Anarchism – Concept, origin, characteristics and Marxism

We explain what anarchism is and how this political movement originated. In addition, its characteristics and differences with Marxism.

Anarchism seeks the abolition of the State and all forms of government.

What is Anarchism?

When speaking of anarchism it refers to a political, philosophical and social movement that Its main objective is the abolition of the State and all forms of government, as well as any form of authority, social hierarchy or control that society tries to impose on individuals.

Anarchism considers these forms of dominance as artificial, harmful and, furthermore, unnecessary, since human beings have a natural tendency to a just and equitable order, which has been perverted through social pacts.

In this way, anarchism is interested above all in the affairs of the individual and the society that surrounds him, with the aspiration of promote the breakdown of the established order and allow social change to emerge, which ideally would lead to a society without masters, without owners, without dominions of any kind.

Traditionally, various political and social movements have been grouped under the banner of anarchism, of different tendencies from each other and above all with different procedures or methodologies.

Thus there are more radical, violent anarchists, who aspire to an active role in the fall of the State; and others more calm, closer to passive resistance and pacifism. But there is no explicit and unique definition of what an anarchist is or what he has to do.

Origin of anarchism

The word anarchism as such comes from the Greek, and is made up of the words an– (“without”) and arche (“Power or mandate”), and emerged to name the power vacuum stages that arose after the French Revolution and the fall of the monarchy at the end of the 18th century. It was a derogatory term, to call the supporters of disorder and revolutionary terror (both Robespierre and the Enragés they were called anarchists).

However, the first contemporary anarchist movements were children of the labor movement of the early nineteenth century, whose struggle sought to improve the working conditions of the proletariat, which were particularly fierce at the beginning of industrial capitalism.

Libertarian communism and the so-called utopian socialism, and if you like more radical slopes of unionism, played a fundamental role in the creation of anarchism, especially when a revolutionary but authoritarian left emerged, which proposed a strong and unique state.

The anarchists, enemies of all kinds of authority and oppression, they would see the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat with bad eyes and they would emancipate themselves to create their own militancies and political and social slopes.

Characteristics of anarchism

Anarchism supports equality, which is why forms of possession are unacceptable to it.

Most anarchists are based on three great political and social pillars, which are:

  • The libertarian thought. Anarchism is contrary to all forms of domination and authority, so it is opposed to the State, to the authorities, to power in its many forms, preferring a society that regulates itself naturally and spontaneously.
  • The abolition of inequities. Equality is another anarchist role, so hierarchies, private property and other forms of possession are also unacceptable to him.
  • Solidarity between human beings. Brotherhood between human beings is another ideal aspect of anarchism, since the absence of laws, authorities and hierarchies would allow free interaction between people, which, according to them, would lead to solidarity, cooperation and mutualism.

Differences between Marxism and anarchism

The main difference between Marxism (also called scientific communism) and the anarchist currents has to do with the fact that the former proposes a society governed by a single social class: the proletariat, in what was called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, a previous step to communism, that is to say, society without social classes, of absolute equality. Marxism starts from the idea of ​​a strong state, of a single and central authority, who controls the economy and culture with an iron fist.

Anarchists, on the other hand, see the State as their greatest enemy and prefer not to agree with the idea of ​​a dictatorship, regardless of the prevailing social class, since their basic thinking is libertarian.

Thus, anarchism shares with Marxism its critique of the system, its opposition to class society and the domination and exploitation of the working classbut not his proposal for an all-powerful state.

See more: Marxism