What is anarchism?

We explain what anarchism is and how this political movement originated. In addition, its characteristics and differences with Marxism.

  1. What is anarchism?

When it comes to anarchism, it refers to a political, philosophical and social movement whose main objective is the abolition of the State and all forms of government , as well as any form of authority, social hierarchy or control that society  intends to impose on the individuals

Anarchism  considers such forms of dominion as something artificial, harmful and, in addition, unnecessary , since human beings have a natural tendency to a just and equitable order, which has been perverted through social pacts.

In that way, anarchism is primarily interested in the affairs of the individual and the surrounding society, with the aspiration to  promote the breakdown of the established order and allow social change to arise , which would ideally lead to a society without masters, without owners, without domains of any kind.

Traditionally, various political and social movements have been grouped under the banner of anarchism, with different tendencies from each other and especially with different procedures or methodologies .

There are thus more radical, violent anarchies that aspire to an active role in the fall of the State ; and quieter ortos, closer to passive resistance and pacifism. But there is no explicit and unique definition of what an anarchist is or what he has to do.

  1. Origin of anarchism

The word anarchism as such comes from the Greek, and is composed of the words  an – (“without”) and  arkhé  (“power or mandate”), and arose to name the stages of power vacuum that arose after the French Revolution and the fall of the monarchy at the end of the 18th century. It was a derogatory term, to call the supporters of disorder and revolutionary terror (both Robespierre and the  Enragés  were called anarchists).

Now, the first contemporary anarchist movements were children of the labor movement  of the early nineteenth century, whose struggle sought to improve the working conditions of the proletariat, which were particularly fierce at the beginning of  industrial capitalism .

Libertarian communism and the so-called  utopian socialism , and slopes if more radicals of trade unionism are desired, played a fundamental role in the creation of anarchism, especially when a revolutionary but authoritarian left arose, which proposed a strong and unique State.

The anarchists, enemies of all kinds of authority and oppression , would look badly at the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat and emancipate themselves to create their own militancies and political and social aspects.

  1. Characteristics of anarchism

Anarchism supports equality, so the forms of possession are unacceptable.

Most anarchys are based on three major political and social pillars, which are:

  • The libertarian thought . Anarchism is contrary to all forms of domination and authority, so it opposes the State, the authorities, the power in its many forms, preferring a society that regulates itself naturally and spontaneously.
  • The  abolition of inequities . Equality is another anarchist mission, so hierarchies, private property and other forms of possession are also unacceptable.
  • Solidarity among  human beings . Fraternity among human beings is another ideal aspect of anarchism, since the absence of laws, authorities and hierarchies would allow free interaction between people, which would lead them to solidarity , cooperation and mutualism.
  1. Differences between Marxism and anarchism

The main difference between Marxism (also called scientific communism) and anarchist currents has to do with the fact that the first proposes a society governed by a single social class: the proletariat, in what was called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, a previous step to communism , that is, society without social classes, of absolute equality. Marxism is based on the idea of ​​a strong state, of a single and central authority , that controls the economy and culture with an iron fist.

The anarchists, on the other hand, see their greatest enemy in the State and prefer not to agree with the idea of ​​a dictatorship , whatever the prevailing social class, since their basic thinking is libertarian.

Thus, anarchism shares with Marxism its criticism of the system, its opposition to class society and the domination and exploitation of the working class , but not its proposal for an almighty state.

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