: *resistance through  
disobedience, the passive force.*" [Op. Cit., p. 251] In his  
ideas of a free society, Tolstoy was clearly influenced by rural 
Russian life *and* the works of Peter Kropotkin (such as _Fields, 
Factories and Workshops_), P-J Proudhon and the non-anarchist Henry 
George. 
 
Tolstoy's ideas had a strong influence on Gandhi, who inspired his 
fellow country people to use non-violent resistance to kick Britain  
out of India. Moreover, Gandhi's vision of a free India as a federation 
of peasant communes is similar to Tolstoy's anarchist vision of a 
free society (although we must stress that Gandhi was not an anarchist).  
The *Catholic Worker Group* in the United States was also heavily  
influenced by Tolstoy (and Proudhon), as was Dorothy Day a staunch 
Christian pacifist and anarchist who founded the paper the _Catholic  
Worker_ in 1933. The influence of Tolstoy and religious anarchism in  
general can also be found in *Liberation Theology* movements in Latin  
and South America who combine Christian ideas with social activism  
amongst the working class and peasantry (although we should note that 
Liberation Theology is more generally inspired by state socialist 
ideas rather than anarchist ones). 
 
In countries where Churches hold *de facto* political power, such as in  
Ireland, in parts of South America, in nineteenth and early twentieth  
century Spain and so forth, typically anarchists are strongly anti-religious  
because the Church has the power to suppress dissent and class struggle.  
So, while most anarchists are atheists (and so agree with Bakunin that  
if God existed it would be necessary, for human freedom and dignity, 
to abolish it) there is a minority tradition within anarchism which 
draws anarchist conclusions from religion. In addition, most social 
anarchists consider Tolstoyian pacifism as dogmatic and extreme, seeing 
the need (sometimes) for violence to resist greater evils. However, 
most anarchists would agree with Tolstoyians on the need for individual 
transformation of values as a key aspect of creating an anarchist 
society and on the importance of non-violence as a general tactic 
(although, we must stress, that few anarchists totally reject the  
use of violence in self-defence, when no other option is available). 
 
A.3.8 What is "anarchism without adjectives"? 
 
In the words of historian George Richard Esenwein, "anarchism without  
adjectives" in its broadest sense "referred to an unhyphenated form 
of anarchism, that is, a doctrine without any qualifying labels such 
as communist, collectivist, mutualist, or individualist. For others, 
. . . [it] was simply understood as an attitude that tolerated the 
coexistence of different anarchist schools." [_Anarchist Ideology and 
the Working Class Movement in Spain, 1868-1898_, p. 135] 
 
The originator of the expression was Cuban born Fernando Tarrida del 
Marmol who used it in November, 1889, in Barcelona. He directed his 
comments towards the communist and collectivist anarchists in Spain 
who at the time were having an intense debate over the merits of 
their two theories. "Anarchism without adjectives" was an attempt  
to show greater tolerance between anarchist tendencies and to be 
clear that anarchists should not impose a preconceived economic 
plan on anyone -- even in theory. Thus the economic preferences  
of anarchists should be of "secondary importance" to abolishing  
capitalism and the state, with free experimentation the one rule 
of a free society. 
 
Thus the theoretical perspective known as "anarquismo sin adjetives" 
("anarchism without adjectives") was one of the by-products of a 
intense debate within the movement itself. The roots of the argument 
can be found in the development of Communist Anarchism after Bakunin's 
death in 1876. While not entirely dissimilar to Collectivist Anarchism 
(as can be seen from James Guillaume's famous work "On Building the 
New Social Order" within _Bakunin on Anarchism_, the collectivists did 
see their economic system evolving into free communism), Communist 
Anarchists developed, deepened and enriched Bakunin's work just as Bakunin  
had developed, deepened and enriched Proudhon's. Communist Anarchism 
was associated with such anarchists as Elisee Reclus, Carlo Cafiero,  
Errico Malatesta and (most famously) Peter Kropotkin.  
 
Quickly Communist-Anarchist ideas replaced Collectivist Anarchism as the 
main anarchist tendency in Europe, except in Spain. Here the major issue 
was not the question of communism (although for Ricardo Mella this played 
a part) but a question of the modification of strategy and tactics implied 
by Communist Anarchism. At this time (the 1880s), the Communist Anarchists 
stressed local (pure) cells of anarchist militants, generally opposed 
trade unionism (although Kropotkin was not one of these as he saw the 
importance of militant workers organisations) as well as being somewhat  
anti-organisation as well. Unsurprisingly, such a change in strategy 
and tactics came in for a lot of discussion from the Spanish Collectivists 
who strongly supported working class organisation and struggle.  
 
This conflict soon spread outside of Spain and the discussion found its 
way into the pages of _La Revolte_ in Paris. This provoked many anarchists 
to agree with Malatesta's argument that "[i]t is not right for us, to say  
the least, to fall into strife over mere hypotheses." [quoted by Max  
Nettlau, _A Short History of Anarchism_, pp. 198-9] Over time, most  
anarchists agreed (to use Nettlau's words) that "we cannot foresee the  
economic development of the future" [Op. Cit., p. 201] and so started to  
stress what they had in common (opposition to capitalism and the state)  
rather than the different visions of how a free society would operate. 
As time progressed, most Communist-Anarchists saw that ignoring the 
labour movement ensured that their ideas did not reach the working 
class while most Collectivist-Anarchists stressed their commitment to 
communist ideals and their arrival sooner, rather than later, after 
a revolution. 
 
Similarly, in the United States there was also an intense debate at the 
same time between Individualist and Communist anarchists. There Benjamin  
Tucker was arguing that Communist-Anarchists were not anarchists while  
John Most was saying similar things about Tucker's ideas. Just as people  
like Mella and Tarrida put forward the idea of tolerance between anarchist 
groups, so anarchists like Voltairine de Cleyre "came to label herself 
simply 'Anarchist,' and called like Malatesta for an 'Anarchism without 
Adjectives,' since in the absence of government many different  
experiments would probably be tried in various localities in order 
to determine the most appropriate form." [Peter Marshall, _Demanding 
the Impossible_, p. 393] 
 
These debates had a lasting impact on the anarchist movement, with such 
noted anarchists as de Cleyre, Malatesta, Nettlau and Reclus adopting 
the tolerant perspective embodied in the expression "anarchism without 
adjectives" (see Nettlau's _A Short History of Anarchism_, pages 195 to 
201 for an excellent summary of this). It is also, we add, the dominant  
position within the anarchist movement today with most anarchists  
recognising the right of other tendencies to the name "anarchist"  
while, obviously, having their own preferences for specific types  
of anarchist theory and their own arguments why other types are 
flawed. However, we must stress that the different forms of anarchism  
(communism, syndicalism, religious etc.) are not mutually exclusive and  
you do not have to support one and hate the others. This tolerance 
is reflected in the expression "anarchism without adjectives." 
 
One last point, some "anarcho"-capitalists have attempted to use the 
tolerance associated with "anarchism without adjectives" to argue  
that their ideology should be accepted as part of the anarchist 
movement. After all, they argue, anarchism is just about getting rid 
of the state, economics is of secondary importance. However, such a 
use of "anarchism without adjectives" is bogus as it was commonly 
agreed at the time that the types of economics that were being  
discussed were *anti-capitalist* (i.e. socialistic). In other  
words, it was agreed that capitalism had to be abolished along  
with the state and once this was the case free experimentation  
would develop. In other words, the struggle against the state was 
just one part of a wider struggle to end oppression and exploitation 
and could not be isolated from these wider aims. As "anarcho"-capitalists  
do not seek the abolition of capitalism along with the state they are not  
anarchists and so "anarchism without adjectives" does not apply to the 
so-called "anarchist" capitalists (see section F on why "anarcho"-capitalism  
is not anarchist). 
 
A.4 Who are the major anarchist thinkers? 
 
Although Gerard Winstanley (_The New Law of Righteousness_, 1652) and 
William Godwin (_Enquiry Concerning Political Justice_, 1793) had begun to 
unfold the philosophy of anarchism in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was 
not until the second half of the 19th century that anarchism emerged as a 
coherent theory with a systematic, developed programme. This work was 
mainly started by four people -- a German, *Max Stirner* (1806-1856), a 
Frenchman, *Pierre-Joseph Proudhon* (1809-1865), and two Russians, 
*Michael Bakunin* (1814-1876) and *Peter Kropotkin* (1842-1921). They took 
the ideas in common circulation within sections of the working population 
and expressed them in written form. 
 
Born in the atmosphere of German romantic philosophy, Stirner's anarchism 
(set forth in _The Ego and Its Own_) was an extreme form of individualism, 
or *egoism,* which placed the unique individual above all else -- state, 
property, law or duty. His ideas remain a cornerstone of anarchism.  
Stirner attacked both capitalism and state socialism, laying the 
foundations of both communist and individualist anarchism by his egoist 
critique of capitalism and the state that supports it. 
 
In place of capitalism, Max Stirner urges the "union of egoists," free 
associations of unique individuals who co-operate as equals in order to 
maximise their freedom and satisfy their desires (including emotional ones 
for solidarity, or "intercourse" as Stirner called it).  
 
Individualism by definition includes no concrete programme for changing  
social conditions. This was attempted by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the  
first to describe himself openly as an anarchist. His theories of  
*mutualism* and *federalism* had a profound effect on the growth  
of anarchism as a mass movement and spelled out clearly how an  
anarchist world could function and be co-ordinated. Proudhon's 
ideas are the immediate source for both social and individualist 
anarchism, with each thread emphasising different aspects of mutualism. 
Proudhon's major works include _What is Property_, _Economic 
Contradictions_, and _The Political Capacity of the Working Classes_. 
 
Michael Bakunin, the central figure in the development of modern anarchist  
activism and ideas, emphasised the role of *collectivism,* *mass insurrection,*  
and *spontaneous revolt* in the launching of a free, classless society. 
He also emphasised the social nature of humanity and individuality, 
rejecting the abstract individualism of liberalism as a denial of freedom. 
His ideas become dominant in the 20th century among large sections of the 
radical labour movement. Many of his ideas are almost identical to what 
would later be called syndicalism. Bakunin influenced many union movements 
-- especially in Spain, where a major anarchist social revolution took 
place. His works include _God and the State_, _The Paris Commune and the 
Idea of the State_, and many others. _Bakunin on Anarchism_, edited by Sam 
Dolgoff is an excellent collection of his major writings. 
 
Peter Kropotkin, a scientist by training, fashioned a sophisticated and  
detailed anarchist analysis of modern conditions linked to a thorough-going 
prescription for a future society -- *communist-anarchism* -- which 
continues to be the most widely-held theory among anarchists. He 
identified *mutual aid* as the best means by which individuals can develop 
and grow, pointing out that competition *within* humanity (and other 
species) was often not in the best interests of those involved. His major 
works included _Mutual Aid_, _The Conquest of Bread_, _Field, Factories, 
and Workshops_, _Modern Science and Anarchism_, _Act for Yourselves_, _The 
State: Its Historic Role_, and many others. 
 
The various theories proposed by these "founding anarchists" are not, 
however, mutually exclusive: they are interconnected in many ways, and to 
some extent refer to different levels of social life. Individualism 
relates closely to the conduct of our private lives: only by recognising 
the uniqueness and freedom of others and forming unions with them can we 
protect and maximise our own uniqueness and liberty; mutualism relates to 
our general relations with others: by mutually working together and 
co-operating we ensure that we do not work for others. Production under 
anarchism would be collectivist, with people working together for their 
own, and the common, good, and in the wider political and social world 
decisions would be reached communally. 
 
Anarchist ideas of course did not stop developing when Kropotkin died. 
Neither are they the products of just four men. Anarchism is by its very 
nature an evolving theory, with many different thinkers and activists. Of 
the many other anarchists who could be mentioned here, we can mention but 
a few.  
 
In the United States Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were two of the  
leading anarchist thinkers and activists. Goldman united Stirner's  
egoism with Kropotkin's communism into a passionate and powerful  
theory which combined the best of both. She also placed anarchism  
at the centre of feminist theory and activism (see _Anarchism and  
Other Essays_ and _Red Emma Speaks_). Alexander Berkman, Emma's  
lifelong companion, produced a classic introduction to anarchist  
ideas called _What is Communist Anarchism?_ (also known as the _ABC  
of Anarchism_). Both he and Goldman were expelled by the US government 
to Russia after the 1917 revolution there as they were considered 
too dangerous to be allowed to remain in the land of the free. Voltairine  
de Cleyre also played an important role in the US anarchist movement,  
enriching both US and international anarchist theory with her articles, 
poems and speeches. Her work includes such classics as _Anarchism 
and American Traditions_ and _Direct Action_. 
 
Italy, with its strong and dynamic anarchist movement, has produced some  
of the best anarchist writers. Errico Malatesta spent over 50 years fighting  
for anarchism across the world and his writings are amongst the best in  
anarchist theory (see _Anarchy_ or _The Anarchist Revolution_ and _Malatesta:  
Life and Ideas_, both edited by Vernon Richards). Luigi Galleani produced a  
very powerful anti-organisational anarchist-communism which proclaimed that  
"Communism is simply the economic foundation by which the individual has the  
opportunity to regulate himself and carry out his functions." [_The End of  
Anarchism?_] Camillo Berneri, before being murdered by the Communists  
during the Spanish Revolution, continued the fine tradition of critical,  
practical anarchism associated with Italian anarchism. 
 
As far as individualist anarchism goes, the undoubted "king" was Ben 
Tucker. Tucker in his _Instead of Book_ used his intellect and wit to 
attack all who he considered enemies of freedom (mostly capitalists, but 
also a few social anarchists as well!). Tucker was followed by Lawrence 
Labadie who carried the individualist-anarchist torch after Tucker's 
death, believing that "that freedom in every walk of life is the greatest 
possible means of elevating the human race to happier conditions." 
 
Undoubtedly the Russian Leo Tolstoy is the most famous writer associated  
with religious anarchism and has had the greatest impact in spreading the  
spiritual and pacifistic ideas associated with that tendency. Influencing  
such notable people as Gandhi and the *Catholic Worker Group* around Dorothy  
Day, Tolstoy presented a radical interpretation of Christianity which  
stressed individual responsibility and freedom above the mindless  
authoritarianism and hierarchy which marks so much of mainstream  
Christianity. Tolstoy's works, like those of that other radical libertarian  
Christian William Blake, have inspired many Christians towards a libertarian 
vision of Jesus' message which has been hidden by the mainstream churches.  
Thus Christian Anarchism maintains, along with Tolstoy, that "Christianity  
in its true sense puts an end to government" (see, for example, Tolstoy's  
_The Kingdom of God is within you_ and Peter Marshall's _William Blake:  
Visionary Anarchist_). 
 
More recently, Noam Chomsky (in _Deterring Democracy_, _Necessary 
Illusions_, _World Orders, Old and New_ and many others) and Murray 
Bookchin (_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, _The Ecology of Freedom_, _Towards an 
Ecological Society_, and _Remaking Society_, among others) have kept the 
social anarchist movement at the front of political theory and analysis.  
Bookchin's work has placed anarchism at the centre of green thought and 
has been a constant threat to those wishing to mystify or corrupt the 
movement to create an ecological society. Colin Ward in _Anarchy in 
Action_ and elsewhere has updated Kropotkin's _Mutual Aid_ by uncovering 
and documenting the anarchistic nature of everyday life even within  
capitalism. His work on housing has emphasised the importance of  
collective self-help and social management of housing against the  
twin evils of privatisation and nationalisation.  
 
We could go on; there are many more writers we could mention. But  
besides these, there are the thousands of "ordinary" anarchist militants 
who have never written books but whose common sense and activism have 
encouraged the spirit of revolt within society and helped build the new 
world in the shell of the old. As Kropotkin put it, "anarchism was born
*among the people*; and it will continue to be full of life and creative 
power only as long as it remains a thing of the people." [_Kropotkin's
Revolutionary Pamphlets_, p. 146]  
 
A.5 What are some examples of "Anarchy in Action"? 
 
Anarchism, more than anything else, is about the efforts of millions of 
revolutionaries changing the world in the last two centuries. Here we 
will discuss some of the high points of this movement, all of them of a 
profoundly anti-capitalist nature.  
 
Anarchism *is* about radically changing the world, not just making the  
present system less inhuman by encouraging the anarchistic tendencies  
within it to grow and develop. While no purely anarchist revolution has  
taken place yet, there have been numerous ones with a highly anarchist  
character and level of participation. And while these have *all* been 
destroyed, in each case it has been at the hands of outside force 
brought against them (backed either by Communists or Capitalists), 
not because of any internal problems in anarchism itself. These 
revolutions, despite their failure to survive in the face of 
overwhelming force, have been both an inspiration for anarchists 
and proof that anarchism is a viable social theory and can be 
practised on a large scale. 

What these revolutions share is the fact they are, to use Proudhon's
term, a "revolution from below" -- they were examples of "collective
activity, of popular spontaneity." It is only a transformation of
society from the bottom up by the action of the oppressed themselves
that can create a free society. As Proudhon asked, "[w]hat serious
and lasting Revolution was not made *from below,* by the people?"
For this reason an anarchist is a "revolutionary *from below.*"
Thus the social revolutions and mass movements we discuss in this
section are examples of popular self-activity and self-liberation
(as Proudhon put it in 1848, "the proletariat must emancipate itself").
[quoted by George Woodcock, _Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: A Biography_,
p. 143 and p. 125] All anarchists echo Proudhon's idea of revolutionary
change from below, the creation of a new society by the actions of
the oppressed themselves. Bakunin, for example, argued that anarchists
are "foes . . . of all State organisations as such, and believe that
the people can only be happy and free, when, organised from below by
means of its own autonomous and completely free associations, without
the supervision of any guardians, it will create its own life." 
[_Marxism, Freedom and the State_, p. 63] In section J.7 we discuss 
in more detail what anarchists think a social revolution is and
what it involves.

It is important to point out that these examples are of wide-scale social 
experiments and do not imply that we ignore the undercurrent of anarchist 
practice which exists in everyday life, even under capitalism. Both Peter 
Kropotkin (in _Mutual Aid_) and Colin Ward (in _Anarchy in Action_) have 
documented the many ways in which ordinary people, usually unaware of 
anarchism, have worked together as equals to meet their common interests.  
As Colin Ward argues, "an anarchist society, a society which organises 
itself without authority, is always in existence, like a seed beneath the 
snow, buried under the weight of the state and its bureaucracy, capitalism 
and its waste, privilege and its injustices, nationalism and its suicidal 
loyalties, religious differences and their superstitious separatism." 
[_Anarchy in Action_, p. 14]
 
Anarchism is not only about a future society, it is also about the social  
struggle happening today. It is not a condition but a process, which we 
create by our self-activity and self-liberation. 
 
By the 1960's, however, many commentators were writing off the anarchist  
movement as a thing of the past. Not only had fascism finished off 
European anarchist movements in the years before and during the war, but 
in the post-war period these movements were prevented from recovering by 
the capitalist West on one hand and the Leninist East on the other. Over 
the same period of time, anarchism had been repressed in the US, Latin 
America, China, Korea (where a social revolution with anarchist content 
was put down before the Korean War), and Japan. Even in the one or two 
countries that escaped the worst of the repression, the combination of  
the Cold War and international isolation saw libertarian unions like the 
Swedish SAC become reformist. 
 
But the 60's were a decade of new struggle, and all over the world the 
'New Left' looked to anarchism as well as elsewhere for its ideas. Many 
of the prominent figures of the massive explosion of May 1968 in France 
considered themselves anarchists. Although these movements themselves 
degenerated, those coming out of them kept the idea alive and began to 
construct new movements. The death of Franco in 1975 saw a massive 
rebirth of anarchism in Spain, with up to 500,000 people attending the 
CNT's first post-Franco rally. The return to a limited democracy in some 
South American countries in the late 70's and 80's saw a growth in 
anarchism there. Finally, in the late 80's it was anarchists who struck 
the first blows against the Leninist USSR, with the first protest march 
since 1928 being held in Moscow by anarchists in 1987. 
 
Today the anarchist movement, although still weak, organises tens of 
thousands of revolutionaries in many countries. Spain, Sweden and Italy all 
have libertarian union movements organising some 250,000 between them.  
Most other European countries have several thousand active anarchists.  
Anarchist groups have appeared for the first time in other countries, 
including Nigeria and Turkey. In South America the movement has recovered 
massively. A contact sheet circulated by the Venezuelan anarchist group 
_Corrio A_ lists over 100 organisations in just about every country. 
 
Perhaps the recovery is slowest in North America, but there, too, all the 
libertarian organisations seem to be undergoing significant growth. As 
this growth accelerates, many more examples of anarchy in action will be 
created and more and more people will take part in anarchist organisations 
and activities, making this part of the FAQ less and less important. 
 
However, it is essential to highlight mass examples of anarchism working 
on a large scale in order to avoid the specious accusation of "utopianism."  
As history is written by the winners, these examples of anarchy in action are 
often hidden from view in obscure books. Rarely are they mentioned in the 
schools and universities (or if mentioned, they are distorted). Needless to  
say, the few examples we give are just that, a few.  
 
Anarchism has a long history in many countries, and we cannot attempt to  
document every example, just those we consider to be important. We are also  
sorry if the examples seem Eurocentric. We have, due to space and time   
considerations, had to ignore the syndicalist revolt (1910 to 1914) and the 
shop steward movement (1917-21) in Britain, Germany (1919-21), Portugal (1974),  
the Mexican revolution, anarchists in the Cuban revolution, the struggle  
in Korea against Japanese (then US and Russian) imperialism during and after  
the Second World War, Hungary (1956), the "the refusal of work" revolt  
in the late 1960's (particularly in "the hot Autumn" in Italy, 1969),  
the UK miner's strike (1984-85), the struggle against the Poll  
Tax in Britain (1988-92), the strikes in France in 1986 and 1995, 
the Italian COBAS movement in the 80's and 90's, and numerous other major 
struggles that have involved anarchist ideas of self-management (ideas 
that usually develop from the movement themselves, without anarchists 
necessarily playing a major, or "leading", role). For anarchists, 
revolutions and mass struggles are "festivals of the oppressed," when 
ordinary people start to act for themselves and change both themselves 
and the world. 
 
A.5.1 The Paris Commune 
 
The Paris Commune of 1871 played an important role in the development of 
both anarchist ideas and the movement. As Bakunin commented at the time: 
 
"revolutionary socialism [i.e. anarchism] has just attempted its first 
striking and practical demonstration in the Paris Commune." [_Bakunin on 
Anarchism_, p. 263]
 
The Paris Commune was created after France was defeated by Prussia in the 
Franco-Prussian war. The French government tried to send in troops to 
regain the Parisian National Guard's cannon to prevent it from falling into  
the hands of the population. The soldiers refused to fire on the jeering  
crowd and turned their weapons on their officers. This was March 18th; the 
Commune had begun. 
 
In the free elections called by the Parisian National Guard, the 
citizens of Paris elected a council made up of a majority of Jacobins 
and Republicans and a minority of socialists (mostly Blanquists -- 
authoritarian socialists -- and followers of the anarchist Proudhon). 
This council proclaimed Paris autonomous and desired to recreate France 
as a confederation of communes (i.e. communities). Within the Commune, 
the elected council people were recallable and paid an average wage. In 
addition, they had to report back to the people who had elected them
and were subject to recall by electors if they did not carry out their 
mandates. 
 
Why this development caught the imagination of anarchists is clear -- 
it has strong similarities with anarchist ideas. In fact, the example of 
the Paris Commune was in many ways similar to how Bakunin had predicted 
that a revolution would have to occur -- a major city declaring itself 
autonomous, organising itself, leading by example, and urging the rest of 
the planet to follow it (See "Letter to Albert Richards" in _Bakunin on 
Anarchism_). The Paris Commune began the process of creating a new 
society, one organised from the bottom up. 
 
Many anarchists played a role within the Commune -- for example Louise 
Michel, the Reclus brothers, and Eugene Varlin (the latter murdered in the 
repression afterwards). As for the reforms initiated by the Commune, such 
as the re-opening of workplaces as co-operatives, anarchists can see their 
ideas of associated labour beginning to be realised. By May, 43 workplaces
were co-operatively run and the Louvre Museum was a munitions factory
run by a workers' council. Echoing Proudhon, a meeting of the Mechanics
Union and the Association of Metal Workers argued that "our economic 
emancipation . . . can only be obtained through the formation of workers' 
associations, which alone can transform our position from that of wage 
earners to that of associates." They instructed their delegates to the 
Commune's Commission on Labour Organisation to support the following 
objectives:

"The abolition of the exploitation of man by man, the last vestige
of slavery;

"The organisation of labour in mutual associations and inalienable
capital."

In this way, they hoped to ensure that "equality must not be an empty
word" in the Commune. [_The Paris Commune of 1871: The View from the
Left_, Eugene Schulkind (ed.), p. 164] The Engineers Union voted at
a meeting on 23rd of April that since the aim of the Commune should
be "economic emancipation" it should "organise labour through
associations in which there would be joint responsibility" in order
"to suppress the exploitation of man by man." [quoted by Stewart
Edwards, _The Paris Commune 1871_, pp. 263-4]

Thus in the commune the theory of associated production expounded by 
Proudhon and Bakunin became consciously revolutionary practice. In 
the Commune's call for federalism and autonomy, anarchists see their 
"future social organisation. . . [being] carried out from the bottom 
up, by the free association or federation of workers, starting with 
associations, then going into the communes, the regions, the nations, 
and, finally, culminating in a great international and universal 
federation." [Bakunin, Ibid., p. 270] This can be seen by the Commune's 
"Declaration to the French People" echoing anarchist ideas. It saw
the "political unity" of society as being based on "the voluntary 
association of all local initiatives, the free and spontaneous 
concourse of all individual energies for the common aim, the 
well-being, the liberty and the security of all." [quoted by 
Edwards, Op. Cit., p. 218] The new society envisioned by the 
communards was one based on the "absolute autonomy of the
Commune. . . assuring to each its integral rights and to each
Frenchman the full exercise of his aptitudes, as a man, a citizen
and a labourer. The autonomy of the Commune will have for its 
limits only the equal autonomy of all other communes adhering to
the contract; their association must ensure the liberty of France."
["Declaration to the French People", quoted by George Woodcock,
_Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: A Biography_, pp. 276-7] With its vision 
of a confederation of communes, Bakunin was correct to assert that
the Paris Commune was "a bold, clearly formulated negation of the 
State." [_Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 264]

Moreover, the Commune's ideas on federation obviously reflected the 
influence of Proudhon on French radical ideas. Indeed, its vision of 
a communal France based on a federation of delegates bound by imperative 
mandates issued by their electors and subject to recall at any moment 
echoes Proudhon's ideas (Proudhon had argued in favour of the 
"implementation of the binding mandate" in 1848 [_No Gods, No 
Masters_, p. 63] and for federation of communes in his work _The 
Principle of Federation_). Thus both economically and politically 
the Paris Commune was heavily influenced by anarchist ideas. 
 
However, for anarchists the Commune did not go far enough. It did not 
abolish the state within the Commune, as it had abolished it beyond it.  
The Communards organised themselves "in a Jacobin manner" (to use 
Bakunin's cutting term). As Peter Kropotkin pointed out, it did not 
"break with the tradition of the State, of representative government, 
and it did not attempt to achieve within the Commune that organisation 
from the simple to the complex it inaugurated by proclaiming the 
independence and free federation of the Communes." [_Fighting the 
Revolution_, vol. 2, p. 16] In other words, "if no central government
was needed to rule the independent Communes, if the national Government
is thrown overboard and national unity is obtained by free federation,
then a central *municipal* Government becomes equally useless and
noxious. The same federative principle would do within the Commune."
[Kropotkin, _Evolution and Environment_, p. 75] In addition, its 
attempts at economic reform did not go far enough, making no attempt 
to turn all workplaces into co-operatives (i.e. to expropriate capital) 
and forming associations of these co-operatives to co-ordinate and
support each other's economic activities. As the city was under 
constant siege by the French army, it is understandable that the
Communards had other things on their minds. However, for Kropotkin 
such a position was a disaster: 

"They treated the economic question as a secondary one, which would be 
attended to later on, *after* the triumph of the Commune . . . But
the crushing defeat which soon followed, and the blood-thirsty 
revenge taken by the middle class, proved once more that the triumph
of a popular Commune was materially impossible without a parallel
triumph of the people in the economic field." [Op. Cit., p. 74]
 
Instead of abolishing the state within the commune by organising 
federations of directly democratic mass assemblies, like the Parisian 
"sections" of the revolution of 1789-93 (see Kropotkin's _Great French 
Revolution_ for more on these), the Paris Commune kept representative 
government and suffered for it. "Instead of acting for themselves . . . 
the people, confiding in their governors, entrusted them the charge of 
taking the initiative. This was the first consequence of the inevitable
result of elections." The council soon became "the greatest obstacle 
to the revolution" thus proving the "political axiom that a government
cannot be revolutionary." [_Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets_, 
p. 240, p. 241 and p. 249]
 
The council become more and more isolated from the people who elected  
it, and thus more and more irrelevant. "Shut up in the City Hall," 
argued Kropotkin, "charged to proceed after the forms established by
preceding governments, these ardent revolutionists, these reformers
found themselves smitten with incapacity and sterility . . . but it 
was not the men who were the cause of this failure -- it was the
system." [Kropotkin, Op. Cit., p. 240] And as its irrelevance grew, so  
did its authoritarian tendencies, with the Jacobin majority creating a  
"Committee of Public Safety" to "defend" (by terror) the "revolution."  
The Committee was opposed by the libertarian socialist minority and  
was, fortunately, ignored in practice by the people of Paris as they  
defended their freedom against the French army, which was attacking  
them in the name of capitalist civilisation and "liberty." On May 
21st, government troops entered the city, followed by seven days of 
bitter street fighting. Squads of soldiers and armed members of the 
bourgeoisie roamed the streets, killing and maiming at will. Over 25,000 
people were killed in the street fighting, many murdered after they had 
surrendered, and their bodies dumped in mass graves. 
 
For anarchists, the lessons of the Paris Commune were threefold. Firstly, 
a decentralised confederation of communities is the necessary political 
form of a free society ("*This was the form that the social revolution
must take* -- the independent commune." [Kropotkin, Op. Cit., p. 163]). 
Secondly, "there is no more reason for a government inside a Commune 
than for government above the Commune." [Peter Kropotkin, _Fighting 
the Revolution_, vol 2., p. 19] This means that an anarchist society
will be based on a confederation of neighbourhood and workplace 
assemblies freely co-operating together. Thirdly, it is critically 
important to unify political and economic revolutions into a *social* 
revolution. "They tried to consolidate the Commune first and put off 
the social revolution until later, whereas the only way to proceed was 
*to consolidate the Commune by means of the social revolution!*" [Peter 
Kropotkin, Op. Cit., p. 19] 

For more anarchist perspectives on the Paris Commune see Kropotkin's
essay "The Paris Commune" in _Words of a Rebel_ (and _The Anarchist
Reader_) and Bakunin's "The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State"
in _Bakunin on Anarchism_.

A.5.2 The Haymarket Martyrs 

May 1st is a day of special significance for the labour movement. While
it has been hijacked in the past by the Stalinist bureaucracy in the 
Soviet Union and elsewhere, the labour movement festival of May Day
is a day of world-wide solidarity. A time to remember past struggles 
and demonstrate our hope for a better future. A day to remember that 
an injury to one is an injury to all.

The history of Mayday is closely linked with the anarchist movement
and the struggles of working people for a better world. Indeed, it 
originated with the execution of four anarchists in Chicago in 1886 
for organising workers in the fight for the eight-hour day. Thus
May Day is a product of "anarchy in action" -- of the struggle of
working people using direct action in labour unions to change the
world.

It began in the 1880s in the USA. In 1884, the Federation of Organised 
Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada (created in 
1881, it changed its name in 1886 to the American Federation of Labor) 
passed a resolution which asserted that "eight hours shall constitute 
a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to 
labour organisations throughout this district that they so direct their 
laws as to conform to this resolution". A call for strikes on May 1st, 
1886 was made in support of this demand.  
 
In Chicago the anarchists were the main force in the union movement, and  
partially as a result of their presence, the unions translated this call  
into strikes on May 1st. The anarchists thought that the eight hour day 
could only be won through direct action and solidarity. They considered 
that struggles for reforms, like the eight hour day, were not enough in 
themselves. They viewed them as only one battle in an ongoing class 
war that would only end by social revolution and the creation of a free
society. It was with these ideas that they organised and fought.

In Chicago alone, 400 000 workers went out and the threat of strike
action ensured that more than 45 000 were granted a shorter working 
day without striking. On May 3, 1886, police fired into a crowd of 
pickets at the McCormick Harvester Machine Company, killing at least 
one striker, seriously wounding five or six others, and injuring 
an undetermined number. Anarchists called for a mass meeting the 
next day in Haymarket Square to protest the brutality. According
to the Mayor, "nothing had occurred yet, or looked likely to occur to
require interference." However, as the meeting was breaking up a column
of 180 police arrived and ordered the meeting to end. At this moment a
bomb was thrown into the police ranks, who opened fire on the crowd. 
How many civilians were wounded or killed by the police was never 
exactly ascertained. 

A reign of terror swept over Chicago. Meeting halls, union offices, 
printing shops and private homes were raided (usually without warrants). 
Such raids into working-class areas allowed the police to round up all 
known anarchists and other socialists. Many suspects were beaten up and 
some bribed. "Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards" was 
the public statement of J. Grinnell, the States Attorney, when a question
was raised about search warrants. ["Editor's Introduction", _The
Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs_, p. 7]
 
Eight anarchists were put on trial for accessory to murder. No pretence 
was made that any of the accused had carried out or even planned the 
bomb. Instead the jury were told "Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial.  
These men have been selected, picked out by the Grand Jury, and indicted 
because they were leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousands who 
follow them. Gentlemen of the jury; convict these men, make examples of 
them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society." [Op. Cit.,
p. 8] The jury was selected by a special bailiff, nominated by the
State's Attorney and was composed of businessmen and the relative of 
one of the cops killed. The defence was not allowed to present evidence 
that the special bailiff had publicly claimed "I am managing this case 
and I know what I am about. These fellows are going to be hanged as 
certain as death". [Ibid.] Not surprisingly, the accused were convicted. 
Seven were sentenced to death, one to 15 years' imprisonment. 

An international campaign resulted in two of the death sentences being 
commuted to life, but the world wide protest did not stop the US state. 
Of the remaining five, one (Louis Lingg) cheated the executioner and 
killed himself on the eve of the execution. The remaining four (Albert 
Parsons, August Spies, George Engel and Adolph Fischer) were hanged 
on November 11th 1887. They are known in Labour history as the 
Haymarket Martyrs.  Between 150,000 and 500,000 lined the route taken
by the funeral cortege and between 10,000 to 25,000 were estimated to
have watched the burial.

In 1889, the American delegation attending the International Socialist 
congress in Paris proposed that May 1st be adopted as a workers' holiday. 
This was to commemorate working class struggle and the "Martyrdom of the 
Chicago Eight". Since then Mayday has became a day for international 
solidarity. In 1893, the new Governor of Illinois made official what 
the working class in Chicago and across the world knew all along and 
pardoned the Martyrs because of their obvious innocence and because 
"the trail was not fair". 

The authorities had believed at the time of the trial that such 
persecution would break the back of the labour movement. They were
wrong. In the words of August Spies when he addressed the court after 
he had been sentenced to die:  
 
"If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement . . .  
the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil  
in misery and want, expect salvation -- if this is your opinion, then  
hang us! Here you will tread on a spark, but there and there, behind  
you -- and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a  
subterranean fire. You cannot put it out." [Op. Cit., pp. 8-9]

At the time and in the years to come, this defiance of the state and  
capitalism was to win thousands to anarchism, particularly in the US 
itself. Since the Haymarket event, anarchists have celebrated May Day
(on the 1st of May -- the reformist unions and labour parties moved
its marches to the first Sunday of the month). We do so to show our
solidarity with other working class people across the world, to
celebrate past and present struggles, to show our power and remind 
the ruling class of their vulnerability. As Nestor Makhno put it:

"That day those American workers attempted, by organising themselves,
to give expression to their protest against the iniquitous order
of the State and Capital of the propertied . . . 

"The workers of Chicago . . . had gathered to resolve, in common, 
the problems of their lives and their struggles. . . 

"Today too . . .  the toilers . . . regard the first of May as
the occasion of a get-together when they will concern themselves
with their own affairs and consider the matter of their emancipation."
[_The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays_, pp. 59-60]

Anarchists stay true to the origins of May Day and celebrate its
birth in the direct action of the oppressed. Oppression and exploitation 
breed resistance and, for anarchists, May Day is an international symbol 
of that resistance and power -- a power expressed in the last words of 
August Spies, chiselled in stone on the monument to the Haymarket martyrs 
in Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago: 

"The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the 
voices you are throttling today."
 
To understand why the state and business class were so determined to hang 
the Chicago Anarchists, it is necessary to realise they were considered 
the "leaders" of a massive radical union movement. In 1884, the Chicago 
Anarchists produced the world's first daily anarchist newspaper, the 
_Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeiting_. This was written, read, owned and published 
by the German immigrant working class movement. The combined circulation 
of this daily plus a weekly (_Vorbote_) and a Sunday edition (_Fackel_) more 
than doubled, from 13,000 per issues in 1880 to 26,980 in 1886. Anarchist 
weekly papers existed for other ethnic groups as well (one English, one
Bohemian and one Scandinavian). 
 
Anarchists were very active in the Central Labour Union (which included 
the eleven largest unions in the city) and aimed to make it, in the words 
of Albert Parsons (one of the Martyrs), "the embryonic group of the 
future 'free society.'" The anarchists were also part of the _International
Working People's Association_ (also called the "Black International") which 
had representatives from 26 cities at its founding convention. The I.W.P.A. 
soon "made headway among trade unions, especially in the mid-west" and its 
ideas of "direct action of the rank and file" and  of trade unions "serv[ing] 
as the instrument of the working class for the complete destruction of 
capitalism and the nucleus for the formation of a new society" became 
known as the "Chicago Idea" (an idea which later inspired the Industrial 
Workers of the World which was founded in Chicago in 1905). ["Editor's 
Introduction," Op. Cit., p. 4] 

This idea was expressed in the manifesto issued at the I.W.P.A.'s 
Pittsburgh Congress of 1883:

"First -- Destruction of the existing class rule, by all means,
i.e. by energetic, relentless, revolutionary and international
action.

"Second -- Establishment of a free society based upon co-operative
organisation of production.

"Third -- Free exchange of equivalent products by and between
the productive organisations without commerce and profit-mongery.

"Fourth -- Organisation of education on a secular, scientific
and equal basis for both sexes.

"Fifth -- Equal rights for all without distinction to sex or race.

"Sixth -- Regulation of all public affairs by free contracts between
autonomous (independent) communes and associations, resting on
a federalistic basis." [Op. Cit., p. 42]

In addition to their union organising, the Chicago anarchist movement 
also organised social societies, picnics, lectures, dances, libraries 
and a host of other activities. These all helped to forge a distinctly 
working-class revolutionary culture in the heart of the "American Dream." 
The threat to the ruling class and their system was too great to allow 
it to continue (particularly with memories of the vast uprising of labour 
in 1877 still fresh. As in 1886, that revolt was also meet by state 
violence -- see _Strike!_ by J. Brecher for details of this strike 
movement as well as the Haymarket events). Hence the repression, kangaroo 
court, and the state murder of those the state and capitalist class 
considered "leaders" of the movement. 
 
A.5.3 Building the Syndicalist Unions 
 
Just before the turn of the century in Europe, the anarchist movement  
began to create one of the most successful attempts to apply 
anarchist organisational ideas in everyday life. This was in response  
to the disastrous "propaganda by deed" period, in which individual 
anarchists assassinated government leaders in attempts to provoke a 
popular uprising and in revenge for the mass murders of the Communards. In 
response to this failed and counterproductive campaign, anarchists went 
back to their roots and to the ideas of Bakunin, beginning to build mass 
revolutionary unions (syndicalism and anarchosyndicalism).  
 
In the period from the 1890's to the outbreak of World War I, anarchists 
built revolutionary unions in most European countries, which became most 
widespread in Italy and France. In addition, anarchists in South and North 
America were also successful in organising syndicalist unions. Almost all 
industrialised countries had some syndicalist movement, although Europe and 
South America had the biggest and strongest ones. These unions were 
organised in a confederal manner, from the bottom up, along anarchist 
lines. They fought with capitalists on a day-to-day basis around the issue 
of better wages and working conditions, but they also sought to overthrow 
capitalism through the revolutionary general strike. 
 
That anarchist organisational techniques encouraged member participation, 
empowerment and militancy, and that they also successfully fought for 
reforms and promoted class consciousness, can be seen in the growth of 
anarcho-syndicalist unions and their impact on the labour movement. The 
Industrial Workers of the World, for example, still inspires union 
activists and has, throughout its long history, provided many union songs 
and slogans. 
 
Most of the syndicalist unions were severely repressed during World War I, 
but in the immediate post-war years they reached their height. This wave 
of militancy was known as the "red years" in Italy, where it attained its 
high point with factory occupations (see section A.5.5). But these years 
also saw the destruction of these unions in country after county, through 
two influences. On the one hand, the apparent success of the Russian 
revolution led many activists to turn to authoritarian politics. The 
Communist parties deliberately undermined the libertarian unions, 
encouraging fights and splits. More importantly, however, these years saw 
capitalism go on the offensive with a new weapon -- fascism. Fascism arose 
in Italy and Germany as an attempt by capitalism to physically smash the 
widespread organisations the working class had built. In both these 
countries, anarchists were forced to flee into exile, vanish from sight, or 
became victims of assassins or concentration camps. In the USA, the IWW 
was crushed by a wave of repression backed whole-heartedly by the media, the 
state, and the capitalist class. 
 
In Spain, however, the CNT, the anarcho-syndicalist union, continued to 
grow, claiming one and a half million members by 1936. The capitalist class 
embraced fascism to save their power from the dispossessed, who were 
becoming confident of their power and their right to manage their own 
lives (see section A.5.6). Elsewhere, capitalists supported authoritarian 
states in order to crush the labour movement and make their countries 
safe for capitalism. Only Sweden escaped this trend, where the syndicalist 
union the SAC is still organising workers (and is, in fact, like many 
other syndicalist unions, growing as workers turn away from bureaucratic 
unions whose leaders seem more interested in protecting their privileges 
and cutting deals with management than defending their members). 
 
A.5.4 Anarchists in the Russian Revolution. 
 
The Russian revolution of 1917 saw a huge growth in anarchism in that 
country and many experiments in anarchist ideas. However, in popular 
culture the Russian Revolution is seen not as a mass movement by ordinary 
people struggling towards freedom but as the means by which Lenin imposed 
his dictatorship on Russia. The Russian Revolution, like most history, is 
a good example of the maxim "history is written by those who win." Both 
capitalist and Leninist histories of the period between 1917 and 1921 
ignore what the anarchist Voline called "the unknown revolution" -- the 
revolution called forth from below by the actions of ordinary people. 
 
The initial overthrow of the Tsar came from the direct action of the 
masses, and the revolution carried on in this vein until the new, 
"socialist" state was powerful enough to stop it. For the Left, the end 
of Tsarism was the culmination of years of effort by socialists and 
anarchists everywhere, representing the progressive wing of human thought 
overcoming traditional oppression, and as such was duly praised by leftists 
around the world. 
 
In the workplaces and streets and on the land, more and more people became 
convinced that abolishing feudalism politically was *not* enough. The 
overthrow of the Tsar made little real difference if feudal exploitation 
still existed in the economy, so workers started to seize their workplaces 
and peasants, the land. All across Russia, ordinary people started to 
build their own organisations, unions, co-operatives, factory committees 
and councils (or "soviets" in Russian). These organisations were initially 
organised in anarchist fashion, with recallable delegates and being 
federated with each other. 
 
The anarchists participated in this movement, encouraging all tendencies 
to self-management. As Jacques Sadoul (a French officer) noted in early 
1918:  
 
"The anarchist party is the most active, the most militant of the 
opposition groups and probably the most popular. . . .The Bolsheviks are 
anxious." [quoted by Daniel Guerin, _Anarchism_, pp. 95-6] 
 
Anarchists were particularly active in the movement for workers  
self-management of production (see M. Brinton, _The Bolsheviks and  
Workers Control_). 
 
But by early 1918, the authoritarian socialists of the Bolshevik party, 
once they had seized power, began the physical suppression of their 
anarchist rivals. Initially, anarchists had supported the Bolsheviks, 
since the Bolshevik leaders had hidden their state-building ideology 
behind support for the soviets.  
 
However, this support quickly "withered away" as the Bolsheviks showed  
that they were, in fact, not seeking true socialism but were instead securing  
power for themselves and pushing not for collective ownership of land and  
productive resources but for government ownership. The Bolsheviks,  
for example, systematically destroyed the workers' control movement, even  
though it was successfully increasing production in the face of difficult  
circumstances.  
 
Lenin suppressed workers' control on the spurious grounds that it would  
reduce the productivity of labour -- an argument that has subsequently  
been shown to be false by cases where workers' control has been established 
(see section C.2.4). It's interesting to note that today's capitalist 
apologists, who often claim workers' control would reduce productivity,  
are actually using a discredited Leninist argument.  
 
While eliminating the workers' control movement, the Bolsheviks also 
systematically undermined, arrested, and killed their most vocal 
opponents, the anarchists, as well as restricting the freedom of the 
masses they claimed to be protecting. Independent unions, political  
parties, the right to strike, self-management in the workplace and  
on the land -- all were destroyed in the name of "socialism." For  
insiders, the Revolution had died a few months after the Bolsheviks  
took over. To the outside world, the Bolsheviks and the USSR came to  
represent "socialism" even as they systematically destroyed the  
basis of real socialism. The Bolsheviks put down the libertarian  
socialist elements within their country, the crushing of the uprisings  
at Kronstadt and in the Ukraine being the final nails in the coffin of  
socialism and the subjugation of the soviets. 
 
The Kronstadt uprising of February, 1921, was, for anarchists, of immense 
importance. This is because it was the first major uprising of ordinary 
people for real socialism.  
 
"Kronstadt was the first entirely independent attempt of the people to free  
themselves of all control and carry out the social revolution: this attempt  
was made directly. . . by the working classes themselves, without political  
shepherds, without leaders, or tutors." [Voline, _The Unknown Revolution_,  
quoted by Guerin, Ibid., p. 105]
 
In the Ukraine, anarchist ideas were most successfully applied. In areas 
under the protection of the Makhnovist movement, working class people 
organised their own lives directly, based on their own ideas and needs -- 
true social self-determination. Under the leadership of Nestor Makhno, a 
self-educated peasant, the movement not only fought against both Red and 
White dictatorships but also resisted the Ukrainian nationalists.  
 
In opposition to the call for "national self-determination," i.e. a new  
Ukrainian state, Makhno called instead for working class self-determination  
in the Ukraine and across the world. The Makhnovists organised worker and  
peasant conferences (some of which the Bolsheviks tried to ban) as well  
as free soviets, unions and communes. He became known as the Ukrainian  
"Robin Hood."  
 
The Makhnovists argued that the "freedom of the workers and peasants is  
their own, and not subject to any restriction. It is up to the workers and  
peasants themselves to act, to organise themselves, to agree among themselves  
in all aspects of their lives, as they see fit and desire. . .The Makhnovists  
can do no more that give aid and counsel. . .In no circumstances can they,  
nor do they wish to, govern." [Peter Arshinov, quoted by Guerin, Ibid.,  
p. 99]  
 
In Alexandrovsk, the Bolsheviks proposed to the Makhnovists spheres of 
action - their Revkom (Revolutionary Committee) would handle political  
affairs and the Makhnovists military ones. Makhno advised them "to go and 
take up some honest trade instead of seeking to impose their will on the  
workers." [Peter Arshinov in _The Anarchist Reader_, p. 141]  
 
The Makhnovists rejected the Bolshevik corruption of the soviets and  
instead proposed "the free and completely independent soviet system of  
working people without authorities and their arbitrary laws." Their  
proclamations stated that the "working people themselves must freely choose 
their own soviets, which carry out the will and desires of the working  
people themselves, that is to say. ADMINISTRATIVE, not ruling soviets." 
Economically, capitalism would be abolished along with the state - 
the land and workshops "must belong to the working people themselves, to  
those who work in them, that is to say, they must be socialised." [_The 
History of the Makhnovist Movement_, p. 271 and p. 273] 
 
The anarchist experiment of self-management in the Ukraine came to a bloody  
end when the Bolsheviks turned on the Makhnovists (their former allies  
against the "Whites," or pro-Tsarists) when they were no longer needed. 
 
The last anarchist march in Moscow until 1987 took place at the funeral 
of Kropotkin in 1921, when some 10,000 marched behind his coffin. Many of 
these had been released from prison for the day and were to be murdered by 
Leninists in later years. From about 1921 on, anarchists started 
describing the USSR as a "state-capitalist" nation to indicate that 
although individual bosses might have been eliminated, the Soviet state 
bureaucracy played the same role as individual bosses do in the West.  
 
For more information on the Russian Revolution and the role played by 
anarchists, the following books are recommended: _The Unknown Revolution_ 
by Voline; _The Guillotine at Work_ by G.P. Maximov; _The Bolshevik Myth_ 
and _The Russian Tragedy_, both by Alexander Berkman; _The Bolsheviks and 
Workers Control_ by M. Brinton; _The Kronstadt Uprising_ by Ida Mett; _The 
History of the Makhnovist Movement_ by Peter Arshinov. Many of these books 
were written by anarchists active during the revolution, many imprisoned 
by the Bolsheviks and deported to the West due to international pressure 
exerted by anarcho-syndicalist delegates to Moscow who the Bolsheviks were 
trying to win over to Leninism. The majority of such delegates stayed  
true to their libertarian politics and convinced their unions to 
reject Bolshevism and break with Moscow. By the early 1920's all 
the anarcho-syndicalist union confederations had joined with the 
anarchists in rejecting the "socialism" in Russia as state capitalism 
and party dictatorship. 
 
A.5.5 Anarchists in the Italian Factory Occupations 
 
After the end of the First World War there was a massive radicalisation 
across Europe and the world. Union membership exploded, with strikes, 
demonstrations and agitation reaching massive levels. This was partly 
due to the war, partly to the apparent success of the Russian Revolution. 
This enthusiasm for the Russian Revolution even reached Individualist
Anarchists like Joseph Labadie, who like many other anti-capitalists, 
saw "the red in the east [giving] hope of a brighter day" and the 
Bolsheviks as making "laudable efforts to at least try some way out 
of the hell of industrial slavery." [quoted by Carlotta R. Anderson, 
_All-American Anarchist_ p. 225 and p. 241]

Across Europe, anarchist ideas became more popular and anarcho-syndicalist 
unions grew in size. For example, in Britain, the ferment produced the 
shop stewards' movement and the strikes on Clydeside; Germany saw the  
rise of IWW inspired industrial unionism and a libertarian form of 
Marxism called "Council Communism"; Spain saw a massive growth in the 
anarcho-syndicalist CNT. In addition, it also, unfortunately, saw the 
rise and growth of both social democratic and communist parties. Italy 
was no exception.
 
In August, 1920, there were large-scale stay-in strikes in Italy in 
response to an owner wage cut and lockout. These strikes began in the 
engineering factories and soon spread to railways, road transport, and 
other industries, with peasants seizing land. The strikers, however, did 
more than just occupy their workplaces, they placed them under workers'  
self-management. Soon over 500 000 "strikers" were at work, producing for 
themselves. Errico Malatesta, who took part in these events, writes: 
 
"The metal workers started the movement over wage rates. It was a strike
of a new kind. Instead of abandoning the factories, the ideas was to
remain inside without working . . . Throughout Italy there was a 
revolutionary fervour among the workers and soon the demands changed
their characters. Workers thought that the moment was ripe to take 
possession once [and] for all the means of production. They armed for 
defence. . . and began to organise production on their own. . . . It was 
the right of property abolished in fact . . .; it was a new regime, a 
new form of social life that was being ushered in. And the government 
stood by because it felt impotent to offer opposition." [_Life and Ideas_, 
p. 134]
 
During this period the Italian Syndicalist Union (USI) grew in size to 
nearly one million members and the influence of the Italian Anarchist 
Union (UAI) with its 20 000 members and daily paper (_Umanita Nova_) 
grew correspondingly. As the Welsh Marxist historian Gwyn A. Williams 
points out "Anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists were the most 
consistently and totally revolutionary group on the left . . . the most  
obvious feature of the history of syndicalism and anarchism in 1919-20: 
rapid and virtually continuous growth. . .The syndicalists above all 
captured militant working-class opinion which the socialist movement 
was utterly failing to capture." [_Proletarian Order_, pp. 194-195] 
 
Daniel Guerin provides a good summary of the extent of the movement: 

"The management of the factories . . . [was] conducted by technical 
and administrative workers' committees. Self-management went quite a 
long way: in the early period assistance was obtained from the banks, 
but when it was withdrawn the self-management system issued its own 
money to pay the workers' wages. Very strict self-discipline was required, 
the use of alcoholic beverages forbidden, and armed patrols were organised 
for self-defence. Very close solidarity was established between the 
factories under self-management. Ores and coal were put into a common 
pool, and shared out equitably." [_Anarchism_, p. 109]  
 
Over the occupied factories flew "a forest of red and black flags" as 
"the council movement outside Turin was essentially anarcho-syndicalist.00" 
[Williams, Op. Cit., p. 241, p. 193] Railway workers refused to transport 
troops, workers went on strike against the orders of the reformist unions 
and peasants occupied the land. Such activity was "either directly led or 
indirectly inspired by anarcho-syndicalists." [Ibid., p. 193] Which is
unsurprising as the "occupation of the factories and the land suited
perfectly our programme of action." [Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 135]
 
However, after four weeks of occupation, the workers decided to leave the 
factories. This was because of the actions of the socialist party and the 
reformist trade unions. They opposed the movement and negotiated with the 
state for a return to "normality" in exchange for a promise to extend 
workers' control legally, in association with the bosses. This promise was 
not kept. The lack of independent inter-factory organisation made workers 
dependent on trade union bureaucrats for information on what was going on 
in other cities, and they used that power to isolate factories, cities, 
and factories from each other. This lead to a return to work, "in spite 
of the opposition of individual anarchists dispersed among the factories." 
[Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 136] The local syndicalist union confederations 
could not provide the necessary framework for a fully co-ordinated 
occupation movement as the reformist unions refused to work with them; 
and although the anarchists were a large minority, they were still a 
minority. 
 
This period of Italian history explains the growth of Fascism in Italy. As 
Tobias Abse points out, "the rise of fascism in Italy cannot be detached 
from the events of the *biennio rosso,* the two red years of 1919 and 
1920, that preceded it. Fascism was a preventive counter-revolution . . . 
launched as a result of the failed revolution." ["The Rise of Fascism in 
an Industrial City", p. 54, in _Rethinking Italian Fascism_, David Forgacs 
(ed.), pp. 52-81] The term "preventive counter-revolution" was originally 
coined by the leading anarchist Luigi Fabbri.

As Malatesta argued at the time of the factory occupations, "[i]f we do  
not carry on to the end, we will pay with tears of blood for the fear we  
now instil in the bourgeoisie." [quoted by Tobias Abse, Op. Cit., p. 66] 
Later events proved him right, as the capitalists and rich landowners 
backed the fascists in order to teach the working class their place. In
the words of Tobias Abse: 

"The aims of the Fascists and their backers amongst the industrialists 
and agrarians in 1921-22 were simple: to break the power of the organised 
workers and peasants as completely as possible, to wipe out, with the 
bullet and the club, not only the gains of the *biennio rosso*, but 
everything that the lower classes had gained . . . between the turn 
of the century and the outbreak of the First World War." [Op. Cit., 
p. 54]

The fascist squads attacked and destroyed anarchist and socialist meeting
places, social centres, radical presses and Camera del Lavoro (local trade 
union councils). However, even in the dark days of fascist terror, the 
anarchists resisted the forces of totalitarianism. "It is no coincidence 
that the strongest working-class resistance to Fascism was in . . . towns 
or cities in which there was quite a strong anarchist, syndicalist or 
anarcho-syndicalist tradition." [Tobias Abse, Op. Cit., p. 56] 
 
The anarchists participated in, and often organised sections of, 
the _Arditi del Popolo_, a working-class organisation devoted to the 
self-defence of workers' interests. The Arditi del Popolo organised and 
encouraged working-class resistance to fascist squads, often defeating 
larger fascist forces (for example, "the total humiliation of thousands 
of Italo Balbo's squadristi by a couple of hundred Arditi del Popolo 
backed by the inhabitants of the working class districts" in the 
anarchist stronghold of Parma in August 1922 [Tobias Abse, Op. Cit., 
p. 56]). 

The Arditi del Popolo was the closest Italy got to the idea of a 
united, revolutionary working-class front against fascism, as had 
been suggested by Malatesta and the UAI. This movement "developed 
along anti-bourgeois and anti-fascist lines, and was marked by the 
independence of its local sections." [_Red Years, Black Years: 
Anarchist Resistance to Fascism in Italy_, p. 2] Rather than being 
just an "anti-fascist" organisation, the Arditi "were not a movement 
in defence of 'democracy' in the abstract, but an essentially 
working-class organisation devoted to the defence of the interests 
of industrial workers, the dockers and large numbers of artisans 
and craftsmen." [Tobias Abse, Op. Cit., p. 75] 

However, both the socialist and communist parties withdrew from the 
organisation. The socialists signed a "Pact of Pacification" with 
the Fascists in August 1921. The communists "preferred to withdraw 
their members from the Arditi del Popolo rather than let them work 
with the anarchists." [_Red Years, Black Years_, p. 17] As Abse notes, 
"it was the withdrawal of support by the Socialist and Communist parties 
at the national level that crippled" the Arditi [Op. Cit., p. 74]. The 
leaders of the authoritarian socialists preferred defeat and fascism 
than risk their followers becoming "infected" by anarchism. Thus "social 
reformist defeatism and communist sectarianism made impossible an armed 
opposition that was widespread and therefore effective; and the isolated 
instances of popular resistance were unable to unite in a successful 
strategy." [_Red Years, Black Years_, p. 3] 

In the end, fascist violence was successful and capitalist power 
maintained:

"The anarchists' will and courage were not enough to counter the 
fascist gangs, powerfully aided with material and arms, backed by 
the repressive organs of the state. Anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists 
were decisive in some areas and in some industries, but only a similar 
choice of direct action on the parts of the Socialist Party and the 
General Confederation of Labour [the reformist trade union] could 
have halted fascism." [Op. Cit., pp. 1-2]

After helping to defeat the revolution, the Marxists helped ensure the 
victory of fascism.
 
Even after the fascist state was created, anarchists resisted both 
inside and outside Italy. Many Italians, both anarchist and non-anarchist, 
travelled to Spain to resist Franco in 1936 (see Umberto Marzochhi's 
_Remembering Spain: Italian Anarchist Volunteers in the Spanish Civil
War_ for details). During the Second World War, anarchists played a 
major part in the Italian Partisan movement. It was the fact that the 
anti-fascist movement was dominated by anti-capitalist elements that 
led the USA and the UK to place known fascists in governmental positions 
in the places they "liberated" (often where the town had already been 
taken by the Partisans, resulting in the Allied troops "liberating" 
the town from its own inhabitants!). 

Given this history of resisting fascism in Italy, it is surprising 
that some claim Italian fascism was a product or form of syndicalism. 
This is even claimed by some anarchists. According to Bob Black the 
"Italian syndicalists mostly went over to Fascism" and references 
David D. Roberts 1979 study _The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian 
Fascism_ to support his claim [_Anarchy after Leftism_, p. 64]. Peter 
Sabatini in a review in _Social Anarchism_ makes a similar statement, 
saying that syndicalism's "ultimate failure" was "its transformation 
into a vehicle of fascism." [_Social Anarchism_, no. 23, p. 99] What 
is the truth behind these claims?

Looking at Black's reference we discover that, in fact, most of the 
Italian syndicalists did not go over to fascism, if by syndicalists 
we mean members of the USI (the Italian Syndicalist Union). Roberts 
states that:

"The vast majority of the organised workers failed to respond 
to the syndicalists' appeals and continued to oppose [Italian] 
intervention [in the First World War], shunning what seemed to 
be a futile capitalist war. The syndicalists failed to convince 
even a majority within the USI . . . the majority opted for the 
neutralism of Armando Borghi, leader of the anarchists within 
the USI. Schism followed as De Ambris led the interventionist 
minority out of the confederation." [_The Syndicalist Tradition 
and Italian Fascism_,  p. 113]

However, if we take "syndicalist" to mean some of the intellectuals 
and "leaders" of the pre-war movement, it was a case that the "leading 
syndicalists came out for intervention quickly and almost unanimously" 
[Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 106] after the First World War started. Many 
of these pro-war "leading syndicalists" did become fascists. However,
to concentrate on a handful of "leaders" (which the majority did 
not even follow!) and state that this shows that the "Italian 
syndicalists mostly went over to Fascism" staggers belief. What is 
even worse, as seen above, the Italian anarchists and syndicalists 
were the most dedicated and successful fighters against fascism. In 
effect, Black and Sabatini have slandered a whole movement.

What is also interesting is that these "leading syndicalists" were 
not anarchists and so not anarcho-syndicalists. As Roberts notes the 
"syndicalists genuinely desired -- and tried -- to work within the 
Marxist tradition." [Op. Cit., p. 79] According to Carl Levy, in his 
account of Italian anarchism, "[u]nlike other syndicalist movements, 
the Italian variation coalesced inside a Second International party. 
Supporter were partially drawn from socialist intransigents . . . 
the southern syndicalist intellectuals pronounced republicanism . . . 
Another component . . . was the remnant of the Partito Operaio." 
["Italian Anarchism: 1870-1926" in _For Anarchism: History, Theory, 
and Practice_, David Goodway (Ed.), p. 51] 

In other words, the Italian syndicalists who turned to fascism were, 
firstly, a small minority of intellectuals who could not convince the 
majority within the syndicalist union to follow them, and, secondly, 
Marxists and republicans rather than anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists 
or even revolutionary syndicalists. 

According to Carl Levy, Roberts' book "concentrates on the syndicalist 
intelligentsia" and that "some syndicalist intellectuals . . . helped 
generate, or sympathetically endorsed, the new Nationalist movement . . . 
which bore similarities to the populist and republican rhetoric of the 
southern syndicalist intellectuals." He argues that there "has been far 
too much emphasis on syndicalist intellectuals and national organisers" 
and that syndicalism "relied little on its national leadership for its 
long-term vitality." [Op. Cit., p. 77, p. 53 and p. 51] If we do look 
at the membership of the USI, rather than finding a group which "mostly 
went over to fascism," we discover a group of people who fought fascism 
tooth and nail and were subject to extensive fascist violence. 

To summarise, Italian Fascism had nothing to do with syndicalism 
and, as seen above, the USI fought the Fascists and was destroyed 
by them along with the UAI, Socialist Party and other radicals. That
a handful of pre-war Marxist-syndicalists later became Fascists and 
called for a "National-Syndicalism" does not mean that syndicalism 
and fascism are related (any more than some anarchists latter becoming 
Marxists makes anarchism "a vehicle" for Marxism!).

It is hardly surprising that anarchists were the most consistent and 
successful opponents of Fascism. The two movements could not be further 
apart, one standing for total statism in the service of capitalism while 
the other for a free, non-capitalist society. Neither is it surprising 
that when their privileges and power were in danger, the capitalists and 
the landowners turned to fascism to save them. This process is a common 
feature in history (to list just four examples, Italy, Germany, Spain 
and Chile). 

A.5.6 Anarchism and the Spanish Revolution. 
 
Spain in the 1930's had the largest anarchist movement in the world. At 
the start of the Spanish "Civil" war, over one and one half million 
workers and peasants were members of the CNT (the National Confederation 
of Labour), an anarcho-syndicalist union federation, and 30,000 were 
members of the FAI (the Anarchist Federation of Iberia). The total 
population of Spain at this time was 24 million.  
 
The social revolution which met the Fascist coup on July 18th, 1936, is 
the greatest experiment in libertarian socialism to date. Here the last 
mass syndicalist union, the CNT, not only held off the fascist rising but 
encouraged the widespread take-over of land and factories. Over seven million  
people, including about two million CNT members, put self-management into 
practise in the most difficult of circumstances and actually improved both 
working conditions and output.  
 
In the heady days after the 19th of July, the initiative and power truly 
rested in the hands of the rank-and-file members of the CNT and FAI. It 
was ordinary people, undoubtedly under the influence of Faistas (members 
of the FAI) and CNT militants, who, after defeating the fascist uprising, 
got production, distribution and consumption started again (under more 
egalitarian arrangements, of course), as well as organising and 
volunteering (in their tens of thousands) to join the militias, which were 
to be sent to free those parts of Spain that were under Franco. In every 
possible way the working class of Spain were creating by their own 
actions a new world based on their own ideas of social justice and freedom 
-- ideas inspired, of course, by anarchism and anarchosyndicalism.  
 
George Orwell's eye-witness account of revolutionary Barcelona in late 
December, 1936, gives a vivid picture of the social transformation that had 
begun: 
 
"The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution  
was still in full swing.  To anyone who had been there since the beginning it  
probably seemed even in December or January that the revolutionary period was  
ending;  but when one came straight from England the aspect of Barcelona was  
something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever  
been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every  
building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red  
flags or with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was  
scrawled  with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the  
revolutionary parties; almost every church had been gutted and its images  
burnt. Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs  
of workman. Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been  
collectivised; even the bootblacks had been collectivised and their boxes  
painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and  
treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had  
temporarily disappeared.  Nobody said 'Senor' or 'Don' or even  
'Usted';  everyone called everyone else 'Comrade' or 'Thou', and said  
'Salud!' instead of 'Buenos dias'. . . Above all, there was a belief in the  
revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era  
of equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings  
and not as cogs in the capitalist machine." [_Homage to Catalonia_, pp. 2-3] 
 
The full extent of this historic revolution cannot be covered here. It will  
be discussed in more detail in section I.8 of the FAQ. All that can be done  
is to highlight a few points of special interest in the hope that these  
will give some indication of the importance of these events and encourage 
people to find out more about it. 
 
All industry in Catalonia was placed either under workers' self-management 
*or* workers' control (that is, either totally taking over *all* aspects of  
management, in the first case, or, in the second, controlling the old 
management). In some cases, whole town and regional economies were 
transformed into federations of collectives. The example of the Railway  
Federation (which was set up to manage the railway lines in Catalonia,  
Aragon and Valencia) can be given as a typical example. The base of the  
federation was the local assemblies:  
 
"All the workers of each locality would meet twice a week to examine all 
that pertained to the work to be done... The local general assembly named a 
committee to manage the general activity in each station and its annexes. At 
[these] meetings, the decisions (direccion) of this committee, whose members 
continued to work [at their previous jobs], would be subjected to the 
approval or disapproval of the workers, after giving reports and answering 
questions."  
 
The delegates on the committee could be removed by an assembly at any time 
and the highest co-ordinating body of the Railway Federation was the 
"Revolutionary Committee," whose members were elected by union assemblies in 
the various divisions. The control over the rail lines, according to Gaston  
Leval, "did not operate from above downwards, as in a statist and centralised  
system. The Revolutionary Committee had no such powers. . . The members of  
the. . . committee being content to supervise the general activity and to  
co-ordinate that of the different routes that made up the network." 
[Gaston Leval, _Collectives in the Spanish Revolution_, p. 255]
 
On the land, tens of thousands of peasants and rural day workers created 
voluntary, self-managed collectives. The quality of life improved as 
co-operation allowed the introduction of health care, education, machinery 
and investment in the social infrastructure. As well as increasing 
production, the collectives increased freedom. As one member puts it, "it 
was marvellous. . . to live in a collective, a free society where one could 
say what one thought, where if the village committee seemed unsatisfactory 
one could say. The committee took no big decisions without calling the 
whole village together in a general assembly. All this was wonderful." 
[quoted by Ronald Frazer, _Blood of Spain_, p. 360] 
 
On the social front, anarchist organisations created rational schools, a 
libertarian health service, social centres, and so on. The Mujeres Libres 
(free women) combated the traditional role of women in Spanish society, 
empowering thousands both inside and outside the anarchist movement (see 
_The Free Women of Spain_ by Martha A. Ackelsberg for more information on  
this very important organisation). This activity on the social front only 
built on the work started long before the outbreak of the war; for 
example, the unions often funded rational schools, workers centres,  
and so on. 
 
The voluntary militias that went to free the rest of Spain from Franco  
were organised on anarchist principles and included both men and women.  
There was no rank, no saluting and no officer class. Everybody was equal.  
George Orwell, a member of the POUM militia, makes this clear: 
 
"The essential point of the [militia] system was the social equality  
between officers and men. Everyone from general to private drew the  
same pay, ate the same food, wore the same clothes, and mingled on  
terms of complete equality. If you wanted to slap the general  
commanding the division on the back and ask him for a cigarette,  
you could do so, and no one thought it curious. In theory at any  
rate each militia was a democracy and not a hierarchy. It was  
understood that orders had to be obeyed, but it was also understood  
that when you gave an order you gave it as comrade to comrade and not  
as superior to inferior. There were officers and N.C.O.s, but there  
was no military rank in the ordinary sense; no titles, no badges, no  
heel-clicking and saluting. They had attempted to produce within the  
militias a sort of temporary working model of the classless society.  
Of course there was not perfect equality, but there was a nearer  
approach to it than I had ever seen or that I would have though  
conceivable in time of war. . . " [Op. Cit., p. 26] 
 
In Spain, however, as elsewhere, the anarchist movement was smashed 
between Leninism (the Communist Party) and Capitalism (Franco) on the 
other. Unfortunately, the anarchists placed anti-fascist unity before 
the revolution, thus helping their enemies to defeat both them and the 
revolution. Whether they were forced by circumstances into this position 
or could have avoided it is still being debated. 
 
Orwell's account of his experiences in the militia's indicates why the  
Spanish Revolution is so important to anarchists: 
 
"I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size  
in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism  
were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens  
of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin,  
all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory  
it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There  
is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a  
foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental  
atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilised  
life -- snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc. -- had simply  
ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared  
to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England;  
there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned  
anyone else as his master.  . . One had been in a community where hope was  
more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word 'comrade' stood for  
comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the  
air of equality. I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that  
Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world  
a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy 'proving'  
that  Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the  
grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of  
Socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men  
to Socialism and makes them willing to risk their skins for it, the 'mystique'  
of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people  
Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all . . . In  
that community where no one was on the make, where there was a shortage of  
everything but no boot-licking, one got, perhaps, a crude forecast of what  
the opening stages of Socialism might be like. And, after all, instead of  
disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. . ." [Op. Cit., pp. 83-84]  
 
For more information on the Spanish Revolution, the following books are 
recommended: _Lessons of the Spanish Revolution_ by Vernon Richards; 
_Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution_ by Jose Peirats; _Free Women of 
Spain_ by Martha A. Ackelsberg; _The Anarchist Collectives_ edited by Sam 
Dolgoff; "Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship" by Noam Chomsky (in _The 
Chomsky Reader_); _The Anarchists of Casas Viejas_ by Jerome R. Mintz; and  
_Homage to Catalonia_ by George Orwell. 
 
A.5.7 The May-June Revolt in France, 1968. 
 
The May-June events in France placed anarchism back on the radical 
landscape after a period in which many people had written the movement off 
as dead. This revolt of ten million people grew from humble beginnings.  
Expelled by the university authorities of Nanterre in Paris for 
anti-Vietnam War activity, a group of anarchists (including Daniel 
Cohn-Bendit) promptly called a protest demonstration. The arrival of 80 
police enraged many students, who quit their studies to join the battle 
and drive the police from the university. 
 
Inspired by this support, the anarchists seized the administration 
building and held a mass debate. The occupation spread, Nanterre was 
surrounded by police, and the authorities closed the university down.  
The next day, the Nanterre students gathered at the Sorbonne University in  
the centre of Paris. Continual police pressure and the arrest of over 500 
people caused anger to erupt into five hours of street fighting. The 
police even attacked passers-by with clubs and tear gas. 
 
A total ban on demonstrations and the closure of the Sorbonne brought 
thousands of students out onto the streets. Increasing police violence 
provoked the building of the first barricades. Jean Jacques Lebel, a 
reporter, wrote that by 1 a.m., "[l]iterally thousands helped build  
barricades. . . women, workers, bystanders, people in pyjamas, human  
chains to carry rocks, wood, iron." An entire night of fighting left 350  
police injured. On May 7th, a 50,000-strong protest march against the police  
was transformed into a day-long battle through the narrow streets of the  
Latin Quarter. Police tear gas was answered by molotov cocktails and the  
chant "Long Live the Paris Commune!" 
 
By May 10th, continuing massive demonstrations forced the Education 
Minister to start negotiations. But in the streets, 60 barricades had 
appeared and young workers were joining the students. The trade unions 
condemned the police violence. Huge demonstrations throughout France 
culminated on May 13th with one million people on the streets of Paris. 
 
Faced with this massive protest, the police left the Latin Quarter. 
Students seized the Sorbonne and created a mass assembly to spread the 
struggle. Occupations soon spread to every French University. From the 
Sorbonne came a flood of propaganda, leaflets, proclamations, telegrams, 
and posters. Slogans such as "Everything is Possible," "Be Realistic, 
Demand the Impossible," "Life without Dead Times," and "It is Forbidden to 
Forbid" plastered the walls. "All Power to the Imagination" was on everyone's 
lips. As Murray Bookchin pointed out, "the motive forces of revolution 
today. . . are not simply scarcity and material need, but also *the 
quality of everyday life,.. the attempt to gain control of one's own 
destiny.*" [_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, pp. 249-250]

On May 14th, the Sud-Aviation workers locked the management in its offices 
and occupied their factory. They were followed by the Cleon-Renault, 
Lockhead-Beauvais and Mucel-Orleans factories the next day. That night 
the National Theatre in Paris was seized to become a permanent assembly 
for mass debate. Next, France's largest factory, Renault-Billancourt, was 
occupied. Often the decision to go on indefinite strike was taken by the 
workers without consulting union officials. By May 17th, a hundred Paris 
Factories were in the hands of their workers. The weekend of the 19th of 
May saw 122 factories occupied. By May 20th, the strike and occupations 
were general and involved six million people. Print workers said they did 
not wish to leave a monopoly of media coverage to TV and radio, and agreed 
to print newspapers as long as the press "carries out with objectivity the 
role of providing information which is its duty." In some cases 
print-workers insisted on changes in headlines or articles before they 
would print the paper. This happened mostly with the right-wing papers 
such as 'Le Figaro' or 'La Nation'. 
 
With the Renault occupation, the Sorbonne occupiers immediately prepared 
to join the Renault strikers, and led by anarchist black and red banners, 
4,000 students headed for the occupied factory. The state, bosses, 
unions and Communist Party were now faced with their greatest nightmare -- 
a worker-student alliance. Ten thousand police reservists were called up 
and frantic union officials locked the factory gates. The Communist Party 
urged their members to crush the revolt. They united with the government 
and bosses to craft a series of reforms, but once they turned to the 
factories they were jeered out of them by the workers. 
 
The struggle itself and the activity to spread it was organised by 
self-governing mass assemblies and co-ordinated by action committees. The 
strikes were often run by assemblies as well. As Murray Bookchin argues, 
the "hope [of the revolt] lay in the extension of self-management in all 
its forms -- the general assemblies and their administrative forms, the 
action committees, the factory strike committees -- to all areas of the 
economy, indeed to all areas of life itself." [Ibid., pp. 251-252] Within 
the assemblies, "a fever of life gripped millions, a rewaking of senses 
that people never thought they possessed." [Ibid., p. 251] It was not a 
workers' strike or a student strike. It was a *peoples'* strike that cut 
across almost all class lines. 
 
On May 24th, anarchists organised a demonstration. Thirty thousand 
marched towards the Palace de la Bastille. The police had the Ministries 
protected, using the usual devices of tear gas and batons, but the Bourse 
(Stock Exchange) was left unprotected and a number of demonstrators set 
fire to it. 
 
It was at this stage that some left-wing groups lost their nerve. The 
Trotskyist JCR turned people back into the Latin Quarter. Other groups 
such as UNEF and Parti Socialiste Unife (United Socialist Party) blocked 
the taking of the Ministries of Finance and Justice. Cohn-Bendit said of 
this incident "As for us, we failed to realise how easy it would have 
been to sweep all these nobodies away. . . .It is now clear that if, on 25 
May, Paris had woken to find the most important Ministries occupied, 
Gaullism would have caved in at once. . . . " Cohn-Bendit was forced into 
exile later that very night. 
 
As the street demonstrations grew and occupations continued, the state 
prepared to use overwhelming means to stop the revolt. Secretly, top 
generals readied 20,000 loyal troops for use on Paris. Police occupied 
communications centres like TV stations and Post Offices. By Monday, May 
27th, the Government had guaranteed an increase of 35% in the industrial 
minimum wage and an all round-wage increase of 10%. The leaders of the 
CGT organised a march of 500,000 workers through the streets of Paris two 
days later. Paris was covered in posters calling for a 'Government of the 
People.' Unfortunately the majority still thought in terms of changing 
their rulers rather than taking control for themselves. 
 
By June 5th most of the strikes were over and an air of what passes for 
normality within capitalism had rolled back over France. Any strikes 
which continued after this date were crushed in a military-style operation 
using armoured vehicles and guns. On June 7th, they made an assault on the 
Flins steelworks which started a four-day running battle which left one 
worker dead. Three days latter, Renault strikers were gunned down by 
police, killing two. In isolation, those pockets of militancy stood no 
chance. On June 12th, demonstrations were banned, radical groups 
outlawed, and their members arrested. Under attack from all sides, with 
escalating state violence and trade union sell-outs, the General Strike 
and occupations crumbled. 
 
So why did this revolt fail? Certainly not because "vanguard" Bolshevik 
parties were missing. It was infested with them. Fortunately, the 
traditional authoritarian left sects were isolated and outraged. Those 
involved in the revolt did not require a vanguard to tell them what to do, 
and the "workers' vanguards" frantically ran after the movement trying to 
catch up with it and control it. 
 
No, it was the lack of independent, self-managed confederal organisations 
to co-ordinate struggle which resulted in occupations being isolated from 
each other. So divided, they fell. In addition, Murray Bookchin argues 
that "an awareness among the workers that the factories had to be 
*worked,* not merely occupied or struck," was missing [Ibid., p. 269]. 
 
This awareness would have been encouraged by the existence of a strong 
anarchist movement before the revolt. The anti-authoritarian left, though 
very active, was too weak among striking workers, and so the idea of 
self-managed organisations and workers self-management was not 
widespread. However, the May-June revolt shows that events can change 
very rapidly. The working class, fused by the energy and bravado of the 
students, raised demands that could not be catered for within the confines 
of the existing system. The General Strike displays with beautiful clarity 
the potential power that lies in the hands of the working class. The mass 
assemblies and occupations give an excellent, if short-lived, example of 
anarchy in action and how anarchist ideas can quickly spread and be 
applied in practice.