Issues in Anarchism - Ends and Means - Violence and Non-violence - Pacifism


Most anarchists consider pacifism (opposition to war) to be inherent in their philosophy. Some anarchists take it further and follow Leo Tolstoy's belief in non-violence (note, however, that these anarcho-pacifists are not necessarily Christian anarchists as Tolstoy was), advocating non-violent resistance as the only method of achieving a truly anarchist revolution.

Anarchist literature often portrays war as an activity in which the state seeks to gain and consolidate power, both domestically and in foreign lands. Many anarchists subscribe to Randolph Bourne's view that "war is the health of the state". Anarchists believe that if they were to support a war they would be strengthening the state– indeed, Peter Kropotkin was alienated from other anarchists when he expressed support for the British in World War I.

Just as they are critical and distrustful of most government endeavors, anarchists often view the stated reasons for war with a cynical eye. Since the Vietnam War protests in North America and, most recently, the protests against the war in Iraq, much anarchist activity has been anti-war based.

Many anarchists in the current movement however, reject complete pacifism, (although groups like Earth First!, and Food Not Bombs are based on principles of non-violence), and instead are in favor of self-defense, and sometimes violence against oppressive and authoritarian forces which they in fact also consider as defensive violence. Anarchists are skeptical however of winning a direct armed conflict with the state, and instead concern themselves mostly with organizing.

Read more about this topic:  Issues In Anarchism, Ends and Means, Violence and Non-violence

Other articles related to "pacifism":

Pacifism - Criticism
... One common argument against pacifism is the possibility of using violence to prevent further acts of violence (and reduce the "net-sum" of violence) ... Learning and committing to pacifism helps to send a message that violence is, in fact, not the most effective way ... In light of the common criticism of pacifism as not offering a clear alternative policy, one approach to finding "more effective ways" has been the attempt to develop the idea of "def ...
Modern-war Pacifism
... Modern-war pacifism, sometimes known as "just-war pacifism" or "nuclear pacifism" is a moral position that holds that modern war can never be morally justified ... It is distinct however from other forms of pacifism in that it recognizes that, in certain historical contexts, wars might have been capable of being justified, and thus it presupposes the validity of the Just War ... In the view of modern-war pacifism, the destructive potential of modern (especially nuclear) weapons makes it impossible for any modern war to meet the proportionality criterion of the Just War Theory ...
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship - Second World War
... of the Reich clearly felt deeply threatened by her pacifism ... Although initially opposed to pacifism (and, in fact, working for Naval Intelligence during World War I), after much soul-searching, she found pacifism to be the ...
Makoto Fujita - Pacifism
... In order to convey his antiwar message, Fujita devoted all his energy into the 2007 movie Best Wishes for Tomorrow (Ashita he no Yuigon), in which he portrayed a class-B war criminal sentenced to death following Japan's surrender. ...
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship - APF Publications and Resources
... building peace as well as exploring the Christian spiritual foundations of pacifism ... from traditional Anglican pacifist tracts and an explanation of the Church's teachings on pacifism, through to articles discussing pragmatic pacifist responses to the problem of Hitler and alternatives to warfare ... Sermon on the Mount and the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ to show pacifism as the most Christian response to warfare, such as how Jesus, through disarming ...