Gustav Landauer - Political Philosophy: Ethical Anarchism

Political Philosophy: Ethical Anarchism

From the above described philosophical sources and works Landauer developed an anarchism which was not individualistic; he rejected individualist anarchism. Landauer supported anarchism already in the 1890s. In those years he was especially enthusiastic about the individualistic approach of Max Stirner. He didn't want to stay behind Stirner's extremely individual approach but wanted to develop a new general public, a unity and community. His "social Anarchism" was a union of individuals on a voluntary basis in small socialist communities which came together freely. Landauer's goal was always emancipation from state, church or other forms of subordination in society. The expression 'Anarchism' stems from the Greek "arche" meaning 'power', 'reign' or 'rule'. Thus 'An-archy' equals 'non-power', 'no-reign' or 'no-rule'. The rejection of the state is common to all Anarchist positions. Some also reject institutions and moral concepts, such as church, matrimony or family; the rejection is, of course, voluntary. Landauer came out against Marxists and Social Democrats, reproaching them for wanting to erect another state executing power. For him Anarchism was a spiritual movement, almost religious. In contrast to other Anarchists he did not reject matrimony; on the contrary, it was a pillar of the community in Landauer's system. True Anarchism results from the "inner segregation" of the individuals.

Here once more is a list of the most important aspects of Landauer's Anarchism:

  1. Anarchism entails absence of power (reign, hierarchy, forced institutions)
  2. Anarchism is not equatable with terrorism; it is to be achieved through non-violence.
  3. Anarchism cannot be based upon egoistic individualism.

It is exactly this from which one is to be freed. Precondition for autonomy and independence respectively is the "seclusion" which leads to a "Unity with the world". According to Landauer it is necessary to change the nature of man or at least to change his ways, so that finally the inner convictions can appear and be lived. This includes an "Anarchism of deed" that is never strictly theoretical.

Read more about this topic:  Gustav Landauer

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