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Thread: History Of Anarchy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    History Of Anarchy

    The History of Anarchism
    by Brian Crabtree (1992)

    The rejection of authority dates back to the Stoics and Cynics, and
    has been around for millenia. However, the terms anarchist, anarchism, and
    anarchy, from the Greek "an archos" (without a rule), were used entirely in a
    negative manner before the nineteenth century.

    ~ Proudhon and the Mutualists ~

    In 1840, in his controversial "What Is Property", French political
    writer and socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon became the first person to call
    himself an Anarchist. In this book, Proudhon stated that the real laws of
    society have nothing to do with authority, but stem instead from the nature of
    society itself. He also predicted the eventual dissolve of authority and the
    appearence of a natural social order. "As man seeks justice in equality, so
    society seeks justice in anarchy. Anarchy - the absence of a sovereign - such
    is the form of government to which we are every day approximating." He was a
    'peaceful anarchist'; he believed that within existing society, the
    organizations could be created that would eventually replace it. Proudhon was
    born in 1809, originally a peasant, the son of a brewer. His "What Is Property"
    and "System of Economic Contradictions" established him in the socialist
    community. Later he went on to write "The Federal Principle" and "The
    Political Capability of the Working Class".

    Although he declared in "What Is Property" that "property is theft",
    he did not support communism, and regarded the right of workers to control the
    means of production as an important part of freedom. He never considered
    himself the originator of a movement, but he did propose a federal system of
    autonomous communes. He had many followers, but they preferred the title
    'Mutualists' to 'Anarchists'; Anarchism still bore a negative connotation.
    Proudhon and the Mutualists, along with British tradeunionists and socialists,
    formed the First International Workingmen's Association.

    ~ Bakunin and Collectivism ~

    "The passion for destruction is also a creative passion" - These words
    would accurately summarize the position of Mikail Bakunin and the
    Collectivists. Bakunin believed that Anarchy was only possible through a
    violent revolution, obliterating all existing institutions. He was originally
    a nobleman, but became a revolutionary and joined the International in the
    1860's, after founding the Social Democratic Alliance and modifying Proudhon's
    teachings into a new doctrine known as Collectivism. Bakunin taught that
    property rights were impractical and that the means of production should be
    owned collectively. He was strongly opposed to Karl Marx, also a member of
    the International, and his ideas of a proletarian dictatorship. This conlict
    eventually tore the International apart in 1872. He died in 1876, but the
    next International that he and the Collectivists started in 1873 lasted for
    another year. Later, his followers finally accepted the title of 'Anarchist'.

    ~ Prince Peter Kropotkin ~

    In 1876, when he became a revolutionary, Peter Kropotkin renounced his
    title of Prince and became successor to Mikail Bakunin. He developed the
    theory of Anarchist Communism: not only should the means of production be owned
    collectively, but the products should be completely communized as well. This
    revised Thomas More's Utopian idea of storehouses, "From each according to his
    means, to each according to his needs." Kropotkin wrote "The Conquest of
    Bread" in 1892, in which he sketched his vision of a federation of free
    Communist groups. In 1899 he wrote "Memoirs of a Revolutionist", an
    autobiographical work, and "Fields, Factories, and Workshops", which put
    forward ideas on the decentralization of industry necessary for an Anarchist
    society. He later proved by biological and sociological evidence that
    cooperation is more natural than coercion ("Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution"
    - 1902). Kropotkin's writings completed the vision of the Anarchist future,
    and little new has been added since.

    ~ The Anarchist Movement ~

    Even before Proudhon entered the scene, Anarchist activism was going
    on. The first plans for an Anarchist commonwealth were made by an Englishman
    named Gerrard Winstanley, who founded the tiny Digger movement. In his 1649
    pamphlet, "Truth Lifting Up Its Head Above Scandals", he wrote that power
    corrupts, that property is incompatible with freedom, and that men can only be
    free and happy in a society without governmental interference, where work and
    its products are shared (what was to become the foundation for Anarchist
    theory in the years to come). He led a group of followers to a hillside where
    they established an Anarchist village, but this experiment was quickly
    destroyed by local opposition. Later another Englishman, William Godwin,
    would write 'Political Justice', which said that authority was against nature,
    and that social evils exist because men are not free to act according to

    Among Italian Anarchists, an activist attitude was prevalent. Said
    Errico Malatesta in 1876, "The insurrectionary deed, destined to affirm
    socialist principles by acts, is the most efficacious means of propaganda."
    The first acts were rural insurrections, meant to arouse the uneducated
    citizens of the Italian countryside, but these were unsuccessful. Afterward
    this activism tended to take the form of individual acts of protest by
    'terrorists', who attempted to assassinate ruling figures in the hope of
    demonstrating the vulnerability of the structure of authority and inspiring
    others by their self-sacrifice. From 1890- 1901, a chain of assassinations
    took place: King Umberto I, Italy; Empress Elizabeth, Austria; President
    Carnot, France; President McKinley, United Stated; and Spanish Prime Minister
    Antonio C novas del Castillo. Unfortunately, these acts had the opposite
    effect of what was intended- they established the idea of the Anarchist as a
    mindless destroyer.

    Also during the 1890's, many French painters, writers, and other
    artists discovered Anarchism, and were attracted to it because of its
    individualist ideas. In England, writer Oscar Wilde became an Anarchist, and
    in 1891 wrote "The Soul of Man Under Socialism".

    Anarchism was also a strong movement in Spain. The first Anarchist
    journal, "El Porvenir", was published in 1845, but was quickly silenced.
    Branches of the International were established by Guiseppe Fanelli in Barcelona
    and Madrid. By 1870, there were over 40,000 Spanish Anarchists members; by
    1873, 60,000, mostly organized in workingmen's associations, but in 1874 the
    movement was forced underground. In the 1880's and '90's, the Spanish
    Anarchist movement tended toward terrorism and insurrections.

    The Spanish civil war was the perfect opportunity to finally put ideas
    into action on a large scale. Factories and railways were taken over. In
    Andalusia, Catalonia, and Levante, peasents seized the land. Autonomous
    libertarian villages were set up, like those described in Kropotkin's 'The
    Conquest of Bread'. Internal use of money was abolished, the land was tilled
    collectively, the village products were sold or exchanged on behalf of the
    entire community, and each family recieved an equal share of necessities they
    could not produce themselves. Many of these such communes were even more
    efficient than the other villages. Although the Spanish Anarchists failed
    because they did not have the ability to carry out sustained warfare, they
    succeeded in inspiring many and showing that Anarchy can work efficiently.

    Although two of the greatest Anarchist leaders, Bakunin and Kropotkin,
    were Russian, totalitarian censorship managed to supress most of the movement,
    and it was never very strong in Russia. Only one revolutionary, N.I. Makhno, a
    peasant, managed to raise an insurrectionary army and, by brilliant guerilla
    tactics, took temporary control of a large part of the Ukraine from both Red
    and White armies. His exile in 1921 marked the death of the Anarchist
    movement in Russia.

    Throughout American history, there has been a tradition of both
    violent and pacifist Anarchism. Henry David Thoreau, a nonviolent Anarchist
    writer, and Emma Goldman an Anarchist activist, are a couple of examples.
    Activist Anarchism, however, was mainly sustained by immigrants from Europe.
    In the late 1800's, Anarchism was a part of life for many. In 1886, four
    Anarchists were wrongfully executed for alleged involvement in the Haymarket
    bombing, in which seven policemen were killed. President McKinley was
    assassinated in 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, a Polish Anarchist.

    Especially since 1917, Anarchism has appealed to intellectuals. In
    1932, Aldous Huxley wrote "Brave New World", which warned of a mindless,
    materialistic existence a modernized society could produce, and in the
    'Foreword' of the 1946 edition, he said that he believed that only through
    radical decentralization and a politics that was "Kropotkinesque and
    cooperative" could the dangers of modern society be escaped. After World War
    ][, Anarchist groups reappeared in almost all countries where they had once
    existed, excepting Spain and the Soviet Union. In the 1970's, Anarchism drew
    much attention and interest, and rebellious students often started collectives.
    Still published is a monthly British publication, called "Anarchy", which
    applies Anarchist principles to modern life.

    Anarchism, although often mistakenly thought of as violent and
    destructive, is not that at all. Anarchists, though some may advocate a
    swift and violent revolution, envision a peaceful and harmonious society,
    based on a natural order of cooperation rather than an artificial system based
    on coercion.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    For man to live without Law he must first live above Law........or something like that..
    \"It\'s not wise to argue with a fool...people might not be able to tell the difference!\"

  3. #3

    Talking My Dear Brethren! I Dare Say Someone Has Their History of Arnacy Wrong?


    Arnachy first came into being with the creation of Woman... PERIOD! LOL Of course, arnachy NOT to be confused by Disobedience! LOL

  4. #4

    Talking Post Script To First Posting: LOL

    HMMM...errrr.... *looking nervously to and fro* LONG LIVE WOMEN AND ARNACHY! LOL

  5. #5
    Originally posted by Ennis

    In the 1970's, Anarchism drew
    much attention and interest, and rebellious students often started collectives.
    Still published is a monthly British publication, called "Anarchy", which
    applies Anarchist principles to modern life.

    God save the Queen......the fascist regime..................

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ouroboros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Superior, WI USA

    Post State of Nature

    Anarchy is closely tied to the philosophical theory of a "State of Nature", as in the following from here

    "The definitive statement of social contract theory is found in Chapters 13 through 15 of Hobbes's Leviathan. Briefly, Hobbes argues that the original state of nature is a condition of constant war, which rational and self-motivated people would want to end. These people, then, will establish fundamental moral laws to preserve peace. The foundation of Hobbes's theory is the view that humans are psychologically motivated by only selfish interests. Hobbes argued that, for purely selfish reasons, the agent is better off living in a world with moral rules than one without moral rules. Without moral rules, we are subject to the whims of other people's selfish interests. Our property, our families, and even our lives are at continual risk. Selfishness alone will therefore motivate each agent to adopt a basic set of rules which will allow for a civilized community. Not surprisingly, these rules would include prohibitions against lying, stealing and killing. However, these rules will ensure safety for each agent only if the rules are enforced. As selfish creatures, each of us would plunder our neighbors' property once their guards were down. Each agent would then be at risk from his neighbor. Therefore, for selfish reasons alone, we devise a means of enforcing these rules: we create a policing agency which punishes us if we violate these rules. Like rule-utilitarianism, Hobbes's social contract theory is a three-tiered moral system. Particular acts, such as stealing my neighbor's lawn furniture, are w rong since they violate the rule against stealing. The rule against stealing, in turn, is morally binding since it is in my interests to live in a world which enforces this rule."

    Anarchy eventually leads back to order of some kind, and the cycle begins happened at least once in the past didn't it? It's odd how, unlike more 'primal' species on the planet, humans have the sense to at least TRY to fight entropy...a losing battle, eventually, granted...but it says a lot about our willpower...(and so does the concept of hitting the "restart button", now that I think of it) Hey, at least we're trying...

    "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

    "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."

    -Occam's Razor

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