Anarchy is a confusing word a priori. At first glance, it connotes the idea of disorder, individualism, violence. But these ideas do not reflect the principles of the anarchist movement, which was originally (from the 19th century), a component of the labor movement (very active during the first international example or the Russian revolutionary. If the word “anarchy” means chaos, anarchism is a political theory. The difficulty is that anarchism as a theory is not a unified doctrine and that there is a wide variety of anarchist thinkers (Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Roxa Luxembourg, Max Stirner…) or events, political movements, which in history are directly or indirectly related to anarchism. It would be in any case simplistic to see anarchism as a protest movement, the will to destroy the established order, of the property values of the bourgeoisie and religion (“If God existed, one have to make it disappear” – Bakunin). Anarchism expresses well, first of all,, the refusal of submission to the State, power, authority. “The authority is the denial of freedom” wrote Bakunin in God and the State. There is for him only pleasure, one consolation, strength and satisfaction: the revolution. “In this sense the anarchist movement is a revolutionary movement that wants the destruction of the political world as it is. It is that anarchism is originally a movement of resistance to oppression that embodies an ideal and popular that expresses an ideal of justice, peace , refusal of submission to political authority and misery.

“We reject any legislation, all authority and privileged influence, patented, official and legal same output of universal suffrage, convinced that she could never turn to benefit only a minority dominant and operates against the interests of the immense majority enslaved. This is what we are anarchists. ” Bakunin, God and state. In this sense anarchism does not want the regulation of society by the state and therefore the laws, but by “mutual commitments voluntary and can be dismissed” in the words of Kropotkin in modern science and anarchy). No authority, no government of man by man, given to the individual freedom and desire for full equality for all.

If classical political philosophy attempts to justify the organization of political authority and power, the principle of anarchism is to say that no justification of this power is possible. A free, decent, human, can not accept coercive institutions and individuals who submit cancel their autonomy, be it on behalf of the general will. Obedience to the State, the acceptance of institutions and government, is synonymous with humiliation and alienation. Anarchism is a theory based on the negation of the principle of political authority (within the meaning of the institution of a state and government) and the rejection of any restraints imposed by institutions based on this principle. It is therefore to build a society without domination, in which individuals freely co-operate in a dynamic self-management. This is why “freedom is conceived as the rejection of all authority, including that of the state,” says Bakunin. Wherever there are state institutions there are also dominant and the dominated, the oligarchy at the head of the system that mimics the mechanisms of domination and interference with individual autonomy. The slogan of the anarchists is then “neither God nor master”.

It is also the name of the alien to the individual, resulting from the fact that the state is above society, that anarchists reject all state restrictions on personal freedom. This is the central idea of anarchism to consider that the company can be organized without the authority of the state. “Anarchism” does not mean disorder, but no order without authority or government organization of the social order by the company itself without a state. Bakunin says:

“Any theory of the state is necessarily based on the principle of authority that is this idea eminently theological, metaphysical, political masses, always incapable of governing themselves, must submit to the yoke of a benevolent higher wisdom and a justice who, in one way or another, they will be imposed from above. Imposed but by whom and on what grounds? “. Proudhon and adding: “No authority, no government, even popular revolution is here.”

Anarchist thought is first denial. In what sense can it also be an idea “positive” and not just a critique of a system (neither god nor master) a “-archy” or a simple resistance to statism? Anarchist thought is a thought that wants to end all forms of authoritarianism still being built on a pessimistic view of man: if a man needs to be dominated, ruled, it is because it is selfish and unable to raise himself in search of a common ideal. If man is perverted when political institutions are there to straighten it, and despite his imposing strength, political power (“Power is inherently alien to the law is to force” says Proudhon in Justice . It is that, whatever its form, the power a disposal process that stupefies peoples, enslaved, the discipline, and tends to make people mad centralizing despotism very people who use it. In short, the Anarchism is a radical critique of political institutions.

The idea is to imagine a society of an-archy: it is to pass a law authority, subordination, a right to equality and coordination at an ideal justice. Society must rid itself of powers in order to build trading system, by trade, mutuality, associations, contracts, short, networks of relationships immanent without submission to state authority. Utopia of a disorder called? Dream of a system impossible? Anarchists deny.

Libertarians believe that anarchist society should be built without hierarchy and without authority; institutions such as capitalism, the patriarchal family, the Church, the State, the army are described as authoritarian (in the sense of a presence of authority as opposed to the libertarian system that goes in) and contrary to individual liberty. Again anarchism is not a unified doctrine. Some preferred to speak of collectivism or federalism, or even libertarian communism, anti-authoritarian movement. But schematically, we can summarize two major trends, one of which is inspired collectivist (and rather left) and the other individualistic (and sometimes right). One imagines the organization of a self-managed system-wide small communities, for example, one may take the form of ultra-liberalism (libertarians) systematically criticizing any form of intrusion of the state in individual life.

Yet if anarchism could result in political history in some experiments, these theories appear utopian and seem difficult to apply: they do not appear likely to create a stable political system and to be sustainable or economically viable and socially decent. The solution to the conflict between freedom and equality, if we think at the current scale of nations, who need political regulation, does not seem to be the absence of State, detrimental to the idea of wealth redistribution but rather the construction of a welfare state that knows how to help and give without present and thus find a solution to the conflict between equality liberty.


Cite this article as: Tim, "Anarchism, April 6, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 6, 2012,

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