Exam question 7


”We have referred to anarchism several times in the classes one of the most intense and challeging alternatives to liberalism. Referring to the readings by Kropotkin, Bakunin, Wolff, Nozick and Winstanley to understand the anarchist position. Does it have value? Is it ethically correct? Is it practical? Defend your points using relevant texts from Political Thought.”


“Der Anarchismus”. 2005. “No government” can of course lead to chaos. creating a standard reference work in anarchistic schooling (Ibid. PJ Proudhon (1809-1865). you probably wonder? Well. but is it that? In reality the word anarchy arrives from Greek and means “no government” or “no ruler”. and not chaos. but it can also lead to the most harmonious and balanced society. (Kinna. then it is time to acknowledge. Benjamin Tucker (1854–1939) and Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910). which was a reflection of the highly diverse group of thinkers. Yet I feel an even greater challenge than Eltzbacher and Woodcock. Eltzbacher’s definition of anarchism is a very simplified one. title is chosen to reflect the content of this paper obviously. 10). Now I am facing the same kind of challenge in this paper. Michael Bakunin (1814–1870). 2 . 2). The inspiration comes from academic journal that was released for the first time this year namely Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies (ADCS) carrying the title “Blasting the Canon”. Wolff and Nozick found in Rosen and Wolff’s reader Political Thought being the course book of the class. that there exist is a lot of types of anarchism. not for its content but for its deductive method of illustrating anarchism through the “seven sages” being William Godwin (1756–1836). in the sense that the five sages I am going to deal with spans over a greater ideological background.The five sages? Why this title. The exam question asks me to understand the anarchist 1 2 Being the classical Anarchism. Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921). creating a horizontal structure were everyone has influence on their everyday life and power is placed at the bottom of society instead of the top1. So now that we know what anarchy means. p. being on radical left wing and radical right wing (radical economic liberals) of the political spectrum. this method inspired George Woodcock in his Anarchism (1962). Another vocabulary would anarcho-communist and anarcho-capitalist. Kropotkin. One of the main themes in this first issue circles around Paul Eltzbacher’s book Anarchism: Seven Exponents of the Anarchist Philosophy in 1960 (Kinna & Evren. maybe it is the most diverse of the entire political ism’? Whether it is the most diverse ideology does not matter. namely understanding the anarchist position based on the text of the ‘five sages’ Winstanley. which were the original title released in 1900 in German has been notoriously known. What matters is that this assignment gives a great opportunity to distinguish Libertarian Socialism and Libertarianism2. According to Kinna. though skipping Tucker. p. p. Max Stirner (1806–1856). Eltzbacher’s approach have therefore been viewed not only as deductive but also reductive. also known as Libertarian Socialism. respectively. namely based on the lowest common denominator: an opposition to the state (anti-statism). Anarchy! The popular discourse has associated this with “chaos”. Bakunin. But before I move further into this it is essential to define the concept itself. 2013. 10).

If I accept Eltzbacher’s very simplified version of what defines the anarchist position then it leaves me with four thinkers already. abolishing capitalism. Now. which is easier to defend. in which thinkers are placed randomly. landlordism. ”Liberty and rights”. and the state. ” The justification of the state”. and stateless socialist order through an international and internationalist social revolution. I have already sorted one out.ditext. 1967)4. The empirical data that I have been asked to base this assignment on originates from four different chapters being ”Human Nature”. I consider four core elements (call them value or ethics) essential to anarchism being: antiauthority (thereby anti-statism). anti-capitalistic (against exploitation of workers. so I will use additional literature to support the views portrayed. Secondly. Wolff and Nozick. for collective ownership (classless society).html 3 . Thirdly. Unfortunately. and thereby distinguishing himself from the last two thinkers 3 4 Advocates Libertarian Socialism To be found online at: http://www. Kropotkin. since Nozick belongs in the Libertarian traditions (anarcho-capitalism) and promotes a minimal state (Wolff. Nozick. Winstanley belongs in the feudal/landlordism era and before the ‘invention’ of the modern anarchism by PJ Proudhon (Woodcock. 33): … anarchism is a revolutionary and libertarian socialist doctrine: advocating individual freedom through a free society. To help clarifying my position I have decided to add a quote from van der Walt and Schmidt (p. 2007). The empirical data is a really vague basis to understand the anarchist position. anarchism aims to create a democratic.position taking its point of departure in five different anarchist thinkers ranging from the 17th century up to modern philosophers from the 1970s. Bakunin.com/woodcock/anarchism. in which the book Black Flame3 have been a part of shaping the ideological expression coming forward in this paper. which would have been the ideal approach for illustrating the difference between anarcho-communism and anarcho-capitalism . I have spend the first page of our so bringing some inputs on the deductive/reductive method being requested in this exam question. and ”Economic Justice”. egalitarian. against competition). Therefore I have decided to construct an approach. Based on the ideological beliefs expressed above I have tried to categories the five thinkers to which tradition they belong. the empirical data does not leave much space for comparison. Personally. for collective organization (horizontalism). and thereby a comparative analysis. for being Libertarian and pro a minimal state. and tried to display the issues with this approach. namely Winstanley. First of all it is important to understand which kind of anarchism the five thinkers promote. Robert Paul Wolff represents a modern and very individualistic approach to anarchism.

it is advocated in the text a creation of “public store-houses. dealing with mutual aid and science and the people. freedom to family hierarchy. be a common treasury” (p. and at the same time I have illustrated my doubts in a canon approach. A so-called “anarchist” would though complete brake with these ideas. his vision of the kind of egalitarian society he would like to create embodies many features of the ideal society envisaged by the anarchists two centuries later (Woodcock. Finally. though acknowledging the common features between Kropotkin and Bakunin. To build up his argument he points out the false consciousness (a Marxist term. freedom to have ministers preach. 4 . namely Robert Nozick. to create an egalitarian economy. Winstanley Winstanley in his text “The Common Stock” addresses one of the central values of anarchism. Therefore. Two points in the text conflicts with traditional anarchistic values. in reality does not contain any freedom at all. I can only agree with Woodcock’s observation. since Winstanley was highly inspirational thinker. who I will look into in the next section. More than 300 years did George Woodcock comment on Winstanley’s ideas in a flattering manner: If Winstanley's criticism of society as he sees it at this crucial point in his career ends in a libertarian rejection of both authority and property. being a government to uphold the laws in terms of protecting family’s property. sexual freedom of women.Bakunin and Kropotkin. since there is an authority behind controlling it (p. 229). far ahead of his times. I feel that I have made it clear that it is impossible to give a unifying explanation and analysis of what anarchism exist of based on the empirical data. Furthermore. that I could not help but borrow) of the classes when he exemplifies that free trading. which is a strong anarchistic value. The existence of a government is a critical point as well as the family being the central organizational form of society. which is also known as classical anarchism or libertarian socialism. who forms more or less the basis for the premises I setup for defining anarchism. I have decided to go separately through all of thinkers. I will now continue onto the empirical data dealing with the classical anarchism arriving from Kropotkin and Bakunin. namely the right to free use of the land and fight against property rights and its aggressors. 227). 1967). These examples can be categorized as false freedom.

being categorized as classical anarchism. In reality. The narrative of the popular known as classical anarchism of today starts in Basal in september 1869 in Basel at a gathering of the First International (van der Walt & Schmidt. does Kropotkin reject the Hobbesian understanding of of ethnology.Kropotkin In this text Kropotkin focuses on the organization in the nature. not in mutual support. 5). Likely wise. He explains that the concept of family did not form the bases of early human civilization but rather the tribal nature and smaller groups was the organizational nature. like other animals. There is no doubt that Kropotkin advocates a society based on a collectivistic approach. Through this analogy of the animal world. with a much more individualistic approach. p. and thereby collaboration will secure a society in progress. 5 . rather an alternative to socialism. p. Therefore we need society to be organized based on mutual aid. 31). 1999. Mutual Aid . p. He argues that competition is not a natural element in the development of species. which discusses science and the people. exemplified with families being the ground foundation of human evolution.Classical Anarchism: the works of Kropotkin and Bakunin The two thinkers have probably been among the main contributors to libertarian socialism. Taking this to a more overall societal value would equal to collective ownership. The text clearly functions as a critique of the Hobbesian philosophy. How this is done I will look into in the next text by Bakunin. Kropotkin rejects Hobbes primitive idea of man being in a constant state of warfare. After this I will bring in Wolff before the conclusion. It is evident that it would be quite the contrary to all that we know of nature if men were an exception to so a general rule: if a creature so defenceless as man was at his beginnings should have found his protection and his way to progress. 30). 2009. instead of an individualistic approach based on competition. but rather that elimination of competition improves the conditions of the species (Kropotkin. but in a reckless competition for personal advantages with no regard to the interest of the species’ (Kropotkin. 1999. creating a space where people have the possibility and responsibility to take care of their social surroundings. Kropotkin legitimizes why a structure based on mutual support. anarchism did not evolve as an alternative to liberalism. to illustrate how he differentiates from libertarian socialism. which later was connected to Darwin’s ‘the survival of the fittest’ concept. which argues all against all.

75). The premises for this society are real and total liberation (Bakunin. Bakunin structures the main ideas of how an anarchist society function. This requires a fight against the state and statehood which represents all the oppressing factors. subject to no official tutelage but open to the free and diverse influences of individuals and parties (p. 1999. Bakunin reflects over the lack of freedom in society and advocates for a free anarchist society. This critique of the metaphysician transcends into discussion of the function of sociologist. 6 . metaphysical method. organizing themselves from below upward by means of independent and completely free associations. This premise also represents the sole most important value of anarchism namely total liberation. though it still brings a lot of legitimate reason to redesign society. based on the idea of constructing a society based on the scientific method. and thereby requiring a class-consciousness to occur in order for there to happen any social revolution. so today we have so much technical advantage that it the general manual labor is quite limited. 73). due to their creation of an ideal social organization (p. p.Bakunin: Science and the people Before entering the text it is very important to take into consideration in which time it is written. when according to Bakunin: “…sociology must therefore be the point of departure for social upheavals and reconstructions…” (p. Several places in the text Bakunin refers to class. it is most probably the social organization he is pointing to (states). namely that general manual labor will be obligatory for everyone (p. Bakunin advocates a free society encompassed in this sentence: We believe that the people can be happy and free only when they create their own life. and thereby legitimizing a state. In “Science and the People” (p. but instead they are doing the work of the governing class. but with the reference state and statehood later in the text and the reference to Procrustes. 74). Bakunin starts off by rejecting the dominant scientific method of the times. This class-consciousness will thereby be the foundation of the spontaneous mass-movement it will require to change the system. sociologist represents the group of scientist that should to discover how to reach a real and total liberation. 73-76). 75). The paragraph does not really present it clearly. 73). Since then society have taking some huge technological steps. According to Bakunin. Bakunin deals with another central point of classical anarchism.

2009. Bakunin advocates that the anarchism is for the masses whereas Robert Paul Wolff focuses on the individual anarchism. the autonomous man.P. instead of being the structure securing that we are everyone well off without being the puppet of a master. 19). which should be the task of sociologist. given that anarchism advocated a social vision of freedom as realised through society and cooperation. 7 . This individual form of anarchism seems to me to become a slippery slope for anarchism to develop into something for the personal gain. is illegitimate. “The conflict of autonomy and authority” puts man in a box of “philosophical anarchism” (Wolff.In general Bakunin’s text seems very complex. in the text as the state. and thereby arriving to their arguments on socialist platform. but though the one pages text does not leave a lot of expressions other than authority. 1999. (van der Walt & Schmidt. Wolff and the individualistic anarchism R. it could not be in favour of absolute and unrestrained individual sovereignty. p. Supporting this observation I have found a quote in Black flame that discusses the complete R. The ones that believe that science will create the progress for the people have misunderstood something. p. p. since I am going to deal with Nozick in the next section.” (2005. 77). where the center of decision making is man himself. What the established science does is legitimizing the current system. which represents another view than what we have seen of Kropotkin focusing on mutual aid and Bakunin’s on an organization structure. but delivers a simple message. Wolff continues Bakunin’s critique of the state. instead of questioning it and being on the forefronts on how to change society into a total liberation. This form of individual anarchism (or in this case libertarianism) takes a far greater turn away from the original anarchist school of thought. The text focuses on man as an individual being decision taker. 77) This view is furthermore support by Kinna who in her book writes that Wolff’s philosophical anarchism is “a commitment to individual decision-making (sometimes called private judgement) and divorced this commitment from the struggle to realize a particular socio-economic arrangement.P: Wolff’s work in “In Defence of Anarchism”: It is therefore incorrect to define anarchism as a philosophy that holds that every individual should be entirely free to establish ones obligations to society.

more free market. 178). pp. since the observations are based on thematical analysis. because fear represents a Hobbesian worldview. 245). State and Utopia”. namely the opposition towards a state. 1999)6.176-79). smaller state. instead of mutual support and altruism Financial compensation/punishment (p. instead of syndicalism and workers councils Inequality (p. and it is no wonder that Nozick is one of the thinkers being central in former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen book: From Socialist state to minimal state (Rasmussen. and I wonder why? Nonetheless. instead of collectivism Hobbesian worldview (separation and competition) (p. and may span over the whole text. instead of reconciliation reducing labor to an individual act benefitting the person (p. ”Where Deterrence Theory goes Wrong”. instead of united I have now tried to illustrate some of the value based and ethical difference that are between classical anarchism (libertarian socialism) and libertarianism. Below I have used an “instead of” listing approach. there are four texts of his in the reader5 all taking from his 1974 work “Anarchy. 1993. instead of the collective favoring private property (p. 5 ”Rights as Side-Constraints”. and therefore Nozick cannot be categorized as an anarchist. 178). rather I see a libertarian one. All of the starting point of the sentence is ideas expressed by Nozick (Nozick. which Nozick represents. 38-40).Nozick and Libertarianism Nozick is one of the more popular thinkers of the course book. the pages references are very general. it is a radicalization of liberalism.245). where I consider the values and ethics of classical anarchism: a minimal state (p.245). instead of principles Individualism (p. 8 . responded by an “instead of”. 184-86). 178). instead of egalitarianism o Production and distribution as separate functions (p. to be able to display the differences between libertarianism and libertarian socialism (classical anarchism). Libertarianism is not an alternative to liberalism. 212). instead of the abolition of the state Rights (p. I do not find a single anarchistic element in these four texts. ”The Entitlement Theory” 6 In the listing. instead of anti-capitalism Individual contract aid (salary) negotiation (p. to discover which morals and ethics Nozick promotes. 210-213). instead of collective ownership Free market capitalism (p. This leads me back to Eltzbacher’s common denominator of what characterizes anarchism. The only point where I have discovered similarities between classical anarchism and Nozick is the notion of a critical approach towards a deterrence theory.246). ”Difficulties with Mixing Labour”.

So is there five sages? 9 .The word value. Well if all societies should be evaluated on the question of practicality. all decision made will be based on the decision made at the lowest level. the only thing you can be sure of is Eltzbacher’s notion of anti-statism. First of all I would like to address. when a dictatorship is much more practical? My point is that freedom and avoidance of oppression will always overcome the question of practicality. Conclusion I have started out the paper by attacking the canon approach lined up by the exam question. If you asked a libertarian socialist it will certainly focus first and for most on principles and behavior. This wide spread notion of the values and ethics of anarchism follows the critique of the canon approach. That also means that there will have to planned a great organizational structure. for collective ownership (classless society). To distinguish the two in a simplified manner then we have on the one hand side the collectivist values and on the other hand the individualistic values. If the point is to study libertarian socialism. why do we then have a representative democracy. we would have to think in another of thinking. where as a libertarian will focus on the principles of free market value as well as the value of property rights. and especially the notion of what anarchism is not in the comparison of libertarian socialism and libertarianism. and argued why this can be such a difficult approach. for collective organization (horizontalism). leaving us with conclusion that if you want to know the value and ethics of anarchism you will have study the thinkers individually. against competition). anti-capitalistic (against exploitation of workers. practical for whom? Since anarchism most central element is to remove states and governments. well it can certainly mean a lot of things. Practical During the paper I have somehow avoided this question of discussing the practical element of anarchism. Since the ideal is that everything should be organized from down and up. but they come to appear due out the paper. it has been really difficult to give one notion of what values and what ethics represents anarchism. then we would have to include the values of antiauthority (thereby antistatism). As mentioned.

Rasmussen. 2007. R. P. Wolff. R. pp. 1999. 10 . 184-186. 1999. New York: Oxford University Press. ed. New York: Macmillan. eds. In: M. eds. Political Thought. Edwards. 1993. Introduction: Blasting the canon. In: P. P. Political Thought. ”Rights as Side-Constraints”. Anarchism. ”Difficulties with Mixing Labour”. F. Kropotkin. issue 1). Rosen & J. Mutual Aid. 76-77. 245-248.. Rosen & J..std... Robert Nozick. 73-76.com/~mhuben/wolff_2. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Science and the people. anarchism: a beginner’s guide. van der Walt. København: Olesen Offset. Wolff. ”The Entitlement Theory”. G. Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies (Blasting the canon. 2013. In: M.html [Accessed 12 November 2013]. Nozick. Wolff. New York: Oxford University Press. 176-178. L. Wolff. Rosen & J. 2005. New York: Oxford University Press. 1967. R.. eds. Wolff. A. 1-6... Woodcock. & Evren. Oakland: AK Press. 1999. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. R. 2009. pp. pp. 1999. New York: Oxford University Press. 30-33. Kinna. J. M. pp. Kinna. S... M. Fra socialstat til minimalstat. Libertarianism. And Utopia. In: Political Thought. & Schmidt. In: M. [Online] Available at: http://world.Bibliography Bakunin. 210-213.. Thr conflict of Autonomy and Authority. ”Where Deterrence Theory goes Wrong”. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism. pp. Political Thought.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful