Good evening everyone. This is my second of two papers I wrote this term which I've adapted over for this setting to share with ATS. My first one on
Napoleon was written as a side thing, more than anything else. It turned into a serious effort only after I was gripped by the story itself. It was
worth every moment put into it, in the end.
This is different, and this one was a serious and hard research effort from the start. Napoleon also hadn't required Academic journal sourcing. This
one did. So, the breadth and depth of information is different. Not better, perhaps, but different. I've tried to adapt both in a way to be very
informative and entertaining at once. I hope I've succeeded. Anyway, enough preamble. Onto the main event.
Anarchism: A History, Origins and Context
Anarchism is among the most commonly misunderstood world views which we see carried by people today. Anarchy is often thought of as a condition
without order or the state which follows a complete collapse of civil order. That is accurate as a definition of the word, if taken alone. When
Anarchy is used to describe the political and economic ideology of the same name, it carries the opposite meaning. Anarchy as a philosophy carries a
very clear order and structure in each of its forms.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Anarchism is first seen in use as a term in 1793 within the book “Inquiry Concerning Modern Justice” by William Godwin. Following this first
mention, the man considered to be the founder of modern Anarchism is Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon describes his philosophy in his 1840 treatise
entitled “What is Property”. This early form of Anarchy is described in simple terms that fit the times it was considered in. Proudhon envisioned
a society where bartering items of equal value would replace currency for trade, concentration of wealth by inheritance became a thing of the past,
and people organized freely into associations of mutual benefit without a sovereign.
One aspect that is seen early within the origins of Anarchism is a deep dislike and distrust for the communist system. A form later termed Communist
Anarchism would follow the teachings of Karl Marx and become widely known in later years. Proudhon was the first to describe Individual Anarchism as a
bottom up approach to organizing society in a local fashion. Communism, he says in his book, works from a top down approach that requires the State
remain as sovereign over the people.
Proudhon’s pivotal work and texts contributed the structure of ideas for what would become an influential movement. He was not the only one of his
time to work toward seeing this system take hold. The late 19th century saw more than one man take up the cause of Anarchy and help further define it
as they saw fit.
Michael Bakunin follows Pierre Proudhon as being among the most historically significant leaders in the early Anarchist movement. Bakunin brought
several new ways of thinking to the table. Among those was a desire to see the total destruction of the State, an identification with atheism, and the
rejection of political change in favor of revolutionary action. Bakunin’s approval of violence against agents of oppression led to nihilism in
Russia and individual acts of terrorism. The result was Anarchy becoming synonymous with assassination and chaos within the minds of the public.
There is another important area where Michael Bakunin comes into the history of Anarchy and that is with the International Working Men’s
Association, or IWMA. Karl Marx and Proudhon were among the members of the IWMA at this time and there wasn’t consensus for the future direction to
follow. Marx favored political action, while Bakunin sought direct action and revolt to overthrow the sovereign. This rivalry came to a head in 1872
when Bakunin was expelled from the IWMA, leaving Marx to pursue his own political approach.
Proudhon, Bakunin, and Marx were major names for this time in the European Anarchist movement. The United States was also experiencing its first views
of an emerging philosophy around this time with very mixed reactions.
. . .onto America