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Libertarian socialism (sometimes dubbed socialist libertarianism, or left-libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy, as well as the state itself. It criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace. Instead, it emphasizes workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization. It asserts that a society based on freedom and justice can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists advocate for decentralized structures based on direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils. All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary human relationships through the identification, criticism, and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life. As such libertarian socialism, within the larger socialist movement, seeks to distinguish itself both from Leninism/Bolshevism and from social democracy.
Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism (especially anarchist communism, anarchist collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism, and mutualism) as well as autonomism, communalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism, and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism; as well as some versions of "utopian socialism" and individualist anarchism.
Libertarian socialism is a Western philosophy with diverse interpretations, though some general commonalities can be found in its many incarnations. It advocates a worker-oriented system of production and organization in the workplace that in some aspects radically departs from neoclassical economics in favor of democratic cooperatives or common ownership of the means of production (socialism). They propose that this economic system be executed in a manner that attempts to maximize the liberty of individuals and minimize concentration of power or authority (libertarianism).
Libertarian socialists are strongly critical of coercive institutions, which often leads them to reject the legitimacy of the state in favor of anarchism. Adherents propose achieving this through decentralization of political and economic power, usually involving the socialization of most large-scale private property and enterprise (while retaining respect for personal property). Libertarian socialism tends to deny the legitimacy of most forms of economically significant private property, viewing capitalist property relation as a form of domination that is antagonistic to individual freedom.
The first anarchist journal to use the term "libertarian" was Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social and it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when "libertarian communism" was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16–22 November 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on "Libertarian or Anarchist Communism". Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin.
The association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States. As Noam Chomsky put it, a consistent libertarian "must oppose private ownership of the means of production and wage slavery, which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer."
In a chapter recounting the history of libertarian socialism, economist Robin Hahnel relates that thus far the period where libertarian socialism has had its greatest impact was at the end of the 19th century through the first four decades of the twentieth century.
Early in the twentieth century, libertarian socialism was as powerful a force as social democracy and communism. The Libertarian International– founded at the Congress of Saint Imier a few days after the split between Marxist and libertarians at the congress of the Socialist International held in The Hague in 1872 – competed successfully against social democrats and communists alike for the loyalty of anticapitalist activists, revolutionaries, workers, unions and political parties for over fifty years. Libertarian socialists played a major role in the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Libertarian socialists played a dominant role in the Mexican Revolution of 1911. Twenty years after World War I was over, libertarian socialists were still strong enough to spearhead the social revolution that swept across Republican Spain in 1936 and 1937.
On the other hand a libertarian trend also developed within marxism which gained visibility around the late 1910s mainly in reaction against Bolshevism and Leninism rising to power and establishing the Soviet Union.
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John O`Neil argues that:
It is forgotten that the early defenders of commercial society like (Adam) Smith were as much concerned with criticising the associational blocks to mobile labour represented by guilds as they were to the activities of the state. The history of socialist thought includes a long associational and anti-statist tradition prior to the political victory of the Bolshevism in the east and varieties of Fabianism in the west.
Libertarian socialists are anti-capitalist, and can thus be distinguished from right-wing libertarians. Whereas capitalist (and right-libertarian) principles concentrate economic power in the hands of those who own the most capital, libertarian socialism aims to distribute power more widely amongst members of society. A key difference between libertarian socialism and capitalist libertarianism is that advocates of the former generally believe that one's degree of freedom is affected by one's economic and social status, whereas advocates of the latter focus on freedom of choice within a capitalist framework. This is sometimes characterized as a desire to maximize "free creativity" in a society in preference to "free enterprise."
Within anarchism there emerged a critique of wage slavery which refers to a situation perceived as quasi-voluntary slavery, where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. It is a negatively connoted term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. The term wage slavery has been used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops), and the latter as a lack of workers' self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy. Libertarian socialists believe that valuing freedom, society works towards a system in which individuals have the power to decide economic issues along with political issues. Libertarian socialists seek to replace unjustified authority with direct democracy, voluntary federation, and popular autonomy in all aspects of life, including physical communities and economic enterprises. With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use. Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines while later Emma Goldman famously denounced wage slavery by saying: "The only difference is that you are hired slaves instead of block slaves.".
Many libertarian socialists believe that large-scale voluntary associations should manage industrial production, while workers retain rights to the individual products of their labor. They see a distinction between concepts of "private property" and "personal possession". "Private property" grants an individual exclusive control over a thing whether it is in use or not, and regardless of its productive capacity, "possession" grants no rights to things that are not in use. Also "the separation of work and life is questioned, and alternatives suggested that are underpinned by notions of dignity, self-realization, and freedom from domination and exploitation. Here, a freedom that is not restrictively negative (as in neo-liberal conceptions) but is, as well, positive – connected, that is, to views about human flourishing – is important, a profoundly embedded understanding of freedom, which ties freedom to its social, communal conditions and, importantly, refuses to separate questions of freedom from those of equality."
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Libertarian socialists generally regard concentrations of power as sources of oppression that must be continually challenged and justified. Most libertarian socialists believe that when power is exercised, as exemplified by the economic, social, or physical dominance of one individual over another, the burden of proof is always on the authoritarian to justify their action as legitimate when taken against its effect of narrowing the scope of human freedom. Libertarian socialists typically oppose rigid and stratified structures of authority, be they political, economic, or social.
In lieu of corporations and states, libertarian socialists seek to organize society into voluntary associations (usually collectives, communes, municipalities, cooperatives, commons, or syndicates) that use direct democracy or consensus for their decision-making process. Some libertarian socialists advocate combining these institutions using rotating, recallable delegates to higher-level federations. Spanish anarchism is a major example of such federations in practice.
Contemporary examples of libertarian socialist organizational and decision-making models in practice include a number of anti-capitalist and global justice movements including Zapatista Councils of Good Government and the Global Indymedia network (which covers 45 countries on six continents). There are also many examples of indigenous societies around the world whose political and economic systems can be accurately described as anarchist or libertarian socialist, each of which is unique and uniquely suited to the culture that birthed it. For libertarians, that diversity of practice within a framework of common principles is proof of the vitality of those principles and of their flexibility and strength.
Contrary to popular opinion, libertarian socialism has not traditionally been a utopian movement, tending to avoid dense theoretical analysis or prediction of what a future society would or should look like. The tradition instead has been that such decisions cannot be made now, and must be made through struggle and experimentation, so that the best solution can be arrived at democratically and organically, and to base the direction for struggle on established historical example. They point out that the success of the scientific method comes from its adherence to open rational exploration, not its conclusions, in sharp contrast to dogma and predetermined predictions. To libertarian socialists, dogmatic approaches to social organization are doomed to failure; and thus they reject Marxist notions of linear and inevitable historical progression. Noted anarchist Rudolf Rocker once stated, "I am an anarchist not because I believe anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal".
Because libertarian socialism encourages exploration and embraces a diversity of ideas rather than forming a compact movement, there have arisen inevitable controversies over individuals who describe themselves as libertarian socialists but disagree with some of the core principles of libertarian socialism. For example, Peter Hain interprets libertarian socialism as minarchist rather than anarchist, favoring radical decentralization of power without going as far as the complete abolition of the state and libertarian socialist Noam Chomsky supports dismantling all forms of unjustified social or economic power, while also emphasizing that state intervention should be supported as a temporary protection while oppressive structures remain in existence.
Proponents are known for opposing the existence of states or government and refusing to participate in coercive state institutions. Indeed, in the past many refused to swear oaths in court or to participate in trials, even when they faced imprisonment or deportation.For Chamsy el-Ojeili "it is frequently to forms of working-class or popular self-organization that Left communists look in answer to the questions of the struggle for socialism, revolution and post-capitalist social organization. Nevertheless, Left communists have often continued to organize themselves into party-like structures that undertake agitation, propaganda, education and other forms of political intervention. This is a vexed issue across Left communism and has resulted in a number of significant variations – from the absolute rejection of separate parties in favour of mere study or affinity groups, to the critique of the naivety of pure spontaneism and an insistence on the necessary, though often modest, role of disciplined, self- critical and popularly connected communist organizations." 
Libertarian socialists have been strong advocates and activists of civil liberties that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom in issues of love and sex (free love) (see Anarchism and issues related to love and sex) and of thought and conscience (freethought). In this activism they have clashed with state and religious institutions which have limited such rights (see Anarchism and religion). Anarchism has been an important advocate of free love since its birth. Later a strong tendency of free love appeared alongside anarcha-feminism and advocacy of LGBT rights (see Anarchism and issues related to LGBTI persons). In recent times anarchism has also voiced opinions and taken action around certain sex related subjects such as pornography, BDSM and the sex industry.
Anarcha-feminism developed as a synthesis of radical feminism and anarchism that views patriarchy (male domination over women) as a fundamental manifestation of compulsory government. It was inspired by the late 19th-century writings of early feminist anarchists such as Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Virginia Bolten. Anarcha-feminists, like other radical feminists, criticise and advocate the abolition of traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles. Also the council communist Sylvia Pankhurst was a feminist activist as well as a libertarian marxist. Anarchists also took a pioneering interest in issues related to LGBTI persons. An important current within anarchism is free love. Free love advocates sometimes traced their roots back to the early anarchist Josiah Warren and to experimental communities, viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of an individual's self-ownership. Free love particularly stressed women's rights since most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.
Libertarian socialists have traditionally been skeptical of and opposed to organized religion. Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking," and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers." In the United States, "freethought was a basically anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement, whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide for himself on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty (anarchist publication) were prominent figures in both freethought and anarchism. The individualist anarchist George MacDonald was a co-editor of Freethought and, for a time, The Truth Seeker. E.C. Walker was co-editor of the...free-thought / free love journal Lucifer, the Light-Bearer". Free Society (1895–1897 as The Firebrand; 1897–1904 as Free Society) was a major anarchist newspaper in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. The publication staunchly advocated free love and women's rights, and critiqued "Comstockery" – censorship of sexual information. In 1901, Catalan anarchist and free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia established "modern" or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church. The schools' stated goal was to "educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting". Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in "freedom in education", education free from the authority of church and state (see Anarchism and education). Later in the 20th century Austrian freudo-marxist Wilhelm Reich became a consistent propagandist for sexual freedom going as far as opening free sex-counselling clinics in Vienna for working-class patients as well as coining the phrase "sexual revolution" in one of his books from the 1940s. During the early 1970s the anarchist and pacifist Alex Comfort achieved international celebrity for writing the sex manuals The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex.
Some libertarian socialists see violent revolution as necessary in the abolition of capitalist society, while others advocate non-violent methods. Along with many others, Errico Malatesta argued that the use of violence was necessary; as he put it in Umanità Nova (no. 125, September 6, 1921):
It is our aspiration and our aim that everyone should become socially conscious and effective; but to achieve this end, it is necessary to provide all with the means of life and for development, and it is therefore necessary to destroy with violence, since one cannot do otherwise, the violence that denies these means to the workers.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued in favor of a non-violent revolution through a process of dual power in which libertarian socialist institutions would be established and form associations enabling the formation of an expanding network within the existing state-capitalist framework with the intention of eventually rendering both the state and the capitalist economy obsolete. The progression towards violence in anarchism stemmed, in part, from the massacres of some of the communes inspired by the ideas of Proudhon and others. Many anarcho-communists began to see a need for revolutionary violence to counteract the violence inherent in both capitalism and government.
Anarcho-pacifism is a tendency within the anarchist movement which rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change. The main early influences were the thought of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy. It developed "mostly in Holland [sic], Britain, and the United States, before and during the Second World War". Opposition to the use of violence has not prohibited anarcho-pacifists from accepting the principle of resistance or even revolutionary action provided it does not result in violence; it was in fact their approval of such forms of opposition to power that lead many anarcho-pacifists to endorse the anarcho-syndicalist concept of the general strike as the great revolutionary weapon. Later anarcho-pacifists have also come to endorse to non-violent strategy of dual power.
Other anarchists have believed that violence (especially self-defense) is justified as a way to provoke social upheaval which could lead to a social revolution.
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Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden, as well as Leo Tolstoy and Elisee Reclus. In the late 19th century there emerged anarcho-naturism as the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in France, Spain, Cuba and Portugal. Important contemporary currents are anarcho-primitivism and social ecology. An important meeting place for international libertarian socialism in the early 1990s was the journal Democracy & Nature in which prominent activists and theorists such as Takis Fotopoulos, Noam Chomsky, Murray Bookchin and Cornelius Castoriadis wrote. The journal promoted a green libertarian socialism when it manifested as its aims that:
...the public realm has to be extended beyond the traditional political domain to the economic and broader social domains so that the reintegration of society with the economy, polity and Nature can be achieved. In this sense, democracy should be seen as irreconcilable with any form of inequity in the distribution of power, that is, with any concentration of power, political, social or economic. Consequently, democracy is incompatible with commodity and property relations, which inevitably lead to concentration of power. Similarly, it is incompatible with hierarchical structures implying domination, either institutionalised (e.g., domination of women by men), or "objective" (e.g., domination of the South by the North in the framework of the capitalist division of labour), and the implied notion of dominating the natural world. Finally, democracy is fundamentally incompatible with any closed system of beliefs, dogmas, or ideas. So, democracy, for us, has nothing to do with the present dominant liberal conception of democracy....
For Roderick T. Long libertarian socialists claim the seventeenth century English Levellers among their ideological forebears. Various libertarian socialist authors have identified the written work of English Protestant social reformer Gerrard Winstanley and the social activism of his group, the Diggers, as anticipating this line of thought. For anarchist historian George Woodcock although Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the first writer to call himself an anarchist, at least two predecessors outlined systems that contain all the basic elements of anarchism. The first was Gerrard Winstanley (1609–c. 1660), a linen draper who led the small movement of the Diggers during the Commonwealth. Winstanley and his followers protested in the name of a radical Christianity against the economic distress that followed the Civil War and against the inequality that the grandees of the New Model Army seemed intent on preserving.
In 1649–1650 the Diggers squatted on stretches of common land in southern England and attempted to set up communities based on work on the land and the sharing of goods. The communities failed, but a series of pamphlets by Winstanley survived, of which The New Law of Righteousness (1649) was the most important. Advocating a rational Christianity, Winstanley equated Christ with "the universal liberty" and declared the universally corrupting nature of authority. He saw "an equal privilege to share in the blessing of liberty" and detected an intimate link between the institution of property and the lack of freedom. For Murray Bookchin "In the modern world, anarchism first appeared as a movement of the peasantry and yeomanry against declining feudal institutions. In Germany its foremost spokesman during the Peasant Wars was Thomas Muenzer. The concepts held by Muenzer and Winstanley were superbly attuned to the needs of their time – a historical period when the majority of the population lived in the countryside and when the most militant revolutionary forces came from an agrarian world. It would be painfully academic to argue whether Muenzer and Winstanley could have achieved their ideals. What is of real importance is that they spoke to their time; their anarchist concepts followed naturally from the rural society that furnished the bands of the peasant armies in Germany and the New Model in England."
For Roderick T. Long libertarian socialists also often share a view of ancentry in the eighteenth century French encyclopedists alongside Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine". A more often mentioned name is that of English enlightenment thinker William Godwin. For Woodcock a more elaborate sketch of anarchism, although still without the name, was provided by William Godwin in his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793). Godwin was a gradualist anarchist rather than a revolutionary anarchist; he differed from most later anarchists in preferring above revolutionary action the gradual and, as it seemed to him, more natural process of discussion among men of good will, by which he hoped truth would eventually triumph through its own power. Godwin, who was influenced by the English tradition of Dissent and the French philosophy of the Enlightenment, put forward in a developed form the basic anarchist criticisms of the state, of accumulated property, and of the delegation of authority through democratic procedure."
During the French Revolution, Sylvain Maréchal, in his Manifesto of the Equals (1796), demanded "the communal enjoyment of the fruits of the earth" and looked forward to the disappearance of "the revolting distinction of rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed." The term "anarchist" first entered the English language in 1642, during the English Civil War, as a term of abuse, used by Royalists against their Roundhead opponents. By the time of the French Revolution some, such as the Enragés, began to use the term positively, in opposition to Jacobin centralisation of power, seeing "revolutionary government" as oxymoronic. By the turn of the 19th century, the English word "anarchism" had lost its initial negative connotation.
Kent Bromley, in his preface to Peter Kropotkin's book The Conquest of Bread, considered early French socialist Charles Fourier to be the founder of the libertarian branch of socialist thought, as opposed to the authoritarian socialist ideas of Babeuf and Buonarroti. Anarchist Hakim Bey describes Fourier's ideas as follows: "In Fourier's system of Harmony all creative activity including industry, craft, agriculture, etc. will arise from liberated passion – this is the famous theory of "attractive labor." Fourier sexualizes work itself – the life of the Phalanstery is a continual orgy of intense feeling, intellection, & activity, a society of lovers & wild enthusiasts." Fourierism manifested itself "in the middle of the 19th century (where) literally hundreds of communes (phalansteries) were founded on fourierist principles in France, N. America, Mexico, S. America, Algeria, Yugoslavia, etc. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Friedrich Engels, and Peter Kropotkin all read him with fascination, as did André Breton and Roland Barthes. Herbert Marcuse in his influential work Eros and Civilization praised Fourier saying that "Fourier comes closer than any other utopian socialist to elucidating the dependence of freedom on non-repressive sublimation."
Anarchist Peter Sabatini reports that in the United States "of early to mid-19th century, there appeared an array of communal and "utopian" counterculture groups (including the so-called free love movement). William Godwin's anarchism exerted an ideological influence on some of this, but more so the socialism of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier. After success of his British venture, Owen himself established a cooperative community within the United States at New Harmony, Indiana during 1825. One member of this commune was Josiah Warren (1798–1874), considered to be the first individualist anarchist".
...its particular inheritance, part of which it shares with socialism, giving it a family resemblance to certain of its enemies. Another part of its inheritance it shares with liberalism, making it, at birth, kissing-cousins with American-type radical individualism, a large part of which has married out of the family into the Right Wing and is no longer on speaking terms.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who is often considered the father of modern anarchism, coined the phrase "Property is theft" to describe part of his view on the complex nature of ownership in relation to freedom. When he said property is theft, he was referring to the capitalist who he believed stole profit from laborers. For Proudhon, the capitalist's employee was "subordinated, exploited: his permanent condition is one of obedience."
Seventeen years (1857) after Proudhon first called himself an anarchist (1840), anarchist communist Joseph Déjacque was the first person to describe himself as a libertarian. Outside the United States, "libertarian" generally refers to anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist ideologies.
Libertarian socialism has its roots in both classical liberalism and socialism, though it is often in conflict with liberalism (especially neoliberalism and right-libertarianism) and authoritarian State socialism simultaneously. While libertarian socialism has roots in both socialism and liberalism, different forms have different levels of influence from the two traditions. For instance mutualist anarchism is more influenced by liberalism while communist and syndicalist anarchism are more influenced by socialism. It is interesting to note, however, that mutualist anarchism has its origins in 18th- and 19th-century European socialism (such as Fourierian socialism) while communist and syndicalist anarchism has its earliest origins in early 18th-century liberalism (such as the French Revolution).
Anarchism posed an early challenge to the vanguardism and statism it detected in important sectors of the socialist movement. As such "The consequences of the growth of parliamentary action, ministerialism, and party life, charged the anarchists, would be de-radicalism and embourgeoisiement. Further, state politics would subvert both true individuality and true community. In response, many anarchists refused Marxist-type organisation, seeking to dissolve or undermine power and hierarchy by way of loose political-cultural groupings, or by championing organisation by a single, simultaneously economic and political administrative unit (Ruhle, Syndicalism). The power of the intellectual and of science were also rejected by many anarchists: "In conquering the state, in exalting the role of parties, they [intellectuals] reinforce the hierarchical principle embodied in political and administrative institutions". Revolutions could only come through force of circumstances and/or the inherently rebellious instincts of the masses (the "instinct for freedom" (Bakunin, Chomsky)). Thus, in Bakunin's words: "All that individuals can do is to clarify, propagate, and work out ideas corresponding to the popular instinct".".
Marxism started to develop a libertarian strand of thought after specific circumstances. "One does find early expressions of such perspectives in (William) Morris and the Socialist Party of Great Britain (the SPGB), then again around the events of 1905, with the growing concern at the bureaucratisation and de-radicalisation of international socialism". Morris established the Socialist League in December 1884, which was encouraged by Friedrich Engels and Eleanor Marx. As the leading figure in the organization Morris embarked on a relentless series of speeches and talks on street corners, in working men's clubs and lecture theatres across England and Scotland. From 1887, anarchists began to outnumber socialists in the Socialist League. The 3rd Annual Conference of the League, held in London on 29 May 1887 marked the change, with a majority of the 24 branch delegates voting in favor of an anarchist-sponsored resolution declaring that "This conference endorses the policy of abstention from parliamentary action, hitherto pursued by the League, and sees no sufficient reason for altering it." Morris played peacemaker but sided with the anti-Parliamentarians, who won control of the League, which consequently lost the support of Engels and saw the departure of Eleanor Marx and her partner Edward Aveling to form the separate Bloomsbury Socialist Society.
However, "the most important ruptures are to be traced to the insurgency during and after the First World War. Disillusioned with the capitulation of the social democrats, excited by the emergence of workers’ councils, and slowly distanced from Leninism, many communists came to reject the claims of socialist parties and to put their faith instead in the masses." For these socialists, "The intuition of the masses in action can have more genius in it than the work of the greatest individual genius". Luxemburg's workerism and spontaneism are exemplary of positions later taken up by the far-left of the period – Pannekoek, Roland Holst, and Gorter in the Netherlands, Sylvia Pankhurst in Britain, Gramsci in Italy, Lukacs in Hungary. In these formulations, the dictatorship of the proletariat was to be the dictatorship of a class, "not of a party or of a clique"." However within this line of thought "The tension between anti-vanguardism and vanguardism has frequently resolved itself in two diametrically opposed ways: the first involved a drift towards the party; the second saw a move towards the idea of complete proletarian spontaneity...The first course is exemplified most clearly in Gramsci and Lukacs...The second course is illustrated in the tendency, developing from the Dutch and German far-lefts, which inclined towards the complete eradication of the party form."
In the emerging Soviet state there appeared Left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks which were a series of rebellions and uprisings against the Bolsheviks led or supported by left wing groups including Socialist Revolutionaries, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and anarchists. Some were in support of the White Movement while some tried to be an independent force. The uprisings started in 1918 and continued through the Russian Civil War and after until 1922. In response the Bolsheviks increasingly abandoned attempts to get these groups to join the government and suppressed them with force. "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder is a work by Vladimir Lenin himself attacking assorted critics of the Bolsheviks who claimed positions to their left.
For "many Marxian libertarian socialists, the political bankruptcy of socialist orthodoxy necessitated a theoretical break. This break took a number of forms. The Bordigists and the SPGB championed a super-Marxian intransigence in theoretical matters. Other socialists made a return "behind Marx" to the anti-positivist programme of German idealism. Libertarian socialism has frequently linked its anti-authoritarian political aspirations with this theoretical differentiation from orthodoxy... Karl Korsch... remained a libertarian socialist for a large part of his life and because of the persistent urge towards theoretical openness in his work. Korsch rejected the eternal and static, and he was obsessed by the essential role of practice in a theory's truth. For Korsch, no theory could escape history, not even Marxism. In this vein, Korsch even credited the stimulus for Marx's Capital to the movement of the oppressed classes. "
In rejecting both capitalism and the state, some libertarian marxists align themselves with anarchists in opposition to both capitalist representative democracy and to authoritarian forms of Marxism. Although anarchists and Marxists share an ultimate goal of a stateless society, anarchists criticise most Marxists for advocating a transitional phase under which the state is used to achieve this aim. Nonetheless, libertarian Marxist tendencies such as autonomist Marxism and council communism have historically been intertwined with the anarchist movement. Anarchist movements have come into conflict with both capitalist and Marxist forces, sometimes at the same time, as in the Spanish Civil War, though as in that war Marxists themselves are often divided in support or opposition to anarchism. Other political persecutions under bureaucratic parties have resulted in a strong historical antagonism between anarchists and libertarian Marxists on the one hand and Leninist Marxists and their derivatives such as Maoists on the other. In recent history, however, libertarian socialists have repeatedly formed temporary alliances with Marxist-Leninist groups for the purposes of protest against institutions they both reject. Part of this antagonism can be traced to the International Workingmen's Association, the First International, a congress of radical workers, where Mikhail Bakunin, who was fairly representative of anarchist views, and Karl Marx, whom anarchists accused of being an "authoritarian", came into conflict on various issues. Bakunin's viewpoint on the illegitimacy of the state as an institution and the role of electoral politics was starkly counterposed to Marx's views in the First International. Marx and Bakunin's disputes eventually led to Marx taking control of the First International and expelling Bakunin and his followers from the organization. This was the beginning of a long-running feud and schism between libertarian socialists and what they call "authoritarian communists", or alternatively just "authoritarians". Some Marxists have formulated views that closely resemble syndicalism, and thus express more affinity with anarchist ideas. Several libertarian socialists, notably Noam Chomsky, believe that anarchism shares much in common with certain variants of Marxism such as the council communism of Marxist Anton Pannekoek. In Chomsky's Notes on Anarchism, he suggests the possibility "that some form of council communism is the natural form of revolutionary socialism in an industrial society. It reflects the belief that democracy is severely limited when the industrial system is controlled by any form of autocratic elite, whether of owners, managers, and technocrats, a 'vanguard' party, or a State bureaucracy."
In the mid-20th century some libertarian socialist groups emerged from disagreements with Trotskyism which presented itself as leninist anti-stalinism. As such the french group Socialisme ou Barbarie emerged from the Trotskyist Fourth International, where Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort constituted a Chaulieu–Montal Tendency in the French Parti Communiste Internationaliste in 1946. In 1948, they experienced their "final disenchantment with Trotskyism", leading them to break away to form Socialisme ou Barbarie, whose journal began appearing in March 1949. Castoriadis later said of this period that "the main audience of the group and of the journal was formed by groups of the old, radical left: Bordigists, council communists, some anarchists and some offspring of the German "left" of the 1920s". Also in the United Kingdom the group Solidarity was founded in 1960 by a small group of expelled members of the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League. Almost from the start it was strongly influenced by the French Socialisme ou Barbarie group, in particular by its intellectual leader Cornelius Castoriadis, whose essays were among the many pamphlets Solidarity produced. The intellectual leader of the group was Chris Pallis ( who wrote under the name Maurice Brinton).
In the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 1967, the terms Ultra-Left and left communist refers to political theory and practice self-defined as further "left" than that of the central Maoist leaders at the height of the GPCR ("Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution"). The terms are also used retroactively to describe some early 20th-century Chinese anarchist orientations. As a slur, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has used the term "ultra-left" more broadly to denounce any orientation it considers further "left" than the party line. According to the latter usage, in 1978 the CPC Central Committee denounced as "ultra-left" the line of Mao Zedong from 1956 until his death in 1976. "Ultra-Left" refers to those GPCR rebel positions that diverged from the central Maoist line by identifying an antagonistic contradiction between the CPC-PRC party-state itself and the masses of workers and "peasants" conceived as a single proletarian class divorced from any meaningful control over production or distribution. Whereas the central Maoist line maintained that the masses controlled the means of production through the Party's mediation, the Ultra-Left argued that the objective interests of bureaucrats were structurally determined by the centralist state-form in direct opposition to the objective interests of the masses, regardless of however "red" a given bureaucrat's "thought" might be. Whereas the central Maoist leaders encouraged the masses to criticize reactionary "ideas" and "habits" among the alleged 5% of bad cadres, giving them a chance to "turn over a new leaf" after they had undergone "thought reform", the Ultra-Left argued that "cultural revolution" had to give way to "political revolution" – "in which one class overthrows another class".
In 1969 french platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Guerin published an essay called "Libertarian Marxism?" in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards he suggested that "Libertarian marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the ‘elites’; libertarian marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralysed by a heavy ‘scientific’ apparatus, doesn’t equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown." In the US from 1970 to 1981 there existed the publication Root & Branch which had as a subtitle "A Libertarian Marxist Journal". In 1974 the journal Libertarian Communism was started in the United Kingdom by a group inside the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
Autonomist Marxism, Neo-Marxism and Situationist theory are also regarded as being anti-authoritarian variants of Marxism that are firmly within the libertarian socialist tradition. As such "In New Zealand, no situationist group was formed, despite the attempts of Grant McDonagh. Instead, McDonagh operated as an individual on the periphery of the anarchist milieu, co-operating with anarchists to publish several magazines, such as Anarchy and KAT. The latter called itself ‘an anti-authoritarian spasmodical’ of the ‘libertarian ultra-left (situationists, anarchists and libertarian socialists)’." "For libcom.org "In the 1980s and 90s, a series of other groups developed, influenced also by much of the above work. The most notable are Kolinko, Kurasje and Wildcat in Germany, Aufheben in England, Theorie Communiste in France, TPTG in Greece and Kamunist Kranti in India. They are also connected to other groups in other countries, merging autonomia, operaismo, Hegelian Marxism, the work of the JFT, Open Marxism, the ICO, the Situationist International, anarchism and post-68 German Marxism." Related to this were intellectuals who were influenced by Italian left communist Amadeo Bordiga but who disagreed with his leninist positions and so these included the french publication Invariance edited by Jacques Camatte, published since 1968 and Gilles Dauve who published Troploin with Karl Nesic.
In a chronological and theoretical sense, there are classical – those created throughout the 19th century – and post-classical anarchist schools – those created since the mid-20th century and after.
Mutualism is a political and economic theory largely associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon argued that "all capital, whether material or mental, being the result of collective labour, is, in consequence, collective property." This meant that artisans would manage the tools required for their own work while, in large-scale enterprises, this meant replacing wage labour by workers' co-operatives. He argued "it is necessary to form an ASSOCIATION among workers... because without that, they would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two... castes of masters and wage-workers, which is repugnant to a free and democratic society." As he put it in 1848:
"Under the law of association, transmission of wealth does not apply to the instruments of labour, so cannot become a cause of inequality.... We are socialists... under universal association, ownership of the land and of the instruments of labour is social ownership... We want the mines, canals, railways handed over to democratically organised workers' associations... We want these associations to be models for agriculture, industry and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies and societies, joined together in the common bond of the democratic and social Republic."
Mutualists believe that a free labor market would allow for conditions of equal income in proportion to exerted labor. As Jonathan Beecher puts it, Proudhon's aim was to, "emancipate labor from the constraints imposed by capital". Proudhon supported individual possession of land and argued that the "land is indispensable to our existence, consequently a common thing, consequently insusceptible of appropriation." He believed that an individual only had a right to land while he was using or occupying it. If the individual ceases doing so, it reverts to unowned land. Mutualists hold a labor theory of value, arguing that in exchange labor should always be worth "the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility," and considering anything less to be exploitation, theft of labor, or usury. Mutualists oppose the institutions by which individuals gain income through loans, investments, and rent, as they believe the income received through these activities is not in direct accord with labor spent. In place of these capitalist institutions they advocate labor-owned cooperative firms and associations. Mutualists advocate mutual banks, owned by the workers, that do not charge interest on secured loans. Most mutualists believe that anarchy should be achieved gradually rather than through revolution. Some individualist anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker, were influenced by Proudhon's Mutualism, but unlike Proudhon, they did not call for "association" in large enterprises.
Mutualist ideas found a fertile ground in the 19th century in Spain. In Spain Ramón de la Sagra established anarchist journal El Porvenir in La Coruña in 1845 which was inspired by Proudhon´s ideas. The catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish and later briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while being the leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party. According to George Woodcock "These translations were to have a profound and lasting effect on the development of Spanish anarchism after 1870, but before that time Proudhonian ideas, as interpreted by Pi, already provided much of the inspiration for the federalist movement which sprang up in the early 1860's." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica "During the Spanish revolution of 1873, Pi y Margall attempted to establish a decentralized, or "cantonalist", political system on Proudhonian lines." Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist theorist who is the author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy.
Collectivist anarchism (also known as anarcho-collectivism) is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of the state and private ownership of the means of production. Instead, it envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves. For the collectivization of the means of production, it was originally envisaged that workers will revolt and forcibly collectivize the means of production Once collectivization takes place, workers' salaries would be determined in democratic organizations based on the amount of time they contributed to production. These salaries would be used to purchase goods in a communal market. This contrasts with anarcho-communism where wages would be abolished, and where individuals would take freely from a storehouse of goods "to each according to his need." Thus, Bakunin's "Collectivist Anarchism", notwithstanding the title, is seen as a blend of individualism and collectivism. Collectivist anarchism is most commonly associated with Mikhail Bakunin, the anti-authoritarian sections of the First International, and the early Spanish anarchist movement.
Anarchist communism (also known as anarcho-communism and occasionally as free communism) is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, capitalism and private property (while retaining respect for personal property), in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".
Anarcho-communism developed out of radical socialist currents after the French revolution but was first formulated as such in the Italian section of the First International. The theoretical work of Peter Kropotkin took importance later as it expanded and developed pro-organizationalist and insurrectionary anti-organizationalist sections. Some forms of anarchist communism, such as insurrectionary anarchism, are strongly influenced by egoism and radical individualism, believing anarcho-communism is the best social system for the realization of individual freedom. Most anarcho-communists view anarcho-communism as a way of reconciling the opposition between the individual and society.
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To date, the best known examples of an anarchist communist society (i.e., established around the ideas as they exist today and achieving worldwide attention and knowledge in the historical canon), are the anarchist territories during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Through the efforts and influence of the Spanish Anarchists during the Spanish Revolution within the Spanish Civil War, starting in 1936 anarchist communism existed in most of Aragon, parts of the Levante and Andalusia, and in the stronghold of Anarchist Catalonia before being crushed by the combined forces of Francoism, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Spanish Communist Party repression (backed by the USSR) as well as economic and armaments blockades from the capitalist countries and the Spanish Republic itself. During the Russian Revolution, anarchists such as Nestor Makhno worked to create and defend – through the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine – anarchist communism in the Free Territory of the Ukraine from 1919 before being conquered by the Bolsheviks in 1921. Anarcho-communist currents include platformism and insurrectionary anarchism.
Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.
Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist, and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published. For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster "It is apparent...that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews...William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.". Later the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker "was against both the state and capitalism, against both oppression and exploitation. While not against the market and property he was firmly against capitalism as it was, in his eyes, a state-supported monopoly of social capital (tools, machinery, etc.) which allows owners to exploit their employees, i.e., to avoid paying workers the full value of their labour. He thought that the "labouring classes are deprived of their earnings by usury in its three forms, interest, rent and profit."... Therefore "Liberty will abolish interest; it will abolish profit; it will abolish monopolistic rent; it will abolish taxation; it will abolish the exploitation of labour; it will abolish all means whereby any labourer can be deprived of any of his product."...This stance puts him squarely in the libertarian socialist tradition and, unsurprisingly, Tucker referred to himself many times as a socialist and considered his philosophy to be "Anarchistic socialism."
French individualist anarchist Emile Armand shows clearly opposition to capitalism and centralized economies when he said that the individualist anarchist "inwardly he remains refractory – fatally refractory – morally, intellectually, economically (The capitalist economy and the directed economy, the speculators and the fabricators of single are equally repugnant to him.)" The spanish individualist anarchist Miguel Gimenez Igualada thought that ""capitalism is an effect of government; the disappearance of government means capitalism falls from its pedestal vertiginously...That which we call capitalism is not something else but a product of the State, within which the only thing that is being pushed forward is profit, good or badly acquired. And so to fight against capitalism is a pointless task, since be it State capitalism or Enterprise capitalism, as long as Government exists, exploiting capital will exist. The fight, but of consciousness, is against the State." His view on class division and technocracy are as follows "Since when no one works for another, the profiteer from wealth disappears, just as government will disappear when no one pays attention to those who learned four things at universities and from that fact they pretend to govern men. Big industrial enterprises will be transformed by men in big associations in which everyone will work and enjoy the product of their work. And from those easy as well as beautiful problems anarchism deals with and he who puts them in practice and lives them are anarchists.... The priority which without rest an anarchist must make is that in which no one has to exploit anyone, no man to no man, since that non-exploitation will lead to the limitation of property to individual needs".
The anarchist writer and bohemian Oscar Wilde wrote in his famous essay The Soul of Man under Socialism that "Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine." For anarchist historian George Woodcock "Wilde's aim in The Soul of Man under Socialism is to seek the society most favorable to the artist... for Wilde art is the supreme end, containing within itself enlightenment and regeneration, to which all else in society must be subordinated.... Wilde represents the anarchist as aesthete." In a socialist society, people will have the possibility to realise their talents; "each member of the society will share in the general prosperity and happiness of the society." Wilde added that "upon the other hand, Socialism itself will be of value simply because it will lead to individualism" since individuals will no longer need to fear poverty or starvation. This individualism would, in turn, protect against governments "armed with economic power as they are now with political power" over their citizens. However, Wilde advocated non-capitalist individualism: "of course, it might be said that the Individualism generated under conditions of private property is not always, or even as a rule, of a fine or wonderful type" a critique which is "quite true." In this way socialism, in Wilde's imagination, would free men from manual labour and allow them to devote their time to creative pursuits, thus developing their soul. He ended by declaring "The new individualism is the new hellenism".
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism that focuses on the labor movement. Anarcho-syndicalists view labor unions as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the state with a new society democratically self-managed by workers.
The basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism are Workers' solidarity, Direct action and Workers' self-management. Workers' solidarity means that anarcho-syndicalists believe all workers – no matter their race, gender, or ethnic group – are in a similar situation in regard to their boss (class consciousness). Furthermore, it means that, within capitalism, any gains or losses made by some workers from or to bosses will eventually affect all workers. Therefore, to liberate themselves, all workers must support one another in their class conflict. Anarcho-syndicalists believe that only direct action – that is, action concentrated on directly attaining a goal, as opposed to indirect action, such as electing a representative to a government position – will allow workers to liberate themselves. Moreover, anarcho-syndicalists believe that workers' organizations (the organizations that struggle against the wage system, which, in anarcho-syndicalist theory, will eventually form the basis of a new society) should be self-managing. They should not have bosses or "business agents"; rather, the workers should be able to make all the decisions that affect them themselves.
Rudolf Rocker was one of the most popular voices in the anarcho-syndicalist movement. He outlined a view of the origins of the movement, what it sought, and why it was important to the future of labor in his 1938 pamphlet Anarcho-Syndicalism. The International Workers Association is an international anarcho-syndicalist federation of various labor unions from different countries. The Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo played and still plays a major role in the Spanish labor movement. It was also an important force in the Spanish Civil War.
Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism. Libertarian Marxism is also critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France; emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation. Along with anarchism, Libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.
Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as Luxemburgism, council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, the Johnson–Forest tendency, world socialism, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism, and New Left. Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and social anarchists. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Anton Pannekoek, Raya Dunayevskaya, CLR James, Antonio Negri, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, Guy Debord, Daniel Guérin, Ernesto Screpanti and Raoul Vaneigem.
De Leonism, occasionally known as Marxism-De Leonism, is a form of syndicalist Marxism developed by Daniel De Leon. De Leon was an early leader of the first United States socialist political party, the Socialist Labor Party of America. De Leon combined the rising theories of syndicalism in his time with orthodox Marxism. According to De Leonist theory, militant industrial unions (specialized trade unions) are the vehicle of class struggle. Industrial Unions serving the interests of the proletariat will bring about the change needed to establish a socialist system. The only way this differs from some currents in anarcho-syndicalism is that, according to De Leonist thinking, a revolutionary political party is also necessary to fight for the proletariat on the political field. De Leonism lies outside the Leninist tradition of communism. It predates Leninism as De Leonism's principles developed in the early 1890s with De Leon's assuming leadership of the Socialist Labor Party; Leninism and its vanguard party idea took shape after the 1902 publication of Lenin's "What Is to Be Done?". The highly decentralized and democratic nature of the proposed De Leonist government is in contrast to the democratic centralism of Marxism–Leninism and what they see as the dictatorial nature of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China and other "communist" states. The success of the De Leonist plan depends on achieving majority support among the people both in the workplaces and at the polls, in contrast to the Leninist notion that a small vanguard party should lead the working class to carry out the revolution.
Council communism was a radical Left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. Its primary organization was the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD). Council communism continues today as a theoretical and activist position within Marxism, and also within libertarian socialism. The central argument of council communism, in contrast to those of Social democracy and Leninist communism, is that workers' councils arising in the factories and municipalities are the natural and legitimate form of working class organisation and government power. This view is opposed to the reformist and Bolshevik stress on vanguard parties, parliaments, or the state. The core principle of council communism is that the state and the economy should be managed by workers' councils, composed of delegates elected at workplaces and recallable at any moment. As such, council communists oppose state-run "bureaucratic socialism". They also oppose the idea of a "revolutionary party", since council communists believe that a revolution led by a party will necessarily produce a party dictatorship. Council communists support a workers' democracy, which they want to produce through a federation of workers' councils.
The Russian word for council is "soviet", and during the early years of the revolution worker's councils were politically significant in Russia. It was to take advantage of the aura of workplace power that the word became used by Vladimir Lenin for various political organs. Indeed, the name "Supreme Soviet", by which the parliament was called; and that of the Soviet Union itself make use of this terminology, but they do not imply any decentralization. Furthermore, council communists held a critique of the Soviet Union as a capitalist state, believing that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia became a "bourgeois revolution" when a party bureaucracy replaced the old feudal aristocracy. Although most felt the Russian Revolution was working class in character, they believed that, since capitalist relations still existed (because the workers had no say in running the economy), the Soviet Union ended up as a state capitalist country, with the state replacing the individual capitalist. Thus, council communists support workers' revolutions, but oppose one-party dictatorships. Council communists also believed in diminishing the role of the party to one of agitation and propaganda, rejected all participation in elections or parliament, and argued that workers should leave the reactionary trade unions and form one big revolutionary union.
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"Left communism" is the range of communist viewpoints held by the communist left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks at certain periods, from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views of Leninism held by the Communist International after its first and during its second congress. Left Communists see themselves to the left of Leninists (whom they tend to see as 'left of capital', not socialists), Anarchists (some of whom they consider internationalist socialists) as well as some other revolutionary socialist tendencies (for example De Leonists, who they tend to see as being internationalist socialists only in limited instances). Although she lived before left communism became a distinct tendency, Rosa Luxemburg has heavily influenced most left communists, both politically and theoretically. Proponents of left communism have included Amadeo Bordiga, Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, Otto Rühle, Karl Korsch, Sylvia Pankhurst and Paul Mattick.
Prominent left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Current and the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party. Also, different factions from the old Bordigist International Communist Party are considered left communist organizations.
The Johnson–Forest tendency, sometimes called the Johnsonites, refers to a radical left tendency in the United States associated with Marxist theorists C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya, who used the pseudonyms J.R. Johnson and Freddie Forest respectively. They were joined by Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese-American woman who was considered the third founder. After leaving the trotskist Socialist Workers Party, Johnson–Forest founded their own organization for the first time, called Correspondence. This group changed its named to the Correspondence Publishing Committee the next year. However, tensions that had surfaced earlier presaged a split, which took place in 1955. Through his theoretical and political work of the late 1940s, James had concluded that a vanguard party was no longer necessary, because its teachings had been absorbed in the masses. In 1956, James would see the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 as confirmation of this. Those who endorsed the politics of James took the name Facing Reality, after the 1958 book by James co-written with Grace Lee Boggs and Pierre Chaulieu, a pseudonym for Cornelius Castoriadis, on the Hungarian working class revolt of 1956.
Socialisme ou Barbarie (Socialism or Barbarism) was a French-based radical libertarian socialist group of the post-World War II period (the name comes from a phrase Friedrich Engels used, and was cited by Rosa Luxemburg in a 1916 essay, 'The Junius Pamphlet'). It existed from 1948 until 1965. The animating personality was Cornelius Castoriadis, also known as Pierre Chaulieu or Paul Cardan. Because he explicitly both rejected Leninist vanguardism and criticised spontaneism...(for) Cornelius Castoriadis the emancipation of the mass of people was the task of those people; however, the socialist thinker could not simply fold his or her arms. Castoriadis argued that the special place accorded to the intellectual should belong to each autonomous citizen. However, he rejected attentisme, maintaining that, in the struggle for a new society, intellectuals needed to "place themselves at a distance from the everyday and from the real"." Political philosopher Claude Lefort was impressed by Cornelius Castoriadis when he first met him. They published On the Regime and Against the Defence of the USSR, a critique of both the Soviet Union and its Trotskyist supporters. They suggested that the USSR was dominated by a social layer of bureaucrats, and that it consisted of a new kind of society as aggressive as Western European societies. Later he also published in Socialisme ou Barbarie.
The Situationist International was a restricted group of international revolutionaries founded in 1957, and which had its peak in its influence on the unprecedented general wildcat strikes of May 1968 in France.
With their ideas rooted in Marxism and the 20th-century European artistic avant-gardes, they advocated experiences of life being alternative to those admitted by the capitalist order, for the fulfillment of human primitive desires and the pursuing of a superior passional quality. For this purpose they suggested and experimented with the construction of situations, namely the setting up of environments favorable for the fulfillment of such desires. Using methods drawn from the arts, they developed a series of experimental fields of study for the construction of such situations, like unitary urbanism and psychogeography. In this vein a major theorectical work which emerged from this group was Raoul Vaneigem´s The Revolution of Everyday Life.
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They fought against the main obstacle on the fulfillment of such superior passional living, identified by them in advanced capitalism. Their critical theoretical work peaked on the highly influential book The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Debord argued in 1967 that spectacular features like mass media and advertising have a central role in an advanced capitalist society, which is to show a fake reality in order to mask the real capitalist degradation of human life. To overthrow such a system, the Situationist International supported the May '68 revolts, and asked the workers to occupy the factories and to run them with direct democracy, through workers' councils composed by instantly revocable delegates.
Autonomism refers to a set of left-wing political and social movements and theories close to the socialist movement. As an identifiable theoretical system it first emerged in Italy in the 1960s from workerist (operaismo) communism. Through translations made available by Danilo Montaldi and others, the Italian autonomists drew upon previous activist research in the United States by the Johnson–Forest Tendency and in France by the group Socialisme ou Barbarie. Later, post-Marxist and anarchist tendencies became significant after influence from the Situationists, the failure of Italian far-left movements in the 1970s, and the emergence of a number of important theorists including Antonio Negri, who had contributed to the 1969 founding of Potere Operaio as well as Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno, Franco Berardi "Bifo" etc.
Unlike other forms of Marxism, autonomist Marxism emphasises the ability of the working class to force changes to the organization of the capitalist system independent of the state, trade unions or political parties. Autonomists are less concerned with party political organization than other Marxists, focusing instead on self-organized action outside of traditional organizational structures. Autonomist Marxism is thus a "bottom up" theory: it draws attention to activities that autonomists see as everyday working class resistance to capitalism, for example absenteeism, slow working, and socialization in the workplace.
All this influenced the German and Dutch Autonomen, the worldwide Social Centre movement, and today is influential in Italy, France, and to a lesser extent the English-speaking countries. Those who describe themselves as autonomists now vary from Marxists to post-structuralists and anarchists. The Autonomist Marxist and Autonomen movements provided inspiration to some on the revolutionary left in English speaking countries, particularly among anarchists, many of whom have adopted autonomist tactics. Some English-speaking anarchists even describe themselves as Autonomists. The Italian operaismo movement also influenced Marxist academics such as Harry Cleaver, John Holloway, Steve Wright, and Nick Dyer-Witheford. Today it is associated also with the publication Multitudes.
This section is dedicated to post-classical anarchist tendencies as well as tendencies which cannot be easily classified within the anarchist/marxist division presented before.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon ran for the french constituent assembly in April 1848, but was not elected, although his name appeared on the ballots in Paris, Lyon, Besançon, and Lille, France. He was successful, in the complementary elections of June 4. The catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish and later briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while being the leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party. For prominent anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker: "The first movement of the Spanish workers was strongly influenced by the ideas of Pi y Margall, leader of the Spanish Federalists and disciple of Proudhon. Pi y Margall was one of the outstanding theorists of his time and had a powerful influence on the development of libertarian ideas in Spain. His political ideas had much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly (sic), Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order." Pi i Margall was a dedicated theorist in his own right, especially through book-length works such as La reacción y la revolución (en:"Reaction and revolution" from 1855), Las nacionalidades (en:"Nationalities" from 1877), and La Federación from 1880. On the other hand Fermín Salvochea was a mayor of the city of Cádiz and a president of the province of Cádiz. He was one of the main propagators of anarchist thought in that area in the late 19th century and is considered to be "perhaps the most beloved figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement of the 19th century". Ideologically, he was influenced by Bradlaugh, Owen and Paine, whose works he had studied during his stay in England, and Kropotkin, whom he read later. In Spain he had contact with the anarchist thinkers and members of the Bakuninist Alliance, including Anselmo Lorenzo and Francisco Mora.
Libertarian possibilism was a political current within the early 20th century spanish anarchist movement which advocated achieving the anarchist ends of ending the state and capitalism with participation inside structures of contemporary parlamentary democracy. The name of this political position appeared for the first time between 1922–1923 within the discourse of catalan anarcho-syndicalist Salvador Segui when he said "We have to intervene in politics in order to take over the positions of the bourgoise" During autumn of 1931 the "Manifesto of the 30" was published by militants of the anarchist trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo. Among those who signed it there was the CNT General Secretary (1922–23) Joan Peiro, Angel Pestaña CNT (General Secretary in 1929), and juan Lopez Sanchez. They were called treintismo and they were calling for a more moderate political line within the spanish anarchist movement. In 1932 they establish the Syndicalist Party which participates in the 1936 spanish general elections and proceed to be a part of the leftist coalition of parties known as the Popular Front obtaining 2 congressmen (Pestaña and Benito Pabon). In 1938 Horacio Prieto, general secretary of the CNT, proposes that the Iberian Anarchist Federation transforms itself into a "Libertarian Socialist Party" and that it participates in the national elections. In November 1936 the Popular Front government appointed the prominent anarcha-feminist Federica Montseny as Minister of Health. In doing so, she became the first woman in Spanish history to be a cabinet minister. When the republican forces lost the Spanish Civil War, the city of Madrid was turned over to the francoist forces in 1939 by the last non-francoist mayor of the city, the anarchist Melchor Rodríguez García.
In 1950 a clandestine group formed within the francophone Anarchist Federation called Organisation Pensée Bataille (OPB) led by the platformist George Fontenis. The OPB pushed for a move which saw the FA change its name into the Fédération Communiste Libertaire (FCL) after the 1953 Congress in Paris, while an article in Le Libertaire indicated the end of the cooperation with the French Surrealist Group led by André Breton. The new decision making process was founded on unanimity: each person has a right of veto on the orientations of the federation. The FCL published the same year the Manifeste du communisme libertaire. Several groups quit the FCL in December 1955, disagreeing with the decision to present "revolutionary candidates" to the legislative elections. On 15–20 August 1954, the Ve intercontinental plenum of the CNT took place. A group called Entente anarchiste appeared which was formed of militants who didn´t like the new ideological orientation that the OPB was giving the FCL seeing it was authoritarian and almost marxist. The FCL lasted until 1956 just after it participated in state legislative elections with 10 candidates. This move alienated some members of the FCL and thus produced the end of the organization.
There was a strong left-libertarian current in the British labour movement and the term libertarian socialist has been applied to a number of democratic socialists, including some prominent members of the British Labour Party. The Socialist League was formed in 1885 by William Morris and others critical of the authoritarian socialism of the Social Democratic Federation. It was involved in the New Unionism, the rank and file union militancy of the 1880s–90s, which anticipated syndicalism in some key ways (Tom Mann, a New Unionist leader, was one of the first British syndicalists). The Socialist League was dominated by anarchists by the 1890s.
The Independent Labour Party, formed at that time, drew more on the Non-Conformist religious traditions in the British working class than on Marxist theory, and had a libertarian socialist strain. Others in the tradition of the ILP, and described as libertarian socialists Michael Foot and most importantly, G. D. H. Cole. Labour Party minister Peter Hain has written in support of libertarian socialism, identifying an axis involving a "bottom-up vision of socialism, with anarchists at the revolutionary end and democratic socialists [such as himself] at its reformist end", as opposed to the axis of state socialism with Marxist-Leninists at the revolutionary end and social democrats at the reformist end. Another recent mainstream Labour politician who has been described as a libertarian socialist is Robin Cook.
Defined in this way, libertarian socialism in the contemporary political mainstream is distinguished from modern social democracy and democratic socialism principally by its political decentralism rather than by its economics. The multi-tendency Socialist Party USA also has a strong libertarian socialist current.
Katja Kipping and Julia Bonk in Germany, Femke Halsema in the Netherlands and Ufuk Uras and the Freedom and Solidarity Party in Turkey, are examples of a contemporary libertarian socialist politicians and parties operating within a mainstream government. In Chile the autonomist organization Izquierda Autonoma (Autonomous Left) in the Chilean general election, 2013 gained a seat in the Chilean Parliament through Gabriel Boric, ex leader of the 2011–13 Chilean student protests. In 2016 Boric, alongside other persons such as Jorge Sharp, left the party Izquierda Autónoma in order to establish the Movimiento Autonomista In the 2016 Chilean municipal elections of october Sharp was elected Mayor of Valparaiso with a vote of 53%.
Georgism (also called Geoism or Geonomics) is an economic philosophy and ideology which holds that people own what they create, but that things found in nature, most importantly land, belong equally to all. The Georgist philosophy is based on the writings of the economist Henry George (1839–1897), and is usually associated with the idea of a single tax on the value of land. His most famous work, Progress and Poverty (1879), is a treatise on inequality, the cyclic nature of industrialized economies, and the use of the land value tax as a remedy. Georgists argue that a tax on land value is economically efficient, fair, and equitable; and that it can generate sufficient revenue so that other taxes (e.g. taxes on profits, sales or income), which are less fair and efficient, can be reduced or eliminated. A tax on land value has been described by many as a progressive tax, since it would be paid primarily by the wealthy, and would reduce economic inequality.
Georgist ideas heavily influenced the politics of the early 20th century. Political parties that were formed based on Georgist ideas include the Commonwealth Land Party, the Justice Party of Denmark, the Henry George Justice Party, and the Single Tax League. Several communities were also initiated with Georgist principles during the height of the philosophy's popularity. Two such communities that still exist are Arden, Delaware, which was founded in 1900 by Frank Stephens and Will Price, and Fairhope, Alabama, which was founded in 1894 by the auspices of the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation. Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy was enthused by the economic thinking of Henry George, incorporating it approvingly into later works such as Resurrection, the book that played a major factor in his excommunication.
Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public". It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.
Guild socialism was partly inspired by the guilds of craftsmen and other skilled workers which had existed in England during the Middle Ages. In 1906, Arthur Penty published Restoration of the Gild System in which he opposed factory production and advocated a return to an earlier period of artisanal production organised through guilds. The following year, the journal The New Age became an advocate of guild socialism, although in the context of modern industry rather than the medieval setting favoured by Penty. The Guild Socialists "stood for state ownership of industry, combined with "workers’ control" through delegation of authority to national guilds organized internally on democratic lines. About the state itself they differed, some believing it would remain more or less in its existing form and others that it would be transformed into a federal body representing the workers’ guilds, consumers’ organizations, local government bodies, and other social structures." In 1914, S. G. Hobson, a leading contributor to The New Age, published National Guilds: An Inquiry into the Wage System and the Way Out. In this work, guilds were presented as an alternative to state-control of industry or conventional trade union activity. Guilds, unlike the existing trade unions, would not confine their demands to matters of wages and conditions but would seek to obtain control of industry for the workers whom they represented. Ultimately, industrial guilds would serve as the organs through which industry would be organised in a future socialist society. The theory of guild socialism was developed and popularised by G. D. H. Cole who formed the National Guilds League in 1915 and published several books on guild socialism, including Self-Government in Industry (1917) and Guild Socialism Restated (1920). For scholar Charles Masquerade "It is by meeting such a twofold requirement that the libertarian socialism of G.D.H. Cole could be said to offer timely and sustainable avenues for the institutionalization of the liberal value of autonomy...By setting out to ‘destroy this predominance of economic factors’ (Cole 1980, 180) through the re-organization of key spheres of life into forms of associative action and coordination capable of giving the ‘fullest development of functional organisation’...Cole effectively sought to turn political representation into a system actually capable of giving direct recognition to the multiplicity of interests making up highly complex and differentiated societies."
Revolutionary syndicalism is a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and an alternative to state socialism, which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions. It is a form of socialist economic corporatism that advocates interest aggregation of multiple non-competitive categorised units to negotiate and manage an economy. For adherents, labour unions are the potential means of both overcoming economic aristocracy and running society fairly in the interest of the majority, through union democracy. Industry in a syndicalist system would be run through co-operative confederations and mutual aid. Local syndicates would communicate with other syndicates through the Bourse du Travail (labor exchange) which would manage and transfer commodities. Syndicalism is also used to refer to the tactic of bringing about this social arrangement, typically expounded by anarcho-syndicalism and De Leonism, in which a general strike begins and workers seize their means of production and organise in a federation of trade unionism, such as the CNT. Throughout its history, the reformist section of syndicalism has been overshadowed by its revolutionary section, typified by the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) in France, IWW, the Federación Anarquista Ibérica section of the CNT., the Unione Sindacale Italiana and the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden (SAC).
Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity. It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus. More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' call to not resist evil but turn the other cheek, are used as the basis for Christian anarchism.
Christian anarchists are pacifists and oppose the use of violence, such as war. The foundation of Christian anarchism is a rejection of violence, with Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You regarded as a key text. Christian anarchists denounce the state as they claim it is violent, deceitful and, when glorified, a form of idolatry.
The Tolstoyans were a small Christian anarchist group formed by Tolstoy's companion, Vladimir Chertkov (1854–1936), to spread Tolstoy's religious teachings. Prince Peter Kropotkin wrote of Tolstoy in the article on anarchism in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica while in hundreds of essays over the last twenty years of his life, Tolstoy reiterated the anarchist critique of the state and recommended books by Kropotkin and Proudhon to his readers, whilst rejecting anarchism's espousal of violent revolutionary means. Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist, devout Catholic convert; she advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism. Day "believed all states were inherently totalitarian," and was a self-labeled anarchist. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker movement, a nonviolent, pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. The importance of Day within catholicism goes to the extent that the cause for Day's canonization is open in the Catholic Church, and she is thus formally referred to as a Servant of God. Ammon Hennacy was an Irish American pacifist, Christian, anarchist, social activist, member of the Catholic Worker Movement and a Wobbly. He established the "Joe Hill House of Hospitality" in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gandhism is the collection of inspirations, principles, beliefs and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi), who was a major political leader of India and the Indian Independence Movement. It is a body of ideas and principles that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Gandhi. It is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea and practice of nonviolent resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance. Gandhian economics are the socio-economic principles expounded by Mohandas Gandhi. It is largely characterised by its affinity to the principles and objectives of nonviolent humanistic socialism, but with a rejection of violent class war and promotion of socio-economic harmony. Gandhi's economic ideas also aim to promote spiritual development and harmony with a rejection of materialism. The term "Gandhian economics" was coined by J. C. Kumarappa, a close supporter of Gandhi. Gandhian economics places importance to means of achieving the aim of development and this means must be non-violent, ethical and truthful in all economic spheres. In order to achieve this means he advocated trusteeship, decentralization of economic activities, labour intensive technology and priority to weaker sections. Gandhi also had letter communication with Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy and saw himself as his disciple.
Gandhi challenged future Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the modernizers in the late 1930s who called for rapid industrialization on the Soviet model; Gandhi denounced that as dehumanizing and contrary to the needs of the villages where the great majority of the people lived. After Gandhi's death Nehru led India to large-scale planning that emphasized modernization and heavy industry, while modernizing agriculture through irrigation. Historian Kuruvilla Pandikattu says "it was Nehru's vision, not Gandhi's, that was eventually preferred by the Indian State." Gandhi was a self-described philosophical anarchist, and his vision of India meant an India without an underlying government. He once said that "the ideally nonviolent state would be an ordered anarchy." While political systems are largely hierarchical, with each layer of authority from the individual to the central government have increasing levels of authority over the layer below, Gandhi believed that society should be the exact opposite, where nothing is done without the consent of anyone, down to the individual. His idea was that true self-rule in a country means that every person rules his or herself and that there is no state which enforces laws upon the people.
Gandhian activists such as Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan were involved in the Sarvodaya movement, which sought to promote self-sufficiency amidst India's rural population by encouraging land redistribution, socio-economic reforms and promoting cottage industries. The movement sought to combat the problems of class conflict, unemployment and poverty while attempting to preserve the lifestyle and values of rural Indians, which were eroding with industrialisation and modernisation. Sarvodaya also included Bhoodan, or the gifting of land and agricultural resources by the landlords (called zamindars) to their tenant farmers in a bid to end the medieval system of zamindari. The Conquest of Violence : an Essay on War and Revolution is a book written by dutch anarcho-pacifist Bart de Ligt which deals with non-violent resistance in part inspired by the ideas of Gandhi. Anarchist historian George Woodcock reports that The Conquest of Violence "was read widely by British and American pacifists during the 1930s and led many of them to adopt an anarchistic point of view".
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Platformism is a tendency within the wider anarchist movement based on the organisational theories in the tradition of Dielo Truda's Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft). The document was based on the experiences of Russian anarchists in the 1917 October Revolution, which led eventually to the victory of the Bolsheviks over the anarchists and other groups. The Platform attempted to address and explain the anarchist movement's failures during the Russian Revolution. Today there are platformist groups in many countries including the Workers Solidarity Movement in Ireland, North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC, or Fédération des Communistes Libertaires du Nord-Est) in the northeastern US, the Union Communiste Libertaire in Quebec, Common Cause in Ontario, the Organización Comunista Libertaria (OCL) in Chile, the Federation of Anarchists of Greece (OAE) in Greece, Anarchist Communist Initiative (AKI) in Turkey, Organizacion Socialista Libertaria (OSL) in Argentina, the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (FdCA) in Italy, the Coletivo pró Organização Anarquista em Goiás in Brazil, Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta in Peru, the Libertarian Communist Organization (France) in France, the Alianza de los Comunistas Libertarios (ACL) in Mexico, Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG) and Sydney Anarchist Communist Trajectory (SACT) in Australia, the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) in South Africa, and Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-syndicalists (RKAS) by the name of N.I. Makhno (Революционная конфедерация анархо-синдикалистов им. Н. И. Махно) – an international anarcho-syndicalist, platformist confederation (sections and individual members of RKAS exist in Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Bulgaria and Israel).
The emergence of the New Left in the 1950s and 1960s led to a revival of interest in libertarian socialism. The New Left's critique of the Old Left's authoritarianism was associated with a strong interest in personal liberty, autonomy (see the thinking of Cornelius Castoriadis) and led to a rediscovery of older socialist traditions, such as left communism, council communism, and the Industrial Workers of the World. In the United States this was caused by a renewal of anarchism from the 1950s forward through writers such as Paul Goodman and anarcho-pacifism which became influential in the Anti-nuclear movement and anti war movements of the time and which incorporated both the influences of gandhism and tolstoyan Christian anarchism.
In Australia the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label "Sydney libertarianism". The New Left also led to a revival of anarchism in the 1960s in the United States. Journals like Radical America and Black Mask in America, Solidarity, Big Flame and Democracy & Nature, succeeded by The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, in the UK, introduced a range of left-libertarian ideas to a new generation. Social ecology, autonomism and, more recently, participatory economics (parecon), and Inclusive Democracy emerged from this. The New Left in the United States also included anarchist, countercultural and hippie-related radical groups such as the Yippies who were led by Abbie Hoffman, The Diggers, Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers and the White Panther Party. By late 1966, the Diggers opened free stores which simply gave away their stock, provided free food, distributed free drugs, gave away money, organized free music concerts, and performed works of political art. The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley and sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. On the other hand the Yippies employed theatrical gestures, such as advancing a pig ("Pigasus the Immortal") as a candidate for President in 1968, to mock the social status quo. They have been described as a highly theatrical, anti-authoritarian and anarchist youth movement of "symbolic politics". Since they were well known for street theater and politically themed pranks, many of the "old school" political left either ignored or denounced them. According to ABC News, "The group was known for street theater pranks and was once referred to as the 'Groucho Marxists'."
Social ecology is closely related to the work and ideas of Murray Bookchin and influenced by anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Social ecologists assert that the present ecological crisis has its roots in human social problems, and that the domination of human-over-nature stems from the domination of human-over-human.
Bookchin later developed a political philosophy to complement social ecology which he called Communalism (spelled with a capital C to differentiate it from other forms of communalism). While originally conceived as a form of social anarchism, he later developed Communalism into a separate ideology which incorporates what he saw as the most beneficial elements of anarchism, Marxism, syndicalism, and radical ecology.
Politically, Communalists advocate a network of directly democratic citizens' assemblies in individual communities or cities organized in a confederated fashion. The method used to achieve this is called libertarian municipalism and involves the establishment of face-to-face democratic institutions which grow and expand confederally with the goal of eventually replacing the nation-state. Unlike anarchists, Communalists are not opposed to taking part in parliamentary politics—especially municipal elections—as long as candidates are libertarian socialist and anti-statist in outlook.
Participism is a twenty-first century form of libertarian socialism. It comprises two related economic and political systems called Participatory economics or "Parecon" and Participatory politics or "Parpolity".
Parecon is an economic system proposed primarily by activist and political theorist Michael Albert and radical economist Robin Hahnel, among others. 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. It proposes to attain these ends mainly through the following principles and institutions: Workers' and consumers' councils utilizing self-managerial methods for decision making, balanced job complexes, remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, and Participatory Planning. Under Parecon, the current monetary system would be replaced with a system of non-transferable "credit" which would cease to exist upon purchase of a commodity.
Parpolity is a theoretical political system proposed by Stephen R. Shalom. It was developed as a political vision to accompany Parecon. Participism as a whole is critical of aspects of modern representative democracies and capitalism arguing that the level of political control by the people isn’t sufficient. To address this problem Parpolity suggests a system of "Nested Councils", which would include every adult member of a given society. Under Participism, the state as such would dissolve into a mere coordinating body made up of delegates which would be recallable at any time by the nested council below them.
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".
An artificial market is proposed by this tendency as a solution to the problem of maintaining freedom of choice for the consumer within a marketless and moneyless economy, an artificial market operates in much the same way as traditional markets, but uses labour vouchers or personal credit in place of traditional money. According to Takis Fotopoulos, an artificial market "secures real freedom of choice, without incurring the adverse effects associated with real markets".
Insurrectionary anarchism is a revolutionary theory, practice and tendency within the anarchist movement which emphasizes the theme of insurrection within anarchist practice. It is critical of formal organizations such as labor unions and federations that are based on a political programme and periodic congresses. Instead, insurrectionary anarchists advocate informal organization and small affinity group–based organization. Insurrectionary anarchists put value in attack, permanent class conflict, and a refusal to negotiate or compromise with class enemies.
Contemporary insurrectionary anarchism inherits the views and tactics of anti-organizational anarcho-communism and illegalism. So, "between 1880 and 1890", with the "perspective of an immanent revolution", who was "opposed to the official workers' movement, which was then in the process of formation (general Social Democratisation). They were opposed not only to political (statist) struggles but also to strikes which put forward wage or other claims, or which were organised by trade unions." But "While they were not opposed to strikes as such, they were opposed to trade unions and the struggle for the eight-hour day. This anti-reformist tendency was accompanied by an anti-organisational tendency, and its partisans declared themselves in favour of agitation amongst the unemployed for the expropriation of foodstuffs and other articles, for the expropriatory strike and, in some cases, for 'individual recuperation' or acts of terrorism." A resurgence of such ideas happened "in the peculiar conditions of post war Italy and Greece."
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) often referred to as the Zapatistas is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. Since 1994, the group has been in a declared war "against the Mexican state," though this war has been primarily nonviolent and defensive against military, paramilitary, and corporate incursions into Chiapas. Their social base is mostly rural indigenous people but they have some supporters in urban areas and internationally. Their main spokesperson is Subcomandante Marcos (currently a.k.a. Delegate Zero in relation to "the Other Campaign"). Unlike other Zapatista spokespeople, Marcos is not an indigenous Maya. Since December 1994, the Zapatistas had been gradually forming several autonomous municipalities, called Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ). In these municipalities, an assembly of local representatives forms the Juntas de Buen Gobierno or Councils of Good Government (JBGs). These are not recognized by the federal or state governments; they oversee local community programs on food, health and education, as well as taxation. The EZLN political formations have happened in two phases generally called Aquascalientes and Caracoles.
The group takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the agrarian reformer and commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, and sees itself as his ideological heir. Zapatista originally referred to a member of the revolutionary guerrilla movement founded about 1910 by Zapata. His Liberation Army of the South (Ejército Libertador del Sur) fought during the Mexican Revolution for the redistribution of agricultural land. Zapata and his army and allies, including Pancho Villa, fought for agrarian reform in Mexico. Specifically, they wanted to establish communal land rights for Mexico's indigenous population, which had mostly lost its land to the wealthy elite of European descent. Zapata was partly influenced by an anarchist from Oaxaca named Ricardo Flores Magón. The influence of Flores Magón on Zapata can be seen in the Zapatistas' Plan de Ayala, but even more noticeably in their slogan (this slogan was never used by Zapata) "Tierra y libertad" or "land and liberty", the title and maxim of Flores Magón's most famous work. Zapata's introduction to anarchism came via a local schoolteacher, Otilio Montaño Sánchez – later a general in Zapata's army, executed on May 17, 1917 – who exposed Zapata to the works of Peter Kropotkin and Flores Magón at the same time as Zapata was observing and beginning to participate in the struggles of the peasants for the land.
In reference to inspirational figures, in nearly all EZLN villages exist murals accompanying images of Zapata, Che Guevara, and Subcomandante Marcos. The ideology of the Zapatista movement, Zapatismo, synthesizes traditional Mayan practices with elements of libertarian socialism, anarchism, and Marxism. The historical influence of Mexican Anarchists and various Latin-American Socialists is apparent on Zapatismo; with the positions of Subcomandante Marcos also adding a distinct Marxist, according to the New York Times. element to the movement. A Zapatista slogan is in harmony with the concept of mutual aid: "For everyone, everything. For us, nothing" (Para todos, todo. Para nosotros, nada).
Left wing market anarchism, a form of left-libertarianism, individualist anarchism and libertarian socialism is associated with scholars such as Kevin Carson, Roderick T. Long, Charles Johnson, Brad Spangler, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, and Gary Chartier, who stress the value of radically free markets, termed freed markets to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges. Referred to as left-wing market anarchists or market-oriented left-libertarians, proponents of this approach strongly affirm the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets, while maintaining that, taken to their logical conclusions, these ideas support anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist, anti-hierarchical, pro-labor positions in economics; anti-imperialism in foreign policy; and thoroughly liberal or radical views regarding such cultural issues as gender, sexuality, and race.
The genealogy of contemporary market-oriented left-libertarianism – sometimes labeled "left-wing market anarchism" – overlaps to a significant degree with that of Steiner–Vallentyne left-libertarianism as the roots of that tradition are sketched in the book The Origins of Left-Libertarianism. Carson–Long-style left-libertarianism is rooted in 19th-century mutualism and in the work of figures such as Thomas Hodgskin and the individualist anarchists Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner. While, with notable exceptions, market-oriented libertarians after Tucker tended to ally with the political right, relationships between such libertarians and the New Left thrived in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for modern left-wing market anarchism. Left wing market anarchism identifies with Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism) which names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress both individual freedom and social justice. Unlike right-libertarians, they believe that neither claiming nor mixing one's labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights, and maintain that natural resources (land, oil, gold, trees) ought to be held in some egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under the condition that recompense is offered to the local community.
Communization mainly refers to a contemporary communist theory in which we find is a "mixing-up of insurrectionist anarchism, the communist ultra-left, post-autonomists, anti-political currents, groups like the Invisible Committee, as well as more explicitly ‘communizing’ currents, such as Théorie Communiste and Endnotes. Obviously at the heart of the word is communism and, as the shift to communization suggests, communism as a particular activity and process...."
The association of the term communization with a self-identified "ultra-left" was cemented in France in the 1970s, where it came to describe not a transition to a higher phase of communism but a vision of communist revolution itself. Thus the 1975 Pamphlet A World Without Money states: "insurrection and communisation are intimately linked. There would not be first a period of insurrection and then later, thanks to this insurrection, the transformation of social reality. The insurrectional process derives its force from communisation itself." The term is still used in this sense in France today and has spread into English usage as a result of the translation of texts by Gilles Dauvé and Théorie Comuniste, two key figures in this tendency. In collaboration with other left communists such as François Martin and Karl Nesic, Dauvé has attempted to fuse, critique, and develop different left communist currents, most notably the Italian movement associated with Amadeo Bordiga (and its heretical journal Invariance), German-Dutch council communism, and the French perspectives associated with Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Situationist International.
In the late 1990s a close but not identical sense of "communization" was developed by the French post-situationist group Tiqqun. In keeping with their ultra-left predecessors, Tiqqun's predilection for the term seems to be its emphasis on communism as an immediate process rather than a far-off goal, but for Tiqqun it is no longer synonymous with "the revolution" considered as an historical event, but rather becomes identifiable with all sorts of activities – from squatting and setting up communes to simply "sharing" – that would typically be understood as "pre-revolutionary". From an ultra-left perspective such a politics of "dropping-out" or, as Tiqqun put it, "desertion" – setting up spaces and practices that are held to partially autonomous from capitalism – is typically dismissed as either naive or reactionary. Due to the popularity of the Tiqqun-related works Call and The Coming Insurrection in US anarchist circles it tended to be this latter sense of "communization" that was employed in US anarchist and "insurrectionist" communiques, notably within the Californian student movement of 2009–2010.
Democratic Confederalism is the proposal of a libertarian socialist political system that "is open towards other political groups and factions. It is flexible, multi-cultural, anti-monopolistic, and consensus-oriented." Abdullah Öcalan, who is the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, founded this ideology while in prison. While originally a Marxist–Leninist organization, the organization modified their views as Öcalan began corresponding with Murray Bookchin and incorporating his ideology. The central pillars of democratic confederalism are social ecology and anarchist feminism. According to Abdullah Öcalan, his ideology is rooted in participatory democracy and autonomy at the local level. In his book he says that "The stronger the participation the more powerful is this kind of democracy. While the nation-state is in contrast to democracy, and even denies it, democratic confederalism constitutes a continuous democratic process."
A surge of popular interest in libertarian socialism occurred in western nations during the 1960s and 1970s. Anarchism was influential in the Counterculture of the 1960s and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts. In 1968 in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile. The uprisings of May 1968 also led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas. Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries. A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having increased the profile of the movement or its unity of ideas. Prominent left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency.
The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen.
Around the turn of the 21st century, libertarian socialism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements. Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction, and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs; other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet. A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999. For english anarchist scholar Simon Critchley "contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism...One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally." This might also have been motivated by "the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ and the capitulation to neo-liberalism of Western social democracy."
International anarchist federations in existence include the International of Anarchist Federations, the International Workers' Association, and International Libertarian Solidarity. The largest organised anarchist movement today is in Spain, in the form of the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) and the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). CGT membership was estimated to be around 100,000 for 2003. Other active syndicalist movements include in Sweden the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden and the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation; the CNT-AIT in France; the Union Sindicale Italiana in Italy; in the US Workers Solidarity Alliance and the UK Solidarity Federation. The revolutionary industrial unionist Industrial Workers of the World, claiming 2,000 paying members, and the International Workers Association, an anarcho-syndicalist successor to the First International, also remain active.
Libertarian socialists in the early 21st century have been involved in the alter-globalization movement, squatter movement; social centers; infoshops; anti-poverty groups such as Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and Food Not Bombs; tenants' unions; housing cooperatives; intentional communities generally and egalitarian communities; anti-sexist organizing; grassroots media initiatives; digital media and computer activism; experiments in participatory economics; anti-racist and anti-fascist groups like Anti-Racist Action and Anti-Fascist Action; activist groups protecting the rights of immigrants and promoting the free movement of people, such as the No Border network; worker co-operatives, countercultural and artist groups; and the peace movement etc.
Libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life, an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.
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Su obra más representativa es Walden, aparecida en 1854, aunque redactada entre 1845 y 1847, cuando Thoreau decide instalarse en el aislamiento de una cabaña en el bosque, y vivir en íntimo contacto con la naturaleza, en una vida de soledad y sobriedad. De esta experiencia, su filosofía trata de transmitirnos la idea que resulta necesario un retorno respetuoso a la naturaleza, y que la felicidad es sobre todo fruto de la riqueza interior y de la armonía de los individuos con el entorno natural. Muchos han visto en Thoreau a uno de los precursores del ecologismo y del anarquismo primitivista representado en la actualidad por John Zerzan. Para George Woodcock, esta actitud puede estar también motivada por una cierta idea de resistencia al progreso y de rechazo al materialismo creciente que caracteriza la sociedad norteamericana de mediados de siglo XIX.
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While they were not opposed to strikes as such, they were opposed to trade unions and the struggle for the eight-hour day. This anti-reformist tendency was accompanied by an anti-organisational tendency, and its partisans declared themselves in favour of agitation amongst the unemployed for the expropriation of foodstuffs and other articles, for the expropriatory strike and, in some cases, for 'individual recuperation' or acts of terrorism.
human beings have an inalienable right to the product of their own labor
During the 1960s, Marcuse achieved world renown as "the guru of the New Left," publishing many articles and giving lectures and advice to student radicals all over the world. He travelled widely and his work was often discussed in the mass media, becoming one of the few American intellectuals to gain such attention. Never surrendering his revolutionary vision and commitments, Marcuse continued to his death to defend the Marxian theory and libertarian socialism.
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See List of films dealing with Anarchism for a list of nonfiction and fiction films dealing with anarchist movements both historical and contemporary.