What would the ideal anarchist society be?


1. Walter Benjamin's word that there has been no radical concept of freedom in Europe since Bakunin names the center of anarchist theory and practice: Anarchism is a freedom movement; its goal is social order without the rule of people over people. Like the other revolutionary currents of the 19th and 20th centuries, anarchism also tied in with bourgeois emancipation and the thinking of the → Enlightenment in order to radically transcend them. However, while the social-democratic and party-communist part of the labor movement wrote the conquest of political power on their flags, the anarchists fought the state as the most powerful concentration of organized violence. It should be replaced by free association, a network of voluntary, always cancellable agreements between sovereign individuals and groups. One corresponded to the goal of non-domination anthropological optimism: If only the organs of oppression and the ideologies of authority were abolished, the anarchists believe, people would regulate their relationships in spontaneous solidarity. In addition to the state, anarchist criticism was also directed against any other form of organized coercion, in particular against religious dogmas and the system of capitalist wage labor. However, a closed canon of anarchist doctrines does not exist - it would be a contradiction in terms - but anarchism shows itself as a heterogeneous movement alternating between individualistic and collectivistic, non-violent and militant, destructive and constructive directions, whose sole aim is the complete abolition of the State connects. Finally, the rejection of ecclesiastical and secular authorities corresponds to an ideal of equality and brotherhood that is to be realized in communist community of property. Anarchists can therefore be found in the artistic bohemian as well as in radical trade union organizations, in settlement and communal projects as well as in conspiratorial secret societies. The anarchists hoped for the liberation of society not from appeals and petitions, not from participation in parliaments, but from direct action and egalitarian self-organization. The pronounced voluntarism of the practice corresponded to the moral pathos of the anarchist writings: Ultimately, everything should depend on the decision of the individual to join forces in revolutionary association with like-minded people and to organize the disintegration of power.

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  1. swell: Bakunin, Michael: Gesammelte Werke, 3 vols., Berlin 1975.Google Scholar
  2. Secondary literature: Grossmann, Henryk: Anarchismus, in: Grossmann, Henryk / Grünberg, Carl: Anarchismus, Bolshevismus, Sozialismus. Articles from the »Dictionary of Economics«, Frankfurt / M. 1971, 13-35; Google Scholar
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