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ANARCHISM. POSC 150 Braunwarth. Anarchism. From Greek: an archo (no rule/no gov’t) Abolish the State Replace coercive force of the state with voluntary cooperation among freely consenting adults. Who here is Free?. We generally think of ourselves as free

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POSC 150


  • From Greek: an archo (no rule/no gov’t)
  • Abolish the State
  • Replace coercive force of the state with voluntary cooperation among freely consenting adults
who here is free
Who here is Free?
  • We generally think of ourselves as free
  • In reality, we are highly controlled
  • By the state, by religion, by greed
  • We don’t recognize the degree to which we are trapped (like the Matrix)
  • Anarchism argues we need to throw off these shackles in order to achieve our full potential
  • Government is, by its own nature, immoral and evil
  • All governments engage inimmoral, coercive actions
  • Causes all ills in society
  • Forces people to do things they do not want to do (pay taxes, fight wars)
  • Could argue is a necessary evil; Anarchists would argue is not necessary, just evil
emma goldman 1869 1940
Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
  • “Red Emma”
  • Anarchism was “great liberator”
  • from Religion, State and Property
  • Early feminist
  • (p. 255)
philosophical basis
Philosophical Basis
  • Freedom: Centrally Important
  • Human Nature: Emphasis on the Individual who is basically good and idealistic
  • Split: either
  • Fiercely Independent and Individualistic (occasionally capitalistic and competitive)
    • Which of our Readings?
    • Thoreau, Godwin, Sterner
  • Inherently communal
    • Which of our Readings?
    • Bakunin, Kroptokin, etc.
individual orientation
Individual Orientation
  • Oppressed by coercive force of government
  • Either:
  • Live according to higher individual goals
  • or
  • Are a part of a free community where everyone cooperates and need not be repressed by government
  • “That government which governs best governs not at all”
  • Incensed about Spanish-American war and slavery
  • People unfortunately favor stability > justice (p. 4)
  • Obligation to resist (pp. 6, 8)
political program
Political Program
  • How should we abolish government?
  • Another split, either:
  • Advocate violent overthrow of the State or
  • Advocate a peaceful path that can lead to a cooperative society
  • Basically, replace government with a consensual and cooperative society where people can live according to higher individual or communal ideals
leo tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
  • Wrote War and Peace
  • Devout Pacifist
  • State exists to commit violence
  • Must peacefully be abolished
anarcho communism
  • Played important role in socialist movement
  • Marx’s main rivals
  • Some made strong moral case pacifism and non-violence
  • Others criticized need for a transitional proletarian government
bakunin 1814 1876
Bakunin (1814-1876)
  • Advocated violence to overthrow the state
  • Destruction of oppressor (state) would liberate the people (p. 251)
  • Split with Marx
  • Wanted no dictatorship of proletariat