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Social anarchism, socialist anarchism, anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism or communitarian anarchism (sometimes used interchangeably with libertarian socialism, left-libertarianism or left-anarchism in its terminology) is an umbrella term used to differentiate two broad categories of anarchism, this one being the collectivist, with the other being individualist anarchism.
Where individualist forms of anarchism emphasize the individual and his/her will over any kinds of external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems., social anarchism sees "individual freedom as conceptually connected with social equality and emphasize community and mutual aid."
Social anarchism rejects private property, seeing it as a source of social inequality. Social anarchism is used to specifically describe tendencies within anarchism that have an emphasis on the communitarian and cooperative aspects of anarchist theory and practice. Social anarchism includes (but is not limited to) anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, some forms of libertarian socialism, anarcho-syndicalism and social ecology.
The term "left-anarchism" or "left-wing anarchism" refers to forms of anarchism that are seen by some on the 'left of politics'. Left-wing anarchism is thus distinguished from free-market anarchism or "right-wing" anarchism (such as that of Murray Rothbard). Ulrike Heider,[I] who claims to be syndicalist, in Anarchism: Left, Right and Green categorizes anarchism into left anarchism, right anarchism (anarcho-capitalism), and green anarchism.
In the United States, the term "social anarchism" is used by the circle involved in publishing the Social Anarchism journal and was promoted by Murray Bookchin. Bookchin identifies social anarchism with the "left," by which he refers to the "great tradition of human solidarity and a belief in the potentiality for humanness," internationalism and confederalism, the democratic spirit, anti-militarism, and rational secularism. Social anarchism aims for "free association of people living together and cooperating in free communities."[unreliable source?]
Collectivist anarchism, also referred to as revolutionary socialism or a form of such, is a revolutionary form of anarchism, commonly associated with Mikhail Bakunin and Johann Most. It is a specific tendency, not to be confused with the broad category sometimes called collectivist or communitarian anarchism. Unlike mutualists, collectivist anarchists oppose all private ownership of the means of production, instead advocating that ownership be collectivized.
This was to be achieved through violent revolution, first starting with a small cohesive group through acts of violence, or "propaganda by the deed," which would inspire the workers as a whole to revolt and forcibly collectivize the means of production. However, collectivization was not to be extended to the distribution of income, as workers would be paid according to time worked, rather than receiving goods being distributed "according to need" as in anarcho-communism. This position was criticised by later anarcho-communists as effectively "uphold[ing] the wages system".
Anarchist communist and collectivist ideas were not mutually exclusive; although the collectivist anarchists advocated compensation for labor, some held out the possibility of a post-revolutionary transition to a communist system of distribution according to need. Collectivist anarchism arose contemporaneously with Marxism but opposed the Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat, despite the stated Marxist goal of a collectivist stateless society.
Anarchist communists propose that the freest form of social organisation would be a society composed of self-governing communes with collective use of the means of production, organized by direct democracy or, and related to other communes through federation. However, some anarchist communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and favor consensus democracy.
In anarchist communism, as money would be abolished, individuals would not receive direct compensation for labour (through sharing of profits or payment) but would have free access to the resources and surplus of the commune. According to anarchist communist Peter Kropotkin and later Murray Bookchin, the members of such a society would spontaneously perform all necessary labour because they would recognize the benefits of communal enterprise and mutual aid.[page needed]
Kropotkin believed that private property was one of the causes of oppression and exploitation and called for its abolition, advocating instead common ownership. Kropotkin said that "houses, fields, and factories will no longer be private property, and that they will belong to the commune or the nation and money, wages, and trade would be abolished." Kropotkin's work Mutual Aid criticized social Darwinism, arguing that cooperation is more natural than competition. Conquest of Bread was essentially a handbook on the organization of a society after the social revolution.
In response to those criticizing Kropotkin for supporting expropriation of homes and means of production from those who did not wish to take part in anarcho-communism, he replied that if someone did not want to join the commune they would be left alone as long as they are a "peasant who is in possession of just the amount of land he can cultivate," or "a family inhabiting a house which affords them just enough space... considered necessary for that number of people" or an artisan "working with their own tools or handloom." arguing that "[t]he landlord owes his riches to the poverty of the peasants, and the wealth of the capitalist comes from the same source."
The status of anarchist communism within anarchism is disputed, because most individualist anarchists consider communitarianism incompatible with political freedom. However, anarcho-communism does not always have a communitarian philosophy, Some forms of anarchist communism are egoist, and are very influenced by radical individualist philosophy, believing that anarcho-communism does not require a communitarian nature at all. Anarchist communist Emma Goldman blended the philosophies of both Max Stirner and Kropotkin in her own.
Platformism is an anarchist communist tendency in the tradition of Nestor Makhno, who argued for the "vital need of an organization which, having attracted most of the participants in the anarchist movement, would establish a common tactical and political line for anarchism and thereby serve as a guide for the whole movement."
In the early 20th century, anarcho-syndicalism arose as a distinct school of thought within anarchism. With greater focus on the labour movement than previous forms of anarchism, syndicalism posits radical trade unions as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the state with a new society, democratically self-managed by the workers.
Anarcho-syndicalists seek to abolish the wage system and private ownership of the means of production, which they believe lead to class divisions. Important principles include workers' solidarity, direct action (such as general strikes and workplace recuperations), and workers' self-management. This is compatible with other branches of anarchism, and anarcho-syndicalists often subscribe to anarchist communist or collectivist anarchist economic systems.
Its advocates propose labour organization as a means to create the foundations of a trade union centered anarchist society within the current system and bring about social revolution. An early leading anarcho-syndicalist thinker was Rudolf Rocker, whose 1938 pamphlet Anarchosyndicalism outlined a view of the movement's origin, aims and importance to the future of labour.
Although more often associated with labor struggles of the early 20th century (particularly in France and Spain), many syndicalist organizations are active today, united across national borders by membership in the International Workers Association, including the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden (SAC) in Sweden, the Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI) in Italy, the CNT and the CGT in Spain, the Workers' Solidarity Movement (WSM) of Ireland, and the Industrial Workers of the World in the United States.
Inclusive Democracy is a political theory and political project that aim for direct democracy, economic democracy in a stateless, moneyless and marketless economy, self-management (democracy in the social realm) and ecological democracy. The theoretical project of Inclusive Democracy (ID; as distinguished from the political project which is part of the democratic and autonomy traditions) emerged from the work of political philosopher, former academic and activist Takis Fotopoulos in Towards An Inclusive Democracy and was further developed by him and other writers in the journal Democracy & Nature and its successor The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, an electronic journal freely available and published by the International Network for Inclusive Democracy.
According to Arran Gare, Towards an Inclusive Democracy "offers a powerful new interpretation of the history and destructive dynamics of the market and provides an inspiring new vision of the future in place of both neo-liberalism and existing forms of socialism". Also, as David Freeman points out, although Fotopoulos' approach "is not openly anarchism, yet anarchism seems the formal category within which he works, given his commitment to direct democracy, municipalism and abolition of state, money and market economy".
Participatory economics, often abbreviated parecon, is an economic system proposed by activist and political theorist Michael Albert and radical economist Robin Hahnel. It uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as "an anarchistic economic vision", and it could be considered a form of socialism as under parecon, the means of production are owned by the workers.
The underlying values that parecon seeks to implement are equity, solidarity, diversity, workers' self-management and efficiency. (Efficiency here means accomplishing goals without wasting valued assets.) It proposes to attain these ends mainly through the following principles and institutions:
Albert and Hahnel stress that parecon is only meant to address an alternative economic theory and must be accompanied by equally important alternative visions in the fields of politics, culture and kinship. The authors have also discussed elements of anarchism in the field of politics, polyculturalism in the field of culture, and feminism in the field of family and gender relations as being possible foundations for future alternative visions in these other spheres of society.
Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.
It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly competitive grow-or-die philosophy. It suggests that this cannot be resisted by individual action such as ethical consumerism but must be addressed by more nuanced ethical thinking and collective activity grounded in radical democratic ideals. The complexity of relationships between people and with nature is emphasised, along with the importance of establishing social structures that take account of this.
Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index
Anarchism Critiques –
Class Analysis –
Class Conflict/Class Struggle –
First International –
Left, The –
Left History –
Libertarian Politics –
Libertarian Socialism –
Mark, Karl –
Marxism Overviews –
Radical Political Theory –
Revolutionary Politics –
Social Change –
State, The –
Strategies for Social Change
Alternatives – Anarchism – Anarchism Critiques – Anti-Marxism – Class Analysis – Class Conflict/Class Struggle – Emancipation – First International – Freedom – Left, The – Left History – Libertarian Politics – Libertarian Socialism – Libertarianism – Mark, Karl – Marxism – Marxism Overviews – Radical Political Theory – Revolution – Revolutionary Politics – Social Change – Socialism – State, The – Strategies for Social Change
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