Anarchism

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Thu Apr 27 10:37:26 MDT 1995


I'll second Rebecca Hill and whoever else objected to endorsing the media
caharcterization of the right wing militia nuts as "anarchists." There is
a right win tradition of anarchism going back to Max Stirner and attacked
by Marx, and some of the far right groups support a "limited" government
(once the Jews, commies, Blacks, etc. have been "cleansed'), as well as a
more respectable tradition of right-wing anarchism based on property
rights of a Lockean variety, although most right wing libertarians, like
Robert Nozick, support a limited government to uphold and defend property
rights. However, anarchism is also an honorable left tradition going back
to Proudhon, Bakunin, and Roecker, the Spanish CNT, and the American
IWW--Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchists, as is Noam Chomsky and Murray
Boochkin (an eco-anarchist). For analytical anarchism (yes, there is such
a thing) see Michael Taylor, Community, Anarchy, and Liberty.

Anyway, left anarchism ought to be sharply distinguished from all right
win varieties, especially the quasi- or no-so-quasi fascism of the Militia
Movement, and should not be subsumed under the rubric of "disorder" and
"chaos." The fundamental left anarchist belief, its defining
characteristic, is that society should not have an organbized coercive
apparatus to maintain order, which should rather be done--and it is agreed
that it should be done--cooperatively and voluntarily. Anarchists differ
from Marxists largely in the question of whether the establishment of a
workers' state should be a revolutionary goal. Anarchists don't want to
establish any state.

Around the turn of the century some anarchists carried out campaigns of
terroristic assassination, but targeted on high officials (President
McKinley was killed by an anarchist) or big capitalists (Emma Goldman's
friend Alexander Berkman shot Henry Frick). These actions were highly
discriminating and carefully planned not to kill innocent people.
(McKinley and Frick were not innocent in my book, not that I'd advocate
assassinatiin as a tactic.) Anarchists were also demonized as
bomnb-throwers by the press--the Haymarket Bombing, which led to hangings
of anarchists who were certainly framed and ultimately to the
esztablishment of May Day as a worker's holiday in commeration of the
martyrs, is the most famous one. It was probablya  police provocation.
Modern-day anarchists are typically nonviolent--I mean the left wing sort.

I think anarchism is a mistaklen political philosophy, but it shouldn't be
smeared, just debated and refuted.

--Justin Schwartz




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