The History of Anarchism - Part 3 - Libertarian Anarchism

in anarchy •  last year 

The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism.
The History of Anarchism Part 3 - Libertarian Anarchism

"Liberty creates Equality with Solidarity" - charlie777pt


The prosecution and persecution of anarchists in Spain and the US sometimes led to acts of mutual violence in a spiral of more executions and retaliation of the anarchists using the right to defend themselves, creating the basis for common people's perception of Anarchy as a bloody, violent, enraged and destructive force.
Almost all anarchists repudiate this simple-minded view, but today even politicians use the word Anarchy to express the total mess of the chaos they make in the first place.

We burned and messed up with Somália internal political affairs since the Italian colonialism ,with their assassinations and now that we have no solutions,medai and politicians decide to call it living reign of Anarchy, when it is just a Ochlocracy, meaning people controlled by Mob Rules imposed by the use of bullying, including physical injuries or assassination to maintain a violent hegemony.

1- Bakunin - The Man

"This man was born not under an ordinary star but under a comet." - Alexander Herzen defining Bakunin

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (1814 - 1876) called himself a "collectivist anarchist", and believed that federations of communes like nations, totally autonomic but constrained to mutual non-interference, and that we can't be free if people around us are not free.

"Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality". - Michael Bakunin

Bakunin has two distinct periods of life, the pre-anarchist phase before 1864, and after when he becomes a real anarchist.
Bakunin, "embraced his libertarian ideas early in 1864, after the crushing of the Polish insurrection in which he participated, in his writings [before this date] have no place in an anarchist anthology.
The first part of his stormy career as a revolutionary conspirator has nothing to do with anarchism."
- Daniel Guérin

He didn't believe in natural order, social conditions, or laws of history for the regulation of human existence, and that there are no theories of recipes to shape human destiny, except the force of each individual to shape his life.

"Everything about him was colossal."..." and he was full of a primitive exuberance and strength."- Karl Marx quote about Bakunin

He was in prison for eight years in the Tzar Russian dungeons and later was exiled to Siberia, he ran away from in 1861, and he made like a world tour that made him really famous.
Bakunin was well known for his flammable activism in the barricades of France, Germany, and Austria, and competed for the leadership of the First International, with Karl Marx, very famous between the working classes with his the theories of social disruption and class abolition, in a labor dictatorship.

It's the Bakunin's opposition to Marx that fed the conflict between Anarchists and Marxists, that later led to the dissolution of the International.

"love for the fantastic, for unusual, unheard-of adventures which open up vast horizons, the end of which cannot be foreseen." - Bakunin about himself.

2- The Contract substitutes the Government

Society as a human collective is based on traditions, customs, and habits, that are changed by individual innovations, and never by laws made by centralized structures or Governments.

Man is not good or bad, he is both, and like the problem of the chicken and egg separation paradigm do not apply (chicken and egg are just a system with one entity in a cycle).
Man is born with a conformist part to submit to surrounding individuals and at the same time has a latent instinct "to revolt against all divine, collective, and individual authority."

"The communists, in general, are under a strange illusion: fanatics of State power, they claim that they can use the State authority to ensure, by measures of restitution, the well-being of the workers who created the collective wealth. As if the individual came into existence after society, and not society after the individual." - Bakunin

In the theory of social contract in primitive society man enjoyed liberty only in isolation because man has a tendency to be anti-social by nature, and when circumstances demand association with other people destroies each other's freedom.
This can be avoided by a mutual contract (formal or implicit), that subtracts a parcel of our freedom to prevent mutual destructive chaos.

The objective of the contract, to exchange some personal freedom by the mutual interests, that gives public rights to all the participants but excluding any third person or entity outside the contract.
It is the result of a social contract that makes the distinction between good and evil because common goals are the good, and non-compliance of the private interests agreed is evil.
When the State takes this role in its hands, any action it makes is good and every individual or collective action opposing the interest of the State is considered evil.

"A Republican State, based upon universal suffrage, could be very despotic, more despotic even than the monarchical State, if, under the pretext of representing everybody's will, it were to bring down the weight of its collective power upon the will and the free movement of each of its members." - Bakunin

3 - Libertarianism vs Syndicalism

"Idealism is the despot of thought, just as politics is the despot of will." - Mikhail Bakunin

Libertarian Anarchism is being recalled today as an alternative to the failures of authoritarianism, totalitarian collectivism and even today's degenerated democracy, reshaped in this new world system of the actual hegemonic centralized kind of capitalism, of wealth concentration, deepening the gaps of social inequality and injustice.

Centralized programming and planification systems based on authority, are being shaped as an opposition to a free-minded unconstrained collective participation with each individual liberty of choice and action, as the fountain for the innovative progress for humanity.
Bakunin sees a free society as the death of political authority, that would bring a possible individual and collective victory for humanity.

James Guillaume (UK- 1844-1916), founder of The International In Switzerland, made a biography of Bakunin and shared mutual ideas of collectivist anarchist and anti-authoritarianism and even published five of the six volumes of Bakunin's selected works, that are fundamental to understand this historical period.
Guillaume was a well-known writer, that was anarchist before meeting Bakunin, that later went more socialist-oriented, but his work is fundamental to understand the inspiration of revolutionary syndicalist and the libertarian movements.

He also contributed to the theory of education under libertarianism and fed the writings of Johann Pestalozzi (Swiss Educator).
Socialist Anarchy is against the freedom only for the rich, like the economic liberals, or even the hegemony of the stronger in Stirner and Nietzsche, but socialist narchist want to constraint individual freedom using society as means or a tool for the control of collective action.

Molinary sees less personal friction in the individual self-security with the elimination of authority in society, while Stirner incites revolt for self-emancipation of social, political and moral bonds.

3 - Bakunin (Libertarianism) vs Proudhon (Mutualism)

"Egalitarianism, in every form and shape, is incompatible with the idea of private property" - Hans-Hermann Hoppe paleolibertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher.

Anarchist federalism and Proudhon's' federalism are conceptually alike, where communes would be the main social basis as associates of the federation but remaining, decentralized, autonomous, and based in the authority of competence, free adherence and the right to split.

Proudhon emphasized cooperations and mutual contractual bonds, while libertarians accept only the first principle because they do not believe in useless formalities and contractual bureaucracies in a stateless non-authoritarian society shaped by solidarity and the force of individuals.

4 - Libertarian Anarchism

Prince Kropotkin merged himself in Bakunin's political view of libertarianism and influenced anarchism against the view of anarcho-syndicalism restricting freedom to the working class.

Bakunin's conception of anarchism opposes the state, the church, mutualism/ federalism, and Marxism, that are already inside Proudhon's ideas.

For Bakunin, there is no group of exception rulers, unifying and making a uniform domination in the name the working class all over the world, and becoming more powerful than the aristocracy and worshiping and defending the totalitarian domination of the State.

For me, Proudhon besides being an anarchist was mainly focused on the individual "liberated from all restraint, internal and external" rejecting any kind of pressure from authority, law, public scrutiny but on the other hand release the constraints for action and inner motivation and total autonomy, for a total freedom with "no law, no motive, no principle, no cause, no limit, no end, except itself"

So Proudhon maybe should be considered the first libertarian recognized by Bakunin like the father of the whole anarchist movement.

Libertarian anarchism fed the today's ideals with new schools of thought and political action like:

  • Autarchism - extreme of everyone's ruling themselves to replace the government;
  • Libertarianism - professing the individualist liberty as the primacy and end of its political philosophy;
  • Voluntarism - emphasizing the possibility of forms of association for cooperation as a voluntary choice;
  • Free market capitalism - is the sovereign individual with the right to own property in a total stateless society;
    We have 3 splits of thought in free-market capitalism:
    • Agorism - create an anarchist free-market as with the goal of undermining the state;
    • Anarcho-capitalism - Individual is sovereign, with the right to own property in an open economy market, creating polemics with the apparent or real contradiction of this two concepts;
    • Left-wing market anarchism - self-rule people in a free market in anti-capitalist society.

In the next post, we will end the history of anarchism with the analysis of anarcho-syndicalism, based on the proletarian class that was founded by a former anarchist Fernand Pelloutier and a few others, to begin the following posts of the series on Anarchy Today.

The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism and Decentralism.
Published Posts:

Introduction to the Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism and Decentralism

I - Anarchism

Next posts on the Series:
I - Anarchism (cont.)

  • The History of Anarchism
    • Anarchy: Revolution Against The State(cont)
      • Part 3 - Libertarian Anarchism- this post
      • Part 4 - Anarcho-Syndicalism
  • Anarchy Today

II - Existentialism

  • What is Existentialism ?
  • The "Existentialims"
  • Humanism and Existentialism
  • Existentialism and Anarchism

III - Decentralism

  • What is Decentralism?
  • The Philosophy of decentralism
  • Blockchain and Decentralization
  • Anarchism, Existentialism ,and Decentralism

IV - Dialectic for Self-Liberation

  • The Dialectics of Liberation Congress
  • Psychoanalysis and Existentialism
  • The Anti-psychiatry movement

Further Reading:

Anarchism-- Wkipedia
Anarchist schools of thought - Wikipedia
Existentialist anarchism - wikipedia


- charlie777pt on Steemit:
Collectivism vs. Individualism
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin - The Emergence of Anarchism
Social Reality: Index of the series about Social Reality: Power, Violence and change
Bey, Hakim (1991) 7:A.Z.: the Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.
Byas, Jason Lee, Toward an Anarchy of Production - Parts I and II
Marshall, Peter, Demanding the Impossible A History of Anarchism, Fontana Press (1992 )
Oizerman, Teodor.O Existencialismo e a Sociedade. Em: Oizerman, Teodor; Sève, Lucien; Gedoe, Andreas, Problemas Filosóficos.2a edição, Lisboa, Prelo, 1974.
Rothbard, Murray N., The Ethics of Liberty (1982)
Rothbard, Murray N., For a New Liberty The Libertarian Manifesto, Revised Edition
Tucker, Benjamin, Individual Liberty, Selections From the Writings
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon , What Is Property?
Bakunin, Michael , Bakuninon Anarchy: Selected Works by the Activist-Founder of World Anarchism
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Hi there. Good content! I consider myself as a libertarian. And i am very into it...So i will reesteem your post if you don´t mind!

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