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Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations
They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountain-head.
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe--"that government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that is the kind of government which they will have. -Henry David Thoreau, Concord Lyceum lecture, 1848, Civil Disobedience, 1849
“Anarchism is the political belief that society should have no government, laws, police, or other authority, but should be a free association of all its members.”
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (pronounced [ˈpruːd ɒn] in BrE, [pʁu dɔ̃] in French) (15 January, 1809 – 19 January, 1865) was a French economist and socialist philosopher who was the first individual to call himself an "anarchist" and is considered among the first anarchist thinkers. Proudhon is most famous for his assertion of "Property is theft!", in his missive What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right of Government with the original title: Qu'est-ce que la propriété? Recherche sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement, which was his first major work, published in 1840...
...In his earliest works, Proudhon analyzed the nature and problems of the capitalist economy. While deeply critical of capitalism, he also objected to contemporary socialists who idolized association. In series of commentaries, from What is Property? (1840) through the posthumously-published Théorie de la propriété (Theory of Property, 1863-64), he declared that "property is theft", "property is impossible", "property is despotism" and "property is freedom". The apparent contradiction is resolved when it is realized that, in "property is theft", he was using the word to mean the type of property which created exploitative conditions. Specifically, he was referring to the means of production which labourers did not own themselves, and the system of wage labour...
...On the other hand, in asserting that property is essential for liberty, he was referring not only to the product of an individual's labor, but to the peasant or artisans home and tools of his trade. For Proudhon, the only legitimate source of property is labor. What one produces is his property and anything beyond that is not. He can be considered a libertarian socialist, since he advocated worker self-management and argued against capitalist ownership of the means of production.
Originally posted by ANOK
People focus on Anarchism being anti-government, but in reality it was more about anti-capitalism.
Originally posted by RichieRay
Look at the crime rate statistics that we have now WITH a legal system and police to enforce laws. Imagine how crazy things would get if we didn't have any sort of legal structure and people could just do as they pleased.
Originally posted by RichieRay
Look at the crime rate statistics that we have now WITH a legal system and police to enforce laws. Imagine how crazy things would get if we didn't have any sort of legal structure and people could just do as they pleased. Again, I think government definitely needs to be reshaped, but anarchism is far from the answer. Go be a hunter gatherer in some wooded area if you really want a taste of the "anarchism" you defined above.
Originally posted by Sci-Fi_entist
reply to post by ANOK
I've always thought of Anarchism as anti-control, myself.
Only two issues present themselves, and both are closed. One is to destroy violence by violence, by terrorism, dynamite bombs and daggers as our Nihilists and Anarchists have attempted to do, to destroy this conspiracy of Governments against nations, from without; the other is to come to an agreement with the Government, making concessions to it, participating in it, in order gradually to disentangle the net which is binding the people, and to set them free. Both these issues are closed. Dynamite and the dagger, as experience has already shown, only cause reaction, and destroy the most valuable power, the only one at our command, that of public opinion.
The other issue is closed, because Governments have already learnt how far they may allow the participation of men wishing to reform them. They admit only that which does not infringe, which is non-essential; and they are very sensitive concerning things harmful to them — sensitive because the matter concerns their own existence