Anarchism and Marxism

Anarchism And Marxism

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Anarchism and Marxism are similar political philosophies which emerged in the nineteenth century. While Anarchism and Marxism are both complex movements driven by internal conflict, as ideological movements their primary attention has been on human liberation achieved through political action. Similarly, both have been intensely interested in abolishing social inequalities present in societies as a result of wage labour and the Industrial Revolution. In their most socially significant forms, both movements have been revolutionary, and have focused on the working class as the agent of revolution. As working class movements Marxism and anarchism have been sometimes allied and sometimes opposed groups. In particular revolutions there has been significant armed conflict between Marxist and anarchist groups.

Conflicts between anarchist and Marxist movements have emerged in terms of theory, strategy, practice and immediate political goals. Agreements between anarchism and Marxism have tended to focus on ideological convergence based around the concept of the working class as the group that creates real human freedom. The first major ideological conflict between anarchists and Marxists occurred within the First International, a European revolutionary communist political movement. The first major armed conflicts between anarchists and Marxists occurred during the 1917–1923 revolutions in the Russian Empire between urban anarchists, rural Makhnovist anarchists, the Marxist Menshevik Russian Social Democratic Party and the Marxist Bolshevik Russian Social Democratic Party. A major armed conflict occurred during the Spanish Civil War between the Spanish anarchist movement and the Soviet Union-supported central government.

After World War Two, in the West major conflicts between anarchism and Marxism have been generally confined to sectarian left-wing bickering between anarchist groups and Trotskyist or Trotsky-inspired organisations over minor points of tactics or language use. Additionally, since the New Left period, major convergences between minor trends of thought within Marxism and anarchism have occurred, generally in the area of exploring working class self-liberation. After the fall of the Soviet Union, little conflict has occurred between Stalin, post-Stalin or Stalin-inspired Marxists and anarchists, due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union's influence within Marxist circles. Prior to 2000, there was little conflict between pro-property anarchism and Marxism, due to the small size of pro-property anarchist movements and the focus of pro-property anarchist movements on behavioural change within their own perceived movement.

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber has distinguished the two philosophies as follows:

  1. Marxism has tended to be a theoretical or analytical discourse about revolutionary strategy.
  2. Anarchism has tended to be an ethical discourse about revolutionary practice.

Read more about Anarchism And Marxism:  Arguments Surrounding The Issue of The State, Arguments Surrounding The Issue of Class, Nationalism and Relationships With Indigenous Peoples and Stateless Nations, Methodological Disagreements

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