The Anarchist Impulse

Error message

  • Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 517 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 517 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
RSS icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon

Richard Swift
The New Internationalist
July 2015

Traditional socialism’s great competitor in both thought and deed amongst those seeking a way out of capitalism has been the anarchism that first bloomed as a political theory in the 19th century. But the desire not to be subject to the arbitrary authority of others and to captain your own ship is as old as recorded memory.

Capitalism has used this universal desire to cloak itself in a libertarian guise by proclaiming that the freedom of the market is the only realistic way to achieve this more general liberty. But this cloak quickly shreds for most people as the growth of corporate monopoly usurps economic and eventually political power – and as their labour activity (most of their waking hours) is reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold, and subject to the profit-seeking whims of a boss. From its early days, capitalism’s claim to represent the only realistic human freedom has been challenged by anarchists and other libertarian currents with their resounding ‘no’ to the arbitrariness of Big Property.

Some anarchists – including the Russian noble Pyotr Kropotkin – saw the Neolithic village as a mostly peaceful and self-governing community before the formation of the state and predatory armies started to wreak havoc. Ancient and medieval history offer up plenty of examples that were often elaborate in their aspirations but partial in their achievement: Greek city states, slave revolts against Imperial Rome, monastic communities, heretical sects in revolt against religious authority, agrarian agitators all swam against the tide of arbitrary authority.

Read more

Article category: 
Rate this article: 
No votes yet