Is anarchism the opposite of socialism?

Nathaniel Smith
Nathaniel Smith

I have always considered anarchism to be an ideology that falls under the umbrella of socialism. But I was reading an old egoist zine and found this:

Since, for socialists in general, the economic question is paramount–every problem tending to be reduced to the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of socialism–there is one belief which all socialists, from Statists to libertarian communists, share, and that is the belief in the need to put the ownership or control of the means of production into the hands of some collective body, be it the government or “society”. Socialism above all is, as Auguste Hamon has said, a “social system in which — a social doctrine by which — the means of production are socialized”. It is my argument that this wish to make society the owner and provider of the means of life is to put new authority over the individual in place of the old and is therefore not anarchism. Anarchism stands for leaving each individual free to provide for himself what he needs and is therefore not a complement of socialism but its opposite. It follows that those anarchists who think that anarchism is a form of socialism are deluding themselves and sooner or later will have to choose between them, for they cannot logically be both.

blog.fair-use.org/2014/04/04/anarchism-versus-socialism/

and this statement makes sense to me, it seems coherent and reasoned. But yet it goes against everything I've come to assume of anarchism. So what is it?

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Other urls found in this thread:

marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1906/12/x01.htm
dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bookchin/soclife.html
crimethinc.com/2018/07/01/the-ice-age-is-over-reflections-from-the-ice-blockades
crimethinc.com/2018/07/11/occupy-ice-portland-lessons-from-the-barricades-another-perspective

Joshua Perez
Joshua Perez

sounds like ancap bullshit

Ian Flores
Ian Flores

Anarchism stands for leaving each individual free to provide for himself what he needs
this special snowflake definition of anarchism seems more like an-prim to me
the difference between anarchism and socialism is the theory of revolution and the theory of resource management.
marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1906/12/x01.htm

Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill

I'm pretty sure literally Joseph fucking Stalin is not exactly a great facilitator of anarchist discourse.

Juan Jenkins
Juan Jenkins

Your question is, "Is anarchism the opposite of socialism?" Since Stalin is one of the most prominent socialist leaders, and you hate him so much, it would make sense for you to read what he says about the difference between socialism and anarchism. Your hatred of him is itself evidence of big differences in ideology.

Levi Richardson
Levi Richardson

I don't think he dislikes Stalin just because he is not an anarchist, Stalin is a famous socialist only because he was in power, that alone doesn't make his thought the most prominent. There's plenty of other figures that attempt to explain this topic better.

Nolan Harris
Nolan Harris

Stalin is a famous socialist only because he was in power, that alone doesn't make his thought the most prominent
How'd he get in power? He was a good theorist and he knew politics, among other things. If you have another recommendation, go for it. But his writing is solid and usually to-the-point, and he has a lot of experience on this topic, so it's very relevant.

Owen King
Owen King

Do you have any substantial criticism of his main "thesis" though?

The point is that Marxism and anarchism are built up on entirely different principles, in spite of the fact that both come into the arena of the struggle under the flag of socialism. The cornerstone of anarchism is the individual, whose emancipation, according to its tenets, is the principal condition for the emancipation of the masses, the collective body. According to the tenets of anarchism, the emancipation of the masses is impossible until the individual is emancipated. Accordingly, its slogan is: "Everything for the individual." The cornerstone of Marxism, however, is the masses, whose emancipation, according to its tenets, is the principal condition for the emancipation of the individual. That is to say, according to the tenets of Marxism, the emancipation of the individual is impossible until the masses are emancipated. Accordingly, its slogan is: "Everything for the masses."

Jacob Richardson
Jacob Richardson

there is one belief which all socialists, from Statists to libertarian communists
libertarian communism is another name for anarchism, so the author is calling anarchism socialism, without knowing it.

The 'anarchism' that person is talking about is the retarded ancap definition of anarchy.

Caleb Green
Caleb Green

It is my argument that this wish to make society the owner and provider of the means of life is to put new authority over the individual in place of the old and is therefore not anarchism.
There is nothing to "society" besides the actions of individuals. This is incoherent rambling.

David Cook
David Cook

Anarchism is divided into two main thoughts: Social Anarchism (which includes AnComs, Mutualists, and Syndicalist) and Individual Anarchists (which includes Egoism). So it is these differences that confuse you on the actual meaning of anarchism. It can be a socialist ideal but it also includes individualist thought.

Adam Evans
Adam Evans

Productivity gains from increased work division with a corresponding increase in mutual dependence is not something that has ever happened, the prisoners' dilemma doesn't exist, and where you are born has no effect on what life you'll live.
Is this the power of burger-anarchist thought?

Hudson Green
Hudson Green

cannot logically be both
only if you are a marxist you acknowledge different conditions call for different things, so in different areas you could easily have both.

Also very few anarchists actually believe anarchism is everyone fending for themselves. Ancoms of the right calibre are barely different from MLs just with different emphasis

Angel Powell
Angel Powell

the problem with anarchism the that it does nothing to stop markets from arising and then you get capitalism

Hudson Flores
Hudson Flores

Since, for socialists in general, the economic question is paramount–every problem tending to be reduced to the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of socialism–there is one belief which all socialists, from Statists to libertarian communists, share, and that is the belief in the need to put the ownership or control of the means of production into the hands of some collective body, be it the government or “society”.

There is nuance as to whether the workers control the means of production, which is ignored both here and the rest of the article. I'm not at all knowledgeable about mutualism, but I'm pretty sure that's literally what it's about. I'd appreciate if some user better read on the subject refuted or confirmed this.

Socialism above all is, as Auguste Hamon has said, a “social system in which — a social doctrine by which — the means of production are socialized”. It is my argument that this wish to make society the owner and provider of the means of life is to put new authority over the individual in place of the old and is therefore not anarchism.

There is literally no way to organise production, or any part of social life for that matter, that will not entail some form of conflict and the imposition of authority in some way. The question is how do we minimise the existence of hierarchies and the "undemocratic" institutions that uphold them. Communities have to make decisions that affect everyone who lives in them, no way around it.

Anarchism stands for leaving each individual free to provide for himself what he needs and is therefore not a complement of socialism but its opposite.

Literally this persons opinion on a definition. They further up also use a Dictionary, which is generally the sign that what will follow is just silly, which in this case was once again proven true.
There is a specific word for this - autonomy (from the Greek auto (= self) + nomos (= law) ). Autonomy (not to be confused with autonomist marxism in this case) is not the same as freedom, and arguably humans cannot be "truly free" unless in interaction with each other. In this sense a hermit is autonomous, but not really free, for they cannot evolve and exist as a social being.
Social anarchism is based on Mutual Aid, the exact opposite of the above.

It follows that those anarchists who think that anarchism is a form of socialism are deluding themselves and sooner or later will have to choose between them, for they cannot logically be both.

Hot take, but no. Again, anyone who thinks that they can live a social life, in any economic and political system, which does not entail power relations and struggle in some way is deeply deluded. We pursue real solutions to our real, structural problems, not fairy tales.

Jace Gonzalez
Jace Gonzalez

There is much more nuance to this, but this article by Bookchin covers most of the arguments against this trash idealism: dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bookchin/soclife.html

Jason Watson
Jason Watson

What are emergent/dialectical properties
quantitative change leads to qualitative change. one person is NOT the same as a hundred people is NOT the same as a billion people

Jackson Cooper
Jackson Cooper

I prefer to think of socialism as post-capitalism. There are different forms this can take.

Bentley Gray
Bentley Gray

dumb fuck, what part of abolishing the present state of things do you not get? It's not some deconstruced permutation of capitalism.

Jason Cox
Jason Cox

Anarchism is the single most detrimental ideology to building socialism. Anarchists are violently resisted by Marxists throughout history for a reason

Daniel Campbell
Daniel Campbell

anarchists fuck up the Paris commune
anarchists fuck up ukraine
anarchists fuck up the spanish civil war
They are literally to retarded to not be eliminated. Thinking you can run civilization without a state will get us all killed by the right.

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Jason Diaz
Jason Diaz

It is my argument that this wish to make society the owner and provider of the means of life is to put new authority over the individual in place of the old and is therefore not anarchism.
Except Libertarian Socialists (which include anarchists) don't advocate creating a collective body that would control the MoP and exercise authority over the individual. They precisely advocate giving the control of the MoP to the people who use it. In reality it could create a tyranny of the majority, but no libsoc actually wants that to happen. Even Individualist Anarchists have called themselves socialists.
Stalin doesn't actually understand Anarchist theory or the fact that it's divided between social and individualist anarchism for a reason.
Markets and private property cannot arise without the state.
You mean resisted by counter-revolutionaries playing politics like the PCE?
anarchists fuck up the Paris commune
You're forgetting the fact that it was a single city against an army.
anarchists fuck up ukraine
You're forgetting the fact of the Red Army backstabbing the Black after the White was defeated.
anarchists fuck up the spanish civil war
You're forgetting the fact that they were only one part of the Republican faction which had minimal international aid, fighting against most of the Spanish Army aided by Germany and Italy, or that a literal counter-revolution aided by the Stalinists fucked them over before the war was lost.
Thinking you can run civilization without a state will get us all killed by the right.
Generally Leninists beat them to the punch just so they can have their one-party state degrade into revisionism and corruption.

Tyler Jenkins
Tyler Jenkins

Personally I don't think anarchism is "not socialism" I just see it as outdated, As is the Soviet model. In the 20th century, particularly the first half, both anarchism and the Soviet model were desirable and made sense at the time. Particularly with anarchism, even it's "Marxist" variants on anarcho-communism and forms of syndicalism, there was a sense that the immediate or near immediate construction of communism in the fullest was possible throughout the 1st world because at that time monopoly capital hadn't centralized to the point where it couldn't be substantially challenged without an equally centralized workers state to counter it. Leninism, while remaining relevant longer than anarchism, eventually fell into an equal amount of irrelevancy when Imperialism evolved into the current era of Neoliberal Globalization or what the Right calls "Globalism" (I can elaborate on this if you want but it doesn't have much to do with your question so unless you absolutely need me to I wont)

Anarchism is doubly as impotent in the face or globalism because it's aesthetics and demands have largely been institutionalized as part of the neoliberal project. Yes neoliberalism and globalism have resulted in a global centralization and a truly international bourgeoisie, but these things are propped up and perpetuated by diffuse borders and individualistic attitudes along with libertarian social values. I'm not saying these things are in themselves wrong or that anarchists shouldn't be considered comrades for persisting in struggling for their realization. I am merely pointing out that the form of their struggle has not only become irrelevant and impotent but actually indirectly aids today's global bourgeoisie in many ways (whereas I believe Leninism and it's Praxis have become equally as irrelevant but haven't been assimilated into the Idealogy of globalism the same way as mamuch of anarchism has)

Jack King
Jack King

[Anarchisms] aesthetics and demands have largely been institutionalized as part of the neoliberal project
[Anarchists struggles] actually indirectly aids today's global bourgeoisie in many ways

Could you expand on these points? I dont see how it is so

Ryder Allen
Ryder Allen

He's talking about Amerilard anarchist groups being overrun by liberals and pushing open borders and idpol instead of anti-capitalism. Don't worry about it, he's wrong, liberals were LARPing as socialists since forever.

Jonathan Ward
Jonathan Ward

That's a good point but in the case of anarchism in particular neoliberalism, at least in America, satisfies them. However, I'd argue even a lot of Old Left anarchists have fallen into the trap of in practice advocating for reformism despite still using revolutionary rhetoric, and I don't even necessarily think it's their fault it's just that in an age where unions are so weak you ironically first need a State which tolerates and encourages their formation before you can begin collectiviizing things.

Also again you're correct that liberals have always larped as socialists and even that this has often been a State sponsored project. What I'm saying is that now the non larpers are the vast monority. Rather than attempting to actually do what Lenin did, for instance, (IE using Marxist analysis to respond to the particular scenario in his own contrary in dynamic fashion rather than get bogged down in appealing to dogmatism or building a coalition with the reformists because "Russia wasn't ready" or whatever and encouraging others to do the same) many "Leninist" groups fall into a sort of futile replaying 20th Century conflicts. While I enjoy btfo ing libs and reactionaries on the Kulak question as much as the next guy, it really has no actual impact on the movement writ large. And when many Leninists are asked how they would respond to particular crises today that didn't exist back then they just give you some vaguey about central planning but with updates or fighting revisionism and all this and often when you ask then how they actually plan to build a mass movement many often fall into the same "well in America it's impossible to go full left because x" argument reformists do and basically expose that they just want social democracy so they can sit on coffeehouses endlessly talking about how cool Stalin was like Leninist groups in many European countries

I could go on but my main point is that Capitalism has largely succeeded in neutering left wing movements by
1) the material suppression of them through COINTELPRO, GLADIO, NATO interventions and so on
2) the aesthetic assimilation of them to a large extent (itself often part of psyops and so on)

My point in response to OP was that on this second point I feel they've done a better job of assimilating the libertarian socialists rather than "tankies" but it isn't anarchists fault it's just how capitalism functions when it isn't significantly challenged for 20 years. My second point was that anarchism, in spite of this, was largely shown as irrelevant already by Stalin's time, at least in small countries, but pure Soviet political economy has also become useless in responding to today's scenario. That doesn't mean these things "aren't socialism" or were competing "interpretstions" of socialism but we're rather steps towards a socialism actually capable of emerging victorious.

Tldr; it's been shown that a State is necessary to get anywhere close go victory but won't in itself suffice. This doesn't mean we should return to "anti statist" libertarian socialism because all recent attempts yo do so have died in the cradle or become commodified. This doesn't mean we should advocate pure Sovietism either but rather something new which emerges from its ashes I think personally that Cockshott is the correct direction for socialists to move in today

Henry Phillips
Henry Phillips

That's a good point but in the case of anarchism in particular neoliberalism, at least in America, satisfies them.
This is a really hot take to just throw out there without any further arguments or explanation. In what possible way does neoliberalism "satisfy" anarchism?

Your post is rambling. You would benefit from focusing on a few points at a time.

Gabriel Sanders
Gabriel Sanders

I'm sorry I've been having a hard time putting my thoughts into perspective recently because I've been thinking a lot and am having some personal issues

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've personally known many anarchists and also that I've read and witnessed the behavior of the modern American anarchist movement through various media and the predominant phenomenon seems to be participating in various forms or lifestylism and encouraging this as sufficient or to claim that as an anarchist one is for a mass movement of the working class to actually dethrone the bourgeoisie and rebuild society in a socialist fashion but most settle for actions which, while not "wrong" in themselves, don't actually challenge neoliberalism or globalism and actually reinforce it at least in the sphere of public opinion as dominant.

For instance, the current "cancel culture" largely stems from good faith efforts many anarchist groups undertook and continue to undertake to expose fascists disrupt their ability yo organize. This in itself is obviously not a bad thing. However, without using these mass efforts and technology to actually cancel people with power or at least functionaries of the State, it's become very easy for the tactic to be appropriated by and supported by the bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoise.

The OccupyICE camps are similar. It was a great idea that got wrapped up in defending immigrants from deportation as an end in itself rather than utilizing the opportunity to build anything that could go beyond it. Libertarian socialists deserve credit for getting the ball rolling but they then were also the first splitters, repeatedly alienating other sectors of the Left who attempted to participate and even accusing people who tried to dissuade violence that wasn't self-defense because police used it as an excuse to arrest people there who couldn't affford to easily get out of custody the next day as liberals because yhey woukd rather pick fights with the police.

Bringing up Occupy Wall Street as am example of how easily a libertarian or "horizontalist" approach is almost a Godwin's law tier vote at this point but it's really where a lot of this got started. Again I don't know if this checks out outside or America, but today anarchists seems to be fine participating in events for their own sake and out of moralist rather than to build a material base of support towards and actual goal or series of goals.

You could abolish ice, make every single person with fascist sympathies terrified of showing their face in public, and create a squat in every major city in America. If you don't actually do any of this towards the destruction if the current system and feel satiated in doing the thing itself, neoliberalism not only continues but is reinforced. To dissolve the border without also dissolving wage slavery and the State only creates an opportunity for the bourg, who have already successfully internationalized themselves while largely obliterating both national and international solidarity among the working classes, to source more cheap pools of unorganized labor.

However, I don't think at this point it makes sense to argue for a return to the "Old Left anarchism" either, despite it being preferable in both form and substance to the modern day trends, because I believe the failure of the anarchists to successfully challenge the bourgeoisie has proven it as irrelevant. The Leninist model of course also ultimately failed, but I see it as a progression from the issues of anarchism, which becomes apparent when you read State and Revolution and Imperialism and how quickly many anarchist revolutions that did last a,decent amount of time became pseudo Leninist in nature themselves.

I'm saying that while anarchism is socialist it's proven itself to be a historical relic rather than something useful to modern day struggle outside of being something to learn from. I'm saying that the Old Left attitudes are preferable to lifestylism and New Left libertarianism, but that both would fail to actually dethrone porky, the former because of irrelevance and the latter due to actually having the potential to reinforce the system due to not actually having any goal beyond temporary organizations and associations that dissolve immediately after being defeated or accomplishing the single purpose they were developed for

Robert Fisher
Robert Fisher

test

Owen Hernandez
Owen Hernandez

yea man do whatever its anarchism your free
but actually no you cant do stuff that isnt socialism
socialism cannot be anarchism, VOLUNTARY socialism can and very likely would exist in anarchism though

Hunter Butler
Hunter Butler

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Ayden Taylor
Ayden Taylor

Good picture. I've been wanting to talk about how "authoritarianism" and "libertarianism" are literally just meaningless liberal memes for a while now.

Ryder Russell
Ryder Russell

ancap society
hey guys we should like do socialism and shit
yeah sure but with what resources?
uhhhhhh idk let's just buy the whole fucking earth

Sebastian Ross
Sebastian Ross

This is partially the point I was trying to make when I said it become obvious anarchism as a sort of pure decentralization or whatever became irrelevant when in Spain and elsewhere they basically began constructing a form of State power and that anarchism and Leninism shouldn't be seen as alternative to each other or even failure but bricks on the road to socialism

Michael Mitchell
Michael Mitchell

Sounds like you've had some bad experiences with liberals posing as anarchists, or well-willing people who have not developed a proper understanding yet. This is a failure (or a journey not yet completed) by the individuals, not a problem with the actual philosophy of anarchism.
My impression from consuming USA produced media is that it's not nearly as bad as you seem to think, but I'm not a yank so I don't have personal experience wit this. For example in regards to OccupyICE I think you've got it mixed up. Libsocs and anarchists were critical of the restrictive practices imposed by mostly liberals. Here are two crimethinc articles on the subject: crimethinc.com/2018/07/01/the-ice-age-is-over-reflections-from-the-ice-blockades crimethinc.com/2018/07/11/occupy-ice-portland-lessons-from-the-barricades-another-perspective

Henry Hughes
Henry Hughes

Any sort of abolition of the state would just result in capitalism

Carter Gomez
Carter Gomez

You can not have capitalism without a state

Nicholas Butler
Nicholas Butler

they're different parts of the brain and nervous system
read prometheus rising and info-psychology
brought to you by posadist gang

Liam Cruz
Liam Cruz

you're not even close enough to an argument to smell its fragrance, baller

Wyatt Torres
Wyatt Torres

yeah, so when you abolish the state and don't make a worker's state, the capitalists will just make a capitalist state again

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